Pharyngula

The stupid, it burns

Feel my pain. Listen to this ignorant young woman lie and lie and lie about evolution: Charles Darwin was a theologian who just guessed and didn’t do any science, there are no transitional fossils, the cell is very complex and therefore could not evolve, yadda yadda yadda. She has been grossly miseducated, and she’s parroting creationist dishonesty with extreme smugness.

There. Now I’ve ruined your morning.

Comments

  1. #1 10ch.org
    February 4, 2009

    Now, how many people would actually believe this when reality flatly contradicts it?

  2. #2 stevogvsu
    February 4, 2009

    But that’s the only way creationist dishonesty works. A smug tone is the only way to keep sounding like and idiot and ‘being’ and idiot from falling in to synchronicity and engulfing everything withing a 400 meter radius in a black hole of stupid.

  3. #3 Burning Umbrella
    February 4, 2009

    Well, are there any pictures of Darwin in a lab coat holing a bottle of green, bubbling liquid?

    A clear proof that he wasn’t a real scientist.

  4. #4 Brett
    February 4, 2009

    I’m in Sweden, so you ruined my afternoon
    :(

  5. #5 bric
    February 4, 2009

    I know it’s wrong but I really wanted to slap her.

  6. #6 Darren
    February 4, 2009

    You’re right; you did ruin my morning.

    Lady, to quote PZ Myers: “Your ignorance about the state of the fossil record is not evidence that there are holes in evolutionary theory.”

  7. #7 Matt H.
    February 4, 2009

    The very definition of anti-intellectualism.

  8. #8 Rob Clack
    February 4, 2009

    I can’t watch it. It’s too painful.

  9. #9 Sigmund
    February 4, 2009

    There’s another clip from the same group on youtube that’s almost as bad. It’s pure Kent Hovind level nonsense.
    Unfortunately the English language actually needs a new term to describe the attitude of complete ignorance combined with that arrogant air of authority on show here.

  10. #10 PGPWNIT
    February 4, 2009

    I think PZ’s summation is enough and I do not intend to listen to the link.

  11. #11 DGKnipfer
    February 4, 2009

    PZ,

    HA!!! You can’t ruin my morning. The firewall here at work protects me from the Stupid. Of course my evening will be totally shot once I get a chance to review this crap when I get home. All thanks to you. Good going.

  12. #12 Michael Ballard
    February 4, 2009

    OWE!!!!!

  13. #13 Olowkow
    February 4, 2009

    Nice Tee Shirt.

  14. #14 Nerd of Redhead
    February 4, 2009

    Even if the woman put a dent in my morning (I can’t view videos at work so she didn’t), the paper PZ posted would more than make up for it, as it filled in another gap.

  15. #15 JackC
    February 4, 2009

    Sigmund: What’s wrong with “Weapons-grade Stupidity”. I refuse to listen to this person.

    JC

  16. #16 chuckbert
    February 4, 2009

    #9 Sigmund – the English language already has plenty of words to describe that kind of $%&*&WQ$ “$*&% &^$^*&*.

  17. #17 Quasarsphere
    February 4, 2009

    There is fail, there is epic fail, and there is that SHITE!!!

  18. #18 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    PZ stop it. Just because you’re having a bad day and having to deal with the consequences of evolution, there’s no need for you to make us feel your pain so viscerally.
    I made 2 minutes.
    Worthless speculation is exacly right.

  19. #19 Bachalon
    February 4, 2009

    Once again, I’m reminded why I think there should be laws about lying in public or in a way that can be publicly viewed.

  20. #20 Dean Malandris
    February 4, 2009

    I just find it amazing that anyone this totally stupid is able to feed themselves without managing to poke their eye out with the spoon.

  21. #21 Porky Pine
    February 4, 2009

    What a surprise. Comments have to be “pre-approved” for that video.

  22. #22 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    If you despise this crap so much, when then do you team up with those who teach this kind of nonsense to fight those of us in the middle (scientist/theists)? When someone sends me an email or posts on my blog and leads with the “incompatibility of science and religion” I have to read on a bit to determine whether the writer is Myers-like or Hovind-like?for the basic attack will be the same in either case. Those of us who are theists and scientists are very effective at reaching people such as this, especially the young. I can not tell you how many times, after speaking to believers on science, I have been told words to the effect that it was wonderful to hear that a pro-science position that didn’t have to come at the expense of their beliefs. (True, some at such gatherings will use the heretic word?but one step at a time.)

  23. #23 moneduloides
    February 4, 2009

    I don’t think you realize what you’ve done…

    You just ruined my life.

    Okay, my week. But still…

  24. #24 Monado, FCD
    February 4, 2009

    The smugness is a way to keep people from listening to anyone else and finding out that they are wrong. For a term to describe it, how about “religiosity”? We could just tweak the meaning a little, the way that certain people are trying to change the meaning of science to include “goddidit”.

    I won’t listen and ruin my day. I’m all happy because scientists at Oxford University have solved the mystery of why locusts swarm, besides “God sent them,” that is. I saw a Daily Planet science news segment that explained when they get crowded, their legs get tickled and they produce serotonin and change into the the swarming form. But I caught only the latter part of the news item. Then I found the YouTube segment that fills in the details: The trigger for the change is to have tiny hairs on the second segment of the leg stroked for five seconds every minute for four hours. That triggers the change and the locust then grows and moults five times over the next few weeks. It emerges burly, sociable, voracious and ready to fly long distances.

  25. #25 Quinx
    February 4, 2009

    Ouch, the dumb flows…..

  26. #26 Widgetas
    February 4, 2009

    *RAGE*

  27. #27 toomanytribbles
    February 4, 2009

    ts’ok. it’s afternoon here.

  28. #28 Bobber
    February 4, 2009

    When I was teaching 8th grade social studies I would begin each class with a question. One day, to satisfy my curiosity, I asked the students how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be. Over 90% of my four classes responded with “God did it” (and many of them literally wrote only those three words). Granted, these were only 8th graders, but I examined their science books, and while evolution is touched upon, it is not explicitly CALLED evolution (now, there was a linguistic dance), the topic was covered in a single page and not mentioned in any other part of the text, and nowhere was human evolution touched upon.

    Again, I know that these are just 8th graders, but considering the depth of knowledge these kids are expected to possess at that age – they are doing mathematics and covering science topics that I covered only in the mid- to late-years of high school – I was a little surprised.

    Oh, and the 8th grade science teacher was a young earth creationist. At that point she’d already been teaching science for about 20 years. To her credit, she didn’t push it in class.

    I did what I could to ask questions to open the kids’ minds, and even used some of my detentions to show them my “Cosmos” videos… got some excellent discussions out of that.

    But the vast majority of these kids are products of their churches (mostly Baptist) and their culture (back-country North Carolina); they haven’t been exposed to ideas that make them question their indoctrination, and what’s worse, they don’t WANT to examine the tenets of their “programming”. In the schools where I have worked, I have been very disappointed by the intellectual laziness exhibited by the students, with full approval of their parents, and with the schools having no ability to confront these attitudes because of their fear of being sued and the requirement to “teach to tests”.

    Sorry for the lengthy rant, but this young woman reminds me of too many of my former students.

