Pharyngula

An hour of radio inanity

I’ve tuned into KKMS, although to be honest, I lost all respect for these evangelical radio cretins when they had that Simmons “debate” and left me out. We’ll have to see if their guest’s attempts to criticize atheists in their absence will be as effective.

I’m trying to grade exams while simultaneously listening — it’s like listening with half my brain tied behind my back.


The host claims that it is important to understand the perspective of the “New” Atheists…so why are they inviting this Aikman clown on, instead of an actual atheist?

Aikman claims the atheists are bringing “pestilence”, and claims that we only pick on Christians (what? What about Hitchens?) because Christians are so good and kind and generous and won’t blow them up. We’re already in stupid territory: the atheists criticize Christians because they are the dominant element in our culture.

We get some whining about how Christianity is portrayed in the media (ubiquitously?), and an uncontested claim that the religion is a benefit to society.

So far, I’m still waiting to hear a real criticism of atheism and atheists.


Oh, yeah…”I used to be an atheist”. I knew he’d say that eventually. It’s amazing how 99% of the evangelical world seems to have been godless, once.

Now we get another predictable claim: atheists have done all the evil of the 20th century, and communists and Pol Pot get dragged out.

Another predictable point: there is no basis for atheist morality. To which I always wonder, if there is no god, then there must be no basis for Christian morality either.

These guys are completely clueless. This isn’t an exercise in learning more about the New Atheists, it’s 3 ignoramuses making up stuff with one another.


Good — August Berkshire called in to criticize, and hit them with a good question: if god is a source of morality, what is the Christian position on the death penalty? On contraception? Would you believe the Aikman clown tried to claim that the death penalty is not a moral issue? The DJs tried to run away and claim that their belief in the crucifixion is the core of their belief…which is not a moral issue, either. Aikman tries to dig up Hitler, and claims everything is about the basis of morality, while avoiding the simple fact that Christianity does not provide simple moral guidance.

Berkshire throws their own claim that the ten commandments are the basis of morality by pointing out that the punishments for violating most of those rules was death. When they try to duck and weave by saying they don’t follow the Old Testament rules anymore, Berkshire hammers on the obvious fact that there has been a rather substantial change in the treatment of moral issues.


Another caller: Jeff from Maple Grove, who babbles a bunch of apologetics for the Old Testament. God Hates Sin. He didn’t change his mind! Dear dog, I’m feeling my brain leaking away as I listen to these idiots.

Now Damon in Las Vegas calls in. Points out that atheists can’t disprove the Christian god, but Christians can’t disprove the other gods, but dismiss them — how do they do that? Aikman answers (?) that Christians believe they can have a relationship with god mediated through Jesus, and that the historical evidence for Jesus is strong, and then makes up a bunch of bullshit about evidence for the resurrection (making it up all the way). Then he claims again that he used to be an atheist.

He doesn’t answer the question!


Bob calls in to address August, and again, he claims god didn’t change, the people did. August clearly hit a nerve with that one.

Tony (Toni?) calls in to explain that she lost her Catholic faith and is an atheist, and her old associates all think she’s going to burn in hell. She asks how a loving and just god could do that. Aikman chickens out and refuses to answer. The DJs try to dig into her Catholic background, and then basically tells her to accept it, and that you have to be perfect to live forever, and that’s Jesus’s gift…they’re essentially telling her that she gets to burn in Hell. Aikman butts in and tells her to read Strobel. Strobel! That guy is awful.

I must apologize for mentioning this radio show to everyone. It’s pathetic. It’s three buffoons babbling on the air. I didn’t learn a thing about atheism (how could I? They had no knowledge between them), but I was reminded once again how foolish theology is.

Comments

  1. #1 Mark B
    May 8, 2008

    Half a brain is better than none.

  2. #2 Raynfala
    May 8, 2008

    Hoo boy, not even 5 minutes in, and already they’re playing the persecution card.

    I don’t know if I have the strength…

  3. #3 Eximious Jones
    May 8, 2008

    Half a brain is better than none? Bah! Don’t try to pull some sort of “irreducible complexity” crap on us!

  4. #4 HumanisticJones
    May 8, 2008

    Is anyone keeping up with a recording of this like they had with the real debate? I’d kinda like to have a copy of their “arguments against atheists” so that I can be amused time and time again.

  5. #5 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    MAN THE HARPOONS, PHARYNGULITES!

    I’m already waiting on hold. We’ll see what happens.

  6. #6 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    Well, with the half-of-brain you have for listening, you’ll only have a slight intelligence advantage over the hosts.

  7. #7 Suspect Device
    May 8, 2008

    Any appeals to emotion yet? Pascals Wager yet?

  8. #8 HumanisticJones
    May 8, 2008

    Aikman claims the atheists are bringing “pestilence”

    Actually, I’m bringing potato salad. I don’t actually like it, but so many other people at those “bring a dish” events seem to enjoy it.

  9. #9 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    Yup, we’ve had Pascal’s Wager and the Hitler was an Atheist argument already. Right now they’re on “atheists have no basis for morality.”

  10. #10 Suspect Device
    May 8, 2008

    Right. Now we need a design argument and and argument from ignorance and that should just about do it. These species of Christians will not meet atheist criticism on the same level.

  11. #11 JM Inc.
    May 8, 2008

    I would have thought it would be like grading while being slowly put under general anaesthesia.

  12. #12 Big Dave
    May 8, 2008

    That advert just now about “Do you have responsibilities in the Church” and then went on to mention Judas.

    Did anyone else think of Catholic Priests and paedophilia as it ran?

  13. #13 Graff
    May 8, 2008

    Man, these guys are just stroking each others’ egos and bantering about the some old inane bull. What a hollow dialog, hollow hosts, and hollow belief system.

  14. #14 Sven DiMilo
    May 8, 2008

    These guys are completely clueless. This isn’t an exercise in learning more about the New Atheists, it’s 3 ignoramuses making up stuff with one another.

    A-HA!! The Bootleg Reverse Courtier’s Rejoinder to the Other Courtier’s Reply!
    Really, there’s a much more sophisticated brand of atheism out here than their shopworn cliches about genocide and amorality. Pity they couldn’t be bothered to look into it before spouting their ill-formed opinions.

  15. #15 AC
    May 8, 2008

    This isn’t an exercise in learning more about the New Atheists, it’s 3 ignoramuses making up stuff with one another.

    So it’s a Fox News roundtable?

  16. #16 Bride of Shrek
    May 8, 2008

    “Christians are so good and kind and generous and won’t blow them up.”.

    Do these people really need to be slapped upside the head with the dishonesty behind that type of statement.

    Lets see…Timothy McVeigh, Christian suicide bombers in Lebanon, 188 attempts of bombing or fire bombing of abortion clinics in the US between 1989 and 2004 (Reference: http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm)

    Oh noes, theres NO such thing as a christian bomber. Snark.

    Frigging liars.

  17. #17 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    Aikman just got embarrassed on the “God changed his mind” issue.

  18. #18 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    August Birkshire (President of Minnesota Atheists) it pwning these morons. Awesome.

  19. #19 HumanisticJones
    May 8, 2008

    Oh noes, theres NO such thing as a christian bomber. Snark.

    But Bride of Shrek, those people weren’t True Christians©. A True Christian© would NEVER EVER hurt anyone! Those Muslims on the other hand… every single one of them is waiting for an atheist to open their mouth about Mohamed so they can kill him for it.

  20. #20 DaveL
    May 8, 2008

    I really have to feel bad for believers who listen to drivel like this, thinking they are now equipped to go forth and Set the Unbelievers Straight. It’s almost painful to watch them wade into debates with a sack full of bravado and these great honking blind spots that all their opponents know about.

    It makes me wish you could put a disclaimer on apologetics as a whole:

    WARNING: The following material is intended to make you feel better about suppressing the doubts you have about your faith. They are not designed to defeat the arguments of people who actually believe differently from you. The substance contained herein is subject to evaporation when exposed to close scrutiny. Under no circumstances should the following be compared, combined, or cross-referenced with other facts and arguments, as this may lead to structural collapse.

  21. #21 GBruno
    May 8, 2008

    I’d love to hear the discussions while the commercials are aired.

  22. #22 Big Dave
    May 8, 2008

    Read “Whose Word Is It” by Bart D Ehrman – “He who is without sin cast the first stone” is a later addition to the Bible.

    On top of that the radio dudes haven’t read their New Testament, Jesus himself endorses, explicitly, the stoning of children to death, I wish the caller could call them on that. alas, I’m across the pond and don’t have the funds to call!

    Matthew 5:17-20 Jebus endorses all of Old Testament Law
    Mark 7:9-13 and Matthew 15:4-7 Jebus endorses the stoning of children

  23. #23 ThirdMonkey
    May 8, 2008

    Let me know when they ask listeners to send money to help fight these evil atheists.

  24. #24 David
    May 8, 2008

    PZ sounds pissed. Glad he’s not grading one of my papers as he listens to this drivel …

  25. #25 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    The Resurrection is a historical fact? Ha!

  26. #26 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    He just said he became a Christian “against any working of reason.” No shit.

  27. #27 RAM
    May 8, 2008

    PZ sez….Oh, yeah…”I used to be an atheist”. I knew he’d say that…..

    I’ve lost count how many converted Christians have said that to me also. But when closely questioned, they don’t have a clue what an Atheist really is, as in, “I just don’t believe in deities” They think they were an Atheist because they just didn’t go to church for awhile. I think this magnitude of misunderstanding on their part is what leads them to think an Atheist can “just convert”.
    And PZ sez ……Another predictable point: there is no basis for atheist morality.
    When I tell Christians of course I have morality, I am a Secular Humanist, with as much or more demonstrated morals than any Christian, of course they say I cannot be without god. Their version of god. So, in effect, only they can define morality!

  28. #28 Crake
    May 8, 2008

    #16

    Nice, but I think all someone needs to do is mention Northen _freaking_ Ireland.
    “Christians are so good and kind and generous and won’t blow them up.”. lol

  29. #29 Timothy
    May 8, 2008

    Has this idiot even MET an atheist? My biggest problem with other atheists is that they give christians too much of a pass just because they aren’t blowing themselves up.

    At least in America the christians are WAY more dangerous and way more annoying and they get way too much of a free ride from most atheists, especially given their enormous power politically and economically in this country and around the world. Something that the “islamist extremists” who are blowing themselves up do NOT have.

  30. #30 Alex
    May 8, 2008

    RAM #27

    Great post.

    “I just don’t believe in deities”

    This is not a criticism, but personally I hate using the word “belief”. It seems so loaded, and that’s how they try and normalize their idiotic world view (i.e. beliefs) with a scientific one. I prefer to say:

    There is not 1 compelling reason for me to think that deities are real.

    Just my preference.

  31. #31 Jaycubed
    May 8, 2008

    “It’s amazing how 99% of the evangelical world seems to have been godless, once.
    PZ”

    100% of the evangelical world is “godless”, just like reality is godless.
    .

  32. #32 GBruno
    May 8, 2008

    “Expert” hands over the loving god versus eternal damnation issue. Wow, some expert.

  33. #33 Blake Stacey
    May 8, 2008

    Now Damon in Las Vegas calls in. Points out that atheists can’t disprove the Christian god, but Christians can’t disprove the other gods, but dismiss them — how do they do that? Aikman answers (?) that Christians believe they can have a relationship with god mediated through Jesus, and that the historical evidence for Jesus is strong, and then makes up a bunch of bullshit about evidence for the resurrection (making it up all the way).

    The historical evidence for Mohammed is 22 metric fuckloads stronger.

    Just sayin’.

  34. #34 Rey Fox
    May 8, 2008

    Anyone playing Bingo? Or a drinking game? Just remember not to drive yourself home tonight.

    “Aikman claims the atheists are bringing “pestilence””
    “Actually, I’m bringing potato salad.”

    Even worse! Ack!

    But seriously, be careful with that potato salad, or you really will be bringing pestilence.

  35. #35 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    Now they’re claiming that there’s plenty of evidence for the existence of God/Jesus.

    Mind you, they’re not telling us what it is or where to find it, just that it exists.

  36. #36 Greg Peterson
    May 8, 2008

    The point of such a show is NOT to provide apologetics that believers can use in talking with atheists–it’s to make Christians feel superior, or at least justified in what they believe. Every atheist I know is smart. Not just science smart or philosophy smart, but the kind of smart that is a real threat to religionists. I would LOVE to talk to some poor Christian bastard about this stuff in a one-on-one setting. Truth is, as wrong-headed and juvenile as this junk is, it’s beyond that sophistication of the only Christians who have ever tried to “share their faith” with me. Once I hear the standard “why are there still monkeys” question (which is just so comical), I know I have nowhere to go. It’s like trying to play tennis without a net, where the other player gets to call all the plays. If “the Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it” passes as an argument, there is nowhere for a reasonable person to go. At the back of their minds, the people who say such things will assume that, because there are smarter-sounding people saying things they don’t understand on the radio, then they must actually have some reasons for their beliefs, though they cannot grasp them and could not articulate them.

    As for why I personally pick on Christianity, I consder it the supreme complement to the faith–it’s the only one really worth bothering to attack. As far-fetched and inane as Christianity is, it represents top-shelf theology. Throughout Christianity’s history, it has had a number of remarkable thinkers–Augustine, Thomas, Kierkegaard, Pascal–who have made some provocative arguments. They ultimately fail to make their case, but they are worth refuting. In every other case I knew of, the best thinkers used their intellects to moderate faith rather than to prop it up…in this, Christianity is unusual. That its most gifted thinkers wasted their talents spinning increasingly unlikely excuses for the things they wished to believe true is a tragedy of historical proportions.

  37. #37 JM Inc.
    May 8, 2008

    Christian apologetics sounds an awful lot like rhetorical squirming.

  38. #38 Ed
    May 8, 2008

    After listening to your debate with Dr Simmions I can`t take anymore today!I find it hard to believe a Doctor did not know what a theory in science is.Is he really that stupid PZ,or was he just throwing it out there for his bible thumping buddies?I also noticed the fine hosts found the need to interrupt you, but not the moron who had no idea what he was talking about!I did feel the urge to tell him to shut up.You creamed him PZ.

  39. #39 Big Dave
    May 8, 2008

    “It’s amazing how 99% of the evangelical world seems to have been godless, once.
    PZ”

    Well, everyone’s an atheist at birth, do you suppose they’re talking about before they could talk, back when they had so much potential…

  40. Why do you guys even bother to listen to that programme? The weather is great, the beer is cold. PZ might be stuck doing marking but what’s everybody else’s excuse? Life is too short.

  41. #41 Tosser
    May 8, 2008

    Did anyone catch the female caller at the end of the show? She was quite compelling–an ex-Catholic who now doesn’t believe in God but keeps trying to give all the “evidence” for Christianity a chance. She said that the evidence is just too weak, even though she wants to believe.

    The guest blustered that there was lots of evidence and recommended a book to her, but she had already read it. Religious blowhards can’t seem to imagine that anyone can dismiss their flimsy little ideas.

    The woman seemed sad that she couldn’t believe, but the hosts of the show and the guest just bloviated rather than trying to seriously engage her questions and comments.

  42. #42 BoxerShorts
    May 8, 2008

    Dammit… I didn’t get on. Oh well.

  43. #43 Big Dave
    May 8, 2008

    “Why do you guys even bother to listen to that programme? The weather is great, the beer is cold. PZ might be stuck doing marking but what’s everybody else’s excuse? Life is too short.”

    Well, I though every thing once, and I had laundry to hang up, and in England it’s nearly bed time.

    It was good to hear in a peculiar way – but not something I shall repeat.

  44. #44 JM Inc.
    May 8, 2008

    Hey, if you’re stuck inside like I am, might as well have a laugh.

  45. #45 Blake Stacey
    May 8, 2008

    Tosser (#41):

    The guest blustered that there was lots of evidence and recommended a book to her, but she had already read it.

    Which book? I’m morbidly curious to find out.

  46. #46 GBruno
    May 8, 2008

    It is important to listen to this crap and refute it. Especially when it’s on their dime and directed at their audience. Painful, yes, but necessary.

    Thanks to PZ and all the rational callers.

  47. #47 DaveH
    May 8, 2008

    “Why do you guys even bother to listen to that programme? The weather is great, the beer is cold. PZ might be stuck doing marking but what’s everybody else’s excuse? Life is too short.”
    Personally, I’ve been stuck all day in an office crawling with creotards, and I can’t think of a better way to unwind than in the company of my favorite horde of atheists.
    PZ, you and everybody else here are like a second family to me. Keep up the good work!

  48. #48 Robert
    May 8, 2008

    Standard fair as far as these things go. I couldn’t bare to listen past the Los Vegas caller as they ducked and weaved and congratulated themselves for it.

    A couple of things to point out.

    The issue of disproving god kept popping up. And yes it is possible to disprove gods. But only when a claim or proof has been offered. The prefix ‘dis’ clearly means to remove. So to disprove god is to remove a proof that has been offered. That is we get to refute claims put forward by theists. In this way we can disprove or more properly refute particular claims for gods.

    As to morality we may be saved from the terror that is Moral Relativism by our own nature. As was mentioned by one of the callers the discovery of Mirror Neurons is showing great promise in understanding our nature as moral beings. There is an excellent commentary in the current issue of New Scientist that eloquently discusses this issue. We seem to be wired to be the natural arbiters of our own morality. By means of our sense of interconnectivity we are able to cobble together a moral system by means of Self, Society, and Reason. And this is true of everyone, including the theists that believe their morality comes from the bible. We each keep our own sense of right and wrong and strive together with others to improve upon it.

  49. #49 Greg Peterson
    May 8, 2008

    For an excellent discussion of where atheists get their morality…and how flawed a Divine Command theory of morality is…I recommend Austin Dacey’s new book, “The Secular Conscience.” It’s well-written and persuasive.
    http://www.amazon.com/Secular-Conscience-Belief-Belongs-Public/dp/1591026040

  50. #50 Richard
    May 8, 2008

    “Berkshire throws their own claim that the ten commandments are the basis of morality by pointing out that the punishments for violating most of those rules was death. When they try to duck and weave by saying they don’t follow the Old Testament rules anymore, Berkshire hammers on the obvious fact that there has been a rather substantial change in the treatment of moral issues.”

    I just took a quick run over to the KKMS radio site and happened to catch information on an upcoming guest speaker they are having who is going to speak on the application of the ten commandments in Christian life.< -*->
    I should believe the morality they wish to side with is rather a the flavor of the month variety dependent upon whom they wish to address.

  51. #51 K. Signal Eingang
    May 8, 2008

    WARNING: The following material is intended to make you feel better about suppressing the doubts you have about your faith. They are not designed to defeat the arguments of people who actually believe differently from you. The substance contained herein is subject to evaporation when exposed to close scrutiny. Under no circumstances should the following be compared, combined, or cross-referenced with other facts and arguments, as this may lead to structural collapse.

    Brilliant. I’m getting that put on a rubber stamp or something.

  52. #52 RAM
    May 8, 2008

    “The issue of disproving god kept popping up. And yes it is possible to disprove gods.”

    Replace “god” with bigfoot, trolls, Loch Ness monster, faries, Thor, Zeus, etc. and ask your questioning Christian to disprove those myths using the same criteria and rational he is using. Can’t be done.

  53. #53 Escuerd
    May 8, 2008

    Hahaha, “What’s that they say? That you know a book by its cover?”

    duuuuuh

  54. #54 MAJeff, OM
    May 8, 2008

    “Actually, I’m bringing potato salad.”
    Even worse! Ack!
    But seriously, be careful with that potato salad, or you really will be bringing pestilence.

    You haven’t had my German Potato Salad. A pound of bacon makes almost anything taste good :)

  55. #55 Glen Davidson
    May 8, 2008

    I think that most of these “ex-atheists” that they parade before the religious were more on the order of merely hating religion. It does happen, you know.

    And because they hated it, without knowing much of anything about it, they were vulnerable to the apologetics of religion once they actually listened to the religionists. Their simple questions and simple “proofs” against religion were met with convoluted reasoning and assumptions which snuck in with the apologetics, and they didn’t know how to reply to the responses they got. So they ended up being theists, hating atheists from the same ignorance that led them to previously react against theists.

    That’s why the “ex-atheists” are generally lame at arguing about atheism. They weren’t atheists in any meaningful sense in the first place, and the religious folk just eat up their claims that atheism is only a way of “hating God” or some such thing.

    It has been claimed by a few atheists that only those smart enough and learned enough to be able to sort through all of the religious claims have any right to be atheists. Naturally that’s not true, though it is plenty snobbish, for one may simply learn good epistemics and epistemology and judge religion against those, refusing to accept the premises that religion must insinuate into the discussion before any of its claims make sense. That said, though, dealing fully with the assertions of religion is not easy, and requires knowledge of the history of thought to do properly.

    On the other hand, these “ex-atheist” bozos” get paid almost entirely in order to assure the religious that their unquestioned presumption is correct, especially the one that says that atheism is simplistic hatred of religion and the religious. Because they’ll always preferentially put these simplistic boobs onto programs “about atheism”, neither the “ex-atheists” nor their audience will ever learn anything about intelligent secularism, and thus a symbiotic (mutualistic) relationship is formed.

    Understanding their religion’s claims about atheism is what it’s all about. To understand atheism itself is self-defeating for the religion, for to understand non-theist critiques of religion would only undermine same.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  56. #56 Brendan S
    May 8, 2008

    ‘I was an atheist once’ means ‘I wasn’t as religious as I am now.’

  57. #57 Robert
    May 8, 2008

    “Replace “god” with bigfoot, trolls, Loch Ness monster, faries, Thor, Zeus, etc. and ask your questioning Christian to disprove those myths using the same criteria and rational he is using. Can’t be done.”

    You cannot make the positive assertion that there is no god(s), bigfoot, trolls, or Nessi. But you can examine a person’s claims regarding any of those and determine if the evidence they provide is sufficient to make their case. And if you find a means to refute their evidence then you have effectively refuted that particular claim. Be it for god or Nessie.

    The only effective means a theist has against a well informed atheist is to not offer any evidence at all for god and remain in a stalemate. Once evidence is offered it can be picked apart. Thus the inevitable fall back to the faith based position of most theists.

  58. #58 Jaycubed
    May 8, 2008

    re. Disproving god.

    A common error is to mistake a class/group (gods) for the specific (God).

    It is easy to disprove the existence of the specific. I will say with certainty that the god of Abraham, Moses, Jesus & Mohammed does not exist; because the claims, predictions & explanations allegedly given by the god are both internally inconsistent (they self-contradict) and externally inconsistent (they contradict the external world).

    Even the properties attributed to such a being are self-contradictory: if god is omniscient how can he be omnipotent. In other words if god knows everything he can only do what he already knows will happen and therefore has no power to effect anything; if god can do anything than he can do what he cannot foresee and therefore doesn’t know everything.

    I will admit that there is a chance for magical beings to exist in reality; I believe that chance is infinitesimal but still possible.

    I will assert that the chance that the god worshipped by Abrahamic Monotheists exists is zero.

  59. #59 SC
    May 8, 2008

    Thanks for the references, Robert @ #48 and Greg Peterson @ #49.

    This problem they have with not recognizing any sources of morality other than god is undoubtedly what lies beneath their confused thinking on the fascist and Communist regimes. I was reading Orlando Figes’ The Whisperers,an oral history of the Stalin era, recently and it comes through so clearly in people’s accounts how much they saw their own actions in terms of right and wrong. So not turning in family members or colleagues, or having sympathy with scientists or bureaucrats who had been declared enemies of the people, etc., was a great source of guilt for many. The parallels with the Inquisition – captured beautifully in Danilo Kis’ A Tomb for Boris Davidovich – are striking.

    Yet it seems impossible for so many religious people to accept that terrible, twisted moral systems and ideals can and do exist (much less that their own might be one). Or that it is precisely our innate capacity for moral thinking that can lead people to fall prey to such systems. They have to see people in these societies as having no moral code and no ideals, despite all evidence to the contrary. Of course, they’ve never very been big on evidence…

  60. #60 Hank Fox
    May 8, 2008

    Does the radio station have the guts to have an atheist-only panel on the air some day soon? Just for balance?

    As a sop to the godders, they could have an atheist who used to be a Christian as part of the panel. Those aren’t hard to find.

  61. #61 Spinoza
    May 8, 2008

    “Oh, yeah…”I used to be an atheist”. I knew he’d say that eventually. It’s amazing how 99% of the evangelical world seems to have been godless, once.”

    … I’ve always wondered about these statements…

    By “atheist” do they just mean “half-assed pseudo-Christian”, or do they mean they went through a period of rejection of their parents’ religion as teenagers, or some sort of brief doubt?

    … That doesn’t really constitute “being” an atheist.

