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Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 22 Mar 2011 11:30 pm

The problem with religion…

The problem with religion… is that religious people want to cram religion down every throat. Case in point:

GOP House Judiciary Committee Votes to Put ‘In God We Trust’ on All 9,000 Federal Buildings – What Will That Cost?

Just four months ago the tea party Republicans won control of the House by campaigning on reducing the deficit and promising to focus on “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” But in the 12 weeks since they officially took over, what they have shown is that, despite their new “tea party” branding, this current batch is no different from the GOP pols who ran Congress in the Bush and Gingrich eras.

Like typical politicians, the tea party Republicans have not even bothered to deliver on their campaign promises. They have done nothing to create jobs — they haven’t even held a hearing on employment.

Predictable, but depressing.

223 Responses to “The problem with religion…”

  1. on 24 Mar 2011 at 1:52 am 1.Tyler said …

    Your blog is amusing and raises some thought-provoking questions, but I haven’t read any actual argument attempting to prove the truth of atheism. Sure there is a lot of content pointing out hypocrisy in the christian church, or biblical doctrines that appear contradictory, or even lumping theists and republicans together — but have you (or has anyone on this site) ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does something exist rather than nothing?” Until you provide a legitimate and demonstrable answer (other than a transcendent creator), your blog does not really have any intellectual heft to it. This unfortunately seems to be a common trait among the “new atheist” movement. Heavy on secondary attacks, very light on primary arguments.

  2. on 24 Mar 2011 at 3:52 am 2.Lou said …

    1.Tyler said …

    “Until you provide a legitimate and demonstrable answer (other than a transcendent creator), your blog does not really have any intellectual heft to it. This unfortunately seems to be a common trait among the “new atheist” movement. Heavy on secondary attacks, very light on primary arguments.”

    Your comment is a common trait among attacks on atheism and about religion in general. That is, it doesn’t “have any intellectual heft to it” or honesty to it. There is no object or goal of atheism to prove that “something exist[s] rather than nothing.” You have invented a false premise in order to make an attack on atheism. A clear sign of the inadequacy of a position can be found in the misrepresentation or irrational exaggeration of the other side’s position.

    And I don’t think anybody with even a modicum of intelligence can’t understand this – there’s no need “to prove the truth of atheism” because it is, by definition, true that atheism is the disbelief in deities. You can’t disprove that unless you have the power to change the definition of atheism.

  3. on 24 Mar 2011 at 4:41 am 3.sonofapreacherman said …

    Tyler, you have presented an argument which lacks any merit whatsoever. Try again.

    Most of us are smart enough to know that Xenu and his thetans aren’t real, yet more than a few nutjobs out there really truly believe everything which L. Ron Hubbard has written. Most theists wouldn’t demand atheists prove to them the nonexistence of Hubbard’s fictional characters.

    Atheists feel no differently when it comes to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism or any other theistic system of belief. It is not our burden to prove to any theist that his or her fairy tales are not true.

    The burden of proof lies with those of you who believe your fairy tales are actually true. None of you seem able to accept the fact that atheists will not accept your stories at face value. We require proof from you. It’s not an unreasonable request.

    Religious types love nothing more than to recruit new believers for their fairy tales. They put on ties, adopt pious attitudes, and venture forth telling lies laced with pseudo-love and false hopes. They often prey on people in need of love, understanding and attention. New converts are taught to believe the unbelievable, and that belief comes tainted with varying degrees of intolerance for anyone who is not like-minded.

    Religious belief creates an artificial stress or need to convert others, because just like sheep, believers find psychological comfort and reinforcement in flocks of increasingly greater numbers. It’s despicable, insidious and offensive, but that’s exactly what religion does.

  4. on 24 Mar 2011 at 6:38 am 4.Joe said …

    While I agree with Lou and sonofapreacherman about the topic of proving atheism, I can understand why people who come across this blog might assume that this website offers proofs.
    After all http://www.godisimaginary.com claims to have “50 simple proofs” that God is not real. I can understand if this leads to diappointment about the website.
    What http://www.godisimaginary.com actually offers is not 50 proofs, but 50 strong hints as to why the Christian faith does not offer a realistic description of the world we live in, i.e. as to why it fails with respect to its empirical claims.
    If you look at all these 50 “proofs” together, you can draw the conclusion that the BEST EXPLANATION, by far, for the phenomena we observe (and do not observe) in the context of the Christian faith is that God does NOT exist and the bible is just a book written by humans a couple of thousands of years ago. In fact you would need to make up about 100 extra rationalizations to keep up your faith despite these 50 items. Which implies that, even if you accept these rationalizations, the Christian faith does not provide us with a straight forward explanation for the phenomena we observe in the world we inhabit.
    So it would be better and more real to call these “50 proofs” something like “50 examples that demonstrate why Christianity is not emprically sound and has been made up by humans (unless God a loving God who wants everybody to become aware of the truth intends to not provide us with proper knowledge about the world we live in)”.

  5. on 24 Mar 2011 at 1:25 pm 5.Lou said …

    Joe,

    I agree with you that GII’s 50 Proofs label confuses some people, the same people who don’t mind changing the definition of atheism and religion to their advantage. However, proof also means truth or sufficient evidence or argument for the truth of a proposition, not “absolute proof.” People who attack the GII 50 Proofs for its label do so because they don’t have any actual legitimate rebuttal to them.

  6. on 24 Mar 2011 at 2:28 pm 6.Joshua said …

    Athiesm is simply a disbelief in the claims of theists. It is true that I do not believe in a god or gods. Though proof of what you ask is impossible, all anyone can ever offer someone else is a convincing accumulation of evidence.
    TA DA.

    The complexity arises when you get to why people are atheists. While there are some common themes, there can be many many reasons. It is safest to assume nothing about the atheist you may meet and ask them why they are an atheist. I try to do that with theists since there are thousands of brands.
    As to “why there is something rather than nothing”, why are you assuming that nothing is the natural state of the universe? Maybe it is impossible for nothing to exist. I just say that I don’t know and wait until physics gives us better evidence based answers. Also what does this have to do with the blogs intellectual pursuits? I do not have to have an answer in order to find your answer unsatisfactory. This seems to be a way for you to avoid engaging in the arguments here. Consider when I replace a few words of your statement.

    “— but have you (or has anyone on this site) ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does the universe look billions of years old?” Until you provide a legitimate and demonstrable answer (other than “the fall”), your blog does not really have any intellectual heft to it. This unfortunately seems to be a common trait among the “apologist” movement. Heavy on secondary attacks, very light on primary arguments.”
    You would rightly say that I was using the first statements as an excuse to avoid another point. Multiple arguments can stand on their own.

  7. on 24 Mar 2011 at 4:16 pm 7.Anonymous said …

    Definition of “proof”:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/proof

    1. evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.

    2. anything serving as such evidence: What proof do you have?

    3. the act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof.

    4. the establishment of the truth of anything; demonstration.

  8. on 24 Mar 2011 at 5:21 pm 8.Horatiio said …

    Oh NO!!

    Not “In God We Trust”. My, we do have a major problem here. Guns, drugs, wars and now “In God We Trust”.

    I don’t know if we can survive this onslaught.

    Well, our founders made it through with a DI declaring our rights were given by our Creator, I feel we can survive this too.

    The 50 “Proofs” as presented by the GII are great for comedy, a demonstration of bait & switch, misrepresentation of God and digression but that really is all.

  9. on 24 Mar 2011 at 5:51 pm 9.DPK said …

    Horatiio, let me ask you a simple question… and try not to answer with just a glib quip that doesn’t really offer anything of substance like you usually do.
    If you went to a doctor with a serious ailment or health issue, and the doctor laid his hand on you and said, “Holy Father in heaven, cure this man, your humble servant, of whatever the hell is wrong with him. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. There ya go, that’ll be $250.”

    What would you think about that?

    BTW… I don’t really have a problem with “In God We Trust” until the government spends my tax dollars to install it. I mean, I say “goddamn it” when I smack my thumb with a hammer and I can recall invoking Jesus’ name from time to time. I celebrate the Christmas Holiday. Doesn’t really hold any deep meaning for me. I certainly wouldn’t vote to spend money to have it removed from our currency. I think we need to pick our battles to things that matter. So, on that we are in agreement. I think the point of the article was not so much “In God We Trust” as it was… we’ve got so many pressing problems, and the House makes time to focus on THAT?

  10. on 24 Mar 2011 at 6:24 pm 10.Lou said …

    8.Horatiio said …

    Oh NO!!

    Not “In God We Trust”. My, we do have a major problem here. Guns, drugs, wars and now “In God We Trust”.

    EXACTLY! We have some actual problems to resolve, but some bozos think it’s more important to engrave slogans into government buildings.

    As for the Declaration of Independence, it refers to “their Creator [not GOD],” not “our Creator” as yo wrote, leaving the interpretation of Creator [not GOD] open to the individual. And it is written “…the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s GOD entitle them…” If the DI was written in the context that you allege, then it would simply have been written “GOD,” not “their Creator,” and not “Nature’s God.” Nor would “Laws of Nature” been included. The DI states “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…,” not that Governments get their power from GOD. “WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World [not GOD] for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies [not GOD].

  11. on 24 Mar 2011 at 6:31 pm 11.Joshua said …

    You guys bring up a really good topic that I try to always address in any discussion with anyone, what our words mean.

    I have a list of terms that I always try to make sure are understood between me and the other person because discussions go nowhere and confusion is the norm. Even atheists have done this with your example of “proofs”. Whenever I hear god, science, supernatural, faith, proof… I have to ask what they mean a lot of the time, depending on the level of the discussion.

    Anonymous @ 7
    Technically you are correct because there are different definitions of proof depending on the context. Above the term “proofs” is used in a context that makes it seem like a mathematical proof, the only place where “absolute proof” is possible. Everywhere else what is thought of as proof is what you posted.

    The reason I try not to ever use the word proof in discussions like these is because sometimes the person I am arguing with wants “absolute proof” and I try to discuss the pile of evidence. The evidence then tends to get ignored because they want a magic bullet, one thing that makes something like evolution obviously true. That thing does not exist. Another problem is I start to talk about the evidence and it eventually becomes obvious that there is no amount of evidence that will convince this person because they have a faith position and they simply will not accept what I am showing them. I consider this a big waste of time. Then there is the “You have not proved X is wrong!” that I hate so much.

    When I focus on evidence it becomes easier to see why this is not a way to determine reality. When sonofapreacherman mentioned “burden of proof” it meant “pile of sufficient evidence”. So I avoid proof and only discuss evidence because it focuses the discussion on the important parts and tends to avoid the above problems. I wish we had another word for “sufficient evidence” and only used proof for the things we can know for sure in math.

  12. on 24 Mar 2011 at 6:47 pm 12.Lou said …

    8.Horatiio said …

    “The 50 “Proofs” as presented by the GII are great for comedy, a demonstration of bait & switch, misrepresentation of God and digression but that really is all.”

    I’ll repeat here what I previously wrote – “People who attack the GII 50 Proofs for its label do so because they don’t have any actual legitimate rebuttal to them.”

  13. on 24 Mar 2011 at 7:10 pm 13.Anti-Theist said …

    Atheism does not intend nor is its goal to disprove the existence of “god,” gods, or anything else supernatural. It is a label given to individuals whom reject the belief in the existence of one or more deities. These points alone dictate that atheists require no proofs or evidences to back any alleged positions one may accuse them of holding. Careful atheists never state that deities do not exist; knowing too well that negatives cannot be proven.

  14. on 24 Mar 2011 at 7:15 pm 14.Anti-Theist said …

    Horatio has only the gift of gab. His problem here is that it takes someone of low enough intelligence to buy what he’s selling; our problem is that about 90% of Americans fall into this category (coincidentally, near the same percentage of Christians.)

  15. on 24 Mar 2011 at 7:46 pm 15.Lou said …

    13.Anti-Theist said …

    “Careful atheists never state that deities do not exist; knowing too well that negatives cannot be proven.”

    I think what you meant is that it can’t be proven that something doesn’t exist. A negative can be “proven.” “I am not imaginary” is a negative, and I can easily prove that I am not imaginary.

  16. on 24 Mar 2011 at 8:46 pm 16.DPK said …

    “I am not imaginary” is a negative, and I can easily prove that I am not imaginary.

    Not to a theist you can’t. They will simply say “Prove that I am not just imagining you.”

    I know of no thoughtful atheist who will claim that they “know” god does not exist. To claim to know something which by definition is not knowable is foolish. Instead what we say is that we are reasonably certain god does not exist based on our (pardon the irony) god-given rationality and the evidence at hand.
    If Jesus rode his golden fiery chariot down from heaven into the middle of Salt Lake City surrounded by angels and saints and declared that Joseph Smith had indeed gotten in right, accompanied by an incredible display of his magical and godly powers… that would be enough for me to believe. But, lacking that…… tough sell.
    Lets say I do not know for a fact there is no god, but I am 99.99999% secure in my opinion that there is not.
    D

  17. on 24 Mar 2011 at 9:03 pm 17.Horatiio said …

    “90% of Americans fall into this category”

    LOL!! Cults are precious.

  18. on 24 Mar 2011 at 9:35 pm 18.sonofapreacherman said …

    13.Anti-Theist said …

    “Atheism does not intend nor is its goal to disprove the existence of “god,” gods, or anything else supernatural. It is a label given to individuals whom reject the belief in the existence of one or more deities. These points alone dictate that atheists require no proofs or evidences to back any alleged positions one may accuse them of holding. Careful atheists never state that deities do not exist; knowing too well that negatives cannot be proven.”

    I must concede you have made some good points here, although your “careful atheist” in my opinion sounds more like an agnostic than an atheist. (Place the emphasis on the word “sounds” in my previous sentence.)

    I think we all could agree that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent god would undoubtedly possess the ways and means to actually prove its existence to all of mankind beyond any and all reasonable doubt. The question is why such a deity would choose not to do so at least once in the lifetime of every sentient person born into existence, especially in light of the fact that most theists are single-mindedly certain that it is the will of their god for all mankind to believe in its existence and adhere without fail to its will.

    Consider the rejection rate of the so-called evidence currently being presented by theists to non-theists, and it only reinforces the logic that any god who really cares that much about every little thing we think or do could and would use its omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent ways to directly communicate an irrefutable supernatural proof of its existence simultaneously to all of mankind at least once or twice per year. This is what I mean when I call for theists to produce their god. I honestly don’t feel it is an unreasonable request. Failure of said god to use its powers to subtantially prove its existence and unmistakably communicate its wishes in such a consipicous worldwide supernatural manner immediately negates, in my opinon, any and all claims for its very existence and power of disposition or judgement over me or anyone else. In other words, your god is a wimp.

  19. on 24 Mar 2011 at 10:56 pm 19.Burebista said …

    “Cults are precious.”

    Hor,

    You are the only name I recognize. I see the atheist sill attack intelligence of non-atheist. I think the Keplers and Plancks of the world might argue that point. Personally I am just a man of just above-average intelligence trying my best out here.

    Personally, I have never had a need to reject God. I love Him, my grown kids love Him, we love serving Him, serving others and spending time with others who do. I enjoy watching new Christians come to know God. My life is outstanding, adventurous and I thank God everyday for it.

  20. on 24 Mar 2011 at 11:56 pm 20.Curmudgeon said …

    “As for the Declaration of Independence, it refers to “their Creator”

    So who is “their creator” Lou?

  21. on 25 Mar 2011 at 12:43 am 21.Lou said …

    20.Curmudgeon said …

    “As for the Declaration of Independence, it refers to “their Creator”

    So who is “their creator” Lou?

    My “Creator” is nature, and so is everybody elses. But it’s actually irrelevant to the DI who or what “their Creator” is.

    That being said, the DI contains several examples of rhetoric, “their Creator” being one example. Furthermore, everything in the DI can’t be taken literally. For example, all men are obviously not created equal.

  22. on 25 Mar 2011 at 1:43 am 22.Curmudgeon said …

    huh?

    I consider all to be equal. Are you a bigot? Do you believe yourself better than other men? Do you believe all men should not be treated equally by their government?

    If nature is “their creator” why not say nature?

  23. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:30 am 23.Tyler said …

    I’m glad to see my comment got some debate started, but unfortunately I still don’t think anyone responded to my actual point.

    @Lou, @sonofapreacherman, @joshua — each of you states something along the lines of “we don’t have to prove atheism because the goal of atheism is not to ‘prove’ anything.” That may very well be correct, but doesn’t really address my comment.

    I simply asked if anyone on this site has ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does something exist rather than nothing?” I’m not trying to re-define the word “atheist,” I’m asking a genuine non-rhetorical question. If the answer is no, then the answer is no.

    I’m happy to engage in arguments over the merits of a specific “form” of theism (ie – Christianity), but that wasn’t my goal here. I just wondered what the typical atheist response would be to the question of “existence.” The closest answer I received is from Joshua, who said “maybe it is impossible for nothing to exist.” This is actually a very interesting position, although it would have to deny the big-bang model, so it seems pretty far outside the mainstream of scientific thought.

    Without going into any sort of debate over bible stories or fairy tales, I would just like to know if there are any other atheist answers to the my question. My point about the “new atheist movement” was just stating my disappointment that its so called “leaders” seem content with attempts to disprove specific religions — which is fine if that is your goal — I was just hoping for a bit more.

    @Joshua – as a sidenote – your “replacing my words around” scenario seems to be addressing the “young earth creationist” idea that the earth is only a few thousand years old, which I do not adhere to. I believe the universe appears to be billions of years old because the universe is billions of years old.

  24. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:55 am 24.DPK said …

    I don’t think there is a “serious” answer to the question of why is there something instead of nothing. Maybe “something” is a fluke, a once in a billion universes that have existed throughout eternity. Maybe there are many other universes where “something” there is very different than “something” here.
    In any event, if the “something” of our universe had not developed in the manner that it had, we would not be here thinking about it, at least not in the form and matter that we know. Perhaps in other universes there are beings made of nothing that are pondering why “nothing” exists instead of “something”.
    It is something beyond our ability to test or to know, so what’s the point? Even if your answer is “there is something instead of nothing because god willed it”. That is still a meaningless statement because you can’t prove it and can’t test it, so it is just a scientific wild ass guess.

  25. on 25 Mar 2011 at 4:13 am 25.Tyler said …

    @DPK, I think there are probably many “serious” answers to the question. In fact the multiverse theory you pointed out IS the answer of many “serious” scientists who have thought about the question of existence.

    But I don’t understand why you ask “what’s the point?” It seems the point is to try to better understand the nature and reason of our existence. I think at some level that would even be the “point” of this blog.

    I don’t happen to adhere to the multiverse theory because I think it is an a clear violation of Occam’s razor. But I definitely think it is a legitimate or “serious” attempt to answer to the question. Some very smart people have done some very deep thinking about the origin or nature of the hypothetical multiverse. But no one would argue that it is anything more than the very “scientific wild ass guess” with which you label theism. Maybe I’m missing some larger truth here, but I don’t see why belief in a transcendent creator is any less rational or reasonable than a belief in an invisible realm of infinite multi-dimensional universes that are capable of creation ex nihilo. Am I wrong?

  26. on 25 Mar 2011 at 4:28 am 26.DPK said …

    My comment of “what’s the point” was not meant to mean that the question is not intriguing. I simply meant that all you can do is guess. There is no way you can demonstrate that any conjecture you may come up with is the real one. Our ability to determine what happened before the big bang ended a billion trillions of a second after the bang. Nothing left of “before” remained, that is to say if the word “before” even had any meaning. After all, the bang would mark not just the beginning of space, matter, and energy as we know it, but also time.
    The problem with the existence of a transcendental creator is first, there is the problem of infinite regression… who created the creator, but I suppose since none of the ideas can be known, that the agnostics have one up on us in that argument. You can’t know, but what difference does it make? Second, and in any event, the concept of a personal god who intercedes in human affairs is quite a different matter, as logic precludes just about all of the attributes usually ascribed to him.
    (god cannot be omnipotent and all good.. or evil could not exist. god can not be omniscient and we have free will, because foreknowledge implies certainty and certainty negates free will, etc, etc..)

  27. on 25 Mar 2011 at 5:12 am 27.Tyler said …

    @DPK, you may be correct that some form of guessing is needed at the actual singularity, but I don’t think a “creator” guess would be any less logical than a “multiverse” guess.

    The infinite regression problem you mentioned would exist under either scenario. In fact it is probably a greater problem in the multiverse model, because the multiverse itself would still have to operate within some form of spacial/temporal dimension.

    I personally don’t think the regression problem matters much. It’s interesting to think about, but it is somewhat like both of us taking a trip to a planet in some far off galaxy and finding an extremely intricate machine. The machine is complex beyond anything created on earth and has billions of interwoven parts — but has no evidence whatsoever of who made it or designed it. It appears to be abandoned. If I were to say “wow, look at this machine…we should really try to find out who or what created this and how it happened,” I doubt you would respond by saying “hold on Tyler. We can’t really believe that ANYTHING created this machine because we don’t know who or what created the creator!”

