Pharyngula

The endless dilemma

I mentioned before that Richard Dawkins’ site was banned in Turkey, by the legal actions of Harun Yahya/Adnan Oktar, the Muslim creationist. Now you can learn a little more: a spokesperson for Turkish creationism called up the editors of the New Humanist to explain their side of the story. As you might guess, they aren’t very convincing — it boils down to the fact that they were offended by the mean things said about professional con man, liar, and religious kook Adnan Oktar, so they had to shut down access to the site.

And then they have the gall to sweetly ask the New Humanist if they’d like to come to Istanbul and interview Oktar. They want the rich nectar of publicity, but only if it favors their agenda, of course.

So the New Humanist has a poll: Should we bother talking to creationists? They only offer two choices, though: “Yes – debate is good” and “No – we should just ignore them”. I don’t care for either alternative.

How about “Yes – we should slam them down hard at every opportunity, but not on their ground and not with any unwarranted deference to their bogus beliefs”?

Comments

  1. #1 David Lee
    September 19, 2008

    I’d say yes. Never hurts to keep the knives sharp.

  2. #2 Benjamin Franklin
    September 19, 2008

    I wrote in my new blog – The Feeble Lance of Reason (shameless plug) about a new study which indicates that presenting alternative evidence to a person with very fixed views merely serves to reinforce their already established views.

    http://feeblelance.blogspot.com/

    please read and enjoy!

  3. #3 JackC
    September 19, 2008

    I don’t think you CAN talk “to” a creationist. They only listen when their mouth is open.

    JC

  4. #4 Sastra
    September 19, 2008

    Don’t think that an evolution/creation debate is a good analogy for a magazine interview.

    For one thing, it is very unlikely that New Humanist is going to write one of those phony balanced both-sides-are-equal he said/she said articles. Nor is the person who reads New Humanist an ignorant fence-sitter likely to be swayed by simply seeing that the pseudoscientist gets an interview, so he must have a good point.

    I don’t get it. PZ Myers has been interviewed by Christian magazines and radio shows, and he didn’t seem to think this was somehow showing unwarranted deference to their beliefs because he went on “their ground.” So I don’t understand the objection, and need for the third option.

    Sure, they should do the interview. Secular Inquirer and Free Inquiry have directly interviewed assorted kooks, weirdos, and/or respected figures in parapsychology and religion. Those were good articles — better than what is likely to come from mainstream media, because they ask better questions.

  5. #5 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    I wrote in my new blog – The Feeble Lance of Reason (shameless plug) about a new study which indicates that presenting alternative evidence to a person with very fixed views merely serves to reinforce their already established views.

    I never saw arguing against a die-hard creationist as trying to convert him, but rather keeping him from confusing others who might not understand why what he is saying is false.

  6. #6 BobC
    September 19, 2008

    Should we bother talking to creationists?

    I would rather laugh at them and remind them how hopelessly stupid, insane, and dishonest they are.

  7. #7 secularguy
    September 19, 2008

    What about everybody voting for the alternative which currently has the fewest votes, whichever that is at any given time? …

  8. #8 Wowbagger
    September 19, 2008

    Coincidentally, I just got home from seeing a stage production of Inherit the Wind; I found the most amazing thing about it is that the same kind of people are still making the same kind of claims – that the bible is true and evolution is not – more than eighty years later

    Unfortunately, being close-minded doesn’t seem to be a barrier to gaining political power. Fortunately (for me) it’s not as big a problem in Australia as it is in the US. But it’s a sad thing for the human race as a whole.

    I don’t know if there’s much point in talking to creationists. As they say, you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into in the first place.

  9. #9 JackC
    September 19, 2008

    What tsg said. Arrr.

    I once had a lengthy “discussion” with a JW – not for him, but for his wee laddie – perhaps merely but 8 seasons – whom he had happened to along. The entire time, I spoke to the young’un alone.

    Tis more the pity i will never know how that discourse turned the tide for the wee one… Arrr…

    JC – sinking ship and all….

  10. #10 secularguy
    September 19, 2008

    “How about …” maybe is better English?

  11. #11 Johnny
    September 19, 2008

    So the so-called secular state of Turkey is a complete sham. Who could have guessed? And there’s serious thought being given to let this nation into the EU?! Sod that for a game of soldiers!

  12. #12 Tolga K.
    September 19, 2008

    As I said on another blog, I am ashamed that both of the countries I identify with (US and Turkey) have such problems. What’s worse is that people support these decisions.

    There is some irony in this decision. The greatest social sin in Turkey is to speak out against ANYTHING about Ataturk. For those of you who don’t know, Ataturk modernized Turkey by ejecting all possible religious influence from government, and established the country as a secular republic.

    To ban a site based on religion is counter to Ataturk’s ideals, which is pretty much a disqualification for any position of power in the average Turk’s mind.

    To counter this, they “interpret” Ataturk’s ideals to be of the religious type, just as ‘mericans do.

    If you want to understand the problem, just remember that Turkey is a lot like the US, except a few years ahead in the “injection of religion into government” department.

  13. #13 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Bah. Of course we should talk to them. But talking to them doesn’t mean we give them any leeway on the things they tell us. If they are feeding us bullshit, we should let them know that it is in fact bullshit and then show them why.

    Of course most aren’t going to care but a lot of the point of talking to the die-hard creationists is to demonstrate their utter insanity to those who haven’t given into the dark side.

  14. #15 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    If you’re going to have a formal debate on creationism, it shouldn’t be evolution vs creationism, but pro vs con on creationism. Then all the con side has to say is “any arguments against evolution don’t support your position. Even if you can prove evolution 100% false, it doesn’t make creationism true.” That will gut most, if not all, the pro side arguments.

  15. #16 Glen Davidson
    September 19, 2008

    Mostly I think we should not debate them. PZ’s got it right, they have to be answered, but not debated.

    They’ll always whine if we don’t give “their worldview” the deference that a genuine scientific alternative deserves. Their whole “point” is that endlessly defending a priori prejudices is just as legitimate as simply trying to make sense of the evidence is.

    We can never honestly credit their worldview. Thus we have to answer their nonsense with sense, but never act as if they make any kind of sense.

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

  16. #17 JStein
    September 19, 2008

    I’m a little pissed that so many people are voting “no” on this.

    Realistically, what is worse to do to them: Ignore them or smash them into the ground?

    Spread the knowledge in Turkey. If these guys want to spread their ignorance, then we should be working against them.

  17. #18 ddr
    September 19, 2008

    So…….

    The religious con man is mad because some people said mean things about him. Then he invites these people to please come to his country and talk to him. It just so happens that his country is one where people can be locked up for saying mean things to religious people.

    I think they are insane for even thinking about going to Turkey to talk to some religious con man. I don’t see any point in going over there where he has all the power. I would be worried about getting out of there again. I don’t think there is any question that can’t be asked over the phone. I mean, if they locked up a bunch of atheists, do you think George Bush would care at all? Do you think he would come to their defense? Or do you think Turkey would really investigate if some wacko killed them all?

    Technology is a wonderful thing. Video conference the interview. If he refuses to do that, then he has something else up his sleeve.

  18. #19 Darth Wader
    September 19, 2008

    Your damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you do debate them, they say your bashing their religion. If you don’t, they say your afraid to do so.

    Personally, I don’t think one should ever yield to ignorance.

  19. #20 Phineas
    September 19, 2008

    @ Glen, #16: PZ & Dawkin’s point about giving apparent credibility to liars and con-men by engaging them in public forums is valid, but is it really even possible to really debate these people in the first place? Debate implies that you may sway the other side with sufficient evidence presented in a compelling manner and you said it yourself that they’ve already arrived at a conclusion and won’t be convinced. That is, if they’ll listen at all (i.e., the Gish Gallop).

    I don’t mean to sound snarky, because I’m asking that seriously. It seems to me the whole point of publicly engaging Oktar or D’Souza or Behe or any of the rest of them is not to ultimately try and convince them, but to give the audience more information and show the ridiculousness of the counter-arguments to evolution.

    On a related note, I wish more science proponents would just come out in public debates and say without prevarication that the methods and ideas proposed by these people are universally fraudulent, deeply anti-science, and do nothing but stifle debate and waste valuable time and money.

  20. #21 varlo
    September 19, 2008

    While I in no way condone the Turks position, they are, in most respects, the sanest of the predominantly Muslim nations, and there action is no more than our local loonies would do if given half the chance. I suspect even this site might be in trouble after a few McC-Palin appoinments to the Supreme Court, and I am virtually certain that, had he possessed the power, the late Gory Foulswill (I will never think of him under his birth name) would gladly put us all in concentration camps.

  21. #22 Johnny
    September 19, 2008

    I think this song should win most debates with the Creationist numbnuts:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89jt7zJzkNQ

  22. #23 watercat
    September 19, 2008

    As mentioned above, it seems to be a scientific fact that arguing with them only reinforces their delusions and is counterproductive. Makes them think their ideas are worth ‘debating’.

    Third choice, ridicule and laughter, (besides being way more fun) is I think the more effective deterrent: nobody likes to be laughed at. Does anyone know of scientific studies that support/disprove this idea?

  23. #24 U747
    September 19, 2008

    We seriously don’t have time to go around debating every lunatic who thinks the voices in HIS head have any relevance to science and reality.

    If we take these people seriously, we’ll have to take everyone seriously… and we’ll spend decades arguing about nothingness, instead of doing real science.

    so frustrating…

  24. #25 wÒÓ†
    September 19, 2008
  25. #26 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    Third choice, ridicule and laughter, (besides being way more fun) is I think the more effective deterrent: nobody likes to be laughed at. Does anyone know of scientific studies that support/disprove this idea?

    I have found ridicule to be a useful tool. But like any tool, there’s a time and a place.

    A somewhat reasonable person holding an unreasonable belief that has been ridiculed will sometimes get so angry at the ridicule that he will try to defend that belief in an effort to prove the person ridiculing it wrong. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, that person will realize he can’t defend that belief.

    Some positions are so ridiculous that people should be ashamed of having them. Ridicule is not an inappropriate response to the ridiculous.

    This is, of course, not a scientific study but based solely on my experience. Take it for what it is.

  26. #27 kermit
    September 19, 2008

    watercat & others who suggest laughing at them. I understand the impulse, and do not exactly disapprove. But for the onlooker, who sees them condemning you to Hell and you laughing at them and calling them idiots, there is little to choose between the two of you. I argue with them not to convince them(1) but to persuade lurkers and onlookers. Please, if there are others around not of their ilk, make a few rational points before walking away and breaking into laughter. Think of the children…

    (1) There are damn few of them who *can be convinced to be rational(2) – I was one, but I was a mutant geek kid and never really was housebroken.

    (2) My proudest moment philosophically was convincing a born again that if the King James bible was divinely inspired, then so was its Aramaic and Greek predecessor. He was quite suspicious of my mad Heathen mind tricks, but in the end he came around. It took hours.

  27. #28 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    watercat & others who suggest laughing at them. I understand the impulse, and do not exactly disapprove. But for the onlooker, who sees them condemning you to Hell and you laughing at them and calling them idiots, there is little to choose between the two of you. I argue with them not to convince them(1) but to persuade lurkers and onlookers. Please, if there are others around not of their ilk, make a few rational points before walking away and breaking into laughter. Think of the children…

    Like I said, it’s a tool and not appropriate for every occasion. Sometimes you need a scalpel, others an axe.

  28. #29 Muffin
    September 19, 2008

    We should talk ABOUT them. Expose them for the cony-catching crooks they are, yes, but TO them? I don’t want to say we should never talk to them, but “yes, debate is good” doesn’t cut it for me. Don’t mud-wrestle a pig and all that.

  29. #30 Nathan Schneider
    September 19, 2008

    Soon after writing a piece about creationism for AlterNet (http://www.alternet.org/story/93188/despite_overwhelming_evidence%2C_creationists_cling_to_unreality/), I was also invited to interview Harun Yahya. And I accepted. I just bought a ticket to Istanbul. If you would like to suggest any questions for me to ask Mr. Yahya, please email them to me at nathan@therowboat.com.

  30. #31 Sastra
    September 19, 2008

    You know, on rereading the comments by the Science Foundation official, I think we’re all framing it wrong. That is, they don’t want to use New Humanist magazine as a way to promote the respectability of creationism as a science theory. They want to use it (they think they can use it) as a vehicle to help get across the idea that it’s so very, very important to be nice.

    And that’s one of their wedges to gain respectability.

    I’ve heard it a million times, mostly from theists who consider themselves liberal (and even from a few atheists.) It’s not that you’re criticizing religion. Oh no. That’s just fine, we have no problem with criticisms of religion. Religious faith thrives on debate. Really.

    It’s the WAY you’re doing it.

