Mainstream Baptist

Being an out, proud, vocal atheist, one thing I seem to have trouble communicating to people is just how very little I care about their own personal beliefs. I dont care if you love Jesus any more than I care if you love Big Macs or tap dancing or MAC lipstick. Its your life, whatever.

My problem is, people just cant keep their hands to themselves.

For instance, it is against the religion of Muslims to generate artistic renditions of their choice of deity. That means that Muslims cant make a velvet painting of Mohamed riding a bucking bronco. I can.

Alternatively, in some branches of Christianity, abortions are against the rules. That means these branches of Christianity cant get abortions or do fetal stem-cell research. This religious rule should have no impact on my life, as I am not a member of their churches.

Now, if I am being particularly ‘civil’, I could, for the sake of a dinner party discretely move my painting of Mohamed riding a bucking bronco out of the dining room, and refrain from making jokes about how I am serving dead baby for dinner for the comfort of my Muslim/Christian guests, just like I would make sure to have a vegan/vegetarian option available if I were inviting a vegan/vegetarian to the same dinner party. I am under no real obligation to follow the vegan/vegetarians ‘rules’ (its not like they have a real food allergy that could kill them), or the Muslims/Christians, but I would try to be accommodating within reason.

Religious people appear to have a very difficult time understanding this point, though I think it is rather easy to ‘get’.

I also dont care what people personally believe in as long as it doesnt broach into my profession– If you are making scientifically testable claims, and those claims are proven to be false, then you need to accept reality and move on with your life. The Earth is not 6,000 years old. Humans cannot procreate via parthenogenesis with todays technology, much less Bronze/Iron-Age technology. HIV-1 causes AIDS. Vaccines do not cause autism. Mega-doses of Vitamin C dont cure cancer. Meh.

People who continue to make these statements, whether its Francis Collins or Peter Duesberg, are going to have to deal with being at the wrong-end of my bitch-stick until they accept reality.

And the thing is, I just plain dont have patience for people who dont understand these two simple points, because 1) I grew up with and was educated by theists who ‘get it’, 2) I regularly interact with theists who ‘get it’, even here in Oklahoma.

Example: Dr. Bruce Prescott. Baptist as all get out. Got a PhD in theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (same place Dr. Dr. William Dembski ‘teaches’). Pastor. Hosts a religious talk-radio program here in Oklahoma…

And a completely normal, nice, rational guy– President of our local Americans United chapter. Encourages people to ‘Turn off FOX’. Encourages dialogue between Christians and those of other (or no) faiths. And rather than just complaining about how UNCIVIL us EVIL atheists are, he actually has nice things to say about us heathens:

The greatest irony is that Oklahoma atheists offer more evidence of Christ-like love and charity than many Baptists and evangelical Christians:

Singer, of Oklahoma City, and the group of about eight people held signs and a banner that read, “The hands that help are better than the lips that pray.” Leaders of the group said the banner referred to a food drive they held Thursday

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. — 1 John 3:18

Stuff like this really gets me fantasizing… what would life be like if I could completely and totally not care about what other people believe, because it wasnt ever going to hurt me? Religionists would have to personally struggle with questions about Creation and abortion and homosexuality, but I would be allowed to ignore their personal beliefs, like I can currently ignore whether someone likes milk in their coffee?

Unfortunately, my fantasy is apparently other peoples nightmare.

*sigh*

Comments

  1. #1 qetzal
    May 9, 2010

    Religious people don’t get your point because, starting from their axioms, your point is flat wrong. For example, a Baptist believes in God, and believes that God wants all people to do certain things, and not do other things. As far as the Baptist is concerned, abortion is wrong for all people, regardless of whether the believe in God or not, because Baptists ‘know’ God exists and He doesn’t want anyone to have abortions.

    Same thing for Muslims and portrayals of Mohamed. In their view, portrayals of of Mohamed are always wrong because Allah says so. As far as they’re concerned, your failure to see the truth of Allah’s existence and desires doesn’t exempt you from his will.

    Note that I don’t believe in any of those things. I’m also an atheist. But in cases like the above, the only way to convice a believer that you shouldn’t have to follow their rules is to convince them that they’re wrong about what their deity supposedly wants.

  2. #2 Optimus Primate
    May 9, 2010

    I wish there were more like Dr. Prescott. My last pastor (a full-blown Southern Baptist) was a lot like that. In fact, he was a major support system for me when I was losing my faith (because, no matter what anyone tells you, realizing that everything you believed in for most of your life was a great big hoax perpetuated by willful ignorance is a painful realization).

    When he saw that I was slipping away from the church, he tried to ease me into a more liberal believe system (“Nobody who’s ever really studied the Bible takes it literally”; “Let’s focus more on Jesus than Paul”), and when he came to the conclusion that I wasn’t buying any of that, he made sure I understood that losing belief in God didn’t mean I was losing my goodness.

    I still have dinner with him every time he comes to town. He just preached my granddad’s funeral last week, and we had a great visit. He never tries to pray with me. He never even brings up the subject of religion. When we say our goodbyes, we hug and trade an “Love ya, brother,” and that’s that.

    Unfortunately, pastors like that are a rare breed. At least in these parts.

  3. #3 Jason Dick
    May 9, 2010

    Yeah, growing up in a very conservative religious family, I am all too familiar with this kind of thing. My mother has a tendency to rail against abortionists as “baby killers”, apparently really and truly believing that, for instance, a blastocyst is every bit as much a human being as you or I. Other members of my family are similar.

    The way I see it, it all boils down to one simple thing: conflating religion with morality. The conservative religious believe wholeheartedly that the only true way to be a “good” person is to follow their specific religion. They believe that their beliefs themselves are morally good and upright, and other beliefs are not. Thus any claim that abortion isn’t bad is just the devil attempting to get his way, or some such.

    This conflation of religious belief with morality is really, really insidious. Would you believe that I didn’t even notice that it was flat wrong until quite a while after I stopped believing? The way the idea just sort of nestles itself in the emotional centers of your brain makes it almost impossible to dig out.

  4. #4 Douglas McClean
    May 9, 2010

    And no religion too?

  5. #5 386sx
    May 9, 2010

    Wow that “D.R.” dude is a really pleasant feller ain’t he? Wow.

  6. #6 ema
    May 9, 2010

    As far as the Baptist is concerned, abortion is wrong for all people, regardless of whether the believe in God or not, because Baptists ‘know’ God exists and He doesn’t want anyone to have abortions.

    Apparently OK Baptists also “know” that their God wants doctors to 1) lie to their patients about the health of a pregnancy and be protected from malpractice, and 2) subject patients to unnecessary and unconsented invasive tests. Funny how that works out, no?

    The problem isn’t with what Baptists (or others) believe, it’s with accommodating their delusion that their beliefs are in any way relevant to prefect strangers.

  7. #7 Tyler DiPietro
    May 9, 2010

    From the first comment on the IDiot’s blog linked at the tail end of the OP:

    “I would challenge anyone who thinks that ID is unscientific to read William Dembski.”

    Too funny.

    People who are incompetent usually don’t seem to realize that they are incompetent. Why anyone without significant preparation in mathematics would presume themselves to be competent to assess someone’s information theoretic proposals is beyond me.

    Here is a clue: if you think Dembski’s work is anything approaching a rigorous mathematical proposal, let alone a challenge to evolution, you are not competent.

  8. #8 qetzal
    May 9, 2010

    ema,

    Like I said, I don’t agree with any of the Baptist or Muslim beliefs. But given their fundamental beliefs, it’s entirely logical for them to want to apply their rules to everyone.

    What if they were right? What if there really was an all-powerful God who created us all, and that we should all follow his rules, including no abortions? IF that were true, wouldn’t it be right to outlaw abortions?

    From their perspective, their beliefs are relevant to everyone, because they believe God mad everyone, and that everyone should be subject to God’s laws. You’ll never convince them that their rules should only apply to themselves. To do so, you’d have to convince them that their fundamental understanding of God is wrong. If you do that, they’re not Baptists any more.*

    So I respectfully disagree. The problem is most certainly what (some) Baptists and others believe: they believe they have a duty to try to enforce their rules on everyone.

    *OK, this is obviously oversimplifying. Not everyone who considers themselves Baptist or Muslim or whatever will automatically believe they must try to impose what they believe to be God’s rules on everyone. But many will, and for them, it’s an essential element of their religion.

  9. #9 Tyler DiPietro
    May 9, 2010

    “What if they were right? What if there really was an all-powerful God who created us all, and that we should all follow his rules, including no abortions? IF that were true, wouldn’t it be right to outlaw abortions?”

    As an abstract ethical matter that’s an interesting discussion, but the conclusion is not inexorable. A religious person could simply maintain that their rules only apply if you want to enjoy a heavenly paradise, and shouldn’t be implemented as secular law.

  10. #10 ema
    May 10, 2010

    What if they were right? What if there really was an all-powerful God who created us all…?

    In that case it should be hunted down, slapped silly, and subjected to 24/7 anal U/S just for fun. Then, and only then, should it be allowed access to a psych consult.

    On a more serious note, even if it were true that there really was an all-powerful God who created us all that’s not a good enough reason to outlaw abortion. God would have to come up with a rational explanation as to why 1) its existence justifies outlawing a safe and effective medical procedure, and 2) a theocracy is the best form of government.

  11. #11 Party Cactus
    May 10, 2010

    I try to avoid non-sciencey posts, but I feel like saying two things

    First, Muhammad is not the deity of Islam, but rather, said deity’s final and best prophet. What’s actually kinda funny is that I’m pretty certain the ‘no drawing Mohammad’ thing is found nowhere in the Qur’an. Indeed, once upon a time they even drew pictures of Muhammad. The reason there is to be no images of Muhammad is so that Muslims wouldn’t begin to worship icons of him instead of God (or Allah if you so choose; I mean, in Arabic Allah means God, even if you’re a Christian or Jew, so whatever). Kinda funny, when you think about things like the South Park thing, were people really afraid of Muslims worshiping a cartoon. And let’s not forget that, in Islam, figures typically associated with other religions like Jesus and Moses are also considered profits (although lesser to Muhammad), and as such should not be depicted either. Watch this Islamic children’s cartoon thing for instance. See that puff of smoke? That’s Moses. He isn’t actually depicted there. Yet, no Muslims complain about depictions of or insults directed at Moses or Jesus. Don’t know why, but I’d say it’s because many fail at their own beliefs and are just looking for a reason to be offended (or, in the case of the loonies among Muslims, harm someone). Munafiq? You decide! It really is a shame though that Islam has so many crazies (alas, there is no short supply of Islamic racists, misogynists, homophobes, or jihadist murderers); things like Adhan or Qur’an recitals really truly are beautiful.

