The War Over Reality

We spend a lot of time here on the Atheosphere debating the fine nuances between the religious worldview and the atheist worldview. From our Point of View, the religious just don’t have a clue, and they think the same of us. We think that a rational, skeptical, humanistic, evidence-based way of grasping reality is the way to go, or as my grandmother used to say, the cat’s pajamas. Theists think that having faith, blind or otherwise, in an unseen and unknowable supernatural entity  is also the equivalent of wearing sleepwear manufactured for members of the feline persuasion. In effect, we are debating opposing views of reality.

What they don’t realize is that the battle over which view of reality is correct was over hundreds of years ago, and they are simply clinging onto their religious view out of pure fear. They delude themselves cannot accept the indisputable fact that they will die, and their religious beliefs give them comfort and hope that they will linger on after they’ve completed their enlistment in the human race.

I say that the battle was over hundreds, maybe thousands, of years ago. Not just the battle, but the war was won when we discovered science and the scientific method. Theists simply didn’t realize it at the time, and refuse to accept it now.

Mankind evolved from a state of ignorance. We were not self-cognizant at first, we had small brains, and we didn’t have sufficient knowledge to understand reality until we developed more fully. The accumulation of knowledge is an evolutionary process by itself. It starts simple and becomes complex as we learn new things, increasing exponentially, adding to the database of human knowledge, and building from that knowledge to a greater and greater understanding.

In our primitive years, we couldn’t understand natural phenomena, such as lightning, droughts, reproduction, death, and many other natural events that we understand fully now, but didn’t have the basic knowledge to understand back then. Lightning was real. The birth of children was real. Death was real, but we didn’t understand any of it. Where did lightning come from? Was it a response to something we did? How did my wife get pregnant? Why did my son die in childbirth?  In an attempt to understand these perplexing facts, though, some of our ancestors devised the concept of the supernatural to explain them. If it was real, right there in front of us, but the explanation was not obvious, then the explanation must be “somewhere else”, not here, not within the purview of our senses. Somewhere outside the natural world.

And gods were born.

When we came upon a natural phenomena that could not be explained, we now had the answer. A god did it! At that time, there were so many gaps in the database of human knowledge, that gods were used to fill in the explanations for almost everything. This is why we had multiple gods. Gods of the hearth. Gods of the field.  Gods of the sky and the ocean. Gods of the bed chamber, etc.

As we slowly found an explanation for the many and various perplexities of human life, our need for all of these gods diminished. Slowly, we learned that we could figure out many of these problems by using our brains, not by offering sacrifices. We discovered hypotheses and experiments, and created new tools to test our hypotheses, such as telescopes, microscopes, and many others.

It was not until the Scientific Revolution that we changed our human way of thinking about the natural world. There were scientists before that, of course, but even the term Scientist wasn’t coined until the 19th century. Prior to that, they were called natural philosophers. Religious thinking had a very strong and historically entrenched grip on the minds of Man, and it was painful to shake.  Once the scientific mindset became predominant, however, appeals to the supernatural for explanations of reality, and a belief among scientists in the supernatural virtually disappeared to the point where today, only 7% of all scientists in the National Academy of Science believe in a personal god.

Science has not been able to explain everything we want to know, mainly because the limits of knowledge are probably infinite, so the more we discover, the more we want to know. In other words, each scientific explanation opens up another avenue of research. The beauty of this is that it assumes that with patience and faithful application of the scientific method of inquiry, we can answer all of life’s questions, even though it will take a long time. The history of scientific discovery, and the reliability of science to explain the unexplainable, gives us confidence that this as true. In the meantime, we simply say “I don’t know” and keep looking.

We have a relatively foolproof  method for exploring and ultimately explaining the natural world around us. Scientific experiments can be repeated, and tested, and confirmed over and over again, by people with axes to grind, and by people with none. We do not have to rely on secret incantations or the intercession of priests to gain a secure knowledge of reality. The battle, indeed the war, between atheism and theism was won when science arrived on the scene.

Since then, it’s just been a matter of mopping up.

Science 10,859,284 (and counting) – Religion 0

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107 thoughts on “The War Over Reality

  1. SI,

    You said, “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite” but in the same paragraph you also said, “with patience and faithful application of the scientific method of inquiry, we can answer all of life’s questions, even though it will take a long time.” Now, are you thinking this stuff through at all? If “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite,” how might we ever assume that with patience we can “answer all of life’s questions?” Which is it, wise one? You’re sounding like an amateur apologist here.

    We spend a lot of time here on the Atheosphere debating the fine nuances between the religious worldview and the atheist worldview.

    You know, if you’re not going to allow the same from theists, you atheists should really stop contradicting yourselves. Some of you vehemently deny that such a thing as an “atheist worldview” exists, while other belief-challenged folks like yourself claim an atheist worldview exists. Which is it? If atheists do have a worldview, don’t tell Ex!

    Besides, what’s the difference between some Catholic mistakenly believing a man in a black robe and some atheist mistakenly believing a man in a white robe? Were we alive around the end of the nineteenth century, I would have delighted myself with the utmost glee to hear your arguments for Piltdown Man’s authenticity! It’s okay though, I’m confident that even today you guys believe in plenty of other “official science” that’s also total bullshit. Epistemologically speaking, both theists and atheists are in the same unsteady boat – I said it to Philly and I’ll say it to you – the difference is, atheists like yourself seem to think your own ignorance and dependency somehow more noble than your theist brethren’s.

    What they don’t realize is that the battle over which view of reality is correct was [won?] over hundreds of years ago, and they are simply clinging onto their religious view out of pure fear.

    Ah, yes… isolate other human beings via the “us” and “them” dichotomy. Kind of archaic, no? I’d say quit contradicting yourself by endorsing the opponent’s strategies while preaching about that which you don’t know.

  2. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
    The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hand(Psalm 19:1).
    According to evolutionary theory, all matter came into existence by itself. At a later time on our planet , living creatures quite literally “made themselves”. Such views sound like Greek myths, or fairy tales for grown-ups.
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
    The heavens and creation are like a a huge lighted billboard that proclaims, “look I am God, you had better pay attention,” go to My scriptures and learn more about me. The Scriptures tell us how we can have eternal life. Read: John 3:16-18, Romans 3:23, 5:8-11,6:23,10:9-13. Remember that God loves you and has an awsom plan for your life. Vandivort

  3. Vandimort,

    According to evolutionary theory, all matter came into existence by itself.

    May I opine in good faith that your science is incorrect? You’ve conflated cosmology with biology, and for your messages’s sake I hope you’ll listen to a fellow non-atheist and pay special heed to Augustine’s words, as I myself have learned rather painfully from them: “It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn… If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions, how are they going to believe in the matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven?”

  4. Great post. I started to leave a comment and then realized that I had more than enough I wanted to say to justify a post. I should have it up with a link to you sometime this week.

  5. According to evolutionary theory, all matter came into existence by itself

    Fail. Try again.

    If I may chime in, cl:

    “you atheists should really stop contradicting yourselves”
    – You are aware it’s not a club with a rule book, right?

    “what’s the difference between some Catholic mistakenly believing a man in a black robe and some atheist mistakenly believing a man in a white robe?”
    – Since you phrased both as “mistakenly believing”, then there is no difference and “man in a black robe” and “man in a white robe” are as interchangeable with each other as anything else you could dream up to stick in those spots, from rocks to some abstraction. Your failed (or deliberate) phrasing of the question nullifies both the issue of what they’re believing in and why.

    “your own ignorance and dependency somehow more noble than your theist brethren’s.”
    – Ah, now you’re getting to something which your other statement couldn’t address.

    True, we have no choice but to rely on experts like doctors, and we may be so ignorant of the things that a doctor is treating us for that we could just as well be hearing tales of demon infestation and exorcising treatments instead of hearing of antibiotic or radiation treatment. The state of ignorance between a person today and a person of an earlier age visiting a witch doctor or priest could be seen as comparable, but I don’t see how either could be called “noble”.

    Now perhaps each could have tried to address their ignorance, as hard as that would have been for each, but there’s a huge difference between their respective ignorances, and that’s in what they’re ignorant of. Educate yourself all you want about how demons can affect your heart or liver, but how’s that going to address proper treatment for a heart or liver ailment? On the other hand, an education on those organs, on what can actually affect them and how would get you much further.

    So although the ignorance of the person from yesteryear and the ignorance of a modern person may be comparable, and their dependency on another appears comparable, we know today that the dependency of the latter is justified for the knowledge of a modern doctor is a wealth of practical knowledge, and the doctor’s approach, the scientific method, has a track record of discovery and understanding that’s unrivaled.

    Getting away from arguing the points of my blog post and getting back to SI’s, it’s the unrivaled success of the scientific method which prompts some to believe answers will one day be found for questions currently unanswered. Maybe some things will never be correctly answered, but how do you think is the best way to try, the one based on nothing more than feelings and faith, or the one with a successful track record? Hey, let’s ask the Neumanns.

  6. Philly,

    Some atheists claim rather vehemently that there is no atheist worldview, some atheists claim there is. I hear atheists ridicule believers rather often for their failures to converge, yet atheists fail to converge on things, too.

    ..there is no difference..

    I thought so, too.

    The state of ignorance between a person today and a person of an earlier age visiting a witch doctor or priest could be seen as comparable,

    Damn, you’ve actually impressed me..

    ..I don’t see how either could be called “noble”.

    Ignorance is never noble, but many atheists attempt to coat their ignorance with nobility on claims of rational warrant, much like you did in your following paragraph – hence – I retract my “impressed” comment.

    Getting away from arguing the points of my blog post and getting back to SI’s, it’s the unrivaled success of the scientific method which prompts some to believe answers will one day be found for questions currently unanswered.

    Problem is, SI said “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite” but in the same paragraph also said, “with patience and faithful application of the scientific method of inquiry, we can answer all of life’s questions, even though it will take a long time.” If “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite,” how might we ever assume that with patience we can “answer all of life’s questions?” Do you think he’s just expressed himself poorly?

    ..how do you think is the best way to try, the one based on nothing more than feelings and faith, or the one with a successful track record?