    It’s so rude. Disrespectful. Unfair. You’re attacking people and their feelings. You can’t have a decent society if people are permitted to say mean things in a mean way.

    I think that this line of argument is, for the most part, bullshit. One of the first tactics people resort to when defending viewpoints which have no good support is to change the subject from the content of the criticism to the style of the criticism. The argument is that you can’t have a rational debate if either person shows strong emotion, because that means they’ve shifted the debate to personal attack. But what’s generally happening is that the person with the weaker case is trying to shift the debate from substance to style. And they’ll try to do it even if you make every effort to come across as Mr. Rogers on ludes.

    I suspect that the Science Foundation thinks it can get support from secular humanists, because we care about respect and reason, and therefore, they think that RUDENESS isn’t going to be seen as free speech, or a legitimate tactic in debate. Trouble is, their definition of what’s unacceptably rude is way too inclusive. And there is no way humanists want to legally ban rudeness. They really don’t grok the secular humanist mindset.

    But their argument is one that a lot of otherwise liberal people do fall for. Instead of Big Brother, they want Big Mommy, ensuring everyone enjoys a nice democracy by keeping the tykes from making each other feel too bad.

    I hate that. It’s one reason I seldom use insult, and seldom respond to it, in any way. It allows and encourages the other guy to shift the debate from substance to style. I’ve had it happen too often with the wishy-washy spiritual, who apparently consider people’s feelings as sacred, and if they can reframe every intellectual challenge as attacking someone’s meaning.

    The other reason is that I can’t insult people in a funny way. If I’m going to sling around invective, I’d want to make people laugh. But I’m just too lame at it.

  31. #32 Llurra
    September 19, 2008

    I really think it is import to dialogue with those who think as we do and those who don’t. We really are on the same quest, TRUTH

  32. #33 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    It’s the WAY you’re doing it.

    It’s so rude. Disrespectful. Unfair. You’re attacking people and their feelings. You can’t have a decent society if people are permitted to say mean things in a mean way.

    This pisses me off, too.

    In addition to what you said, one of the things that really bothers me is the “attack on their cherished beliefs” meme. Look, it isn’t my fault they chose to let their unsupported and, yes, silly beliefs define who they are. I’m attacking an idea that I find to be ludicrous.

    I’m not going to molly-coddle them because they perceive an attack of an idea as a personal attack, precisely because I find the idea of letting a belief define you as a person as being equally ludicrous.

  33. #34 Tony Sidaway
    September 19, 2008

    We should continue to ignore them except to oppose their misrepresentations of their beliefs as science and their attempts to infiltrate their religious concepts into secular science lessons.

    The religions are losing ground even in the United States where they are still politically strong enough to cause serious harm to science (the ARIS surveys 1990 and 2001 shows a 10% decrease in adherents of Christianity in just 11 years). They should be slammed hard in the United States, to help them on their way out.

  34. #35 Eamon Knight
    September 19, 2008

    Note that Oktar isn’t just your garden-variety creationist peddling a boatload of religio-pseudo-scientific nonsense, and mostly sincere if pathologically self-deluded. From all accounts, Oktar is an out-and-out criminal, a fraud artist and a thug. I don’t think any of the better-known Christian creationists quite rise (ie. sink) to that level.

    IIUC, the immediate proposal is for an interview, not a debate. I’m not familiar with New Humanist’s style, but I think an interview, accompanied by a thorough fisking pointing out what a piece of work (and not just on the creationism issue) the man is would be appropriate.

  35. #36 Nick Gotts
    September 19, 2008

    We really are on the same quest, TRUTH – Llurra

    No, we really aren’t; your way of expressing what you want to say makes that clear. Truth is just a semantic property of statements or claims – correspondence with the facts; it is not a thing you can quest for or find. You can, of course, seek to find out whether some particular claims are true or not; and in some cases succeed.

  36. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    I really think it is import to dialogue with those who think as we do and those who don’t. We really are on the same quest, TRUTH

    Really Lluraa?

    Which side works from a preconceived notion set out in ancient texts and then discounts or distorts any evidence that goes against it and which side is a flexible evolving side that considers the evidence and then adjusts accordingly?

  37. #38 tsg
    September 19, 2008

    I might be looking for truth. I have no interest in Truth. And I don’t even want to know about TRUTH.

  38. #39 brnofeathers
    September 19, 2008

    Why?

    You’re not going to convert him; he already knows all the answers. All you do is give him the credibility he craves.

  39. #40 Richard Dawkins
    September 19, 2008

    Anybody curious about the criticism of his book that was deemed ‘hurtful’ to Oktar (alias Harun Yahya) can read it on my (proudly banned) website here:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2833,UPDATED-Venomous-Snakes-Slippery-Eels-and-Harun-Yahya,Richard-Dawkins
    I think you’ll be astounded at the sheer blundering incompetence of the “science” in his ridiculous book.

    As I understand the position, my website is not finally banned. It is just that, under Turkish law (which must be an embarrassment to the country’s application to join the European Union), somebody only needs to lodge a complaint, however specious, in order to have a TEMPORARY ban immediately put in place, while the case is investigated. It seems that Oktar frequently exploits this bizarre legal anomaly as a harassing tactic, knowing full well that he is bound to lose when it finally comes to court. He is what would be called, in other countries, a vexatious litigator. Another strange fact is that we have received no official word about this case of any kind, either from the Turkish government or from any lawyers. All our knowledge of it comes from newspaper reports.

    For an impression of what a nice man we are dealing with, see
    http://www.mukto-mona.com/debunk/harun_yahya/index.htm

  40. #41 jagannath
    September 19, 2008

    Llurra, do you not believe your holy texts are Truthful? Such lack of faith, tck,tck.

  41. #42 karen marie
    September 19, 2008

    on a somewhat related topic, go to pbs.org and vote on the question “do you think sarah palin is qualified to be the vice president of the united states”:

    http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html

  42. #43 Eric
    September 19, 2008

    Where’s the Friday Cephalopod?

    I think the interview is a good opportunity to add another nail to the coffin. Oktar is likely to be far less shy about linking religion to intelligent design than his American counterparts. By all means get his opinions recorded in a potential legal exhibit.

  43. #44 Canuck
    September 19, 2008

    I couldn’t vote for either one. I would prefer the alternative you mention.

  44. #45 Sili
    September 19, 2008

    Johnny (#11),

    Do you seriously think that things are gonna get better if we keep them out?

    I think the whole charade is embarrassing – in the same way that it took two decades to let in Eastern Europe. Despicable.

    Turkey is in no way worse than Poland (remember the wondertwins and powerbalance to be assigned based on how many citizens had been killed in WW2?). Or Croatia or Forza Italia.

  45. #46 El Herring
    September 19, 2008

    I think it’s time we had an online poll on online polls – something like:

    Should online polls always include an extra option of “What PZ said”?

    1) Yes
    2) No
    3) What PZ said

    … something like that!

  46. #47 El Herring
    September 19, 2008

    Sorry, I forgot to add…

    Avast, ye scurvy knaves!

  47. #48 Orac
    September 19, 2008

    I never saw arguing against a die-hard creationist as trying to convert him, but rather keeping him from confusing others who might not understand why what he is saying is false.

    That’s my attitude towards proponents of “alternative” medicine (i.e., quackery at least 95% of the time) and towards antivaccinationists. My little rants are not so much for them as to hammer home how pseudoscientific and bogus their claims and arguments are to those who might not know.

  48. #49 Trish
    September 19, 2008

    I agree with PZ. Slam them hard by way of rational comments, but use no vulgar language. They will inevitably become vulgar on their own, flailing about while they attempt to defend their belief system.

    Belief systems go down hard, so make sure that rational hand is there to clasp.

    Some people cling to their faith out of pure ignorance. I was one of them.

    I am one of the people that you want, not other scientists. The regular, the ordinary. We are the people that need to understand. If you give up we retain our majority along with our ignorance.

  49. #50 Moses
    September 19, 2008

    I’m not an accomodationist. It’s hard to argue with delusional liars and hypocrites.

    Rather, I’m a “full-frontal assault” on the underpinnings of religion. I teach them about the evolution of their religion from a Canaanite Polytheistic religion to a Monotheistic religion. Then I ask them, ‘since you’re completely ignorant about the origins of your religion and how massively it changed over 3000 years, why should we listen to you about anything?’

    I tell them, seriously, ‘you are as humanly wrong as it is possible to be about you most certain and cherished beliefs. Why should I, or anyone, listen to what you have to say about your common, ignorant delusion?’

    They don’t like that. But they run like pigs from the gun when I join the discussions. :)

  50. #51 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Moses, can you suggest a good book that goes through this.

    I teach them about the evolution of their religion from a Canaanite Polytheistic religion to a Monotheistic religion.

    I know there are plenty, but you see to be well read on the subject so its nice to have someone weed out the shitty books on the subject.

  51. #52 John C. Randolph
    September 19, 2008

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/menck05.htm

    Money quote:

    “The meaning of religious freedom, I fear, is sometimes greatly misapprehended. It is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion. A dunderhead gets himself a long-tailed coat, rises behind the sacred desk, and emits such bilge as would gag a Hottentot. Is it to pass unchallenged? If so, then what we have is not religious freedom at all, but the most intolerable and outrageous variety of religious despotism. Any fool, once he is admitted to holy orders, becomes infallible. Any half-wit, by the simple device of ascribing his delusions to revelation, takes on an authority that is denied to all the rest of us.”

    -jcr

  52. #53 Cannabinaceae
    September 19, 2008

    In my (limited) experience, it is pointless to engage in rhetorical contests (can’t quite call them “debates”) with the delusional (such as creationists), for the purpose of convincing them to reconsider their position. Indeed, usually nothing better encourages delusionals to cling to their beliefs. However, to be seen engaging the delusional in rhetorical contests, honestly, dispassionately, and civilly, may have a positive influence on any observers who may be wavering or honestly curious. Fighting well for the side of reason may help other reasoners improve their arsenal, either as practice or if actually with an audience. Take the high road.

    To be sure, any delusionals who wittingly expose themselves to passionate incivility, say by posting dumbassitude on notoriously passionate and incivil blogs of reason, are painting targets on their backs and can’t honestly complain about any arrows they find stuck there.

    Yes, yes, I know they are not “honest,” and they “deserve*” what they get if they make such mistakes, but why not take the opportunity to practice, or at least give a good demo? If you want, anyway. It’s not like I myself am a good example. Typically I just roll my eyes and go looking for another beer.

    *These are scare quotes; I’m not trying to use others’ words here. As if. (Which makes this section a sarcasterisk?)

  53. #54 bunnycatch3r
    September 19, 2008

    Some people really should stay plugged into the Matrix. They’re safer and happier there.

  54. #55 JStein
    September 19, 2008

    I realize some people have said this, but it’s worth saying again, because many people seem to be missing the point of a debate.

    The point of debating these wackaloons is not to convert them, but to get people around them to think.

    It isn’t a matter of converting them, but a matter of converting the audience, and in a country like Turkey, that could do alot for the atheist community.

    Will we convert the staunch Muslims and Christians? Probably not. But there is a huge portion that sits on the fence purely because they don’t understand where we’re coming from.

    It helps alot to get those people into our camp by explaining the batshit craziness of these beliefs.

    I wasn’t converted as someone debating against the atheist, but rather as someone listening to the debates who nodded and said “that makes sense.”

    The more debates we have, the more people we’ll get to nod their heads and recognize the logic.

  55. #56 Sili
    September 19, 2008

    Can I nominate Sastra for her second Molly? Please?

  56. #57 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    #37 Big Dumb Chimp, there you go again. I told you that I don’t beleive that all of the texts should be taken literally. I do beleive that the bigger picture is that my sky daddy started the whole process of creation and that Sky Daddy teaches us, though scripture how to interact with Him and one another.
    Granted this is not the usual approach of fundementalits but it is the approach of many mainline Christians. You seem, Big Dumb Chimp, to have a name that discribes you very well.

  57. #58 Trish
    September 19, 2008

    #55 JStein:

    Yes. Yes, and Yes. It *works*.

  58. #59 Sili
    September 19, 2008

    What the Reverend said. I, too, would like a good introduction to the evolution of the Abrahamic religions.

  59. #60 Tony Sidaway
    September 19, 2008

    Oh I see, this was the idiot with the coffee table book.

  60. #61 DiscoveredJoys
    September 19, 2008

    Whichever way the decision goes – best of luck!

    It seems to me that any debate or interview will be a high risk endeavour. Most atheists familiar with Western culture could easily be caught out by their superficial knowledge of Islam.

    What outcome would you predict if an atheist from within a Muslim culture tried to have an honest debate with Kent Hovind oe Ken Ham?