    Anyway, I think you can see my point. Questioning the existence or nature of a creator is not invalidated by failing to explain the creation of the creator.

    As to your point about the seeming contradictions and illogical nature of a “personal” God, this kind of goes beyond the topic here. It is definitely relevant, but I think its better to have a blank slate on morality, evil, omniscience, etc., when first considering the nature of creation itself. Otherwise we will just end up dismissing an entirely valid and logical option for our own existence based solely on our perceptions of “religion.” I’m only providing a possible answer to the root question of why anything exists at all. Good points though.

  28. on 25 Mar 2011 at 6:19 am 28.Tigerboy said …

    Regarding Tyler’s question (I believe it has been asked by Immanuel Kant, too, as well as by many others):

    “Why does something exist rather than nothing?”

    It is certainly not a pointless question. It is a very interesting question. It is a question worthy of much objective, unbiased, scientific enquiry.

    But, not knowing the answer to something does not mean the answer is: GOD.

    Just because one doesn’t have an answer to something, it doesn’t mean that creating fictional, omnipotent personalities will get you any closer to understanding the truth and the reality. (Especially when this God refuses to show himself in any REAL way. Oprah and ladies from The View would be only too happy to have Jesus on their shows, and I will be very happy to watch. I’ll even Tivo it! He seems rather reluctant to book an appearance.)

    The Abrahamic God is quite obviously a fictional character designed to do exactly what I’m describing. He offers explanations for things which are not fully understood. He offers explanations to a people who don’t understand very much! (I’m talking about the 1st century folks for whom the Bible was written. I’m not saying 21st century folks who are religious don’t understand much.)

    As I have said here, in the past, a rumbling volcano may sound like it has an angry god living inside. It seems like it might be true. Believing in the god, and offering virgins to the god, may make you feel better, but it does nothing toward helping you understand what’s really going on inside the volcano.

    Studying the reality of how volcanos work, and figuring out what really causes volcanoes to rumble, might actually save you and your village from being buried in hot ash and lava. Studying reality is better than studying fiction.

    Inventing deities stands in the way of understanding truth.

    Feel free to ask yourself (and others) why there is SOMETHING rather than NOTHING. But, be careful with jumping to conclusions. I’m the first to admit that I cannot answer the question. No one can answer the question. No yet. No one has the answer. (I don’t think you can demand that an internet blog provide you with the answer. I certainly don’t think you can claim an internet blog MUST answer the unanswerable question, or it has nothing to offer.)

    I am very mistrustful of those who claim to have the answer. If you claim knowledge of the supernatural, it’s on YOU to show me why. If you have an extraordinary story to tell, YOU must show why it’s believable.

    Science does that.

    Science offers objective conclusions based on evidence.

    Religion lights candles and collects donations. Religion tries to assert authority over the common man and take his money. Religion has bias written all over it. It’s charlatanism. Religion claims humility, but it also claims to have all the answers.

    Isn’t it more humble to say:

    “I don’t have the answer, but I’m trying to learn from the evidence.”

    That’s science.

  29. on 25 Mar 2011 at 7:07 am 29.Severin said …

    23 Tyler
    “I simply asked if anyone on this site has ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does something exist rather than nothing?”

    “Why…?” comes AFTER “Does…?”!

    So: DOES something exists rather than nothing?
    If the answer is „yes“, you are free to pose further questions.

    Your “Why…?” implies positive answer to question starting with “Does…?”!
    How do you know the answer is positive?

    Of course, we expect you to explain your „yes“ or „no“, if it ever comes.

    I would say, intuitively (no evidences): yes.
    Matter/energy exist (“rather than nothing”, if you like it).
    A „total“ vacuum (free of matter) is NOT „empty“, if light or gravity waves pass through it, and they always do.

    BUT, why, the hell, is it important?

    I stopped asking “why” when I was about 14.
    I never stopped asking “how?”!

  30. on 25 Mar 2011 at 7:50 am 30.Severin said …

    25 Tyler
    “It seems the point is to try to better understand the nature and reason of our existence.“

    Here you are again, with ready made answers to question that was not posed!
    Are you doing it by purpose?
    I think you do!

    First you posed the question „Why…(is something so and so)..“ without first giving answer to question „IS..(something so and so)…“

    BEFORE searching for nature and reason of our existance, you have to answer the question: IS there a reason for our existance?

    While I would say: YES, probably something does exist rather than noting, I would also say:
    NO, there is NO reason of our existance.

    A „yes“ to that question implies will and intention.
    A „no“ implies only natural laws, that do not necessarily involve any will or intention, or creation, or „reason“.

    „Will“ and “intention” can not exist OUT of natural laws. „Will“ and “intention” are simply CHEMISTRY.
    (I did not say “simple chemistry”!)

  31. on 25 Mar 2011 at 8:12 am 31.Severin said …

    25 Tyler
    “It seems the point is to try to better understand the nature and reason of our existence.“

    What about people (like me) who care to better understand the NATURE of our existance (HOW?), but do not care for REASONS (WHY), and even do not recognize reason to know “reasons”?!

    I DO live, and I am very interested to make this universe better and more acceptable to myself, to my fellow humans, to my successors (and your successors).
    To contribute this “task”, I need to know more about NATURE of universe.
    Besides, I am personally VERY curious, and I like to know more about HOW universe functions, anyway.

    I do NOT CARE “why” I live, andd WHY universe exists, and i think there is NO answer to such question, because the question is WRONG.

    Like if you asked for something red: why is it blue?

  32. on 25 Mar 2011 at 12:55 pm 32.Observer said …

    #3 Sonofapreacherman. You misrepresent and disparage Buddhism; it is explicitly atheistic.

    #1 Tyler. The various Xtian apologia, including your facsimiles, still fall short after these millennia. In science/rational thought, failed theories, i.e. ones that neither predict nor explain precisely are discarded. Ascribing the soothing balm of “God” to soothe the irritating broad swaths of ignorance in human knowledge is a dead end. God or gods have never given any insight other than as a reflection of humanity in human-made myth. It provides nothing.

    Societal values are again based on humans. No magic. They evolved along with humans.

    Tyler, are you one of the charlatans who make their living bilking the gormless by conning them into believing there is a supernatural something on your side which they need lest face eternity in agony?

  33. on 25 Mar 2011 at 1:10 pm 33.Lightning Boy said …

    Observer not one sentence written by you discounts God in any facet of existence. Could this have been your intent?

  34. on 25 Mar 2011 at 1:24 pm 34.Anti-Theist said …

    In short, nobody knows why something exists opposed to nothing.

  35. on 25 Mar 2011 at 2:47 pm 35.Lou said …

    22.Curmudgeon said …

    “I consider all to be equal. Are you a bigot?”

    No.

    “Do you believe yourself better than other men?”

    Yes, I am better than some other men. Aren’t you? But that’s not what I meant. Some humans are born with mental and physical disabilities or extraordinary talents. All men are obviously not created equally.

    “Do you believe all men should not be treated equally by their government?”

    I believe that they should be.

    This part of the discussion is irrelevant to the topic.

    “If nature is “their creator” why not say nature?”

    For the same reason the DI didn’t say God. Just as the DI says that all men are created equal, when they obviously aren’t, it says “their Creator” rather than God, Allah, or some other deity, so as not to offend or prejudice any group of people. The point is it that it doesn’t matter to the DI who “their Creator” is. Using the DI as some evidence of a deity or as a reason to support engraving “In God We Trust” on buildings is simply absurd.

  36. on 25 Mar 2011 at 2:51 pm 36.DPK said …

    Tyler, I think you are getting my point, but maybe not entirely. When you talk about things outside of observable existence, all hypothesis are on equal footing, because you can assume nothing and test nothing. So flying spaghetti monsters are on equal footing with warrior gods and vibrational energy and computer simulations in that realm. That’s what I mean by “what’s the point?” In a time prior to the big bang, you cannot assume that 1+1=2, that “now” came before “then” or even that there was a “now” and “then”. Nothing is off the table, so nothing can be discounted, not even on the basis that it sounds completely ridiculous. Perhaps every idea you can conceive is true, all at the same time… perhaps none of them. Philosophical questions with no possibility of an answer.
    My other point that perhaps is going unappreciated is about the idea of “why is there something instead of nothing”. The is a name for this principal, but it escapes me, but it relates to the idea that creationists often postulate:
    “It cannot be an accident that we live on a world that is so perfectly suited for us. Just the right temperature, just the right amount of oxygen, a moon just the right size and distance to cause tides, an magnetic field that shields us from radiation, liquid water in abundance. All of this could not just ‘happen’.”
    They miss the point that there is nothing accidental about it. If the conditions had not been as they are, we would not be here thinking about it, or perhaps we would be here in some other form ideally suited for the environment in which we evolved. Perhaps somewhere else in the cosmos some other being is breathing methane and basking in the warmth of gamma rays eating arsenic sandwiches and wondering exactly the same thought.

    If there was nothing instead of something, we would not be here wondering why it is so, or perhaps we would be some other type of being made of some other type of “something” wondering the same thoughts. It is what it is.

  37. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:10 pm 37.Anti-Theist said …

    All men being created equal refers to their inherent inalienable rights. Despite your misunderstanding of the statement, you are grossly bigoted to assume and state that you are any better than the handicapped. You are a prime example of the harm Christianity has delved upon civilized society and I for one am disgusted by your carelessness / chauvinism.

  38. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:19 pm 38.Anti-Theist said …

    When your colorful posts are thrown into the gutter like trash by the recipients you have chosen to gift them, know that your efforts are not wholly in vain for I and I’m sure other rationalist hear found them fresh and entertaining even if revisited.

  39. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:27 pm 39.DPK said …

    #33 Observer:

    Thanks!

    I learned a new word today, “gormless”!

    My day is complete.
    D

  40. on 25 Mar 2011 at 3:55 pm 40.Lou said …

    37.Anti-Theist said …

    Please confirm who you are responding because it’s not indicated in your comment #37 & #38.

  41. on 25 Mar 2011 at 5:41 pm 41.Tyler said …

    @tigerboy —
    I’m not making any arguments or even asking any questions having anything to do with “religion” or “the Abrahamic God.” I’m happy to start a new debate on those topics, but you are trying to shoot down a position that I haven’t taken here. I’m also not saying that “not knowing the answer means the answer is GOD.” I’m only saying that the idea of a transcendent creator to explain our universe is certainly as logical and plausible as is the idea of an invisible universe-making multiverse. These are really the only two serious options on the table today. I don’t see why we should toss out one of them just because the practice of religion (which is an entirely different topic) is thought to be evil or hypocritical. Yes, it IS humble to say — “I don’t have the answer, but I’m trying to learn from the evidence,” — which I certainly try to follow — but I don’t see much of that attitude in most atheists I talk to. I think that trait of scientific humility is more applicable to curious agnostics and honest intellectual seekers, rather than those with a clear axe to grind against human “religion,” — which was created billions of years after the events we’re discussing.

    @Severin – I apologize but I don’t really understand your comments. It seems like you are making a big distinction between the questions of “why” and “how,” and that the “why” is somehow inapplicable. I would disagree. In fact I don’t think there is any possible way to separate the two. I would also be curious to know why you care about “improving the universe for fellow humans” if you don’t care why there is a universe at all?

    @Observer – I haven’t sent out any facsimilies to Xtian this millenia, but I assure you that the gormless are not charlataned by my bilking apologia. …… I didn’t really see an argument here so I guess that’s as good as I can do for now. Again, I was not trying to argue the merits of religion. I’m just curious about the atheist position on the nature of the universe and existence. If there isn’t one, that’s fine too. I’m just curious. Or maybe I’m guilty of pure gormless charlatanery.

    @DPK — Ah! The old spaghetti monster finally makes his way into the discussion. This is an interesting concept and I can see why it has an appeal to atheists. The argument goes something like “you have no evidence for God, just as I have no evidence for a monster made of spaghetti, therefore I will believe in your God as soon as you believe in my omnipotent pasta” (with many other variations). The problem that I see is that both the “God” and the “noodles” in the comparison have essentially the same properties. In order to explain the existence of the universe both God or the FSM would have to (a) relationally precede the big bang, (b) have unlimited power and/or omnipotency, (c) transcend all dimensions of space/time, and (d) possess the ability of creation ex nihilo. Therefore, the FSM is simply another name for a transcendent creator. So there really IS a logical basis for believing in it! The only thing the new atheists have done is to add material traits (marinara and parmesan?) to an immaterial entity in order to make it “seem silly” to humans. I guess there is no reason a creator cannot have these (delicious) traits, but they appear unnecessary under Occam’s as they don’t provide any greater explanatory power for creation.

    You make another good point about the “fine-tuning” argument. Yes, you are correct that we could only observe fine-tuning in a universe that was fine-tuned for us to observe in the first place. But I don’t see why this makes it any less valid an argument. If I was scheduled to be executed by firing squad (perhaps for grand gormlessness) and there were 100 trained marksmen that were to each deliver a fatal shot, I’d say I would have a pretty slim chance of making it. I’m no mathmetician, but I would say it would have to be well less than one in a million that I would survive (note that this is still almost a TWENTY TRILLION times greater chance than the degree of tuning in the universe to support life by chance, so I’d have that going for me). If all the marksmen aimed and fired, and somehow I was still standing there unharmed, I would immediately know (or at least VERY strongly believe) that there was some purposeful “design” behind my non-death. I doubt that I would shrug it off as freak luck or as no big deal, simply because “well if I wasn’t alive I wouldn’t be able to tell that I wasn’t alive anyway.” I may not have stated the analogy perfectly, but I hope you see what I mean.

    Rather than getting into the details of the fine tuning debate, I like the cleaner and simpler Kalam cosmological argument. This is what bolstered my initial leaning towards theism (again, I am NOT discussing merits of specific religion here). Essentially, it goes (a) nothing begins to exist without a cause, (b) The universe began to exist, (c) any cause of the universe would necessarily transcend its spatial and temporal dimensions, (d) therefore a transcendent creator of the universe exists. This argument is really the only one I’ve seen that fits modern scientific big bang cosmology. Other than largely discarded minority views such as “steady state” or weird theoretical “matrix” type explanations, the only other possible explanation raised is the invisible and infinite multiverse. But as mentioned, this brings up the same infinite regression and Occam’s problems. Don’t you agree?

    @anti-theist – you make a great point about the nature of human rights, and I agree with you completely that no one human has a greater inherent worth than another. But I think calling the original poster bigoted or disgusting might be going too far. Obviously not all are created with equal ability. It is pretty safe to assume that Stephen Hawking is a much greater cosmologist than I am, but it is also pretty safe to assume that I am a better basketball player than Stephen Hawking. Neither fact makes either one of us less “equal” or “valuable.” I think that was his point.

    But this actually raises another much more important question…where do you think these “inherent inalienable rights” come from?

  42. on 25 Mar 2011 at 6:02 pm 42.Lou said …

    41.Tyler said …

    “question…where do you think these “inherent inalienable rights” come from?”

    If I may, the same place a super-natural god comes from – man’s imagination.

    The rest of your points are very interesting and worthy of consideration. However, I think you wisely qualified your remarks with “I’m not making any arguments or even asking any questions having anything to do with “religion” or “the Abrahamic God,” because those are the main objections of atheists, not so much the arguments that you made.

  43. on 25 Mar 2011 at 6:06 pm 43.Lou said …

    37.Anti-Theist said …

    “All men being created equal refers to their inherent inalienable rights.”

    Obviously. Therefore, the DI doesn’t literally mean that all men are created equally.

    “…state that you are any better than the handicapped.”

    Please clarify, who stated that they are better the the handicapped?

  44. on 26 Mar 2011 at 11:44 am 44.Joe said …

    Regarding the question of why there is something rather than nothing:

    This is the only question I know of that I assume human beings will never ever be able to answer.

    Note that neither the multiverse idea nor the concept of a divine creator actually give an answer to this question.

    The multiverse idea leaves unanswered the question of why there are natural laws in the first instance that would enable universes to pop into being.

    The concept of a divine creator leaves unanswered the question of why there is a divine creator in the first instance.

    Of course, you can say that the creator has always been there, or similarly, that the natural laws that allow for the multiverse thing have always been there, but then you are just evading the question of why there is something rather than nothing and are falling short of a full answer.
    And of course, it might well be that something (be it a creator or certain natural laws) has always been around. But giving a full answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing would require us to explain why this something has always been around.

    As a corollary to all this: the Kalam cosmological argument does help us when it comes to the question of why there is something rather than nothing.

  45. on 26 Mar 2011 at 11:45 am 45.Joe said …

    Sorry. Obviously, the last sentence should have read: “… does NOT help us …”

  46. on 26 Mar 2011 at 1:30 pm 46.Anti-Theist said …

    #41
    Rights are given by the masses in any particular region. Dictators / Governments only control rights when allowed to do so by the local population. In the United States, even the people’s inherent inalienable rights afforded them by their “creator (that would be parents, in my case)” are controlled and agreed upon by the government whose power to do so is in turn afforded it by the masses. God has no authority / power to mitigate what society decides your fate will be, just as mans law will always trump the law given in the bible. A good example would be the woman who drowns her three infant children because god told her to; gods direction will not negate mans law exacting repercussions.
    #43
    Sounds like you know exactly whom I referenced Lou. When people are either grossly offensive / grossly careless with their words people react adversely. Which was the case in post #35 Lou?

  47. on 26 Mar 2011 at 2:59 pm 47.DPK said …

    Wow, this discussion has gotten a long way from spending 90 million dollars to put slogans on federal buildings.

    @Tyler… My mention of the spaghetti monster was only meant to enforce the idea that in a reality we can not possibly about, all ideas are equal. You are right, in that respect a pasta god is every bit as likely as a warrior god. I will concede that since it appears our universe as we currently know it “started” about 14 billion years ago, it would seem reasonable to assume that something existed “before” it. Notice that I said “seem” because again, we can know nothing about the state of things before that, so we cannot say if there was a “before”. In any event, I’ll concede that for some reason, a singularity burst forth into the universe we live in, but arguing whether that reason was the collapsed remains of an infinite succession of prior universes, the detritus of some massive black hole from some other universe, a collision of membranes in other dimensions, or the conscious will of some cognizant all powerful being or bundle of pasta is fruitless. Odds are fairly strong that the reason is something we have not thought of because there could be quite literally, infinite possibilities.
    As to the “fine tuning” argument. Given the age and size of the universe, the reality of all the bullets missing your body at some point is not nearly as remote as you make it seem. In fact, I would argue that given the size of the cosmos, almost any probability becomes almost certain.
    None of this addresses the idea of a personal, intercessor god, which remains a ridiculous idea. Even if we concede that the cosmos was created by some intelligence, the scope and age of the creation would certainly demonstrate that our existence is merely a blip, of no consequence. Such an unimaginable intelligence could certainly design a much more efficient system if “we” were the specific intended outcome. You culture bacteria in a Petri dish, not a galaxy of 100 billion stars.

  48. on 26 Mar 2011 at 3:51 pm 48.Lightning Boy said …

    “creator (that would be parents, in my case)”

    Yes, I regularly take credit for creating electricity when I plug my laptop into the holes in the wall.

    It really is difficult to carry on discourse with some that have such a distorted sense of creation. Dependence on men for our rights is exactly what Jefferson and the CC were attempting avoid. We see how glowingly that goes.

    These men, our founders who studied law were greatly influence by Blackstone’s law text. In this text of choice until the late 1850s, we find that no law will be created that violates God’s mandates as found in Scripture. Atheist would not enjoy the content.

    Excuse me depart for the head to create a masterpiece.

  49. on 26 Mar 2011 at 3:55 pm 49.Lightning Boy said …

    One a side note. Jefferson despise the “barbarian Muslims” (his words). I doubt seriously he considered Allah the creator nor parents.

  50. on 26 Mar 2011 at 4:23 pm 50.Lou said …

    37.Anti-Theist said …

    “All men being created equal refers to their inherent inalienable rights.”

    Obviously, that’s why it can’t be taken literally.

    “Despite your misunderstanding of the statement,”

    I did understand it.

    “you are grossly bigoted to assume and state that you are any better than the handicapped.”

    I didn’t say I was better than the handicapped. Stop twisting my words.

    “You are a prime example of the harm Christianity has delved upon civilized society and I for one am disgusted by your carelessness / chauvinism.”

    I am not a product of Christianity. How did you arrive a such a bizarre conclusion?