    There you go speaking without knowledge, again. Alas, you’ll probably think it’s just me trying to be cute or funny as usual. I’m not. I really want you to someday embrace the idea that it’s not rational to make truth claims sans evidence. I think it would do wonders for your arguments. As it is, you leave theists way too many openings by arguing from the same fallacies they often do.

  7. SI, sorry to post so much, but here’s my question to you: You said, “And gods were born.”

    Yet if you were being completely honest, wouldn’t you have to concede that we don’t know that? For all we know, gods and/or God could be real. How is yours a rational statement? How is your assertion that gods were born in reaction to ignorance grounded in evidence?

  8. Cl

    What do you expect from an 850 word blog post? This isn’t an academic treatise I’m writing. You amaze me in your desire to constantly pick at the edges of our posts, without ever addressing the meat.

    OK. That’s your modus operandi, I’ll just have top deal with it.

    You said, “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite” but in the same paragraph you also said, “with patience and faithful application of the scientific method of inquiry, we can answer all of life’s questions, even though it will take a long time.”

    Then to Philly…

    Problem is, SI said “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite” but in the same paragraph also said, “with patience and faithful application of the scientific method of inquiry, we can answer all of life’s questions, even though it will take a long time.” If “the limits of knowledge are probably infinite,” how might we ever assume that with patience we can “answer all of life’s questions?” Do you think he’s just expressed himself poorly?

    Maybe it was expressed poorly, but is that the best criticism you can come up with? To me, it looks like deflection. “If I point out that the dumb atheist just stuck his foot in his mouth, maybe no one will notice that he’s probably right about what he wrote.”

    Now, go up there and point out where I said the “limits of human knowledge” somehow equates to “all of our life’s questions”. That’s your little implied strawman. If you read it a little closer, you might have noticed I also said

    …the more we discover, the more we want to know. In other words, each scientific explanation opens up another avenue of research.

    So, even though human knowledge is probably infinite (I did say probably too, in case you didn’t notice. I do try to avoid dogmatism. If only Christians could do the same.) life’s questions at any given moment don’t need to be. With the expansion of knowledge, we can answer all of life’s questions, as we pose them at any given moment. But once we answer them, the likelihood is that new ones will crop up. It’s been that way historically. We certainly can’t ask questions about matters we don’t know exist.

    Now, this is your cue to say “Then how do you rule out god?”

    Go ahead, don’t disappoint us.

    What they don’t realize is that the battle over which view of reality is correct was [won?] over hundreds of years ago, and they are simply clinging onto their religious view out of pure fear.

    I wrote that as “..the battle…was over, hundreds of years ago …” Yes, it was clunky, and could have used a comma, but I think it was still grammatically correct. As I said, this is a blog, not a law review article. If I can understand someone, I don’t criticize their writing mistakes.

  9. You said, “And gods were born.”

    Yet if you were being completely honest, wouldn’t you have to concede that we don’t know that? For all we know, gods and/or God could be real. How is yours a rational statement? How is your assertion that gods were born in reaction to ignorance grounded in evidence?

    Well, we’re back to the age old question, the ultimate question as far as I’m concerned. Do gods exist?

    Clearly I haven’t seen any evidence for it. And you certainly have never provided any, nor has anyone else. My post is an attempt to explain why mankind believe in gods when there’s no evidence for them, anywhere, ever. There are only leaps of logic.

    You really didn’t understand my post, did you? If you did, you wouldn’t have asked that question.

    How is your assertion that gods were born in reaction to ignorance grounded in evidence?

    We know that ancient people (indeed, even some contemporary tribes) had sun gods, and weather gods, and lightning gods, because they didn’t know what those natural phenomena were. That’s a given. Isn’t that sufficient evidence to ground my assertion?

  10. BTW – even though you got all prissy about it, thanks for the input on my legal question – though it was Lifeguard’s respect and patience that finally flipped the switch, allowing me to align my position more with yours.

    You amaze me in your desire to constantly pick at the edges of our posts, without ever addressing the meat.

    SI, I see this post as vegan. Where is the meat? What would you like me to address? I’m more than willing to play by your rules.

    Maybe it was expressed poorly, but is that the best criticism you can come up with?

    Noted. Was it the only criticism I offered? Getting to it, what did you write that you contend you’re right about? Again, I’d be glad to discuss.

    We certainly can’t ask questions about matters we don’t know exist.

    Do we know dark matter exists, or are you just expressing yourself poorly again? I’m not trying to be a smart-ass. You’re telling me things that simply don’t conform to science or reality. Well, I’m wondering why. Scientists ask questions about things they don’t know exist all the time.

    If I can understand someone, I don’t criticize their writing mistakes.

    I didn’t criticize your writing mistake. I was trying to make sense out of sentences I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to assume anything.

    My post is an attempt to explain why mankind believe in gods when there’s no evidence for them, anywhere, ever.

    Keyword attempt, and this ultimately leads to a discussion of what you’re willing to accept as evidence. Feel free. That you’ve not seen evidence for gods cannot support your universal negative that “there’s no evidence for them.”

    We know that ancient people (indeed, even some contemporary tribes) had sun gods, and weather gods, and lightning gods, because they didn’t know what those natural phenomena were. That’s a given. Isn’t that sufficient evidence to ground my assertion?

    No. I agree ancient people had gods. I agree ancient people didn’t know the science behind natural phenomena. I disagree with your assertion that said gods were invented in reaction to said ignorance. It’s fallacious reasoning, through and through.

  11. No. I agree ancient people had gods. I agree ancient people didn’t know the science behind natural phenomena. I disagree with your assertion that said gods were invented in reaction to said ignorance. It’s fallacious reasoning, through and through.

    Being an atheist, I contend that there has never been any evidence of such a thing as gods. What then (with that assumption) would you say they were invented in reaction to?

  12. Being an atheist, I contend that there has never been any evidence of such a thing as gods.

    Such is preaching from belief, not arguing cogently from knowledge.

    What then (with that assumption) would you say they were invented in reaction to?

    That they were invented is the very assumption I’m challenging.

  13. That they were invented is the very assumption I’m challenging.

    We’re going to go ’round and ’round on this.

    If you don’t think they are invented, then they are real. It’s one or the other. In that case, you need to present some evidence. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t exist.

  14. It’s one or the other.

    Well of course if I don’t believe they are invented, I believe they are real! That’s basic logic. The difference is – I don’t feel fit to run around making absolute truth claims when in full reality I don’t know. You, for some reason, do, which is odd considering the rationalist pretext. That’s what I’m getting at.

    ..as far as I’m concerned, they don’t exist.

    Then just to be sure we’re in agreement – that’s your personal opinion – correct?

  15. They delude themselves cannot accept the indisputable fact that they will die, and their religious beliefs give them comfort and hope that they will linger on after they’ve completed their enlistment in the human race.

    I’ve always thought this is most likely correct and the source of myth. But it has just occurred to me that, if this is so, we might yet actually win them over. Science has already tripled the human life span (about half of that increase just in the past hundred years or so). How much more might happen
    if this is an exponential trend, even within our lifetimes, let alone those lifetimes of children today?

    Sure, it’s a long shot. But if it’s the key problem that eats away subconsciously at many (if not most) theists, then this is their *only* hope and they ought to be supporting it. Hell, we know how avidly they support medical treatments and devices that can keep them alive rather than luxuriating in paradise with Jesus. If they would put that enthusiasm into the research, maybe it’ll happen.

  16. Oh, and yes, SI, I see what you meant with your comment to me elsewhere. Hey… didn’t I write a whole post on it? It’s “whatever” to me at this point.

    To sum up – find small, inconsequential errors in logic, conflate them with the idiocy of theocracy and say, “see, we’re both doing the same things. Yours is no better than mine – OBVIOUSLY!”

  17. Does CL make the claim that all the gods but one (the Abrahamic god of the Bible and Q’uran) invented by primitive man? If a monotheist makes the claim that there is one god, does this mean that all other gods to which humans paid homage (Zeus, P’tah, Kokopelli, Athena, Aphrodite, Loki) did not exist? After all, the difference between a monotheist and an atheist is one of tens of thousands of gods. Of course CL said,

    I agree ancient people had gods.

    This then creates the dilemma: what happened to these other gods? Did they die? Or were they, as SI seems to argue (and with which I agree) gods of gaps whose necessity disapeared when humans realized that, say, fucking creates babies and there was no longer a need for Aphrodite and her see-through nightie? CL seems to be claiming to be a polytheist which would be, from previous comments, a bit of a surprise.

    SI, this is an excellent post. Do you suppose that the god of gaps will still hang on even as the gaps shrink? Or will the theistically minded find necessity for a god of gaps as continued research points to entirely new areas of which we are now ignorant? Sadly, I think it will be the latter.

    Sorry for all the questions. Just seemed the best way to say what I wanted to say. Consider most of them rhetorical.

  18. (((Billy)))

    I’d answer no to your first two questions. As for,

    ..what happened to these other gods? Did they die?

    Scripture addresses the question of what happened to them, but I don’t want to talk scripture on SI’s blog, and no, I don’t think scripture supports the claim that they died.

    Incidentally, I’ve always thought GOTG arguments were foolish. Science should not be threatened by gaps in understanding, and such gaps don’t prove God. And you shouldn’t be surprised. Excepting those who ascribe it all to free-floating metaphor, anyone who believes in the Bible must be a polytheist. Wouldn’t you think?

  19. SI,

    Hey, that’s not fair! I asked you a question that you didn’t answer: Answer it, and I’ll answer yours about Santa.

  20. cl

    Life’s not fair. Get over it.

    But let’s move this along. I’ll presume that you don’t believe in the existence of Santa Claus.

    So tell me, why don’t you?

  21. “your own ignorance and dependency somehow more noble than your theist brethren’s.”
    “Ignorance is never noble, but many atheists attempt to coat their ignorance with nobility”

    That’s twice here and once on my blog you’ve pushed this assertion of atheists saying their ignorance is noble. Dare I ask if you’ve heard from any atheists on this assertion other than myself saying that’s baloney? No, of course you haven’t, or else you’d drop some links and quotes, right? Oh, but then you might say either you don’t have the time to retrieve them, it’s not your job to do so, or that it’s our responsibility to do the research ourselves (all excuses cl has used before.) But you’re going to keep exhibiting bad form while criticizing everyone else for what you see as bad form, but what do you care? It’s not like integrity means anything to you, only submarining comment sections. In fact, the less integrity you exhibit, the more you provoke responses, which only adds to discussion derailment.