  61. #62 Tom (the UK one)
    September 19, 2008

    The turks have been trying to join the European Union for some time now. Each time they have been refused, partly because of their support for torture, less than democratic processes, and also because of shit like this. The unfortunate thing is; i’ve been to Turkey and they were the kindest, most hospitable people I have ever met (and that’s coming from an Irishman). They are a mostly rational civilised people undermined by their shitty government.

  62. #63 CJO
    September 19, 2008

    Sky Daddy teaches us, though scripture how to interact with Him and one another.

    The lessons are incoherent, as evidenced by the radical diversity of behaviors advocated by the many self-proclaimed followers of Sky Daddy. How do you know you’re reading it right, when so many disagree?

  63. #64 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    37 Big Dumb Chimp, there you go again. I told you that I don’t beleive that all of the texts should be taken literally. I do beleive that the bigger picture is that my sky daddy started the whole process of creation and that Sky Daddy teaches us, though scripture how to interact with Him and one another.
    Granted this is not the usual approach of fundementalits but it is the approach of many mainline Christians. You seem, Big Dumb Chimp, to have a name that discribes you very well.

    yawn Lluraa.

    You ignored the rest of my question here.

    I’ll repeat it for you

    I rely on the theologians of my faith community to help me understand which books are to be taken literally and which are to be taken allegorically.

    So are you saying that the Theologians don’t believe their book either?

    How do they know?

    And you conveniently ignored this part.

    Don’t you find it disturbingly convenient that the church can change its doctrine to when new discoveries pretty much rule out what they’ve been saying for decades? Almost like they’re just making it up as they go along.

    Seems pretty fitting for a church founded by the likes of Joseph Smith don’t you think?

    So Lluraa. Why can you take some parts literally and take some allegorically. Why do your theologians get to pick and chose which parts of god’s words are important and which parts are just thrown out there for interpretation.

    But more on this post’s topic and your comment above

    I really think it is import to dialogue with those who think as we do and those who don’t. We really are on the same quest, TRUTH

    And my response

    Really Lluraa?

    Which side works from a preconceived notion set out in ancient texts and then discounts or distorts any evidence that goes against it and which side is a flexible evolving side that considers the evidence and then adjusts accordingly?

    It’s not just about you taking some of the book allegorically. You trying to use that as a defense to my question is hilarious. It’s about the way your religion treats the evidence via distortion, dishonesty or outright dismissal. It is even more to my point how easily religion in general makes parts of their texts “merely a story to teach a point” when they are confronted with something that disproves the literal interpretation. It’s akin to saying “just kidding” and undermines the very foundation you chose to stand on. To repeat

    Which side works from a preconceived notion set out in ancient texts and then discounts or distorts any evidence that goes against it and which side is a flexible evolving side that considers the evidence and then adjusts accordingly?

    The fact religion can’t even use their text’s literal translation is more support for my point.

    So your little rant above is another example of you dodging the question, something you’ve done over and over here.

  64. #65 Sondra
    September 19, 2008

    I voted no; since there were only 2 choices. The results are 81% voted no.

  65. #66 heliobates
    September 19, 2008

    @Rev #51:

    The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman

    Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times by Donald Redford

    The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai

    will get you pretty far down the path. Thanks to ReclusiveLeftist for the original booklist.

  66. #67 bunnycatch3r
    September 19, 2008

    You seem, Big Dumb Chimp, to have a name that discribes you very well.

    Ouch, you went over the line with this one.

  67. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    thanks heliobates

  68. #69 Rik.
    September 19, 2008

    I have the tendency to ignore problems until they go away.

    Usually, they don’t go away at all but get bigger until I REALLY have to do something.

    Still, I think creationists probably shouldn’t be ignored…but I’m not sure just what to do about them.

  69. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Ouch, you went over the line with this one.

    Yes devastating. Especially considering all the acrobatics she is performing to get around answering my questions.

  70. #71 brokensoldier
    September 19, 2008

    Does anyone else find it amusingly ironic that the tactics regularly employed by the evangelicals in this country (re: “inviting” PZ to debate some wackaloon creationist in a venue completely hostile to his ideas) are identical to the tactics currently being used by the Muslim governmental community?

    The mantra “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” kind of falls apart when both sides share political tendencies such as this one.

    But hey, admitting that there isn’t as much of a chasm between “us” and “them” as they’d like us to believe would torpedo their ability to stand on such divisive “moral” high ground, now wouldn’t it?

  71. #72 CJO
    September 19, 2008

    I second the recommendation of The Bible Unearthed. The same authors have a newer book as well: David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition.

    Also good for an extremely readable look at the documentary hypothesis and the origin of monotheistic Judaism and the Pentateuch is Who Wrote the Bible?, by Richard Friedman, who more recently put out The Bible with Sources Revealed, which I have not read, but plan to soon.

  72. #73 Sondra
    September 19, 2008

    Someone sent this to me. It’s kind of good news/bad news I guess: I don’t know who Panda’s Thumb is, so I can’t comment. You probably already saw it and discussed it.

    Vatican evolution congress to exclude creationism, intelligent design
    By PvM on September 17, 2008 11:38 AM | 49 Comments | 1 TrackBack

    As a final blow to the Discovery Institute’s attempts to get Intelligent Design into the Catholic ‘door’, the church announced an evolution congress which failed to invited creationists, and intelligent design

    The Congress is titled “Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories. A Critical Appraisal 150 years after ‘The Origin of Species'” and is scheduled for March 3-7, 2009 in Rome. The organizers are the Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Notre Dame as one of a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.”

    The reason for the rejection?

    He said arguments “that cannot be critically defined as being science, or philosophy or theology did not seem feasible to include in a dialogue at this level and, therefore, for this reason we did not think to invite” supporters of creationism and intelligent design.

    It seems to me that the Catholic church has come to understand that intelligent design fails to contribute either to science or to theology in a manner fruitful to be discussed.

    I can’t wait to read Denyse O’Leary’s comments on these ‘shocking’ developments.

    The reason for having this Congress was explained in a Press Conference which included “Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Fr. Marc Leclerc S.J., professor of the philosophy of nature at the Pontifical Gregorian University; Gennaro Auletta, scientific director of the STOQ Project and professor of the philosophy of science at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Alessandro Minelli, professor of zoology at the University of Padua, Italy. ”

    “Debates on the theory of evolution are becoming ever more heated, both among Christians and in specifically evolutionist circles”, Fr. Leclerc explained. “In particular, with the approach of the … 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’, Charles Darwin’s work is still too often discussed more in ideological terms than in the scientific ones which were his true intention”.

    “In such circumstances – as Christian scientists, philosophers and theologians directly involved in the debate alongside colleagues from other confessions or of no confession at all – we felt it incumbent upon us to bring some clarification. The aim is to generate wide-ranging rational discussion in order to favour fruitful dialogue among scholars from various fields and areas of expertise. The Church has profound interest in such dialogue, while fully respecting the competencies of each and all. This is, however, an academic congress, organised by two Catholic universities, the Gregorian University in Rome and Notre Dame in the United States, and as such is not an ecclesial event. Yet the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture serves to underline the Church’s interest in such questions”.

    On Pharyngula, PZ Myers gives us his perspectives on the event. And while PZ has his usual fun with the attempt at combining science with theology, I believe that he is missing the point.

    The Catholic Church, and especially the Jesuits, have been bitten by an anti-science stance more than once and have come to appreciate that a good theology needs to include scientific knowledge, not deny it. So while some churches have chosen to ignore science and embrace (Intelligent Design) Creationism, especially the Young Earth variant, the Catholic church, at least in this case, has rightfully rejected (Intelligent Design) Creationism from a conference which focuses on theology and science.

    I find such a position quite refreshing even though I disagree with the Catholic Church on many of its teachings regarding the position of women, birth control etc.

    PZ points out an interesting fact I had missed

    And look! Their exclusivity runs the other way, too!

    Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the other extreme of the evolution debate – proponents of an overly scientific conception of evolution and natural selection – also were not invited.

    I believe that the Archbishop may be referring to a position such as philosophical naturalism, where science is all there is and while theology may have little to contribute to science, good theology needs to embrace the facts of science.

    PZ’s somewhat emotional conclusions:

    PZ Myers Wrote:

    Scientists who willingly participate in this obvious game of propaganda are not helping science at all – they are simply selling sectarian Catholic dogma by adding a false luster of rationalism to a body of rank nonsense. The Vatican is asking for a façade of superficially presented science and an illusion of selectivity to make their lies and fantasies look specially favored by the scientific community … and they have even admitted that scientists who reject their teleology and their doctrines and their lunatic beliefs will not be permitted to question.

    It seems that in PZ’s world, religion can never ‘win’, either religion denies science and needs to be rejected or it embraces science and should be rejected for playing an obvious game of propaganda. So is there any middle ground where religion is allowed to play?

    Given the fact that many if not most people hold to a personal faith and worldview, it seems rather harsh to suggest that their embrace of science is just an act of propaganda rather than a well informed and meaningful embrace of the place of science within religious faith. One may reject religious faith as foolish lies, and I have no problem with such a position, but should one also not accept that religious faith for many plays a much different role than the one stereotyped here?
    Categories:

    * Science and Faith,
    * Theological Issues with Intelligent Design

  73. #74 Owlmirror
    September 19, 2008

    I don’t know who Panda’s Thumb is

    The Panda’s Thumb is an excellent pro-evolution site, and PZ sometimes (cross)-posts there. However, they (a group of biologists) generally tend to a more accommodationist stance (which I think could fairly boil down to “Don’t say mean things about religion or religious belief”), and so disagree with PZ’s more…. outspoken, and occasionally grumpy, atheism.

    The post you copied is here:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/09/vatican-evoluti.html

  74. #75 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    I really hope that someday science and relligion can meet on some common gound and grow from there. But it never will as long as closed minded people on either side aren’t willing to at least chat together.
    Some people, especially on this blog really do act like the big chimps from which they claim we have all come from.I hope that a movement towards science and religion can meet on this blog.

  75. #76 Rey Fox
    September 19, 2008

    “I hope that a movement towards science and religion can meet on this blog.”

    What does religion bring to the table?

  76. #77 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa @ 75

    I gave up talking to you. When your god talks to me, then I’ll talk to you; how’s that?

  77. #78 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    Religion, Holbach could bring another world view of philosophy and how better to interact with one another as sisters and brothers.

  78. #79 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    We do a pretty good job of acting like a bunch of animals, as it is. Maybe with a unified approach to life, that is to say, a union of religion and science, we can stop acting like the monkeys we came from and more like the humans we are. Just a thought

  79. #80 Danio
    September 19, 2008

    Lluraa,
    what ‘common ground’ do you believe exists between the two? Science and religion offer explanations for universal phenomena which are often at complete odds with one another. When religion accepts naturalistic explanations for these phenomena, it ceases to be religious. Similarly, attempts to superimpose a god-like agent over empirical observations or theories must necessarily depart from the realm of science.

    Are there religious folks who value science–for example, those who appreciate the huge advances in technology, sanitation, medicine, etc. that science has provided and, importantly, attribute them to human rather than to divine achievments? Most assuredly. There are also a number of scientists, or science appreciators, who are religious followers and who interpret findings about the natural world as evidence of a supernatural power. This is not, however, indicative of ‘common ground’, but of individuals trying to reconcile their religious world-views with the undeniable realities that often contradict their dogma.

    So what is it that you hope to reconcile here? Beyond an acknowledgement that people interpret reality through a variety of different filters (however wrong some of them may be), I don’t know what else substantive there is to ‘chat’ about. But I’m listening.

  80. #81 Nerd of Redhead
    September 19, 2008

    I sometimes wonder if Lluraa is trying to get her missionary requirement done by posting here. Religion has nothing to add to philosophy–or anything else.

  81. #82 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Some people, especially on this blog really do act like the big chimps from which they claim we have all come from.I hope that a movement towards science and religion can meet on this blog.

    Your concern is noted.

    Really LLuraa they should be very simple questions for you to answer. You came to this blog and started making posts about your religion, many of them in completely unrelated threads. I brought up questions and you choose to ignore them or to distract from them.

    If you are such a believer, these should be easy for your to answer.

    maybe the fact you won’t or can’t should tell you something.

    now you’re playing the overused victim card and crying foul. Oh boo hoo Lluraa. Poor Mrs. Lluraa who can’t answer questions about the religion she came to this blog and started spouting off about.

    What a poor victim.

    Please, we’ve heard it all before. You are allowed to come and make proclamations but we can’t question them? I don’t think so. Your little crying victim tactic doesn’t take away my questions above.

    I hope that a movement towards science and religion can meet on this blog.

    If you want this you need to do your part.

  82. #83 Natalie
    September 19, 2008

    Religion, Holbach could bring another world view of philosophy and how better to interact with one another as sisters and brothers.

    Because it has such a fabulous track record in this area.

