Why Do We Care?

That’s a question we atheists get from theists. Often. Almost constantly, when we point out a fallacy in their religious thinking, or try to substantiate why we support the 1st Amendment’s proscription against governmental religious displays, or when we simply say we don’t believe in gods. They want to know why we care that they believe in supernatural spirits, or miracles, or Biblical authority, or other unsubstantiated beliefs. What harm do their beliefs cause, and why are we so damn strident about our opposition to them?

My stock response is, well, here, let me cut and past my latest in a dialog I’ve been recently having with a theist…

As an atheist, I don’t care what the next guy believes. As long as he keeps it to himself, doesn’t try to force me to believe it, and lives his life accordingly, he can believe that he’s in touch with little green men from the planet Xzortf, who tell him that he is living in a teeny tiny, glass enclosed, human farm, for all I care.

My problem with religious beliefs is that a very large subset of theists think they are right about their beliefs in a mythical god (one of tens of thousands of mythical gods that have come and gone through history) and that the world would be a better place if we all believed like they do. And, again, if they kept those beliefs to themselves, I wouldn’t care. But they don’t.

And then I read this, and I’m reminded of exactly why I do care what theists believe.

“I support intelligent design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

I read this, this… pure, unadulterated ignorance, from someone who aspires to be the President of my country, and I just want to bang my head against a brick wall. This is why I care.

One would expect that a U.S. Presidential aspirant would have some, maybe just a little, but some intelligence, some background in the basics of science and history, to be able to function adequately enough to get up and brush her teeth before gravitating to the Oval Office every morning. I personally think my President should be, you know, smart. I don’t care if he/she shares my lack of beliefs, nor do I have any desire that he/she be the type I’d want to share a beer/Cosmopolitan with. I just want them to be competent enough to run this country without unduly fucking up. And the sole criteria I have to base my opinion of their competence on is their apparent intelligence. And Michelle Bachmann fails that test. Not only doesn’t she have even a basic working knowledge of what science is, she has no obvious background in history. And a president that doesn’t know her history is doomed to repeat it.

The science is obvious. Anyone that believes that evolution and creationism are equivalent scientific theories explaining the origin of species, or even human life, is an IDiot. And I mean that in the nicest way.  Intelligent Design Creationism is not a scientific theory. It has no working hypotheses as to how the theory is mechanically effectuated, it cannot be tested in a laboratory or in nature, and it cannot be falsified in any meaningful way. At best, its a claim to magic. Magic is not science.

So it cannot share the same table as evolution, because, as a scientific theory, it’s not a scientific theory.

Her sense of history, however, is the clincher. Ever since the Scopes trial in the 1920s, it’s been pretty much accepted that creationism (and its well disguised twin sister, Intelligent Design) are religious notions, and have no place in science class. Even though Clarence Darrow lost the case for John Scopes, he did win the minds of the U.S. populace, and evolution as the only viable scientific explanation for species has remained solid, except in churches. Since then there have been a series of federal court decisions that have all confronted various states’ attempts to force creationism into the classroom, all of which have soundly defeated those attempts. The most  recent was in late 2005 when Judge John Jones ruled in favor of Tammy Kitzmiller and her co-plaintiffs in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District , and found that Intelligent Design was nothing BUT religion in disguise.

Every one of those cases involved extensive and expensive litigation to address the ultimate issue of whether creationism is science, and should be taught in public school. Every one said “NO”. But creationists continue to repeatedly attempt to force the issue back into schools, as if their little Stepford children can’t be taught the same thing in Sunday School, and will only believe it if their science teachers tell them.

Various state legislatures are trying to pass legislation that allows a back door to teaching creationism. Louisiana just rejected one such attempt, but it may be back. The main objections these days are not, as you would expect, that creationism isn’t science, but that such legislation will simply engender litigation that the state doesn’t want to pay for. In other words, they would have no problem passing the legislation to get creationism in science class but for the backlash from their constituents about wasting tax dollars on litigation they will lose. There’s no concern for the quality of the education of our kids, they just don’t want their political asses on the burner.

So Michelle Bachmann seems oblivious to the history of this religious project. That’s not a good quality for a future President. If it was up to her (which it’s not), she would have it taught in public schools, and the Constitution be damned.

For Jon

But more to the point, she’s just one of many willfully ignorant religious people that seem to think that their biblical view of reality is one that should be imposed on everyone. She doesn’t “believe in” evolution (to the extent that one can believe in facts, as if rejecting the fact of evolution makes it somehow less factual), not because it’s a scientific theory with no explaining power, but because it contradicts her long cherished beliefs in a magical creation of the world. And because she holds those silly, downright stupid beliefs so strongly, she is convinced that everyone else should hold them too, even if they disagree with her, to the point of attempting to indoctrinate my children in those beliefs using my tax dollars.

This is why I care.

115 thoughts on “Why Do We Care?

  1. LOL

    I don’t mind that you throw it in my face. You seem pretty cordial and at least open to questioning yourself. A few things: evolution isn’t testable in the laboratory, either, so you might want to drop that part of the argument. When you say that creationism or ID are religious, that’s not entirely accurate. There are definitely people who promote religious versions of those ideas, but the base claim that something exhibits features of design isn’t religious at all. It’s the same logic you’d apply if you came across a computer in a forest.

    What exactly does “no working hypotheses as to how the theory is mechanically effectuated” mean?

    • No. Sorry. I decline to parse what I’ve written. If you disagree with it, feel free to say what you disagree with. I see you have a few.

      The first one, “evolution cannot be tested in the lab”. Sure it can. There are many aspects, component parts if you will, that can and have been tested in the labs. The use of fruit flies to observe evolutionary changes is well known, and one example.

      The discovery of the fused chromosome of Chimpanzees was discovered in a lab.

      And I stand by my contention that creationism is religious. There is no other reason to assert that it’s science, other than from a religious viewpoint.

      • “No. Sorry. I decline to parse what I’ve written. If you disagree with it, feel free to say what you disagree with.”

        How can I do that if you refuse to explain yourself?

        “The first one, “evolution cannot be tested in the lab”. Sure it can. There are many aspects, component parts if you will, that can and have been tested in the labs. The use of fruit flies to observe evolutionary changes is well known, and one example.”

        Like I told the other guy, I didn’t say evolution couldn’t be OBSERVED in the laboratory.

        “And I stand by my contention that creationism is religious. There is no other reason to assert that it’s science, other than from a religious viewpoint.”

        I’ve never seen non-religious creationism, but ID can go either way. There are most certainly people open to ID as science who are not religious or “IDiots” but hey, if you don’t want to believe me, keep throwin’ around them insults. 😉

        • Like I told the other guy, I didn’t say evolution couldn’t be OBSERVED in the laboratory.

          Well that clinches one conclusion I’ve come to. It involves socks and puppets.

          There are most certainly people open to ID as science who are not religious

          Name one.

  2. WRONG! Evolution is testable in a laboratory.

    Take some viruses, and subject them to a drug that kills them, little by little. Eventually, some will appear that can live in the presence of that drug, and eventually, live completely in that drug. They’ve done this via the fact that their genetic code has changed to give them the ability to survive in the drug’s presence. This is evolution, in a very basic and common form. It’s why we have a new Influenza virus every year! And why we have to make a new vaccine, too. : ( Not believing in evolution won’t make the new influenza virus stop appearing each time….

