God Has 2 Heels, and They’re Both Achilles’

God Has 2 Heels, and They’re Both Achilles’ January 30, 2020

Two simple ideas work together to illuminate the hole the Christian apologist must climb out of when arguing for God. The first is the problem of God’s hiddenness (which I’ve discussed here and here) seen from a slightly different angle. The second compounds the difficulty.

1. God is a no-show every chance he gets

God ignores every opportunity to make his existence obvious. He’s never there to redirect the flood or reduce the earthquake or stop the tornado. The Lone Ranger occasionally rides into town to save the day, but God never does.

The curious skeptic following up on miracle claims always gets some variant of “You just missed him.” Someone beat cancer due God’s loving hand (and modern medicine), or a baby survived a plane crash (that killed everyone else), or there’s a vague appearance of Jesus or Mary (on burned toast), but these are easily explained without God.

Christian apologists defending God are like gnats defending Superman, and yet these gnats are the only evidence for God we have. They can handwave about Superman all they want, but the only tangible thing we have is the gnats. God apparently can’t get his message out himself but needs people to do it for him. He can’t even collect the money that his ministers say he so desperately needs. The message must be spread, but we humans have to (clumsily) do it, never God the expert.

The apologist always has an excuse for why God can’t get off the couch to make a personal appearance. Regardless of the need, from an individual hardship to a global pandemic, God is a no-show. Every claim that God did something is pareidolia, like seeing a face in a cloud or hearing a voice in radio static. The Christian claims to sense something, but this isn’t obvious to the objective observer. Sometimes the pareidolia is literal, such as seeing Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich or Jesus in the flames of Notre Dame cathedral, but usually it’s injecting God into a situation with no evidence of God, like Jesus supporting you through a difficult time.

You’d think that the combination of grand claims for God supported by paltry evidence would embarrass Christian apologists into scaling back those claims, but they insulate their belief from the facts and just rationalize excuses. Why does the pope need a bulletproof Popemobile, and why do churches need lightning rods (more)? Why is God’s perfect message so ambiguous that we now have 45,000 denominations of Christianity? Why are there no simple and foolproof tests that winnow the true stories from the myths and reveal Christianity as the only religion that’s true? Why isn’t God’s existence obvious since he (reportedly) desires a relationship with each of us? And why have I been able to find 27 (and counting) silver-bullet arguments against God’s existence?

God is like a drunk wearing nothing but an unbuttoned raincoat, stumbling down the sidewalk with the Christian apologist holding a newspaper over the unpleasant bits. They have to protect his honor because he certainly won’t. Or can’t.

“It’s turtles all the way down”

For Christianity, it’s not turtles but people all the way down. Christians today believe because they were taught Christian dogma by other people. Those people might have been parents or pastors or university scholars. And they in turn were taught from people as well. Back through the centuries, it’s only people. Back to scribes making parchment copies, back to the original authors of the books of the Bible, back to the oral legends. The naturalistic explanation is sufficient, and at no stage is anything left unexplained by the “people all the way down” hypothesis.

While people cause a great deal of harm (Stalin, Hitler, Genghis Kahn), they also create a great deal of good. Raising money for people in need, creating vaccines and antibiotics, developing Green Revolution technologies that have largely eliminated famine—it’s all people. There’s no evidence for God being behind any improvement in society, and “God” is just a reflection of the primitive people who first wrote about him.

2. What good is God?

And it gets worse with the second point. Getting past the lack of evidence, the God hypothesis doesn’t even explain anything—it just replaces a question with more questions. God is a solution looking for a problem.

God created the universe, you say? Or designed life on earth? Or caused (or prevented) a disaster? Explain how God did this. What laws of nature did he use? Which ones did he break? Where did God come from (or why does God exist in our reality)? The Christian has no answer.

“God just spoke the universe into existence” or “God is causeless by definition” are meaningless. Scientists won’t abandon their research, thinking that whatever scientific question they were working on has now been resolved by “God did it.” It’s just another way of saying, “I don’t know,” and it advances the conversation not at all. Worse, it wants to turn areas of active scientific research into closed and unquestionable dogma.

First, God might as well be nonexistent given his impact in the world. Second, “God did it” explains nothing. These are two Achilles’ heels that together incapacitate the Christian position.

How is it that hardly any major religion
has looked at science and concluded,
“This is better than we thought!
The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said,
grander, more subtle, more elegant”?
Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god,
and I want him to stay that way.”
— Carl Sagan

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Image from Muhammad Faiz Zulkeflee, CC license
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  • Tawreos

    Two simple ideas work together to illuminate the hole the Christian apologist must climb out of when arguing for God.

    I am not sure that the apologist is trying to climb out of the hole since his intended audience is in the hole and his message is how smart they are to stay down in the hole where it might be a bit dark and limiting but it is cool and safe down in the hole so why would they wan to leave it. No matter what they say, their message is never for the unbeliever. If they can get a convert, cool, but they are always trying to keep people down in that hole, in the dark and away from the light.

    • Greg G.

      but they are always trying to keep people down in that hole, in the dark and away from the light.

      Many times they are trying to justify themselves being in the hole.

      • Bob Jase

        If only they would stop tryimg to drag the rest of us into their hole.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      As has been said so often, “Crabs in a bucket”.

      • NSAlito

        Yeah, you don’t need to put a lid over the Christians’ hole to keep them in.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Mother kcuf it?

    • Like a mushroom.

  • Michael Neville

    The two most common arguments against divine hiddeness are that somehow our free will is violated if God exposes himself or that it is better to have faith that God exists rather than absolute knowledge. Both of these arguments are excuses for God’s lack of presence.

    There are several rebuttals to the free will excuse. According to the propaganda Satan and one-third of the angels rebelled against God. These angels had first-hand knowledge of God and that didn’t affect their free-will rebellion. Also knowledge of God’s existence doesn’t have anything to do with worshiping him.

    Faith is the fall-back position when one doesn’t have knowledge. Christians and other theists have reconciled need for faith for so long that they’ve convinced themselves it’s a virtue. But if they had absolute, unequivocal knowledge of God then faith could be discarded as unnecessary.

    • I thought angels had no free will, so they could not rebel against God except maybe Satan, which would explain why they lack that.

      • Lambchopsuey

        In the book of Job, the satan, or “adversary”, acts as God’s prosecuting attorney. It is clear that it is on a very short leash; it can take no action against Job without God’s explicit permission.

        • Michael Neville

          I have seen the argument that Satan isn’t the bad guy. He’s the senior angel in charge of the Hell that an all-loving, merciful God put in place.

        • “Just following orders.” Sounds familiar.

        • TheNuszAbides

          And then there’s Joy of Satan, who supposedly believe that the script was flipped long ago and he’s the actual benevolent creator yada yada.

        • eric

          I think that’s the most reasonable interpretation of Job 1:12. But I find Job 1:6 more interesting, as it sort of implies Satan isn’t an angel. At least not a regular-type one. Paraphrasing: “all the angels came to God, and Satan came too” 🙂

    • Lambchopsuey

      The “heavenly rebellion” is actually non-Biblical; it’s Christian mythology born of Christian misunderstanding of Isaiah 14, which clearly frames the problematic verses (12-17) as part of a ridiculing chant that the Israelites are to take up now that the king who had oppressed them (probably Nebuchadrezzar) is dead (and it’s thus safe to do so). Describing a king in terms of heavenly splendor is nothing unusual; notice how Louis XIV of France was known as “The Sun King”, because his splendor was so magnificent.

      Christians, of all people, should be aware that this silly mythology presents a severe theological problem, as you noted – HOW could the *angels*, who were created to be servants, ever rebel? But on the other hand, it does suggest that, even if trapped in the hellish eternity of “heaven”, there might be room to make some changes…

      Furthermore, no Christian I have ever encountered has thought there might be something the slightest bit hinky about a Latin name like “Lucifer” finding its way into a Hebrew manuscript that came into being hundreds of years before Latin ever existed as a language. For a discussion of this problem, here is a favorite article.

      • Michael Neville

        Thank you for showing that my understanding of the heavenly rebellion was too simplistic. I had been taught that Revelation 12:3-4 referred to the rebellion with Satan being the “red dragon” and the “third of the stars” referring to the angels:

        Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. (NIV)

        But of course that’s exegesis based on John of Patmos’ tripping on the brown acid.

        To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn’t too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it’s your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?

        • TheNuszAbides

          the brown acid

          Or whatever color Patmos’s magic mushrooms are. (Unless they were actually cultivating/importing ergot back then too!). In any case, far better explanation for the sheer “whoa, dude” factor of Revelation.

      • eric

        The “heavenly rebellion” is actually non-Biblical;

        Sure, but the free will defense is blown out of the water equally well by the doubting Thomas story, Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal, and other biblical accounts of people ignoring/disobeying Jesus. The obvious conclusion being that God can make a Jesus-like appearance on Earth without causing us to lose our ability to freely choose to follow him (or not). Because when God did exactly that, some people chose not to follow him or listen to him.

      • Rudy R

        This whole god and Christianity notion falls completely apart with just a modicum of scrutiny. Didn’t god, the creator of everything, not create Satan? And did not this omniscient god not see Satan’s rebellion, starting the chain-of-events leading to original sin, the need for genocide of all humans except Noah & Company, and then needing to send himself down to Earth, to sacrifice himself to absolve the sins (which he created) of Noah & Company’s offspring? The larger question is, even if this god exists, why would you worship that idiot?

        • TheNuszAbides

          An excellent application of “never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.”

    • Otto

      I am proof that both the Christian God and free will cannot exist together; If the Christian God were real I would have never chosen to be born.

    • Rudy R

      The argument against freewill notwithstanding, the evidence for a god is so crappy, I don’t have freewill to choose there is a god.

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      Exactly, faith is gullibility. When looking for truth, faith is the way to go when you give up on truth.

  • Madison Blane

    They always talk about how he Bible is “the inspired word of God” but never take a half-step back to wonder WHY an actual GOD – one who can supposedly speak universes into existence – couldn’t just… write his own book? Or for that matter, why does he even need a book in the first place?

    If two people ask God the same question and get different answers, who are we to believe? Surely a GOD would have foreseen such a problem? Why not speak in a voice everyone can hear and undoubtedly agree upon hearing – especially if he’s the one that invented ear drums?!

    If he can’t work a pen on his own, can’t even influence simple sound waves, if he can’t manage the simple mundane, then why should we believe he can rewrite the laws of the universe to perform the supernatural?

    Why does he have to work behind a veil and in the shadows like some invisible puppeteer? If it continually operates like a figment of imagination, why presume it to be more than that?

  • Christian

    Christianity caused both World Wars and the Holocaust

    • Michael Neville

      The origins of World War I has been hotly debated for over a hundred years but Christianity appears in none of the more commonly presented theories. Fritz Fischer, Sean McMeekin, David Fromkin, Margaret MacMillian, and even Niall Ferguson (the guy who thinks British involvement in the war was solely brought about by Sir Edward Gray) don’t give Christianity as a cause of the war. In her epic The Origins of the First World War. Controversies and Consensus Annika Mombauer doesn’t even mention Christianity in the index.

      So please give your reasons why you blame Christianity for World War I.

      EDIT TO ADD: The origins of the European part of World War II was explained by Maréchal Ferdinand Foch at the signing of the Versailles Treaty: “This is not a peace. It is a twenty year armistice.” 20 years and 34 days later Germany invaded Poland.

      • I would say that Christianity (Martin Luther) was largely behind the antisemitism that was behind the Holocaust. Is there any more?

        • Greg G.

          That was one thing Luther agreed with the Catholic Church.

          Why Good Friday was dangerous for Jews in the Middle Ages and how that changed
          http://theconversation.com/why-good-friday-was-dangerous-for-jews-in-the-middle-ages-and-how-that-changed-114896

          When the article says “medieval Christianity”, it has nothing to do with Martin Luther.

          During the medieval Good Friday service, Christians prayed for the “perfidious” – or deceitful – Jews that God might “remove the veil from their hearts so that they would know Jesus Christ.”
          [bold added]

          That remained in the Catholic service until ~1962.

        • Michael Neville

          I agree a reasonable argument could be made for Christianity being the basis for antisemitism. I was objecting to the claim that Christianity was the cause of the World Wars.

        • Yes, agreed. I was pointing out the only Christianity/World War connection that I could think of.

        • BertB

          The primary reason for WWII was economic, and in the case of Germany, nationalism. But the rise of a nationalistic despot opened a path for antisemitism to rear its ugly head…just as the rise of a similar character here has allowed white supremacist racism and bigotry to flourish.

  • So, God runs on drag-time and can’t find their wig?

  • William

    During the 2016 presidential primary, our former governor, Martin O’Malley, was fond of referring to “the hidden God”. I’d not heard that term before then — indeed, many Christians will claim that God’s presence is evident all around us. I appreciated O’Malley’s more realistic assessment, for all that I disagreed with his conclusion.

  • Joe_Buddha

    It’s worse. Since I have never heard a coherent explaination of what God is, I’m not even sure what they’re talking about. I mean, there may be such an explanation, but I’ve certainly never run across it.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Greetings, fellow igtheist!

  • RichardSRussell

    IOW, if God wants me to believe that, have him tell me, not you.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      ^^^^THIS!

  • Don Camp

    God ignores every opportunity to make his existence obvious.

    You, of course, ignore the time God actually showed up: Jesus. But you confess that you/ve not seriously even read the Bible.

    But you also choose the places where the claims that God acted are easiest to debunk – and I agree there are those. But I suspect you are not really interested in God showing up. If you were you’d get off the computer and get out into the field and talk to people who have experienced miracles, miracles that have been documented as well as medical science is able to do. Maybe you’d even read some of the books written by people who have experienced miracles.

    That is disingenuous and insincere.

    Explain how God did this. What laws of nature did he use? Which ones did he break? Where did God come from (or why does God exist in our reality)? The Christian has no answer.

    What laws of nature did he use? You reject the idea that God might use the laws of nature to accomplish his purposes. Your challenge is empty.

    What law did he break? How about law of natural cause and effect? Creation itself breaks that law.

    Where did God come from? God is eternal. He exists in a dimension that is not governed by natural cause and effect, so no cause is necessary.

    Why does God exist in our reality? That is probably the wrong question to ask. The more significant question is why we exist in his reality. The answer is that God chose to exert his will and create the cosmos – including us. Now you can ask the first question. The answer is that it pleases him to interact with us.

    The Christian has answers, Bob, just not the answers you want to hear.

    • Tawreos

      Stories about miracles are not evidence. Even if the stories are in books, even if that book is the bible, they are not evidence. There is no evidence outside of the bible that anyone that would match the biblical description of Jesus ever existed. How can we check medical data when the miracles always seem to happen to people that aren’t ever named, nor is the place where it happens.

      • Don Camp

        But they don’t always happen to people who are not named nor are the places unknown. i have experienced miracles. They have happened at very specific places. I have told my story to people who are interested. Ther are plenty of miracles of healing where there is before and after medical confirmation that something did happen and is unexplained by science. But of course,you were not there. So those miracles too are beyond your actually experiencing them. Which does give you an out. You can accept the testimony of real people about real events and the testimony of qualified observers,or you can wave it off. I’d hope you would push forward to check the facts.

        • Tawreos

          You might want to start providing evidence instead of just saying that it exists. What are the name of the people that have experienced the miraculous healing. Where can we review those medical records. Where can we find the independent verification of those records. Stop making claims and start providing evidence.

        • nydiva

          I don’t recall you ever providing evidence about a medical miracle despite many claims such as a modern day resurrection in an unnamed South Asian country. I do recall, however, that you had an attitude when your so-called medical miracle did not stand up to scrutiny. You said it didn’t matter if it failed to convince outsiders because the miracle was meant to strengthen the recipient’s faith. Dear reader, Don has over 1,300 posts. He has repeated the same debunked stories over and over again. Unfortunately, Don doesn’t have evidence for his faith; just a belief that has him on treadmill going around and around, hoping to convince someone his imaginary friend is real.

        • Zeta

          nydiva to Don Camp: ” claims such as a modern day resurrection in an unnamed South Asian country. ”

          I would like to expand on that because I have challenged him to provide details and evidence at Debunking Christianity about this case. He claimed, as credible, the supposed resurrection of an unnamed native Christian convert in an unnamed remote village in an unnamed South East Asian country at an unknown time. That native died and was quickly resurrected after his followers (or his fellow believers) prayed to Don Camp’s god.

          Evidence and more details? He of course came up empty. Do recall that he claimed that he taught “Critical Thinking” to youngsters in his school. He has no credibility. I have sympathy for those youngsters.

        • Susan

          I have sympathy for those youngsters.

          He’s a guy on the internet, peddling snake oil, who claims to have taught critical thinking.

          Ed claims to be a biologist.

          This is just the humble opinion of a world-class ballerina/astronaut but I’m sceptical about their claims.

          They make everything else up.

          Why not their backgrounds?

          It’s easy if you have no qualms about lying.

        • Pofarmer

          Ballet in space? Awesome!!!!!!

        • TheNuszAbides

          the humble opinion of a world-class ballerina/astronaut

          And here I thought you were merely a singer-songwriter demigoddess. Don’t hide that light under a bushel!

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Unfortunately, Don doesn’t have evidence for his faith; just a belief that has him on treadmill going around and around, hoping to convince someone his imaginary friend is real.”

          Generally it has been my experience that those who truly have faith, don’t feel the need to argue with skeptics to validate their beliefs. I expect deep down, the person Don Camp is desperately trying to convince is himself.

        • aikidaves

          Oh, come on, Don. You don’t believe in Muslim or Hindu miracles any more than they believe in Christian ones, yet their testimonials and ‘evidence’ are just as good (poor, really) as yours are. Even if you could prove that miracles are real supernatural events, you can’t prove who or what did them. If theology converged on truth, there would be one religion, not 4200. It doesn’t. It fragments like fan fiction. You can’t even provide good evidence that your Jesus existed, much less that he did the things and possessed the attributes that you think your book ascribes to him – and you disagree on many of those interpretations with a large number of other Christians. Why should any skeptic take you seriously?

        • al kimeea

          Here’s a miracle for you. A couple of indigenous girls, 10 & 11 years old, had cancer. One, whose parents are evangelical preachers, had a vision where Jesus came to tell her she’d be cured if she stopped modern medicine and relied on traditional healing. So, the two families went to court to end a treatment with a 85% success rate and chose a traditional health farm using whole foods and cold lasers like her ancestors.

          Miraculously one girl was cured by her parents resuming modern medicine after “traditional healing” killed the visionary child…

        • TheNuszAbides

          The miracle being that they weren’t too stubborn/deluded to change their minds – twice!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But they don’t always happen to people who are not named nor are the places unknown.

          The stories are indistinguishable from fiction.

          So why should we bother with them, unless there’s an honorable moral allegory?

        • Why? You’re not checking the “facts” of the other religions. Why should we check the facts of yours?

    • Otto

      There is no reason to believe Jesus was divine, supernatural or anything other than a natural person. Everything about Jesus just comes from another person writing about Jesus…many years after the fact.

      God could show up today and put all this discussion to rest, but God needs you (ore some other human) to do his talking, same as it ever was.

      • Don Camp

        The biblical claim is that Jesus (God, Holy Spirit) resides in every believe and collectively we are called his body. That means that we are the visible representation of God. Now,no believer, except for some crazies, claims to be that perfectly or that believers collectively do that perfectly.Sometimes we are really imperfect. But despite our imperfection God is seen and through us he acts.

        Personally, because of the Spirit of God in us, we also have the ability and the wonderful privilege of fellowship and interaction with God. That includes direction and guidance in what to do and what to say. I experience that in remarkable ways sometimes. So really if you wish to know if all this comes from God you have an open invitation from him to seek him, to ask, and even to put him to the test and see if he is good.

        • Otto

          My point is that all information of god(s) originates from other humans. God(s) do not speak unless people speak for them. Basically what you are doing is using god as your sock puppet.

          if you wish to know if all this comes from God you have an open invitation from him to seek him

          Like many here I have already been down that road…it leads nowhere except to people using God as their sock puppet. You should really stop doing that.

        • Personally, because of the Spirit of God in us, we also have the ability and the wonderful privilege of fellowship and interaction with God.That includes direction and guidance in what to do and what to say.

          Perfect, just what I wanted to hear. Let’s put this to the test, shall we Don? You get to pick a friend, whoever you want, that you are convinced is also in fellowship with God. I’ll ask each of you, separately, a bunch of questions that I will create. You can pray all that you like, but you cannot communicate with each other. If your answers turn up identical (or at least very close), and don’t look like some gobbledygook that you rehearsed for the purposes of cheating, I’m willing to be swayed that you might be telling the truth.

          What do you say Don? Are you willing to prove that you, and other Christians, are in a position of “privilege fellowship and interaction with God”?

        • Greg G.

          I second the motion.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          All in favor say “Don, get out of here!”

          😉

        • Rudy R

          Don has resorted to preaching as of late. That’s a strong indicator he’s given up on trying to persuade us Atheists using logic, reason and evidence.

        • Otto

          I hope so…Popcorn will be ready. Should be a good show.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya just have to look at the plethora of different Christers that pitch up here with their contradictory opinions on just about everything Christer in order to see yer wee experiment has already failed miserably.

          Ffs Don’s woo-woo is well leftfield of most Christers.

          With 45,000+ flavours of the cult and fragmenting at just over two a day….you’ve won already.

        • nydiva

          Don: Personally, because of the Spirit of God in us, we also have the ability and the wonderful privilege of fellowship and interaction with God…

          So we didn’t get God’s secret handshake. The Holy Ghost, just another invisible man/woman to the rescue.

        • Don Camp

          You could if you wish. But he doesn’t download automatically for everyone.

          You do get a lot of evidence for God:

          1) Nature (free for everyone)

          2) the Bible (on the book shelf at your favorite bookstore or free online at https://www.biblegateway.com/

          3) Jesus (He invites you to check him out)

          But you have to do something with it. So get in the game.

        • nydiva

          You could face the reality your imaginary friend doesn’t exist if you wish. But critical thinking is not automatic for everyone.

          You don’t have any evidence any God:

          1) Nature (free for everyone). No designer needed or discovered.

          2) the Bible, a book of bronze and iron age mythology. Check out Bart Ehrman, https://www.amazon.com/Bart-D-Ehrman/e/B001I9RR7G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

          3) I did check out Jesus and realized he was not the son of a god.

          But in order to free yourself from your religious delusions, you have to do something first. So stop playing games and grow up. Cheers.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You could if you wish.

          YOUR KIND do righteous 69shitloads of victim blaming, don’t you?

        • Wile F. Coyote

          1) ‘Nature’ is evidence of physical reality comprised of measurable properties humans have detected, studied, named, and described. There is no evidentiary support that ‘nature’ is evidence of unfalsifiable supernatural agency, obviously, which makes it abundantly silly/naive to cite it as support for what it is the opposite of.

          It is unlikely that the list of physical reality known colllectively as ‘nature which can be shown to exist is currently complete, as proven by the fact that improving technology continually identifies things impossible to detect prior to the new technology. The current list of things known as ‘nature’ is a great many orders of magnitude larger than when Biblical text was written, including Elizabethan edited rewrites, because of the relative dearth of technology prior to the past couple of centuries, and because Biblical text, including the most recently edited versions, either preceded or ignored scientific methodology/rigor/falsifiability re the discovery/study of ‘nature’ from ~ 15th century to the present (except within cultures where religion has successfully suppressed said methodology).

          2) ‘the Bible’ is evidence of an eponymous tome. Included inside, scattered throughout, are claims about a supernatural agent, whose name eventually evolves to YHWH, then to God, but the only evidence for the literal existence of such a … being … provided within is circular self-reference. Adherents claim their belief is proof of the existence of this … being … and that is all that needs to be said regarding the veracity of such an assertion.

          3) Jesus faith believers confidently assert that if only the non-believer also invest in an emotion-based faith commitment knowledge of the reality of the existence of the supernatural will be delivered directly to one’s brain, although in my experience “heart” is used in place of brain — and a not-insignificant number of those who do this do not convince me they actually comprehend that the heart is only muscle tissue incapable of comprehension or thinking. Belief in a claim, regardless of how genuine or fervent that belief, is not evidence of the claim’s validity/truth.

          The dumb game you play is unnecessary, too often harmful, and something best avoided, Don Camp.

        • Michael Neville

          1. Nature is evidence of itself. Supernatural things, by definition, are not natural. There’s the further point that there’s no evidence that the supernatural exists.

          2. The Bible is a collection of myths, fables and lies with no more authority than any other “holy” book. We disregard the Bible for the same reasons that you ignore the Book of Mormon, the Quran, the Vedas and all other religious scriptures.

          3. It’s Jesus’ self-appointed spokescritters like yourself who do the inviting. As noted in the OP, Jesus is conspicuous by his absence.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The biblical claim is that Jesus (God, Holy Spirit) resides in every believe and collectively we are called his body.

          SO WHAT?

          The magic word is right in your statement…claim

          Claims are worthless without EVIDENCE.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Why do we have to seek him? Why do we have to do all the work?

        • Don Camp

          That’s kind of a “I-know-better-tjem-God” question. The answer is that we aren’t exactly standing still; we are running in the other direction. If you are going to meet God, you’ll have to stop running. But the other answer is that . God puts it into the heart to seek him. If you are not then he hasn’t yet for you or you have chosen to ignore it. (I am speaking not of you personally, Andrea bit of me and of everyone. )

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I don’t have a holy spirit within me and you claim that you do.

          – Define exactly what this holy spirit is and its anatomical function.
          – Where precisely inside the heart does this holy spirit reside within your body?
          – How could you tell if it was missing from your body? (asking for a friend)
          – Do all human beings have this thing inside of them or do we have a choice in that?
          – Hypothetically, could you personally function in a civilized society without this holy spirit? (If no, then I’m here to show you that you can)

        • Don Camp

          I note 9 down votes. What is it that you all find so unacceptable?

        • epeeist

          What is it that you all find so unacceptable?

          Preaching. Your post (and many others) contain nothing else.

        • David Cromie

          Belief/faith in a supposed ‘god’, without a shred of evidence in favour of its existence after nearly 2,000 years.

        • Don Camp

          David,respectfully, that is a so often repeated mantra that it is meaningless. What kind of evidence would satisfy you? Be specific.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing you’ve suggested anyway.

          See, here’s the thing. An omniscient god would know what evidence would satisfy me. An omnipotent god could provide said evidence. An omnibenevolent god would want to provide said evidence.

          That it hasn’t happened, means gods don’t exist. Or gods with those properties don’t exist.

          And the evidence that they don’t exist is stacking up.

        • Greg G.

          How many times do you need to be told the answer. The evidence depends on the properties of what you claim exists. If it was omniscient, it would know exactly what evidence would be required. If it was omnipotent, it would be able to do so. If it was omnibenevolent, it would do it if it was important.

          I am in a hotel room and there are at least a hundred things in here. I accept that they are real. It’s not that it is difficult to prove to me that something is real. Unless, of course, it is imaginary.

        • Don Camp

          Good. I like that.

          The evidence depends on the properties of what you claim exists.

          So here are some of the properties related to the God revealed in the Bible:
          1) God is Personal. He is able to related person to person to person with other persons. He also has personality.

          2) God is powerful. He is able to do anything he desires.

          3) God is everywhere present.

          4) God Spirit.

          5) God is eternal.

          6) Among others, the characteristics of God are righteousness, love, justice, wisdom, holiness, kindness, faithfulness.

          Is there any one of these you’d like to explore as to evidence?

        • Greg G.

          Is there any one of these you’d like to explore as to evidence?

          Support your claims. The evidence must distinguish between reality and make-believe.

        • Don Camp

          Let’s take one property at a time. How about “God is powerful?”

          Evidence: The universe. The universe exists in the composition and form it is by God’s creative will.

          Remember, the claim is that God can do anything he desires. Since it is the Biblical God who is in question, we will assume for the purpose of this argument that man was the object of God’s creative will. We do know that the universe exists in a composition and form that uniquely favors the existence of man here on earth.

          The chances of the universe being in the specific composition and form it is and supporting the life of man on earth is astronomically small. That makes creation that is directed by an intelligent and powerful person a far more likely answer to how the universe and man came to be.

          I am not sure what “make-believe” might be relative to this. Perhaps you can help.

        • epeeist

          Let’s take one property at a time. How about “God is powerful?”

          Evidence: The universe. The universe exists in the composition and form it is by God’s creative will.

          Begs the question, assumes that your god exists.

        • Don Camp

          And yet there are many who make no assumption who also come to the conclusion that the universe makes no sense unless there is some intelligent direction behind it.

        • epeeist

          And yet there are many who make no assumption

          You want to add a fallacy of irrelevance to begging the question?

        • BertB

          What exactly do you mean when you say the universe has to “make sense?”

        • aikidaves

          Attributes of the universe such as relativity and quantum mechanics make little sense to a lot of people, including some of their discoverers. Was the intelligence behind the universe on an acid trip when it came up with those?

        • David Cromie

          Have you never heard of science, especially the science of cosmology?

        • Don Camp

          Yes. It is cosmologists and physicists to whom I refer.

          Rather than undercutting faith and a sense of the spiritual, scientific
          discoveries are offering support for them, at least in the minds of people of faith. Big-bang cosmology, for instance, once read as leavingno room for a Creator, now implies to some scientists that there is a design and purpose behind the universe. Evolution, say some
          scientist-theologian provides clues to the very nature of God.
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/newsweek/science_of_god/scienceofgod.htm

        • nydiva

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxb6wm-_atE
          This is the questions and answer segment after Dr. Carroll Sean’s lecture that God is not a good theory. Enjoy and read the comments on YouTube. Woo Hoo!

        • Don Camp

          https://youtu.be/WGPQg7xQ5kI

          Yes. Here’s one.

        • nydiva

          John Polkinghome and the late Christoper Hitchens. Enjoy!
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OXPlUCGScY

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don, did you watch the video you put up? Stannard is talking as much fuckwittery as you are. He just defines his God into existence. But offers absolutely nothing in support of his assertion.

          But at least he admits that God is not the cause of the universe, which pretty much fucks your position.

        • Don Camp

          Here’s another.

          https://youtu.be/C-RBaGLtjEc

        • nydiva

          Ha!. Good old professor John Polkinghorne. One of the few Anglican theologians I’ve enjoyed listening to back in the day. Anyhow, please check out the links below where Dr. Polkinghome debates (rather talks) with Richard Dawkins.
          John Polkinghome and Richard Dawkins
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF5bPI92-5o&t=208s

        • Ignorant Amos

          You seem to be confusing John Lennox with Polkinghorne…here, and the Hitchens video with Lennox stating it was Polkinghorne you also posted.

        • David Cromie

          Polkinghorne left academia to become a C of E vicar, so why would anyone capable of critical thinking pay heed to anything he says.

          In the final analysis, if there is no evidence adduced to show that any supernatural entities exist, then anything a christer has to say on the subject is mere suppositional twaddle.

        • Don Camp

          Yes, he did. Funny how coming to coming to the conviction that God IS changes your life and turns your values upside down.

        • David Cromie

          Yes, it is ‘funny’, and deplorable, that some otherwise intelligent people allow their delusions to control their world view.

          Has the Rev. Dr. Polkinghorne ever published a peer reviewed academic paper adducing the irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence for the real existence of any supernatural entity, whatsoever?

        • Don Camp

          You know he hasn’t. I’ve said many times that standard is not the standard for evidence for God. I don’t find the lack of experimental evidence significant. There is plenty of indirect evidence.

        • Greg G.

          There is plenty of indirect evidence.

          Not really. You have given poor reasons to believe, not indirect evidence. It’s like you are believing in the Multiverse Hide & Seek Champion.

        • Bob Jase

          But Don has fee-fees!!

        • nydiva

          Yes, he did. Funny how coming to coming to the conviction that God IS changes your life and turns your values upside down.
          God IS a myth and nothing Dr. Polkinghorne said in this interview challenges that fact, but I would love to see a debate (talk) between Dr. Polkinghorne and Dr. Sean Caroll. Two famous cosmologists on the god question. Now that would be interesting.

        • Greg G.

          The universe is evidence that at least one universe exists. The idea that it was made by a god thingy comes from people who didn’t know where the sun went at night. The fact that you present the universe as evidence for a god thingy based on ancient writings is better evidence for your credulity.

          I am not sure what “make-believe” might be relative to this. Perhaps you can help.

          Your universe-making god thingy is as much make-believe as the Hindu belief that the universe is a dream of Vishnu.

        • Don Camp

          Okay. Let’s look at the idea of God as Creator, a biblical God specific description of creation. Compare with Vishnu if you like.

          The most detailed description of creation is in Genesis 1:1-2:4. It says:
          1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (1:1) There was a beginning for the universe. Is that something confirmed by science? I think so.

          The description of the earth follows.

          2) The earth was a formless void (1:2). At this stage there was darkness (clouds, steam, smoke???) And there was water.

          3) Then God caused light to shine and the earth as it rotated had day and night. (1:3-5).

          4) Then the clouds lifted enough for there to be sky. (1:6-8).
          5) The next stage is separation of the waters of the seas and the dry land. (1:6-8).
          6) The plants appear (1:9-13).
          7) Next the clouds part enough for the sun and moon to be seen (1:14-19).
          8) Next animals appear in the seas (1:20-24).
          9) Then animals appear on the land (1:21-25).
          10) Finally God makes man (1:26-31). Man shares some of the characteristics of the animals, He is made of the elements of the earth. He has breath. (nephesh, soul). But he is different as well. He has n’shamah (2:7).

          How does this compare with the scientific description of the development of the earth and life upon it? If we understand that the purpose of this section is not a scientific description but a theological description, I think it still does pretty well in following the scientifically described sequence.

          It does so while maintaining a spare but eloquent unembellished style of poetic prose wholly unlike anything written in the ANE myths or myths anywhere.

          It is also absent the gods of the ANE or Egypt. There is only one God, Elohim the Creator. It is specific to him.

          That description, matching in brief as it doers what science has found about the beginning, is evidence for the biblical Creator God.

        • epeeist

          There was a beginning for the universe. Is that something confirmed by science? I think so.

          It isn’t, the best we can say is that the universe was in existence after the Planck epoch.

          2) The earth was a formless void (1:2). At this stage there was darkness (clouds, steam, smoke???) And there was water.

          After the Big Bank the things that existed were a quark-gluon plasma, nothing like water. Neutral hydrogen atoms didn’t form until approximately 380,000 years after the BB. Oxygen is formed within stars and is only released when these go nova or supernova, this would have been some hundreds of millions of years after the BB (the oldest observed ionised oxygen is some 600 million years after the BB).

          On top of that the earth is some 4.5 billion years old, while the BB took place some 13.7 billion years ago.

          In other words, your attempt at a post hoc rationalisation to what is actually evidenced is a pile of foetid dingos kidneys.

          That description, matching in brief as it doers what science has found about the beginning, is evidence for the biblical Creator God.

          Nope, even if we were to admit that it was a god-what-dunnit then at best it gets you a deist god. You have a lot more work to do to get to the god of a minor Middle-Eastern tribe. You haven’t even considered any of the other gods or religious systems invented by humans not to mention the gods or religions of other species that might exist.

        • Don Camp

          On top of that the earth is some 4.5 billion years old, while the BB took place some 13.7 billion years ago.

          If you’ll reread what I wrote, I said that Genesis 1 is not a scientific description. It is theological. Only incidentally does it speak to the history of the universe or the earth.So why would you even expect any reference to the period between the creation of the universe (the BB) and the earth? It is man’s origin and existence on earth that is the focus.

          In other words, your attempt at a post hoc rationalisation to what is actually evidenced

          I find that just a little humorous. The Bible had it right some 3000 + year ago, Science is only now catching up. If anything science is post hoc.

          Nope, even if we were to admit that it was a god-what-dunnit then at best it gets you a deist god.

          A Deist God does not interact with poeple as Genesis 1, & 2 does.

          You have a lot more work to do to get to the god of a minor Middle-Eastern tribe.

          There is the rest of the story, you know. It follows in the next 48 chapters and 65 books.

          You haven’t even considered any of the other gods or religious systems
          invented by humans not to mention the gods or religions of other species that might exist.

          I am smiling again. So point me to one religious system that even comes close to the description of the history of the earth from creation to man that we have in Genesis.

          There may be other species. but that is a completely different issue and a diversion from the evidence we have before us. Nice try, thought.

        • nydiva

          I am smiling again at Don’s self serving claim that the Bible is not a book of science. No fooling. It’s not a history book or the word of a god either, but who’s counting? Check out what Dr. Jerry Coyne (Why Evolution is True fame) had to say about Dr. Francis Collin’s claim the Bible is not a textbook of science. Enjoy!

          “The Bible is not a textbook of science”
          An alert reader sent me a very short YouTube video of Francis Collins, NIH director, explaining the coexistence of science and evangelical Christianity. YouTube has blocked embedding of the video, presumably because it came from ABC News, but you can see it here.

          Collins gives the money quote when the interviewer presses him on how he sees Biblical accounts of creation:

          Interviewer: Genesis would lead us to believe that the earth is six thousand years old. And it would lead us to believe that God created two human beings—one out of the rib of the other. It’s pretty explicit stuff.

          Collins: We interpret it as explicit these days. It is not a textbook of science! It would not have suited God’s purposes to lecture to his chosen people about radioactive decay, and such things as DNA. What God was trying to teach us through those words is the nature of God and the nature of humans—and that comes through loud and clear.

          A bit later, Collins asserts:

          . . . once you’ve accepted the idea of a God who is the creator of all the laws of nature, the idea that God might at unique moments of history might decide to invade the natural world, and suspend those laws, doesn’t become, really, a logical problem. And certainly the Resurrection is the most dramatic example of that: where God became man, walked on this earth, was crucified, and then, after death, was resurrected—that, for me, is the cornerstone of my faith. And it doesn’t present a real problem, as a believer, as long as I’ve already acknowledged that God is God.

          This is embarrassing stuff, even more so coming from America’s most prominent scientist. Quick thoughts:

          The correct translation of the frequent claim that “The Bible is not a textbook of science” is this: “The Bible is not literally true, except for those places where I say it’s literally true.”

          Why is Collins so sure that he knows what God intended when “writing” the Bible, especially since other Christian sects disagree?
          How does Collins know exactly which parts of the Bible are “not science” (i.e., fiction) and which parts are? If Genesis and Adam and Eve are “not science”, why is the Resurrection “science”? There’s precisely the same amount of empirical evidence—i.e., zero—for each of these stories. (Source: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/the-bible-is-not-a-textbook-of-science/

        • BertB

          The Bible is not literally true, except for those places where I say it’s literally true.

          It’s laughable, isn’t it? It’s called “selective literalism.” Most Bible apologists engage in it, and then “interpret” the parts they don’t like by twisting and stretching them until they scream. Then, they ignore the remaining parts that even they can’t distort enough to hide the nonsense.

        • epeeist

          If you’ll reread what I wrote, I said that Genesis 1 is not a scientific description.

          What you said was:

          If we understand that the purpose of this section is not a scientific description but a theological description, I think it still does pretty well in following the scientifically described sequence.

          In other words, you were trying to set the bible up as a forerunner of the scientific description, hence your little aside, “The Bible had it right some 3000 + year ago”. Except of course it gets it completely wrong as I and Greg G. point out.

          There is the rest of the story, you know.

          The “rest of the story” has nothing to do with the formation of the universe.

          So point me to one religious system that even comes close to the description of the history of the earth from creation to man that we have in Genesis.

          Just because other myth systems have a wrong description doesn’t mean to say your myth system is correct. We have done this one before, “all hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on the problems of other hypotheses”, remember that?

        • Don Camp

          Just because other myth systems have a wrong description doesn’t mean to say your myth system is correct.

          Of course not. But you are the one who brought that up.

          In other words, you were trying to set the bible up as a forerunner of the scientific description, hence your little aside, “The Bible had it right some 3000 + year ago”.

          My hypothesis is that God is powerful. I supported with evidence that the biblical God created the universe. If you’ll recall, I first said that composition and present configuration of the universe is evidence for an intelligent Creator and director.

          But that isn’t biblical God specific, so I went on to show that the description of the creation found in the Bible – which I take to be provided by God – fits so well the universe that we know from science that it makes the evidence of the universe specific to biblical God.

          An analogy would be the signature of a painter on his painting identifying the artist.

          Except of course it gets it completely wrong as I and Greg G. point out.

          I suppose that is an admission that if the description in the Bible were right it would support the claim that the hypothesis is biblical God specific. So I took time to reply to Greg and show that he is incorrect. However, Greg has evidently taken down his post and I was mot able to post my reply to it.

          So in response to Greg:

          The Bible description of creation is first of all a theological statement. It presents God as the one and only God. The sun and moon are not gods as the ancients believed. God made them, and they are simply the source of light.

          It is not a scientific description. It is only incidentally that the account provides also a description of creation. The description is, of course, done in broad strokes rather than detail. It is, after all, only two pages long.

          I quote from Greg’s post.

          Greg. There are many mythologies with creation stories. This one has the earth created before there were stars.

          Don. No. The stars are included in the creation of the universe in verse 1.

          Don. 2) The earth was a formless void (1:2). At this stage there was darkness (clouds, steam, smoke???) And there was water.

          Greg When it was a formless void it was a forming solar system.

          Don Yes. Or a forming earth. Though they both developed together.The sun as you know is a second if not a third generation star. The universe began at the Big Bang 14-15 billion years ago. Our sun is only 4-5 billion years old.

          Don 3) Then God caused light to shine and the earth as it rotated had day and night. (1:3-5).>

          It says he separated light from darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. The author didn’t get that daylight is from the sun, as if the sun being in the sky during the day was a happy coincidence.

          Don If there is day and night, there is rotation of the earth. And there is a sun. The ancients did not understand this, but they did understand day and night.

          Don 5) The next stage is separation of the waters of the seas and the dry land. (1:6-8).

          Greg. We see land that had been covered by water and water covering what was once dry land. They aren’t separated, it’s an ongoing process.

          Don Yes. It is an ongoing process. It happens today as volcanoes rise from the ocean floor to appear as dry land. But in the distant past it was a stage in the process.

          Don 6) The plants appear (1:9-13).

          Greg That’s out of order.

          Don. Is it? The Bible narrative focuses on the end of a process. That is, after all what the ancients could see. But we now know there was a process that led to the end result. That process started with the first cell that could use the sun as a source of energy before the cells evolved that would use plants as a source of energy.

          Don 8) Next animals appear in the seas (1:20-24).

          Greg. Why did you leave out birds in the sky?