    BTW, Llllaaaauuurrrraaa or however you spell your name, humans did not evolve from monkeys or chimps. We are apes, not monkeys (they’re not the same thing). We do share a common ancestor with the modern chimpanzee, but we do not descend from chimpanzees.

  83. #84 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa @ 78 & 79

    Religion may be a world view, but it is definitely not a philosophy. Monkeys? Speak for yourself. I am a human, and know a monkey when I see one. And I don’t want to interact with quasi-humans whose brains are not developed with the reason and logic to separate themselves from monkeys.

    And heck, I could not get your god to talk to me, so I’ll have to talk to you. Maybe you can get your god to talk to me, even if it’s through your addled brain. Are you there?

  84. #85 Nerd of Redhead
    September 19, 2008

    Lluraa, science and religion divorced centuries ago. One of the basic tenets of science is that it can neither prove or disprove the existence of god, nor can god be used as an explanation for any observation. There is no chance for reconciliation as science has been very successful without god and theology. So religion has to try to fit modern science into their theology and science doesn’t care how they do that as long as they leave science alone. The problem for religion is that sacred texts do not change.

  85. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    We do a pretty good job of acting like a bunch of animals, as it is. Maybe with a unified approach to life, that is to say, a union of religion and science, we can stop acting like the monkeys we came from and more like the humans we are. Just a thought

    Again, your concern is noted.

    You need to consider the strong posibility that you aren’t coming to the table honestly looking to come together as is demonstrated by your posts here.

    And what exactly are you hoping to get from a “union of science and religion”?

    From what I can tell from what you’ve written here, all you want from it is a validation of your religion and not any coming together.

  86. #87 Nick Gotts
    September 19, 2008

    “Debates on the theory of evolution are becoming ever more heated, both among Christians and in specifically evolutionist circles”, Fr. Leclerc explained lied.

    There, fixed.

  87. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    grr hit post too soon. It’s a little garbled but I mostly gets the point across.

  88. #89 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    oh for fucks sake. english fail.

  89. #90 Natalie
    September 19, 2008

    Oh, I don’t know, Rev. I think “I mostly gets the point across” has a certain charm to it.

  90. #91 Danio (aka Murderous Allison)
    September 19, 2008

    Ah, see, I thought you were taking a stab at Pirate Talk, there. Aye lad, ye mostly gets yer points across, encumbered with typos though ye may be.

  91. #92 Rey Fox
    September 19, 2008

    “Maybe with a unified approach to life, that is to say, a union of religion and science, we can stop acting like the monkeys we came from and more like the humans we are. Just a thought”

    So, empty rhetoric then. No, I think science will get on perfectly well without that.

  92. #93 CJO
    September 19, 2008

    Aye, “encrusted” ye might say, as if with baarrrghnacles.

  93. #94 Nick Gotts
    September 19, 2008

    We do a pretty good job of acting like a bunch of animals, as it is. Maybe with a unified approach to life, that is to say, a union of religion and science, we can stop acting like the monkeys we came from and more like the humans we are. Just a thought – Lluraa

    Erm, we are a bunch of animals, Lluraa. Unusual ones, to be sure, but recognising the basic fact is essential. Intellectually, religion has nothing whatever to contribute; and the historical record does not suggest it makes people any more moral, to say the least. Try reading up on the history of your own religion – the conman Joseph Smith; the megalomaniac Brigham Young; the schisms and internal violence; the way the “prophets” monopolised young women, even when they were old men; the miseries visited on these women, and on youths thrown out before they could become rivals.

    What is your motivation in commenting here, Lluraa? If you want a place where people pretend there’s no necessary conflict between science and religion, there’s plenty on the web – so why come here, to a well-known hangout of atheists who concede nothing to religion? Or is it really “missionary service”? Certainly easier than going door-to-door! Or are you actually attracted by what you see here, but can’t quite “take the plunge” into atheism? If so, come on in, the water’s fine!

  94. #95 Ranxerox
    September 19, 2008

    Hey Campers,

    I tried for a bit, but couldn’t stay away for too long.

    So riducule as a tool… I am starting to warm to that. Still not too cool with personal insults but ridicule of ideas that deserve it…, yes I think I can play along with that.

    Interesting study stats from Ben Franklin but I would have to agree that the dialog is for the benefit of those looking to understand, or those just needing that little push.

    Though I live North of the 49th I am still quite freaked out by too many of my Southern neighbours.

    If anything in the last few weeks has ‘strengthened my resolve’, to be an active voter in a Democratic process, it has been the events relating to the current administration this upcoming election. Plus I recently watched Sicko. The government needs to be afraid of the people and not the other way around.

    Please do you best to get everyone you know to vote Dem. Y’all are a bit close to us, and the trickle-up effect is infectious.

  95. #96 Hyzenthlay
    September 19, 2008

    What about the answer “No, they won’t listen anyway”. I would’ve went for that.

  96. #97 Ranxerox
    September 19, 2008

    Tip #23,

    Fundamentalists are like computers; you need to punch in the information.

  97. #98 Alan Chapman
    September 19, 2008

    #78 Religion…could bring another world view of philosophy and how better to interact with one another as sisters and brothers.

    This sounds similar to the “morality can’t exist without religion” argument, which is utter bunk. A case for ethical conduct can be easily made with reason alone.

  98. #99 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa:
    When you consider this insane imaginary god state of mind, and determining whose fault it originally was in molding nothing out of nothing, the fault is not entirely yours, as it is not your doing that there is no god, heck, this insane idea existed long before you were born so that you cannot be blamed for it’s non-existence. However, the fault and subsequent mental breakdown is entirely yours because all that insane crap was there to be pepetuated by your now relgion demented brain, your own doing. You may not be blamed for the initial birth of this madness, but your refusal to think rationally has resulted in your current madness, of which you are probably diegned to endure for your remaining life. You will live your life with a pathetic wimper, and it will end without a prayer, with the god in your brain fading as your life does.

  99. #100 Jerry Billings
    September 19, 2008

    The reference to ‘an interview’ suggests that there would be a private meeting. That should raise a red flag of warning to all evolutionists. First we would be agreeing that the creationists have something of value to be considered. Second, it allows the creationists to cherry pick comments to prove any point that they select.
    If the kooks are able to arainge for a widely broadcast debate that would be another matter but as I envision the forum it is questions from the evolution side and answers from the creationists. This is by any definition a loaded fashion for finding truth. The creationist can state and restate his position and all that is heard is the creationist’s opinion. An example might be, Q. What evidence do you find to suport your position?” Then here comes the answer, “Blah Blah, Blah.” Without a rebuttal being presented, the game is over.
    I would never agree to a Q & A forum or even a closed debate. An open, national, live broadcast is worthy of consideration.
    Jerry Billings, unitedstatesatheists.com

  100. #101 BobC
    September 19, 2008

    Should we bother talking to creationists?

    It’s extremely rare for a creationist to give up his or her magical fantasy world. If the creationist is over 21 years old, there’s no hope for him. Even a very young creationist has virtually no chance of recovering from his brainwashing. Talking to a creationist is a lot like trying to convince a terrorist that suicide bombing is not a good idea. I think it’s better to just point at them and laugh, and make sure they understand they will lose in court, and be ridiculed, if they make any attempt to dumb down science education.

    I suppose there are a few creationists in the world who would listen to reason, but I have never met a person like that. Every creationist I have met in person or on the internet has been brain-dead. Their disease is incurable.

  101. #102 LLuraa
    September 19, 2008

    but your refusal to think rationally has resulted in your current madness
    HOLBACH Hon,
    It is not I who refuse to think rationally, it is you.
    It has been suggested from before the ancient Greeks that SKY DADDY can be shown to exist from reason.
    For example look at some of the work of Thomas Aquinas and his use of reason for coming to the conclusion that SKY DADDY exists. One uses reason to come to the knowledge of SKY DADDY.

  102. #103 BobC
    September 19, 2008

    Another problem with creationists is their love for censorship. Visit any blog belonging to a creationist retard and there will be comment moderation. Even the most polite comment, if the comment is pro-science, is likely to be never published. On one Christian blog I unfortunately used to waste time at, any Christian moron could delete any comment with one click of their mouse, and that blog was infested with morons.

    Their love for censorship, their refusal to do their own research, their belief that every scientist is a liar, their belief they know more about science than any scientist, and of course the proven fact that creationists are the most stupid people in human history, makes creationists a complete waste of time. Talking to a creationist is no different from talking to a dog.

  103. #104 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Crap, we’ve been talking to creationists for some time on this site and the results have proven useless, if even downright mind boggling. We have been bantering with Llauraa and demented company to try to instill some semblance of reason into the conservation, all to no avail. We might as well have been talking to monkeys for all the lucid insights rendered. Wait; you mean we were talking to monkeys all this time?
    Llauraa, every time you think you weaken the nation.

  104. #105 BobC
    September 19, 2008

    LLuraa is a good example of a waste-of-time hopelessly insane brain-dead creationist asshole. Hopefully it will go away and read its bible, or whatever creationist scum do to entertain themselves.

  105. #106 Alan Chapman
    September 19, 2008

    #102 One uses reason to come to the knowledge of SKY DADDY.

    Argument from personal incredulity: I can’t explain and I don’t understand. Therefore, a god.

    This is a non-sequitur. It does not logically follow that something seemingly inexplicable implies a god.

    The so-called “watchmaker argument” (order and complexity in the universe implies an intelligent designer) is a Fallacy of Conclusion by Analogy because superficial similarities between objects in one area does not imply similarities in others.

  106. #107 CJO
    September 19, 2008

    look at some of the work of Thomas Aquinas and his use of reason for coming to the conclusion that SKY DADDY exists. One uses reason to come to the knowledge of SKY DADDY.

    Puh-leeze.

    First, all such proofs put forward to date either assume the conclusion or commit other, equally egregious logical fallacies. Second, a valid logical proof for the existence of gods would contradict the entire notion of faith.

  107. #108 Wowbagger
    September 19, 2008

    Lluraa,

    An intellectually dishonest one uses tries to use reason to come to the cover the fact there can be no knowledge of SKY DADDY, but fails because there is no such ‘knowledge’, only empty rationalisations.

    Fixed it for ya.

  108. #109 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa @ 102

    Aquinas knew SKY DADDY? That demented religious slime even knew the Tooth Fairy and all the other creations of a mind slipped into insanity. Seriously Llauraa,if you continue with this train of insane thought, you will be remanded to the post of greeter at the Deranged Institute and giving demonstrations how early humans rode dinosaurs. “Giddyap Rex, we’ll run those precursors of rationalist hordes right into Pharyngula!”

  109. #110 bunnycatch3r
    September 19, 2008

    I’ve been stalking Carl Sagan on youtube. He shows an inordinate amount of reverence to the “cosmos”. Despite his claim to be an atheist I don’t think it was at all that simple for the man.

  110. #111 Falyne, FCD
    September 19, 2008

    “It has been suggested from before the ancient Greeks that SKY DADDY can be shown to exist from reason.”

    Oh, please, please present a logical, valid argument for God. We’ll be waiting. But we won’t hold our breaths.

  111. #112 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    bunnycatch3r @ 110

    If Carl had shown an inordinate amount of “fascination” to the cosmos, would that lessen his wonder and reverence to the Universe without implying doubt as you seem to infer? We do not definitely know his most inner thoughts on the subject other than what he has professed in his writings and books, but I am confident that he was an atheist as much as I am. Simple is much to simple a word to use for any doubts that he was in awe of the Cosmos, even when there is no unseen and non-existent entity to cloud that wonder.

  112. #113 ennui
    September 19, 2008

    Yeah, and not just any god. I want a proof of your Mormon god, Elohim. And his sons Jesus and Lucifer. And of the three ‘Kingdoms,’ the ‘Outer Darkness,’ the ‘Veil of Forgetfulness,’ the whole shebang.

    You’ve been vomiting bile here for over a week now, and all of a sudden you claim to have a ‘proof’ of god? What on earth took you so long to say so?

  113. #114 scooter
    September 19, 2008

    Arrrrrgh Llurra
    you sound like a fine wench. You got your religion, thems here’s got their science.

    All I wants is another pint o this grog, a bit of rape and pillage nows and then, b’jiminy? Like the Bible.

    And from me science mates, well, some goddam electricity, a telephone, some internets, an air conditioner would go pretty good right about now.

    Pirate: Varicose Main, esq. from the Port of Houston
    posting from me workplace, The Sloop, Moldy Skull

  114. #115 Steve_C
    September 19, 2008

    lluuurraaaarrrggghhh,

    This is all the reason you need to not believe in god.

    No one can give you any evidence for the existence of gods.

    You can’t “reason” your way into believing something for which there’s no evidence.
    That’s called a delusion. You have deluded yourself into accepting the Mormon god.
    Or brainwashed/indoctrinated by your family.