    This is why HIV and AIDs is such an issue with curing–you can throw whatever drugs you like at them, but they’re inside a human, and as you kill the virus, they gain immunity to anti-virals. Some have made some headway by alternating anti-virals–using one, to create a strain that is immune to anti-viral 1 but susceptible to anti-viral 2 in an important way, then using anti-viral 2 right after. This still doesn’t destroy them all, but it severely cuts down on the amount of viable HIV viruses in the person’s system.

    And ID or Creationism basically creates a hole in the universe, where people who teach it, are hoping to stuff their god in and go “TA-DA! See, I told you I was right!” It is purely religious. Why ignore facts? Because it puts their precious holy books in jeopardy and outright says that they’re -wrong-. Why is that such a big deal? Because they claim that their god is omnipotent and omnipresent and that the book is completely the word of god. So if it’s wrong, and the word of god, what else about it could be wrong?

    They -cannot- allow millions of people to be taught the facts because the facts directly contradict the creation stories of their religion, because it would outright rob them of people to convert. This is why they try to hard to put this pseudoscience into school, even when it’s no more scientific than crystal energy and Alchemy.

    • “Evolution is testable in a laboratory.”

      I didn’t say evolution can’t be OBSERVED in a laboratory.

      “And ID or Creationism basically creates a hole in the universe, where people who teach it, are hoping to stuff their god in and go “TA-DA! See, I told you I was right!” It is purely religious.”

      WRONG. Some is, some isn’t.

  3. Evolution is indeed testable in a laboratory, leave it in. Just as an example, see the work Lenski has done with E. coli at Michigan State University.

    The “no working hypotheses” is the reason why “same logic you’d apply if you came across a computer in a forest” is ridiculous. (See Dawkin’s “The Blind Watchmaker” for a more thorough tearing apart of the misapprehension of “design” in organisms.) The theory of evolution through natural selection has a mechanism (the differential reproduction of genes) that accounts for how organisms in populations change over time. ID not only makes the mistake of thinking of species as something other than convenient, somewhat arbitrary means of discussing a population at a particular time, it also has no alternative to the differential reproduction of genes as an agent of change in populations.

  4. Evolution is most certainly testable, both by predicting intermediate forms and then subsequently finding them in the fossil record, sometimes many years after being predicted, or by direct experimentation in a laboratory. See http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/artificial_01 for an example.

    Creationism (and its latest ad campaign, “Intelligent Design) posits no testable hypotheses, makes no predictions and ultimately always falls back on “and then a miracle happens.” That something “exhibits features of design” is not an explanation, a theory or a hypothesis in any way, shape or form for speciation. It’s not science and shouldn’t be taught as science any more than say, Christian or Islamic alternative arithmetic should be taught as real arithmetic.

  5. “Like I told the other guy, I didn’t say evolution couldn’t be OBSERVED in the laboratory.”

    No. What you said was, “evolution isn’t testable in the laboratory”…. and several people have demonstrated to you exactly how it IS.

    But, really, that’s not the point. Your response to them “I didn’t say evolution couldn’t be OBSERVED in the laboratory”, is such a disingenuous weasel move. Let’s look at what EACH of them said to you, Jon.

    Joe – “Evolution is most certainly testable….”
    Bill – “Evolution is indeed testable in a laboratory”
    JonelB – “WRONG! Evolution is testable in a laboratory.”
    Spanish Inquisitor – “Sure it can.” (as a response to your assertion it couldn’t be TESTED).

    I’m sorry, dude, but you play the EXACT same games that guys such as Jason and cl play and you’re going to get treated the same. It’s been asserted we act like a team here. You guys all play the same silly games with your arguments so, yeah, the rational team gangs up on that type of nonsense.

    • I’m sorry, dude, but you play the EXACT same games that guys such as Jason and cl play and you’re going to get treated the same.

      Of course, there’s another, more rational explanation…

      • “Of course, there’s another, more rational explanation…”

        One might even say, a more parsimonious one.

        Agreed, SI, but there is no point in pursuing it without airtight evidence. However, it’s still fair to lump them – whatever the various names popping up.

        • Agreed, SI, but there is no point in pursuing it without airtight evidence.

          Yeah, I always get a chuckle out of that, too. “Evidence! Evidence!” the self-proclaimed rationalists cry, but then the accusation that all dissenters are really my sock puppets isn’t followed by any evidence whatsoever. It sure does make you look paranoid and hypocritical, that’s for sure. So hey, I guess claims without solid evidence are okay — when you guys want to make them!

            • i for one one would absolutely love to see that magic trick.

              so…where might i find it or would you have to procure it? if so, lets see it. no games, no more obfuscation, point it out or plop it down. i hope all here take notice of this when this “evidence” is never produced but i seriously doubt anyone beyond cl and myself will care.

              • Don’t forget Jon, Godless Randall, Kirk C and sfatheist. They have a stake in it also.

                As for evidence, y’all didn’t notice that Evo qualified the noun “evidence” with the adjective “airtight”? Evo thinks I should have airtight evidence before I ban anyone.

                I disagree with him (imagine that? We disagree.). Frankly, I don’t think I need airtight evidence. All I need is convincing evidence, convincing to me only, and I really don’t have to share it with anyone.

                This is my blog. As I’ve said before, I am GOD here. So I can be as arbitrary and capricious (and wrong) as the god you kow-tow to. I’m a very firm believer in free-speech, but sock puppets do not conduct free speech – they conduct manipulated speech. And as soon as I’m convinced enough that the speech here is not free and open and manipulated, the speaker will have only his own blog as a pulpit, until he pops up under another identity.

                And frankly, I’m already convinced.

              • You’re right, I don’t care. Either way. I’d love to go back to some of the things Jon and you have had to say about evolution though.

              • jason,

                What? Did you really think PhillyChief would actually follow the standard he holds theists to? Of course not! It’s special pleading all the way, you know that! Theists are expected to provide “warrant” whenever they claim they crossed a street, but Team Scarlet A can make whatever wild conjecture they wish, with no evidence required.

                Nonetheless, my best guess is that this is the evidence. Yet, you pegged it in the thread, so I’ll just sit back and let any interested parties decide for themselves.

                i hope all here take notice of this when this “evidence” is never produced but i seriously doubt anyone beyond cl and myself will care.

                Of course not. This is about stroking each other’s egos, and confirming pre-existing positions. For the record, I don’t care that they make claims without evidence. It’s just fun to point out the special pleading.

                SI,

                I’m a very firm believer in free-speech, but sock puppets do not conduct free speech – they conduct manipulated speech.

                Funny how that wasn’t your attitude when your boy Larry Wallberg / Exterminator / Trinity / who-knows-who-else was talking the lead, eh John?

                All I need is convincing evidence, convincing to me only…

                LOL! You can say that again!

  6. Bachmann’s just one of many willfully ignorant religious people that seem to think that their biblical view of reality is one that should be imposed on everyone.

    Basically, Bachmann is just a Culture War candidate. She has not interest in actually governing. She and the people she appeals to seem to think that America’s problems will be magically solved if we outlaw abortion, prevent gays from marrying, and teach creationism in our schools.

  7. I want to know exactly how a Designer who is Intelligent, something which has left no “signature in the cell” other than complexity of life can be considered not religious. What would be the Designer. I mean, specifically, what would be the “Designer.” Who or what and how does it create and design everye thing if it is not a supernatural entity? This is the most ridiculous claim of the “ID is not religious” claim.