          Don. Because there were yet no birds. The word the Bible uses that is often translated “birds” is a general word for flying things. In Leviticus 11:20 it refers to insects. And that is what is probably intended in Genesis. Many insects are aquatic in an early stage of their lives and hatch into flaying insects, such as dragon flies.

          Don 9) Then animals appear on the land (1:21-25).

          Greg. It says livestock was created before wild animals.

          DonNot in the Hebrew text. The beasts of the field come before the livestock in the sentence. Not knowing the Hebrew can be a problem when we are looking at small details. But there is no reason to think that the order of the words implied the order of appearance.

          Don. 10) Finally God makes man (1:26-31). Man shares some of the characteristics of the animals, He is made of the elements of the earth. He has breath. (nephesh, soul). But he is different as well. He has n’shamah (2:7).

          Greg.Man is an animal with an extra-large brain.

          Don Yes. He is that, but the Bible declares that he is more. And I think that the distinction is easily seen as we compare man and the animals.

          The bottom line is that the Bible does describe even though incidentally and in broad strokes the same thing that science has concluded some 3000+ years later. That seems to me to authenticate the observation that the biblical God was the designer and creator of the universe.

        • aikidaves

          No. You have shown that a creatively-interpreted myth can be made to look like it resembles the results of scientific research, despite the fact that the interpretation is something that the people who shaped the myth would never have thought of. Of course, you’ve asserted that it was your god who shaped the myth, not people. I would say that that’s an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence to confirm it. I’m sure you’ll attempt to convince us you have that, without providing anything more than more creative interpretations and unevidenced assertions. Do you begin to see why you make no headway here?

        • Don Camp

          You have shown that a creatively-interpreted myth can be made to
          look like it resembles the results of scientific research, despite the
          fact that the interpretation is something that the people who shaped the
          myth would never have thought of.

          You are right. The people who first heard the account of the creation would not have thought of the interpretation I have provided. But then we, as well, have a great deal of difficulty comprehending how they probably thought of the story. (It was almost certain,y in a theological way.) It is difficult putting ourselves in their cultural context. And there was no way they could put themselves in our cultural context.

          That does not mean both interpretations could not be true. The interpretation I suggested is incidental to the primary message of the story. But since the topic is creation it flows reasonably from it.

          I would say that that’s an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence to confirm it.

          It would be even more remarkable if “people” shaped the myth. First, it is unlike any ANE myth both in style and the explanation of creation. Second, it is beyond the ability of ancient people to create a myth with the similarities to 21st century scientific knowledge. So I am wondering how you can account for it as the product of human reasoning and creativity alone.

        • aikidaves

          I don’t have to ‘account’ for an interpretation that I think is faulty. It is a MYTH. Your assertion that your god wrote the words is silly. The ‘similarities to 21st century scientific knowledge’ that you keep going on about are surface-level only and mostly in your mind. It’s a story shaped by generations of humans, written down by clerics at a time of cultural stress and heavy influence from Babylonian and Persian sources. You vastly underestimate the creativity of human beings, and attribute properties to this particular piece that in my opinion it does not contain. Your interpretation is an overlay not intended by the authors and not well-supported by the actual text. Stop deluding yourself about it.

        • epeeist

          Seriously Don, just give it up. Your ignorance of cosmology and biology (and every other science, philosophy, logic, other religions and myth systems apart from your own,…) is profound.

          Of course not. But you are the one who brought that up.

          Yes I did, in order to show that you were starting with your conclusion, that it was your god-what-dunnit-, and adjusting the facts to fit.

          My hypothesis is that God is powerful. I supported with evidence that the biblical God created the universe

          The bible is the claim, not the evidence.

          But that isn’t biblical God specific, so I went on to show that the description of the creation found in the Bible – which I take to be provided by God – fits so well the universe that we know from science that it makes the evidence of the universe specific to biblical God.

          Except where it doesn’t, but this you ignore.

          Don. No. The stars are included in the creation of the universe in verse 1.

          You are presumably referring to the “heavens”, a term so vague that it could include anything. I could mention galaxies, you would say this was included in “heavens”, I could mention black holes, pulsars, quasars, globlular clusters, dark matter etc. and you would say the same.

          Strange that your Genesis account only mentions one planet, the rest are presumably included in the “heavens” as well.

          Don Yes. Or a forming earth.Though they both developed together.The sun as you know is a second if not a third generation star. The universe began at the Big Bang 14-15 billion years ago. Our sun is only 4-5 billion years old.

          Your god doesn’t create the sun until the “fourth day”, which would be after the formation of the earth. Which rather contradicts your statement that they “formed together”.

          Incidentally, how could there be “day” and “night” (created on the first day) without a sun or moon?

          Don If there is day and night, there is rotation of the earth.

          Actually no, there could be a stationary earth with the celestial sphere rotating around it, which was the general consensus of opinion at that time. There were those who thought the earth moved (the Pythagoreans, Aristarchus of Samos, Seleucus of Seleucia) but nothing in the bible supports this view (unless you can show otherwise of course).

          Don Yes. It is an ongoing process. It happens today as volcanoes rise from the ocean floor to appear as dry land. But in the distant past it was a stage in the process.

          Evidence required, the bible doesn’t provide any.

          Don 6) The plants appear (1:9-13).

          Greg That’s out of order.

          Don. Is it?

          It is, as any elementary book on the development of the biosphere will confirm.

          The bottom line is that the Bible does describe even though incidentally and in broad strokes the same thing that science has concluded some 3000+ years later. That seems to me to authenticate the observation that the biblical God was the designer and creator of the universe.

          If one takes that same “broad strokes” then the Babylonian and Milesian/Ionian cosmologies are just as good a fit as the bible account.

          Frankly Don, your post is a mixture of ignorance, stupidity, wishful thinking and a very large dose of Kool-Aif.

        • Your ignorance of cosmology and biology (and every other science, philosophy, logic, other religions and myth systems apart from your own,…) is profound.

          Ah, there’s the problem. Don was applying cosmetology.

          Lucky you that the field of combat wasn’t fashion.

        • Greg G.

          Ah, there’s the problem. Don was applying cosmetology.

          Now you are going rouge.

        • Bob Jase

          Don you are getting dumber.

          1. You presume a beginning for the universe when there is no reason not to think it simply was different.

          2. The universe is not a watery ocean that is parted to make room for planets.

          3. Light comes from sources not out of nowhere as your book says. Oh,the bible says nothing about rotation dumbass.

          4. The sky exists even if it’s cloudy.

          5. Water is not parted to make room for land.

          6. All sorts of overrated plants, Google archaea and try to learn something.

          7. So who was looking to see the sun and moon anyway? Btw they are there even if it’s cloudy – the ancients thought they were merely lights moving along on the Crystal done above the Earth, that doesn’t exist either.

          8. & 9. Animals did evolve in the water at first but certainly not since, Land animals evolve quite nicely out of water.

          10. Humans are not the last thing to evolve, evolution continues except for Arabian that are too religiously stupid to progress.

          Oh, elohim is a plural meaning god’s not a singular god. Learn the f*****g basics of your damned religion.

        • Don Camp

          3. Light comes from sources not out of nowhere as your book says. Oh,the bible says nothing about rotation dumbass.

          If there is day and night, there is rotation. And there is a point light source.

          5. Water is not parted to make room for land.

          Land is uplifted. Ity has happened lots and lots of times over the history of the earth. It is happening now when volcanoes grow from an underwater source, as in Hawaii.

          10. Humans are not the last thing to evolve, evolution continues except for Arabian that are too religiously stupid to progress.

          Evolution may continue, but nothing has evolved equal to man. Man is at the apex of whatever process there was.

          elohim is a plural meaning god’s not a singular god.

          Yes, Elohim is plural in form. But it is used often as a singular. As a plural in form noun used as a singular, it is used to identify the powerful one above all powerful ones. The context determines its meaning. There are also times when elohim is used not of God but of angels. It is plural there as well.

          Check a book on Hebrew syntax. Or try this page. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/430.htm

        • Ignorant Amos

          A couple of months ago you stated the buybull is not a science book, yet here you are, torturing the text in order to get it to match modern science. Ya dopey fool.

        • Greg G.

          If there is day and night, there is rotation. And there is a point light source.

          Or they didn’t think the sun caused the day, it only ruled the day the way the moon ruled the night.

          Evolution may continue, but nothing has evolved equal to man. Man is at the apex of whatever process there was.

          Every creature would think their specialty is the apex of evolution. Horses pity us for our small noses. Elephants mock horses for their noses and ears.

          Yes, Elohim is plural in form. But it is used often as a singular.

          Perhaps the term was used for polytheism and henotheism for the collective of god thingies, then kept when the collective was condensed into monotheism.

          Check a book on Hebrew syntax. Or try this page. https://biblehub.com/hebrew

          Do you have a source unskewed by recent theism?

        • Don Camp

          Every creature would think their specialty is the apex of evolution.
          Horses pity us for our small noses. Elephants mock horses for their
          noses and ears.

          I actually doubt that horses think much about our small ears. It would make a fascinating cartoon though. Talk with Disney.

          Do you have a source unskewed by recent theism?

          One does not need to be a Theist to be a linguist or to be able to understand the role of word relationships (syntax) in a language. One dopes not need to be a Theist to compile a dictionary that includes the usages of words. Why would you think it would?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I actually doubt that horses think much about our small ears. It would make a fascinating cartoon though. Talk with Disney.

          For claiming to be such a literary intellectual, you’re not very good at genre identification. It’s called satire.

          You’re a gift.

          One does not need to be a Theist to be a linguist or to be able to understand the role of word relationships (syntax) in a language. One dopes not need to be a Theist to compile a dictionary that includes the usages of words. Why would you think it would?

          And, once again the Christer excels at complete lack of reading for comprehension.

          Try reading what Greg G asked, and answering it, not whatever muck flashes between your ears. I’m guessing your non-answer is an attempt to avoid answering the question.

          Of course I know the answer already. The answer is no. Strong’s lexicon is heavily Christer biased.

          Even fuckwit Christers acknowledge the problems ffs.

          Considering the corruption in lexicons by Strong, Vine, Thayer, Gesenius, Brown, Driver, Briggs, Zodhiates, Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and others, what Greek and Hebrew lexicons, grammars, interlinears or study and translation aids do you recommend for studying the Bible or translating new foreign versions?

          To see the answer, which is far from satisfying…

          http://www.avpublications.com/avnew/downloads/PDF/q13.pdf

        • Susan

          Try reading what Greg G asked, and answering it, not whatever muck flashes between your ears.

          One of the many reasons I love you, Amos.

        • Greg G.

          I actually doubt that horses think much about our small ears.

          That’s just your big brain privilege talking.

          One does not need to be a Theist to be a linguist or to be able to understand the role of word relationships (syntax) in a language. One dopes not need to be a Theist to compile a dictionary that includes the usages of words. Why would you think it would?

          But do you use any sources on ancient Hebrew syntax that is not skewed by theologist thinking? A concordance is based on a translation and translations are usually skewed by the theology of the translators.

          I use the NIV, the ESV, and the NKJV on biblegateway.com because of their footnotes and cross references. Of course each translation has its own wording for copyright reasons but sometimes I see that the meaning of a verse is altered by the wording to align with a particular flavor of Christianity. We see alterations in the ancient NT manuscripts doing the same thing. We see the evaluations of the kings of Israel in the Kings and the Chronicles all being negative while the only kings getting positive evaluations are the kings of Judah (but not all of them). We see theism’s stranglehold on the texts from the earliest writings, in the copies, in the translations and in the commentaries. It’s just what theists do. Shouldn’t we maintain skepticism when theists are making dictionaries and describing syntax?

        • Don Camp

          Of course each translation has its own wording for copyright reasons

          There is no one to one correspondence between two languages. EVERY translations is something of an interpretation. That is true of the Bible and every other translation from one language to another. It is not simply for copyright reasons translations differ. The goal of the translator is to capture the meaning of the text.

          We see alterations in the ancient NT manuscripts doing the same thing.

          Usually the variations are for the same reason, capturing the meaning.

          We see the evaluations of the kings of Israel in the Kings and the Chronicles all being negative while the only kings getting positive evaluations are the kings of Judah (but not all of them).

          You know what, modern histories do the same. There is no such thing as a purely objective history. In the case of the Bible, the purpose of the authors was theological. They did not simply tell history. They explained history.

          Shouldn’t we maintain skepticism when theists are making dictionaries and describing syntax?

          It is not that hard. There is an irony in this. Some Fundamental Christians object to the newer critical texts like the United Bible Society text of the Greek New Testament because it was compiled by men who were not necessarily Theists. Some are convinced that the Wescott and Hort text is inferior to the Textus Receptus.

          When you compare them side by side, however, it is all straining at gnats. With the exception of several obvious later insertions into the text, such as the ending of Mark, there is so little variation that the whole debate is crazy. In each case the meaning is the same.

          Classical scholars who are not necessarily Theists have done the ground work in both Greek and Hebrew. If you’ll look at Biblehub.com you notice in both the Greek and Hebrew there are numerous references to the use of the words in classic literature.

          See this page for the word ἐπιτιμάω

          ἐπιτιμάω, ἐπιτίμω; imperfect 3 person singular ἐπετίμα, 3 person plural ἐπετίμων; 1 aorist ἐπετίμησα; the Sept. for גָּעַר; in Greek writings

          1. to show honor to, to honor: τινα, Herodotus 6, 39.

          2. to raise the price of: ὁ σῖτος ἐπετιμηθη, Demosthenes 918, 22; others.

          3. to adjudge, award (from τιμή in the sense of merited penalty): τήν δίκην, Herodotus 4, 43.

          At some point skepticism becomes simply cynicism. That is especially true when you have no means of judging for yourself and must rely on others’ opinions. It is like asking three people what time it is. You may get three different answers. Which is correct? Most of the time, however, the different answers are so close that the issue is meaningless.

        • Greg G.

          The goal of the translator is to capture the meaning of the text.

          But that is a major problem. Which books should be included? Which manuscripts do you follow? Do you include words found only in texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Do you include the Woman Caught in Adultery? Subtle wording changes can come into play. Even punctuation matters: Should Luke 23:43 be

          Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

          or

          Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

          What do you do with Mark 1:41? Most manuscripts say that Jesus responded with compassion while the oldest manuscripts say Jesus responded with anger. Remember that Mark 3:5 and Mark 10:14 also have an angry Jesus.

          We see alterations in the ancient NT manuscripts doing the same thing.

          Usually the variations are for the same reason, capturing the meaning.

          They were supposed to be making verbatim copies of the manuscripts.

          You know what, modern histories do the same. There is no such thing as a purely objective history. In the case of the Bible, the purpose of the authors was theological. They did not simply tell history. They explained history.

          It seems to me that they were often borrowing histories of other cultures and substituting it as their own. There was no Exodus and there was no conquest of Canaan as described in the OT. It was either borrowed from some Babylonian copy of a story or it was complete fantasy.

          When you compare them side by side, however, it is all straining at gnats.

          I used the NIV for the cross references but when I did side by side comparisons, I gave up on the NIV translation because the differences were more than gnats. They were not just differences with the KJV that Evangelicals hate. They were theological differences. I do not have any notes on the specific verses anymore.

          See this page for the word ἐπιτιμάω

          Yes, I prefer biblehub.com for things like that for that very reason. I also use blueletterbible.org for their tools but for word definitions, it is mostly just Strong’s, which doesn’t give the extrabiblical usage. It is based on how the KJV used the words.

          At some point skepticism becomes simply cynicism.

          When it comes to Bible apologetics, if skepticism does not become cynicism at some point, it was never really skepticism.

        • Don Camp

          Years ago I learned something in a linguistics class that made sense then and continues to make sense today. It was that the map is not the territory.

          The history of the scriptures is complex, far more complex than most Christians appreciate. At times it has been messy. But there are checks and balances. The Septuagint, for example, is a check, a kind of Textus Receptus, on the existence and text of the Old Testament books. The Greek texts have been subject to textual criticism that provides a high confidence in what was the original text.

          But the map is not the territory. The words of the texts are the maps. They should not be worshiped in and of themselves. That is Bibliolatry. The territory is God. Even imperfectly copied or translated texts can be maps pointing to God.

          I find the issues you are having with the text like fussing over the details on a map. Doing that invites endless debate about how accurate the map is. The solution is to get out into then territory. That’s where reality is.

        • Greg G.

          But there are checks and balances. The Septuagint, for example, is a check, a kind of Textus Receptus, on the existence and text of the Old Testament books.

          The Septuagint was translated a few hundred years after the Exile, so it doesn’t help at all for supporting the existence of OT books before the translation.

          The Textus Receptus is a bad example as it relied on late manuscripts and even some Latin translations.

          Even imperfectly copied or translated texts can be maps pointing to God.

          In the same way that Star Wars movies and comic books point to Skywalker.

          I find the issues you are having with the text like fussing over the details on a map. Doing that invites endless debate about how accurate the map is. The solution is to get out into then territory. That’s where reality is.

          Been there, done that, didn’t even get a T-shirt. Christianity is a fantasy territory based on a made-up treasure map.

          I find it more interesting to find out how they made that “map”.

        • Don Camp

          In the same way that Star Wars movies and comic books point to Skywalker.

          What else can you say, Greg? You don’t believe there is a God, so nothing can point to him. But I do and I and a lot of others find the Bible a guide to finding God, imperfect as it is.

        • Greg G.

          But I do and I and a lot of others find the Bible a guide to finding God, imperfect as it is.

          The Bible is perfect mythology.

          You don’t give a damn about truth, you want to believe in a myth on any justification you can find. Is it the fear of death, the fear of not existing? If you accept that the Bible is mythology, the fears of death go away.

        • Don Camp

          Along in the 90s sometime there was a visiting lecturer who came to speak at Eastern Oregon College. His topic was the need for a new mythology that could take the place of the old. Big write up in the local paper in this conservative farming community. What he said was that science could provide the mythology for the modern age. I was interested in how he characterized his thesis. But he was right. The mythology of science as far as origins is concerned has swept the field in academia. But it was the old Babylonian myth of turtles all the way down plus the added ingredient of infinity in which anything and everything is not only possible but expected.

          Some people actually believe it.

        • Greg G.

          But it was the old Babylonian myth of turtles all the way down plus the added ingredient of infinity in which anything and everything is not only possible but expected.

          Are you pulling my leg or did somebody pull yours?

          Turtles all the way down
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

          The earth on a turtle idea doesn’t go back to Babylon, Hinduism maybe, but there is no ancient evidence of that. The “turtles all the way down” might come from “rocks all the way down.” but that discussion was just a few centuries ago.

          Everybody knows that the world is a disc that rests on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of the Great A’Tuin, the Giant Star Turtle, of the species Chelys galactica.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_(world)#Great_A'Tuin
          https://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Great_A'Tuin

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are you pulling my leg or did somebody pull yours?

          Just another example of Despicable Dishonest Don’s gullibility and naivete. He’ll believe any auld shite he’s told just as long as it fits his confirmation bias.

          Or his anecdote is a loada lying nonsense that he pulled from his arse. It’s hard to tell at this stage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Years ago I learned something in a linguistics class that made sense then and continues to make sense today. It was that the map is not the territory.

          We are well aware of the term Don. We have need to use it often enough to educate the believers.

          https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/The_map_is_not_the_territory

          You are misusing the term on this occasion. No surprise there then.

          The history of the scriptures is complex, far more complex than most Christians appreciate.

          We know. We deal with the ignorant fucks here on a daily basis. At by the looks of things, a lot more complex than you demonstrate an appreciation of too.

          At times it has been messy.

          It’s always been messy Don. That you don’t know or appreciate that fact speaks volumes.

          But there are checks and balances.

          Only in recent history.

          The Septuagint, for example, is a check, a kind of Textus Receptus, on the existence and text of the Old Testament books.

          Absolute fuckwittery.

          The Greek texts have been subject to textual criticism that provides a high confidence in what was the original text.

          More of your crap.

          But the map is not the territory.

          There are different maps…which one is accurate? Because it is becoming apparent that none of them fit the territory.

          The words of the texts are the maps.

          Yeah…the words of The Lord of the Rings is the maps. But the territory still doesn’t exist outside the imagination.

          They should not be worshiped in and of themselves.

          Nothing about the whole parcel of crap should be worshipped, but heigh-ho, the world is full of halfwits.

          That is Bibliolatry.

          We know… “The groups to whom the term is most often applied are Protestants of a fundamentalist and evangelical background who espouse biblical inerrancy and sola scriptura (scripture is the only divine authority).”…pity there’s so many of ya.

          The territory is God.

          God is like Middle Earth, resides only in the imagination of the map reader. And each map reader see’s a different territory. And because there is no actual territory in which to compare the map, it’s useless trying.

          Even imperfectly copied or translated texts can be maps pointing to God.

          Wait a minute, you seem confused here. No need for maps when you’ve got the territory I thought you meant. Bad maps get folk lost, sometimes disastrously. You haven’t even demonstrated to us that there even is a territory, let alone you’ve got a map that describes it, even poorly. Then there are all the tens of thousands of different versions of territory and maps. You are lost auld man.

          I find the issues you are having with the text like fussing over the details on a map. Doing that invites endless debate about how accurate the map is.

          If the maps details are fucked, then they weren’t based on any real territory. We know that already, you don’t. And aren’t prepared to learn. You’ve become a waste of space and bandwidth.

          The solution is to get out into then territory.

          Where is it?

          That’s where reality is.

          Nope. That’s where your imagination is working overtime, and you’re here lying about it to us that have shaken the ballix.

          “BEETLEJUICE!”

        • Greg G.

          I missed this:

          The Greek texts have been subject to textual criticism that provides a high confidence in what was the original text.

          It gives a false confidence in the original text. The best they can hope to reach is the earliest common copy of an unknown sequence of copies of the original manuscript from the time before the text was considered to be important.

          It has been shown that there were more changes to the text before canonization than afterward. There is no way to count how many changes were acquired in the earliest copies but there is every reason to think it at least as great as the pre-canonization rate of change.

        • Don Camp

          I would suggest you get a copy of Robert Alter’s translation of Genesis. Alter is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. The translation is very good, but of greater interest for me was his discussion of the translation process. He agrees with you somewhat. In that preface called “To the Reader” he begins with “The Bible in English and the Heresy of Interpretation.”

          As far as I know, Alter is not a Theist. He is a scholar of Hebrew.

        • BertB

          Evoluti on may continue, but nothing has evolved equal to man. Man is at the apex of whatever process there was.

          How do you know that? What observations have you made about evolution that convince you that the process of natural selection is not continuing to occur in all life forms? What evolutionary biologists can you quote to support your assertion?

        • Don Camp

          Evolution in the sense of adaptation and variation is occurring today. But not in the sense of the evolving of novel features. But I may be wrong, please point to novel features in the last, say, 20,000 years. By novel features I mean something that would clearly be a new “kind” of living thing. That is what the Bible means – kind.

          From my study in the past, most evolutionary biologists then thought that new body plans for animals history of animals when the genome was less specialized. Today that is not the case. So they don’t expect totally new (novel) body plans to evolve.

        • aikidaves

          20,000 years is the blink of an eye for evolution. Makes it kind of a silly test.

          “Kind” as used in the Bible is a vague term with no scientific meaning. If you mean new species, you should say so. If you’re really talking about new body plans such as came to be over millions of years in the so-called ‘Cambrian Explosion’, well, that took millions of years then, not 20,000. Again, a silly test.

          As I understand it, the issue with novel features is that in a situation where most of the typical ecological niches are already filled, novel features get crowded out before they can fully manifest. That’s why major speciation events usually occur after major extinction events. Of course, the way we’re going, it’ll be time for another speciation event sometime in the next 10 million years, so just live that long and you should see it happen.

        • Don Camp

          I did not mean it as a test, just an observation.

        • aikidaves

          The short time windows makes it a pretty weak observation, though, doesn’t it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you had even the most basic of grasps on the subject, you’d realise just how much of a silly question it also is too.

          Why don’t you learn a bit about the topic before JAQing off?

        • epeeist

          If you mean new species, you should say so.

          He isn’t going to say “new species” because it is fairly easy to point to speciation events (one of the easy ones is Spartina Anglica).

          What he really wants (of course) is a crocoduck.

        • Greg G.

          What he really wants (of course) is a crocoduck.

          If they want a half-bird, half-reptile, it’s in the Bible.

          Isaiah 14:29 KJV
          Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/DragonTransom.jpg/360px-DragonTransom.jpg
          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Complete_Guide_to_Heraldry_Fig431.png

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I understand it, the issue with novel features is that in a situation where most of the typical ecological niches are already filled, novel features get crowded out before they can fully manifest.

          Yep. They call it stasis from what I can gather.

        • BertB

          Novel features? What do you consider novel? 20,000 years is an eyeblink in evolutionary terms. New “body plans” are not the only criterion to consider in determining the evolutionary process. Here is a piece I found on my first Google that explains a lot about how the evolution of Man is continuing
          https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/12/01/humans-continuing-to-evolve/
          We are not the “apex.” We are an interim state in the evolutionary process…as are all organisms that do not go extinct because they are unable to adapt.
          I must add that it is possible that we will not adapt and will exterminate ourselves. Since the development of WMD’s. I think that has become more likely. If your God exists, he has shown no interest so far in preventing that. So maybe we are not as “special” in his view as you think we are.

        • epeeist

          Life on Earth apparently started some 3.6 billion years ago, you want us to provide “novel features” in the last 20,000 years. This is in the last 0.00056% of the history of the biosphere.

          By novel features I mean something that would clearly be a new “kind” of living thing.

          Ah, you are a creationist, that explains a lot. I have never come across an honest creationist.

          From my study in the past, most evolutionary biologists then thought that new body plans for animals history of animals when the genome was less specialized. Today that is not the case.

          Citation required.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, you are a creationist, that explains a lot. I have never come across an honest creationist.

          Aye, his bullshit claim to accept the science behind evolution is one of the many lies Don punted when he first got here. But chinks in the armour weren’t long in beginning to appear.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Evolution in the sense of adaptation and variation is occurring today.

          And speciation.

          But not in the sense of the evolving of novel features.

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

          But I may be wrong, please point to novel features in the last, say, 20,000 years.

          You are wrong. When have ya been right ffs?

          https://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6288/876

          By novel features I mean something that would clearly be a new “kind” of living thing.

          Ah, yes…the fuckwit Christer creotard caveat that demonstrates a complete ignorance in how evolution operates.

          You can’t even get the terminology right, ya bloody knuckle-dragging moron.

          That is what the Bible means – kind.

          Like you, the buybull is a pile of steaming feces. The buybull isn’t a science book, as you keep harping on, so fuck what the buybull means.

          Scientists have suggested that long term lasting evolution that will result in a completely new “kind” can take 1 million years

          https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2011/aug/lasting-evolutionary-change-takes-about-one-million-years

          Is it you assertion that new “kinds” have ever evolved from former “kinds”?

          From my study in the past, most evolutionary biologists then thought that new body plans for animals history of animals when the genome was less specialized. Today that is not the case. So they don’t expect totally new (novel) body plans to evolve.

          Ballix. Pure lies. I notice the lack of support for your “study in the past”.

          From my study in the past, most evolutionary biologists then thought that new body plans for animals history of animals when the genome was less specialized. Today that is not the case. So they don’t expect totally new (novel) body plans to evolve.

        • Don Camp

          Rapid evolution??? It sounds more like the loss of a feature rather than the gaining of a novel feature. Behaviors changed, yes. But that is not a novel feature. The loss of the feature was passed on to the next generations, yes. But not a novel feature, what was passed on was the loss of a feature.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It sounds more like the loss of a feature rather than the gaining of a novel feature.

          Again, demonstrating your stupidity, failure to comprehend, and rank ignorance on the subject.

          Behaviors changed, yes.

          The behaviour change in mating ritual was driven by the evolutionary mutation that caused crickets to be quieter and ergo better survive ffs. Quiet crickets survived, because they avoided destruction. Quite crickets then utilised the chirping mating call of existing noisy crickets to hijack mates. The behaviour change caused by evolution. The noisy crickets were the procreated out of the gene pool by the quiet cricket. The mating behaviour changing again.

          But that is not a novel feature.

          Whaaa? Gene selection for no chirping is a novel feature when it adverts extinction.

          The loss of the feature was passed on to the next generations, yes.

          Evolution, if you knew anything about it, is not about “feature” loss or gain, it’s about mutation. When the mutation is beneficial, the mutation will be selected. When a mutation for shortness is beneficial to the organism, we don’t say stupid shite like there was a loss of the feature of height.

          Put it another way if you like, the crickets gained the feature of being silent through gene mutation. This mutation was beneficial, because the noise the crickets evolved at an earlier time that must’ve been beneficial, had become detrimental. So natural selection favoured quiet crickets over noisy fuckers. That’s how evolution works. Environmentally driven.

          Don, stop being an obtuse prick for the sake of it.

          But not a novel feature, what was passed on was the loss of a feature.

          Jaysus fuck. Too dumb for words. There was a gene mutation. The new feature gained was quietness.

          When whales evolved from land animals, we don’t say silly fuckwit creotard nonsense like they lost a feature.

          https://ocean.si.edu/through-time/ancient-seas/evolution-whales-animation

          And I notice that while being totally ignorant on the issue and wanting to focus on this line of fuckwittery, you avoided answering my question…

          “Is it you assertion that new “kinds” have never evolved from former “kinds”?

        • Greg G.

          It sounds more like the loss of a feature rather than the gaining of a novel feature. Behaviors changed, yes. But that is not a novel feature.

          Google Italian Wall Lizards. A small population were being studied in a lab on a Mediterranean island where there were no lizards in the wild. The scientists had to evacuate because of war. Apparently, the lizards were released into the wild.

          Thirty years later, the population was still living there but they were now primarily vegetarians instead of insectivores. Their body type changed. They even evolved cecal valves in the digestive tract to better process the vegetarian diet. DNA samples proved that the lizards were from the captive lizards. All in thirty years.

        • Greg G.

          But not in the sense of the evolving of novel features. But I may be wrong, please point to novel features in the last, say, 20,000 years. By novel features I mean something that would clearly be a new “kind” of living thing.

          Domesticated animals, domesticated plants, domesticated fungi, and domesticated single-cell organisms. Wild single cell organisms that can only “eat” nylon.

          That is what the Bible means – kind.

          Then just within the last 3000 years, there are livestock that do not breed speckled and striped markings when they mate in sight of with bark removed from branches in stripe patterns, as per Genesis 30:25-43.

          “Kind” just means whatever creationists need it to mean at any given time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But, but, but, Despicable Dishonest Don told us two months ago that he is on board with evolution and the science behind it…what ta fuck happened?

          He wouldn’t have been lying, would he?

        • Ignorant Amos

          If there is day and night, there is rotation. And there is a point light source.

          ANE cosmology asserts a flat earth. The firmament was a solid dome with the stars fixed to the underside. We’ve been through this, and you ignored it the first time.

          Day and night does not necessitate rotation, as any flat-earther worth their salt will tell you. You are reading your modern knowledge back into the creation myth. Here Don…watch this fruitcake…

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

          …remind you of anyone? Got an answer for everything, so he must be right. Take a look in the mirror.

          Land is uplifted. Ity has happened lots and lots of times over the history of the earth. It is happening now when volcanoes grow from an underwater source, as in Hawaii.

          But that takes time. And that’s not what the creation story is describing anyway, and you know it. If it was, you’d have half an argument. The history of the formation of the Earth is reasonably understood by science.

          The land came first ya ignorant bastard. It took about 500,000,000 years for the Earth to cool down and solidify enough for water to collect on the surface.

          For the first 2,000,000,000 years, there was no oxygen. Life came first.

          2.7 billion years ago, bluish-green microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria flourished in Earth’s oceans. They made gaseous, or free, oxygen from carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight—the process called photosynthesis. As cyanobacteria created more free oxygen, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere reached one percent of today’s level, which is 21 percent.

          Evolution may continue, but nothing has evolved equal to man.

          Equal in what way?

          Until the K-T event, nothing had evolved equal to T-Rex. That logic can be extended all the way back to abiogenesis. Until the the first self-replicating organism, nothing had evolved to equal it.

          Man is at the apex of whatever process there was.

          Bull shit. We aren’t even apex predators ffs.

          Apex in what?

          The list of traits that we are not the apex species in, is lengthy.

          Religiously motivated human arrogance and narcissism will be the death of this planet and most living things on it. It’s wankers like you that are propagating the situation too. Thankfully, there’ll be enough time and life left to evolve another go.

          Yes, Elohim is plural in form.

          Great.

          But it is used often as a singular.

          Why?

          As a plural in form noun used as a singular, it is used to identify the powerful one above all powerful ones.

          Who are the powerful ones that are beneath the powerful one?

          The issue might be one of usage and interpretation.

          The notion of divinity underwent radical changes in the early period of Israelite identity and development of Ancient Hebrew religion. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of “vertical translatability”, i.e. the re-interpretation of the gods of the earliest recalled period as the national god of monolatrism as it emerged in the 7th to 6th century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah and during the Babylonian captivity, and further in terms of monotheism by the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism in the 2nd century CE.

          The context determines its meaning.

          Indeed. So when it refers to gods, plural, does that mean there actually were other gods?

          The Book of Psalms (Psalm 82:1), states “God (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim) stands in the divine assembly (בַּעֲדַת-אֵל ); He judges among the gods (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim)” (אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת־אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט). The meaning of the two occurrences of “elohim” has been debated by scholars, with some suggesting both words refer to Yahweh, while others propose that the God of Israel rules over a divine assembly of other Gods or angels. Some translations of the passage render “God (elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty to judge the heart as God (elohim)” (the Hebrew is “beqerev elohim”, “in the midst of gods”, and the word “qerev” if it were in the plural would mean “internal organs”). Later in this Psalm, the word “gods” is used (in the KJV): Psalm 82:6 – “I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High.” Instead of “gods”, another version has “godlike beings”, but here again, the word is elohim/elohiym (Strong’s H430).

          I don’t see your problem. Scholars have long since known that the early Hebrews were polytheistic. This is Don Camp reset button pressing again. We’ve been through this already. It was during King Josiah’s reform that the foot was put down on polytheism. Of course it still continued after, it just went underground.

          Deuteronomic Reform, great religious reformation instituted in the reign of King Josiah of Judah (c. 640–609 BC). It was so called because the book of the Law found in the Temple of Jerusalem (c. 622 BC), which was the basis of the reform, is considered by scholars to be the same as the law code in the book of Deuteronomy (chapters 12–26). The reform consisted of removing pagan altars and idols from the Temple, destroying rural sanctuaries and fertility cults, and centralizing worship at the Temple of Jerusalem.

          Of course this is problematic for the Christer, so I can understand why you want to shy away from it.

          There are also times when elohim is used not of God but of angels. It is plural there as well.

          Well, that’s not strictly true either, is it Don? Didn’t you know? Or ya did, and thought we wouldn’t?

          Like lots of buybull crap, this is an issue of translation. It’s a fudge between the Hebrew and the Septuagint translation.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim#Angels_and_judges

          Check a book on Hebrew syntax. Or try this page. https://biblehub.com/hebrew

          Yeah, as Greg G points out, that can be very problematic for obvious reasons.

          The reliability of the Septuagint translation in this matter has been questioned by Gesenius and Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg. In the case of Gesenius, he lists the meaning without agreeing with it. Hengstenberg stated that the Hebrew Bible text never uses elohim to refer to “angels”, but that the Septuagint translators refused the references to “gods” in the verses they amended to “angels”.

          The most influential lexicon for biblical scholars in the past 100 years, has been the BDB.

          Based upon the classic work of Wilhelm Gesenius, the “father of modern Hebrew lexicography,”

          Gesenius is the guy who lists the meaning as “angels”, without agreeing with it.

          It’s a bit of a nightmare Don, isn’t it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I bet Don still believes there’s a Santa Claus.

        • Greg G.

          1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (1:1) There was a beginning for the universe. Is that something confirmed by science? I think so.

          There are many mythologies with creation stories. This one has the earth created before there were stars.

          2) The earth was a formless void (1:2). At this stage there was darkness (clouds, steam, smoke???) And there was water.

          When it was a formless void it was a forming solar system.

          3) Then God caused light to shine and the earth as it rotated had day and night. (1:3-5).

          It says he separated light from darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. The author didn’t get that daylight is from the sun, as if the sun being in the sky during the day was a happy coincidence.

          4) Then the clouds lifted enough for there to be sky. (1:6-8).

          No, it says that the sun and moon were created. There wouldn’t be plants on the land until after there was a sun. There would be no day/night cycles.

          No, it says God put a vault between the waters. That is wrong.

          5) The next stage is separation of the waters of the seas and the dry land. (1:6-8).

          We see land that had been covered by water and water covering what was once dry land. They aren’t separated, it’s an ongoing process.

          6) The plants appear (1:9-13).

          That’s out of order.

          7) Next the clouds part enough for the sun and moon to be seen (1:14-19).

          8) Next animals appear in the seas (1:20-24).

          Why did you leave out birds in the sky?

          9) Then animals appear on the land (1:21-25).

          It says livestock was created before wild animals.

          10) Finally God makes man (1:26-31). Man shares some of the characteristics of the animals, He is made of the elements of the earth. He has breath. (nephesh, soul). But he is different as well. He has n’shamah (2:7).

          Man is an animal with an extra-large brain.

          When a person stops breathing, they are dead. They thought breath was something special. They didn’t understand that it was air. They thought it had a magical property.

          They also noticed that when an animal or person lost a lot of blood, they died. They thought blood was life, not understanding the relationship between oxygen in the air attaching to hemoglobin to supply the body. Instead they thought it had magical properties to be a conduit for carrying away disease and sin.

          New species of animals have evolved since man came to be, too.

          How does this compare with the scientific description of the development of the earth and life upon it? If we understand that the purpose of this section is not a scientific description but a theological description, I think it still does pretty well in following the scientifically described sequence.

          The text sounds like something one would dream up from reading Babylonian creation stories and trying to force it into a new religion. Your reinterpretation seems as forced as it did when I was a Bible thumper myself. It’s the kind of dishonest reading of the Bible that turned me away.

          It does so while maintaining a spare but eloquent unembellished style of poetic prose wholly unlike anything written in the ANE myths or myths anywhere.

          It is also absent the gods of the ANE or Egypt. There is only one God, Elohim the Creator. It is specific to him.

          But the elements of the story are found in other creation myths of the time.

          https://www.crystalinks.com/ogdoad.html

          The Egyptians believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark, directionless chaos. In this chaos lived the Ogdoad of Khmunu (Hermopolis), four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos. [Balance in infinity]

          These deities were Nun and Naunet (water), Amun and Amaunet (invisibility), Heh and Hauhet (infinity) and Kek and Kauket (darkness).

          Compare with Genesis 1:2:
          Nun and Naunet (water) :: “hovering over the face of the waters”
          Amun and Amaunet (invisibility) :: “the Spirit of God”
          Heh and Hauhet (infinity) :: “without form, and void”
          Kek and Kauket (darkness) :: “darkness was on the face of the deep”

          https://www.crystalinks.com/nun_ogdoad.jpg

          The picture is a family portrait of the Ogdoad. The god of the water, Nun (also called “Nu”) is holding up the ark. There are seven people in the ark, plus an animal. “Noah” could be a transliteration of “Nu”. Combine that with the Gilgamesh flood and you get Noah’s Ark.

          That description, matching in brief as it doers what science has found about the beginning, is evidence for the biblical Creator God.

          It sounds like special pleading and no evidence at all that it was based on anything more than star-gazing, navel-gazing, and older myths they read in a library.

          Evidence should be able to distinguish between reality and imagination. Instead, you use someone else’s imagination.

        • Don Camp

          There are many mythologies with creation stories. This one has the earth created before there were stars.

          I tried to reply to this yesterday, but Disqus would have none of it.

          You are referring to Genesis 1:14-18. I recommend you look closely at that passage.

          14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.

          One key word is “made.” Though it may be used as a synonym for create it is really a more general word meaning simply to make. But does it mean here to make brand new? The context suggests not. The verb “make” is followed by two prepositional phrases, “to govern.” It is what God made the sun and the moon to do.

          The sun and the moon were created earlier in the general creation verse, Genesis 1, when God created the heavens and the earth. The sun was the source of light in verse three. But they were not yet visible in the sky because they were obscured by the clouds of early earth. Now with verse fourteen they are visible. BTW it doesn’t take much of a cloud layer to make them not visible. Here on the Pacific Northwest coast there are many days when one cannot see the sun because of clouds. I cannot see it today as I look out the window. There is light, of course, but no sun can be seen.

          Back to the passage, they also can be used to determine the. But now that they can be seen they can be used “to mark sacred times, and days and years,”

          This appeals to the author’s theological theme: The sun and the moon are not gods. They are created things. They serve God’s purpose. They are not to be worshiped.

        • epeeist

          The sun and the moon were created earlier in the general creation verse, Genesis 1, when God created the heavens and the earth.

          Along with all the stars, extra-solar planets, galaxies, quasars, pulsars, dark matter…

          Oh wait, all of these were “created” at different times, in fact over the course of billions of years.

          One I haven’t dragged out for a while, “In science if the evidence contradicts the theory then the theory is wrong, in religion if the evidence contradicts scripture then the evidence is wrong”.

          It really is fortunate for you that torturing books to get the conclusion you want isn’t a crime.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Poor Don doesn’t even realise that by his own twisted logic, all creation myths line-up with modern science.

          Once one invokes metaphor and poetic license, and Don does, all creation myths are open to interpretation that they describe the creation of the universe as conventionally understood. Of course, science has yet to make such a claim, but why let honesty get in the way of woo-woo mindwankery thinking.

        • Don Camp

          Along with all the stars, extra-solar planets, galaxies, quasars, pulsars, dark matter…

          Oh wait, all of these were “created” at different times, in fact over the course of billions of years.

          You continue to expect – no, demand – that the Bible tell you everything. That is simply silly (I like the alliteration, don’t you?) I will say it again. The Bible is not a science book. If it were perhaps you would have a point. But it is not. It describes the world in a manner we might today consider scientific only incidentally.

          In this case, because God and man and the relationship between them are the focus of the chapter and not the description of the development of the universe, it skips the formative phase of the universe (who would have understood it anyway? And why would it have been important to the thesis of the passage?) to move from the beginning to the formation of the earth and man upon it.

          The point of the passage is that God made it, and that is enough for the purpose of the passage.

          The stages of earth’s development and life upon it is intended to take the reader or hearer from chaos (empty and void) to order. It is a polemic against the mythologies of the day that left the cosmos in disorder and uncertain, subject to the whims of gods acting like men. In contrast, the biblical account is simple and clear and direct: God is purposeful and not capricious.