  115. #116 JoJo
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa #102

    Aquinas’ “Proofs of God” are based on fallacies. The five “proofs” are: 1. 1. Argument from motion; 2. Argument from causality; 3. Argument from existence; 4. Argument from perfection; and 5. Argument from intent. (I could give the steps in these arguments but I don’t want this post to be too long. A short version of the proofs can be found here.)

    Arguments 1, 2 and 3 are the same argument. Perhaps in Aquinas’ time motion, causality and existence were viewed distinctly, but today we can view them all as cause and effect issues. Things can be caused to be put in motion; things can be caused to come into existence, etc. Thus 2 covers 1 and 3.

    The first issue, and it is a glaring one, is that of induction. 1, 2, 3 and 5 are all arguments of induction. Induction is where you take a specific set of examples and then generalize a conclusion. The problem with this is that the conclusion is not necessarily true, based on the premises. To put it another way, a conclusion derived from induction is not proof of anything.

    I should mention that similar objections have brought against the scientific method. I find it hypocritical that a person would deny the validity of science based on the problem of induction yet hold the above arguments to be true. The scientific method, rather, uses abduction to derive the most likely explanation of a given set of observations. At no point does science say that such explanations are conclusive. There is nothing in science that is concluded, it is always open-ended. I’d be interested in understanding how a person can criticize science for using inductive/abductive reasoning when science does not claim its answers are necessarily true but at the same time feels the induction used by Aquinas produces conclusions that are necessarily true, when it is impossible for inductive reasoning to produce such conclusions.

    For 1, 2 and 3, Aquinas draws out the conclusion to a logical contradiction: there cannot be an infinite regression of causes/motion/existences. Under normal circumstances, this would be it; Aquinas as essentially disproved his own argument via reductio ad absurdum. But instead of recognizing this, he proposes a solution by defying his initial premises! To explain away the potential infinite regression of causes, he proposes the existence of a “first cause” and “uncaused caused” despite the fact that this violates his premise that all things must have a cause. He offers no reason why this “first cause” is an exception to the general rule he has established. He simply labels it God.

    Argument 5 does not contradict itself and remains consistent. Yet it is still fallacious, even when ignoring the problem of induction. It is fallacious because it begs the question. Aquinas has said that all things moving toward an end must be guided by intelligence. And since things other than humans are not intelligent, they cannot be guiding themselves toward and end and must get this guidance from elsewhere. This may be from humans, as an arrow shot by an archer guided to a target or from something else. For all things not driven by human intelligence he says is driven by God. This is begging the question because it assumes that all things are being driven to not only an end, but in such a way as to achieve “the best result”. Aquinas offers no reason or support why we must assume that all things are acting toward a specific end and are acting in such a way as to achieve a “best result”. It very well could be that things are simply acting to no end and, thus, are guided by no intelligence at all.

    Argument 4 is a bit trickier in that it muddles a bunch of different concepts. Aquinas has said that we find in objects varying degrees of certain attributes, and that there must be a maximum to that attribute. If one thing can be hotter than another, then there exists a hottest object. What Aquinas muddles here is that there does exist maximum values for certain attributes, such as heat. There is an absolute zero and there is a theoretical maximum temperature, there is a maximum velocity and a minimum velocity. But this does not mean all attributes have a maximum nor does it necessarily mean that there are objects that possess this maximum value for that attribute. There are numbers greater and lesser than another, yet no greatest or smallest number. The qualities he tries to apply this to are goodness, nobility, perfection, etc. These are abstract concepts that are not tied to physical values. This means they are more like numbers than they are like temperature and velocity. There is no reason for us to believe that there are maximal values for any of those. Even if there did exist entities that contained an attribute to its maximum quantity, there is no reason to say that there can be only one. He falsely proposes fire as the hottest object and the cause of all others, yet he doesn’t propose that only one fire exists. So even if there is a maximal goodness or maximal nobleness, why must they all rest in a single object?

  116. #117 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    That’s called a delusion. You have deluded yourself into accepting the Mormon god.
    Or brainwashed/indoctrinated by your family.
    And you have deluded yourself into not accepting the reality of a supreme being, you poor, poor monkey.

  117. #118 bunnycatch3r
    September 19, 2008

    @Holbach

    When I listen to Carl’s free verse devotionals to the cosmos the question which begs to be formulated is what if we find that the universe (a part from us) is sentient? Sorry to break ranks but if that turns out to be the case then I’m using the “g” word.

  118. #119 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa @ 117

    Not accepting the reality of a supreme being is a delusion? “.Llauraa, this is your god talking to you now. Drop this insane bullshit before you have me believing in myself. See what you have done? People are going to start calling me crazy like you. I’m just kidding Llauraa, I’m not really alive, just delusional into thinking that you are madder than me. What the hell am I saying? Holy shit, now you have me thinking I’m crazy!”

  119. #120 Steve_C
    September 19, 2008

    I’ll believe in a god when you show me evidence.

    Go ahead.

    Drooling troll.

  120. #121 scooter
    September 19, 2008

    LLuurrraaaaaa

    it’s droolig ape, not monkey, monkeys have tails, that’s how you tell the difference.

    By all, time to go home and sit in the dark

  121. #122 Salmonleap
    September 19, 2008

    bunnycatch3r @ 110
    And your point is…?

    What, exactly, is inordinate about Sagan’s reverence for the cosmos? There is a huge difference between a deity (AKA Skydaddy) and the cosmos. For instance: The cosmos exists, Skydaddy does not. The universe is real, god is not.

    Having reverence for something as vast, wonderful, and real as the entire universe is only logical. Believing in any god is merely institutionally-sanctioned insanity.

  122. #123 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    bunnycatch3r @ 118

    I suspected as much from your inference, and now from your reference to the ‘g” word. The Universe is not conscious of our existence; if we were not conscious, we would not be aware of the Universe. Sentience is not adduced to the Universe but only to us because we are alive and conscious. We give consciousness to the Universe but the Universe knows nothing of this, nor does it know of or acknowlege any imaginary gods. Make of this what you will, but I do not buy your premise.

  123. #124 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    Holbach, you have called me some of the worst names and you have insulted me with your hatred, your stupidity and your arrogance. If you like being satified with being a monkey fine, but don’t try to make a monkey out of me.

  124. #125 Rolan le Gargéac
    September 19, 2008

    Lluraa #79

    We do a pretty good job of acting like a bunch of animals, as it is.

    Irony much ?

    But cheap humour aside this is encouraging, biscotte she is now using our terms…

    we can stop acting like the monkeys we came from and more like the humans we are. Just a thought

    Minkies, munkeez, apes, ipes, we came from

    Softlee, catchee monkee, cos monkee just bright enough to learn …

  125. #126 JoJo
    September 19, 2008

    I shouldn’t be surprised that Lluraa didn’t respond to my critique of Aquinas. Someone who doesn’t understand the difference between monkeys and apes is unlikely to understand the basics of epistemology.

  126. #127 Nick Gotts
    September 19, 2008

    If you trace our ancestry back through apes, we surely did evolve from monkeys. Cladistically, apes nest within the old-world monkeys, so we are more closely related to a baboon, than either is to a spider monkey.
    /pedant

  127. #128 Lluraa
    September 19, 2008

    Minkies, munkeez, apes, ipes, we came from

    Hey Rolan, I can buy our coming from monkeys apes, or whatever, evolution seems entirely right, however I beleive that God, or Sky Daddy, started the whole thing evolving.

    And I believe that human beings are created in the Image and Likeness of Sky Daddy. Each one of us. Not in the image of our physical bodies but in our spiritual nature.

    Hey it’s Friday night I’m going to go out and party, or do I say, monkey around?

  128. #129 clinteas
    September 19, 2008

    Late to the party,bummer !

    A few remarks :

    //I rely on the theologians of my faith community to help me understand which books are to be taken literally and which are to be taken allegorically.//

    I recommend Hector Avalos’ “End of biblical studies”,in addition to the books already mentioned upthread.

    //And you have deluded yourself into not accepting the reality of a supreme being, you poor, poor monkey.//

    We should actually be grateful for Lluraa to be here and give us such a good example in case in relation to the thread topic !

    I would have to agree with BobC on the issue,once a creationist or similar deluded individual like Lluraa hits adulthood,there is no way back,their mind in incapable of processing any information that is contrary to their indoctrinated belief,and the various acquired defense mechanisms start to kick in.

    And a comment on this whole ” Sky Daddy” euphemism if I may,it sounds cute,and it might represent your wish to wrap the ol’ god into new clothes,but its still the ol god myth,unneeded by science and poisining childrens minds.

  129. #130 John C. Randolph
    September 19, 2008

    We do a pretty good job of acting like a bunch of animals, as it is.

    What do you mean “we”, paleface? My conscience is clear, and if yours isn’t, then try finding and apologizing to those you’ve wronged, instead of muttering prayers to your imaginary friend.

    -jcr

  130. #131 Holbach
    September 19, 2008

    Llauraa @ 124

    Yes, some of the worst names to describe your present state of mind, but if you noticed, I did not use the standard curse words of which we are all familiar. I can get my point across just with the ever handy and useful English language. I don’t hate you; I reserve this state for criminals, rapists, child molesters and assorted types who prey on innocent people. You pose no harm to me, physically or mentally, so I can honestly say that I do not hate you. I think and know that you are seriously in error of your irrational thinking, but again I can handle that with sheer rational repartee. As for stupidity, this only applies from your side because I do not ascribe to your illogical thoughts and opinions. If we were to apply the meaning of the word stupid, then you are indeed the perfect fit for that word. And yes, I am arrogant and freely admit to that especially when I have to bludgeon with reason a mind that is not disposed to rational thought and tries to belittle and intimidate people who are sensible in thought and actions. Arrogance is definitely an asset particularly when used to strike a cause for reason or any other noble and worthwhile cause.
    And I did not say directly,”Llauraa, you are a monkey”, now did I? You may have simian features, but this still does not compel me to call you a monkey. Did you have a bit part in “Planet Of the Apes?” Just kidding. No I am not a monkey and neither are you, but if one were to act like the lower orders of our preancestors, than the behavior of that order is freely applied to the human type. Get that irrational crap out of your head and come to your senses! Be like us!

  131. #132 Nerd of Redhead
    September 19, 2008

    There always seemed to be some disconnect between what Lluraa was saying and what she meant. I think religious people get so used to speaking in code that they have trouble truly expressing themselves in plain english. Hide that trouble behind a teenage girl facade with its own code and communication can be difficult.

    Lluraa, if you have any physical proof for your god, present it. Nothing short of physical proof that can be checked by scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers for divinity will even be considered. If your whole proof for god is based upon just verbiage it either has or will be refuted.

  132. #133 Sauceress
    September 19, 2008

    LLuraa is a mormum? Oooh..tell me all ’bout majik underwear LLuraa.
    I wanna get me some of that :)

  133. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Hey it’s Friday night I’m going to go out and party, or do I say, monkey around?

    So are you a Jack Mormon?

    Lluraa. Sorry I went out to dinner with the wife. Had a nice bottle of wine and a steak and then saw the new DeNiro / Pacino flick. Pretty good.

    I see you still haven’t addressed my posts above.

    Yes those are three separate links so you can backtrack and read up to answer.

  134. #135 Sauceress
    September 19, 2008

    Wai…I can’t keep up with all these different beliefs and rituals! Are mormons the ones with the arranged marriages to prepubescent wives? Or the ones with the aliens in the volcanoes?

  135. #136 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 19, 2008

    Wai…I can’t keep up with all these different beliefs and rituals! Are mormons the ones with the arranged marriages to prepubescent wives? Or the ones with the aliens in the volcanoes?

    Sounds like you are prime for Scimormontology.

  136. #137 Sauceress
    September 19, 2008

    Ahhh…I see!
    I missed that thread. Looks like it’s worth a catch up.
    Thanks :)

  137. #138 @
    September 19, 2008

    Which is the one that worships Tom Cruise?

  138. #139 Sauceress
    September 19, 2008

    Well now I’m sold! I couldn’t possible give up His Noodly Appendages though, so I shall henceforth refer to myself as an
    “Australien Pastafarian Scimormontologist”
    Oi, RAmen and….ummm??
    Scimormontology needs a catchy call sign!

  139. #140 Notagod
    September 20, 2008

    Llurra (who claims to be a mormon),

    Go roun up yer sitr wives now, yer cap’n tis r’y ta ravish the yungen.

    Arrg!

  140. #141 Roy Latham
    September 20, 2008

    I think Creationists should be debated, but only if you think you can win without resorting to ridicule. Ridiucule is ineffective because it makes the winner the one who is most effective at using ridicule, which has nothing to do with the subject. You concede all the substance in favor of nonsense.