  51. on 26 Mar 2011 at 6:57 pm 51.Anti-Theist said …

    #37
    Do mankind a favor Lou; take, “All men are created equal” quite literally. Regardless of birth location or window in history, we are all squirted onto this rock deserving the same opportunities afforded anyone else. Call me an idealist if you wish, but this is my philosophical belief when confronted with the realization that naturally, our only real purpose is to pass genes and guaranty the continuation of our species.
    I will be standing by what I said concerning you misunderstanding the “All men quote;” respectfully.
    I will quote you next: “Yes, I am better than some other men. Aren’t you? But that’s not what I meant. Some humans are born with mental and physical disabilities or extraordinary talents. All men are obviously not created equally.”
    I would kindly consider the previous statements careless and irresponsible albeit statements misrepresenting the authors feelings of equality. I would be happy to think I misunderstood / you failed to properly communicate a nobler rebuttal.
    I do not assume you to be Christian, though the understanding in question (the one associated with the above quotes) I gathered from your statements reflected a bigotry I’ve only to witness among Christians.

  52. on 26 Mar 2011 at 7:05 pm 52.Xenon said …

    LB,

    What you have provided is the huge influence that the Bible played in our founding. The Historical revisionist of course down play this obvious influence but the founders were grounded in the Bible as our template from the New England primer to Blackstone.

    I am grateful for this influence lest we have guys like Lou who would think they are more equal than others. This is exactly why Christians must stay involved in the process of government. To protect the rights (not privileges) of all humans.

  53. on 26 Mar 2011 at 7:15 pm 53.Anti-Theist said …

    You should have multiple examples of biblical laws that we abide by today. I have a few not including the Ten Commandments which many we don’t honor.
    Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle, don’t have a variety of crops on the same field, don’t wear clothes made of more than one, don’t cut your hair nor shave, any person who curses his mother or father, must be killed, if a man cheats on his wife, or vice versa, both the man and the woman must die, if a man sleeps with his father’s wife… both him and his father’s wife is to be put to death, if a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death, if a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed, if a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people” , psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death, if a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake, people who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God , anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community.

  54. on 26 Mar 2011 at 7:34 pm 54.Anti-Theist said …

    I’m sorry… upon further review I couldn’t find one of these laws enforced in the united states.

  55. on 26 Mar 2011 at 9:36 pm 55.Severin said …

    41 Tyler
    “It seems like you are making a big distinction between the questions of “why” and “how,””

    Of course I am.
    Distinction between the two is essential!
    Try to answer the question WHY is grass growing?!
    No answer unless you include will and/or intention.
    I don’t see any purpose, will or intention in nature, including in growing of grass.
    That, of course, does not mean that there is no regulairity in natural events, run by natural laws, inherent to matter/energy. So, if anything happens at all, it happens according to natural laws, but without any “general purpose“, and without anyone’s will or intention.
    As I do not believe in supernatural creators, I never include any will/intnetion in explaining natural events.
    HOW is grass growing is a matter of knowledge of natural laws. It is good and useful to know mechanisms of that process, the more, the better.
    Question „WHY is grass growing?“ is senseless.
    Question „HOW is it growing?“ is worthy of lot of efforts to be properly answered.

    “I would also be curious to know why you care about “improving the universe for fellow humans” if you don’t care why there is a universe at all?“
    I am not interested in WHY is universe there, and I consider that question senseless as well (explanation as above).
    It is here, I am a part of it, I depend on it, my doughter depends on it, my friends also depend on it, and it is pretty normal that I care of it.
    My contribution to universe can not be but infinitesimal, but I am doing my best to keep, at least, this globe as much in order as possible, by recycling, saving water, saving energy…(on personal level).

  56. on 26 Mar 2011 at 10:13 pm 56.Lou said …

    51.Anti-Theist said …

    “Do mankind a favor Lou; take, “All men are created equal” quite literally.”

    So now you’re the spokesman for mankind?

    “rock deserving the same opportunities afforded anyone else.”

    I don’t disagree with that.

    “I will be standing by what I said concerning you misunderstanding the “All men quote;” respectfully.”

    Who cares?

    The “all men are created equally” meant all men deserve the same rights, not that all men are created equal. Obviously all men are not created equal. I am not equal to an Einstein or a Hitler or a Jefferson.

    You don’t think that you are a “better” man than Hitler or Saddam Hussein? I know I am.

    As for my “handicapped” reference. I NEVER wrote that I am better than the handicapped, nor do I think that I am. I meant that a handicapped person is not equal to a non handicapped person, not superior or inferior, but different – not equal. For example, a man without arms and legs is not equal to one who has them. All men are not created equal. They may deserve equal rights, but they are not created equal.

  57. on 26 Mar 2011 at 10:16 pm 57.Severin said …

    41 Tyler
    „The problem that I see is that both the “God” and the “noodles” in the comparison have essentially the same properties…
    … Therefore, the FSM is simply another name for a transcendent creator.“

    I agree.
    The difference is in that you accept possibility that some transcedent creator/FSM exist, and I, and probably also DPK, don’t.

    My explanation seems to me pretty logical:
    Creation understands creator having properties a) – d), as you listed them, and I would include here two more: e) intelligence and f) Will/intention (purpose, WHY did he/she/it create universe?).
    Then you inevitably come to question: who/what created creator?

    You can easyly avoid that trap: If you give the creator properties you listed a) – d), you come to matter/energy!
    Matter/energy has all listed properties, INCLUDING property e), intelligence.
    Intelligence is inherent („built in“) to matter energy in form of natural laws.
    Under certain conditions, matter/energy will always, without exception, behave according to given natural laws, its inherent “intelligence”!

    It is not necessary for matter/energy to have property d) (creation ex nihilo). Why would it be so difficult to accept that matter energy „just exists“ (from ever, for ever, without being created, JUST LIKE some supernatural “creator”), and only change its form according to natural laws inherent to it.
    On the other hand, matter energy could have such a property (creation ex nihilo), why not? At least a property that, at the present moment SEEMS TO US as „creation ex nihilo“, but is ALSO following some natural laws we don’t know yet.

    What is wrong with such a logic: „creator“ = matter/energy!

  58. on 26 Mar 2011 at 10:17 pm 58.Lou said …

    52.Xenon said …

    “This is exactly why Christians must stay involved in the process of government. To protect the rights (not privileges) of all humans.”

    Isn’t that ironic? Christians, who will go to heaven while all others will go to hell, must protect the right of all humans – not to mention all the other rights that Christians want to deprive humans of. Hilarious.

  59. on 26 Mar 2011 at 10:19 pm 59.Lou said …

    You guys are dwelling to much upon the logic of creation without considering what we have as the result of any alleged creator.

  60. on 26 Mar 2011 at 10:28 pm 60.Severin said …

    41 Tyler
    I forgot to stress that, in case of existance of “creator”, question of PURPOSE becomes essential!
    WHY, the hell, would an intelligent, omnipotent creator create universe?

    In case of accepting the idea that matter/energy “just existed” (without being created), and just followed its “intelligence”, changin forms according to natural laws, (which we scarcely know!), question of “purpose” (WHY?) has no sense.
    Possible answer could be, in that case: because circumstances (conditions combined with natural laws) happened to lead to it (“it” = big bang, life…).
    NO purpose!

  61. on 26 Mar 2011 at 11:13 pm 61.Severin said …

    52 Xenon
    “This is exactly why Christians must stay involved in the process of government. To protect the rights (not privileges) of all humans.”

    Like, for example, good pious christians protected rights of slaves?

  62. on 26 Mar 2011 at 11:37 pm 62.DPK said …

    hehe.. just like the Crusaders protected the natural god given rights of Muslims.

  63. on 27 Mar 2011 at 3:21 am 63.Tyler said …

    @Lou – If inherent rights come from man’s imagination, there is no logical basis whatsoever for me to respect them or adhere to them. It would also mean I could make up whatever new “inherent rights” I felt like. I hereby declare I have an inherent right to your car, your house, and your wife. How would that make any sense?

    @Joe – I agree with you that the argument doesn’t explain the “why” in a metaphysical sense, but why is that necessary if we are just trying to determine the “why” in the actual sense? It goes back to my analogy about finding an abandoned complex machine on Mars. Would you really shrug off the entire machine (or the search for its creator), just because you couldn’t explain “why” it was designed or “why” the designer existed in the first place? I wouldn’t think so. I really just don’t see the point behind all of these regressive type of counter-arguments. They kind of just duck the main question, no?

    @anti-theist – You are lumping together two very separate categories of “rights.” Positive rights, or what society MUST do for you, are granted and controlled by the government. Negative rights, or what society CANNOT do to you, are the inherent or “natural” rights on which the DI and the Constitution are primarily based (no law restricting speech, no taking of private property, etc.) Negative rights do not “come from” government…government can only try to protect them, or take them away (read John Locke or Bastiat). As a side note, you are also lumping together two completely separate types of “biblical laws” in your (53) response…but that is a whole other topic.

    @DPK – I see your point, but I’m not sure that there can be infinite possibilities for creation. Infinite possibilities could only be assumed if we were allowed to just “add on” traits (like pasta) to the necessary attributes of a creator for no reason. When stripped down to its essence, a creator would only need to be the greatest conceivable being outside the constraints of space/time. This again leaves us with just two options: (a) a transcendent creator or (b) a multiverse. To me, a creator seems much more logical. I can mentally conceive a greatest possible being transcending matter, but I cannot mentally conceive an infinite and invisible “universe making machine” with no cognitive function.

    Your point about my fine-tuning firing squad example is not well taken. Mathematical odds are mathematical odds, they can’t become more or less remote based simply on different ways of thinking about them. Yes, I suppose if you could infinitely extend the universe (which you cannot), you might at some point reach “all possible eventualities.” But this doesn’t really matter. The point is that to us as observers, it is still a one in 20 trillion chance, or in everyday language…impossible. The universe is finite. And it still would not address the even bigger reality, that matter does not pop into existence out of nothing. Even if you consider our creation to be “inefficient” and “of no consequence” the idea of a creator remains a logical explanation — I would say the only logical explanation. We can’t let our preconceived notions get in the way of actually seeking out truth.

    @severin – Sorry, but you completely missed my point. If you can’t see the glaring flaw in creator = matter/energy, I’m not sure its worth continuing the argument. Let’s just say the word “transcendent” has to mean something or else you are right back to square one. Actually you would be behind square one, since almost all athiest cosmologists would at least agree with the first premise of the argument (that which begins to exist has a cause).

  64. on 27 Mar 2011 at 4:14 am 64.Joe said …

    Tyler, just some more information about how, according to the laws of physics, matter can indeed pop into existence “out of nothing”:

    The engery of the total universe (which includes matter, of course) is zero. The (postive) energy contained in matter is balanced out by gravitational energy, which is negative. This means when a universe pops into being, the total energy remains zero, while locally(!) there can be positive energy with negative energy in other parts of the universe. So in the end, a universe is just a sort if space with local engery imbalances.

    Phenomena like this have been experimentally observed (on a small scale) in quantum theory.

    Tyler, regarding your distinction between why-questions in a metaphysical sense vs actual sense: I am not thinking about metaphysical questions here. If someone claims to know the answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing, I would expect this person to tell me either why there are natural laws that would allow for universes to pop into existence (these laws are a “something” after all) or why there is a creator (who is “something” after all). This is a down-to-earth empirical question, not a metaphysical one.

    I do not mind thinking about this question, but I would guess that this question cannot be answered by us. Actually, I would assume that even a creator who has been around for ever could not tell you why he is there – because he would probably not know it.

    As this question about something rather than nothing can be answered neither on the basis of religion nor on the basis of science, it is probably not a question for a website on atheism vs religion. (Of course, I do not mind the fact that this question is being discussed here, but we should all be honest to admit that neither science nor any religion I know of can answer this question.)

  65. on 27 Mar 2011 at 4:43 am 65.Lou said …

    63.Tyler said …

    “@Lou – If inherent rights come from man’s imagination, there is no logical basis whatsoever for me to respect them or adhere to them.”

    Yes there is. There is a “logical basis” to respect what we perceive as “inherent rights” or any law for that matter – civilization.

    “It would also mean I could make up whatever new “inherent rights” I felt like.”

    Yes, you could, just as Jefferson and the others did.

    “I hereby declare I have an inherent right to your car, your house, and your wife. How would that make any sense?”

    It wouldn’t. So, what’s your point? But if you were a ruthless dictator in some third-world country, then you might could do that.

    My point is that there is no such thing as “inherent rights,” except in the mind of man. But regardless, as a society, certain groups of individuals agree to what they are. Other societies have different ideas about “inherent rights.” “Inherent rights” are a convention, nothing more. It’s not as if they are an absolute, like the laws of nature, for example.

  66. on 27 Mar 2011 at 8:23 am 66.Severin said …

    63 Tyler
    “If you can’t see the glaring flaw in creator = matter/energy,…”
    It would be nice from you to explain that “glarign flaw” for me, because I do not see its glaring.
    I did not just say you were not right, I offered some explanations. You did not!
    That is not a way to debate: “…if you don’t see, I can do nothing”.
    Do I look like an idiot, incapable to understand explanations? Or, you don’t have them?
    What did I miss?

    „Transcendent“ means :
    1. a: exceeding usual limits : surpassing
    b: extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience
    c: in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge
    2.
    being beyond comprehension
    3.
    transcending the universe or material existence — compare immanent 2

    „(To) transcende“ means:
    1. a: to rise above or go beyond the limits of
    b: to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of : overcome
    c: to be prior to, beyond, and above (the universe or material existence)
    2
    to outstrip or outdo in some attribute, quality, or power
    intransitive verb
    to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limit

    ALL that „transcedent“ and „transcende“ means is connected with HUMAN experiance („usual limits“, „beyond limits of ORDINARY experience…“). Said in a simpler way: „Transcedent“ is something people do not understand!

    Shape of earth was „transcendent“ recently!
    Rainbow was “transcedent”.

    I do not incline to call “transcedent” everything I don’t understand!
    If I don’t understand it, even if most people don’t, I don’t take it as “beyond understanding”! I expect it will be explained, as most things were.

    In short: I don’t need gods. My common sense can not accept gods, as I immediatelly pose the simple qurestion: IF god has “transcendent” properties, WHY, the hell, matter/energy could NOT have such properties (properties that we still do not understand completely).
    Simple, AND logical!

  67. on 27 Mar 2011 at 8:26 am 67.Severin said …

    Sorry, “transcendent”, not “transcedent”.

  68. on 27 Mar 2011 at 1:31 pm 68.Anti-Theist said …

    #63
    Don’t run Tyler; this could be very interesting. What biblical laws do we follow in the United States? Which Christian values was the country based on?

  69. on 27 Mar 2011 at 4:54 pm 69.DPK said …

    63 Tyler said:
    “When stripped down to its essence, a creator would only need to be the greatest conceivable being outside the constraints of space/time.”
    Why? That’s my point. YOU are making assumptions you can’t validly make. What if the creator you postulate is just a flunky in a race of creators and he really isn’t all that bright, comparatively? Our universe could have been a mistake that’s sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere. That would explain birth defects, and rap music. You know nothing about the “reality” you try to understand, including applying human logic and question like “why would?” I guess my point is, while it is reasonable to be atheist in respect to the personal god professed by religion, it is only possible to be agnostic in relation to a more abstract “creator”. Indeed if you wish to call the laws of nature a “creative force” as in Einstein’s “god”, I have no problem with that idea. I just don’t think he’s going to punish me for eating pork or not worshiping him.

    “Mathematical odds are mathematical odds, they can’t become more or less remote based simply on different ways of thinking about them.”
    True if you are talking about a specific event at a specific time. But we are talking about, for example, the emergence of life on a planet somewhere in the universe, at some point in time.
    The odds that the one specific sperm from you father fertilized the egg in your mother’s fallopian tube resulting in YOU are pretty slim, but if it hadn’t, YOU wouldn’t be here thinking about it. Same concept. Entirely plausable to think that perhaps OUR universe is a one in a trillion shot, but one in a trillion shots can happen, especially given the enormity of infinite time, and if it hadn’t we would not be here to observe it. You argument that because it appears to be extremely remote is kind of like telling the lottery winner he shouldn’t play they lottery because you can’t possibly win.

  70. on 27 Mar 2011 at 5:36 pm 70.Lightning Boy said …

    “The Historical revisionist of course down play this obvious influence but the founders were grounded in the Bible as our template”

    Xenon

    Almost missed your post. History has the ability to repeat itself. Our nation’s heritage has become so politicized by the PC crowd that one who is not educated in her founding could be lead down the revisionist path. From government to our education system Jesus Christ, Salvation, the Bible and God were always a huge influence in the process.

    Its not opinion, it is fact. Of course Jefferson was referring to God as the creator. They did not consider nature, Allah or any other belief system in our founding. Jefferson and the rest of the founders in the congress who helped to word the DI believed in God the Creator. That is why the rights are inalienable.

  71. on 27 Mar 2011 at 7:01 pm 71.DPK said …

    Oh, come now. Before Darwin, about everyone was a theist in some form or another because there were no other option. We can’t hold that against Mr. Jefferson, after all, he was by no account a fan of organized religion for certain.
    Thomas Jefferson was also a slave owner, so should we assume from that that the founding fathers intended slavery to exist in our state? They probably DID. But that doesn’t mean that 350 years later we should still embrace that idea, does it?
    Religion has always had an influence on history, that is undeniable. A bad influence, probably as often as not. So, what can we conclude from that?? Nothing at all. Whether or not Jefferson was thinking of Jesus or Yahweh in the specific when he wrote of rights endowed by their creator matters no more to us than whether he was thinking exclusively of white, male land owners when he spoke of “men”.

  72. on 27 Mar 2011 at 7:20 pm 72.Anti-Theist said …

    #63
    Don’t run Tyler; this could be very interesting. What biblical laws do we follow in the United States? Which Christian values was the country based on?

    Maybe a devil’s advocate could help. These statements run rampant and unchecked in the US; why?

  73. on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:35 am 73.Lightning Boy said …

    “Before Darwin, about everyone was a theist in some form or another because there were no other option.”

    You haven’t read much history have you DPK. Jefferson hated slave ownership. Even considered letting them go. He just couldn’t flip the switch financially. Of course it is easy to judge those in the past hundreds of year later huh? We are so much better are we not?

    So since Darwin, what do we know now that disproves our Creator? There was an atheist here and there so why you baselss claim there was no other beleief available?

    On the contrary, creation is much more complex than our founders could ever have imagined. More reason to believe than ever. If are rights are derived from man we end up like the USSR and Red China.

  74. on 28 Mar 2011 at 3:10 am 74.Lou said …

    73.Lightning Boy said …

    “If are rights are derived from man we end up like the USSR and Red China.”

    That comment is absurd, and it has no basis in fact.

    Slaves in the US did not benefit from the DI. Therefore, according to your logic, the rights attributed to the DI must have come from men. Slaves were arguably worse-off than citizens in the “USSR and Red China.”

    The reason that slavery was not addressed by the DI was because of objections by southern states that could have threatened the success of the DI. It was “Man,” not some “Creator” who decided that abolishing slavery was not as important as gaining independence from England.

    The idea that human rights as described in the DI must come from some imagined “Creator” is more ludicrous than the idea of engraving “In God We Trust” on government buildings.

  75. on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:41 pm 75.Joshua said …

    Long weekend. It’s good to see the discussion is continuing.

    @ sonofapreacherman 18
    I like to think of the agnostic thing this way; Gnosis means knowledge, if you are Gnostic you have knowledge, if you are agnostic you do not. Theism and atheism have to do with belief instead of knowledge. Belief is a yes or no question, you either do or do not believe, there is no middle ground.

    Gnostic Theist: Knows and believes there is a god.

    Agnostic Theist: Does not know for sure, but believes there is a god.

    Gnostic Atheist: Knows and believes there is no god.

    Agnostic Atheist: Does not believe in a god, but does not know there is no god. (I am here)

  76. on 28 Mar 2011 at 1:53 pm 76.Joshua said …

    @ Tyler 23
    I can’t let you get away with this.
    “but have you (or has anyone on this site) ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does something exist rather than nothing?” Until you provide a legitimate and demonstrable answer (other than a transcendent creator), your blog does not really have any intellectual heft to it.”

    This seems to be saying that until someone answers your pet question you aren’t willing to take anything else seriously. You did not “simply asked if anyone on this site has ever provided a serious answer to the question “why does something exist rather than nothing?”, you also said that nothing else was serious until this question was answered. That is intellectually dishonest. If there is no good answer to your question that does not mean that other arguments about other issues are somehow less credible. If you misspoke please say so because I am starting to think you are being intentionally dishonest.

    “I’m not trying to re-define the word “atheist,” I’m asking a genuine non-rhetorical question. If the answer is no, then the answer is no.”
    When you say “…argument attempting to prove the truth of atheism.” You clearly are redefining it. Atheist is a statement of disbelief, there are no arguments for atheism, only for the various theisms. I do not have to prove anything, the theists need to offer better evidence for me to believe instead of disbelieve.