          The final stage in the series is man. Man has a dignity that no animal has. He is made in the image of God. In fact, bearing the image of God, he has the responsibility to rule over creation and further bring it into conformity to God’s design. The series of days (stages) is therefore a working toward the position of man at the apex of God’s purpose in creation. Only incidentally does the series conform to what science now knows were stages in the development of the earth and life upon it.

          BTW theologically, putting man at the top and enduing him with both ability and a special dignity is a polemic against the gods of the nations around Israel, gods who were represented by animals like the crocodile and bull. Those this passage places below man, not as his equal and certainly not as his god.

        • epeeist

          The Bible is not a science book.

          And yet here you are trying to pretend that Genesis somehow matches modern scientific findings. As for me demanding that the bible tells me anything, this is your claim. I am with Einstein:

          The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

          The final stage in the series is man.

          Which “man”? Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Homo Heidelbergensis, Neanderthals, Denisovians, or are you simply referring to Homo Sapiens? The fact that we have evolved from these species rather undermines your claim that we are the “final stage”.

        • Greg G.

          You continue to expect – no, demand – that the Bible tell you everything. That is simply silly (I like the alliteration, don’t you?) I will say it again. The Bible is not a science book. If it were perhaps you would have a point. But it is not. It describes the world in a manner we might today consider scientific only incidentally.

          He is only “demanding” that you not take advantage of all the details not provided by the Bible by inserting details from science into the gaps.

          BTW theologically, putting man at the top and enduing him with both ability and a special dignity is a polemic against the gods of the nations around Israel, gods who were represented by animals like the crocodile and bull. Those this passage places below man, not as his equal and certainly not as his god.

          But Genesis still has the serpent being wiser, more eloquent, and more persuasive than man.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But Genesis still has the serpent being wiser, more eloquent, and more persuasive than man.

          Don’t be silly. That bit is poetry, or myth, or folklore, or something…metaphor for something else. Just what exactly? Well never mind with the awkward stuff.

          See, this apologetics malarkey is a cinch.

        • Greg G.

          One key word is “made.” Though it may be used as a synonym for create it is really a more general word meaning simply to make. But does it mean here to make brand new? The context suggests not. The verb “make” is followed by two prepositional phrases, “to govern.” It is what God made the sun and the moon to do.

          That only goes back to verse 14 when it says “let there be lights in the vault of the sky.” It the magic words in the chapter – “Let there be”.

          The sun and the moon were created earlier in the general creation verse, Genesis 1, when God created the heavens and the earth.

          Verse 2 says the earth was without form and void. How could there be darkness on waters if the sun was already there? How could there be stars and the sun when he had yet to say, “Let there be light”? You are torturing Genesis to make it confess what you wish it said.

          The sun was the source of light in verse three. But they were not yet visible in the sky because they were obscured by the clouds of early earth. Now with verse fourteen they are visible. BTW it doesn’t take much of a cloud layer to make them not visible.

          Verse 15 is when those two lights were to give light to the earth, which means they were not doing that before. They were not the cause of night and day. The sun and moon were made in verse 16 but he only put them in the firmament in verse 17.

          Back to the passage, they also can be used to determine the. But now that they can be seen they can be used “to mark sacred times, and days and years,”

          At this point in the narrative, who needed to see the sun, moon, and stars?

          This appeals to the author’s theological theme: The sun and the moon are not gods. They are created things. They serve God’s purpose. They are not to be worshiped.

          If it is a theological theme, why are you wadding it up and twisting it to fit science?

        • aikidaves

          So your literary criticism of a translation of an ancient myth is your evidence that your god created the universe, because it’s a ‘better’ myth than the others that you mention but don’t explicitly critique. My, what a convincing argument!

        • Don Camp

          That is not my argument. It is that the universe provides adequate evidence for a God who planned and created it. My reference to the Genesis account was intended to show that this God essentially put his signature on the masterpiece when he described the stages of creation, particularly relative to the earth and man, that is so close to what we now know about the development of the earth as a place congenial to human life.

        • aikidaves

          All you have shown as evidence for the intelligent design of the universe is the opinions of credulous scientists, a minority of the experts on the subject who apparently can’t accept that the universe is what it is without thinking someone designed it. Until there is actual hard evidence that someone did, for example this hidden god of yours actually coming forward and making the claim with proofs that it’s not lying, there is no reason for any skeptic to believe these assertions. Your interpretation of this one mythical text is unconvincing, as I explained in my other response.

        • Don Camp

          Okay. That is your choice to make. I am not really trying to persuade you or to win a debate. I only want to explain why I and a lots others are convinced that God did create the universe.

        • It is that the universe provides adequate evidence for a God who planned and created it.

          Adequate evidence? I wonder why Muslims aren’t flocking to Christianity then. Or anybody.

          God’s had 2000 years for his adequate evidence to convince the world. Fail.

        • Don Camp

          Actually, Muslims consider this evidence adequate as well.They use the same evidence and the same arguments. The God of the Old Testament is the God they call Allah.

          God’s had 2000 years for his adequate evidence to convince the world. Fail.

          People do not become Christians on the basis of “evidence.” They may come to the conclusion that God does exist, but that is short of believing i and committing to follow that God.

        • Bob Jase

          fee-fees & fear

        • Ignorant Amos

          Actually, Muslims consider this evidence adequate as well.They use the same evidence and the same arguments. The God of the Old Testament is the God they call Allah.

          Oh ffs!

          Well, it’s good to know that your God and the God of Islam, is the same God. You must also agree that their actions based on the edicts of the same God are justified. Mo got his info from said God after all.

          You’ll jump into bed with any dirty auld fucker to defend your fuckwittery. A theological whore.

          By your twisted logic then, you, the Muslims, the Jews of today, don’t believe the same as the first worshippers of Yahweh didn’t think he was the big I am. The whole fucking edifice is a major fucked up fudge moving forward.

          Yahweh was the national god of the kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age and apparently to the Late Bronze, and in the oldest biblical literature he is a storm-and-warrior deity who leads the heavenly army against Israel’s enemies. At that time the Israelites worshipped Yahweh alongside a variety of Canaanite gods and goddesses, including El, Asherah and Baal, but in time El and Yahweh became conflated, El-linked epithets such as El Shaddai came to be applied to Yahweh alone, and other gods and goddesses such as Baal and Asherah were absorbed into the Yahwistic religion.

          You’ve bought a pup and you’re to far invested, embarrassed, and stupid, to admit it.

          People do not become Christians on the basis of “evidence.”

          No shit Sherlock!

          They may come to the conclusion that God does exist, but that is short of believing i and committing to follow that God.

          How ta fuck do you know what conclusions Christians come to, commit to follow, or believe in, ya arrogant twat? Your beliefs aren’t even mainstream ffs.

        • Don Camp

          You must also agree that their actions based on the edicts of the same
          God are justified. Mo got his info from said God after all.

          Nope and nope.I think Mohamed perverted the truth. I also don’t think Psychedelic Minds has it right either. (Is that where you get your information?)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope and nope.

          Special pleading it is then. The evidence is the same.

          I think Mohamed perverted the truth.

          Oh I’ve no doubt you do. Along with every modern Jew and flavour of Christer you disagree with too, of course. And I’m sure they’ll all see you as perverting something. It’s hardly the truth, since there’s no way of knowing what the truth is, that was lost a long time ago.

          Ancient Yahweh followers would no doubt think Ancient Hebrews were perverting the belief for their own ends. Ancient Hebrews would no doubt see future Hebrews going forward, perverting the Yahweh belief for their own ends. Jews seen Jesus following Jews as perverting what they held as the truth. Christers held other Christers as perverted, for what they held the truth. And on and on we go, until here we are, Don Camp, pinnacle of the perverts. Eejits making shite up all the way down.

          I also don’t think Psychedelic Minds has it right either. (Is that where you get your information?)

          I’ve no idea wtf you are talking about, or what information you are referring to. It would help if you could be a bit less vague and talking in riddles. Your the one here that is tripping.

        • Greg G.

          I think Mohamed perverted the truth.

          First, you need to provide evidence to distinguish what the truth is before deciding who perverted it.

          Since neither side has evidence for an underlying truth to their claims, perhaps it is simply a matter of both perverting somebody else’s myth.

        • epeeist

          The God of the Old Testament is the God they call Allah.

          So the properties of Allah are exactly the same as those of Yahweh?

        • Muslims consider this evidence adequate as well.

          So the same evidence takes you to Jesus, to Allah, and who knows how many other destinations. Are you saying all roads lead to God? Or are you saying that the “evidence” is useless for reliably leading people to Jesus?

          People do not become Christians on the basis of “evidence.”

          Right. It’s not an intellectual decision. I wonder then why Christians make so much of “evidence” that doesn’t do much.

        • Greg G.

          They may come to the conclusion that God does exist

          But that conclusion is always based on insufficient evidence, therefore it is a fallacious conclusion.

        • Greg G.

          The chances of the universe being in the specific composition and form it is and supporting the life of man on earth is astronomically small.

          You can see the first one million decimals of pi at https://www.piday.org/million/

          That order of digits is astronomically small. So are the decimals of the square root of 2. So are the square roots of 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11. But some order of the digits is inevitable.

          There could be intelligent life on other planets in other galaxies and in other universes. There are no intelligent lifeforms marveling over why they don’t exist, it’s only the ones who do exist who do that. But those others might have happened instead of us.

          How many times have you heard and not understood the puddle’s amazement that the hole is the perfect shape to hold that particular puddle?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can’t seriously believe you have a third level education, let alone one in literature. Your naivete is nothing but flabbergasting.

        • amused

          The Universe exists. However, you present no evidence that its form and composition is by god’s creative will. That is a mere assumption on your part, for which you present no evidence.As we are gradually discovering, there are laws of physics and chemistry. They seem to come from the inherent nature of matter and energy.The universe obeys these laws. While we still have an imperfect understanding of those laws, there have been no observed instance of matter and energy acting in ways inconsistent with the laws we understand. The more science learns about these laws, the more consistent the observed phenomena are with what we know about these laws.

          Likewise, you assume, without evidence, that man was the object of god’s creative will. You also assume, again without evidence, that in all the universe, earth is the only place in the universe where conditions are favorable to life. You fail to appreciate the vastness of the universe. Not surprising for one who believes that an all-knowing, inerrant god inspired a book which tells us that the earth is a small disc at the center of the universe, and that above the sky is a solid firmament in which the heavenly bodies are fixed, with nothing beyond that firmament. But, we know through science that the earth is just a planet orbiting a star. That star is just one of a billion rotating in a single galaxy. There are billions of galaxies., consisting of billions of stars, many of which are orbited by planets. The odds are great that there are millions, if not billions of planets which are within the “Goldilocks Zone”, neither too large nor too small for appropriate gravity, neither too hot nor too cold for the processes leading to life to occur, having an atmosphere with enough oxygen and carbon dioxide for life. (Of course, that assumes that life can only exist in a form similar to life on earth. It may well be that other atmospheric conditions might support life that has different biological processes.) When you consider the vastness of the universe, the idea that the entirety of the universe exists solely for the benefit of life on a single one of the smaller planets in a single solar system in a single galaxy becomes absurd.

        • Don Camp

          you present no evidence that its form and composition is by god’s creative will.

          Briefly, the fine-tuning of the fundamental forces and the ensuing composition of the universe argue for some purpose or intelligent direction in that unexpected condition.

          As we are gradually discovering, there are laws of physics and chemistry. They seem to come from the inherent nature of matter and energy

          Even if they were, that would be an unexpected outcome of the Big Bang.You might find Michael Denton’s book Nature’s Destiny interesting on this subject.

          you assume, without evidence, that man was the object of god’s creative will.

          The unexpected conditions that gave rise ultimately to man suggest that there is a direction toward man who is I think unarguably at the apex of the evolutionary process on earth. Man is the product of what looks like design.

          You also assume, again without evidence, that in all the universe, earth is the only place in the universe where conditions are favorable to life.

          No. I don’t assume that. But given the huge number of conditions that had come together just right for earth for man to emerge, it is likely that there are not many places like this. That is not to say that there are not other conditions and other forms of sentient life somewhere out there. But doesn’t make our situation any less remarkable.

          When you consider the vastness of the universe, the idea that the entirety of the universe exists solely for the benefit of life on a single one of the smaller planets in a single solar system in a single galaxy becomes absurd.

          I would have no problem with there being other life. I don’t think the Bible assumes that we are alone. It just is focused on man on the earth and makes no comment on other life. Here we are special.

        • epeeist

          Briefly, the fine-tuning of the fundamental forces and the ensuing
          composition of the universe argue for some purpose or intelligent
          direction in that unexpected condition.

          So what you are saying is that because the “fundamental forces” have the values they have therefore it was your god-what-dunnit.

          You seem to be missing a few steps between your premiss and conclusion.

          Oh, and a demonstration that your premiss is actually true wouldn’t come amiss.

        • Don Camp

          Yes. I am saying that the clues are there that point to an intelligence behind them. The demonstration is found in the fact that such design is not the product of randomness or chance in any other place we look. The famous wind blowing through a junkyard and creating a Boeing 747 is appropriate here. It will never happen. And a 747 is a tinker toy compared to the universe and all that is in it.

          Yes, I know the reply to Fred Hoyle’s analogy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkyard_tornado

          My reply is that biology is the end product of a series of events that do not include the kinds of processes biological system have. There can be no natural selection that directed the formation of the universe like those that steer the random mutations in living things, at least the things we know of. .The origin and development of the universe is based not on randomness and selection but upon the fundamental laws and forces.

          But so is life. Life is a product of the conditions and forces that created the universe. Though biologists may narrowly look at living things and see randomness and selection as the process that created life and diversity, they are mistaken.They are not considering the bigger picture and the dependence of living things upon the original fundamental laws and forces. Biology cannot be considered in isolation from the background facts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes. I am saying that the clues are there that point to an intelligence behind them. The demonstration is found in the fact that such design is not the product of randomness or chance in any other place we look. The famous wind blowing through a junkyard and creating a Boeing 747 is appropriate here. It will never happen. And a 747 is a tinker toy compared to the universe and all that is in it.

          Now your lie is fully realised. You aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. Have you no shame?

          The analogy has been completely debunked. So, again, you are just being ridiculously idiotic in bringing it up here.

          You claim to understand how all this works, but demonstrate the complete opposite.

          But so is life. Life is a product of the conditions and forces that created the universe. Though biologists may narrowly look at living things and see randomness and selection as the process that created life and diversity, they are mistaken.They are not considering the bigger picture and the dependence of living things upon the original fundamental laws and forces. Biology cannot be considered in isolation from the background facts.

          Total and absolute fuckwittery from a know nothing, knuckle-dragging imbecile, extracting loadsa crap from his colon.

          I think your time is done here. Your mindwankery is driving good people away.

          It’s time to call Beetlejuice three times.

        • aikidaves

          We evolved to suit our environment. You say our environment was created to suit us. Nonsense. So far, we only have a sample size of 1. We have very little idea what other kinds of life could be out there. If there’s anything to the multiverse hypothesis, the possibilities multiply exponentially. Regardless, your insistence that an intelligences must be involved is mere speculation, not provable by any evidence available.

        • Greg G.

          Regardless, your insistence that an intelligences must be involved is mere speculation, not provable by any evidence available.

          But that is speculation from the top minds who ever lived without knowing where the sun went at night.

        • aikidaves

          Well, that whole sun thing is kind of a pesky issue, don’tcha know.

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me that a riff I was going on with Jesse H about quantum events. I forgot about how long it takes a photon to actually leave a star.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The universe exists for black holes.

          There is more of them than humans and unlike humans, they can exist anywhere in the universe.

          So the universe is fine tuned for black holes.

          Black holes are more apex entities than humans too…ya don’t wanna be fucking about with a black hole.

        • epeeist

          I forgot about how long it takes a photon to actually leave a star.

          Photons are massless and travel at the speed of light, for them no time passes at all.

        • Pofarmer

          Still just boggles my mind.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how long it takes a photon to actually leave a star

          Does it keep getting cold feet?

        • Greg G.

          I think they listen to Supertramp on the way out – Take the Long Way Home.

        • epeeist

          Yes. I am saying that the that point to an intelligence behind them. The is found in the fact that such design is not the product of randomness or chance in any other place we look.

          I see the reset button has been pressed.

          This is simply dishonest, you start with your conclusion and attempt to bend the evidence to it. You simply ignore the possibility of any other explanation (or that it might just be brute fact).

        • Don Camp

          you start with your conclusion and attempt to bend the evidence to it.

          We all start with some conclusion. That can skew how we deal with the evidence, But it does not necessarily mean we cannot rationally consider other explanations. I note that there are a lot of atheists who once were Christians. They evidently reevaluated the evidence. Some Christians were once atheists. They were able to reevaluate the evidence. Lots of Christians once belonged to some other religion and held some other worldview. They were able to reevaluate the evidence.

          I’ve spent a lot of my life considering the evidence. There was a time when I seriously considered that my faith might be misplaced. I reevaluated the evidence and concluded that the evidence that led me to faith was stronger than the evidence that challenged my faith.

          One possibility is that the universe and its particular fundamental laws and forces and the consequent configuration is just a brute fact. But that actually challenges science as much as Theism. It violates the law of cause and effect. And it fails to provide answers to the existential questions that have driven human thought for as long as we have a record of human existence.

          Compartmentalizing our life by simply declaring “it just is” may relieve the tensions. But it is intellectually unsatisfying. It turns us into brutes. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” I can’t live like that. I want to know what is true and real.

        • epeeist

          I note that there are a lot of atheists who once were Christians.

          And, as usual, you provide no evidence for your assertion. Now, here in the UK we have a thing called the “British Social Attitudes Survey”. Now the last one to deal with religion in detail showed that of those brought up without religion some 6% became religious. Contrast that with those brought up in the Church of England, 44% of those became non-religious, for Catholics the figure is 32%.

          Another piece of corroborative evidence would be church attendance, baptisms, marriages, funerals etc., for the CofE these have dropped by 15%, 30%, 29% and 33% respectively over the last 10 years. The figures for the RCC are broadly similar.

          It violates the law of cause and effect.

          You really have no shame have you? We did this topic over a week ago. I asked you then to demonstrate that the “law of cause and effect” was necessarily true and pointed out that one of our foremost cosmologists said that some quantum processes have no causes. And yet here you are again appealing to the “law of cause and effect” as though nothing had been said. You have no intellectual integrity.

        • Pofarmer

          You have no intellectual integrity.

          The power of Jesus compels him.

        • Don Camp

          You’ll recall that I replied with the opinion of other physicists that what seems like an effect with no cause may be a matter of time affecting the cause and effect connections and a confusion about whether the cause is not the effect and vice versa.

          However, there is no question about things above the quantum level. So I’ll go with that.

          You certainly are quick to blame. Is that a strategy?

        • epeeist

          You’ll recall that I replied with the opinion of other physicists that what seems like an effect with no cause may be a matter of time

          And yet, again as usual, you offered no support in favour of such a position, you never even named these “other physicists”.

          However, there is no question about things above the quantum level.

          So you are abandoning things at the quantum level, this of course means that the “law of cause and effect” is not necessarily true, there are possible worlds in which it does not apply.

          As it is you are wrong about the macroscopic level too.

          Let’s take another example, I show you a video of two balls approach each other, colliding and moving away. Now, where is the causality in such a situation. It is fairly easy to set up the physical description of the situation in terms of the positions and momenta and we can observe these. So where is the “causality” as an observable. Given that the description is time reversible (i.e. I could show you the video in reverse and you would not be able to tell which version was the “forward” and which was the “reverse”) then one would also have to ask, how does this affect the “causality”?

          Now, the scenario has a reference frame in which both balls are moving. However it would be quite easy to use a different reference frame in which either one of the balls was moving and the other was stationary. The same question, how does the affect the “causality”.

        • Don Camp

          And yet, again as usual, you offered no support in favour of such a position, you never even named these “other physicists”.

          I think you’ll find that I did. Both. I think I linked this article https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002145454.htm

          Journal Reference:

          Ognyan Oreshkov, Fabio Costa, Časlav Brukner. Quantum correlations with no causal order. Nature Communications, 2012; 3: 1092 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2076

          And this article: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.1.20180328a/full/

          The latter article being recent has a better explanation of the switching phenomenon

        • epeeist

          I think you’ll find that I did.

          Here are the links to the original papers – paper 1 and paper 2.

          So, for us mere mortals who haven’t got a clue about quantum field theory or Bell inequalities, could you tell us why these two papers support your contention that all quantum events are causal?

          I wouldn’t mind some answers on the couple of examples that I have raised either, namely the one about radon decay and the one above about the collision of two balls.

        • Don Camp

          All swans are white – until you find a black one. It is not possible to declare all

          You know science well enough to know – I hope – that science doesn’t deal in all. It deals with what has been observed.

          Even with such things as gravity, science cannot say by observation that gravity is universal across then universe. Declaring it as a universal law is an inference based on what is known.

          It is possible to say that there are causes to the events we have observed and/or that there are things we are only learning about quantum events that suggest there may be causes for all.

          As for the radon decay, I am not a physicist. Why don’t you tell us?

        • Susan

          Declaring it as a universal law is an inference based on what is known.

          And declaring the “law of cause and effect” seems to fall very short of what is known.

          Ye hypocrite.

          It is possible to say that there are causes to the events we have observed and/or that there are things we are only learning about quantum events that suggest there may be causes for all.

          That is not the same as saying there is a “law of cause and effect”.

          And nothing in the papers you (finally) referenced, (I don’t recall you ever referencing them) seems to remotely support your claim that there is a “law of cause and effect”.

          I am not a physicist.

          No, you are not.

          Why don’t you tell us?

          Why don’t you tell us?

          You’re the one making the ontological claim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’s a Dime Bar…two armadillos!

        • epeeist

          All swans are white – until you find a black one.

          ROFL. You know if you want hide the fact that you can’t demonstrate your claim you really ought to be less obvious about it. Did you actually understand what those papers were saying?

          It is not possible to declare all

          So you are saying that the statement “All events have causes” is not necessarily true, this being so then your claim to the “law of cause and effect” falls by the way side.

          Even with such things as gravity, science cannot say by observation that gravity is universal across then universe. Declaring it as a universal law is an inference based on what is known.

          Accepted, but your dishonesty slip is showing again. We have been through this before. “A theory stands on its merits, not on ‘problems’ with alternate hypotheses”, remember? Yet here you are trying to establish a “law of cause and effect” by criticising both relativity and QM.

          It is possible to say that there are causes to the events we have observed

          Oh, it’s possible to say just about anything, the question is whether what is said is true or not.

          As for the radon decay, I am not a physicist. Why don’t you tell us?

          A more transparent attempt to illicitly shift the burden I haven’t seen for a long time.

          Your claim is that:

          ☐ ∀E {E is an event; E has a cause}

          As ever the burden is on you to demonstrate this. My burden is weaker, to show that your arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny.

          Scratch that, currently my burden is non-existent since you haven’t actually presented any arguments.

        • Don Camp

          Did you actually understand what those papers were saying?

          I think I understand the versions I linked.

          “All events have causes” is not necessarily true,

          I am saying that we can’t know for sure from observation because we cannot observe all. But we can and do create hypotheses and theories about the all based on what we do observe.

        • epeeist

          I think I understand the versions I linked.

          You really didn’t think I wouldn’t make the inference that you didn’t understand the original papers?

          we can and do create hypotheses and theories about the all based on what we do observe.

          So what you are saying is that the “law of cause and effect” isn’t a law at all but simply an hypothesis based upon induction from a limited set of cases at particular scales and times.

          And of course we know that induction is irrational.

        • Don Camp

          I understand that you want to find a way to avoid cause and effect, particularly regarding origins. Maybe Bertrand Russell really did have it right: “If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God.”

          But quantum events? The best you can do with quantum events is to say they are part of the one and only universe we know. You cannot go beyond that to imagine conditions before this universe or beyond it. When you do that you invoke infinite regress, turtles all the way down, which is logically problematic and totally beyond the ability you have to observe. It is, therefore, not science. It is metaphysics. It is believing something to be true for which there is no evidence.

          But the problem with Russell’s advice is that it isn’t very satisfying. It avoids rather than addresses ontology. Whether we admit it or not, we want to know where we came from.

        • Susan

          I understand that you want to find a way to avoid cause and effect,

          No one’s avoiding anything but you.

          You made (yet another claim) that you can’t support.

          It’s obvious to you and to others that you can’t, or you would have done so by now.

          Rather than behave with integrity and withdraw the point you can’t support, you continue to lie and weasel and blame others.

        • Don Camp

          Nice try at deflection, Susan.

          I thought the conversation was getting lost in the details. It was time to cut to the chase.

          The bottom line is how everything began. As near as I can figure many of you here think basically the the universe invented itself and/or always has been.

          Inventing itself requires some way for there to be an event without a cause. Yes, I know that quantum energy has been suggested. But quantum energy is something. And as far as anyone knows for sure (no guessing allowed) is a feature of this universe without any hint that it exists or can exist outside of it, If there even can be an outside.

          The other option is that the universe has always been. That was once more viable than it is today after Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding. Today with the Big Bang in the rear view mirror some kind of sequence of prior universes have to have existed. That brings you to an infinite regress. That is problematic logically and without any evidence – which I noted earlier.

          Oh yes, there is the multiverse idea. But that only kicks the can down the road. It solves none of the puzzles.

          So that leaves you all believing something without evidence. What do you say to that, Susan?

        • Susan

          As near as I can figure many of you here think basically the the universe invented itself and/or always has been.

          Yet, no one here has ever made that claim. You are reverting to strawmanning again as a way to avoid supporting your claim.

          I don’t understand how liars feel no compunction about lying. I just know they exist and have no problem doing so. You seem to be among that group.

          The rest of your comment is as much nonsense as the first part.

          You have claimed that there is a “law of cause and effect” and it’s become embarrassingly obvious that you don’t care to support that claim.

          Support it or retract it. It’s the honest thing to do.

        • Don Camp

          You have claimed that there is a “law of cause and effect” and it’s
          become embarrassingly obvious that you don’t care to support that claim.

          Support it or retract it. It’s the honest thing to do.

          Since I know of no instance where cause and effect doe not apply, I am going to go with it as a law or general rule. That is not dishonest, Susan, unless that word means something different to you than it means to most everyone else.

        • Bob Jase

          “Since I know of no instance where cause and effect doe not apply”

          Except for your sky fairy of choice – no other sky fairies, just yours

        • Bob Jase

          All that to say your god breaks your own rules because special pleading. No case Don.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh Good Lord Don.

          The bottom line is how everything began. As near as I can figure many of

          you here think basically the the universe invented itself and/or always

          has been.

          This is actually a philosophically defensible position. When asked why do we have a Universe? Why Not? It’s all we know. Why SHOULDN’T there be anything?

          Inventing itself requires some way for there to be an event without a cause.

          And yet, you believe in an all powerful, all knowing, all good, creator “God” that was created without a cause? Occams razor applies here. If you can have your God created without a cause, why couldn’t the Universe be created without a cause?

          Yes, I know that quantum energy has been suggested.

          No, a quantum EVENT has been suggested. That the matter and energy in the Universe roughly sum to zero, actually makes this more, not less likely.

          If there even can be an outside.

          And yet theists constantly tell it that God is outside the Universe. Ya can’t have it both ways.

          The other option is that the universe has always been. That was once

          more viable than it is today after Hubble discovered that the universe

          was expanding. Today with the Big Bang in the rear view mirror some

          kind of sequence of prior universes have to have existed. That brings

          you to an infinite regress. That is problematic logically and without

          any evidence – which I noted earlier.

          It has been explained to you that this is simply Hogwash. If the Universe “existed” in a hot, dense, state, it’s quite possible, even likely, even probably, that there was NO TIME. No space, No time. Time is an emergent property. Time began AFTER the Big Bang. The Universe could have indeed existed eternally before the Big Bang in a timeless state, or at least in a State where time doesn’t mean anything.

          At least learn some basic Cosmological concepts so you look like less of an idiot when you interact with people who have actually looked into it a little bit. And ESPECIALLY, when you’re interacting with a PhD. Physicist, fer fucks sake.

          OH, and this.

          So that leaves you all believing something without evidence.

          Uhm, no. We go where the evidence points, which is a place your determined not to go because you are so emotionally attached to the outcome.

        • Don Camp

          If you can have your God created without a cause, why couldn’t the Universe be created without a cause?

          Because the universe is composed of a substances that are a series of effects with causes a cause for the beginning would be expected. (Isn’t that what cosmologists look for?) God on the other hand is not of the same substance as the universe. At the very least he need not be subject to the same cause and effect series. He might be eternal.

          No, a quantum EVENT has been suggested. That the matter and energy in
          the Universe roughly sum to zero, actually makes this more, not less likely.

          You are still talking “in the universe.” Isn’t that like saying the universe invented itself?

          And yet theists constantly tell it that God is outside the Universe. Ya can’t have it both ways

          Yes, we do. But given what we know happened after the Big Bang which is mere likely to explain it, a quantum event or an intelligence?

          The Universe could have indeed existed eternally before the Big Bang in a
          timeless state, or at least in a State where time doesn’t mean anything.

          That may be possible. though you haven’t provided evidence for it. But it still leaves the dilemma of how this universe ended up as it is today.

          We go where the evidence points, which is a place your determined not
          to go because you are so emotionally attached to the outcome.

          Interestingly, I am more logically attached than emotionally attached. None of the scenarios you have suggested would lead to a conclusion that there is no God. What I am interested in is evidence. It seems is in short supply for any scenario I’ve heard yet.

        • Pofarmer

          You’re asking the wrong questions. We know Universes exist. At least one. We can examine it. You’re propounding an causeless, infinitely powerful, immaterial being that exists outside the Universe. We’ve never gotten to examine one of those………….

          You are still talking “in the universe.” Isn’t that like saying the universe invented itself?

          No, it’s saying ” The Universe looks like it could be the result of a Quantum event.”

          I’m pretty sure you’ve been given links to Sean Carroll’s work. If not, you could saunter on over to “Preposterous Universe” and do a search.

          The Conclusion to any of these scenarios isn’t “There is no God” although Victor Stenger takes it that far, it’s that “No Gods are necessary or warranted.”

        • Don Camp

          Profarmer, I respect your knowledge of physics. I appreciate your detachment as a scientist that allows you to follow the evidence wherever it leads. I say that honestly. I am as curious about the how of the universe as anyone, and much of the understanding of the how comes from men and women like you who put in the hard work to discover it.

          Having said that, however, there are many who want to elevate you to the position of high priest of the modern mythology. And there sufficient numbers of scientists (and philosophers, et al.) who take up that role themselves. I have spent enough time in the university to know that firsthand. It is to them I cast this challenge, show me the money.

          I will do as you suggest and visit Sean Carroll’s site.

          EDITED after reading a bit of Carroll.

          I like his clear descriptions. And his sense of humor.

          let’s be thankful that the fundamental laws of physics allow us to describe our everyday world as a collection of stuff distributed through space. If they didn’t, how would we ever find our keys?

          We all do want to be able to find our keys.

        • Don Camp

          BTW Carroll’s TED talk was interesting as well. At least he is willing to say that he does not know the why of the universe. Though maybe in fifty years.

        • Pofarmer

          You have to be willing to accept that there may not be a “why.” The Universe may just be a “Brute Fact” at least as far as we can tell.

        • Don Camp

          What does “brute fact” mean? Maybe more important, what does it imply?

        • Pofarmer

          A “Brute Fact” is something that just Is.

        • Don Camp

          I would say that rejecting the existence of brute fact is to think that everything has an explanation. Whether we can explain it is a matter of how well we know the contingencies.

          What about the implications?

        • Pofarmer

          Implications for whom?

        • Don Camp

          For those who are interested in who they are, where they came from, and where this is all going.

          But there are other implications, for science for example. The universe as brute fact marks the limits of science. I suppose it would put theoretical physicists like Carroll out of a job. But it would allow other physicists and those engaged in practical science to concentrate on practical issues. That might not be too bad.

          For Theists the universe as brute fact allows the freedom to go beyond what science can explain to God as an explanation. As you might guess, I like this one.

          For the person who could really care less, and that is the majority in our secular culture, it allows them to live without any burden of ontology or existential questions. Life, like the universe, just is. There is no explanation. That would appeal to the postmodern mind.

          Maybe it is a win win all the way around.

          But it also makes the rest of what Carroll says in his TED talk moot – unless he is going to opt for a multiverse rather than a universe as brute fact. An eternally and infinitely expanding universe implies a beginning. A beginning in an eternal and infinite static state begs the question why sudden instability after an infinity of stasis?

          Or it leads to an eternal and infinite multiverse. But that is just kicking the can down the road. It solves nothing.

          Carroll does like the idea of a multiverse and an infinity in which everything will eventually happen. But that is philosophy rather than physics. It begs the question is infinity really possible except as a mathematical concept?

          In the end, I am not sure what Carroll thinks. But whatever really is certainly has implications for him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          For those who are interested in who they are, where they came from, and where this is all going.

          Why?

          But there are other implications, for science for example.

          Only for a bit of science.

          The universe as brute fact marks the limits of science.

          Only with that one bit. But so what, you already have that covered with a brute fact of your own, so fuck science anyway, right?

          I suppose it would put theoretical physicists like Carroll out of a job.

          You suppose wrong.

          But it would allow other physicists and those engaged in practical science to concentrate on practical issues. That might not be too bad.

          There ya go, every cloud and all that jazz.

          For Theists the universe as brute fact allows the freedom to go beyond what science can explain to God as an explanation. As you might guess, I like this one.

          You already go the extra step that asserts God a brute fact ya dopey Dime Bar, remember?

          For the person who could really care less, and that is the majority in our secular culture, it allows them to live without any burden of ontology or existential questions. Life, like the universe, just is. There is no explanation. That would appeal to the postmodern mind.

          So what? That applies to the big picture only. At a personal level, all the important stuff that allows a fulfilled life, still matters. You don’t half talk some shite Don.

          The rest of your comment is just more word salad fuckwittery.

        • Don Camp

          You already go the extra step that asserts God a brute fact

          Yup.

          At a personal level, all the important stuff that allows a fulfilled life, still matters.

          Like I say, a win win.

        • Ignorant Amos

          From another thread on this blog…

          Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going? — Anonymous

        • Don Camp

          Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from,

          Are they? As I read the Bible and listen to the church, I hear that we came from God and are created to spent eternity with him. How do you know that is mistaken?

        • Susan

          Are they?

          Yes. They are.

          I hear that we came from God

          Not a speck of evidence for that.

          and are created

          Nor for that.

          to spent eternity with him

          All the evidence goes against that. Our brains stop being functional brains and break down into non-brains.

          How do you know that is mistaken?

          Don’t be silly.

          I expect you’ll ignore all of the substance of this comment (as you’ve done to every comment since you got here, and have done elsewhere for years), and say something to redirect.

          Or that you’ll pick a single point and ignore the rest, (as you always do).

          You’re a lying liar.

          You need to stop.

          Send us an honest christian. You are doing your faith no favours.

        • Pofarmer

          Because Don, it OBVIOUSLY is. It’s a collection of stories written down by goatherding priests who didn’t know where the Sun went and night, and then added on by Greek speaking authors who had all kinds of “god” background, and latched onto this one. You hear what you want to hear. You believe what you want to believe. But, it’s nonsense. It’s made up stories. Theology is made up stuff about made up stuff. Accept it.

        • Don Camp

          Not everything is written for Scientific American. Nor is everything worth reading written in the last 20 years. It is myopic to think that they must – sadly myopic, I might add, speaking of a teacher of literature.

          It is the zeitgeist of this present age that only science speaks truth. It is the myth of the present age that only science speaks truth. The fact is that the wisdom of men and women of the past, be they poets or tellers of stories, transcends the nuts and bolts of science to speak to the nature and life of man in a way science can not. Sorry to tell you that.

          So what difference does it make that people did not know where the sun went at night? What difference does it make that they did not know the extent of the universe? A thousand years from now, our descendants will be smiling at the naivete of the late 20th and early 21st century. Forget the sun. Learn wisdom. Wisdom lasts.

          The present infatuation with science and “facts” has distorted our thinking and has distorted our present view of life. And I am not talking as a Christian or from the point of view of any religion. I am speaking as a reader and a student of literature, the literature that explores life more deeply than science, the literature that explores our humanity, enriches our lives, and imparts wisdom not mere facts. Take some time to read a poem and think.

        • epeeist

          I am re-reading Stephen Law’s Believing Büllshit at the moment.

          Your post fits nicely into the chapters, “Playing the Mystery Card” and “I Just Know!”.

          It is the zeitgeist of this present age that only science speaks truth.

          There are two things about this, firstly I suspect you know as much about “truth” as you know about “causality”. Secondly, the pursuit of truth isn’t a modern thing, one can trace it back at least as far as the Greeks.

          I am speaking as a reader and a student of literature, the literature that explores life more deeply than science, the literature that explores our humanity, enriches our lives, and imparts wisdom not mere facts.

          And of course it is impossible to be appreciative of science and read literature or listen to music (something I tend to do while at the computer, I am listening to this at the moment).

          Take some time to read a poem and think.

          This would seem to be right up your street.

          Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
          Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

        • Don Camp

          The pursuit of truth is not an ancient thing or a modern thing. It is a human thing. (Glad to hear that you enjoy the arts.) The difference is that today we tend to equate knowledge with wisdom. They are not the same.

        • Greg G.

          The difference is that today we tend to equate knowledge with wisdom. They are not the same.

          But believing you have wisdom without knowledge is Dunning-Kruger Syndrome.

        • epeeist

          And yet another empty post that does not address any of the points that I made.

          But we have been around this loop before as I seem to recall. You are, in fact, a truth relativist, someone who tries to protect his religion from scrutiny not only by appeals to mystery but by separating “religious truths” from empirical or conceptual inquiry.

        • Susan

          (Glad to hear that you enjoy the arts.)

          I’ve seen no evidence that you “enjoy the arts”. You just rape the concept in order to evade your inept attempts at knowledge claims.

          today we tend to equate knowledge with wisdom.

          No. We equate knowledge with knowledge.

          That is, if you make a claim., you need to support it. You’ve never done that.

          Depending on what you mean by “wisdom”, knowledge counts.

          What we don’t do (and what you rely on) is equate ignorance with wisdom.

          I don’t think this is a new thing.

          That is, people who pursued “truth” didn’t just indulge in ignorance and hubris and claim knowledge.

          You have no interest in honest discussion.

          I hope Bob bans you soon, as you have no interest in honest discussion.

          Not because you are a theist, but because you have consistently been a lying weasel for a very long time now.

          I welcome honest discussion with theists.

          Honest discussion doesn’t consist of unsupported claims, fallacies, and then diversion to more of the same when called on it.

        • Pofarmer

          Why do I think Don really picks and chooses the Arts he supports?

        • Susan

          Why do I think Don really picks and chooses the Arts he supports?

          I don’t see any connection to art in Don.

          It’s just an evasion when he gets called on his literal claims about Yahwehjesus.

          A “literate” guy would never use the phrase “I could care less.”

          He’s shown no understanding of literature, of music, of art, no knowledge of any of these things.

          He’s just playing the “atheists are robots” card when he gets called on his claims.

          It’s standard, bullshit apologetics.

          He’s a lying, liar.

          As I said before, he makes me sick.

          That’s a normal, human reaction when dealing with the likes of him.

        • Pofarmer

          So now it’s on to the Genetic Fallacy.

          I’ll respond more later.

        • Don Camp

          No. It is about the modern myth that dehumanizes human beings. It is about the idea that people are described as Homo sapiens, just another genus and species among many, that man is an animal with a big brain or a biological machine and nothing more.

        • Pofarmer

          It is about the idea that people are described as Homo sapiens, just another genus and species among many

          You really don’t have any idea A) how freeing that is, and B) how profound it is and C) how much it explains about Humanity and how we fit into all the rest of life on this planet. It’s actually a life altering, mind bending, and yet, fully accurate sentiment and statement.

        • Don Camp

          You have the scientific materialistic worldview down pat. It is life altering and mind bending. And that is exactly the danger it poses. We can have science without the myth, you know. That would be uplifting. But science without the humanity is degrading. It too easily turns us into machines, or monsters.

        • Pofarmer

          There is no science without humanity, ya nob. Science is a human endevour.

          It too easily turns us into machines, or monsters.

          As opposed to what?

        • Don Camp

          Sorry. I forgot the definition of “humanity” that means humanness has been expunged from the dictionary. That probably says as much as anything that the whole idea about humanness has changed.

          As opposed to what? As opposed to Humans with noble goals and motives. (Can you even use”noble” to describe an animal? ) As opposed to Humans who act with kindness and compassion and good will.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, C’mon Don. Animals get described as “noble” all the time. Ever read “Call of the Wild?” Ever had an Aussie?

          And Don. We know this isn’t about Humaneness. This isn’t about how humans use myth and narrative to tell our story. This is about you believing that your particular myth is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, and not just useful.

        • Don Camp

          Animals get described as “noble” all the time.

          We describe them as nobler because we we attribute human characteristics to them, not because they have acted with intention noble. It is called anthropomorphism.

          This is about you believing that your particular myth is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, and not just useful.

          Are you implying that you don’t believe your myth to be TRUE? Are you saying that you do not believe that humans are merely animals but only find that useful in characterizing humans?

          If so, that would be science. I agree with that. To believe that humans are merely animals is philosophy. I do not agree with that.

        • Pofarmer

          Are you sure we don’t describe animals as “noble” because they exhibit the same characteristics and actions that we attribute to being “noble” in humans?

          To believe that humans are merely animals is philosophy. I do not agree with that.

          Well, sure, you’re too emotionally invested in your own myth.

        • Pofarmer

          And this is another beef of mine. Christianity can turn you into a heartless dumbass with regards to the rest of the life on this planet. You should have quit while you were ahead.

        • Don Camp

          So can nationalism, Imperialism, and almost every other kind of ideology. That is not argument against Christianity any more than it is against the rest. None of us have a good track record here. If fact, only in the last century has anyone cared, and then not enough to make a difference.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh look, A Squirrel. Whataboutism.

        • Susan

          Whataboutism.

          And burden shifting. As always, with Don.

          Don wants to preach without being called on it, and when called on it, only has fallacies to fall back on.

          He has exactly zero support for the claims he loves to make, so far.

          Zero.

          That doesn’t stop him from making them. Every chance he gets.

          I hope Bob bans him soon for relentless dishonesty.

          I understand why @MR just wants to sit this one out until he’s gone.

          It’s trolling. Trolling that came with a warning from another site where he was banned for the same behaviour.

          And given a new chance here, he just keeps trolling.

        • Greg G.

