The Concert For Darwin

I had the privilege of attending a gathering last evening billed as celebrating  the double anniversaries of Darwin’s birthday (200)  and the first publication of On The Origin of Species (150). For those who are not aware of recent events in the evolution vs. intelligent design pseudo-controversy, Harrisburg PA  was the focal point of this brouhaha back in 2005 when the trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover took place in Federal Court here.

Some of the local participants in the trial put together this little event as an anniversary celebration, and as a celebration of the outcome of the trial, roughly four years ago. It was sponsored in part by the local chapter of the ACLU and PA Nonbelievers. It was held at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, a wonderful little venue that was an old movie theater, refurbished and recently opened in downtown Harrisburg. The ambiance for a concert like this was perfect, as you sit in the store, facing the stage, surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It’s almost like being in a library, with the added advantage  of being able to buy the books you like.

The mistress of ceremonies was Lauri Lebo, who, as a reporter for the York Daily Record, wrote 124about the trial as it was happening. She also wrote a book about the trial which I reviewed in a previous post.  The show started with a scripture reading. OK, that was a little humor for all you theists out there. Actually, Eugenie Scott, from the National Center For Science Education, read a passage from the end of Origins to get everyone in the mood.

The first act was someone I was previously unfamiliar with, but no longer. Jefferson Pepper (who also happens to be married to the mistress of ceremonies) Jefferson Pepper 1is a singer/songwriter of considerable talent. His songs are in the alt-country or alt-folk genre of music, and he brought with him a very tight complement of  musicians to back him up. I was pleasantly surprised, because that’s my kind of music, and I was expecting  only a rap artist, Baba Brinkman who came on later. Anyway, he performed a few songs solo, then brought on his band, and they kicked ass. Songs Like “Open Up The Window (and let reality in)”, “Dover Darlin'” and “Armageddon For Sale”  fit the mood of the evening  perfectly.  Even Ken Miller was bopping along  (although he struck me as someone who felt right at home, for a college professor). Pepper then broke it up with a song about Paris Hilton (“Famous for Being Famous”).

Next up was the aforementioned Kenneth R. Miller, he of expert witness and mouse trap tie clip fame at 122the Dover trial. He gave a “non-lecture” lecture, backed up with a PowerPoint presentation, about the Dover trial. For someone unfamiliar with the trial, he set out a nice little synopsis of the issues raised, the history of the “controversy”, the trial itself, and its importance in the greater scheme of education. Of particular interest to me, a lawyer and history buff, was the communications he shared with Susan Epperson, of Epperson v. Arkansas, the Supreme Court case that did away with the laws outlawing the teaching of evolution in the various states that still had them on the books at the time. At one point after the Dover trial, he asked for a signed autograph from her, and she sent him a picture of herself with John Scopes, then an old man.

Miller ended his lecture with a rumination on what the future holds. Winning the Dover case doesn’t mean much when more people in the US believe in intelligent design creationism than evolution, even though the latter is a fact, and the former is speculation (read fantasy) at it’s finest. He surmised that one of the problems is that creationism has a certain simplicity and elegance to it, as a story, that leads people to embrace it, while science seems like something arcane, complex, and difficult to understand to most people. Yet, if evolution is properly understood, it has the ability to engender far more awe and wonder than creationism, and has far more explanatory power to boot. It’s just a matter of education, according to Miller.

Baba BrinkmanThe night ended with a rap performance by Baba Brinkman. Now, I’m not a rap aficionado, and Brinkman knew that his audience wasn’t pre-conditioned to accept his music (a relatively older crowd, it was), but he did a wonderful job of winning us over, in my opinion. He had previously established his rap credentials by setting the Canterbury Tales to rap, and performing it in England. There, someone suggested he do the same thing for Darwin, so he did. The result is a tour de force of poetical imagery that delved into an analysis, along with the nuances, of Darwins’s theory, while interweaving it with the concept of rap music itself.  It was informative, serious, enlightening and humorous all at the same time. You can download it if you’d like to hear it.

120It was an appropriate celebration of Darwin. A good crowd, including some of the Dover Plaintiffs, along with Eric Rothschild, the lead attorney for the case. We were enthusiastic, but it wasn’t hard to be so. The setting was perfect (how can you not enjoy a show about science when you are surrounded by so many books – but maybe that’s just me.)

I even ended up with a T-shirt with the “Darwin Rocks” logo from the poster on it.

Thanks Lauri, for inviting me.

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58 thoughts on “The Concert For Darwin

  1. Looks like it was a great time. Maybe I should have driven up to Hbg. instead of watching all three of my football teams (Iowa Hawkeyes, LSU Tigers and Washington Redskins) lose throughout the weekend.

  2. Hey and thanks so much for coming. It was a pleasure to meet you at the show. And for writing this nice review. I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to chat longer.

    Now, we just need to come up with an idea for next year’s show. 🙂

    Lauri

  3. I was watching a David Suzuki program dealing with Darwin, and, I’ll have to admit I learned something.

    I was previously unaware of just how fanatical Darwin was. I knew he’d slipped a cog (or two) when he lost his daughter, but, if it wasn’t for the help of his infidel buddies, he’d have published squat. He was such an emotional shipwreck at the end, he could barely function.

    He was into all of these weird and controversial healing remedies, like sitting in freezing water, having it poured over his head, etc. One of his buddies was into spiritualism, as well. Imagine that! An infidel trying to talk to dead people! In the end, he (Darwin) was yelling at his kids, wife, and anyone else that didn’t sit up on command. A real joy being around!

    I don’t normally give Suzuki’s programs the time of day, but, this one was good. It further confirmed the suspicions I’ve always had that Darwin was a basket case. Most cult leaders are, though.

    • I was watching a David Suzuki program dealing with Darwin…

      What was the name of the program and where was it broadcast? I find it hard to believe that Suzuki devoted a negative program to Darwin, so I’d be very interested in seeing it.

      • Don’t worry, SI, Suzuki wasn’t anything less than his usual ass-kissing self when it comes to his master Darwin. I just meant that his loving celebratory acknowledgment of the great cult leader’s life also revealed more of Darwin’s bizarre traits, which, if it had been a Christian that actually did the things that Darwin did, wouldn’t have gone without the usual vitriol and mocking Super Dave and other atheists normally reserve for the clergy and believers.

        So, you can sleep easy, tonight, SI, knowing that one of your favorite gurus hasn’t gone south on you. Even if he did, and pigs would be flying before that happened, you’d still be blessed with that nervous schizophrenic Dawkins and his tobacco-stained buddy Hitchens, et al.

        Actually, I could have gone for Eugenie in her younger days, she wouldn’t have been a bad piece…

        😉

        • Actually, I never heard of Suzuki before I looked him up on Google after your 1st comment. From what I read, your negative comments didn’t jibe with a well renowned geneticist. Apparently, you watched the show for the sole purpose of gleaning whatever it is that makes you feel smug and confident in your belief system, completely ignoring the scientific revolution he initiated.

          You ought to watch the a Discovery show about Hitler. I think he loved animals and children.

          • Well, you know the old saying, SI, keep your friends close, but, your enemies closer. I always like to know what infidels are up to. Super Dave is even more virulent than Dawkins, probably on a par with Hitchens, on a good day, though Hitchens is a tad more polished. He’s also a rabid enviro-freak, though his lifestyle and corporate affiliations tend to belay any portended sensibilities he has for the preservation of nature. He can be a snide son of a bitch when he feels like it, too.