    Is the Design Inference” meaningful in any way other special pleading. We know the source of “ID science.” It was created not to add a way in understanding evolution, but as a way to re-brand creationism following Edwards v Aguillard.

    Jon, have you so easily forgotten the “CDesign Proponentsists”? Stop trolling or bring something to the table better than backtracking over the same old stuff that ID creationists have been peddling for 20 years. There is no science in ID, just assertion based on either lack of comprehension of how science works, or purposeful obscurantism as Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe and William Dembski perform.

    If Michelle Bachman wants the kids to decide for themselves, then she can just teach creationism to the kids in the home, after school, but not pollute everyone else’s kids with non-science in science classes.

    There isn’t enough time to adequately cover The Theory of Evolution in the schools the way it is, science curricula should be given enough time to be taught properly (including the parts about how evolution is demonstrated in the labs, in the field, and through historical observation.)

    Perhaps the IDiots could be kind enough to explain the bad design of evolution, the kluges such as a pelvic girdle and the knees of humans that are poorly designed for walking upright but just dandy for apes with a largely quadripedal locomotion? Perhaps they would be kind enough to explain the bizarre looping design of the vagus nerve and they vas deferens? Perhaps they can explain the reason that sharks have the genes for creating fingers but not hands? Perhaps they can explain why blind cavefish have eyes? Why humans, who are not ruminants have appendices? Why would the designer create a genome in humans with so much non-encoding DNA?

    Instead they just want to whine about being censored and repressed in the scientific community.

    But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
    Carl Sagan

    Good post, Span. I just wish that she was associated more with Iowa than with Minnesota. She was born there, not here.

    • Thanks Mike.

      Coming from such a free thought state, I’m beginning to worry about you Minnesotans, though. 😉

      Pawlenty. Bachmann. Ventura. Myers. Oh, wait. I like that last guy.

      • She was born in Iowa, and Ventura was an atheist who refused to sign the Proclamation for the Day of Prayer, but did issue a proclamation for the Day of Reason. Pawlenty. He got us into the frickin’ mess that we are in now with his “No New Taxes but Pawlenty of Borrowing from the Future” schtick.

        We claim Myers even though he was born in Washington.

  8. Bachmann, on good science education – What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. ..>

    Bachmann on good parenting? – What I support is putting all the meat, vegetables, dairy, grains, candy, chocolate, cakes, cookies and chips on the table and letting the kids decide…”

  9. What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide.

    Isn’t funny how these people say shit like this when they’re all about telling others what to do (ie – abortion, same-sex marriage, stem cell research, immigration, healthcare, welfare, sex education, assisted suicide, government lead/sponsored prayer, etc)?

    Hey cl, a douche by any other name is just as douchey. Nice back-peddling, though. How long before you start obfuscating and calling the new commentors high strung type As or part of some “team” working against just you? Or do you save that shit for just the ones you’re more familiar with? What a jackass you are. A feel bad for that kid of yours.

  10. Why do I care…?
    Because religion is, at bottom, a mechanism of control of one person by another, and I have enough of that in my life already, thank you.

    Because people who live in castles in the air and fools paradise, sooner or later, always expect you to travel with them and share very real expenses.

    Because it does not perform demonstrably and consistantly as advertised.

    Because it is used as a societal badge/brand by which people are judged and treatment meted out as deserving us/alien other.

    Like with Jefferson, personally, I don’t care if a person believes in one deity or many, as long as it “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg”.
    Many people think that their religion gives them an “authority” to do exactly those things, and worse. I don’t like it, will fight it.

    Sorry for the want of semantic prancing, dancing, and other verbal and philosophocal gymnastics, that’s why I care.

  11. I care because these nimrods have been using their book of myths to pass legislation and attempt to regulate persons behaviors based on their interpretations of their books of myths. The sale of alcohol on Sunday is heavily regulated because of these nimrod’s belief system. I can’t buy a friggin’ car on Sunday because of their book of myths. Any and every law that based in any way on religious belief, any religious belief, should be declared unconstitutional and struck down.

  12. As far as the OP goes, why beat a dead equus? Personally, I’m in the “live and let live” category, of course, until atheists start acting just like Fundamentalists. Then we’ve got a problem.

    As far as the thread goes, for those unaware of the distinction, I think you’re talking about two separate claims here:

    1) Living organisms undergo a process of evolution;

    2) All living organisms are the result of said process.

    1 is a scientific claim, testable and observable in the laboratory. 2 is a different story.

  13. 1) We have shown through science that stars like our own Sun (Sol) are birthed through natural processes

    2) All the stars in the Universe were born through a natural process – a different story.

    True.

    Brilliant. Just… brilliant.

      • I think I “grasp” what you are saying but, if I don’t, simply dusting it away as me not getting it is not likely to convince a third party. You wrote a mere 3 sentences and provided no evidence for what you appear to be claiming, so you should have the integrity to give it a bit more effort. I’ve looked at your blog from time to time, as you well know, cl. So if this is something you’ve described in detail and want to point me to the exact post, I’ll look it over.

        • It’s not the type of claim that is amenable to evidence, John. Think about it. Scientists in the laboratory can test / confirm / observe / what-have-you the claim that living organisms evolve. However, they cannot test / confirm / observe / what-have-you the claim that the process of evolution is the sole causal agent responsible for all living organisms. There is debate whether so-called “macroevolution” is just lots of “microevolution,” to put it another way [although I detest those terms because they tend to function more like loaded keywords].

          • It’s been pointed out ad nauseum that the Theory of Evolution does not address origins. I only bother to point this out to you because of your use of “sole causal agent responsible for all living organisms”. I guess (?) what you mean to convey is that it has not been proven to be the “sole causal agent responsible for the observed changes over time in all living organisms”.

            Well…. right. There are almost endless POSSIBLE additional agents of change. But since the Theory of Evolution has been proven to occur, and since all change CAN BE explained via evolution and the described processes therein, then there is no need to conger any other reasons – unless and until someone can hypothesize, describe, then test them. Right?

            What is clear to most scientists is that once life got a toe-hold (however it got a toe-hold) it then evolved over the next (approximately) 4 billion years into every form of life that we have found in the fossil record and/or that exists to this day. This says nothing about abiogenesis, nothing about god/s or aliens and is controversial only to creationists.

            It SOUNDED TO ME as if you were saying that we can very well observe and document the fact of evolution in the lab (by the way, this point was briefly challenged early on in this thread) but that we would have to examine each and every species in great detail in order to confirm that ALL life has common ancestry. Apparently you weren’t. My analogy then would NOT apply.

          • However, they cannot test / confirm / observe / what-have-you the claim that the process of evolution is the sole causal agent responsible for all living organisms.

            With Evo’s clarification, this is just another arbitrary dichotomy. I doubt you could find a scientist (other than maybe over at AiG, and there we use the term “scientist” loosely) that says that evolution is the sole causal agent responsible for the observed changes over time in all living organisms. There are environmental pressures such as background radiation causing genetic mutation, there are stressors on populations, such as natural droughts and food shortages, there is continental drift isolating species, there are man made processes, such as pollution and climate change, all of which act as causal agents on the process of change.

            What there isn’t, is magic. Yep. No flying video games to affect the population of basement mice, in the process turning them into skateboarding rodents.

