An Interview With Leo Behe

The Humanist has posted a fascinating interview with Leo Behe, son of ID luminary Michael Behe. The younger Behe does not share his father’s faith, and has become outspoken about his lack of belief. That takes some courage, given his upbringing:

The Humanist: Talk about your early life and education.

Leo Behe: I was homeschooled from preschool through high school. I still had my share of friends, but I personally feel that the means through which I selected them (networking with other local homeschoolers) significantly limited the diversity that most children experience through interaction with their peers. I therefore had a fairly sheltered childhood. My education was not very much unlike education through public school, although in retrospect I feel that I function more effectively in a public setting where a stricter daily schedule is enforced.

The Humanist: What role did religion play in your life and your family?

Behe: I was raised Roman Catholic, and I was always very comfortable with it. It was as natural to me as any other part of my education. I was always very active in my faith–I attended Mass every Sunday, sometimes more, and confessed my sins to a priest often. I was also very interested in apologetics; however, I generally focused on debating members of other faiths or denominations of Christianity. It did not occur to me until later in life to examine the reliability of the Bible, the infallibility of which my Christian opponents would always agree upon. Among my family, we would always hold to Catholic traditions such as nightly recitation of the rosary, and we always attended Mass together.

You should read the whole interview. Behe is very impressive and has clearly thought carefully about a lot of these issues. I was particularly struck by two exchanges. Here’s the first:

The Humanist: You’ve previously written that the first critique of religion you came across was Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. From that, you realized “how questionable religion might sound to some who had not grown up around it.” Why did you originally read Dawkins and what particularly in that book made you question religion?

Behe: There was a lot of buzz about The God Delusion back in 2008 when I read it, and it seemed to be having an impact on a lot of Christians’ faith. I had recently decided to turn my interest in apologetics toward atheism, and Dawkins’ bestseller seemed to be a good place to start. The God Delusion has been criticized for its allegedly infantile treatment of metaphysics, but that aspect of the book was not what originally challenged my faith. The point that hit me hardest while reading was the fallible origin of Scripture, which I had never considered (to my own surprise). That point in particular was what originally shook my specific faith–Catholicism–and planted seeds of skepticism, which continued to grow as I expanded my knowledge through other literary works on both sides of the issue.

This is a small confirmation of a point I have made many times at this blog. For all the whining and hand-wringing about the sometimes abrasive tone of the New Atheist books, the fact remains that you need some rudeness to call attention to your cause. Notice that Behe talks about the buzz created by Dawkins and his impression that many Chrisitans were influenced by it. Also notice that Behe does not credit, say, Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism or Oppy’s Arguing About Gods for opening his eyes. Both are excellent books, but scholarly, philosophical treatments simply lack the power to puncture the cocoon in which religious conservatives often enclose themselves. How would he ever have had his eyes opened were it not for people like Dawkins screaming and yelling?

Note also that he simply hadn’t considered the possibility that Scripture was not the word of God until he read Dawkins. In his book, Dawkins describes one of his motivations as consciousness raising, and it would seem that in this case, at least, he was successful. Once Behe became aware of possibilities his upbringing had hidden from him, it didn’t take him long to think things through for himself.

This is a useful example to keep in mind the next time you hear the New Atheists accused of hurting the cause, or hear someone say, “You’re not going to convince anyone!” As I’ve argued before, different people respond to different things. Some people might be turned off by the tone of the NA books, but other people are exposed to ideas they would never have seen otherwise. Snobby academic types can whine about Dawkins not treating the cosmological argument with proper rigor, but that is far removed from the concerns of most people. New Atheism has more to do with advertising than it does with abstract, philosophical argument. It is making people aware that there are nonreligious alternatives out there. And if it has managed to reach someone as sheltered as Behe was, then we have basis for confidence that it is having a positive effect overall.

Here’s the other part that caught my eye:

The Humanist: How long was this transformation, and why didn’t your father’s ideas (or others) about intelligent design demonstrate proof of a “designer” or creator?