            Are you endorsing Hitler, SI? Well, I guess anyone that styles himself after the likes of Torquemada and picks a notorious insect predator for an avatar, would only naturally identify with a dictator. I know Hitler liked German Shepherds (for their aggressive nature) and he doted on a particular niece, (who died under very suspicious circumstances) otherwise I have no other evidence what you say about his loves are true.

            TOG, I know you don’t care about anything that isn’t in the realm of fantasy, but, there are many that are interested in knowing about Darwin’s aberrant traits. As I inferred in my first comment, if Darwin had been a Christian minister or something along that line, you’d have been quite happy to have pointed out all his quirks in a less-than-favorable analogy. But, since he happens to be Humanism’s answer to the Brothers Grimm, you’ll bend over a table any day to accept his dogma in your intellectual sphincter.

            I now present the floor for the inevitable and usual fusillade of ‘scientific’ rebuttal.

            • if Darwin had been a Christian minister or something along that line, you’d have been quite happy to have pointed out all his quirks in a less-than-favorable analogy. But, since he happens to be Humanism’s answer to the Brothers Grimm, you’ll bend over a table any day to accept his dogma in your intellectual sphincter.

              I now present the floor for the inevitable and usual fusillade of ’scientific’ rebuttal.

              There’s nothing “scientific” about it, Giddy. It’s quite obvious. Common sense, even. Try it, you might actually get good at it.

              If a Christian minister exhibits, as you say, aberrant traits, and those traits seem to be opposed by his active preaching on morality, then that makes him a hypocrite, and he’s fair game for an accusation of hypocrisy. Think pedophile priests.

              However, if Darwin has aberrant traits (let’s use the priest’s pedophilia as an example) and he also discovers a scientific theory, he’s not preaching any morality that’s contradicted by his pedophilia. His science stands on its own. If his science is valid, it doesn’t matter how reprehensible he personally is, the science is still valid.

              So it doesn’t matter if Darwin liked to try home remedies, or experimented with spiritualism. If evolution is correct, it’s correct. The idea exists independent of the man who discovered it.

              Were you aware that Darwin was actually the co-discoverer of evolution, along with Alfred Russel Wallace? Darwin wrote far more extensively and brilliantly on it, but it was actually discovered somewhat simultaneously by two different people. If you accept that, don’t you need to delve into Wallace’s background in order to properly debunk evolution, using your thought process?

              I really never understand this fascination of Christians with denigrating Darwin, as if tearing down the man would tear down the theory. It’s a bit futile, isn’t it, once the idea is out there? Would you not believe in gravity if Newton raped little girls, or in relativity if Einstein robbed banks?

              You should have watched that program with a different attitude. You might have actually learned something.

      • I think the thing that’s most interesting is that Gideon is trumpeting all this negative stuff about Darwin as if anybody cared, even if any of it was true. He could be the most miserable person ever, it still wouldn’t make any difference to the science.

        Hell, you want miserable people, let’s talk artists for a while. Musicians and artists can be some of the most morose people with the most completely fucked-up lives, and yet their work can still be appreciated… in fact, many of them produced such beautiful work BECAUSE they were miserable. Edith Piaf, anyone?

  4. Gideon,

    [Suzuki’s] loving celebratory acknowledgment of the great cult leader’s life also revealed more of Darwin’s bizarre traits, which, if it had been a Christian that actually did the things that Darwin did, wouldn’t have gone without the usual vitriol and mocking Super Dave and other atheists normally reserve for the clergy and believers.

    So true, but you gotta realize, like many atheists and skeptics who visit this site, SuperDave has genuine difficulty being impartial. I had typed almost this exact sentiment earlier today, then I just said “screw it” and didn’t post it. Why I actually posted the second time around, I dunno.

    SI,

    Well, I guess it’s good to see you’re feeling better, at least. First off,

    His science stands on its own. If his science is valid, it doesn’t matter how reprehensible he personally is, the science is still valid. So it doesn’t matter if Darwin liked to try home remedies, or experimented with spiritualism. If evolution is correct, it’s correct. The idea exists independent of the man who discovered it.

    I completely agree, and I’ll be bookmarking that comment of yours for future reference, so I don’t ever want to hear you imply or agree with those who imply that Christian contributions to science can be marginalized on account of the scientist’s beliefs.

    ..if Darwin has aberrant traits (let’s use the priest’s pedophilia as an example) and he also discovers a scientific theory, he’s not preaching any morality that’s contradicted by his pedophilia.

    I don’t think that was the concern: Gideon’s said that if a Christian were to embrace the same sorts of “woo” Darwin apparently embraced later in life, a certain subset of atheists would use those facts to discredit that Christian. I’ve seen it done; in fact, atheists routinely criticize Christians, New Agers and anyone else who doesn’t tow their closed-minded party lines as “woo” supporters. I believe what Gideon’s asking is, “Where’s the consistency?”

    Can you admit that by your own standards – despite his theories on natural selection – that Darwin was apparently rather into woo? I just want to hear you say one time that “Darwin was into woo,” and that will have gone a long way towards proving your own impartiality to me.

    Were you aware that Darwin was actually the co-discoverer of evolution, along with Alfred Russel Wallace?

    Funny you’d mention Wallace. Many of TitForTat’s comments – the same ones PhillyChief and others mock him for – resonate quite well with Wallace’s core beliefs. Imagine that.

  5. Although I consider Darwin to be every bit as fanatical as any religious zealot could be, it isn’t (as cl points out) a matter of the man so much as infidel inconsistency.

    However, I would question his more than any priest’s competency in their office, as he is the founder/co-founder (whatever) of his particular cult. If a Christian fucks up, it’s no slur on the faith, itself. But, Darwin is the ‘god’ of his religion, so if he fucks up, he has more to answer for. Just as I expect his followers (you, SI) to occasionally fuck up, I expect Darwin to be right on top of his game.

    Right. He’s only human, like us. So, abstain from identifying imperfect Christians with imperfection on God’s part. Otherwise, you contradict yourselves.

    However, it isn’t unreasonable to more closely scrutinize someone that exhibits the strange behavior that he did, as his qualification as an intellectual depends largely upon his mental competence. I say there is room for doubt where Chucky’s concerned.

    • I would question his more than any priest’s competency in their office, as he is the founder/co-founder (whatever) of his particular cult. If a Christian fucks up, it’s no slur on the faith, itself. But, Darwin is the ‘god’ of his religion, so if he fucks up, he has more to answer for. Just as I expect his followers (you, SI) to occasionally fuck up, I expect Darwin to be right on top of his game.

      C’mon Giddy. I’m letting your comments in here, so work with me. You lose ALL credibility with this stuff. At least here. On some rabid Christian blog they might pant breathlessly when you say these things, but not here.

      This is just plain stupid. There is no “cult”, Darwin isn’t a “god”, and he has no followers, except in the wishful thinking of people like you. Not even most Christians think that. cl, would you set him straight? He won’t listen to me.

      Right. He’s only human, like us. So, abstain from identifying imperfect Christians with imperfection on God’s part. Otherwise, you contradict yourselves.

      Bad analogy, Giddy. If Darwin is an imperfect human, then he’s an imperfect human. Evolution still is the best explanation for the origin of species.

      But if an imperfect Christian tries to tell me his god is perfect, and he’s created in his image, what am I supposed to think? And if that imperfect human tells me his interpretation of the Bible is the correct one, what more should I think?

      it isn’t unreasonable to more closely scrutinize someone that exhibits the strange behavior that he did, as his qualification as an intellectual depends largely upon his mental competence.

      I have no problem with that, except as you seem to be applying it here. This “woo” stuff of Darwin’s, if I understand it, was late in life. Of what relevance does it have to his theories, published long before?