    As for your question, the only reason to believe anything is because you have sufficient evidence for it. We have good evidence for the big bang and the details up to a very short period of time after the big bang. Before that our ability to detect the evidence of what occurred breaks down due to the nature of the universe. The scientific answer to your question is “I don’t know”. There are some hypotheses that exist, however our current technology is not yet sufficient to test them, maybe even not even within our lifetimes. Some of the implications of Einstein’s work have only just in the last few years been tested (google “frame dragging”). So even if it turns out the there is never a scientific answer to “why there is something rather than nothing”, alternate explanation need evidence of their own in order for belief to be justified.

    My personal answer to your question would be “Why do you assume there must be something rather than nothing”. To believe that there must be something rather than nothing means that you have a reason for that belief, even if it is just because of culture or a failing of how humans make assumptions about reality. I don’t have enough evidence to know if something or nothing is the “natural” state of things and I will reserve judgment until physics can get more data.

    Also physics does not assume that there was nothing before the big bang. An alternate view is that the universe existed in a different state that may have had characteristics that prevent detection or even comprehension. So my position does not deny the big bang model.

  77. on 28 Mar 2011 at 3:07 pm 77.DPK said …

    “You haven’t read much history have you DPK. Jefferson hated slave ownership.”

    Not even close to the point. Ok, Jefferson was a slave owner who spoke publicly against slavery. An obvious contradiction. The point is, the philosophical or sociological views of the founding fathers do not have a stranglehold on society for all time, as if they are carved in stone. The fact that Jefferson may have believed in a deity does not mean we, as a society are compelled to base all our actions on that premise.
    Look at it this way, imagine, just for a moment, that tomorrow someone, somewhere came up with ironclad, irrefutable proof that god did not exist… just accept that premise for a moment. Would that mean that everything we now believe about human rights would just vanish? Would it no longer be immoral to murder someone? Would slavery and child molestation be ok? I think not. I think you sell mankind way short to assume that morality must come from a being with magical powers.
    You are putting far too much weight on phrases that are really no more than social conventions of a time. When I say “God Forbid” it doesn’t mean I believe in a literal god. I recite the pledge of allegiance and I say “under god” that can’t be taken 200 years from now as proof that I believed in a particular god, or any gods at all.

  78. on 28 Mar 2011 at 3:22 pm 78.Joshua said …

    @ Tyler 25
    It is not a “scientific wild ass guess”, there are real observations in physics that lead to proposing possible multiple universes. If you are honestly curious about why there is a hypothesis in quantum mechanics that appeals to multiple universes, read “In search of Schrödinger’s cat”. That book helped me understand why they think that there may be multiple universes. The reason that many of us think that a multiverse hypothesis is more solid than a creator is all in the quality of the evidence. If you want to have that discussion we can.

    The double slit experiment is a good example for that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

    If you shoot particles at a double slit you see a double slit form at the impact sites behind the slit. If you have a wave (like water) hit a double slit you see an interference pattern as the waves reinforce and cancel each other. Electrons until that point were thought to be particles by their behavior, but when they shot them at a double slit they saw an interference pattern. However when you alter the experiment to figure out which slit an electron went through you see the particle double slit pattern. The multiverse interpretation of that is that the interference pattern is the spectrum of probabilities of where the electron could hit. However it does not make a choice until you force it to by looking which slit it chooses. It is then forced to make a choice and you see the two slit pattern. How is it possible that the electron does not make an impact choice until you force it to? What were those probabilities? They obviously existed or you would see no interference pattern. The thought is that every possible impact is made, but each is made in another universe so the probability pattern is what could have happened and the impact site is what happened in our universe.

    Another real interesting thing was when they shot the electrons at the slit one at a time they STILL saw an interference pattern, and when they looked to see which they went through one at a time they STILL saw the double slit pattern. If these electrons were going through the slits one at a time how were they interfering with each other? The interference was real because the pattern was there, and the choice was made when the electron was watched. Really weird stuff but based on real observations and NOT wild ass guesses.

  79. on 28 Mar 2011 at 3:32 pm 79.Joshua said …

    @ Tyler 41
    “I’m only saying that the idea of a transcendent creator to explain our universe is certainly as logical and plausible as is the idea of an invisible universe-making multiverse. These are really the only two serious options on the table today.”

    The only serious option is the one based on observations from physics. I toss the transcendent creator option is not viable because there is no good evidence for a transcendent creator. Science is also used badly by some because it is a tool for determining reality, nothing more. The information found from science can be misused just as a screwdriver can be used for murder.

  80. on 28 Mar 2011 at 4:02 pm 80.Joshua said …

    @ Tyler 41 (oops. Pushed the button too fast)

    The fine tuning argument is not convincing because there is no reason to think that life would be impossible with all those parameters different. We are still trying to figure out how life works in our universe. We have no cause to say it is impossible with other combination of parameters, different certainly, but not impossible. Your twenty trillion is based on nothing. For all you know most combinations could produce what we would consider life in some form.

    It is like a puddle marveling that the depression that it is in is fitted perfectly to it. All the while it ignores the fact that it could be shaped no other way and other depressions would produce puddles shaped to them.

    Kalam is also not very convincing.
    a) 1. I am not willing to assume that everything has to have a cause because if the laws of the universe are different outside of the universe we experience, uncaused causes may be possible. With 11 dimensions there could be lots of weirdness that we know nothing of.

    2. “a” is also self defeating for the argument. If EVERYTHING (your word) has to have a cause then so does the creator. If the creator does not need a cause than there are things that can be uncaused causes and “a” is necessarily false. There may be things other than creators that are uncaused.

    b) Science is undecided that the universe began. Before the big bang it may have been in another form. Like I said earlier “something” instead of “nothing” may be the natural state of things

    c) This depends on what you mean by “universe”. If the universe is all that exists then it includes these places that “c” refers to where uncaused causes are possible. I prefer to think of it as the parts of the universe that we can perceive and the parts we can’t.

    d) Does not follow from the previous due to alternate possibilities and the way that “a” contradicts itself.

    In the end I find these logical arguments for gods existence to be boring because as far as I am concerned a logical argument for the existence of anything is meant to provide a convincing reason to spend effort on research. Without direct evidence for the existence for a creator these arguments are just wishful thinking.

    Also humans get together and decide what we consider inalienable rights. That is the source.

  81. on 28 Mar 2011 at 4:11 pm 81.DPK said …

    Thank you and well said Joshua. I wish I could articulate my thoughts as well as you.

  82. on 28 Mar 2011 at 5:53 pm 82.Joshua said …

    @ Tyler, Lightning boy, etc…
    Just to butt into the rights and morals argument, humans are the ultimate source of these. Rights and morals are mental constructs. Without a mind they do not exist. There is no evidence for a mind outside of ourselves and to a lesser extent our fellow life forms. Something as simple as a high school club shows where rights and morals ultimately come from. A group of humans with a common purpose comes together and agrees to a set of rules that they all follow. As appropriate they also agree on punishments for broken rules. Anyone who does not like the set of rules that comes out of this process either has to find a new group or gets punished if they do not follow the rules. So to comment on Tyler in #63 there are logical reasons for you to follow the rules; you do not want to be punished, and I assume that you want to encourage others to follow the rules because you want to keep your car, house and wife. The morals of a nation are made up of the morals of the people in it. You can try to assert your own but without a lot of other people who agree you will end up in jail.

    The founders appealed to natural rights (nature’s god) because it was a very loose description for where it was thought the morals came from ultimately, that they could all agree on. If they wanted Christianity only they would have been more specific. They recognized that there are general characteristics that humans have that enable the happiest life and these should be protected. This is so vague that you could apply it to theistic evolution and say that natural rights are characteristics of human populations that enable better survival as a group. This is compatible with biological evolution and one could argue that if these rights were not protected then society and human survival would be harmed. There was no research into the evolutionary origins of behavior at that time so the founders did the best they could with what they knew about people. At that time most were some form of theist though many of the founders stated that they included non-believers as those who had these rights too. Today I have no problem believing that many of them would accept a biological origin of rights and morals.

  83. on 28 Mar 2011 at 6:05 pm 83.Joshua said …

    @ DPK 81
    Thanks! As the saying goes, practice, practice, practice! Also being the only scientist in a family of non-scientists helps. I have gotten really good at explaining stuff in “Normal speak”.

    One good one to remember is that when they say X does not disprove Y always jump on them and say that it is not your job to disprove anything (like Lightning boy in #73). The one making the claim is the one to prove something exists. Lightning boy has to prove his creator exists, it is not the job of everyone since Darwin to prove his god does not exist. It is however the job of evolution supporters to be able to point out the evidence for evolution, or at least know how to find it with some effort.

  84. on 28 Mar 2011 at 7:16 pm 84.Lightning Boy said …

    Joshua

    True enough other than the fact one is implying no God since the advent of Darwinism. That seems to be a claim that must be substantiated since X does not disprove Y? Yes?

    If you cannot great just acknowledge this fact.

    If I must provide proof “my” creator exists then help out here. What would this proof look like?

  85. on 28 Mar 2011 at 7:50 pm 85.Lou said …

    84.Lightning Boy said

    “True enough other than the fact one is implying no God since the advent of Darwinism.”

    You should understand that atheism is not dependent upon Darwinism. Furthermore, you should understand that atheism is not an idea. God is an idea, not God is not an idea. Not God is the disbelief of God. There isn’t a disbelief in an idea before that idea exists.

    “If I must provide proof “my” creator exists then help out here. What would this proof look like?”

    The same type of proof that any reasonable person accepts as proof of anything else. Or any public, world-wide performance of any miracles that are described in the Bible.

  86. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:06 pm 86.Xenon said …

    “The same type of proof that any reasonable person accepts as proof of anything else. Or any public, world-wide performance of any miracles that are described in the Bible.”

    Huh? Like what? You know Jesus is not on earth right?

    I like what Mitch once proposed. Prove Socrates existed. If you can do this small task, we will then know your criteria is for proof.

    I assume you do believe in Socrates?

  87. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:15 pm 87.Joshua said …

    @ Lightning Boy 84

    Let me make sure I understand you correctly. When you say “…one is implying no God since the advent of Darwinism.” do you mean that there are;

    1. People that use the Theory of Evolution to say that god does not exist?

    or

    2. If evolution is true than god can’t be real since the bible describes a supernatural creation?

    If there are two explanations for a phenomena (life on earth in it’s present form and diversity in this discussion) evidence must be collected to determine which is correct. The correct explanation will match all observations about the world around us. If one does not than science supports the one that best explains reality while admitting that the true picture is not yet known and either a better explanation needs to be made or the best explanation is incomplete and needs to be modified when better information is collected.

    Every positive claim must be demonstrated by the person making the claim. If some of the evidence for evolution seems to disagree with a creation story it would be described as evidence that contradicts the creation account rather than evidence against creation. In ways it amounts to the same thing but the intentions are different. Science intends to accurately describe reality, not destroy a particular creation story. If some of the evidence for a hypothesis/theory contradicts a religious explanation that can not be helped.

    However there are a lot of christians that have no problem with evolution so to them the fact that evidence for evolution contradicts a literal reading of genesis is not problem. To me this is the start of the logical spiral that is trying to prove a negative (the X does not disprove Y). Once most virtually all christians believed that genesis was literally true, now many believe that it’s an allegory, or lots of other things that let them believe in chiristianity and still admit that the evidence for evolution is good. To me it seems like excuses and mental gymnastics being played to continue to believe something despite lack of good evidence.

    The humorous example is the invisible pink dragon in the garage. I ask someone to prove it does not exist.
    Person: I walked all over and I felt no dragon, it does not exist.
    Me: It moved around so you could not touch it.
    Person: What if I throw flour on the floor to see foot prints?
    Me: He flies so he won’t leave any.
    Person: But I would feel the breeze and hear the flapping right?
    Me: He has special wings that are really quiet and don’t waft air around.

    This then goes on forever. This is an outline of why it is always the person making the argument who has to prove their claim. Proving a negative is an impossible amount of work compared to the person making the argument just demonstrating what must be true if their version of reality is the correct one.

    So when you say “implying no god” I say no because there are a lot of conceptions of god that are compatible with evolution. Some conceptions of are certainly contradicted by the evidence that science has gathered about the world. If however your concept of god is contradicted by evolution or anything else in science I would say that it is your job (or someone who agrees with you) to demonstrate why the science is wrong, and more importantly provide evidence that your god exists. What evidence is required depends on what god you believe in so in order to tell you what I would accept as good evidence, I have to know what you mean by god.

  88. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:20 pm 88.Lou said …

    86.Xenon said …

    “Huh? Like what? You know Jesus is not on earth right?”

    You just made the first (convenient) excuse for disallowing any evidence of God. Next?

    “Prove Socrates existed. If you can do this small task, we will then know your criteria is for proof.”

    I am not asking anyone to prove that God “existed.” I am asking for any normally accepted evidence that he EXISTS.

    “I assume you do believe in Socrates?”

    I believe that Socrates (a man) existed because the same normally acceptable evidence exists for him as does for any other historical figure who lived. However, I am asking for evidence of an EXTRAORDINARY claim of something that allegedly exists NOW. The burden of evidence is much greater for the existence of GOD than it is for SOCRATES or any other man.

  89. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:26 pm 89.Xenon said …

    “I believe that Socrates (a man) existed”

    But how? There is zero evidence for his existence. Don’t you need more than someone claiming he existed?

  90. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:34 pm 90.Lightning Boy said …

    Joshua

    Save some time here. Option #1 see post #71.

    So Lou,

    what would this proof look like? A God has never been proven before so what is our template for proof?

  91. on 28 Mar 2011 at 8:47 pm 91.Lou said …

    90.Lightning Boy said …

    “what would this proof look like? A God has never been proven before so what is our template for proof?”

    Rather than continually deflecting requests for evidence of God by asking what level of “proof” is acceptable, simply show us the best evidence you have, then we will proceed from there. A template isn’t required.

  92. on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:00 pm 92.Lou said …

    89.Xenon said …

    “I believe that Socrates (a man) existed”

    “But how? There is zero evidence for his existence. Don’t you need more than someone claiming he existed?”

    I already explained that. Even if his existence exists only through second-hand knowledge, the second-hand evidence is sufficient to believe that he existed because the consequences of belief or disbelief are non-existent. The claim of Socrates existence is not an extraordinary one. It does not require extraordinary “proof.”

    Please don’t try to equate the existence of a mortal man with an alleged omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God that creating everything. It’s intellectually dishonest.

  93. on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:10 pm 93.Xenon said …

    “the second-hand evidence is sufficient to believe that he existed because the consequences of belief or disbelief are non-existent.”

    That is your opinion, not fact. How were the founders negatively influenced by theism? I don’t see it. But I digress, you say you want proof but you cannot even acknowledge what this proof would be?

    Then you believe in a man you have no proof in and his writings have had a great impact on humanity.

    I believe we have stumbled on some hypocritical beliefs.

  94. on 28 Mar 2011 at 9:15 pm 94.Lou said …

    93.Xenon said …

    “the second-hand evidence is sufficient to believe that he existed because the consequences of belief or disbelief are non-existent.”

    “That is your opinion, not fact.”

    Really? What are the consequences of not believing that Socrates existed?

    “How were the founders negatively influenced by theism? I don’t see it. But I digress…”

    Yes, that’s a problem for you. You are attributing ideas to me that I did not propose.

    “…you say you want proof but you cannot even acknowledge what this proof would be?”

    I clearly DID – let’s see God perform a few miracles.

    “Then you believe in a man you have no proof in and his writings have had a great impact on humanity.”

    I very clearly explained that.

    “I believe we have stumbled on some hypocritical beliefs.”

    You stumbled, but not upon any hypocritical beliefs.

  95. on 29 Mar 2011 at 4:22 pm 95.Joshua said …

    @ Lightning Boy 90

    DPK in #71 said “Oh, come now. Before Darwin, about everyone was a theist in some form or another because there were no other option.”
    I believe you may be mistaking what DPK is saying here. I do not think he is trying to say that people are using Darwin to say that god does not exist. While the statement could be more precise (“about everyone” implies exceptions to the assertion “no other option”) I believe that what he is trying to say is that prior to Darwin there were more theists because some people used a creationist explanation for life as part of their theistic belief. Humans like to have explanations for things even if there is no good explanation available. Lightning and Zeus comes to mind. After Darwin it became easier to disbelieve such religious claims and either consider alternatives to christianity (or that form of it) or became disbelievers.

    If he is saying what you claim than I disagree with him. There were atheists prior to Darwin it is just that after Darwin there were more reasons to disbelieve particular religious claims. For each person the exact number of places where religion and reality must disagree for a person to disbelieve is different. Darwin just made this more likely in one area. Science is discovering places where religious claims do nat match reality all of the time and prior to Darwin there were plenty of other reasons. Each atheist is different. To find out why a particular person disbelieves requires you to ask. But I think that what DPK is trying to say here is that a person disbelieves when reality is different than the religion says and Darwin made that easier.

  96. on 29 Mar 2011 at 4:27 pm 96.Joshua said …

    Also Lightning Boy I would be willing to give you examples of evidence I would accept if you can give me your definition/description of god.

  97. on 29 Mar 2011 at 5:23 pm 97.DPK said …

    Yes, what I meant was that back at that time there were fewer atheists because there was no other valid scientific answer for the complexity and diversity of life as we knew it, so a creationist idea was pretty much the norm. Not to say there were no atheists, just fewer of them and they had a much tougher time validating their (non) beliefs.
    Admittedly, the idea that something as complex as a human being just sprang into existence one day would not give you much other choice but a creator. Darwin showed us a scientific, non-supernatural path that explained how this natural process occurred without the necessity of a god’s intervention, making it easier to discount the idea of a creator god.
    It is interesting to note that all but the most fundamentalist christian sects have now embraced evolution as fact, although, not surprisingly, have claimed ownership of it by their god. I do not know what Islam’s position on evolution is. I would assume, like Christianity, it depends on which sub-sect you talk to.
    Nevertheless, once again LB is using tangents and focusing on minutia to take the discussion of course. The point was being made that since Thomas Jefferson apparently professed a belief in a deity, therefore we can conclude that it was the christian god of the bible he believed in, that the belief in the christian god of the bible was therfore somehow written into the founding philosophy of the nation, and that we are somehow bound to believe in the christian god and follow christian principals as the foundation of our government. All ridiculous ideas, especially when extrapolated from the words “endowed by their creator”.

  98. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:28 pm 98.Ben said …

    “because there was no other valid scientific answer for the complexity and diversity of life as we knew it,”

    LOL, and there still is not. Lets see a big bang produces soup and then lightning strikes the soup to get the party started? According to atheists, this was all by chance? I don’t have that much faith.

    One point is correct, the complexity is greater than ever and invoking Occams Razor, intelligence is an absolute necessity.

  99. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:33 pm 99.Ben said …

    Post #48, funny and accurate LB!

  100. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:34 pm 100.MrQ said …

    Ben#98
    Are you saying the Theory of Evolution is wrong? Or is it that you cannot understand how life arose on our 4.5 billion year old planet?

  101. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:41 pm 101.MrQ said …

    LB#48,

    Yes, I regularly take credit for creating electricity when I plug my laptop into the holes in the wall.

    And I suppose you create water when you turn on the tap?

    Do you know that the electrical utility company provides a voltage potential to your basement suite? When you tap into the potential and draw current you are using power. Your parents, in the upstairs area, get what’s called a power bill for this. Is this a mystery to you?

  102. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:51 pm 102.Rostam said …

    Mr Q

    I suppose you are directing that question at Ant-Theist? He seems to be the one LB is poking some fun at for claiming his parents are his creator! That is funny.

    Having a little sex makes us Rembrandt does it now?

  103. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:52 pm 103.Lou said …

    101.MrQ said …

    “Is this a mystery to you?”

    Do you think he’ll get the real point of your comment?

  104. on 29 Mar 2011 at 6:56 pm 104.DPK said …

    98.Ben said …

    “because there was no other valid scientific answer for the complexity and diversity of life as we knew it,”

    LOL, and there still is not.

    Lucky for us, most of the educated world does not agree with you. Don;t look now, your ignorance is showing.
    Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because something is not fully understood (bio-genesis)that is is therefore not understandable. Evolution via natural selection gives us a pretty clear picture of how live evolved from simple to complex over the enormity of geologic time, and has an unbelievable mountain of evidence to support it. But you are right, it is not yet fully understood where the first spark of life began. That does not mean it is not understandable, and it does not then “prove” anything about magic powers, fairies, unicorns, or gods. It just means we haven’t gotten there yet.
    When science demonstrates clearly the process by which life began, will that be sufficient for you to abandon your belief in a creator god? Methinks, not likely. No doubt you will continue hammering at smaller and smaller rocks until all that is left for you is to pound sand.

  105. on 29 Mar 2011 at 7:02 pm 105.Lou said …

    98.Ben said …

    “LOL, and there still is not. Lets see a big bang produces soup and then lightning strikes the soup to get the party started? According to atheists, this was all by chance? I don’t have that much faith.”

