Pharyngula

It’s nice to know that at least one person liked my talks in Seattle — and I know at least one didn’t, the creationist who made the tired accusation that I was a “fundamentalist” in the Q&A — but you can make up your own mind, since a podcast of the NWSA talk is available.

Now, though, I just want to go home and take a nap for a while.

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    June 8, 2008

    Be careful. The last time you slept, Pharyngula was invaded by Conservapædian trolls.

  2. #2 Bevans
    June 8, 2008

    Here are the file links, in case you don’t want to have to sit at your computer with the browser window open while listening.

    http://www.realscience.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/pz_myers_060208.mp3
    http://www.realscience.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/pz_myers_qa_060208.mp3

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    June 8, 2008

    Well good. But that’s way too long a suck-up piece, no matter that much of it is deserved.

    The main fault with the piece besides that is that a professor with tenure pushing atheism does not demonstrate that you can have your outspoken atheism, and your job too. There’s nothing new about that with tenured professors getting away with it (and even tenure-track professors probably don’t have to hide their atheism at most colleges and universities), and no doubt many other professions can get away with it, at least in many areas.

    I’d bet that being a physician in huge areas of this country would be seriously difficult were one also an outspoken atheist. Likely even more so for many other service-oriented professions, though at the bottom end no one cares what you think anyway, and you could probably be just about anything.

    So sure, some people are just wimps, who could be far more outspoken. Many of the rest know very well that they had better be quiet atheists, or even unknown as atheists.

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

  4. #4 Nasikabatrachus
    June 8, 2008

    Hm, PZ, your voice sounds much different than I would have expected.

  5. #5 Noni Mausa
    June 8, 2008

    PZ, I’m enjoying the address, especially interested in the $$$$ behind the creationist assault on American brains — my only regret is the lack of pix of the slides or powerpoints you were discussing. Alas.

    Noni

  6. #6 Sam
    June 8, 2008

    I have been poking around in Dana Hunter’s blog, EN TEQUILA ES VERDAD, that was linked to in this post. Interesting! I’m anxious to read Dana’s book when it gets published.

  7. #7 Zak
    June 8, 2008

    Bevans, thanks for those links!

    PZ, great talk, I enjoyed it!

  8. #8 Eli
    June 8, 2008

    Heh, PZ, you sound so different than I thought you would! (I guess it’s kind of the reverse radio effect… I’ve seen your picture but not heard your voice until now.) Anyway, I thought you’d sound a bit more like Garrison Keillor… and not because you’re from Minnesota, either.

  9. #9 darek
    June 8, 2008

    I question how wise it is to call the fossil record ‘crap’ in any circumstance… I just can’t help but think it become further fodder for creationists who already think its ‘crap’ as a whole. It feeds the confirmation bias.

    I really enjoyed listening to your talk though. We certainly do need more scientists out there talking about science!

    (note: I say my crit, PZ, in spite of understanding the context in which you say it.)

  10. #10 Tatarize
    June 8, 2008

    Actually not only does PZ have a bacon number. He probably has an Erdos-Bacon number. Depending on whether or not he’s published a paper with somebody who published with somebody who published with somebody who published with Erdos.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdos_Bacon_number

  11. #11 DaveH
    June 8, 2008

    Nasikabatrachus #4 and Eli #8

    My virgin ears first heard PZ during this debate.

    One of the best times I’ve had outside the sack.

  12. #12 The skepTick
    June 8, 2008

    I thought it was a great podcast. I was only sorry that I couldn’t see the emails you displayed. Sounds like there was lots of knowing laughter in the audience.

    The podcast left me wanting more, more, more.

  13. #13 Alex Besogonov
    June 8, 2008

    PZ now even has IMDB entry: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2990604/ :)

  14. #14 BobC
    June 8, 2008

    PZ, in the question and answer session you said one of the two high school biology teachers in your town is a young earth creationist. Her students are being cheated. She should be fired immediately. Why has she been allowed to continue teaching there?

  15. #15 Jack Rawlinson
    June 8, 2008

    Don’t forget, PZ, that for these simpletons “fundamentalist” = “OMG he’s attacking something that rilly rilly matters to me!”

    They’re not very bright.

  16. #16 jaffacakes
    June 8, 2008

    pz hate to be picky but its David Attenbourgh not Richard hes the actor easy mistake though them being brothers

  17. #17 Mus
    June 8, 2008

    Great talk PZ, very inspiring. Makes me want to go out and talk to people about science.

  18. #18 john morris
    June 9, 2008

    I really like listening to you talk Mr. Myers – I enjoy your website, and I think youre a cool guy lol heh

  19. #19 Patricia
    June 9, 2008

    Nice job PZ, you sounded very nice & cuddly. Thanks for standing up for atheists that tend to be a bit more pushy and radical. Saying bullshit TO bullshit is getting harder to do all the time. :)

  20. #20 Shirakawasuna
    June 9, 2008

    Aww, I want to see the emails :(

  21. #21 Katrina
    June 9, 2008

    “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded.”

    I’ll try again later.

  22. #22 kty
    June 9, 2008

    website appears to be down, anyone can provide a mirror to the mp3s?

  23. #23 VD
    June 9, 2008

    Dear Dr. Myers,

    You recently complained that you’ve never found any intelligent arguments for gods and said the reason you only addressed the weak arguments was because you were unaware of the strong ones. Happily, not only did I hear this intellectual cri de coeur, but so did the good hosts of the Northern Alliance Radio Show in your home state of Minnesota.

    So, no doubt you will be delighted to hear that they have invited the two of us to debate the existence of gods on their show this coming Saturday. It is my contention that there is not only substantial evidence for the existence of gods, but that the logic for the existence of gods is superior to the logic for the nonexistence of them as presented by yourself, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, to name a few.

    I have accepted their invitation to the show and I hope you will soon do likewise. You can let them know if you intend to show up and defend your side or not by emailing The Elder at rightwinger23 at hotmail.com.

    Cheers,
    Vox

  24. #24 5keptical
    June 9, 2008

    Hmmm… my Erd?s number is 4, but I co-habited with a woman with a 2… he died before we thought to ask if that promoted me to a 3…

  25. #25 Owlmirror
    June 9, 2008

    not only substantial evidence for the existence of gods, but that the logic for the existence of gods is superior to the logic for the nonexistence of them

    What, polytheism? But which pantheon?

    I’d bet on the Confucian Chinese system: A huge honking bureaucracy in charge of both heaven and hell. Prayers don’t get answered because some junior semi-demi-hemi-quasi-god goes to work with a hangover and can’t cope with the throbbing headache. Eventually he gets busted and has to spend a few decades cleaning the latrines one of the levels of hell. Meanwhile, the petition to please make the plague go away is forgotten, and the issue is kind of moot because the villagers that made the request made a minor mistake in etiquette (meaning the petition would have been sent back for correction anyway), and besides, they’re all dead now and the village is empty.

    I mean, come on, isn’t that exactly how the universe works?

  26. #26 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    “It is my contention that there is not only substantial evidence for the existence of gods, but that the logic for the existence of gods is superior to the logic for the nonexistence of them as presented by yourself, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, to name a few.”

    Well, that sounds ambitious. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I have been let down many a time by such fantastic claims as those above. So I won’t be holding my breath.

    I like the article in Dana’s blog. It reminded me of a quote from Galileo, in a letter to Castelli, that I read in Dana Sobels “Galileo’s Daughter”, :
    “Surely if the intention of the sacred scribes had been to teach people astronomy, they would not have passed over the subject so completely.”
    This is also true of Biology, Mathematics, Physics…..everything really.