Behe: The journey from very devout Catholic to outspoken atheist took about six months total. Once my trust in the Bible was shaken, I still believed strongly in a theistic god, but I realized that I hadn’t sufficiently examined my beliefs. Over the next several months, my certainty of a sentient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity faded steadily. I believe that the loss of a specific creed was the tipping point for me. After I lost the element of trust–be it trust in the Bible, trust in a church, or trust in the Pope–I had no choice but to vindicate my own beliefs through research, literature, and countless hours of deep thought. It was then that my belief in any sort of God faded away gradually, and to this day I continue to find more and more convincing evidence against any sort of design or supernatural interference in the universe.

It’s interesting how quickly his faith faded once the initial seed of doubt was planted. It makes me understand why the Religious Right is constantly so paranoid that its children will be waylaid by exposure to some contrary idea.

You should go read the rest of the interview. All of it is interesting.

Comments

  1. #1 wunelle
    August 30, 2011

    Excellent post.

    I find myself rankling at even the discussion of Dawkins’ supposed abrasiveness. I understand you bring it up to rebut it (at least in part), but there’s nothing in the issue in the first place. It’s a smokescreen for those who have no way to answer his challenge. His books are very civil, if to the point, and his public appearances are confident and unyielding; but I’ve only seen him actually abrasive (as it seemed to me) in answer to some even less-civil provokation.

    As for the other Gnus, the charge of abrasiveness seems much more to apply to Christopher Hitchens and PZ Myers, who regularly use both barrels (and many of us love them for it!) than Dawkins. Guys like Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne seem perfectly civilized to me, much more so than most of what I’ve heard opposing them.

  2. #2 Kel
    August 30, 2011

    They’re not civilised in the only way that matters – they don’t show any civility towards the beliefs. Dawkins, for example, mocked the ontological argument as being equivalent to schoolyard arguments. And he called God a delusion, too!!!

  3. #3 Thony C.
    August 30, 2011

    Jason! Arguing from anecdotal evidence, how very unscientific.

  4. #4 Valhar2000
    August 30, 2011

    Jason! Arguing from anecdotal evidence, how very unscientific.

    Haha, yeah!

    It makes me understand why the Religious Right is constantly so paranoid that its children will be waylaid by exposure to some contrary idea.

    I wonder, however, if that fear is misplaced. As far as I know, what is really dangerous to the belief systems of authoritarians is the normalization of other beliefs, rather then their mere existence. In other words, authoritarians can know about other ideas and be fine, as long as they believe that their own ideas are normal, held by the majority. Hence the “Moral Majority”.

    I think Leo Behe is unusual in the respect.

  5. #5 Jud
    August 30, 2011

    For all the whining and hand-wringing about the sometimes abrasive tone of the New Atheist books, the fact remains that you need some rudeness to call attention to your cause. Notice that Behe talks about the buzz created by Dawkins and his impression that many Christians were influenced by it.
    * * *
    How would he ever have had his eyes opened were it not for people like Dawkins screaming and yelling?

    I find these sorts of comments almost exclusively come from people who haven’t read The God Delusion in its entirety, but my impression was that you certainly had. Would you be kind enough to quote some examples from the book that you consider to have “an abrasive tone,” show “rudeness,” and/or to be “screaming and yelling”?

  6. #6 Collin
    August 30, 2011

    I was raised to have faith both in the existence of God and in the non-existence of infallible people and books, and to consider the Bible only a metaphor. Perhaps that’s why people like me are not convinced by the New Atheist arguments.

    I’m wondering whether Behe actually gave up his faith in infallibility, or whether he simply converted to Richard Dawkins being infallible.

  7. #7 Lou Jost
    August 30, 2011

    Last year I ran across this Reddit post:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/dngag/iama_son_of_michael_behe_the_catholic_biochemist/

    It was remarkable for its candor and intelligence. It also provided very interesting insights into Michael Behe’s personality and thinking style.
    Lou

  8. #8 Owlmirror
    August 30, 2011

    I was raised to have faith both in the existence of God and in the non-existence of infallible people and books, and to consider the Bible only a metaphor.