    No. According to atheists, there’s no evidence for a belief in god. But according to theists, there’s a god that created everything. Show us.

    Even the Pope accepts The Big Bang and evolution. But he attributes them to God, not chance. The problem is that he doesn’t have any evidence for that.

  106. on 29 Mar 2011 at 7:24 pm 106.Lou said …

    98.Ben said …

    “According to atheists, this was all by chance? I don’t have that much faith.”

    Into what explanation for WHY and HOW god exists (not simply that god exists) do you place your faith?

  107. on 29 Mar 2011 at 7:34 pm 107.Lightning Boy said …

    “Even the Pope accepts The Big Bang and evolution. But he attributes them to God, not chance. The problem is that he doesn’t have any evidence for that.”

    Ew, this is good. Lou can you provide evidence of this chance. So is your new argument “Chance diddit”?

    Also Lou, have you squared away this belief in Socrates with no proof with not believing in God?

    Ben,

    Thank You. I did think it comical one attributes intercourse to creating a human being. I figured I could make the same claim on electricity.

  108. on 29 Mar 2011 at 8:21 pm 108.Joshua said …

    @ Ben 98

    “LOL, and there still is not. Lets see a big bang produces soup and then lightning strikes the soup to get the party started? According to atheists, this was all by chance? I don’t have that much faith.
    One point is correct, the complexity is greater than ever and invoking Occams Razor, intelligence is an absolute necessity.”

    You have made several statements that seem to be assertions of fact here. That implies that you have seen information that give you this knowledge. Since you are posting here I assume that you care about what others think about your comments. I would like to see your sources on the statements you have here.

    1. “…a big bang produces soup and then lightning strikes the soup to get the party started?” Where did you get this information? This bears almost no resemblance to real big bang theory or origin of life research that is going on right now. If you are serious I can show you the evidence that led to the development of big bang theory and what the current work on origin of life issues (abiogenesis) looks like. If you have no sources for this assertion of yours than your opinion is made from ignorance and is not worth considering.

    2. “According to atheists, this was all by chance?” Name the atheist. While the big bang, abiogenesis, and evolution have random elements, those processes are not random. The big bang obeys physics, abiogenesis obeys biochemistry, and evolution obeys natural selection which are all non-random. When something happens within the context of a law or set of rules it is not random. You sound like you do not know what you are talking about.

    3. “I don’t have that much faith.” Define faith. I have no faith in anything. I have reasonable belief based on past experience. I find the evidence for everything you mention convincing so I believe that these theories (hypothesis for abiogenesis) are the best explanations for what they seek to explain. You sound like you have not ever seen the evidence for these so your statement seems like nonsense. I need you to define faith and give me your example of an atheist having faith in the above.

    4. “One point is correct, the complexity is greater than ever and invoking Occams Razor, intelligence is an absolute necessity.” Except that there is a lot of research that has demonstrated that you can get complexity from simplicity by natural or artificial selection. But since your statement is a bold statement of fact “intelligence is an absolute necessity” this means that you have seen evidence that indicates that intelligence is required for complexity. Please show me this evidence.

  109. on 29 Mar 2011 at 8:36 pm 109.Xenon said …

    “this means that you have seen evidence that indicates that intelligence is required for complexity.”

    The wild card here? Time and chance of course. Give enough time and chance all things are possible and no God is required. All they have done is substitute God with time and chance.

    How does one prove intelligence is behind creation? Well, the same way we prove Socrates existed of course.

    Please Josh no long rants or wiki articles. I have see the work.

  110. on 29 Mar 2011 at 8:42 pm 110.Lou said …

    107.Lightning Boy said …

    “Ew, this is good. Lou can you provide evidence of this chance. So is your new argument “Chance diddit”?

    First of all, I didn’t actuality make any such claim or argument that chance is responsible for the Big Bang. Second, I don’t have have any evidence that chance or God is responsible for the Big Bang.

    “Also Lou, have you squared away this belief in Socrates with no proof with not believing in God?”

    Yes, and I have already explained it at least twice.

    “I did think it comical one attributes intercourse to creating a human being. I figured I could make the same claim on electricity.”

    It’s more comical to think that you could do it through intercourse.

  111. on 29 Mar 2011 at 8:59 pm 111.Lou said …

    109.Xenon said …

    “Give enough time and chance all things are possible and no God is required. All they have done is substitute God with time and chance.”

    Religion, as it did for thousands of years, still tries to explain natural events with God. Even after the last Pope apologized for the church’s behavior towards Galileo, the current Pope still makes the same mistake of explaining natural events (The Big Bang) with God.

  112. on 29 Mar 2011 at 9:42 pm 112.Mitch said …

    What many have done here which is ubiquitous with politicians and atheist alike is to construct a false premise. It works like this.
    If there is a creation then in came about by natural processes (premise)
    We observe the product of creation. (premise)
    Creation came about by natural processes. (conclusion)
    The tangible evidence for creation does not sustain an atheistic position any more than a theistic position. It is not possible to disprove or prove God nevertheless his existence is quite feasible. Man would not likely be able to resolve the existence of a deity.

  113. on 29 Mar 2011 at 10:00 pm 113.DPK said …

    Could you please describe what you would define as an “unnatural process”?
    I mean, if you say concluding that creation came about by natural processes is a false premise, I assume there must be an “unnatural” process which could conceivably be equally likely.

    “It is not possible to disprove or prove God nevertheless his existence is quite feasible.”

    Please provide what evidence you have to conclude that the existence of a supernatural god is “quite feasible”. I have not seen any and the fact that you don’t happen to like the idea of his non-existence is not evidence.

  114. on 30 Mar 2011 at 1:43 am 114.Lou said …

    112.Mitch said …

    “What many have done here which is ubiquitous with politicians and atheist alike is to construct a false premise. It works like this.”

    No, it does not. It works like this. Theists say “we believe in a god who created everything.” Atheists say, “show us.” Atheists didn’t say before theists invented god, “there is no god,” because the idea of god didn’t exist in order to reject it.

    “If there is a creation then in came about by natural processes (premise). We observe the product of creation. (premise)Creation came about by natural processes. (conclusion)”

    Incorrect. The premise of atheists is that they reject theists’ premise.

    “The tangible evidence for creation does not sustain an atheistic position any more than a theistic position.”

    The atheistic position doesn’t require evidence because the atheist position is simply that there is no evidence of the theist position. Why can’t you understand that simple concept?

    “It is not possible to disprove or prove God nevertheless his existence is quite feasible.”

    No, it isn’t. There’s no theory or evidence that makes god feasible.

    “Man would not likely be able to resolve the existence of a deity.”

    I don’t understand what you mean by that.

    Apparently the crux of your position is that there is no evidence or proof of god, so you must try to twist the argument around as if atheists must disprove your belief for which you have no evidence or proof.

  115. on 30 Mar 2011 at 1:51 am 115.Lou said …

    114. continued -

    Therefore, you have effectively eliminated the theist position.

  116. on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:33 am 116.Severin said …

    98 Ben
    ” Lets see a big bang produces soup and then lightning strikes the soup to get the party started? According to atheists, this was all by chance? I don’t have that much faith.”

    But you have enough faith to believe in making men from mud, talking snakes, angels, satans, Noah’s arc…

    Makes sense!

  117. on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:41 am 117.Severin said …

    98 Ben,
    “… intelligence is an absolute necessity.”

    An “intelligence” which “created” universe by “puffing” it from nothing, then, among all possible complex things available, chose mud to make man?

    It is interesting that you, and your fellow like-minders, NEVER answer the simple question:

    Where did that intelligence come from?
    How did it come to existance?

    It had to be a huuuuuge intelligence, and it also just “puffed” from nothing, WITHOUT a still bigger intelligence standing behind?

    Strange!

  118. on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:19 am 118.Severin said …

    109 Xenon
    “All they have done is substitute God with time and chance.“

    You obviously talk something you dont know anything about.

    There is NO „chance“ if we talk natural laws!
    Laws of physics and chemistry do NOT talk „chances“! They do not say ANYTHING about „random events“!
    Those laws are telling us that something WILL occure under right conditions, without ANY doubt, ALWAYS, without any exception, RIGHT according to math involved in it!
    They also tell us about events that are not possible to occure, no matter what conditions present.

    You can NOT stop chemical reactions that are possible to occure according to natural laws.
    For example rection between Na and Cl:. They will NOT „maybe happen, maybe not“, if you bring Na and Cl together, THEY WILL REACT! NO EXCEPTION!
    You can NOT STOP an apple to fall back to earth, if thrown in air! It WILL FALL DOWN, whatever you do, it will NOT go to space (unless, again according to laws of physics, it has proper velocity to leave earth).

    „Chances“ are „reserved“ to CIRCUMSTANCES, NOT to natural laws.

    What are the chances to have Na and Cl together, IS the right question!
    BUT, when you have them together, THEY WILL REACT, they will not wait for a god to “allow” them reaction!
    What are the chances to throw an apple with enough speed to leave the earth, IS the right question.
    But if you throw it by hand, it WILL fall back, no chance it will leave earth, NO GOD able to send it to space, if it has no proper velocity.
    And if you throw it by a rocket and enough speed, it WILL leave earth, no god necessary to „allow“ it to leave the globe. It WILL leave it!

    Don’t talk about something you obviously don’t understand!

  119. on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:28 am 119.Severin said …

    Xenon

    If you accept events depend on natural laws and are independent of god’s will, it still remains to search chances to have conditions some events to occure.

    Earth is some 4.5 billion years old, universe some 13.5 billion.
    Many elements and compounds “like” to react ech other (natural afinity, well explained by several branches of chemistry), and WILL react if put together.

    ANYTHING was possible to happen within 4.5/13.5 billion years, including abiogenesis.

  120. on 30 Mar 2011 at 1:39 pm 120.Lou said …

    115.Lou said …

    “Therefore, you have effectively eliminated the theist position.”

    Thanks for playing, Mitch. Johnny, what consolation prize for the loser?

    Prepare to believe! IT’S AN ALL EXPENSE PAID TRIP TO THE CREATION MUSEUM IN BEAUTIFUL PETERSBURG KENTUCKY! (applause) Yes Mitch, you will will be sent via Greyhound Bus to the YMCA in Petersburg where you will be greeted by none other than Adam and E…, well Adam! When you arrive at the Creation Museum you will spend forty days and forty nights with Noah on the beautiful NOAH’S ARK replica performing your favorite pastime – shoveling manure!

    (Note – Biblical celebrities portrayed by actors)

  121. on 30 Mar 2011 at 1:57 pm 121.Joshua said …

    @ Xenon 109
    Time and chance within a framework that limits and encourages particular interactions. For our purposes these are universal laws of physics, rules of chemistry, and other constraints still to be discovered. This is an important point because it means that life may be more likely than we realize.

    “Please Josh no long rants or wiki articles. I have see the work.”

    I am a little confused. My comment was directed at Lightning Boy. If you want to read what I post you are welcome to but if I need to post a longer piece to direct someone to evidence that have not seen that is what I will do. If a creationist or ID supporter is clearly not familiar with the evidence for things that they feel they can speak with authority on, the best way to handle them is to show them the evidence. That is the most important place to direct these discussions because that is why we accept evolution, abiogenesis, and the big bang.

    If we are not willing to do this than the ones that are willing to look at the evidence will not be reached as soon. Also a smack down on the assholes who will never be convinced looks good to some of the fence sitters. I was such a fence sitter. These are not rants, these are substantive posts that address specific issues. I may post more than the average person but that is only because I enjoy this and feel an obligation to back up with what I say with an expanded point at least.

  122. on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:28 pm 122.Joshua said …

    @ Mitch 112
    “If there is a creation then in came about by natural processes (premise)
    We observe the product of creation. (premise)
    Creation came about by natural processes. (conclusion)”

    Your first premise is incorrect.

    Most atheists (certainly the ones on this board) accept the scientific explanations for the world around us. Science starts with an observation of a phenomenon and then proposes a potential explanation for that phenomenon. That explanation is then tested and if the results support the explanation it is tentatively accepted until more works supports it. Historically in the west it was first believed that the earth was created due to the fact that most of the west was Christian. As early scientists studied the world it the results of tested explanations started contradicting the religious story more and more. Eventually different explanations were proposed that contradicted the religious story and some of these were supported by the results of experiments. Some of these explanations are the subject of our discussion.

    What you typed should actually look something like this (apologies if the form is wrong, I am no philosopher)

    There is a reality within which we live. (Premise)

    Science has identified many processes that determine how this reality operates. (Premise)

    The evidence that I have assessed with respect to some of these processes is convincing so I accept the conclusions of science while being willing to consider new evidence. (Premise)

    Science determining how these processes work has resulted in many tangible benefits that have allowed humans to increasingly improve life, create technological marvels, and improve understanding so I am willing to trust scientific consensus in those conclusions of science that I have not assessed. (Premise)

    The explanations for the reality in which we live that yield tangible benefits and are useful to describing reality all invoke natural processes only. (Premise)

    Reality only uses natural processes. (Conclusion 1)

    Science has discovered no convincing evidence that a creator exists and many (most?) religious explanations are contradicted by scientific explanations for reality, therefore creator belief is unwarranted. (Conclusion 2)

    All of this is of course subject to change with new evidence.

  123. on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:35 pm 123.Joshua said …

    As a side point I hate the “natural” “unnatural” dichotomy.

    If it exists it is natural. If it exists and we can not detect it or even comprehend it it is still natural. My definition of natural is “that which exists”

    In my experience the word unnatural is used to describe things that people don’t understand, don’t want to exist, or don’t normally experience.

    Don’t understand quantum mechanics? It’s still natural.

    Don’t like the quantum mechanics? It’s still natural.

    Don’t normally experience quantum mechanics? It’s still natural.

    The word “unnatural” has has social use only and has no place in what is supposed to be a scientific discussion. It is a nonsense word.

  124. on 30 Mar 2011 at 3:50 pm 124.DPK said …

    “The word “unnatural” has has social use only and has no place in what is supposed to be a scientific discussion. It is a nonsense word.”

    That was kind of my point. The OP had stated that atheists assume a false premise that the cosmos was created by a natural process. I don’t see how this could be reasoned to be a false premise and asked what he meant exactly by an “unnatural” process? I was thinking maybe he meant 2 gay gods could have had “unnatural” sex and gave birth to the world or something…. it was a bit disconcerting to me anyway.

    He also stated the the existence of a supernatural god was “very feasible” and I’m still waiting to hear some elaboration on that one. I wonder how he would define feasible? By the evidence that exists for a supernatural god we could equally assume that unicorns and fairies are “feasible”… what properties does one need to be labeled “unfeasible”?

  125. on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:14 pm 125.Joshua said …

    @ DPK 124

    I was not directing that at you, just venting a pet peeve of mine. There are a lot of words like that. Supernatural is useless for the same reason. God, faith, science, and truth are words that I need to ask the other person for a definition for half the time because often we end up confusing each other by using different meanings. It is always a good idea for an atheist to ask for a definition of faith and god anyway because for me at least I don’t believe in those things and I need to know what the other person means when they use them. I have heard god described as everything from rocks to the universe to love and lots of other things. Faith has been described as having a rational basis and believing things without evidence.

    In my opinion the reason that these words have so many definitions is so the theist can unconsciously use whichever one works for whatever the argument needs. That way they can protect their beliefs from attack. If one definition gets thumped, switch to the other one unconsciously to defend themselves from having to consider changing their beliefs.

    “I was thinking maybe he meant 2 gay gods could have had “unnatural” sex and gave birth to the world or something…. it was a bit disconcerting to me anyway.”

    You just gave me an idea for a new internet shock video. BRB need to get some banner ads..

    “By the evidence that exists for a supernatural god we could equally assume that unicorns and fairies are “feasible”… what properties does one need to be labeled “unfeasible”?”

    Exactly! To demonstrate that a god is “feasible” we need to know what he means by god. Then we can figure out what attributes such a god should have and design a test to detect those attributes. But you almost never get that definition so no one knows. Even if you get that definition and we show why there is no evidence for such a god or such a god contradicts what we know about reality, they usually say that they need to fix the definition. That never ends because they have no good reason to believe in the first place (that I have ever seen) and they are usually never get into arguments willing to change their beliefs anyway. I just consider all of this practice and target my efforts to the fence sitters.

  126. on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:30 pm 126.Mitch said …

    Joshua

    When delving into the majority of areas of science the existence of a deity is classically a non-issue. Your premises under these circumstances certainly are valid. However your premises are not satisfactory when it comes to the deliberation of a deity and the origins of the universe. I would need to continue with the logical premises I have outlined.
    Our origin releases another element into the question. The inquiry becomes more prevalent and is not one without emotional interjection. Most come to the table with preconceptions and they are bound to prove these preconceptions which culminate with:

    If there is a creation then in came about by natural processes (premise)
    We observe the product of creation. (premise)
    Creation came about by natural processes. (conclusion)”

    I do agree all that exists could be called natural processes. The establishment of new laws could account for even a deity if it were possible to detect the presence and nature of the deity. However one cannot conclude such a notion unless they have all available information.

  127. on 30 Mar 2011 at 11:30 pm 127.Joshua said …

    @ Mitch 126
    “However your premises are not satisfactory when it comes to the deliberation of a deity and the origins of the universe.”

    Why, which premises? What is special about a deity that makes my premises unacceptable? I took the time to explain why yours were not satisfactory, I am not going to accept an assertion. Like I said in #125 if a deity exists it will have characteristics. We can look for natural consequences of those characteristics to determine the reality of those. We do this for everything in life from which child stole the cookie to why some medical procedures are better than others. I need information if I am to accept that a deity is exempt.

    “I would need to continue with the logical premises I have outlined.”

    You wrongly attributed those premises atheists (#112), they do not reflect reality (#122). Atheists accept scientific findings and the scientific process. The scientific process does not start with the first premise you mentioned, it results in the discovery of natural processes, it does NOT assume them. If you are going to argue against atheists at least get what they think correct.

    To try to bend your framework into one that better reflects reality;

    *Atheists recognize that there is a reality that exists around us.

    *Atheists accept the findings of science that tries to determine the nature of the reality around us.

    *Science has only discovered natural processes involved in the formation of the universe around us.

    *The lack of “processes other than natural processes” leads atheists to disbelieve in all but natural processes until evidence for “processes other than natural processes” is presented.

    There is no assumption that only natural processes are at work, there is the observation that only natural processes have been observed so far. Stop making things up.

    If you want to complain about preconceptions you will have to demonstrate that they exist AND that they are inappropriate. Since you say “Most come to the table with preconceptions and they are bound to prove these preconceptions” this should be trivial. For example accepting the finding that the earth is round as a preconception even though I have never been in orbit is pretty safe. The age of the earth and evolution is in the same category.

    “The establishment of new laws could account for even a deity if it were possible to detect the presence and nature of the deity. However one cannot conclude such a notion unless they have all available information.”

    Could you restate the second sentence? This sounds like you are still trying to get up to prove a negative, except this time from the other side. Sometimes I see people try to argue that to rule out a deity we would have to have “total knowledge” (know all that is knowable) in order rationally disbelieve in a god. If not I mentioned in #125 what I would need to see to potentially believe in a deity.

  128. on 31 Mar 2011 at 1:58 am 128.Mitch said …

    Joshua

    I fail to see where you have demonstrated why my premises are erroneous. Frankly, they seem right to the point. I think you fail to grasp that a deity is very likely to defy natural processes. Would not the very nature of a deity purport characteristics not identified by scientific laws? You then anticipate science to define this deity with natural laws? Not probable Joshua. To carry this one step further, certainly there doubtless exist scientific laws not yet discovered.

    Joshua I don’t feel any necessity to demonstrate to you a deity no more than you feel the need to prove to me what existed before the Big Bang. I only point out the inherent preconceptions in the arena. There are a number of parameters philosophical and scientific that for me that point to the great likelihood of a deity. They are not revolutionary in nature since many would also identify these parameters. Think of it in this comportment. We don’t yet know but we will one day.

  129. on 31 Mar 2011 at 7:04 am 129.Severin said …

    128 Mitch
    “I don’t feel any necessity to demonstrate to you a deity no more than you feel the need to prove to me what existed before the Big Bang.”

    Why are you, and other creactonists, ALWAYS avoiding to give SOME answer to the simple question:
    Where did creator come from?
    If “creator” did NOT “come from“ anywhere, if he “just existed”, why is it SO difficult for you to accept that ANYTHING ELSE could also “just exist”, for example: matter/energy, that only changed its form according to natural laws inherent to it?

    What existed “before” Big Bang (“before” understood here as a “cause”, not in terms of time, which is a relative category)?

    Mtter/energy existed! It existed in different form, maybe even following some other laws of physics (no one ever said, at least not recently, that natural laws are inchangeable). And no one ever said Big Bang occured from “nothing”.