    … but actually, that’s one of the reasons I’ve been quite wary (and critical) of the “New Atheism” movement, esp. as represented at RD.net… I often wonder if a lot of the more vocal (and often exorbitantly facile/rude/angry/violent) posters there are really just teenagers of fundamentalist parents… or what might be termed “fair-weather atheists” who are quite likely to slip back into old habits as they age… only to break out the “I used to be an atheist.” card 30 years later as if that constitutes some kind of proof.

    Weird stuff…

  62. #62 Hank Fox
    May 8, 2008

    Spinoza, I thought “New Atheism” was a name cooked up by the Christians, or the idiot news media — like “Darwinist.”

    Are atheists actually using it?

  63. #63 MikeM
    May 8, 2008

    While you were listening to KKMS, you might have missed the news about NYC’s only GOP member of Congress, Vito Fossella:

    Fossella Admits to Extramarital Affair

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/fossella-admits-to-extramarital-affair/?hp

    He has a three year old child he forgot to tell the world about. That strikes me as being the kind of secret that might be hard to keep for three years.

  64. #64 Calladus
    May 8, 2008

    “I used to be an Atheist.” These people are only practicing “mere atheism“.

    That’s all – just a way to increase their already made up credibility.

  65. #65 SLC
    May 8, 2008

    Prof Myers must either be a masochist or a glutton for punishment to listen to such crap.

  66. #66 Rock Science
    May 8, 2008

    Regarding AC’s comment #15, I nearly snorted my chocolate. LOL!

    Seriously, One of the greatest disappointments of atheism is that I won’t be around to see these folks in the “Great Hereafter” when they realize that it….isn’t!

    Keep up the good work.

  67. #67 QrazyQat
    May 8, 2008

    The host claims that it is important to understand the perspective of the “New” Atheists…so why are they inviting this Aikman clown on, instead of an actual atheist?

    Because an actual atheist might tell them something they don’t want to hear, or might bring up questions they can’t or don’t want to answer. And guess what, when actual atheists called in that’s what happened.

    But Christians do this all the time; when my conservative Christian by SO connection “wanted to learn about Islam” after 9/11, did she read the Koran (like I did when I also read the other “big” religion’s sacred texts)? Of course not; she read the work of a nutcase conservative Christian. Guess what? she found out Islam is evil incarnate and there’s no talking to those people. And that’s what she wanted to hear.

  68. #68 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    I really enjoyed your post on ‘Mere Atheism’, Calladus. Very good.

  69. #69 OctoberMermaid
    May 8, 2008

    I actually read Lee Strobel’s Cases for Faith and Jesus.

    This was about three months before I completely gave up on Christianity.

  70. #70 molliebatmit
    May 8, 2008

    I got three copies of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ (?) for my high school graduation. Not sure what my fundie friends and relatives were trying to tell me.

  71. #71 MikeG
    May 8, 2008

    Without reading the comments (though I will) I have to say:
    I used to be an atheist.

    I still am.

  72. #72 OctoberMermaid
    May 8, 2008

    #48

    That mirror neuron stuff is fascinating. I’d never heard of it before and I only just googled it, but what little I read is very cool. I had no idea, but it makes perfect sense.

  73. #73 wrpd
    May 8, 2008

    The book that was recommended was probably Lee Strobel’s Case for the Resurrection or the Case for Jesus. They are all basically the same book. Strobel claims in his books to present both sides of an issue and then shows how the xian side is right. He presents evangelicals giving their side then he presents other evangelicals setting up strawmen for the other side. Then he knocks down the strawmen and declares victory. He never presents real representatives of the opposition. Strobel, too, “used to be an atheist.” I have come to the conclusion that to the fundies atheist = anyone who has not gone braindead for jeebus.

  74. #75 calladus
    May 8, 2008

    whups. Missed an end quotes mark there. Sorry ’bout that.

  75. #76 Pete M.
    May 8, 2008

    Ya know, this “God is the source of morality and atheists can’t have any morality” crap really irritates me. For one thing, the two best worked ethical systems of modern times, Kantian ethics and utilitarianism, do not rely on any sort of God for their substantive prescriptions or their account of why the moral law is binding. For another thing, having an all-powerful God doesn’t help as a source of morality. This is freshman philosophy stuff, the famous Euthyphro dilemma. Here’s the dilemma: does God do what is right because it is right, or is what is right right because God wills it? If the first, then we are still left needing an account of what makes what is right right; if the second, then what is right is completely arbitrary. If God had happened to have wanted to encourage baby-torturing, that would have been right.

    Last comment: having an all-powerful God set to punish you if you do the wrong thing doesn’t make you more moral. When you act just to avoid punishment, it isn’t clear that you’re acting morally at all! Think about someone who gives money to your favorite charity, and you think, “Hey, what a great person. How nice.” Then you come to find out that this was a condition on their avoiding jail-time, set by some judge who was perhaps a little full of herself. Now, what do you think? Did this person do something good; do they deserve moral credit? No, of course not.

    Bah.

  76. #77 SC
    May 8, 2008

    I just watched the mirror neuron segment at PBS from a few years ago:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204/01.html

    Couldn’t stop thinking of all the cool research possibilities.

  77. #78 shane
    May 8, 2008

    Anyone catch the latest Point of Inquiry podcast with DJ Grothe? He interviewed Chris Hedges about his latest book I Don’t Believe in Atheists.

    Hedges criticises the “New Atheists” accusing them of being “fundamentalists” in their own right – using fundie tactics and rhetoric. If I heard right he also says that humanism and science have essentially contributed nothing to the betterment of humankind.

    I found the guy to be an apologist for terrorism and an arrogant know it all smart arsed pendant and sophist.

    That being said it was an interesting interview.

  78. #79 SC
    May 8, 2008

    shane,

    There was also some discussion of it here recently:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/chris_hedges_wastes_everyones.php

  79. #80 shonny
    May 8, 2008

    #69 I got three copies of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ (?) for my high school graduation. Not sure what my fundie friends and relatives were trying to tell me.
    Posted by: molliebatmit | May 8, 2008 8:52 PM

    You mean they are so full of shit that they can’t even be recycled as toilet paper?
    As with bibles.

  80. #81 Janine ID
    May 8, 2008

    Aikman claims the atheists are bringing “pestilence”, and claims that we only pick on Christians (what? What about Hitchens?) because Christians are so good and kind and generous and won’t blow them up.

    PZ Myers

    If this the case, I say atheists should start attacking people who practice Jainism. They will not blow anything up. Hard to say how many insects will be killed in that action.

  81. #82 Etha Williams
    May 8, 2008

    I was browsing around the KKMS site, and…wow.

    Here’s a passage from one of their devotionals, Daily Presence (“Intimate Conversations with a Loving Father”):

    FROM THE FATHER’S HEART
    My child, if you try to operate in your strength, you will fail every time. Every gift you own comes from Me. Every ability you use, I gave you. My power is available to you. I am your sufficiency. Don’t worry about anything. Tell Me your needs. I know them anyway, but I love to hear you ask, just like a Father who is eager to provide for His child.

    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. That kind of infantilizing behavior on the part of a father has to constitute some kind of child abuse, and the children’s unwavering involvement in it (in first imagining and then accepting such a thing) is just sad.

  82. #83 MikeG
    May 8, 2008

    Pete M. @ 76,
    That’s a great point. Morality by coercion isn’t morality at all.

    Nicely said, and thanks.

  83. #84 genesgalore
    May 8, 2008

    come on god, sends us a text message. oh, i forgot you can only whisper in old men’s ears.

  84. #85 Dr. Cheese
    May 8, 2008

    Off topic, but…

    So you all heard about the Texas sinkhole– probably caused either by gays, like Katrina, or by Darwinists. But look at what those “old earth” Nazis are saying…

    “Daisetta sits on a salt dome, a natural formation created below the ground over millions of years where oil brine and natural gas accumulate. Oil drilling in the area, still dotted with working oil derricks, might have weakened the dome and caused it to collapse, Norman said.”

    Millions of years! Hah!! What lengths won’t they go to in order to deny God?

  85. #86 Reed
    May 8, 2008

    Janine ID
    Aren’t Jains and Buddhists technically atheists already ? Of course, that throws a whole ‘nother monkey wrench the atheism == amorality theory.

  86. #88 ME
    May 8, 2008

    It’s kind of funny- most of you want to just dismiss this “nonsense” but then you seem to be drawn to listen to it and try to poke fun at it. Very interesting… keep listening and try to ignore the truth, doesn’t seem like you can stay away.

  87. #89 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    but then you seem to be drawn to listen to it and try to poke fun at it.

    not try, do.

    astute observation, Sherlock.

    for the 20th time this week:

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

  88. #90 ME
    May 8, 2008

    Keep making excuses and keep the name calling comin’… shows the real intelligence level of this group!!!

  89. #91 Ichthyic
    May 8, 2008

    shows the real intelligence level of this group!!!

    not enough exclamation marks.

    also, you forgot to tell us all how ridiculing religious nonsense will be the death knell of science.

    then you can add:

    Waterlooooooo!!!!!

    at the end of your missive.

  90. #92 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Hey ME, they’re the ones with a radio show about atheists.

    Fucking idiot. Are you really that rooster that got its head cut off and lived for months after? Because if so, you’ve gotten dumber over the years.

  91. #93 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2008

    Keep making excuses and keep the name calling comin’… shows the real intelligence level of this group!!!

    Yeah? How’s your CV coming, kid?

  92. #94 Dutch Delight
    May 8, 2008

    What a smart guy that ME is. Nothing gets by him.

    If we’re lucky, he might just get himself some arguments, and make them, in this thread. I’m so excited I can hardly wait for his innovative insights to balance out the crazy on this show. I’m sure the opinions heard there were totally not representative of moderate christians at all.

  93. #95 Azkyroth
    May 8, 2008

    … but actually, that’s one of the reasons I’ve been quite wary (and critical) of the “New Atheism” movement, esp. as represented at RD.net… I often wonder if a lot of the more vocal (and often exorbitantly facile/rude/angry/violent) posters there are really just teenagers of fundamentalist parents… or what might be termed “fair-weather atheists” who are quite likely to slip back into old habits as they age… only to break out the “I used to be an atheist.” card 30 years later as if that constitutes some kind of proof.

    I keep hearing about these facile/rude/angry/violent atheists but I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. Care to name any names? Or has that lie just been told so often that even many atheists are accepting it’s true?

  94. #96 death adder
    May 8, 2008

    ME-

    That you actually believe in that crap shows the level of your intelligence!

  95. #97 Ryan F Stello
    May 8, 2008

    ME (#88) moaned,

    most of you want to just dismiss this “nonsense” but then you seem to be drawn to listen to it and try to poke fun at it.

    Question 1: How else would others be able to dismiss the nonsense if they didn’t listen to it?

    Question 2: How is making fun of it not dismissing it?

    I dunno about anybody else here, but I’m getting a little tired of the self-righteous slugs coming here who don’t appreciate good sarcasm.

    ‘Course, I don’t actually live here myself, except in my most fantabulous of dreams….

  96. #98 Dennis N
    May 8, 2008

    I remember Fox News doing something like this a while back; they wanted to talk about atheism so they brought on a pastor. Really? I mean, really? The most watched (for some unknown reason) cable news channel in America and they couldn’t get a real atheist to talk about atheism?

  97. #99 Brownian, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Yeah, but to have a real atheist on, they’d have to bring in handlers with tranq darts, wheel him or her in on a dolly with the whole leather mask and straitjacket deal, and have a couple of blackhawks hovering near in case s/he gets loose.

    I mean, hey–atheists are dangerous.

    Way too much hassle.

  98. #100 Jim
    May 9, 2008

    PZ: Great article in Seed. Where do I get some of that there fugu LINE and SINE nuclease? Do you suppose I could loose about 20 pounds if I take a few doses? : P

  99. #101 melior
    May 9, 2008

    Ryan F Stello (#97) said:

    I dunno about anybody else here, but I’m getting a little tired of the self-righteous slugs coming here who don’t appreciate good sarcasm.

    No no, I would I just like to say how absolutely thrilled we are to have these people who don’t appreciate sarcasm here. Why, they’re fabulous people, just fabulous.

  100. #102 Blind Squirrel FCD
    May 9, 2008

    Aren’t Jains and Buddhists technically atheists already?

    I made about the same point a couple of weeks back and a few people corrected me. Apparently most Americans have a somewhat distorted view of Buddhism. (what a surprise) Some Buddhists worship Buddha as a god in some branches of Buddhism. This “godhood” is within us all and anyone, in theory can attain it. But you don’t get to fly around or smite enemies.

  101. #103 386sx
    May 9, 2008

    Aikman butts in and tells her to read Strobel.

    Who the heck would tell somebody to read Strobel. Whoever they were, they were sure deprived of something somehow somewhere! Somethin! That’s for sure!

  102. #104 Ryan F Stello
    May 9, 2008

    386sx (#103) asked,

    Who the heck would tell somebody to read Strobel.

    A friend of mine asked me to…about a month before he joined a cult called JPUSA in Chicago.

    Typically, though, the Xians I meet are more likely to recommend C.S. Lewis, like he’s a great theological scholar or something.

  103. #105 Brownian, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Actually, some Buddhists (in some Theravadan traditions, I believe) consider Jehovah, Vishnu, and a host of other deities to be beings in the Deva or Asura realm. Some believe these gods are not to be worshiped but instead pitied because for all their power they haven’t freed themselves from the cycle of rebirth.

  104. #106 Patricia C.
    May 9, 2008

    Slightly OT. Just buzzed over to the site of the ‘god the child molester, busted’ group – holy smoke! They have gone way over the top. Sounds like god is about to swoop in on us folks. The doctored up pictures will make you choke.

  105. #107 AndyD
    May 9, 2008

    I’m not sure if Michael Gerson, Washington Post “Phony war on science” has already been covered but I just saw it. Unfortunately you need to login to comment. Seems relevant to this article.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/06/AR2008050602446.html

  106. #108 Patricia C.
    May 9, 2008

    OT – Probably really late where most of you are, but over on NoGodBlog.com there’s a real dust up over Ellen Johnson getting fired from American Atheists. I hadn’t heard a word about it. Seems that the Board lied too… imagine lieing to a large group of atheists. Worse, imagine lieing here.

  107. #109 Spinoza
    May 9, 2008

    “I keep hearing about these facile/rude/angry/violent atheists but I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. Care to name any names? Or has that lie just been told so often that even many atheists are accepting it’s true?”

    … I met a few of them at a local Richard Dawkins movie showing (put on by the local secular alliance of whatever)… one of the strangest meetings I’ve ever been to… basically a bunch of people showed up who knew nothing about anything, but kept fawning over Prof. Dawkins, but when serious discussion was initiated it was largely ad hominem… really facile… and incredibly disappointing.

    But look, there are people like that EVERYWHERE, and I find it silly that you (and many others) try to deflect it as though it’s some sort of creationist conspiracy to defame “atheism”, and as if admitting that some of the members of these sites are assholes or rude is somehow “hurting” the “cause” (whatever THAT is…).

    It’s nothing of the sort. But denying it is insane.

  108. #110 Sigmund
    May 9, 2008

    shane, I heard the point of inquiry interview and agree with you. Hedges was so hostile throughout the interview it was like listening to someone who knows with whom his wife is cheating on him being interviewed by the other man. You have to admire DJ Grothe for not losing his bottle and telling Hedges to go fuck himself.

  109. #111 peter
    May 9, 2008

    I keep hearing about these facile/rude/angry…. atheists but I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. Care to name any names?

    Can’t believe my eyes, unless coming to this blog doesn’t count as “meeting”. Here it’s an art form, and marks are given for it.
    OK, it’s pretty much jokey (although sometimes, I am guessing), but for any anti-atheist looking for ammunition, this blog is a goldmine (is that a mixed metaphor?).
    Peter

  110. #112 blf
    May 9, 2008

    Slighty but not totally off-topic, from today’s Grauniad, Britain must not be a ‘God-free zone’:

    Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said he was unhappy about attempts to “eliminate the Christian voice” from the public forum. He urged Catholics to prevent the country from becoming a “world devoid of religious faith” through a deeper engagement with God by praying, studying and performing charitable acts.

    The cardinal said modern culture prevented people from expressing their aspirations, and that their spiritual and religious impulses were not being channelled because there was a “pervasive message” that committing oneself to God was to “take a step back from being independent and mature”.
    He suggested, however, that Christians were partly to blame for the prevalence of modern atheism, which was a product of a “distorted kind of Christianity”.

    Yeah, it’s harder now to fleece the sheep when you aren’t allowed to burn them alive.


    [Murphy-O'Connor said] “The interesting question about atheism is, what is the theism being denied? Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins does not believe in? The God that is being rejected by such people is a God I don’t believe in either.”

    Head, meet desk.


    Murphy-O’Connor has been outspoken in his attempt to secure the place of Christianity in society. He has attacked the caricature of the Catholic church as “some heartless, insular institution that wants to deny people their freedom”, describing it as a distortion to persuade people the church had no constructive role to play.
    Last month, in an interview with the Guardian, he hit out at the representatives of an “aggressive secularism” he said was gaining ground in the UK … and argued that Christian leaders should hold a privileged position over the leaders of other faiths when it came to their input into public policy in Britain.

    Geesh! Murphy-O’Connor, dead-jew-nailed-to-a-tree-ism has been an established official cult in the UK for quite some time. They already have privileged input and, e.g., sit in the House of Lards (they are called, as a reminder, Lords Spiritual, and are effectively only English, not Scottish, Welsh, or (N.)Irish). The bishops in that particular cult are appointed by the government! I suspect your real complaint is the particular cult which is official is not your own cult, and hence you don’t have as much official input as those other cultists.

  111. #113 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >Mind you, they’re not telling us what it is or where to
    >find it, just that it exists.

    You can’t see proof if you don’t WANT to believe in it.
    I have posted a lot of it on here many times but everyone seems to ignore what I say and just not believe anything.

    Atheists are completly closed off to reality. When you give them proof, they still won’t believe. That is what they do. They don’t believe anything.

  112. #114 Sigmund
    May 9, 2008

    There’s a nice rebuttal from Dawkins on the bbc report about the cardinals remarks.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7390941.stm
    This is exactly the sort of counterpoint statement that needs to be made every time a religious leader claims in the media that God tells people to behave in a particular way.
    Somehow I can’t imagine the main news organizations of the US being brave enough to do so. Well, not yet.

  113. #115 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    Like I said earlier, when there are people involved there are going to be problems. Religious or Religious Atheism.

    http://www.atheists.org/nogodblog/index.php/2008/05/07/we_re_still_waiting#comments

  114. #116 Nibien
    May 9, 2008

    You can’t see proof if you don’t WANT to believe in it.

    10/10 for unintentional hilarity. Man, kids these days don’t even know what proof is.

  115. #117 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >10/10 for unintentional hilarity. Man, kids these days
    >don’t even know what proof is.

    yeah, God could come down in person and you still wouldn’t believe. Like I said you don’t want to believe.

    I can hide from anything, if I just put my head in the sand or wear a blind-fold. That is how atheists run their lives. They only listen to themselves talk and that is about all they have room for.

  116. #118 Sigmund
    May 9, 2008

    “yeah, God could come down in person and you still wouldn’t believe. Like I said you don’t want to believe.”
    You’ve got a point there, Kenny.
    Just last Tuesday Zeus appeared in a blinding flash of light and ordered me to fight a minotaur and steal something from a cyclops. I wasn’t having any of it.
    And Wednesday, guess what, out of the blue Odin and Thor flew down from Valhalla. I tod them I wasn’t interested and refused to open the door.
    And lets not even think of the occasion Kali, Horus and Quetzalcoatl turned up at the same time!
    Kenny, if you are a Christian perhaps you can answer the question we were wondering about on this forum the other day – exactly what happens to your earthly memories in heaven?
    Do they remain – and so you will remember your friends or family members who have not accepted Jesus (and so are being tortured forever in a lake of fire)?
    Or does God remove all earthly memories when you enter heaven?
    I’m just interested in the believers perspective on this point.

  117. #119 Kenneth Oberlander
    May 9, 2008

    I can hide from anything, if I just put my head in the sand or wear a blind-fold.

    Too true.

    That is how atheists run their lives. They only listen to themselves talk and that is about all they have room for.

    Question for the class. The above statement is:
    a) arrogant
    b) condescending
    c) ignorant
    d) projection
    e) all of the above

  118. #120 Sigmund
    May 9, 2008

    Here’s a realplayer link (sorry!) to Dawkins interview about the cardinals comments on the bbc Today program.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/ram/today2_dawkins_20080509.ram

  119. #121 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >Question for the class. The above statement is:
    >a) arrogant
    >b) condescending
    >c) ignorant
    >d) projection
    >e) all of the above

    Basically these are naming the BEST qualities of an Atheist. Dawkin’s would be proud. As to my statement I made earlier before. It is all true.

  120. #122 Sigmund
    May 9, 2008

    Come on Kenny, no hiding now.
    Answer the memories in heaven question.

  121. #123 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >Hey ME, they’re the ones with a radio show about atheists.

    >Fucking idiot. Are you really that rooster that got its
    >head cut off and lived for months after? Because if so,
    >you’ve gotten dumber over the years.

    So you wrote all of this to explain you finally have learned how to search Wikipedia? LOL

    Have you not seen this blog attacking religion and Christianity? I don’t blame them one bit for putting something out there. Militant Atheists deserve what they put out.

    “Those idiot Christians are attacking us!!! Wait, we are attacking them as well!!!”

    You reap what you sow, so honestly I don’t feel even a bit sorry for you. If you act like a moron, you probably are a moron.

  122. #124 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >Do they remain – and so you will remember your friends or
    >family members who have not accepted Jesus (and so are
    >being tortured forever in a lake of fire)?
    >Or does God remove all earthly memories when you enter
    >heaven?

    We all have made a choice of who we wanted to believe in either way. I can only control what I believe. I cannot control what you believe. God controls judgement. I do not. It is his call and not mine and I will not judge whom I do not know where they stand. That is between God and that person. Would I be sad that a family member was lost, yes. However, they have free will and they have to live with their decision.

    I believe everything down here that we do, good or bad is being recorded. This is for everyone. We have a choice to accept or reject God. I accept him, many here do not. That is their choice and they have to live with that choice in front of God when they die.

    I have tried to think like an Atheist. I have tried a lot, even listening to dawkins. However, I could not take it seriously. Dawkins for thinking he is so intelligent is just really laughable and what he really believes. It is hard for me to believe in anything he says. It’s almost comical like it’s a joke character. I have read some of his book and I had to stop because it was trying to be serious, but had the logic of a circus clown.

    I go to these Atheist sites from here to find out how anyone with half a brain could believe some of that same logic that Dawkin’s believes. I mainly read and not troll, but some of the silly comments from the people who are out of touch and just don’t get it really just make me shake my head in unbelief.

    There is an entire world out there and Dawkin’s basically thinks that the world is so limited. We have seen this before with flat earth. There is a lot more going on out there than this physical dimension. However, atheists care more about hiding in their own delusions rather than even trying to seek out the truth.

    I can see Dawkin’s in the middle ages. There is no ATOM!!! We can’t prove it, so there isn’t any ATOM!
    yeah, I guess that’s right.

    It’s not progress, but devolution.

  123. #125 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    Sorry, this post is so good that I think it needs to be posted again. It is true. Very true. Proves my point exactly.

    “I keep hearing about these facile/rude/angry/violent atheists but I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. Care to name any names? Or has that lie just been told so often that even many atheists are accepting it’s true?”

    Rebuttal:
    *************************
    … I met a few of them at a local Richard Dawkins movie showing (put on by the local secular alliance of whatever)… one of the strangest meetings I’ve ever been to… basically a bunch of people showed up who knew nothing about anything, but kept fawning over Prof. Dawkins, but when serious discussion was initiated it was largely ad hominem… really facile… and incredibly disappointing.

    But look, there are people like that EVERYWHERE, and I find it silly that you (and many others) try to deflect it as though it’s some sort of creationist conspiracy to defame “atheism”, and as if admitting that some of the members of these sites are assholes or rude is somehow “hurting” the “cause” (whatever THAT is…).

    It’s nothing of the sort. But denying it is insane.

  124. #126 MIchael X
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny,
    Do me a great favor and tell me exactly what it would take for your beliefs to be disproven? What would falsify your belief in your particular modern version of god? Obviously, you aren’t hiding yourself from rational argument as atheists are, so you must be aware of what it would take for your beliefs to be disproven.
    I am more than eager to hear.

  125. #127 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny,

    got any evidence for your claims yet or still doing the “google it” bullshit?

    Got a brain yet?

  126. #128 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, if you are a Christian perhaps you can answer the question we were wondering about on this forum the other day – exactly what happens to your earthly memories in heaven?

    Wow, he’s at 640 of his own words since this simple question was posted and he still hasn’t answered it.

    Dawkins for thinking he is so intelligent is just really laughable and what he really believes. It is hard for me to believe in anything he says

    Such as?

