Sunday, 01 July 2007
(tag team for Astrocreep)
I’m going to run over the list of things you’ve been talking to Adrian about. Hope you are up for it!
problem with your dentist analogy is that there are entire fields of
“expertise” that are fake.
Homeopathy, some would say chiropractory etc and a fairly decent
list of pseudo sciences that are exclusively maintained by the
credulous. Not getting
good results from any practitioner should in fact lead you to a deal breaker
with the entire industry.
It could be just you or a shear coincidence that every one in that
field you ran into gave bad results, but it could mean something deeper and
some fact checking could easily confirm that. Mainstream science has good
reason to disown such things.
That possibility needs to be just as on the table…aka there may be
no true religion and there may be no god at all on top of that. Christians seem to be all about
how incomprehensible God is and how we don’t understand anything about
it. Why can’t an
alternative explanation be equally incomprehensible and not for you to
judge? We need to be able
to be satisfied with dismissing what is fatally flawed even if that leaves us
not knowing… if that is where the evidence leaves us.
- Further, what the hell is wrong with
God? He needs to put his
best foot forward and offer some serious product consistency if he actually
gives a hoot about saving souls.
There are thousands of Christian denominations alone not to
mention all the other religions, not to mention tons of folks apparently that
think they are on the same page with god…but aren’t. Christians will tell you
that. You don’t think
it’s even a tiny tinsie weensie bit of a point to say that if God picked up the
pace on his epistemic duties that 99.99% of this confusion might accidentally
result in less people getting the wrong first impression? I know I know. Accepting standards like that
immediately means God doesn’t exist.
And since God “obviously” exists, obviously shit standards like
whatever you are going to offer are entirely “appropriate.” But people are
impressionable…they have a bad experience that seems to be a direct result of
these people aligning with their holy book and whatever investigation into what
most Christians will say is a faith based matter yields as expected…nothing
compelling to establish the truth of Christianity beyond its “bad”
presentation. Is it
really their responsibility to hunt down every last religion, sect,
denomination, and church body to make sure its all bullshit? Unless God comes to them
personally and says “Hey, wait,” what exactly do you expect?
don't know how you ignore that the existence of cancer is a well-established fact. The existence of a god, heaven,
hell, or any soteriological connection thereof is not and thus the two are not
brings with it the superfluous cause and the cure. You portray things as though we
are running away from something and if true you would be correct, but when it
comes down to it, Christians run away from the need to prove we do need a
savior. Until you
establish that, all you are doing is pulling sleight of hand intimidation tactics
that may resonate well in your own head but mean nothing to someone that merely
wants to know they aren’t being taken for a ride by some ancient
superstition. If Tom
Cruise comes to you and tells you you need to have some thetans removed with
several auditing sessions (or whatever they do)…you too might get accused of
“running away from the truth.”
I take it the testimony of hundreds of scientologists won’t cut
it? In conclusion, the
Christian Judgment Day is about as certain as the future events of the movie
Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
For someone that preaches running away from guilt we don’t even
know about, how about recognizing the guilt you are accumulating for all these
epistemic sins of yours (that you will probably dismiss as having “no knowledge
- It is
not loving to let people know about hell because most people will reject the message
and damn themselves further (according to the Bible).
In what other context is doing more harm than good
appropriate? I have an
exhaustive commentary on this issue here.
- The concept of morality “stands
above you” but that does not mean anything. Guiding behavioral patterns that
appear to “stand above you” make perfect sense from an evolutionary
standpoint. The selfish
gene can’t entirely allow goodwill to be a matter of absolute free
will. It’s still all in
your head no matter how much it strikes you otherwise. There are many emotional
fallacies in the human experience that come to equally erroneous conclusions by
being extrapolated and wrongly projected as such. I elaborate on this point here.
claim that it is not just an opinion that God did his thing in history and yet
your view is not the mainstream objective conclusion of scholarship on the
matter. Who gives a rat’s
ass what Christianity has been claiming all this time if it’s false? There are an enormous amount of
scientists that will say that common ancestry is a fact…but the resurrection of
Jesus has no such academic following.
Not to mention, God in his omniscience ought to have taken a hint
from the book of Mormon and ACTUALLY appeared to more than a handful of
credulous Jews buried in the ambiguity of history. Everyone would be a theist that
believed Jesus was the son of God if your views were at all in touch with
reality. The only
question would be as you say, “Do I want in on the deal?” That’s clearly what you want to
be the case but it clearly isn’t the case. Even a cursory survey of the way
the world is proves this.