  29. #29 Zeno
    February 4, 2009

    If you could call a time-out after each sentence spoken by the young woman and use it to explain what is wrong with what she just said, you’d have reproduced the entire talk.origins archive by the time her speech was done. She’s the full creationist package and has no idea how ignorant she is.

    But she is secure in her ignorance and prideful. (I think that might be a sin.)

  30. #30 AnonCoward23
    February 4, 2009

    Yay, you ruined my afternoon and in fact my whole day. Thanks. Ugh.

  31. #31 Steve Ulven
    February 4, 2009

    I’ve already seen this, so no need to watch it again. Parroting is exactly what she is doing. She’s not even making anything up herself, everything she is saying has been said before. Hell, I’ll just say it, like VenomfangX, she’s a plagiarist.

  32. #32 Mike K
    February 4, 2009

    wasn’t the morning-(or afternoon)-ruining potential limited at least a little by the new transitional fossil discussed in the previous post?

  33. #33 True Bob
    February 4, 2009

    I stopped the vid when she claimed evolution (which for her includes life, the universe, and everything) was a “fairy tale for adults”. Damned irony meter almost put my eye out when it blew.

  34. #34 FishNChimps
    February 4, 2009

    She didn’t strike me as being particularly convincing – if I was a kid sitting on the fence about evolution / creationism then this attempt would probably push me the wrong way (from her POV)

  35. #35 Watchman
    February 4, 2009

    This is all October Mermaid’s fault.

  36. #36 bobxxxx
    February 4, 2009

    This young lady would have no problem getting elected to the Texas State Board of Education.

  37. #37 Faid
    February 4, 2009

    I’m reading a very interesting book these days. “Flat Earth: The history of an Imfamous Idea” by Christine Garwood.

    It tells with a great amount of detail the history of the movement proposing a plane earth, that originated in Britain in the mid-19th century and rose quite a fuss, drawing its support from religious circles. One thing that is clearly obvious, by reading the descriptions of all the discussions, papers and “experiments” conducted, is how a completely vacuous and absurd position can be sold to willing ears, just by delivering ridiculous ad hocs and plain lies- but with a smug, condescending tone and lots of bravado.

    It’s been 150 years since then, but people never change…

  38. #38 HumanisticJones
    February 4, 2009

    Sigmund @ #9
    I’d like to nominate the adjective ignoritarian for english language word to describe “having an attitude of complete ignorance combined with an arrogant air of authority”. Noun form – ignority
    adjective – ignoritatively

  39. #39 Slugsie
    February 4, 2009

    I’ve watched this before. It annoys me that people can spout off so much about things that they’re so obviously not taken even a minute to educate themselves about.

  40. #40 Anon
    February 4, 2009

    On videos like this, and on creationist debates in general, I always wanted to have a series of little lights in the background, controlled by a small handful of knowledgeable people in the audience. One light for “factually wrong–biology”; another for “factually wrong–physics”; another for “factually wrong–history”, another for “logical error”. That way, the audience can know, without disrupting her speech, that it ain’t necessarily so.

    A light, also, can be flashed in much less time than it would take to actually address the problem; this would serve as a partial antidote to the Gish gallop. If a ten-second sentence contains some 12 errors, each of which might take 5 minutes to address, the scientists are at a disadvantage–especially when addressing the first takes the gallop down another pathway, leaving 11 not addressed. Twelve flashing lights would make at least part of the point.

    Creationist bingo would also work, if it were annotated.

    Sadly, none of these would work in a situation like the “debate” here. But I would hope that somebody with better skills than I have, would take this video and give it the “screw loose change” treatment. A video fisking that shows up in “related videos” would be a sweet thing indeed.

  41. #41 Heidi Anderson
    February 4, 2009

    “If you don’t have the bone, leave my theory alone.”

    If God existed, he would smite her in an instant.

  42. #42 BigZ
    February 4, 2009

    I’m not enraged, becouse I’m not uprised.

    Hey, want to be labeled as special, convert to a new religion, and they will love you. Even if it is just for a while, you will still get love. Then, convert to something else when the flavor goes away.

    The religious groups are so closed, that you can do this repeatedly and none of them will figure it out.

    I don’t believe she believes in a word of what she says. She’s an attention seeker, and found those who need to be affirmed by a convert. Something in her voice and attitude makes me recall those BSers I’ve seen do this in the past.

  43. #43 LisaJ
    February 4, 2009

    I wonder if she knows that the claims she’s making about how atheists views and thought processes are wrong are actually directly applicable to her. It’s always amazing to me how they’re really talking about themselves when they speak against us.

    That really did ruin my morning, PZ. Her shrill over-confident voice is still ringing in my ears, and I too really want to slap that girl.

  44. #44 J.D. Hutton
    February 4, 2009

    “Billions of years ago, time and chance magically came together and formed the universe”

    There it started. And there I stopped.

  45. #45 havoc
    February 4, 2009

    I find the people cheering in the crowd even more annoying than her. It reminds me far too much of my church days… the more ignorant and extreme the claim, the more the sheep get excited.

    …which leads me a little off topic. I had a Bible Study teacher who would talk about how it was somewhat offensive that Jesus refers to his followers as sheep, considering their not-so-bright reputation. He was so close to realizing he was getting fleeced… thankfully he helped me pull the wool from over my eyes.

  46. #46 Fergus
    February 4, 2009

    My whole day is blown.
    Pass the Glenfiddich…

  47. #47 resident_alien
    February 4, 2009

    Reminds me of a t-shirt slogan :
    “arrogance+ignorance=thickness”

  48. #48 Dan
    February 4, 2009

    She thinks science suggests the universe was created by magic, but that God makes more sense? Well, she has magically given me a migraine.

  49. #49 PlaydoPlato
    February 4, 2009

    Stunning. This would be no more incredible if she had been refuting gravitational theory. Funny too, how she talks about the lack of evidence for evolution, when her Bible, which she clearly hasn’t read, is based on the premise of belief without evidence (i.e. faith).

    This reminds me of the pentecostal cult I grew up in. These people are beyond hope. As a friend from Tennessee used to say, “That girls is dumb as a fence post.”

    Actually, I think a fence post could school this woman in a thing or two.

    Mind. Boggled.

  50. #50 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 4, 2009

    Couldn’t make it more than about a third.

    I kept hoping she was going to play that keyboard.

  51. #51 Steve Ulven
    February 4, 2009

    #42, you said you do not believe she believes what she says. I do disagree there. I do not find it difficult to believe she believes it. She’s reciting practically the same thing that many people that believe the same thing say. I am not questioning her beliefs, however what you said about attention seeking, I think you are dead-on on that one.

    One thing that does get me is the “EX-atheist” shirt. I suspect, like I suspect many other “EX-atheists,” that she still believed in a god years ago, but has a complete misunderstanding of what atheism is, or is lying about it, like VemonfangX. VenomfangX seems to show that he was not an atheist when he claims to have been an atheist. I think he just thought accepting (sorry, believing in) evolution at one time in his life meant he was (same with this chick) therefore an atheist.

  52. #52 Hauntedchippy
    February 4, 2009

    Au contraire PZ; you’ve ruined my afternoon.