    If all people are fallible, then why would you have faith in the existence of an unevidenced God, whom you only know of through reports of fallible people?

    I’m wondering whether Behe actually gave up his faith in infallibility, or whether he simply converted to Richard Dawkins being infallible.

    *eyeroll*

    Dawkins does not claim infallibility.

  9. #9 Wow
    August 30, 2011

    “I was raised to have faith both in the existence of God and in the non-existence of infallible people”

    So I take it God told you this…?

    And since you’re a person (I assume), you could still be wrong, yes?

  10. #10 Jr
    August 30, 2011

    “Snobby academic types can whine about Dawkins not treating the cosmological argument with proper rigor, but that is far removed from the concerns of most people.”

    Snobby academic types might complain that creationists does not treat the fossil argument for evolution with proper rigor but that is far from the concerns of most people.

  11. #11 Owlmirror
    August 30, 2011

    Snobby academic theololgians do not treat the cosmological argument with the proper empirical rigour either.

  12. #12 James Sweet
    August 30, 2011

    Snobby academic types might complain that creationists does not treat the fossil argument for evolution with proper rigor but that is far from the concerns of most people.

    But the fossil record is real-world evidence, while the Cosmological argument is based in pure reason.

    IMO all arguments which purport to say something about reality based solely in pure reason can be tentatively rejected by persons uninterested, especially if there is evidence running counter to it. Of course, those interested are free to explore the argument in depth — a good example of where this may turn out to be productive is in regards to string theory. But those who wish to reject string theory on the basis that there’s no evidence for it are entirely free to do so.

    The Cosmological Argument need not be treated with rigor by the average uninterested person, unless there appears an accompanying evidential case for the existence of god. Interested persons are still welcome to examine it (in which case it rapidly falls apart anyway) but those who are uninterested are fully justified in saying, “Meh, get back to me when you have some evidence.”

    The fossil record IS evidence, so that same argument is not justified there.

    I’m wondering whether Behe actually gave up his faith in infallibility, or whether he simply converted to Richard Dawkins being infallible.

    Shocking ignorance on display here… Google for “dawkins elevatorgate” if you still believe that all (or even some) atheists think Richard Dawkins is infallible. That’s just a fucking stupid thing to say, and you should be deeply embarrassed that you even typed it.

  13. #13 Kel
    August 30, 2011

    “Snobby academic theololgians do not treat the cosmological argument with the proper empirical rigour either.”
    As Michael Martin put it, there’s a big gap in such arguments – that even if you accept the argument, you still don’t end up with a theistic deity. And Stephen Law points out that even if you get a creator from the argument, you haven’t got one with any of the omni-properties that are classically ascribed to God.

    And on a level of personal incredulity, I just can’t see what a “prime mover” has anything at all to do with a deity who has an interest or cares about the future of humanity. There seems to be a huge disconnect between the two – although I will admit I haven’t read Aquinas… ;)

  14. #14 J. Quinton
    August 30, 2011

    “I was raised to have faith both in the existence of God and in the non-existence of infallible people and books, and to consider the Bible only a metaphor.”

    Am I the only one who realizes the implicit reductio ad absurdum in this post? The Bible is the only place that describes the existence of this god and claims to be the words and teachings of this god (especially the NT), ergo the existence of this god and his teachings (and in the NT his death and resurrection) is only a metaphor.

  15. #15 JonJ
    August 30, 2011

    @13: If you want to take the advice of one who has read Aquinas (although admittedly not every word of Aquinas), you can safely not take the trouble. You wouldn’t be any wiser after reading him than you were before you started.

  16. #16 Kel
    August 30, 2011

    @15, I have no plans to read Aquinas any time soon, ’twas making light of Feser’s recent complaint about the new atheist treatment of the cosmological argument.

    In terms of reading on the matter, I have The Miracle Of Theism on its way, and look forward to Krauss’ upcoming work about the origin of the universe. Some medieval philosopher? Meh.