  14. But since the Theory of Evolution has been proven to occur, and since all change CAN BE explained via evolution and the described processes therein…

    It’s as if you’re not even reading what I’m saying. Then again, when you and your “oh-so-intellectual” cronies are precommitted to denigrating anything that comes out of my mouth, I suppose that’s only natural. No skin off my back; go ahead and make up your own facts.

    • Wow… you are SO sensitive!

      I’m honestly trying to give you a shot here, cl. I don’t know what you are talking about when you say “denigrating”. Let alone when you start bringing others into this.

      Which facts did I make up in my last comment? How did I denigrate you?

    • Jesus… in fact, I finished that comment by acknowledging that my analogy with the stars – was WRONG! LOL!

      I don’t know. man. WAY too sensitive.

  15. It’s not being “sensitive” to point out a legitimate obstruction to clear thinking, John. So you can can that.

    I’m honestly trying to give you a shot here, cl.

    Okay…

    I don’t know what you are talking about when you say “denigrating”.

    Oh come on. I didn’t mean that you’d denigrated me in your most recent comment. Got it? You know damn well what “denigrating” means, and you know damn well there is a tendency to denigrate amongst the regulars here. That’s what I was talking about. Whenever you disagree with me, I’m left wondering whether it’s for rational reasons, or simply because I’m “cl”. But let’s not get any further off track.

    Which facts did I make up in my last comment?

    Right here:

    …since all change CAN BE explained via evolution and the described processes therein…

    • Alright. I’m not going to get into any of the earlier points. I accept that this is how you see it and that your last comment was not unduly sensitive. Let’s get to the meat of this.

      “Right here:

      …since all change CAN BE explained via evolution and the described processes therein…”

      That’s not MY fact. Can you point me to any university (that doesn’t have creationist ties) that teaches the “facts” differently? I emphasized “CAN BE” as opposed to, for instance, “ABSOLUTELY IS”. You see now? I did that in deference to your argument. I’m pointing out that the mechanisms for evolution, as we understand, __can__ by themselves produce the real world results that we observe. Therefore, there really isn’t any reason to discuss additional mechanisms – unless someone hypothesizes an additional one, tests it, and shows it to have real explanatory power as we look at the life around us.

  16. However, they cannot test / confirm / observe / what-have-you the claim that the process of evolution is the sole causal agent responsible for all living organisms.

    I’ve already addressed the idiotic, nonsensical aspect of this above, but there’s a bigger problem going on here, something that is very common when Cl/Jon/jason/Kirk C/sfatheist/Godless Randall get ahold of their (his) keyboard.

    Those previously mentioned sufferers of Multiple Personality Disorder are doing the same thing many theists do when they try to refute atheism by claiming “But you can’t prove there is no god!”. Claiming that one can’t test the proposition that evolution is the sole causal agent etc., is the same thing as saying you can’t prove there is no god (or in this case, a supernatural agent). It’s a burden or proof problem, shifting the burden to prove a negative, and Cl is one of the most ignorant deniers of burden or proof I’ve ever seen here on this blog, or any other blog, for that matter. He’s constantly shifting the burden onto others, when it’s ALWAYS his burden to prove what he claims – a supernatural agent. Something he can’t do.

    In any event, every time a scientist attempts to falsify a specific aspect of evolution, he is always doing just what CL et.al. claims can’t be done – he’s testing to see if there is another explanation for the phenomena that he hypothesizes is a result of evolution. In the process, he’s always looking for, and ruling out, another causal agent – that’s what the scientific process does. And so far, not once has another causal agent been discovered. Not once. Nada. Never.

    In all cases so far, evolution has been confirmed. Does that mean that there are no other possible causal agents? No. We’d have to be able to search the entire universe to rule that out, just like we’d have to be able to search the entire universe to rule out the existence of gods (though the supernatural is pretty much ruled out by reason alone).

    So, as usual, Mr. MPD is full of shit.

    Now, this is jason’s cue to come in and back him up.

  17. However, they cannot test / confirm / observe / what-have-you the claim that the process of evolution is the sole causal agent responsible for all living organisms.

    Nice try at flipping the burden of proof. There isn’t a claim that evolution is the sole causal agent, merely that there doesn’t appear to be any other causal agent. For anyone to claim, or even suggest that there is another causal agent, they’d first need to explain the basis for such an idea and then demonstrate why anyone else should consider it credible.

    There is debate whether so-called “macroevolution” is just lots of “microevolution,”

    Not really, no. Perhaps at the so-called Discovery Institute, but not outside that pseudo-science facility. Macro and micro evolution are subject to the same influences; natural selection, mutation, genetic drift and gene flow. The only distinction between the terms is whether the change is evident above or below the species level.

    It’s not being “sensitive” to point out a legitimate obstruction to clear thinking, John.

    You are the legitimate obstruction to clear thinking, jackass.

    Now, this is jason’s cue to come in and back him up.

    I’m curious why cl has never thought to try a female sock puppet. His sock puppet drawer is a sausage party. Anyway, I think a true MPD would show distinctly different personalities, but his sock puppets are only superficially different. I’ve seen greater personality differences in the comments made under “cl” then between sock puppets.

    We should bet on what the next puppet will be like. A caps-lock challenged character? Perhaps a spell-check challenged character ala Trinity? Oh, how about someone claiming to be an actual scientist?

  18. I would like to leave a short comment concerning the denial of science and scientific evidence.

    First, to whom it may concern:

    Evolution is observable, testable, verifiable, and predictive in both the lab and in the field. Case on point is the Guppy experiment mentioned earlier:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/artificial_01

    It is, however, the cross corroboration of multiple phylogenetic trees, representing many disciplines, that stands as some of the strongest evidence: a phylogenetic tree comprised of the data from comparative anatomy matches that of the phylogenetic tree constructed from the fossil record which matches the trees containing records of geographically divergent species, even ring species, etc., and all of the phylogenetic trees are confirmed by the data point by data point match of all the phylogenetic trees with one another and the tree comprised of the DNA evidence. The evidence supporting the process of evolution is conclusive. The causes of evolution: natural selection, sexual selection, mutation, genetic drift, change of environment, etc. are confirmed, to varying degrees dependent on the specifics, as well.

    There is an example from animal husbandry that catches an animal in mid-stride between being the same species and a different one; that animal is the ass as diverging from the horse. Understand, the definition of a different species is the inability to reproduce a viable offspring, and since most of the offspring from the mating of a horse to an ass result in a sterile mule, we have a living example of macroevolution.

    This is something people of just one book fail to fathom; the overwhelming evidence is supported by the inter-disciplinary corroboration of fields as diverse as geology and medicine, anthropology and archaeology, paleontology and genetics, even art and technology.

    The location of Tiktaalik (a transitional fossil, like there is a fossil that isn’t transitional, representing our ancestry’s move from the water to land) was predicted by evolutionary biology, zoogeography, geology and stratigraphy culminating in the acquisition of the fossil for which they were looking. Only, this is nothing compared to the predictive capability of the phylogenetic trees in predicting relatedness in ancestral species and their associated chronology. This makes evolution as much a scientific fact as electricity, gravity, and death.

    The reason I care, and the reason we all should care is because these deniers of science are merely using the ID ad campaign for creationism as a means to their ultimate agenda of a theocracy or something culminating in Neo-Nazi, Christian Supremacy. The reason we should all care and continually combat this theocratic invasion of our secular nation is because denial of evidence, adherence to the dictates of divined authority, and submission (the surrender of intellectual honesty to unsubstantiated faith) to the imaginings of an interpretive oligarchy of said divine authority is what led to the most heinous atrocities humanity has to be ashamed of. Our Founding Fathers knew this, or as President Jefferson wrote:

    History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. (Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813)

    This is why I care, and it is why you should too.