  53. #53 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    Reminds me of a quote from an Australian comedian:

    “She make two short planks look like a computer.”

  54. #54 P. Singh
    February 4, 2009

    Why? Why? Why? …………..Why would you do this to your blog readers? This is the first thing I saw today!!

  55. #55 azqaz
    February 4, 2009

    PZ, I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry, after seeing that. She was so energetic, so earnest, and so wrong.

    Let me paraphrase her presentation…

    So and so said such and such. How much more evidence could you need?!?! Since I quote mined, quoted out of context, and repeated other peoples lies that must prove that I’m right and your wrong. Since I said evolution is wrong I must be right about my sky fairy. I win!

  56. #56 Monado
    February 4, 2009

    Humanisticjones [38], “ignoritarian” works for me.

    On reviewing the locust video [24], I think it might be the first leg segment that has the sensitive hairs.

  57. #57 PZ Myers
    February 4, 2009

    Because, Heddle, people like you will poke holes in the details of what she says without challenging the fundamental flaw in her thinking: that she can derive a deep understanding of the universe from her traditional beliefs in magic. Of course people like that appreciate your approach, since you don’t make them really think and you don’t question their most basic erroneous conceptions. You’re an apologist who teaches the ignorant how to put patches over their foolishness so they can pretend to be wise.

  58. #58 David Wiener
    February 4, 2009

    OT (a little). There is a facebook group trying to get 200,000 people to wish Darwin a happy birthday in honor of his contributions to science and the world. They’re at about 45K right now.

    The group is “Can we find 200,000 by Feb 12 to wish Darwin a happy 200th birthday?”

    Happy Monkey!

  59. #59 mayhempix
    February 4, 2009

    “He (Darwin) decided to create evolution!”

    Unfuckingbelievable.

  60. #60 bigjohn756
    February 4, 2009

    I don’t think this young lady is lying. I think that she is simply stupid. As PZ said, she is parroting something someone told her. I’d guess the lines she’s reading were not written by her. In any case, the writer obviously has never read a book other than the Bible and, maybe, some CSI textbooks.

  61. #61 David Wiener
    February 4, 2009

    Oh, and On-Topic: I worked with a JW and we argued about evolution all the time. It was like shouting down a well. Other co-workers, however, could not stand the fact that I was arguing ‘against god’ and HR told us both to stop talking about the subject.

    I remember thinking, “Is your faith that weak? I listen to your blather all the time, and my belief in reality is still intact.” Oh well.

  62. #62 Felicia Gilljam
    February 4, 2009

    Ugh, sad. I only managed a few sentences, honestly can’t stomach stuff like this.

    Although, whomever said her voice is shrill… uh, what? She has a smooth alto voice, hardly shrill at all. And even if it were, that really has no bearing on her arguments…

  63. #63 Goldenmane
    February 4, 2009

    Just on my way to bed, didn’t have time to read the comments. I did try ti watch the clip… managed to get about one minute into it before my brain began to melt. I’m deathly afraid now that I’m going to wake up a vegetable in the morning.

  64. #64 mayhempix
    February 4, 2009

    PZ
    “You’re an apologist who teaches the ignorant how to put patches over their foolishness so they can pretend to be wise.”

    Damn you’re good.

  65. #65 NewEnglandBob
    February 4, 2009

    Besides being a liar from the group “Amazing Grace”, what does this woman do? Does she have an education beyond eigth grade?

    This woman does not suffer from ignorance, this is malicious lying. Just what fundamentalists and fanatics always do.

  66. #66 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    One minute thirty one seconds. That’s all I could stand.

  67. #67 AGHubing
    February 4, 2009

    This morning has been ruined. That was worse than waterboarding.

  68. #68 Chas Stewart
    February 4, 2009

    Did you guys not find it hilarious that she was spouting off bout the thousands and thousands of bones (fossils) that have been found and not one of them transitional… I kept scrolling down and spying upon the beautiful proto whale just below her video and smiling smugly. They don’t know what a transitional fossil is. A lung fish is transitional. We are transitional (notice our “tail” bone?). Darwin developed his scientific profile through years of research over barnacles. He earned his stripes, then decided to explore this little natural selection idea he had been bouncing around in his brain. Can’t she just pick up a biography over the man? And, why is she ridiculing him for being a theologian? I have a feeling that she may want to aspire to such great heights (stifling laughter).

  69. #69 Alyson Miers
    February 4, 2009

    @#51:

    I have to be skeptical whenever I see a believer claiming to be an ex-atheist. A theist has a built-in incentive, in our culture, to be seen testifying that s/he used to be an atheist, but then accepted God. Their fellow believers will be happy to hear that their religion is correct, and there’s no punishment by atheists for apostasy. A former Christian who turned atheist, however, could actually face social consequences.

  70. #70 ennui
    February 4, 2009

    For Heddle, from here

    STEVEN PINKER (responding to Coyne’s latest essay)

    Jerry Coyne applies rigorous standards of logic and evidence to the claims of religion and to the attempts to reconcile it with science. Many scientists who share his atheism still believe that he is somehow being rude or uncouth for pressing the point. But he is right to do so. Knowledge is a continuous fabric, in which ideas are connected to other ideas. Reason-free zones, in which people can assert arbitrary beliefs safe from ordinary standards of evaluation, can only corrupt this fabric, just as a contradiction can corrupt a system of logic, allowing falsehoods to proliferate through it.

    Science cannot be walled off from other forms of belief. That includes meaning and morality ? reason connects them all. The same standards of evidence that rule out unparisimonious, unfalsifiable, or empirically refuted hypotheses in science also rule out crackpot conspiracy theories, totalizing ideologies, and toxic policy nostrums. Moral systems depend on factual beliefs, informed by psychology and biology, about what makes human beings suffer or prosper. They depend on standards of logical consistency that make it possible to apply the principle of fairness. And they depend on meta-ethical propositions about what morality is, and on how we can decide what is moral in particular cases. Just as coherent biological reasoning cannot proceed under the assumption that God can step in at any moment and push the molecules around, coherent moral reasoning cannot proceed under the assumption that the universe unfolds according a divine merciful plan, that humans have a free will that is independent of their neurobiology, or that people can behave morally only if they fear divine retribution in an afterlife.

    Reason is non-negotiable. Try to argue against it, or to exclude it from some realm of knowledge, and you?ve already lost the argument, because you?re using reason to make your case. And no, this isn?t having “faith” in reason (in the same way that some people have faith in miracles), because we don?t ?believe? in reason; we use reason.

    Why do so many scientists get anxious when Coyne and others apply standards of coherence and evidence ? the very standards they rely on in their own work ? to the propositions of religion? One fear is that people (other than them) cannot lead meaningful and moral lives without it. This is an empirical proposition, and evidence from contemporary Europe ? unprecedentedly secular, and unprecedentedly peaceable ? is relevant. Another is a fear of rupturing ties of family, community, culture, symbolism and ritual. But these can survive without a theistic belief system ? think of secular rituals such as a moment of silence to commemorate a colleague, or the wearing of poppies on November 11. And the largest portion of the family and cultural ties that hold together communities of American Jews, Chinese, Italians, and other ethnic communities are not theological propositions.