    Wowbagger:
    That is how I always pictured it. And I Know that the reason I picture it that way is because that is the image that god has put in my mind. Your statement confirms that I am not alone in this, and that makes it even more truer.

    Have you seen the “God inc.” clips on youtube? They were brought to my attention by someone here….sorry I forget who.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=b2f4heaG288

  27. #27 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    So sorry, I meant Owlmirror.

  28. #28 Dana Hunter
    June 9, 2008

    Awwww, shucks, PZ! Thanks for honoring my potty-mouthed little blog again!

  29. #29 Shirakawasuna
    June 9, 2008

    lol, Vox Day has thrown down the gauntlet! Atheists everywhere quiver in fear as he hides his “good” arguments for God until he can get on the radio with PZ ;).

    What’s the problem, Vox? Don’t you want to save our souls? My soul is in serious danger while you keep those “good” arguments to yourself!

  30. #30 J-Dog
    June 9, 2008

    Dear Mr. Vox Day: Your very existence disproves the existence of a god. A powerful, loving, all-knowing god, like the Christian god is purported to be, would never create a total moron like you, or your buddies of the religious right.

    Thanks for helping to disprove the existence of your imaginary sky friend.

  31. #31 Shirakawasunad
    June 9, 2008

    “as he hides his “good” arguments for God”

    I think the point is not that he has new arguments, but rather that the strong historical arguments have been entirely ignored and he wishes PZ to respond to those.

  32. #32 J-Dogged
    June 9, 2008

    J-Dog, I think you have just shown that there is a higher intelligence, thanks for the demonstration.

  33. #33 Lamont Cranston
    June 9, 2008

    Shirakawasuna: If you had read the first line of his book, you would know that he does not care if you go to hell or not. He does not care if you believe in God or not.

    J-Dog: What a convincing argument. I bet you could just mop up the floor with Vox.

    Let’s see if PZ continues to hide or if he only likes friendly audiences like Al Gore does.

  34. #34 Jimmy
    June 9, 2008

    Lamont, I love your band.

  35. #35 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    I think the point is not that he has new arguments, but rather that the strong historical arguments have been entirely ignored

    Oh yes? What are those arguments, then?

  36. #36 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    I want to hear these “strong historical arguments that have been entirely ignored” also.

    And I would like to know who has ignored them. PZ, the world at large, those that post here?

  37. #37 Gotts pwn3d
    June 9, 2008

    “Oh yes? What are those arguments, then?”

    Ontological, teleological, cosmological (first mover, first efficient cause), anthropic, miraculous tradition, historical, existential causality, moral, possibility & necessity, perfection.

    I don’t know what Vox will posit, perhaps something more.

  38. #38 yawwwwwwwwwn
    June 9, 2008

    Here are some arguments from history: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/history.htm

  39. #39 SC
    June 9, 2008

    This looks to be an entertaining week. Bring on the crazy, VD!

  40. #40 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Re #37. All are crap, all have been dealt with in detail here and/or elsewhere. Have the guts to use your own handle, you loathsome little creep.

  41. #41 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    It is my contention that there is not only substantial evidence for the existence of gods, but that the logic for the existence of gods is superior to the logic for the nonexistence of them as presented by yourself, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, to name a few.

    You can contend all you like. I also contend that, as is illustrated in your writings, you have little idea of how to use logic in this area. (One classic example is to compare the complexity of a designer with the complexity of the universe now, as against the complexity of a universe at its origin).

  42. #42 brokenSoldier, OM
    June 9, 2008

    Man, Vox Day definitely has a lot of sock puppets…

  43. #43 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    #42

    Yes. We have certainly noticed that over at RD.net

  44. #44 Blondin
    June 9, 2008

    Watch out for that Cranston guy. He’ll cloud yer mind.

    Ah ha ha ha ha ha …

  45. #45 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    #38

    Those are supposed to be arguments? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on!

  46. #46 S. Scott
    June 9, 2008

    AAaauurrgghh!!!

    “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.”

  47. #47 Gotts to get a handle
    June 9, 2008

    “All are crap, all have been dealt with in detail here and/or elsewhere. Have the guts to use your own handle, you loathsome little creep.”

    If you count point me to refutations of exitential causality and the miraculous tradition, I would be interested.

    What’s the point of a handle, it’s not like me having a unique one is anymore honest or bold than not.

  48. #48 Gotts to proofread
    June 9, 2008

    could*

  49. #49 MPG
    June 9, 2008

    Urgh…those arguments given in #38 are pretty feeble, easily debunked even by an ill-equipped bozo such as myself. They do make for an interesting round of “Logical Fallacy Bingo” (PDF) though. At least fifteen squares, by my reckoning!

  50. #50 brokenSoldier, OM
    June 9, 2008

    What’s the point of a handle, it’s not like me having a unique one is anymore honest or bold than not.

    Posted by: Gotts to get a handle | June 9, 2008 10:11 AM

    No one said anything about bold, but when you pose as someone else and refer to yourself in the third person, you are lying.

    I don’t know what Vox will posit, perhaps something more.

    Posted by: Gotts pwn3d | June 9, 2008 8:36 AM

    And also quite perfectly fitting the description of sockpuppetry – which if you hadn’t taken the time to check, is enough to get you banned, especially when you start using the names of people who are posting on the same thread.

  51. #51 Hi, my name is Nick Gotts, what's your disability?
    June 9, 2008

    A fourth argument from history, the strongest one of all, is the argument from miracles. Miracles directly and inescapably show the presence of God, for a miracle, in the ordinary sense of the word, is a deed done by supernatural, not natural, power. Neither nature nor chance nor human power can perform a miracle. If miracles happen, they show God’s existence as clearly as reproduction shows the existence of organic life or rational speech shows the existence of thought.

    If I were an atheist, I think I would save my money to buy a plane ticket to Italy to see whether the blood of Saint Januarius really did liquefy and congeal miraculously, as it is supposed to do annually. I would go to Medjugorge. I would study all published interviews of any of the seventy thousand who saw the miracle of the sun at Fatima. I would ransack hospital records for documented “impossible”, miraculous cures. Yet, strangely, almost all atheists argue against miracles philosophically rather than historically. They are convinced a priori, by argument, that miracles can’t happen. So they don’t waste their time or money on such an empirical investigation. Those who do soon cease to be atheists–like the sceptical scientists who investigated the Shroud of Turin, or like Frank Morrison, who investigated the evidence for the “myth” of Christ’s Resurrection with the careful scientific eye of the historian–and became a believer. (His book Who Moved the Stone? is still a classic and still in print after more than sixty years.)

    The evidence is there for those who have eyes to see or, rather, the will to look. God provided just enough evidence of himself: enough for any honest and open-minded seeker whose heart really cares about the truth of the matter but not so much that dull and hardened hearts are convinced by force. Even Christ did not convince everyone by his miracles. He could have remained on earth, offered to walk into any scientific laboratory of the twentieth century, and invited scientists to perform experiments on him. He could have come down from the Cross, and then the doubters would have believed. But he did not. Even the Resurrection was kept semiprivate. The New Testament speaks of five hundred who saw him. Why did he not reveal himself to all?

  52. #52 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    I do enjoy these arguments based on miracles.

    I would love to see some reasoned argument that can demonstrate the existence of the supernatural.