      By the same token, should we reject Anthony Flew’s near-end-of-life re-conversion to belief in “something” simply because in other respects he seems aged, addled and confused? And does his later change of heart mean we should throw out all of his previous thinking and writing when he was younger?

      • SI, I’ve been trying to “work with you” from day one. Trying to get a serious conversation out of you in the presence of your fan club and resident attack dogs, is like picking fly shit out of pepper with boxing gloves on. And, I’m not “most Christians”, okay? “Most Christians” don’t even follow the Bible, anymore. As you and your cronies are so fond of bitching about, many today are consumed by tradition and politics. Christ didn’t have anything good to say about those that followed tradition over the plain word. And, if you can believe it, I’m even LESS welcome on some of those “rabid Christian” sites you speak of than I am here!

        By the way, I never meant Darwin was into spiritualism, it was Wallace I was referring to. Read my first comment again…

        “One of his buddies was into spiritualism, as well.”

        This is what I’ve said, before, about you not paying attention. Anyway, according to Suzuki, Darwin always was somewhat bizarre in his habits. His family suffered for his obsession with trying to discredit Christianity. That’s straight from the infidel’s mouth, not mine! I watched the show, you obviously didn’t. And, how the hell you couldn’t have known about Super Dave’s existence before this, is beyond me! The guy is second only to Al Gore in the environMENTAL movement.

        Did you know that the last ones to know they are part of a cult are the cultists themselves? What kind of response do you think you’ll get if you tell someone brainwashed by some charismatic leader they are dupes? Take a look at your post… you don’t think that whole evening wasn’t an act of veneration? I say that not because of one specific evening, but as the culmination of having witnessed all of yours and the other infidels’ writings and comments. This guy is like a god to you. You make fun of Christ and His Father, and venerate a hyper old infidel that neglected his family and himself in his obsession to discredit God, so much so, that he had to resort to all kinds of extreme methods to heal his body, just so he could continue destroying it again. Then, like Wallace, who hedged his bet playing parlor games with mediums, Darwin goes and recants on his deathbed! (I know, YOU think that never happened.)

        Yes, Darwin was an imperfect human. That’s my whole point! But, infidels make him out to be a god, the way they go on and on about him. Try listening to Dawkins for more than five minutes, before he’s kiss-assed Darwin at least a half-dozen times. After all, Darwin’s “the father of EVILution” according to Richard. I can get away with venerating Christ, because, He was and IS God. I couldn’t do that with a dead Darwin!

        Also, you have to take into account that a literalist, like myself, views the second commandment as meaning that any homage not delivered to God the Creator, is considered idolatry, in the strictest interpretation of the word. So, if you love Darwin and hate God, you’re an idolater, simple as that. You fuck another man’s wife, you’re an adulterer. You steal your neighbor’s car, you’re a thief. Nowadays, there is a tendency to water things down, and analyze everything to death. At some point, there is no right or wrong, just perception. Sorry to tell you, though, that just because man thinks it’s okay to flip-flop, doesn’t mean that God’s happy with it.

        I know you being a lawyer, you’re happy with having thousands of laws and ordinances on the books. It’s $$$ in the bank for you. Also, in a politically-correct world, everyone’s needs have to be “addressed”. God is no respecter of persons, especially the politically-correct. He runs this universe according to just ten laws. I guess man is the dummy… he needs thousands to do what only ten of God’s can do!

        Lose credibility? ME? LOL! Like I ever had any of that around here! And, of course you know I really don’t give a shit what you or anyone else thinks about me or my “credibility.” I’m the kind of person that doesn’t worship political-correctness, and I call a spade a spade. You guys are idolaters, because you don’t worship God. There is no middle ground, son, you either do or you don’t.

        You say some pretty incredulous things, sometimes. I’m wondering just how much religious training you had as a youth! Where in the fuck did you get the idea that God created an imperfect man? Man FELL from perfection in Eden. He still bears some resemblance to God in form, but, in mind and spirit, he isn’t even close to representing God. That’s like saying God created sin! My belief is that at least half of all infidels might not be infidels if they actually UNDERSTOOD scripture! In watching you rebels over the past few months, I’ve seen so much error and misunderstanding – hell, if I’d commented on all the instances where you guys had it all fucked up, doctrinally, my fingers would be worn down from typing!

        Well, it’s up to you. If you want to believe fairy tales, I couldn’t care less. It’s late, and some of us have to work for a living.

    • I hope I don’t regret this one in the morning!

      ********************

      Gideon, love ya, but do you need a cup of coffee? Or do I?

      If a Christian fucks up, it’s no slur on the faith, itself.

      That’s you talking, right? As in, you don’t believe that errors of individual Christians are any slur on the faith? If so, I agree only that the errors of Christians relate zero to the ultimate truth of falsity of Christianity. That you error as a Christian is precisely the “evidence” I’ve heard SI, Evo and others use to fallaciously evaluate the ultimate truth of falsity of Christianity; that’s silly.

      However, the errors of individual Christians are most certainly slurs on the faith, or at least grounds for legitimate provisional doubts. Christ is supposed to change people for the better, right? The “light” we shine to others is supposed to be our testimony, right? That’s a testable proposition, methinks, so when somebody doesn’t see the change they’d expect, aren’t they at least justified in provisionally believing that either Christ doesn’t change anybody, or that the particular person needs a lesson in one or more directions? Christ Himself said, “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matt. 7:16)

      So, abstain from identifying imperfect Christians with imperfection on God’s part. Otherwise, you contradict yourselves.

      I agree that SI, Evo and others have identified your imperfections (as they perceive them) with perceived imperfection of your beliefs, and that such is fallacious and non-productive.

      However – contradictory? Not so sure, actually. Does SI identify imperfections in Darwin’s character with imperfections in evolution? No, but in all honesty I don’t think he should, because the science either stands or falls on its own merit, regardless of the man – and further – the science itself makes no claims regarding ability to change a man, or how a man ought to act.

      Don’t get me wrong: in the same vein, I just told you that the the errors of Christians relate zero to the ultimate truth of falsity of Christianity – and I believe I’m being consistent here – but we ought to take into account the nature of the claims: though it is certainly used by some as a license for licentiousness, belief in evolution is not purported to produce any sort of positive behavioral changes in an individual. Hence, there’s no rule that says somebody who believes in evolution ought to be nice, or 100% “rational” in all other areas.

      OTOH, belief in Christ is purported to effect positive behavioral changes in the believer. The very claim of Christianity is a changed life for the better, right? So when “infidels” don’t see what they’re supposed to – aren’t their doubts at least provisionally justifiable?

      SI,

      cl, would you set him straight? He won’t listen to me.

      Sorry; you’ve gotten all the help you’ll get from me in this thread. Do atheists claim that Darwin is a god? Of course not. Yet, we have signs that say “Praise Darwin” (and that in the name of freethought BTW), right? Get rid of those signs and the Darwin industry, and you’ll have more ground to stand on.

      And, Darwin has no followers? Please. The point is that a subset of atheists give Darwin the same sort of veneration the religious normally reserve for their own prophets. My belief is that this is undeniably true.

      But if an imperfect Christian tries to tell me his god is perfect, and he’s created in his image, what am I supposed to think?

      I would think, “Gee, there’s a discrepancy,” and I’d dig deeper.

      I can’t imagine I’d ever claim that, nor can I remember ever claiming it in the past.

      That’s fine; just stay on your toes.

      The problem I have is usually the opposite – Christians claiming that because so and so (the Great Scientist) was a Christian, Christianity is somehow true.

      That is a problem; send those Christians my way and I’ll definitely get your back on that.