    I suggest you to see this (Vlatko Vedral, Professor, Department of Atomic & Laser Physics Clarendon Laboratory University of Oxford):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfQ2r0zvyoA

    To stress the key question once again:
    IF something (ANYTHING) that had NO CAUSE, NO BEGINNING, “just existed”, WHY COULDN’T IT BE MATTER/ENERGY?

    You owe us your kind answer to that question!
    We are all trying to give SOME logical thesis (never pretending to be right), while you, and other creationist, offer only claims, based on “negative logic” (such as: universe is too complex, so it must have been created).

  130. on 31 Mar 2011 at 7:09 am 130.Severin said …

    From time to time I feel obligate to excuse for my clumsy English

    I am self-taught, I learned (learnt?) English receently, and being 68, I do not expect to make significant progress in English soon.

    I do hope it is good enough for this debate, and everyone understands me well.

  131. on 31 Mar 2011 at 10:50 am 131.TGHO said …

    @130 Severin,

    Understand you fine mate, ignore the theists. For someone coming to a new language at your age, you write it very well (much better than I ever could trying your language!).

  132. on 31 Mar 2011 at 10:52 am 132.TGHO said …

    @128 Mitch,

    “Would not the very nature of a deity purport characteristics not identified by scientific laws?”

    Correct, as well as invalidate many of the scientific laws we currently see in effect. A good example of this is miracles – so, why doesn’t your god heal amputees again…?

  133. on 31 Mar 2011 at 1:53 pm 133.Lou said …

    129.Severin said …

    “128 Mitch

    Why are you, and other creactonists, ALWAYS avoiding to give SOME answer to the simple question…”

    Simple – because they are wrong. Therefore, they can’t answer.

  134. on 31 Mar 2011 at 2:43 pm 134.Joshua said …

    @ Mitch 128

    “I fail to see where you have demonstrated why my premises are erroneous. Frankly, they seem right to the point.”

    Your premises are based on (hopefully unconsciously) making up things about atheists that are not true. We do not presume natural processes, we accept the findings of science which reveals reality as it is including the DISCOVERY of natural processes. I have at least described why I think that your premises are wrong, it seems pretty weak to just say mine are unacceptable and leave it at that. I am willing to consider any specific objection that you may have.

    “I think you fail to grasp that a deity is very likely to defy natural processes.”

    With no good evidence for a deity I have no reason to believe you. I think that Farfalumps are very likely to defy natural processes as well. There is just as much reason to believe in Farfalumps. There is nothing to grasp. Nothing has ever been identified that defies natural processes. It is rational to disbelieve things that have no evidence or I would go around believing in any old ridiculous thing like female genital mutilation or not walking on cracks to avoid harm to my mother’s back.

    “Would not the very nature of a deity purport characteristics not identified by scientific laws? You then anticipate science to define this deity with natural laws? Not probable Joshua.”

    Again I have no reason to believe in a deity so I have no reason to accept any characteristics over others. The believer in a deity is the one who has to define the deity before any characteristics can be assigned. I do not believe in a god so it is not my responsibility. I won’t pretend to be able to assign characteristics to another person’s god. However, almost every believer that I have ever talked to describes a god that interacts with our reality. Those interactions are what would define the characteristics that could be detected. If a god is undetectable it might as well not exist. If it is undetectable now but was not in the past there is no reason for me to believe it because it stands as an equal to all the other gods that have been believed in (and for some it expects us to disregard the senses and reasoning that it supposedly gave us). If it is detectable now then it is time for someone to discuss the nature of it’s interactions so we can start talking evidence.

    Don’t you see what I am doing Mitch? I am taking the idea of a god seriously. I am trying to demonstrate how to set up a way to convince atheists that a god exists and giving you the opportunity to give us the parts that we can not.

    “To carry this one step further, certainly there doubtless exist scientific laws not yet discovered.”

    We already know and accept this. Atheists accept science as the best way to determine reality. Science is self correcting by way of considering new findings as phenomena continue to be studied and technology improves. Every Theory out there could be replaced by something better one day (but most are so well supported that this seems extremely unlikely, still have to keep this in mind though). That is why you see me always describe what we know as “best explanation” or similar. I know we will get new and better knowledge.

    “Joshua I don’t feel any necessity to demonstrate to you a deity no more than you feel the need to prove to me what existed before the Big Bang.”

    I am not a physicist so that is obvious. However when I assert something online I feel the need to be able to point to the evidence if necessary like I did above with why multiple universes are hypothesized. But there are hypotheses that explain what may have existed before the big bang. You would be right to expect science to back up those explanations with evidence before you were to accept them. All of science (and thus most atheists) expect evidence rather than talk to demonstrate reality. If you are not willing to do the same you might as well leave and go talk to another group because no one here will take your deity talk seriously when you get reasoned, substantive replies, offers to show and explain evidence, and you reciprocate with “I’m not gonna do it”.

    “I only point out the inherent preconceptions in the arena.”

    I can point out the sun is rising and you are probably breathing. We all have preconceptions. What matters is if the preconceptions are warranted.

    “There are a number of parameters philosophical and scientific that for me that point to the great likelihood of a deity. They are not revolutionary in nature since many would also identify these parameters. Think of it in this comportment. We don’t yet know but we will one day.”

    Philosophical just gives you a possible something to look for, you still need to do the work of collecting evidence. We here have been waiting for the “scientific parameters”. If they are not revolutionary than please name them. “We don’t yet know but we will one day.” is premature because we still have no reason to think there is anything to know about with respect to our subject. I think you mean “I don’t know yet but I will someday” since none of us here see any use to wasting time acting on things that may not exist like Zeus, FSM, of Farfalumps (though I have to say that the Farfalump eternal omnisexual multidimensional orgies sound really fun). Instead we have to waste our time pointing out and opposing the the ridiculousness that theists inflict on reality that slows down human progress.

  135. on 31 Mar 2011 at 4:03 pm 135.Lou said …

    128.Mitch said …

    “Joshua I don’t feel any necessity to demonstrate to you a deity no more than you feel the need to prove to me what existed before the Big Bang.”

    That statement has to be one of the most idiotic comments that I read here, and that you’ve yet posted.

    As a theist, you DO have a necessity to demonstrate a deity – a position that you support and assert, and attempt to force upon non-believers. If some belief is being forced upon me, then I at least expect some evidence of that belief. If you want to believe AND not demonstrate, AND keep your belief to yourself, then that’s your business.

    As an atheist, it not necessary to support ANY POSITION because atheism simply rejects the theists position. One again I ask you, why is that concept so hard for you to understand?

    Finally, there’s no religion based upon a belief about anything that “existed before the Big Bang” that’s being forced down everybody elses throat with threats of eternal damnation. So in that context, there’s no “need to prove to me what existed before the Big Bang.”

  136. on 31 Mar 2011 at 6:24 pm 136.Mitch said …

    Joshua

    Regrettably for you what you maintain atheist believe and reality do not harmonize. Such aver is common, but when the chips are down the true worldview is depicted. There is a plethora of evidence published and recorded that does not support this noncommittal view of atheist. Attempting to make a blanket judgment of the atheist worldview would be much akin to the Pope making such a claim for all theists. My reflections are derived from my experiences. One colleague of mine is an atheist but does entertain the proposal of a universal life force.

    If you, as a rational human being deem the support for Farfalumps to be compatible to the likelihood of a deity I would advocate some staid research. Such suggestions frankly reflect more of redolent and capricious blog rhetoric. You might consider some additional research into philosophy and history to represent a more accurate portrayal of the existence a deity. This continued request for scientific proof after my repetitive attempts to communicate the unrealistic nature of the request is perplexing.

  137. on 31 Mar 2011 at 6:35 pm 137.Lou said …

    136.Mitch said …

    “There is a plethora of evidence published and recorded that does not support this noncommittal view of atheist.”

    Then why can’t you produce it?

    “Attempting to make a blanket judgment of the atheist worldview would be much akin to the Pope making such a claim for all theists.”

    NO! It is NOT. The atheists “worldview” is simply that they reject theists “worldview.”

    “My reflections are derived from my experiences.”

    What experiences? Delusions?

    “One colleague of mine is an atheist but does entertain the proposal of a universal life force.”

    So what?

    “If you, as a rational human being deem the support for Farfalumps to be compatible to the likelihood of a deity I would advocate some staid research.”

    I advocate that you put away your Thesaurus and re-read what he wrote. He didn’t in anyway advocate what you claim. He on;y used Farfalumps as an analogy to your belief.

    “This continued request for scientific proof after my repetitive attempts to communicate the unrealistic nature of the request is perplexing.”

    What’s perplexing is your continued refusal to admit that’s there’s no evidence of a deity other than your belief of it.

  138. on 31 Mar 2011 at 7:02 pm 138.Anti-Theist said …

    Your perplexedness postulates an implicit assumption of fervor. If intended to gouge your restrained body with a red hot poker, you would surly struggle and flounder in an attempt to escape. The ridiculous reasoning resented by atheists differs none from the before mentioned hysterical struggle. To prove a Christian’s faith is in jest is to murder them in the afterlife.

  139. on 31 Mar 2011 at 7:22 pm 139.Lou said …

    137.Lou said …

    “He only used Farfalumps as an analogy to your belief.”

    I’m will rephrase that to preclude any misunderstanding of what I meant.

    He used Farfalumps as an analogy to the way you present your position.

    I will even completely retract that statement if he actually literally meant that there’s no more possibility of a creator than of a Farfalump.

  140. on 31 Mar 2011 at 8:16 pm 140.Joshua said …

    @ Mitch 136

    “Regrettably for you what you maintain atheist believe and reality do not harmonize.”

    Then demonstrate it. I have explained my claims, you have not.

    “Such aver is common, but when the chips are down the true worldview is depicted.”

    Now I feel more comfortable putting you with typical creationists; create a straw man by inaccurately describing your opponent and their arguments, make assertions that are never supported, shift the burden of proof, and finally declare victory and make it seem like your opponent is downtrodden and defeated. You are the best black knight I have ever communicated with! If you can accurately describe my worldview I would be tempted to consider the supernatural.

    “There is a plethora of evidence published and recorded that does not support this noncommittal view of atheist.”
    Then show us. I can record and publish the sound of explosive diarrhea and that would not make it of any worth. Nothing replaces a discussion of the evidence.

    “Attempting to make a blanket judgment of the atheist worldview would be much akin to the Pope making such a claim for all theists.”

    1) There is no atheist worldview because it is a disbelief. Worldviews are based on beliefs. You need to take the time to ask an atheist what their worldview is.
    2) The pope does make claims for all theists just as theists make make claims for each other. The most obvious is that they think that everyone else is wrong and non-”fill-in-the-blank” are going to hell or whatever the consequences for non-belief are.

    “My reflections are derived from my experiences. One colleague of mine is an atheist but does entertain the proposal of a universal life force.”

    Then I am sure that in your experiences is an example of an atheist that I can research for myself. Demonstrate your claims.

    “If you, as a rational human being deem the support for Farfalumps to be compatible to the likelihood of a deity I would advocate some staid research. Such suggestions frankly reflect more of redolent and capricious blog rhetoric. You might consider some additional research into philosophy and history to represent a more accurate portrayal of the existence a deity.”

    See Lou @ 137. He got it right. Of course I am adding rhetoric. Everyone uses embellishments to make them more convincing, interesting and memorable. Are going to tell me the sun will rise tomorrow now? What matters is what information is included with the rhetoric. I have no problem admitting that my rhetoric has gotten gradually more mocking and sarcastic because with every post I see I should take you less and less serious. At this point I consider you asking me to do research funny.

    Anyone who wants to convince someone else of something should be happy to provide them with sources for what they want them to see unless they have other purposes. I am through with you for this thread and will let the readers draw their own conclusions.

  141. on 31 Mar 2011 at 8:46 pm 141.Horatiio said …

    Mitch I am a theist but theism is just a rejection of the atheism. LOL!

    I have drawn my conclusions. Mitch is right. Joshua can’t help but repeat over and over what Mitch has already put to rest. He is much like a one trick pony.

    I knew his true colors would come out.

  142. on 01 Apr 2011 at 4:49 am 142.Severin said …

    136 Mitch
    “Attempting to make a blanket judgment of the atheist worldview..

    Do you believe in Santa?
    Probably not.
    Is you disbelieving in Santa a “worldview”?
    Absolutly not!
    You just refuse to believe something without proofs, aren’t you?

    Why is your dibelieving in something just disbelieving, and my dibelieving is “worldview”?

  143. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:06 am 143.Severin said …

    Horatio, Mitch,

    All your “arguments” look like USSR constituion (from a joke), that had only 2 articles:

    #1) Communist party is right
    #2) In cases communist party is not right, apply #1

    That seems to be the only “logic” you are able to accept: There is god, period.

    That is not logic, it is violence.

  144. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:33 am 144.TGHO said …

    @136 Mitch,

    “…consider some additional research into philosophy and history to represent a more accurate portrayal of the existence a deity”

    Still waiting for you guys to actually produce one of these books which “proves” the existence of the christian diety. Personally, I’m expecting McDowell or Lewis (both laughable). Or maybe even Comfort (which would just make me shake my head).

    A very accurate representation of the christian deity – indeed, any deity – can be found in the books by Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.

    “This continued request for scientific proof after my repetitive attempts to communicate the unrealistic nature of the request is perplexing.”

    Why? We live, despite theistic claims to the contrary, in a universe constrained by scientific laws and theories. Any interference by a deity with this universe would produce data. That data can be objectively analysed. Conclusions can then be drawn from that analysis.

    All you need to do, is produce some of that data. So please do so.

    (And note – there is no proof in science, only in mathematics. I’m sure I’ve explained this before.)

  145. on 01 Apr 2011 at 11:25 am 145.Xenon said …

    “That is not logic, it is violence.”

    What? Ha Ha HA.

    “A very accurate representation of the christian deity – indeed, any deity – can be found in the books by Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.”

    Ha Ha Ha, another member of the Hitarkins cult. People actually read that drivel and take it seriously.

    Mitch #136.

    I think you are talking over the heads of your audience here. This seems evident from their comments. I don’t believe you are attempting to build up your ego like Observer who comes to the site with his hate-filled rants. However consider the audience. If they do get the message, they will still attack you. This is the nature fundies.

  146. on 01 Apr 2011 at 12:51 pm 146.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 141

    The same pattern as the others. Make assertions and never explain them. You won’t be taken seriously if all you ever do is say things without saying why we should believe you. Every time I comment on anyone here I say why and not just what. But then again you are not here to actually convince anyone of anything anyway. You are just here to try to be a cheerleader, spewing out your content free mockery in a frenzy of emotional masturbation. Mockery, sarcasm and insults don’t really bother me if they are paired with some kind of argument or evidence. Otherwise it’s just pathetic.

  147. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:06 pm 147.Lou said …

    141.Horatiio said …

    “Mitch I am a theist but theism is just a rejection of the atheism. LOL!”

    LOL! EXACTLY! Theism has no substance. LOL!

    Finally, Hor concedes. Are you with him, Mitch?

  148. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:17 pm 148.Lou said …

    146.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 141

    “Otherwise it’s just pathetic.”

    Therein lies their quandary. Their position itself is “pathetic.” So, what are they left with? How can they present any argument for other than as you describe? Theism is either true or false. They will never accept that possibility, much less the fact, that it’s false.

  149. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:53 pm 149.Horatiio said …

    “Every time I comment on anyone here I say why”

    Actually Joshua you comment with….opinion. Is this your why? Nothing wrong with opinion but why should we take your opinion for fact? Hmmm?

    Mitch made this point but you just gloss right over it or you didn’t understand the point made.

    Josh my position is I reject atheism therefore you must provide me with a reason to believe. :)

  150. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:54 pm 150.Anti-Theist said …

    These folks are addicted to religion. There are many good articles / studies on the victims of religious indoctrination. Their parents / guardians are to blame.

  151. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:57 pm 151.Anti-Theist said …

    #149

    Nobody cares what you believe; you came here to spread your views (not the other way around.)

  152. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:59 pm 152.Severin said …

    145 Xenon
    “What? Ha Ha HA.”

    “ha ha ha” (“LOL”) in a debate could be a nice stylistic flourish, something refreshing, if put before, within, or after an argument, right or false one, but ARGUMENT.

    Standing alone, like a bullshit in the middle of a grass field, it only shows your hidden (but arrogant) helplessness and ignorance.
    It shows that you HEVE NOTHING TO SAY. And in that position your “hahaha” looks miserable.

    You can not replace intelligence with ignorance masked to arrogance.

  153. on 01 Apr 2011 at 4:04 pm 153.Lou said …

    145.Xenon said …

    Mitch #136.

    “I think you are talking over the heads of your audience here.”

    And out of his ass.

  154. on 01 Apr 2011 at 4:27 pm 154.DPK said …

    149.Horatiio said …

    “Josh my position is I reject atheism therefore you must provide me with a reason to believe. :)”

    Why is this simple point so hard for you to comprehend? Are you really that thick, or are you just behaving like a 3 year old with his fingers in his ears saying “na, na, na, I can’t HEAR you……”?

    Do you believe in the tooth fairy? (I hope not, but I can’t assume anything with this crowd.) You are therefore an a-fairyest. One who rejects belief in fairies. If I happen to believe in fairies, it is incumbent on YOU to prove fairies are not real, or on ME to demonstrate that they are?

    If you persist with your backward reasoning, please provide me proof that the following are NOT real… (unless of course you believe that they ARE)
    Talking Trees
    Unicorns
    Flying Dragons
    Santa Claus
    Elves
    The Fountain of Youth
    Magic Carpets
    Peter Pan

    shall I go on, or do you finally get the point?

  155. on 01 Apr 2011 at 4:57 pm 155.Xenon said …

    DPK

    Santa Claus is not real. Didn’t mom & dad tell you? Santa Claus developed from the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra. I can provide more details if necessary.

    Attempting to assert that the Christian God does not exist because Santa Claus does not exit is faulty logic at its most elementary level. See below

    X is false therefore Y is false

    The logic does not hold true.

    I’m concerned. DO you frequently speak with individuals who believe in flying carpets and talking trees?

    DPK, do you believe in Socrates?

  156. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:14 pm 156.Anti-Theist said …

    #155

    You provided no evidence that Santa doesn’t exist. That’s the game, that’s the point.

  157. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:16 pm 157.Lou said …

    155.Xenon said …

    DPK

    “Attempting to assert that the Christian God does not exist because Santa Claus does not exit is faulty logic at its most elementary level.”

    Twisting what he wrote in order to deflect the fact of your lack of any evidence to support your position on theism is intellectually dishonest.

    “I’m concerned. DO you frequently speak with individuals who believe in flying carpets and talking trees?”

    Why would you ask that? He clearly did not comment or even imply that he does. But because you asked that, I’m curious to know if you speak to your god.

  158. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:27 pm 158.Lou said …

    140.Joshua said …

    “Now I feel more comfortable putting you with typical creationists; create a straw man by inaccurately describing your opponent and their arguments…”

    It’s an old, tiresome tactic. I posted this before, and I will again – A clear sign of the inadequacy of a position can be found in the misrepresentation or irrational exaggeration of the other side’s position.

  159. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:37 pm 159.Severin said …

    154 DPK
    “shall I go on, or do you finally get the point?”

    You can go to eternity, they will always put their fingers in their ears and sing “nanana” (or arrogantly repeat their “hahaha”), and transfer the burden of proofs on you us, atheists).

    Typical arrogance of all religions continues to live in such individuals: we are right, no matter what you say. Arguments are bullshits, when we CLAIM something, it must be THE TRUTH!

    So spoke Ra-ists, Quetzalcoatl-ists, Zeus-ists, …
    … and dissapeared!

    I can see this world in 500 years:
    Some 5 – 6% theists will be divided in “Church of Black Hole”, “Big Bang Church”, “Church of Relativity” and „Church of Strings“.
    I would not be surprised to see the „Church of Dawkins the Martyr“, and „Church of Saint Madonna“.

    They will hate, spit and fight each other, claiming their „truth“ is „one and only“.

    Christianity and Islam will be declared „ancient religions“ based on superstitions („that is why they dissapeared, how can you base your beliefs on superstitins“, they will say!).

    Maybe I only oversized mentioned 5-6%?

  160. on 01 Apr 2011 at 5:38 pm 160.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 149
    Opinions are views, beliefs, or judgments presented by themselves. They are “What” without “Why”. When you explain why you have a particular view, belief, or judgment you leave opinion and travel to the respectable realm of argument. Adding “why” to “what” does not necessarily have to include data or a citation (but it helps), it can also just be a rational or logical reason. I added “why” to all of my “what” statements to Mitch.

    Look it up you fail again.

    “Josh my position is I reject atheism therefore you must provide me with a reason to believe.”

    Please keep going. If you are a troll please keep going anyway! This is some really funny shit.

    You don’t reject atheism, you have sufficient evidence to believe (probably bad evidence and poor assessment skills). If you one day found your evidence insufficient you would no longer believe and be an atheist. There is no choice, you believe what you believe.