    Also, I think you miss something that separates things like gay marriage and abortion in that one people are against others doing something among and to themselves of their own free will, and the other is done to another with no consent. Taking abortion as a similar argument really doesn’t add up because gay marriage is about what legal agreements two consenting adults who happen to have the same plumbing should be able to do, and abortion (as birth control, not the necessary ones that are an unfortunate reality) is discussing what is and is not human and deserves the rights of a human, and why does someone get to decide; when is a heap of sand not a heap of sand? You can probably tell were I stand, and since I see no proof of the existence of some mystical magical soul that arbitrary makes a given lump of animated carbon ‘human’ at any point from point A to point B, I will likely stay there, but not on any religious grounds. Personally, I wish the right-wingers wouldn’t have made it out to be such a religious issue, especially given that they don’t have the best of track records on so many other issues (not that I’m a left-winger by any means though), and I know I am not alone in this thought.

  12. #12 ERV
    May 10, 2010

    … and the other is done to another with no consent…

    I will remember that the next time I am typing on my computer without its consent or opening a can of dog food without its consent or stepping in a rain puddle without its consent, etc etc etc.

    … I wish the right-wingers wouldn’t have made it out to be such a religious issue…

    I bet you a shiny new fetus I can make a better secular argument for allowing abortions than you can for making them illegal.

    … and I know I am not alone in this thought…

    Whether you are ‘alone in this thought’ is irrelevant to the validity of your ‘thought’. I also dont give a flying fuck what homosexuals think of abortion. So…

  13. #13 Michelle
    May 10, 2010

    When I was a Christian, I read C.S. Lewis and he said this about divorce: “My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.” Even when I was a believer it seemed fundamentally silly to try to argue or enforce at the level of details when you knew perfectly well your fundamental disagreement was at the level of premise.

    Thus, I have no problem with people trying to convert me because at least they’re arguing at the level of premise, and also I kind of enjoy arguing.

    I realize, though, that this gets sticky when someone believes something is murder, and really I’m not sure there’s any counter to that but science. And when people have made themselves immune to science, then we find ourselves at an impasse of moral imperatives.

  14. #14 qetzal
    May 10, 2010

    ema:

    On a more serious note, even if it were true that there really was an all-powerful God who created us all that’s not a good enough reason to outlaw abortion.

    I think you’re still missing the point. You and I can agree with your statement. But the people I’m talking about believe,

    (1) There is an all-powerful creator God.
    (2) Everyone should follow God’s rules.
    (3) One of God’s rules is “No abortions.”

    For someone who already accepts (1)-(3) above, a complete ban on abortions for everyone, believers and non-believers alike, is a reasonable and logical conclusion. They’ve already decided that God’s existence and will constitute an unassailable reason to outlaw all abortions. No amount of you or me or ERV trying to explain why their rules shouldn’t apply to us is going to change their minds. Not unless you convice them to abandon at least one of the above beliefs.

  15. #15 DAM10N
    May 10, 2010

    I don’t think it is reasonable to expect anyone (theist or atheist) to “keep their hands to themselves” when significant issues involving human suffering are on the line. For example, suppose that your brother-in-law insists that his five children can survive measles, mumps, rubella, polio, snake-bites and all manner of other afflictions by simply following the advice of Christian Scripture and treating all maladies first and foremost with faith and prayer. Would you be content to stand by and say, well, that’s just a matter of personal conscience? Me either. Neither would Bruce, nor, I expect, ERV.
    The question, then, must be whether some given action (such as apostasy or blasphemy or conjuring) does significant harm to humans, and I’m afraid that it is impossible to reason well about such things with people who place faith in the proclamations of ancient prophets. Once holy writ is invoked, rationality is for the most part suspended. What I admire about people like Bruce is that they are willing to interpret their books in light of reason, rather than using reason to rationalize whatever they find in the books.
    p.s. I never claimed to be a pleasant fellow, and I’m not about to start now.

  16. #16 Sili
    May 10, 2010

    Gays against abortion?

    Jesus fucking Christ on a stick …

    And I thought black homophobes were hypocrites …

  17. #17 Prometheus
    May 10, 2010

    “….things like Adhan or Qur’an recitals really truly are beautiful.”

    And what is your point?

    So are mushroom clouds, vials of mercury and bowls of crystalline arsenic.

    That does not justify the use of their contents on innocent people any more than the use of a doctrine advanced by a child rapist who’s adherents bankrupt their families traveling thousands of miles to snog a fucking meteorite.

    The Mass in B minor is pretty awesome but only out of context. When you acknowledge it as a propaganda piece being employed to allow elderly “virginal” golfers to bugger another generation of choir boys, forget it, I can live without Bach.

    Is it okay to stab you provided I use a pretty Faberge dagger with a nephrite jade blade?

    sheesh.

    As much as I like Prescott, and I have had his blog bookmarked since its first week in operation, Bruce still makes me nervous.

    If you can contort your reasoning powers to the point where you can accept a universal creator (and fleshy progeny) for whom there is less empirical evidence than, say a Chupacabra, what else gets past the filters?

    Don’t get me wrong I appreciate Bruce’s positive observations and support for Oklahoma atheists but he does so from on high. He loves to speak with “pastoral authority”. I’m not part of anybody’s flock.

    Getting shit done because you aren’t busy muttering stratospheric low-ball offers into the pages of a book you haven’t read isn’t ironic and isn’t an example of Christ-like behavior.

    An example of Christ-like behavior is to get slaughtered by the organization (Rome) who will hold a billion of your adherents in devout bondage for the next two thousand years waiting for you to show back up and leave your own relatives homeless, brutalized and murdered for a similar stretch.

    Golda Meir got shit done. Christ, by any objective standard, was an abject failure.

  18. #18 vhutchison
    May 10, 2010

    Abbie: Thanks for this post on my friend Dr. Bruce Prescott. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE), where he has been most helpful in a variety of ways in opposing ID creationism and the imposition of religion in public schools. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the national Americans United for Separation of Church and State (along with Barbara Forrest). He clearly respects the views of both believers and non-believers. He is particularly critical of some of the ridiculous positions of the Southern Baptist Convention, as readers of his blog are aware.

    He is an excellent example of how some people with religious faith can be very helpful in our fight against creationism in public schools. Some atheist science bloggers have been on a tear recently attacking ‘accommodationism’ of those in the anti-ID creation movement, including negative comments about the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and Clergy Letter Project and their acceptance of views of religious groups that support science and accept evolution. For example, NCSE has a staff member that works with supportive faith groups.

    Apparently, these bloggers against this out- reach to supportive religious groups have never been involved in the politics at the grass roots level of local school boards and state legislatures, where persons of religious faith can be helpful to the cause of science. Such pragmatic politics is a necessity, especially in very religiously conservative places. This may offend the ivory tower views of some atheists, but it has proven helpful in the protection of science in public schools.

    Bruce Prescott is an excellent example of how those with religious faith can also be rational and helpful. We can use more of these folks!

  19. #19 Tommykey
    May 10, 2010

    Alternatively, in some branches of Christianity, abortions are against the rules. That means these branches of Christianity can’t get abortions or do fetal stem-cell research. This religious rule should have no impact on my life, as I am not a member of their churches.

    My understanding of their line of thinking on this is: abortion is murder. The number of abortions per year is on a scale of the Holocaust. “If I as a Christian were to save Jews from the Holocaust or some other genocide, you would praise me. How can you then condemn me when I try to prevent abortion, which, being murder, is no different?”

    In other words, in their minds, we are engaging in selective criticism when they try to act in a consistent matter according to their beliefs.

    Another part of it I have observed (as well as experienced long ago when I was a believer) is that deep religious beliefs are personally validating experiences. What can be more important than being a faithful servant to the most powerful being in the universe? Therefore, when they see things going on around them that are in conflict with their religious beliefs, they can’t just shrug their shoulders and say “Well, I can’t impose my beliefs on them.” On the contrary, they see it as a force of evil that they are compelled to attack, because after all, their sense of self revolves almost entirely around being a soldier for their god.

    There is no compromise with such a mindset. In a democratic society, one can only hope to outnumber and outvote them.

  20. #20 Prometheus
    May 10, 2010

    vhutchison@#18

    “He is an excellent example of how some people with religious faith can be very helpful in our fight against creationism in public schools.”

    I agree with this proposition completely and as I said, I like Bruce Prescott. But I don’t pretend we are getting some sort of gift when we are supported by beleivers.

    If they have a half a brain they can acknowledge that their freedom in faith is as endangered by the compromise of the establishment clause as the freedom to be without faith.

    Bravo for enlightened self interest.

    Boo for the proposition of doing us heathens special favors from the pulpit.

    “Some atheist science bloggers have been on a tear recently attacking ‘accommodationism’…”

    Some people have been on this tear since before 1925 (Scopes vs. The State of Tennessee). It is a legitimate position with a solid basis in western history, characterizing it as an armchair ivory tower sophomoric pursuit is a mistake.

    That is an anti-intellectuals position from the get go and you know better.

  21. #21 vhutchison
    May 10, 2010

    Prometheus @18:

    I think that we probably agree more than disagree, but your statements suggesting that
    my comments are sophomoric and anti-intellectual miss the main thrust of what I was trying to state. I have followed this debate for some time and I can appreciate both sides of the issues.

    Have you been actively engaged in lobbying or working to preserve aspects of separation of church and state at the local level, especially with groups that support your position, but with whom you may have other disagreements? If so, then you would understand where I come from!

  22. #22 Jon H
    May 10, 2010

    I think the guy who writes the Scotteriology blog is pretty cool for a guy doing graduate work in bible studies. Smartest blog by an ex-NHL player. Damned funny too.

    http://scotteriology.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/jack-van-impe-ministries-chilliwack/

  23. #23 Prometheus
    May 10, 2010

    Victor,

    I appreciate your organization and your work enormously and I am a contributor.