      Do you have a problem with [ildi] questioning [T4T’s] belief on the topic? (brackets mine)

      No. I have a problem with her arrogant assertions and delivery, and especially those of the aetheosphere’s resident bulldog (PhillyChief). PhillyChief in particular used subjective nonsense in response to T4T, eventually just resorting – as usual – to calling him “dense” and being done with it. So you know, I find your apparent approval of his strategy loathsome. You’ve often criticized me for not taking Gideon to task when you think I should, but I’ve never once heard you take PhillyChief to task when I think you should.

      Well, Wallace, to the contrary, WAS into “woo”. Spiritualism, in particular, from what I read on his Wiki page.

      So, if I can find something analogous to a Wikipedia page claiming that Darwin was into woo, you’ll say it?

      • I have a problem with her arrogant assertions and delivery…

        Well no one likes arrogance but the perception of arrogance is often subjective. I watch some of those fire and brimstone preachers, and I see pure arrogance, while the smiling sheep in the pews probably see nothing but humility. To each their own. Point is, it’s not the delivery that has any meaning for me, it’s the substance. You don’t like Philly’s brusque, in-your-face style? Tell him, but in the end, all your talking about is superficialities that have no meaning beyond these comments. That’s why I initially tried to tolerate Gideon, because in the end, his blather, while annoying, is remarkably shallow. The only reason I moderate him now is to prevent the total hijacking of this blog, which is what I saw happening. Otherwise, it’s just words.

        What I find more annoying is errors of substance, or disagreements of substance. The biggest one is the assumption that god exists. That to me is the question that has far more meaning, and more practical applications to everyday reality than anything else. We spent a considerable amount of time on that one issue in past posts, with nothing convincing ever being put forward other than faith statements (Which, to me, are unconvincing). Look at Giddy’s last comment:

        You make fun of Christ and His Father, and venerate a hyper old infidel that neglected his family and himself in his obsession to discredit God,

        There is pure, naked belief with nothing backing it up. The way I see it, Giddy venerates a fictional character, while I admire a real life one who discovered the answer to a long sought after question, in the process making the world a truly better place. Can’t say that about his fictional character. I don’t “venerate” anything, other than ideas, because it’s ideas that truly transform the world. He venerates a fictional person, in an embarrassingly obsequious manner to boot, a fictional character who has done nothing to make this world better, and, to the contrary, arguably holds it back.

        But that’s my opinion based on a lack of belief which in turn is based on a lack of evidence.

        So, you’re not going to get me worked up about stylistic problems of individual commenters. You want to chastise Philly for his attitude, he’ll keep ignoring you. You want to point out an error of fact to him, he’ll come back swinging. I don’t care, anymore than I care that Gideon comes to your defense on occasion, and vice versa.

        One more thing:

        Yet, we have signs that say “Praise Darwin” …

        Get real. “Praise Jesus” signs are serious, worshipful…ummm… prayers to a person that sign holder actually believes will reward him for the praise. “Praise Darwin” signs are tongue-in-cheek parodies of the first thing. You don’t really believe…well…I guess you do. Which says a lot.

        • I think you touched upon something major in this post, and that is the veneration of ideas as opposed to veneration of people.

          cl and Gideon, being christian, venerate a person (or people, or whatever you call 3=1 persons these days). While they presumably likes this person’s ideas, they have moved past venerating those ideas into venerating the person with those ideas. Having boarded the Jesus train, they now have that extra baggage of having to defend the person instead of just the ideas. Other people speaking out against Jesus threatens to undo everything cl and Gideon have attached to Jesus, and so they don’t like other people impugning or mocking or blaspheming or whatever.

          We, on the other hand, think Darwin was a pretty cool guy for the theories he put forth that literally changed the world. We don’t PERSONALLY venerate Darwin himself, however, though we may venerate his ideas. cl and Gideon, however, cannot comprehend that disconnect between the person and the ideas, because they do not make such a distinction. They think they can dismantle all of Darwin’s ideas by going after Darwin, but they don’t recognize that other people do not think this way, and they wind up sputtering impotently, trying to insult or discredit someone that we don’t care if they insult.

          The comment by Gideon where he attempts to… accomplish something… by smearing Darwin (not knowing that we find it irrelevant if that stuff is in fact true, and mere slander if it’s not) and the comment by cl in which he seriously seems to believe that joke “Praise Darwin” signs are actually prayers showing atheist devotion to Darwin show that they really aren’t capable of separating a person from their ideas.

          I quite seriously have nobody that I view like christians view Jesus… Einstein, for example, is one of my biggest role models, and I acknowledge that he had some serious relationship issues.

          Okay, maybe I come CLOSE to worshipping Bill Nye, but that’s not the same thing at all… is it?

          • Bill Nye, the Science Guy? There’s hero worship, and then there’s god worship. I don’t think they are the same thing. As much as Gideon, and to a certain extent, cl, claims we “venerate” humans, I think they are way off base. We admire them because we see them doing something we wish we could do (sort of like I’d like to play the guitar like Jerry Garcia). But that’s not like religious worship. Nothing like it, except from a semantic point of view.

            I don’t expect anything in return for my “worship” of Jerry Garcia. He’s not going to make me one of his minions in guitar heaven after I die. I don’t believe he exists somewhere where he can intercede in my life. I just admire him. It’s that simple. I admire my father too. I don’t worship him.

            Theists justify their own god worship by pointing to such things as “Praise Darwin”, because they can then say we’re no different, when they know, deep down, probably subconsciously, that their worship of fictional characters is baseless. But if we do the same thing, then it can’t be all that bad.

            • “There’s hero worship, and then there’s god worship.”

              Yes, that’s exactly it, I think. Another way theists can muck about with definitions (do I ever hate the word “faith,” omfg) to try and make it seem like we do all the same things. When it comes down to it, atheists just do not engage in the same sorts of thinking they do, and they really can’t relate or imagine how we think.

  6. so I don’t ever want to hear you imply or agree with those who imply that Christian contributions to science can be marginalized on account of the scientist’s beliefs.

    I can’t imagine I’d ever claim that, nor can I remember ever claiming it in the past. The problem I have is usually the opposite – Christians claiming that because so and so (the Great Scientist) was a Christian, Christianity is somehow true. How many times have Christians thrown in my face “Well, Newton was a Christian!” expecting me to thank Christianity for his discoveries? More than once.

    Gideon’s said that if a Christian were to embrace the same sorts of “woo” Darwin apparently embraced later in life, a certain subset of atheists would use those facts to discredit that Christian.

    Well, yes and no. By today’s standards, if those things (soaking in freezing water, spiritualism) were actually something Darwin did, (and I’m not getting into, nor do I care, whether they are true) they would be considered some form of crack-pottery, and properly derided. But by the standards of the day, no, Darwin would have been no different than anyone else, so to somehow discount his science in a completely different field because of it would not be justified. Medical knowledge wasn’t as well formed as it is today (thanks in part to Darwin himself, ironically), and it was not uncommon to teat ailments with home remedies, and the idea of a spirit world was very prevalent. He was an expert in one field, not all fields.

    But for a Christian to embrace “woo” today can and should be noted, and derided where unjustified. Shit, I think anyone that believes in gods are wackos, but it’s still a very common belief, and just because I see no sense in it (yes, it’s my opinion) doesn’t necessarily mean that all “woo” believers are wacko in all things, merely that they believe in things they cannot substantiate convincingly.

    I’ve seen it done; in fact, atheists routinely criticize Christians, New Agers and anyone else who doesn’t tow their closed-minded party lines as “woo” supporters. I believe what Gideon’s asking is, “Where’s the consistency?”