    I like to bring up a statement of Arthur C. Clarke’s here. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. If there was any clear evidence of supposedly miraculous happenings, I would be interested to know how believers could distinguish between it being a result of God, or some mischievous aliens having a laugh….

    I suggest that Ockham’s Razor means we really do have to go with the aliens option, what with the infinite complexity of omniscient deities.

  53. #53 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Loathsome Little Creep@47.
    I don’t need to point you to refutations of these “arguments”, I can give them myself.

    The “arguments from existential causality” are just the first three of Aquinas’s “five ways”. In his first way, he argued from the observable movement or change in the universe to the existence of an unmoved Mover. Aquinas’ second way claims that the the causality found in the universe demands the existence of a first, uncaused Cause. His third way concludes with the existence of an independent Being as the cause for the continuing existence of all dependent beings. All of these are mere assertions, not arguments. There is nothing contradictory or implausible in there being no unmoved mover; no uncaused cause; and no “independent being”. Even if there are such things, there is no reason to suppose they have any divine or supernatural qualities. REFUTED.
    The argument from the “miraculous tradition” is even more simply dealt with: there is no good evidence of any miracle happening, ever. REFUTED.

  54. #54 Loathsome Little Creep
    June 9, 2008

    “there is no good evidence of any miracle happening, ever”

    From above:
    If I were an atheist, I think I would save my money to buy a plane ticket to Italy to see whether the blood of Saint Januarius really did liquefy and congeal miraculously, as it is supposed to do annually. I would go to Medjugorge. I would study all published interviews of any of the seventy thousand who saw the miracle of the sun at Fatima. I would ransack hospital records for documented “impossible”, miraculous cures.

    “There is nothing contradictory or implausible in there being no unmoved mover; no uncaused cause; and no “independent being”.”

    How do you exist? What caused the Big Bang? What was before the Big Bang? To say that these had/have no cause strikes me as equally if not more implausible than saying they do.

  55. #55 Claudia
    June 9, 2008

    Even if you believe god is going to save you and whisk you off for a romantic meal in heaven, you still have to abide by the rules…

    “And also quite perfectly fitting the description of sockpuppetry – which if you hadn’t taken the time to check, is enough to get you banned, especially when you start using the names of people who are posting on the same thread.”

    Thanks, brokenSoldier!

    Please, by all means, continue spouting off complete nonsense, but do so within the confines of your own personal moniker.

  56. #56 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Loathsome Little Creep@54.

    “Blood of St. Janarius”: a thixotropic liquid.
    Medjugorge: mass hysteria.
    Medical “miracles”: be specific.

    How do you exist? Hm, I think we may be getting somewhere. This is clearly someone whose parents told them some lie about the stork or the doctor’s bag, and who has never really recovered from the shock of finding out about sex.

    What caused the Big Bang? What was before the Big Bang? To say that these had/have no cause strikes me as equally if not more implausible than saying they do.
    The argument from personal incredulity is not valid.

  57. #57 PZ Myers
    June 9, 2008

    Wait — I complain about the absence of intelligent arguments for God, and Vox Day pops up his little pin head and squeaks about miracles and bleeding statues and liquefying holy relics?

    Vox, you don’t qualify. You’re a pathetic little twerp with delusions of grandeur.

  58. #58 Blake Stacey
    June 9, 2008

    I am continually astonished by the audacity of the people who claim that the best explanation for the Big Bang — a phenomenon which would be completely unknown without the tools of modern science, and which requires the mathematics of general relativity, field theory and so forth to understand in any depth — is found in a book of Bronze Age folk tales. To use the entire sweep and grandeur of the Cosmos in order to elevate one myth of one tribe out of all human history is, briefly put, breathtaking vanity.

    I should expect no better.

  59. #59 PZ Myers
    June 9, 2008

    Oh, and people — these various odd new names popping up in this thread are all from the feeble Vox Day. He needs his sock puppets, you know.

  60. #60 Blake Stacey
    June 9, 2008

    “Blood of St. Janarius”: a thixotropic liquid.

    Like, you know, ketchup.

  61. #61 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    Does the God you believe in really have nothing better to do then make a statue cry blood?

    Why doesn’t he do something worth while? Like, oh I don’t know, end world hunger, stop natural disasters, cure cancer, that sort of thing.

    Blood crying statue? Lame! Anybody can do that. I can imagine somebody “taking care” of that for god. Doing his will to get others to believe. It’d be noble really. Hey and if they sold tickets they could make a few bucks on the side to fund more of their “good work”. Just a thought.

  62. #62 Garulon
    June 9, 2008

    ” In his first way, he argued from the observable movement or change in the universe to the existence of an unmoved Mover”

    Sooo…. who moved the Mover? This is the same idiocy that intelligent design suffers from, that all you’re doing is adding a pointless step without solving anything. And you’re going to respond “the Mover created itself” then I’m going to ask how you can prove the Universe didn’t create itself thus Occaming out the Mover, and then you’re going to move on to something else or get the Peanut Butter out or whatever it is you types do.

  63. #63 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    How do you exist? What caused the Big Bang? What was before the Big Bang? To say that these had/have no cause strikes me as equally if not more implausible than saying they do.

    Implausibility doesn’t work when dealing with physics, as we have already discovered that much of its truth is implausible (such as relativity).

    Seems to me to be a little bit arrogant to believe that reality is going to conform to what us little humans consider plausible.

    Of course, if there is a cause needed, seems a bit of a stretch to say that it happened to have a mind… that the cause was a personality. Ockham’s Razor says not, sorry.

  64. #64 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    Oh, and people — these various odd new names popping up in this thread are all from the feeble Vox Day. He needs his sock puppets, you know.

    Posted by: PZ Myers

    The fact that one person can become a mob is proof of the existence of big sky daddy.

    I just hope that not every member of the Vox Day clone army has the same dopey haircut and flaming sword!

  65. #65 Loathsome Little Creep
    June 9, 2008

    “Medical “miracles”: be specific.”

    Some examples:
    http://www.theworkofgod.org/aparitns/lourdes/Lourdes1.htm

    You might also consider: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharistic_miracle
    specifically Lanciano
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracle_of_the_Sun

    I said “how do you exist” not how you were made or born or whatever, but the action of existing: metaphysics, not biology.

    The argument has nothing to do with personal incredulity, it is reductio ad absurdum due to a lack of cause in the physical world.

  66. #66 VD
    June 9, 2008

    Wait — I complain about the absence of intelligent arguments for God, and Vox Day pops up his little pin head and squeaks about miracles and bleeding statues and liquefying holy relics? Vox, you don’t qualify. You’re a pathetic little twerp with delusions of grandeur.

    So PZ is just another atheist coward who runs away rather than risk being exposed as an intellectual fraud. I suppose it’s a lot easier to be the big brave atheist when you’ve got the ability to fail your audience.

    And you know perfectly well that you’re lying about the sock puppets. I never comment here or anywhere else except as VD.

  67. #67 Ron Sullivan
    June 9, 2008

    #64: The fact that one person can become a mob is proof of the existence of big sky daddy.

    And here I thought it was just another lot of loafing fishes.

  68. #68 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    VD, miracles would not directly count towards existence of God, much less whatever God you worship. The best you can do with a miracle is say we do not YET know what the cause is. A miracle 2,000 years ago (for example, a comet), would not be considered a miracle today. And a miracle today would most likely not be considered a miracle in 2,000 years. Miracles are nothing more than an argument from ignorance. That is an old and tired argument.