    Have you come up with a name for your tactic, cl? If not, I suggest the ‘Douchebag Gambit’.

  22. SI, is it your belief that gods don’t exist? If you don’t know, why are you making truth claims?

    Philly, before SI’s santa question, I asked SI two questions that related directly to things he and I were discussing – which he hasn’t answered – and you don’t seem to care. Why? How is that not special pleading?

    Dare I ask if you’ve heard from any atheists on this assertion other than myself saying that’s baloney?

    Are you really serious in expecting that I could provide a link to an atheist that concedes my points? Funny thing is, you can’t seem to see that you’ve confirmed them. On your blog, you made the argument that while both parties retain insurmountable ignorance, “there’s a huge difference between their respective ignorances.” That’s just atheist bias, atheist puffery whose subtext reads, “my ignorance is better than yours.” By the way, rationalist, all you’ve done is pre-declare as false that which you do not know.

    Have you come up with a name for your tactic, cl? If not, I suggest the ‘Douchebag Gambit’.

    Bolstering your arguments with class-clown idiosyncrasies that certainly distract from the issues only helps my case. Had I shown up here today for my first time, as a rationalist, I’d think it was you who “exhibited bad form” and sought to “provoke responses” via said idiosyncrasies. Typically, your ilk are most successful outside the lecture hall. Take care, ‘Chief.

  23. SI, is it your belief that gods don’t exist?

    You’ve been here long enough to know the answer. Let’s move on.

    Since you won’t answer my question, I’ll make an intelligent guess as to what the answer would be:

    I don’t believe Santa Claus exists because in all my years of life, other than when I was younger and believed what my parents told me (and I subsequently found out they had an innocent agenda) I’ve never been presented with any evidence that there really is a Santa Claus. In fact, I’ve seen ample evidence that there is no Santa Claus. For instance, all the toys and other gifts that show up under Xmas trees are actually purchased from local stores, and all parents I know have admitted to me that they buy the gifts. No one has ever told me that gifts simply show up on the morning of Dec. 25 by themselves, along with some suspicious soot marks near my fireplace. So, seeing no evidence for his existence, and in fact seeing much evidence that contradicts his existence, I don’t believe he exists.

    Good answer, cl. Exactly what I thought. I feel the same way.

    Now, given the above, do you think the “myth” of Santa Claus was invented by humans?

    I’ll let you answer that one. Unless, of course, you don’t.

  24. Perfect! Then, if it’s correct that such was your belief, doesn’t it follow that your truth-claim is unfounded as currently worded?

    Since you won’t answer my question,

    I didn’t say I wouldn’t answer your question. I said answer the two I asked you first, and I’d be glad to oblige. You’ve still got one to go, which I just elaborated on, and you could’ve just answered instead of assuming you know how I’d answer yours, which BTW is not very rational! So, I’ll address your Santa question honestly and squarely as soon as you answer: if it’s correct that such is your belief, doesn’t it follow that your truth-claim is unfounded as currently worded?

  25. Perfect! Then, if it’s correct that such was your belief, doesn’t it follow that your truth-claim is unfounded as currently worded?

    I’m not interested in discussing my beliefs. Yet. Those are up there for you to read. We’re discussing yours. Since you still refuse to answer, I’ll do it for you.

    The question was “Now, given the above, do you think the “myth” of Santa Claus was invented by humans?”

    Of course Santa was invented by humans. Since there is no evidence for a real Santa Claus (other than some mythical forerunner, St. Nick, Kris Kringle, etc, but not the Santa we know with supernatural powers that allows him to travel around the world in one night and deliver presents to every child in the world, all 3 billion or so of them) it stands to reason that Santa is a creation of the collective human imagination.

    Another good answer, cl, one that comports with my understanding also. Good job!

    Now, back to the original question I asked you, more relevant to this post, you objected to me contending that gods were invented by humans, (since you agree that they were either invented by humans or are real) and tried to get me to agree that I contend that they are mere imaginary inventions based on nothing but my “personal opinion” (typical of you, but you, nonetheless).

    To the contrary, I contend that gods were invented by humans, much like Santa Claus was invented by humans , based on a lack of evidence that they were real, much like you contend there is no Santa Claus due to a lack of evidence that he is real.

    I know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but I am perfectly willing to change my “personal opinion” about the “birth of gods” when you or anyone else provides evidence to the contrary. Until then, the absence of evidence is, indeed, evidence of absence. Gods were born from the imagination of humans.

    See? We agree.

  26. I’m not interested in discussing my beliefs. Yet.

    Interesting. Special pleading noted again (specifically to Evo and Philly there).

    Since you still refuse to answer, I’ll do it for you.

    By answering for me, you effectively argue with yourself, and I’m not sure what you think that proves. Again, I told you that I would give you a square answer re Santa as soon as you can tell me whether or not it is your belief that gods don’t exist. If yes, doesn’t that make your truth-claim unfounded?

    I know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

    ..then,

    Until then, the absence of evidence is, indeed, evidence of absence.

    Hasty atheist apologetic noted!

  27. I told you that I would give you a square answer re Santa as soon as you can tell me whether or not it is your belief that gods don’t exist. If yes, doesn’t that make your truth-claim unfounded?

    Only to the same extent as your belief that they do exist.

  28. Only to the same extent as your belief that they do exist.

    Don’t change the subject. I’m not questioning whether or not your belief is unfounded. Remember, I’m not making a truth-claim that anyone can call unfounded; I simply state that I believe God and gods are real. You – on the other hand – are making a truth-claim that gods were invented, when in fact you don’t know.

    So again – it is my belief that God and gods are real. Is it your belief that they are not? If so, just say as much. I can respect that, but as a rationalist, I can’t respect truth-claim sans evidence.

  29. Sorry, cl, but you’re just plain wrong. I can’t tell whether you’re just thick, or you do this on purpose, but it seems like you enjoy your semantic, pseudo-intellectual games over an actual quest for truth.

    First, in the real world, as opposed to the rarefied one you inhabit, there are no such things as absolute “truth statements”. There’s evidence, and then weight is given to evidence, and people make their choices based on considerations of the relative strength of the competing evidence. What I’m doing here is inferential argument from the evidence.

    More specifically, we agree that there is no evidence for gods, yet despite that, primitive people believed in them, and assigned gods to various aspects of the natural world that they could not explain. Since there is no evidence that the gods they concocted were based on actual gods, the inference I’ve made is that they did so based on their ignorance and a desire to understand phenomena that was a mystery to them. A perfectly logical, rational inference, I might add.

    You say I can’t come up with absolute proof to support this. You know I can’t because I can’t go back an interview the people who believed in those gods.

    So your whole shtick here is that since I can’t provide absolute proof, then it’s simply my personal opinion, and therefore worthless to my argument.

    However, you agree it’s an either/or proposition. Either those gods existed, or they were invented. You claim they were not invented. I claim they were. However, if we went before a jury on this in a hypothetical court, given burdens of proof (of which you’ve historically shown total ignorance) I would need only show the following:

    1. That primitive people worshiped multiple gods loosely arranged around natural phenomena.

    2. That they had not the slightest idea what caused those natural phenomena.

    3. That they offered sacrifices and otherwise attempted to appease those gods, rather than deal with the natural phenomena the way we do, given our knowledge.

    With no more, I can convincingly argue that they created those gods in their minds as a way of understanding and explaining otherwise inexplicable natural phenomena. (jury nods heads).

    The burden would then shift to you to show evidence of your claim that they worshiped those gods because they actually existed.

    Now, if the burden was a preponderance of the evidence (the normal burden in civil court, which means that, on a hypothetical scale, the evidence needs to lean more in one direction, even if ever so slightly, than the other), which way would a fact finder rule?

    Since you would be unable to offer nothing in support of the actual existence of gods, I would win. Hands down.

    —————-

    Instead of nit-picking what I’m saying, and demanding stupid concessions that amount to nothing, why don’t you spend your time actually refuting my contention. You have not even tried to do that.

    The point of my post is not that primitive peoples believed in gods of their imagination, (which I only opined on as background for my argument – in law it would be called dicta)but that science is the only rational tool for understanding reality, and that’s been true since science was first understood as a process. Theology lost out in the reality war, and it was a long time ago.

    Why don’t you address that, rather than this scab you seem to enjoy picking at.

  30. First, in the real world, as opposed to the rarefied one you inhabit, there are no such things as absolute “truth statements”.

    I agree. That’s why I took issue with your absolute truth-statement that gods were invented. We could resolve it all if you’d just conceded that such is your belief. Is that really too much to ask?

    What I’m doing here is inferential argument from the evidence.

    No, what you are doing here is arguing inferentially to the evidence you’ve been exposed to.

    More specifically, we agree that there is no evidence for gods, yet despite that, primitive people believed in them, and assigned gods to various aspects of the natural world that they could not explain.

    Who is we in that statement? I realize you like to argue for me, quite literally, but I’ve never once agreed that “there is no evidence for gods.” In fact, when you trotted that one out the first time, I said, “this ultimately leads to a discussion of what you’re willing to accept as evidence. Feel free. That you’ve not seen evidence for gods cannot support your universal negative that “there’s no evidence for them.””

    Now, if you were to simply amend your claim for the sake of intellectual honest, I would agree that it’s a “perfectly logical, rational inference.” I trust that you’ve evaluated the question honestly, and you truly don’t see any evidence for God or gods, so your belief that they were invented is rationally sustainable. To contrast, your truth-claims that “gods were invented” and that “there’s no evidence for gods” remain your beliefs, correct?

    You claim they were not invented.

    No. I believe they weren’t invented.

    I claim they were [invented].

    I know, that’s where I have a problem. You offer your rationally justified belief as the truth, when you don’t know. That’s what bad preachers do.

    ..if we went before a jury on this in a hypothetical court,

    I grant your 1, 2 and 3. None of that entails evidence that gods were invented. Remember, your hypothetical court frequently convicts the innocent and acquits the guilty, and that’s why I prefer science – because we all know a good lawyer can twist anything.