    I get the strange bedfellows argument and have not only been a registered lobbyist but contributed financial and in-kind support for candidates opposed to municipal local and state fundamentalist theocracies for over 25 years.

    I don’t out my atheism in association with my name in print so that my name on supporter’s lists bears the kind of weight and generates the kind of “me too” money it has in the past.

    It is a poorly kept secret that half of the legal community in two central Oklahoma districts are atheists who choose not to trumpet that circumstance lest it diminish their political efficacy.

    So again I get it. I even get a commonality of goals.

    I just happen to hate it and defending the western intellectual tradition using endorsements from theists feels like the fatuous dicks that sell vinyl siding with the ichthys symbol and bellow “Praise the Lord!” at the end of their commercials.

    With the head of the NIH being chosen on the basis of his theistic bridge building regrets over having chosen a path of least resistance is a proposition already biting us on our collective ass.

    P.S. I was not describing your position as sophomoric, I was objecting to a position held since Thales being described as a recent blog fad To wit: an undergraduate flavor of the week.

  24. #24 vhutchison
    May 10, 2010

    Prometheus: Thanks. I get, understand and appreciate your position. Your support and contributions show we are together on the important issues.

  25. #25 William Wallace
    May 11, 2010

    This religious rule should have no impact on my life, as I am not a member of their churches.

    I call B as in B and S as in S.

    I’m not buying it. If you care to convince me, answer these:

    How do you feel about taxing cigarettes and outlawing the use of cocaine and heroin?

    How do you feel about the gas guzzler tax and other conservation pricing schemes rammed down our throats by mother earth worshipping utopians?

    How do you feel about their recycling requirements?

    How do you feel about the government requiring everybody to buy a product of the health insurance industry?

    The definition of a libturd is exactly what you claim to hate: They are not satisfied with simply not doing something they don’t like–they insist that laws be passed preventing everybody from doing that thing. Likewise, they are not satisfied with simply doing the things they like–they insist that laws be passed requiring everybody do the things they like.

    As an example, do you support or oppose requiring the chicken pox vaccine of all children?

  26. #26 Stephen Wells
    May 11, 2010

    Willy doesn’t understand the problem with letting people’s imaginary friends have an influence on policy. Silly willy. Willy thinks that everything he doesn’t like is “liberal”. Very silly Willy.

  27. #27 Jesse
    May 11, 2010

    What Willy does not understand is the difference between quantifiable effects and religious values. Many of the mentioned by him are laws are abject failures that have overstepped their bounds and will not accomplish what was intended in any way, shape or form, but they did at least have some justification in trying to mitigate measurable harm to other people. Vaccines are like speeding and DUI laws in many respects. If you and your family do not get vaccinated, there is a measurable increase in the probability that you will get somebody else sick. Just like if you are going 20mph over the speed limit or you get behind the wheel drunk, there is a measurable increase in probability that you will crash into somebody else.

  28. #28 Kemanorel
    May 11, 2010

    Funnily enough, a couple of us went to that post and left responses about the facts surrounding evolution. I checked back today to find them deleted with this message:

    Sorry guys, but I am not interested in debating a subject I wrote about FIVE YEARS AGO! Your buddy ERV could have found a much better example than mine of folks who have problems with Bruce Prescott.

    I have no desire to debate the issue of evolution with you guys either. I don’t believe in Macroevolution, though as of now I am an old-earth creationist who does believe in micro-evolution. I simply don’t see any facts for cross-species development and evolutionists can’t prove it. My belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and my faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World are much more important to me. My hope is that God would open your eyes to see the beauty of Jesus Christ and that you would be given the faith to believe.

    Posted by D.R. | 4:16 PM, May 10, 2010

    I responded back:

    “I simply don’t see any facts for cross-species development and evolutionists can’t prove it.”

    Because you don’t care to look or care simply won’t accept them:

    ERVs: proof of common ancestry of humans with the great apes of today

    Fused Chromosome #2: proof of common ancestry of humans with the great apes of today

    Two independant verifications right there for the evolution of man.

    If that wasn’t enough BDVs are proof of common ancestry of humans with not only the great apes of today, but also with many other mammals, including, but not limited to elephants, guinea pigs, macaques, and squirrels.

    You don’t “see” any because that would shatter your fragile little world, which is why you removed comments on a post which, as you put it, something you wrote 5 years ago.

    If these FACTS didn’t scare you, you wouldn’t worry about leaving them there.

    -Kemanorel

    “Sorry guys, but I am not interested in debating a subject I wrote about FIVE YEARS AGO!”

    Then you should delete the entire post. If it’s open for reading and open for comment, it shouldn’t matter how long ago it was written. It’s still a incorrect pile of spew that can still be looked up and used to spread lies about what we know are FACTS about biology and evolution.

    The fact that you deleted our posts only crystalizes the fact that you’re afraid of the information that is out there, and what it would do to the beliefs of theists if they read about them and really understood that this isn’t speculation or debate. It’s fact that contradicts your holy books.

    -Kemanorel

    I’m interested to see what happens.

  29. #29 Prometheus
    May 11, 2010

    WW

    Legal prohibitions always fail.

    It does not matter if they are religiously inspired or the imposition of well meaning nit-wits.

    The social utility of vaccinations is demonstrable, so the majority of people conform to the law regarding them because it is what they would do anyway.

    Just like the majority of people would refrain from spitting whether or not there was a law against it.

    The law didn’t kill the cuspidor, cigarettes and tuberculosis killed it.

    WW makes no sense and therefore cannot join my Scotch & Jarts League.

  30. #30 Jesse
    May 11, 2010

    Scotch & Jarts League? Are you allowed to take part in Jarts as a spectator with Scotch?

  31. #31 ERV
    May 11, 2010

    Pastorfag– Your buddy ERV could have found a much better example than mine of folks who have problems with Bruce Prescott.

    Im not your buddy, friend!

    In all seriousness, I have no idea who that fag is. I was just Googling around on Bruce, and found “Daniel Randle”s blagpost. If “D.R.” is unwilling to support the statements he made about Bruce, then he needs to take the post down.

  32. #32 Jesse
    May 11, 2010

    He’s not your friend, guy!

  33. #33 ERV
    May 11, 2010

    Im not his guy, buddy!

  34. #34 Ben
    May 12, 2010

    “fag”, ERV? How do you know he owns a Harley?

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/251889

  35. #35 Prometheus
    May 12, 2010

    “Scotch & Jarts League? Are you allowed to take part in Jarts as a spectator with Scotch?”

    Yes.

    But only the single malts (excepting 15 year Dimple Pinch).

    Blends are only acceptable when playing with a set of Regency lawn darts(preferably DP sliders).

    You get one advance point for every two years on the bottle you bring so in Scotch&Jarts you can win by being very good at Jarts or very good at Scotch.

    If you spill you are bartender until the next round and if you injure someone (known as “hard cheese”) you have to bring Stilton or Gloucester to the next game.

    It’s a lot like croquet but with more drinking and wounds.

  36. #36 stogoe
    May 12, 2010

    Wait, more drinking than croquet? Well, if we’re talking ABV rather than volume, perhaps. Croquet is a beer game, after all.

    (From what I hear, bocce pairs well with wine.)

  37. #37 Gareth
    May 12, 2010

    “a velvet painting of Mohamed riding a bucking bronco. I can”… while not exactly evidence demanding a verdict “I can” is certainly a claim demanding evidence. As those whacky kids these days are saying: the proof is in the painting. And find a kid saying that and I would bet whacky would be the least of the terms used descriptively.

    http://www.answering-islam.org/Muhammad/pictures.html

    Apparently even that fun pre-explosion video explaining how much one is looking forward to a fistful of virginity (not to be confused with the sequel: For a Few Virgins More) is haram. Bad terrorist! No paradise for you.

    Going looking for a local scotch and jarts league now.

  38. #38 Kemanorel
    May 12, 2010

    ROFL. He closed the comments and said the following:

    Kemanorel,

    Thanks for stopping by again, but as I said before, I don’t care to debate the subject with you or anyone else.

    Should you desire to debate, a quick Google search will turn up hundreds of links to arguments that debunk the Fused Chromosome hypothesis and many more claims for evolution. And many of these arguments are made those who hold Ph.D’s in science.

    If you are really looking to “prove” evolution, then debating those guys would likely be more beneficial than going after “lil-ole” me.

    I learned a long time ago what’s important and what’s not. Spending time debating this subject isn’t on my radar. I would much rather debate theology and make a difference in the lives of those in my congregation.

    You can believe whatever you want regarding me. I don’t feel a need to defend myself. I don’t need to debate this subject to prove my faith. As a Reformed Christian, I stand on the truth of the Word of God and can only pray that God would open your eyes to behold His glory. If you would like more information about how your guilt can be taken away and you can find freedom in Christ – forever to dwell in His presence praising and glorifying Him, then email me. I would love to discuss that.

    Otherwise, I will take your advice and close the comments here.

    May God bless your search for truth and grant you to have faith in Jesus Christ.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    D.R. Randle

    ROFL.

    -Claims it’s not an important subject to him.
    -Claims PhDs have bebunked the fused chromosome, then ignores what I said about ERVs and BDVs
    -Asserts I have “guilt” that can be taken away by Jesus
    -Gives another pathetic prayer that I “open my eyes” to God.

    The kicker was this part…

    He said:

    “Sorry guys, but I am not interested in debating a subject I wrote about FIVE YEARS AGO!”

    And I responded:

    Then you should delete the entire post. If it’s open for reading and open for comment, it shouldn’t matter how long ago it was written.

    Apparently he thought that meant he should pathetically rebut my response and then only close the comments. That is a masterpiece of twisted logic to think that “delete the entire post” means “just close the comments.”

    Wow.

    You certainly know how to pick them, ERV, aka “my buddy.”

    (While I would love to think I have a “buddy” of such intelligence and wit, somehow I doubt a few posts on your blog really qualifies me for that… cyber aquaintence maybe?)

  39. #39 Darrell E
    May 12, 2010

    Posted by: Kemanorel | May 11, 2010 3:43 PM

    Funnily enough, a couple of us went to that post and left responses about the facts surrounding evolution. I checked back today to find them deleted with this message:

    I guessed as much as I was clicking into the comment box over there. Oh well. I’ve gotta say though, that is one stupid, and dishonest, fucker there. It always makes me a little sad, and a little scared, to see such waste of a mind.