  127. #129 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >about the cardinals comments on the bbc Today program.

    I listened to Dawkin’s comments and as usual he is insane.

    He does not believe in the Bible as proof nor does he believe in NDE or any historical evidence that Jesus Christ died on the cross. Eyewitness evidence and Science Research studies being done on Near Death Experiences which there are hundreds of thousands of people with zero brain activity. All of these things and more are not evidence that he want’s to see nor hear.

    Proof of anything cannot be brought to those who won’t believe it.

    He is not only a bigot but a danger to people who believe in a God. Not because he might open their minds (like most will say on here when they themselves have closed minds), but because he promotes intolerance of religion himself.

    I really am not worried about atheism ruining my faith/knowledge of what exists. I believe in God because I know it is true. I have seen too many things that tell me he is real (including eyewitness proof).

    Dawkin’s only sees what he wants to see. In that way, it’s pretty easy to be an atheist. Just ignore everything that doesn’t fit your world view. Done!

  128. #130 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    You can’t see proof if you don’t WANT to believe in it.
    I have posted a lot of it on here many times but everyone seems to ignore what I say and just not believe anything.
    Atheists are completly closed off to reality. When you give them proof, they still won’t believe. That is what they do. They don’t believe anything.

    Where’s the evidence. I don’t mean claims about google. I mean evidence. C’mon Kenny. Bring it! Don’t just make claims with nothing backing them up–the only thing you’ve done all along–back it up! Bring the goods!

    Or, just shut the fuck up already with your idiocy.

  129. #131 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    lol @ Kenny. Bible as proof. That’s a good one.

  130. #132 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    The Bible is not proof of anything Kenny.

  131. #133 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    I’m sure Kenny is messing with us. “Richard Dawkins movie showing” and all. Even if there were such a thing, I doubt he’d go. If the persona he’s projecting here is real, he’s the type or person who rages at inanimate objects and animals, so just leaving the house would be a huge effort for him.

  132. #134 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    839 words.

    Any chance you’ll pause in giving your firsthand evidence about people with zero brain activity to answer the question?

  133. #135 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >lol @ Kenny. Bible as proof. That’s a good one.

    Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too. Then again Rome was a myth too right?

  134. #136 Bruce Breece FCD
    May 9, 2008

    “yeah, god could come down in person and you still wouldn’t believe. Like I said you don’t want to believe.”

    We refuse to believe until we have proof. Proof, Kennyboy. It’s way past your bed time now Kenny. Get some sleep and when you wake up tomorrow sign up for a class that teaches critical thinking skills.

    “I have tried to think like an atheist. I’ve tried a lot, even listening to Dawkins.”

    If you have tried to think like an atheist why haven’t you tried to read like an atheist? You might want to start out with “The Epicurus Reader”. He was an atheist three hundred years before the baby jesus was allegedly born. Some of his writings still survive and are just as relevant today as they were 2300 years ago. Sweet dreams kennyboy.

  135. #137 Michael X
    May 9, 2008

    We all have made a choice of who we wanted to believe in either way. I can only control what I believe. I cannot control what you believe. God controls judgement.

    I find it problematic when reading someone’s posts to find within their first few sentences such utter drivel.

    In your view alone, either god controls what we think (or our judgement) or we do. I would love to rake you over the coals for this blatant contradiction within the space of 3 sentences, but the fact is that neither proposition is true. We don’t “choose” what we believe at all. We are either convinced by the evidence presented or we are not. If our minds can grasp the facts, it is not within out power to refute them. And if you believe the opposite I recommend that you convince yourself that holding your hands in flames won’t hurt. Then at least I won’t have to read such tripe.

    Besides this point, please explain to me why, if god forces our thoughts, like Pharaoh’s, what do you think you’ll gain by bothering us? Either god will or god won’t open us up to his word, or truth, or what have you. In such a case you have nothing to do with it. Your presence isn’t required for us to “see the light”. It appears as though you’re simply here out of your own vanity. Your own wish to show to yourself that you can out argue those “new atheists”. Even though you convince no one but yourself of how powerful your arguments are.

    So here’s my challenge to you. I believe propositions based upon the amount of evidence that supports them. What evidence do you have that any contradictory rival religion couldn’t use in their own favor? I’m more than interested in what you come up with.

  136. #138 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too.

    Considering how the earliest of those books was written at least 30-40 years after said execution happened, do you have anything to back up your claim? How many eyewitnesses contributed to those books? How accurate was their memory?

    You’re a very silly person, Kenny. Very silly.

  137. #139 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too. Then again Rome was a myth too right?

    Wrong. The earliest Mark was written would have been about 80 AD. The others were all second century.

    Try again?

  138. #140 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    Here is my last post for the night:
    http://www.creatingfutures.net/birth.html

    There is some good information there.
    Open your mind and read it.

  139. #141 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    PS: 898 words now.

  140. #142 Nibien
    May 9, 2008

    I shouldn’t be surprised someone as crazy as Kenny thinks NDE’s are real but I really didn’t know anyone that could turn on a computer honestly did.

  141. #143 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    “Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too. Then again Rome was a myth too right?”

    Laughing harder now, thanks.

  142. #144 Nibien
    May 9, 2008

    Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too. Then again Rome was a myth too right?

    Before you laugh, the Iliad is eyewitness accounts of the feats Achilles. Greeks were there too, and we found Troy. Then again, Greece was a myth too, right?

  143. #145 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2008

    #140

    Sorry, Kenny, you might as well have told us to read a Lee Strobel book.

    It says that “Some will argue that you can’t trust the Bible because it was written by those who believed in Jesus. If you use this argument regarding biographies and history books (this is what the Four Gospels are like), you see how foolish it is. Many biographies are written by people who loved the person they are writing about, but we do not question their validity.”

    That argument is foolish. In most biographies, the person being written about doesn’t do magic and rise from the dead. If they did, we’d think “Hey, maybe this biographer is full of shit.”

  144. #146 Michael X
    May 9, 2008

    How wonderfully laughable that link is.

    For fun, I will concede every sad word written on that silly website. But where does it get you? So ancient historians heard stories of a person named jesus and recorded these stories. From this we are to extrapolate, “eat my body drink my flesh”, “resurrection”, “son of god” or any other nonsense? I wouldn’t even use such evidence to buy a car, and neither would any believer if they were to buy a car, but when we’re talking about the GOD of the universe, creator of all (not to mention son of himself somehow, while also being a Holy Ghost -no human projection of ignorance required of course-) then hearsay and blatant bald faced evidence-less assumption is supposed to be taken as evidence for the proposition?!?!

    In such a case, I”M GOD. Bow before me, because someone who never saw me, heard of me, and retold the story of my simple existence, thus, but your logic, I AM GOD if only someone else declares it so in a book.

    I better get a gas rebate…

  145. #147 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    That argument is foolish. In most biographies, the person being written about doesn’t do magic and rise from the dead. If they did, we’d think “Hey, maybe this biographer is full of shit.”

    More than that, most biographies tell us what their sources are.

    I’ve always said the gospels are closer to historical novels than anything else.

  146. #148 negentropyeater
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny #124,

    I believe everything down here that we do, good or bad is being recorded…
    I have tried to think like an Atheist. I have tried a lot, even listening to dawkins. However, I could not take it seriously.

    Kenny, it’s not what you write that counts, it’s what is deep down in your soul (if you believe in it). Be honest with yourself. Have you ever sincerely doubted the existence of God ? Is that what you mean with “I have tried to think like an Atheist”. Remember what is recorded is not what you write, it’s what is in your soul…
    Also, if your faith is so strong and you see no reason at all to doubt it, what are you trying to accomplish here ?

  147. #149 Ruth
    May 9, 2008

    -Oh, yeah…”I used to be an atheist”. I knew he’d say that eventually. It’s amazing how 99% of the evangelical world seems to have been godless, once.-

    To be fair, this is actually true. They were all BORN godless. The had to be taught to be Christians.

  148. #150 negentropyeater
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny,

    if you have really tried to “think like an Atheist”, you must have realised something pretty obvious, which is that the word EVIDENCE has a precise definition for them.

    Would you care to comment on this, and explain why you reject their definition ? What is your definition of evidence ?

  149. #151 PZ Myers
    May 9, 2008

    Well, yes, but I mean that these people are claiming to have had a substantial intellectual commitment to atheism — they say they were consciously atheist. Or at least they imply it; it’s quite possible they are also just assuming that attending public high school instead of Bible camp meant they were atheists.

  150. #152 Charles
    May 9, 2008

    Dude, you’re hilarious!

    We should ban all religion, I hate them all!

    Genocide is only a bad idea against Atheists, eh?

    If they like a guy cause he got nailed to ac cross maybe we should nail them all to a cross!

  151. #153 Michael Kremer
    May 9, 2008

    Azkyroth (#139): Where do your dates come from? My understanding was that Mark is from the late 60′s/early 70′s, Matthew and Luke from the 80′s, and that only John is commonly dated to the (very early) second century. I just checked with Wikipedia and my understanding conforms with what is there. That’s not a perfect source, to be sure, but they do have references.

    So, suppose Mark is from 70 AD. That’s only about 40 years after the supposed date of the Crucifixion and could easily therefore have been written by or based on accounts by eyewitnesses (anyone who was 20 at the time of the events would have been 60 at the time of composition of the Gospel). Even texts written considerably later than 70 could still be based on the testimony of living eyewitnesses.

  152. #154 clinteas
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny,

    as far as im concerned you lost your right to comment here when you nazied about another commenters bisexuality,so im rather annoyed to see youre still here.
    Good for you that the other pharyngulites still try to get some sense out of ya and might even still harbour some hope of opening your mind to the possibility of adopting another view,well,we both know theres fat chance of that hey….
    So as far as im concerned,you my go f*** yourself mate.

  153. #155 Pablo
    May 9, 2008

    RE: christians who claim they “used to be atheist”

    I don’t know if they were “true atheists” or not, but it’s odd, when you ask them why they converted to christianity, they inevitably come up with something really dumb, like Pascal’s Wager or the Lord, Liar, Lunatic false trilemma. Seriously? These obviously blatently flawed arguments converted you to christianity?

    Hokey smokes! All I can figure is that IF they were atheists, they weren’t the most thoughtful atheists (“stupid” might be a more accurate characterization). For some reason, I don’t see how stupid atheists converting to christianity is a very compelling argument. Personally, if someone is so simplistic to fall for Pascal’s Wager, then I don’t WANT to include them as an atheist.

  154. #156 Dutch Delight
    May 9, 2008

    I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t believe in gods and have never needed to check out the details of the alleged crucifixion of JC as told by christians.

    But why come to this place and assume that people haven’t looked into it? Does Kenny really think most of the people here haven’t run across christian apologetics concerning the death of their superhero? That they haven’t been pointed towards the accounts of Josephus which is a known forgery and others who only refer to an “anointed one” who could be anyone?

    Personally i find Bob Price a reasonable source on christian mythology.

  155. #157 Pablo
    May 9, 2008

    Personally, if someone is so simplistic to fall for Pascal’s Wager, then I don’t WANT to include them as an atheist.

    BTW, the same pretty much goes for those who think that you can’t be moral without “God.” Hey, if your belief in God is really what’s keeping you from raping, murdering, and pillaging, then you better keep believing. Meanwhile, those of us who are moral will continue to live comfortably in society.

  156. #158 Iain Walker
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny (Comment #113)

    I have posted a lot of it on here many times but everyone seems to ignore what I say and just not believe anything.

    No, Kenny, you just keep posting the same set of non sequiturs and undocumented assertions, while failing to address the criticisms and counter-arguments that are put to you.

    For instance, as you continue in #129:

    He does not believe in the Bible as proof nor does he believe in NDE or any historical evidence that Jesus Christ died on the cross. Eyewitness evidence and Science Research studies being done on Near Death Experiences which there are hundreds of thousands of people with zero brain activity.

    These claims of yours have been answered repeatedly in previous threads. If you want to be taken seriously, stop parroting talking points and try engaging in actual argument.

  157. #159 Dutch Delight
    May 9, 2008

    NDE’s strengthen the argument for a christian god? Really?

    As a control experiment I’d like to see how “hellbound” people experience NDE’s and see if those experiences are any different.

  158. #160 DwarfPygmy
    May 9, 2008

    also, you forgot to tell us all how ridiculing religious nonsense will be the death knell of science.

    And how as a result you might be turned into a PYGMY or DWARF!!!

  159. #161 Damian
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny is easily pleased, isn’t he? When I used to go clubbing, I saw many things that looked otherworldly. One of my friends thought that he was stacking shelves in a supermarket, at Manumission (in Ibiza). He turned to me, and said, “I thought that I had a can of beans in my hand for a minute, then!”

    Strangely, I didn’t see it as evidence for God. It’s amazing how the brain can distort reality.

  160. #162 Duvelman
    May 9, 2008

    Evidence for the resurrection? Does that mean a christian has finally completed Dan Barker’s Easter challenge? http://ffrf.org/books/lfif/stone.php

  161. #163 MarkW
    May 9, 2008

    Dutch Delight @ #159:

    I think I recall reading a claim that a small proportion of NDEs do actually have a ‘hellbound’ theme rather than the usual ‘white-light-tunnel’. I can’t remember where I read it though, and it almost certainly wasn’t referenced.

    Not that it matters of course; NDEs are proof of an afterlife in the same way that ‘abduction accounts’ are proof of extraterrestrials.

  162. #164 Andreas Johansson
    May 9, 2008

    I don’t know if they were “true atheists” or not, but it’s odd, when you ask them why they converted to christianity, they inevitably come up with something really dumb, like Pascal’s Wager or the Lord, Liar, Lunatic false trilemma. Seriously? These obviously blatently flawed arguments converted you to christianity?

    I would guess they really wanted to believe all along, and when they found something looking like an excuse for doing so, they did their very very best not to look too closely at it, lest it fall apart.

    Now, what I find more interesting is the frequent claims by these people of having been licentious gits before finding God. Now far be it from me to suggest that licentious gits are uncommon among the irreligious, but I can’t help suspect that in many cases they’re rewriting their biography partly to fit the stereotypes of their new in-group, partly out of a sort of inverse bragging (“that’s bad, but now listen how heinous sins God has rescued me from!”).

  163. #165 Andreas Johansson
    May 9, 2008

    I think I recall reading a claim that a small proportion of NDEs do actually have a ‘hellbound’ theme rather than the usual ‘white-light-tunnel’. I can’t remember where I read it though, and it almost certainly wasn’t referenced.

    In a popsci magazine* article of some years ago I read that in Japan, NDE reports are typically much bleaker than in the West. Take it with appropriate salt and make thereof what you will.

    * Probably ’twas the Illustrerad Vetenskap, less likely the Forskning & Framsteg.

  164. #166 omar ali
    May 9, 2008

    HITLER ON “FAITH”: “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

  165. #167 Brownian, OM
    May 9, 2008

    He is not only a bigot but a danger to people who believe in a God. Not because he might open their minds (like most will say on here when they themselves have closed minds), but because he promotes intolerance of religion himself.

    Given your hatred for homosexuals, I haven’t the tiniest lick of sympathy for you, you cowardly, bigoted piece of shit.

  166. #168 calladus
    May 9, 2008

    All I can figure is that IF they were atheists, they weren’t the most thoughtful atheists

    That’s why I call them “mere” atheists. Unlike Christians who say I was never really REALLY Christian before I turned atheist. I don’t deny their former Atheism, I just deny that they put in any effort to think about their position.

    All too often I see that former atheists turned Christian used their atheism as an excuse to be bad people.

  167. #169 Becca
    May 9, 2008

    NDE’s strengthen the argument for a christian god? Really?

    gee, it was my NDE that converted me *away* from Christianity, and toward paganism. (now, of course, I see it all as metaphore, and consider myself more an agnostic than anything else)

  168. #170 Pablo
    May 9, 2008

    I don’t deny their former Atheism, I just deny that they put in any effort to think about their position.

    And I still think that is generous. Take out the “about their position” for one.

    Nah, it’s simpler than that. They are just clueless. No one with a half a brain can fall for Pascal’s Wager, can they?

  169. #171 Andreas Johansson
    May 9, 2008

    All too often I see that former atheists turned Christian used their atheism as an excuse to be bad people.

    Did you actually see them being bad people, or only their later godbothering selves claim they used to be bad people? As per above, I think a certain skepticism is called for towards the later.

    No one with a half a brain can fall for Pascal’s Wager, can they?

    Being clever doesn’t mean you can’t fool yourself, only that you need to be cleverer to do it.

  170. #172 calladus
    May 9, 2008

    but I can’t help suspect that in many cases they’re rewriting their biography partly to fit the stereotypes of their new in-group, partly out of a sort of inverse bragging (“that’s bad, but now listen how heinous sins God has rescued me from!”).

    The “miraculous transformation” is a form of ‘Christian credential’ wherein someone with no education or training in science OR theology can become the leader of a large organization merely on the “evidence” of his transformation.

    In this way, someone like Kirk Cameron can suddenly feel he has the right to speak as an “expert” about things in which he has no knowledge, understanding or training.

    The more miraculous the transformation, the further from “sin” the Christian has been lifted, the more authority is attached.

    Even if religion DID play a part in turning a sinner into a good person, it always behooves the Christian to stretch the tail a little in the retelling, much like the fisherman recounts the story of the one that got away.

  171. #173 Jeff Eyges
    May 9, 2008

    I think I recall reading a claim that a small proportion of NDEs do actually have a ‘hellbound’ theme rather than the usual ‘white-light-tunnel’. I can’t remember where I read it though, and it almost certainly wasn’t referenced.

    Estimates vary. I read a book a few years ago by a woman named Atwater, who claimed that as many as half of NDE’s were ‘negative” Not all involved hellish imagery – most , I think, involved confusion, gloominess, feelings of despair, etc. – but some did.

    About twenty years ago, an MD from the South by the name of Rollins wrote two or three books about this. He used them as a platform from which to push his evangelical beliefs (it isn’t safe to die unless you know where you’re going…). I read the first one; it contained a lot of accounts of people experiencing the stereotypical hell – almost cartoon-like.

    The Asian religions have claimed for centuries that our minds create our after-death states. Whether or not there is a “supernatural” component in all of this, I think it’s fair to assume that people interpret their experiences in terms of the belief systems with which they’ve been indoctrinated.

  172. #174 Blake Stacey
    May 9, 2008

    There’s some good material on near-death experiences in Timothy Ferris’s book The Mind’s Sky. He makes the points that (a) the experiences people “come back” to tell about vary from culture to culture; (b) people have had NDEs when they were in perfect physical health but extreme situations, as in the rock-climber who fell from a glacier, who’s healthy until he hits the ground; and (c), it’s probable that people have been having these experiences for as long as there’ve been people, although modern medicine certainly ups the numbers, so claiming that NDEs support the account of some religion is actually a circular argument.

  173. #175 Dutch Delight
    May 9, 2008

    NDE’s being different for different cultures sounds somewhat plausible, i suppose the hard part is to determine if the person in question is actually hellbound according to the thousands upon thousands of sects.

    This is a pretty spectacular concept if taken to be useful, NDE’s would allow us to make an educated guess as to which religious sect(s) can actually get you into heaven. I’m sure the pope will take of his silly hat right away and retire if it was determined that catholicism didn’t get you into heaven.

  174. #176 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#129 Kenny –

    He does not believe in the Bible as proof nor does he believe in NDE or any historical evidence that Jesus Christ died on the cross.

    You know, I’ve been thinking about it, and you’re right. The trinity of evidence — NDEs, a holy book, and historical evidence — certainly should be enough to convince the most skeptical of unbelievers.

    So let’s see
    1) We have the Qu’Ran
    2) We have historical evidence for Muhammad.
    3) When Muslims have NDEs, they confirm the truth of the Islamic religion.

    Of course! I now realize that there is no god but Allah (PBUH), and Muhammad is his prophet.

    Thank you for saving my soul, Kenny. I hope someday you, too will be able to look at the evidence and learn the truth of the Muslim faith.

  175. #177 LanceR
    May 9, 2008

    Atheists are completly closed off to reality. When you give them proof, they still won’t believe. That is what they do. They don’t believe anything.

    Kenny! You really don’t proofread, do you? Think about what you said. Seriously, project much?

    How about an answer to the ACLU question? Are you a liar for Jebus, or just a deluded fool? I’m waiting.

  176. #178 Eric Saveau
    May 9, 2008

    The historical evidence for Mohammed is 22 metric fuckloads stronger (than the evidence for Jesus).

    Blake, I think you’ve provided me with a new sig file ;-).

  177. #179 Patricia C.
    May 9, 2008

    #169 – Becca, Your comment stunned me. That’s ultimately how I ended up here. What finally convinced me my experiance wasn’t really seeing God was science – Beyond Belief ’06 – V.S. Ramachandran (clip 3).
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=rat2PrTqSO&feature=related
    This may not be proof to anyone else, but it is for me. Probably won’t do a thing for Kenny.
    Thanks for the comment Becca.

  178. #180 Blake Stacey
    May 9, 2008

    Woot! :-)

  179. #181 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 9, 2008

    From comment 82:

    I know them anyway, but I love to hear you ask

    How childish.

    Childish of all things!

    ——————-

    Kenny:

    You can’t see proof if you don’t WANT to believe in it.

    “Reality is that which does not go away if we stop believing in it.”

    Comment 126 bears repeating, too.

    I listened to Dawkin’s comments and as usual he is insane.
    He does not believe in the Bible as proof nor does he believe in NDE or any historical evidence that Jesus Christ died on the cross.

    What historical evidence, pray tell?

    Eyewitness evidence and Science Research studies being done on Near Death Experiences which there are hundreds of thousands of people with zero brain activity. All of these things and more are not evidence that he want’s to see nor hear.

    I have asked you at least twice before. As far as I know, you never answered. Let me ask once again:

    Why are there Muslim NDEs, complete with the paradise with the four rivers where milk, coffee, and I forgot what else flow?

    Why are there accounts of reincarnation that fit the Hindu idea of it?

    Do you know how brain activity is measured?

    Before you laugh, you should know that the first few books in the new testament are from eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurected. Roman soldiers were there too.

    According to… the… Bible. The first few books of the NT were written decades after the “fact”; that probably explains why some of the stories in them are so similar to those told about Mithras and Apollonius of Tyana (look those guys up).

    Outside the Bible, no such testimony exists.

    Eyewitnesses can be made up, you know, even by the thousands.

    You might want to start out with “The Epicurus Reader”. He was an atheist three hundred years before the baby jesus was allegedly born.

    Not true. He was some kind of deist — gods exist, but live in a state of eternal bliss and are, like good Jedis, incapable of feelings like anger. He did, however, believe that the gods never messed with the world, in other words, he believed there was no such thing as a miracle. (Like a deist.)

    We don’t “choose” what we believe at all. We are either convinced by the evidence presented or we are not.

    We, yes. Kenny, I’m not so sure…

    Before you laugh, the Iliad is eyewitness accounts of the feats Achilles. Greeks were there too, and we found Troy. Then again, Greece was a myth too, right?

    Better yet, we found that Troy was destroyed at the right time… no such success with the Gospels so far.

    Dude, you’re hilarious!

    We should ban all religion, I hate them all!

    Genocide is only a bad idea against Atheists, eh?

    If they like a guy cause he got nailed to ac cross maybe we should nail them all to a cross!

    Huh?

    Being clever doesn’t mean you can’t fool yourself, only that you need to be cleverer to do it.

    Well said!

  180. #182 orangenoise
    May 9, 2008

    ‘guest speaaker syndrome’

    My brothers have been using the term for long as i remember. parental units forced membership in pentecostal freakshow and almost every week a guest speaker would horrify the congregation with tales of depravity via gangs, drugs, country western songwriting, etc. Then the “at my lowest point, i found jeebus, here comes the offering basket, dig deep to keep the lord’s word out there saving souls like mine”. obviously these tales have to get a little better each week, these guys need to make a living.

    The ‘experts’ on rock and roll were always our favorites. Who knew how seriously satanic Pat Benetar was? (that puts a pretty good date on things, don’t it?)

  181. #183 WRMartin
    May 9, 2008

    Ugh. Kenny again. Anyway, you ‘tried to think like an Atheist’, eh? How exactly does that work?
    “I wonder how terrible life would be without god(s)? Oh no, I should go back to being a Christian! Whew, that was close. Hey everyone you should hear how horrible my life was back when I was an Atheist.” ??
    See, there’s your major problem. WE DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYONE’S GOD. We don’t think about it.