    • But…but…Evolution is just a theory!

      Great comment. Feel free to come back and leave more.

    • BeachBum,

      My “friends” here have I asked me to respond to you, but I have no idea how much [if any] of your comment was directed at me. In fact, I hardly know what to say, as your comment doesn’t seem to directly challenge anything I’ve said. At any rate,

      The reason I care, and the reason we all should care is because these deniers of science are merely using the ID ad campaign for creationism as a means to their ultimate agenda of a theocracy or something culminating in Neo-Nazi, Christian Supremacy.

      Who are “these deniers” in your comment? Are you implying that *ALL* supporters of ID are “science-deniers” who are actively and secretly laboring for what you call “Christian Supremacy?” If not, can you be more specific, and more importantly, can you provide evidence for your claim regardless of its intended scope?

      The reason we should all care and continually combat this theocratic invasion of our secular nation is because denial of evidence, adherence to the dictates of divined authority, and submission (the surrender of intellectual honesty to unsubstantiated faith) to the imaginings of an interpretive oligarchy of said divine authority is what led to the most heinous atrocities humanity has to be ashamed of.

      This remark seems either unaware or unconcerned with the atrocities committed under atheist regimes. Personally, I’m all for separation of church and state — just not at the expense of religious freedom.

  19. I just want to take this moment to point out how the many faces of cl have stopped responding in this thread because it’s pointless to. There’s simply no legitimate response that could be made, yet eventually he/they will respond to a future post so I want to start archiving now the plethora of threads where his/they bullshit is called out for what it is and never a proper response is given.

    You can’t move one until past business is resolved.

    • “until past business is resolved.”

      you mean until we’ve provided enough evidence until you’re convinced that theism is true or even a possibility? unfortunately, i seriously doubt it’ll ever happen under any set of conditions or faced with any type of evidence. i’m pretty sure that even if you had a direct saul on the road to damascus-like encounter with an agent of God, you would probably think you were having a stroke or an embolism or a severe neurological split of your psyche that would require medication and a therapist. or perhaps it could be explained by a slight disorder of your stomach; an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. in other words, i don’t think you’d know what to do with the “hard” evidence you ask for even if God thought it important enough to give it to you.

      • Hi Jason! You having a nice Saturday? I am. Got up early and took my old dog for a long walk. She’s 13 now and is a lot weaker than she used to be, but I’ve put her on a healthier diet and started her on some “senior” vitamins and it seems to be working. Much more energetic.

        Anyway… you said, “you would probably think you were having a stroke or an embolism or a severe neurological split of your psyche that would require medication and a therapist”

        LOL! Yep. You aren’t too far off, speaking for myself only. At the very least, I’m highly aware that my personal experiences – despite our human tendency to put great stock in them – don’t really mean nearly as much as we think, and that if any particular experience is in contradiction to facts we have been able to confirm in other ways, then it isn’t the strong evidence that it FEELS like.

        For sure, your closing statement – “i don’t think you’d know what to do with the ‘hard’ evidence you ask for even if God thought it important enough to give it to you” has, in actuality, nothing to do with “hard evidence”. That you think it IS, can only be seen as a chasm between our two views that can not be transcended.

        Now, I suggest you go out and have some fun. I’m going to ride my bike. If my dog “Lucky” were up to it, I’d let her run alongside of me. Alas, she can no longer do so. Life is short!

        • hello jon. so glad to hear lucky is still going as strong as can be expected the inability of keeping up with your bike rides notwithstanding. i have three hounds myself and two are starting to show their mileage so i’m finding myself enjoying their companionship all the more.

          “I’m highly aware that my personal experiences – despite our human tendency to put great stock in them – don’t really mean nearly as much as we think…”

          for the record, i’ve never had a direct personal experience of God, direct being the operative word. He’s never spoken to me in a literal sense and i’ve never encountered Him or a supernatural agent, angelic or otherwise, nor do i expect to. my belief is derived solely from my own reasoning and logical deduction. and i agree with you up to point about personal experiences – when they are vague, difficult to recall, or unclear or if the experience is what most people refer to as “a feeling” or “a sense”, i would say that the individual who experienced it cannot be trusted to interpret said experience correctly due to the very fact that it IS one or more of those things. now, i cannot speak for others but i can say that i trust my faculties (excepting those situations that i have good cause to doubt them from the outset) and should i have an experience that can be discerned visually, audibly, and is lucid, clear, and understandable, i would believe said experience until given good reason to think that either my senses were deceived, or else my mind impaired. if you think about it, everyone does this on a second to second basis all the day long. now its true an extraordinary experience may cause you to doubt its veracity, but absent any evidence of deception or mental impairment what else could you do but either believe or else pretend it didn’t occur and in so doing deceive yourself into not believing?

          “…your closing statement – “i don’t think you’d know what to do with the ‘hard’ evidence you ask for even if God thought it important enough to give it to you” has, in actuality, nothing to do with “hard evidence”.”

          well, if God actually exists, i can think of no other being that would present better evidence of God than Himself. whether you actually are convinced by such evidence is another matter entirely.

          “Life is short!”

          this one is. take care.

      • i’m pretty sure that even if you had a direct saul on the road to damascus-like encounter with an agent of God, you would probably think you were having a stroke or an embolism or a severe neurological split of your psyche that would require medication and a therapist. or perhaps it could be explained by a slight disorder of your stomach; an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.

        Or perhaps temporal lobe epilepsy?

        • There are several interesting studies to be found on PubMed regarding spirituality and epilepsy. Here’s a good example. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18171635

          While this is true and needs to be considered in the overall view of “personal experience as evidence”, it’s not by any means ALL that I’m referring to.

          Hell, we just make mistakes and miss-attribution all the time. We think we experienced one thing, while in reality it was something else. I don’t think there has to be a brain malfunction at all.

          Good things happen all of the time. Out of the billions of good things that are happening, some small pct are going to occur in coincidence to something else – making it appear “spooky”. If the person happened to have said a prayer shortly before such an “event”, it would be easy to equate all of it as being related – when no relationship actually existed.

          There is no evidence of spirituality in such a situation, but try to convince a credulous individual that it’s not evidence. Jason would never hear of such “nonsense”. 🙂

  20. “There’s simply no legitimate response”

    Sure there is. One of them would be (to my last comment) “You’re right, Evo. My one example of you making up your own facts was no such thing”. 😉

    And that guy “Jon” better not show up on another post until HE admits that the 10 people who corrected him were right. Funny how he disappeared as soon as his BS about evolution was rationally dismantled.

  21. RIght. It can’t be that I stopped responding because I was actually occupied with real life…

    Nah, it can’t be that I stopped responding because I was actually occupied with what I perceive to be more worthwhile arguments elsewhere, you know, arguments where one’s interlocutor doesn’t constantly resort to namecalling and false accusations about every dissenter being the same person…

    Nah, can’t be that I stopped responding because I figured you guys would just stick to your groupthink and refuse to pay charity to anything I say…

    No, the so-called rationalists here would have us believe it must be because their arguments are so forceful and logical there is no rational response left, I just went scurrying away via the crushing weight of my own failure.