  17. #17 mikmik
    August 31, 2011

    I’m wondering whether Behe actually gave up his faith in infallibility, or whether he simply converted to Richard Dawkins being infallible.

    Posted by: Collin

    Perhaps that’s why people like me are not convinced by the New Atheist arguments.

    And I’m wondering if you could’ve possibly squeezed in more non-sequiturs in two sentences if you tried. Or perhaps metaphorical vengeance, infanticide, genocide, and eternal torture for other’s crimes is realistically equivalent with metaphorically just, loving, and benevolent actions by Magic Guy.
    Perhaps that’s why you aren’t convinced by ‘new’ atheist arguments, old atheist arguments, and rational arguments – new and old alike.

  18. #18 iblase
    August 31, 2011

    6 months? ha, this guy will probably be a Christian again in 10 years

  19. #19 Ultimate Sceptic
    September 1, 2011

    If you’ve never seen an apple in your entire life, and somebody gives you its seed, you might not be able to tell that you are holding a seed of an apple.

    By the apple I mean the ultimate biggest picture of where we are, who we are and what life is all about.

    Satelites and telescopes can only reach so far. I hope what scientists have managed to see through them could, at least, constitute a “seed”.

    If there is someone or something out there, who can give me the answer, only then will I stop being a perpetual doubter and sceptic, and will, perhaps, then start forming a world veiw that I can adhere to with absolute certainty.

  20. #20 dlkfgjfkl
    September 2, 2011

    I truly admire Dawkins’ confidence and conviction that God and the supernatural are nothing but a large segment of dissatisfied human imagination. I find this almost healing and grounding in the moments of feeling fearful when offset by the religious way of reasoning. It’s kind of like the effects of Jesus’ teachings on Christians.

    It’s something like – Thank God that God is a delusion!

  21. #21 Kel
    September 2, 2011

    I truly admire Dawkins’ confidence and conviction that God and the supernatural are nothing but a large segment of dissatisfied human imagination.

    To be fair to Dawkins, it’s not really a confidence and conviction thing – nor is it that the supernatural is “nothing but a large segment of dissatisfied human imagination”. Have a read of Bruce Hood’s Supersense, and Michael Shermer’s The Believing Brain. That supernatural beliefs are an expression of the human mind is played out by decades of observation and evidence.

    It’s interesting that so much is made of the views expressed by modern scientists as being convictions while modern scientists referring to the evidence. Don’t you find that interesting too? Why can’t Dawkins be shown to be wrong by producing evidence to the contrary, instead of just trying to label him has having a faith position? When one person is making the evidential case and the other is trying to dismiss the evidential case by claiming it a faith – I know which one I think is being reasonable…

  22. #22 dlkfgjfkl
    September 3, 2011

    @22

    The evidence Dawkins has does not dismiss the possibility of the exitence of something he does not have evidence for.

  23. #23 Peaches
    September 3, 2011

    What if God is not a delusion and he really exists where we are his delusion that he cannot get rid of because he does not believe in psychiatric medications?

  24. #24 Peaches
    September 3, 2011

    So the God Delusion is actually the God’s delusion…

  25. #25 skfdl
    September 3, 2011

    It’s also possible that we were created by God(s) or aliens or whatever, who chose not to leave any evidence at the “crime scene”, so to speak. Because when you create something so atrocious you probably don’t want anyone to know that you did it.

    Just trying to stay open-minded, I guess:)

  26. #26 Kel
    September 3, 2011

    @23, if you had read The God Delusion, uhdo you would know that Dawkins doesn’t dismiss the possibility of God, but that he finds God as overwhelmingly improbable and gives reasons why. Whether or not his case is sound is another matter, but if you’re going to argue against his position it helps to know just what that position is…

  27. #27 Iain Walker
    September 4, 2011

    Ultimate Sceptic (#20):

    By the apple I mean the ultimate biggest picture of where we are, who we are and what life is all about.

    Well, we already have a fairly good (although no doubt partial) idea of where and who we are, but what makes you think that “what life is all about” is a meaningful question, or at least, that it admits of any one particular answer?