    But the reconciliationist arguments do depend on theological propositions, and there is no reason that they should not be subjected to the standards of reason.

    Everyone, if you haven’t already read Sam Harris’ response on the same page, or Dennett’s, it is well worth it IMO.

  71. #71 Richard Dawkins
    February 4, 2009

    Any lawyers out there, may I raise a question that must seem incredibly naive. Why do the laws of libel protect only damaged individuals but not objective truth? I only watched about three minutes of this, but she uttered lie after lie after lie after lie. Any court of law could easily establish the untruth of what she is saying. Yet she gets away with it unless some individual can prove they are damaged by it. Is it completely ridiculous to imagine a revised theory of jurisprudence in which objective truth itself was protected?

  72. #72 Matt Heath
    February 4, 2009

    Argh! Had to quit at 2:06 having heard that Darwin made up big bang cosmology and founded a religion. Also loving the “a theologian not a scientist” claim based on his studying to be a vicar. I’ve never heard even the most raucously anti-religious atheist claim that training to be a priest made you incapable of learning anything else afterwards. She clearly hates the clergy more than we do.

  73. #73 Sigmund
    February 4, 2009

    #38 HumanisticJones
    “I’d like to nominate the adjective ignoritarian for english language word to describe “having an attitude of complete ignorance combined with an arrogant air of authority”. Noun form – ignority
    adjective – ignoritatively”
    Very good!

  74. #74 AJS
    February 4, 2009

    PlaydoPlato wrote:

    As a friend from Tennessee used to say, “That girls is dumb as a fence post.”

    Actually, I think a fence post could school this woman in a thing or two.

    Yeah ….. she needs teaching the kind of lesson that only a length of hundred-by-hundred can teach.

    Lax firearms laws are wasted on Americans, if bitches like this haven’t been shot.

  75. #75 MikeySize
    February 4, 2009

    Another failure of the American public education system. It makes me want to resign my teaching position.

    You’re right PZ, it ruined my day. And since I teach in Texas it’s probably not going to get any better.

  76. #76 JStein
    February 4, 2009

    Wow, this is an incredibly stupid. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she was parodying Christianity.

    Evolution is “a fairytale.”

    Now, lets forget, for a second that she has no idea what she’s talking about. That she openly claims evolution has had no impact on modern science and technology (aside, of course, from the advent of genetics and modern medicine, for starters). Does she really think he didn’t have any support for the position? That it’s such a powerful and dangerous idea because of wishful thinking?

    Religion, it turns out, has a monopoly on wishful thinking.

  77. #77 Doug
    February 4, 2009

    Now I see where Kent Hovind sends his materials too. Isn’t it dishonest for a woman, who clearly was never an Atheist, to wear an ex-Atheist shirt? Nah, she’s a fundy, it’s not dishonesty, it’s lying for Jesus. I’ll bet she’s never talked to an Atheist in her life.

  78. #78 GCUGreyArea
    February 4, 2009

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

    And I was having a reasonably nice day up until now.

    Now I can’t remember if it was on this site or a news site like reddit that I saw this warning sticker for the bible but it just seems more and more appropriate every day:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiangotlost/83308426/

  79. #79 Nichole
    February 4, 2009

    Perhaps because the meek are supposed to inherit the earth? And stupid = meek? And if you can’t be stupid, you can be willfully ignorant and self-righteous and that’s kind of the same.

    You know what I blame this on the break down of? Society.

  80. #80 Mike Dobbins
    February 4, 2009

    You atheists have even gone so far as to MAKE UP fossils (or so I’ve been told by our speaker)!

    Such as Nebraska Man, which turned out to be falsely identified peccary bones!

    And Piltdown Man, which was a hoaxer’s fusion of an orangutan jaw with a human skull!

    And Lucy, who is an australopithecus who undisputedly displays a combination of ape and human characterist… oh snap. WTF mate?

  81. #81 Curtis Quark
    February 4, 2009

    Yup – that ruined my morning. I saw her before, and thought I might make my first YouTube video to refute it. I don’t think she deserves the time though. Far too ignorant.

    LOL – “founder” of evolution!

  82. #82 latsot
    February 4, 2009

    “Oh, and the 8th grade science teacher was a young earth creationist. At that point she’d already been teaching science for about 20 years. To her credit, she didn’t push it in class.”

    Didn’t she? Did she stiffen, frown, shift her body position, use different speech patterns and so on when a kid asked her about evolution? Obviously I’ve no idea, but my point is that there are many ways to push an agenda, some of them are subtle.

  83. #83 MrSquid
    February 4, 2009

    #9 – Sigmund

    Unfortunately the English language actually needs a new term to describe the attitude of complete ignorance combined with that arrogant air of authority on show here.

    How about “smugnorance?”

  84. #84 The Science Pundit
    February 4, 2009

    I only got about two minutes in, but already I need an ice pack for my brain.

  85. #85 GorunNova
    February 4, 2009

    A bunch of ignorance and nonsense regurgitated, ratings disabled, comments not disabled but most likely HEAVILY moderated… yeah, your usual YouTube Christian crap.

    Seriously, do NOT watch this video, because it’ll only inflate it’s viewing number with no option for giving it low ratings or giving reasonable directly accessible criticism. Besides, everything she says you’ve probably heard (and seen debunked) a hundred times before.

  86. #86 Chas Stewart
    February 4, 2009

    Rich Dawkins, that is her expressing her free will to speak to an audience. It is our duty to fight her at her own game, but no rule of law should have governance over what is truth. The reason we have libel, is to protect people from harm. While she is harming truth (and rotting her listeners’ minds) she is not committing a crime. She is not holding them captive. They decided to sit there and listen to this drivel. I don’t know if you were serious or not, but that sounded pretty scary to me that you would propose that.

  87. #87 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2009

    If you despise this crap so much, when then do you team up with those who teach this kind of nonsense to fight those of us in the middle (scientist/theists)? – heddle

    We don’t, you lying toad. To “team up” has a specific meaning. Just because Christian dominionists and Leninists both attack liberalism, it does not mean they have “teamed up”.

  88. #88 AJS
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle wrote:

    If you despise this crap so much, when then do you team up with those who teach this kind of nonsense to fight those of us in the middle (scientist/theists)?

    Because there is no middle. Either you accept science — and that means all of science, in its entirety, including the bits you don’t like (heck, especially the bits you don’t like) — or you reject it. You cannot choose which parts you accept and which parts you don’t. Science explicitly rejects the supernatural. Theism is concerned with the supernatural. See the problem?

    Those of us who are theists and scientists are very effective at reaching people such as this, especially the young. I can not tell you how many times, after speaking to believers on science, I have been told words to the effect that it was wonderful to hear that a pro-science position that didn’t have to come at the expense of their beliefs.

    Then, with all due respect, it couldn’t have been very scientific.

    Any religion that tries to explain natural phenomena — including saying anything about how life originated — is trampling on science’s territory. We have to quit pandering to believers. After seeing the kind of toxic shit these idiots talk, I can say without a twinge of compunction that people like this do not deserve antibiotics, cars, electricity, flush toilets, the Internet, plastics, refrigerators, television or ….. well, any of the benefits of science. If they’re that convinced there’s a benevolent God, then let them pray instead of bothering us.