    Imagine a baseball player who does not care about the game of cricket. The baseball player is, for the purpose of this analogy, the Atheist. The cricket player is the Believer. The cricket player runs around insisting their way is the one true way (TM). The baseball player doesn’t care about cricket, doesn’t read about cricket, doesn’t follow the game, can’t tell you the name of a single cricket player, and frankly doesn’t really care if the sport of cricket exists. Now you (the cricket player/Believer) run around insisting the baseball player/Atheist is not only ‘doing it wrong’ but also that the baseball player listen to you and how you believe and what you care about. But then to top it off the cricket player tells the baseball player that they are going to be penalized under cricket rules.
    Sound stupid?
    You bet it does. And so do you when you:
    - attempt to think like an Atheist.
    - attempt to tell us what Atheists believe.
    - attempt to tell us how we should be penalized for not believing in something without any proof of its existence.

    I can prove cricket exists.

    You ‘believe in God because you know it is true.’ How do you know it is true?
    And ‘the Bible as proof’ – proof of what? The Bible proves the existence of the Bible and that’s all it proves. There is more proof that Tinkerbelle exists – I saw her once. She talked and flew and everything – right in front of my eyes. It was in a book and in a movie, so there. Proof that Tinkerbelle exists. Now let’s hear one of your proofs.
    And, ‘historical evidence that Jesus…’ How about some evidence that Jesus existed first then we’ll get into what he may or may not have done. How about some evidence that any god exists? Then we can work on whether or not that god had any sons, what their name was, and what they did.
    ‘eyewitness accounts of Jesus dying and then being resurrected. Roman soldiers were there too.’ – Are there any written accounts from any of those Romans? “I, Biggus Dickus do hereby state that on this date I saw Jesus on a cross and it was, like, totally LOLZ.” Anything?
    ‘God controls judgment.’ Bzzzt, wrong! God doesn’t control anything I do – gods do not exist; therefore, he can’t do diddly squat.
    ‘… in front of God when they die.” Unless your god plans on digging around in the dirt, resurrecting my rotting corpse, and getting me a very strong cup of coffee then he isn’t getting diddly squat out of me after I die. He might get some nasty compost but then who am I to judge your god?

    Belief in God is, for all intents and purposes, the Identity Theorem of Christianity. Since I don’t believe in any gods then your entire concept is Null and Void. Try it sometime – state that “Since god exists” then follow up with additional statements and it may all sound completely valid to you. But since I cannot and will not accept your initial statement then I cannot and will not accept anything that follows. At least not for the reason you intend. You’re free to state, “Since god exists, water is made of hydrogen and oxygen.” and I will gladly accept your conclusion but only your conclusion.

    I believe:
    - there was no god.
    - there is no god.
    - there will never be a god.

    I challenge you to prove your god exists.
    In lieu of that, your optional challenge is to prove that you believe your god exists.
    Failing either of those two I suggest you stick to valid theistic endeavors such as debating how many angels will fit on the head of a pin.

  182. #184 BAllanJ
    May 9, 2008

    “I remember Fox News doing something like this a while back; they wanted to talk about atheism so they brought on a pastor. Really? I mean, really? The most watched (for some unknown reason) cable news channel in America and they couldn’t get a real atheist to talk about atheism?”

    Well…a show on tigers wouldn’t have a tiger on it….they would have a human expert on tigers. So if Faux News is going to do a show on anything as dangerous as atheism, they can’t invite one on! come on! Better a nice priest who can tell us about the dangers and even exorcise if necessary!

  183. #185 QrazyQat
    May 9, 2008

    Or at least they imply it; it’s quite possible they are also just assuming that attending public high school instead of Bible camp meant they were atheists.

    That would be a likely popular belief. For instance, to see what a popular belief is, there was a recent episode of Desperate Housewives where Lynette was decribed as an “unbeliever” when apparently what that meant is that she didn’t go to church — her beliefs seemed to be typically Christian and she readily accepted that one of the local Christian churches was the place to go when she decided to go to church. You see similar actions from “unbelievers” on other TV shows, when you see anyone described as one at all — mostly it’s wall to wall religious people.

  184. #186 SteveM
    May 9, 2008

    NDE’s

    Kenny, I don’t quite understand your point about NDE’s. Are you claiming that they occur during the time of zero brain activity? Exactly how do you prove that? To me NDE’s are simply the last thing recorded into one’s memory before brain activity ceases. It is what someone remembers after they are revived. How exactly do you know that these are memories recorded during the time of zero brain activity? Don’t tell me “google it”, give me some specific references. Yes, there is “plenty of evidence” on the intertubez; plenty of evidence for any damn stupid thing. Tell me specifically which evidence you are using. Thanks.

  185. #187 BoxerShorts
    May 9, 2008

    No one with a half a brain can fall for Pascal’s Wager, can they?

    Back when I was a stupid kid attending a private Christian school, I came up with Pascal’s Wager on my own. With no knowledge of Pascal or his work.

    That’s how I know it’s bullshit. If a stupid kid attending a private Christian school can come up with it, it can’t possibly brilliant. I’m not that smart, and never was.

  186. #188 Jaycubed
    May 9, 2008

    “…which religious sect(s) can actually get you into heaven?
    Posted by: Dutch Delight”

    I KNOW that there is only one sect that will get you into Heaven.

    The MORMONS.

    For South Park tells me so.

    South Park Said It,

    I Believe It,

    That Settles It!
    .

  187. #189 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, I don’t quite understand your point

    Handy Hint for Hatheists:
    Just cut ‘n’ paste the above any time Kenny shows up! Works every time, and saves tons of typing!

  188. #190 Longtime Lurker
    May 9, 2008

    The funniest thing about Kenny and Peter is their hand-wringing about how mean and foul-mouthed Pharyngulites are. K/P, you don’t have to navigate here at all, so kwitcher bellyaching. If you two wandered into a bar in Greenpoint and started telling Polish jokes, would you be surprised if some guy named Caspar beat you to a pulp?

  189. #191 BoxerShorts
    May 9, 2008

    There was an excellent post on Science-Based Medicine yesterday about NDEs, summed up brilliantly by a quote from The Princess Bride:

    “See, there’s a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead. Now, mostly dead: he’s slightly alive. All dead, well, with all dead, there’s usually only one thing that you can do: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.” — Miracle Max

    People who report NDEs were only mostly dead. If they were all dead, they’d have a hard time reporting NDEs.

  190. #192 TomJoe
    May 9, 2008

    One can only wonder why, if the station annoys you so much, that you continue to listen to it. You’re like a child who hates the taste of castor oil, yet insists on taking as many teaspoonfuls of the liquid as you can.

  191. #193 Jaycubed
    May 9, 2008

    “One can only wonder why, if the station annoys you so much, that you continue to listen to it. You’re like a child who hates the taste of castor oil, yet insists on taking as many teaspoonfuls of the liquid as you can.
    Posted by: TomJoe”

    I regularly listen to things that annoy me when they are an important part of what’s going on in society.

    I regularly listen to things that annoy me to stay informed about others’ opinions/ideas/beliefs.

    I regularly listen to things that annoy me when they are sources of the ignorance/hatred/intolerance that poison society so I can attempt to provide some counter better than just mindlessly yelling back, which now seems to pass for discourse.

    Sometimes what is annoying is still good for you to experience.

  192. #194 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    Dude, you’re hilarious!

    We should ban all religion, I hate them all!

    Genocide is only a bad idea against Atheists, eh?

    If they like a guy cause he got nailed to ac cross maybe we should nail them all to a cross!

    Notice how you’re the only one saying anything even vaguely similar to this?

    On the other hand, the fact that you personally seem to equate rolling one’s eyes at a person’s beliefs and half-assed attempts at defending them, with a desire to inflict bodily harm on that person, is certainly revealing.

  193. #195 Pablo
    May 9, 2008

    Jaycubed, you are so naive. See, you completely missed TomJoe’s point. Why bother listening to what people you disagree with actually have to say, and learning what they are thinking? Nah, just go right ahead and ignore them, and just project upon them some strawman of what you want them to think. I mean, it works for christians all the time…

  194. #196 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    Even if religion DID play a part in turning a sinner into a good person, it always behooves the Christian to stretch the tail a little in the retelling, much like the fisherman recounts the story of the one that got away.

    Why stop there? What’s to stop these fishers-of-men from making it up out of whole cloth, just like a guy bragging in a bar about a fishing trip that never actually happened?

  195. #197 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >How exactly do you know that these are memories recorded
    >during the time of zero brain activity? Don’t tell
    >me “google it”, give me some specific references. Yes,
    >there is “plenty of evidence” on the intertubez;

    There have been people that are interviewed that I have listened to on the radio that have had them and they give an insight on what it is like and they usually have their doctor there and he would go through it with them.

    This is a good book about the subject:
    http://www.lifeafterlife.com/

    Here is more on scientitic research:
    http://www.iands.org/iands/

    Here is another study that is currently going on:
    http://www.nderf.org/

    Make sure you take a look at the web site and not just at the NDE’s themselves. This doctor looks and comments on the entries in here. You have to have an open mind and most atheists do not have that.

    I dare you to read Dr. Moody’s books:
    Here is a list for you:

    http://www.lifeafterlife.com/books.html

    If you have an open mind and you don’t mind reading, read those books.

  196. #198 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, I do not quite understand your point.

  197. #199 Longtime Lurker
    May 9, 2008

    “There have been people that are interviewed that I have listened to on the radio”

    Kenny, stop listening to Coast to Coast, for your own sake.

  198. #200 Steve_C
    May 9, 2008

    He doesn’t have one. NDE’s aren’t proof of anything… other than the brain freaking out during potential death.

    I mean, I think if god were gonna take you, he’d just do it. OR just make you live. Don’t think any bargaining or reassuring would be necessary.

    It’s silly.

  199. #201 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, what is your mind open to?

  200. #202 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#197 Kenny –

    >How exactly do you know that these are memories recorded
    >during the time of zero brain activity? Don’t tell
    >me “google it”, give me some specific references. Yes,
    >there is “plenty of evidence” on the intertubez;

    There have been people that are interviewed that I have listened to on the radio that have had them and they give an insight on what it is like and they usually have their doctor there and he would go through it with them.

    This is a total non-answer. How does their “insight on what it is like” prove to them, you, the radio host, or their doctor that the NDE occurred during the time that there was no brain activity? I looked on the websites you provided and couldn’t find any such explanation either, though admittedly the websites were so poorly organized that I might have missed something.

  201. #203 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    and re: having an open mind…I’ll just quote Richard Feynman here:

    Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out.

  202. #204 BoxerShorts
    May 9, 2008

    There have been people that are interviewed that I have listened to on the radio that have had them and they give an insight on what it is like and they usually have their doctor there and he would go through it with them.

    Logically fallacies aside (I count two appeals to authority and possibly an argument from personal incredulity), that is perhaps the most poorly-constructed sentence in the history of the English language.

  203. #205 Kenny
    May 9, 2008

    >I looked on the websites you provided and couldn’t find
    >any such explanation either, though admittedly the
    >websites were so poorly organized that I might have missed
    >something.

    5 seconds does not count at looking through a website.
    I will say this for the last time.

    You can give proof to someone who doesn’t believe in anything. God could come down right down to you and you still would not believe.

    There is other dimensions out there and just because scientits have not found some kind of physical proof, does not mean it does not exist.

    For example, you could get a oujia board, try it out for 2 weeks strait non-stop and weird things could happen to you and you would not even think that there are things beyond this existance. It is not the board itself that is anything, that’s just simple materials, but when you use that board to try to talk to the dead it is the medium that is used to communicate with them. I personally would not do this, it’s too dangerous and I would not suggest you try it. I am just trying to make a point.

    I believe in a dimension that is outside of our, there is probably many of them. You can’t get physical proof for that. That is something I believe because I have read and heard about people coming back from this dimension.

    Just like before scientists could see that there were Atoms. They didn’t believe in such things. Science has to move forward instead of only looking at phyical evidence that you can feel. The world view of Atheism is holding science back.

  204. #206 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    I will say this for the last time.

    one could only hope.

  205. #207 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, I do not quite understand your point.

  206. #208 Azkyroth
    May 9, 2008

    1283 words and still no answer.

  207. #209 Sven DiMilo
    May 9, 2008

    However, this deserves to stand on its own for all time:

    Science has to move forward instead of only looking at phyical evidence that you can feel.

  208. #211 MAJeff, OM
    May 9, 2008

    The world view of Atheism is holding science back.

    Evidence, please.

  209. #212 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#205 Kenny –

    God could come down right down to you and you still would not believe.

    I’m still waiting for the evidence that NDEs occur during the period where there is no brain activity.

    Or is that another one of those things that exist even though “scientits have not found some kind of physical proof”? Why argue with us that there is scientific evidence of these things if you then are going to subsequently claim that they are supernatural and therefore by definition not naturalistically demonstrable?

    And Kenny — ouiji boards? Seriously? Are you sure you’re not a Poe?

  210. #213 BoxerShorts
    May 9, 2008

    You can give proof to someone who doesn’t believe in anything. God could come down right down to you and you still would not believe.

    So why are you still trying to convince us? If not even God Himself can do it, what chance do you think you have? Go play outside or something. Let your blood pressure settle to a healthier level.

    There is other dimensions out there and just because scientits have not found some kind of physical proof, does not mean it does not exist.

    Logical fallacy: Argument from ignorance. Yawn.

    For example, you could get a oujia board, try it out for 2 weeks strait non-stop and weird things could happen to you and you would not even think that there are things beyond this existance. It is not the board itself that is anything, that’s just simple materials, but when you use that board to try to talk to the dead it is the medium that is used to communicate with them. I personally would not do this, it’s too dangerous and I would not suggest you try it. I am just trying to make a point.

    Don’t be afraid of the Ouija board, Kenny. I assure you, the idiomotor effect is well-documented, well-understood, and completely harmless.

    I believe in a dimension that is outside of our, there is probably many of them. You can’t get physical proof for that. That is something I believe because I have read and heard about people coming back from this dimension.

    Can you name them? I’d love to schedule an interview. Better yet, did they bring back any empirical evidence?

    Just like before scientists could see that there were Atoms. They didn’t believe in such things. Science has to move forward instead of only looking at phyical evidence that you can feel. The world view of Atheism is holding science back.

    The concept of atoms goes all the way back to ancient Greece. Long before they were directly observable. And how, exactly, do you propose that science address the non-physical? Do you have an experimental protocol in mind? Because I’m not seeing how that’s even possible, even in principle. So let’s hear it.

  211. #214 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#210 Sven DiMilo –

    Just like before scientists could see that there were Atoms. They didn’t believe in such things.

    Yeah, Dalton’s formulation of atomic theory, flawed though it was on account of not being able to see the atoms, is a really quite impressive example of rational, inference-based scientific hypothesis.

    And the idea of equating small particles with supernatural phenomena in general is…well, it’s typically Kenny, I guess.

  212. #215 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    is a really quite impressive example of rational, inference-based scientific hypothesis.

    based on the observable effects, if not the cause of them.

    It’s not like Dalton just whipped it from his ass, but Kenny would be entirely unfamiliar with things not based on anecdotal evidence and gut intuition.

    I wonder if the whole “why don’t you think the world is flat” thing would work on him?

    meh, not worth the effort.

  213. #216 tim gueguen
    May 9, 2008

    The real problem with the conception of God as presented by the monotheistic religions is why he, if he supposedly wants us to obey his rules and not be eternally punished when we don’t, doesn’t unambiguously prove his existence to all. After all he’s supposedly omnipotent, so appearing as a 500 foot tall person in the centre of every human settlement on the planet speaking in every language of mankind should be easy for him. Yet he doesn’t, resulting in large numbers of people believing in the wrong things. So either he doesn’t have the power religions attribute to him, or he doesn’t care whether we unflinchingly obey his commands or not. The latter makes much more sense to me than what is basically a version of the tyrants that ruled the Middle East millenia ago, only with superpowers to make him superior to them.

  214. #217 BoxerShorts
    May 9, 2008

    Disproving God is really very simple. Watch this:

    If there is a God, may He strike me dead before I hit the “Post” button!

    If you’re reading this, case closed.

  215. #218 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    If you’re reading this, case closed.

    A:

    MY god knows the difference between true blasphemy and that committed for effect.

    …if countered, simply extend goalposts indefinetly.

  216. #219 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny, when will you answer the question why there are Muslim NDEs, not only Christian ones? If you cannot answer it, then say so — admit it to yourself.

    Just like before scientists could see that there were Atoms. They didn’t believe in such things. Science has to move forward instead of only looking at phyical evidence that you can feel.

    We can feel atoms. We just need a tunnel microscope for it.

    Please name the two parts of the scientific method.

  217. #220 Dutch Delight
    May 9, 2008

    In Kenny’s case

    “open your mind”

    seems to be code for

    “please accept my claims and speculation without evidence”.

    Most non-believers I know would acknowledge the existence of a godlike entity if they could have a chat with her and see some evidence, thats as open as it gets.

  218. #221 SteveM
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny,

    Thank you for actually providing some links for once. However, I see nothing but personal testimony and no actual evidence that these people experienced verifiable out-of-body phenomenon. And it doesn’t matter how many testimonials they have, the plural of anecdote is not “data”. When patients start reporting seeing things specifically hidden from view then you might have a case for OOB but so far nothing.

  219. #222 Betz
    May 9, 2008

    @Kenny:
    This is perhaps overused but still apropo:
    Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

  220. #223 Demonic Gophers
    May 9, 2008

    “God could come down right down to you and you still would not believe.”

    What makes you think that? Oceans, I wouldn’t even insist on the direct intervention of God Himself! If a 20 foot tall being of pure light appeared before me wielding a flaming sword and thundered “Fear not! For I am a messenger of God, and I bring tidings of hope and joy etc. etc.”, I’d find that fairly convincing. Especially if other people also saw it.

    Of course, if it was just some random guy claiming to be God, I wouldn’t be inclined to simply take his word for it. But, really, would you?

  221. #224 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    What makes you think that?

    projection.

    He’s not allowed to adjust his views based on new information input (he’s only allowed the information interpreted for him by his peers from a cobbled-together mishmash of short stories), so he projects the same thing onto atheists and science in general. It hardly matters that we point out to him how rational people adjust to new information, and so does science. His brain automatically puts up barriers that prevent him from accepting this information, as that would cause too much cognitive dissonance for him to deal with.

    I’d feel sorry for him if there weren’t so many damn people that have been indoctrinated into the same cult he’s in.

  222. #225 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

    -Charles Darwin

    An atheist’s creed

    I believe in time,
    matter, and energy,
    which make up the whole of the world.

    I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
    the only tools we have;
    they are the product of natural forces
    in a majestic but impersonal universe,
    grander and richer than we can imagine,
    a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

    I believe in the power of doubt;
    I do not seek out reassurances,
    but embrace the question,
    and strive to challenge my own beliefs.

    I accept human mortality.

    We have but one life,
    brief and full of struggle,
    leavened with love and community,
    learning and exploration,
    beauty and the creation of
    new life, new art, and new ideas.

    I rejoice in this life that I have,
    and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
    and an earth that will abide without me.

    -unknown(?)

    We all should feel at least some pity for those indoctrinated into the same cult that Kenny was.
    They will never be able grasp the above, without being deprogrammed first.

  223. #226 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#224 Ichthyic –

    His brain automatically puts up barriers that prevent him from accepting this information, as that would cause too much cognitive dissonance for him to deal with.

    This reminds me of the study by Batson showing that if you give publicly self-proclaimed believers evidence contradicting their beliefs, they will not only persist in their beliefs but will express them more strongly (I think I e-mailed you this one). The author concludes:

    It has been said, “You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free [John 8:32].” The present research seems to question this assertion. The more one publicly proclaims one’s conviction about personally significant truths, the more one seems bound to these truths. One is less free to modify one’s position, to take account of new, discrepant information. But perhaps this is not what is meant by freedom in the above statement. If it means that one will be free from the rational process of taking account of all relevant information in the formulation of one’s beliefs, than the present research seems clearly supportive.

    As does the present anecdotal evidence….

  224. #227 Ichthyic
    May 9, 2008

    I think I e-mailed you this one)

    yup. the general concepts were also covered in the basic psych course I took as an undergrad.

    I just keep coming back to the same thing:

    “xians” like Kenny have apparent psychology that very much resembles that of people examined that have come from more well-defined (or publically defined) cults.

    evidentiary argument at best will only get them to perhaps realize they don’t deal with information the same way as others, but peer pressure will quickly dispel them of the idea that anything might be amiss.

    I’ve often considered the repeated visits of people like Kenny to science/atheist blogs as almost stereotypical “cries for help”.

    rather like one might see with an alcoholic living in denial.

    I know there is a term for this too, but it’s eluding me at the moment.

    As does the present anecdotal evidence.

    still, you see the same thing happen over and over and over again, the pattern starts to be quite suggestive.

    It might be anecdotal, but it so clearly repeatable that I would be shocked if it weren’t an analyzable pattern.

  225. #228 Holydust
    May 9, 2008

    Kenny:
    if you’d ever taken psychedelic drugs, you would have zero faith in the NDE’s ability to prove anything about God. I’m not suggesting you harm yourself. I’m not suggesting that it’s smart or wise. I am, however, pointing out that it is — for many people — personal proof of how realistically your brain can make you see whatever you want to see.

    I watched green glowy matrix code flowing around the walls of my friend’s room. I saw his cat Flicka turn into a tiny man in a brown tweed suit and fedora. You could not have convinced me — had I not been right-minded enough to understand that I was hallucinating — that it wasn’t real.

    Your brain freaks out when you’re dying.
    It’s an amazing machine — it has nothing to do with religion.
    End of story.

  226. #229 Etha Williams
    May 9, 2008

    @#227 Ichthyic –

    yup. the general concepts were also covered in the basic psych course I took as an undergrad.

    I just keep coming back to the same thing:

    “xians” like Kenny have apparent psychology that very much resembles that of people examined that have come from more well-defined (or publically defined) cults.

    [Kenny] But…but…Christianity isn’t like an occult! [/Kenny]

    But seriously, it’s really quite frustrating how psychology has concepts that could be very useful in studying religious belief (cognitive dissonance, etc), yet there’s been so little done in that area (especially after the early ’80s…it seems to coincide with the rise of the Christian right/”moral majority”). I guess it goes back to the same public mentality that religious belief should not receive the same critical treatment any other idea would get.

  227. #230 LanceR
    May 9, 2008

    I’ve often considered the repeated visits of people like Kenny to science/atheist blogs as almost stereotypical “cries for help”.

    rather like one might see with an alcoholic living in denial.

    I know there is a term for this too, but it’s eluding me at the moment.

    “Glutton for punishment”?

  228. #231 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    I guess it goes back to the same public mentality that religious belief should not receive the same critical treatment any other idea would get.

    I’d say I would have PZ to thank for making the idea that religion is treated with kid-gloves in the US abundantly clear to me over the last 3 years.

    Hell, when I was a grad student back in the early 90′s, I didn’t even know what a “creationist” was.

    there is also a knee-jerk negative reaction among Americans to anything even related to the idea of “mental health”.

    I’m not sure the two are related, but suspect there might be some links.

    I simply can’t go beyond that without really pursuing a lot of journal research I unfortunately don’t have enough time for.

  229. #232 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    I’m not sure the two are related, but suspect there might be some links.

    to be clear, I mean links between the prevalence of cult-like religious behavior and a rejection of mental health services as something worthy of funding or even consideration.

  230. #233 buckyball
    May 10, 2008

    Q: “Points out that atheists can’t disprove the Christian god, but Christians can’t disprove the other gods, but dismiss them — how do they do that?”

    A: Isaiah 43:10

    Q: “Bob calls in to address August, and again, he claims god didn’t change, the people did.”

    A: Malachi 3:6, Matthew 5:17-18

    Q: “Berkshire throws their own claim that the ten commandments are the basis of morality by pointing out that the punishments for violating most of those rules was death. When they try to duck and weave by saying they don’t follow the Old Testament rules anymore, Berkshire hammers on the obvious fact that there has been a rather substantial change in the treatment of moral issues.”

    A: Matthew 5:17-18, Romans 3:21-24

    Q: “Tony (Toni?) calls in to explain that she lost her Catholic faith and is an atheist, and her old associates all think she’s going to burn in hell. She asks how a loving and just god could do that.”

    A: Ezekiel 18:32, Romans 6:23

    Q: “Or does God remove all earthly memories when you enter heaven?”

    A: Luke 16:19-31 (?)

  231. #234 shonny
    May 10, 2008

    @Kenny:
    This is perhaps overused but still apropo:
    Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.
    Posted by: Betz | May 9, 2008 8:14 PM

    No danger, Betz, – what isn’t there can’t fall out.

  232. #235 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    buckyball

    that’s a big list of psuedo-theological justifications, not actually answers to the questions. It’s like me asking how you use a word in conversation, and instead just being shown the entry for the word in a dictionary (a dictionary that’s only applicable to a localized dialect of one language, btw).

    I do hope the people calling in got better answers than that.