  69. #69 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Don’t be suckered into this “debate,” PZ. Stand proud in the knowledge that anyone who disagrees with you is self-evidently a moron, since they disagree with you. You don’t need to prove anything, buddy. You’re already at the top of your game. You da man!

    You so righteous, you don’t even have fleas, cause they’re too scared to suck your blood.

  70. #70 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    *Shudder*
    I was just at VD’s blog. He has posted his letter to PZ there and has received a whopping 74 comments!
    The’re all disturbing but for different reasons:
    Very violent (even for a christian)
    “PZ Myers is probably too much of a wimp to debate with you, Vox. I expect the sight of his own innards spilling into his hands will be enough for him to hurl…or die.”

    To strangley contrived :
    “If a god moron wanted to prove there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds, he would have to provide a photograph of the sky fairy. But since photographs can be faked, even that wouldn’t be good enough. Perhaps they could ask the sky fairy to perform a miracle that could be verified by a large number of scientists.”

    Has VD (I smile every time I think what that stands for) been here before? Is he Insane? His blog suggests to me that he very well might be.

  71. #71 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Loathsome Little Creep@65

    Existing is not an action.

    Reductio ad absurdum means proof by contradiction: you assume the negation of what you want to prove, then derive a contradiction using recognised forms of deductive inference. You have done nothing of the kind.

    Lourdes “miracles”: all these are from a tainted source – one which has a clear ideological and monetary interest in maintaining the shrine’s reputation.

    Lanciano. You cannot be serious! So there’s a bit of human flesh and dried blood in a Church? There was a regular medieval industry in faking miracles and relics!

    “Miracle of the sun”. Mass hysteria. Do you really know nothing about the suggestibility of crowds? These people had gathered to see a miracle, they weren’t going to go home without convincing themselves they had done.

    Is this really the best you can do? Pathetic.

  72. #72 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Loathsome Little Creep, the First Cause argument fails, because it does not address what caused the First Cause. It requires special pleading to stop at God for the First Cause. Why not just stop sooner, with the Big Bang? Or better yet, say we don’t yet know what the cause was? (However, given that everything else we know is natural, the cause was likely natural as well.)

  73. #73 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    Serena, VD used to have a much bigger presence at this blog. Go here if you want to check into the sordid history.

  74. #74 Beau
    June 9, 2008

    So PZ, will you show up on Saturday or not?

    Dismantling a disturbing unqualified twerp outta be nothing less than a cakewalk for you, right?

    Show up or shut up.

  75. #75 Loathsome Little Creep
    June 9, 2008

    “Existing is not an action.”

    I always thought “to exist” was a verb.

    “Reductio ad absurdum means proof by contradiction: you assume the negation of what you want to prove, then derive a contradiction using recognised forms of deductive inference. You have done nothing of the kind.”

    Put formally, we’ve assumed no cause, arrived at a contradiction in existence….

    “Do you really know nothing about the suggestibility of crowds?”

    Do you mean to say that the soaking wet crowd ‘suggested’ themselves dry?

    “It requires special pleading to stop at God for the First Cause.”

    Not if that first cause is is self-subsistent being, that is its essence is to exist.

  76. #76 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Oops! Sorry for feeding the Vox Mabus!

  77. #77 garlic powder
    June 9, 2008

    “Vox, you don’t qualify. You’re a pathetic little twerp with delusions of grandeur.”

    I’ve not read your blog much, but based on this comment, I won’t be back (and I know you probably don’t care.)

    I’m a regular reader of Vox Popoli. I’m not a sock puppet; I don’t agree with many of Vox’s positions, particularly with respect to religion. I’m not a theist.

    Why did you find it necessary to post such a rude reply to what was a politely worded request? Delusions of grandeur? “Vox Day” produces more Google hits than “PZ Myers.” Do you claim to be more famous? Were it not for Vox Popoli, I would never have heard of you.
    .
    .

  78. #78 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    So PZ, will you show up on Saturday or not?

    Dismantling a disturbing unqualified twerp outta be nothing less than a cakewalk for you, right?

    Show up or shut up.

    Posted by: Beau

    Beau, please correct me if I am wrong(And I am not wrong!) but was it not Vox Day that placed this challenge.

    Shut up.

  79. #79 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Not if that first cause is is self-subsistent being, that is its essence is to exist.

    That is special pleading.

    Dismantling a disturbing unqualified twerp outta be nothing less than a cakewalk for you, right?

    Why should PZ engage the unstable?

  80. #80 Bisch
    June 9, 2008

    A commentor on Vox’s blog said, before PZ flinched, that he expected PZ to show up and defend his arguments.

    Reading PZ’s comments in the past, I knew otherwise. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s sad, but eternally predictable. Time tested…tried and true.

  81. #81 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    There isn’t the slightest point attempting to discuss with Vox Day. He simply refuses to deal with any points made.

    Once posted up a rebuttal to some of his arguments only to have him ask where my rebuttal was. It was bizarre.

  82. #82 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    Why did you find it necessary to post such a rude reply to what was a politely worded request? Delusions of grandeur? “Vox Day” produces more Google hits than “PZ Myers.” Do you claim to be more famous? Were it not for Vox Popoli, I would never have heard of you.
    .
    .

    Posted by: garlic powder

    PZ should feel honored to be able to live on the same planet as Vox Day!

    Thank you, garlic powder! You just gave me a good laugh!

  83. #83 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    Janine,
    Thanks for the link. It was enlightening.

    What a Fucker! I read his opinion on women in science and math. That pushes my buttons.

    No sense in continuing any form of conversation with the nutjob. He’s just a worthless peice of shit.

  84. #84 Wolfhound
    June 9, 2008

    Looks like Vox’s toilet is stopped up. A bunch of his little turds have come bobbing up to the surface HERE.

  85. #85 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Loathsome Little Creep@75

    I always thought “to exist” was a verb
    Whoever told you a verb must refer to an action was wrong (see below).

    Put formally, we’ve assumed no cause, arrived at a contradiction in existence.
    There is nothing contradictory in things happening without a cause. Google “virtual particles” for an actual example. Furthermore, you clearly don’t know what “formally” means.

    Do you mean to say that the soaking wet crowd ‘suggested’ themselves dry?
    I mean they convinced themselves, after the event, that they had got dry quicker than natural causes could explain.

    Not if that first cause is is self-subsistent being, that is its essence is to exist.
    There is no such thing as an “essence”, unless you’re talking about vanilla essence or some similar concentrated liquid – maybe we’re back to the “blood of St. Janarius”?

    I see that two of your latest absurdities (the first and last dealt with here) have a common root: you know nothing of modern logic. “X exists” means “There is something that matches the description of X.” “Exists” is a quantifier, not a predicate. Get yourself an elementary book covering first-order predicate calculus.

  86. #86 Bisch
    June 9, 2008

    Janine ID said

    Beau, please correct me if I am wrong(And I am not wrong!) but was it not Vox Day that placed this challenge.

    PZ Myers said

    Somebody somewhere is going to have to someday point me to some intelligent arguments for gods, because I’ve sure never found them. And I know, someone is going to complain that I always pick on the weak arguments…while not bothering to tell me what the strong ones are.

    Bisch says

    Janine ID, you are wrong.

  87. #87 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Are there any Pharyngulites invading VD’s blog comments? Or is it just the crazies invading over here?

  88. #88 Batmantis
    June 9, 2008

    Perhaps PZ is simply unfamiliar with the saying “put up or shut up”.
    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+up+or+shut+up

  89. #89 Emmet Caulfield
    June 9, 2008

    Serena@#83,

    That is a slur on worthless pieces of shit.