  40. #40 386sx
    May 12, 2010

    “This post has been removed by a blog administrator.”

    As predicted by probably everybody, “D.R.” does the very thing he criticized others for. Not only that, he literally condemned others to hell for doing it!

  41. #41 scrabcake
    May 12, 2010

    I was about ready to call Whine-One-One for the Waaahmbulance for that lady. (In the final link on your article.)
    I feel so bad for her. I mean, all she wants to do is tell people the truth about themselves…that’s Christly, right? She’s like Christ! She’s omnipotent and knows what’s best for everyone…But it’s like they don’t know she’s God’s little agent on earth so they get all steamed and delete her comments.

  42. #42 Tommykey
    May 12, 2010

    Kemanorel, this is my favorite part of his response to you, which demonstrates his overinflated ego:

    If you would like more information about how your guilt can be taken away and you can find freedom in Christ – forever to dwell in His presence praising and glorifying Him, then email me. I would love to discuss that.

    Shorter D.R. Randle, “I know what’s wrong with you and I have the solutions to all your problems because I believe a collection of ancient texts contains the revealed truth of the creator of the universe.”

  43. #43 Jesse
    May 12, 2010


    “Shorter D.R. Randle, “I know what’s wrong with you and I have the solutions to all your problems because I believe a collection of ancient texts contains the revealed truth of the creator of the universe plate does wonders for the soul.””

    Am I being cynical?

  44. #44 Kemanorel
    May 13, 2010

    Am I being cynical?

    No. That’s the point of all churchs is to take people’s hard earned money and give nothing but false hope and false comfot in return. That’s their entire deal.

    My fiance and I had to register at a church (tangent: because she wants to be married in a church and I’m indulging her because I don’t care where we get married. It’s also kind of fun knowing that I’m lying to several priests to get them to marry a catholic to an atheist in the church without their expressed permission which would be required by a bishop, and on top of that they’ll be giving communion to an atheist too. Seriously, I think blogging about it would cause a bigger stink than “crackergate”… anyways…) The first thing you have to do when you register is make a pledge to the church.
    They then send you envelopes for your weekly offerings, but since I don’t go to church and she rarely goes, we haven’t been turning in our weekly envelopes. Apparently, they keep records of who’s meeting their pledges because they sent a second batch of envelopes yesterday. *sigh* If only the envelopes were good enough for the normal mail… I’d never have to buy envelopes again.

    -Kemanorel

    Homework: yell at a bishop for walking straight and explain they’re only supposed to move diagonally. Don’t make any references to chess.

  45. #45 Rhology
    May 20, 2010

    Kemanorel,
    If you’re itching to talk evolution-y stuff with a fundy, feel free to drop by my blog. See ya.

  46. #46 Dude
    May 20, 2010

    Mohammed isn’t a deity. Are you really that ignorant?

  47. #47 Kemanorel
    May 21, 2010

    If you’re itching to talk evolution-y stuff with a fundy, feel free to drop by my blog. See ya.

    I’ll be glad to… but not on your blog. You have the conversation here, where I know you can’t moderate the comments, and I know ERV won’t moderate yours.

    I highly doubt you have anything new. Evolution has evidence, you do not. You will undoubtedly either misrepresent the subject or show a complete lack of comprehension of it. You will use logical fallacies to try and make your arguments, and you will ignore it when I point those fallacies out.

    So, fine, if you want, I’ll do it here, in neutral territory, but not on your own blog where I’m sure eventually, when you’re crushed under the weight of evidence for evolution, you would ban me and delete my comments so you and your readers can continue wallow in ignorance.

  48. #50 Rhology
    May 24, 2010

    Not a fan of logical examination of your chosen field? Typical. Suit yourself.

  49. #51 Kemanorel
    May 25, 2010

    Not a fan of logical examination of your chosen field? Typical. Suit yourself.

    I’m all for it, just won’t do it on unfair ground (i.e. your personal site).

    Logical examination from a person who’s entire belief system is based on belief without evidence is so contradictory that it makes me wonder if you’re not just the most elaborate Poe ever.

    In any case, I’m sure you have nothing new and every argument you make was addressed by someone already, probably right here at ERV. What is really funny is that you also probably use a logical fallacy (i.e. argument from personal incredulity – “I don’t see how that could happen, so that’s not true”) so you don’t have to believe it, then try to argue against the evidence using logic.

    This is what it comes down to. We have the evidence. We win. So, provide some actual verifiable evidence to support your argument, or just go away.

  50. #52 Tommykey
    May 25, 2010

    Kemanorel, one of the things you have to understand about Rhology is that he’s a legend in his own mind.

    For him, it’s a heads he wins/tails you lose situation. If you don’t accept his invitation to debate, it must mean that you tremble in fear of his sledgehammer intellect and rapier-like wit.

    If you do debate him, any evidence you offer that is in conflict with what it says in the Bible can be conveniently ignored because we can’t trust our senses, and besides, why do you assume that evidence is the best way to discover truth? That’s basically it in a nutshell.

  51. #53 Kemanorel
    May 25, 2010

    Kemanorel, one of the things you have to understand about Rhology is that he’s a legend in his own mind.

    Oh, I understand. I have severe SIWOTI syndrome though. Just look at the “ATTN MIT kids! How to communicate science” post…

  52. #54 Rhology
    May 26, 2010

    on unfair ground (i.e. your personal site).

    Waaah. I’ve done that many times, including here, and many times been moderated. I told you I don’t mod comments. But you know, feel free to talk a big game in your home stadium.

    Logical examination from a person who’s entire belief system is based on belief without evidence

    I would imagine YOU believe in the utility of evidence. Tommykey was right to say that I’ll ask you to justify your belief that evidence is the best way to discover truth. What’s your evidence for that?
    Yes, precisely – you can’t provide any evidence for it. So, logical examination from a person who’s entire belief system is based on belief without evidence is contradictory. The funnier thing is that you don’t realise it, which raises serious questions about your intellectual honesty (and capacity, but that’s a different story).

  53. #55 Kemanorel
    May 26, 2010

    Tommykey was right to say that I’ll ask you to justify your belief that evidence is the best way to discover truth. What’s your evidence for that?

    How about you look at nearly every device you use?

    Science has produced everything you use in everyday life… cars, planes, cell phones, your computer. Your probable life span is triple what it would have been 100 years ago. That’s science, not religion. That is proof that science works.

    Religion has not provided a single advancement to humans.

    And, I’ll clairify right here because I know where you’ll take that statement, I’m not saying people of faith never help advance anything.

    Men of faith have used SCIENCE to advance humanity, some do good charity work, etc. But, no person has ever said, “Eureka! My diety just told me how [insert natural phenomena] works!” or “Amazing! I can make [insert new technology] and do this [insert awesome thing].”

    Not once. Ever. Adancement never comes from religious revelation.

    The funnier thing is that you don’t realise it, which raises serious questions about your intellectual honesty (and capacity, but that’s a different story).

    What’s really funny is that you actually believe your own tripe. The scientific method has proven itself to work time and again. Religion continues to wallow in ignorance.

    If you don’t think evidence is the best way to advance and find out what’s fact and what isn’t, then please stop using the devices produced by science. Stop going to hospitals and just pray for healing.

    Fucking hypocrite. Bashing the thing the produced the technology and the media you’re bashing it through…

    Seriously, I suggest you take advantage of medical technology, get an MRI of your brain, and get the tumor removed that’s pressing on the cognitive center of your brain. That is the only possible explanation for the twisting of logic you think validates your views.

  54. #56 Tommykey
    May 26, 2010

    Tommykey was right

    Ha! Got you to say it! :-)

    Fucking hypocrite.

    Now, now Kemanorel. No need to get vulgar with him. If he’s wrong, there’s no need to be mad at him for it. I learned that lesson myself. I think that the reason why he riles people so much is that we tend to take certain things for granted, like rape and murder is wrong, and he questions our assumptions. I have long since come to the conclusion that life is too short to get irate and emotional just because someone has the temerity to disagree with me on the Internet.

    If you don’t think evidence is the best way to advance and find out what’s fact and what isn’t, then please stop using the devices produced by science. Stop going to hospitals and just pray for healing.

    Far be it for me as an atheist to make the religious argument, but I believe Augustine addressed this in City of God, if my memory serves. Basically, Augustine said something to the effect that intelligence is a gift from god. Thus, we can use that intelligence that god gave us to set up hospitals, learn how to heal the sick, and so forth.

    My understanding of the meaning of prayer, and I believe Rho acknowledged me on this previously, is that it is not meant to be a dispensation of goodies from god in return for prayers, but rather that prayer itself is an act of submission to god and a recognition that everything that happens is a part of of god’s will, and that the person’s prayer rightfully understood is a plea that the thing asked for is part of god’s will.

  55. #57 Tyler DiPietro
    May 26, 2010

    “Tommykey was right to say that I’ll ask you to justify your belief that evidence is the best way to discover truth. What’s your evidence for that?”

    Rho, we’ve been through this over and over again, and my answer is the same every time. If we formalize the assertion “evidence is the best way to discover truth” in a multivalent logic, we can support it strongly. Perhaps that’s too sophisticated for you. Maybe when you graduate from freshman philosophy I’ll let you borrow some of my books.

  56. #58 Tyler DiPietro
    May 26, 2010

    “I think that the reason why he riles people so much is that we tend to take certain things for granted, like rape and murder is wrong, and he questions our assumptions.”

    You’re giving him WAY too much credit. His form of questioning is similar to that of a four year old who responds with “why?” to everything you say. As four year olds soon learn, the game can be continued ad infinitum. For an adult to think this is somehow an insightful critique of anything is just sad.

  57. #59 Tyler DiPietro
    May 26, 2010

    As an aside, I think that the best thing to do in the aforementioned situation is to pwn that little queer’s face and shut him the hell up. I wish more parents would use it. I fucking hate kids.

  58. #60 Kemanorel
    May 27, 2010

    Basically, Augustine said something to the effect that intelligence is a gift from god. Thus, we can use that intelligence that god gave us to set up hospitals, learn how to heal the sick, and so forth.

    Yeah, and what Rho is doing is bashing that “gift from God” which is a pile of bullshit that it’s from God anyways.