  89. #89 Richard Dawkins
    February 4, 2009

    Rich Dawkins, that is her expressing her free will to speak to an audience. It is our duty to fight her at her own game, but no rule of law should have governance over what is truth. The reason we have libel, is to protect people from harm. While she is harming truth (and rotting her listeners’ minds) she is not committing a crime. She is not holding them captive. They decided to sit there and listen to this drivel. I don’t know if you were serious or not, but that sounded pretty scary to me that you would propose that.

    OK, thank you, I can see that. I suppose the nearest approach I can think of is the law against Holocaust-denial in Austria and maybe other countries. The historian David Irving was recently jailed for Holocaust-denial.

  90. #90 jennyxyzzy
    February 4, 2009

    PlaydoPlato:

    Actually, I think a fence post could school this woman in a thing or two.

    Yeah, like how to stop digging when you’re in a hole, and how not to say anything when you know nothing about a topic… Fenceposts are really good at that.

  91. #91 CitizenVA
    February 4, 2009

    Oh My! That truly messed up my morning for sure! I’m actually ANGRY at this point that there is such smug ignorance out there!

    Here’s something to get your mind off that:

    http://carriefisher.com/?p=178

    From Carrie Fisher’s blog…

    CVA

  92. #92 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Bobber: “One day, to satisfy my curiosity, I asked the students how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be. Over 90% of my four classes responded with ‘God did it’ (and many of them literally wrote only those three words).”

    They could, of course, be right, notwithstanding your belief that they’re wrong. Truth be told, no one knows “how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be.”

    Dan: “She thinks science suggests the universe was created by magic, but that God makes more sense? Well, she has magically given me a migraine.”

    Quite a few scientists have thought that their science pointed to God. For example, in the fields of physics and astronomy…

    1) “When I wrote my treatise about our (Solar) System I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.” – Sir Isaac Newton

    2) “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” – Sir Isaac Newton

    3) “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” – Sir Isaac Newton

    4) “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover….That there are what I or anyone else would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” – Astronomer Robert
    Jastrow, holder of the prestigious Edwin Hubble chair at the Mount Wilson Observatory

    5) “The beginning (of the universe) seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.” – Cosmologist Arthur Eddington

    6) “Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory (than big bang theory) of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.” – Astronomer Robert Wilson, codiscoverer of the radiation afterglow in the universe

    7) “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.” – Astronomer George Smoot

    8) “Astronomy leads to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly-improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.” – Astronomer and Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias

    9) “Here (in the anthropic principle) is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine-tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design.” -Cosmologist Ed Harrison

    10) “The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light
    and energy…For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the
    final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” – Robert Jastrow

  93. #93 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    if you haven’t already read Sam Harris’ response on the same page, or Dennett’s, it is well worth it IMO.

    Harris’s is brilliant. His mock-apologism is hilarious and deadly. My favourite line: “If Francis Collins wants to believe that the historical Jesus was actually raised from the dead and still exists in an ethereal form which renders him both clairvoyant and mildly disapproving of masturbation, these beliefs do not even slightly detract from his stature as a scientist.” That is comedy gold.

  94. #94 Bobber
    February 4, 2009

    Latsot:

    Of course you’re right, there are certainly non-verbal ways to communicate. I guess the sad thing is that she didn’t have to – the students already shared her point of view. She just didn’t have to challenge them, nor do I believe she would want too.

    Her daughter was in my class and would argue vociferously against evolution. I wouldn’t engage her – it wasn’t really the forum to do so – but I would try to reply with relevant questions, to try to get her (and others) to think.

    Yes, we sometimes did go off topic in social studies class. But I also disputed some of the “facts” presented in their history books to. : )

    I wonder why the principal didn’t like me?

  95. #95 Matt L
    February 4, 2009

    Daniel Florian of UnreasonableFaith.com beat you to this one, Dr. Myers.

    Different videos, same ignorant, arrogant, useless excuse for a human.

  96. #96 Steve_C
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel. Nice cherry picking and quote mining.

  97. #97 karen
    February 4, 2009

    She called it “irresistible complexity”…several times, I think. I’m NOT going to re-watch to check. I made it through the whole thing, though I admit, I kept pausing it to steel myself. Can’t even get her lies straight.

    “Lax firearms laws are wasted on Americans, if bitches like this haven’t been shot.”

    Agreed.

  98. #98 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    PZ #57,

    Um, no, that?s how you attempt rationalize it. The truth is simply that you hate religion?and so in spite of the obvious strategic advantage of encouraging people like Miller, you prefer to attack him, or to grind your teeth and barely restrain yourself from attacking him. You hate his religion more than you value his science. You don?t actually hate what this girl is saying?you exploit it. Your nightmare scenario is that there are no anti-science theists such as this gal, and only pro-science theists. What the hell would you do then?

    Steve Ulven, #31

    She’s not even making anything up herself, everything she is saying has been said before. Hell, I’ll just say it, like VenomfangX, she’s a plagiarist.

    The same can be said about what Dawkins has to say about religion. There is nothing new, in terms of criticism of religion, in The God Delusion.

    AJS, #88

    Science does not reject the supernatural. Science has nothing to say about the supernatural. Science is not philosophical naturalism.

    Then, with all due respect, it couldn’t have been very scientific.

    I always discuss modern cosmology. So I?ll have to disagree?I consider that subject to be scientific. You might have meant to say: It couldn?t have been only scientific, in which case I?d agree.

  99. #99 Mystyk
    February 4, 2009

    I’m in Sweden, so you ruined my afternoon

    :(

    I’m stuck in Kuwait; my evening was ruined.

  100. #100 Scaryduck
    February 4, 2009

    I actually feel stupider for having watched that. If I manage to run myself over with my own car on the way home tonight, I shall blame this video.

  101. #101 BigZ
    February 4, 2009

    Steve Ulven (post 51), you seem to be suspicious of the shirt too, and the attention seeking.

    I agree with #69 (duuuude!). I doubt a chruch going Christian that would have the word Athiest anywhere on thier bodies. Even preceded with an “Ex”. I still think she is a poser.

    Either way, seems we would have picked up on her other red flags, and called her out.

    Too bad, she’s a little cute. :)

  102. #102 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Steve_C: “Nice cherry picking and quote mining.”

    How lame. Do you have anything substantive to say that would show that the scientists quoted didn’t mean what they said?

  103. #103 Marley
    February 4, 2009

    Ruin my morning? Au contraire, mon ami……….YOU MADE MY DAY.

    That’s not MY kid………I’m not the Mom whom raised that stupid child. My kids would watch this video (at least some of it) and laugh their asses off. And, if they had the chance to speak w/ this “genius”, I have a feeling she’d be reduced to tears. (My kids have a mean streak when it comes to stupid people.)

  104. #104 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle,

    Wow! How enlightening! Maybe you could blow our minds with Pascal’s wager next.

  105. #105 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel,
    Yes they could be right. Or it could have been the Great Green Arkleseizure sneezing. Or we could all be living in a simulation. So fucking what?