  233. #236 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#231 Ichthyic –

    I’m not sure the two are related, but suspect there might be some links.

    to be clear, I mean links between the prevalence of cult-like religious behavior and a rejection of mental health services as something worthy of funding or even consideration.

    I was reading an article, Psychotherapy and Religion — A Paradox about therapy a psychoanalyst (Rita Schulman) had done with a variety of different sorts of fundamentalist/true-believers and the difficulties/road-blocks their beliefs had produced. Schulman wrote:

    What does a therapist who values insight do in situations where insight is not wanted and is seen as missing the mark? Belief is not about insight, not about rational thought, not about understanding. Yet the work of psychotherapy is to bring insight, to have the freedom to question and try and make sense of everything.

    The article was mostly descriptive (and a bit too Freudian for my taste, but what else would you expect from an analyst?), though Schulman seemed to be suggesting that where fundamentalist religious belief is involved, therapy has no hope and even no place…which might be true within the clinical realm. (A therapist telling a true believer that their belief is pathological would probably just lead to the true believer leaving therapy.) At any rate, the case studies were interesting reads.

  234. #237 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    (A therapist telling a true believer that their belief is pathological would probably just lead to the true believer leaving therapy.)

    catch 22.

    I’ll add that to my ever growing reading list.

    note though that it’s a cookie-related link.

    do you have a direct link?

  235. #238 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    ..or just email it to me when you get the chance.

    cheers

  236. #239 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#237 Ichthyic –

    ..or just email it to me when you get the chance.

    Done.

  237. #240 Pimientita
    May 10, 2008

    @ Ichthyic

    I’m not sure the two are related, but suspect there might be some links.

    to be clear, I mean links between the prevalence of cult-like religious behavior and a rejection of mental health services as something worthy of funding or even consideration.

    Besides just the whole social stigma of those suffering from mental health problems (they are “other,” “abnormal”), I wonder if this might have something to do with the belief that the mind/consciousness/soul/whatever is not physical or is not tied to anything physical. If so, it might be hard for a theist or any other person who believes in a spiritual human component to grasp the fact that drugs, which act upon physical processes in the human body (hormone regulation, etc), would or could actually work. A belief that our personalities are guided, affected, or controlled by spiritual beings/forces could preclude those who believe that from accepting modern psychiatry because it is a tacit admission that we can alter or regulate our personalities (that which is believed to be non-physical and subject to the aforementioned spiritual beings/forces) without resorting to prayer, exorcism, or any other woo techniques.

    This is not to say that all theists or spiritualists do not accept psychiatry, but it might help explain the continued fear of discussing mental health. The idea that physical disease is a curse from God(s) has already been blown out of the water (well, at least, to the more sane among us). The hesitance to accept the idea that our consciousness is physical as well and can be affected by physical therapies, traumas, etc, could be indicative of the desire to believe that our minds, our sense of self, is special and divorced from our physical bodies.

    I say this because I’ve often found that when discussing human evolution and the topic of the consciousness or soul comes up (e.g “how do you explain THAT with your evolution nonsense?”), theists usually become very uncomfortable when I bring up the fact that brain trauma can cause severe shifts in the personality.

    Just a thought.

    /delurk

  238. #241 Azkyroth
    May 10, 2008

    Pimientita: I think that’s a major part of it, but there’s more to it…there seems to be a reluctance on the part of many to admit that there are influences on human thought processes that aren’t subject to direct control in the way folk psychology suggest they ought to be. I suspect the article of faith held by a lot of people (even some ordinarily science-minded and atheistic types, like the twits who were blathering in another thread about how Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses and treatment “coddle” kids who should just be forced to deal with life unaided like everyone else) that mental illness and mental disorders are, at bottom, merely a character flaw still has far more influence on our collective thought processes than it should, for instance…

  239. #242 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    I wonder if this might have something to do with the belief that the mind/consciousness/soul/whatever is not physical or is not tied to anything physical.

    Yes, I’d say that’s a big part of it.

    we should> be to the point in this country where say, going to get a mental health exam is no stranger than getting a standard physical.

    that having a problem like schizophrenia, which is treatable, is no different than having say kidney stones.

    something tells me that isn’t going to happen here in my lifetime though.

    maybe 3 or 4 generations down the line…

    I say this because I’ve often found that when discussing human evolution and the topic of the consciousness or soul comes up (e.g “how do you explain THAT with your evolution nonsense?”)

    heh. cue Michael Egnor:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/michael_egnor_wants_to_know_wh.php

    this guy is a neurosurgeon, who can’t accept that the mind is based on physical properties.

    more:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/egnor_almost_makes_sense.php

    (and there’s much, much more ranting to be had by Egnor if you just do a search of Pharyngula for his name)

    I’d say Egnor is the natural result of the religious indoctrination many in this country receive to the effect that “consciousness=soul=realm of god type stuff”

  240. #243 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    …btw, Francis Collins has a similar problem to that exhibited by Egnor:

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Theistic.cfm

    scroll down to:

    The Irreducibly Complex Moral Law

    …and be amazed at how someone can compartmentalize such levels of dissonant thinking as that represented by his arguments for genetics supporting the ToE in the first half of his book, compared to his “moral law” arguments that he is convinced excludes humans from the ToE.

    It is a great object lesson in the fact that it does NOT require a lack of intelligence to have problems with cognitive dissonance and compartmentalize such radically opposing worldviews.

  241. #244 Pimientita
    May 10, 2008

    Thanks Ichthyic!

    I have read some of Egnor’s rants, but I haven’t delved too deeply into them. Should be fun…

    I also haven’t read too much of Collins’ writings, just snippets from various sites and basic information on his work.

    Thanks for the links :)

  242. #245 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    er, “enjoy”?
    ;)

  243. #246 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#239 Piminetita –

    I wonder if this might have something to do with the belief that the mind/consciousness/soul/whatever is not physical or is not tied to anything physical. If so, it might be hard for a theist or any other person who believes in a spiritual human component to grasp the fact that drugs, which act upon physical processes in the human body (hormone regulation, etc), would or could actually work.

    The mind/body duality is a definite difficulty not just for fundy/true-believing Christians but for a lot of people in general. I think humans have a tendency to want to see ourselves as privileged above the rest of nature, and somehow, believing in a separate, immaterial mind/soul/etc helps us do this. (Personally, I find the fact that we even can think about these kinds of things enough.) On the flip side, though, there’s also the fear that psychiatric treatment will make you into “a different person” by altering your brain chemistry. I think this fear makes a bit more sense, and certainly caution is warranted whenever applying psychiatric treatment; however, ideally treatment of a mentally ill person will allow him to more fully realize his real personal potential, not strip away his real personality.

    ((And then there’s the raving lunatic’s scriptural view: that mental illness is the result of “seducing spirits”.))

  244. #247 Sigmund
    May 10, 2008

    Q: “Or does God remove all earthly memories when you enter heaven?”
    A: Luke 16:19-31 (?)
    While your answer doesn’t directly address the question asked – it tells us that memories will still exist in those who are in hell rather than those in heaven – I think its fair to extrapolate it to mean that inhabitants of both realms WILL retain their earthly memories. And if we follow the logic of the piece then the answer is that if people fail to listen to the advice of Moses (stone unruly children, those who work on the Sabbath and those who are of a different religion!) then tough luck, they deserve to burn in hell!
    Quite frankly even if this is true I’d hate to end up in heaven with they types of evil monsters who could qualify for admission under these rules.

  245. #248 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >It hardly matters that we point out to him how rational
    >people adjust to new information, and so does science. His >brain automatically puts up barriers that prevent him from >accepting this information, as that would cause too much
    >cognitive dissonance for him to deal with.

    New information? What new information? I have read dawkin’s book and all I see is how he basically tries to make religion a scapegoat for ignorance and he injects his own ignorance not only about religion but about the world people live in.

    Atheists have not offered any new information for thousands of years. Science has changed but it’s still the same crap and lies. When scientists can’t explain something, they make something up to make up for what they do not know. In other words they try to explain it in like a damage control way to fill in the gaps for their lack of knowledge and understanding.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love science, but sometimes when they don’t know something and try to make some hypothesis it is usually off the wall. This is why I really seriously doubt any atheist can find the truth if they are looking for it because they will always twist the outcome no matter what.

    An atheist with an open mind is really the exact opposite. How can you have an open mind when you are a skeptic on just about everything that you can’t hold or measure?

    How can I trust someone when they say that the majority of people on this planet are ignorant and are sick in the head? How can you trust people like that in political office?

    I cannot trust Militant Atheists and I don’t think most people will.

    Yes, it is true. I have tried to think about atheism but I couldn’t get my mind to be that limited and to basically ignore all the evidence in the world. When I read all the people that are having NDE’s and I read them it is just too vivid for all of these people to not see anything. Doctor Raymond Moody has convinced me as well.

    Then there is the Shroud of Turin
    http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers2.pdf
    Check out the conclusions

    Basically, they don’t have any.
    Scientists made some up, but they can’t really
    find the final answers. Basically they don’t know.

    Then add in the Universe being made and something had to start that spark (you will call it anything but God), but I know something intelligent had to make it (how can you make something out of nothing?). It’s the only thing that makes sense.

    The Universe is expanding and there is a reason for it.

    I also hate the fact that atheists blame everything bad in the world on religion and there are things that atheists have done in this world that are just as bad but somehow that gets overlooked.

    Not only is religion a scapegoat for many things but there are so many things in this world that can cause a lot more problems. Such as political and worse of all natural resources. I mean have you seen how high oil is getting? Well, I am close to my work so I can walk if needed but some people can’t and have to drive. Food and gas/oil are going up and natural resources are going to eventually run out and science is not going to save you from that.

    Science can help us create something to replace oil but it is too late, there are too many people driving cars that need oil and gas. We are in trouble and there is nothing that is going to save us from what is coming.

    The next 40-50 years are going to be dark and we are in the early stages. oh, how I wish it was the 80′s again. It was much better back then and not so complicated.

  246. #249 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >I’ve often considered the repeated visits of people like
    >Kenny to science/atheist blogs as almost
    >stereotypical “cries for help”.

    At first I came here because I was surfing for information in science blogs and I found this blog.

    I stayed because of the Fox news like balance of information that you get at this blog. Yeah, that is what I mean. There is no fair and balanced here just like Fox News.

    I was in unbelief that there were people like this that had beliefs so strong that they were being fundies in their own right. Dawkin’s calls it Passion, whatever… it is what it is (semantics basically). Atheists have been around for a long time and Carl Sagan was one but he wasn’t as a lunatic as dawkins is (even south park will agree with me and I don’t even like them. I saw the clip yesterday in another forum).

    When you have people that hate religion so much that they basically are trying to erradicate it on planet earth and are spending money and all kinds of resources for this, this is not Atheism of old. Some may say that they are not trying to do this but you have not really paid much attention to the people like Sam Harris or Dawkins.

    So the above paragraph basically is what it is all about. I don’t have to defend God, but I do have to defend my beliefs because if I don’t I will eventually lose them.

    New Athiests are a threat to religious liberty and liberals are a threat for our freedoms. I live in California boys and girls. I know what liberals are all about and I know they hate religion because it is holding their progressive ways back and they will not tolerate Christians for much longer.

    You only have to look at the liberal/atheism discrimination against Christians/religion in Europe to get the big picture.

    I don’t trust an New Atheist in political office in this country. Sorry, but I don’t. I have seen enough to know that they will go after religion and they will hurt our country just as much as Bush. I can’t stand the man either. He is not religious, he is using Christians and most of them can’t see it, but I can. Bush is absolutely horrible and we are in IRAQ for no good reason, but I think that there is more to the story here eventually with IRAN getting involved.

    Again, I don’t believe in God because my parents brainwashed me, I think for myself and I just see too much evidence in my mind with eyewitnesses. Unlike you all I am not nieve to believe that the only evidence is something I can hold in my hands and that I can measure. Eyewitness in my mind counts as evidence. I can’t observe it for myself but I can still make a hypothesis. Not everything has to be proven with a scientific method to know it is true in my own mind. You don’t believe that and I don’t care what you believe.

    I program in PHP and SQL for my job and I deal with logica and I love technology and I love science. I love learning but I don’t limit myself to only believing in things that can only be felt and measure physically.

    You people think people that believe is something higher are stupid and retarded but I don’t see it that way. I see that as something of people wanting to get better and if believing in that higher power gets them there then so be it. Is it stupid to have faith? Is it stupid to believe in something much higher.

    How do we know that at the end of the expanded universe there is not a heaven? Can we prove it? No, can we disprove it? No. Will we ever be able to prove it or disprove it? probably not.

    Could they prove the Atoms existed in the middle ages? No. Do we know that Atoms exist? Yes.

    Science used to think the world was flat and we know how that turned out. My point is that there are things in the universe that science does not have knowledge of yet and to dismiss things is very nieve.

    Doing research and keeping an open mind is not something you should be ashamed of.

    I really recommend Dr. Moody’s books, they are good stuff for the mind as long as you keep an open mind. There is some good research out there.

  247. #250 Janine ID
    May 10, 2008

    But one dropping from Cloudcuckooland.

    Atheists have been around for a long time and Carl Sagan was one but he wasn’t as a lunatic as dawkins is (even south park will agree with me and I don’t even like them. I saw the clip yesterday in another forum).

    Kenny

    First, all of this yammering about NDE. Now he uses South Park to prove that Dawkins is more insane then Sagan. Though he does not like SP. Even Parker and Stone would be laughing at this.

    Everyone, have fun with this manna from…well from Kenny’s ass.

    Say, do you think that the invasion of Iraq was merely a warm up to the invasion of Iran?

  248. #251 J
    May 10, 2008

    You can’t argue with the Chewbacca defense.

  249. #252 SC
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny,

    Your comments suggest that you have some modicum of respect for Sagan. I therefore urge you in the strongest possible terms to take a couple of hours to read The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

  250. #253 negentropyeater
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny,

    Kenny, the gift that keeps on giving…

    You only have to look at the liberal/atheism discrimination against Christians/religion in Europe to get the big picture.

    Have you ever been to Europe ? When you look at Europe from California, you use a special coloured filter lense in order to get what you call the big picture or your own warped version of reality ?
    But where on earth do you get such ideas Kenny ? I’m serious, you really need to get in contact with the real world, buy a plane ticket, meet people in Europe, Christians and non believers, you’ll see, there is far less polarisation on this issue here than in the USA.

    Discrimination against Christians in Europe ? That must be the funniest idea I’ve heard for a long time…
    Discrimination against Creationism, yeah for sure, we have far less tolerance here in Europe for cretinous ideas and wackaloons.
    Don’t confuse the two, will you ?

  251. #254 Longtime Lurker
    May 10, 2008

    “There is other dimensions out there and just because scientits have not found some kind of physical proof, does not mean it does not exist.”

    Kenny, please, your spelling and grammar are devolving before our eyes… plus, “Scientits” would be a great porn site for guys with “hawt chix in bursting labcoats” fetishes.

    When grading papers, my father would often write “E.o.S.” on papers written poorly- Strunk and White, Kenny, you should be reading their book as well as The Bible.

  252. #255 noncarborundum
    May 10, 2008

    Science used to think the world was flat and we know how that turned out.

    Do some research, Kenny. To make it easy, just start at the Wikipedia entry for “Flat Earth“.

    To summarize, the ancient Greeks knew the earth was round, going back at least as far as Aristotle. Eratosthenes (c. 240 B.C.) actually calculated its circumference to within 10%. There has never been a time since then when a significant fraction of educated Western opinion, much less a monolithic “science”, believed in a flat earth.

    . . . with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. – Jeffrey B. Russell, The Myth of the Flat Earth

  253. #256 Iain Walker
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny (Comment #248):

    Then add in the Universe being made and something had to start that spark (you will call it anything but God)

    I personally would be happy to call it “God” if it could be shown to fulfil the criteria for calling something “God” (i.e., an all-powerful, all-knowing disembodied agent). However, the onus is on you to demonstrate that whatever process brought the universe into existence fulfils those criteria.

    but I know something intelligent had to make it

    No, you don’t know it. You merely assume it.

    (how can you make something out of nothing?).

    This is more a problem for you than for scientists. As far as I’m aware, most if not all cosmological models envisage the universe emerging from a more-or-less describable state of affairs (colliding branes, quantum vacuum fluctuations etc), so they don’t actually envisage the universe as emerging out of nothing (in the strict sense of the term “nothing”). Theism, however, typically envisages God as creating the universe ex nihilo.

    So unless your deity is merely a demiurge who fashioned the universe out of existing materials, perhaps you can answer the question yourself. How can you make something out of nothing? After all, you’re the one whose beliefs require that it is possible.

  254. #257 Becca
    May 10, 2008

    Etha@#239 – could you send me a copy of the paper as well? thanks!

    -becca

  255. #258 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#257 becca –

    Etha@#239 – could you send me a copy of the paper as well? thanks!

    Sure — e-mail me at ethaspublicemail at gmail dot com and I will send it along.

  256. #259 Blake Stacey
    May 10, 2008

    Holydust (#228):

    I watched green glowy matrix code flowing around the walls of my friend’s room. I saw his cat Flicka turn into a tiny man in a brown tweed suit and fedora. You could not have convinced me — had I not been right-minded enough to understand that I was hallucinating — that it wasn’t real.

    You are The One — and your friend’s cat Flicka is me!

  257. #260 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    I like this one:

    Science has changed but it’s still the same crap and lies.

    Then, a couple sentences later:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love science, but sometimes when they don’t know something and try to make some hypothesis it is usually off the wall.

    Why equivocate, Kenny? At least have the guts to stick to your initial claim that science is “crap and lies.”

  258. #261 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    His brain automatically puts up barriers that prevent him from accepting this information, as that would cause too much cognitive dissonance for him to deal with.

    New information? What new information?

    I’d laugh, but it’s just too obvious.

  259. #262 buckyball
    May 10, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    “that’s a big list of psuedo-theological justifications, not actually answers to the questions. It’s like me asking how you use a word in conversation, and instead just being shown the entry for the word in a dictionary (a dictionary that’s only applicable to a localized dialect of one language, btw).

    I do hope the people calling in got better answers than that.”

    They were answers…but maybe I was being too much of a minimalist in trying to conserve posting space. :-/

    Sigmund:

    “Quite frankly even if this is true I’d hate to end up in heaven with they types of evil monsters who could qualify for admission under these rules.”

    Well, if something thinks that through their belief it suddenly becomes a “free pass”, there are verses that tell otherwise:

    Romans 6:15, I Corinthians 3:10-14

    For instance, in the Corinthians passage, it talks about “works” being tested by fire. In other words, a person can profess their belief all they want, but their works will also be judged. If the works do not line up with their beliefs, they will still be saved…but barely. On the other hand, if someone sincerely does trust in what the Gospel states, the works *should* come naturally. Does that mean every Christian is perfect? Nope. Romans 3:23 states that everybody falls short of the Law. But they *should* be heading in the right direction.

    P.S. Assembly language pwns PHP. ;-)

  260. #263 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    There is no fair and balanced here just like Fox News.

    do you watch Fox News, Kenny?

  261. #264 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    They were answers…but maybe I was being too much of a minimalist in trying to conserve posting space. :-/

    If you start listing bible verses that any moron can easily look up, just like a dictionary, I’m going to start asking you what color curtains you like.

    salesmen are rather frowned upon in this neck of the woods.

  262. #265 buckyball
    May 10, 2008

    Edit…

    Well, if someone thinks that through their belief it suddenly becomes a “free pass”, there are verses that tell otherwise.

  263. #266 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    IOW:

    but maybe I was being too much of a minimalist

    oh please, I think you’re not be minimalist enough.

    maybe you could shorten your answers to, say, one word or less?

    preferably less.

  264. #267 SC
    May 10, 2008

    Whew. Good thing you got the edit in there, buckyball. That error would almost certainly have marred an argument that was otherwise perfectly cogent, beautifully written, and thoroughly substantiated.

  265. #268 Rey Fox
    May 10, 2008

    “Science has changed but it’s still the same crap and lies.”

    Enjoy your high standard of living. Oh, by the way, on behalf of scientists everywhere, YOU’RE WELCOME.

    “I love learning but I don’t limit myself to only believing in things that can only be felt and measure physically.”

    Yeah, not enough people open their mind to made-up stuff.

    “Could they prove the Atoms existed in the middle ages? No. Do we know that Atoms exist? Yes.”

    You keep giving that example. It doesn’t help you. Science changes, but always through experimentation and the scientific method. No new discoveries or theories have ever come from any holy books. Ever. The trend over the last few thousands of years has been one of steady retreat away from the “scientific” observations of the Bible as they continue to be found false or meaningless. Because a lot of religious people get tired of being wrong.

    “When I read all the people that are having NDE’s”

    And yet you don’t ever seem to read about the Muslim NDEs. Or the bleak and unhappy NDEs. Or the reincarnation NDEs. Or, upthread, Becca’s NDE that turned her toward Paganism. Do they just not count to you? Do you regard them as outliers and that the happy Heaven NDEs are the norm? Why does God seem to only ever hang around the hazy margins of statistical significance? Heck, as long as we’re talking about light at the end of tunnels, what about the whole “my life flashed before my eyes” trope, what significance does that have?

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, Kenny. And your evidence is highly underwhelming.

  266. #269 Nick Gotts
    May 10, 2008

    Then there is the Shroud of Turin
    http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers2.pdf
    Check out the conclusions

    Basically, they don’t have any.
    Scientists made some up, but they can’t really
    find the final answers. Basically they don’t know.
    – Kenny@248

    Kenny, as I read it, the authors of this paper were in the team that ran various tests on the shroud in 1988, but don’t like the very clear conclusion that came out of that study, the carbon-dating to very probably between 1260 and 1390. They want it to be much older than that, and from the middle East – that is, I think they’re on your “side”. Since the 1988 study there have been a number of fairly desperate attempts to show that the carbon-dating cannot be relied on, but none have got anywhere to my knowledge. This paper claims that date does not fit with the material the shroud is made of, and that the part of the shroud the carbon-tested sample was taken from might not be typical of the shroud as a whole, so they suggest a retest on some other part. I’m sure this could be done, and I’d bet a large amount that if it was done by an honest and competent team of scientists, the date would again come out at around 13th-14th century. I’m no expert on ancient and medieval cloth and cloth-making techniques, but even I can see two very dodgy claims in the paper. They say that cloth used to patch it in 1532 gives a sample of medieval linen; 1532 would normally be regarded as early modern, not medieval, and is in any case at least 140 years after the carbon dating shows the shroud be be from. Again, they claim cotton was more or less unknown in Europe until 1350 (there are some cotton fibres in or on the shroud). This is tosh: the Venetians and Genoans were importing cotton cloth from Egypt into Italy by around 1200. The carbon-dating is strong evidence that the “shroud” is indeed a medieval fake, as the Bishop of Troyes said in a letter to the Pope in 1389. How exactly it was made, we don’t know. We do know there was a considerable medieval industry in fake relics of all kinds: churches and monasteries wanted relics to attract the pilgrim trade, from which they gained large amounts of money. Medieval people were as bright as us, and undoubtedly developed relic-making techniques which have been lost, because the market dried up.

    Even if the shroud really were 2000 years old and really showed the image of a body, what would it prove? There’s nothing whatever to connect it with Jesus. What do you think it proves? I’m really curious to know.

  267. #270 Gustav Nyström
    May 10, 2008

    Way upthread @12, Big Dave said:

    Read “Whose Word Is It” by Bart D Ehrman – “He who is without sin cast the first stone” is a later addition to the Bible.

    Isn’t pretty much the whole bible just a long sequence of later additions (and revisions)?

  268. #271 Peregrine
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny,

    I was in unbelief that there were people like this that had beliefs so strong that they were being fundies in their own right. Dawkin’s calls it Passion, whatever…

    Well, Dawkin’s is right. Scientists are passionate about science, it’s what often distinguishes a great scientist from a merely good one. They are not fundamentalist about anything. You see fundamentalism on this blog because, well, it’s a place people who don’t believe in a god hang out and chat. One popular topic of conversation happens to be laughing at some of the more bizarre things that religious people do. It’s simple: when you don’t believe in a god, then the notion of prayer, for example, is really quite ridiculous. Then people such as you come along, and post the same old arguments again, which everyone on this board has already battled through. The arguments are bad – find better ones. People react with hostility to answering the same question fifteen-million times. Hence people appear rude and dismissive.

    it is what it is (semantics basically).

    Not really. Passion for something is very different to “fundamentalism” which is adhering to a very strict set of beliefs, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    Atheists have been around for a long time and Carl Sagan was one but he wasn’t as a lunatic as dawkins is (even south park will agree with me and I don’t even like them. I saw the clip yesterday in another forum).