    Wild theories always succeed in “explaining” everything (… it was God’s will, scientist lie to protect their vested interest in science, the conspiracy rigged the evidence, etc.), and proponents of wild theories throw up countless one-line objections and false arguments. Sorting all that out in a debate is not easy, but it can be done. There is no chance of convincing the true believer, so the objective is to plant seeds of doubt in the spectators. That is worthwhile. Ridicule makes it seem like you don’t have any substantial arguments.

  141. #142 Rey Fox
    September 20, 2008

    “Hey it’s Friday night I’m going to go out and party, or do I say, monkey around?”

    If you accept the reality of evolution, then why do you keep throwing the “monkey” insult around? Do you have a problem with monkeys? It kinda makes you sound like a creationist.

    Another question, and asking honestly: What is the proper spelling and pronunciation of your name? And is it the actual name your parents gave you? I ask because I know it’s a bit of a custom for Mormon parents to give their kids weird names. If you give an honest answer, I promise to stop misspelling it.

  142. #143 Stanton
    September 20, 2008

    I think Creationists should be debated, but only if you think you can win without resorting to ridicule.

    So, then, please explain how to debate a creationist who explains that evolutionism (sic) is unbelievable because “no one could survive an explosion as big as the Big Bang,” or a creationist who casually states how all those who have different opinions will be ultimately be judged by God and cast into eternal damnation?

  143. #144 BobC
    September 20, 2008

    Debating a creationist retard is a waste of time. Why would anyone want to do that?

    Also, what’s the point of winning a debate? What does that accomplish? Has any creationist given up Jebus because their favorite creationist liar lost a debate? No, of course not.

    Just tell the creationists they will never be allowed to dumb down science education, and remind them that religious indoctrination is child abuse. Never let the creationists forget how immoral they are. Point at them, laugh at them, and call them what they are, world-class stupid assholes who are good for nothing but getting in the way of human progress.

  144. #145 negentropyeater
    September 20, 2008

    Should we bother talking to creationists ?

    If it’s one on one, No, if there’s an audience, it depends who is listening;

    – if there are only creationists, No.
    – if there is a mixed group, creationists, fence sitters, evolutionists, Yes.

  145. #146 Moses
    September 20, 2008

    Posted by: LLuraa | September 19, 2008 6:18 PM

    but your refusal to think rationally has resulted in your current madness

    HOLBACH Hon,
    It is not I who refuse to think rationally, it is you.
    It has been suggested from before the ancient Greeks that SKY DADDY can be shown to exist from reason.
    For example look at some of the work of Thomas Aquinas and his use of reason for coming to the conclusion that SKY DADDY exists. One uses reason to come to the knowledge of SKY DADDY.

    Lluara, you’re full of crap and your irrationality (in you don’t investigate your mythology but accept it without challenge) is showing.

    Anyone who has studied middle-eastern archeology to the level of “informed layman” can tell you that the origins of Yahweh, Judaism and Christianity are not only complex, but originate from MULTIPLE POLYTHESITIC religions.

    You should read “The History of GOD,” “The Hebrew Goddess” (which deals primarily with the worship and destruction of Asheroth, God’s wife), “The Bible Unearthed,” etc..

    At this point in time, it’s pretty fair to say that, save for religious apologists who continue to distort and lie about the archaeological record, everything we “knew” about the origins of the bible through the archaeological “findings” through the 1940’s is pretty much FALSE.

    At one point in time, God (known as El) was the head of the pantheon which included Baal, Asheroth and others. Yahweh was incorporated pre-Josiah, but was subordinate to El. Yahweh eventually became equal to, then subsumed much of El. By the 6th century BCE, monotheism was taking hold.

    All this was, of course, hundreds and hundreds of years after Exodus allegedly took place. There was no exodus. Moses is fiction. All of exodus is light on fact and long on, as Lewis Black puts it, bullshit.

    David’s kingdom didn’t exist. Neither did Solomon’s. Jerusalem was a small city-state of little importance in the region. Not a mighty regional kingdom as portrayed in the bible.

    By the end of the Babylonian captivity, some Jews came back to Israel. They were monotheists and the relocated to Jerusalem which dominated religious writing and thought. It is believed by some, the greatest influence toward monotheism was anti-Hellenism. That is, the priestly cast and other conservative elements within Jewish society were worried about “losing their values” to the Greeks. Hence we have… Well, for lack of better words, a Nationalist-Religious revival that seeks to “counter” the Greek culture, including it’s Polytheistic worship practices. Nobody is 100% sure this is the primary reason, though I think it is considered at least a strong element.

    For example, you find in the Old Testament, clear references to people worshiping Greek gods. In Ezikiel it says: “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which looked to the north; and, behold, women sat there mourning for Adonis.” In many modern versions this is translated to Tammuz.

    This is not uncommon, it was standard practice for nations and kingdoms to have their own gods. To rival kingdoms, Yahweh was just another local God. In these passages, the Jews recognized other gods as true gods and as rival gods.

    15 Now therefore do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!'” (2 Chron. 2:15)

    14You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you;
    15for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. (Deut. 6:14-15)

    34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? (2 Kings 18:34)

    11The LORD will be terrible against them; yea, he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations. (Zeph. 2:11)

    Gods of the Amorites

    15And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh. 24:15)

    Gods of Damascus and Syria

    23For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. (2 Chron. 28:23)

    Gods of Egypt

    12For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Ex. 12:12)

    Gods of Edom

    20But Amaziah would not listen; for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom. (2 Chron. 25:20)

    God of Ekron

    2Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.”(2 Kings 1:2)

    However, with that aside, Judaism itself wasn’t fully monotheistic until the 15th Century when the last of the Jewish sects stopped worshiping Asheroth. Baal and the other gods had, by then, long since fallen by the wayside.

    Then we get to Christianity which borrows heavily from Mithrasism and Zoroastrianism. Both of which were, in turn, influenced by the Egyptians, Hindus and Buddhists.

    But I don’t see the point in going on. There’s no way you could ever open your mind to the fact that billions of ignorant people have lied to themselves and their descendants for THOUSANDS of years in perpetuating the Jewish/Christian/Muslim myths. Two of which, BTW, I suspect you reject save for what they incorporate of YOUR delusion.

  146. #147 Moses
    September 20, 2008

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT | September 19, 2008 3:02 PM

    The fact religion can’t even use their text’s literal translation is more support for my point.

    It’s beyond that. At one time, every verse in the bible was literally interpreted. As the boundaries on knowledge expanded, religion changed its view.

    If you look at the Unitarians, they are as far from literal interpretation as it can get and remain even slightly connected to Christianity and the bible.

    They don’t believe in Hell. They don’t believe Jesus was divine. They don’t believe that any of the harsh, victimize women, the weak or other peoples parts of the bible are true or worthwhile. One-in-four is an atheist (like me) and doesn’t even believe in God.

    I think it’s fair to say that the primary value the bible has in modern Unitarian circles is for the positives one can draw from the work. And how one can apply them in the quest for equality and social justice.

    But they include all works, overtly religious or not. So it’s just not the bible.

  147. #148 Lluraa
    September 20, 2008

    What you present is not earth shattering, nor heaven shattering news, Scripture Scolars have been writting about the Hebrews growing understanding of God for years. Just as there are today people who would deny the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis there are those who deny the historisity (sp) of the scriptures you speak of. Nothing new here.
    It is you who are deluded in your ultimate denial of the ultimate REALITY which is God, not the billions of people who know in faith he exists.

  148. #149 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa, can you show any physical proof for you god that can be confirmed by scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being divine will? If you can’t, your premise that your god, one out of thousands humans have conceived of over the years, does not exist making your premise faulty, making you the deluded one.

    Are you ready to tell us where to find the evidence, and how the divinity is to be confirmed?

  149. #150 Sili
    September 20, 2008

    You may not see the point in going on, Moses, but I’ve just added three more books to my Amazon wishlist. Is there any you recommend above the others? (since I’ll likely have to make a choice …)

    I seem to recall seeing it argued that Moses could well have some historical basis, since he has many ‘faults’ that don’t jive with the image of a Jewish superhero: Egyptian name, non-Jewish wife, no kids – I think. I take it those views have been discredited?

  150. #151 Wowbagger
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa, Moses isn’t denying that the scriptures exist, and are historical – in the sense that they were written at the point in history religious believers accept them to have been written; I don’t for a second believe that the entirety of what’s in them is true, any more than I believe all of what happened in The Iliad or The Odyssey is true.

    Problem is, the existence of those scriptures is evidence that all the contemporary variations of the Abrahamic religions (all forms of Judaism, Islam and Christianity – including Mormonism) are purely human creations, frequently modified to suit the tastes and preferences of those in power and the shifting social climate they were in.

    There is/are no god/s. Just a few thousand years’ worth of amalgamated storytelling and political manipulation. That is reality – and it’s you who is denying it.

  151. #152 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 20, 2008

    It is you who are deluded in your ultimate denial of the ultimate REALITY which is God, not the billions of people who know in faith he exists.

    Ultimate reality yet no evidence of.

    Now Lluraa, who’s the deluded one.

  152. #153 Llurra
    September 20, 2008

    Nerd I can show you the effects of God as shown in the Beauty of Creation, I have never seen electricity, have you?
    But I see the effects of it. I have never see God but I see God’s effects in creation.

  153. #154 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa you are ignoring my questions. Not very good for a coming together you claim you want.

    The more you ignore them the more you validate my assertion that you aren’t here for any learning or coming together but are only here in an attempt to validate your religion.

  154. #155 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 20, 2008

    Creation, I have never seen electricity, have you?
    But I see the effects of it. I have never see God but I see God’s effects in creation.

    Bad bad bad.

    Yes i have seen electricity. It’s called lightning.

  155. #156 Danio
    September 20, 2008

    Holy steaming pile of crap, Lluraa.

    Just as there are today people who would deny the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis there are those who deny the historisity (sp) of the scriptures you speak of.

    Your nauseating, insulting analogy fails. What a surprise. People don’t ‘believe’ in the Holocaust simply because they read an account of it in one single book, or even several different translations of the same book. The principle difference between determining the historiCity of scripture vs. that of the holocaust is, in a word, evidence. In fact, it is evidence, or lack thereof, that will bite you in the ass every time you claim knowledge of supernatural forces.

    It is you who are deluded in your ultimate denial of the ultimate REALITY which is God, not the billions of people who know in faith he exists.

    On the contrary, most non-believers I know–all those prickly scientific rationalist types–are openminded enough to consider true evidence of god(s) if and when it should ever come along. Here’s the rub, though: the moralistic ramblings of bronze age shepherds, or of 19th century swindlers, or of any of the thousands of ‘prophets’ in between, are not evidence. What you have basically boils down to an argument from popularity: billions of people believe it, therefore it must be true. Yet even billions of people believing something fervently at the same time is in no way equivalent to reality, ultimate or otherwise.

    We who have examined not only the absence of evidence for any supreme being, but also the preponderance of evidence for the usefulness of religion in human history, are not the ones in denial. Think about it.

  156. #157 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    Just as there are today people who would deny the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis there are those who deny the historisity (sp) of the scriptures you speak of.

    Actually, it’s the other way around. The vast majority of honest archaeologists have come to realize that the scriptures never had any historicity in the first place.

    Just as the Book of Mormon never had any historicity in the first place.

    It’s only dishonest religionists who continue to make the claim for historicity in the face of the archaeological evidence — and the lack of archaeological evidence.

    It is you who are deluded in your ultimate denial of the ultimate REALITY which is God, not the billions of people who know in faith he exists.

    If you know that God exists, as a person, then go ahead and ask him to speak for himself. In plain English, please.

    A God that does not speak for himself is a God that does not exist.

  157. #158 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa, what a pile of excrement comparing not seeing electricity, which has been measured, predicted and used extensively, to proof for god. Again, do you have any physical proof that can be measured and analyzed by scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers?

  158. #159 Sphere Coupler
    September 20, 2008

    Well,well,well wrong again Llurra.

    The electron has been seen!

  159. #160 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    I can show you the effects of God as shown in the Beauty of Creation, I have never seen electricity, have you?
    But I see the effects of it. I have never see God but I see God’s effects in creation.

    Nonsense. Electricity can be seen, as a huge flash of lightning, and in a tiny spark after scuffing your feet on a carpet and touching metal.

    Anyway, electricity is not God. Reality is not God. The actions of reality are not the actions of God. That’s what is called “nature”. Nature can be understood by careful observation of its laws; in other words, by science. But nature is not a person, that understands human language, or can speak in human language.

    Nature is not God.