  161. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:04 pm 161.DPK said …

    “Attempting to assert that the Christian God does not exist because Santa Claus does not exit is faulty logic at its most elementary level.”

    Stop putting words in my mouth, I never claimed that because Santa isn’t real (sob) that therefore the Christian god isn’t real. Where did you pull that from?

    Atheism is a “belief” like “bald” is a hairstyle. Atheism is a lack of belief. “God” is an idea. Ideas require substantiation. “No God” is not an idea, it is simply the rejection of an unsubstantiated idea.
    “Santa is real” requires evidence to accept.
    “No Santa” does not.
    “Theism” is an idea which requires substantiation.
    “Atheism” is the rejection of theism due to lack of evidence and does not require proof.

    If, you are to insist that because “I (you) reject atheism therefore you (I) must provide me with a reason to believe.” Then it stands to reason that you would then need to prove the non-existence of any imaginary thing my crazy-ass brain cares to think up.
    In another thread I postulated a flat earth theory and asserted the idea that invisible space monkeys though their technological control of matter and energy only altered our perception of reality to make us THINK the earth was round. I challenged anyone here to prove me wrong. No takers.
    So Xenon… wanna take a shot?

  162. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:08 pm 162.Horatiio said …

    Josh

    You didn’t provide any reason for me not to reject atheism. Your “whys” continue to only be personal opinion. I cannot move from the rejection of atheism to the rejection of theism based on your opinions.

    Here we are on a “theist-rejection” site. I can only assume the purpose is to gain proponents. Yet I find nothing other than assumptions and opinions.

    Yes, I find much of this funny as well but I am only attempting to play by the same rule as the theist-rejectionist.

    I see you too are beginning to lose your civility. Why is it atheist always resort to the ad homenim attacks when there arguments are exposed? I don’t recall the theist resorting to these low down tactics (sigh).

  163. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:09 pm 163.Joshua said …

    @ Lou 148
    “They will never accept that possibility, much less the fact, that it’s false.”

    I always assume this possibility which is why my tactics involve remembering neutral fence sitters. I also always assume good faith in earlier comments and gradually increase the abuse (while maintaining content) as I discover what they really are. Giving them the benefit of the doubt and then tearing them up because they deserve it is more satisfying.

    That is how I was rid of my creationism, and eventually religion. Seeing folks on the evolution side willing to lay out the evidence and accept no bullshit made an impact on me. Having high standards for your side just makes your side stronger. If your position can’t take it, it was not a position worth having.

    If an opponent is genuine I will put in effort and show them the evidence like I did for multiple universes above. If not I have fun with them and try to be detailed with why they suck to make it worse. Since they usually continue to spew unsupported opinions I can point out that all they have is a wordier version of “Nah Uhhhh!”.

    I don’t even really care about rhetoric or insults as long as there is substance along with them. Without the substance it’s just fun to dissect the rhetoric and show why they have nothing.

  164. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:16 pm 164.Xenon said …

    “So Xenon… wanna take a shot?”

    Yes, I don’t care if you believe that. Go for it. There you go.

    I also do not need to disprove Santa. Why? Because I honestly don’t care if you believe. The carpets, the trees, have it DPK.

    God is different though. Why lol? Well it seems obvious from the passion and vitriol and it generates. Entire websites dedicated to rejecting the theism. Amazing huh? Make no mistake the evidence it there, you just reject it.

    @@@I will ask one more time. Can you prove Socrates exists? Do you believe he existed?@@@

  165. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:31 pm 165.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 162

    I am going to focus like a laser on one thing for you.

    Opinions are views, beliefs, or judgments presented by themselves.

    Example Opinion:
    “The Bible is not reliable evidence for the existence of Jesus” in an opinion.

    Example Argument:
    “The Bible is not reliable evidence for the existence of Jesus because historians consider independent evidence to be stronger” is an argument because the opinion is now supported with something.

    You may not like the argument or think that it is wrong but that is a separate issue. Without the part after the “because” there is nothing to talk about.

    When you say “Why is it atheist always resort to the ad homenim attacks when there arguments are exposed?” you are only giving opinion because you do not point the ad homenim attacks. Remember, adhoms are insults only, add an argument and I’m merely an asshole and not irrational.

  166. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:39 pm 166.Lou said …

    162.Horatiio said …

    “You didn’t provide any reason for me not to reject atheism.”

    (sigh) Nor should he be expected to. The rejection of a proposition, not that atheism is a proposition, doesn’t require a reason. But the acceptance of a proposition, theism, does require a reason.

    Why can’t you understand that simple concept?

  167. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:39 pm 167.Anti-Theist said …

    #164

    Atheists don’t care that you believe either. Christianity is not the focus of atheistic attention; Christians are just the most insecure in their beliefs. That’s why your here; to prove to yourself what a good servant of god you are. Nobody cares.

  168. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:43 pm 168.Lou said …

    164.Xenon said …

    “God is different though. Why lol? Well it seems obvious from the passion and vitriol and it generates. Entire websites dedicated to rejecting the theism. Amazing huh? Make no mistake the evidence it there, you just reject it.”

    Of course “God is different.” REALLY?! Of course it is, because it’s constantly being forced down our throats and it affects our lives. Santa Clause, flying carpets, and talking trees are not.

    If you and your ilk would simply STFU about your religions, then we wouldn’t be having these discussions, passion, vitriol, and even wars because of it.

  169. on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:46 pm 169.Lou said …

    164.Xenon said …

    “Amazing huh?”

    “Make no mistake the evidence it there, you just reject it.”

    For which god?

  170. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:02 pm 170.Joshua said …

    @ Xenon 164

    “God is different though. Why lol? Well it seems obvious from the passion and vitriol and it generates. Entire websites dedicated to rejecting the theism. Amazing huh? Make no mistake the evidence it there, you just reject it.”

    You make a good point. Usually people who don’t believe something do not go around forming groups about it. There are no collections of folks who unite around the fact that they don’t believe in Santa.

    Atheism is a different situation though. (Horatiio the opinion stops here, the argument starts here)

    Historically Atheists have been distrusted and marginalized at best. If you are not part of the local religion you are out of the social group and have to put up with the religious always getting preferential treatment and intrusion of the religion into your life socially (which I have no right to prevent) and governmentally (intentional or non-intentional).

    Thanks to the internet lots of formally marginalized and distrusted folks can now organize to support each other, get political, and streamline arguments meant to defend themselves and attack arguments and counter-arguments. It started with communities that have positive, actionable beliefs (distrusted political groups) and socially suspect characteristics (the gay community). Atheists took longer because we are united by a disbelief which suggests no actions. Atheists come from all walks of life, philosophies, and any other characteristic you can imagine EXCEPT religion. It has been very difficult getting people as different as communists, randians, environmentalists, pro-lifers (they exist), pro-choicers, and many more to work together. Only in the last five years or so has it gotten really visible and effective.

    Added to this there is the very real fact that for a long time the religious has been privileged in this country, and it has been considered rude to criticize or question religious beliefs outside the context of a conversion attempt. I believe loss of privilege and sensitivity to criticism is part of this. I am not saying you are part of the sensitive, privileged crowd.

  171. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:18 pm 171.Joshua said …

    I just realized this would make a great tag line.

    “Ad Hominims are insults by themselves. I have an argument so I’m just an asshole.”

  172. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:39 pm 172.Horatiio said …

    Xenon

    I cannot prove scientifically that Socrates existed but I still believe he existed. But hey, I just follow the evidence where it leads. It is not always a mathematical or scientific formula.

    I suppose atheist do not believe Socrates existed. In their view there would be no proof.

  173. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:42 pm 173.Horatiio said …

    “Atheists don’t care that you believe either.”

    Really? Why the websites, books and billboards? You care and you care A LOT!

    As a recovered theist-rejectionist, I understand why.

  174. on 01 Apr 2011 at 7:57 pm 174.Lou said …

    173.Horatiio said …

    “Atheists don’t care that you believe either.”

    “Really? Why the websites, books and billboards? You care and you care A LOT!”

    God (no pun intended), you are dense! Atheists DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE! We only care that you try to force your belief onto everybody else.

    No wonder you can’t understand any slightly complex arguments, you can’t understand anything simple.

  175. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:20 pm 175.DPK said …

    Xenon:
    No, I cannot prove Socrates exists… pretty sure he’s dead. I also can’t prove he existed, although I never really researched it. I can’t really prove YOU exist either… all I see is some words on a screen that often don’t really form coherent thoughts… so? I can probably show reasonable proof that writings attributed to someone named Socrates exist. But then again, I am not making a claim that Socrates had magical powers to part seas, rain manna from heaven, walk on water, and will punish me for eternity for the insolence of not believing in him either.

    I also do not need to disprove god. Why? Because I honestly don’t care if you believe. The talking snakes, the plagues and pestilence, the killing of all the firstborn male children, have it Xenon.

    However, I will need to comment that no one in our world is flying airplanes into building or blowing people up in markets over whether Dancer or Prancer is Santa’s favorite. No one is starting wars over whether Santa’s suit is red or crimson, no one is mandating that the “elf” theory of creation is taught as science in our schools, and no one is demanding that we put “Ho Ho Ho” on our currency, in our courts, and on our federal buildings.
    So, ya, I’ll grant you when it come to god, it is a little different.

  176. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:23 pm 176.TGHO said …

    @145 Xenon,

    Probably less seriously than the theists here take the bible, which is pretty much pure fable.

  177. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:27 pm 177.TGHO said …

    @155 Xenon,

    You have, as usual, missed DPK’s point. Using your logic and your argument, claiming that Santa doesn’t exist simply isn’t enough – you need to prove that Santa doesn’t exist. So put your money where your mouth is, and do so.

    “DO you frequently speak with individuals who believe in flying carpets and talking trees?”

    - yes. They are called “theists”.

  178. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:29 pm 178.TGHO said …

    @164 Xenon,

    Please provide this so called “evidence” supporting the existence of your deity.

  179. on 01 Apr 2011 at 8:59 pm 179.MrQ said …

    @175 DPK
    LOL, good one!!

    But I doubt it will penetrate the fog encompassing Xenon and Horatio. They can’t think about reality too much – it may cause cognitive dissonance and lead to uncomfortable thoughts and conclusions.

    Hor needs a buffer to keep himself on the straight and narrow…something to do with a 12 step program. As for Xenon, he was probably indoctrinated from a young age; guessing he’s a teenager.

  180. on 01 Apr 2011 at 9:24 pm 180.Severin said …

    166 Lou
    “But the acceptance of a proposition, theism, does require a reason.
    Why can’t you understand that simple concept?”

    We can!
    We only don’t see reasons you mention as necessary! You never offer any!

    All you offer are naked claims.
    Do you expect us to just trust you, or will you finally unhide your arguments?

  181. on 01 Apr 2011 at 9:49 pm 181.Severin said …

    164 Xenon
    “God is different though. Why lol?”

    Lacky you “lol” was invented!
    You replace all your arguments with a “lol” (or with a “hahaha”).

    We are not so benevolent, we expect something to replace “lol”. To explain naked claims.

    I have never seen someone posing question (Why…?) and answering it with a “…lol”.
    Why is god different?
    Lol!
    Does god exist?
    Lol!

    “God exists, lol (hahaha)” is all you have to say to support your claims?

    It is tragically miserable.

  182. on 01 Apr 2011 at 10:14 pm 182.Severin said …

    172 Horatio
    “I suppose atheist do not believe Socrates existed.”

    Atheists do not CARE about Socrates’ existance or non-existance.

    Socrates was never forced down our throats, as millions of different gods were, for thousands of years, followed (with no exception) with monstruos, massive, and long lasting crimes.

    Never ever a scientist was burnt because of Socrates.
    People were never forced to believe in thousands of versions of allmighty/all-loving Socrates.
    There were no “Socratists” who killed people if they did not believe in allmighty Socrates.
    People vere never killed, pregnant women were never ripped, children’s heads were never dashed in name of Socrates.

    There were/are no “Socratists” which spread intelectual garbage, like making man from mud, inbreeding mating, big flood, earth being “created” 6000 years ago, “micro” and “macro” evolution, talking snakes, horses with wings, angels and satans…,contrary to scientific achievments showing us different picture.

    Socrates, and possible (unexisting) “Socratists” are IRRELEVANT.
    Maybe he existed, maybe not, why, the hell would I care, and why would I make efforts to prove his exiastance or non-existance.

  183. on 01 Apr 2011 at 10:43 pm 183.Severin said …

    Lou,

    I apologize for possible mess I made with my comment #180.
    It was an error, sorry!

  184. on 02 Apr 2011 at 11:52 am 184.Xenon said …

    From DPK

    “I will need to comment that no one in our world is flying airplanes into building or blowing people up”

    (Sigh), the actions of people have nothing to do with God’s existence. But lets go with your point. Atheist have killed more than the religious. Will you now reject atheism seeing how dangerous the atheism is to the populace? It was done in response to the rejection of theism. LOL

    No, there are no works available written by Socrates. The is only the testimony of others BUT you believe in Socrates?
    Congratulations! You have proven you are willing to believe in something with NO proof (well, YOUR version of proof).

    So we now see proof for God is not really your and your boys’ problem. Your issues are much more deep-rooted. This passion that drives you to argue about a deity that does not exist is a cry for help.
    Wake up. Nobody is forcing theism on you no more than your force atheism on us (see WWGHA). You have a need for God and you can’t let it go. This is why TGHO is an admitted 35 year and counting addict.

  185. on 02 Apr 2011 at 1:01 pm 185.MrQ said …

    From my previous entry at #179:

    As for Xenon, he was probably indoctrinated from a young age; guessing he’s a teenager.

    I think I got it wrong. Xenon proves that it fails the Turing test with the entry at #184…. we are communicating with a machine. A machine likely programmed by Horatio. I think I’ll through in an LOL or two and keep the machine happy. Hahaha…LOL. (sigh)

  186. on 02 Apr 2011 at 1:45 pm 186.Lou said …

    183.Severin said …

    Lou,

    “I apologize for possible mess I made with my comment #180.
    It was an error, sorry!”

    No problem.

  187. on 02 Apr 2011 at 2:19 pm 187.Lou said …

    184.Xenon said …

    :(Sigh), the actions of people have nothing to do with God’s existence.”

    DUH! REALLY? Their BELIEF in a god, not his existence, greatly influences their behavior.

    “But lets go with your point. Atheist have killed more than the religious.”

    Which atheists killed people in the name of atheism, and how many did they kill?

    “Will you now reject atheism seeing how dangerous the atheism is to the populace?”

    Atheism isn’t something that can be rejected. THEISM IS. Nor is atheism dangerous to the public. But let’s consider the latest news, nine were killed and 81 wounded when one religious group rioted in response to their “holy” book being burned by another religious group.

    “It was done in response to the rejection of theism.”

    Show us.

    “No, there are no works available written by Socrates. The is only the testimony of others BUT you believe in Socrates?
    Congratulations! You have proven you are willing to believe in something with NO proof (well, YOUR version of proof).”

    Get this through your head – your Socrates diversion is irrelevant, old, and tiresome.

    “So we now see proof for God is not really your and your boys’ problem.”

    What proof?

    “Your issues are much more deep-rooted. This passion that drives you to argue about a deity that does not exist is a cry for help.”

    If it’s a cry for help, then it’s one to get theism and religion out of or lives.

    “Wake up. Nobody is forcing theism on you no more than your force atheism on us (see WWGHA).”

    That statement is absolutely absurd. Ignoring the obvious examples of it, I direct you to “Mike Huckabee Says He Wants Americans To Be Indoctrinated At Gunpoint.” Where is atheism being forced on you?

    http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2011/03/30/mike-huckabee-says-he-wants-americans-to-be-indoctrinated-at-gunpoint/

    “You have a need for God and you can’t let it go.”

    Another absurd, unsubstantiated, outlandish, claim without any evidence to support it.

  188. on 02 Apr 2011 at 3:27 pm 188.DPK said …

    184.Xenon said …
    “(Sigh), the actions of people have nothing to do with God’s existence.”

    Let me guess, you didn’t do too well in those “read and comprehend” tests, did you?
    No one said the actions of people had anything to do with the existence of god. The point… that YOU made, was “I also do not need to disprove Santa. Why? Because I honestly don’t care if you believe. The carpets, the trees, have it DPK.
    God is different though. Why lol? Well it seems obvious from the passion and vitriol and it generates.”

    YOUR point, not mine. I agreed with you… there have been no “Santa wars, crusades, inquisitions, or suicide bombings”. So yes, belief in god seems to have a far more profound impact on our daily lives than belief in Santa, or Socrates does. But again, it has nothing to do with whether god is real or imagined… the end result is the same.

    “Atheist have killed more than the religious.”
    Not only is that statement factually wrong, it would be irrelevant even if it were true. No one has killed “because of” disbelief in a supernatural god. I know, you’re going to throw the 2 biggies at me, like the faithful always do, Hitler and Stalin. Both nasty, evil people who murdered millions. Hitler was raised Roman Catholic and was known to reference god in speeches. His real religious philosophy is debatable (as is most believers, I suspect) Stalin of course was atheist. But neither of these monsters committed their atrocities in the name of atheism. There were social and political motives behind their crimes, not religious ones. Can you say the same of the crusades, the inquisition, the french war, the 30 year war… and let us not forget the biggest mass murderer of all history, Yahweh, who flooded the earth and killed every living thing on it save a handful on a boat… and then felt bad about it and gave us rainbows to make us feel better. You can’t really beat that one. So… fact up… how many people have been killed in the name of atheism?

    “This passion that drives you to argue about a deity that does not exist is a cry for help.”
    That is really just wishful thinking on your part. You can’t understand how someone can reject the delusion you “own” so you think it must be born of our deep seated need to admit that you are right. That’s bullshit, pure and simple. The need to try and show people the irrationality of their delusions comes from a simple desire to make the world a better place, and to put an end to ignorance and superstition… nothing more.
    Yesterday’s events in Afghanistan in which 7 innocent people lost their lives, are clear enough evidence of the harm that continues from man’s belief in supernatural nonsense. Imagine all that could be accomplished if all the energy spent arguing over who has the best invisible friend was spent on something that really mattered, and if people started living the lives they HAVE instead of waiting for some imaginary second one.

  189. on 02 Apr 2011 at 3:49 pm 189.Burebista said …

    I think the biggies actually would be

    Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev
    Pol Pot
    Mao Tse Tung
    Chiang Kai-shek
    Khan
    Tito

    These were ideologies that had left God out of the equation. Since atheist state state they simply reject theism then these tyrants can logically be under their umbrella belief. They also rejected theism and forced this rejection on others.

    The numbers are staggering, in the neighborhood of 150 million, and the atrocities associated with atheism should make us all cognizant of how this ideology must be kept in check. Keep this belief system out of any kind of power.

  190. on 02 Apr 2011 at 4:33 pm 190.Lou said …

    “189.Burebista said …

    “I think the biggies actually would be…”

    Show us that they killed in the name of atheism, and not something else.

  191. on 02 Apr 2011 at 4:34 pm 191.DPK said …

    You’re making the assumption that atrocities committed by atheists are committed because of atheism. All of these atrocities had political causes, not religious ones. Religious wars and crusades, suicide bombings and the like cannot make that claim.
    The only real conclusion you can draw is that both theists and atheists are humans who are capable of atrocities. Since atrocities are well founded in the bible, indeed, god seems to be the inventor of genocide and infanticide, (not to mention animal cruelty, homophobia, misogyny, and slavery) I seriously question WHICH belief system really should be kept out of any kind of power.
    Al-Qaeda wants a world government governed by religious principals… is THAT really what you want?
    Remember, there was once a time when churches ruled the world…. it was called the Dark Ages.

  192. on 02 Apr 2011 at 4:44 pm 192.DPK said …

    Man, the faithful are running through all their standard arguments here…….. next will be that Albert Einstein believed in god. As soon as they get trounced on on argument they abandon it and move on to the next trick or fallacious position.

    Let’s get back to the topic at hand. Should the federal government, which has been living off the credit card for the last several decades, spend money to put “In God We Trust” in every federal building?
    Should Congress even be wasting time debating it? Is this a good use of our legislator’s time and our tax dollars?

    Why don’t the Christians who claim our nation was founded as a Christian nation, just pray that god places the signs there himself? Let him decide. If 10 thousand engraved signs magically appeared in every federal building tomorrow morning, I guess I’d be impressed.

  193. on 02 Apr 2011 at 5:03 pm 193.Biff said …

    Good point Bureibista.

    So let’s say people like Dawkins are right and that atheism cannot motivate someone to do evil but religion can motivate somebody to do evil. Ok but if that’s true then opposite must also be true. Atheism cannot motivate somebody to do good but religion can motivate someone to do good. You cannot have it both ways either both religion and atheism can cause evil or only religion causes good. This is typical atheist hypocrisy.