    If there is someone or something out there, who can give me the answer, only then will I stop being a perpetual doubter and sceptic, and will, perhaps, then start forming a world veiw that I can adhere to with absolute certainty.

    Don’t you think that such an attitude sits a little ill with the moniker “Ultimate Sceptic”? Why would you just accept an answer from “someone or something out there”? What grounds would you have for supposing their reliability? Would it be their supporting arguments? Would it be that they have an independently verifiable track record in being right?

    And even if you could discover good grounds for accepting this someone/something’s answer, why on earth would it lead to forming a world view that allows absolute certainty? Are you ruling out subsequent discoveries that might show your someone/something’s answer to be mistaken or incomplete?

    It seems to me that a skeptic is someone who tries to find things out, cautiously and with constant checking. You, on the other hand, sound suspiciously like someone who is more interested in finding answers to embrace – which is not the same thing at all.

    Something to think about?

  28. #28 dlkfgjfkl
    September 4, 2011

    @27

    What makes you think that I am trying to argue against Dawlins’ position?

  29. #29 Ultimate Sceptic
    September 4, 2011

    @28

    “Don’t you think that such an attitude sits a little ill with the moniker “Ultimate Sceptic”? Why would you just accept an answer from “someone or something out there”? What grounds would you have for supposing their reliability?

    If you never accepted answers from anyone, do you think you would still be living right now? You can doubt everyone’s reliability, that of anyone, who gives you any kind of answer. Just doubting should be sufficient enough to qualify for a sceptic.

    “Well, we already have a fairly good (although no doubt partial) idea of where and who we are, but what makes you think that “what life is all about” is a meaningful question, or at least, that it admits of any one particular answer?”

    That’s just the impression We get. We judge outselves from OUR position, however, what would we be for someone or something judging us from the outside? Not only that, outside of WHAT?

  30. #30 Kel
    September 4, 2011

    What makes you think that I am trying to argue against Dawlins’ position?

    This: “I truly admire Dawkins’ confidence and conviction that God and the supernatural are nothing but a large segment of dissatisfied human imagination.”

  31. #31 dlkfgjfkl
    September 4, 2011

    @31

    There is nothing in this statement that shows even the slightest disagreement with the fact that being confident in your position by relying on evidence is something to argue against.

    The impression I got when I was reading “The God Delusion” was that Dawkins is trying to discredit any possibility of God’s existence by using every piece of the existing evidence for his non-existence.

    I wrote that comment from the perspective of someone, who is suspecting the existence of the supernatural, and is trying to rely on the opinion of someone, who has enough confidence to state that God cannot possibly be real, which could be quite a relief, if you don’t want God to exist.

    It’s especially helpful when you’re trying to get deconverted from Christianity or Islam to a rational
    believer in evidence.

  32. #32 I am in the Library
    September 4, 2011

    Question to Creationists:

    This might seem beyond the point, but it would be interesting to get an opinion of a creationist(s) on why God would create humans in a way that they have to exude so much filth and such outrageously offensive odor. Just miss a couple of days of bath and shower, and you become completely unapproachable.

    Would you call it “lack of creativity” or God is sick and highly psychopathic? Or is it too much truth to handle for the “Truth” lovers?

  33. #33 Iain Walker
    September 5, 2011

    Ultimate Sceptic (#30):

    If you never accepted answers from anyone, do you think you would still be living right now? You can doubt everyone’s reliability, that of anyone, who gives you any kind of answer. Just doubting should be sufficient enough to qualify for a sceptic.

    Yes, but you specifically said that, given the answer, “only then will I stop being a perpetual doubter and sceptic”. In other words, you stated that once you were in receipt of an answer from on high, you would be inclined to abandon doubt and skepticism.

    It was the oddity of that which I was commenting on, not a willingness to accept answers from others. Accepting what someone else tells you doesn’t call into question one’s status as a skeptic (provided of course one can point to plausible reasons for accepting what they say, or at the very least are accepting what they tell you provisionally, subject to further confirmation). But a willingness to abandon skepticism entirely, and for no readily apparent reason? That does raise questions about one’s skeptical credentials.