  90. #90 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    So where is this new, intelligent argument? All I’ve seen are links to Wikipedia….uhh, if Wikipedia had proof of God, well wow, I guess it has a religious bias? Take that Conservapedia!

  91. #91 DrFrank
    June 9, 2008

    On the subject of miraculous cures, what exactly does God have against amputees? No spontaneous miracle cures for them, I notice. Pfft, they probably just don’t pray enough.

    Not if that first cause is is self-subsistent being, that is its essence is to exist.
    I personally prefer a little more fruit with my word salad. Let’s face it, this boils down to “Just because! OK?!!!”

  92. #92 brokenSoldier, OM
    June 9, 2008

    Not to mention the fact that as he stated it, “to exist” is most certainly not a verb. “To exist” is an infinitive, while the verb would simply be ‘exist.’ But hey, from what I can see, he’s not too keen on accuracy anyway.

  93. #93 Other Josh
    June 9, 2008

    A lot of trash talk going on here… alot of blustery insults with no substance to back it up.

    Let the trash talk end and let the real debate begin. Your beloved PZ Myers should accept this debate challenge from Vox Day.

    If Myers is so sure of his “truth” and his ability to defend it, what does he have to lose? It’s a prime opportunity to pound Vox into the ground, isn’t it?

    Finally, a public opportunity to:
    - Humiliate Vox Day
    - Prove atheism is true, and deism is foolishness
    - Convince others of the truth of atheism

    But yet, he refuses to accept the challenge? Something doesn’t add up… Maybe this “truth” isn’t such a sure thing after all.

    How does that saying go? Ah, yes. PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!

  94. #94 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Hooboy! Another victory for Reason and Truth, PZ. Time to sit back and cherish your eminent self!

  95. #95 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield #89,

    What?

    I did spell “pieces” wrong. My stupid computer doesn’t have spell check and I am a horrible speller.

    Is “pieces” the way it is supposed to be?

    I have always said “piece”. But not a small piece, a really big piece.

  96. #96 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    Bisch, Vox Day does need to have a debate with PZ in order to make his points about big sky daddy. Vox has his books and his blog. Vox Day making a challenge to a debate is merely grandstanding. PZ needs no show up for that.

    So Vox should show his proof of big sky daddy and the rest of us can take it or leave it. Put up or shut up.

    But is seems that many people here are dismissing Vox Day’s claims without putting up too much of a sweat.

  97. #97 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Prove atheism is true, and deism is foolishness

    A debate between two people would never do this, for one side or the other.

    Humiliate Vox Day

    I think PZ can sit back and let his sockpuppets do that for him.

    Why shoould PZ debate this Vox person? PZ never asked for a debate, he asked to be pointed to a strong argument. Has anyone pointed him to one? If they have, they didn’t point the rest of us.

  98. #98 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    WHOOPS, I think PZ Vox can sit back and let his sockpuppets do that for him.

  99. #99 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    It seems Vox Day is more then capable of humiliating himself.

  100. #100 DrFrank
    June 9, 2008

    You know, I once determined that general relativity was wrong as time is in fact controlled by tiny goblins.

    I challenged Einstein to a debate, but he never turned up.

    What a pussy.

  101. #101 GhostofJesus
    June 9, 2008

    You guys just aren’t cynical enough. Vox Day is obviously trying to use PZ Myers in what can only be described as a cheezy B Movie version of a poor man’s publicity stunt for his greatly ignored and low selling book.

    Good on PZ for ignoring him.

  102. #102 Emmet Caulfield
    June 9, 2008

    Serena @#95,

    I’m not preoccupied by spelling, I just took exception to your comparison… worthless pieces of shit have done nothing to merit comparison with such a vile bigot.

  103. #103 Nick Gotts
    June 9, 2008

    Bob May’s standard response to creobots wanting to debate him is said to be:

    “That would look great on your cv, not so good on mine!”

  104. #104 Leni
    June 9, 2008

    Why would the argument need to be presented in debate format? Shouldn’t it just, you know, to exist?

    (tee hee hee.)

    Also, VD wrote:

    Not if that first cause is is self-subsistent being, that is its essence is to exist.

    This is meaningless gibberish. Did god itself tell you this or do you just *know* that it’s true?

  105. #105 VD
    June 9, 2008

    There isn’t the slightest point attempting to discuss with Vox Day. He simply refuses to deal with any points made.

    You’re lying almost as badly as PZ, Zarbi. Here’s what you wrote when you refused to identify a specific straw man after falsely claiming that I’d responded to a bunch of them. I notice you didn’t bother to provide the link.

    Zarbi: If you want to post a detailed rebuttal of my discussions, I would be interested to read it.

    VD: I’ll be happy to do so. But first, I at least need to know which of those 42 arguments you consider to be strawman positions. You made that general comment several times, now I’m asking you to be specific.

    Zarbi: I appreciate that you have taken time to respond. However, I don’t feel it is productive to go into a detailed point-by-point discussion here.

    I don’t duck anyone. It’s interesting to see how Sam Harris is somehow able to find the courage to do what you and PZ can’t.

  106. #106 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    I think PZ can sit back and let his dittoheads handle this. No need for il Papa della Ragione to break a sweat.

  107. #107 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    That’s true.

    Sorry sweet little piles of poo, I spoke with haste. :)

    I second your vile bigot, and raise you a fucktard.

  108. #108 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    Vox.

    I have dealt with this. I suggested you deal with my rebuttal of your argument from complexity.

    You are right that it isn’t worth going into details here. If you wish to continue debate elsewhere on this matter, that is fine by me.

  109. #109 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    I don’t know what a dittohead is, but it seems most of us can handle it. The only arguments presented have been weak and stale, and now it is just meaningless sockpuppet posts calling for a pointless debate. Why not supply arguments?

  110. #110 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Take that godbags! Reason over all!

  111. #111 Damian
    June 9, 2008

    You’ve got to love this line of argument. PZ asked for someone to present the strongest arguments in favour of the existence of god. Vox appears in a random thread and demands that PZ engage him in just about the most useless and corruptible form of intellectual discourse that has ever been invented! We all know why creationists love to debate as opposed to presenting their arguments in an academic setting. And PZ is expected to take the time out to “debate” someone who is almost certainly mentally ill, let alone one of the most vile individuals on the internet? I wouldn’t be seen in the same room with someone who holds the views about women that Vox does.

    If you have any arguments, present them — right here, right now. That was the request, and the only reason that won’t happen is because you know perfectly well that they can be taken apart in a matter of minutes. The only reason that Vox wants a “debate” is because he knows that there are techniques that can be employed to gain an advantage in that setting, and that any serious academic wouldn’t lower themselves to such a level. Creationists often “win” debates after spending 2 hours lying through their teeth. It’s a completely bankrupt intellectual endeavor.

    I repeat, if you have any arguments, present them.

  112. #112 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    So when your reasoning fails, your response is to attack reason itself?

  113. #113 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    I notice you didn’t bother to provide the link.

    You will notice that my name links to my blog. I usually don’t feel the need to promote it unless asked.

  114. #114 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Dennis, come on. Listen to some other self-important gasbags once in awhile!

  115. #115 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    We’re all full of gas, emerod. Remember, this is a bio blog, too. However, I’m lead by arguments, not people.

  116. #116 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    @112: Oh man, we’re leapfrogging in a frenzy of commenting!

    So when your reasoning fails, your response is to attack reason itself?

    You talkin’ to me? All I want is to see a show.