    Get. Real.

    Then quit dramatizing as if the whole damn world is out to get you. You guys are coming across like teenagers. Then, rest assured that I’ll read the new comments that have accumulated in the past week, and pick up right where we left off a week ago. It’s kind of hard, because SI that annoying threaded display going, but I don’t mind taking it from the top.

    • RIght. It can’t be that I stopped responding because I was actually occupied with real life…

      What are the odds that real life would leave you free just when I call you out?

      As for the rest of the usual bullshit about how it’s a conspiracy theory to object to your so-called logical, rational arguments, if that’s true then why ever come back? Why consistently comment on new posts?

      Btw, you could have taken this time to respond to Beachbum, whose comment seems free of all the bullshit you claim is indicative of any of the regulars here but no, you responded to me. You’re so amazingly full of shit.

      • What are the odds that real life would leave you free just when I call you out?

        You tell me. You’re the one acting like you know something.

        As for the rest of the usual bullshit about how it’s a conspiracy theory to object to your so-called logical, rational arguments, if that’s true then why ever come back? Why consistently comment on new posts?

        Your mistake is that you think it’s all about you. It’s not.

        Btw, you could have taken this time to respond to Beachbum, whose comment seems free of all the bullshit you claim is indicative of any of the regulars here but no, you responded to me. You’re so amazingly full of shit.

        Oh, I’ll respond to Beachbum, so just shut the trap, eh ToughGuy?

    • It’s kind of hard, because SI that annoying threaded display going, but I don’t mind taking it from the top.

      I’m not sure what this means. What “annoying threaded display”? And how has it prevented you from responding?

      And please, don’t feel compelled to respond to anything I say. Respond to the new visitors who seem to have said a lot, as they don’t have the same axes to grind that you think I have.

      • I’m not sure what this means. What “annoying threaded display”? And how has it prevented you from responding?

        Uh, you don’t know what a threaded comments section is? Oh well. I’m not going to take the time to explain something that simple to you.

        And how has it prevented you from responding?

        Did I say it was preventing me from responding?

        • you don’t know what a threaded comments section is

          Sure, but that’s not what you said. Read what you FUCKING TYPED, you douchebag.

          See, now you got me losing my usual courteous gentility, Jon.

          Here. I’ll do it for you.

          rest assured that I’ll read the new comments …and pick up right where we left off …. It’s kind of hard, because SI that annoying threaded display …

          • SI,

            Sure, but that’s not what you said. Read what you FUCKING TYPED, you douchebag.

            Well, my apologies for giving you the benefit of the doubt. I figured that any intelligent person would know exactly what “annoying threaded display” meant, but apparently, something got lost in the translation. Whatever the case may be, I didn’t think you would needlessly split hairs, and what’s with another juvenile display of foul language and childish insult?

            Do you have anything intelligent to say or add to this conversation? Any questions to ask, perhaps? If not, then, until next time. I’m simply not going to waste time trading pedestrian insults with a man old enough he ought to know better.

  22. “It can’t be that I stopped responding because I was actually occupied with real life…”

    You’re not so occupied that you couldn’t stop by with your usual complaints about our treatment of you – yet I maintain that MY treatment of you in this thread has been very civil and you don’t spend even a line of this rant devoted to responding to last thing I said. That being your way doing things, I am amused that you find your treatment (whatever that is) to be unjustified.

    By the way, ol’ “Jon” seems to have gotten preoccupied with other issues in life at a particularly fortuitous moment in the discussion he was having here – wouldn’t you say? Look back at his involvement, the replies he received and tell me what you think.

  23. John Evo,

    You’re not so occupied that you couldn’t stop by with your usual complaints about our treatment of you…

    Did I say I was occupied then, John? No. I said I got occupied since then. Pay attention.

    You’re not so occupied that you couldn’t stop by with your usual complaints about our treatment of you – yet I maintain that MY treatment of you in this thread has been very civil and you don’t spend even a line of this rant devoted to responding to last thing I said.

    I didn’t complain about how you or anyone else in this thread was treating me. Stick to what I say, not what you hear. I said,

    It’s as if you’re not even reading what I’m saying. Then again, when you and your “oh-so-intellectual” cronies are precommitted to denigrating anything that comes out of my mouth, I suppose that’s only natural.

    See the difference? My comment was speculation about motive for what appears to be wanton refusal to listen [the “brilliant” dismissal]. No big deal though, we can drop that, as you seem willing to continue, or at least willing to think about what’s being said as opposed to the usual knee-jerk “whatever cl says is wrong” crap. Got it? Good. Now…

    …since all change CAN BE explained via evolution and the described processes therein…

    All change? That’s what I mean by “making facts up.” Not all change can be explained by natural selection. Darwinian selection cannot explain change in the pre-biological world.

    Look back at his involvement, the replies he received and tell me what you think.

    What I think about what? I think Jon probably got sick of you guys acting like a bunch of teenagers! I do. That’s why I sometimes don’t come back until weeks after a post has simmered down. Seriously. Look at all the crap you guys talk. I fully understand why somebody might not want to stick around. One can only take pottymouths and scoffers so seriously, you know?

    At any rate, I already told you what I think. I told you it seemed like he was attempting to draw out a real nuance, and that for whatever reason, you folks just aren’t getting it. I understand [at least I think] what he meant. Claims of the variant, “organisms change in reaction to selection pressures” are observable in nature, and testable in the laboratory. When he said “evolution isn’t testable” I interpreted his comment to mean claims beyond that in scope. I also tend to agree with what he said to SI here:

    I’ve never seen non-religious creationism, but ID can go either way. There are most certainly people open to ID as science who are not religious or “IDiots” but hey, if you don’t want to believe me, keep throwin’ around them insults.

    So what now?

    • cl asked and said: “All change? That’s what I mean by ‘making facts up.’Not all change can be explained by natural selection. Darwinian selection cannot explain change in the pre-biological world.”

      First of all, let me re-quote myself, because I didn’t say “natural selection” (although that is certainly PART of it). I actually said, “evolution and the described processes therein…” of which certainly natural selection is an aspect of those processes and plays a huge part.

      I also didn’t say “Darwinian Selection”. Though we owe much to Charles Darwin for being the first to thoughtfully articulate a general process, we know a thousand times what Darwin knew.

      But these are side issues. What is important to respond to is your assertion that such processes are inadequate in explaining “change in the pre-biological world.”

      First, I want to clarify – does this mean you accept evolutionary theory as being able to explain ALL the changes we have seen in life, since it became what we would all CALL “life”?

      Secondly – presently, evolutionary theory is not called on to explain any pre-biotic changes – mainly because we don’t know enough about the pre-biotic environment. I think it is a given that wherever replication with modification due to mutation EXISTS – evolutionary theory can explain the changes.

      But I’m just a layman. Perhaps you understand why this isn’t the case?

      Look, cl, we indeed don’t know everything there is to know about evolution. If that’s all you’re saying – then I agree. If you are saying that there is any reason to invoke something spooky where there are knowledge gaps – well, you KNOW what I think about that.

      • John Evo,

        First, I want to clarify – does this mean you accept evolutionary theory as being able to explain ALL the changes we have seen in life, since it became what we would all CALL “life”?

        Well, you’ll have to clarify precisely what you mean by “evolutionary theory.”