    That’s just the impression We get. We judge outselves from OUR position, however, what would we be for someone or something judging us from the outside?

    Well, it’s entirely possible that we have deep-seated cognitive biases which we will never be able to recognise, let alone overcome, and that this could well hamper our ability to evaluate the kinds of creatures that we are and our relative position in the cosmos. However:

    (a) The same applies to any external, non-human observer – they’re going to be constrained by their cognitive biases and frame of reference just as we are. They might well be able to pick up on facts that we can’t, but the obverse is also true.

    (b) The value of science and related disciplines is that they provide shared, public criteria for evaluating knowledge claims, which helps minimise cognitive bias at the individual and group levels. We can also investigate our own more obvious cognitive biases and consciously correct for them. So while we may not be able to view ourselves from a pure, idealised objective third-person perspective, we can at least clear away a lot of the psychological baggage blocking our view.

    (c) Our own perspective or frame of reference is the only frame of reference available to us. It provides the only context we have for framing questions and evaluating potential answers – indeed, the answers are only meaningful within that context.

    So it seems to me that for an external, non-human perspective to be of any use to us, then their frame of reference is already going to have to overlap with our own. If it doesn’t, then anything they have to say to us will simply be unintelligible. To put it another way, to seek answers from a completely alien source is self-defeating, since the more alien it is, the less likely it is to provide you with anything recognisable as an answer. Better, I think, to carry on asking questions and seeking answers from our own perspective, including questions and answers about the limitations of that perspective, the better to expand that perspective and to hone subsequent investigations. Because that’s really the only option we have.

    Not only that, outside of WHAT?

    Well, you tell me. You’re the one asking these questions.

  34. #34 lksdlkj
    September 6, 2011

    Well, in this case, I don’t need your perspective on who I am because from my perspective I am GOD!

  35. #35 Owlmirror
    September 6, 2011

    Well, in this case, I don’t need your perspective on who I am because from my perspective I am GOD!

    And from my perspective, I am in no way obligated to believe you on this.

    Atheism wins again!

  36. #36 slkdfjdkj
    September 6, 2011

    @36

    “And from my perspective, I am in no way obligated to believe you on this.

    Atheism wins again”…

    And that’s exactly what’s fascinating! Because if you start believing that I am GOD, and God forbid YOUR God, then I’ll have to recommend some really strong psychiatric medications for you!

    I am the GOD of ME because I am the one, who created myself! (Metaphorically speaking) and this should not bother or effect you in any kind of way.

  37. #37 Owlmirror
    September 6, 2011

    I am the GOD of ME

    Ah, a small god.

    and this should not bother or effect you in any kind of way.

    Well, unless you start accruing worshippers and/or issuing commandments. You’ve certainly got the unpronounceable vowelless name bit down, at least.

    ObOtherSF:
    (If everyone is god of themselves, does that mean that when the population reaches 9 billion or so, the stars will start going out?)

  38. #38 First Were Random Letters
    September 6, 2011

    @38

    “Well, unless you start accruing worshippers and/or issuing commandments. You’ve certainly got the unpronounceable vowelless name bit down, at least.”

    You seem a bit perturbed still by my inner perception of myself.

    Does it mean that I need to be only who YOU want me to be to make you feel good about yourself? Because I can do the same to you as well. Like try and convert you from atheism to something else. Christians and muslims do that to atheists all the time.

    “If everyone is god of themselves, does that mean that when the population reaches 9 billion or so, the stars will start going out?)”

    Wouldn’t that be the closest worldview to atheism all across the globe? It’s much better than Christianity and anything that tries to resemble it!

  39. #39 Owlmirror
    September 6, 2011

    You seem a bit perturbed still by my inner perception of myself.

    Actually, I’m vaguely amused, more than anything else, at this point.

    Because I can do the same to you as well. Like try and convert you from atheism to something else.

    Or you could give me a meaningful look.

    And I might talk about eagles.