    I can convincingly argue that they created those gods in their minds as a way of understanding and explaining otherwise inexplicable natural phenomena.

    Sure, you can argue whatever you want. What you didn’t do is demonstrate a preponderance of the evidence that they created those gods in their minds as a way of understanding and explaining otherwise inexplicable natural phenomena. All you’ve done is to establish motive, and I submit that it’s you whose skimping on the burden of proof.

    Instead of nit-picking what I’m saying, and demanding stupid concessions that amount to nothing, why don’t you spend your time actually refuting my contention. You have not even tried to do that.

    I’m sorry for holding you accountable to what you write. I’ve not yet tried to refute “the meat” of your post, because when I asked you what it was, no answer was forthcoming.

    The point of my post is not that primitive peoples believed in gods of their imagination,

    Then, what does this mean:

    In an attempt to understand these perplexing facts, though, some of our ancestors devised the concept of the supernatural to explain them. If it was real, right there in front of us, but the explanation was not obvious, then the explanation must be “somewhere else”, not here, not within the purview of our senses. Somewhere outside the natural world. And gods were born.

    ..science is the only rational tool for understanding reality,

    Define “rational tool” and maybe I can elaborate on what you claim to be “the meat” of your post..

    Why don’t you address that, rather than this scab you seem to enjoy picking at.

    Provide said definition and we’ll talk. Aside from that, are we finally in agreement that it’s your belief that gods were invented?

  31. NAL,

    I’d be interested in all sides of the argument over whether and when absence of evidence is evidence of absence. I noted it only because SI contradicted himself by saying “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but…absence of evidence is, indeed, evidence of absence.”

  32. cl:

    I noted it only because SI contradicted himself …

    So, you wouldn’t have been interested in “all sides of the argument” if SI hadn’t contradicted himself? Or was your comment only a pretext to point out that SI had contradicted himself?

  33. Looks like you have a master debater on your hands SI. Let him have it.

    He’s no master debater. He’s a semantic masturbater.

    I’m done with him until he actually addresses the post.

  34. He’s a semantic masturbater.

    How is calling your opponent names rational?

    I’m done with him until he actually addresses the post.

    ..yet, I addressed the post, and can prove it: SI identified “the meat” of his post as,

    The point of my post is… science is the only rational tool for understanding reality,

    ..to which I responded,

    Define “rational tool” and maybe I can elaborate on what you claim to be “the meat” of your post..

    Unless I wish to proceed by assumption, how can I rationally address what SI refuses to define? I would think that if SI was really confident in his claim, he’d simply define “rational tool” and proceed to spank me with real logic. Instead, he calls me a masturbator, all under the pretense of rational discourse. Entertaining indeed, but shouldn’t entertainment take place outside the lecture hall?

    Similarly, in response to SI’s erroneous claim that “there is no evidence for gods,” I responded, “this ultimately leads to a discussion of what you’re willing to accept as evidence. Feel free.” Note that what SI is willing to accept as evidence is not forthcoming, yet he demands that I present him with evidence. Why dilly-dally? Why run the risk of me presenting A-Z, only to have SI say, “That’s not evidence?” If SI is willing to define what he is willing to accept as evidence, I’m willing to attempt to provide evidence for gods.

    I’m willing to answer, if he’s willing to define, but if SI both refuses to define “rational tool” and refuses to define what he’s willing to accept as evidence – then really, who’s cutting off the debate?

    NAL,

    So, you wouldn’t have been interested in “all sides of the argument” if SI hadn’t contradicted himself? Or was your comment only a pretext to point out that SI had contradicted himself?

    I am interested in both sides of the “absence of evidence” argument, and I was interested in both sides of the “absence of evidence” argument before I noted SI’s contradiction. I’m more than willing to discuss the “absence of evidence” argument. Whenever believers contradict themselves in their arguments, atheists jump all over them. Surely, I retain the same privilege, right?

  35. SI –

    Your last (lengthy) comment with the admonition at the end was a perfect exposure of CL. But you’ve exposed him previously. I have and, certainly, Philly has made a near career of it. When do you simply allow him to have his little fun while only responding when he returns to earth?

  36. John Evo,

    Are you blind? SI told me “address the meat of my post.” He then said the meat of his post was that “science is the only rational tool for understanding reality.” Semantics can be a bitch and are usually the unrecognized culprit behind many an online dialog, so I asked SI to define what he means by “rational tool.” Hence, I addressed SI’s point as expressed by SI, directly. Furthermore, SI pulled the ever-so-predictable “show me the evidence for God” BS that atheists fancy puts them in a bulletproof glass box. Notice that I said I’d be willing to try, if SI would be willing to pre-state what he considers acceptable evidence. Notice that SI has not yet stated what would accept.

    Any objective person can spend a quick 5 minutes perusing the last 20 or so comments to see that the above 2 paragraphs I typed are 100% correct. Denying that only makes you look foolish, as it’s all in the thread. Look for yourself. When and if SI defines what he means by “rational tool,” I’ll address what he asked me to. When and if SI defines what he’s willing to accept as evidence for God, I’ll address what he asked me to.

    Until then, claims that I’ve not addressed SI’s post remain false, so, take your silly team politics outside the lecture hall with your pals unless you want to actually apply your brain to the issues, as opposed to constantly applying your emotions and interjecting your pathetically transparent comments that only further echo your distaste of my personality. That is not the rationalist way.

    The only thing you’ve exposed about me are your own opinions of me which relate nothing to this or any other argument. So what. You’re butthurt. We’ve all disagreed at times. Get over it. I’m here to stay. You sit there and stroke SI’s coat while doing the same thing he’s criticizing me for – straying from the topic of the post.

    BTW, our last exchange left off with me reversing your opinion and you busting Philly’s balls for being stubborn, asking him if he “even looked at the evidence before cl challenged” and also saying “the difference between [Philly] and [Evo] is that [Evo] find[s] no shame in admitting to being wrong or adjusting an opinion in the middle of a discussion.” Interesting.

    Tell the whole story or save it.

    SI,

    You gonna answer the questions or not? You asked me to address the post. I did. I’m waiting for your response. Also to the “evidence” issue. Put your money where your mouth is, please. I don’t enjoy talking to folks like Evo and Philly who are typically out to malign me. I came here to talk to you, not those two.

  37. SI –

    Leave it to your readers to decide who plays logical, rhetorical and semantic games – and who sounds “butthurt”. :)

  38. Evo,

    Are we in agreement that I addressed “the meat” of SI’s post, and that I cannot address anything further without SI’s definition of “rational tool” as used in his claim?

  39. Leave it to your readers to decide who plays logical, rhetorical and semantic games – and who sounds “butthurt”. :)

    I agree. He keeps saying he’s addressing my post, but he hasn’t even come close. Even in his last comment he wants me to define words. I’ve written about 2000 words, and he still doesn’t understand?

    Bullshit. Not playing that game.

  40. To anyone still interested in the boring pseudo-intellectual games that get played around here – I don’t play. I will simply note an example and go my way.

    In a *single* comment, we see two contradictory lines of attack (neither of which, by the way, have a thing to do the precision of atheism, or with unjustified god claims and most especially not with SI’s post)

    1. “…so, take your silly team politics outside the lecture hall with your pals unless you want to actually apply your brain to the issues, as opposed to constantly applying your emotions and interjecting your pathetically transparent comments.”

    So having established that I have no concern for facts, but rather I simply mindlessly side with the ostensible “good guys”, a few paragraphs later I’m reminded of

    2. our last exchange left off with me reversing your opinion and you busting Philly’s balls for being stubborn, asking him if he “even looked at the evidence before cl challenged” and also saying “the difference between [Philly] and [Evo] is that [Evo] find[s] no shame in admitting to being wrong or adjusting an opinion in the middle of a discussion.”

    The commenter ends this by declaring: “Interesting”.

    Indeed. :)

    Games, anyone? Not me. Later!

  41. Semantics can be a bitch and are usually the unrecognized culprit behind many an online dialog, so I asked SI to define what he means by “rational tool.”

    Here’s what’s funny. I’ve asked cl before to clarify his words. When I said, “You know, whenever you say something and someone doesn’t get what you’re saying, then CLEARLY you weren’t 100% clear” his response was “I don’t care how many workers on the assembly line at General Motors smoke weed.”

    So standards for speech and responsibility for writers to be clear and explain themselves and their words are for others, but not for himself. I just thought I’d share that meager morsel from the cornucopia of crap cl has littered across various blog comments. Intellectual honesty, logic, rationality, mean nothing to him. They’re just words, things to harass others with playing the Douchebag Gambit.

    Have a nice day :)

  42. Hey, Señor Inquisitor: I recommend in the nicest of ways that you stop responding to cl. Based on my experience, and that of other atheist bloggers, is that he nitpicks endlessly, dodges questions, makes 10,000 word posts that contain nothing of relevance, and generally just wastes time. He derailed a conversation over at Evangelical Realism for a solid six months, he caused such massive irritation at Daylight Atheism that Ebon banned him… he’s just an annoying, compulsive, nitpicky, quibbling, equivocating troll, and you’d probably be a lot happier if everyone here stopped feeding his fire. He’s a plague.

  43. Court Jesters Philly & Evo,

    I admire your allegiance as faithful servants to Team Scarlet A, but I’m not biting.

    SI,

    He keeps saying he’s addressing my post, but he hasn’t even come close.

    You’re not being very honest for a human let alone a lawyer. You claimed your point was that science was the only “rational tool” for understanding reality. Although I’ll probably agree, efore I can agree or disagree, I’d like to know exactly what it is you mean by “rational tool.” I addressed your post, and you clammed up. Who knows? I might even end up agreeing with you – again – but we’ll never know so long as you continue to focus on perceptions of personalities vs. issues. I note your whining about me asking for definitions, but would you rather talk past each other?

    You also left the “evidence” discussion hanging. Like most atheists, you loudly repeat the “no evidence for God” trope, and demand that theists present you with evidence. In the interest of saving time, I ask what you will not accept as evidence. Your answer will allow that discussion to proceed.