          • Yes, really. How are we ever going to get anywhere if you don’t explain exactly what you mean by what you say? I mean, you invited me back to this conversation. So? Where do we stand??

            • “So? Where do we stand??”

              If you can’t answer without me defining what I mean by “evolutionary theory” – we’re done for now; at least on that question.

              As I said just a bit further on, in the same comment – “Look, cl, we indeed don’t know everything there is to know about evolution. If that’s all you’re saying – then I agree”.

              • I’m just trying to identify your claim, but hey, if you don’t want to give me a direct answer, no skin off my back. You might want to tell SI to stop pretending like I’m the one with an aversion to straight answers, though… 🙂

                Even so, I’ll try: do I think natural selection can account for ALL biological change? No. So, there you go: even when you withhold a straight answer, I’m willing to offer a straight answer. Go figure.

  24. Here’s what much of this boils down to, for me at least:

    They want to know why we care that they believe in supernatural spirits, or miracles, or Biblical authority, or other unsubstantiated beliefs. What harm do their beliefs cause, and why are we so damn strident about our opposition to them? [SI]

    My beliefs about God don’t cause any harm, at all. Neither do they inspire me to cause any harm, at all. So when I hear rhetoric like this, I’m left scratching my head as to what the speaker really means.

    • My beliefs about God don’t cause any harm, at all. Neither do they inspire me to cause any harm, at all. So when I hear rhetoric like this, I’m left scratching my head as to what the speaker really means.

      Yes, but by now you realize that I could care less what YOUR beliefs are. In case you missed it, the entire post didn’t mention you once.

      • Yes, but by now you realize that I could care less what YOUR beliefs are. In case you missed it, the entire post didn’t mention you once.

        I notice that you said “yes.” Are we in agreement that my beliefs neither cause harm, nor inspire me to cause harm? Just answer the question without the low talk and childish insults, if you don’t mind.

    • Clearly they do, because when it comes to any topic related to your beliefs you behave differently and seemingly can’t think straight. I’ve actually seen you respond to topics unrelated to your beliefs in the supernatural and you’re able to present a reasoned argument, free of tricks or related bullshit, and you don’t appear to get emotional. Switch to the supernatural and/or the issue of indulgence in those beliefs and you literally become a different person, and I don’t mean in just name.

      Furthermore, championing unwarranted beliefs and faith in general is a detriment to society. You want to indulge? Fine, but don’t expect to be congratulated for it, nor go unchallenged when you either try to claim such an indulgence is credible or try to attack what is credible in some roundabout way to make your indulgence seem credible.

  25. in other words, i don’t think you’d know what to do with the “hard” evidence you ask for even if God thought it important enough to give it to you.

    Ever notice when something amazing appears to happen, a VERY common response from someone is, “did you see that?” Despite the human inclination towards the irrational, there is that desire to seek confirmation of what we experience and think. For some, it doesn’t take much. Watch any of those silly shows like Ghost Hunters and you’ll see dozens of unwarranted confirmations…

    GH1: Did you hear that?
    GH2: Yeah. Sounded like a voice.
    GH1: Must be the ghost.
    GH2: Yup, must be.

    Now I had a preacher say to me online, “I bet you’d deny God even if he sent an angel before you” to which I asked, “and just how would you know it was an angel?” And there’s the rub, by what standard is anyone to determine what they were beholding? Am I alone? Maybe I’m asleep. Ever notice how many claims of supernatural sightings are by people who say they were awoken or were just falling asleep when they saw what they saw? Maybe I’m drunk. Maybe I’ve lost my marbles finally. Maybe it’s an alien. Maybe it’s a devil. Maybe it’s a mischievous fairy. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

    So I see or feel something, and I meet someone else who says they saw or felt something before at least once, and so on, and so on, and that’s evidence? Evidence of what, exactly? Please. Your god sensations are no different than others’ “memories” of alien anal probings. Scratch that, the alien stories are probably more credible since they at least involve physical beings, albeit fanciful, rather than supernatural beings.

    Read some Philip K. Dick and see just how far one can trust their own mind alone. 😉

    • “So I see or feel something, and I meet someone else who says they saw or felt something before at least once, and so on, and so on, and that’s evidence?”

      no, i don’t believe that at all. where did you get that from because i didn’t say it.

      “Your god sensations are no different…”

      nor did i mention anything about God sensations.

  26. my belief is derived solely from my own reasoning and logical deduction.

    What you’ve exhibited here, at least on that topic, has been flawed. You disappeared after your best go at it was shown to be suspect several months ago.

    Anyway, that’s why you should always try and get your calculations checked and verified by others, just like with observations. Oh, and by credible people. That should go without saying. Of course Ghost Hunter 1 is going to verify Ghost Hunter 2’s hearing of a ghost voice, right?

  27. “What you’ve exhibited here, at least on that topic, has been flawed.”

    hardly. it may be the case, however, that you believe it to be flawed.

    “Anyway, that’s why you should always try and get your calculations checked…”

    whaaaaaa? are you just making this stuff up as you go? ok. i guess i’ll play along although i probably stand as much chance at getting this question answered as my previous one.

    what calculations would those be?

    • hardly. it may be the case, however, that you believe it to be flawed.

      LOL! Right I forgot, when it appears you’re mistaken it’s only because others are either blind to your brilliance or too biased to accept it. You do see the problem there, right? Wait, of course you don’t, that’s part of the problem. Well here, you little example of Dunning-Kruger you. You disappeared after that one, remember? Well, “jason” did. Flawed.

      Besides, even in your machinations for warranting a prime mover, there’s simply no way to get from that to a characterization for that prime mover such as your “God”.

      what calculations would those be?

      Any and all. By calculations, I mean anything you’ve worked out for yourself. You can’t simply rely on your own faculties without checking with others.
      ridiculous

  28. “well, if God actually exists, i can think of no other being that would present better evidence of God than Himself.”

    You have no idea how strongly I agree with this.

    • lol! i assume that you are implying that because He could then He should?

      if that’s the case, why should He?

      • It would (one assumes) end discussions like this. There would still be those who worship, and those who don’t. If it turned out to be the same god I’ve been hearing about from Christians my whole life, I still wouldn’t worship it, but I wouldn’t argue against its existence.

        • “It would (one assumes) end discussions like this.”

          indeed it would.

          “I still wouldn’t worship it, but I wouldn’t argue against its existence.”

          not a very compelling reason i would think but to each his own. an honest (and civil) discussion at any rate and for that my thanks.

      • if that’s the case, why should He?

        Why shouldn’t he? If he desires worship, or even simple acknowledgement, why shouldn’t he simply let us know he exists? How hard could it be.

        And don’t start with the “what evidence would convince you?” bullshit. I’ll leave it up to him. If he’s omnipotent, I’m sure he could do it.

        • “why shouldn’t he simply let us know he exists?”

          i, among many, many others believe that He has. i’m sure you disagree but that’s not what i’m referring to.

          i’m speaking of direct revelation. moses or saul style.

          • i’m speaking of direct revelation. moses or saul style.

            So? What’s stopping him? He only reveals himself to ignorant goat-herders and sock puppets? I’m open to an unambiguous revelation.

          • i, among many, many others believe that He has.

            I’d like to see the logical deduction for that belief, especially for the quantifier, “i’m speaking of direct revelation. moses or saul style.”

            • there are plenty of arguments for the existence of God that use logic and deductive reasoning. many people find those arguments convincing. i’m not sure where the controversy lies with you in that.