    Wouldn’t that be the closest worldview to atheism all across the globe?

    It’s entirely possible that, much like an eagle carrying a tortoise, my literary allusion flew far far over your head.

  40. #40 Iain Walker
    September 7, 2011

    Owlmirror (#38):

    (If everyone is god of themselves, does that mean that when the population reaches 9 billion or so, the stars will start going out?)

    Only if everybody has a different name.

  41. #41 Dan L.
    September 7, 2011

    Snobby academic types might complain that creationists does not treat the fossil argument for evolution with proper rigor but that is far from the concerns of most people.

    Since your response is obviously completely analogous to the thing you were responding to, I suggest the following way to resolve the difficulty:

    1. I bash you as hard over the head as I can with a fossil.
    2. You bash me over the head as hard as you can with the ontological argument.

    Then we continue back and forth like that. Whoever quits first loses. Heck, I’ll even let you go first.

    Everybody else, stop feeding the troll. If he’s not giving himself a ‘nym at the very least then he’s trolling. But besides that this:

    There is nothing in this statement that shows even the slightest disagreement with the fact that being confident in your position by relying on evidence is something to argue against.

    The impression I got when I was reading “The God Delusion” was that Dawkins is trying to discredit any possibility of God’s existence by using every piece of the existing evidence for his non-existence.

    I wrote that comment from the perspective of someone, who is suspecting the existence of the supernatural, and is trying to rely on the opinion of someone, who has enough confidence to state that God cannot possibly be real, which could be quite a relief, if you don’t want God to exist.

    It’s especially helpful when you’re trying to get deconverted from Christianity or Islam to a rational
    believer in evidence.

    fails a sincerity sniff test for me. 1) Suspect he hasn’t even read the God Delusion based on the capsule summary. 2) “you don’t want god to exist” is a Christian troll talking point that I’ve never heard any sort of freethinker use. 3) “trying to get deconverted” who the hell talks like this?

    Guy is a troll.

  42. #42 dlkjflgkj
    September 7, 2011

    @46

    This world would be much better off, if people wouldn’t spend so much time on picking on bad writing but focusing on learning how to write well themselves instead.

    Judging by what YOU have written in your comment, you shouldn’t even be able to understand anything I write, and that’s exactly what makes you so upset.

    “fails a sincerity sniff test for me…”

    And what exactly am I supposed to be sincere about?

    …Would you like to know what kind of test you failed –

    1. Humanity
    2. Comprehension
    3. Writing
    4. Proper Education
    5. Knowledge of Evolution
    6. Language…and much more

    To mention the least…

    {trying to get deconverted” who the hell talks like this?}

    “Deconvert” will be a new word in your vocabulary. If you didn’t mind learning all those poor English words that you’re using right now, this word will not make your English sound any worse than it already does.

  43. #43 skldfkld
    September 7, 2011

    @46

    “Guy is a troll.”

    That’s right! Only a troll can ask such questions as “Where am I?”. Ha, ha, how can you not know something like that, right?

  44. #44 Random Consonants
    September 11, 2011

    Here is a problem with labelling faith in god as delusional thinking.

    Delusions, particularly, in people with a diognosed mental illness such as schizophrenia or psychosis, tend to seem remarkably real. A person, who believes that somebody is reading their thoughts, for instance, feels as if they literally enter some kind of alternative reality or alternate dimension, where this phenomenon exists. The clues that they pick up on from the people around them such as their behavior, point exactly to the fact that this is truely happening.

  45. #45 Random Consonants
    September 11, 2011

    45 Continued…

    FYI

    (You have to have schizophrenia in order to be able to truely understand it.)

    The same might occur with the belief in the existence of the supernatural or divine, since the direct evidence is abscent.

    So here is the trick – if a delusion represents an alternative reality (FYI – a scientific concept), in which many things become real, does that mean that they are non-existent?

    There is also a difference between people, who were raised in a certain religion, and atheists with schizophrenia with religious delusions.

    It would be great is any of the bloggers commented on that.