    So if that’s true then religion can arguably win. Because eliminating other factors (ex. money, power, compassion, love) only religion will end up with people doing good. Yes all other factors aside atheism will not lead to doing evil but it will also lead to not doing any good. Yes other factors can be put into the world of atheism if you want but isn’t the point of Dawkins to just put good and evil on the face of religion by itself?

    When you look at atheist objectively, if one rejects God then they become their own supreme authority. This will magnify their lust for power, greed and supremacy.

  194. on 02 Apr 2011 at 5:51 pm 194.DPK said …

    Biff, that is a very compelling and thought out position.
    Unfortunately, it is based on a completely false premise: that religion or god is the only source of morality.
    I hate to inform you, but all of the atheists I know are moral, loving people. Are there some assholes too? Sure. But morality springs from human social conventions. I mean come on… a 10 year old could write a better guide to morality than the bible! Do you really want to go there??

    “When you look at atheist objectively, if one rejects God then they become their own supreme authority. This will magnify their lust for power, greed and supremacy.”

    This is laughable. Do you want to review Papal and church history to determine if theism reduces the “lust for power, greed, and supremacy?” Please.

    Nice theory, it would be more interesting if you had some actual facts to back it up. Fail.

  195. on 02 Apr 2011 at 6:32 pm 195.Biff said …

    DPK at the plate swing-and-a-miss!

    It whizzed right by you buddy.

    If you can come back with meaningful comments that fit the proposition I will be glad to discuss with you in more detail.

  196. on 02 Apr 2011 at 6:53 pm 196.DPK said …

    Nope, you missed it. Here’s your statement:
    “Atheism cannot motivate somebody to do good but religion can motivate someone to do good.”

    Neither atheism NOR religion is REQUIRED to motivate someone to do good. I know atheists who do good things, and religious people. I also know both that are not so good. Have to only look at the Catholic Church scandals to realize that having religion has no relation to morality. Only MORALITY has relation to MORALITY, and religion has no monopoly on that. “Be good, for goodness’ sake.” Would be what the atheists will tell you.
    And in fact, which is a more pure morality? One driven by the simple wish to be a good person, or one driven by the fear of punishment and reprisal?
    By the way, if you like a small sampling of the number of “atheist charities” that exist in the world, visit: http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities
    Boom……… next?

  197. on 02 Apr 2011 at 7:01 pm 197.DPK said …

    Biff… I guess my point, simplified would be:

    If you require a god in order to be moral and charitable, then shame on you.

  198. on 02 Apr 2011 at 8:56 pm 198.TGHO said …

    Looks like the theists here have fallen back into their old arguments of trying to accuse atheists of being morally inferior. Apart from the complete fallacy of trying to link atheism to communism, one an economical philosophy and the other a theological philosophy, the whole “only theists can be moral” is a childishly laughable premise.

    Biff’s post at #193 is an excellent example of theistic logic – no actual substance and simple special pleading for his religion. The whole “atheists think they are gods” is such a juvenile view of the world – theists are locked into the whole “god is the father” mindset that they simply don’t understand that atheists have grown up whereas they remain as children.

  199. on 02 Apr 2011 at 9:09 pm 199.TGHO said …

    @184 Xenon,

    To answer some of your points directly:

    “the actions of people have nothing to do with God’s existence”

    – very interesting for you to admit that. So you disagree with Biff and Burebista’s “morality” argument? You don’t agree with those two?

    And yet, in this same paragraph you try to claim (without substantiation of course) that atheists are more dangerous than theists. If the actions of people have nothing to do with the existence of a god, how does this work? How do you maintain the cognitive dissonance to make such an argument?

    “Nobody is forcing theism on you”

    – a difficult argument to maintain when there are political and theological groups within the US whose stated mandate is to make the US into a christian theocracy. Such groups exist in many other countries as well, especially throughout the Middle East.

    “You have a need for God and you can’t let it go”

    – on the contrary, there is no such thing as a “need for god”. Indoctrination and brainwashing from a very young age sustains religion, and those who have left religion still experience behavioural patterns deeply woven into the psyche by their upbringing.

    The reason I have debated theology for 35 or so years is because it’s fun. And I find it amusing to see how theists react then you poke them with logic.

  200. on 02 Apr 2011 at 10:04 pm 200.Biff said …

    DPK,

    Strike two!

    Try going back and reading the premise of my scenario from the beginning. This has nothing to do with charities and morality. It is all about the faulty logic and the resultant impact of said logic

    I am a patient man but slow down and read. I will not be holding your hand.

    Try reading books and other works rather than spending all your time skimming blogs and rushing to response.

    Have a nice weekend.

  201. on 02 Apr 2011 at 10:37 pm 201.DPK said …

    Biff,
    So sorry. I am rather dense sometimes. I had an early education in Catholic school, so I do sometimes have trouble with facts.
    I assumed, wrongly I guess, that when you said: “Atheism cannot motivate somebody to do good but religion can motivate someone to do good.” what you MEANT was:
    “Atheism cannot motivate somebody to do good but religion can motivate someone to do good.” But clearly, I am mistaken. Must be a translation error from English to English.
    Actually, in a round about way, you are right. Atheism does not motivate anybody to do anything. There are no commandments, no creed, no articles of faith. Atheism is merely a rejection of religion, it is not a religion itself. There are no tenets to follow.
    Despite this, most atheists still manage to live moral lives and do good things. How can this be?? Since their morality does not spring from atheism, and it does not spring from religion…. that only leaves… WAIT, could it be? That their morality comes from their own brains? How could that be, with no god looking over their shoulder with fire and brimstone, they still manage to be kind, giving, and loving…. with no expectation of reward at the end of the story. Amazing.
    Curiously too, there is no nationwide scandal of atheists molesting children and conspiring to cover it up. There are no atheist suicide bombers, no atheist wars, no atheist beheadings of non-atheists, no organized atheist Koran or Bible burnings.. none of that stuff that religion has a penchant for.
    Maybe because, just as atheism cannot motivate people to do good, it also does not motive people to do evil… because it is not a religion that instructs and makes demands of obedience from it’s members… it is simple a zeitgeist that rejects superstitious NONSENSE. It doesn’t DO anything but reject belief in a supernatural god. Period. Past that, you will have believers who do good and bad, and you will have non-believers who do good and bad… because that’s human nature.
    But I’ll repeat my question that no one has answered… which is better… a person who behaves morally because they believe it is simply the right thing to do and expects no reward, or the person who behaves morally because they live in fear of punishment and damnation?

    So, Biff… if you’re gonna call strike three, I guess you’re right, I am just not bright enough to follow your convoluted manner of thinking. Thankfully.

  202. on 03 Apr 2011 at 12:59 am 202.Rostam said …

    “there is no nationwide scandal of atheists molesting children and conspiring to cover it up”

    True, they are busy murdering baby girls in China and they do not cover it up. How is that for atheist morality? I mean have they not murdered enough in the last 100 years?

    When atheist act morally it is to feel good about themselves. That sounds like their reason is self-gratification which is a reward. DPK, you do think a lot of yourself but you just are not as noble as you see yourself. Get off you high horse.

  203. on 03 Apr 2011 at 5:55 am 203.TGHO said …

    @202 Rostam,

    You make asinine claims with no evidence to back them up – an atheist cabal murdering baby girls in China – really? Can you substantiate this claim – of course you can not, because you’ve made it up, just like your next statement about atheists murdering people in the last 100 years – are you going to try to pass off Hitler and communism as atheistic again? How purile.

    Considering, by your own argument, that theists are meant to be more giving/good/societially minded, it’s rather amusing to compare your claims around morals, especially considering the poor track record of christians in the US and globally.

  204. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:25 am 204.Severin said …

    184 Xenon
    “Atheist have killed more than the religious.“
    So, again, let’s twist the history (lie) to prove ourselves right.
    Are you able to say ANYTHING without lying or twisting facts?
    1) Lunatics in power, according to history were brought in power as
    a) elected by Christians (Hitler), or
    b) massively supported by Christians (Stalin) and/or other religious masses (Mao)
    Those facts is impossible to deny, because there simply were NO ATHEISTS in Germany, Russia and China when those monsters took power. People simply replaced their present gods with new ones, hoping they will bring them more progress. Religious people fucked it up, as always!
    2
    The tyrans you call „atheists“ did not kill IN NAME OF ATHEISM.
    They felt themselves gods, and „covered“ their lunacy by ideologies that practically WERE religions: they, themself, ACTED gods (that is why religious people, like you, elected/supported them!)! They FELT gods, and found perfect examples in the Bible about how to exterminate those who oposed them.
    They efficiently applied BIBLICAL methods: exterminate those who opose me!
    Rip, dash, put on sabres, kill, kill, kill…BIBLICAL methods!
    3
    ALL societies during human history killed IN NAME of their gods.
    Or, maybe you don’t recognize those civilisations as religious? Maybe people in Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe… were all atheists for milleniums?

  205. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:33 am 205.Severin said …

    Xenon,

    A joke for a local European tyran (Milosevic) perfectly describes psyhology of tyrans:

    When he accepted suggestion to make his last will, he started it with: “If I ever die….”

    Those people were not atheists! They felt gods THEMSELF.
    BTW, Milosevic was also ELECTED by hihgly RELIGIOUS nation (practically no atheists).

    Religious masses LIKE tyrans. That is, among other dangers, why religions are dangerous.

  206. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:53 am 206.Severin said …

    189 Burebista
    “The numbers are staggering, in the neighborhood of 150 million…”

    But you are wrong, dear Burebista!
    God killed in his own name, ALL people on earth, in only – how many? – 40 days!
    At least, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot… did NOT kill animals!
    WHO of them was a sicker lunatic?!
    Was god an atheist?

    Not to mention other biblical massacres done in god’s name (and ordered by him, directly)!
    Not to mention millions killed in name of Christianity by other people, IN NAME OF CHRISTIAN GOD, AFTER Biblical times.
    Not to mention millions killed in name of OTHER GODS.
    Or, would you say Aztecs, Mayas, people in China, India, Europe, Africa, who did masacres in name of their gods, were all atheists?
    Please, don’t use bullshits as “arguments”.

  207. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:58 am 207.Severin said …

    Xenon, Burebista,

    Wasn’t it said (Bible!) that all power comes directly from god and must be obeyed?

    So, IF some lunatic “atheists” came to power, it was will of your god!
    HE is responsible for all crimes those people did!
    HE declared power comes directly from him and MUST be obeyed.
    What poor Stalin could do against god’s will?

  208. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:22 am 208.Severin said …

    193 Biff
    “Ok but if that’s true then opposite must also be true.”

    Where did you find this “logical jewel”?
    Who said that, if something is true, oposit also must be true?
    For example: if the statement “earth is orbiting sun” is true, then it must be that “sun is orbiting earth” is also true!?
    Or, maybe you take as “oposite” statement: “Earth is NOT orbiting sun”, that must also be true,or WHAT?

    If that is the way brains of theists function, I can only say: I am sorry for you!

    But I am more sorry for those who you influence spreading your “truths” based on “logic” you propague!

  209. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:33 am 209.Severin said …

    193 Biff
    “When you look at atheist objectively, if one rejects God then they become their own supreme authority.”

    I did not “reject” god! I never ACCEPTED idea of god.
    I do not need “supreme authority” to know what is right or wrong.
    If I lose mu compass, there is well organized society to correct or to punish me.

    I do understand that people claiming that “if something is true, oposite also must be true” need help of a “supreme authority”.

    A shrink?

  210. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:37 am 210.Severin said …

    193 Biff
    “Because eliminating other factors (ex. money, power, compassion, love)…”

    You tell us HOW to eliminate “other factors”?

    How easily and benevolently you just “eliminate” factors that are the MOST IMPORTANT factors in lifes of individuals and societies!

    Let’s pretend such things do not exist!
    Let’s pretend god exists!
    Let’s NOT consider “other factors”, let’s just “eliminate” them!

    Are you nuts?
    It would not be polit if I answered this question.

  211. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:42 am 211.Severin said …

    195 Biff
    “If you can come back with meaningful comments…”

    Such as: “if something is true, the oposite must also be true”?

  212. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:49 am 212.Severin said …

    196 DPK
    “I know atheists who do good things, and religious people. I also know both that are not so good.”

    How can you expect people who claim that “if something is true, oposite also must be true”, to accept ANY logical argument?

    They never accept any logic, including the fact that we do not need gods to distinguish wrong from right, bad from good.

    After that “brilliant” statement about “oposite must also be true”, I would not say they are just delusional!
    They are sick.

  213. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:47 pm 213.Lightning Boy said …

    Communists leaders were motivated by a strong desire to impose an ideological “package” over the whole world. The package included the eradication of Religion, defined by arch-atheist, Karl Marx, as “The opium of the people.”

    According to Marx, religion helped keep the masses passive before the abuse of the wealthy and powerful, and the only way to free them from the “stupor,” God and religion had to be eradicated. Lenin embraced Marx’s views and so did Stalin up to the Second World war.

    The enforcement of Atheism was a “critical” requirement for Communism’s success, and thus it had to be implemented at all costs. Everything including murderer was acceptable. For those who want more of the truth check out the link below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union

  214. on 03 Apr 2011 at 6:48 pm 214.Lightning Boy said …

    Severin your misunderstanding is so complete I don’t see how you function in society.

    You are atheist correct?

  215. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:34 pm 215.TGHO said …

    @213 Lightning Boy,

    “Under Communism”. For communism. See the common thread here? This was part of the political philosophy of communism, not part of the theological philosophy of atheism.

  216. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:54 pm 216.Severin said …

    213 LB
    “The enforcement of Atheism was a “critical” requirement for Communism’s success, and thus it had to be implemented at all costs.“

    I would completely agree!
    Communist played EXACTLY the same game as all religions did: in the first place, EXTERMINATE COMPETITION! bY all means, INCLUDING MASACRES!
    I said many times, and I repeat: communism = religion.

    However, communists never declared they were killing „in name of atheism“, while all religion killed in name of their gods (or: for their gods).
    They killed their opponents in name of their ideology, which was not much different than ideology of most religions.

    „Everything including murderer was acceptable.“
    Of course!
    Didn’t I say: communism = religion. Why would they differ in methods?

  217. on 03 Apr 2011 at 9:45 pm 217.Severin said …

    214 LB
    “Severin your misunderstanding is so complete I don’t see how you function in society.”

    Maybe you should point to things I misunderstood and explain your claim.

    1. No human being was ever killed in name of atheism!
    Is this claim wrong?
    People were killed in name of GODS and in name of IDEOLOGIES.
    I do not deny that both communists and fascists suppressed religions and pogromed religions.
    Each new religion suppressed old religion! Who likes competition? Communists and fascists did EXACTLY the same job that all religions did through history: killed competition!

    2. Communist and fascist regimes came to power in CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES. One communist regime took power in non-christian, but highly religious part of the world.
    Christians VOTED for fascism (Italy, Germany). Christians massively SUPORTED communists, they DIED for communism (Russia)!
    Non-christian, but religious masses supported communism in China, AND DIED FOR COMMUNISM. Communism won in those countries contrary to strong internal resistance and contrary to strong external armed interventions.

    How many atheists were there in Russia (1917.), Italy (1920.), Germany (1933.) or China (1950.)?
    Some 0.01%? Maybe even 0.1%? Or (unimaginable) 1%?
    And THEY (atheists!) won, THANKS to religious masses! How COULD they win, but thanks to 99% RELIGIOUS people who voted for them or supported them?!

    Wiki is O.K.!
    I do NOT deny communist killed Christians! Of course they did! Like all OTHER religions, communists (and fascists!) started cleansing of COMPETITION immediatelly after they took power. Nobody denies it! They had perfect model in every SINGLE religion that ever existed on earth!

    So, LB, if I misunderstood something, pleas stress the points I misunderstood, and give YOUR counter-explanation.

  218. on 04 Apr 2011 at 12:19 am 218.Rostam said …

    LB

    A good link. The atheist here like wiki but I feel certain they will attempt to get their fellow atheist off the hook. I ROTFL every time they claim it was not in the name of atheism! I always picture Stalin with his hand raised as he put the shiv through the back of a preacher yelling “In the name of atheist!”

    It is a bit eerie when you realize how much theses communist tyrants and Sam Harris types have in common. They believe in nothing therefore they will fall for anything. Hey, they only want to cleanse humanity. Sounds noble.

  219. on 04 Apr 2011 at 10:02 am 219.TGHO said …

    @218 Rostam,

    Except Stalin would be saying “for communism!” rather than anything to do with atheism, as his core belief system was communistic, not atheistic.

    Note what your associate Lightning Boy wrote in the other thread – how he was looking forward to the US being converted to christianity under the gun, and atheists being murdered if they didn’t convert. You sure you want to associate with that idea?

  220. on 04 Apr 2011 at 1:46 pm 220.Severin said …

    219 Rostam
    “The atheist here like wiki but I feel certain they will attempt to get their fellow atheist off the hook.”
    Your shallow “sarcasm” (a lie, in fact, but we are accustomed to your lies) will not replace your lack of arguments.

    Unlike you, who would never like to see your criminal god and his criminal followers, who masacred millions in his name, to be punished for their crimes, I would like to see Stalin “on the hook”.
    Only theists defend their “fellows” from responsibility, because theists have NO sense of morality. Bible (kill, dash, rip, rape, rob…) is their “moral code”.

    In whoever’s name someone kills, he must be punished. Be it in name of god, communism, or fascism, or just because of jealousy or money.
    If someone kills “in name of atheism”, that one has also to be punished.
    Yet, untill now, no such a criminal found!

    You worship the biggest criminal ever, who killed millions (your god).
    I despise killers!
    In my mind, killer is killer, and one who orders killing of children and ripping of pregnant women, is a shit, besides.

  221. on 04 Apr 2011 at 2:05 pm 221.Severin said …

    219 Rostam
    Instead to try to guess what I “would attempt to get”, try to find ARGUMENTS that deny my claims:

    - Theist fascists (Mussolini and Hitler) were ELCETED by 100% christian nations
    - Atheist Stalin and Mao were SUPPORTED by 100% religious nations. They did not come to power thanks to some “secret weapons” or thanks to magic (maybe thanks to your idiotic god, as “all power comes from him”).
    Religious people died in millinos for communists, to enable them to come to power!
    Period?
    Unfortunately NOT!
    They, then, died in millions again, when they saw what they did, and sobered up, but it was too late.
    Christians (et al.) have paid enormeous price for voting/supporting fascists/communists!

    Atheists would never be such idiots! To bring someone in power without previously recognizing their real nature – typical for people accustomed to OBEY insted to THINK (=Christians et al.)

    Can you imagine Sweden voting for a Hitler?

  222. on 04 Apr 2011 at 3:11 pm 222.Joshua said …

    @ Biff 193

    “Atheism cannot motivate somebody to do good but religion can motivate someone to do good. You cannot have it both ways either both religion and atheism can cause evil or only religion causes good. This is typical atheist hypocrisy.”

    Your logic is wrong. Atheism can not motivate anyone to do anything good or evil. It is a disbelief, people do not act on a disbelief. Religion however is a belief so it can motivate people to do things both good and evil.

    “When you look at atheist objectively, if one rejects God then they become their own supreme authority. This will magnify their lust for power, greed and supremacy.”

    If that is the case surely you can find some statistics that demonstrate that atheists commit crimes more than theists, and countries that have a higher percentage of atheists have higher crime rates and other factors like more abortions and health problems. The reality is that if you look at such countries they have better rates in these areas than more religious countries. If you look at states in the US you see the same thing. More religious states have more problems than less religious states. Heck, the blog post after this one shows that atheists have better divorce rates.

    This BlagHag post has a really cool heat map that shows this.
    http://www.blaghag.com/2010/02/heat-map-of-religiousity-and-social.html

    In reality atheists are beholden to the societies that they belong to, and the laws those societies follow. Those laws and the customs in those societies are made up from the distilled behaviors and moralities of the people in those countries. ALL morals and laws come from the individual.

  223. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:16 pm 223.Joshua said …

    @ Lightning Boy 213

    The ideological “package” is what prompted the action. A disbelief can not direct actions. Atheism was not being enforced, rather religion as a competing authority was being fought. You can not connect the atheists on this board to communist killings because they do not share the actionable beliefs that led to the killings. Your logic makes no sense.

    @ Rostam 218

    “The atheist here like wiki but I feel certain they will attempt to get their fellow atheist off the hook.”

    See my comment to Lightning Boy. Also if somehow a shared disbelief makes me connected to murdering communists, than you and Hitler must also be fellow travelers since both of you did not believe in Zeus.

    “They believe in nothing”
    We disbelieve in gods. We believe in plenty of things, just not religious claims. To find out you have to ask. Do you even think before you type?

    “Hey, they only want to cleanse humanity. Sounds noble.”
    So since both you and Hitler disbelieve in Zeus you must also want to kill Jews.

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