    See above. If “Christians, New Agers and anyone else” (including atheists) have wacky woo beliefs, they should not be upset if asked to substantiate them. I believe Ilda and ToT were having that discussion about touch healing in the other thread, which I don’t think got resolved in any way, but it was an interesting debate. Do you have a problem with Ilda questioning ToT’s belief on the topic?

    Can you admit that by your own standards – despite his theories on natural selection – that Darwin was apparently rather into woo? I just want to hear you say one time that “Darwin was into woo,” and that will have gone a long way towards proving your own impartiality to me.

    I don’t know, and as I said above, don’t care. I have never read a biography of him and didn’t see the Suzuki program. So, I don’t know. Given the times, I wouldn’t doubt that he knocked on wood, or threw salt over his shoulder, or had other superstitions, but a really don’t know. Sorry if that doesn’t make you happy, but sometime “I don’t know” is the only answer.

    I certainly won’t agree to it on Giddy’s say so. As far as I know, he may have had the Darwin show mixed up with one on Houdini, who was seriously into “woo”.

    Funny you’d mention Wallace…

    Well, Wallace, to the contrary, WAS into “woo”. Spiritualism, in particular, from what I read on his Wiki page.

  7. I believe Ilda and ToT were having that discussion about touch healing in the other thread, which I don’t think got resolved in any way, but it was an interesting debate.(SI)

    Actually I believe it was resolved. ilda did admit there was some science to some of my claims. So there! Pffttttttttttttt

  8. SI,

    ..the perception of arrogance is often subjective.

    All perception is subjective; what do you gain from restating the obvious?

    I watch some of those fire and brimstone preachers, and I see pure arrogance, while the smiling sheep in the pews probably see nothing but humility.

    I agree, and I’m actually quite glad you typed that, because that’s EXACTLY what I see here, just in a dogmatic atheist context. For example, you CONTINUALLY gloss right over flaws in atheist arguments (including your own), just like any other “smiling sheep in the pews.” I know you will likely deny this charge to the grave, but please, for the sake of reason just try to see it from the outside sometime.

    You don’t like Philly’s brusque, in-your-face style? Tell him, but in the end, all your talking about is superficialities that have no meaning beyond these comments… What I find more annoying is errors of substance,

    Sure, if you want to ignore my statements to the contrary. I don’t have an opinion on Philly’s style. Actually, I take that back: I do. I think he’s quite funny. He’s a witty guy, a real jokester, and there’s no getting around that. His WIT is not what I have a problem with, as that WOULD be superficial. What I’m trying to tell you is that Philly’s ARE errors in substance. When I or any other person calls him on it, he resorts to name-calling like any other playschool kid. And whereas I’ve taken a clear stance against several of Gideon’s attacks, you unwaveringly support Philly’s.

    Do I sleep worse at the end of the day because of some online smart-ass with a Nietzsche fetish? Of course not. Thing is, everybody here makes LARGE pretense to logic and rationalism, yet those are often the first two things discarded. I imagine you’ll deny that one to the grave, too. Oh well; not my blind spot.

    That’s why I initially tried to tolerate Gideon, because in the end, his blather, while annoying, is remarkably shallow. The only reason I moderate him now is to prevent the total hijacking of this blog, which is what I saw happening.

    Ah, I see: your superficialities are valid objections. See what I mean?

    There is pure, naked belief with nothing backing it up. (re some comment of Gideon’s)

    Sucks, doesn’t it? That’s exactly how I feel when I read your “arguments,” which are almost always opinions. Like I said, Gideon’s a mirror, and now you know what it feels like to read your own arguments.

    But that’s my opinion based on a lack of belief which in turn is based on a lack of evidence.

    Hey, at least you’re coming around: still though, it’s your opinion based on your assertion of lack of evidence. There is evidence consist with things supernatural, you just either refuse to accept it, refuse to comprehend it, or refuse to even look at it altogether. If that’s the type of “rigorous investigation” you want to rest on, be my guest.

    You want to point out an error of fact to [Philly], he’ll come back swinging.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come back flapping his mouth maybe, but that’s always about it. He’ll come out calling names, just like every other time. He’s a name-caller, not a debater: “Geez, T4T don’t think like me, he must be SO dense!” Yeah, some argument.

    Here’s the most recent example, where Philly claimed his comments to T4T “weren’t subjective opinions.” Yet,

    1) “You know, you’ve got to let go of this juvenile crap. Trying to deflect the fact that you’re wrong by labeling those pointing out your errors as know-it-alls isn’t productive.” (PhillyChief, Nov. 2 @ 8:41am)

    That’s a subjective opinion, right?

    2) “I’m thinking T4T must be playing games, because I can’t fathom how someone can be so dense.” (PhillyChief)

    Another subjective opinion, + name-calling, right?

    3) “Currently, there is nothing to warrant belief in an internal, constant energy or soul; therefore, beliefs concerning that’s where our conscious lies, within or through it our consciousness exists and will one day exist after our bodies die, or anything else you can imagine which relies wholly or in part on the existence of this energy is unwarranted.” (PhillyChief, Nov. 2 @ 11:15am)

    Yet another subjective opinion, right? Who the hell made Philly the arbiter of warrant?

    Nope! No subjective opinions here! No sirreeeee!! After all, we’re rational, we’re logical, we’re ATHEISTS!!

  9. And whereas I’ve taken a clear stance against several of Gideon’s attacks, you unwaveringly support Philly’s.

    Newsflash! Perhaps I agree with him and disagree with you. Do you think that’s why I might “take his side” by saying nothing? We are still talking about his factual assertions and opinions, not his style right?

    Gideon, on the other hand, is easy to disagree with, even when you’re on the same side.

    Why do you feel compelled to see me disagree with Philly?

    Ah, I see: your superficialities are valid objections. See what I mean?

    No. I don’t.

    That’s exactly how I feel when I read your “arguments,” which are almost always opinions.

    I’ve never pretended to intellectual infallibility. This blog is all about opinions. If you disagree with them, say so. I don’t get upset. But please stop lecturing me about my right to voice my opinions.

    After all, we’re rational, we’re logical, we’re ATHEISTS!!

    Hey, I like that! That would look good on a bumper sticker, if it weren’t so supercilious.

  10. SI,

    We are still talking about his factual assertions and opinions, not his style right?

    Yeah, but they go together: Philly’s style is deal with factual issues irrationally – via namecalling or plain ol’ nonresponse – and you support that.

    Do you agree that the citations of Philly’s I provided constitute subjective opinions?

    Why do you feel compelled to see me disagree with Philly?

    Because it would show me that you can think for yourself, and swim upstream. Anytime I see “party lines” I react this way. Doesn’t matter whether the site’s Christian, atheist, or Nintendo.

    No. I don’t [see what you mean]

    Exactly. You attempted to marginalize my complaints about your boy by categorizing them as superficial, yet in the very next paragraph you attempt to justify your censorship of Gideon via appeal to the same crap.

    I’ve never pretended to intellectual infallibility. This blog is all about opinions. If you disagree with them, say so. I don’t get upset. But please stop lecturing me about my right to voice my opinions.

    I’m not lecturing you about your right to voice your opinions. I pay taxes for that right, and would defend it, just as I defend Gideon’s right to voice his opinions – which you apparently don’t seem too concerned about.

    What I’m “lecturing” you about are essentially these two things:

    1) I want to hear your actual arguments that you think justify your atheism;

    2) I want to know that you’re not just a Fundy redressed in Scarlet A.

  11. What I’m “lecturing” you about are essentially these two things:

    Why didn’t you SAY so!

    1) I want to hear your actual arguments that you think justify your atheism;

    Read my posts. There are 280 of them, so far. And my comments.