    When and if you want to talk, let’s talk, but enough of the “gang-up, sandbox” stuff.

    PS – Despite your deflections, I’ll still answer your Santa question: I don’t believe in Santa for a very simple, scientific reason: all versions of Santa I’ve heard of are falsifiable, and I have falsified them to my satisfaction. Indeed, science is handy for understanding reality.

    See how much simpler and clearer that was than writing 223 words that consist entirely of your own assumptions as to how you think I would’ve answered?

  44. ThatOtherGuy,

    Be gone with your Tipper Gore-esque concerns. I’ll balance your comment by noting that you make factually errant claims on said blog. Now, if you’re done cheerleading for Team Scarlet A, carry along and put your brain to better. SI’s been dealing with me much longer and much more rationally than you have. While I’m sure he agrees with you re my personality, I’m sure he doesn’t need your advice.

  45. ThatOtherGuy,

    I’ve also already told you that Ebon didn’t ban me. Stop lying to score points for your team. Although I doubt it will happen, I hope Ex comes here and rips you a new one for whining about trolls. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if Ex came here and ripped me a new one about whatever he wanted. I love reading that guy’s writing.

    (Sorry SI. Just had to dig in to this most interesting person. As I just did with Jesters Philly & Evo, I will return to my policy of ignoring comments here that don’t relate to your OP.)

  46. Factually errant CLAIM, actually. One time. And you eagerly hearken back to it every time I mention your bad habits.

    And, oh all right, since you like to quibble, he “restricted” you. Is that better?

  47. I’m a bit late wading into this one.

    At the risk of being a contrarian, I would have to disagree with SI that science won the war with religion a long time ago. If that were true, we would not have an Intelligent Design movement in this country. I would say we still have many more hearts and minds to win over before declaring victory.

    In order to state whether or not gods exist, I think it would be good to have a helpful definition of what we are talking about. Actually, I think we’re talking about two things here. One, when we think of god, being products of the monotheist environments in which we were raised, we think of a being that created this entire vast universe and exists outside of it. However, I don’t think we can rule out a collection of beings that collaborated in creating the universe, so that there is either a god or gods.

    Then we have lower orders of beings, angels, demons, spirits of the woods, djinns and other supernatural entities that allegedly exist within our world. I would not call such beings gods. They are localized phenomena rather than universal deities.

    Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I would say that while I do not believe there is a god or gods, I admit that I cannot rule out the prospect 100%. But if the universe is the creation of a higher intelligence (which could be one entity or a plurality of them), what can I possibly know about this higher intelligence? Well, if it exists, it is immensely powerful. And given the billions of galaxies filled with billions of stars and planets, I can only conclude that this higher intelligence didn’t create it all with us in mind.

    I’ve always been a “form follows function” kind of guy. If our primary purpose is to accept Jesus Christ or submit to Allah, then you don’t need an ancient and virtually infinite universe to achieve this purpose. From our studies of Mars, there is sufficient evidence to bring us to the conclusion that the Red Planet once had a wet phase and had bodies of water on its surface. I have a hard time believing that a universal deity is going to spend thousands of years being personally involved with a group of people in the Middle East, and while it is doing that, decide “Oh, by the way, I’m going to make Mars lose all of its water now.” If the most important thing was getting some critical mass of humanity to accept a particular religious truth, then all an omnipotent god should need is just one planet, Earth, and one star, our sun, with the stars in the night sky being so much cosmic window dressing.

    For me, the evidence that gods and religion are man made are pretty much the same for believing that astrology is man made, because they bear the stamp of human egocentrism, that the universe centers on us. My personality is a certain way because I was born in June. I have a right to live on this stretch of land because the creator of the universe promised it to one of my ancient ancestors. The creator of the universe sent his son to die for MY sins.

    Scientific explanations, on the other hand, do not put us at the center of things. Rather, they make it clear that we are part of a process that started long before we got here and will continue long after we’re gone. Life forms have arose and gone extinct. The continents have come together and split apart again. Glaciers spread and retreat. The universe continues to expand and galaxies spread away from each other or collide. We’re just temporary vistors on a little planet we call Earth as it passes through space.

  48. TOG

    I know cl quite well. I probably do have more patience with him than most, but frankly I’ve lost it all now. I’m not sparring with him. He needs to show that he understood my post before I’ll even try. I’m not defining terms, I’ll answer no more of his questions, and I won’t play his parsing game with language.

    The post was 850 words. Very simple. Subsequent comments clarified it. I haven’t heard anyone else say they didn’t understand it, yet he’s spent every comment trying to get me to rephrase it in a way that allows him to bat the words around like a cat playing with a mouse.

    I’m not interested. He can comment like anyone else.

    BTW, if he had clicked on one of the links, he’d see that this was my point.

    And I’m glad to see Barry came back from Florida with his collar intact.

  49. At the risk of being a contrarian, I would have to disagree with SI that science won the war with religion a long time ago. If that were true, we would not have an Intelligent Design movement in this country. I would say we still have many more hearts and minds to win over before declaring victory.

    The intellectual battle was over long ago. (There you go, now you made me tell cl what my point was. 8) )The fact that dumb creationists won’t accept it has no bearing on the outcome. There were Japanese soldiers still fighting WWII on a remote Pacific island as late as the 1980’s. Does that mean WWII hadn’t been won?

    In order to state whether or not gods exist, I think it would be good to have a helpful definition of what we are talking about.

    Oooooo. You shouldn’ta oughta done that. Cl’s coming to your blog now.

    I admit that I cannot rule out the prospect 100%

    I can with a simple theist rhetorical trick. Watch.

    “There are no gods. Now, prove me wrong.”

    See? Simple.

    [snip last three paragraphs for brevity]

    I agree.

  50. There were Japanese soldiers still fighting WWII on a remote Pacific island as late as the 1980’s. Does that mean WWII hadn’t been won?

    Well, they weren’t so much fighting as hiding out. I think a better analogy might be the Civil War after Gettysburg. The Confederacy was largely on the defensive for the remainder of the war, but there was still a lot of fighting that lay ahead.

    “There are no gods. Now, prove me wrong.”

    SI, I make a distinction between gods that people believe in and the possibility of a higher intelligence that might exist but not care to make itself or themselves known to us. You can’t disprove (or prove) a god that chooses to remain aloof from us. That is why I don’t concern myself with the existence of god. I will live my life according to my conscience, and if said deity has a problem with that, then it will have to take it up with me after I die.

  51. Goldwater,

    It appears you’re joining the ranks of ad hominem irrationalism. Congratulations!

    SI,

    My apologies. You said that was your point, earlier.

    The battle, indeed the war, between atheism and theism was won when science arrived on the scene.

    If that’s your point, it’s bunk, too. I submit that science does not speak on whether or not there’s a God; science speaks on how stuff works.

    ThatOtherGuy,

    Factually errant CLAIM, actually. One time.

    No. You’ve made many more than one factually errant claim on DD’s blog, mostly about religion but also about science, as I’ve documented. Here’s another: “outside of creationist attempts to discredit science, there are no such things as macroevolution and microevolution.” (ThatOtherGuy)

    That’s patently false, and seriously pal, it completely amazes me that you’re apparently more worried about calling me names than taking responsibility for what you write. Now, if you’re done, return to cheerleading at DD’s.

  52. cl: Please refer to me as “the Senator” in the future. I am not a proponent of ad hominem attacks. In your case, I simply typed a FACT dude.

    The reality is that no one knows whether there is a “higher power” whether referred to as God or multiple other names. When you dudes are dead you may or may not know.

    Until then, you’re engaging in idle speculation.

    Personally I like walking into a Courthouse where the Ten Commandments are prominently displayed.

    I can do without the Ten Commandments in strip clubs (not that I would ever go to one of THEM).

  53. Tommykey,

    In order to state whether or not gods exist, I think it would be good to have a helpful definition of what we are talking about.

    Ya think? Let’s see if they rip you a new one for having the audacity to request a definition.

    ..I don’t think we can rule out a collection of beings that collaborated in creating the universe, so that there is either a god or gods.

    Well, that would parse right along with everything else I’ve heard from you that I consider intellectually honest.

    If the most important thing was getting some critical mass of humanity to accept a particular religious truth, then all an omnipotent god should need is just one planet, Earth, and one star, our sun, with the stars in the night sky being so much cosmic window dressing.

    When I read the Bible, I don’t see that getting the mass of humanity to agree on a particular religious truth was God’s original intention.

    Scientific explanations, on the other hand, do not put us at the center of things… You can’t disprove (or prove) a god that chooses to remain aloof from us. I will live my life according to my conscience, and if said deity has a problem with that, then it will have to take it up with me after I die.

    My first beer tonight is for you, Tommykey. The more I hear from intellectually brave and honest people like yourself, Lifeguard and Brad, the more I retain hope that not all atheists are stubbornly closed-minded.

    SI,

    ..now you made me tell cl what my point was. (to Tommykey)

    Your rather candid concession of willful obfuscation is noted. I’ll leave it to your readers to decide for themselves whether or not such constitutes “troll-feeding” as you whine about me not wanting to address your point. What a joke.

    The fact that dumb creationists won’t accept it has no bearing on the outcome.

    “..won’t accept” what? Are you alluding to the idea that science somehow trumps religion via evolution?

    I can [rule out the prospect [of God] 100%] with a simple theist rhetorical trick.

    Congratulations on willfully employing the strategy of those you denigrate. I shouldn’t need to explain that faulty reasoning is faulty regardless of the claim we seek to advance with it.

    You shouldn’ta oughta done that. Cl’s coming to your blog now. (to Tommykey)

    I’ve already been to Tommykey’s blog on a few occasions. We get along decent, far as I can see. I respect him, he seems to respect me, and it works.

    Goldwater,

    Please refer to me as “the Senator” in the future.

    Piss off. I don’t live by your rules and I don’t respect your badge. You chose to disrespect me, so I’ll call you what I want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    In your case, I simply typed a FACT dude.

    No. The fact is that I’m a human being arguing with SI and others on SI’s blog right now. That I’m a jackass is your opinion that I respect and pay taxes for.

    The reality is that no one knows whether there is a “higher power” whether referred to as God or multiple other names. When you dudes are dead you may or may not know.