    I think you’ll find that Sagan and Dawkins probably believe much the same thing: They don’t believe in a god – not in the christian god, or in any other. It’s just Dawkins wrote a book directly confronting it, which you seem to equate with lunacy. It’s not, it’s just criticism of your beliefs. Lunacy would surely be: talking to imaginary people…? believing in resurrectiong and virgin births and water being turned into wine on the basis of contradictory 2000 year old mis-translated texts? If I said I could hear someone talking in my head, I would be a lunatic? But if I said it was God speaking me to tell me to love everyone, you might say it was God speaking to me? But if I said it was God speaking to me to tell me to kill everyone, you’d say I was lunatic, right? How about if I said that Allah was speaking to me in my head? Lunatic? What about if I said that I was speaking to the Christian god in my head? Lunatic? What if every day I spoke to that god and asked him to cure my sister of cancer, but he never answered? Lunatic? What if I asked ALLAH to do the same, but my sister died? Lunatic? What if I asked Vishnu to cure my sister of cancer, and she made a recovery in weeks? Lunatic? if I prayed to Allah, and she recovers in just days, would that make Allah better than Vishnu? Don’t you ever just get CONFUSED about religion, and who’s a lunatic? You say Bush isn’t christian… but to all intents and purposes, he walks like one and quacks like one….? He goes to church, and prays. What if he said that YOU weren’t a christian, for not supporting the Iraq war, which he prayed to your/his God for guidance on?

    It’s all SO subjective. Lunacy. And yet you say Dawkins is a lunatic for writing a book that simply, uncompromisingly, asks some very obvious questions.

    When you have people that hate religion so much that they basically are trying to erradicate it on planet earth and are spending money and all kinds of resources for this, this is not Atheism of old. Some may say that they are not trying to do this but you have not really paid much attention to the people like Sam Harris or Dawkins.

    Everyone may have different agendas. Some people may like to eradicate religion all together. If you read Dawkins, you will see that he in many ways thinks that religion offers benefits: church communities, consolation etc. The dilemma is, are those things actually worthwhile if what they are based on is not actually true?

    So the above paragraph basically is what it is all about. I don’t have to defend God, but I do have to defend my beliefs because if I don’t I will eventually lose them.

    Plenty of people seem to spend a lot of time trying to defend God, although he shouldn’t need it. If you don’t defend your beliefs, you’ll lose them. So your beliefs aren’t actually that certain? It sounds like you’re just trying to constantly shore them up, and if you so much as blink, you’ll have to admit that perhaps they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. They should be strong beliefs, they should be life-affirming, they should be unassailable. Why are you so afraid of losing them? What if we tried to convert you to Buddhism or Islam instead? What if we asked you to create your own religion, that we could follow? What would it be like? You seem to think that you know all about God, and that other people who claim to be religious, like Bush for eg, are obviously wrong. How about you show us how it SHOULD be, if you’re so certain? What would it be like? Which texts would you choose? What would be the rules?

    New Athiests are a threat to religious liberty and liberals are a threat for our freedoms.

    But the MAJORITY of atheists don’t actually mind people being religious. The UK and Europe are full of atheists who have absolutely no problem with religious people, and let them just do their thing, so long as it doesn’t interfere with other peoples liberties. It is unfortunately the small MINORITY (increasing in size) of fundamentalist Christians in America who are threatening religious liberties: they don’t believe people should be free to be atheist, or islamic. They want to convert everyone, and they want Christianity institutionalised in the government and rammed down everyone’s throat, including and especially in schools and the military. THAT is what upsets most atheists, and because that christian influence is becoming more and more pernicious and crazy, atheists need to speak out, instead of just letting the US quielty become a theocracy like Iran.

    Liberals are a threat to freedom? Not sure how that works… A liberal person believes all sorts of things; one common thing is that people are free to live as what ever sexuality they are free from any persecution. A conservatives view generally seems to be the opposite. Which sort of freedom do you mean? Who’s freedom?

    I live in California boys and girls. I know what liberals are all about and I know they hate religion because it is holding their progressive ways back and they will not tolerate Christians for much longer.

    What’s wrong with progressive ways? Do we as a sociey want to progress, or regress? We should be forward looking. I know many many liberal christians, and I know many many atheists who don’t even think about bothering christians: unlike christians who run around waving “god hates fags” signs, for example. You seem to not realise that actually, most atheists simply don’t care about religion, at least until religion starts abusing the freedom it is given. You are given full freedom to practice your religion by the constitution, and by the fact that people keep out of your way. You are not permitted to abuse that freedom by running around and forcing your religious views on other, perfectly ethical moral people, who have a different religion, or no religion. That’s how the wonderful stable democracy remains, and society progresses – society is BETTER, it has progressed, because people aren’t needlessly persecuted.

    You only have to look at the liberal/atheism discrimination against Christians/religion in Europe to get the big picture.

    Again, Europe does not discriminate against christians – you’ve never actually even met a European, have you? Certainly you surely haven’t been there? There are plenty of laws preventing religion being discriminated against throughout Europe, and religions still enjoy many tax-breaks and government support.

    I don’t trust an New Atheist in political office in this country. Sorry, but I don’t. I have seen enough to know that they will go after religion and they will hurt our country just as much as Bush.

    I suspect and atheist might actually just try and govern the country based on logic and reason, using his intelligence and responding to advice in the interests of furthering the country’s and the world’s interest. Got to be better than praying to God as to whether to go to war or not. I don’t trust anyone who prays for guidance – because I KNOW that they don’t get an actual answer back, they just get their own feelings reinforced. They find an excuse for doing what they’re going to do anyway, that makes them feel better about it.

    I can’t stand the man either. He is not religious, he is using Christians and most of them can’t see it, but I can.

    Well done, YOU must be the true christian that we’ve been waiting for for 2000 years, the actual ONE person who finally gets it right and can tell real christians from fake ones. Thank Allah we’ve cleared that one up.

    Bush is absolutely horrible and we are in IRAQ for no good reason, but I think that there is more to the story here eventually with IRAN getting involved.

    There’s always more to the story.

    Again, I don’t believe in God because my parents brainwashed me, I think for myself and I just see too much evidence in my mind with eyewitnesses.

    You place a lot of faith in trusting your mind. How about you watch this entire (only 8 mins) video on youtube (it’s not about religion, but related to what you’re discussing here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haP7Ys9ocTk

    Tell me what you think it says about how much your “feelings” about evidence and your mind can be trusted.

    Unlike you all I am not nieve to believe that the only evidence is something I can hold in my hands and that I can measure. Eyewitness in my mind counts as evidence. I can’t observe it for myself but I can still make a hypothesis. Not everything has to be proven with a scientific method to know it is true in my own mind. You don’t believe that and I don’t care what you believe.

    But thinking up a hypothesis doesn’t make it true. It’s like the old problem with common sense. If you are freezing water into ice-cubes in your freezer, will the water freeze faster if you start with hot water or cold water? Common sense says cold water – it’s already closer to freezing point, whereas hot water has to get a lot colder before it freezes. Common sense. But, it’s not true. Measure it, experiment, and you find that warmer water freezes faster than cold water (depending on the temperature – there’s a scale to it.) Your mind CANNOT be trusted, because the “common sense” of your mind ISN’T NECESSARILY right. That’s a fact. That’s why the scientific method IS important. It can overcome our own shortcomings as humans.

    I program in PHP and SQL for my job and I deal with logica and I love technology and I love science. I love learning but I don’t limit myself to only believing in things that can only be felt and measure physically.

    You people think people that believe is something higher are stupid and retarded but I don’t see it that way. I see that as something of people wanting to get better and if believing in that higher power gets them there then so be it. Is it stupid to have faith? Is it stupid to believe in something much higher.

    No. But it is at least a BIT silly if there isn’t any firm evidence for it actually existing. But if you need to have a higher power to make you better, is there something wrong with you? Plenty of people just like to make themselves better people because… well, because it’s nice being nice to people, and extending their abilities and knowledge, and making other people happy. If you can’t do that without the crutch of believing in a higher power….

    How do we know that at the end of the expanded universe there is not a heaven? Can we prove it? No, can we disprove it? No. Will we ever be able to prove it or disprove it? probably not.

    Of course we can’t disprove it. But if you would like to try to PROVE it, we’d be open to it. Perhaps you could find for us a mechanism by which some sort of particle from a dead person could traverse the incomprehensibly vast distance from the earth to the “heaven” in the edge of the universe. If you can show us that, then maybe we’ll believe you. You say that no-ne can ever disprove it: but you could CERTAINLY PROVE it. Go on, we’re waiting – you have a hypothesis, like every other scientist of the past 150 years. That’s how it works, not by people disproving stuff, but by people demonstrating hypothesese that fit all the evidence.

    This starts to get into the question of Soul etc. Has anyone proved a soul yet? No. The evidence points firmly away from a “soul.” You will say that “a soul is something outside of the physical world, and it can’t be measured.” That is as maybe, but you see how impossible it is to work with that. I can say that there is a race of giant-tentacled-pygmies from another dimension, that live alongside us, shadowing our every move, that live entirely outside the our physical world, and never interact with it. How can you disprove me? You can’t.

    I would argue that a soul is measurable in some way, because it interacts with the physical world. It’s like prayer: Prayer should be quantifiable: No matter how many times you say that prayer is a mysterious non-measurable interaction with God that science can’t judge, in fact, science can, because the effects of prayer take place in the real world, and interact with and affect the real world. Numerous studies have shown that prayer has no actual effect We know it does nothing. If it DID, don’t you think the world would be a different place?

    Could they prove the Atoms existed in the middle ages? No. Do we know that Atoms exist? Yes.

    Science used to think the world was flat and we know how that turned out. My point is that there are things in the universe that science does not have knowledge of yet and to dismiss things is very nieve.

    I think other people have already dealt with the atom and flat question.

    Doing research and keeping an open mind is not something you should be ashamed of.

    I really recommend Dr. Moody’s books, they are good stuff for the mind as long as you keep an open mind. There is some good research out there.

    At what point do you close your mind? People claim to have psychic abilities, something “beyond the realm of science.” Yet, time after time, put these people in testable conditions, and it shows that their “psychic ability” is no better than chance, or cold reading, or a hoax. But people still say “oh but you must keep an open mind.” But why? Reflexology, homeopathy, mind-reading, prayer, all sorts have things have been time and again rigorously tested, to show that they simply do not do the things that they claim. Yet people still shout “oh, but you’re being closed minded, you must keep an open mind.” How open does it have to be? Until your brain falls out? (Great quote!)

    I can’t work out whether you are arguing for Christianity, or for some other kind of New Age mumbo-jumbo… the two are not particlarly compatible. And, on behalf of others: “Why do Muslims also have NDE’s?”

  269. #272 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >Even if the shroud really were 2000 years old and really
    >showed the image of a body, what would it prove? There’s
    >nothing whatever to connect it with Jesus. What do you
    >think it proves? I’m really curious to know.

    It was claimed to be the burial cloth of Jesus that has been saved for 2000 years. It has the image of Jesus on there and scientists can’t figure how that image got on there. It was probably put on there when Jesus rose from the dead since it’s his burial cloth and it left an imprint.

    That is pretty strait forward for me to believe.

  270. #273 Steve_C
    May 10, 2008

    They’ve tested the shroud and dated it. It’s not 2000 years old.

  271. #274 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#272 Kenny –

    It has the image of Jesus on there

    Leaving aside the falsity of the claim that the SoT is 2k years old and the penchant that the religious have for seeing symbolism and imagery where there is none, how can you demonstrate that the image is your Jesus rather than some other person?

  272. #275 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >”Why do Muslims also have NDE’s?”

    If you look on that other web site there are people from other countries including muslims and they did have NDE’s.

    I don’t know where this “Muslims don’t have NDE’s” came from but this is an ignorant statement.

    You will have to do some reading to find it. I am not going through thousands of NDE’s to find one which is a muslim. You can do that.

    That is the point though isn’t it. I can lead you to the link you can click on to find the information but most of the people on here are too lazy to begin to research it and they basically say well if you don’t hand it too me on a plate than I won’t even bother to look at it.

    Do your own research. I have seen people from other countries with NDE’s which are muslim and I have been on this website and read them. Now, that was a while ago.
    If you are too lazy to look into the information that I gave you then that is your problem.

  273. #276 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#275 Kenny –

    I don’t know where this “Muslims don’t have NDE’s” came from but this is an ignorant statement.

    The thing you quoted asked you why they do have NDE’s. No one ever said they don’t.

    The whole point is, if you are using NDEs as objective evidence for your conception of god, why do Muslims have NDEs that verify *their* conception of god (and pagans NDEs that verify theirs, etc)? Why doesn’t everyone have NDEs whose content verifies the Xian beliefs about the afterlife?

    The fact that people’s NDEs are highly individualized based on their own belief system suggests that NDEs are the product of the individual’s own brain and the belief system cotnained therein, not the result of the intervention of an outside source (god, Allah, etc). Why would the Xian god give a Muslim an NDE that supports the Muslim faith?

  274. #277 Kseniya
    May 10, 2008

    Has Kenny owned up to that fact that he was wrong about the ACLU? No? Not yet?

    Why not, Kenny? Why not?

  275. #278 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#277 Kseniya –

    Why not, Kenny? Why not?

    Because it was an OPINION, and therefore immune to critique. Like religion….

  276. #279 Peregrine
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny, is that all? I write a long critique of your post and the best you can come up with is to misunderstand the NDE thing? Read post 276.

    What about my challenge for you to start the one, true religion? What about the Derren Brown video? No comment?

  277. #280 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >They’ve tested the shroud and dated it. It’s not 2000
    >years old.

    Well, they don’t know how old it really is. They material was in a box that was in a fire and so that threw off the carbon dating. So, their carbon dating was not correct and thus they don’t really know. You should probably read the scientific study.

  278. #281 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >The whole point is, if you are using NDEs as objective
    >evidence for your conception of god, why do Muslims have
    >NDEs that verify *their* conception of god (and pagans
    >NDEs that verify theirs, etc)? Why doesn’t everyone have
    >NDEs whose content verifies the Xian beliefs about the
    >afterlife?

    From the ones that I read it is all the same. You see that you are out of your body, then you see a tunnel with light at the end and then you see your relatives, you are then either told to go back to this life or get a review of your life from beings of light (angels). Most that I have read have not met God themselves. I don’t know where you are getting your information from. I have not seen this. I have read a lot of the NDE’s from that website.

  279. #282 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >Kenny, is that all? I write a long critique of your post
    >and the best you can come up with is to misunderstand the
    >NDE thing? Read post 276.

    Well, first of all. How about writing something a little shorter and more to the point and quit the rambling. Another thing is that I can’t tell what you posted and what I posted because it is a mess. Also, I am trying to answer what I can. I am the only person on here who sticks around that believes the way I do and I have a lot of posts thrown at me. I am doing the best that I can while still having a life and going to work.

    >What about my challenge for you to start the one, true
    >religion? What about the Derren Brown video? No comment?

    I don’t need the one true religion. A personal relationship with Christ and the Father of israel is all I care about. That’s the only God that matters to me.

    I don’t follow astrology or psychics. However, having an NDE with patients that are 100 percent dead and not some dream fantasy that scientists make up is a lot more proof than some guy giving the same information and netting the people read themselves into his words.

    I feel there is enough eyewitness evidence to prove that God exists. I don’t really care that Atheists are too closed minded to not get it or not. Even so I have faith that goes beyond all eyewitness evidence even. It’s not a gut feeling it is obvious as the sun will come up tomorrow.

    No scientific explanation is enough to prove that there is not a God out there. I see this entire universe as a massive sandbox and we are reverse engineering everything inside that sandbox to create something out of things that already exist. However, unlike God, we cannot create something out of nothing.

    I like science I really do. I love learning on how things work. Like the Jupiter having rings like Saturn and how we have come a long way from where we were before.

    I just don’t think science has all the answers for everything and I don’t think we have much time to answer those questions before humankind does itself in.

  280. #283 JeffreyD
    May 10, 2008

    Peregrine, re #271, very nice and patient writeup. I had toyed with writing something similar but did not as I am kinda new here. Now I am glad I did not as it would have paled besides yours. A shame it was wasted on him, he has eyes but he does not see.

    Kenny, planning to answer the ACLU question? And do you have any direct comments on Peregrine’s reply other than one misunderstood nitpick?

    I have read all I could find on the Shroud studies because it is an interesting subject. Not wanting it to be the Jesus rag, my research tells me it is a fake.

    I repeat my earlier comment, see a therapist, it is worth the money. I did and do, and I am a lot better now.

    Ciao

  281. #284 LanceR
    May 10, 2008

    Wrong again, Kenny. The shroud is an obvious fake that dates to the early 1300s.

    How about answering the question about the ACLU? You’ve been called out as a liar. Are you going to let that stand, tacitly admitting that you are, in fact, a liar?

    Come on, Kenny, your word has been questioned!

  282. #285 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#281 Kenny –

    From the ones that I read it is all the same. You see that you are out of your body, then you see a tunnel with light at the end and then you see your relatives, you are then either told to go back to this life or get a review of your life from beings of light (angels). Most that I have read have not met God themselves.

    According to Karlis Osis’ book At the Hour of Death:

    The finer details of otherworldly imagery seem to vary with the patient’s background. Such major features as bright, saturated colors, peace, harmony, and extraordinary beauty seem, however, to prevail regardless of whether the patient is Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Muslim.”

    This would seem to indicate a common neurological mechanism that leads to the major features, combined with individualized details based on the person’s cultural background (similar to dreams, which have certain broad common themes but are different based on the individual’s experiences and beliefs). These different beliefs also inform how we interpret the major features. You only interpret the “beings of light” as angels because that is what matches with your mythology.

    Even if we were to ignore the biological interpretations of NDE’s, how would NDE’s give evidence for your god? Moreover, since according to Xian theology, Muslims are going to hell for not believing in Jesus, why would they have a peaceful, heavenly vision?

  283. #286 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    Damn…forgot to close the blockquotes in 285…the second blockquote should end after “…Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Muslim.”

  284. #287 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#282 Kenny –

    However, having an NDE with patients that are 100 percent dead

    They’re not 100% dead. Otherwise it would be, you know, a near death experience.

    I don’t really care that Atheists are too closed minded to not get it or not.

    If you really don’t care, why do you keep trying to persuade us? Cognitive dissonance, much?

  285. #288 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Well, first of all. How about writing something a little shorter and more to the point and quit the rambling.

    IOW:

    use.

    smaller.

    words.

    LOL

    I don’t think we have much time to answer those questions before humankind does itself in.

    the blind ignorance of people like yourself being the primary contributing factor, if it happens.

  286. #289 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    I’m incompetent at typing.

    In #287, I meant to write “Otherwise it wouldn’t be…”

  287. #290 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Do your own research.

    oh, Etha…

    there he goes again with the “you can google it” speech.

    please smack him with a rolled-up newspaper?

  288. #291 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >Even if we were to ignore the biological interpretations
    >of NDE’s, how would NDE’s give evidence for your god?
    >Moreover, since according to Xian theology, Muslims are
    >going to hell for not believing in Jesus, why would they
    >have a peaceful, heavenly vision?

    Anything is more peaceful than being in pain or living in this world. So they probably feel free. We don’t know what happens after that. God could judge and then it happens then. We don’t exactly know beyond that.

    All we know is that there is something there that you can’t get to from where science is right now.

    I feel that there is enough evidence although not all of it being physical and thus cannot be measured using scientific methods.

  289. #292 MAJeff, OM
    May 10, 2008

    I feel that there is enough evidence although not all of it being physical and thus cannot be measured using scientific methods.

    I’m glad you said you “feel” these things, because it’s obvious you’re not thinking.

  290. #293 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Anything is more peaceful than being in pain or living in this world

    I told ya Kenny hanging out here was a cry for help.

  291. #294 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >there he goes again with the “you can google it” speech.
    >please smack him with a rolled-up newspaper?

    I gave you the pathetic web site. You can’t be a man enough to look into it for yourself. Do you know how many NDE’s are on that web site?

    Lame, totally lame and unacceptable.

    Do you have a job in the real world? I kind of doubt it. If you are this lazy then your parents must pay your bills. Seriously.

  292. #295 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#291 Kenny –

    Anything is more peaceful than being in pain or living in this world.

    I’m very sad to hear that you have such a dim view of the world we live in. I know your religion teaches that we’re living in a sick world and that we’re all sinners, but please, try to look past that and see the beauty and potential for good around you. Try to appreciate that this existence could be a joyful, peaceful one. Then maybe we can prevent humankind from “doing itself in.”

  293. #296 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    All we know

    whaddya mean “we” Kemosabe?

    you’re the one privy to “special” knowledge, remember?

  294. #297 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Do you know how many NDE’s are on that web site

    irrelevant.

    name ONE that isn’t anecdotal in nature.

  295. #298 Steve_C
    May 10, 2008

    Can we pat Kenny on the head and tell him to run along now?

    NDEs? Are you serious?

  296. #299 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >People who report NDEs were only mostly dead. If they were
    >all dead, they’d have a hard time reporting NDEs.

    Yes, I think it is stupid too. The term “Near Death” is stupid because you are dead–not near death. However, that is the term that is generally most accepted so that is the one I use.

  297. #300 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Do you have a job in the real world? I kind of doubt it. If you are this lazy then your parents must pay your bills. Seriously.

    so, in addition to your other problems, you’re out of work too?

    sorry to hear it.

    suggest yo do something more productive than trying to convince atheists there is a god.

    you came here, remember?

  298. #301 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    …an hour of radio inanity…

    and a full day of Kenny inanity.

    Kenny wins!

  299. #302 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >I’m very sad to hear that you have such a dim view of the
    >world we live in. I know your religion teaches that we’re
    >living in a sick world and that we’re all sinners, but
    >please, try to look past that and see the beauty and
    >potential for good around you. Try to appreciate that this
    >existence could be a joyful, peaceful one. Then maybe we
    >can prevent humankind from “doing itself in.”

    First of all. I am not depressed. You make it sound that way and I am not. I love things about this world like flowers and nature. Some of the most beautiful things that I have seen like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Rocky Mountains.

    However, there is a lot of bad in this world. From people who kill other people to child molesters and diseases and all of that. It was never ment to be this way, but it was chosen by humankind due to Sin (now you won’t believe that, but that is just what I believe).

    However, there are things that we cannot imagine in the spirit world and there are things that is going to blow your mind. It’s not that I am trying to find a way to excape this world, I am trying to get my own business and I love movies and video games just like you all do (can’t wait for Fable 2) :) However, I believe that there is a better place than what we all can imagine here and I do believe that this world will not last.

    Many people like Dawkins thinks that religion will destroy this world, but he could not be more wrong. Political and energy resources are far worse. Gas and Oil are the worst thing for this planet, not just because of global warming, but because it is something that we cannot live without and it will eventually run out.

    If you take a look at Gas prices now, just wait until we run out and now with China gobbling up more gas and oil it is only going to get worse.

    I know I said this in another post, but I am just saying humankind cannot last. I put my faith into something higher, all people are flawed (religous or not) and we all face the same problems.

    Dawkins isn’t solving any problems, he is creating them.
    He is creating animosity between people and not offering any big solutions to the real problems in this world.

  300. #303 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Dawkins isn’t solving any problems, he is creating them.

    you really need to look up what projection is sometime.

  301. #304 BoxerShorts
    May 10, 2008

    “>People who report NDEs were only mostly dead. If they were
    >all dead, they’d have a hard time reporting NDEs.
    Yes, I think it is stupid too. The term “Near Death” is stupid because you are dead–not near death. However, that is the term that is generally most accepted so that is the one I use.”

    I’ll take “Missing the Point Completely” for 300, Alex.

  302. #305 Sili
    May 10, 2008

    All this talk of NDEs jogs a memory, I think. Wasn’t that Planet Killer’s shtick?

  303. #306 Kenny
    May 10, 2008

    >suggest yo do something more productive than trying to
    >convince atheists there is a god.

    >you came here, remember?

    Well I came go scienceblogs to learn about science. I found this off from there. I am not trying to do anything, it is the atheists that say I am stupid for what I believe. I am just showing that there is a reason for what I believe. Is that too dificult for you to understand?

    You are the one that won’t bother to do some research when I provide you the links and then you try to turn it around on me. Typical.

    You want everything given to you on a plate and for me to have to track down the NDE’s and there are thousands of them. I don’t have all the time in the world to do everything you want. I am married and have my own responsibilities. My mom always told me something when I was a kid. “I am not your maid”. So I will say something similar. I am not your research assistant. Do your own work.

  304. #307 Rey Fox
    May 10, 2008

    “What about my challenge for you to start the one, true religion? What about the Derren Brown video? No comment?”

    Ever heard of the expression “pearls before swine”? ;)

  305. #308 LanceR
    May 10, 2008

    Kenny, you lying shmuck!

    (Why do I hear Dan Akroyd in my head when I type that?)

    Avoiding the question about the ACLU will not get you off the hook. Are you admitting that you lied? Come on, Kenny! Forget the mumbo-jumbo… you made a checkable statement, and we checked. You’re wrong. Now either you can admit that you were wrong, or admit that you’re a liar. Pick one.