              • That doesn’t answer my question. Show me the logical deduction for believing your god provided direct revelation “moses or saul style”.

  29. Jason –

    You quote me as saying: “I still wouldn’t worship it, but I wouldn’t argue against its existence.”

    You replied, “not a very compelling reason i would think but to each his own. ”

    I’m sorry, I HONESTLY don’t know what you mean by this. Not a compelling reason for me to not argue against its existence? This doesn’t make sense. We’ve already agreed that god unambiguously demonstrating his existence would be VERY compelling. As compelling as it gets. So I have to assume I’m misapprehending your reply. Can you clarify that for me?

    • sure – sorry for the confusion.

      the question i asked was: “if that’s the case, why should He?”

      i assume your answer was: “It would (one assumes) end discussions like this.”
      you then went on to add the bit about worship. my reply was in response to your answer but i attached it to your second thought because it showed the disdain you have for your conception of the Christian God. iow, i don’t think it would be a compelling reason for God to directly reveal himself just to end these types of discussions especially when the disbelieving party would only show derision.

      • jason,

        …i don’t think it would be a compelling reason for God to directly reveal himself just to end these types of discussions especially when the disbelieving party would only show derision.

        Great point. Evo even admits it himself: even if the God of the Bible walked in Evo’s door with sufficient demonstration, Evo still wouldn’t worship. So, why should God walk through Evo’s door? I also question whether it would end these discussions. I suspect the discussions would just change focus from ontology to something else. It’s hard to say. I mean, by default, the Evo-types would have to come up with some other angle, right?

        • So, do you think he should walk through everyone’s door, confirming the fact of his existence, IF everyone would fall to their knees and worship?

          That would seem to negate the “free will” you go on about. Wouldn’t folks like me just CONFIRM the fact of our fee will? No harm there, right?

          • So, do you think he should walk through everyone’s door, confirming the fact of his existence, IF everyone would fall to their knees and worship?

            No.

            Wouldn’t folks like me just CONFIRM the fact of our fee will?

            Do you mean that your ability to refuse to worship God confirms the fact of our free will? If so, no, that’s false.

            No harm there, right?

            No, there is no harm in a demonstration of free will. However, if the God of the Bible is true, there is significant harm that entails one’s refusal to repent.

            • However, if the God of the Bible is true, there is significant harm that entails one’s refusal to repent.

              Big “if”, there. Lots of presuppositions have to be resolved before you can come to any conclusions on that one.

  30. “i don’t think it would be a compelling reason for God to directly reveal himself just to end these types of discussions especially when the disbelieving party would only show derision.”

    Still and forever – the petty deity?

  31. “That doesn’t answer my question. Show me the logical deduction for believing your god provided direct revelation “moses or saul style”.”

    i never said that there was a logical deduction for such an event. however, there are such deductions for the existence of God Himself. if God exists, such a direct revelation would then, obviously, be possible.

    • I see, so once you rationalize for yourself that your god exists, then all the other beliefs like direct revelation “moses or saul style” get to come along for the ride, is that it?

      Btw, you never explained your logical deduction for “the existence of God Himself”, meaning this very specific entity who would or could do such things as make personal revelations. At best, all you could work out is some sort of prime mover (which if anything like your previous go here, is flawed btw). First, how do you get from that to and intelligence, and then from that to your “God Himself”? I mean, why not intergalactic gnomes? Why not Time Lords? Why not Wakantanka or Io? Why not Cthulhu and the Dark Ones?

      • Btw, you never explained ….

        Philly,

        You don’t really expect to get a direct answer to any question from Cl do you? Oh, wait, that’s not cl. It’s jason.

        Carry on.

  32. Clearly they do, because when it comes to any topic related to your beliefs you behave differently and seemingly can’t think straight.

    Do you have any evidence for this? Or, would you just be presenting your opinion as fact?

    I’ve actually seen you respond to topics unrelated to your beliefs in the supernatural and you’re able to present a reasoned argument, free of tricks or related bullshit, and you don’t appear to get emotional.

    Surely you’re not expecting everybody to just take your word for it, right? Can you supply any evidence?

    Switch to the supernatural and/or the issue of indulgence in those beliefs and you literally become a different person, and I don’t mean in just name.

    Blah, blah, blah… more bluster and hot air, no evidence.

    Furthermore, championing unwarranted beliefs and faith in general is a detriment to society.

    Can you make your case? Or, are you content to simply assert that which carries an air of relevance?

    Besides, even in your machinations for warranting a prime mover, there’s simply no way to get from that to a characterization for that prime mover such as your “God”. [to jason]

    False. Reasoning from what we know: we only know of one universe, and that’s this one. We know that the odds of our being here are extremely improbable [let me know if you need to see some math]. So, whenever you say or even imply that a godless universe is “more probable,” it is YOU who needs to bring the numbers and meet the burden of proof. Sure, you can draw a line in the sand, taunt jason and call names until the cows come home, but that’s just, well… it is what it is, and it certainly isn’t the impartial drawing of a valid, reasoned, warranted conclusion.

    • You want evidence that you can’t be logical or argue responsibly (ie – no tricks, tangential arguments, shifting burden of proof, et al) when it comes to your god belief? Here is one example:

      We know that the odds of our being here are extremely improbable [let me know if you need to see some math]. So, whenever you say or even imply that a godless universe is “more probable,” it is YOU who needs to bring the numbers and meet the burden of proof.

      1. The odds against human existence are not a warrant for a designer. That’s logically fallacious and you SHOULD know that.
      2. A “godless” universe is the only option worth considering at this time because:
      • The existence of the supernatural cannot be verified
      • Your god is defined as supernatural
      Therefore a godless universe is the default position.
      3. Yet again attempting to shift the burden of proof to the denier of a claim. You are claiming that the supernatural exists, and that there’s a being who is supernatural who created everything when there’s no evidence to support anything of which you’re claiming. I do not need to compare probabilities with you because:
      • Probability is fallacious
      • You are making the claim, not I, therefore the burden of proof is yours.
      4. Obfuscation/tangential argumentation. Your response does not address the comment you quoted to respond to. In my comment I said, even in your machinations for warranting a prime mover, there’s simply no way to get from that to a characterization for that prime mover such as your “God”.” Argue all you want about a designer, prime mover, etc, but you cannot get from that to something as specific as your god logically. The claim by “jason” was that his belief was based solely on logical deduction, however it’s not logically possible to get from point A to point B so I asked to see the math. His failure to respond and your subsequent refusal to address that and instead try to shift the topic is quite telling.

      Oh, and perhaps you’re right cl. Perhaps I was just being kind when I said you can be logical and responsible when it comes to topics other than your god belief. Maybe you are just as illogical, idiotic and generally douchey regardless of the topic. 😉

  33. “even when you withhold a straight answer”

    I’m not “withholding” anything and AGAIN… I’m didn’t say “natural selection”, I said “evolutionary theory” which encompasses much more than just natural selection….

    As you well know.

  34. I’m not “withholding” anything…

    Yes, you are. You are withholding an answer to my request to know exactly what you mean by evolutionary theory.

    I’m didn’t say “natural selection”, I said “evolutionary theory” which encompasses much more than just natural selection….

    Well then, explain what you mean.

    • Well then, explain what you mean.

      I have a better idea. Why don’t you stick with what he says, assume your own definition, and use it to explain why you disagree?

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