    The so-called argument from the “anthropic principle” is as entirely worthless as your arguments from authority. In the first place, no-one has actually shown that the universe has to be as it is for life to occur. in the second, even if it were shown that values of constants very close to those we find are essential to life appearing, we have no way of assessing the probability of those constants having the required values. Third, even if we did, and it turned out that we live in a very improbalbe universe, all that would indicate is that we live in a very improbable universe – it would not go any way whatever toward showing the universe was designed for life. It is undoubtedly the case that if we can sensibly assign such probabilities at all, a universe in which I appear is far more more improbable than one in which life appears. Can I then reasonably conclude that the universe was designed to produce me? My ego is admittedly large, but not that large.

  106. #106 Sapjes
    February 4, 2009

    I cannot watch this. And I mustn’t, I’m frustrated enough with their politics and their smugness…

    Ok, I’ve watched 20 seconds and I’m crying rain :(

  107. #107 Shaden Freud
    February 4, 2009

    This calls for some Edward Current satire. It might relieve the stupid-burn.

  108. #108 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2009

    The same can be said about what Dawkins has to say about religion. There is nothing new, in terms of criticism of religion, in The God Delusion. – heddle

    Possibly so; but most of it has the advantage of being true, rather than unmitigated bilge and barefaced lies of the kind you and that unfortunate girl come out with.

  109. #109 Mystyk
    February 4, 2009

    #69:

    I am an ex-Christian. I do feel social consequences, including from my parents. It hurts, but I can’t simply undo all of my education in order to blissfully believe again, nor would I want to. It’s tough having people you’ve known all your life avoid you because you refuse to buy into their shared delusions.

    I grew up always having lingering doubts over claims from figures of authority. It bugged me enough that I eventually had to learn both sides of the issue to find the truth. It was only then that I realized there was only one side, and that religion requires the willful suspension of truth in order to make room for faith.

  110. #110 mikeg
    February 4, 2009

    did she say “irresistable complexity”… twice? i can’t bring myself to listen to it again

  111. #111 Porco Dio
    February 4, 2009

    it burns indeed.

    is she allowed to vote?

    if so, should this be allowed?

    i am interested in studying the philosophical social implications of people not fulfilling their intellectual responsibilities while claiming their legal rights.

  112. #112 Valis
    February 4, 2009

    @Chas Stewart:

    but no rule of law should have governance over what is truth.

    Are you even listening to yourself? Do you truly believe people should be able to spout any nonsense they like without consequences? What about those late-night infomercials that promise to cure any- and everything with patches, creams and gels, without any scientific evidence? Should they be allowed to get away with it? Is that what you’re saying?

    We’ve recently had a case here in South Africa where a teenage girl claimed to have “seen” the virgin mary in a vision. People flocked to her house in pilgrimage, also wanting to see the “vision”. This girl told them to stare directly at the sun and they would see the same vision. Guess what? Several people went blind! Are you saying people like that should get away with this nonsense?

    BTW, do you actually have any idea who Dr Dawkins is?

  113. #113 CrypticLife
    February 4, 2009

    Coming from the same sort of people who bring such gems as this bit of “science”

    Enjoy washing your eyes and ears…

  114. #114 MartinM
    February 4, 2009

    Do you have anything substantive to say that would show that the scientists quoted didn’t mean what they said?

    Do you have anything substantive to say at all? Arguments from authority don’t hold much sway here. Try some evidence instead.

  115. #115 Bobber
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel at #92:

    They could, of course, be right, notwithstanding your belief that they’re wrong. Truth be told, no one knows “how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be.”

    (a) I don’t believe just that they are wrong, I believe they are wrong because their belief is unsupported by evidence, and is a result of indoctrination, not scientifically informed investigation.

    (b) I didn’t say that I know how the universe and life began. I do acknowledge the work of experts in relevant fields (cosmology, astronomy, geology, biology, physics, chemistry, etc.) whose investigations have contributed to an emerging consensus in answering these questions. There are always new discoveries, there are competing theories to explain observed phenomena,; yet none of the questions that science confronts has yet to be satisfactorily answered by the statement “God did it.”

    And while questioning what you consider to be my “belief” in a particular answer, I note that you quote a number of authorities that I assume agree with your particular answer (again, “God did it”). Please don’t denounce what you think is my certainty when you present evidence of your own. I acknowledge that there are questions yet to be answered. Do you? Or has all been revealed to you?

  116. #116 Steve_C
    February 4, 2009

    I’m sure Newton said those things… he was quite religious.

    But NOT KNOWING something doesn’t point to god. It’s not evidence of anything than ignorance… which research may one day solve.

    That these scientists in the end come up with “god did it” isn’t important or remarkable at all.

  117. #117 Mystyk
    February 4, 2009

    Oh my.

    Not only did I somehow make it through all 10.5 minutes without vomiting in my hat, but I decided to learn more about the group that would have so many “vidiots.”

    They have even more of those t-shirts, with logos like “EX-Diva”, “EX-Slave”, “EX-fornicator”, “EX-Masturbator”, and my personal favorite for stunning levels of irony: “EX-Hypocrite”.

    This is what they say along with the entry that links to the anti-atheist lying screeds:

    We are here for the Christian who is confronted by people who don’t believe there is a God. There is a reasonable logical basis for the Christian faith and we are here to show it to you. We’re showing you so you can build yourself up in your own faith and also so you can speak powerfully against the growing army of atheists who seek to undermine the Christian and our faith.

    Listen as Blair and Nyasha convince an atheist to give up his beliefs.

    Nauseating, no?

  118. #118 Harrison
    February 4, 2009

    Is anyone going to buy one of their ex-masturbater t shirts?

  119. #119 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Dahan: “Maybe you could blow our minds with Pascal’s wager.”

    What minds? In the Darwinian scheme of things, thoughts are nothing more than secretions of the brain (much like bile is a secretion of the liver). That being the case, you have no reason for trusting that your thoughts are more truthful than my thoughts. Indeed, if that’s the case, neither one of us can trust that our thoughts are rational and valid. On the materialistic conception of the mind offered by Darwinism, the electro/chemical activity in your brain produces certain thoughts, and the electro/chemical activity in my brain produces different thoughts. On what grounds, then, can it be said that the electro/chemical activity in your brain is more likely to secrete rational, valid thoughts than the electro/chemical activity in my brain? Neither one of us would actually be in control of that activity, which would be entirely the result of irrational material causes (i.e., causes lacking reason and understanding). Thus we’d have no grounds for claiming that our thoughts are oriented towards truth.

  120. #120 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2009

    Your nightmare scenario is that there are no anti-science theists such as this gal, and only pro-science theists. What would you do then? – heddle

    Why don’t you “pro-science theists” bring about that happy state of affairs, and then pose the question?

    It does not seem to occur to you (indeed, how could it?), that if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty not to pretend otherwise.

  121. #121 FlameDuck
    February 4, 2009

    I really don’t get it. Compare evolution and creationism, and conclude that evolution is the “magical” explaination. How fucking scientific!

    Unfortunately the English language actually needs a new term to describe the attitude of complete ignorance combined with that arrogant air of authority on show here.

    I nominate “Ignorothy”? As in you are argueing from a position of ignorothy.