  117. #117 PZ Myers
    June 9, 2008

    I think Vox needs to have a little chat with his minions. They’re using his email address (which I can see, but you can’t) in their comments here.

  118. #118 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    They’re using his email address (which I can see, but you can’t) in their comments here.

    Very sad. That would be like you issuing a challenge and letting your dittoheads do the grunt work.

  119. #119 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    No one has had to grunt to deal with you, VD. Your arguments take very little effort to debunk.

  120. #120 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    How pathetic. feverishly pretending to be different people. BAN HIM!!

  121. #121 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Yes, please pretend I’m VD! Maybe I can use it prove I’m him and steal his bank account!

  122. #122 Leni
    June 9, 2008

    Don’t you mean his trust fund, emerod? Given to him by the man who made a career out of leaching money off of hardworking (but gullible) people like a parasite?

  123. #123 Emmet Caulfield
    June 9, 2008

    Serena @#107,

    In fucktard chips I’d have to raise you a bucketful. I’ve called much better people fucktards repeatedly. Words utterly fail me when it comes to this guy: a horror movie parody of the tortured demon spawn of Fred Phelps and Ann Coulter, if there is a pure evil in the world, it’s the vicious green bile spewing from the cesspit of moral depravity and hate-mongering that is Theodore Beale. I have the stomach of a horse — I could eat dogshit with a spoon — but it makes me wretch to read his foul emanations.

    PZ does well to remind us occasionally that deranged people like “Vox Day” exist. They are to be pitied and reviled in equal measure, and we do well not to engage with them intellectually, except for psychiatric treatment, at any level above “point and laugh cry”.

  124. #124 Clay
    June 9, 2008

    I think Vox needs to have a little chat with his minions. They’re using his email address (which I can see, but you can’t) in their comments here.

    Posted by: PZ Myers | June 9, 2008 12:57 PM

    Maybe it shows up that way because they’re using a link Vox provided on his blog to get to yours?

    I don’t know how that stuff works….just a WAG on my part.

  125. #125 StuV
    June 9, 2008

    They’re using his email address (which I can see, but you can’t) in their comments here.

    How odd. There wouldn’t happen to be a distinct similarity in IP addresses as well, would there?

  126. #126 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    I don’t know how that stuff works….just a WAG on my part.

    No, PZ can see the actual email address that they enter in when they comment. Didn’t know that, huh?

    It’s SCIENCE, man! Get with it!

  127. #127 negentropyeater
    June 9, 2008

    Regarding the medical “miracles” of Lourdes put forth by Vox in his post #65 as evidence of the existence of God, it should be noted that ;

    1) strangely since the AML (Lourdes Medical Association which oversees the cases) is now open to peer review, no cases have been found since the case of Anna Santaniello, which was declared in 2005, but actually took place in … 1952.

    2) since this last “miraculous healing” more than 50 years ago, more than 100 million faithfuls have seeked some form of miracle, that God has stubbornly refused to grant them.

    3) despite this, they have spent billions on statues, souvenirs, fake water bottles and all kinds of rubbish, maybe Vox is impressed with this kind of business, very Christian indeed.

    If God exists, I’m sure he’s not impressed with this massive hypocrisy, what a bunch of gullible idiots he must think we are, he must be pretty disappointed with his creation, if it’s waiting 50 years for one little sign of his benevolent power.

    Vox, here’s a challege for you : not one miracle in 56 years, despite 100 million faith heads like you praying, bathing themselves in that water, doing all what’s supposed to be demanded by your religion.
    Isn’t it time you start asking yourself if God simply doesn’t like you. He’s fed up with all the adoration and the ridculousness of these old mesopotamian goatherders beliefs and wants you to grow up a bit.

    Vox put this in your feeble mind : god wants us to stop adoring him, that’s why there won’t be any further miracles. Now, chew on that one.

  128. #128 Clay
    June 9, 2008

    Well emerod, I would have thought that’s the way it worked, but who knows?

    Like I said, it was just a hypothesis.

  129. #129 Serena
    June 9, 2008

    Emmet #123

    Yeah, I am begining to realize that Vox Day is a nutjob of a competely different order then I’ve ever encountered before.

    I really didn’t know that people this crazy were allowed to run around and mingle with the rest of us.

  130. #130 Emmet Caulfield
    June 9, 2008

    Serena @#129

    Yup. Pretty much exactly the reaction I had the first time I encountered him. Unfortunately, I think the only thing that current medical science could do is give him his own rubber room and all the mashed bananas he can eat.

  131. #131 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    Serena @ #83, I feel like you’re holding something back. Tell us what you really think. BTW I agree.

  132. #132 Jonathan Taft
    June 9, 2008

    Serena, I’d like to know why you find Dr. Beale to be a nutjob. He tends to include facts and a fairly clear line of reasoning when giving an opinion on a subject. Also, as shown by Mr. Zara’s blog Dr. Beale served him something fierce show his ability to argue in a manner others can see.

  133. #133 Clay
    June 9, 2008

    From Vox’s blog:

    VD: 06.09.08 – 01:12 PM
    Gang, if you comment over at Pharyngula, please don’t put my email in the email slot or my blog in the URL. That’s what caused PZ to conclude I was sock-puppeting. PZ didn’t lie, he was merely confused by that.

    You’re a liar Vox. You’re a bloody liar and you know you’re a liar.

    No, Bob, you’re wrong. And PZ knows I’m not lying, he was simply confused by people putting my email and blog with their name.

    Well emerod, I knew something had to be up. Vox doesn’t sockpuppet. He has no need to, and won’t tolerate someone doing the same on his blog.

  134. #134 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    Well emerod, I would have thought that’s the way it worked, but who knows?

    People who use the Internet?

    Hey, dudes, I’m really not trolling for christofascism, or whatever you call it now. I just want PZ to live up to his potential as the Apollo Creed of bloggers. And y’all are not acceptable substitutes for The Big Guy.

  135. #135 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    concerning Vox; Apparently he doesn’t allow sockpuppeting. What a lying sack of shit. It’s all him.

  136. #136 VD
    June 9, 2008

    Your arguments take very little effort to debunk.

    Right, that’s why no one’s been able to do it yet despite many attempts. 42 specific atheist arguments dealt with and not a single rebuttal has been shown to be incorrect. I readily admit that the complexity one isn’t one of my better ones, but then, Dawkins’s case there was so flawed on so many levels – 8 errors, if I recall correctly – that the rebuttal didn’t have to be very good to blow it out of the water.

    They’re using his email address (which I can see, but you can’t) in their comments here.

    I was wondering about that charge of sock-puppetry, it seemed like a very strange thing for me to do or for PZ to lie about.

    How pathetic. feverishly pretending to be different people.

    I’m not. I have no need to do that.

    If you have any arguments, present them — right here, right now. That was the request, and the only reason that won’t happen is because you know perfectly well that they can be taken apart in a matter of minutes.

    You’ll be able to take your crack at them when I bring them out sometime next year. Send me your email and I’ll be happy to let you take your best shot pre-publication if you like. I was willing to discuss one or two of them since PZ claimed to be unfamiliar with any intelligent arguments, but since he’s not going to show, I’ll just save them for the book. I’m in no hurry.

  137. #137 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    Next year? Lying coward!

  138. #138 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Is that a promise that you’ll shut up and go away until next year?

  139. #139 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    Also, as shown by Mr. Zara’s blog Dr. Beale served him something fierce show his ability to argue in a manner others can see.

    I am happy for anyone to view my blog and examine the exchange. To be honest, I found it rather bizarre.