    2) I want to know that you’re not just a Fundy redressed in Scarlet A.

    I’m not.

    There. Happy?

  12. Why didn’t you SAY so!

    I’ve said those things before here, SI. For whatever reason, when it comes to my comments, you’re not the best reader.

    Read my posts. There are 280 of them, so far. And my comments.

    Um, I’ve read every post you’ve posted in the last six months. Literally, not a single one of them contains a memorably cogent argument as to why you’re an atheist, or why you think atheism is the better choice. You’ve got PLENTY of opinions and assertions, and PLENTY of slurs or implied slurs about believers, but VERY FEW actual arguments, let alone anything COGENT.

    You can prove me wrong by linking to a few of your strongest ARGUMENTS, if you’d like. Or not.

    I’m not. There. Happy?

    All that I see suggests otherwise and your word unfortunately doesn’t mean anything to me, SI. I need some evidence.

    ***********

    Nice dodge on answering my questions re Philly, BTW. See what I mean? Even when the proof is right there in front of you, we hear crickets. Way to cover his ass!

  13. cl –

    Once again, you seem to be expecting quite a lot out of a recreational blog. He won’t rehash the same things he’s said, in other words, and in less formality, in all his other posts. It’s up to the reader to paste the pieces together.

    Your suggestion that he should present all these arguments in the manner you want them to appear could very well take a great deal of time to do. Time he probably doesn’t have and doesn’t wish to put into this style of project.

    Really though, the evidence for atheism is this: the concept of God doesn’t make sense. The theories proposed for his existence don’t make sense, unless you suspend the laws of physics and chemistry (and the other sciences). And, though you may consider rare phenomena as evidence for supernatural, I don’t. Neither does SI.

    One thing that scientists aim to do is to reproduce their results. Many, many times before they ever reach a solid conclusion. Rare phenomena don’t fall under the qualification of reproducibility. If we can’t reproduce it, it can’t be verified, it can’t be revised and progressed.

    Simple, right? It isn’t complicated and no one has to be a scientist to understand it. Atheism makes no claims and therefore doesn’t need to produce a great amount of ‘evidence’ for the skepticism. It rejects a claim. All you need to reject a claim is reasonable doubt. A rejection, might I add, that isn’t permanent.

    In fact, you don’t need a great deal of reasoning for a rejection of a claim. I mean, I don’t take a lot of time to put reasoning behind my rejection on the existence of Ghosts or any other supposedly paranormal activity.

    • “Once again, you seem to be expecting quite a lot out of a recreational blog.”

      See, that’s the thing. He seems to think everyone should be as over-the-top obsessive compulsive as he is.

    • Subjective opinion noted.

      Subjective opinion noted.

      It’s all opinion, pot. Even everything you post. So stop calling the kettle black.

      WS is spot on. I’ve written 280 posts (well, not all essays, but most of them) there are over 6000 comments, many of which I’ve written in support of the OPs, and you can’t figure out what I think? I suggest that’s a problem with your brain chemistry, or something equally deficient on your end, not mine. No one but you seems to have any problem understanding me, at least the ones who read and write English.

      I need some evidence.

      You want me to provide evidence for a lack of belief? Are you serious? Aside from the clear burden shifting that requires, how does one do that? I think it is you who needs to provide evidence for theism, otherwise, I am perfectly justified, and need to prove nothing to you, by taking the default position of atheism. You and I both take the default position on everything else the human mind conjures up, such as leprechauns, pixies, time travel, Thor, etc. etc. etc. So why do I need to provide evidence to you for my lack of belief in this one other human mental construction?

      This is where your latent troll characteristics comes into play. I suspect you are not interested in any evidence whatsoever. You just want to argue. I say that because this has to be the upteenthh time this has been pointed out to you, yet you persist.

      It is not my job to convince you of anything. You want to read something that I agree with? I list the books in my supplemental About page. Go read those books, and if you understand them, you’ll have a very good understanding of what I think and agree with. If you see something you disagree with, point it out. If it’s something that interests me, I might engage in discussion with you on it.

      But, I’m not writing you a book.

  14. WS

    I would agree with you that it is easy to reject the idea of a creator if it is based on a Theistic approach. I dont think its as easy if it is viewed from another angle. I think it is more logical and reasonable to suppose something that has intelligence started this Universe off. I find it illogical and unreasonable to state conclusively that it is just random chance. But isnt the great thing about opinions is that we all have one. 😉

  15. TitforTat –

    I still think it’s easy, from whatever angle you can propose an intelligent creator. The burden of proof is on you. Basically, what you’re stating is that an intelligent being, operating outside the laws of everything we know of the universe (you should know all of those from Chemistry or Physics classes), existed without a creator itself. While you can state that, it’s much simpler to say the universe existed the entire time. But that’s an argument we’ve already had.

    Anyway, if there is a God, I think he’s done a poor job in his creations and someone should evaluate his performance. 😉

    • I think it’s “easy” to believe in a designing intelligence, simply because human experience tells us that everything we deal with on a day to day basis was designed in some way by someone who preceded us. It’s a function of human nature and experience, nothing more. But “easy”, in that sense is just lazy. It requires us to ignore the things we’ve learned about reality during the entire history of human existence, such as those things you’ve mentioned, the laws of nature. It requires a certain shutting down of our own intelligence, which tells us that life is not designed, because if it was, it was a piss poor designer at the helm.

      We wouldn’t accept the type of design we see in the universe when we plop down our hard earned money for those things we know are designed. For instance, would you buy food that you know would make you sick, that was designed to make you sick? Would you buy a car without wheels? Would you ride in an airplane that was designed without the ability to provide air while at 30,000 feet, or without landing gear?

      Then why do we marvel at the design of an earth with tectonic plates, volcanoes, earthquakes and catastrophic weather? Why go “oooo and ahhhh” over the newborn baby designed with incipient forms of cancer built into the genes? Are we so numbed by the sight of beautiful sunsets to ignore the serious damage that can be caused by that same sun to our bodies? Why get all gooey eyed over the beauty of a universe that is completely inaccessible to us?

      The whole “look around, it has to be designed” argument seems to be one of willful ignorance and stupidity.

      • This is where my language often confuses people. I find it easy to reject the claim of God for the reasons I mentioned and many of the ones you’ve mentioned because it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t work out during analysis. I find it more difficult to shut down that reasoning and try to convince myself this must all have been created.

        Although, I do see the beauty of the universe. Even in the disaster and the flaws. But that’s because of my interest in science and the knowledge, at least a basic knowledge, of how it came to be this way.

  16. Gah. It left me signed onto something else. I need to get in the habit of verifying what account I’m using. But, yes, just wanted to claim my statement preceding this one. The arrogance of that, right? :p

  17. Once again, you seem to be expecting quite a lot out of a recreational blog. (WritingShadows / Shad B.)

    See, that’s the thing. He seems to think everyone should be as over-the-top obsessive compulsive as he is. (That Other Guy)

    Make excuses for SI’s apparent lack of cogency all you want. I don’t find it convincing or relevant to arguments pertaining to (a)theism.

    SI,

    It’s all opinion, pot.

    Hasty generalization, not to mention completely false. There are matters of fact, and there are matters of opinion. You or any of your cronies telling me God “doesn’t make sense” is their opinion, not a matter of fact or even a sound argument. Rationalists are obligated to change their beliefs on the basis of facts and sound arguments, not mere assertions of opinion.

    ..you can’t figure out what I think?