    Those of us who are theists and scientists are

    suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. You cannot believe in a bronzeage superstitions, and at the same time, claim to be searching for natural explainations in the 21st century. In order to contribute usefully to science, you must acknowledge that all of these bronzeage myths have been falsified for at least the last 200 years.

    Most religions emerged, well before science, and thus represent an unscientific and anachronistic philosophy. The only major exceptions is Mormonism and Scientology which really have no excuse for being batshit insane.

  122. #122 Ooparts
    February 4, 2009

    I can’t stop RAGING. I lost the game in about 10 seconds.

  123. #123 Chas Stewart
    February 4, 2009

    #112

    I like how atheists and non-believers are not all alike and we get to have incredible arguments on things other than religion. Those people were stupid. Sorry. Shamans did this type of thing all the time. Sometimes it worked (probably because these shamans made people secure and confident that they would overcome the disease, and being positive can go a long way) and sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes, the shamans do damage instead of good. But, this is the kicker, the other adult (children need to be protected from this) decided to follow the advice. The other adult is the problem. If I was a Christian, Muslim… and decided to kill other people because my pastor or whatever told me that others were evil, then prosecute ME. I’m the one committing the crimes. Those people going blind did it to themselves all because someone suggested it to them. I’m sorry, but I don’t want a human race that has to be protected from their own idiocy. I want smart people who are rational and know how to protect themselves.

    That quote you put of me sounds bad b/c the court does have to protect what is true in this world, but what I mean is that they shouldn’t have the right to stifle free speech. What if they judged truth from their own idea of truth. There’s no reason to think that they would judge truth from our point of view (a point of view from science and non-theism) because we are the minority. She can yell and scream about atheists being naive but we know better and those people she was talking to didn’t need any convincing any ways.

  124. #124 Glen Davidson
    February 4, 2009

    Evidence. It’s not your friend, Miasha (Niasha?).

    I like how easily she makes up stories, like the flagellum looks exactly like an outboard motor, and Behe used to be an atheist.

    Hardly worth dealing with the same endlessly repeated canards, like no transitional fossils…. I sort of doze off.

    It works better that way, though, sans evidence, sans truth.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  125. #125 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    Science does not reject the supernatural.

    Science rejects supernatural explanations — that is precisely what methodological naturalism means. And all religions, apart from watered-down Deism, demand supernatural explanations for some physical events.

  126. #126 Idav
    February 4, 2009

    @heddle:

    You can be a scientist and a theist just as you can be a doctor and a chain smoker. No one is immune or void of cognitive dissonance or indoctrination.

    Science and religion are incompatible in many ways. But putting the two at odds is neither the most accurate or effective discourse to be had. It’s easy to say science vs. religion, which is exactly why it’s said. But the nuances of distinction require far more time and articulation that an average pair, engaged in conversation, are willing to invest.

  127. #127 Desert Son
    February 4, 2009

    After the post about the suicide bombing recruiter, this doesn’t really ruin my morning. In fact, it’s a nice renewal of purpose, in a way. Still lots of work to be done, still lots of ignorance out there, but even in smug certainty, some people can be reached, some cognitive dissonance can be achieved to breakthrough realization.

    For as long as people have been “coming to Jesus” (hello!) or other imaginary beings, people have also been abandoning the supernatural.

    Granted, the numbers seem fairly skewed to the goddidits, but not all the minds out there are in supernatural shutdown mode.

    No kings,

    Robert

  128. #128 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle,

    When not taken out of context, your quotes are often misinterpreted. I don’t have the time or desire to lead you through them all, you’re a big boy (I assume) you can do that for yourself. So I picked one at random.

    “4) “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover….That there are what I or anyone else would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” – Astronomer Robert Jastrow

    Here, the word that matters is “supernatural”. What Jastrow was saying is that there was no “Nature” before the big bang. There were no natural laws. These didn’t happen until the singularity expanded. He is not saying that there is a god that created everything.

    Quote mine away, ignore context, argue from authority, go an and play the same games we’ve seen a million times before (only slightly exaggerating), it doesn’t change reality.

  129. #129 Dr. Richard Dawkins
    February 4, 2009

    This is Chas Stewart.

    Yes, I know who Dr. Dawkins is (I’m anxiously awaiting his speech at OU and wish he could give a shout out to our local group, Oklahoma Atheists) but cannot anyone just write in that name? I hope that is him but I cannot be sure. And, him being Dr. Dawkins means that I cannot disagree with him?

  130. #130 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2009

    On what grounds, then, can it be said that the electro/chemical activity in your brain is more likely to secrete rational, valid thoughts than the electro/chemical activity in my brain?,/I> – Garfunkel

    Thoughts are of course brain activity, not secretions. I think an elementary physiology text might be of use to you. Rationality does not lie in the brain, but in the procedures we adopt – or in your case, refuse to adopt – to determine whether the ideas we come up with correspond to reality.

  131. #131 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    Knockgoats #120

    It does not seem to occur to you (indeed, how could it?), that if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty not to pretend otherwise.

    Actually what occurs to me is related: if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty to prove it, not just say it, as Coyne does. And most people on here do. (And saying ?compartmentalization? is not a proof. It is a chant. Like the Krishnas.)

  132. #132 Agersomnia
    February 4, 2009

    OMFSM!

    I can’t stand that much ignorance. Shutting the video at the first minute. I want to have a good day!

  133. #133 BigZ
    February 4, 2009

    Anyone wearing an “EX-fornicator” might as well print another comment on the backof the shirt. “Ex-DatingNormalGuysButNowDatingOnlyNeuroticBluBallsGuys”.

    It could be written in a smaller font.

  134. #134 Prometheus
    February 4, 2009

    Dawkins asked:

    “Any lawyers out there, may I raise a question that must seem incredibly naive. Why do the laws of libel protect only damaged individuals but not objective truth?”

    Because only individuals can give voice to objective truth. I fear for who, as an individual, might be selected to fulfill that role. It could as easily be the featured young lady who is a member Passion for Christ ‘P4C’, who’s income is based on the sale of “EX-Masturbator” T-shirts, as you or I.

    If you can demonstrate an implied contract between the founders of the Western Intellectual tradition and yourself maybe I can sue her for tortuous interference (and soft tissue damage).

  135. #135 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Knockgoats: “In the first place, no-one has actually shown that the universe has to be as it is for life to occur.”

    To the contrary, it has been shown that minute variations in the forces and constants of the universe would make life impossible. For example, it has been shown that if the expansion rate of the universe varied by even one part in 10^55 from the actual rate, no galaxies would form; if no galaxies formed, no stars would form; if no stars formed, no planets would form; if no planets formed, there would be no place for life to exist.

  136. #136 MartinM
    February 4, 2009

    For example, it has been shown that if the expansion rate of the universe varied by even one part in 10^55 from the actual rate, no galaxies would form; if no galaxies formed, no stars would form; if no stars formed, no planets would form; if no planets formed, there would be no place for life to exist.

    That would be a neat trick, given that the expansion rate is not a constant. Show your work, please.

  137. #137 abb3w
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel: To the contrary, it has been shown that minute variations in the forces and constants of the universe would make life impossible.