    Incidentally, I am not normally fussy, but it is Dr Zara.

  140. #140 StuV
    June 9, 2008

    Oh, Vox, pretty please… honor us with just one intelligent argument that your book will undoubtedly will be filled with!

    Just one. If it’s intelligent, I’ll even buy your book.

  141. #141 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    concerning Vox; Apparently he doesn’t allow sockpuppeting. What a lying sack of shit. It’s all him.

    [sigh] This is where they all end up: Vox-fixation, mumbling “it’s all him.” It’s a plague. The Vox Pox.

    Next show, please.

  142. #142 Dennis N
    June 9, 2008

    Vox and his other names did come here and take over the thread, obviously we would talk about him.

  143. #143 Janine ID
    June 9, 2008

    Steve Zara, I went to your site to read your argument with VD but I got distracted by the bright shiny object that is the crocoduck!

  144. #144 Clay
    June 9, 2008

    My apologies, emerod. I wasn’t born with an Internet connection up my ass, like most of you children today.

  145. #145 GhostofJesus
    June 9, 2008

    You guys aren’t cynical enough. It’s obvious Vox Day is trying to use PZ Myers in a low rent publicity stunt for his much ignored book.
    Good on PZ for ignoring him.

  146. #146 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    Good on PZ for ignoring him.

    Absolutely. The book was apparently going to shake up the New Atheists and change the world.

    But, apparently, no-one noticed it.

  147. #147 Scott Scheule
    June 9, 2008

    I agree with “garlic powder.” This is pathetic. Not so much the cesspool of ad hominens making up the comments here–that’s to be expected on any blog–but that Myers enters himself and does nothing to raise the bar. I expected more. To be sure, Day can be just as insulting, but he at least has the chutzpah to pick up the gauntlet, rather than just snivel and flee.

  148. #148 emerod
    June 9, 2008

    You guys aren’t cynical enough.

    Finally, a remark entertaining enough to make this worthwhile. My day is complete!

    Now I just have to remove that Internet connection . . .

  149. #149 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    Scott said in his tripe “I never buy new clothes, because I look good in everything.” #147

    Snivel & flee? What a dick! The above egocentric statement proves it. Scott are all the other worshippers dicks too? or just you?

  150. #150 Other Josh
    June 9, 2008

    Proof God exists: You exist.

  151. #151 Barklikeadog
    June 9, 2008

    Wow Other Josh! I’m convinced. Your just too good.

  152. #152 Josh
    June 9, 2008

    Proof God exists: You exist.

    Which god? Zeus?

  153. #153 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    I readily admit that the complexity one isn’t one of my better ones, but then, Dawkins’s case there was so flawed on so many levels – 8 errors, if I recall correctly – that the rebuttal didn’t have to be very good to blow it out of the water.

    I am afraid the complexity had no foundation whatsoever. It was not just not very good – it was complete nonsense.

    I’ll summarise one of your complexity arguments here, just to show people what level of reasoning you use.

    You state that someone like Sir Martin Rees (well known cosmologist and president of the Royal Society) should be able to fine tune a universe, as he understands the issues involved, yet Martin Rees is less complex than the universe we see around us, so someone with a complex mind can be a creator.

    This argument neglects that we are comparing a creator with the universe at its origin, not as it is now, as we know that we can get complexity for free once the universe has started. However fine-tuned the origin of the universe was, it is vastly less unlikely and complex than the existence of any possible mind.

    So, this is an illustration of the kind of thinking Vox comes up with. It is a point of his definitively refuted, for the record.

  154. #154 GhostofJesus
    June 9, 2008

    A fun way to stump the fundies is to ask them where the waters came from in Genesis 1:2.
    Most people don’t know that the creation account in Genesis never attributes the creation of Water to God.

  155. #155 MyaR
    June 9, 2008

    Y’know what VD and his sockpuppets all sound like? Professional wrestlers! Except Colbert was more original. (And apologies if someone else made the connection, or if the conversation has totally moved on. I skipped a bunch of comments when it dawned on me what he sounded like.)

  156. #156 VD
    June 9, 2008

    You state that someone like Sir Martin Rees (well known cosmologist and president of the Royal Society) should be able to fine tune a universe, as he understands the issues involved, yet Martin Rees is less complex than the universe we see around us, so someone with a complex mind can be a creator.

    Zarbi, you’re just not very bright. The point is neither nonsense nor have you refuted it; you clearly didn’t even understand what Dawkins wrote let alone how I showed his errors. I stated nothing about Reese’s ability to fine-tune the universe or his complexity and I drew no conclusions from that.

    Dawkins wrote: “A God capable of calculating the Goldilocks values for the six numbers would have to be at least as improbable as the finely tuned combination of numbers itself.”

    I pointed out that this statement is incorrect, because while it can be applied to Reese, who is demonstrably capable of calculating the values (as he did) and is also a part of the universe, but it cannot be applied to God, because He is external to the universe He theoretically created.

    Nor did this have anything to do with a complex mind being a creator, in fact, I demonstrated that contra Dawkins, a creator does NOT have to be more complex than his creation, at least not if the metric is Dawkins’s chosen one of information quantity.

  157. #157 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    I dealt with what is clearly in your book. The book is available for anyone to read.

    I am not surprised you are attempting to fudge the issue now you have been shown to be wrong.

    All I need to do is to point people at your book, and say.. read it for yourself. Perhaps that is what you are after – more publicity?

    Nor did this have anything to do with a complex mind being a creator, in fact, I demonstrated that contra Dawkins, a creator does NOT have to be more complex than his creation, at least not if the metric is Dawkins’s chosen one of information quantity.

    Oh dear. You really just don’t understand.

    A creator with a mind has vastly more information quantity than a fine tuned universe.

    If you can come up with a process to produce a creator from a simple origin, then how much easier it is to produce a universe.

  158. #158 Steve Zara
    June 9, 2008

    Ah yes…. here is the extract:

    Page 153:

    “… does Dawkins seriously wish to argue that Martin Rees is more complex than the universe? We know that Rees calculated the the Goldilocks values, so if he can do so despite being less complex than the sum of everyone and everything else in the universe, then God surely can, too”.

    Just as I said. You are comparing the complexity of Rees with the complexity of everything in the universe as it is now (with everyone else in it), when you should have been comparing him with the complexity of the universe at its origin, not now.

    At its origin, the universe would have been vastly less complex than Rees, or a creator with a mind.

    I hope that is clear now, and you can see your mistake.

  159. #159 Owlmirror
    June 9, 2008

    Dawkins wrote: “A God capable of calculating the Goldilocks values for the six numbers would have to be at least as improbable as the finely tuned combination of numbers itself.”

    I pointed out that this statement is incorrect, because while it can be applied to Reese, who is demonstrably capable of calculating the values (as he did) and is also a part of the universe, but it cannot be applied to God, because He is external to the universe He theoretically created.

    If probabilities internal to the universe cannot be applied to that which is external to the universe, then obviously that same reasoning applies to any external metadimensional matrix in which the universe exists, which means that said external metadimensional matrix can be just as likely to generate our universe as any other, without intelligent intervention.

    So parsimony demands that we reject God.

    Nor did this have anything to do with a complex mind being a creator, in fact, I demonstrated that contra Dawkins, a creator does NOT have to be more complex than his creation, at least not if the metric is Dawkins’s chosen one of information quantity.