  160. #161 Danio
    September 20, 2008

    Lura, I weep for your lack of science education. Your vapid proclaimations about electricity seem taken directly from the pages of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. It may surprise you to learn that in the 21st century, we have a fairly thorough grasp of the physics governing electricity, to the extent that we can even control and harness its powers! I guess you’ll have to take my word for it that we have progressed quite a ways beyond “Lookit, Paw! I done punched the letters on this flat ol’ typewriter and my words just lighted up on the big glowy box like magic!”. We know it exists, we can observe it, and its effects, in countless different ways. The mysterious phenomenon that once spooked our ancestors so has has withstood scientific scrutiny and helped usher in a new era of understanding of our ‘reality’.

    Needless to say, there is no testable, mechanistic knowledge of this entity you keep referencing. Your analogies are weak, my friend. What else you got?

  161. #162 Kel
    September 20, 2008

    Just as there are today people who would deny the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis there are those who deny the historisity (sp) of the scriptures you speak of.

    Actually the more we look at the archaeological evidence, the less historicity we see in the bible. Archaeological evidence doesn’t align with the dates set, names and times that don’t match up, events with no evidence whatsoever; hell even the Jesus story has two separate events (one happening before 4BCE, one happening 6CE). There’s not much historicity in the bible at all; it’s a propaganda vessel for the great jewish state then for the early persecuted Christians.

  162. #163 Sphere Coupler
    September 20, 2008

    It’s called lightning.

    Sorry gotta corect ya on that one.
    Lightning is the result of renormalization of electron transfer which to make a long explanation short,expels photons upon collapse.
    However the elecron has been SEEN and it is documented.
    Its within my field of study.

    Now as the Rev. says how about those magical undies?

  163. #164 Danio
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa you are ignoring my questions. Not very good for a coming together you claim you want.

    Indeed, Lluraa seems to have ignored every one of the many substantive, earnest queries we’ve sent her way in favor of complaints, insults and regurgitation of tired old creationist talking points. And as the extemporaneous arguments she has offered up are as weak as Aunt Gertie’s tea, she’s quickly becoming boring.

    (PS,re: my post at 161 Is there room at your side, Rev, for a queen of typos? All shall love me and despair!)

  164. #165 Sphere Coupler
    September 20, 2008

    Can I be the joker of typos RE:post 163(I meant electron)

    And I’ll look for that documentation when I have more time.

    Really interested in magic underwear,do they help the prostrate?diarrhea?hemorrhoids?
    If you were them on your head does it help with post nasal drip?

  165. #166 Holbach
    September 20, 2008

    Llauraa @ 148

    No, Llauraa, you are reality, not your god who you think is real because you are real. If you were not real, your imaginary god would never exist. Your mind is real in the sense that it acknowledges your existence, and your mind’s god is real only in the sense of mental illness which can be measured. Your mental quotient is at the level of a log, which is definitely real, but since a log cannot think you are left with dead wood as a brain. Maybe a bolt of lightning can jar that wood into a turnip which will still leave you shortchanged.

  166. #167 Iain Walker
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa (#102):

    For example look at some of the work of Thomas Aquinas and his use of reason for coming to the conclusion that SKY DADDY exists.

    Lluraa, Aquinas’ arguments (with which most of us are familiar) are notoriously bad. JoJo (comment #116) has already given a decent summary of some of the major flaws, although I notice you’ve decided to ignore them.

    One could also add that Aquinas’ First, Second and Third Ways commit the Quantifier Shift Fallacy – by arguing that if all Xs bear some relation to some Y, then there must be some Y such that all Xs bear that relation to it (the classic illustration of the fallacy being “All boys love some girl, therefore there is some girl whom all boys love”). Aquinas, in jumping to the conclusion that there must be a single Prime Mover/First Cause/Non-Contingent Being, make the same blunder.

    And now I suppose you’re going to ignore this too.

  167. #168 Iain Walker
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa (#153):

    I can show you the effects of God as shown in the Beauty of Creation

    Go ahead, then. Show us. Please give examples, showing how God provides an explanation for those phenomena (i.e., why these phenomena are an expected consequence of God existing). In demonstrating this, you will probably find it useful (as indeed will we) to explain how an effect of God can be distinguished from an effect not of God.

    Or is this just going to be the tired old non sequitur “I think butterflies are pretty, therefore God exists”? Because the Argument from Subjective Emotional Reactions doesn’t really cut much ice around here. Or indeed anywhere populated by individuals with a mental age greater than five.

  168. #169 Holbach
    September 20, 2008

    Llauraa, riding on a lightning bolt:

    I like the standard description of lightning:
    “The visual manifestation of the great electrical upheaval in the earth’s atmosphere.”
    The key word is “visual”, as lightning most certainly is. That lightning is caused by something we cannot see does not make it caused by your imaginary god acting on tne ions. I love those old cartoons when a character is struck by lightning and his skeleton is highlighted through his body! Now that is funny! Also funny is when your god directs a lightning bolt at a church and burns the house of insanity to the ground, perhaps taking a few inmates to mingle with the ashes. Did your god do that intentionally or designed it intelligently to pursue it’s own bent?

  169. #170 Emmet Caulfield
    September 20, 2008

    Sky Daddy teaches us, though scripture how to interact with Him and one another.

    …and to wear magic underpants.

    I really hope that someday science and relligion can meet on some common gound and grow from there.

    Why would science want to? Religion is not miscible with reality, and science is getting on fine without it. For science, it would be like hoping to meet a gang of axe-murderers in a dark alley and “grow from there”.

  170. #171 Lluraa
    September 20, 2008

    There really on too many comments for me to answer individually. However there is a difference between “magic underpants” and the existance of God.
    I like the uncreated creator argument best of Thomas Aquinas. It made sense 800 years ago and it makes sense today. Plus witness the desire of human kind to worship, what is the fufillment of that desire? An Ape? I know God through faith, if I could see Him I would not need fatih would I?
    If you guys are happy with your delusion that there is not God, hey go for it, but know that you are delutional.
    Mormons don’t refer to their underwear as magical, and righly so there is nothing magical about it. It is a sacred garmet like the yamukle that the Jews wear or a prayer shawl like the Jews wear.
    You guys have proven my point that you are as zelous in getting people to be atheists as the fundies, whom you abhor, are zelous in getting converted to their God.
    I am happy and proud to be a thiest and you will never convert me, and I suppose I will never convert you, and to answer the question, I think it is a waste of time to have theological talks with atheists, I do however that it is important for us all to talk and work together as human beings showing mutual respect for one another.

  171. #172 Holbach
    September 20, 2008

    Llauraa @ 171

    We all make spelling mistakes, but yours are atrocious and widespread. This is a science site, and as such, exactness is highly regarded. But I digress. Go over to the post at top, “Afflicted With Angels”, to # 7 where I elected you to be my guardian angel!

  172. #173 Nick Gotts
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa,

    Unfortunately, the cretinously stupid “arguments” you put forward do not allow anyone with a spark of sense to have any respect for you.

  173. #174 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    I like the uncreated creator argument best of Thomas Aquinas. It made sense 800 years ago and it makes sense today.

    No it didn’t, and no it doesn’t. Aquinas contradicted himself, and came to a conclusion that made no sense whatsoever: That the First Cause was exactly the same as the God worshiped by religious people.

    Plus witness the desire of human kind to worship, what is the fufillment of that desire?

    If you wish to be a slave, find someone to boss you around and be your master. Don’t assume that everyone feels the same, though.

    An Ape?

    Recognizing the truth of evolution does not mean that those recognizers wish to worship apes.

    I know God through faith, if I could see Him I would not need fatih would I?

    Since God does not exist, it certainly looks like you’re using “faith” in a way that means “ignorance+hope+imagination”.

    If you guys are happy with your delusion that there is not God, hey go for it, but know that you are delutional.

    You’re using the word “delusion” incorrectly. A delusion is something that is imagined to be real, without evidence, and/or rejecting genuine evidence that something is real. Since you imagine God to be real, without evidence, it is you who are delusional.

    Mormons don’t refer to their underwear as magical, and righly so there is nothing magical about it. It is a sacred garmet

    “Sacred” means “magic of God”. If you disagree, feel free to distinguish the ideas of “sacred” and “magic”.

    I think it is a waste of time to have theological talks with atheists,

    If you were to turn your brain on, you might learn something.

    I do however that it is important for us all to talk and work together as human beings showing mutual respect for one another.

    I respect my fellow human beings. I have no reason to respect their delusions. The only way I refrain from offending is by keeping silent.

    Is that all you want? For atheists to remain silent about their rational skepticism, while you, and other theists, get to blither on about your “sacred” beliefs?

  174. #175 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 20, 2008

    I do however that it is important for us all to talk and work together as human beings showing mutual respect for one another.

    Your concern continues to be noted.

    If you guys are happy with your delusion that there is not God, hey go for it, but know that you are delutional.

    Lluraa you keep saying this yet are utterly unable to demonstrate why.

    Yet we’ve shown you many reasons that you are mistaken, deluded and are quickly becoming the epitome of a concern troll.

    You can keep saying that we are deluded but without any evidence to back that up it isn’t reflecting positively on you.

  175. #176 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa, do you have the physical proof for god yet? Time to put up or stop posting here.

  176. #177 Nick Gotts
    September 20, 2008

    If you wish to be a slave, find someone to boss you around and be your master. – Owlmirror

    That prompts a thought: maybe we should be promoting BDSM as a substitute for religion? The desire to submit one’s will to someone or something does seem to be, if not innate, then very hard to get rid of in those who have acquired it; and though it’s never been my thing, I understand consensual BDSM is pretty harmless. How about it Lluraa? Maybe all you need is a “strict” (and really existent) master to worship?

  177. #178 Notagod
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa’s lovely loving god-idea in action:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_3_19/ai_96893658

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

    The official mormon response to the massacre committed by mormons at the direction of their prophet (claimed to have two-way communication with their god-idea, that is, the words of their prophet ARE the words of their god-idea), has ranged over time from complete denial to deceptive acknowledgment but, never have they officially admitted to culpability of their prophet and by extension their god-idea. However, those that committed the murders had faith that they were doing the work of their god-idea.

    Llurra, probably has faith that it didn’t happen. Mormons are very sick people.

  178. #179 Sastra
    September 20, 2008

    Llurra has too many people to respond to, but a quick comment:

    Llurra #171:

    Plus witness the desire of human kind to worship, what is the fufillment of that desire?

    Mommy.

    Seriously. Our brains formed as infants inside a deep, completely immersed relationship with an All-Knowing Other, from whom all blessings flowed. It seemed to know our thoughts and desires before we knew what thoughts and desires really were: it seemed to be an extension of ourselves. Good was obedience to this All-Powerful Person: being bad was disobedience. It watched constantly. It corrected and guided and never made a mistake. We loved it, as our first and best love. And it loved us back.

    Just when children are beginning to find out that their mother, father, and adults in general are not perfect, they are told that their strong belief that there is a Perfect Other is true. One image is exchanged for another. They’re told that there is a God. God is everything you thought your mother was when you were 6 months old — only there’s no test in reality to find out if it’s really there.

    You just know it by instinct — the instincts your brain formed under from infancy. Then you go to work confirming what you already “know” is true.

    Mankind’s famous “God-shaped hole” is shaped like your mom. It is your mom, imagined as a different form.

  179. #180 lluraa
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa’s lovely loving god-idea in action:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_3_19/ai_96893658

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

    The official mormon response to the massacre committed by mormons at the direction of their prophet (claimed to have two-way communication with their god-idea, that is, the words of their prophet ARE the words of their god-idea), has ranged over time from complete denial to deceptive acknowledgment but, never have they officially admitted to culpability of their prophet and by extension their god-idea. However, those that committed the murders had faith that they were doing the work of their god-idea.

    Llurra, probably has faith that it didn’t happen. Mormons are very sick people.
    There are a lot a Anti-Mormon and Anti-religious people and articles out there. What else is new Notagod? Got any good Anti-Jewish or Anti-Muslim articles too?

  180. #181 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa

    Got any good Anti-Jewish or Anti-Muslim articles too?

    You again are dodging the questions. That’s not coming to the table honestly. That is more of you trying to legitimize your religion.

  181. #182 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    The longer Lluraa the mor(m)on sticks around, the more I am convinced we are her missionary project, and PZ should stick her in the dungeon. She obviously is not listening to what we are saying, and is trying to preach to us.
    Lluraa, time for you to leave on your own.

  182. #183 Nick Gotts
    September 20, 2008

    Let’s get this clear Lluraa – are you denying the mountain Meadows Massacre happened? How about just one straight answer to a simple question?

  183. #184 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    How about just one straight answer to a simple question?

    “I’m sorry, Dave Nick. I can’t do that.”
    HAL-9000 LLuraa

    She’s as programmed as any computer. And she’s programmed not to admit, or even to acknowledge, that she’s programmed.

  184. #185 Wowbagger
    September 20, 2008

    I know God through faith, if I could see Him I would not need fatih would I?