          To believe that humans are merely animals is philosophy. I do not agree with that.

          Humans are animals. Remember that there are different kinds of animals.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t dispute that we are animals. I dispute that we are “merely” animals. If we were merely animals, most of the human caused ills of our world would never have happened. What chimp threatens the extinction of thousands of species including himself? What chimp destroys the rain forests and viability of the ocean ecosystem like we do?

          Now, chimps are not warm cuddly animals. That is a Disney creation. But no chimp has done what we have done. Nor could they do so. We alone can do that. And we alone can correct it, if we choose. So far we have not chosen to do so. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

        • Susan

          I don’t dispute that we are animals.

          Of course you do. You have yet to admit that we are animals or mammals or apes.

          I dispute that we are “merely” animals.

          “Merely” is an editorial term that you have added. And for which you have shown no support.

          If we were merely animals, most of the human caused ills of our world would never have happened.

          Really? Define “merely animals” and show your work.

          (We all know that you’re not going to do that. Your entire history is based on making assinine claims and never supporting them.)

          Now, chimps are not warm cuddly animals.

          They are, sometimes, to others.

          One could say the same about humans.

          That is a Disney creation.

          No. They can be extremely “cuddly” to one another. From mother to child and from individual to group. And extremely vicious to non-group members (and sometimes to ingroup members).

          The same can be said about humans.

          As usual, the rest of your claims are stupid and unsupported, and we have grown used to your lack of responsibility for supporting any of the claims you make.

          You’re here to preach without supporting anything.

          Stop it, please. Send us an honest christian.

        • Pofarmer

          What if Don IS that honest Christian?

        • Susan

          What if Don IS that honest Christian?

          No. C’mon Po. You must have met them in your life.

          Christians with tremendous integrity.

          They’d give you the shirt off their back. They care very much about the decency of their behaviour in the world.

          Being human is hard and many honest christians are busy arguing with other christians about how to behave properly if they believe Jesus taught about how to care about others.

          Of course, I don’t see that the Jesus character taught very well about how to care about others.

          But I respect christians who think he did and care about following up on that.

          They tend to avoid the justification for that, but they live good lives, and work hard to justify that.

          They don’t show up here often, and they don’t stay long when they do.

          Don isn’t like that.

          There’s nothing honest about Don.

        • Don Camp

          “Merely” is an editorial term that you have added. And for which you have shown no support.

          What in the world is an “editorial term?” I think of it as an adjective modifying animal.

          Other than a relative few who have accepted the materialist dogma of our generation, no one needs to be shown support for what is obvious. Humans are humans. They are different from the other animals in capacity. and character – If we were merely animals, most of the human caused ills of our world would never have happened. And humans are so different that evolution really has no explanation. Unless we are to explain it as a destructive mutation that will soon be eliminated by natural selection.

          But I don’t believe that, Susan. I think the better explanation is that we are alienated from God, and having been left to ourselves, have operated on the distorted wisdom we acquire from listening to ourselves and our nature. We have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind. It is a recurring story in human history. But there is a point of no return on the near horizon.

          The same can be said about humans.

          You know, though it was not your intention probably, you have this just right. The Bible calls this feature that you see in chimps, the flesh. Chimps, however, do not choose to act the way they do. They have no other option.They operate on instinct. What they do is neither right nor wrong. We do. We choose. And we know better. We know right and wrong. That is the irony and the tragedy.

          Why is that? With our understanding and moral nature, why do we choose to destroy ourselves? I think the answer is that we are acting like animals – except that we have the tools and position in the world to do irreversible damage. We have disengaged our moral compass and have rejected the moral instructions of God, foremost among then being love God and love our neighbor.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh shit, you’re gonna set him off on some rant about “kinds” now.

        • Susan

          To believe that humans are merely animals is philosophy.

          Humans are animals.

          “Merely” is an editorial modifier you’ve injected without justification.

        • Susan

          As has been your custom since you joined these boards, you evade all responses in the points you bring up.

          And pick a single comment in order to change the subject.

          As Pofarmer said:

          This is about believing (and I will add, relentlessly claiming) that your point is TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.

          You have been doing this for years

          When called on it, you claim poetry.

          (You are not a poet.)

        • Greg G.

          We now understand that humans are evolved apes. The Bible myth has us as fallen angels, which is very dehumanizing.

        • Don Camp

          We were never angels, but I suppose you mean that metaphorically.

          I’ll believe that we are evolved apes when apes begin to write poetry and compose music and and paint pictures and ponder who they are in the universe. (I am not saying that we have no connection with apes, understand, just that we are far more.) Too see us as merely evolved apes is the dehumanizing myth that many in our age have swallowed. It is the ascendancy of science over common sense. Be careful; the myth will destroy us.

        • Greg G.

          We were never angels, but I suppose you mean that metaphorically.

          Of course. Angels are imaginary.

          We are vertebrates, mammals, and primates. Chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. Just because we can learn to sing and dance does not mean we are not mammals nor does it mean we are not apes. Chimpanzees are not humans and they are not gorillas. Gorillas are not chimpanzees and they are not humans. Humans are not chimpanzees nor are they gorillas. But chimpanzees are apes, gorillas are apes, and humans are apes, just as each species are mammals.

          Creating a myth to deny the truth is dehumanizing. Living in fear of the truth is dehumanizing.

        • Pofarmer

          How is it dehumanizing, to realize and understand what Humans are?

          It’s bass ackwards.

          How many dehumanizing things does religion do?

        • Don Camp

          Of course we are mammals. I am not denying that. What I am saying is that we are more. We have a potential no ape has. We have a destiny no ape shares. To deny that is to bring us down, not raise us up to be what we are meant to be.

        • Greg G.

          What I am saying is that we are more. We have a potential no ape has. We have a destiny no ape shares.

          You mean “non-human apes”.

          Chimpanzees are better at some mental abilities than humans.

          https://youtu.be/zsXP8qeFF6A

          To deny that is to bring us down, not raise us up to be what we are meant to be.

          Affirming or denying it makes no difference. Your argument that there is something dehumanizing in that is what is dehumanizing.

        • Don Camp

          Your argument that there is something dehumanizing in that is what is dehumanizing.

          How so? Perhaps it is dehumanizing to the chimp. But chimps are not human. Or are you actually going to go that far?

          Or are you saying that to see ourselves as different from chimps is to in some way regard them as mere objects. If so, I confess that has been a danger. We have all been arrogant in the way we have treated chimps and nature in general. In doing so we have not dehumanized chimps but ourselves because we have not recognized our God given stewardship of the world.

          The correction is to realize our calling, not to diminish distinctiveness.

        • Greg G.

          How so? Perhaps it is dehumanizing to the chimp. But chimps are not human. Or are you actually going to go that far?

          Jared Diamond wrote a book called “The Third Chimpanzee” where he argued that since chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans than to gorillas, a non-human alien species would likely class humans as another species of chimpanzee.

        • Bob Jase

          We have a destiny – your insecurity is showing Don, you can’t handle not feeling special.

        • Don Camp

          How is that somehow a bad thing?

        • Bob Jase

          Because needing to feel special does not make one special.

          You’re just another preaching self-righteous deluded believer afraid of life and death

        • Don Camp

          You are definitely on message, Bob, when it comes to scientific Materialism. The question is are you right? Does scientific Materialism comprehend all of reality? If not, and I am convinced it does not, is it possible that we are special?

          The irony is that even many of those who believe that scientific Materialism is the final word, maybe you yourself, live as though it is not. They adopt a responsibility toward the world that assumes something special about man. It assumes that we have the ability to protect and preserve the natural world and the duty to do so. That sense of responsibility and ability is shared by no other species. Is that special?

          I think it is.

        • nydiva

          BTW I am energized by my calling not afraid. Indeed, what is there to fear?
          Yes, you are energized by your imaginary calling and are a religious nusiance as a result. You keep posting on a blog even after the blog host asked you to leave. You are stuck on the treadmill of superstition and faith. But what is there to fear you ask? Didn’t you warn someone a few weeks ago of the consequences of ignoring your imaginary friend? You worship the moral monster god of the Bible. Fortunately, it doesn’t exist outside your head.

        • Bob Jase
        • I am energized by my calling not afraid. Indeed, what is there to fear?

          That you’re wasting your time babysitting a deity that’s not there.

          Or was this a trick question?

        • Susan

          I’ll believe that we are evolved apes when apes begin to write poetry and compose music and and paint pictures and ponder who they are in the universe

          Every poem ever written was composed by an ape, every symphony composed was composed by an ape and every masterpiece ever painted was painted by an ape.

          So, you have already seen that.

          Your ignorance, disregard and contempt for non-human earthlings notwithstanding.

          You might as well say “I will believe that we are mammals when mammals begin to write poetry”… etc.

        • Don Camp

          Every poem ever written was composed by an ape,…So, you have already seen that.

          Perfectly spoken. You are a child of your generation.

        • Susan

          You are a child of your generation.

          Are you a mammal, Don?

          Or not?

        • Pofarmer

          A particularly brainwashed one.

        • Susan

          A particularly brainwashed one.

          I see more hubris than brainwashing.

        • Greg G.

          You are a child of ape ancestors.

        • Don Camp

          I do not take issue with that. What I take issue with it that I and you are ONLY a child of an ape ancestor.

        • Greg G.

          We are children of apes with big brains who kept mating with other apes with big brains, and a different posture.

        • Pofarmer

          How do you get to the point where denying, not celebrating what we are seems like the proper course of action?

        • Bob Jase

          Yes, the old myths that gave us genocide, slavery, feudalism, unending religious wars, ignorance of medicine – that was so much better.

        • Don Camp

          The last century should have been demonstration enough that “the old myths” had little to do with that other than provide an excuse. At a time when science and secularism and atheism were on the advance and religion was on the wane in many places, we witnessed brutality that put the centuries past to shame.

          So when we step back and look at the whole of human history, the common denominator for brutality is not a particular myth, be it ancient or modern, but human nature.

          We have met the enemy, and he is us.

        • So what difference does it make that people did not know where the sun went at night? What difference does it make that they did not know the extent of the universe?

          They did know, and they were wrong. “What difference” it makes is that that’s an enormous clue that the Bible was invented by humans.

        • Don Camp

          I think it is more accurate to say that the Bible was written FOR humans. And it was written FOR humans at a particular point in history. It is a crazy idea that they should know or need to know that the earth is a globe revolves. Or that the universe is huge. The Bible is not about cosmology. It is about humanity. And God.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible is not about actual cosmology but it is about Ancient Near East cosmology. It is also about an Ancient Near East deity, not a real god thingy.

        • Completely off topic: I’m working on a few posts to respond to some stupid arguments by Alvin Plantinga. He refers to a probability computation, and it’s been a long time since this kind of math was fresh in my mind. I’m wondering if you can point me to it.

          He says:

          suppose we had a total of 100 independent beliefs (of course, we have many more). Remember that the probability that all of a group of beliefs are true is the multiplication of all their individual probabilities. Even if we set a fairly low bar for reliability — say, that at least two-thirds (67 percent) of our beliefs are true — our overall reliability, given materialism and evolution, is exceedingly low: something like .0004.

          He’s assuming that each belief is equally likely to be true or false. So: given 100 beliefs, each with a 0.5 likelihood of being true, what’s the likelihood of 2/3 of that set of beliefs being true? His answer: 0.0004. If I could get the math, I could redo it with a more reasonable likelihood of a belief being true than 0.5.

          The original article from which the quote came is here:
          https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/

          Thanks to you (or anyone else who wants to re-educate me)!

        • Greg G.

          I found https://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/experiments/statistics.html . It is just for 50-50 odds and it involves factorials. Perhaps that is why Plantinga used only 50% odds.

          I’ll take another look in the morning after coffee.

        • Thanks! I’ll take a look.

        • Greg G.

          Still haven’t started my coffee yet but it seems that a Bayesian calculation would work.

        • epeeist

          it seems that a Bayesian calculation would work

          Indeed, given that the Bayesian probability is a measure of belief (or confidence) in an hypothesis.

        • Don’t spend much time on it. All I’m trying to do is find out the calculation that produced his 0.0004 probability that at least 67 out of 100 binary (equally likely to be true as false) beliefs are true.

          Looking at your source, I found this graph for a normal distribution. It shows what he’s saying, that if you stray from the center, the likelihood gets low really fast. But of course, if you change the “50% likely to be true” to “99% likely to be true,” which is how things would work in reality, the graph would broaden considerably.

          I think you’re right that moving from 0.5 likelihood of true to any other number does complicate things.

          https://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/experiments/figures/bd128nor.png

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          you could just calculate sum_k=67^100 binomial(100,k)*1/2^100 with a computer. calculating this by hand, exactly, is laborious and you could use a normal approximation instead, of course (wikipedia – binomial distribution).

          with python:

          from sympy import Rational,binomial
          result = Rational(sum(binomial(100,k) for k in range(67,100+1)),2**100)

          i get (the) result = 553785737846639752356280235/1267650600228229401496703205376 ~ 0.000436859918456186.

        • Thanks! Let me puzzle over that.

        • epeeist

          Assuming you do have a 50:50 chance (like coin flipping)

          100! / (2^100 * 67! * 33!)

          I make this 0.000232.

          If you want to do the calculation for something which does not have equal chances then I suspect the easiest thing would be an n sided dice. Let’s say you have something that has a 90% chance of being true then you throw a dice on which 9 faces are “true” and one face is “false”.

          I am not chickening out on this (honest) but I am about to go out to dinner with my wife and tomorrow we are seeing solicitors and architects so my chance of actually getting around to this over the next couple of days is small.

        • The house comes first! Looks like an exciting project.

          Thanks for your input.

        • epeeist

          The original article from which the quote came is here:
          https://opinionator.blogs.n

          This is a joke isn’t it? This guy is supposed to be one of the foremost religious philosophers of the day and this is the best he can come up with. I’ll let you fisk it, but it shouldn’t be difficult in that it is chock full of dubious claims, logical fallacies and vague hand-waving.

          As for his little calculation, I wouldn’t buy it. What are his “100 independent beliefs” and how does he get from them to the specific beliefs about materialism and the non-existence of gods (rather than the lack of belief about another “non-material realm” and the existence of gods)?

          His calculation might be correct if each of his independent variable are independent and are binary. It also assumes that we have no prior information, hence the setting of probabilities to 50:50. Are we in a state of epistemic ignorance when it comes to the (non-) existence of the non-material or gods.

          As for:

          Given materialism and evolution, any particular belief is as likely to be false as true.

          That’s the kind of unsubstantiated and specious statement I would expect from Ed or Don Camp rather than a “foremost philosopher”.

        • This is a joke isn’t it? This guy is supposed to be one of the foremost religious philosophers of the day and this is the best he can come up with.

          Tell me about it. All I can figure is that these guys have been given a crappy hand, and this is the best way they can find to play it. I do wonder, though, what’s going on in their heads. Can they really believe this stuff, or do they have doubts, too?

          One epiphany was when I was reading some of WLC’s stuff when he admitted that his focus in life is reassuring his little boy self from decades ago who was horrified that people die. And yet somehow none of this hurts their reputations—perhaps because their readership are trying to satisfy their own inner children.

          I’ll let you fisk it, but it shouldn’t be difficult in that it is chock full of dubious claims, logical fallacies and vague hand-waving.

          I’m working on a 3-parter. There’s lots to complain about, but 3 of Plantinga’s mini arguments stood out for me.

          His calculation might be correct if each of his independent variable are independent and are binary.

          The thing about beliefs having a 50/50 chance of being true baffled me. Is that how he thinks evolution works? You’re right–this is what we’d expect from some of our earnest but poorly armed Christian friends.

        • It is a crazy idea that they should know or need to know that the earth is a globe revolves. Or that the universe is huge.

          .

          And yet it’s a very sensible idea that any scientific claim that God does inspire into the Bible should be accurate.

          Or am I expecting too much of the omniscient creator of the universe?

        • Don Camp

          No. It is not too much for God; It is too much to expect of man his infancy.

          One of the things that sets us apart from the animals is that we have a brain capable of reasoning and a curiosity that drives us to discover, to set our minds on the stars, so to speak, and to rise and follow our dreams, to grow up and become what we were destined to be.

          In time, as you know, we have learned these elementary things. It did not hurt us to begin at the beginning any more than it hurts a child to begin with simple observations that would in time be enlarged upon until he or she one day sets sail to the stars. For teachers, this method is called the discovery method. It is marvelous to watch the light in a student’s eyes when he or she discovers each new fact and at the discovery pushes on to know more.Would you want less for the human race?

        • A baby born in the US today could be educated to understand quantum physics. That’s also true of a baby born 3000 years ago in Palestine.

          If God is going to mention anything science-y, he might as well give the truth rather than the (wrong) thinking of the time. But I guess I have higher standards for an omniscient being than you do.

          You must apologize for your god because he’s unable to come here and explain things himself. You sure he really exists?

        • Don Camp

          That would make sense, IF the object was to make a scientific claim. I doubt you’ll find that to be the object.

        • If God existed, he’d have replaced the wrong scientific statements with correct ones if they took up the same amount of space. Or does God just not like to show off how smart he is?

        • Don Camp

          To what end, Bob? The things I think you are speaking were the background of the particular stage human history and knowledge was in at the moment. They were not the message God had for them – or us. Scientific knowledge far ahead of its time would have been rabbit trails when by far the more important issue was man himself and our alienation from God. It still is, btw. And that is why with far greater knowledge we shoot for the stars and neglect the flaws in our own character, flaws that will destroy us long before we reach the nearest star.

        • So you’re saying that God preferred to have wrong science in the Bible?

          Do a little self-examination. Do you see what your religion is making you do? God is too impotent to get off the couch and come down here and make himself known, so he thinks you’d be an adequate substitute? And you’ve got to argue that God preferred wrong science to correct science in the Bible.

          Christianity is making you stupid.

        • Don Camp

          So you’re saying that God preferred to have wrong science in the Bible?

          I think Pofarmer mentioned the genetic fallacy. You might look that up.

          I am not saying that at all. I am saying that God considered something else far more important. What the people of the time believed about science would in time be corrected – and corrected and corrected. What needed correction most, however, was the alienation of man from God.

          God is too impotent to get off the couch and come down here and make himself known,

          God makes himself known everywhere and through all history in the creation he has made. In the end no one who has eyes to see will have an excuse that God was not clear. Indeed, since we know to a far greater extent than any generation in the past the wonders of creation, we will have even less excuse than others before us.

          God does not need me or anyone as a substitute. The best we can do is give an answer for what we believe. To defend God would be like defending a lion, he doesn’t need it.

        • I am saying that God considered something else far more important.

          More/less important is just you avoiding an uncomfortable issue. God put wrong science in the Bible when he could’ve put correct science in the Bible. That’s a glaring clue that “God” is just men.

          What the people of the time believed about science would in time be corrected – and corrected and corrected. What needed correction most, however, was the alienation of man from God.

          And yet it slipped God’s mind to do the Jesus thing until a couple of thousand years after Abraham. What a bonehead. Or maybe he was already senile. Or maybe he doesn’t exist. Which one is your pick?

          since we know to a far greater extent than any generation in the past the wonders of creation, we will have even less excuse than others before us.

          We know to a far greater extent how valuable science is for informing us about reality. And how useless religion is.

          God does not need me or anyone as a substitute.

          Then why are you always acting as a God stand-in? If God doesn’t need a substitute, then sit down, shut up, and let God speak for himself. I’m sure he can do a better job than you.

          To defend God would be like defending a lion, he doesn’t need it.

          Yeah, I’ve heard that one before, too. Ridiculous, isn’t it? To imagine God like a lion (or a rabbit or indeed any creature that can make its presence known) is pretty hilarious.

        • Don Camp

          As you know, I made the claim recently that the creation narrative matches quite well what we know of the early history of the earth. BUT there is no reason why we should think it was the object of the narrative to explain in any scientific way the early history of the earth. It is entirely incidental that it does as much as it does.

          You are making the same category mistake that I believe Fundamentalists and creation scientists make. The category here is not science. It is theology. Can you even imagine that people at the time of the writing would be interested in science? Why would God inspire a narrative that answers questions that no one is asking? And fails to address the questions that were current and important.

          But that seems to be exactly what you have been doing, not only in this post but in blog posts that have followed this one. I don’t know whether that is out of ignorance of the principle of historical context in reading ancient texts or because it just makes for provocative blog posts. In either case, your thesis fails due to that specific failure.

        • Greg G.

          Why would God inspire a narrative that answers questions that no one is asking? And fails to address the questions that were current and important.

          Indeed! Humans have been known to write narratives that answers questions that they have an answer for, even if the answer is incorrect, and put them into the mouths of their deities while ignoring questions they have no answer for.

        • Bob Jase

          ” The category here is not science. It is theology.”

          Then stop pretending otherwise you hypochrist.

        • there is no reason why we should think it was the object of the narrative to explain in any scientific way the early history of the earth.

          It was one object of the narrative to not be wrong. But again, I may be demanding too much of a god who is omniscient.

          Y’know, maybe you should go back to the god of Genesis. He wasn’t omniscient. The later god makes claims he can’t meet.

          The category here is not science. It is theology.

          When a scientific claim is made, that’s science. I’ve written 4 posts on the Bible’s errors:
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2020/02/the-bibles-confused-relationship-with-science-2/

          Can you even imagine that people at the time of the writing would be interested in science?

          Not the point! An omniscient god might as well mention the correct science rather than the primitive thinking of the time if he’s going to mention science at all.

        • epeeist

          Can you even imagine that people at the time of the writing would be interested in science?

          Greek natural philosophy takes from the Babylonians (amongst others). Thales was writing in the 6th century BCE. So, yes I can imagine people at the time of writing of the bible being interested in science.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why would God inspire a narrative that answers questions that no one is asking? And fails to address the questions that were current and important.

          And yet the stuff that is written about them things you claim there was no interest in, is still wrong. If the questions weren’t being asked, why all the answers that science has uncovered as wrong?

          But that seems to be exactly what you have been doing, not only in this post but in blog posts that have followed this one. I don’t know whether that is out of ignorance of the principle of historical context in reading ancient texts or because it just makes for provocative blog posts. In either case, your thesis fails due to that specific failure.

          Whata loada ballix.

          Do us all a favour Don and fuck off.

        • Greg G.

          Do us all a favour Don and fuck off.

          Maybe he has. Only one post in three days and that was only seven words. The one shows that it wasn’t because Bob showed him the door.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am playing catch-up again.

          I expect I will be for another while. I’m on the rip tonight and tomorrow.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is a crazy idea that they should know or need to know that the earth is a globe revolves.

          But not a crazy idea to tell them we live on a flat disc with a hard dome covering it in which the stars a lights studding the underside of the dome and the sun and the moon are two lights that appear on the underside of the same dome at different parts of the day?

          The Bible is not about cosmology.

          More Despicable Dishonest Don Camp crap.

          No Don, that’s what you fuckwits have to say now, because science has demonstrated that the book is nonsense brainfarttery.

          Biblical cosmology is the biblical writers’ conception of the cosmos as an organised, structured entity, including its origin, order, meaning and destiny. The Bible was formed over many centuries, involving many authors, and reflects shifting patterns of religious belief; consequently, its cosmology is not always consistent. Nor do the biblical texts necessarily represent the beliefs of all Jews or Christians at the time they were put into writing: the majority of those making up Hebrew Bible or Old Testament in particular represent the beliefs of only a small segment of the ancient Israelite community, the members of a late Judean religious tradition centered in Jerusalem and devoted to the exclusive worship of Yahweh.

          The ancient Israelites envisaged a universe made up of a flat disc-shaped Earth floating on water, heaven above, underworld below.[6] Humans inhabited Earth during life and the underworld after death; there was no way that mortals could enter heaven, and the underworld was morally neutral; only in Hellenistic times (after c.330 BCE) did Jews begin to adopt the Greek idea that it would be a place of punishment for misdeeds, and that the righteous would enjoy an afterlife in heaven. In this period too the older three-level cosmology in large measure gave way to the Greek concept of a spherical earth suspended in space at the center of a number of concentric heavens.

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

        • Pofarmer

          Don, Don, Don. Of course there is much old literature “worth” reading. Of course myth and stories and literature can inform things about who we are. But no one takes BeoWulf literally, do they. No one takes the Odyssey, literally. And yet, people want to take Aristotlean Metaphysics, and throw in a little Augustinian sauce, and say that it’s literally true, because it has a theological use. Of course the Bible has some good stories, and some pretty terrible stories, and some decent morals, and some really abhorent stories. The problem isn’t the stories, learning by myth, understanding by allegory. The problem is that when people want to take the Adam and Eve story as literally true, and make life and death decisions based on that. The problem is when people take “Revelation” as literally true, and think it might be a positive thing to bring about the end of the world. What was Wisdome 2500 years ago my well not be Wisdom today. Indeed, Wisdom, with increased knowledge, sometimes does fade away.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are they?

          Yes Don, they are. You’ve admitted as much here for some. We’ve spilled a lot of ink demonstrated the failings in your belief system. You’ve ignored most. Presented pathetic excuses for some, and denied the rest as problematic.

          If any of it is suspect, and much of it is, then it all can be suspect. You have no method to decipher what is what. And in most cases, haven’t even bothered to try. It is a parcel of crap that if belonged to a different religion, you’d laugh yer tits off on reading.

          As I read the Bible and listen to the church, I hear that we came from God and are created to spent eternity with him.

          We know Don. The ailment is well understood. But you refuse to see it in your delirium. We’ve had to endure your inane blathering for a number of months now on the subject. Your arguments, such as they are, are fucked. Your head is fucked. You are a very poor advocate for the fuckwittery you’ve bought into. For some reason, in your simpleness, you can’t seem to grasp that most here were in woo-woo land like you in the past. We managed to cast off the shackles. During the intervening years, we’ve seen and read about the nonsense in many of its guises. You are not some shining knight for true Christianity bringing an epiphany to the infidel. If anything… you’re a pathetic specimen for the GC. We’ve engaged in far better.

          How do you know that is mistaken?

          The same way you know every other religious claim, from every other religion that has ever been, is mistaken, including the thousands of flavours of Christer that is, and ever has been, that you don’t buy into. It ain’t rocket science, though you’re hell bent in trying making it so.

          How hard is this for you to buy into?

          The best minds in the world have bought into religious muck down through the ages. All manner of woo-woo stuff they believed with at least the same sincerity and faith as you claim you do. But you and I have the same thing in common. They were all bonkers too. You just can’t grasp the point that you are every bit as bonkers as all those billions that you think were also bonkers. We get it. You are at the twilight of your life and you are bricking it. I’m going with the thought that you are struggling with some doubt. So you are here in an attempt to bolster your faith. But you’re wasting your time. And you’ve little enough of that left to be wasting. Get real.

        • Pofarmer

          You already go the extra step that asserts God a brute fact

          Yup.

          Occams razor applies.

          Like I say, a win win.

          Unless it’s nonsense.

        • Bob Jase

          “For Theists the universe as brute fact allows the freedom to go beyond what science can explain to God as an explanation.”

          All gods or just yours?

          If its other gods, just as verifiable as yours by the feelings of their believers there are plenty besides yours.

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

          But I’m sure you ‘know’ all others are false.

        • Pofarmer

          For those who are interested in who they are, where they came from, and where this is all going.
          So now it’s argument from consequences, is it?
          The universe as brute fact marks the limits of science.
          No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t limit science in the least. Studying everything there is to study is hardly “limiting”.
          But it would allow other physicists and those engaged in practical
          science to concentrate on practical issues. That might not be too bad.

          So now it’s non overlapping magesteria, is it? Religion gets to tell science what it gets to study? Been there, done that.
          For Theists the universe as brute fact allows the freedom to go beyond
          what science can explain to God as an explanation. As you might guess, I
          like this one.

          I’m particularly fond of Invisible pink Unicorns myself. Do you know how I know they’re invisible?
          For the person who could really care less, and that is the majority in
          our secular culture, it allows them to live without any burden of
          ontology or existential questions. Life, like the universe, just is.
          There is no explanation. That would appeal to the postmodern mind.

          It doesn’t matter if a fact is appealing or not.
          A beginning in an eternal and infinite static state begs the question why sudden instability after an infinity of stasis?
          Maybe because you don’t really understand “eternity” and “without time”. Think about this for a second, Don. There are timeless particles running around out there right now. They are called photons. For a photon, when it hits your eye, it’s the same exact instant as when it left a star 2 billion light years away. Is it eternal? Instantaneous? Means nothing. Time is an emergent property of matter and space.
          It begs the question is infinity really possible except as a mathematical concept?

          You said in another comment you’ll be with your god eternally. What’s the difference?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’s a bit of a silly auld goatskin, isn’t he?

        • Pofarmer

          The problem with folks like Don is people in the U.S. take them way to seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least he is willing to say that he does not know the why of the universe.

          Who here isn’t…apart from you godbots that is?

          The current position in science is we don’t how?

          The why, if there is a why, while perhaps interesting, is largely irrelevant in the big picture.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because the universe is composed of a substances that are a series of effects with causes a cause for the beginning would be expected.

          You keep insisting on this without support. The initial event might have had no cause. Your insistence that it must have had, isn’t justified.

          (Isn’t that what cosmologists look for?)

          Not all of them. You’d know this, if you’d done even a modicum of due diligence.

          God on the other hand is not of the same substance as the universe.

          Says who? How do you know? What is the evidence and what method do you use to verify said evidence?

          At the very least he need not be subject to the same cause and effect series.

          Woo-woo nonsense pulled from your nether regions.

          He might be eternal.

          And if yer arse was square, you might be able to shite coalbrick.

          You are still talking “in the universe.” Isn’t that like saying the universe invented itself?

          But you are claiming the universe began to exist. The event is the point at which it existed in time and started to expand. After the event. All the matter IN the universe started to obtain. Zero-energy universe hypothesis helps explain this process.

          Yes, we do. But given what we know happened after the Big Bang which is mere likely to explain it, a quantum event or an intelligence?

          You use special pleading. The quantum event is more likely than an intelligence. An intelligence demands complexity. We know acausal quantum events take place.

          Quantum mechanics defies causal order, experiment confirms

          https://physicsworld.com/a/quantum-mechanics-defies-causal-order-experiment-confirms/

          The problem is, we just don’t know. The laws of physics as understood, only came into existence at a given point when timespace got started.

          That may be possible. though you haven’t provided evidence for it.

          Like the gods hypothesis then?

          But it still leaves the dilemma of how this universe ended up as it is today.

          Nope. A lot of that is well understood by science. How it started and what was “before” is where the puzzle begins.

          Interestingly, I am more logically attached than emotionally attached.

          We know you believe that to be the case, but it isn’t in evidence from your time at this blog. And the contrary in your thinking has been demonstrated at every hands turn.

          None of the scenarios you have suggested would lead to a conclusion that there is no God.

          Not a claim being made. They lead to God’s existence being less likely. Which is different. But not the YahwehJesus god that you believe exists. That God can’t exist as Christers currently describe it.

          What I am interested in is evidence.

          Like I said, you don’t do irony very well at all.

          It seems is in short supply for any scenario I’ve heard yet.

          Which scenarios are you talking about? Have you looked? Would you even understand the evidence if you seen it? I doubt it. You don’t even get the basics on what constitutes evidence ffs.

        • Don Camp

          The laws of physics as understood, only came into existence at a given point when timespace got started.

          How do you know that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t, that’s beyond my remit too.

          Big brained, high headed folk, who work in these fields have suggested that current laws of physics breakdown at the Planck temperature. So by that metric, the laws were not as we define them in classical physics. Ergo, they must be at some point shortly after. Epeeist is the man to better explain…or correct me if I’m wrong. Like you, I know next to fuck all on the subject. But unlike you, I’m trying not to make up my own nonsense.

          At temperatures greater than or equal to TP, current physical theory breaks down because we lack a theory of quantum gravity.

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

          The Planck temperature is the highest temperature in conventional physics because conventional physics breaks down at that temperature. Above 1032 K, Planck time-calculations show that strange things, unknown things, begin to happen to space and time. Theory predicts that particle energies become so large that the gravitational forces between them become as strong as any other forces. That is, gravity and the other three fundamental forces of the universe—electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces—become a single unified force. Knowing how that happens, the so-called “theory of everything,” is the holy grail of theoretical physics today.

          “We do not know enough about the quantum nature of gravitation even to speculate intelligently about the history of the universe before this time,” writes Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg about this up-against-a-brick-wall instant in his book The First Three Minutes. “Thus, whatever other veils may have been lifted, there is one veil, at a temperature of 1032 K, that still obscures our view of the earliest times.” Until someone comes up with a widely accepted quantum theory of gravity, the Planck temperature, for conventional physicists like Steven Weinberg, will remain the highest temperature.

          Science Explained: What is the Hottest Possible Temperature?

          As such, it seems that the highest possible known temperature is 142 nonillion kelvins (1032 K.). This is the highest temperature that we know of according to the standard model of particle physics, which is the physics that underlies and governs our universe. Beyond this, physics starts to breakdown. This is known as Planck Temperature.

          https://futurism.com/science-explained-hottest-possible-temperature

        • Bob Jase

          You’ve said so repeatedly – you wouldn’t lie to us would you?

        • Greg G.

          God on the other hand is not of the same substance as the universe.

          Says who? How do you know? What is the evidence and what method do you use to verify said evidence?

          God is made of imagitons.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As near as I can figure many of you here think basically the the universe invented itself and/or always has been.

          And here is your major malfunction.

          What part of “We don’t know” is it that you can’t comprehend?

          We don’t know, you don’t know. But you are making the ontological claim that you do know. God-did-it. You are making the claim on wishful thinking and personal feelings. All the other mindwankery on your list has been roundly refuted. You have absolutely no justification for the knowledge you profess over all other woo-woo nonsense claims.

          Now, various models have been suggested by scientists, none of which include a supernatural entity. They add another layer of unnecessity without justification. There is no need for the gods hypotheses, as a famous French guy is supposed to have said to Napoleon.

          There is as much justification for the universe created itself, or has always been, in some state. But the fact is, no one knows. So you are building another straw man.

          So that leaves you all believing something without evidence.

          Nope. This is your dishonesty in full effect. We don’t know, is the honest placeholder until folk who do this stuff figures it out and let’s us all know. You are the one believing something without evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nice try at deflection, Susan.

          Bwaaaahahahaha!

          There goes another shipment of irony meters. You obviously have no grasp of the concept with that remark.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The bottom line is how everything began.

          Except your version of god.

          And you’ve yet to demonstrate your bottom line a fact. You contradict yourself with that assertion, yet haven’t one iota of shame about making it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Inventing itself requires some way for there to be an event without a cause.

          But you claim Gods existence is an event without a cause. Makining shite up and just defining an entity into existence with no justification, is special pleading.

          Yes, I know that quantum energy has been suggested. But quantum energy is something. And as far as anyone knows for sure (no guessing allowed) is a feature of this universe without any hint that it exists or can exist outside of it, If there even can be an outside.

          You are making shite up again.

          Yes, I know that YahwehJesus has been suggested. But YahwehJesus is something. And as far as anyone knows for sure (no guessing allowed) is a feature of this universe without any hint that it exists or can exist outside of it, If there even can be an outside.

          You don’t even see the problems with your own fuckwittery.

          The other option is that the universe has always been. That was once more viable than it is today after Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding. Today with the Big Bang in the rear view mirror some kind of sequence of prior universes have to have existed. That brings you to an infinite regress. That is problematic logically and without any evidence – which I noted earlier.

          Again with the verbal diarrhea. You are making claims to knowledge that is way outside your remit. And stuff that you can’t possibly know.

          https://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html

          Oh yes, there is the multiverse idea. But that only kicks the can down the road.

          Like you understand the idea…even notionally, my fuckin’ arse ya do.

          It solves none of the puzzles.

          And a god-did-it does? Made up imaginary shite from the ancient past might satisfy your limited thinking ability. But for those that see it for the nonsense it clearly is, we are looking for something better.

        • Bob Jase

          If your logic can’t succeed, special plead, special plead.

        • Don Camp

          Somethings are special, as in one of a kind. Have you considered that many of the scenarios created by theoretical physicists are also one of a kind events or situations? Would that not be special pleading also.

          The appellation “special pleading” too easily bandied around as a logical fallacy.

        • Bob Jase

          The universe exists Don, there is no need for special pleading to say it does. How it works may be debatable but it is real. Your sky monster is not

        • Don Camp

          You”re right. The universe exists. If you are happy with that as the final answer, be at peace.

        • Ignorant Amos

          We would be. If you’d just fuck off with the wittering “my god-did-it” fuckwittery that no one is buying.

        • aikidaves

          Your whole argument boils down to this:

          “I can’t IMAGINE how the universe could exist unless an intelligence like mine used magic to create it, so I IMAGINE such an intelligence must exist.”

          You can dress that up any way that you like, but ultimately, that’s all you’re really saying.

        • epeeist

          I understand that you want to find a way to avoid cause and effect, particularly regarding origins…

          This is empty verbiage, it neither provides support for your claim to a “law of cause and effect” nor does it rebut any of the points I made in my post.

          It is almost as though you know you can’t provide support for your contention but don’t want to admit it.

          Interesting that you mention Russell, he gave a lecture to the Aristotelian Society in which he said:

          All philosophers, of every school, imagine that causation is one of the fundamental axioms or postulates of science, yet, oddly enough, in advanced sciences such as gravitational astronomy, the word “cause” never appears …

          To me, it seems that … the reason why physics has ceased to look for causes is that, in fact, there are no such things. The law of causality, I believe, like much that passes muster among philosophers, is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.

        • Greg G.

          It violates the law of cause and effect.

          Are you referring to Karma or something?

        • Don Camp

          I am referring to the fact that effects have causes.

        • epeeist

          I am referring to the fact that effects have causes.

          This is mere semantics, define something as an “effect” and this automatically implies that it has a cause.

          Here is one of my standard examples. Put two radon atoms in an isolated and impermeable container, this guarantees that they share the same environment. What causes them to decay and why do they decay at different times?

        • Greg G.

          But not all effects have causes, so it isn’t a law.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe it’s more of a suggestion.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not even a threat like, “Wait until your father gets home!”

        • Bob Jase

          God is an effect.

        • Don Camp

          Is he? How do you know?

        • Ignorant Amos

          We could give zero fucks about what you are referring to. Effects have causes by definition. You are using the wrong terms. So take yer straw man and cram it where the sun don’t shine.

          Not all events have causes. The Big Bang could easily be just such an acausal event. And it certainly fits the hypothesis. But the honest answer is, we don’t know. That doesn’t mean you get to assert, that because all effects have a cause, that the BB must have been an effect that had a cause, then jump to that that cause must be my personal god. That is unsubstantiated idiocy of the highest order. And then the idiocy is compounded by just defining your personal god as acausal through wishful thinking. It defies Ockham’s Razor by adding an unnecessary step.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It violates the law of cause and effect.

          No it doesn’t. Repeating this fuckwittery, won’t make it anymore true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

          Yep, good philosophy…and biblical….my favourite OT book.

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/eat,_drink_and_be_merry_for_tomorrow_we_die

          Ecclesiastes 9:7
          Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

          Ecclesiastes 8:15
          Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

        • Don Camp

          I like Ecclesiastes also. It is a rather probing exploration of existential philosophy. But it is from a limited view point, “under the sun.” The author ends with a suggestion that this might not be all there is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …”under the sun.”

          What does that mean?

          Is it another plagiarism from other ANE cultures as some scholars believe?

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BZfZMWpjGJAC&lpg=PA7&ots=dNWVi6xW_0&dq=ecclesiastes+egypt&pg=PA7&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

          Or does it just signify another way to say “on this earth” as other scholars interpret it?

          The phrase “under the sun” wends its doleful way through the book of Eccl and has become common parlance in our own skeptical age, especially in the expression “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9 RSV). The phrase itself seems to signify simply “on this earth” (see especially Eccl 7:20, Eccl 8:16, Eccl 11:2) and perhaps underscores the frequently nonreligious emphasis of the author of Eccl who both describes the apparent futility of life and yet lives by faith in it (see further J. Gammie in JBL 93 (1974), p. 363).

          The book says that all that can be known for sure at the end, is death.

          A Common Destiny for All

          Man does not know what will come after him (9:1–11:6)

          The author ends with a suggestion that this might not be all there is.

          Might? In other words, the author doesn’t know. Sounds fairly atheist to me. But that’s Judaism for ya when it comes to what happens after we die. It’s pretty diverse and ambiguous on the issue. So, we don’t know is the correct answer. But there is no reason to believe anything happens at all. That’s where the evidence leads us.

          Btw, scholars think the epilogue is a later addition by a more orthodox scribe.

          Scholars have puzzled at the books canonicity over the centuries.

          The presence of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is something of a puzzle, as the common themes of the Hebrew canon—a God who reveals and redeems, who elects and cares for a chosen people—are absent from it, which suggests that Kohelet had lost his faith in his old age. Understanding the book was a topic of the earliest recorded discussions (the hypothetical Council of Jamnia in the 1st century CE). One argument advanced then was that the name of Solomon carried enough authority to ensure its inclusion, but other works which appeared with Solomon’s name were excluded despite being more orthodox than Ecclesiastes. Another was that the words of the epilogue, in which the reader is told to fear God and keep his commands, made it orthodox; but all later attempts to find anything in the rest of the book that would reflect this orthodoxy have failed. A modern suggestion treats the book as a dialogue in which different statements belong to different voices, with Kohelet himself answering and refuting unorthodox opinions, but there are no explicit markers for this in the book, as there are, for example in the Book of Job. Yet another suggestion is that Ecclesiastes is simply the most extreme example of a tradition of skepticism, but none of the proposed examples match Ecclesiastes for a sustained denial of faith and doubt in the goodness of God. “In short, we do not know why or how this book found its way into such esteemed company,” summarizes Martin A. Shields in his 2006 book The End of Wisdom: A Reappraisal of the Historical and Canonical Function of Ecclesiastes.

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

        • Don Camp

          I think it means on the earth.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah. But others interpret it as under God. The Sun being a god and all that jazz. My point is. If the god in question is the Sun, and Egyptian ANE influences were at play with the author, then what you think it means is wrong. The buybull is a Rorschach Test.

        • Greg G.

          Is it another plagiarism from other ANE cultures as some scholars believe?