    I do have a newspaper!

  306. #309 BoxerShorts
    May 10, 2008

    “I am just showing that there is a reason for what I believe. Is that too dificult for you to understand?”

    Oh, we understand it all right. We just don’t think it’s a very good reason.

  307. #310 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#302 Kenny –

    I know I said this in another post, but I am just saying humankind cannot last. I put my faith into something higher, all people are flawed (religous or not) and we all face the same problems.

    And I’m just saying that humankind can last, but we must overcome our flaws so that we can work together to solve those problems that we face; and there is no supernatural being that is going to do that for us, so we must do it ourselves.

  308. #311 Azkyroth
    May 10, 2008

    3913 words now and still no answer…

  309. #312 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    Well I came go scienceblogs to learn about science

    and how much science have you learned?

    show us.

  310. #313 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#312 Ichthyic –

    and how much science have you learned?

    He’s learned that “Science has changed but it’s still the same crap and lies.”

  311. #314 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    that’s what I figured.

    *yawn*

    time for a new fundie.

    this chew toy has too many holes.

  312. #315 MAJeff, OM
    May 10, 2008

    I know I said this in another post, but I am just saying humankind cannot last. I put my faith into something higher, all people are flawed (religous or not) and we all face the same problems.

    Where’s that opium again?

  313. #316 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#314 Ichthyic –

    *yawn*

    time for a new fundie.

    this chew toy has too many holes.

    He’s a holey man indeed.

  314. #317 Mena
    May 10, 2008

    Remember this is the guy that called me a troll for taking the controversial position that the 70′s are over. He also thinks that he can type really big so that we can understand it. He’s not exactly normal, and we can Google him for proof of that. Why bother…

  315. #318 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2008

    one last thing for Kenny to consider:

    Kenny, have you ever considered that maybe the reason you feel threatened by Dawkins is not that he is a threat to humanity, but that he is a threat to your personal worldview?

    …and that at some level you recognize he is right?

  316. #319 buckyball
    May 10, 2008

    @#291 Kenny:

    “I feel that there is enough evidence although not all of it being physical and thus cannot be measured using scientific methods.”

    Out of curiousity, do Muslims keep prayer logs?

  317. #320 Janine ID
    May 10, 2008

    Remember this is the guy that called me a troll for taking the controversial position that the 70′s are over. He also thinks that he can type really big so that we can understand it. He’s not exactly normal, and we can Google him for proof of that. Why bother…

    Posted by: Mena

    Thanks to Kenny’s close connection to the big sky daddy, he receives great insight to all of our personalities. Informed me that the only reason I went to church was because I wanted to please my parents, neither went to church and my father was an atheist. In an other thread, he seems to think that atheists believe that Hitler was an alright guy. It was with great clarity that he could see that you are a troll.

  318. #321 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#306 Kenny –

    Well I came go scienceblogs to learn about science.

    So why do you only comment on the articles relating to atheism, and never on the specifically science-oriented ones (such as this recent post about the platypus genome)?

  319. #322 Etha Williams
    May 10, 2008

    @#302 Kenny –

    First of all. I am not depressed. You make it sound that way and I am not. I love things about this world like flowers and nature. Some of the most beautiful things that I have seen like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Rocky Mountains.

    However, there is a lot of bad in this world. From people who kill other people to child molesters and diseases and all of that. It was never ment to be this way, but it was chosen by humankind due to Sin (now you won’t believe that, but that is just what I believe).

    However, there are things that we cannot imagine in the spirit world and there are things that is going to blow your mind.

    This is kind of eery…I was just watching Jesus Camp, and Becky Fisher said essentially the same thing:

    I love America. I love the American lifestyle. I love being a part of the 21st century. I wake up every day, excited about what I’m going to do. But at the same time, I look at this sick old world and I go, “God, let’s get out of here.”

  320. #323 Mena
    May 10, 2008

    Janine ID @ 320:
    It was with great clarity that he could see that you are a troll.
    Yeah, but he didn’t have to take my word for it, there are billions of people who went through the 70′s and (this is quite eerie) they tell us that that decade is over. Oh there I go, trolling again…
    ;^)

  321. #324 LanceR
    May 10, 2008

    Well, I guess Kenny won’t answer the question. Or any substantive question. I guess the only thing left is ridicule and laughter.

    *points at Kenny and laughs* Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

  322. #325 Peregrine
    May 11, 2008

    Kenny:

    From the ones that I read it is all the same. You see that you are out of your body, then you see a tunnel with light at the end and then you see your relatives, you are then either told to go back to this life or get a review of your life from beings of light (angels). Most that I have read have not met God themselves. I don’t know where you are getting your information from. I have not seen this. I have read a lot of the NDE’s from that website.

    Perhaps you just need to read a few more then. And perhaps you just need to realise that you are looking at the NDE’s through your own interpretation of what you WANT them to mean. Scientists cant do that – they have to try and find out what they actually are. I believe there’s plenty of research demonstrating certain drugs that stimulate the chemicals in the brain that produce a “near death experience.” http://leda.lycaeum.org/?ID=9260 You don’t even need to die to have one! It’s reproducable! It can be studied!!

    Well, first of all. How about writing something a little shorter and more to the point and quit the rambling.

    Should I apologize? If you’re asking what you think are serious questions, don’t you think you would appreciate more than soundbites for answers? Are the sentences just too long for you? Your post was quite long, mine needs to be even longer to make sure I answer everything, instead of just ignoring you selectively, like you seem to be doing. ACLU??

    Another thing is that I can’t tell what you posted and what I posted because it is a mess.

    Apologies – I didn’t realise the italic tags were automatically closed at the end of paragraphs. I think I’ve got the hang of it. But SURELY you can recognise what you’ve written!!

    Also, I am trying to answer what I can. I am the only person on here who sticks around that believes the way I do and I have a lot of posts thrown at me. I am doing the best that I can while still having a life and going to work.

    Good on you. We all have lives! Well done that man. Given that you had the time to write a mini-essay missing-the-point on the NDE question, you could have maybe said “and I’ll get back to you on the rest.”

    >What about my challenge for you to start the one, true
    >religion? What about the Derren Brown video? No comment?

    I don’t need the one true religion. A personal relationship with Christ and the Father of israel is all I care about. That’s the only God that matters to me.

    So I wonder, is it selfish not to share it with other people? I mean, you clearly have this great relationship with God, you clearly have it all completely worked out, whereas other Christians – such as Bush, or maybe the Pope, what about Rowan Williams, or Jerry Falwell, or your next door neighbour? – apparently “aren’t christians.” Given that only you can see this, and God is quite explicit in the Bible at the importance of turning people from sin and helping them find salvation; don’t you think you should be out there starting your own religion, setting them all straight before they burn in hell? I’m still confused as to how your personal relationship with God is any better than Falwells, or Bushs, or Rowan Williams’, or the Pope. All claim to have exactly what you have – and yet, each would probably claim the other has it totally wrong. So are they all just lying? Or is Rowan right, and you’re lying? Or is God actually whispering different things in different peoples ears, just to stir the pot a little? If so, why do you think? Is it POSSIBLE that you’re all wrong? Tell me about your relationship with God. What does he actually say? How can you TELL it’s God speaking, and not just yourself?

    I don’t follow astrology or psychics. However, having an NDE with patients that are 100 percent dead and not some dream fantasy that scientists make up is a lot more proof than some guy giving the same information and netting the people read themselves into his words.

    You miss the point I try to make with the video – the point about trusting your “feelings.” The people in the video felt and “knew” very clearly that Derren had written about them with amazing detail and personal detail. They would be convinced that Derren perhaps had some special power. But of course, he didn’t, and they were all duped. People CAN’T trust their own judgement. Your judgement tells you that NDE’s are some weirdly exclusive Christian thing that somehow MUST point towards there really being a Christian God, because bright light must mean angels, and because people hallucinate loved ones etc (again, see the link above, so did those people.) The point other people are making is that Hindus and Muslims have the same experiences, but interpret them differently – for them, they are living proof of Allah, or of Vishnu reaching down to take them into the next life. It’s interpretation, and it’s subjective, and very, very often simply wrong.

    I feel there is enough eyewitness evidence to prove that God exists. I don’t really care that Atheists are too closed minded to not get it or not.

    That’s great, but I feel there is MORE eyewitness evidence to prove that Mohammed existed, that he was a prophet, and that Islam is the one true religion. The historical evidence is quite substantial. Same with Joseph Smith Jr of the Mormon religion. I mean, here is someone who claimed to have direct communication with God, almost within our lifetimes, only in the 1820′s! Imagine the evidence, the eyewitness accounts, the texts written! Incontrovertible! It’s great that you “FEEL” you have enough evidence, just as if Derren Brown had just given you an enormously personal horoscope you would “FEEL” you had enough evidence for Derren Browns mind-reading abilities, because you have an “open mind.”

    Even so I have faith that goes beyond all eyewitness evidence even. It’s not a gut feeling it is obvious as the sun will come up tomorrow.

    Faith BEYOND eyewitness evidence? So you DO actually get your faith from a whole load of stuff that is just made up? The incontrovertible eyewitness evidence in the bible isn’t ENOUGH, you have to rely on appealing to your own personal feelings? It is obvious that the sun goes up, but let me tell you, it is not obvious to more than 2 thirds of the world’s population that the christian god exists.

    No scientific explanation is enough to prove that there is not a God out there. I see this entire universe as a massive sandbox and we are reverse engineering everything inside that sandbox to create something out of things that already exist. However, unlike God, we cannot create something out of nothing.

    But science as we know cannot prove there is NO God, because that depends on your definition of God. Was there a mysterious God who pressed a button to kick start the universe, but now has nothing to do with us? Quite possibly, we’ll probably never know – although given that we don’t know anything about his actual attributes, he could just as easily be a “person” or a “small-furry-creature-from-alpha-centauri” than neccessarily a God.

    But science can do a very good job of disproving many of the claims of a God. We are supposed to see the evidence of God through the power of prayer: and yet, we see that in fact prayer has no effect, beyond coincidence. So, although we know there still MAY BE a God, we can surely rule out the Christian God, who says so explicitly SO MANY times in the “incontrovertible-word-of-god” Bible that he WILL answer prayers. What else? The Christian and Muslim and Jewish texts all make similar claims about the age of the earth, and the process of creation. We can see now that these claims are wrong. So we can safely discount the Abrhamic God. Continue ad-infinitum.

    You have said before “even if god came down and showed himself, you still wouldn’t believe.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are quite happy to follow the evidence, and be comfortable knowing there is no God – it certainly doesn’t make us miserable. But if God were to appear, some big apparition, doing something incontrovertibly God like, such as casting sinners into hell, turning the dead sea into chardonnay, or turning night into day – then we’re not stupid. Amazing how it just hasn’t happened yet, it’s as though God has just gone on holiday to the Algarve for the past 18 centuries or something, given how few “miracles” there have been since the “eyewitnesses” of the Bible.

    I like science I really do. I love learning on how things work. Like the Jupiter having rings like Saturn and how we have come a long way from where we were before.

    That’s fine. There’s not actually any major problem with you being a scientist and maintaining a religious belief. Plenty of people do it. It’s just when you try and convert people on here with woefully poor arguments, “oh, you just don’t have open minds, you can’t see it, that I’m the one true christian.”

    I just don’t think science has all the answers for everything and I don’t think we have much time to answer those questions before humankind does itself in.

    Then hadn’t we better get cracking, instead of praying to possibly the wrong-version-of-God for our remaining few years? Isn’t that what God would want us to do – get off our butts and do something to make the world a better place?

    Anything is more peaceful than being in pain or living in this world.

    So, as a self-professed anti-liberal, do you support euthanasia?

    So they probably feel free.

    Or possibly they feel “high” on the cocktail of drugs that is released into the brain at death.

    We don’t know what happens after that. God could judge and then it happens then. We don’t exactly know beyond that.

    Nope. And we’re not claiming we do. It is people like you who are claiming “what will happen IS, you will get judged, and if you’ve been homosexual, or voted democrat, or not tithed enough of your income to buy the minister a new Lambourghini, then you will go to hell eternally.” We simply don’t make those claims: why does your religion? We simply try to live this life as best as possible, to cause as little suffering to others.

    All we know is that there is something there that you can’t get to from where science is right now.

    Given that the evidence suggests that we are actually gone, it’s quite possible that we don’t actually “get” anywhere.

    I feel that there is enough evidence although not all of it being physical and thus cannot be measured using scientific methods.

    Enough with the “feeling” of evidence. Evidence is either there or not: you either let it speak for itself, OR you decide to “feel” about it. You do the latter.

    First of all. I am not depressed. You make it sound that way and I am not. I love things about this world like flowers and nature. Some of the most beautiful things that I have seen like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Rocky Mountains.

    Other beautiful things:

    http://www.astro.washington.edu/labs/clearinghouse/labs/HDF/hdfmain.html

    http://www.thedeepbook.org/

    However, there is a lot of bad in this world. From people who kill other people to child molesters and diseases and all of that. It was never ment to be this way, but it was chosen by humankind due to Sin (now you won’t believe that, but that is just what I believe).

    Hmmmm loads of religious child molesters, from Mohammed to the Catholics, to recent Mormons. I don’t know, does following a God actually lead to this??

    Well done, you correctly predict that I don’t believe that humankind has “chosen Sin” (you’re referring to the Fall etc). Also, you recognise that “it is just what I believe.” No evidence, you “just believe” it. An old story, Adam and Eve is. And yet you probably don’t literally believe the tale of the minotaur, or medusa, or any of the greek myths. You probably don’t believe the ancient Australian Aboriginal myths, of a giant Murray River Cod gouging out the Murray river. You are remarkably selective with the ancient myths you believe in.

    However, there are things that we cannot imagine in the spirit world and there are things that is going to blow your mind.

    Such as? If you can’t even IMGAINE what these things are, how can you talk of them with such confidence? You’re just saying STUFF.

    It’s not that I am trying to find a way to excape this world, I am trying to get my own business and I love movies and video games just like you all do (can’t wait for Fable 2) :) However, I believe that there is a better place than what we all can imagine here and I do believe that this world will not last.

    Our time on this earth really ought to be spent trying to make that better place HERE, given that we have no evidence other than your wishful thinking for the “better place later on.”

    Many people like Dawkins thinks that religion will destroy this world, but he could not be more wrong.

    Not necessarily. Just certain types of religion.

    Political and energy resources are far worse. Gas and Oil are the worst thing for this planet, not just because of global warming, but because it is something that we cannot live without and it will eventually run out.

    If you take a look at Gas prices now, just wait until we run out and now with China gobbling up more gas and oil it is only going to get worse.

    And the best thing to do is…. pray?

    I know I said this in another post, but I am just saying humankind cannot last. I put my faith into something higher, all people are flawed (religous or not) and we all face the same problems.

    That is such a negative view: is this the first nihilist Christian I’ve met? You seem to think we’re doomed, there’s nothing to live for, we should all just wallow in self misery until we’re rescued by some glowing light as we die. Well, you can wallow all you like, matey. The only evidence is that we’re here, we have to live on this planet, and we have to do it entirely without supernatural intervention. We should get on with it, and make it better, and stop worrying over whether your version of Jesus is better than George Bushes version of Jesus.

    Dawkins isn’t solving any problems, he is creating them.
    He is creating animosity between people and not offering any big solutions to the real problems in this world.

    Dawkins is merely stoking animosity that is already there. Many christians simply hate atheists – more than anyone else! Atheists as a general rule don’t hate Christians, except when they try to drag the planet intellectually back to the dark ages, along with the fundamentalist Muslims. He offers the big solution to the real problems: he says, use reason and science. These things COULD actually solve global warming, COULD actually find alternate energy sources, in fact ALREADY are. That’s what Dawkins offers: he says “stop believing in things that have no actual basis. Stop praying when you KNOW noone will answer. Stop persecuting people based on their opposing beliefs in sky-gods. Get OVER IT, and grow UP, and take REAL responsibility” is his message!

  323. #326 Nick Gotts
    May 11, 2008

    Kenny, could you explain for us the mechanism by which the fact that the “material was in a box that was in a fire” threw off the carbon dating.”? Do you, in fact, have the slightest idea how carbon dating works, or are you just repeating something someone told you? Because (I’ll let you into a secret), there is no such mechanism. Besides, doesn’t it seem odd to you that, if the carbon dating were in some way wrong, it just happened to be thrown off by just the amount that gave the result we’d expect if the “shroud” is a medieval fake, as the Bishop of Troyes said it is in 1389? That would be pretty mean of God, now wouldn’t it – to allow scientists to discover carbon dating, then screw it up when they use it to test whether this “relic” could possibly be what it’s supposed to be? And not just screw it up so it gives the result “1940″, or “20,000 years ago”, but so it gives exactly the result a medieval fake would give?

    Let me remind you that it is you who brought up the “Shroud” of Turin. As a proof of the existence of God. Yet the best test we can apply to it, clearly indicates that it’s a fake.

    Kenny, I do sympathise with your concerns about climate change and resource shortages. I even agree that science alone cannot solve these problems – political action and cooperation on a global scale, between people of widely differing views, is also needed. I’m quite willing to work with religious believers on many issues, and I do. What I can’t work with is people who insist we must just “put our trust in God”, or “have faith”, rather than using reason to seek the best ways to deal with these problems. And have you noticed that many of the people who are denying the reality of man-made climate change, and who brought about the invasion of Iraq, are fundamentalist Christians like you? If so, have you wondered why? I think it’s because they have a belief system that itself depends on denying or distorting evidence and logic, and to which everything must be subordinated. They applied this same approach of belief in the face of evidence and logic to Iraq,convincing themselves that the invaders would be greeted with cheers and flowers; and they apply it to man-made climate change, convincing themselves it’s all a plot by wicked scientists and that God would not allow such a thing to happen – or else that it’s all part of his plan.

    Kenny, people here, including me, have been quite rude to you (and vice versa), but you keep coming back for more. Why? I really think it can only be because you’re trying to shout down your own doubts, or distract yourself from what really scares you. You have said enough things here – you wish it was the 1980s, “Anything is more peaceful than being in pain or living in this world” – to convince me for one that you are in real distress. Is atheism really to blame for your pain Kenny?

  324. #327 negentropyeater
    May 11, 2008

    Etha #212, and Kenny (of course, how could I forget him…),

    I’m still waiting for the evidence that NDEs occur during the period where there is no brain activity.

    I did take a closer look at the links suggested by Kenny. For instance, in this article :

    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel_consciousness.htm

    The author makes the following claims ; (in part 5. NEUROPHYSIOLOGY IN CARDIAC ARREST)

    From these studies we know that in our prospective study1 as well as in the other studies2,3 of patients who have been clinically dead (VF on the ECG), total lack of electric activity of the cortex of the brain (flat EEG) must have been the only possibility, but also the abolition of brain-stem activity, such as the loss of the corneal reflex, fixed and dilated pupils, and the loss of the gag reflex, is a clinical finding in those patients. However, patients with an NDE can report a clear consciousness, in which cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, and memory from early childhood was possible, as well as perception from a position out and above their “dead” body. Because of the occasional and verifiable out-of-body experiences, like the one involving the dentures in our study,1 we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness, and not in the first or last seconds of this period. There is also a well documented report of a patient with constant registration of the EEG during surgery for an gigantic aneurysm at the base of the brain, operated with a body temperature between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. She was connected to a heart-lung machine, with VF, with all blood drained from her head, with a flat line EEG, with clicking devices in both ears, with eyes taped shut, and this patient experienced an NDE with an out-of-body experience, and all details she perceived and heard could later be verified.15

    So we have to conclude that NDE in our study,1 as well as in the American2 and the British study,3 was experienced during a transient functional loss of all functions of the cortex and of the brainstem. How could a clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death, with a flat EEG?

    I am not qualified to comment on these claims. Anyone cares to take a look ?

    However, when he starts trying to bring in his very confused understanding of quantum mechanics in order to find an explanation, it gets very messy. He definitely has no clue and makes a beautiful soup with such concepts as non locality, coherence, phase space, space time continuum, all the buzz words are there… Definitely read too much Penrose.

    This sentence in his conclusion did make me laugh :

    Such understanding fundamentally changes one’s opinion about death, because of the almost unavoidable conclusion that at the time of physical death consciousness will continue to be experienced in another dimension, in an invisible and immaterial world, the phase-space, in which all past, present and future is enclosed.

    Unavoidable conclusion ? Phase space dimension ?

    Kenny, you see these two words “unavoidable conclusion” indicate with almost certainty that this author is not really searching for the truth, wherever it leads him, is not really interested in understanding and investigating, but only trying to confirm an a priori conclusion that he has already made long time before.

    But one thing I know for sure. If indeed NDEs turn out to be a really puzzling phenomena, if indeed they are way to unlock new dimensions, to further our understanding, and maybe to find out that in the end, there really is, a spiritual world, the only people who can be trusted are those who accept to describe their methods, models, hypothesis, with language, logic, reasoning that is to be judged by their peers.
    You really need to study more the history of science to understand better and gain back this trust in Science that you seem to have completely lost. For you will see that each and every time that the limits of our knowledge have been furthered, this has been achieved not by kooks who find it easy to convince people like you, but by real scientific geniuses. And they are pretty hard to come by…

    To finish, I will leave you with these fine words, just for you to think about, and maybe to gain back a bit of trust in Science.
    They were written 1000 years ago by a man who can be almost credited as being the father of all sciences, Ibn Al Haytham, himself a very religious man ;

    Therefore, the seeker after the truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.

    Still, these words apply to these men who dedicate their lives to explore the frontiers of our knowledge and to learn the truth. The real truth, whatever it may be, and not prejudices. And I’m afraid they fall in the category of scientists. So, why don’t you trust them ?

  325. #328 spurge
    May 11, 2008

    An interesting blog post on NDE.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=114

  326. #329 Iain Walker
    May 11, 2008

    Kenny (Comment #282):

    However, unlike God, we cannot create something out of nothing.

    So how exactly does one create something out of nothing? Still waiting for an answer on that.

  327. #330 buckyball
    May 11, 2008

    @#325, Peregrine:

    “How can you TELL it’s God speaking, and not just yourself?”

    Although I can’t speak for Kenny, as an observer, I’d just mention the usual test is to compare it to what is in Scripture. Also, some believers are given a gift of discernment.

    “Same with Joseph Smith Jr of the Mormon religion. I mean, here is someone who claimed to have direct communication with God, almost within our lifetimes, only in the 1820′s!”

    Again, I’m sure Kenny will have his own response here. But this is one of the major issues with Mormonism. There are only a few instances in the Bible where someone has had direct contact with God (visually)…Moses and Isaiah, for instance. In fact, Moses couldn’t even look at God directly; yet Mr. Smith somehow saw Him face to face in the woods. Was Mr. Smith greater than Moses? This is why it’s rather odd how they will uphold the KJV Bible, yet tout the Book of Mormon.

  328. #331 Nick Gotts
    May 11, 2008

    I’d just mention the usual test [for whether God's speaking to you] is to compare it to what is in Scripture. Also, some believers are given a gift of discernment.

    Do you really not see how ludicrous these “tests” are? Why can’t a Muslim tell God is speaking to him because what is said matches what’s in the Koran, a Hindu what’s in the Bhagavad Gita, a Sikh what’s in the Guru Granth Sahib, a Mormon what’s in the Book of Mormon? And in any of these cases, how would conformity with what is in a book you know well possibly indicate that the source is outside you?

    How do you know you have been “given a special gift for discernment”? Perhaps some people have a special gift for discerning whether they have a special gift for discernment? But how can they know that? It’s turtles all the way down!

  329. #332 Etha Williams
    May 11, 2008

    @#327 negentropyeater –

    The author makes the following claims ; (in part 5. NEUROPHYSIOLOGY IN CARDIAC ARREST)

    From these studies we know that in our prospective study1 as well as in the other studies2,3 of patients who have been clinically dead (VF on the ECG), total lack of electric activity of the cortex of the brain (flat EEG) must have been the only possibility, but also the abolition of brain-stem activity, such as the loss of the corneal reflex, fixed and dilated pupils, and the loss of the gag reflex, is a clinical finding in those patients. However, patients with an NDE can report a clear consciousness, in which cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, and memory from early childhood was possible, as well as perception from a position out and above their “dead” body. Because of the occasional and verifiable out-of-body experiences, like the one involving the dentures in our study,1 we know that the NDE must happen during the period of unconsciousness, and not in the first or last seconds of this period.

    The link posted by spurge in #328 has a good discussion of this “study” — at no point in it does it actually determine whether the person is “brain dead,” and it vastly over-simplifies the neural aspect of cardiac arrest.