    Go ask Galileo how he feels about the church and science… You can’t call it a gift and then bash it at the same time. That doesn’t fly with me.

    If Augustine wasn’t being a thorn in science’s side with his inane babbling about God, then he can use whatever he wants. If you bash it like Rho does, you don’t deserve to use the fruits of scientific endevor.

  59. #61 Rhology
    May 27, 2010

    @55 Kemanorel,

    How about you look at nearly every device you use?

    OK, looking. Now what?
    (You must be operating under the mistaken notion that Christianity thinks evidence is worthless. That is incorrect.)

    Science has produced everything you use in everyday life

    Um, no, PEOPLE and ROBOTS have.
    Tell you what. Read this on the inherent fallacy in science and get back to me.

    That’s science, not religion.

    Of course.

    That is proof that science works.

    Works in its limited bailiwick, sure. But not b/c naturalism is true. Actually, given that naturalism cannot answer the problem of induction or the problem of the evolutionary argument against naturalism, and given that Christianity gives us a world in which natural processes and laws are put in place by God, Who guarantees that the world will function that way until the End, and given that Christianity includes the natural as well as the supernatural and gives us parameters by which we can usually tell them apart, science depends on Christianity, not on naturalism.

    some do good charity work

    BTW, you can’t use science to tell good from bad. You’re appealing to something else here. My guess is that it’s just your personal preferences, and that’s no basis for any objective value judgment.

    The scientific method has proven itself to work time and again

    Actually, induction doesn’t prove anything.

    Fucking hypocrite

    Ooooh, testy already. You’re not brittle like Tyler, are you?

    Tommykey said:
    Now, now Kemanorel. No need to get vulgar with him. If he’s wrong, there’s no need to be mad at him for it.

    Tommy, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this place, it’s to expect cheap playground tauting from the get-go. Watch out or they’ll excommunicate you from their good graces and abuse you when the urge hits. I’m just looking out for you. ;-)

    Tyler:
    From the wiki:
    The notion of fuzzy subset was introduced by Lotfi Zadeh as a formalization of vagueness; i.e., the phenomenon that a predicate may apply to an object not absolutely, but to a certain degree, and that there may be borderline cases. I

    Oh, so you’re satisfied with “to a certain degree”, are you? Neato. How does this solve the problem of induction? Just “well, that’s our best guess!”? How does that fit the (oft-accompanied by abusive pejoratives and invective) assertions of Science Über Alles that we so frequently see on this blog?

  60. #62 Kemanorel
    May 27, 2010

    OK, looking. Now what?

    Um, no, PEOPLE and ROBOTS have.

    Yeah… via SCIENCE. People didn’t just go “AH HA!” and snap their fingers. They used the scientific method to design the thing that they (and robots) build. The robots also being designed the same way!

    Nice dodge of the “adancement never comes from religious revelation” argument. I’m glad you agree.

    Tell you what. Read this on the inherent fallacy in science and get back to me.

    You like making these sorts of arguments:

    “This thing is somewhat true, therefore God.”

    The “therefore God” part doesn’t logically follow.

    BTW, you can’t use science to tell good from bad. You’re appealing to something else here. My guess is that it’s just your personal preferences, and that’s no basis for any objective value judgment.

    Or maybe you lack reading comprehension…

    I wasn’t applying science to charity work. I was applying “advancing humanity” to charity work. I was also apply “advancing humanity” to science. “Advancing humanity” does NOT apply to religion. In fact, religion is a detriment to the advancement of humanity.

    You could argue that they advanced civil/mechanical engineering with all the tourture devices they created… I wouldn’t really call that advancement. More like barbarism.

    Ooooh, testy already. You’re not brittle like Tyler, are you? … Tommy, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this place, it’s to expect cheap playground tauting from the get-go.

    I called you a hypocrite for your actions. I didn’t make some childhood retort like “you’re a poopy head.”

    Calling you a hypocrite is justified, and I backed it up by explaining why you shouldn’t be using the fruits of science when you go around bashing it.

    I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference between an ad hominem (which is meant to distract from the argument), and a rational conclusion based on your actions.

    Oh, so you’re satisfied with “to a certain degree”, are you? Neato. How does this solve the problem of induction?

    There is no problem with induction. It’s a valid form of proof: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_induction

    I’m sorry you don’t understand that either, and equate it to logical fallacies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

    Learn to use logic.

  61. #63 Rhology
    May 27, 2010

    Kemanorel,

    Yeah… via SCIENCE. People didn’t just go “AH HA!” and snap their fingers.

    Yes, never claimed otherwise. But you needed to be more specific.

    Nice dodge of the “adancement never comes from religious revelation” argument

    1) Prove that it never comes from religious revelation.
    2) Why restrict knowledge, BTW, to materialistic, scientific knowledge? Other things are knowledge too, you know.

    You like making these sorts of arguments:
    “This thing is somewhat true, therefore God.”

    1) Um, what?
    2) Nice dodge of the “science always commits the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent” argument. I’d love for you to deal with it.

    I was applying “advancing humanity” to charity work.

    You forgot where you said “GOOD charity work”. I was calling into question your use of “good”. Now please answer the question.

    In fact, religion is a detriment to the advancement of humanity.

    Please provide your standard for knowing what is progress, what is the goal toward which we are advancing, how we know it, who set the goal and when, and how you know advancing toward that goal is good.

    You could argue that they advanced civil/mechanical engineering with all the tourture devices they created

    An atheist REALLY should not get into a contest of body counts with a Christian. Seriously.

    I called you a hypocrite for your actions. I didn’t make some childhood retort like “you’re a poopy head.”

    Actually, yes you did use a childish retort.
    And what’s hypocritical about it? Using a profane modifier doesn’t increase the force of an empty argument.

    There is no problem with induction. It’s a valid form of proof: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_induction

    Oooh, behold the power of WIKI!!!!!
    How about you answer the problem, how science affirms the consequent.
    Since you apparently didn’t read the post to which I referred you, let me refer you here and then paste relevant portions from each here:

    “Sufficient data”? Sufficient according to whom? Sufficient according to you? If so, then your standard is subjective, but you said that you depend on “objective evidence.” What objective evidence defines that there is “sufficient data”?
    So you trust “scientific experiment”? But I have shown in my books that the method of experimentation commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. That is,
    If X is true, then Y is true.
    Y is true.
    Therefore, X is true.
    But this is a fallacy because it may be that A, B, or C causes Y to be true, not X. To repeat experiments is only to repeat this fallacious procedure over and over again.
    As even the atheist Bertrand Russell admits:

    All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: “If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true.” This argument is, of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: “If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it is a stone, and stones are nourishing.” If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based.

    …the naturalistic worldview has a dire and unresolved epistemological weakness – the problem of induction. Related to that is the problem of sense perception. You don’t know that your specific observations, of which you can make a few hundred on a given topic per year out of quintillions of actual events, reliably lead you to understand the universal, the way the world is. You ASSUME it. Similarly, you ASSUME that your senses accurately observe the outside world, then you ASSUME that the senses properly report that data to your brain, then you ASSUME that the data arrives correctly, then you ASSUME that your brain properly interprets the data, then you ASSUME that you then act properly on that data. But why assume it? B/c the alternative is distasteful – solipsism – but not b/c you have an argument or evidence that your assumptions are true. You HOPE they are, and hey, you ASSUME they are, but you can give no reason for me to think they actually are true.
    Further, you have no reason to think that the natural processes you think you observe around you are in operation everywhere. You have no reason to think they have always, or at least since a very long time ago, been in operation. You ASSUME these things are true, but you can’t even start to prove it.

    Also, please deal with the EAAN, which you didn’t even discuss.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  62. #64 Tommykey
    May 27, 2010

    the alternative is distasteful – solipsism – but not b/c you have an argument or evidence that your assumptions are true. You HOPE they are, and hey, you ASSUME they are, but you can give no reason for me to think they actually are true.

    But the same thing applies to alleged revelations from god too. How can you really know that you are receiving a divine revelation or your mind is not just playing tricks on you. Why should I believe YOU?

    One observation I have made about religious belief is that a lot of it can be explained by human egocentrism:

    God loves ME.

    God has a plan for ME.

    God put stars in the night sky to mark the seasons and help us navigate by not. The fact that we can utilize our observations of the stars for these ends in no way means that it follows that is why they were put there anymore than that trees were created to give us shade from the sun just because we can shade ourselves from the sun by sitting or standing beneath their leafy canopies.

    We’re so special that God created rules just for us. If a chimp steals food from another chimp, it’s just an animal behaving like an animal. But if a human steals from another human, it profoundly disturbs a being that allegedly created the entire universe.

    There are invisible beings called demons, under the command of a really, really bad demon called Satan, who somehow derive pleasure (and presumably sustenance of some sort) by tempting us to steal, murder, rape, stick our dicks in the bodily orifices of people who we are not supposed to, and so forth, and that our little speck of a planet in a galaxy that is one of billions is some central front in a cosmic war between the forces of good and evil.

    God sent his only Son to die for US. That seems to rule out the possibility that intelligent life exists any where else in a universe filled with billions of galaxies. All you need, for instance, is just one planet with intelligent life per galaxy, and we’re talking billions. IF there are, did Jesus get sacrificed on each and every one of them? The alternative would be to argue that Jesus sacrifice here on Earth (assuming such a thing actually occurred) covered all possible intelligent life in the universe. But again, that is a manifestation of human egocentrism that a Triune God created a universe filled with billions of galaxies, and yet our little speck of a planet is conveniently the one place where this god decided to play out its act of salvation.

    I could go on, but unfortunately my lunch break is coming to an end. Au revoir.

  63. #65 Kemanorel
    May 27, 2010

    1) Prove that it never comes from religious revelation.

    Fine. I’ll qualify it. No advancement has yet to ever come from religious revelation.

    Name a single advancement made by religion that was a benefit to humanity, and I’ll never make this assertion ever again.

    2) Why restrict knowledge, BTW, to materialistic, scientific knowledge? Other things are knowledge too, you know.

    I never said it was the only source. I only made the assertion that, to date, its the only source that’s been proven to work. Religion has done no such thing, and has in fact only proven itself to be a detriment to humanity.

    You like making these sorts of arguments:
    “This thing is somewhat true, therefore God.”

    1) Um, what?