    Agreed.

    Until then, you’re engaging in idle speculation.

    No. Until then, SI‘s engaging in idle speculation. He’s the one making truth-claims that “gods were invented” when in full reality he doesn’t know squat about it.

    Personally I like walking into a Courthouse where the Ten Commandments are prominently displayed. I can do without the Ten Commandments in strip clubs (not that I would ever go to one of THEM).

    Cool. Ask me if I care.

  54. Tommy

    “There are no gods. Now, prove me wrong.”

    SI, I make a distinction between gods that people believe in and the possibility of a higher intelligence that might exist but not care to make itself or themselves known to us. You can’t disprove (or prove) a god that chooses to remain aloof from us. That is why I don’t concern myself with the existence of god. I will live my life according to my conscience, and if said deity has a problem with that, then it will have to take it up with me after I die.

    Here’s the way I look at it. At best, you’re talking about a deistic god. For all intents and purposes, a deistic god exactly resembles a non-existent god. So as far as I’m concerned, god doesn’t exist.

    That being said, my rhetorical take-off on theists was tongue in cheek. 8)

  55. Gee cl agrees with me. HUH. OK cl, next time please refer to me as “the Senator”. I refer to you by your chosen moniker “cl” and would appreciated your being equally respectful. Thank you. BG

  56. Senator B

    Until then, you’re engaging in idle speculation.

    But…but…what better use for an idle blog?

    I can do without the Ten Commandments in strip clubs…

    (1st response) I need to have a talk with your wife.

    (2nd response) That’s exactly where they should all be planted.

  57. I am not a proponent of ad hominem attacks. In your case, I simply typed a FACT dude.

    I concur. It’s not an ad hominem to call a spade a spade, especially when it’s been shown the spade is a spade.

    Well I declare this discussion officially derailed. Another victory for the Douchebag Gambit. Can no one stop it? Oh Noz!

    As for analogies on the state of religion v. science, I’d like to invoke Cheney circa late 2003/early 2004 and say religion is in its death throws, which means expect constant turmoil and casualties for years to come. Mind you, I”m talking only of religion v. science, and not religion on its own, because I doubt if that will ever go away because most people, to some degree, will always wish for an alternative to reality. Religion, alcohol and hallucinogens have been used by humanity seemingly from the beginning. Hell, even insects and other mammals check out via alcohol and hallucinogens. Perhaps if their brains were more developed they’d employ religion, too. Aren’t we lucky? In order to discover calculus, we have to become susceptible to religion. It’s like sickle cells being great for warding off malaria, but hello anemia. C’est la vie

    As for egocentrism, I concur. That alone makes belief in such systems unwarranted. The more we learn about the universe and are tiny place in it, the less likely any belief in superior entities giving a shit whether two guys fuck or a woman gets an abortion seems credible.

    As for superior entities, fuck ‘em. If they care, they suck at showing it. If they don’t care, why should I?

    As for intellectual honesty, anyone, in light of the things said by both SI and Tommykey, has to ask themselves why they’d choose to believe in something not necessarily for any reason FOR that something to exist but simply because you can’t with absolute certainty declare that something doesn’t exist. I’d love to hear a rational answer to that, in other words, one that doesn’t invoke personal feelings or holy texts. I don’t believe there is one. Every argument for the existence of such supernatural entities isn’t actually for their existence, but for being ok to believe, an excuse to indulge. Attacking assertions that such things don’t exist and hailing those who admit the fact that it’s impossible to know their nonexistence as intellectual honesty isn’t a celebration of intellectual honesty, it’s simply another fight for maintaining one’s excuse to indulge in their belief. It’s a pathetic effort from a junkie, nothing more.

  58. SI, let’s be accurate regarding my comment:

    “Personally I like walking into a Courthouse where the Ten Commandments are prominently displayed. I can do without the Ten Commandments in strip clubs (not that I would ever go to one of THEM).”

    Chief, thanks for the support.

    SI, you have good ole cl on the run HAH

  59. cl

    If that’s your point, it’s bunk, too. I submit that science does not speak on whether or not there’s a God; science speaks on how stuff works.

    You’re hopeless. I type it out for you, and you still fuck it up.

    I was beginning to think it was me being inarticulate, but no. It’s you.

    …willful obfuscation…

    I’m also beginning to think that I could read The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies to you, and you’d say I was obfuscating.

    When I read the Bible, I don’t see that getting the mass of humanity to agree on a particular religious truth was God’s original intention.

    The most obvious thing one can say about the Bible is that if a million people read it, you’ll get a million different interpretations. It’s just a book, written by men (maybe women, too) fer crissake. The parts I read (albeit mine own interpretation) absolutely convinces me there is no god. To each their own.

    Congratulations on willfully employing the strategy of those you denigrate.

    See above. You didn’t get the tongue in cheek joke? Oh ye of little humor!

    Piss off.

    Play nice.

  60. Philly said: Mind you, I”m talking only of religion v. science, and not religion on its own, because I doubt if that will ever go away because most people, to some degree, will always wish for an alternative to reality.

    I’m telling you, the more that science provides alternative realities (including the alternative reality of living hundreds of years) the less people will look to magical deities which have never provided in of this. Surely you don’t think it’s a coincidence that we gotten to the place in Western democracies where 50% or more no longer worship? It’s all about intellectual enlightenment combined with technological and medical advances.

    You want to see the U.S. atheist population double in the next decade? Find a way to bring up the average lifespan to 130 years. And that is *very* doable.

  61. Sorry for the double-post, but I meant to point out that the 50% I mentioned in Western democracies has nearly all been accomplished just in the past 200 years.

  62. Philly

    Well I declare this discussion officially derailed.

    Considering I threw out the rulebook, and then cl ran over it with a chariot, it’s no surprise.

    Aren’t we lucky? In order to discover calculus, we have to become susceptible to religion. It’s like sickle cells being great for warding off malaria, but hello anemia. C’est la vie.

    Keyboard alert!

    Attacking assertions that such things don’t exist and hailing those who admit the fact that it’s impossible to know their nonexistence as intellectual honesty isn’t a celebration of intellectual honesty, it’s simply another fight for maintaining one’s excuse to indulge in their belief. It’s a pathetic effort from a junkie, nothing more.

    Hear, hear!

  63. I’m telling you, the more that science provides alternative realities (including the alternative reality of living hundreds of years) the less people will look to magical deities which have never provided any of this.

    I meant to comment on this farther upthread when you mentioned it. If we reach 130, though, I suspect we’ll want to be dead. No ongoing life will look attractive. And not necessarily because of the stereotypical view of old people falling apart. Even if we had the minds and bodies of a 20 year old, after 130 years, it’ll be “OK. I’ve seen and done enough. I’m ready to go”.

    Give me eternal nothingness, over an eternity of playing Parcheesi any day.

  64. SI – if you are going to do me the honor of quoting me, at least fix my mistakes!

    Speak for yourself. I wouldn’t mind living at least a couple of hundred years if I were vibrant and active, physically and mentally. What, this experience is boring you?

    Well, fuck me. Sorry for adding to your ennui.

  65. Goldwater,

    cl, next time please refer to me as “the Senator”. I refer to you by your chosen moniker “cl” and would appreciated your being equally respectful.

    Uh… how about, no? Don’t you find it the least bit disingenuous to you call people you don’t even know “jackass,” then demand respect? You’re (presumably) just another man, and I’ll call you what I want and for now, that’s Goldwater. What I call you next is up to you, specifically how you want to start treating me. If it’s not with respect, we both might as well stop now.

    Philly,

    ..anyone, in light of the things said by both SI and Tommykey, has to ask themselves why they’d choose to believe in something not necessarily for any reason FOR that something to exist but simply because you can’t with absolute certainty declare that something doesn’t exist. I’d love to hear a rational answer to that,

    That’s not why I believe in God. Is that rational enough? I’d include “strawman” but you’d just cry about that, too, even though it’s the truth: I don’t believe in God because I “can’t with absolute certainty declare that [God] doesn’t exist.”

    Every argument for the existence of such supernatural entities isn’t actually for their existence, but for being ok to believe, an excuse to indulge.

    Yes and no. If you do want to have a respectable discussion with me, somewhere along these lines is where I suggest we could start.

    ..hailing those who admit the fact that it’s impossible to know their nonexistence as intellectual honesty isn’t a celebration of intellectual honesty, it’s simply another fight for maintaining one’s excuse to indulge in their belief. It’s a pathetic effort from a junkie, nothing more.

    I realize my agreement with Tommykey bothers you. Problem is, his position is intellectually honest. You’re just a converse-theist.

    SI,

    Thanks for attempting to roast me with your silly Santa question that was easily dealt with. Now, deal with this. Honestly, it’s uproarious. Everybody click it, click it! Especially Philly and Evo, too!

    You’re hopeless. I type it out for you, and you still fuck it up. I was beginning to think it was me being inarticulate, but no. It’s you.

    I typed what you responded to before you said that you “slipped” to Tommykey, and I have recent concessions both in this thread and on my blog from yourself about your own difficulties articulating your “point.” I’ve pointed out contradiction in your arguments here. I’ve pointed out that it is your belief gods were invented. I’ve asked you to pre-identify unacceptable evidence for God or gods, and you’ve declined. You make vague allusions about “dumb creationists” (I know where you got that from, David Mills’ Atheist Universe. It’s all starting to make sense now) but refuse to explain them. I’ve addressed your point. There is no war. Be like Tiktaalik your mascot and make the leap. I’m beyond satisfied with my performance here. On Team Scarlet A, you, Philly and Evo have done nothing but to argue by insult. Actually, you at least tried an argument, but didn’t realize establishing motive doesn’t mean much when we’d expect stories about gods whether they existed or not.

    Play nice.

    Tell that to Goldwater. He came at me not playing nice and you didn’t seem to mind, so I thought being a jerk was encouraged here. Be impartial, or save your authoritarian chutzpah that I’ll just continue to ignore, stubbornly defy and mentally pummel with a wet carp.

    Even if we had the minds and bodies of a 20 year old, after 130 years, it’ll be “OK. I’ve seen and done enough. I’m ready to go”.