I take it that when a skeptic says, “Extraordinary claims require
extraordinary proof” (like I do here) you say, “I agree. This ‘eyewitness testimony’ is the extraordinary
proof.”? Let me know so
we can continue from there.
knows what feet are for and to use your example only a handful of people would
be able to be skeptical of the nose on their face. But not everyone knows that they
are morally accountable to a creator God. I make the full point in this post. Obviously the bible says
otherwise and that’s one more reason to dismiss it as errant.
Instead I imagine you have to entertain all sorts of ridiculous
conspiracy theories about why the world and even the vast Christian population
doesn’t act like your propositions are true. You are forced to define the
testimonies of millions of atheists, agnostics, and Buddhists out of existence
in favor of the dubious testimony of a few 1st century
Jews. Does not the Lord
detest dishonest scales? Or
is that only when God’s truths aren’t being weighed? And further I know of no
Christian scholar that would be a direct case for the historicity of the
specific verses you need to support this part of your view. Perhaps I am
emphasize the martyrdom of the apostles and yet other people have died for
their faiths as well.
Some monks are well known for having set themselves on fire at an
Olympics to prove their belief in reincarnation. To suppose that we have cold hard
data that strongly supports that over a dozen men who were all educated,
critical thinkers, that would have done everything humanly possible to validate
the reality of their experiences, who experienced the things basically as
recorded in the gospels and died specifically for the truthfulness of modern
day orthodox doctrine is retarded at worst, and wishful thinking at
best. Aside from the
obvious blunder of merely swallowing the gospels and church tradition whole as
though credulity, pious fraud, mystical standards, legendary development,
mistaken identity, exaggeration, mutated beliefs, and embellishment couldn’t
possibly be responsible for what has survived to our day from history, the only
secular account as far as I know is in Josephus…of only one of them who was killed
for unspecified reasons…and even if it was specifically for being a Christian,
we don’t know what version of Christianity he believed in. There were Gnostic martyrs after
all and what surviving movement wouldn’t want to absorb a popular figure into
their resume? Perhaps
when you read about that, it validates everything you want to hear (the whole
itching ears thing)…but you really aren’t justified to pull the kind of certainty
off you espouse in your writings when you let the cards fall where they
“smug” evidence for atheism is the failure of theists to produce reliable
evidence for theism. This
is the same standards we use for griffins, unicorns, Bigfoot, the lochness
monster, teapots orbiting the sun, etc. A real loving god that expected a
legitimate interpersonal relationship would be as evident as the Bible claims
he is. There would be no
atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, other religions, Christians that need to be
constantly hounded to act like their beliefs are true, or even different
denominations and most certainly we would not be having a debate about his mere
existence 6,000 years into recorded history on the brink of what many
Christians believe to be the end.
A little odd isn’t it?
You can doubt Adrian or my sincerity (as elaborated on here, here, here, and here) all you like all day long that we
believe there is serious doubt about the existence of your god, but
PPUUUUUULLLEEASE get some epistemic fresh air and recognize that in all
probability not ALL of us are lying.
At the very least can you concede that we might be honestly
mistaken? But of course
even that violates the Bible doesn’t it?
Interesting how the Bible sets the stage one way…and the world is
The relationship between atheism and agnosticism that I imagine
Adrian was trying to articulate is at two different levels. Evidential agnosticism at the
very weakest point yields personal atheism. That is not to say atheism isn’t
filled to the brim and overflowing with arguments to the better explanation,
numerous examples of overturned theistic related beliefs and the like, and
philosophical and logical proofs that are far more potent than anything the
opposition has to offer.
If we were to give Adrian the benefit of the doubt and
interpretative charity (as I’m sure you would extend to the Bible in all sorts
of inappropriate places), we could assume that when he means “absolute
certainty” he’s grading on the curve.
His parents and friends and their love for him is much more
certain than God’s existence.
- You quote a book of the Bible about false teachers
that is almost universally agreed to be a pseudograph that even early
Christians of antiquity were skeptical of. Historical fact, eh? Why do you suppose a later author
would want to say something like that?
Did he give some objective criteria for picking out true from
false? Or did he just say
“anyone who disagrees with us is wrong” in the most primitive barbaric way
possible. Who couldn’t
“prophesy” crap like that as though Richard Dawkins couldn’t do the same thing
and it would hold until creationism and ID breath their last breaths. For a good survey of the NT’s
illustriously “critical” standards of evidence, see here.
the unspoken Christian proverb, “ignorance is not an option” (aka like “failure
is not an option”) better or worse than the implications of “hiding behind a
skirt of ignorance?” As
Sam Harris says, we shouldn’t even have a word for “atheist.” It’s not an active proposition in
the life of a so called atheist and certainly given your insistence that
everyone knows god exists and likely you would say that the Bible is the
inerrant word of God, surely ignorance on the matter is atheism in terms of
your god even by your standards.