    You have perpetuated multiple arguments that start with a true statement, then you say, “Therefore God exists.”

    Just like on the other post: “Intelligent being made life in a lab, therefore God had to make life in teh first place.” You just did it here: “We can’t trust our senses, therefore there is a God.”

    It’s ridiculous.

    2) Nice dodge of the “science always commits the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent” argument. I’d love for you to deal with it.

    I’m really sorry that you don’t understand science or the scientific method, but that’s the only way you’ll be able to understand why your argument is a fallacy.

    You forgot where you said “GOOD charity work”. I was calling into question your use of “good”. Now please answer the question.

    Good charity work is something that provides a benefit to the person that needs help.

    Bad charity work is doing something you think will help, but really doesn’t do a damn thing: like sending Bibles to Haiti.

    Please provide your standard for knowing what is progress, what is the goal toward which we are advancing, how we know it, who set the goal and when, and how you know advancing toward that goal is good.

    What? Do you really need this spelled out for you?

    Progress is anything that measurably improves on the current situation… like medicine increasing life expectancy. Car airbags increasing survival rates in car crashes…

    You don’t need a grand goal. You find one problem, and make it better. Metastatic melanoma has a survival rate of about 25% past 1 year… scientists made a new virus that increased survival to 58%. That’s progress. That’s an improvement.

    Actually, yes you did use a childish retort.

    Oh fuck off. You’re only proving you’re more of a hypocrite considering you said this before I called you a hypocrite the first time:

    which raises serious questions about your intellectual honesty (and capacity, but that’s a different story).

    Are you really that quick to forget your own transgressions?

    How about you answer the problem, how science affirms the consequent.
    Since you apparently didn’t read the post to which I referred you

    I did answer. Induction is a proof. It’s not a logical fallacy. Induction is NOT affirming the consequent. I’m sorry that you don’t understand this either.

    I’m done. I won’t respond to you anymore on anything.

    I have no interest in debating a topic for which they have no basis of knowledge to begin with. I have better things to do with my time.

  64. #66 Tommykey
    May 27, 2010

    God put stars in the night sky to mark the seasons and help us navigate by not.

    Aagh! I meant “navigate by night!” Palm slaps forehead.

    Okay, gotta get wack to bork now. I meant, back to work.

    :-)

  65. #67 Rhology
    May 27, 2010

    Tommykey,
    How can you really know that you are receiving a divine revelation or your mind is not just playing tricks on you. Why should I believe YOU?

    You’re going about it the wrong way. Which presupposition (ie, God of the Bible OR naturalism, which leads inexorably to solipsism) does not result in self-refuting absurdity?
    Yep, the former.

    God loves ME.

    In spite of my being a total worm.
    Read Romans 3 and 7, then get back to me. I’ve learned to have little respect for your willingness to correctly represent Christianity, and you don’t disappoint here.

    Kemanorel,
    No advancement has yet to ever come from religious revelation.

    So presumably you’ve examined them all.
    Or you’re too stubborn to admit that you pulled that universal negative out of your biased anal orifice.

    Name a single advancement made by religion that was a benefit to humanity

    The forgiveness of sin in Jesus’ name.
    (Why should I play your naturalistic game, which results in solipsism? I don’t see why.)

    I only made the assertion that, to date, its the only source that’s been proven to work.

    Which is an inductive conclusion. And therefore affirms the consequent. Which is a logical fallacy. Thanks!

    You have perpetuated multiple arguments that start with a true statement, then you say, “Therefore God exists.

    Quote me.

    Just like on the other post: “Intelligent being made life in a lab, therefore God had to make life in teh first place.” Y

    Now that one is true. Unfortunately, I misled everyone by hastily misspeaking, and I have just corrected it in the other combox.
    So, besides that one, which I’ve retracted, quote me.

    I’m really sorry that you don’t understand science or the scientific method, but that’s the only way you’ll be able to understand why your argument is a fallacy.

    No response given, just a naked assertion. Fail noted.

    Good charity work is something that provides a benefit to the person that needs help.

    Please prove that you can objectively identify “benefit”.
    Please prove that “benefit” is objectively good. Don’t assume it; prove it or else give it up.

    Progress is anything that measurably improves on the current situation

    Please prove that you can objectively identify “improve”.
    Please prove that “improve” is objectively good. Don’t assume it; prove it or else give it up.

    Car airbags increasing survival rates in car crashes…

    Please prove that helping people survive is objectively good. Don’t assume it; prove it or else give it up.
    What all this means is that you’re woefully unprepared for discussions of this nature. It’s probably a good thing that you didn’t show up on my blog. But don’t worry, I’ll make an example of you there anyway.

    Actually, yes you did use a childish retort.
    Oh fuck off.

    Uh oh, you scored again.

    which raises serious questions about your intellectual honesty (and capacity, but that’s a different story).
    Are you really that quick to forget your own transgressions?

    Calling you intellectually dishonest is justified, and I backed it up by explaining why you shouldn’t be using the fruits of science when you have no idea of the implications of the problem of induction.

    I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference between an ad hominem (which is meant to distract from the argument), and a rational conclusion based on your actions.

    Induction is a proof. It’s not a logical fallacy. Induction is NOT affirming the consequent

    Ah, I didn’t realise that naked assertions along the lines of “yeah HUH” is considered an “argument” where you come from.
    Feel free to give a real argument sometime and we can talk. Until then, I’m just sort of giggling at your grandstanding. Turns out you DID need the advantage of a Darwinian blog.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  66. #68 Kemanorel
    May 27, 2010

    Damn SIWOTI syndrome:

    I’ll make this quick…

    The forgiveness of sin in Jesus’ name.

    I ask for one single example, and that’s the best you can do? An assertion that can’t even be proven to have even happened?

    There is absolutely no reason to pay any attention to religion at all as it provides no unique, tangible benefit.

    Thanks.

  67. #69 Tyler DiPietro
    May 27, 2010

    “How does this solve the problem of induction?”

    We’ve been over this before. The argument for inductive skepticism goes along these lines: 1.) arguments by induction for contingent propositions about the unobserved are never deductively valid, 2.) there is no reason to believe in a deductively invalid argument, therefore 3.) there is no reason to believe any contingent proposition about the unobserved.

    The argument is essentially that we can’t believe in any argument that doesn’t entail its conclusion. What I’m questioning is premise no. 2, that formally valid deductions, which necessarily entail their conclusions, are the only arguments we can believe rationally. If induction takes place in a multivalent logic rather than a monovalent one, inductive arguments can support their conclusions to different degrees without necessarily entailing them.

  68. #70 Rhology
    May 27, 2010

    Kemanorel,
    No interaction with what I’ve said. Just cheap mockery. Thanks yourself.

    Tyler,
    Or you could presuppose the God of the Bible, let Him take care of grounding reality and reason, and not give up on just plain ol’ logic. There’s a reason why affirming the consequent is known as a logical fallacy, no matter how much you want to obfuscate the issue.

  69. #71 Tommykey
    May 27, 2010

    I’ve learned to have little respect for your willingness to correctly represent Christianity, and you don’t disappoint here.

    Not quite sure I’m reading this right. Are you acknowledging that I do try correctly represent Christianity, or at least your take on it, as in my reply to Kemanorel @56 above?

  70. #72 Tyler DiPietro
    May 27, 2010

    “There’s a reason why affirming the consequent is known as a logical fallacy…”

    Because it’s a formally invalid argument in ordinary propositional calculus. If you use a different logical calculi, then such arguments can have a degree of truth or, rather, conclusiveness.

  71. #73 Rhology
    May 28, 2010

    @71 Tommy,
    It was the “you’re strawmaning me” one.

    @72 Tyler,
    So let me get this straight – changing the terms of the argument arbitrarily = you have a reasonable answer? In less charitable circumstances, that’d be called moving the goalposts.
    Oh, and Kemanorel, we’ll miss you.

  72. #74 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    You’re going about it the wrong way. Which presupposition (ie, God of the Bible OR naturalism, which leads inexorably to solipsism) does not result in self-refuting absurdity?
    Yep, the former.

    Oh, I would say there are more options than that. There can be a higher intelligence that created our universe that is not the God of the Bible, for starters. That’s what I meant by human egocentrism and religious belief. It’s an assumption that we must necessarily exist because some divine creator has a purpose for us and wants to have some kind of a relationship with us.

    In spite of my being a total worm.

    You’re not a worm, you’re a human being, and a very bright one at that. Again, I must confess to ignorance as to what happened in your past that led you to the religious beliefs that you currently have. Since you like providing links to posts on your blog, perhaps you have one that tells this story. I, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction, from being rather religious (though certainly not to the extent that you are) to being an atheist.

    Read Romans 3 and 7, then get back to me. I’ve learned to have little respect for your willingness to correctly represent Christianity, and you don’t disappoint here.

    I am not quite sure what you are accusing me of misrepresenting. Do keep in mind though that I sometimes generalize what self-professed Christians claim, so I am not always trying to assume it is what you personally believe.

    The “God loves ME” line was inspired, by among other things, the sticker I saw on a car dashboard in a parking lot the other day that read “Jesus Is My Best Friend Forever”, and one of my female Facebook friends on Valentine’s Day lamenting that she did not have a steady man in her life, so she was going to spend the day with her two favorite people in the world, herself, and “the Lord”. In other words, God or Jesus becomes her surrogate boyfriend in the absence of a real one.

    You can tell me that this is not a Biblically correct representation of God or Jesus, and far be it for me to dispute you. But it is still a fact that for a lot of self-professed Christians, they look upon God in a fuzzy, feel-good BFF sort of way, and I am sure you know this. So, I am not presenting a strawman there.

    And thank you for referring me to Romans 3 and 9. If my intuition is correct, you had in mind 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” in terms of the message you wanted me to get from it.

    I don’t think one has to be a religious person to acknowledge that we often fall short of the standards we seek to adhere to or the standards that others expect of us. I know I don’t.

    Have a nice weekend.

    TK

  73. #75 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    Please prove that helping people survive is objectively good. Don’t assume it; prove it or else give it up.

    Kemanorel, if you come back here, this is a textbook example of what I meant as to why so many non-theists, find Rho so frustrating (including formerly myself). We have notions of progress, helping others, trying to make the world a better place, and so forth, and he questions our assumptions for these beliefs.