  46. #46 Random Consonants
    September 11, 2011

    I wish Dawkins knew psychiatry.

  47. #47 Collin
    September 12, 2011

    @17. I don’t believe in any of these things being attributes of God. People like you find the bad parts of the Bible and accuse people like me of referring to them. We don’t know about them, because we don’t read the Bible. We’re too busy reading about the scientific facts that you refuse to believe we believe.

    And in case you didn’t know, “fallible” means not necessarily right about everything. It doesn’t mean usually wrong.

    Or perhaps you’re implying that the only way anyone can teach religion is to claim that either they or their religious leader is infallible? If that’s the way you define religion, then I’m not religious as far as you’re concerned.

    I don’t need the Bible to define God for me. And I certainly don’t need an Atheist trying to convince me not to believe in a God that I already don’t believe in.

  48. #48 I don't need a name
    September 13, 2011

    You can make everything absolutely pointless by simply telling yourself that EVERYTHING is old school.

    This would the CURE…

  49. #49 Collin
    September 14, 2011

    As to “infanticide”, I realized you might be talking about the Tenth Plague. The correct interpretation is easy to find as long as you admit that it’s a fable, like all Biblical events, and you don’t confuse yourself with the way their authors had to twist them to win the approval of their crazy redactors.

    The Egyptians had a ritual of putting a lotion on their first-born sons. The cauldron where the lotion was stored had gotten contaminated with volcanic ash. Moses tried to warn the Pharaoh to postpone the ritual until the cauldron could be cleaned or replaced. The Pharaoh ignored the warning.

    So this is a story about how politicians ignore warnings about safety concerns, and continue their projects, even if it kills people. And this should be a message to today’s politicians that they need to start listening to climate scientists about global warming, and find ways to reduce CO2 emissions before it’s too late.

  50. #50 I am feeding YOU
    September 14, 2011

    48
    “And I certainly don’t need an Atheist trying to convince me not to believe in a God that I already don’t believe in.”

    It’s true. And I don’t understand why some atheist bloggers think that I am Christian just because I ask questions intended to question the whole concept of creationism. Unless, God does exist and he is absolutely cruel and sick. In this case, it would be reasonable not to want God to exist, especially if he’s nothing but a delusion, which should be easily cured with psychiatric meds.

    The guy, who called me a troll is an idiot. These type of people need to learn how to single out IDEAS from the background information. I am sure it’s a little more complicated than singling out bloggers for bullying, but it’ll come to you, once you acquire enough knowledge on evolution and religion.

  51. #51 eric
    September 14, 2011

    I am feeding YOU @51: The guy, who called me a troll is an idiot.

    Dan L. is right. Your post @51 confirms it – since there have been no other posts to this thread by someone with the username “I am feeding YOU,” you’ve been sock puppeting under the user name “dlkfgjfkl” and probably all the other vowel-free meaningless aliases too. Which is very trollish behavior. Don’t want to be accused of being a troll? Pick a single user name and stick with it.

  52. #52 Name Name
    September 15, 2011

    Why are you so concerned about the name? Does it really matter, who posts a comment. This is an idea-oriented forum. I posted many interesting discussion-provoking arguments, however, neither of the bloggers even bothered writing a word on them. All they saw was whatever I filled the name box with as if all they want to know is who posted the comments.

    Well, if you don’t like the comments, why would you even care who posted them?

    I guess, that was another of my studies on human behavior. To see what people view as really important.

    It’s so sad to realize what it is.

  53. #53 Wow
    September 15, 2011

    “Does it really matter, who posts a comment.”

    If it doesn’t matter, why didn’t you want to own up?

    “I posted many interesting discussion-provoking arguments”

    No, you produced excretum. You wasted time. This is called “trolling”.

    It’s so sad to have to tell you what it is.

  54. #54 jhgjhgj
    September 16, 2011

    @54

    I took a look at what you have produced…

    It would be too cruel of me to tell you the truth.

  55. #55 Stephen
    November 2, 2011

    Fantastic post I very much enjoyed it, keep up the good work.

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