- It is true science and rational
inquiry into the world has yet to disprove the existence of some deistic, impotent,
disinterested, or evil, negligent minor deity that may or may not have ever had
anything to do with our neck of the woods. The Christian God however as
Christians would like to imagine him (good, omnipotent, etc) certainly does not
- The science of the past still makes
testable predictions and thus is still science. It can’t be too specific all the
time, but if you want to doubt the factual status of the overall theory of
evolution (as I assume you would) I suggest you take it up in peer reviewed
- Naturalism is based on the world we mutually observe, so it is a bit silly to insist that we “run from justifying it.” Claims beyond that are speculation and Christians normally high tail it out of dodge to justify asserting firm conviction. In your case, you hold your ground with insufficient evidence thinking you won’t be run over by mere common sense. If you want a justification for “where shit came from” by all means I have an awesome answer. But you aren’t going to understand. I’ll pay you five bucks if I can tell that you do. Meet my finely honed philosophical answer to the greatest ontological question there is…the Allverse. In short our quadrant of what we call space time is an iteration of the infinite set of all possible things that couldn’t not exist. The likelihood of this greater reality resembling a functional interpersonal mind capable of forgiving our sins is about as likely as it resembling a herd of pink elephants. Therefore this concept replaces any proofs of the ontological supreme Gods of Christianity and Islam. If you believe in some other kind of god, you are a heretic. This is not to be confused with the multi-verse that is based on the consequences of known physics, but is a greater philosophical understanding of the very basic nature of all that exists. It answers all the big questions correctly and very simply, creates no new problems, excludes Christian theism and puts our existence in appropriate perspective, and only asks that we go see for ourselves someday when we can.
- Christianity presents itself not as sound history that can be
refuted on those terms, but instead as holy hearsay. And incidentally most scholars
agree, significantly because miracles are improbable explanations for
Christianity’s origin and cannot so easily be established by history as you
claim. Nowhere is this
more evident than with passages such as these in Luke and John:
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Is Abraham just making an observation about a few select individuals who just so happened to be invincible to reality checks…or is this unilateral special pleading for anti-empiricism contained in this gospel propaganda for the faith? You know my vote.
"Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"
Are we really to believe the Apostle Thomas is the only mo fo on earth that would profit from a simple reality check? Or is this just an “empirical” story cooked up by mystics (see Carrier’s article) in hindsight to attempt to dupe us into accepting the greater credulous context of holy hearsay?
- If it were true (and it seems to be
so if the statistical data I know of is accurate…I could be wrong) that
atheists TEND to be smarter than theists and be independent thinkers, it would
lend credibility to the non-existence of god. It wouldn’t prove it, but
certainly no theist would hesitate to assert the same if the tables were
turned. One would hope that
intelligent people are more likely to come to the correct conclusions. Forgive me; I thought that’s what
intelligence was for?
Naturally a meta-scam is going to say the opposite for the sake of
product sales to the credulous. In
theism-should-fucking-make-sense-land, both idiots and the keenest thinkers and
most elite scientists would have equal opportunity with basic important facts
about the world and it wouldn’t be some underground solipsistic conspiracy
theory against evidence and critical thinking and evil logic mandated by God’s
“wisdom” itself. But of
course, that is “worldly wisdom” talking.
- Obviously the propensity of theistic evolutionists proves
that evolution and the common ancestor hypothesis are not exclusively evil
atheist concepts and do have to do with the evidence. The incoherence of those that try
to saddle both horses is another topic.
- Theism isn’t a science because there
is nothing to study. Atheism
isn’t a science because no one wants to study the non-existence of something. Atheism is only a philosophy when
it comes in contact with the believing world. On its own, it is nothing, the
mere lack of belief in something.
Whatever philosophy of life you adopt from there is your own thing
(whether Marxism or humanism, etc).
There is no reason to start with the assumption that there is no
god to come to the conclusion that naturalism is basically true. We aren’t fideists and
presuppositionalists…were evidentialists, remember? Many atheists started with the
assumption of God and it didn’t work out. Honestly in any area of
knowledge, whether prayer, experiences, theology, history or whatever…god is
never the best explanation and if you are looking for understanding, theism
isn’t going to help you.
I’m sure lots of scientists don’t bother with theistic hypotheses
anymore (for good reason) but it’s not like the scientific community has been
speechless in reaction to ID and creationism. You want to believe everyone just
randomly believes something for no good reason and then goes with it…but that’s
just not the case.