    In other words, you’ve demonstrated that the creator does not have to be an omniscient God, nor even a particularly intelligent entity, nor even an entity at all. And parsimony demands that we not multiply unnecessary entities. So again: No God.

  160. #160 VD
    June 9, 2008

    A creator with a mind has vastly more information quantity than a fine tuned universe.

    It may. But that needn’t necessarily be the case. Do feel free to have a go at proving that if you like; you can’t do any worse than Dawkins did. Now, I do think he might have been able to make that part of his case if he’d properly defined complexity, but he didn’t.

    You are comparing the complexity of Rees with the complexity of everything in the universe as it is now (with everyone else in it), when you should have been comparing him with the complexity of the universe at its origin, not now.

    Upon re-reading this, I think that’s a fair objection although I’m not sure it’s application is required. But even if I concede that, it still doesn’t weaken my rebuttal or strengthen Dawkins’s argument. Two of the three points showing how his third step is incorrect are still standing. It merely reduces the number of his errors made in the course of his argument from eight to seven.

    In other words, you’ve demonstrated that the creator does not have to be an omniscient God, nor even a particularly intelligent entity, nor even an entity at all.

    The first, definitely. The second, depends, the third, no. Dawkins requires an ability to calculate the fine-tuning values, which indicates relatively high-level human intelligence at an absolute minimum.

  161. #161 Shirakawasuna
    June 9, 2008

    bwahahaha, Vox Day sock puppeted my nick! I think this is the only time I’ve ever felt completely vindicated in calling someone a creotard ;).

  162. #162 Shirakawasuna
    June 9, 2008

    It may. But that needn’t necessarily be the case. Do feel free to have a go at proving that if you like; you can’t do any worse than Dawkins did. Now, I do think he might have been able to make that part of his case if he’d properly defined complexity, but he didn’t.

    If the creator doesn’t have such a vast mind, he loses the apparent “value” as an explanation. After all, if we’re talking about a simple creator, there’s nothing keeping it from being a rather powerful alien or hey, just the universe without humanlike characteristics, one which doesn’t care about us.

    If anyone has used the fine-tuning argument, kindly slap them with the anthropic principle. A theist can rationalize their way out of essentially anything else by pretending to know what God would’ve wanted to communicate by creating so much else besides us, but the anthropic principle is unavoidable ;).

  163. #163 Owlmirror
    June 9, 2008

    Dawkins requires an ability to calculate the fine-tuning values, which indicates relatively high-level human intelligence at an absolute minimum.

    Even the highest level human intelligence has no a priori knowledge of the constants that govern the interactions of matter and energy in the universe. The human-level intelligence of, for example, Martin Rees, must necessarily include all of the factors that then allows his intelligence to gain the knowledge of said constants, and manipulate them mathematically. So you have to include not only Martin Rees, but everyone who educated him, everyone who educated those educators, and so on going back to the protoplasmal primordial atomic globule that spawned them all.

    I suppose you can get away with it if you posit that this putative intelligent entity is the result of some meta-cosmic evolutionary process, over the course of billions of meta-cosmic years, and there are billions of such entities outside our universe.

    Are you Mormon, by any chance?

  164. #164 Samantha Vimes
    June 9, 2008

    A REAL fan of The Shadow would know that in reality, Lamont Cranston was just the name of a rich guy who’s life The Shadow had saved. When The Shadow needed the ID, he’d send Cranston out of town for a while and pretend to be him.
    Kent Allard was the real name of The Shadow… unless that was a psuedonym, too.

    Furthermore, I think The Shadow probably was an atheist; if not, he was at the very least, a skeptic (the author of the series was a stage magician) and atheist-friendly.

  165. #165 Lyle G
    June 10, 2008

    Kent Allard? that must have been the print form of the Shadow. I’m only familiar with the radio version. Lamont Cranston was the Shadow. ‘The Weed of crime bears bitter fruit, The Shadow knows,!Snark snark snark!”

  166. #166 Kseniya
    June 10, 2008

    garlic powder:

    Why did you find it necessary to post such a rude reply to what was a politely worded request? Delusions of grandeur? “Vox Day” produces more Google hits than “PZ Myers.” Do you claim to be more famous? Were it not for Vox Popoli, I would never have heard of you.

    I can’t answer for PZ, nor am I privy to his motivations, but for what it’s worth, the available facts don’t appear to support your speculations.

    First, let’s get the pointless anecdotes out of the way: If not for Pharyngula, I’d never have heard of Vox Populi, Vox Day, or Theodore Beale.

    Second, I’m getting Google results that are wildly different from what I might have expected after reading the statement I quoted above:

  167. Results 1 – 10 of about 68,700 for “Vox Day”. (0.07 seconds)
  168. Results 1 – 10 of about 4,720 for “Theodore Beale”. (0.27 seconds)
  169. Results 1 – 10 of about 226,000 for “PZ Myers”. (0.05 seconds)

    How do you explain this? These actual Google searches, performed right here on live television my personal computer, strongly suggest that by your standards, PZ is over three times as famous as Vox and Theodore combined. Now, I’m not inclined to accuse you of lying, nor of ineptitude, but I’m coming up short in my search for a reasonable explanation. Help me out, here.

    Oh, incidentally, Googling for voxday.blogspot returns 2,660 hits. Googling for scienceblogs.com/pharyngula returns 53,000. Googling for “Paul Z. Myers” returns 1,730.

    FWIW.

    Hey, it was your idea. *shrug*

  • #167 DrFrank
    June 10, 2008

    Yup, having checked myself PZ comes out way ahead of Vox on Google (I actually get >500,000 hits for “pz myers”).

    Hilariously enough, even “PZ Meyers” gets more hits than “Theodore Beale” (16,700 to 15,700).

  • #168 Zarqon
    June 10, 2008

    VD #136: 42 specific atheist arguments dealt with and not a single rebuttal has been shown to be incorrect.
    Who judges? I know I’ll never convince you, even if I pile the table so high with evidence that it collapses. You can always put your fingers in your ears and repeat “not good enough”.
    So who’s going to be the judge of this little contest, to weigh the evidence presented by both sides and deliver the verdict?
    If we had specific physical predictions to demonstrate, then maybe we could make it obvious like Randi’s paranormal challlenge or when Pandit Surinder Sharma tried to kill Sanal Edamaruku with black magic, it would be obvious enough. Feel free to propose such a test.
    You make one prediction, PZ makes another, everyone agrees on a method of distinguishing the two outcomes, and we see which happens. But… oh, wait. Religion doesn’t make any specific predictions. If you pray for help, God will help you. Except when He won’t. Nobody knows why. It’s God’s Will. There’s some Greater Purpose which is why God gave you that ingrown toenail.
    There’s an awful lot of sinning going on in this world. If there was any evidence of corresponding smiting, that would be quite persuasive.

  • #169 Kseniya
    June 10, 2008

    Dr. Frank, unless or until we receive more information, we must assume the answer here is “ineptitude”. I believe parsimony demands that we do.

    Googling for Vox Day [unquoted] yields 480,000 hits, whereas googling for PZ Myers [unquoted] yields a paltry 267,000 hits. (Wow! What a surprise! Cuz, yanno, it’s not like “day” is a common word or anything.)

  • #170 karl
    June 10, 2008

    To add to your list:

    - Scientist should laugh at PZ’s jokes more.

    I’ve noticed this at such talks. The scientist giving the talk has some pretty funny little jokes and no one in the audience laughs. PZ had some pretty funny little jokes that had me laughing out loud during my daily commute and yet I didn’t hear any laughter in the audience. Pssssh.