    I cannot comprehend such lack of imagination. I love life so much that I can’t imagine how thrilled I’d be to live it forever.

  66. cl, I never said you ARE a jackass. I was describing behavior. Sorry if that offended your delicate sensibilities. I think it’s possible the some people are afraid to believe there is a God. Personally I’m still good with Santa Claus.

  67. I don’t believe in God because I “can’t with absolute certainty declare that [God] doesn’t exist.”

    No, that’s just an excuse to indulge such a belief. Why you choose to indulge is probably not that interesting, cl.

    So you agree with Tommykey’s statement that “while I do not believe there is a god or gods, I admit that I cannot rule out the prospect 100%” huh? Look jackass, we all agree with Tommykey. You’re the one who doesn’t. His is the rational response, for absence of evidence is evidence for absence. What’s irrational is hanging on to that inability to, with 100% certainty, close the door on the possibility of things existing that we can’t detect as some defense for believing that they do exist, and that irrationality cascades exponentially when you start adding to that any beliefs that assign characteristics to these possible things, especially believing that there’s one grand poobah of them all.

  68. Evo claims he and his buddies have exposed me. I claim all they’ve exposed is their own personal dislike of me. Their continued silence on the actual issues is noted, and sooner or later, the rational people will see.

    Senator,

    Every time PhillyChief descends to sandbox technique he helps my case. Those without something positive to say are usually the ones who spew the most negativity. Douche, jackass, troll, etc…. they’re all just empty rhetoric the juvenile uses when unable to form an adult argument.

  69. PhillyChief,

    ..absence of evidence is evidence for absence.

    Was the absence of evidence for asteroids evidence for asteroids’ absence?

  70. First, like our current President, I’m capable of doing more than a thing at one time. I can call someone a jackass AND show why its warranted.

    Second, the ends don’t justify the means. I know theists have trouble with that concept.

  71. cl “Was the absence of evidence for asteroids evidence for asteroids’ absence?”
    Was the lack of evidence for asteroids evidence for their existence?

  72. SI,

    What absence of evidence for asteroids are you referring to?

    The evidential vacuum “present” before any empirical evidence for asteroids was posited.

    ..how did asteroids end up in this thread?

    Philly made an irrational claim about absence of evidence being evidence of absence, so I asked him if absence of evidence for asteroids was absence of asteroids’ evidence. If Philly were consistent, you’d think he’d say yes, but that would make him look silly. OTOH, if Philly says no, he undermines his claim. I believe he’s smart enough to realize the conundrum, and I believe this is why he hasn’t given a straight answer yet.

    So what sayest thou, SI? Was the absence of evidence for asteroids evidence of asteroids’ absence? Why or why not?

    PhillyChief,

    First, some old business, which is the only question of yours that I’ve ever refused to answer (to my knowledge, at least): I’m “adequately prepared” should theism be correct, because I’ve studied what I would consider a decent cross section of theistic claims, extracted a core of similarities that I believe run through them, and made the necessary emendations to my lifestyle as needed (I’m not talking about severing ties with my “worldly” friends, bothering abortion clinics or throwing away my metal albums in favor of Christian rock, either. Of the emendations alluded to, most dealt with inner attitudes as opposed to external trappings and outward behaviors).

    Anyways, so say I die and what the Bible says is true. I have no problem with the concept of sin that needs atonement; I realize that I do things the Bible calls “sin,” and it makes sense that if sin cannot exist in God’s presence that we need some kind of atonement if we are to be in God’s presence. I’ve chosen to “repent and be baptized,” as they say, but other than that, I don’t make it around church much because I can’t stand the place. What kind of position do you think you might find yourself in should the God of the Bible be true? I think you’re entertaining and all, but man, some of the stuff that flies out of your mouth really makes me hope atheism is true – not for my own sake – but yours.

    Similarly, say I die and some form of Buddhism is true. I feel “adequately prepared” because I strive to live a life in accordance with the Holy Eightfold Path, I strive to eliminate tanha as much as my awareness permits, and much of that overlaps with the Bible’s descriptions of “right” living.

    Of course, I realize that certain religions posit conflicting claims, but when you take all the “religion” out of what they’re saying, many are actually quite similar at the root. This doesn’t mean there aren’t irreconcilable differences in one or more religions, either, and the means one might undertake to “adequately prepare” for meeting the God of the Bible will probably be different than the means one might undertake to “adequately prepare” for meeting Moloch, Baal or Xerxes. Of course, at some point we have to draw a line, as it would be foolish to undertake an attitude that seeks to appease all the gods, for as Epicurus wisely warned, even the gods themselves are purported to have conflicting agendas.

    Anyways, there’s your answer. Let me know if you’d like me to answer any other questions.

    ..the ends don’t justify the means. I know theists have trouble with that concept.

    Hmmm…. I don’t recall saying anything about whether the ends justify the means. Us astronomers have not always had evidence for asteroids, you know, so I asked you a very straight-forward question: was our absence of evidence for asteroids evidence of asteroids’ absence? Why or why not?

    Modus,

    Was the lack of evidence for asteroids evidence for their existence?

    No.

  73. Was the lack of evidence for asteroids evidence for their existence?

    No. It was an example of faith (the firmament above the earth, the celestial orbs, are perfect (says so in the Bible after all) therefore rocks cannot fall to earth) riding roughshod over empirical evidence, including multiple eye-witness accounts, small craters and meteorites. I know the term in question is asteroid but, when an asteroid flames out in the atmosphere, it becomes a meteor and, if it survives the atmosphere, becomes a metiorite (and, just as a useless aside, none of those words look right when they are spelled correctly).

    Into the mid-18th century, the idea that rocks could fall from the sky was considered laughable by most, if not all, natural philosophers. they showed a remarkable ability to explain away eyewitness accounts and actual physical evidence. The primary reason for this was that, even at that fairly late date, the Bible was still considered by natural philosophers to be a valid text when it came to scientific inquiry. If the Bible said the heavens are perfect (of course, there were some changes in the idea of ‘perfection’ brought about by Copernicus, Galileo and others) then rocks could not fall from the perfection above earth. It took a massive meteor fall (France, 1794) to convince major scientists of the day that it not only was possible, but had actually happened.

    In short, the evidence was there, but faith prevented the best minds of the day recognizing and accepting the evidence. It seems that any time that faith and the physical evidence conflict, faith tends to delay the recognition and acceptence of reality.

  74. Absence of evidence is evidence for absence, but absence of proof is not proof of absence. This, in light of the asteroid question, should have made the allusion to ‘ends justify the means’ clear as day.

    Perhaps someone should publish a book, How To Be Adequately Prepared For All Gods, Should Any One Be Real. I’d be willing to bet it’d be a bestseller.

  75. “Perhaps someone should publish a book, How To Be Adequately Prepared For All Gods, Should Any One Be Real. I’d be willing to bet it’d be a bestseller.”
    Mine was Harvey Potter and the Odor of the Phoenix. It’s currently held up in court.

  76. Was the absence of evidence for asteroids evidence of asteroids’ absence? Why or why not?

    If my memory of astronomical history is correct, no one even posited the existence of asteroids until they were first observed in telescopes. While they moved like planets, astronomers realized that they were much too small, and so they had to create a category for them.

    It is not as if some 13th century academic claimed that there was an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter because it was the only way to explain certain phenomena.

    Now Neptune, OTOH, was claimed to exist before it was even discovered, because it was observed that something with a gravitational pull was tugging on Uranus, namely, a hitherto undiscovered planet. In other words, a phenomenon was detected and an explanation offered. Then astronomers set about looking for this planet and they found it.

    A better analogy for you CL is that there might be an Earth sized planet orbiting our sun beyond the orbit of Pluto. We haven’t seen evidence for one, but it does not mean there isn’t one. It is not completely unreasonable to think that there might be another planet in our solar system not yet discovered. Unlike an astronomer pre-Galileo who had no telescope and therefore no inkling that asteroids even existed, we know that planets orbit the sun that can only be seen with telescopes, and that therefore it is possible there might be even more of them.

  77. Coincidentally, they mentioned the discovery of Neptune on Nova last night, at the end of a segment explaining how they’re currently looking for planets by monitoring the amount of light coming from a sun. Just as they became aware of Neptune because of the effect on Uranus, a reduction of light could be a planet passing in front of the sun.

  78. So what sayest thou, SI? Was the absence of evidence for asteroids evidence of asteroids’ absence? Why or why not?

    Looks like this has already been answered by (((Billy))) and Tommy, but I’ll weigh in a bit.

    Your question first presumes that there was an absence of evidence. I’d have to disagree with that presumption.

    There was always evidence of asteroids. We know that now. The fact that human capability for observation of that evidence didn’t exist until fairly recently does not negate the evidence.

    So, (lets pick a date, say 1500) in 1500 no one is standing around saying “Well, we know asteroids don’t exist because there’s no evidence for them.” because they didn’t even know what an asteroid was until they were discovered centuries later.

    So your question is just silly, nonsensical, designed to obfuscate, and helpful only if you are playing semantic games, which, I contend, again, is your modus operandi.

  79. Does anyone else besides Philly believe that absence of evidence = evidence of absence? Just curious, as I think he’s the least educated one here. He hasn’t supported the argument worth a piss; maybe someone else can.

    (((Billy))),

    I agree I could tighten the asteroid analogy. I also feel your pain about religious dogma, but that a bunch of stubborn natural philosophers or priests misinterpreted a Psalm says nothing about the Bible’s veracity.

    ..they showed a remarkable ability to explain away eyewitness accounts and actual physical evidence.

    As do modern-day skeptics with anything that doesn’t fit into their tiny little paradigm, no?

    In short, the evidence was there, but faith prevented the best minds of the day recognizing and accepting the evidence.

    Certainly. Same with Galileo and heliocentrism. Similarly, I believe the evidence for God is there, but doubt prevents the best minds of today from recognizing and accepting the evidence. It’s the same imbalanced attitude, only reversed.