    It used to annoy me a lot too. But in the end, I give him props for making me think about these things. It certainly is unproductive to get into a fit of sputtering rage about it.

  74. #76 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    Oh, one more thing Rho @63.

    An atheist REALLY should not get into a contest of body counts with a Christian. Seriously.

    I fixed it for you:

    A Bolshevik, or a Maoist, or a Khmer Rouger should not get into a contest of body counts with a Christian.”

  75. #77 Jesse
    May 28, 2010

    I love the uber-Christian argument that atheism caused the atrocities committed by the Chinese, Khmer Rouge, Soviets, etc… Why? Because it’s so laughable that it makes me, well, laugh.

    When the Soviets tried to stomp out religion it was because they did not want the competition for control of people’s minds. A good Soviet had a picture of Stalin up on the wall where a picture of Jesus would have been before. If you want to control a populace, you have to deal with religion. That means either replacing it, or using it to your advantage.

    The Khmer Rouge didn’t like anything that they did not see a peasant like. Anything that they felt was bourgeois was not peasant like. That included wearing glasses (you looked educated,) being literate, being religious, etc…

    I’m not too familiar with the PRCs history of state atheism, but it is a safe bet that it had to do a lot more with control than anything else.

    In other words, atheism wasn’t what caused these regimes to commit their atrocities. Their desire to control the populace is what led to their state atheism. It’s the whole correlation != causation bit.

    Seriously though, when Christians want to pull that “look at how many people atheism has killed” crap, all that you have to do is read Mein Kampf. Or look at the annual sermon contests to see which preacher could give the best pro eugenics sermon.

  76. #78 Tyler DiPietro
    May 28, 2010

    “So let me get this straight – changing the terms of the argument arbitrarily = you have a reasonable answer? In less charitable circumstances, that’d be called moving the goalposts.”

    I’m not doing that. I’m just saying that we don’t have to reify propositional calculus and act as though every problem that isn’t soluble in a certain logical calculus therefore has no real solution.

  77. #79 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    Jesse, another thing I like to point out is that in places like China and Russia, there were long histories of absolutist regimes that predated the Stalinist and Maoist regimes. For example, would Stalin have been possible if there wasn’t first an Ivan the Terrible?

    As for body counts, the bloodiest war in the 19th century was the Taiping Rebellion in China. The rebellion was led by a Chinese man who had failed the examinations to earn a position in the Chinese civil service. He believed he was the brother of Jesus Christ. Estimates are that some 20 million people died in the conflict. Of course, Christianity itself is not to blame for the conflict, as the idea that a living human being can be a fraternal brother of Jesus Christ is certainly not Biblical.

  78. #80 Rhology
    May 28, 2010

    @77 Jesse

    When the Soviets tried to stomp out religion it was because they did not want the competition for control of people’s minds.

    And now, ladies and gentlemen, excuses!
    They did it to stamp out religion b/c they wanted an atheistic state. That’s very straightforward.
    If it makes you feel any better, apparently it’s not wrong, on atheism, to murder a million people. Or, if it is, nobody here has yet told me how.

    A good Soviet had a picture of Stalin up on the wall where a picture of Jesus would have been before.

    Haha, and that would be deicide in favor of a human.
    Hmm, a human. Kinda like…humanism.

    In other words, atheism wasn’t what caused these regimes to commit their atrocities.

    1) that’s manifestly untrue.
    2) Do you allow that same answer when ripping Christianity for the violence perpetrated in its name?

    all that you have to do is read Mein Kamp

    Yes, let’s do, and other things Hitler said.
    Uh oh, typical myth fail.

    @78 Tyler,

    I’m just saying that we don’t have to reify propositional calculus and act as though every problem that isn’t soluble in a certain logical calculus therefore has no real solution.

    Actually, it’s more like weaseling your way out of the well-known problem of induction and of affirming the consequent. By appealing to “probability”.
    I fail to see how stacking fallacious reasoning upon fallacious reasoning is helpful.

  79. #81 Tyler DiPietro
    May 28, 2010

    Rho, you haven’t explained why my solution isn’t satisfactory or my reasoning “fallacious”. You can’t go there from here, as we say in Maine.

  80. #82 Jesse
    May 28, 2010

    And now, ladies and gentlemen, excuses!
    They did it to stamp out religion b/c they wanted an atheistic state. That’s very straightforward.
    If it makes you feel any better, apparently it’s not wrong, on atheism, to murder a million people. Or, if it is, nobody here has yet told me how.

    You’re an idiot. They (USSR, Pol Pot, etc…) wanted atheism because they didn’t want people getting ideas from the church that were contrary to what the state wanted. The murder of the millions of people by, say, Stalin, was not in defense of atheism. It was in defense of state control. Toe the party line, Comrade, or else. The stamping out of religion was also in defense of state control.

    Haha, and that would be deicide in favor of a human.
    Hmm, a human. Kinda like…humanism.

    More like a modern analogue of the pharaohs being looked upon as an earthly deity. The state was to be revered above all other institutions. That leaves no room for religion.

    1)that’s manifestly untrue.

    You are manifestly an idiot. Seriously. Go find the causal link between atheism in those cases. Go find where they killed people in the name of atheism. You won’t. You’ll find that the people were killed for not following the state’s rules, or for other nefarious political reasons. Religion was given no special treatment when it came to punishment for not following the rules.

    2) Do you allow that same answer when ripping Christianity for the violence perpetrated in its name?

    It depends. If it is a holy war for Christianity (i.e. I smite you with my M14 in Jesus’s name,) then the same answer does not apply. If it is a bunch of Christians who happen to be at for war for some other reason, then yes, the same answer applies.

    Yes, let’s do, and other things Hitler said.
    Uh oh, typical myth fail.

    Uh oh, read this:

    Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

    Yes, that quote is from Mein Kampf. Go through it and there is more like that quote. There are also a number of symbols that were part of the Nazi uniform that come from Christianity. This is why I will take it straight from the horse’s mouth rather than from your blog. Hitler certainly did manipulate other people’s belief in Christ to achieve his goals. This manipulation included the centuries long Christian prejudices against Jews stemming from scapegoating and deicide.

    I also notice that you did not want to touch the eugenics sermons that happened right here in the US.

  81. #83 Tyler DiPietro
    May 28, 2010

    It’s worth mentioning, in fairness, that Hitler’s own religious beliefs had little to do with orthodox Christianity, even if he doubtlessly considered himself to be a True Christian&trade. Nevertheless, he was able to stoke the antisemitism of the German people precisely because of centuries-enduring Christian tradition.

  82. #84 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    You’re an idiot. They (USSR, Pol Pot, etc…) wanted atheism because they didn’t want people getting ideas from the church that were contrary to what the state wanted.

    No offense Jesse, but this statement isn’t very helpful. By stating that “they”, that is, the leadership of the Soviet state, “wanted atheism” and didn’t want “people getting ideas from the church that were contrary to what the state wanted” is basically another way of saying that the Soviet leadership did what it wanted in the name of atheism.

    Knowing a bit of Russian history, the truth is more complex than that.

    For centuries, tsarist Russia was an autocratic Eastern Orthodox state that at times swung between absolutism and occasional spasms of liberal reform. The worst, in terms of absolutist tyranny was Ivan the Terrible, who was basically an Orthodox Christian version of Josef Stalin.

    One could argue that in its later years, the Romanov dynasty, even in its more autocratic phases, still operated within certain chalk lines because it styled itself a Christian state that was the heir to the Byzantine Empire. Thus, Tsar Alexander II could as a Christian forgive the captured man who attempted to assassinate him, while still legally sanctioning the man’s execution.

    The problem with the Romanovs was that while some of the more enlightened ones recognized the need for some liberal reforms, such as Alexander II’s abolition of serfdom, they raised expectations among segments of the Russian population who agitated for more reform beyond what the Romanovs were willing to allow and which threatened their rule. This would result in the Romanovs lurching back towards greater repression to squelch the reform movements, until finally they ended up with a creaky autocracy under an inept tsar like Nicholas II who got them caught up in WWI.

    The Bolsheviks who toppled the provisional government in 1917, on the other hand, did subscribe to an atheistic ideology that looked on human beings as material to be used in building the Soviet state and discarded at will. The Soviet Union, as well as the PRC under Mae or Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are indeed sobering examples of what can go wrong when people with power and an overwhelming monopoly of force do not value the lives of the people who live under their rule.

    Of course, it is erroneous to equate atheism or lack of religious belief itself with tyranny and genocide, otherwise the Scandinavian countries would be dictatorships. To reiterate my comments @79 above, the Bolsheviks and the Chinese Communists arose in cultures that had long traditions of autocratic central rule. They simply took it to the next level. Their paricular atheistic ideologies certainly allowed them to enact genocidal policies because human life had no value to them. As for the Khmer Rouge, I must confess ignorance of Cambodian history and don’t know enough about them to offer any informed commentary.

  83. #85 Tommykey
    May 28, 2010

    It’s worth mentioning, in fairness, that Hitler’s own religious beliefs had little to do with orthodox Christianity, even if he doubtlessly considered himself to be a True Christian&trade. Nevertheless, he was able to stoke the antisemitism of the German people precisely because of centuries-enduring Christian tradition.

    Tyler, my understanding is that Hitler was apparently into some kind of Teutonic paganism. Therefore, it would be a mistake to claim he was acting either out of atheism or Christianity.

    I agree that whatever Hitler was, the majority of the German people were at the very least nominally Christian, and they did not stop Hitler’s atrocities. Kudos though to the likes of Von Stauffenberg, who I believe was a Catholic, who attempted to kill Hitler and who unfortunately lost his own life in doing so.

    The carnage of World War One and its aftermath really unhinged European societies and made them vulnerable to totalitarian ideologies from both the Left and the Right.

  84. #86 Tyler DiPietro
    May 28, 2010

    “Tyler, my understanding is that Hitler was apparently into some kind of Teutonic paganism.”

    That largely appears to be a myth. Many of the leaders of the TR were pagans (Himmler and Goering are good examples), but there is no evidence that Hitler himself was. All of Hitler’s private and public confessions were to a form of Christianity.

  85. #87 Jesse
    May 28, 2010

    No offense Jesse, but this statement isn’t very helpful. By stating that “they”, that is, the leadership of the Soviet state, “wanted atheism” and didn’t want “people getting ideas from the church that were contrary to what the state wanted” is basically another way of saying that the Soviet leadership did what it wanted in the name of atheism.