Obviously that’s what you do, but that’s why we aren’t
think we can do better than agnosticism with unicorns that had magic tipped
horns. Magic in all forms
has never been demonstrated and has been overturned as fraud after
fraud. The likelihood or
probability that an animal has a magic appendage is therefore “low” to say the
least and thus not a 50-50 venture as agnosticism would imply. However a single horned horse is
only somewhat an extraordinary claim and who knows…perhaps a skeleton will turn
- Morality can come from non-morality
just as houses can come from non-houses (bricks aren’t houses are
they?). You aren't going
to lose any sleep over the fact that circles in Photoshop and MSPaint are
really made up of little squares are you? All you appeal to is the
solipsism of your emotional continuum.
It’s not some magic transcendent property of existence that should
be hallowed above all else.
It’s just an intellectually organized and socially influenced
behavioral pattern based concurrently on survival and empathy for others that
manifests in all sorts of ways such as social contract theory and projected
divine mandates that makes perfect sense in terms of preserving evolutionary
constructs for posterity.
So what is really going on is that a complicated system of
contingency (the ins and outs of morality) comes from a simpler system of
contingency (the rules of the molecular world). Thus there is no
cosmic breach of reality in an atheist universe as you would like to
imagine. Prove that morality has some extra special place beyond the
evolved structures of the pancreas and the spleen…the digestive system and
anything else about evolutures such as ourselves. And prove that it is absolutely
worthless if your claims about it are not true. Any atheist knows you are full of
shit and have no idea what you are talking about. Theism popped your emotional
cherry and you’ve wedded the concept to god…pure and simple…and you can’t
fathom it being any other way…and yet there are those moral atheists that don’t
see any contradiction.
Don’t knock it till you try it. I cover this extensively here and here.
- Naturalism is the by-product of
empiricism, evidentialism, scientism, rationalism, and skepticism in general
(minus the “-isms”).
Rejecting these tools is fool-hardy and by definition (as I’ve
articulated at length here) when you embrace shitty standards
you are that much more likely to be in love with falsity. Christianity should not be
rejected on the basis of naturalism, it should be rejected on the basis of that
which produced naturalism…objectivity. If I asked you to pick different
methods for figuring out what is in a box, which would you choose? Prayer? Tea leaf reading? A psychic? Or the scientific method (which
in this case would be opening the box and having a looksie)? It is amazing how you say that
naturalism cannot account for life as we know it and yet your account is, “God
(who you can’t prove exists) snapped his fingers and made it so (according to
ancient hearsay that is not well known for its vigorous understanding of how
the world works).” How
are you going to fill up an equal share of peer-reviewed scientific papers with
that getting intimate with the
- FYI, Jesus showing up like a
superhero doesn’t prove by definition which god damned denomination of
Christianity is true. He
has to actually speak and say, “everything Pychen said was true.” I’m sure every theistic
evolutionist isn’t going to bat an eyelash. Even so, who would be so stupid
as to hide a sin from certain doom if it were really true the truth of
Christianity was so obvious?
We won’t go further into the implications of you pointing fingers
to such an extreme degree.
isn’t and hasn’t done his job convicting most of the world. Even Jesus himself testifies
against God’s providential cultivation of saints when he says “few will be
saved.” What kind of
being with love and infinite resources couldn’t do better than that? We aren’t holding our breath on
God doing his job or you successfully “dehydrating” ours.
theist has ever explained how the constancy of the world, order, or law of
non-contradiction make any more sense even with God in the equation. You just assume that fixes whatever
problem you think there is.
If we consult the infinite library of all possible things that is
the Allverse, finding these things should be no surprise. But that answer requires you to
actually understand what I mean, doesn’t it?
- The problem with your dentist analogy is that there are entire fields of “expertise” that are fake. Homeopathy, some would say chiropractory etc and a fairly decent list of pseudo sciences that are exclusively maintained by the credulous. Not getting good results from any practitioner should in fact lead you to a deal breaker with the entire industry. It could be just you or a shear coincidence that every one in that field you ran into gave bad results, but it could mean something deeper and some fact checking could easily confirm that. Mainstream science has good reason to disown such things. That possibility needs to be just as on the table…aka there may be no true religion and there may be no god at all on top of that. Christians seem to be all about how incomprehensible God is and how we don’t understand anything about it. Why can’t an alternative explanation be equally incomprehensible and not for you to judge? We need to be able to be satisfied with dismissing what is fatally flawed even if that leaves us not knowing… if that is where the evidence leaves us.