    Tommykey,

    As I told (((Billy))), I agree I could tighten the asteroid analogy, but its logic is simple and effective: if we dogmatically reject all ideas that lack empirical evidence as imagination, we effectively hinder our capacity to objectively search for and discover new evidence. As an example, look at SI, Philly and Evo – they don’t search objectively like scientists; they simply declare it a done deal, then sit back and taunt more open-minded people because their own minds are made up. If that’s rationalism, I’ll pass.

    SI,

    Where is the empirical evidence for dark matter? Should we consider it imaginary? If so, tell that to today’s top scientists.

    Your question first presumes that there was an absence of evidence.

    Doesn’t your question first presume that there is an absence of evidence for God? Why criticize me for that which you took the initial liberty?

    There was always evidence of asteroids. We know that now.

    It’s correct that rocks have long been flying around in space, but it’s incorrect to say “there was always evidence for asteroids.” I know in lawyer-land it means something else, but in science, evidence is data used to evaluate a testable hypothesis. Point is, there was a time before the very amateur astronomer observed those little rocks (((Billy))) alluded to and wondered if perhaps they might have come from beyond Earth, and that was the day evidence for “rocks in outer space” was born.

    According to the logic you folks dogmatically espouse, which says we should reject ideas without empirical evidence, we would have had to reject this person’s brilliant idea as imagination simply because it was ahead of it’s time. To me, that’s a foolish and stubborn philosophy that is ultimately irreverent of critical thinking, not accountable to it, as many of today’s “standard facts” once lacked empirical evidence. If everyone had followed your logic then, they might not be standard facts now.

    Anyways, if you concede that evidence for something can exist but remain unrecognized – as you just did with asteroids – don’t you have to also concede that inability to see evidence for God can exist but remain unrecognized? And is that not what I’ve been saying for, oh… three weeks now?

    So your question is just silly, nonsensical, designed to obfuscate, and helpful only if you are playing semantic games, which, I contend, again, is your modus operandi.

    Quick! Get a towel! The above statement literally oozes with hypocrisy!

  80. Point is, there was a time before the very amateur astronomer observed those little rocks (((Billy))) alluded to and wondered if perhaps they might have come from beyond Earth, and that was the day evidence for “rocks in outer space” was born.

    On that day, that person had a hypothesis. You can be quite sure that (assuming he was *truly* the first to think of it) everyone else thought it a poor idea – at best. But that doesn’t mean it was completely ignored. It was looked at. In time, studies of the skies lent more and more credence to the hypothesis. More and more scientists started signing on to the likelihood and running their own studies to attempt to undermine or support the idea. Finally, it became irrefutable. At some point after that, even guys like you and me started accepting it.

    Now, let’s compare to the subject at hand – the existence of a deity.
    After all, this little exercise of yours is meaningless if it doesn’t somehow equate me with those who initially expressed extreme skepticism in the face of that “first” hypothesis, right? If not, let me know.

    Point is, there was a time before the very amateur theist observed those little mysteries and wondered if perhaps they might have come from beyond the known universe, and that was the day evidence for “gods in outer space” was born.

    For many thousands of years, these thoughts became stories which became legends and beliefs, culminating in religion – for this all started at a time long before scientific investigations. When we get to the time of the modern astronomers, finally looking into the sky with instruments, a natural concern of nearly all of them was to find god’s place in all of the facts they accumulated.

    On that day, science started having many hypotheses that included god. You can be quite sure that everyone else thought it a great idea – at least. It was far from ignored. It was looked at. Over and over and in many fields of study. In time, studies made clear there was no credence to the hypothesis. More and more scientists started signing on to the unliklihood and slowly studies that in any way included a “god hypothesis” faded.

    At best, we have reached a point of enough certainty that, while we can never scientifically eliminate “god/s”, we can ignore claims unless someone were to come along and provide such obvious and strong evidence that at least some of the now huge and technologically advanced sciences would *absolutely* take interest. And *that* would just be the beginning of many new lines of inquiry that would be launched. I would be fascinated if that happened. I know Philly and SI well enough to know they’d be fascinated too.

    But, guess what, cl? I’m not a scientist and neither are they – or you. You worry about *us* looking at the so-called evidence? You need to get real, man. If you and others actually have some evidence – here, at *your* blog, anywhere in world – I can *assure* you that there are scientists who will be exceedingly interested in looking at it and perhaps launching some new studies. But they don’t, do they? How come, cl? Are all these scientists as closed-minded as Evo, Philly and SI? Even the deists among them? Even the theists among them? Ever heard of the Templeton Foundation? Ever heard of Francis Collins? Stop your silliness right now, cl.

    There is no god.

  81. Philly,

    The whole point here is that I challenge your premise that there is a “lack of evidence” for God or gods, and don’t echo yourself again by saying, “Show it,” because you know where a few pieces are. Go respond cogently, or don’t ask for evidence anymore. You guys asked, I gave, you denied or ignored as usual.

    Second, your video is irrelevant, because I know that science thrives off open-mindedness, which is willingness to consider new ideas. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, and that’s why I really don’t understand why you act like Mr. Rational Pro-Science guy, because you think you’ve already got it all figured out. All this “stuff” either came from nothing or has always been here and humanity just happened to get really, really lucky, you declare between the subtext, even though there’s no empirical evidence for the former and the latter itself poses quite the conundrum for you Occam’s misusers. Then, all the people who think God might have had a hand in things are [fill in the blank with Philly's insult du jour]. It’s Philly’s way, or the highway, and that’s more in line with Fundamentalism than rationalism.

    Evo,

    It was looked at.

    Not by the closed-minded ones who rejected it as imaginary! By them it was laughed at, just as you currently laugh at the idea of God.

    ..there was a time before the very amateur theist observed those little mysteries and wondered if perhaps they might have come from beyond the known universe, and that was the day evidence for “gods in outer space” was born. (Evo, bold mine)

    Yet, isn’t “outer space” part of the “known universe,” John? I note you share SI’s opinion that man invented gods to explain nature, and I note your tendency to share SI’s tendency towards baseless probability claims. I further note your refusal to even address the additional data points you asked me to assure you were scientific. Now, if all you’re going to do is preach atheism, you’ll have to excuse me. Your whole rant indicates you misunderstand the scope of science, which involves the apprehension of testable hypotheses regarding natural phenomena.

  82. cl “Where is the empirical evidence for dark matter? Should we consider it imaginary? If so, tell that to today’s top scientists.”
    You really should’ve asked those top scientists. Dark matter does have evidence, and consistently so. The universe (big picture) behaves as though it’s heavier than it was thought to be, and consistently so. Ergo, more mass should be there; mass that we can’t detect as mass, but can detect by it’s gravitical (note: not a real word) effects. What dark matter is is the question, not whether it’s there at all.

  83. Your whole rant indicates you misunderstand the scope of science

    Your entire career in the blogosphere is a misunderstanding of science. But just go ahead and assert that it’s Evo (oh, and the entire scientific community including those few who go to church every Sunday). Don’t respond to my “rant”, just dismiss it.

    I actually made a concerted effort for a considerable period of time to overlook some of your glaring flaws and just deal rationally with your points. I still occasionally give you that very human consideration. But you have repeatedly proved to me that you don’t deserve it. Others, of course, are free to address you differently but from me you’ll get what you’ve been getting. If you want to “excuse” yourself, you won’t have to worry about me chasing you around.

    I’m not a scientist and neither are they – or you. You worry about *us* looking at the so-called evidence? You need to get real, man. If you and others actually have some evidence – here, at *your* blog, anywhere in world – I can *assure* you that there are scientists who will be exceedingly interested in looking at it and perhaps launching some new studies. But they don’t, do they? How come, cl? Are all these scientists as closed-minded as Evo, Philly and SI? Even the deists among them? Even the theists among them? Ever heard of the Templeton Foundation? Ever heard of Francis Collins?

    Before you start whining again that “Evo doesn’t understand science”, then ask yourself – in terms of that – why you think you have *any* evidence? If it’s not evidence regarding “testable hypotheses regarding natural phenomena” then why should I care? If I don’t care, why should millions of scientists who also happen to share my opinions about god, care?

    Since you are always so quick to reprimand SI and others for “supposing they know something they don’t”, please stop asserting I haven’t looked at your “evidence”, ‘K?

  84. Modus,

    Dark matter does have evidence, and consistently so.

    How about, try again? Yes, all the “stuff” weighs approximately 5X what the equations predict. Different story.

    Evo,

    There was nothing worth responding to in your rant. It was silly atheist preaching. Did you say anything scientific? Anything testable? No. You just went off.

    I actually made a concerted effort for a considerable period of time to overlook some of your glaring flaws and just deal rationally with your points.

    Why not just state them and we can deal with it? Rationalism is not your language. You form knee-jerk reactions based on your dislike of me. It’s obvious and undeniable.

    Others, of course, are free to address you differently but from me you’ll get what you’ve been getting.

    Of course. That’s because you’re not a freethinker, you’re just some guy with a lot of pride who doesn’t like me. You offer loose arguments that are easily exposed as non-cogent, so you attack me vs. my arguments. Whatever floats your boat. Go ahead and wait for empirical evidence to think.

  85. cl “How about, try again? Yes, all the “stuff” weighs approximately 5X what the equations predict. Different story.”
    And so? Our model, carried to really big picture, turned out to be incomplete. Hence the filler-term “dark” (because we can’t detect it, yet, which is why the model didn’t include it) “matter” (because of its gravitomological effects, which, as far as I’m aware, is the only reason why we do know that something’s there).

  86. Clearly cl doesn’t understand open-mindedness, which is why the video link was quite meaningful, as was the other link supporting what, when coming from me, is an example of my alleged lack of education yet now, coming from someone else, not so much apparently. Interesting, especially in light of allegations that we not only dismiss evidence, but we do so because of whom it comes from.

    To really put things as simply as possible, the dismissal of new ideas is based on what warrant(s) exists for their acceptance. Examining the warrant(s) is consideration, and in light of the inadequacy of the warrant(s), the idea is dismissed. The dismissal is no more closed-mindedness than non-dismissal in light of an inadequate warrant is open-mindedness. In fact, the latter is the definition of irrationality.

    I think he should stick to skateboarding. Clearly logic, rationality and the scientific method are things which allude him, or are willfully ignored in order to play the douche on blogs. Either way, it wastes a lot of people’s time addressing his comments.

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