    Ah, the last refuge of the religulous who is losing an argument. They try to point out all the obviousness and overwhelming evidence (or, more accurately, non-evidence) for the existence of god and, when all that fails, trots out the tired and empty ‘well, there’s no because proof destroys faith’ line.

    Pathetic. If this logic was consistent there’d be no claims that any of the bible was historic – in fact, true religious believers would fight against it being considered historic – since that would be the proof that destroys all faith.

    Tell me, Lluraa, are you familiar with the babel fish?

  185. #186 Lluraa
    September 20, 2008

    Nick, Nerd, Big Dump Chimp,
    I really don’t know if the Meadows Massacre happened or not. But I will look into it. You are not my missionary project, nor will you ever be. Not once in my post have I tried to convert anyone, or encourage anyone to be a Mormon.
    Regarding Mormons being very sick, I think some are but most are pretty healthy redblooded American, who a fairly well educated, good people and by in large good family loving people. Most are rather conservative in politics and areas of their lives.
    Our Mormon underwear is not magical, does not in and of itself have any power but can be used in much the same way a Jew uses a yamukle, or prayer shawl, or a Christian a cross or a medal. It isn’t at all the “magic” and/or important entity you guys on here make it out to be.
    As far as my spelling goes, I’m not the best speller in the world, and if you are fair you will notice a lot of other mispellings by other people on this blog. Too bad PZ doesn’t have spell check on here.
    I think that the main topic on here should be the existance of a Supreme Being, God, or as some of you people say SKY DADDY. I personally like the term SKY DADDY thank you for it.
    It doesn’t matter if I or my family wear special underwear, or if we go to church on Saturday or Sunday or why we don’t pray to the saints, and why we think there may be gods on other planets. These things are incidental to the Mormon Faith. What really matters both to us and to people of Faith, is a belief in God.
    If as you say every thing that exists is so well organised, has such order, such beauty, came about by chance, I would say that the odds would be against all that chance and the only explaination for the order, beauty in the univese is a supreme being.

  186. #187 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    What really matters both to us and to people of Faith, is a belief in God.

    Missionary! I knew it.

    Lluraa, can you, or can you not, show physical proof for your alleged god that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and profession debunkers as having divinity present? Answer honestly, and with no equivocation. Yes or no?

  187. #188 Nick Gotts
    September 20, 2008

    If as you say every thing that exists is so well organised, has such order, such beauty, came about by chance, I would say that the odds would be against all that chance and the only explaination for the order, beauty in the univese is a supreme being. Lluraa

    Pathetic. No-one says the order of the universe came about “by chance”. That is not the alternative to positing a “supreme being”. Quite complex order can arise from very simple rules applied repeatedly to very simple initial conditions through self-organisation – have a look at some of the recent work on that, in the context of cellular automata, for example. The order of life on Earth is largely due to natural selection, which is very far from being “chance”.

    Incidentally, even if you reject naturalistic explanations for order, a “supreme being” does not follow. Why not a “supreme committee”, for example?

  188. #189 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    If as you say every thing that exists is so well organised, has such order, such beauty, came about by chance, I would say that the odds would be against all that chance and the only explaination for the order, beauty in the univese is a supreme being.

    You cannot possibly know any such a thing. You have no cosmological knowledge or evidence that this universe could have possibly turned out other than as it did; you have no knowledge of the advanced mathematics that would be required to calculate such odds; and of course, if universes can be different from our own, then the best explanation for our universe is that multiple universes have existed and will exist, some of them favorable to life, and some not.

    And of course, your assertion that the “only” explanation for our universe is a “supreme being” FAILS to take into account that this alleged “supreme being” does not talk to us, the entities it allegedly created, in simple human language that can be understood by anyone.

  189. #190 Lluraa
    September 20, 2008

    Nick, I gotta tell you, that I know God. I know that you will say “ok guys, get her to the rubber room” now we know she is a first class nut job.
    I have had “God” moments, times when I have “known” and “felt” the existance of God. I have developed what religious people call a personal relationship with God. I am happy with that and I make no apology for it. If you want to call me the extream of delusional go for it, but nothing could be more real to me than God.
    If I am delusional, there are millions of people who were are, and will be delusional with me.
    Thank you for bringing me to this moment when I can confess my knowledge of God.

  190. #191 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    Why not a “supreme committee”, for example?

    Or a supreme bureaucracy.

  191. #192 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa, we are indifferent to your position with respect to your god. If having one makes you feel better, good for you, but go elsewhere with your preaching.

    You need to answer this question: Why are you continuing to post here? Everything you say has been questioned and refuted. Time to go elsewhere.

  192. #193 Nick Gotts
    September 20, 2008

    Lluraa,
    You are a crashing bore. The fact that millions share your delusion does not make it any the less a delusion.

  193. #194 Danio
    September 20, 2008

    If as you say every thing that exists is so well organised, has such order, such beauty, came about by chance, I would say that the odds would be against all that chance and the only explaination for the order, beauty in the univese is a supreme being.

    Lluraaaaaaaa! (Am I the only one who imagines that name delivered in a Brando-in-‘Streetcar’ bellow?)

    First off, this is not what ‘we’–that is, anyone posting on this thread, ever–say. It is not necessary for you to agree with any of the arguments presented here, but it is quite vital for you to make an effort understand them in order to proceed with the bridge-building you have been advocating from day one. Statements such as the above make it quite clear that you are either unwilling or incapable of considering another’s point of view, however opposite it might be to your own.

    [The LDS ‘garment’] isn’t at all the “magic” and/or important entity you guys on here make it out to be.

    Yes, we get it. They are symbolic of the particular tenets of the LDS faith, as the other items you mentioned are to their respective faiths. We’ve had a bit of experience with such items over the past few months around here. I call bs on your demurral, however. Here’s what your own people say about the garment:

    “Once people are endowed, they have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout their lives. They are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Those who have been endowed in the temple must remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on their worthiness and their faithfulness in keeping temple covenants” (“Gospel Topic: Temples,” Wearing the Temple Garment, LDS.org.)

    (my bold emphasis)

    Sounds pretty darned important to me! And, as ‘blessings’ appear to be promised as a result of wearing them and comporting oneself appropriately while doing so, there may be just a suggestion of magic in there as well (unless you can make some cogent distinction between ‘sacred’ and ‘magical’). You clearly do not see it this way, but please understand that to non-believers it doesn’t matter whether the ‘blessings’ are associated with the garment, or the yarmulke, or the crucifix, or the codpiece made from puffin feathers plucked at midsummer, or the pulsating heart of a sacrificial virgin. Belief in the supreme being who grants these blessings is a prerequisite for deriving any perceived benefit from any of these religious objects or acts.

    You want to stick to belief in ‘god’ without the accessories, that’s fine. Here are some discussion topics:

    1. Please explain how you arrived at the belief in your specific god, to the exclusion on the thousands of other possible gods worshipped through human history and up to the present day.
    2. In light of your stated incredulity that the complexity of life and the universe occurred in the absence of a divine guiding hand, please explain how the existence of such a complex, powerful deity is not similarly problematic for you to accept.

    Oh, and ‘Big Dump Chimp’ really got me giggling. Thanks for that!

  194. #195 Owlmirror
    September 20, 2008

    I have had “God” moments, times when I have “known” and “felt” the existance of God. I have developed what religious people call a personal relationship with God.

    Exactly like an imaginary friend, in other words.

    I am happy with that and I make no apology for it.

    Many children are happy with their imaginary friends. But children need to grow up and become adults.

    If you want to call me the extream of delusional go for it, but nothing could be more real to me than God.

    So the same world that you called “creation”, with all its beauties, even that is less real to you than God?

    Why bother living it it, then? Are you trying to find the courage to commit suicide?

    Note that I am not encouraging you to do so. It’s just that there is a huge disconnect between your words, and your deeds.

    Do you really actually believe in God, or do you just enjoy pretending that God is real, and you are actually quite aware that God is imaginary?

    If I am delusional, there are millions of people who were are, and will be delusional with me.

    Yes. It’s quite sad.

  195. #196 Kel
    September 20, 2008

    Nick, I gotta tell you, that I know God.

    How do you know God? What’s she like? How can you be sure it’s God?

    You see, this is directly in conflict with the word “faith”. You can’t have faith you know God, faith is believing something without evidence. So if it’s through faith, all you can do is speculate that you know God. So really, you must be able to provide direct evidence that you know God. So where is it?

  196. #197 Wowbagger
    September 20, 2008

    I have had “God” moments, times when I have “known” and “felt” the existance (sic) of God.

    Lluraa, there are people of every religious and spiritual persuasion who have ‘felt’ their deity/power. How do you explain that? They can’t all be the same god because they believe in different gods; no Hindu has heard Yahweh or Elohim speak – it’s been Vishnu or Ganesh.

    I was once in a mystical state when an owl landed in a tree next to me and put thoughts in my head – and yet I don’t believe the owl has any supernatural psychic powers. It’s purely brain chemistry at work. Of course, in my case it was enhanced by LSD, but it still illustrates the point of how the brain isn’t necessarily reliable for things like that. And also why traditional cultures use hallucinogenics for ‘religious’ ceremonies.

    You don’t have to let your brain keep tricking you, Lluraa – try using it critically for a change and you’ll be amazed at what happens.

  197. #198 Malcolm
    September 20, 2008

    Llurraaaa the deluded troll babbled something about science and faith coming together so that we could all treat each other better. Why would science need religion to do this? Llurrraaaa’s own bunch of loons would have us all hate homosexuals and treat women like chattel.

  198. #199 secularguy
    September 21, 2008

    I have had “God” moments, times when I have “known” and “felt” the existance of God.

    So why do you put those words in scare quotes?

  199. #200 Iain Walker
    September 21, 2008

    Lluraa (#171):

    I like the uncreated creator argument best of Thomas Aquinas. It made sense 800 years ago and it makes sense today.

    So you are indeed going to ignore the criticisms of those arguments presented to you in this thread. What a surprise.

    And that you refer so vaguely to “the uncreated creator argument” (which could refer to any of Aquinas’ Five Ways, with the possible exception of the fourth) suggests that you aren’t actually all that familiar with them, which does rather call into question your ability to judge whether or not they make sense.

    Oh, and the fact that you “like” an argument is no guide to its validity or soundness.

    Logic: you’re doing it wrong.

    Plus witness the desire of human kind to worship, what is the fufillment of that desire? An Ape?

    This makes no sense. An ape isn’t a fulfilment of anything. The fulfillment of a desire to worship is the act of getting together and worshipping – that is what fulfils the desire. Do you not know what the word “fulfillment” means?

    The English Language: you’re doing that wrong too.

    I know God through faith

    Faith is not a method of knowing anything. Faith is believing something to be the case in the absence of epistemic justification (i.e., if something is believed as a matter of faith, it cannot by definition count as knowledge).

    Epistemology: you’re not doing that too well either.

  200. #201 Iain Walker
    September 21, 2008

    Lluraa (#186):

    If as you say every thing that exists is so well organised, has such order, such beauty, came about by chance, I would say that the odds would be against all that chance and the only explaination [sic] for the order, beauty in the univese [sic] is a supreme being.

    Beauty, being in the eye of the beholder, we can safely dismiss as an objective characteristic of anything. As regards the orderliness of the universe, however …

    Setting aside the fallaciousness of your false choice between “chance” and “supreme being” (which Nick Gotts and others have already dealt with), you also have a problem of explaining the orderliness of your supreme being. After all, if the orderliness of the universe stands in needs of explanation, then you can’t just stop there and say that the orderliness of its creator needs no explanation, can you? Not if you want to be remotely consistent.

    Part of the problem is that your supreme being is itself an intelligent agent. And agency (the ability to form intentions and act upon them) presupposes an orderly framework in which actions lead to predictable outcomes. Furthermore, such a framework cannot be intentionally created by an agent, since the latter’s ability to perform intentional actions depends upon the very existence of just such a framework. God, in short, requires order in order to be God, and that order has to exist independently of God’s will.

    So it is not the case that a supreme being is the “only explaination [sic] for the order, beauty in the univese [sic]”, because it is far from clear that it is any explanation at all – it assumes that orderliness already exists. So where does the orderliness come from that allows your supreme being to act?

  201. #202 Iain Walker
    September 21, 2008

    Lluraa (#190):

    Thank you for bringing me to this moment when I can confess my knowledge of God.

    Lluraa, you haven’t confessed any knowledge at all – just subjective feelings upon which you have arbitrarily placed a religious interpretation. Indeed, the more you talk like this, the more likely it seems that you don’t even know what the word “knowledge” means.

  202. #203 Paul
    May 8, 2009

    In Europe, it is a crime to deny the Holocaust. Perhaps it may be useful to make it a crime to deny evolution. I’m all for freedom of speech and opinion, but those hate-mongering Creationists with their anti-Science viewpoints and holier-than-thou attitudes just make me sick.

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