    No offense taken. But I disagree. There are a lot of things that the Soviets did not want because it was/could produce ideas against those of the state. Religion was just one of those things. Certainly the Bolsheviks and those who really read and believed that Marx was right were atheistic (religion being the opiate of the masses and all) and certainly many of them were quite brutal, but by the time you get to Stalin it was all about power. The man was a megalomaniac who wanted everybody to worship him. It was also during his rule that the worst atrocities in the Soviet Union occurred. When people talk about atrocities in the USSR and why they occurred, pointing to Stalin is pointing to the right place.

    As for Hitler, it’s tough to say what he believed. The more that comes about him, the more it is clear that he started off just a bit crazy and got worse as time went on. But that did not stop him from being very influential.

  86. #88 Tyler DiPietro
    May 28, 2010

    BTW, if Rho comes back tomorrow I just want to say, for the record, that I know my opinions on the problem of induction are unorthodox as far as philosophers go. If Rhology wants more elaborate argument that is similar to mine, he can try to get his hands on a copy of David Stove’s The Rationality of Induction. Stove echoes my opinion, for instance, that Hume’s premise that only deductively valid arguments are rationally justified does not warrant acceptance.

  87. #89 Rhology
    May 29, 2010

    Does Stove prove the rationality of induction deductively? Or does he beg the question at hand and just cite a bunch of times when he thinks that induction has “worked” (though he can’t of course be sure) and conclude “Yup, rational!”? Seems to me like you’re screwed the one way and in trouble the other. So it’s making me laugh a bit to watch you dance.

  88. #90 Tyler DiPietro
    May 29, 2010

    Rhology, instead of trying to imagine what David Stove says based on your preconceived notions, why don’t you try reading him, or at least find a synopsis of his argument?

    Wikipedia has a decent (though oversimplified) synopsis on his bio there. That would be a good place to start.

    “Does Stove prove the rationality of induction deductively?”

    In short, Stove questions to very assumption that deductive arguments, i.e., those that entail their conclusions, are the only arguments which we can believe rationally. There is nothing in Hume’s argument or its modern reiterations that shows that such a thing has to be true. In the end, it’s those who presume deductivism that are begging the question.

  89. #91 Tyler DiPietro
    May 29, 2010

    BTW, if you want a positive argument in favor of induction, you can look to the limit theorems of probability and Bayesian reasoning. In short, even if a statement like “all ravens are black” can’t be deduced from observational premises, it can be deduced a priori that the vast majority of possible subsets of a larger set of observables resemble the larger set in fine detail. That gives us good grounds to believe in arguments based on observational premises.

  90. #92 Jesse
    May 29, 2010

    Proof by induction is a mathematician’s friend.

    For the case X_0, prove that it is true.

    For the general case, X_n, prove that if X_n is true, then X_(n+1) is also true.

    When properly applied, proof by induction is valid.

  91. #93 Rhology
    May 30, 2010

    In short, Stove questions to very assumption that deductive arguments, i.e., those that entail their conclusions, are the only arguments which we can believe rationally.

    Is that a deductive or inductive argument?

    What I’m trying to point out is that I don’t think you’re giving the problem you have its due.

    it’s those who presume deductivism that are begging the question.

    How do you know that? Did you study every instance of everyone who has ever presumed deductivism?

    In short, even if a statement like “all ravens are black” can’t be deduced from observational premises, it can be deduced a priori that the vast majority of possible subsets of a larger set of observables resemble the larger set in fine detail.

    If you’d said “it can be INDUCED that the vast majority…” then you’d’ve been right. If you think that deductive reasoning isn’t what I’ve been saying it is, then why do you keep trying to turn induction into deduction?

    Proof by induction is a mathematician’s friend.

    If so, then math is inherently logically fallacious as well, but I don’t think you’re right to say this. 2+2=4 is not inductive.
    At any rate, I’d love to know why affirming the consequent over and over is a good thing. “Give us more fallacies!!!” is your basic contention, and that makes me laugh.

  92. #94 Tyler DiPietro
    May 30, 2010

    “Is that a deductive or inductive argument?”

    It’s neither. It’s looking at what premises are justified. Deduction can only show you what conclusions follow from certain premises.

    I think your reasoning about this issue is a bit constrained.

    “How do you know that? Did you study every instance of everyone who has ever presumed deductivism?”

    I’m reasoning in the abstract about a class of objects, i.e., IF you presume deductivism THEN you are begging the question.

    “If you think that deductive reasoning isn’t what I’ve been saying it is, then why do you keep trying to turn induction into deduction?”

    You’ve lost me. How exactly am I doing this?

    Jesse,

    Mathematical induction is different from inductive reasoning. Mathematical induction leads to conclusions that are true a priori while inductive reasoning establishes truths a posteriori.

  93. #95 Tyler DiPietro
    May 30, 2010

    “At any rate, I’d love to know why affirming the consequent over and over is a good thing.”

    You still don’t understand. “Affirming the consequent” is a fallacy if you presume the an argument must entail its conclusion. “A occurred, then B occurred” does not entail “A caused B”, but can support it to a greater (or lesser) degree depending on what other observational premises we add. This is the basis of inductive reasoning, not your cartoon version.

  94. #96 Jesse
    May 30, 2010

    If so, then math is inherently logically fallacious as well, but I don’t think you’re right to say this. 2+2=4 is not inductive.

    No, it is not logically fallacious. It is a much more structured form of proof than the way you are using the term induction. They are a valid method for proofs. Take advanced calculus or many CS classes and you will be taught how to do proof by induction. I already laid out how proof by induction works in mathematics for you. Now, let me give you the definition from Analysis With An Introduction To Proof by Steven R. Lay on proof by induction:

    (Principle of Mathematical Induction) Let P(n) be a statement that is either true or false for each n belonging to the natural numbers. Then P(n) is true for all n belonging to the natural numbers, provided that

    (a) P(1) is true, and
    (b) for each k belonging to the natural numbers, if P(k) is true, then P(k+1) is true.

    The way you used induction was slightly different, however, science is still far more rigorous than your how you are using the term. The way that you are using it is along the lines of “Well, we’ve proved it for P(1), P(2), P(3), P(4) and P(5), therefore, it must be true for all n.” There are extra steps in science. The first one is that you start off with a hypothesis that it is true for all P(n). You do not jump directly to law or theory status. You understand that it has not been proven and you also understand that it will never be absolutely proven as it would be in the mathematical sense. Then you start checking every single P(n) that you can. The instant that you find one n that does not fit, you have found a counter example and proven your hypothesis to be wrong.

    The analogy between science and mathematics breaks down because in science there is no analog to “for each k belonging to the natural numbers, if P(k) is true, then P(k+1) is true.” That does not make induction useless in any sense that you might argue. Part of methodological naturalism is an understanding that your explanation may be wrong, but that’s only part of it. Einstein, Pauli, Schrodinger, etc… all showed that Newton was wrong, yet classical physics is still very useful. It still has exquisite predictive value, so long as you are working within the framework that Newton did (i.e. no relativistic velocities, no nanometer scales, etc…) Yet Newton was wrong. Or you could argue that he was right within the limited scope that he could view and measure the physical world. But that’s purely a philosophical point. This aspect of methodological naturalism is well understood.

    One of science’s greatest strengths is that it can be wrong, but there are mechanisms in place that make it self correcting. One counter example leads to scrapping or modifying things. If you really want to apply that to your theological argument that God set up the rules, start making claims as to what the rules are. All it will take is one counter example and you’ll have to modify or scrap your ideas. Science cannot test God, but it can test certain claims about God. Laws about how the physical universe works fall into that category of testable claims. Do you really want your religious beliefs held up to that kind of scrutiny?

  95. #97 Charles
    May 31, 2010

    1) “Induction” is not the same thing as “mathematical induction” (a.k.a. “Proof by induction”). Mathematical induction is actually a form of deductive reasoning, and is formally valid. If you don’t believe me, simply read the relevant Wikipedia article (3rd paragraph from the top).

    2) Inductive arguments do not entail the truth of their premises, and thus they are formally invalid. Thus, inductive arguments cannot “prove” anything. Put another way, the conclusion of an inductive argument maintains some degree of uncertainty, even if its premises are true.

    @Tyler

    “If we formalize the assertion “evidence is the best way to discover truth” in a multivalent logic, we can support it strongly.”

    I would be very interested to see this formalization. On the face of it, I don’t see how formalizing that assertion in a multivalent logic allows one to “support it strongly.”

  96. #98 Tyler DiPietro
    May 31, 2010

    “Inductive arguments do not entail the truth of their premises, and thus they are formally invalid. Thus, inductive arguments cannot “prove” anything.”

    I’ll work out the formalization later, but I’d like to know where I haven’t made it clear that this is true, if that’s what you’re implying.

  97. #99 Tyler DiPietro
    May 31, 2010

    I’m tired, so this isn’t a complete model yet, but the statement that I want to prove is this:

    “For all but finitely many truths x, evidence is the best way to discover x.”

    “Evidence” is defined as the active effects in the real world concerning some phenomenon y corresponding to true statement x.

    “Way” can be defined as some method of approximation, such a probability measure or semimeasure.

    “Best” can be defined as a family of methods of approximation, e.g. probability measures, that multiplicatively dominate all other methods according to some “scoring function”. This may be the toughest hurdle to overcome, and multiplicative dominance might have to be weakened to support the statement.

  98. #100 Tyler DiPietro
    May 31, 2010

    Here is a more refined model, following Solomonoff:

    “Evidence” is our observations, encoded into a finite initial segment of a binary string x corresponding to some phenomenon which is described by a probability measure u.

    A “hypothesis” is a program that computes x on the reference prefix machine U.

    From this we can form the set of true statements which correspond to predicates of the form “for all x (e.g., some finite binary segment), y (another finite binary segment) occurs.” These predicates have a probability of being true, of course normalized between 0 and 1.

    The initial statement that I wanted to support was somewhat off base. “Evidence” in itself is not the best way to discover truth because evidence is only the raw material. Instead, forming a hypothesis that explains the evidence, as outlined above, is the best way to discover true predicates, again as outlined above. I need a meta-logical calculus to formalize this statement, but from the model it should be rather self-evident.

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