          Maybe something you posted is to blame for me investigating the similarities between Proverbs 22:17-24:22 and the Teachings of Amenemope. I found myself at https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/light-old-testament-ancient-near-east which was written by Martin Luther King, Jr. It turns out that many writings have been discovered with similarities like these:

          Kemet (ancient Egypt)
          Teaching of Amennakht
          Lament of Khakheperresonb
          Teaching of Kheti
          Teaching of Ani
          Eloquent Peasant
          Teaching of Merikare

          Mesopotamia (Babylonia)
          Councils of Wisdom
          Hymn to Shamash
          Ludlul bel nemeqi
          Counsels of a Pessimist

          This paper points out many of the similarities: https://legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/TynBull_1977_28_02_Ruffle_AmenemopeAndProverbs.pdf

        • Ignorant Amos

          What’s interesting is that Don arrives at the same conclusion as King, but refuses to acknowledge the host of similarities in the OT to those of other ANE cultures set a lot earlier chronologically.

          He betrays any inkling that he is educated in the literary skills he claims. Or is so cognitively dissonant on the subject that he is totally blind to how these things worked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Briefly, the fine-tuning of the fundamental forces and the ensuing composition of the universe argue for some purpose or intelligent direction in that unexpected condition.

          No, it doesn’t. That appears to be your dimwitted understanding of the situation. Your incredulity via God Virus infection. You’ve been provided by evidence ad nauseam for why your fuckwittery doesn’t hold up. By real, actual cosmologists with expertise on the subject. Unlike you, who believes it just feels the way you think it does. Grow up Don.

        • amused

          “Briefly, the fine-tuning of the fundamental forces and the ensuing composition of the universe argue for some purpose or intelligent direction in that unexpected condition.”

          Billions of stars in each of billions of galaxies. The odds that one, or several million, planets will fall into the “goldilocks zone” are very good. No “fine tuning” involved. Merely the application of the odds to a large number of opportunities.

        • Greg G.

          The odds that one, or several million, planets will fall into the “goldilocks zone” are very good.

          If a star has multiple planets, it is likely that one or two would be in the Goldilocks Zone. I suspect that if Mars and Venus could swap orbits, our system would have three Goldilocks planets.

        • nydiva

          So here are some of the properties related to the God revealed in the Bible:
          1) God is Personal. He is not able to relate person to person to person with other persons. He has no problem ordering genocide when it suits his purpose. He also has an evil personality.

          2) God is depicted as a moral monster.

          3) Fortunately, Bible god does not exist.

          4) Bible god is a figment of the human imagination.

          5) Therefore Bible god is man made.

          6) Among others, the characteristics of Bible God are pettiness, depravity, capricious, unholiness, wicked, and unfaithful just to name a few.

          Is there any one of these you’d like to explore as to evidence like Bible god inflicting an newborn with illness or killing the first born of Egypt? There are so many gory stories of Bible god ulginess to choose from.

        • epeeist

          So here are some of the properties related to the God revealed in the Bible:

          All your properties beg the question in that they assume that the bible is true.

        • Don Camp

          Since I am not interested in proving a generic god’s existence, I have chosen to focus on the existence of the God revealed in the Bible. The properties that belong to this God are what I am interested in. So I am going to assume the Bible speaks truly, and I test that in real experience and evidence.

        • epeeist

          So I am going to assume the Bible speaks truly, and I test that in real experience and evidence.

          And the Muslim is going to assume that the Quran speaks truly, the Hindu that the Vedas speak truly, the Buddhist that the Pali Canon speaks truly, the Mormon that the book of Mormon speaks truly…

          I see no reason to accept the unsubstantiated assertion that the Bible speaks truly.

        • Don Camp

          I see no reason to accept the unsubstantiated assertion that the Bible speaks truly.

          You don’t need to. But it is the biblical God whom I am asked to prove by evidence. I will confine myself to that. If the biblical God does not pass that test, then we can go on to Hindu gods if you like, though having lived in India, I have no compelling reason to do so.

        • nydiva

          But it is the biblical God whom I am asked to prove by evidence. I will confine myself to that.
          You have been on at least two atheist blogs for over two years and you have NEVER provided any EVIDENCE for the existence of Bible god, just assertions based on the unreliable hearsay from the Bible and your personal testimony. Dear reader, please notice the difference.

        • David Cromie

          Just as the real existence of Harry Potter is revealed in the many stories about him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Since I am not interested in proving a generic god’s existence, I have chosen to focus on the existence of the God revealed in the Bible.

          Wtf does that matter? Being so god specific, just makes your task more difficult.

          The properties that belong to this God are what I am interested in.

          Lovely. Now all you have to do is demonstrate such an entity exists and has those properties.

          So I am going to assume the Bible speaks truly, and I test that in real experience and evidence.

          Assume whatever you want. You’ve come to an atheist blog and for the last few months have spewed the biggest lot of incoherent muck about an imaginary character in an antiquated book of fairy tales, written by a bunch of ignorant holy rollers. Test and believe whatever woo-woo that gives you are hardon, we give zero fucks. We’ve asked you since you got here, to provide evidence for the real experience. All you keep saying is “I have a book that I believe is true”, even though it is demonstrably not, and all the weaseling you’ve done to rescue it, has been pathetic. And personal incredulity, personal anecdote, feelings.

          You do know that to “assume” is to make and ass out of u and me? It’s intelligence insulting, which is another thing you don’t give a second thought about.

        • Phil

          “Since I am not interested in proving a generic god’s existence……” I feel your pain!

        • aikidaves

          1) God is Personal. He is able to related person to person to person with other persons. He also has personality.

          So why doesn’t he talk to everyone clearly enough for them to know that he is? Oh, right, you’re going to blame the listener now, even though in any human discussion it’s the responsibility of the speaker to make sure he or she is properly understood.

          2) God is powerful. He is able to do anything he desires.
          3) God is everywhere present.
          4) God Spirit.
          5) God is eternal.
          6) Among others, the characteristics of God are righteousness, love, justice, wisdom, holiness, kindness, faithfulness.

          Propaganda boilerplate gleaned from the text of a book of myths. In that same book, he orders someone stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath, he drowns everyone on earth except for a few who build a boat, he gets jealous of people building a tower because it’s too tall, etc., etc.

          What evidence would it take for me to accept the existence of your god? My answer is that it’s the same as I’d need to accept the existence of Amaterasu, the mother goddess of Shinto – which is probably comparable with what would be required for you to accept her existence. Of course, you’re willing to accept your supernatural interpretations of your subjective experiences whereas I am very skeptical of such, so maybe it’s not as comparable as I’d like, but that’s the general direction.

        • Don Camp

          it’s the same as I’d need to accept the existence of Amaterasu, the
          mother goddess of Shinto – which is probably comparable with what would
          be required for you to accept her existence.

          If you can provide some properties of this god, then we can look at the evidence.

        • aikidaves

          There is no evidence other than ancient myths, just as is true for most of the other gods people have believed in on this planet. Look her up if you want to know her properties. I could have just as easily chosen Odin or Hera or Rama or any other god. The properties of a god, those things its adherents attribute to it, are not evidence for its existence, only of its apologists’ mindsets. For example, you say your god is powerful. Everyone who worships a god says their god is powerful. You say your god created the universe, so that proves it, but you provide no evidence that the universe was created by any god, including yours. You only have your opinion that you’re right. People believing in other religions have their opinions that they’re right. Since you all only provide arguments and not evidence, I have to reason to think any of you are right. To me, the universe exists; its hypothetical creator remains unproven.

        • epeeist

          Since you all only provide arguments and not evidence

          He doesn’t provide arguments, since these need both backing and warrant and he never provides either. What he does provide are unsubstantiated assertions.

        • aikidaves

          Yes, I like that wording. Thank you.

        • Don Camp

          You say your god created the universe, so that proves it, but you
          provide no evidence that the universe was created by any god, including
          yours.

          It may for me, but not for you. I actually don’t know if any of the gods you name say they are the Creator. But it doesn’t matter. The issue is whether the universe shows signs of being the product of an intelligent creator. I think it does.

          Since you all only provide arguments and not evidence, I have to reason to think any of you are right.

          Since the creation is a past event, the evidence will be forensic evidence or indirect evidence. There is that.

        • aikidaves

          There are many gods whose proponents say that they are the creators of the universe. Those proponents all say things similar to what you say.

          You look at the universe and say it must have been intelligently designed, and then cite the opinions of others to support that view. I think you’re jumping to a conclusion without the necessary groundwork. The universe exists. I see no convincing basis for your conclusion, unless you have evidence that you haven’t yet presented.

        • Greg G.

          No god thingies say they are creaters. Only myth-makers who have no means of knowing say that god thingies are creaters. Some myths seem say it was accidental.

        • Bob Jase

          So show us the evidence already, not your fee-fees, not your ‘visions’ – actual , non-denominational physical evidence for your specific creator candidate.

        • Don Camp

          Let me link a website with that info. https://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48937152.html

          The August ’97 issue of “Science” (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled “Science and God: A Warming Trend?” Here is an excerpt:

          The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life — such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars — also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

          This general evidence does not need to be Creator specific. But I will do that in a later post.

        • nydiva

          The August ’97 issue of “Science” . Well I found a video debate that is much more recent and it’s a scientist versus an apologists who has several YouTube videos attempting to debunk Dr. Carroll’s agruments against fine tuning. Enjoy!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJEWg1ifUCg

        • nydiva

          While I enjoyed the debate between William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss – Life, the Universe, and Nothing
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj4nbL53I-E I also enjoyed the debate between Sir Roger Penrose & William Lane Craig • The Universe: How did it get here & why are we part of it? Dr. Craig attempted to insert his imaginary friend into the science equation, but Sir Penrose was less likely to make such dogmatic assertions about what we know about the universe. Enjoy!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wLtCqm72-Y

        • David Cromie

          See my previous reply, modified to ‘I don’t know. but probably some ‘god’ may be responsible’. This does not get us very far either.

          How many scientists, other than religious freaks, agreed with the author of the paper you quote, and who wrote it (the paper does not come up at that web address, and I do not have time to go looking for it)?

          We can all play the game of ‘What if’, as exemplified by the quotes in the paper which does comes up (I also note it is a religious site!).

        • Don Camp

          The link does work for me. It is a Jewish website.

        • David Cromie

          The time-worn plea of the ignorant – ‘I don’t know. therefore ‘god’ did it’

        • David Cromie

          Supposed ‘gods’ may have any ‘properties’ you care to ascribe to them.

          BTW, how do you know what properties adhere to your favourite, supposed, ‘god’, and then prove that it exists and really does have them?

        • Don Camp

          BTW, how do you know what properties adhere to your favourite, supposed, ‘god’

          I was asked to be biblical God specific. I am using the descriptions of God from the scriptures.I am not arbitrarily assigning properties.

          prove that it exists and really does have them?

          That is what this discussion is all about. There is adequate evidence to make the inference that an intelligent designer created the universe. Lots of people do, including qualified people. That is old ground we’ve walked before.

          The next step is to see if the biblical God is described as having the power and intelligence to create the universe. That is the stage of the discussion we are in right now.

        • Don Camp

          So why doesn’t he talk to everyone clearly enough for them to know that
          he is? Oh, right, you’re going to blame the listener now, even though in
          any human discussion it’s the responsibility of the speaker to make
          sure he or she is properly understood.

          You have not been a teacher, I presume. Sometimes kids just don’t listen. They are preoccupied, resistant to the teacher. Etc.

          But God does break through even our resistance at times. So listen.

        • aikidaves

          I’ve been listening for most of my 63 years. If he’s spoken to me, he’s made sure that I haven’t heard him. And as I predicted, you’re blaming the audience for not hearing the speaker. Clearly you don’t understand the problem of hiddenness.

        • Greg G.

          You have not been a teacher, I presume. Sometimes kids just don’t listen. They are preoccupied, resistant to the teacher. Etc.

          But God does break through even our resistance at times. So listen.

          Have you ever been an omniscient, omnipotent teacher with the power to put ideas into a student’s mind?

          Is it fear of overriding someone’s free will? What about the free will of gullible people who think they have sufficient evidence?

        • Don Camp

          Have you ever…put ideas into a student’s mind?

          Teachers put ideas in students’ minds all the time. It is what we do. Once there, it is up to the students what they do with them. God puts ideas in peoples’ mind as well.

          Almost all peoples ancient to modern have the idea in their minds that the universe, from big to small, is the work of an intelligent mind. That is where religions come from, and it is the common conviction of many today.

          See https://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48937152.htm

          An amazing array of scientists are bewildered by the design of the universe and admit a possibility of a designer.

          Free will allows the observer to decide what to do with that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Isn’t funny how Christers will resort to comparing YahwehJesus to yer normal run-of-the-mill fallible human beings, when called out for displaying the qualities of a normal fallible run-of-the-mill human being?

          Don’s God is immaterial, he said so himself. How the immaterial talks to anyone is the question? Enter the mindwankery.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have not been a teacher, I presume. Sometimes kids just don’t listen. They are preoccupied, resistant to the teacher. Etc.

          Another shite Christer analogy.

          I can tell you in no uncertain terms. Soldiers on the drill parade square, listen to their drill sergeant.

          Are drill sergeants more powerful than YahhwehJesus?

          But God does break through even our resistance at times. So listen.

          Bwaaaahahahahaha….sometimes? Your God is a useless cunt.

        • amused

          OK, lets talk about your #2. You say god is able to do anything he desires. Let’s look at the central tenets of christianity, to see if that idea is borne out.

          Tenet: Man is born with Original Sin as a result of an unfortunate dietary choice.
          Tenet: God wanted to forgive mankind, so several thousand years after the Fall, god engineers a plan that would be the envy of Rube Goldberg. He has a woman conceived without Original Sin. He impregnates her, though she is married to a mortal, without that being the sin of adultery, which is fairly high on his list of pet peeves. The resulting child, while in human form, is actually a co-equal deity, part of a 3=1, 1=3 combination deity. God then arranges for his son, who is also him, to be tortured to death as a sacrifice to atone for the original sin.
          Question: If god is all-powerful, why was all that necessary? God clearly desired to forgive mankind. The whole elaborate plan suggests that a lot of thought went into how to bring about that forgiveness. So, why not just say, “I forgive” and skip the whole elaborate drama? Certainly an all-powerful being could have simply decreed forgiveness, with no need for the woman, the child, the third prong of the deity, the crucifixion.
          It suggests that the power of god was constrained by some rules requiring a blood sacrifice before forgiveness could be extended. But if god can be constrained by such rules, who made those rules? What rule making being has the power to create rules that limit the power of god? Would that being not necessarily be more powerful than the christian god? Have we been worshiping a mere middleman the whole time?

        • Greg G.

          Q: If the mother of Jesus could be conceived without Original Sin, why couldn’t Eve’s children have been conceived without Original Sin?

          A: Rube Goldberg is God.

        • Don Camp

          Man is born with Original Sin as a result of an unfortunate dietary choice.

          I find your description amusing. It was not what man ate but that he ate it in disobedience of God’s instructions. But let’s go on. What do you mean by “Original Sin?” That is a theological construct. It has been defined in several different ways. Which way do you understand it?

          God wanted to forgive mankind, so several thousand years after the

          Fall, god engineers a plan that would be the envy of Rube Goldberg.

          Again I think you don’t understand the picture. Foreignness was available from the very first day. Adam and Eve were forgiven, if the symbolism of the covering with skins means anything. Through the centuries, forgiveness was available through then sacrificial system. Theologically, that prepared the Jews to understand the forgiveness transaction and understand how Jesus and his sacrifice was the ultimate expression of forgiveness.

          If god is all-powerful, why was all that necessary?…So, why not just say, “I forgive” and skip the whole elaborate drama?

          Because forgiveness is not really that easy when the harm or sin is great. Imagine forgiving a friend who killed one of your children. Is that easy? I’ll bet it is not. We are more inclined to revenge or at least to obtain justice.

          So if you choose to forgive, you choose to forego revenge and even justice to embrace your friend again as friend. So who in this scenario pays the price? Primarily you, right?. You have bear the hurt of your child’s death without revenge or justice.

          That is the reason for the “drama.” And it was a drama in a way. It was done publicly for our sake so that we could see the cost of our sin and the love of God in forgiving.

          So why make forgiving so public and dramatic? Because the forgiveness transaction, if it is to result in reconciliation between the sinner and God, the sinner must accept the forgiveness offered. To do that he must take his sin seriously. It is no small thing. It cost God to forgive. Only as the sinner recognizes his sin and turns away from it to God and forgiveness is the transaction completed, and God and the sinner are friends again.

          There are really no shortcuts.

        • aikidaves

          The thing is, there is no solid evidence to support that the myths about these events are true. There is no compelling reason to believe any of what you said here is fact. Your assertions seem as implausible to me as you say the idea that the universe was not created by an intelligence seems to you. Because you have faith in myths that someone else told you, you bend over backwards twisting stories to suit your preconceived result, and don’t appear to understand how nonsensical that looks to people who don’t share your beliefs.

        • David Cromie

          What a moronic question. I have already specified the type of evidence required, as you well know.

          If you are stumped, then try specifying the evidence you rely on – i.e. your supposed ‘god’, so your incontrovertible evidence for it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Preaching, proselytizing, asserting stuff you can’t possibly know, selective interpretations, the No True Scotsman Fallacy…will that do?

    • swbarnes2

      So you want us to talk to spend more effort talking to people like this? Right?

      https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/01/15/377589757/boy-says-he-didn-t-go-to-heaven-publisher-says-it-will-pull-book

      Why don’t you go out into the field and talk with people like this?

      https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JGO.2016.009084

      Honestly the existence of a specialty called “pediatric oncology” pretty much wipes your argument off the table.

      • Don Camp

        So what does the fact that God did not heal the girl with cancer prove? It does not prove that he doesn’t heal others. It doesn’t prove that he can’t. There are adequate numbers of incidents when the doctor walks into the room or the patient returns to the office and the doctor finds by legitimate medical tests that the cancer is gone. You focus on the one, why not the others.

        There are also enough times when people fudge the reports, as perhaps in the NPR report. My goodness, that happens in a lot of ordinary cases in life. Does that discredit every report? Not for most reasonable people. It only makes them be more careful in believing the reports.

        So I’ll repeat what I said. Get off the computer and get out into the field. Build a data base of reports and evidence Talk to people examine the details. The make up your mind.

        • Greg G.

          https://www.templeton.org/about/vision-mission-impact
          Templeton Foundation Mission Statement

          Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? Is evolution directional? Are we immortal? Was the universe created? What is love?

          We share Sir John Templeton’s optimism about the power of the sciences and other discovery-oriented disciplines to advance our understanding of the Big Questions.

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

          The John Templeton Foundation (Templeton Foundation) is a philanthropic organization that reflects the ideas of its founder, John Templeton, who became wealthy after a career as a contrarian investor and wanted to support progress in religious and spiritual knowledge, especially at the intersection of religion and science.
          [emphasis added]

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567
          Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer.

          CONCLUSIONS:
          Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

          There had been several studies on the effects of prayer on medical conditions and many showed a positive indication of the power of prayer, but all of them had protocols that allowed for human bias or the sample size was too small. The STEP experiment eliminated possible sources of bias and used a large sample of patients.

          The results were that prayer had no effect unless the patient was told that churches would be praying for them, and then the effect was detrimental.

          Praying doesn’t work and you do more harm than good if you tell someone you are praying for them.

        • eric

          It does not prove that he doesn’t heal others. It doesn’t prove that he can’t

          Ooooh, you got us. You’re right, God can heal all the children with cancer, but only chooses to heal none or a rare few.

          You really told us!

        • Ignorant Amos

          You focus on the one, why not the others.

          No, you focus on the one, not the others. There shouldn’t be others in a God centric world.

          You are engaging in the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.

          There’s been 70 “verified” miracles at Lourdes since 1858. Around 6 million visit Lourdes each year. That a shite track record your God has there.

          Of course the miracle “cures” are just things that the panel can’t explain, it doesn’t mean there will no explanation, so Catholic God did it gets a free pass.

          “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”. ~ Thomas Paine

          Other religious woo-woo’s have miracle claims too…but I’m gonna guess you are having none of that…two faced hypocrite.

        • There’s been 70 “verified” miracles at Lourdes since 1858. Around 6 million visit Lourdes each year. That a shite track record your God has there.

          Indeed. For anyone who believes that there is a God performing miracles, I’d really like a good answer to one very simple question: Why is it that every time we investigate God we find that God operates at a level that is indistinguishable from that of chance?

        • Greg G.

          It’s worse than that:

          August 1, 1922 – France – Miélan: Two trains carrying pilgrims from Moulins to Lourdes collided when the first one stalled climbing a hill and then ran backwards, apparently due to a brake system failure. Forty people are killed
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rail_accidents_(1920%E2%80%931929)

          July 23, 2007 – France – Vizille: 26 people died in a bus crash that visited many sites including Lourdes.
          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catholic-pilgrims-killed-in-bus-crash-5334134.html

          January 25, 2007 – Lourdes, France: Woman dies of cancer after going to Lourdes instead of seeking medical treatment
          The body of a terminally ill British woman lay concealed by her mother for nearly five months at their home near the Catholic sanctuary of Lourdes, it emerged today.

          French police discovered the body of Marian Therese Kearney, 46, last Thursday after being alerted by her 11-year-old daughter’s teacher, who suspected from the child’s demeanour in the classroom that something was wrong within the family.

          Sources close to the French investigation told the AFP new agency that Ms Kearney had been suffering from cancer and had moved to Lourdes, where her mother Irene Kearney lived, in the hope of finding a cure from the spring waters. Investigators say both women were religious mystics who shunned conventional medicine and sought help instead from the healing powers of the Catholic shrine.
          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jan/25/france.uk

          Pope John Paul visited Lourdes twice, first in August 1983 and then in August 2004 on his last voyage abroad before dying in April 2005.
          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-lourdes-history/factbox-the-roman-catholic-pilgrimage-site-lourdes-idUSLB15892820080911

          In Pierrefitte-Nestelas, uphill from Lourdes, a woman in her 70s was drowned after being swept away by floods in south-western France overnight. The shrine at the Catholic pilgrimage site at Lourdes remained closed on Wednesday morning but officials said that the waters were beginning to subside on Wednesday morning.
          http://www.rfi.fr/en/environment/20130619-woman-dies-french-floods-lourdes-grotto-remains-submerged

          Lourdes gives pilgrims disease instead of cure
          Vomiting bug spread among pilgrims during shrine’s 150th anniversary celebrations
          https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lourdes-gives-pilgrims-disease-instead-of-cure-p0cqp0063lr

          The Lourdes Medical Cures Revisited
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3854941/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Beat me to it!

        • Maybe God smites people who don’t ask correctly 😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          🙁

        • grasshopper

          This year at Lourdes its gonna be different. The blind will get 2020 visions.

        • Yahweh is clearly a god, just not a particularly powerful or involved god.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why is it that every time we investigate God we find that God operates at a level that is indistinguishable from that of chance?

          Yes…all hail the holey “Lucky Horseshoe” who answers prayers on a par with YahwehJesus.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH0rFZIqo8A

        • nydiva

          Now Don, you may have a point here. After all, didn’t your imaginary friend strike a newborn with a deadly illness and kill it because its parent committed adultery? Of course, god not healing a girl with cancer proves that your imaginary god is as evil as the person who made up the story! Why anyone would expect mercy from that moral monster is beyond me.

        • swbarnes2

          So what does the fact that God did not heal the girl with cancer prove?

          She didn’t get a miracle. Neither do thousands and thousands of other children.

          What do you think a child dying of cancer shows about your God?

          Besides, you are dodging my point. If you want us to interview people like Alex Malarkey about miracles, you have to be willing to go into cancer wards and interview all the children who are going to die. Face the choices of your God straightforwardly.

          Are you willing to do that? Of course not.

          There are adequate numbers of incidents when the doctor walks into the room or the patient returns to the office and the doctor finds by legitimate medical tests that the cancer is gone.

          No, there really aren’t. Usually what happens is the patient misunderstands their diagnosis, and didn’t have cancer. Or had cancer, got surgery to remove it, and then says God did everything.

          Captain Cassidy has a story about how her husband was 100% absolutely positively sure that if he anointed a suffering cancer patient on his death bed (a young pastor with a whole community earnestly praying for him) with olive oil, he would be healed. The family threw him out, because they knew deep down inside that no miracle was coming.

          Bethel church in Redding was also earnestly praying for a miracle. They have a team specifically devoted to praying for miracles. They didn’t get one either.

          There are also enough times when people fudge the reports, as perhaps in the NPR report.

          “Fudge a report”? You have to be brazenly, apologetically dishonest down to your bones to characterize a person writing a book about something that didn’t happen as “fudging a report”. But your Christian integrity requires this behavior of you. You couldn’t be honest if you tried, your Christianity as so warped your sense of honesty. Or you picked Christianity because it suited your through bone deep dishonesty,

          Get off the computer and get out into the field.

          No one will follow the advice of a liar.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So what does the fact that God did not heal the girl with cancer prove?

          Problem of Evil, Donnie-poo.

          YOUR KIND’s problem, not ours.

          *We* don’t posit an omnipotent, omniscient, omniBENEVOLENT being.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “There are adequate numbers of incidents when the doctor walks into the room or the patient returns to the office and the doctor finds by legitimate medical tests that the cancer is gone. ”

          Genuine medical citations please. I am not interested in vague claims without strong medical evidence.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          And what about conditions that don’t go into spontaneous remission, like the classic example of missing limbs? Why doesn’t god heal those? Since we know cancer can go away on its own, how do we discern between god’s influence and natural remission?

        • Otto

          There are adequate numbers of incidents when the doctor walks into the room or the patient returns to the office and the doctor finds by legitimate medical tests that the cancer is gone.

          For the sake of argument lets say this happens. How do you tie this to a god? Saying the person was prayed for isn’t enough, lots of people are prayed for and either nothing happens or even the situation gets worse.

          ‘We can’t explains something, therefore God’…is not a good argument.

        • Don Camp

          How do you tie this to a god?

          In my on instance, I was convinced because there was also the confirmation of God’s presence and peace.

          In the case of others who report healing by God, I listen carefully to the person who was healed and to God. But when I am satisfied that the person prayed in trust in the Lord, or the people praying for /her/ him did, I am willing to accept it as a miracle.

          Since I am not trying to prove God, the bottom line is what matters. The person is healed. I’ll take that.

        • Otto

          I was convinced because there was also the confirmation of God’s presence and peace.

          Oh, well that settles it than, nothing could possibly refute that. smh

        • Greg G.

          How do you do that eye roll across the internet? Neat trick.

        • Otto

          Sarcasm is my second favorite asm.

        • Greg G.

          Overenthusiasm? Hypochondriasm? Blepharospasm? Ergastoplasm?

          Oh, Right! Greg Always Says “More”!

          Edit: Several strokes with the correction fluid and I am finally satisfied.

        • Don Camp

          It does for me. For you and for a lot of people, including the crowds that saw Jesus heal, almost anything can refute what they saw. And that is the point here. You want to see a bonafiide miracle, And then what? Are you going to take up your cross and follow Jesus? Very few did.

          The crowds were amazed. The enemies of Jesus were angered. The skeptics thought it all was a trick. The religious leaders thought it was the devil. But if you look at the biblical narrative, very few outside of the person healed and some close to them were convinced enough to say, “Hallelujah! God be praised! He still does miracles today.” I don’t expect it to be different today.

          You see the experience of a miracle is personal to the person who experienced it. It rarely is “proof” for anyone else that God is doing something. And in the case of Jesus, almost all the people believed in God. So today, for people who don’t believe in God, what should I expect?

        • Lex Lata

          1. ” For you and for a lot of people, including the crowds that saw Jesus heal, almost anything can refute what they saw. . . . . But if you look at the biblical narrative, very few outside of the person healed and some close to them were convinced enough to say, ‘Hallelujah! God be praised! He still does miracles today.’ I don’t expect it to be different today.”

          Yet you explicitly started this thread by asking us to accept anecdotal, unverifiable, post hoc accounts of modern miracles told by fellow members of a species with a known penchant for pareidolia, projection, exaggeration, hallucinations, counting-hits-while-ignoring-misses, honest misapprehensions, wishful thinking, motivated reasoning, and–more often than we like to admit–plain old makin’ stuff up. If you don’t expect that we’d believe an actual in-person miracle performed by JC himself before our very eyes, it’s not clear why you would expect us to credit miraculous accounts told by other people we don’t even know.

          2. “You see the experience of a miracle is personal to the person who experienced it.”

          Let’s go with that, and give something a try. By my reckoning, a miracle is an event that is flatly contradictory–not just very surprising or currently unexplained–to our understanding of the way space, time, matter, and energy behave. If I experienced such a miracle, I can honestly say my mind would be blown, and I would likely convert to the faith of the person performing the miracle. I’d even write about it here, knowing that most of the regulars would scoff, to say the least.

          So let’s try it, if you’re game. Pray as fervently as you like for God to put the name of the street I grew up on into your mind within the next 12 hours, and then type it in response to this comment. All sarcasm and debating and rhetoric aside, I would view that as a real (if relatively minor) miracle, and describe it as such here. In theory, I can imagine a few naturalistic ways in which you could, with lots of time and effort (or a mountain of luck), get the answer. But I’m willing to write those off as so improbable as to be indistinguishable from impossible in practice.

          Want to give it a shot? One word is all we’re talking about. If you’re correct, I’ll become a Christian of the denomination of your choice, and write about the whole experience here. If you’re not, none of us are any worse off for having tried.

        • Don Camp

          . By my reckoning, a miracle is an event that is flatly

          contradictory–not just very surprising or currently unexplained–to our

          understanding of the way space, time, matter, and energy behave. If I

          experienced such a miracle, I can honestly say my mind would be blown,

          and I would likely convert to the faith of the person performing the

          miracle.

          The disciples did respond in faith. But few others did. Why do you think you’d be different?

          So let’s try it, if you’re game…. If you’re correct, I’ll become a Christian of the denomination of your choice

          Otto, I doubt it. That is not how anyone is converted. EVERYONE who is converted is converted through a personal encounter with God. You might be amazed and amused by the game, but I’d guess that is all.

          It is interesting to me that every challenge like this one you pose is based on your being in the captain’s seat. You are the judge. You call the shost If you’ll forgive me, that is the biggest thing that stands in the way of faith for most people. But you might do better with some of the old pagan God’s. They seemed to be more inclined to dance to the tune of their petitioners – especially if you sacrificed your child. .

        • Otto

          You are the judge.

          So you are not the judge? You just blindly accept what you are told? Well at least that makes sense considering your childish level of the logic you use.

          especially if you sacrificed your child.

          You mean like God asked Abraham to do?

        • Lex Lata

          1. I’m not Otto. Happy to be confused with him, though.

          2. “That is not how anyone is converted. EVERYONE who is converted is converted through a personal encounter with God. You might be amazed and amused by the game, but I’d guess that is all.” That’s not for you to decide, but for me. And of course the Bible (especially the Gospels and Acts), medieval saints’ lives, and other Christian writings are simply chockablock with accounts of conversions following purported miracles.

          3. “It is interesting to me that every challenge like this one you pose is based on your being in the captain’s seat. You are the judge.” Yes, that’s how rigorous personal epistemology generally works. Just as you are the judge when you consider the claims of Mormons, Scientologists, Hindus, Buddhists, ghost hunters, astrologers, tarot card readers, alien abductees, and anyone else who makes wondrous assertions that are inconsistent with your presuppositions.

          4. “But you might do better with some of the old pagan God’s. They seemed to be more inclined to dance to the tune of their petitioners – especially if you sacrificed your child.” Diversionary hand-waving duly noted. Plus, most of the pagan gods I’m fond of were more into animal sacrifice. Y’know, just like Yahweh.

          5. Finally, I’d also note that you’re willing to take the time and effort to rationalize why you won’t try this, but not the time and effort to actually try it–even though there’s literally no downside whatsoever to getting the wrong answer, and the upsides to getting it right are my potential return to the church and likely shaking the worldview of quite a few of my fellow skeptics here, among whom I like to think I have some credibility. Okeedoke.

          Cheers!

        • MR

          As if we didn’t know he would backpedal faster than Wile E. Coyote hanging mid-air over a canyon.

        • So “conversions are only emotional, not intellectual” is your final answer?

          every challenge like this one you pose is based on your being in the captain’s seat. You are the judge. You call the shost If you’ll forgive me, that is the biggest thing that stands in the way of faith for most people.

          Correct! God gave us a brain that demands evidence, and yet boneheads like you want to special-plead exceptions for the most important topic of all.

          You need to think through your arguments before you put them in public, making you look stupid.

        • Otto

          Your answer to my question was disingenuous . You are a prime example of why I stopped taking Christians seriously.

        • MR

          Me, too. It was precisely the fallacies the Don uses that pushed me out of the Christian nest. If your religion resorts to disingenuous methods, what does that say about it?

        • the crowds that saw Jesus heal

          What crowds? At best, you have a story about Jesus healing. Turn that into validated history first, then get back to us.

        • Don Camp

          Then read it as story. The message is the same.

        • But the reliability is different. I’m amazed that you don’t see the problem.

          But that’s my bad–I should know by now.

        • Bob Jase

          Now did those crowds see Jesus or were they told that Jesus was responsible? How did they know – did he present his driver’s license? Oh, can you supply evidence or are we just supposed to believe your magic book again?

          You just are too thick to get it, most of us were raised Christians and realized that our indoctrination was a lie

        • Don Camp

          How did they know – did he present his driver’s license?

          If we understand the narrative to be accurate, they had the evidence of their eyes.

        • Greg G.

          If we understand the narrative to be accurate, they had the evidence of their eyes.

          The evidence I see is that the miracle stories are based on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, Elisha, OT Apocrypha, and Vespasian propaganda so I understand that the stories are not accurate because they are fiction.

        • gusbovona

          You want to see a bonafiide miracle, And then what? Are you going to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

          If scientists around the world verified to each other that the entire text of the KJ bible was written into the cosmic microwave background radiation, in every language simultaneously, I’d be at least at 51% believing.

        • Don Camp

          Believe what? %1% to 49% is not much more than maybe.

        • gusbovona

          Did you catch “at least” 51%. I didn’t say exactly at 51%. By saying “at least,” I’m trying to avoid a discussion about whether it should be 51% or 73% or 92% and focus on the important point, which is that I’d flip my belief from atheism to theism (and to Christianity in particular).

        • Ignorant Amos

          If scientists around the world verified to each other that the entire text of the KJ bible was written into the cosmic microwave background radiation, in every language simultaneously, I’d be at least at 51% believing.

          And I could still make a number of more rational cases for why it wasn’t a supernatural deity.

          Clarke’s Law being at the top of my list.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Let me know if “god” has restored a limb…

        • Don Camp

          God did thing just as amazing as that for the people there. Blind from birth or restoring a withered arm is just as obvious and impossible for the people there as restoring a limb.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          And just as profitable. Disciples gotta eat too.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          The people where? Obvious and impossible kind of contradict each other.

        • Sample1

          Or unvaccinated rabies exposure survivors. 50,000+ human deaths annually.

          Dogs are repeatedly described as disgusting creatures in His Word, and it was never a compliment to be compared to one. I guess rabies is God’s way of saying, “well, don’t make friends with dogs!” Or bats. Or any non-human mammal. Phew, easy-to-vary logic to the rescue.

          How far we’ve come. Today dogs are family members. And that’s beautiful. I’m pretty sure a dog would growl at this deity. Perceptive as they are at ferreting out unsavory characters. Then again, my dog is an atheist.

          If I was unscrupulous, I’d write a book on How To Raise Your Puppy Christian. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a niche exists.

          Mike

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          You’ve obviously never attended a tent rival and faith healing. Praise grifters Jesus!

        • Pofarmer

          What about the people who prayed in trust in the Lord and died?

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: Since I am not trying to prove God, the bottom line is what matters. The person is healed. I’ll take that.
          Of course, you are trying to prove god.That’s why you are here bearing witness for it. But you can’t prove god because it only exists inside your head and personal experience.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the case of others who report healing by God, I listen carefully to the person who was healed and to God. But when I am satisfied that the person prayed in trust in the Lord, or the people praying for /her/ him did, I am willing to accept it as a miracle.

          Of course ya are Don…that’s how the gullible… bwaaaahahahaha!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf5q6VFn17o

        • Greg G.

          There are adequate numbers of incidents when the doctor walks into the room or the patient returns to the office and the doctor finds by legitimate medical tests that the cancer is gone.

          No there aren’t. There are cases of spontaneous healings but they are not specific to any particular religion.

          I heard of a handful of cases of multiple sclerosis being cured by prayer. I was impressed. Then I read an article about the disease. Sometimes the symptoms disappear for years. Unfortunately, they are fooling themselves.

        • Don Camp

          So they say, Greg. So they say. But none of that, the spontaneous healing nor the illness that returns, really are arguments against divine healing. They are cautions for us not to get too carried away. I would be thankful for either.

        • Greg G.

          But none of that, the spontaneous healing nor the illness that returns, really are arguments against divine healing.

          They really are arguments against divine healing. If god thingies did healings, then there should be spontaneous recoveries at a higher rate for the correct religion than for all other religions or the non-religious. The fact that there are several religions touting miracle healings when the statistics do not support them means that they are due to confirmation bias where the one healing is the one they remember and the failures are written off and forgotten.

          Medical science does lots of investigations to identify commonalities and their relationships to diseases. If prayer did anything positive, there should be statistics to support that. If prayer worked as well as Christians believe it does, the results should be overwhelming.

          Several years ago, there was a study showing that people who attended church regularly had a slightly lower death rate than people who didn’t attend church regularly. But the study included life-long church goers who were dying and too sick to attend in the group of those who didn’t attend church regularly.

          Cherry-picking and confirmation bias is all you have.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          But none of that, the spontaneous healing nor the illness that returns, really are arguments against divine healing.

          Perhaps, but it also means we have no reason to think god was involved.

          So how do we discern between natural remission and divine recovery?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Are you not thankful for what you have now? If so, thank modern chemistry and biology. Otherwise, folks would still suffer and die from diseases like leprosy and smallpox, no thanks to any instructions from your loving god.

        • Greg G.

          die from diseases like leprosy

          That idea about draining the blood from a bird, sprinkling it about, dipping another bird in the blood, and then releasing it sounds like a promising advance for modern medicine. //s

        • I read one miracle account where a spleen was removed, and then it returned. Turns out, spleens can grow back.

          Apologists sometimes take advantage of laymen’s ignorance.

        • Greg G.

          I was born with no teeth. I couldn’t eat solid food. My parents took me to a church, the preacher sprinkled water on me, and in a few months, I started growing teeth!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          I love that!

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “Get off the computer and get out into the field. Build a data base of reports and evidence Talk to people examine the details. ”

          Yeah, your coreligionist Dr Craig S. Keener in his book on “Miracles” has already done a lot of work for us by collecting a huge number of miracle claims.

          For the entertainment of readers here, (apologies for the long comment) I have put together selected quotes from that pile of garbage called a book regarding the raising of the dead which is even more miraculous than curing serious illnesses (bold-facing is all mine):

          Raising Accounts in Africa
          Accounts abound in Africa.[334]…
          Some have claimed that the controversial Pentecostal preacher Simeon Kayiwa of Uganda has raised eighteen people from the dead.[353]

          Skeptics take note, raising of the dead is much more common than you think!

          Raising Accounts in Asia
          Timor, Indonesia, offers reports of the raising of a four-year-old boy, dead for four days, [393]

          Two days after a two-year-old girl had died in the hospital, the decomposing body was restored to life. [398]

          These two examples surely beat the resurrection of you-know-who.

          From India

          [399] … a high government official’s youngest son” became mortally sick. After sacrifices to other deities failed, a pharmacist suggested that the official try “the Christian God, Jesus,” who once raised Lazarus. Returning to find that his son had died a few hours earlier and that neighbors had already gathered, the father promised the Jesus who raised Lazarus that he would worship him if he raised his son. “Immediately,” the report claims, “the eyes of the child began to flicker again and he was restored to life.”

          See, you don’t need to be a Christian first before Jesus would work wonders for you. Just promise to worship him in return for his favor! Also make sure that you worship a more powerful god instead of the local deities. Ha Ha Ha!

          In another case, an Indian pastor prayed for a girl who allegedly “not only was dead but actually had worms coming out of her nose”; after about half an hour of prayer she returned to consciousness and shared her postmortem experience.

          Dr. Julie Ma relates the story of a raising in Nepal. Despite prayers and sacrifices to local gods, Tamang’s mother died. A Buddhist lama chanted prayers over her for several hours, at Tamang’s request, but she remained lifeless. Hearing that Christians could heal, he called some of them from a neighboring village. As the entire village watched, the Christians prayed, and “his mother came back to life.” [406]

          Moral of the story: make sure that you worship the right god.

          Unbelievers and skeptics, do you need any further evidence that prayers to the almighty Christian god can do wonders, even if you are just promising to worship him? YahwehJesus desperately needs your worship. But then, I wonder why he (or is it they?) refused to answer prayers from the 6 million Jews brutally murdered in the Holocaust (and millions of other non-Jews as well at that time).

        • Golly. I’m convinced. How can you reject something in black and white?

        • Bob Jase

          “a girl who allegedly “not only was dead but actually had worms coming out of her nose”;

          To be fair it was in India…

          As to why god ignored the Jews during the Holocaust let me point out that the Nazis wore belt buckles reading “Got Mit Uns” first and as such they had god’s priority.

        • So what does the fact that God did not heal the girl with cancer prove? It does not prove that he doesn’t heal others

          Ah, falling back on your fundamental argument, “But you can’t prove my god doesn’t exist!!”

          Yeah, that’s a good reason to believe. That’s why I believe in unicorns.

        • aikidaves

          I love unicorns! Especially the invisible pink ones!

        • Get off the computer and get out into the field. Build a data base of reports and evidence Talk to people examine the details. The make up your mind.

          You first. Show us that you do that for the other religions of the world and we’ll see that you’re not just playing games.

        • David Cromie

          Your supposed omnimax ‘god; is very arbitrary when it comes to looking out for the best interests of its ‘creation’, right across the cosmic spectrum.

    • eric

      You, of course, ignore the time God actually showed up: Jesus

      If the bible is true, then yes God could come down in Jesus-like form, work miracles, tell us directly what He wants, sway large numbers of nonbelievers to become Christian, and this would not take away anyone’s free will choice. We can say that, because He’s done it in the Bible, and those events didn’t seem to take away anyone’s free will.

      So, uh…why doesn’t He? Is God just content with the result of his one appearance? Taking 2,000 years to convince 1/3 of the human population seems pretty subpar to me. It’s the sort of result I would think could absolutely be improved by a second appearance.

      How about law of natural cause and effect? Creation itself breaks that law.

      So does your idea of God. Asserting the existence of one uncaused thing philosophically opens the door for the notion of other uncaused things – whether you like it or not.

      • Don Camp

        So, uh…why doesn’t He?

        He chooses to use the means he has provided.