    Yes, I can. Anybody can figure that out from reading any three random posts of yours. What I can’t figure out is why you’re always asserting your opinion that “there is no evidence for God,” yet save for Kayla which you actually conceded was “weak evidence for a miracle,” I’ve not heard you cogently respond to any evidence offered – and I’m not talking about “just the stuff I’ve offered.” For example, most atheist bloggers can point you to their posts rebutting common theist arguments. I vaguely recall discussing POE with you, Philly and Ex about two years ago, but other than that, it’s opinion, opinion, and more opinion.

    I need some evidence. (cl to SI)

    You want me to provide evidence for a lack of belief? Are you serious? Aside from the clear burden shifting that requires, how does one do that? I think it is you who needs to provide evidence for theism, otherwise, I am perfectly justified, and need to prove nothing to you, by taking the default position of atheism. You and I both take the default position on everything else the human mind conjures up, such as leprechauns, pixies, time travel, Thor, etc. etc. etc. So why do I need to provide evidence to you for my lack of belief in this one other human mental construction?

    Again, not the closest reader, are you? When I said, “I need some evidence,” that was in direct response to you merely asserting without evidence that, “you’re not just a Fundy redressed in Scarlet A.” That entire paragraph you wrote was in the incorrect context, which again suggests that you just gloss right over this stuff. If that’s the case, how much of what you think justifies your beliefs may be equally glossed over?

    This is where your latent troll characteristics comes into play. I suspect you are not interested in any evidence whatsoever. You just want to argue.

    Right: cry troll because you can’t even follow the basic context of the thread. Your lack of attention suggests further discussion might be futile, and I don’t want to argue. As far as me being “not interested in any evidence whatsoever,” I discuss evidence on my blog, and will be doing so throughout this year – but you only come there to troll, so who’s the one not interested in evidence?

    It is not my job to convince you of anything.

    I’m not asking of you to convince me of anything other than that you have sound responses to the various arguments and evidences for theism. Is that too much to ask for at this “recreational blog?”

    Presumably in response to TitForTat‘s line of thought, you said,

    It requires a certain shutting down of our own intelligence, which tells us that life is not designed, because if it was, it was a piss poor designer at the helm.

    Again you are simply incorrect: it DOES NOT require ANY “shutting down of our own intelligence” to posit intelligence behind the universe, whether we’re deists or theists. Lest you be tempted to dismiss that as “mere opinion,” did Einstein shut down his intelligence? Say yes and you’re obviously a fool, say no and you disprove your own statement.

    Also – coming full circle again – notice how your statement itself – that positing intelligence behind the universe “requires a certain shutting down of our own intelligence” – is LITERALLY based on your OPINION that, if there was intelligence behind the universe, “it was a piss poor designer at the helm.”

    This is why I ask you for more than opinion. Do you have it?

    Writing Shadows / Shad B.

    ..it’s much simpler to say the universe existed the entire time.

    If by universe you refer to all events this side of the singularity, I’d say you’re quite incorrect. If by universe you mean that this current iteration of MEST is just another in a series of iterations of MEST, you’ve now burdened yourself with the very criticisms you wage at theists.

    • cl –

      Matter of opinion noted.

      I can play your games too.

      And by Universe, as you probably could’ve guessed, I referred to the cosmos in its entirety. Which, because of its lack of intelligence, and lack of planning in spawning life, it is far less complicated than saying an intelligent force, capable of creating something from nothing, has always existed and has that great amount of power to defy the natural laws we recognize in physics and chemistry. At least a Universe having always existed doesn’t break any natural laws and it doesn’t suppose to.

      Not to sound redundant but… intelligence > non-intelligence. It is more complicated in its nature. I suppose I could do an analogy. You’ll have to forgive the crudeness of it; I don’t really care to craft a more precise image for you:

      Say that I create a model of a life form. Simply a model, that didn’t feel, didn’t think, nothing of that sort. And I crafted such a species from the building tools around me. There must have been a reason, a purpose, for my building of this. I wouldn’t build it otherwise. That’s the biggest picture. Now, I had reasons for choosing the features, every one of those features, for my created species. That can border on hundreds of reasons for a non-living, non-thinking creation.

      That can become extremely complicated and extremely ‘messy’.

      Apply that same concept to the entire cosmos. There are an infinite amount of details in this cosmos. If there were a creator, he’d certainly have a reason for every one of those details. Each of these reasons for every one of these details adds a layer of complexity, of intricacy to the model.

      Whereas the Universe having always existed, with it being a non-intelligent existence, doesn’t need reason for anything. It doesn’t put planning into the mix, it doesn’t reason or consider. It doesn’t predict. That is much simpler.

      • Recall my comment to you:

        If by universe you refer to all events this side of the singularity, I’d say you’re quite incorrect. If by universe you mean that this current iteration of MEST is just another in a series of iterations of MEST, you’ve now burdened yourself with the very criticisms you wage at theists.

        You’re not playing my game, because my comment to you does not reflect my subjective opinion of anything. These if/then contingencies represent ontologies that either exist or do not, regardless of opinion.

        Whereas the Universe having always existed, with it being a non-intelligent existence, doesn’t need reason for anything.

        “the Universe having always existed” requires just as much of an explanation of anything, and it’s not a mere question of “the Universe having always existed”.

        Unless we posit an eternally existing infinite regress of universes, or an eternally existing Mover capable of initiating the kinesis that is this universe, logic apparently requires that we MUST accept that MEST literally came from nothing. Recall that “nothing” refers even to a lack of potency, which makes this absurd: kinesis requires a transition from potency to act.

        As far as causality is concerned, if by simpler you mean “requires the least amount of additional explanation,” I wholeheartedly disagree. Doesn’t an infinite regress of universes entail an infinite regress of additional steps, whereas the reasons for the details of this universe are in fact finite? By default, the “layer of complexity” for an eternally existing infinite regress of universes is greater than that the layer of complexity of the reasons for the details of this universe – which however numerous they may be – are still finite. Wouldn’t it require an infinite number of extra steps one would have to traverse to apprehend causality?

        Clearly, Occam’s doesn’t like the infinite regress of universes theory, because that’s not simple at all. Rather, it’s all the complexity of this universe times infinity.

        I’m either correct or incorrect here. If you think any of that is subjective opinion, explain precisely when and where and why. If not, tell me when, where, and why I’m incorrect.

        • Your argument is eerily similar to Kelam’s Cosmological argument and the Argument from Contingency. Which, by the way, is flawed. It assumes that God is the end of the road. Which, it can’t be, because something must have created God according to this argument.

          The way you have it phrased, it isn’t an either/or. Your argument has the same flaw as the argument you /think/ I’m proposing.

          Yet, the fact remains that I’m not positing multiple universes. Just the 1. What happens after that is a matter of chemical reactions which could theoretically provide enough energy to create other universes (the Big Bang ring a bell?). Before the Big Bang do I know, or can I imagine what it was like? No. I’m still waiting for evidence.

          But yes, eventually, everyone who ultimately contemplates the existence of the entire cosmos has to a “it always existed” standpoint and it still doesn’t make sense to posit an eternally existed God than an eternally existing matter with energy that exists in time and space. Now, if you want to say God always existed then you have to say that he existed as matter with energy and inside time. No matter which way you turn, as I see it, you’re going to find MEST always existed.

          • It assumes that God is the end of the road. Which, it can’t be, because something must have created God according to this argument.

            Your response suggests that you misunderstand the argument, and speaking of assumption, you can only argue this IF you assume that ALL phenomena require causes. Do you argue that ALL phenomenal require causes? Yes or no.

            • Did you read my response? I said that no matter what, everyone who contemplates the origins of the universe, gets to the point of, “it always was.”