    There is also a well documented report of a patient with constant registration of the EEG during surgery for an gigantic aneurysm at the base of the brain, operated with a body temperature between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. She was connected to a heart-lung machine, with VF, with all blood drained from her head, with a flat line EEG, with clicking devices in both ears, with eyes taped shut, and this patient experienced an NDE with an out-of-body experience, and all details she perceived and heard could later be verified.15

    Here they are referring to the Pam Reynolds case. While PR had an OOB experience, it all occurred before not only before the flat line EEG occurred, but also before the “stand still” (lowered body temperature, etc) occurred — Reynolds was simply under anesthesia. Ear plugs do not block all external sound, so it’s entirely possible that Reynolds could have heard what she heard (and again, she was under anasthesia, *not* dead). The “seeing” with the eyes shut is somewhat interesting, but hardly indicative of a non-corporeal soul; a compelling explanation is provided here.

    The only part of the “NDE” that occurred during the standstill phase (when her body was cooled, blood drained from her head, etc) was, unsurprisingly, the classic white light, relatives, etc response to hypoxia/anoxia. There is no way to show that any of this occurred during the 6-10 minutes during which she had a flat line EEG, and no reason to believe this other than wishful thinking.

  330. #333 Nick Gotts
    May 11, 2008

    Re #328 Spurge – thanks, fascinating article. Kenny, READ IT.

  331. #334 Etha Williams
    May 11, 2008

    @#330 buckyball –

    @#325, Peregrine:

    “How can you TELL it’s God speaking, and not just yourself?”

    Although I can’t speak for Kenny, as an observer, I’d just mention the usual test is to compare it to what is in Scripture. Also, some believers are given a gift of discernment.

    Ok, well, how can you TELL that Scripture is God’s word, and not just something a bunch of people wrote down and compiled? Does that go back to your gift of discernment?

  332. #335 negentropyeater
    May 11, 2008

    Etha,

    thx for helping to debunk this.
    Now can you imagine how easy it is to impress the credulous minds ? And Kenny is just the tip of the iceberg.
    The internet is great for debunking but it is also great for circulating falsehoods and propaganda. In this information overload one can hope that the trustworthy sources should prevail, but there is no guarantee, especially when information seekers are as biased as Kenny.

  333. #336 Physicalist
    May 11, 2008

    @ negentropyeater: I was actually speaking with the author of the paper you cite in #327 a few weeks ago in the Netherlands (at a conference on an unrelated topic).

    He told me the denture story, and mentioned that the dentures had been lost — couldn’t be found in the drawer the nurse remembered putting them in. I asked whether the supposed out-of-body experiencer knew where they were. (After all, what good is being out of your body if you’re only able to experience sensations that are available to your body?)

    The answer: No.

    So it seems pretty clear to me that the only lesson is that this guy’s brain was processing more than the nurses expected; he was getting enough information to be able to identify individuals, and some of what was going on previously.

    Add in everything we know about how much people are willing to read into situations (cf. cold readers and illusionists), and it’s pretty clear there’s zero evidence for anything spooky. Interesting things to learn about the brain? Sure. Kenny’s ghosts? I don’t think so.

    And the quantum stuff is a mixture of confusion and unjustified speculation. Penrose’s spontaneous collapse theory is interesting — probably wrong, but at least testable. This NDE discussion wanders into woo-land. (Though it’s not that far from woo that Niels Bohr himself strolled through.)

  334. #337 buckyball
    May 12, 2008

    @334, Etha:

    “Ok, well, how can you TELL that Scripture is God’s word, and not just something a bunch of people wrote down and compiled? Does that go back to your gift of discernment?”

    It goes beyond that. Considering that the Old Testament books were written across many centuries, and that many of them contain prophetic statements, what are the odds that one person could fufill a couple hundred prophecies in their lifetime? For instance, passages like Isaiah 53.

    The amount of interconnected passages within the whole of the Bible itself is also rather unusual. In addition, there are numerous passages in the Old Testament that less than flattering accounts of the Israelites…if you were to keep writing down, editing and compiling things, why not throw those parts out?

    Also, some say that the modern day restoration of Israel in 1948 is a fufillment of Ezekiel 37. I’m sure what to think of that, but I can see a strong case being made for it.

    I’m not sure that answers your question adequately enough, however, so I’ll add more later.

    @331, Nick:

    “And in any of these cases, how would conformity with what is in a book you know well possibly indicate that the source is outside you?”

    In an earlier post, I asked Kenny if he knew of any Muslims that kept prayer logs/journals. My premise was that if the Bible gives clear instructions on prayer it should be a verifiable act, right? Some people keep prayer logs. This is not necessarily to put “God to the test”, but it is a means of tracking things, and I suppose in some cases, it could be a means of gathering data. So, couldn’t a similiar concept be applied to other religions? I tried to Google the idea (using quotes) and it came back with zero results. Odd.

    Anyway, I should elaborate on what I meant by an “answer” conforming to the Word; if God states in the Book of Malachi that He “does not change”, that sounds like a pretty reliable indicator of unchanging character, if it’s true. Now, it’s been noted on numerous occasions that a person has asked for something in prayer and the answer is not always “yes”. Sometimes it’s no…and there is always a good reason behind it. The real litmus test then becomes…well, why was the answer “no”? Does the answer the person wanted violate the something in Scripture? Does it violate God’s character? Could it be that perhaps God really has something better intended for that person? Inevitably, an answer does come, however.

    Now step back a minute…this starts to sound an awful lot like a relationship. When going through the Old Testament, numerous books deal with exactly that…a relationship. Specifically, between God and Israel (which later gets expanded to the rest of the world in the New Testament). Considering that this “relationship” is played out on the field of world events, and via verifiable history…that would seem to indicate to me that it’s “outside of me”.

    Note, I don’t pretend to understand exactly why it was done this particular way; although there are passages in the Old Testament of prophets being sent to the Gentiles (i.e. the Book of Jonah) rather than directing their messages at the Israelites exclusively.

  335. #338 Iain Walker
    May 12, 2008

    buckyball (Comment #337):

    what are the odds that one person could fufill a couple hundred prophecies in their lifetime? For instance, passages like Isaiah 53.

    Well, if that person’s biography is related by people with a vested interest in retrofitting said life story to as many of those prophecies as possible, the odds are pretty good. Indeed, the writers of the Gospels depict Jesus actively trying to fulfil certain prophecies, which is the kind of shenanigans that gives the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” a bad name.

    In addition, there are numerous passages in the Old Testament that less than flattering accounts of the Israelites…if you were to keep writing down, editing and compiling things, why not throw those parts out?

    Possibly because the OT isn’t just a collection of ethnic myths designed to make the Israelites look good (it is that in part, but only in part). It’s also an attempt to make sense of the communal experience of a rather minor Middle Eastern tribe, which includes finding excuses for the calamities that befall them. Additionally, the books of the OT constitute an expression of an evolving religious ideology, in which case it makes sense to include stories about the consequences of backsliding and other failures to live up to said ideology’s strictures. As such, it’s unsurprising that the Israelites are sometimes shown in a bad light – bad things happen to them because they were bad (i.e., they didn’t adhere properly to the ideology).

    Of course, the Israelites are also depicted in a bad light in other ways (at least to modern eyes) – e.g., all that massacring and ethnic cleansing at the behest of their deity. But it’s fairly obvious why these parts weren’t thrown out – the editors didn’t see anything wrong with them.

  336. #339 Etha Williams
    May 12, 2008

    @#338 Iain Walker –

    Indeed, the writers of the Gospels depict Jesus actively trying to fulfil certain prophecies, which is the kind of shenanigans that gives the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” a bad name.

    Yes, for example:

    Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28 [NIV])

  337. #340 buckyball
    May 12, 2008

    @ Iain, #338

    “Well, if that person’s biography is related by people with a vested interest in retrofitting said life story to as many of those prophecies as possible, the odds are pretty good. Indeed, the writers of the Gospels depict Jesus actively trying to fulfil certain prophecies, which is the kind of shenanigans that gives the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” a bad name.”

    Considering that there are still multiple prophecies yet to be fufilled, perhaps at some point in the future that theory may be tested. What would be the point of “retrofitting” the story, though? To lead people into a lie? Wouldn’t that run completely counter to the person’s life they were trying to retrofit the prophecies to?

    Possibly because the OT isn’t just a collection of ethnic myths designed to make the Israelites look good (it is that in part, but only in part). It’s also an attempt to make sense of the communal experience of a rather minor Middle Eastern tribe, which includes finding excuses for the calamities that befall them. Additionally, the books of the OT constitute an expression of an evolving religious ideology, in which case it makes sense to include stories about the consequences of backsliding and other failures to live up to said ideology’s strictures. As such, it’s unsurprising that the Israelites are sometimes shown in a bad light – bad things happen to them because they were bad (i.e., they didn’t adhere properly to the ideology).

    So, to follow this line of reasoning out, that means phrases like “The word of the Lord came to…” were just literary devices used by multiple authors to warn fellow citizens to correct their ways…?

  338. #341 Kenny
    May 13, 2008

    Here is some more information about NDE. There is a blind woman who could see after an NDE.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGZTvRobTYA&feature=related

    If a woman who was blind from birth is disturbed when she can finally see while her NDE is happening and then returns blind when she is in her body. How can that happen if it is all in the Brain?

    Sorry, I can only see this as real. There is no other explanation.

  339. #342 Kenny
    May 13, 2008

    >#328 Spurge – thanks, fascinating article. Kenny, READ IT.

    I read the article. What about it? Shermer is a sceptic. Dawkins loves him because they have the same mindset.

    Again, if you are a skeptic, you will INVENT ways so that you don’t have to believe. No proof in the world will work physical or otherwise. That is a fact and that is why proving anything to a skeptic is useless.

    Skeptics in my mind are automatic discredited.

  340. #343 MAJeff, OM
    May 13, 2008

    Kenny,

    If you want to not be considered an idiot, don’t say idiotic things. That last post was the height of ridiculousness, and simply showed you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about….about anything.

  341. #344 negentropyeater
    May 13, 2008

    Kenny,

    about the testimony of Vicky (the blind NDE person who saw light during her NDE), yes I agree, this is very interesting, but yet again, I spent an entire day perusing those sites, and what scientists think about this, yes it raised my curiosity, and I learned things. It didn’t convince me that it was reason enough to conclude that these were evidence of a supernatural phenomena, but I admit that further scientific investigation is required to better understand what is really going on.
    The difference between you and me, is that you immediately jump to a conlusion that you have already taken a priori, ie, this is proof of after life, whereas I say, hmm, this is an interesting phenomena, what can we learn from it ?

    Look Kenny, your conviction that there is afterlife is motivated by your hope. There’s nothing wrong with that. But have the courage to admit it, and don’t try to force science to find ways to confirm it, when it cannot do so, for now. Trying to force science into commiting a lie is at the opposite of what Christ wants us to do.

  342. #345 negentropyeater
    May 13, 2008

    BTW Kenny, that video talks about Pam Reynolds. There is a detailed article on wikipedia you might want to read and comment here, tell us what you think.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pam_Reynolds%27_NDE

  343. #346 MartinM
    May 13, 2008

    Again, if you are a skeptic, you will INVENT ways so that you don’t have to believe…
    Skeptics in my mind are automatic discredited.

    You really don’t see anything at all incongruous here, do you?

  344. #347 Iain Walker
    May 13, 2008

    buckyball (Comment #340):

    Considering that there are still multiple prophecies yet to be fufilled, perhaps at some point in the future that theory may be tested.

    Given that biblical prophecies often tend to be vague, ambiguous and couched in poetic language, I imagine that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find events that “fit”. I’m sure the recently banned Nostradamus enthusiast what’s-his-name could give you a few pointers in creative prophecy interpretation.

    What would be the point of “retrofitting” the story, though? To lead people into a lie? Wouldn’t that run completely counter to the person’s life they were trying to retrofit the prophecies to?

    Are you seriously this naive? The point is to give the narrative legitimacy by grounding it in a larger, established tradition. And while deliberate propagandising on the part of the gospel writers is perfectly plausible (they did after all have a new ideology to sell), this needn’t be a conscious lie as such – people are often prone to “improving” stories to make them conform to what they would like to have happened, or think should have happened, as much to convince themselves as anyone else.

    As for running “counter to the person’s life”, the people doing the retrofitting are also the ones constructing the only narratives we have of that life. As I pointed out, the gospel writers show Jesus actively engaged in attempts to fulfill prophecies, so it hardly runs counter to the way they depict him.

    So, to follow this line of reasoning out, that means phrases like “The word of the Lord came to…” were just literary devices used by multiple authors to warn fellow citizens to correct their ways…?

    My point was simply that there are perfectly understandable human reasons why various of the Old Testament authors might depict the Israelites in a bad light. I wasn’t commenting on any particular form of words.

  345. #348 buckyball
    May 13, 2008

    @ Iain, #347:

    “Given that biblical prophecies often tend to be vague, ambiguous and couched in poetic language…”

    Can you list some examples? Numerous prophecies are quite specific, sometimes down to the detail of exactly how a city was to fall (for instance). Several Old Testament prophecies were already fufilled, such as the exile in 586 B.C., etc.

    “The point is to give the narrative legitimacy by grounding it in a larger, established tradition.”And how do Paul’s letter fit into this? The Israelites practically had a fit when they found out that the Gospel would also go the Gentiles.

  346. #349 Nick Gotts
    May 13, 2008

    Can you list some examples? [Of vague biblical prophecies] – buckyball

    Isiah 53.

  347. #350 Nick Gotts
    May 13, 2008

    True, some prophecies are fairly clear – and fairly clearly wrong:

    # Verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. — Mt.10:23

    # Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. — Mt.16:28

    # Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. — Mt.24:34

    # Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. — Mark 9:1

    # Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. — Mark 13:30

    # But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. — Luke 9:27

    # This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. — Luke 21:32

    # Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee. — John 21:22

    # But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none. — 1 Cor.7:29

    # The Lord is at hand. — Phil.4:5

    # God … hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. — Heb.1:1-2

    # In the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. — Heb.9:26

    # For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. — Heb.10:37

    # The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. — James 5:8

    # Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. — 1 Peter 1:20

    # But the end of all things is at hand. — 1 Peter 4:7

    # It is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. — 1 John 2:18

    # The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. — Rev.1:1

    # The time is at hand. — Rev.1:3

    # Behold, I come quickly. — Rev.3:11, 22:7, 22:12, 22:20

  348. #351 Nick Gotts
    May 13, 2008

    Re #350 But perhaps the last one has a non-prophetic interpretation, given the obviously bizarre sexual obsessions of the author of The Revelation of St. John the divine

  349. #352 buckyball
    May 13, 2008

    @ Nick, #350:

    “# Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. — Mt.24:34″

    This passage refers to the End Times. Same with Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32.

    # The Lord is at hand. — Phil.4:5

    Could “near” by relative? Near could mean “nearby” or near in terms of time. Also:

    “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)

    So…in other words, it’s not happening fast enough for some people? Besides…

    “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)

    In Acts 1:6, it states “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

    # Verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. — Mt.10:23

    That’s accurate. They most likely didn’t get through all the cities in Israel (this entire passage was addressed to the Twelve by the way). One betrayed Jesus, and many of the rest were martyred. John ended up on Patmos. In other words, they didn’t finish the job in their lifetime; considering that the Son of man hasn’t returned yet…how is this passage wrong?

    # Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. — Mark 9:1

    # But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. — Luke 9:27

    Well, we know one for sure “tasted death” before the Holy Spirit arrived on Pentecost…Judas. As for the rest, it depends on how many were alive on Pentecost.

    @ Nick, #349:

    “Isiah 53.”

    “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

    If Jesus was considered to have “carried the sins of the world”, this would fit. Same with verse 5.

    “By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants?” (Isaiah 53:8)

    Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Pilate and sentenced. As for the second sentence, sorry Dan Brown.

    Etc.

  350. #353 Etha Williams
    May 13, 2008

    @#342 Kenny –

    Skeptics in my mind are automatic discredited.

    This really says it all.

  351. #354 Nick Gotts
    May 13, 2008

    # Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. — Mt.24:34″

    This passage refers to the End Times – buckyball.

    Don’t. Be. Silly. If he meant some time distant from the time he is speaking, Jesus would say “That generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” It is quite clear the early Christians expected the imminent end of the world – and what good is “Biblical prophecy” if it is misinterpreted by those it is aimed at? More fundamentally, how can it ever be put to the test if you can always say “Oh, well that one hasn’t happened yet.”

  352. #355 Kseniya
    May 13, 2008

    I’m skeptical about Kenny’s claim that he has skeptics in his mind.

  353. #356 Etha Williams
    May 13, 2008

    My fortune cookie last weekend prophesied that “Next Friday will be an exciting day for you.”

    And this coming Friday is my 21st birthday!

    Coincidence? Impossible. I’ve converted to fortune cookie-ism. It’s the only answer.

  354. #357 buckyball
    May 13, 2008

    @ Nick, #354

    It is quite clear the early Christians expected the imminent end of the world – and what good is “Biblical prophecy” if it is misinterpreted by those it is aimed at?

    Undoubtably, they did think the “return” was right around the corner; however, it was not their call as to the actual timing of such an event.

    Also, the Jews at the time believed that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom, which is one reason why some modern days Jews have rejected him…they don’t want a “two part” prophecy…where one part was fufilled two thousand years ago, and another part is yet to be fufilled. Ironically, though, this very issue is addressed in Revelation, Ezekiel 38, and in Romans.

  355. #358 Iain Walker
    May 14, 2008

    buckyball (Comment #348):

    Can you list some examples?

    I can’t help but notice that Nick Gotts has already listed several New Testament “prophecies” of an apparently imminent end of the world (i.e., imminent at the time), and you’ve seen fit to defend them from the charge of having been falsified on the grounds that time is relative. So it seems that you have no problem treating biblical prophecies as being vague and flexible when it suits your own purposes.

    Numerous prophecies are quite specific, sometimes down to the detail of exactly how a city was to fall (for instance).

    Such as Ezekiel’s lengthy gloat over the fate that is supposed to befall the city of Tyre at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel Ch 26-28)? A prophecy which not only failed to come true, but which Ezekiel himself seems to have realised he’d got wrong (Ezekiel 29:18-19)?

    And how do Paul’s letter fit into this? The Israelites practically had a fit when they found out that the Gospel would also go the Gentiles.

    Not sure what you’re getting at here. Did you have any particular passages from Paul’s epistles in mind? What’s your point?

  356. #359 buckyball
    May 14, 2008

    @ Iain, #348:

    Iain wrote: “Such as Ezekiel’s lengthy gloat over the fate that is supposed to befall the city of Tyre at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel Ch 26-28)? A prophecy which not only failed to come true, but which Ezekiel himself seems to have realised he’d got wrong (Ezekiel 29:18-19)?”

    For reference [NIV]:

    18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. 19 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.

    What’s interesting about the language of these chapters (26-28) is that one gets the sense that the city literally gets swept away by the sea. Lines like “Now you are shattered by the sea…(verse 27:34)” or 26:19 which reads “…when I bring the oceans depths over you and its vast waters cover you…” seem to indicate this. Could it be that Tyre eventually gets knocked out by a tidal wave/earthquake? Possibly. But to really understand these passages, and Nebuchadnezzar’s role, it might be better to reread verse 26:3…

    “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves.”

    That sounds like several nations are going to come against Tyre. Under Alexander, for instance, the island portion of Tyre was overrun. Under Nebuchadnezzar, the mainland portion was under siege; but he only seems to be referred to specifically in verses 26:7-11. The city has been rampaged several times in history, and who knows what it may look like in a few years, given how things are currently going in that portion of the world.

    buckyball wrote: “And how do Paul’s letter fit into this? The Israelites practically had a fit when they found out that the Gospel would also go the Gentiles.”

    Iain wrote: “Not sure what you’re getting at here. Did you have any particular passages from Paul’s epistles in mind? What’s your point?”

    My understanding of his original point was that he was stating that the New Testament writers tried to give credence to Jesus’ authority (and existence one could add) by digging up as many “supporting” prophecies as they could. Although that might be a theory for the Gospel accounts, what about Paul’s ministry?

    There are prophecies, however, in Isaiah that stated the Jews would reject Jesus (which Paul refers to in Romans 9:33). Although Paul started by preaching to the Jews, he eventually turned to the Gentiles…which is something the majority of them were not expecting.

  357. #360 Iain Walker
    May 15, 2008

    buckyball (Comment #359):

    What’s interesting about the language of these chapters (26-28) is that one gets the sense that the city literally gets swept away by the sea. [snip] Could it be that Tyre eventually gets knocked out by a tidal wave/earthquake?

    Which again highlights the fact that if a prophecy seems (on the face of it) not to have been fulfilled, you can always focus on some other aspect of the language, and/or claim that the prophesied outcome hasn’t yet come to pass.

    And given that the eastern Mediterranean is somewhat earthquake-prone, the odds of Tyre getting hit by one sooner or later are actually quite good. So if you wanted to interpret Ezekiel in this fashion, it’s not much of a prophecy – more a bet with not particularly long odds. And the further you extend the time-frame for fulfillment into an unspecified future, the less and less impressive the “prophecy” becomes.

    That sounds like several nations are going to come against Tyre. Under Alexander, for instance, the island portion of Tyre was overrun.

    Yet Ezekiel doesn’t mention Alexander. He specifies Nebuchadnezzar as God’s agent of destruction.

    Nevertheless, your point is not unreasonable – and that’s part of the problem. An important commercial and trading centre in a region plagued by marauding conquerors is going to attract attackers and besiegers sooner or later. But again, this isn’t particularly impressive as a prophecy – it’s another bet on less than long odds. Because, as you point out, Tyre has been overrun several times in its history. As have most cities in the region.

    If Ezekiel had predicted that Tyre would never fall to a conqueror or natural disaster, and this had turned out to be true, then that would have been a lot more impressive, since it would be a prediction against the odds. As it is, his actual prophecy (under your generously broad interpretation) is about as risky as predicting that the Kentucky Derby will be won by a man riding a thoroughbred horse.

    Furthermore, the prophecy still fails in one crucial respect. Ezekiel clearly states that Tyre will be razed and never rebuilt:

    “They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 26:12-14, NIV, my emphasis)

    But this hasn’t happened. Every time the city was conquered or plundered, the inhabitants picked themselves up, rebuilt and continued as before. Now again, you can shift the goalposts and simply say that the prophecy could still be fulfilled. But the more you employ gambits like these, the more you devalue the original prophecy, by making it infinitely flexible.

    There are prophecies, however, in Isaiah that stated the Jews would reject Jesus (which Paul refers to in Romans 9:33).

    Which reads: “As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’” (Romans 9:33, NIV), which conflates Isaiah 8:14 (“and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare”), and Isaiah 28:16 (“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”).

    Notice that the “he” in Isaiah 8 refers to “The LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 8:13), and that in Isaiah 28 it merely says “trusts”, not “trusts in him”. In context, the Isaiah passages seem to be a warning not to put your trust in earthly institutions and beliefs but in God, and that the the rulers of Israel have grown too self-confident and complacent and that God is setting them up for a fall. There’s nothing specific in the originals that connects them to Jesus in any way, so calling them prophecies “that stated the Jews would reject Jesus” is stretching the facts a little.

    One is tempted to accuse Paul of quote-mining, of dishonestly misquoting the original and taking it out of context, but a more charitable reading would be that he was simply reapplying an old metaphor to make his point. Paul’s previous appeals to the Old Testament (in Romans 9:25-29) can also be read in this manner – he’s taking Hosea’s and Isaiah’s warnings not to take God for granted (since God can change his mind regarding on whom he bestows his covenant), and using them to justify his evangelical strategy.

    So it’s not at all obvious that Paul (in this case at least) is appealing to the fulfillment of prophecy in the same way as (say) Matthew. He’s not going “Thus it was prophesied and thus it has come to pass”. He’s saying “What I’m doing is consistent with the older tradition”.

    That’s part of an answer to your question, which (as I think I understand it) is: why would early Christian writers appeal to Old Testament prophecies when addressing a non-Jewish audience? Well, firstly if the idea that Jesus fulfilled various OT prophecies were already commonplace in early Christian traditions, it’s unsurprising that allusions to them would pop up no matter what the audience. Secondly, this was a time when the appeal of prophecy was fairly ecumenical – it’s still a useful argument if you can say “Look, this guy fulfills this prophecy”, even if the audience is unfamiliar with that specific prophetic tradition. They’re still familiar with the notion of prophecy in general, and so you’re still making an impressive claim that draws people in.

    (Incidentally, while I’m kind of enjoying this discussion, I don’t really have the time to get into this kind of detailed exegetical back-and-forth, so this will probably be my last post in this thread. But it’s been nice to have a civilised exchange of views in amongst Pharyngula’s rough-and-tumble, so thanks.)

  358. #361 Etha Williams
    May 17, 2008

    If you missed the show live (I know, what a shame), they’ve posted an mp3.

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