        I find it interesting that you all seem to think that if God showed up again as he did in Jesus, you all would drop to your knees in worship. Why do you think if he did and even if he did the miracles he did the first time, you would be different from the 99.9 % of people who chose to reject him and ignore him the first time?

        The problem is that God is not interested in being your puppet. He is not interested in your disinterested examination of him. When he shows up he wants to be your God. And despite what you say, eric, that means expecting you to follow his instructions for life. Most people find that too much for them. It means giving up your control.

        It’s the sort of result I would think could absolutely be improved by a second appearance.

        That is actually in the plan. But it turns out, at least according to the prediction, that most will not be any more inclined to embrace his appearance the second time than at the first.

        However. 1/3 of the world’s population is not bad I’d say, given he started with twelve.

        • Otto

          1/3 of the population that don’t agree with each other on the subject because Jesus did such a poor job.

        • nydiva

          I find it interesting that you all seem to think that if God showed up again as he did in Jesus, you all would drop to your knees in worship.

          There you go again, projecting your opinions on the group. If a god did show up, why would I drop to my kness and worship? That’s your delusional thinking, not mine. All the objections you listed in your post is nonsense. You seem to think that you can not only read our minds, but you are the mouth piece of this god who sent you here to tell us it is not our puppet. Frankly, you are the one who treats your god like a puppet, always mouthing off about what he likes and doesn’t like, who it is, etc. If your imaginary friend wants to be everyone’s friend, then he should have revealed itself in a way no one could dispute its message. You are a poor messenger who disregards the rules of this blog to preach at us about a second coming that ain’t gonna happen. So what if 1/3 of the world’s population is Christian. Muhammad was one man and Islam will over take Christianity in another 20 years.

        • eric

          Why do you think if he did and even if he did the miracles he did the first time, you would be different from the 99.9 % of people who chose to reject him and ignore him the first time?

          Let’s say you’re right. Let’s say that if he appeared tomorrow and walked amongst us, only 5 million of the 5 billion non-Christians would convert and be saved from hell.

          How is that not worth doing? How could God care so little about those people that he prefers his own hiddenness over saving 5 million people from hell?

          The problem is that God is not interested in being your puppet.

          Oh, he’s already our puppet. All we have to do is set up a well-observed reproducible experiment, and all the miracles disappear. His choice to remain hidden gives us control over when and where he’s allowed to conduct his miracles.

          He is not interested in your disinterested examination of him.

          No, your God is fine with examinations of him. Doubting Thomas, remember? Put your hands in my wounds?

          When he shows up he wants to be your God.

          And he’ll get the chance to be that…when He shows up. This is not hard to understand; for many people, the showing up comes before the conversion. And theologically, you should have no problem with that, because that’s exactly how Jesus did it.

          You haven’t said anything here to actually address my key point, which is that God’s hiddenness cannot be defended by a claim His presence would undermine our free will. I think we even agree on that point. Where we disagree now is that you seem to think that He would be unable to save additional souls by appearing amongst us. Or maybe you think he would save souls, but He has decided it’s not worth doing. I think either claim undermines the Christian conception of God as omnipotent and benevolent, and the much simpler explanation for God’s absence is that there is no such being.

        • Don Camp

          Let’s say that if he appeared tomorrow and walked amongst us, only 5
          million of the 5 billion non-Christians would convert and be saved from
          hell.

          I doubt it. It didn’t happen that way the first time. Why not?

          Because people are blind and deaf and do not have eyes to see or ears to hear. That is what Jesus said. Most I talk with here think that if only God were to show up, they would believe it. If only he would do some tricks for them, they would believe it. If only they could put him under a microscope, they would believe it. If only he had written his name on the surface of the moon, they would believe it. Really, you are only fooling yourself.

          Genuine believing and subsequent following is generated by a personal encounter with God on the level of spirit and only by that. That is what Jesus said. See John 3.

        • aikidaves

          So, the omniscient god picks and chooses the people to reveal himself to, based on criteria that are not clearly explained. And, of course, people who think he’s revealed himself as Allah or Vishnu or Amaterasu or Sol Invictus are all deluded. Congrats on making the short list. Pity god’s so selective about who gets in.

        • It didn’t happen that way the first time. Why not?

          Because God is incompetent?

        • Greg G.

          Because God is incompetent?

          I was just thinking about when Jesus took two tries to heal the blind man with spit in Mark 8:22-25. Vespasian healed a blind man with spit at the Serapis temple in Alexandria, Egypt on the first try and he doubted it would work.

        • Don Camp

          Or because people are narcissistic. There is room for only one God who is the ultimate God. And most people want that seat.

        • The elephant in the room is too difficult to handle? You have no evidence for this god. No, people aren’t narcissistic and want to avoid a god who enforces rules; there’s no good reason to believe your fairy tales.

        • Don Camp

          s

          You have no evidence for this god.

          Evidence. Bob, that has become a mantra of atheism. There is evidence enough. I’ve listed it more times than I can remember.

          1) The cosmos. Organization of the universe is such that that it is highly likely that some intelligence produced it. It is highly unlikely that is was a matter of random unguided unnamed impersonal force.

          2) The anthropic principle. The highly unlikely fact that the earth ideally situated in space and time for intelligent life to exist here, by chance.

          3) Jesus. He claimed and his followers agreed that he was the visible presence of God.

          4) The personal encounters with God reported in the Bible and by millions of believers today.
          5) The fulfillment of the predictions God makes in the Bible makes.
          6) Israel. God promised that Israel would increase and be a blessing to all the nations of the earth and that those who cursed Israel would be cursed and those who blessed Israel would be bless.

          7) The Bible. As a single story it is unique in world literature. It is highly unlikely that any group of people could produce a library of books that are so unified and cohesive as the Bible.

          I suppose any one piece of evidence might not be very convincing. Together they present a strong case for the God you want evidence for.

        • aikidaves

          1) Where did the cosmos come from? “God made it.” What evidence do you have for this god? “The cosmos exists.” Bzzt! Circular reasoning ignored.
          2) Humans evolved to live in this time and place. We adapted to our environment, not the other way around. Your assertion adds no value to the discussion. Dismissed.
          3) Anecdotal accounts written by people who never met the guy. Just no.
          4) Subjective accounts from easily deceived humans, some of whom were probably scam artists. Not objectively verifiable.
          5) Which prophesies are actually about what you say they were and were really written before the event(s) they describe?
          6) 1900 years of hope and a century of effort produced a new country where an old one had once been. Sounds to me like a human story, not a supernatural one.
          7) Ah, yes, the Big Book of Myths again. You really think it’s that much better than the Qur’an? The Hindu books? The Eddas? The Silmarillion?

        • And I’ve replied to your “arguments.” Stop rebooting the conversation and show me why I’m wrong.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp: Evidence. Bob, that has become a mantra of atheism. There is evidence enough. I’ve listed it more times than I can remember.

          Well that’s obvious and now will you stop listing this nonsense! You obviously can’t remember the answers to your “evidence” either. No more excuses and preaching. Put up or shut up and move on. Sheesh!

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Actually there are thousands of gods. How do you know your god is “the one, true god?” What if after you die, you experience an afterlife and “your god” is not the “one, true god?” Say it’s another god such as Ra, Zeus, Woden or some other “god” and he’s pretty pissed that you have not been worshiping him?

        • Say it’s another god such as Ra, Zeus, Woden or some other “god” and he’s pretty pissed that you have not been worshiping him?

          Who could blame them for being pissed? Don hasn’t bothered to worship them or reach out to them or even do any research to see if they exist.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Don Camp Come on Donnie boy. Answer this question 😉

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Come on Don, answer the questions I posed below.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          “If he would do some tricks for them…” I’ll take any trick. I’ll take a personal encounter; I’ll take the “spirit of god…” Give me something tangible.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          He chooses to use the means he has provided.

          So, in short, he’s like the Deplorables? “69Fuck your feelings!” and all?

        • Michael Neville

          if God showed up again as he did in Jesus, you all would drop to your knees in worship.

          According to your propaganda your god is a sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. He kills people just because he can. He orders genocide and sexual slavery. He condones chattel slavery. If he showed up I’d acknowledge his existence but worship that immoral thug? Not only no but HELL NO!

        • Don Camp

          It might be well that he doesn’t then. We are responsible for what we know, and knowing without following is not going to be a good thing.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re saying that if I don’t worship your immoral thug of a god then he’ll have me tortured forever? A psychopath that sadistic doesn’t deserve my worship. And if he does exist and I’m brought before him I’ll spit in his face. What’s he going to do to me, send me to Hell?

          It doesn’t say much for you that you worship that immoral creature.

        • knowing without following is not going to be a good thing.

          God’s perfect plan, eh?

        • Len

          I think that quite a few of the people who actually saw Jesus perform miracles believed him and followed him. So not really 99.9% rejection.

        • Don Camp

          Probably close to it, if you count only those who were convinced or not convinced by the miracles.

          But a third of the world today counts themselves as Christians. How many of those are nominal Christians, I don’t know. But I personally do not know one who is a Christian because of a objective miracle. There are some, I’m sure, but I don’t know any.

          I am not a Christian because of an objective miracle. I am a Christian because God spoke to me (no, not an audible voice) and called me to tun to him. And should you one day choose to believe, it will not be because of an objective miracle – I’m willing to bet on that. It will because God spoke in a compelling voice and said, :Come, follow me.”

        • Greg G.

          What is “an objective miracle”? Is that like a case of an incomplete tragedy where ten people die in a two car collision but one person survives?

        • Yeah, why should God do something overt? Why make it an evidence-based decision? It’s much more fun to be ambiguous. One of the perks of being a god, I guess.

        • Don Camp

          God has done plenty that is overt.

          Why make it an evidence-based decision? It’s much more fun to be ambiguous.

          You can make an evidence based decision. But that leads you to simply the high probability that there is a God. It does not lead you to the decision to trust him. It may provide a hope, as it has for lots of people over the centuries, but it has no content that gives you a reason to place your trust in God.

          That is why Paul says:

          14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” … faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

          EDITED to compact the blockquotes

        • You can make an evidence based decision. But that leads you to simply the high probability that there is a God. It does not lead you to the decision to trust him.

          1. Correct–why would you trust this guy if you’ve read the OT. He’s a Bronze Age barbarian.

          2. Give us sufficient evidence and you get a high probability for God. You’ve given us nothing. You lose.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          You sound like an Amway salesman.

          Faith comes from hearing the message (a message written by men who want to manipulate you) and the message is heard through the word about Christ (the manipulators, protagonist).

        • Bob Jase

          “You sound like an Amway salesman.”

          LANGUAGE!

        • Bob Jase

          You keep saying a third of the world is Christian as though that number somehow proves Christianity is correct. How come the two thirds that don’t believe in Jesus, btw two thirds > one third, don’t prove Christianity is wrong?

        • epeeist

          On top of that is the fact that the largest denomination is Catholic. How come that this doesn’t mean that Catholicism is the correct interpretation and all others are wrong?

        • Don Camp

          Just because it is a statistic we do have.

        • Bob Jase

          Lies, damn lies and Don’s statistic.

          Someone Famous

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t ya just love it when Christers use the told number of Christers in the world ad populum argument when it suits them? Yet the third of the population that’s Christer, have been continually at each other’s throats since the woo-woo was invented.

        • epeeist

          How many of those are nominal Christians, I don’t know.

          For the world I don’t know. Here in the UK 59.3% of the population identified themselves as Christian in the 2011 census (or 41% if you don’t ask a loaded question, source is the 2016 British Social Attitudes survey).

          However for England only 1.5% of the population attend a service on a regular basis, in Wales the figure is even smaller, it is less than 1%. Even if you include the Catholics and other Protestant denominations the figure is less than 6% of the population. Looks as though the very large majority of those identifying as Christians are nominal or cultural Christians.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am a Christian because God spoke to me (no, not an audible voice) and called me to tun to him.

          That’s a different story from the reason you gave before.

        • Don Camp

          I believe in God because it is reasonable. I would come to the conclusion that God is the best explanation for all that is than any other whether I was a Christian of not. I am a Christian because God spoke to me.

        • aikidaves

          Accepting that there is a basis for a set of mythical stories and accepting that those stories are entirely true are very different things. As I said earlier, herdsmen telling stories about a mythical ancestor who married his sister is plausible. That doesn’t mean their centuries-old tales about this paragon talking to the local god of air and war – oh, excuse me, the omni god who created the universe – are accurate in their accounts of what was said.

        • Don Camp

          History is never absolutely certain. It is a matter of probability. I think the probability is high when it comes to Abraham.

          That doesn’t mean their centuries-old tales about this paragon talking
          to the local god of air and war …are accurate in their accounts of what was said.

          Of course not. History cannot speak to God’s or interaction of men and Gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think the probability is high when it comes to Abraham.

          But not for characters like Romulus. We get it. Special pleading.

        • Don Camp

          Use the same criteria for doing history to determine whether Romulus was a real person.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It has, with better evidence too. But even if there was a foundational figure behind the myth, the supernatural stuff is nonsense, right?

        • aikidaves

          I’d say it’s reasonable to think that the myth was inspired by one or more real people. I think it’s silly to think that the myth is historically accurate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hector Avalos has a chapter in “The End of Biblical Studies” that uses the “history” of King Arthur as analogous to King David. He cites a number of minimalists that have used the comparison in a throw away manner, but Avalos goes into it in a bit more detail in order to demonstrate the many similarities. Today, historians think King Arthur a myth. If there was a man behind the myth, he can’t be found.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I believe in God because it is reasonable.

          No more reasonable than any other supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Which is not at all.

          I would come to the conclusion that God is the best explanation for all that is than any other whether I was a Christian of not. I am a Christian because God spoke to me.

          Of course ya would. And when we all believed in God, it was one of the Christian ones too.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Maybe they did, but we have absolutely no primary sources for that.

        • Bob Jase

          “That is actually in the plan.”

          Once again everything must go by god’s plan except all the horrible stuff that is anyone’s fault but the all-powerful planner.

        • Don Camp

          Once again everything must go by god’s plan except all the horrible stuff that is anyone’s fault but the all-powerful planner.

          The message of the Bible is that the cosmos and we ourselves are halfway to the goal of perfection. What we see at the moment is not what will be. But what we see, including the “horrible stuff” in a variety of ways is preparing us for the perfect of the future.

          Romans 8:19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved.

          “Frustration” is all the horrible things. God’s purpose is that these things would cause us to look forward to the perfect in hope.

          If you have no expectation (hope) that the perfect is the goal, then the present looks pretty grim. It is like looking into a blast furnace where steel is being created and complaining that it looks awful rather than looking ahead to the Ferrari that will one day roll out of the factory.

        • aikidaves

          So the omnipotent god can’t get it right in one go?

        • Don Camp

          It evidently needed some refining. But that depends on us. You see, part of God’s desire was to have beings who are free moral agents and who freely choose to move to perfection.

        • Bob Jase

          It sure is good that god has you to excuse all his screw-ups by blaming humanity. I bet you’ll get an extra cookie in heaven.

        • Don Camp

          I hope so, Bob. But I am wondering who you blame. I assume you don’t believe in God, so who’s left?

        • Greg G.

          An extra cookie every day, which is every thousand years or so.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          You seem to know the mind of God. You keep telling us what it wants for us, but what makes you the mouthpiece for a god? If you are using the Bible as your guidebook, then all you are doing is mouthing the words of other people who also believed they spoke the mind of a specific god.

          The missing element here is a god that apparently has the ability to communicate directly because that would be far too simple or something.

          Further, the presence of other holy books and the claims made within them are just as fervently believed by their followers. What makes them any less devout and reasoned in their beliefs – and what makes yours better than theirs? The differences are distinct and you all can’t have the one and only objective truth.

          Doesn’t logic and reason therefore arise and upon examining these claims, it is apparent that mankind may have invented the idea of gods to make them feel less alone in the universe, or to help explain the unexplainable, or to domesticate the masses with some ultimate morality or justice, or merely to establish a hierarchy of power?

          To a skeptic, none of these reasons are adequate to dismiss the lack of empirical evidence that such creatures exist. The more we learn about the universe, the less likely we are to find that any such supernatural entities ever existed.

          You speak of moving toward perfection, but I submit that you wouldn’t know it, if you reached it. Have you even given any thought to mankind achieving such perfection and how boring that would be after about 5 minutes?

          But fret not. I’m pretty sure, as a species we are nearing the end of our life cycle. Actually, I think we are intent upon ending it.

        • Bob Jase

          So when the bible says god looked at his creations and saw they were good it meant good enough for now?

        • I find it interesting that you all seem to think that if God showed up again as he did in Jesus, you all would drop to your knees in worship.

          Nope. But if God made his existence obvious, I’d believe that. Where does the “drop to your knees and worship” thing come in? Why would that be a consequence? Perhaps you’ve read the OT–the guy is an asshole.

        • Bob Jase

          Why does an all-powerful god need constant adoration?

          Awfully needy.

        • Ficino

          When he shows up he wants to be your God.

          Oh, oh, oh. Don, PLEASE get out of the cult while you still have a life left. Come into reality. Some things will be harder, and you may well have fewer consolations… but to walk in what shows itself as reality is better than to walk in illusion, however many consolations illusion
          promises.

    • Doubting Thomas

      The Christian has answers, Bob, just not the answers you want to hear.

      That’s because we actually care if the answers are correct. Instead, we get the embodiment of stupidity and delusion preaching nonsense at us.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      “Objection, Your Honor! *Hearsay* is NOT admissible!”

    • Michael Murray

      Why do they have to be seemingly random miracles scattered all over the place ? I thought the promise was

      Heals the sick and he heals the lame
      Says you can do it too in Jesus’ name

      But we can’t.

      • Don Camp

        We don’t actually. God does. And he chooses where and when healing fits his purpose. Jesus, being in touch with the Father as we seldom are, knew when and where.

        Doing something in Jesus’ name is not a magic formula. It means doing something as an agent for the one in whose name you act. That doesn’t allow us to do just anything. What we can do, and powerfully do, is what the Father determines.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We don’t actually. God does.

          But you said *elsewhere* here that if your ‘god’ decides to NOT cure a child with cancer, YOUR KIND are *fine* with that.

          For 69fuck’s sake, at LEAST be *consistent*.

        • Pofarmer

          Then what you do is completely pointless.

        • Greg G.

          Doing something in Jesus’ name is not a magic formula.

          If I flip a coin and ask that it comes up heads in the name of Richard Dawkins, it works half the time. What are the odds?!?!?!?

        • Greg G.

          And he chooses where and when healing fits his purpose.

          Which means your god thingy is powerful enough to heal but not caring enough to do so. Scratch of omnibenevolent from the list of adjectives.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      There is no law of cause and effect. That is something we experience on macro levels, but it isn’t a factor at lower levels. To use Sean Carroll’s analogy, a three being followed by a four doesn’t mean the former causes the latter. It’s the same way with the quantum realm.

      Perhaps it would be worth reading and listening to some real science?

    • Zeta

      Don Camp: “The more significant question is why we exist in his reality. The answer is that God chose to exert his will and create the cosmos – including us.”

      Your own ancient book tells us in 1 Peter 1:20
      He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
      that humans were created as his playthings.

      That verse clearly reveals that even before the Universe was created (“before the foundation of the world”), your god had already decided to “sacrifice” himself as his own son to save humans (yet to be created billions of years in the future) from he himself.

      He is the master planner of the plot, he wrote the script, he directed the execution of the plot and humans and other living things on Earth were and are his playthings. He has been watching this show that he created ever since.

      Pretending that he himself was killed as Jesus for a few days (Can god be killed?) was already on his grand agenda. Saving humans from he himself for a crime that he himself created? Can anyone beat the ludicrousness and hypocrisy of your god?

      • Don Camp

        that humans were created as his playthings.

        I must have missed that part. But that is really your interpretation, right? I read it this way: God chose to create the cosmos and us because he desired to have beings who were able to relate to him and who would enjoy him and he them. Isn’t that what friends are for? And he does call those who are in that relationship with him friends.

        Do you think of your friends as your playthings? I hope not.

        • Zeta

          As usual, you try to be evasive and avoid the central issue raised. Tell readers why Jesus was “foreordained before the foundation of the world“. Foreordained for what, if it is not “to “sacrifice” himself as his own son to save humans from he himself.”

        • Bob Jase

          Of yes, friend. You know the people that he will send to hell for picking up sticks on Sunday or eating cheeseburgers.

          I don’t need a friend like that but a masochist like you does,

        • Don Camp

          You need to step back and see the big picture, Bob. No one goes to hell for picking up sticks on Sunday.

          The Sabbath laws were intended to set Israel apart as God’s people, living in respect of God. It gave the opportunity for the Israelites to stop and spend a day focused on God and enjoy his friendship rather than busy themselves with work. .

          btw no one else, including you, is expected to do that, though you might choose to.It was a rule for Israel. The same was true of mixing meat and dairy. (which is already a distortion of what God asked of Israel.) Read Romans 14 for some insight i to that.

          Also, no one goes to hell because they are sinners. They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.

        • Greg G.

          No one goes to hell for picking up sticks on Sunday.

          What happened to the guy who got stoned in Numbers 15:32-36?

        • gusbovona

          They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.

          But you can’t accept that mercy unless you believe that that god exists. Given that we are fallible creatures, how is requiring acceptance of that mercy to escape hell fair, given a person who honestly and sincerely doesn’t believe that that god exists?

        • It was a rule for Israel.

          A good reminder. Yahweh was the god only of the Chosen People.

          They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.

          If you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven. There’s no extra step, like you imagine.

          Is English not your first language?

        • Don Camp

          Then you agree that no one goes to hell for picking up sticks on Sunday.

        • 1. Can’t reply to the points I raised?

          2. God certainly will kill you for picking up sticks on Sunday. So why do you imagine that you wouldn’t go to hell? (I mean, besides the obvious reason that hell hadn’t been invented when Numbers was written.)

        • Don Camp

          Well, if you are being technical then, it is on the Sabbath that the Jews were to refrain from work. That is Saturday, not Sunday.

        • nydiva

          Well, if you are being technical then, it is on the Sabbath that the Jews were to refrain from work. That is Saturday, not Sunday.

          Saturday or Sunday. What difference would it have made in this grusome mythical story? The god depicted here is very petty.

          Numbers 15:32-36 King James Version (KJV)
          32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

          33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

          34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

          35 And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

          36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Then when did the “sabbath” change from the seventh day of the week change to the first day of the week.

        • Greg G.

          I think the Christians changed it because that is the day of the resurrection thingy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, if you are being technical, the Sabbath was from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday…ya daft tit.

        • Damien Priestly

          Actually you get death for the Sabbath stick picking-up sin…You pick-up sticks on wrong day, doubt if you will go to heaven, since this is what you get…

          Numbers 15:35-36
          Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.

          Yep, great book that Bible is! Has great moral stories…Death to the stick piker-uppers !! That book sure has all of the answers.

        • Don Camp

          Actually, you are right.

        • Otto

          …and therein lies the problem

        • Ficino

          Also, no one goes to hell because they are sinners. They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.

          This is such an incredibly boneheaded reply that I can’t even.

          Bob, PLEASE just come out of the cult. It is frying your brain. Listen to yourself!

        • Otto

          I can give forgiveness and mercy to someone regardless of whether they accept it or not…I am more powerful than your God

        • Don Camp

          It is not a matter of giving it. It is a matter of receiving it. If there is to be a reuniting of the two people, the one who caused the hurt and the one hurt, there needs to be both the giving and receiving. Otherwise the distance between you remains.

          I am not talking about small things. We don’t even need to “forgive” small things; we just overlook them. I mean big things, like a neighbor who killed your child. If you are ever going to be able to live side by side on the same ground of friendship you lived before, that requires both giving and receiving.

        • Otto

          I am not talking about small things. We don’t even need to “forgive” small things; we just overlook them. I mean big things,

          You mean big things like believing you exist and following a certain theology…yeah big things indeed.

        • And if God forgives, then that’s it. We don’t have to do another thing to get forgiven. The obstacle to heaven has been removed.

          You sure you want a heaven that allows the riff raff like me?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.”

          Strange, that’s not what the last Christian to visit us said. Do you folks even have a clue as to what you believe?

          You’re certainly making me glad I’m not a theist. You need a better sales pitch.

        • Bob Jase

          So we can ditch the ten commandments too because they were Jewish laws.

          You know the laws Jesus supposedly said that not a jot or tittle of which had changes? Good to know your permission cancels your messiah’s words.

        • So we can ditch the ten commandments too because they were Jewish laws.

          And the “God hates fags” stuff.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “You need to step back and see the big picture, Bob.”

          I’m absolutely positive it’s not Bob, who’s not seeing the big picture here.

          Maybe if I put this in words that apparently have slipped past your frontal cortex,…

          “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;
          and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
          Matthew 7:5

          Now what good Christians do is interpret that little phrase above to suit their beliefs. Go ahead, what’s your twisted interpretation?

          Seeing the big picture yet?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You need to step back and see the big picture, Bob. No one goes to hell for picking up sticks on Sunday.

          Yeah…we know. Bob was being facetious. Hell hadn’t been invented at that time. That’s a God 2.0 hybrid YahwehJesus invention.

          The problem is, Leviticus 23:3 is quite clear.

          3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.

          Now, picking up sticks was deemed as work aka melakhot. We know this, because the guy in the buybull got stoned to death for doing it.

          There are a number of rules contravened by the type of work the stick collector broke. The thirty-nine creative activities as they are known.

          Transfering between domains. Gathering. Winnowing. Sorting. Dissection.

          Now. Your problem is, that Christers deemed these laws and rules as sins when the hybrid 2.0 YahwehJesus got the job. But ya want to cherry-pick the nonsense with a dollop of fudgery.

          The silly old god stuff, can be dispensed with, while other rules not. This is done arbitrarily with no rhyme nor reason applied. Somehow OT godly bullshit can be ignored, but other stuff, not so much. It’s why Christers are such a bunch of dishonest two-faced hypocrites.

          The Sabbath laws were intended to set Israel apart as God’s people, living in respect of God. It gave the opportunity for the Israelites to stop and spend a day focused on God and enjoy his friendship rather than busy themselves with work. .

          Made up apologetic claptrap. It was a rule punishable by death.

          Read Romans 14 for some insight i to that.

          Why? Who the fuck is some dickhead called Paul to be rewriting the OT rules?

          Also, no one goes to hell because they are sinners.

          Absolute nonsense. That’s just your interpretation. Other Christers differ.

          Never hear of purgatory or limbo in Catholicism?

          Or another example is….

          In most Protestant traditions, hell is the place created by God for the punishment of the devil and fallen angels (cf. Matthew 25:41), and those whose names are not written in the book of life (cf. Revelation 20:15). It is the final destiny of every person who does not receive salvation, where they will be punished for their sins. People will be consigned to hell after the last judgment.

          …and…

          Another area of debate is the fate of the unevangelized (i.e., those who have never had an opportunity to hear the Christian gospel), those who die in infancy, and the mentally disabled. According to ACUTE some Protestants agree with Augustine that people in these categories will be damned to hell for original sin, while others believe that God will make an exception in these cases.

          They go to hell because they have not accepted God’s mercy and forgiveness.

          Which is a sin ya doughnut. And fuckwit Christers on internet forums are very quick to point out that for this reason, us atheists are all sinners and going to Hell for it.

          Go learn a bit about Christian Hamartiology.

          Penalties for Sin

          Unbeliever – the unbeliever who dies with inherited sin, imputed sin and personal sins will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15)

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          You keep asking us to read the “buybull.” How do you know the Quran, the Vedas or the Book of Mormon are not the “true” inspired word of “god?” Please explain that. Or have you never even thought to check them out?

        • Ignorant Amos

          This all takes me to the fair.

          Or getting a tattoo, or their ears pierced, or eating crab cocktail, or wearing anything made of mixture of linen and wool, or plant more than one type of seed in a field, or don’t eat fat, and a whole pile of other nonsense. Breaking most rules get’s ya guess what? A penalty that benefits the priesthood. Who’d have guessed it?

          Some nonsense rules will get ya the death penalty. A priest tearing his clothes, or bringing unauthorized fire before God, or not keeping the hair neat, drinking wine in holy places.

          The “having sex with” with rules take me to the fair.

          Having sex with ones mother will get the both of ya ostracised. Having sex with yer sister will get you both ostracised, but only if ya marry her. Having sex with yer daughter-in-law will get put to death. Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter, all three of ya will be burned to death, but only after ya’ve married both of them first…wtf?

          Having sex with an animal, both are put to death. Having sex with an animal was obviously common enough that laws were need to curtail the practice. The fuckwits obviously thought it must’ve been consensual, since the poor animal got off’d too.

          Lot’s of silly nonsense law’s if committed, don’t have the penalty cited, or have a number of contradictory penalties depending on the passage read.

          The working on a Sunday law has no penalty given, but the inference that can be drawn, ist that a stoning was the order of the dy, because that’s what happened to the poor cunt caught picking sticks for his fire.

          The whole ball of wax is so thoroughly ridiculous, I can imagine the authors pishing themselves laughing as they compiled the list. Yet dopey bastards like Don would have us believe these were rule ordained by a multi omni, universe creating, perfect god thingy.

        • Greg G.

          Having sex with an animal, both are put to death. Having sex with an animal was obviously common enough that laws were need to curtail the practice. The fuckwits obviously thought it must’ve been consensual, since the poor animal got off’d too.

          That law only holds in the city. I wonder what happened to the exception about it being in a rural area where they assume the sheep must have cried out?

        • Michael Neville

          Did the first born of Egypt “enjoy” God? Did all the other people inhabiting the Earth besides Noah and his family “enjoy” God. According to the collection of myths, fables and lies called the Bible your god is a sadistic thug who likes nothing more than smiting people for grins and giggles.

          You’re trying to convert a Bronze Age, Middle Eastern, tribal god into an omnimax “Creator of the Universe” and the fit just isn’t there.

          EDITED to turn one sentence into English.

        • Perhaps the people burning in hell will enjoy god.

        • I didn’t create my friends.

        • Bob Jase

          You probably don’t send them to hell for eternity if they talk to someone else either.

        • Ficino

          Plato: “man is contrived, as we said above, to be a plaything of God, and the best part of him is really just that…” Laws 803c.

          You have no standard by which to privilege the Bible as the truth and the teachings of Plato as not the truth. Give it up and look for a way to critique your own adherence to a groundless cult, Bob. You have only this one life. A life is a long time to be enslaved to dogma and unhappy.

    • Michael Neville

      Where did God come from? God is eternal.

      Of course you’ve got good evidence to support this claim. You don’t? Then why should we accept it? For that matter, you don’t even have good evidence that your god exists anywhere but in imaginations.

      It’s not that we don’t want to hear your answers. We’ve heard them many, many times before and realized that they’re as fictional as Harry Potter and the myths of Rama. We’ve examined your product and determined it does not meet our needs.

      • Don Camp

        That is a freedom,I believe, God gives you.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Belief is not a freedom, it is an autonomic response to encountering persuasive evidence. So the argument you are making relies on the admission that the evidence for god is insufficient.

          Common ground at last!

        • Don Camp

          Belief in the sense that the Bible most often uses it is belief to the point of following the Lord. It is not automatic; it is a choice.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          But I don’t believe your god is real, so why should I follow it?

        • Don Camp

          You have no reason to do so.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I agree that have no reason to believe he’s real.

        • Michael Neville

          Your belief is baseless until you can show that your god exists.

        • Otto

          Yes Yahweh gives us free will, and then punishes people for using it.

        • Don Camp

          Do you have children, Otto? If you do, one of the responsibilities of every parent it to prepare their children for adulthood. And that means the ability to make good decisions. On the way to that, we give them guidelines and freedom. But if they really mess up and use that freedom to hurt others, we punish them to correct them. Don’t we?

        • Greg G.

          Children are born not knowing much. It’s not like we could give them a fruit cocktail with everything they need to know transferred when they swallow it.

        • David Cromie

          “… one of the responsibilities of every parent it to prepare their children for adulthood”.

          Indeed, but not for the christer who believes that he/she must abuse his/her children by indoctrinating them with religious beliefs, consisting in bigory, homophobia, scepticism of science, superstition, hypocrisy, etc., and their aim is to do so as completely, and as soon as they possibly can.

          How could such children attain ‘the ability to make good decisions’, except by developing their faculty for critical thinking, in spite of their enforced indoctrination during childhood, and to the chagrin of their family?

        • nydiva

          Why didn’t your “god” give King David’s newborn son free will? Why did it punish a defenseless infant with illness and death for the sins of its parents?

        • Bob Jase

          Might as well ask why Israel’s most intelligent king Solomon, couldn’t reach his kids not to split up the ‘great’ kingdom.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What geat kingdom….oh, a see the scare quotes now. Ya had me going their for a moment.

        • Otto

          Yeah Don, you are correct. So if I parented the way your God does it would look something like this…

          I would leave before my child was born and I would instruct the neighbor to write a book about me and what I expect. Then when he turns 40 I would show up and ask if he/she loves me, if they do I would buy them a car, if they don’t I would be set them on fire.

        • nydiva

          LOL! You are so fresh as my grandma would say.

        • Otto

          It insults our intelligence to listen to them compare their God to a responsible parent. Ugh

        • That’s only fair.

        • MR

          Do you have children, Otto? If you do, one of the responsibilities of every parent is to teach them to be skeptical of the claims of people who can’t support their beliefs.

        • Ficino

          That is a freedom,I believe, God gives you.

          1. So God is not the first cause of every effect? Again you present to us a finite, struggling god. Don’t waste our time with these representations that fail to be metaphysically ultimate!

          2. Who care what you believe? Your biography is not of general interest.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          No, the Constitution and Bill of Rights granted him that freedom. Your God is more like a fictional deadbeat dad.

        • Don Camp

          Have you read the Declaration of Independence?

          to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
          station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a
          decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should
          declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
          equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
          Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        • nydiva

          Yes, nature’s so-called deist god, not your imaginary Yahway. There is no mention of a god in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights (except the year of the Lord.) You know this so why play this game?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          An emotional document used to rally the masses to fight the oppressive British Crown and Church of England. Thankfully, the founding fathers came to their senses when drafting the document that actually lays out the laws of this secular republic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is the D of I the Constitution or the Bill of Rights?

          Try reading for comprehension.

          If you are going to play silly buggers, all men at the time were created by their parents.

        • Otto

          And yet those unalienable rights have been trampled under foot countless times over in this country. Where was their creator in all of that?

        • Have you read the Declaration of Independence?

          The DoI? Why do Christians always point to the DoI?

          I’m kidding, of course. It’s clear why they point to the DoI: it’s because that actual document that creates this country, the US Constitution, makes clear that you have no argument.

          Never do this again. Makes you look deceptive.

        • Don Camp

          As far as the Framers were concerned the DOI was the warrant for what followed when the country was officially formed. Tsaid. But many were Christians in the orthodox sense, as their own writings demonstrate. hey believed freedom was a God given right. Some of the Framers were Deists, as diva,

          Jefferson, who was himself a kind of Deist, wrote the DOI using language that would be acceptable to the people of the Colonieds of all persuasions.

        • Hmm. Lots of words there, but no coherent argument against the Constitution being the defining document for the country, not the DoI. The Constitution is deliberately secular.

        • Greg G.

          They deliberately left religion out. Many Christians came to the colonies to escape religious persecution from other Christians. Nobody wanted to go back to that.

        • Sample1

          The shift from every prior recorded nation having an official religion/government connection to the first, the USA, which disconnected that historically ubiquitous relationship can be debated. And is.

          Interpreting that shift is the same sort of power/credit grab various religions attempt to explain the rise of the scientific revolution.

          At the end of the day we must not romanticize and deify the journey over the destination. We’ve arrived at a destination of a fact-finding system; one of explanations that are hard-to-vary within a tradition of criticism. It has produced those fruits of progress unseen in any prior civilization.

          At the end of the day romanticize whatever one wants. But the past, with its stagnation and brutality, it’s abject lack of knowledge about reality must be held as a warning. A warning that there remain those seeking to elevate mistaken ways of knowing and with that drag us back, wittingly or not, to barbarism and fear.

          That journey is over. A new one begins. One that brings new challenges, one that brings new destinations. New knowledge always brings new questions. A new journey with much uncertainty but one borne of a new tradition where, as Feynman asks, would one rather proceed toward that destination in a probative way sometimes embracing not knowing or choose to enshrine answers that may be wrong?

          Let’s be with this new journey of criticism and good explanation. Something that must be protected, something we are not guaranteed to retain. Something others actively seek to destroy, knowingly or not.

          Mike
          Edit done. Grammar. Final.

        • BertB

          Read the definitions I posted above.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Makes you look deceptive.

          That boat sailed yonks ago.

        • !

        • BertB

          And dumb.

        • BertB

          Declaration of Independence: A document declaring the US to be independent of the British Crown, signed by the congressional representatives of the Thirteen Colonies, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, and ratified on July 4, 1776.
          US Constitution: A document that embodies the fundamental laws and principles by which the United States is governed. It was drafted by the Constitutional Convention and later supplemented by the Bill of Rights and other amendments.

          The purposes of the two documents are quite clearly different.

        • Bob Jase

          Wow, they mentioned a creator. The same all-wise founders who were fine with slavery, thought women deserved no rights and were just dandy with the genocide of First Nations peoples to steal their land.- they could never be wrong.

          BTW, did you notice they didn’t mention Jesus or Yahweh like they didn’t mean them?

        • Don Camp

          Many of them were certainly inconsistent with their ideals. seriously inconsistent. But that does nothing more than demonstrate they were inconsistent, not that they did not believe that freedom was not tied to God’s purpose for man.

          The religious scene in the colonies in the late 1700s was diverse. Jefferson was on one end and the men of Puritan heritage were on the other. I think only a document that allowed for that diversity while at the same time was founded on their common beliefs was rather wise.

    • The Christian has answers, Bob, just not the answers you want to hear.

      Sure, Christianity has answers. That they’re all invented with no backing in evidence is what you don’t want to hear.

      • Don Camp

        I don’t think you’ve made the case for that yet.

        • Burden of proof’s yours, pal.

        • nydiva

          We all have made the case for non existence of your imaginary friend , but you are too delusional or stubborn to admit it.

    • Andrea Fitzgerald

      Why would I want to read the buybull? It’s not a history book. Just a lot of made-up man-made legends and myths. And what proof do you have for these so call miracles?

      • Don Camp

        That’s crazy, as I’m sure you would agree if you gave it any thought. At least some of it is history is in part confirmed by the history written by nations surrounding Israel. Some of the history is confirmed by archaeological artifacts. Some of the Bible makes no claim to being history. They are songs and wisdom literature. In the New Testament, the letters are letters of instruction, not history.

        Related to the New Testament history, hardly anyone denies that there is real history recorded by the people who lived it. Paul is an example.So your opinion that the Bible is not a history book needs to be modified a bit.

        What miracles are you referring to?

        • Bob Jase

          Most fiction is set in real places – guess what, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s fiction.

        • But Wizard of Oz is set in Kansas, and I’ve been to Kansas.

          Wait … you don’t mean–no-o-o-o!

        • aikidaves

          Yes, Bob, Baum’s depiction of Kansas is almost entirely fictional. At least he was accurate about Oz.

        • Bob Jase

          Kansas isn’t a rural hellhole?

        • aikidaves

          He made it sound much better than it was. Of course, it’s gone downhill since.

        • Bob Jase

          GIVE ME THOSE SLIPPERS!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been to the Giants Causeway many times, so giants are real and Fionn mac Cumhaill was one of them. End of.

        • Don Camp

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81747fdea33c2adb17fb510fccbbacac2d6ebb26d34e631aa6191b11e3cf9c6b.jpg Yes, of course. But in the case of Israel (Old Testament) many of the events recorded are confirmed i the history of the surrounding nations. There is also archaeology that confirms a good part of the OT. See the Hezekiah bulla.

          Here’s one of many sites that identify archaeological finds that confirm parts of the history of Israel https://www.historyextra.com/period/ancient-history/digging-bible-key-discoveries-archaeology-holy-land-dead-sea-scrolls/

          Finally, a recent book by RICHARD ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN, The Exodus brings together a number of different disciplines to show that th3e exodus was not a fiction. Here’s a description of the book:

          Richard Elliott Friedman cuts through the noise — the serious
          studies and the wild theories — merging new findings with new insight.
          From a spectrum of disciplines, state-of-the-art archeological
          breakthroughs, and fresh discoveries within scripture, he brings real
          evidence of a historical basis for the exodus — the history behind the
          story. The biblical account of millions fleeing Egypt may be an
          exaggeration, but the exodus itself is not a myth.

          The interesting thing is that with every new find in ancient texts and artifacts the history of the OT is further confirmed rather than debunked. Not everything of Jewish history of biblical history has been confirmed, of course, That no one expects. But what is confirmed is pretty persuasive of the real history recorded in the OT.

        • aikidaves

          Let me guess – this stunning copy was written by a Christian. How many people does the book say took part in this alleged Exodus?

        • Don Camp

          Actually, it is written by a Jew. Friedman thinks the numbers in Exodus are inflated or conflated. He also thinks that the exodus recorded there is primarily an exodus of Levites, which would include Moses. He thinks that there were a number of different exoduses fro m Egypt of Hebrews starting with the expulsion of the Hyksos in 1550 B.C. What he does think there is plenty of evidence for is an exodus.

          For more, you’ll want to read the book.

        • Bob Jase

          So everything the bible says about the exodus is true except it involved less people, different people, at a different time, for different reasons but its still all true?

        • Zeta

          Yeah, Don Camp claimed that before. I asked him about the role of Moses in those many “exoduses”, each time involving only a small group of people:

          How long did those “exoduses” go on?
          Did Moses go back and forward between Egypt and Sinai many times to lead his people?
          Did he part the Red Sea (or Sea of Reeds) multiple times?

          I don’t think he gave any coherent reply.

        • Bob Jase

          Coherent is in his vocabulary but not in his behavior.

        • Zeta

          I recall that Don Camp seemed to discard a divine parting of the Red Sea and instead pulled from his ass an assertion that it was due to the sea withdrawal just prior to a tsunami hitting. Either he was not thinking straight or he was just plain ignorant. I asked him to explain the following:

          1. Give evidence that there were tsunamis at that geographical location precisely during those exodus(es).
          2. The sea withdrawal phenomenon does not always occur. When it happens, the tsunami will follow within a very short time (maybe only a few minutes or slightly longer). I asked him whether those ancient Israelites could run faster than Olympics runners? In fact, it is doubtful whether those very fast runners can outrun a tsunami.

          He quietly dropped the subject.