              I also said that if God had existed, then MEST existed before that because God would be matter, with energy, and has space and is within time. God would have to exist within those qualifications to exist at all.

              Your complaint about my argument is that there must be a cause to the universe, or some other explanation than “it always was.” Where, your argument proposes the same thing, in the form of a God. I was pointing out the flaw of your argument that there must be a cause to the universe.

              If you state that the Universe must have a cause and that cause happens to be a God, of whatever version, then that God must also have a cause by that same argument. On the other hand, I’m not proposing that there /must/ be a cause to the universe. Quite contrary, I’m saying that the universe simply always was.

              I find that more rational than the argument:

              1. That everything must have a cause.
              2. That because everything must have a cause there must be a first mover.
              3. That first mover can be termed, “God.”
              4. Therefore there is a God.

              Or however you wish to phrase that argument. But, it’s essential nature is how I outlined it.

              My statement is as follows (not in argument form):

              1. There must be a point where an individual admits to an eternal existence of some sort.

              2. We don’t /know/ a God exists. But, we do know that the cosmos (universes) exists.

              3. Therefore, it is simpler, and requires less explanation, to presume an eternal universe.

            • I don’t care what you find “more rational.” That’s exactly the type of opinion-waging I’m trying to get away from. In response to my yes-or-no question, you said,

              ..no matter what, everyone who contemplates the origins of the universe, gets to the point of, “it always was.”

              If by that you mean simply that either way we look at it, we have to posit something uncaused, then you effectively answer “No” to my question, and I would agree.

              Quite contrary, I’m saying that the universe simply always was.

              Then, do you mean something unconventional by universe, or do you deny the current scientific consensus that the universe came into being via singularity approx. 15bya?

              I find that more rational than the argument:

              The argument you delineate in 1-4 is not the argument I’m making. I disagree with 1, and 2 is unsound. 3 is irrelevant to the argument, as we can call the Mover whatever we wish. 4 is invalid because 1, 2 and 3 are unsound. So yeah, if I had the same version of the argument in my head as you do, then I’d think it was flawed, too.

              My statement is as follows (not in argument form):

              I agree with your 1 as stated, and take that as further evidence that if were to have answered my question with a simple yes or no, that answer would have been “no” – you do not propose that ALL phenomena require a cause – because that which exists eternally existed uncaused. Right?

              That we know the cosmos exists is a given, hence your 2 is a tautology not relevant to the argument.

              And coming around full circle, your 3 is – once again – unfounded subjective opinion. Not to mention contradicted by current scientific observation: the universe – meaning all MEST this side of Planck time – is clearly not eternal.

  18. Well I guess Im lazy, stupid, willfully ignorant and whatever else you wish to call me. All this because I suppose it not that logical to say that our Universe just went “poof” here it is. Wow, now thats reasoning at its finest.

  19. it’s much simpler to say the universe existed the entire time(WS)

    For all you intellectually superior atheists:

    You might want to read this book about time. That’s if you trust a recommendation from a lazy, stupid, willfully ignorant fellow human being. 😉
    Time is a funny thing, it got even more interesting for me after reading how we determine what time really is. Though by the sounds of things, Im sure you would know most of what the writer is talking about.

    In Search of Time: The Science of a Curious Dimension by Dan Falk

  20. SI

    The more I re-read your stuff, it all becomes so obvious. Because you believe that the universe is filled with random nastiness, you have concluded that there is no way to believe there could be intelligence behind it.

  21. T4T:

    I have absolutely no problem that you might argue for design of one sort or another, though I find those arguments far less than convincing. What I don’t understand is when you say-

    “All this because I suppose it not that logical to say that our Universe just went “poof” here it is.”

    First of all, nobody says that; at least, not in the simplistic terms that ‘poof’ is meant to infer. Beyond that, can you understand how your feelings that there’s a necessary antecedent to the existence of existence is ultimately incoherent, and only pushes the problem back a step? Ultimately, the naturalist must end his logical inquiries at the place where existence ‘just is’, while the creationist (of any stripe) ends his at ‘the creator just is’. I won’t invoke Occam’s razor here, because the fundamental bedrock of existence might be anything at all. Its characteristics, unlimited by any antecedent precedents, might be anything at all. But, the statement ‘existence just is’ is existentially equal to the statement ‘the creator just is’. However, the naturalist sees no evidence of a creator/agent’s handiwork within nature as it is presented to his/her senses. In his eyes, a creator is simply an add-on, a misapplied anthropomorphic analogy to human craftsmanship.

    In other words, it’s no more illogical to posit an existence without a creator, than to posit an existence with one. The problem is one of evidence. We’re presented with bare existence at every moment. But to posit a creator, there has to be more than a plea to incredulity. There must be some definitive proof that existence can’t be simply working on its own. However, that’s a far different argument than the one you’re making.

    Shoot me a mail if you’re interested in pursuing this any further. I’m not much up for the threads these days. And, hi everybody! Hope you’re all doing well.

    • Jim –

      I should talk to you more, honestly. You seem to express thoughts better than I can. That’s actually the exact thing I was attempting to allude to. Of course, with few minor differences, I find Occam’s razor to support more readily the universe having always existed.

  22. Actually, now that I think about it, it IS illogical to posit a creator of existence, since a creator is, by definition, part of existence. I guess the best you can do is posit a creator working within the existence it’s necessarily a part of, creating mini-existences…LOL!

  23. It does tend to negate an argument for designed order, doesn’t it?(SI)

    Not necessarily. There is the potential that all the nastiness was intended and not that the system has inherent flaws. I cant prove my position, I just have a sneaky suspicion there may be some truth to it. Uh oh, I think some of you guys are going to jump on that last statement. Hehehehe…….. 😉

  24. cl –

    That was my whole point in restating exactly what I said before in the same exact words: that I had already answered the question you asked of me /before/ you asked it. It was redundant.

    I use the term universe as the existence of some form of matter, at some point in time before the Big Bang occurred (since that’s all we have tested to up to this point). I already stated that I have /no/ idea what existed before the Big Bang occurred.

    “That we know the cosmos exists is a given, hence your 2 is a tautology not relevant to the argument.

    And coming around full circle, your 3 is – once again – unfounded subjective opinion. Not to mention contradicted by current scientific observation: the universe – meaning all MEST this side of Planck time – is clearly not eternal.”

    No shit, it’s an opinion. Everything that comes even remotely close to the subject of the origin of existence is a matter of opinion because we don’t know. But, you must’ve missed the rest of statement 2: that we don’t know God exists.

    Actually, MEST is eternal, per definition of the laws of physics. You know, that scientific consensus that states that there is a constant level of matter and energy in the cosmos. There hasn’t been one occurrence of matter or energy disappearing from the equation. And I never stated in my ‘tautological’ argument that the universe always existed as it is.

    Basically, if you put it into a mathematical equation, say, something simple:

    a + b = c.

    It doesn’t make sense to add a z in there somewhere to explain things.

    I know there’s a cosmos, I know that it has those 4 dimensions you began to mention: matter, space, time, and energy. And, as far as anyone is aware, all four of those things has always existed in some form or another. To say that a God put it there is adding that ‘z’ variable I mentioned.

  25. “that which requires the least amount of additional explanatory steps” is not a matter of opinion.

    You know, that scientific consensus that states that there is a constant level of matter and energy in the cosmos.

    We’ve agreed that eternal means existing without cause. The laws of conservation of energy and matter do not state that the universe is eternal. The salient point is that the potency of MEST is most certainly not eternal.

    And, as far as anyone is aware, all four of those things has always existed in some form or another.

    You’re simply incorrect. As far as anyone is aware, those things suddenly came into existence from a previously unknown state 15bya.

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