        • Don Camp

          The tsunami hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis. Friedman discounts it. But there was a volcanic eruption in the Mediterranean shortly after the Hyksos expulsion that might have accounted for a tsunami large enough to disturb the salt lakes east of Avaris, the city from which any Hebrew exodus would have originated. A darkness and storm are recorded on the Tempest Stele that may have been the darkness recorded in Exodus. These are all “may haves.”

          Thanks for giving me the chance to sharpen what I said earlier.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So a natural explanation then?

          No god intervention required. Jobs a good one.

          You’re to easy ya Coco.

          You are making natural explanations for your supernatural god, ya dopey cunt,

          Fer fucks sake Don, at least own yer own religious fuckwit commitments. I won’t hate ya any less for it. Most Christians a don’t, ave got some dopey fuckers in my family, but you are in the really nasty category.

          Thanks for giving me the chance to sharpen what I said earlier.

          I binge watched “Jonestown:Terror in the Jungle” on BBC IPlayer this evening…..it reinforced why I have no compunction in shoving a sharp stick through the eyeball of lousy bastards like you. Your Hitler ffs. For the benefit of humanity, ya need to be gone. Call me a “militant” atheist if it gives ya a boner. Don, you are a liability that needs put down. A Jim Jones. Innocents are suffering as a result of your woo-woo. Did ya see the news in London today. We’ve no place in rational society for what headcase religion has folk. It’s not fair. The rest of use have to deal with it. Now, I know you’ll claim, them’uns are not us….NTSF ballix, but fuck off and watch the impact religious pish has on the individual. They are you. You are in denial.

          FFS make an effort Don….PLEASE

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000d27r/storyville-jonestown-terror-in-the-jungle-episode-1

          Apologies to the easily offended, but fuck away off..I’d sleep content having offed many a tyrant fuckwit, religious or otherwise…including Jim Jones…300 youngsters whose parents have never been known…

          Just talking in drink….maybe.

          Bannhamer expected and deserved, To exhausted for this crap anymore.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “The tsunami hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis. Friedman discounts it.”

          You can come up with any hypothesis you like but don’t you need to check whether it is probable at all?

          From Wikipedia’s “List of tsunamis in Europe”
          there was a tsunami in Sicily in 6000 BC and the next one was in Santorini, Greece, 1410 BC. Which one fits your hypothesis? Bear in mind that tsunamis are very short-lived so you cannot simply do some hand waving about the timing and try to bluff your way through.

        • Don Camp

          Moses was, I believe, the leader of the final exodus. The parting of the Reed sea is a one time thing. Except for the Hyksos exodus there is no evidence that other Hebrews who left were pursued – until Moses. Manetho’s account describes a driving of the Hebrews out of Egypt.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Made up Don Camp and some others nonsense, non-biblical shite….who cares?

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “Moses was, I believe, the leader of the final exodus.”

          How do you know? How many exoduses were there? You have claimed many things that were not found in your ancient book. Making up things is fun, isn’t it? Piling more speculations on a huge collection of fiction and myth is also fun. Or did Yahweh/Jesus/Ghost tell you about those stuff in your constant (daily?) conversation with him/them?

        • Bob Jase

          “The majority of scholars consider the compilation of these books to go back to the Persian period, 538–332 BCE ” Funny how Moses wasn’t written about for centuries after the supposed exodus and was credited with writing books that weren’t composed until ~700 years after his supposed death.

        • Don Camp

          It is truer than you think. There are many lines of evidence for the exodus from a lot of different sources including Egyptian history. What there is no evidence for is the large number of people leaving in one exodus. Friedman’s thesis is that only a small group of people left with Moses, whom he does think was a real person.

          I wonder. There have been people living in the Sinai desert for thousands of years. What traces did the people 3000 years ago leave?

          I personally think the numbers in the biblical account of the exodus are the total number of Hebrews who left in several different exoduses.

        • Bob Jase

          “There are many lines of evidence for the exodus from a lot of different
          sources including Egyptian history”

          And then…

          “What there is no evidence for is
          the large number of people leaving in one exodus.”

          You don’t even realize when you contradict yourself no wonder you can’t see biblical contradictions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s an aggravating , a senile auld arsehole…who hasn’t a fuckin’ clue…but claims a third level education…pah!

        • Don Camp

          I think the exodus narrative is written as a heroic epic. That is in line with the style of recording historical events common in Egypt and in among many ANE peoples. We react to that because that is not how we tell history. But it is how they did. In the heroic epic genre conflating events and exaggerations of feats is common. My goodness Pharaoh Merneptah did the same on the stele.

          However, despite the features of the heroic epic genre, the core of the narrative seems legit. The problems and “contradictions” are in our minds and not in the minds of the original writer and readers.

        • Bob Jase

          Style doesn’t matter, fiction it is and all the evidence shows that. The contradictions and lies are in the writing for anyone who isn’t a brainwashed moron.

        • David Cromie

          “I think the exodus narrative is written as a heroic epic”, on a par with any Scandinavian epic, and just as mythical. Do you believe Odin is real? If not, why not?

        • Don Camp

          The logic of history and the evidence. (see my reply to aikidaves.) There is neither for Odin.

        • aikidaves

          Your evidence is lacking and your logic is based on your predetermined outcome. There is nothing convincing about your argument.

        • epeeist

          The logic of history

          What “logic of history”? Lay out your schema. Not that I think there is the remotest chance of you producing a substantive answer, you seem to shy off when hard questions are put to you.

        • Don Camp

          I take the term “logic of history” from Paul Barnett, author of the book Jesus and the Logic of History. He applies this method to the question of the historicity of Jesus. If you are asking for what I mean by the logic of history, I’ll summarize what Barnett means.

          He does not specifically define the term in his book but the way he methodically deals with the topic of Jesus provides this definition.

          The logic of history is what historians expect when they do history. They expect the details of the raw material they work with – artifacts and primary source texts and what we know about the history of the period (secondary sources) under discussion to make sense and fit together. When they do, the historian is confident that his narrative of history built form those details will be a god picture of what happened.

          In the case of Abraham and the period of time, the early second millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Levant There are many details available. There are historical vignettes from the kingdoms of Mesopotamia. There are artifacts that fit with those bits and pieces. There is the rich resources of the libraries at Mari and Ebla, cities that were about mid-point between Ur in Mesopotamia and Canaan. There are archaeological digs at both sites and at Harran, which was about mid-way between them.

          From these texts, especially those from Ebla, a picture of the geo-politicial situation in Canaan can be constructed. It fits the description of Canaan in Abraham’s story.

          There are Egyptian sources that describe life in Egypt during this period.

          From these, historians can say with confidence that the background of the biblical story of Abraham is plausible. It fits into the history we know from these sources..

          The more information available the better. And the more detailed the description of Abraham the better. For Abraham we have quite a lot of information from the biblical text. Comparing the two, the information about the time and place from non-biblical sources with the biblical narrative, there is a remarkable fit. That makes Abraham logical. Certainly there were people from Mesopotamia who did migrate to Canaan during the early 2nd millennium B.C.

          That does not make this one person Abraham absolutely certain. But it makes his story logical and plausible and more likely than not.

        • David Cromie

          The ‘logic of history’ is, all too often, mere a posteriori confabulation, in an attempt to impose some sort of ‘sense’ on the past, in conformity with the historian’s own preconceptions, and/or religious word view, as the case may be.

          You do read some very trashy, purulent, books in your quest to find ‘reasons’ for believing in a nonexistent supposed ‘god’.

        • Don Camp

          Historians do try to draw out from the raw facts some sense about what happened in the past. All historians do that. They come to that task with their own worldviews. But they also try to avoid writing history that is biased toward their worldviews. Obviously they are not always successful. Any reading of the history of the Second World War from the Japanese historians and American historians demonstrates that. It is the responsibility of people who read history to know the past to read widely enough to have different narratives to compare and have some knowledge of the raw facts on which the historical narratives are based to make a personal judgment about what did happen.

          It need hardly be said, however, that every reader comes to that reading with his or her own worldview and preconceptions. You do. I do. We all do.

        • epeeist

          The logic of history is what historians expect when they do history. They expect the details of the raw material they work with – artifacts and primary source texts and what we know about the history of the period (secondary sources) under discussion to make sense and fit together.

          I thought you were going to reference people such as Vico or Hegel. Instead all you have described is consonance, the requirement for multiple lines of evidence to support a particular hypothesis and for the hypothesis to be consonant with other, well evidenced and supported hypotheses. In other words, nothing to do with logic whatsoever.

          That makes Abraham logical.

          No, it really doesn’t, at best it makes the existence of Abraham plausible. However, one must avoid the fallacy of possibiliter ergo probabiliter. How many of the sources you mention actually refer to a patriarch called “Abraham”?

        • Don Camp

          How many of the sources you mention actually refer to a patriarch called “Abraham”?

          Why would we need them to do so? Why expect them to do so? Abraham was one man with a small family among many thousands of migrants going form Mesopotamia to the Levant. He had no notoriety. In addition the road from Mesopotamia to Egypt was a well traveled road. Trade was going on between the two regions. There were lots of people traveling.

          As far as I know from the Mari letter and the Ebla tablets, no one was named. Does that mean there was no one? Of course, not.

          That makes Abraham as one of those migrants plausible. What makes the story in Genesis likely is the detail that coincides with the detail we know from other sources.

        • epeeist

          Why would we need them to do so?

          Because you are looking for consonance for the existence of the patriarch Abraham.

          That makes Abraham as one of those migrants plausible.

          And as I indicated above, plausibility is not the same as probability.

          If I read you correctly the only place that Abraham is mentioned is in the bible.

        • Don Camp

          Because you are looking for consonance for the existence of the patriarch Abraham.

          Consonance is not the same as direct evidence. There is consonance. There is not direct evidence.

        • aikidaves

          How do you get from ‘consonance’ to a high probability that the myth of Abraham is true? That’s the huge leap that destroys your argument.

        • epeeist

          There is not direct evidence.

          The fact that you avoided responding to my second and third sentences is significant. I take it as an admission that there is no mention of Abraham outside the bible.

        • Bob Jase

          “As far as I know from the Mari letter and the Ebla tablets, no one was named. Does that mean there was no one? Of course, not.That makes Abraham as one of those migrants plausible.”

          Because absence of evidence is proof.

        • Don Camp

          When did plausible get to be proof?

        • Greg G.

          A thousand years is about 40 generations so there is the potential for more than a trillion ancestors.If a person had descendants still living to the time in the same area, it wouldn’t be a matter of “if” a person was descended from one of those, but how many thousands of lineages they were descended. So if there was one person names Abram or Abraham who had surviving descendants, it is a trivial thing.

          But you must show the lineage to be true. The story of Abraham involves camels (Gen 12:16) which is an anachronism because archaeology shows that camels were not domesticated until a thousand years after the Abraham story, So the story is filled with “supposing”.

          We see stories about hairy people and hairless people interacting – Jacob and Esau, for example. That would be a story of a sun god & moon god story being adapted for monotheism. Samson was known for his hair, his name sounds like the word for “sun”, and Delilah’s name sounds like the name for “night”. Elijah is noted to be hairy while Elisha has a story that is based on his baldness. These are fairy tales written as history.

        • Don Camp

          The story of Abraham involves camels (Gen 12:16) which is an anachronism because archaeology shows that camels were not domesticated until a thousand years after the Abraham story,

          Not where Abraham came from.

          Martin Heide’s 2010 work on the domestication of the camel tentatively

          concludes that humans had domesticated the Bactrian camel by at least

          the middle of the third millennium somewhere east of the Zagros Mountains,

          with the practice then moving into Mesopotamia. Heide suggests that

          mentions of camels “in the patriarchal narratives may refer, at least in

          some places, to the Bactrian camel”, while noting that the camel is not

          mentioned in relationship to Canaan.[80]

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

        • Greg G.

          Read Genesis 12:10ff. Abraham did not get the camels from Mesopotamia, they came from the pharaoh in Egypt.

        • Don Camp

          I’ll insert the wiki article again:

          Humans may have first domesticated dromedaries in Somalia and southern Arabia around 3,000 BC, and Bactrian camels in central Asia around 2,500 BC,[19][76][77][78] as at Shahr-e Sukhteh (also known as the Burnt City), Iran.[79]

          Aerabia was just east of Egypt, Somalia just south. This was 1000 years before Abraham. Do you not suppose the Pharaoh might have had camasl?

          There was a regularly travel travel route between Mesopotamia and Egypt before Abraham. Camels were used in Mesopotamia. Did they get to Egypt? It is hardly possible to magine they did not.

          The observation about camels in Israel is just that. They were not used by the Israelites until the 10th century or so. But why? Because the Canaanites were not in the business of trade with Mesopotamia and the hill country where the Canaanite lived was not well suited for camels. Not found indicating regular use. ntikl about Solomon’s time when trade was a big deal are the bones of camels

        • Greg G.

          One of the footnotes for the passage you cited in an earlier response is:

          Heide, Martin (2011). “The Domestication of the Camel: Biological, Archaeological and Inscriptional Evidence from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel and Arabia, and Literary Evidence from the Hebrew Bible“.

          Your argument is circular.

          I don’t have time to look up the passages at the moment. Did you read the story and the back story for the gift from the pharaoh? Abraham and Sarah told the Egyptians that she was his sister so they wouldn’t kill him but she was so hot the pharaoh tried to seduce her. God caused lots of bad luck. The pharaoh paid a fortune to Abraham to take her away. So Abraham got rich by grifting and God was complicit.

          Then Abraham and Sarah pulled the same scam again with another ruler. Sarah would have been about 90 when this happened, yet the ruler fell head over heels for her. Same result.

          The story is just a theme that requires the insertion of names and the riches delivered.

          We see Isaac do the same thing with his wife. The ruler and the head of his army matches the names in one of Abraham’s grifts.

        • Greg G.

          OK, I had time to look up the verses and some background information.

          Genesis 17:17 tells us that Abraham is ten years older than his wife, Sarah. Genesis 12:4 tells us that Abram is 75.

          In Genesis 12:10-20, Abram and Sarai go to Egypt and say they are brother and sister supposedly so Abram won’t be killed and Sarai taken. When the Pharaoh begins to woo the 65 year old woman, Abram says Sarai is his wife. Instead of killing him, the Pharaoh pays him lots of money to go away.

          In Genesis 17:1, we learn that Abram is 99, so Sarai is 89.

          In Genesis 20:1-18 (the whole chapter), Abraham and Sarah, age 89 to 90, go to Gerar and pull the same grift on King Abimelek. Genesis 21:22 identifies Phicol as the commander of Abimelek’s army.

          Genesis 21:22 identifies Phicol as the commander of Abimelek’s army.

          In Genesis 21:5, Isaac is born, Abraham is 100 and Sarah is 90.

          Abraham dies at age 175 in Genesis 25:7 but then the narrative jumps back to Isaac’s marriage at age 40. Let’s say that Rebekah is about 15.

          In Genesis 25:26, Jacob and Esau are born. Isaac is 60 so Rebekah would be about 35.

          In Genesis 26:1-11, Isaac and Rebekah go to Gerar and say that Rebekah is his sister for fear that someone would kill him because she was so attractive. But the people of Gerar didn’t suspect that the 60 year old and the irresistably beautiful 35 year old were not really siblings until Ahimelech saw Isaac playing with her boobs and got upset.

          In Genesis 26:26 identifies Phicol as the commander of Abimelek’s army, so this seems to be the same King Abimelech and the same Commander Phicol still holding their positions at least sixty years later.

          Are the ages exaggerated? Are these just one fill-in-the-names-and-details-later myth? What they are not is believable. These are reasons to not take the Bible seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          These are fairy tales written as history.

          Could be.

          Or they were understood for what they were at the time, a sort of Aesop’s fables, then became historicised through centuries of religion.

        • Greg G.

          I think “fairy tales” is a broad term that could include fables. As gruesome as “Jack fell down and broke his crown” sounds, I am told it is nothing compared to the original versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I am still waiting for the day when I am old enough and mature enough to read them.

        • David Cromie

          Yes, the fairy stories by the Grimm brothers were rewritten by the Victorians, who deemed then too grim and scary for children.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The more information available the better. And the more detailed the description of Abraham the better.

          Makes not a jot of difference to the historicity of the character.

          For Abraham we have quite a lot of information from the biblical text.

          So what. That’s a circular argument your trying to make. There’s quite a lot of information for Dracula in the book of his name. The exploits of Sherlock Holmes are well supported by a lot of information in the diaries of Doctor Watson.

          So where is Ur of the Chaldees? Because that’s a buybull anachronism.

          Comparing the two, the information about the time and place from non-biblical sources with the biblical narrative, there is a remarkable fit.

          And the same applies to many fictional characters. You’d know that if you were such a scholar of literature. You are special pleading again.

          That makes Abraham logical.

          You keep using that word with no demonstration that you are aware of it’s meaning. Reading the Harry Potter books makes the existence of a boy wizard logical. Right?

          Certainly there were people from Mesopotamia who did migrate to Canaan during the early 2nd millennium B.C.

          Yep…and apparently Abram was a very popular name at the time. But how do you know Abram in the story was early 2nd millennium BCE?

          That does not make this one person Abraham absolutely certain.

          We know, but you are giving him much more certainty than is anywhere warranted. King Arthur’s certainty is much more warranted and most scholars think he is a myth.

          But it makes his story logical and plausible and more likely than not.

          No, it really doesn’t. No more than the story of Romulus and Remus. It’s religious conviction that is whats your problem. For someone with an education to the level you claim in literature, your incredulity is ridiculous.

          Does the plausibility that Joseph Smith existed mean that the story and history of Mormonism is more likely than not?

          For much of the 20th century, the scholarly consensus reflected the arguments of figures such as William F. Albright that Abraham was a real person, living some time in the second millennium BCE; this chronology was based on knowledge of customs, proper names and other details of that time. However, this was challenged by a later wave of scholarship: in 1975 came two works by north American biblical scholars, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives: The Quest for the Historical Abraham by Thomas L. Thompson, and John Van Seters’ Abraham in History and Tradition, who both concluded that there was no actual evidence for the existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In particular, Thompson concluded that many of the facets of the Abrahamic narrative were reflective of the Iron Age, leading Thompson to conclude that the Abrahamic narrative was concocted up sometime between the fifth and second centuries BCE.

          There have been attempts to match the Biblical narrative to real places, with Abraham’s supposed birthplace of Ur of the Chaldees identified with various historical sites, most notably Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Nasiriyah, and his later residence at Haran is usually matched to Harran in modern-day Turkey.

          Even among those who believe in the historical existence, the dominant theory of Biblical authorship holds that the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs in the Book of Genesis were probably written around the Babylonian exile of 6th century BCE. This means that there must have been many hundred years of transmission of oral tradition before it was put into writing. Almost any oral tradition could be transformed over 500-1000 years, and could have been coloured by later traditions or modified to fit in with past or present names and customs. Short of a time machine, it’s unlikely there will ever be real evidence that Abraham existed or any factual information about him.

        • Greg G.

          There is neither for Odin.

          Jesus opposed sin. Thor opposed Frost Giants. When was the last time you saw a Frost Giant?

        • David Cromie

          There is as much evidence for the Norse Sagas as there is for the myths of the so-called ‘bible’. What evidence do you have for the non existence of any of the classical ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’? What of the Oracle of Delphi. were their prophesies any less potent than those of the OT?

        • Don Camp

          There is as much evidence for the Norse Sagas as there is for the myths of the so-called ‘bible’.

          That is an opinion. Do you have some reason for saying so.

          What evidence do you have for the non existence of any of the classical ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’?

          That is asking for proof of a negative. But I would ask what claims are made by the classical gods or about them by those who believed the myths? Match the claims with what we can observe about the universe and about nature and about history. Then do the same for the God of the Bible. Which comes out more in line with what we know about those things? I’ll leave you to do that.

          What of the Oracle of Delphi. were their prophesies any less potent than those of the OT?

          I suggest you do the same with this question. I personally am not acquainted with the Oracle of Delphi. I am acquainted with the biblical prophecies. I find them quite “potent.”

        • aikidaves

          So, still 2 million people left a country that had a total population of MAYBE 5 million? Seriously?

        • Ignorant Amos

          More than the whole population of Egypt at the time…but bailing in dribs and drabs…so that’s kosher…like the great escape…Dons a delusional balloon.

          Oh look…there’s no one here anymore…hence the reason no Egyptians even noticed ffs. There was no one left to write about it.

        • Don Camp

          If a generation in Egypt was 40 years and the period of time of the exoduses was as much as 200 years, that would mean that the 5 million population was effectively 25 million. If 2 million people left, that would be only 10% of the total population. If the period of time was longer, of course, the % would be effectively less. That might put it in perspective.

        • nydiva

          You can’t be serious. This is special pleading taken to new highs of absurdity. Your post demonstrates your willingness to stretch a mythical story into something you think might resemble reality. Give it up. The Exodus story as record in the Bible, not your imagination, is a legend.

        • David Cromie

          You really are determined to make it up as you go along, but it is failing you at every turn of the wheel.

        • David Cromie

          The Egyptians were meticulous in recording their history, yet not a trace left anywhere in Egypt of the capture of the Israelites, much less a mass exodus of same, led by a ‘Moses’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wonder. There have been people living in the Sinai desert for thousands of years. What traces did the people 3000 years ago leave?

          Apparently some. From before and subsequent to the supposed time of the Exodus. Traces of small nomadic camps. And that is part of the problem with the Exodus claim. Nothing on the level that would be expected, at the time and places as described in the OT story, has been found. Despite exhaustive efforts to do so.

          I don’t know if you’ve read the following article…

          Is the Bible a True Story?
          Despite feverish searching with Scripture in one hand and cutting-edge technology in the other, evidence backing the Bible remains elusive. But there are some surprising anomalies

          https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-is-the-bible-a-true-story-latest-archaeological-finds-yield-surprises-1.5626647

        • Zeta

          Very informative article. Thanks.
          I am keen to read Don Camp’s rebuttal.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am keen to read Don Camp’s rebuttal.

          Never gonna happen. Don only responds to what he thinks is low hanging fruit.

        • MR

          Yup. My email has become farcical with the Don Show and I’m unsubscribing from these threads.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a prophecy to make.

          In the not too distant future, the banhammer will befall Don from the Great Overlord.

        • The Bible says that roughly 2M people took part in the Exodus, and they were in the desert for 40 years (until they all died). That’s a lot of corpses in a desert that should’ve preserved those bodies well. Can you point to even one?

        • Don Camp

          I’ll defer to Freidman for his explanation.

        • You’re too modest. You’re smart enough to weigh the evidence. Zero corpses in a small desert that should have 2M? After centuries of eager archaeologists looking for them?

        • MR

          The population of Houston, without a trace. Aliens maybe?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s a mouthful of red wine ya owe me miss.

        • Supernatural aliens, clearly.

        • Bob Jase

          Pre-mature Rapture. That’s why the second one is taking so long.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Some scholars estimate the total population of Egypt at the time the Exodus myth is set, would’ve been circa 2 million. Yet nobody noticed a sizeable population just up sticks and toodle of into the desert, let alone all the jazz hands supernatural magic malarkey that went along with it…not enough to make a record of it anyway.

        • Don Camp

          Where are all the corpses of the people who have lived in that desert for maybe 4000 years? Over that time there could easily have been 2 million people? See this article https://biblearchaeology.org/research/exodus-from-egypt/3811-Where-are-the-Israelite-Burials-From-the-Wilderness-Wanderings

          But actually, it may be that we are looking in the wrong place. It is more likely that these people spent much of the time in Arabia where the Midianites lived rather than the Sinai desert. Then if the exodus actually was a series of leavings rather than one large exodus, as Friedman thinks and I as well, the impact on the desert environment would have been much smaller, and more difficult to detect. If many of these exoduses did not take the desert route but like the Hyksos went north along the sea route, there would have been few graves in the desert.

          If Arabia was the location, then Jubal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia, there is some evidence for a large encampment of people. We have to consider that.

          BTW the Hyksos were a numerous people who left in mass. Where are the graves of the Hyksos? Many must have died in the war with Egypt. Why no graves?

          So the puzzle of no evidence for 2 million people probably is no more of a puzzle than grave or evidence of camps of large groups of people who we do know left Egypt in 1550 BC.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “BTW the Hyksos were a numerous people who left in mass. Where are the graves of the Hyksos? Many must have died in the war with Egypt. Why no graves?”

          These two cases (the Hyksos and the Israelites) are so different that it is surprising you even thought of asking such stupid questions.

          How long did the Hyksos take to get to their destination? Can’t be 40 years, right? A small number may have died along the way in such a relatively short journey. Comparing the number of deaths to the case of Israelites wandering in a hostile environment for 40 years is plain silly. How do you know that the Hyksos didn’t have graves?

          “Many must have died in the war with Egypt. Why do graves.”
          How do you know that there were no graves for the war dead?

        • Greg G.

          If it is the case that there was never large numbers of Israelites in Egypt who left as a huge group and took several years to make a two week trip, then just say that Exodus is a myth.

          You aren’t looking for the truth. You are looking for excuses to believe a lie.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The positions that Don the Pretzelman is prepared to contort himself into in order to rescue the smallest remanent of the yarn, is jaw droppingly embarrassing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          BTW the Hyksos were a numerous people who left in mass. Where are the graves of the Hyksos? Many must have died in the war with Egypt.

          Nope. No Hyksos war with the Egyptians. No mass Hyksos exodus from Egypt.

          Why no graves?

          There are Hyksos graves in Egypt.

          https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mysterious-hyksos-dynasty-conquered-ancient-egypt-marriage

        • Ignorant Amos

          Friedman is a better source than the buybull? There’s some authority fallacy fuckwittery going on there Don.

          God fucked up…Moses fucked up…the buybull authors fucked up…..but Freidman nails it? Ahhhh…okay. Because, because, because….because of the wonderful thing that he does. Don, yer a moron.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like you, Friedman fudges the buybull narrative in order to try and make it sensible.

          The bottom line is his Exodus and the one described in the buybull, are not the same event.

          You are arguing another straw man…again.

          Friedman makes a convincing case that the Exodus really did occur–just not in the same way that the Bible suggests it happened.

          This argument is a key component underlying his entire historical detective drama. According to Friedman, the scholars who are skeptical of the exodus as a historical event are tripped up by a flawed assumption–that the biblical text’s description of 600,000 men should be taken literally. With women and children counted in, this would suggest that around 2 million people left Egypt and went into the Sinai. Neither archaeology nor Egyptian records give any evidence of such an exodus.

          But what if, instead of 2 million people, there was an exodus from Egypt of a much smaller number of people (say five hundred or a thousand) around 1200 B.C., people who called themselves “Levites.” And what if they eventually merged with indigenous people already in Canaan–people who called themselves “Israelites” and who referred to their god as “El.” And what if these Levites from Egypt called their god “Yahweh.” And what if, years later, the writers of this joint narrative history had pet versions of their stories, coming from priests, Levites, Elohists, Yahwists, Deuteronomists, and the like? According to Friedman, this is entirely plausible.

          http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/reviews/older-reviews/friedman-the-exodus-reviewed-by-gary-mccary/

          And the knock-on effect of Friedman’s hypothesis has graver ramifications for other events you’ve been trying to support.

          And so Friedman draws these conclusions: (1) there was an exodus event, but only of Levites; (2) the Levites were of Egyptian origin, and were perhaps a small group of laborers, perhaps even slaves; (3) the Levites did not spend 40 years in the desert and they were not large in number; (4) these Levites ended up in Midian, a place where the Shasu lived (who called their god Yahu), and possibly adopted that god as their own and later called him Yahweh; (5) the Levites eventually ended up in Canaanite lands, and joined with the resident “Israelites,” who worshiped the god El. The Levites, in a compromise move, eventually merged El with Yahweh, and for this compromise, they accepted tithes from the people; (6) this merger of peoples resulted in the beginning stages of what would eventually be known as “monotheism.”

          And none of this gives any gravitas to the supernatural woo-woo in the Exodus myth either.

        • Bob Jase

          Marvel Comics used to publish a title called What If?

          Apparently it has been taken over by Christian apologetics.

        • Phil

          If rabbits exist, then surely Peter Rabbit existed ne ce pas? ‘Tis written and I found archaeological evidence on a coin in my garden. What more proof do you need?

        • Bob Jase

          You know you can buy copies of the one ring ala Tolkien right? Doesn’t mean everything he wrote was real.

        • Zeta

          Funny that well-known professional archaeologists like Israel Finkelstein who spent years digging have very different opinions. From his book (with coauthor Neil Asher Silberman):
          “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Isreal and the Origin of Sacred Texts” (Touchstone, 2001)

          Note: Emphasis below are all mine.

          1. By far the most important source of evidence about the historical context of the Bible has come from more than a hundred years of modern archaeological excavations in Israel, Jordan, and the neighboring regions.

          2. By the end of the twentieth century, archaeology had shown that there were simply too many material correspondences between the finds in Israel and in the entire Near East and the world described in the Bible to suggest that the Bible was late and fanciful priestly literature, written with no historical basis at all.

          3. Much of what is commonly taken for granted as accurate history—the stories of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, and even the saga of the glorious united monarchy of David and Solomon—are, rather, the creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement that flourished in the kingdom of Judah in the Late Iron Age.

          I wonder how much archaeological diggings did Friedman do? Is he an archaeologist in the first place?

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is Don hitting the Reset Button…I did this dance with that Finkelstein and Silberman book about two months ago.

          Don’s disingenuous dishonesty is nothing, if not consistent. I’ll give the lying auld fucker that much.

        • Don Camp

          Friedman is an archaeologist working in Israel. Yes. He has worked in digs in Israel. He is conversant with Finkelstein. If you want to dig deeper into their agreements and disagreements and the reasons Friedman gives for merging the two approaches, you can get the book. I don’t think you’ll get that from a review on Amazon.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “Friedman is an archaeologist working in Israel.”

          From Wikipedia and Friedman’s own website, the only thing I can find about this is “He participated in the City of David Project archaeological excavations of biblical Jerusalem.” Unless you can provide further information, I would say that, at most, he is an amateur. Participating in one archaeological project does not make him a archaeologist.

          More evidence please including citations of his archaeological work and publications.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s like shooting fish in a barrel …isn’t it?

          Almost a crime to take such advantage of the afflicted, no?

        • Ignorant Amos

          https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513gACh0VWL._SX355_.jpg

          https://inews.co.uk/images-i.jpimedia.uk/imagefetch/https://inews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/DN-2019-Peter-Rabbit-50p-Product-Images-1.jpg

          https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0165/3024/3648/products/1_300x300.jpg?v=1556884317

          Queen Elizabeth and Beatrix Potter are historical personages, so that makes the tales of Beatrix Potter historically accurate too? It must be true, it’s witnessed on UK legal tender.

          Enough said.

        • Greg G.

          Finally, a recent book by RICHARD ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN, The Exodus

          I have read Friedman’s “Who Wrote the Bible?”

          I looked at the book on Amazon. A reviewer says, “And I would also have liked to hear his thinking on the relationship of the Mosaic group to the Ahkenaten revolutionaries (personally, I am convinced that the man Moses was one of Ahkenaten’s minions). Note that Levites-as-Ahkenaten-follower does impact the chronology….”

          That idea has intrigued me for a dozen years or so.

          Another reviewer reports, “According to Richard Elliott Friedman’s easy to read account, it is not true that over 600,000 Israelite males, aged 20-60, left Egypt, totaling over two million when women, children, and the elderly are included in the count, but a much smaller number, and they were not Israelites at that time but Levites. They traveled to Israel and found two kingdoms there, Israel in the north and Judah in the south.”

          So when we say that the evidence shows that there were never large numbers of Israelites in Egypt, that there is no evidence that a large number of people wandered the Sinai for forty years, and that the Israelites didn’t conquer Canaan, Friedman agrees.

        • Don Camp

          I don’t agree with everything Friedman argues. I particularly am not sure we can divide up the OT text into pieces contributed by authors hypothesized in the JEDP documentary hypothesis.

          I was interested in his argument base on the DNA evidence for the priesthood. But the information failed to satisfy me as far as the people of Israel are concerned. Maybe there has been too much mixing of DNA to make that possible.

          But I do agree that several million people making the trek out of Egypt at one time is unlikely. However, if we begin with the Hyksos expulsion in 1550 BC and assume that ther3e were some Hebrews in the numbers and that the Hyksos did disperse in Canaan, then there is a base population of Hebrews present back in Canaan who were there to meet others of the Hebrews who may have escaped Egypt between 1550 and the date perhaps 300 years later when Moses led people out of Egypt.

          Manetho’s Egyptian account of the exodus also fits Friedman’s account quite well. http://realhistoryww.com/world_history/ancient/Misc/Hyksos/Hyksos.htm

          What I was most interested in in Friedman’s book was the compilation of evidence for Israel in Canaan in the period of time that is i8n question and the archaeological evidence and textual evidence for Israel between the exodus and the third century BC, evidence that confirms the OT history of Israel.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t agree with everything Friedman argues. I particularly am not sure we can divide up the OT text into pieces contributed by authors hypothesized in the JEDP documentary hypothesis.

          I was intrigued by the JEDP hypothesis but not so much anymore. I think the fictional narrative might have been contrived in Babylon from Babylonian records.

          I was interested in his argument base on the DNA evidence for the priesthood. But the information failed to satisfy me as far as the people of Israel are concerned. Maybe there has been too much mixing of DNA to make that possible.

          There should be a small number of nearly identical Y-chromosomes passed from father to son.

          But I do agree that several million people making the trek out of Egypt at one time is unlikely. However, if we begin with the Hyksos expulsion in 1550 BC and assume that ther3e were some Hebrews in the numbers and that the Hyksos did disperse in Canaan, then there is a base population of Hebrews present back in Canaan who were there to meet others of the Hebrews who may have escaped Egypt between 1550 and the date perhaps 300 years later when Moses led people out of Egypt.

          That is not the Exodus then.

          Manetho’s Egyptian account of the exodus also fits Friedman’s account quite well.

          But it’s not the Exodus account. They were driven out rather than leaving of their own accord.

          You poo-poo greater similarities between the gospels and Homer or Acts and Josephus’ Antiquities but are willing to imagine there were a Jew or two in with the Hyksos clans just to parallel it with the Exodus account.

          What I was most interested in in Friedman’s book was the compilation of evidence for Israel in Canaan in the period of time that is i8n question and the archaeological evidence and textual evidence for Israel between the exodus and the third century BC, evidence that confirms the OT history of Israel.

          Babylonian libraries had documents that went back many centuries for many cultures. The educated people of Jerusalem were taken in the Exile, so they would have had access to that material. If they created a history, it would also match up with archaeological evidence and textual evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But it’s not the Exodus account. They were driven out rather than leaving of their own accord.

          Nor were they slaves, they were invading conquerors.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Manetho’s Egyptian account…

          Because ancient historians never made shit up. Or used made up shit as source material…oh, wait a wee minute, yes they did.

          Manetho’s methods involved the use of king-lists to provide a structure for his history. There were precedents to his writing available in Egypt (plenty of which have survived to this day), and his Hellenistic and Egyptian background would have been influential in his writing. Josephus records him admitting to using “nameless oral tradition” (1.105) and “myths and legends” (1.229) for his account, and there is no reason to doubt this, as admissions of this type were common among historians of that era. His familiarity with Egyptian legends is indisputable, but how he came to know Greek is more open to debate. He must have been familiar with Herodotus, and in some cases, he even attempted to synchronize Egyptian history with Greek (for example, equating King Memnon with Amenophis, and Armesis with Danaos). This suggests he was also familiar with the Greek Epic Cycle (for which the Ethiopian Memnon is slain by Achilles during the Trojan War) and the history of Argos (in Aeschylus’s Suppliants). However, it has also been suggested that these were later interpolations, particularly when the epitome was being written, so these guesses are at best tentative. At the very least, he wrote in fluent Koinê Greek.

          You really are the most gullible human being who claims a third level education and intellect, that I’ve come across in a good while.

          . http://realhistoryww.com/wo

          You can’t even read yer own sources ffs.

          Manetho owes his importance to the fact that he wrote the Aegyptiaca, a collection of three books about the history of Ancient Egypt, commissioned by Ptolemy II in his effort to bring together the Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures.

          In order to do so, Manetho had access to the archives of the temple where he served as a priest. Such archives contained a vast number of different kinds of writings, ranging in contents from mythological texts to official records, from magical formulas to scientific treaties. He thus had all the sources he needed to write down the history of his country. With such sources, however, we may not be surprised to find myths and folk-tale mixed with the facts of the Egyptian history.

          Yer as daft as a box of frogs.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “Finally, a recent book by RICHARD ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN, The Exodus brings together a number of different disciplines to show that th3e exodus was not a fiction.”

          I don’t have the book so reviews by others are useful. From what I have read, you have conveniently left out a very important point that Friedman’s claims are confined to Levites. Assuming that Friedman is correct, how many Levites were there in those many “exoduses”? If I am not mistaken, the number of Levites has always been small. Even if there are substantial numbers of them, the Exodus account in your ancient book is still fiction because virtually all the fantastic and dramatic details are false.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’s a pious fraud….but you knew that well before I did.

        • Bob Jase

          Cringeworthy toadyism =/= piousness.

        • Don Camp

          Actually, Friedman’s thesis is even more complex than what you think. He does think the exodus of Moses was an exodus of the Levites and not of the other tribes of Israel. He thinks the rest of Israel was already in Canaan before Moses led the Levites out of Egypt where they untied with the rest of Israel in Canaan.

          I am not sure I buy Friedman’s thesis entirely. It depends heavily on the JEPD documentary hypothesis and requires carving up the exodus story into sometimes very small pieces, pieces that were later assembled into the exodus narrative. That only works if you assume the JEPD hypothesis before hand. If you don’t, that part of Friedman’s thesis does not easily emerge form the text. I gave him credit for trying, however.

          But the archaeological and textual evidence, wholly apart from the discussion of the JEPD text origins, is sufficient to say with strong probability that there was an exodus and with virtual certainty that there was a group of people in Canaan from about 1450 BC on who we can identify as different from the Canaanites and who were Identified on the Merneptah Stele in 1210 BC as Israel. Those things are not fictions.

          The other thing about Friedman is that he is not trying to defend the historicity of the Bible for religious reasons. I do not think he is religious. He approaches this question as a scientist (archaeologist) and as a biblical scholar with special expertise in the literary features of the Hebrew language.

        • Zeta

          Don Camp: “He does think the exodus of Moses was an exodus of the Levites and not of the other tribes of Israel. ”

          That was certainly not the impression I got when I read your comment talking about the book. By omitting the fact that Friedman was really talking about the Levites, a small Israelite minority, you sounded as if he has come up with some strong evidence that the Exodus is history. This turns out to be a dud. An anticlimax.

          You claimed to be a teacher of English and literature. Is it appropriate to use the word “Exodus” to describe a small group of people, further separated into even smaller groups, leaving Egypt at various times?

        • Ignorant Amos

          … a small Israelite minority…

          Friedman even believes the Levites were Egyptian in origin….ohhhps!

          (2) the Levites were of Egyptian origin, and were perhaps a small group of laborers, perhaps even slaves;

        • Zeta

          “Friedman even believes the Levites were Egyptian in origin….ohhhps!”

          Ha! In my haste skimming two reviews of Friedman’s book, I missed this interesting and crucial bit. Even a scholar like him cannot extricate himself from his own religious belief. If the Levites were Egyptians and they left Egypt in small numbers over a (probably long period of time), in what sense is it the Exodus of Israelites? Why use the word “Exodus” if only a small number of people were involved? Friedman does not earn my respect.

          I found another article of his through Google:
          “The Historical Exodus”
          https://www.thetorah.com/article/the-historical-exodus

          I quote the Conclusion below (Emphasis mine):

          The scenario is that the Levites were in Egypt, and it was the Levites who worshipped the God YHWH. The Song of Miriam in our parasha names God nine times, and in all nine it is YHWH. And this name has been found in Egypt in two inscriptions from the 14th and 13th centuries. These Levites brought their story and their God to Israel.

          So according to Friedman, Yahweh was brought from Egypt to Israel! Yahweh is an invented and passive god, has no mind of his own, and was carried around by his believers. He gained his many omni-* attributes when his believers said so. Laughable indeed.

          If the Father was invented, how could the Son be real?

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to the archaeology, the first recorded reference to Yahweh is in Egypt. The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God Yahweh.

          Don cherry picks Friedman in order to try and rescue the buybull Exodus. But Friedman’s account only provides a possible kernel on which the myth was constructed. It really doesn’t help him. Don just wants the exaggerated numbers bit of Friedman’s thesis to use in arguments. It’s dishonest. But he hasn’t thought it through on how it impacts the bigger picture. A handful of Levites are not going to conquest Canaan for starters.

          Don loves to dig himself into a hole, piss off to Croydon, then return having pressed the rest button. I don’t think I’ve seen a Christer do it with such vigour in all my time on the tinterwebz.

        • Phil

          “I am not sure I buy Friedman’s thesis entirely…” All he needs to do is keep going. He’ll get their eventually…. maybe

        • David Cromie

          The whole story of the exodus is pure fiction, along with the supposed Moses. As for the wandering in the desert, guided by a pillar of smoke by day, and a pillar of fire by night, this describes a volcano. Mt Sinai is not a volcano, and never was. The crossing of the Red Sea is likewise apocryphal.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald
        • Don Camp

          The author’s motive is clear: “if we want to re-establish that elusive peace with Egypt that so many
          worked so hard to build, we’re all going to have to let go of our
          prejudices.”

          But history is not prejudice. It is simply history.

          Josh Mintz argues his case for no exodus entirely on evidence. That may be reason to look closer or think in different ways about the exodus. So why not fill in the blanks with what did happen in those centuries? Mintz doesn’t do that. He is in a hurry to argue for better relations with Egypt.

          If he had looked closer or asked the obvious questions a historian would ask, he might have run across the evidence that archaeologists have found and the texts both of Egypt and of the Hebrews reveal. That would have led to a better article and maybe even a way to come to peace with the Egyptians, who are not the Egyptians of 3 millennia ago.

        • Greg G.

          That may be reason to look closer or think in different ways about the exodus. So why not fill in the blanks with what did happen in those centuries?

          People came and went to and from Egypt. You are filling in the blanks by totaling those who left to create an exodus that never happened. Some different ways of thinking are just wrong.

        • David Cromie

          ‘merging’? Is this not phantasizing about what would make a ‘better’, more believable, story, in line with contemporary politics, and preconceived supernatural delusions consonant with one’s current world view. This is the historical method the biblical scribes have always used in the editing, deletions, and revisions of the myths, legends, and folklore of the so-called ‘bible’ throughout the ages (vide the Testimonium Flaviorum for a blatant example of this ploy to rewrite history, by christers).

    • David Cromie

      Where is the irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence that would show that any supposed supernatural entities actually exist?

      As for JC, there is no evidence, whether written or archaeological, that such claimed man-god ever really walked the earth.

      • Don Camp

        I was asked some years ago by my philosophy prof for falsifiable evidence for God. My answer is that if you specific the God of Israel then Israel itself is that evidence. The God of Israel made promises to Abraham and the nation that would come form him. Here’s the promise:

        12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I
        will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

        If those promises were to fail, that would falsify the God of Israel.

        RE: Jesus. That evidence would be historical, since Jesus lived 2000 years ago. That kind of evidence is less than absolute no matter what you are looking at in history. But in the case of Jesus we have plenty of written evidence. The letters of Paul would be the place to begin. Hardly any scholar denies the fact that at least some of the letters in the New Testament are genuine letters of Paul. So here are some of the evidence for Jesus we have from Paul. I refer to the list in Jesus and the Logic of History by historian Paul W. Barnett, pages 57 and 58. I mention only a couple.
        8) Jesus ministered primarily to the Jews.
        12) He gave testimony before Pontius Pilate.

        13) He was killed by the Jews of Judea.

        Very few historians deny that Jesus was a real person in the early 1st century in Judea. Whether he was the God-man is attested to by his resurrection. Paul would again be the earliest testimony to that. But every event in history has effects. The one effect that cannot be explained in any other way is fact that the church began among the Jews in Jerusalem within a matter of weeks after the resurrection

        • Greg G.

          The God of Israel made promises to Abraham and the nation that would come form him. Here’s the promise:

          The Israelites were just another Canaanite tribe who made up a history for themselves borowing from other cultures writings. You tried to show evidence but much of it supported the opposite of your claim.

          Very few historians deny that Jesus was a real person in the early 1st century in Judea.

          It’s not what they believe, it’s the case they make from the evidence that matters.

          Paul would again be the earliest testimony to that.

          Everything Paul says about Jesus can be found in the OT scriptures. He didn’t know anything about a first century Jesus who was crucified.

          The one effect that cannot be explained in any other way is fact that the church began among the Jews in Jerusalem within a matter of weeks after the resurrection

          The Jews were still expecting a Messiah when they went to war with Rome and were being encouraged to hold out hope for the Messiah to the end of the siege of Jerusalem.

        • Don Camp

          He didn’t know anything about a first century Jesus who was crucified.

          You could have fooled me. It seems that is the central piece of his message.

          The Jews were still expecting a Messiah when they went to war with Rome
          and were being encouraged to hold out hope for the Messiah to the end of
          the siege of Jerusalem.

          Not all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You could have fooled me. It seems that is the central piece of his message.

          That’s because it has become apparent that you fool easily.

          Where in the letters of Paul does he place Jesus in chronological history? You have to read the gospels back into Paul to get that.

          Not all.

          Not all followers of Jesus believed he was resurrected either. Not even nearly all. Not all Christians today believe Jesus was resurrected either. Just particular flavours of Christer. You don’t half get through a lot of petards Don.

        • Greg G.

          You could have fooled me. It seems that is the central piece of his message.

          Everything Paul says about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. Paul insists on those texts.

          Not all.

          Even the early Christians were expecting the Messiah to come during their generation. In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, Paul tells about the “coming of the Lord” and refers to those who are dead in the third person plural and those who are alive in the first person plural.

        • nydiva

          https://youtu.be/bQmMFQzrEsc. Interesting lecture on the historicity of the Gospels by Dr. Richard Carrier PhD. in ancient history from Columbia University, where he studied the history of science in antiquity Enjoy. Cheers.

        • My answer is that if you specific the God of Israel then Israel itself is that evidence.

          And if you specify the Snozzle of Israel, then Israel itself is evidence.

          All hail the great and powerful Snozzle!

        • Bob Jase

          Israel was a great kingdom only in the eyes of the Hebrews, to all its neighbors it was an intersection that they took turns conquering. The bible claims Israel extended through Turkey, that is one of the many lies Israelites told about themselves. And it’s not a great nation today either nor, as even you may have noticed, a kingdom ruled by a direct descendent of David.

          As for your mythical messiah, for most of the past 2000 years saying Jesus wasn’t god, let alone a real historic personage, would get you killed in most of the Western world. When the last vestiges of that disbelieve are fine we’ll all be better off. Trust me, you’ll find some other magic to believe as you are incapable of living without magic beliefs.

        • Don Camp

          Israel was a great kingdom only in the eyes of the Hebrews,

          Since the New Testament and the Messiah and the church is a continuation of Israel, the church along with the Jews are the great nation. Currently, those two together are the largest religious group in the world and almost 3 billion in number. BTW Jews were the at the beginning of the church, the large majority in the church.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          So? Given the presence of religion, one must be the longest running. Does this mean the longest running religion in the world prior to Judaism was also true?

        • Don Camp

          I don’t think the promise says anything about religion.

        • Bob Jase

          So if the Christian churches, all 40,000 + variations of them, are the true Israel then you wouldn’t mind dissolving the modern state as its a false Israel?

          Which is it Donny boy?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wtf?

          The verbal diarrhea of a deluded moron.

          You really are in full meltdown Don.

          Step away from the Kool-Aid font. You are just making up any auld nonsense and spewing farts from that space between yer ears.

        • David Cromie

          “…the church is a continuation of Israel…” – ???

        • Don Camp

          That is the point Paul makes in Romans 11. The Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree that is Israel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope. Only those Jews that believed in Jesus as the messiah, not the Jews generally. Nor Israel. Those Jews were “cut off”…the Gentiles that believed in Jesus as the messiah were grafted on to the “olive tree” of the Church.

          Abraham was as the root of the church. The Jews continued branches of this tree till, as a nation, they rejected the Messiah; after that, their relation to Abraham and to God was, as it were, cut off. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Multitudes were made heirs of Abraham’s faith, holiness and blessedness. It is the natural state of every one of us, to be wild by nature. Conversion is as the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive.

          When Jesus following Jews and the Jesus following Gentiles became Christians, that all changed. Paul wouldn’t have known that. He was expecting the end times before that happened. Unless you accept that Muslims are a branch of the same olive tree and part of the nation of Israel? Hardly!

        • Ignorant Amos

          But in the case of Jesus we have plenty of written evidence.

          Nope, there really isn’t.

          The letters of Paul would be the place to begin.

          The letters of Paul are not evidence of Jesus. They are evidence of a belief in Jesus. Paul never met Jesus in anything other than a dreams and what he deduced from scriptures [OT?]. Wise up Don.

          Hardly any scholar denies the fact that at least some of the letters in the New Testament are genuine letters of Paul.

          Indeed. And some are not. And the genuine ones have been bastardised. So no one can be sure that the contents can be verified. And so what? Joseph Smith waxed lyrically about all sorts of Mormon fuckwittery, and he actually met the angel Moroni…and he has witness affidavits to prove it. Muhammad’s experiences riding a flying horse were documented by his followers at commensurate time after he jossed it, to the time Paul was writing after the alleged time after Jesus’s death. Something Paul knows anything about. It has to be read back into the Pauline corpus from the later gospels.

          So here are some of the evidence for Jesus we have from Paul.

          And Bram Stoker is evidence of the lord of the vampires, Count Dracula. Paul is probably the best evidence for Jesus, and it’s really very flimsy indeed.

          …historian Paul W. Barnett

          He’s an Anglican bishop you daft eejit. He is predisposed to believe the woo-woo, so is a heavily biased source.

          8) Jesus ministered primarily to the Jews.

          12) He gave testimony before Pontius Pilate.

          13) He was killed by the Jews of Judea.

          None of which can be found in Paul. None of which is supported by any contemporary accounts. None of which can be corroborated by any unbiased accounts. None of which is individually attested to, the gospels use each other for source material, and maybe another hypothetical source that can’t be verified. So none of which we know even happened outside a story in a book, and plenty of reasons for thinking that it didn’t.

          Very few historians deny that Jesus was a real person in the early 1st century in Judea.

          Few historians have investigated the subject. It is taken for granted. Of those that have, the majority are Christians with a bias predisposition. But even then, many admit there is big problems with the evidence.

          A number of scholars have criticized the various approaches used in the study of the historical Jesus—on one hand, for the lack of rigor in research methods; on the other, for being driven by “specific agendas” that interpret ancient sources to fit specific goals.

          Whether he was the God-man is attested to by his resurrection.

          That’s just theological a plot theme in a woo-woo religious yarn. No one who wrote about it, witnessed it, or claimed to know anyone that did. Other theological plot themes in woo-woo religious yarns are available on request…including Resurrection myths.

          Paul would again be the earliest testimony to that.

          No he wouldn’t. That’s a big fat Dom lie. There is no actual Resurrection narrative in the NT. Ya have to go to the Apocrypha for one of those. And even that level of woo-woo was too much for the canon compilers. Paul only knows Jesus from revelation and scriptures. Some wannabe woo-woo fuckwit your gonna be, when ya don’t even know the basics ffs.

          But every event in history has effects.

          It doesn’t need to be an event in history to have an effect ya moron. I can feel another hoisting coming on here Don.

          The one effect that cannot be explained in any other way is fact that the church began among the Jews in Jerusalem within a matter of weeks after the resurrection

          An assertion not in evidence, but here’s the hoisting a promised. By that simpletons logic, all other religious woo-woo claims were historical events. Mo’s flying horsey ride, Smith’s stepping out with an angel to get magic golden tablets. Any crap I can invent and get some gullible numbnuts like you to buy into it, all of a sudden becomes an historical event, according to the logic of Don Camp. A teacher of critical thinking? My arse.

        • Don Camp

          I thought I would help you find the reference in Paul’s letters to Jesus and Pontius Pilate.

          1 Timothy 6:13 Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah Don…give me a reference in one of those epistles that all but the most fundamental Christer scholars think is a forgery.

          Remember where you said…

          Hardly any scholar denies the fact that at least some of the letters in the New Testament are genuine letters of Paul.

          First Timothy is part of the “some” that hardly any scholars think is genuinely Pauline.

          The author of First Timothy has been traditionally identified as the Apostle Paul. He is named as the author of the letter in the text (1:1). Nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship questioned the authenticity of the letter, with many scholars suggesting that First Timothy, along with Second Timothy and Titus, are not the work of Paul, but rather are unattributable Christian writing some time in the late-first-to-mid-2nd centuries.

          The day that you can help with me anything, I’ll consider closing my Disqus account.

          Try again ya silly old fool.

        • David Cromie

          Ah, the ‘reliable’ fallacy of the circular argument – IOW, the so-called ‘bible’ cannot be used as verification of its own claims.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Especially the parts that are lies.

          Forgot the //s tag.

        • aikidaves

          A promise made by an unevidenced god to a mythical man in a book of myths. Yep, that proves a lot.

        • Don Camp

          It actually does mean a lot. Take a look at wiki for the contributions Jews have made to the arts, medicine, and science. it is totally out of proportion to any other ethnic group. Consider the curses that have fallen on the Jews and how often they have suffered near genocide. Yet they prevailed, and their enemies have been reduced to ashes. The promise has been fulfilled.

          If you consider that the church is actually included in Israel by adoption and the whole story of the Bible is a continuity between the OT and OT, which is what Paul declares and Matthew is trying to prove to his Jewish audience, those who make up Israel are a huge nation of people, nearly 1/3 of the world population at the moment. The promise has been fulfilled.

          And if you consider that these promises were given to a single man who did not even have a family yet. Yes. It is a big deal. And it may be one of the best demonstrations of God we have in history.

        • nydiva

          Don Camp…if you consider that these promises were given to a single man who did not even have a family yet. Yes. It is a big deal. And it may be one of the best demonstrations of God we have in history.

          Yes let’s take a look a wiki for a quick reference in relation to Biblical prophecies about the Jews. I want to invite the reader to check out RationalWiki for a short list of failed Biblical prophecies Yahway promised the Jews and the Don like apologetics that attempt to explain these failures away. Enjoy. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Biblical_prophecies

        • Bob Jase

          Better question for Don, since Don says god doesn’t know the future (an excuse for predestination if god does) where do prophesies, which show knowledge of the future supposedly, come from?

        • David Cromie

          Take a look at wiki history for the contributions Jews, homosexuals, and atheists have made to the arts, medicine, and science, and get a broader, more accurate, picture of the real world.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh fer feck sake. You really are a knob.

          Take a look at wiki for the contributions Jews have made to the arts, medicine, and science. it is totally out of proportion to any other ethnic group.

          Just my own ethnic group makes a pigs ear of that idiotic statement.

          That’s like saying take a look at the contributions of Irishmen to sport, it is totally out of proportion to any other ethnic group.

          As for art, you are talking ballix. Proportionally, Irish artists blow Jewish artists outta the water.

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

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Jewish_artists

          Medicine?

          An Irish person invented the hypodermic needle, the stethoscope, the defibrillator, that’s just for starters. Ever hear of John Jolly? Or James Francis Pantridge, the “Father of Emergency Medicine”?

          Irish folks invention and discoveries?

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

        • aikidaves

          You missed my point. Why do you accord credibility to the story of Abraham but not to the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Iliad? There is actual evidence for a king named Gilgamesh and for a city named Troy. All three stories mention gods. Why do you hang your hat on one but not the others?

        • David Cromie

          The Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 3rd millennium BCE) is one of the more important sources for OT myth, as it happens.

        • Don Camp

          Why do you accord credibility to the story of Abraham but not to the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Iliad?

          Because of the logic of history. There is none for Gilgamesh, at least as far as the epic is concerned. . The places and the culture included in the Epic, and there are very few, if you’ve ever read the epic, do not provide any connection to actual history. In the case of the Illiad, there is reason to accept that there was a war between Greece and Troy. But again there is no connect between the characters of the epic and real history.

          In the case of Abraham there are connections in actual history. 1) there was a migration of people from Mesopotamia toward the west in the time period of Abraham, confirmed by the Mari tablets. 2) There was a city of Harran about half way,m a city that is and was situated in a place that was attractive for settlers. There were cities named in the narrative of Abraham that we know existed, confirmed by the Ebla tablets.. There was a regular movement into Egypt of people in Canaan due to periodic droughts. The cities of Canaan that are named are confirmed vby archaeology. The people surrounding Canaan are confirmed by archaeology. The geopolitical situation is confirmed by history that comes form outside the Bible. And much more. All of which make the Abraham story plausible. There is none for either the Gilgamesh epic or the Illiad.

          Yes, they mention gods. But a true story is more credible in reference to gods than a fiction.

        • aikidaves

          Local folk tales would, of course, have local places. Gods talking to humans is no more plausible in one case than in the other two.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don does a lot of talking about logic, but I’ve yet to see him employ some in his thinking and commenting.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because of the logic of history.

          Absolute balderdash.

          There is none for Gilgamesh, at least as far as the epic is concerned. .

          Yeah there is, but you refuse to acknowledge such. Unlike Abraham, Gilgamesh and the city he built are historically attested to outside the epic.

          Gilgamesh.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh#Historical_king

          Uruk.

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

          Such evidence for Abraham’s existence would give buybull bashers a hardon.

          The places and the culture included in the Epic, and there are very few, if you’ve ever read the epic, do not provide any connection to actual history.

          They do as much as Genesis.

          But again there is no connect between the characters of the epic and real history.

          Yeah, there is…the epic is a myth like Genesis, but unlike Genesis it can be firmly set in an historical context. Why are you lying about this stuff?

        • aikidaves

          Exactly.

          Let’s consider the myth of Abraham. It’s plausible that herdsmen living in Canaan on the edge of the desert would tell stories about a herdsman who they thought was their ancestor, came from a big city in the east, and had a thing for fooling around with his sister and her handmaids. It’s plausible that they would justify taking land from their neighbors by saying that the war god of the Canaanite pantheon promised him that his descendants could do that. It’s not plausible to think that this god existed, actually spoke to him, and was in truth the omni god that created the universe. The few facts that were presented support the plausible, but not the implausible, parts of the myth.

        • MR

          Let’s consider the myth of Abraham.

          And it’s plausible that some schizophrenic herdsman hearing voices telling him to kill his son founded a religion with repercussions lasting to today. Today we know that hearing voices is a mental illness. No one today believes that God actually told Deanna Laney to kill her children, but we give a pass to a story thousands of years old.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          And it may be one of the best demonstrations of God we have in history.

          Exactly.

    • Sample1

      But I suspect you are not really interested in God showing up. If you were you’d get off the computer and get out into the field and talk to people who have experienced miracles, miracles that have been documented as well as medical science is able to do. Maybe you’d even read some of the books written by people who have experienced miracles.

      Can I spotlight two lines of thought you’ve expressed here?

      1. Regarding your first sentence. Why merely suspect about what someone thinks, when you have their ear? . Just ask them. “Hey, are you not really interested in God showing up? Yes or no?” Wouldn’t that create potential for a conversation? What do you think is going on when that yes/no question isn’t asked directly? Where is the conversation in that instance? In one person’s thoughts, one’s inner conversation? Is that helpful? Is there a good explanation why some people do that? And would that explanation indicate a pathway to truth? /r

      2. Doesn’t every sentence thereafter contradict the effort already on the ground here regarding talking with true believers and their claims?

      3. Read some books. Ok. Are you not aware of the fact that atheists are frequently shown in polls to be the most versed in believers’ holy books and claims? More-so than even believers themselves?

      There are not only holy books but stories of private revelations (Eben Alexander, Todd Burpo, Landon Whitely come to mind). And then there are the Big Miracles like Fatima, the Battle of Vienna, Lourdes, Polycarp unscathed by burning at the stake, and on and on and on. We’ve read them too Don.

      How about this question? Is there a good explanation why human beings believe miracles are real? What criteria should we use to distinguish between a good explanation from a bad one?

      Open to your own ideas where anything I’ve posted here is so out in left field that’s it’s worthy of instantaneous dismissal.

      Mike

      • Ignorant Amos

        How about this question? Is there a good explanation why human beings believe miracles are real? What criteria should we use to distinguish between a good explanation from a bad one?

        Don doesn’t get it.

        The Power Of Prayer. A True Story

        https://knowingallah.com/en/articles/the-power-of-prayer-a-true-story

        Who says Miracles Don’t Happen in Our Time?

        https://understandquran.com/who-says-miracles-dont-happen-in-our-time/

        • Sample1

          What I’d like to know is just how, exactly, does he know whether or not he is a tool for the devil or a tool for his god?

          You know where I’m going with that. Using his own easy-to-vary explanatory method, any answer he gives could be interpreted by us as a ploy of his devil to keep him ensnared.

          He hasn’t offered an epistemology so this is conjecture. For now, I don’t know and I’m not sure I can know, using his method, if he is or isn’t an agent of evil.

          Mike

        • Otto

          Since his god is supposedly all powerful even the devil would necessarily be a tool his god.

  • Lex Lata

    I’m reminded of Antonin Scalia’s almost adorable musings:

    “You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore. . . . That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.”

    Yes, so very, very curious. Whatever could the explanation be? 🙂

    • Ignorant Amos

      Christers will claim the Dark One is still about doing his evil shenanigans and demonic possessing.

      It doesn’t occur to them that the Devil is less hidden than their god thingy.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/catholic-exorcisms-on-the-rise/573943/

      • Lex Lata

        Ayup. I’m a child of the 80s with some fundagelical DNA. Growing up, I was told the Devil was in:

        -My music
        -Ghostbusters
        -Dungeons & Dragons
        -Video games
        -Dinosaur bones
        -Halloween candy
        -The metric system
        -The UN
        -Carl Sagan
        -Etc.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        This is horrifying.

  • rationalobservations?

    I have written a few versions of this before – but worth repeating for new readers, maybe?

    Logic continues to defeat religionism: There are millions of equally fictional undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which any individual or group of imaginary deities appears nothing authentic, unique or original. Logic dictates that all the many gods, goddesses and god-men should be believed in – or none at all. More than one third of the current generation dismiss all religionism and reject all fictional gods. This group is the fastest growing human demographic being added to with each generation of young atheists born and old religionists who die while their bunkum dies with them.

    Christians are often totally baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their god, “Yahweh” and their god-man “Jesus” but they shouldn’t be. As you yourself demonstrate, James: Christians (like all other brands of religionists) deny almost endless thousands of the same gods and goddesses that atheists deny. Atheists merely deny one more god than Christians do – (or is that three gods more?) and for almost identical reasons that christians deny all other gods, goddesses and god-men and that those indoctrinated into other chidlish religious superstitions deny Judaeo/christian super-spooks.

    Christians deny the existence of Brahma, Odin, Zeus and Quetzalcoatl. They deny millions of others including Pratibhanapratisamvit (Buddhist goddess of context analysis), Acat, (Mayan god of tattoo artists) and Tsa’qamae, (North american god of salmon migration). They also deny the 30,000,000 gods and goddesses said to inhabit the “sacred” cows of India along with countless gods and goddesses who inhabit other locations.

    Religionists of all brands and atheists are not so different, after all. Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of so many thousands of thousands of gods, goddesses, god-men and other figments of human imagination!

    https://external-preview.redd.it/KOR8lvX9Y6PmImGQxt5MDSKx8NPkVpQPCXZ8ZYAmpQI.jpg?auto=webp&s=a95d0284e01c903a7698f3c28db62a1b59518fa5

  • Ignorant Amos

    What I find is that most atheists know somethings about what the Bible says but few have both the big picture and the details.

    You either don’t know or have not read enough atheist literature. And get this Don, you don’t get to decide the details nd big picture for anyone other than yourself. Furthermore, the big picture and details you are pickining are the exception, not the rule.

    On top of that, the biggest problem is that most read and interpret the Bible as Fundamentalists, who as you say don’t have a good handle on the Bible, rather than as educated thinking readers.

    First of all, you certainly haven’t demonstrated that you are an educated thinking reader. I know you are deluded enough to think you are, but there is no evidence for such, regardless of your claim to be a teacher of literature. You can’t even recognise the genres in the silly book.

    But here is your major malfunction. The reason the most of us will argue the way we do, is because it is the fundamentalist Christers that are the big problem. It is that interpretation of the buybull that is most prevalent. That’s the version a lot of us were raised with, so that’s the problem version of woo-woo. We really don’t give a fuck about wishy-washy liberal Christers. It’s the fuckwit fundies that are the problem. The ones that want to restrict or enforce all manner of stuff, serious and silly, and use their silly book as support for their fuckwittery. Silly things like alcohol licensing restrictions during religious holidays. To serious things like allowing two loving humans to marry, regardless of their gender and allowing women to have bodily autonomy in reproduction. If you have issues with those, then you are a fundie too. That gives me good reason to get angry.

    You’re a fundie anyway. You think coming to places like this and preaching crap isn’t the actions of a fundie? When you refuse to accept all the evidence pointing one way, while trying yer damnedest to contort the picture and details to conform to your silly book, that’s fundamentalism at its finest. You’re just trying to kid yerself yer not by attempting to employ “sooofistiykated feeology”, and looking foolish in the process.

    And don’t confuse fundamentalism for anger. So yeah, we get angry when fuckwit Christers come along, repeating the same intelligence insulting bullshit and lying about it in the process.

    I have yet to see you rip into the other Christers here that you seem to think are giving you a bad name. You know the ones. Those that are the majority of that big worldwide Christer number you enjoy repeating. Perhaps you need to take a while and ponder just how much an educated thinking reader you are, because the rest of us here are just not seeing it.

    Why we atheists get angry… https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2011/11/26/this-is-why-atheists-are-angry/ stop doing all the shitty stuff, we’ll have no reason to get so angry. Pretty simple really.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      The reason the most of us will argue the way we do, is because it is the fundamentalist Christers that are the big problem.

      The fact that certain rebuttals are regularly used against fundy arguments does not mean they are integral to why people disbelieve or that atheists are unaware of alternate interpretations.

      Of course, this will continue to be misrepresented because dismissing as uninformed is integral to how apologetics deals with apostasy.

  • Ignorant Amos

    Fair questions. Explanation: most human beings believe in the supernatural. That allows them to also believe that the Supernatural should be able to do miracles.

    You keep repeating this like it’s a good argument, it isn’t. It is fallacious.

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

    There was a time when most human beings believed one sort of supernatural or another. Supernatural that Don wouldn’t give the time of day to, yet your cognitive dissonance just won’t let you past your own pet supernatural.

    Furthermore. It fails miserably because most human beings don’t believe in the same supernatural. There is no evidence for any of it, but once you allow one onto the table, all must be treated equally. This is something you avoid for obvious reason.

    Criteria: There is a difference between criteria for personal belief in a miracle and the criteria for persuasively arguing the fact of a miracle.

    Personal belief has no currency here. People believe all sorts of bullshit. A number of the regulars here were members of forum a lot of years back that had a Catholic that went by the name of Rick DeLano. He made a movie with another RC woo-woo merchant by the name of Robert Sungenis about the geocentrism of the solar system. He is convinced that the buybull portrayal of the solar system is accurate and that the Earth is the centre of the solar system and the solar system is the centre of the universe.

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

    Nuts right?

    But how could that be nuts when Robert Sungenis is a bona fide? He is a seminary trained theologian with a Mickey Mouse PhD in religious studies and everything.

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

    Like you, he has a blog where he tries to support his claims too.

    https://www.robertsungenis.org/

    So like a say, personal beliefs can be as bat shit crazy as they come.

    As for persuasively arguing for miracles. You haven’t done that. Every attempt has been easily refuted or shown that the next man can make the same argument that you wouldn’t accept.

    I have experienced several things that I would count as miracles.

    Personal incredulity doesn’t count.

    In one case the miracle included too many coincidences to be reasonably a coincidence.

    I bet there wasn’t. Dawkins in “Unweaving the Rainbow” coins the acronym petwhac.

    Petwhac (Population of Events That Would Have Appeared Coincidental). This is defined as all those events that may appear to be coincidental but which are actually probable.

    The odds of matching 6 numbers and winning the UK national lottery is 44 million to one. It used to be 14 million to one, still quite a number. Yet coincidentally, there has been over 5500 winners in the UK in the past 25 years.

    What you experienced is the psychological phenomena known as apophenia and poor statistical intuition and reasoning. Everyone has it. It’s just a case of recognising when it’s at play. We remember the hits, but misses by the millions happen which don’t register. I’ll be typing an unusual word in a combox and hear it being said on the telly and think, “that’s a coincidence”, and it is, but that’s all it is.

    Apophenia (also known as patternicity) – Our relentless search for patterns is one of humanity’s greatest cognitive strengths. It defines who we are as a species, and it is fundamental to the explosion of human life across the planet. But it also means we have a tendency to see connections in unrelated events.

    Poor statistical intuition and reasoning – We humans are terrible at predicting the likelihood of rare events, which can make common occurrences seem miraculous. Most events that people experience as “miraculous” are predictably common given real-world base rates and population sizes, but that is not how they seem.

    Our intuitive statistics so wildly miss the mark that an entire book could be written about how readily we get wowed and seek extraordinary explanations for events that we perceive as rare but actually aren’t. In fact, books have been written on this topic, and to do it justice I will dive in later. Suffice to say that people who believe in paranormal phenomena appear to do worse at statistical inference than others.

    https://www.alternet.org/2018/10/heres-how-human-mind-wired-magical-thinking/

    Since I already believe that God does watch over me, it was not difficult for me to credit his protection in this instance.

    Exactly. We know this Don. And that too is an understood psychological phenomena. Confirmation bias. We all have it. Again, recognising it at play is the key.

    Unfortunately, we all have confirmation bias. Even if you believe you are very open-minded and only observe the facts before coming to conclusions, it’s very likely that some bias will shape your opinion in the end. It’s very difficult to combat this natural tendency.

    That said, if we know about confirmation bias and accept the fact that it does exist, we can make an effort to recognize it by working to be curious about opposing views and really listening to what others have to say and why. This can help us better see issues and beliefs from another perspective, though we still need to be very conscious of wading past our confirmation bias.

    https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-confirmation-bias-2795024

    • Greg G.

      I’ll be typing an unusual word in a combox and hear it being said on the telly and think, “that’s a coincidence”, and it is, but that’s all it is.

      Next you will be telling me that when I think about some product and start seeing ads for it every time I open a browser tab, that it’s just a coincidence. //s

  • Ignorant Amos

    Off Topic

    Just watching the UK Chase and a Methodist minister just got an OT question wrong.

    Q. Who was Jacob’s wife?

    C. Rachel – Rebekah – Ruth

    A. Rebekah

    Rebekah was his ma, Rachel was his wife. What a plonker.

    • I think Rachel was his second wife. He got tricked into marrying Leah first.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Aye…but it was even a multiple choice answer to what I thought would be bread and butter clerical knowledge. The Vicar had to choose from one of those three R’s.

        Quite the embarrassment. But then again, it’s something we see here repeatedly.

        • I read that Jim Bakker (the Armageddon food guy) said that he’d never read the whole Bible until he went to jail (embezzlement at PTL Club).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bakker probably lied about that too.

          No one expects these gangsters to remember the thing verbatim, but these are the Sunday School story characters ffs.

        • David Cromie

          I expect he did not understand any of it.

  • Sample1

    On top of that, the biggest problem is that most read and interpret the Bible as Fundamentalists, who as you say don’t have a good handle on the Bible, rather than as educated thinking readers.

    No offense but this type of response, a common one, is supposed to illuminate something but just what exactly? The claims of scripture authors are either good or bad explanations. What does it matter if they are moderate or zealous? Both interpretative methods still, at the end of the day, have the the responsibility to deliver a good explanation.

    That would solve the problem of God, wouldn’t it.

    Not really. It would be, as you say, “something happening.” God would only be another layer in need of a good explanation.

    Explanation: most human beings believe in the supernatural. That allows them to also believe that the Supernatural should be able to do miracles.

    This is called a logic box. Naked logic is fun but it doesn’t mean it’s always represented in reality, consider some mathematics. Define the rules and almost anything is possible. It’s why people get upset when Marvel or Star Wars or Harry Potter universes operate outside the established logic at their creations. The fly in the ointment here is that naturalism has a logic box that comports with what we experience, observe and crucially, predict. At least more so than any other known knowledge acquisition process. The fact scaffolding is harmonious across disciplines, the facts are universal. Religion is famously geographical.

    Thomas Merton was fond of the words above his abbey: the four walls of my freedom. Logic works inside walls. When we leave the four walls of that abbey, the logic breaks down. Or so is our contention. It’s what Sean Carroll describes as armchair thinking. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you never leave your chair and check your thinking with what you observe out the window, well… Hard-to-very thinking is getting up from the chair and testing your ideas. Religion doesn’t truly do that. It’s what Hitchens called a mind-forged manacle. Some manacles can even be soft and fluffy. 🙂 And when it’s a spiky, painful mind-forged manacle, we find people of faith using that as evidence for something in their logic box (he who shall not be named).

    If I tell the details of my story to someone else who believes that God protects us, my story would likely also sound like God’s intervention to them. If I told it to someone who doesn’t believe in God or miracles at all, it sounds like a series of unusual coincidences and nothing more. There is no objective evidence to examine.

    Agreed. But coincidences are not necessarily without good explanations. You may not be doing this but many equate coincidences with mystery. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, it’s typically because of good explanations that the category of coincidences is made to be an understandable human interpretive phenomenon.

    That is why God chooses to convince people of his reality by personal encounters rather than miracles or reasoning. They are not objective, of course, but they are convincing.

    In other words, faith. I don’t think faith is a reliable pathway to understanding. Why? The geography problem again. Faith is demonstrably not universal. It is provincial. We have a good natural explanation why that is so. The believers’ rationale ultimately appeals to mystery (“we don’t know why the Holy Spirit allows this provinciality”) based further upon easy-to-vary theological first principles. Naturalists see that as messy, unreliable and incompatible with a deity who supposedly wants to be known. It’s a bit like homeopathy if you’ll indulge the analogy. One can believe that diluting a substance makes it more potent (rather than weaker) but to believe that one must throw out everything we know of physics. Most people into homeopathy require compartmentalism to function. Naturalists just say homeopathy is wrong while understanding how people can compartmentalize. Same with religions of faith.

    BTW a bad explanation would be one that ignores what is obvious trickery or a display of a miracle that benefits the personal agenda of the one who claims to perform it. To say that God did it under those circumstances, is silly.

    Agreed. But it’s worse than that. The natural method used to discern so-called trickery is abandoned, is it not, when the “something happens” occurs inside the preconceived logic box of God?

    A bad explanation is one that is easy-to-vary. It’s an explanation that can absorb new facts without changing the overall theory. Such a methodology is arguably why our species, for so long, failed to make progress like the type we’ve seen for the last few centuries. Explanations that are universal and provide scaffolding for the discovery and creation of further knowledge. If we find out that tilted surfaces absorb more energy than a parallel one, our explanation for the planet’s seasons would have to be tossed out. We can’t absorb that new fact and maintain the reasoning of axial tilt and seasonality. Myths can, and do, absorb new facts by making them
    ad hoc auxiliaries to the main theory. That’s unreliable magical thinking. And it’s synonymous with what we find with so-called appeals to employ non-fundamentalist interpretations of holy writ.

    I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I do expect you to understand how I see the world. 🙂

    Mike
    Edit done. Final.

    • Don Camp

      The claims of scripture authors are either good or bad explanations.

      But what are the claims? Fundamentalists typically read the Bible in a wooden literal manner, whether the particular passage was intended to be taken literally or not. Typically, Fundamentalists ignore genre. And so do most skeptic readers.

      Let me give you and example. We have recently been discussing the exodus. Was it an actual historic event or something else, maybe folklore? One of the problems most skeptics have with the narrative is the large number of people who left Egypt, 600,000 fighting men and by inference 2 million people total. Fundamentalists read that number literally. So do skeptics. The number, of course, is far too large to be reasonable.

      It happens that scholars and archaeologists representing a range from minimalists to maximalists have been considering this question for a half century or more. Most do not think that the number can be literal. But skeptics seem to find the Fundamentalist interpretation an easy target don’t go beyond that.

      The fly in the ointment here is that naturalism has a logic box that comports with what we experience, observe and crucially, predict. At least more so than any other known knowledge acquisition process.

      Christian theology is not anti-naturalism. I accept the findings of science. It is when scientists venture into metaphysics that naturalism becomes Naturalism.

      Related to miracles:

      You may not be doing this but many equate coincidences with mystery. That’s not necessarily true.

      Sure, coincidences happen. But a good investigator begins to think something else is going on when coincidences reach a certain point.It is like a gambler at a casino who wins every game. The chances of that happening is extremely small. Some other explanation for the winning streak is more probable.

      Naturalists see that as messy, unreliable and incompatible with a deity who supposedly wants to be known.

      Does he want to be known by everyone? That would be a fair question. Some theologians would say no. I am not one. But I do think that miracle claims are so prone to misinterpretation that they are an unreliable means of knowing.

      The natural method used to discern so-called trickery is abandoned, is
      it not, when the “something happens” occurs inside the preconceived
      logic box of God?

      There is a danger of that. But it is not inevitable.

      • Sample1

        But what are the claims?

        Haha. You tell me! They are different for whomever I engage.

        Fundamentalists typically read the Bible in a wooden literal manner, whether the particular passage was intended to be taken literally or not. Typically, Fundamentalists ignore genre. And so do most skeptic readers.

        Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. The point is that no matter the interpretation (literalist or non-literalist) the interpretation should be a good explanation. Now, if you’re claiming only one method is correct then that’s a claim in its own right which needs a good explanation too.

        But skeptics seem to find the Fundamentalist interpretation an easy target don’t go beyond that.

        Well, we can only go by what people claim Don. If a believer says there were two million human beings involved, then they need to give a good explanation for that claim. If some other believer says, “no, it may have only been X (less) amount,” then that needs a good explanation too.

        What this strongly suggests is that something is going on psychologically in the believing environment. We have believers claiming two million, 600,000, maybe far less, and then some like you asking, “maybe folklore?” Who knows Don? The questions I would ask of a believer are these: Is it existentially important for my life to know whether the story is true? If so, why? So far, all I’ve received is, “well, your afterlife may be unpleasant if you don’t know these things.” A not so veiled threat! Hardly a good explanation. I’ll take my chances. 🙂

        Christian theology is not anti-naturalism. I accept the findings of science. It is when scientists venture into metaphysics that naturalism becomes Naturalism.

        Theology that makes claims about the natural world should have good explanations for their claims. And someone who claims science can know not only what is but one what ought to do should have a good explanation. I’m unlike Harris in this regard, I see a logical distinction between science and philosophy and think Sam Harris has yet to convincingly show that there isn’t one. Regarding metaphysics and science, they are different disciplines. Inasmuch as mathematics ventures into pure reasoning like philosophy does, metaphysics shares that terrain. Not science.

        Theologians and philosophers debate the scopes of each. I’ll leave that to them. What raises my left eyebrow is when a metaphysician or theologian says they have knowledge that is existentially important for my life. If they say that, I want a good explanation. Nothing more.

        Sure, coincidences happen. But a good investigator begins to think something else is going on when coincidences reach a certain point.It is like a gambler at a casino who wins every game. The chances of that happening is extremely small. Some other explanation for the winning streak is more probable.

        I hear what you are saying. Coincidences that form patterns however, are no longer coincidences! Coincidences by definition are events that surprise human beings because of no known causal connections. It’s a human word for a human experience created by human minds.

        Where you err is not agreeing that there are coincidences. You seem to be saying there are no such things as coincidences. I infer this because unless you can demonstrate how the laws of nature necessarily prohibit what you deem to be suspicious winning streaks you’re essentially saying there must be a non coincidental explanation. I disagree with that. I agree with you that people gambling well and claiming a record winning streak is only coincidence may merit investigation. We know there are people who cheat but we also know that random events are not prohibited by nature. So just because a cheater is caught in one scenario does not mean one can say all coincidences have hidden causal explanations. What matters is the explanation. If there is no known explanation we should say we don’t know rather than postulate an answer, without evidence, that could be wrong. That’s being honest.

        Does he want to be known by everyone? That would be a fair question. Some theologians would say no. I am not one. But I do think that miracle claims are so prone to misinterpretation that they are an unreliable means of knowing.

        I agree. Miracles are problematic. They are subjective, non testable, and believed for theological reasons rather than scientific ones. It does seem that if a god exists, he or she is shy. Obviously being uninterested in allowing human beings to know him through the good explanatory methods of naturalism.

        Mike
        Edit done. Final.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Despicable Dishonest Don does it again.

        But what are the claims? Fundamentalists typically read the Bible in a wooden literal manner, whether the particular passage was intended to be taken literally or not. Typically, Fundamentalists ignore genre. And so do most skeptic readers.

        Liar! No one is ignoring any such thing.

        What genre is the Exodus? The 40 Year Wandering in the desert? The Conquest of Canaan?

        They’re myth.

        The story of the exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites, telling of their deliverance from slavery by Yahweh which made them his chosen people according to the Mosaic covenant. Fretheim says that it is not a historical narrative in any modern sense, instead its primary concern is theological. It reflects common themes of past communities in exile, including facing foreign captivity and suffering under just judgment because of disloyalty to God. In Exodus, everything is presented as the work of God, who appears frequently in person.

        Although mythical elements are not so prominent in Exodus as in Genesis, ancient legends may have an influence on the book’s form or content: for example, the story of the infant Moses’s salvation from the Nile is argued to be based on an earlier legend of king Sargon of Akkad, while the story of the parting of the Red Sea may trade on Mesopotamian creation mythology. Similarly, the Covenant Code (the law code in Exodus 20:22–23:33) has some similarities in both content and structure with the Laws of Hammurabi. These influences serve to reinforce the conclusion that the Book of Exodus originated in the exiled Jewish community of 6th-century BCE Babylon, but not all the sources are Mesopotamian: the story of Moses’s flight to Midian following the murder of the Egyptian overseer may draw on the Egyptian Story of Sinuhe

        The large numbers bullshit demonstrates it is myth.

        Let me give you and example. We have recently been discussing the exodus. Was it an actual historic event or something else, maybe folklore?

        What do you think it is?

        One of the problems most skeptics have with the narrative is the large number of people who left Egypt, 600,000 fighting men and by inference 2 million people total. Fundamentalists read that number literally. So do skeptics.

        Don, bible scholars have been reading the figures as literal throughout history. Not just fundamentalists, not just skeptics. You are lying again. Skeptics are addressing those religious fuckwits that are taking the figures literally. We are the ones that have been pointing out to the dickheads that the figures are unreasonable and there’s no evidence to take the passages seriously. What else should we do?

        The discipline of Biblical Archaeology was founded on a literal reading of the texts. The scriptures were used as a blueprint and scholars went into the territory to verify the blueprint.

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

        The story of the Exodus cannot be verified on the ground, and the unreasonable large numbers are just one data point towards the story being a myth.

        It happens that scholars and archaeologists representing a range from minimalists to maximalists have been considering this question for a half century or more.

        Right. And where there were very few minimalists fifty years ago, today there are very few maximalists. Fifty years ago, it was only the skeptics that took issue with the big numbers. Most folk were content to believe the texts were accurate. I bet fifty years ago you were the same.

        Most do not think that the number can be literal.

        Which means they are myth. Like what skeptics have been telling you.

        But skeptics seem to find the Fundamentalist interpretation an easy target don’t go beyond that.

        Your one lousy lying cunt. Skeptics are addressing the story as myth against wankers like you who are hell bent in finding a kenal of historical fact as an exercise in confirmation bias in order to rescue your buybull book of fairy tales..

        You’ve pulled Friedman’s thesis that the myth, because it is a fucking myth, is based on a group of 500-1000 semitics leaving Egypt. One of a number of such leavings. I’ve news for you Don, it’s called immigration. Apparently there was lots of it going on at the time. In and out of Egypt. Some of it to and from Canaan. They are not the Exodus.

        Millions of Irish immigrated to the US in the second half of19th century because of famine. It’s not all that unusual. Apparently, Canaanites immigrated to Egypt in the second millennium BCE for the same reason.

        Egyptians immigrated to Canaan too.

        https://www.jstor.org/stable/504869?seq=1

        https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/033443576791198541?journalCode=ytav20

        Friedman’s thesis is that the group were Levite. There is no evidence for this assertion. But guess what? It further supports the veracity that the Exodus is a myth. But you are too dumb an auld fuck to see the reasons why.

        “BEETLEJUICE!”

  • Ignorant Amos

    Just want to put it out there. Am proud to announce that the first SSM in Northern Ireland was today in my hometown of Carrickfergus.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/11/first-same-sex-marriage-northern-ireland-belfast-robyn-peoples-sharni-edwards

    Just half a mile along the road.