    Life of the sort we presently have. I suggest Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” so you might have a better grasp of how “simple” it can be to get arbitrary levels of complexity.

  138. #138 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle @ 119,

    Well, I was using the word “mind” in the rather common usage. You know, the one where it’s seen as the conscious and unconscious capabilities of an organism? Sorry if that got by you.

    You didn’t point it out, but I also used the term “blow”. I should probably take time out to define that for you too. You may be expecting explosions or some sort of sex act, or both. I just don’t know. You seem very confused.

    In the future you may find you don’t need to use nearly as many words to make a complete ass of yourself and show your ignorance. Something to look into, seeing as this seems to be your only mission.

  139. #139 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Posted by: Garfunkel | February 4, 2009

    What minds? In the Darwinian scheme of things, thoughts are nothing more than secretions of the brain (much like bile is a secretion of the liver).

    So that is what has been running down the back of my neck.

    New trolls are so much fun.

  140. #140 dinkum
    February 4, 2009

    It has also been shown that if things hadn’t happened the way that they did, then the way things would be would be something other than they are. Maybe. But who gives a shit?

  141. #141 AJ Milne
    February 4, 2009

    Another fascinating point to be made about these ‘such and such a constant must this exactly even for stars to exist’ claims is it also doesn’t really address the presence or absence of (a) complex systems and (b) complex self-reproducing systems (which may or may not reproduce with occasional errors) given such differences. (I can’t claim to have made the insight myself–it was from some clever character’s letter to Nature a while ago–I regret I cannot name him off the top of my head, as it did strike me as an excellent point.)

    The point is: we really are back to Douglas Adams happy little puddle when we make such claims.

  142. #142 Frederik Rosenkjr
    February 4, 2009

    Evening spoiled here in Denmark…

  143. #143 Lurky
    February 4, 2009

    Oh. My. Dog.
    I couldnt watch more than half a minute of it before bursting out in laughter and shame.

    The world “just came together magically” and “it’s just a story”. The self projection… it burns!

  144. #144 notherfella
    February 4, 2009

    It’s all the dishonesty that really gets to us. But she’s not being dishonest, as PZ rightly points out. She’s repeating something that I’m sure she believes. And she’s doing it for the right reasons; her faith tells her it’s imperative that she puts us on the right path.

    I’m kind of grateful for that, for my part. But of course it’s not about a comfortable middle-class student who already knows he can have confidence in evolutionary theory.

    Several commenters make an assumption that science, now arisen, fulfils all the roles religion had as effectually as religion did. Well, for some it does, and for others it clearly doesn’t and (it can be argued) cannot. There is an important human element to the argument they have not considered.

    Furthermore, religious views alongside scientific ones in a human being are not the same as a paradox within an equation. Our ability to compartmentalize is continually astounding.

  145. #145 The BeadKnitter
    February 4, 2009

    Phooey and Rats! I was hoping for a morning not ruined by someone/something. Thanks PZ.

  146. #146 ArchangelChuck
    February 4, 2009

    “Evolutionary beliefs…” Hahaha. Evolution is a fact to be learned — like 2+2=4 — and not a philosophical opinion. This isn’t ignorance, it’s stupidity, and nobody can fix that.

  147. #147 pough
    February 4, 2009

    Unfortunately the English language actually needs a new term to describe the attitude of complete ignorance combined with that arrogant air of authority on show here.

    Egnorance.

  148. #148 I am so wise
    February 4, 2009

    “The historian David Irving was recently jailed for Holocaust-denial. ”

    Sorry Dr. Dawkins but David Irving is not a historian. Also, as a complete check out Death of Christian Britain by Callum G. Brown. It’s a pretty good postmodernist approach to the secularization of England and its clarity will change your mind about the usefulness and importance of postmodern theory and practice.

  149. #149 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Bobber: “I acknowledge that there are questions yet to be answered. Do you? Or has all been revealed to you?”

    Nope. As I’ve already said: “Truth be told, no one knows ‘how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be.’” That’s why it was so silly for Knockgoats to say that Dawkins’s book (“The God Delusion”) has the advantage of being true.

  150. #150 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel, you’re taking it backwards. Backward thinking.

  151. #151 AJ Milne
    February 4, 2009

    (Adding to 141)–in case anyone’s missing this, note, of course, we’d be talking about systems that looked nothing like those we’re familiar with–indeed, universes that look very, very little like ours. The very structure of matter could be wildly different. But that doesn’t say on its own there wouldn’t still be the interesting and long-lasting and complex structures like stars that exist as a consequence of the way things work there, nor the essential phenonmenon of localized complexity being distilled by natural algorithmic processes. All those ‘the variable must be this’ arguments tend to say is: well, it wouldn’t look anything like it does now. But this on its own pretty much falls into the ‘well, duh’ category, from where I’m standing.

  152. #152 Robert Sparling
    February 4, 2009

    #72

    I think that is exactly the reason libel suits cannot be brought without an injured party; since it is a civil suit there needs to be an injured party in order for the lawsuit to exist because only an entity (person or institution) can then be granted the settlement or court-enforced sanction. It’s almost always a monetary award in civil suits.

    I think you’d be happier if there was law on the books that allowed suit to someone for causing defamation or injurious slander of an entity like society. Not sure it would ever fly because Freedom of Speech probably protects opinions in this case and limiting the state’s control over what can be said and what “hurts” the state (since the State is the representation of Society at Large in criminal court) is probably a good idea.

    But there is a silver lining and it’s been shown several times over; creationists are usually unwilling to testify in court and on the legal record for much the reason you cite. Their beliefs cannot be proven and subjecting them to rigorous cross examination where they could be easily made to falter is something they like to avoid.

  153. #153 Nichole
    February 4, 2009

    OMFG I’m religious now all of a sudden now that I know it’s not counter-intuitive to science!!!1

    Thanks, Garfunkel! Thanks heddle!

    So you don’t say, Newton believed in god? Wow, I thought no one believed in magic in the 1600s!

    Actually, I changed my mind. Fuck the Concern Trolls. Swear at them until they go away.

  154. #154 Valis
    February 4, 2009

    How fucking scientific!

    I love Bill Hicks! (Not in a sexual way or anything, you understand…)

  155. #155 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Dahan: “In the future you may find you don’t need to use nearly as many words to make a complete ass of yourself and show your ignorance. Something to look into, seeing as this seems to be your only mission.”

    Were you born an insufferable ass, or is it an acquired trait?

  156. #156 CrypticLife
    February 4, 2009

    Why do the laws of libel protect only damaged individuals but not objective truth?

    Libel is a cause of action for which damages rely on the injury to reputation. Someone can spout obvious lies freely all day without damaging anyone’s reputation but their own.

    The cause of action you want is for fraud, which is lying for pecuniary gain. Presumably, she’s doing her lying gratis. Even if she’s being paid, however, you might have some difficulty proving fraud if she’s billing this as opinion.

    And you’d have to get someone to sue, which is probably a bigger obstacle given her rather receptive audience.

    heddle, I can’t speak for PZ, but a bunch of scientists who happened to be theists would generally be okay with me. I’d still think they were fools for believing in a deity, but it would be a huge step up.

    That you think it’s a matter of elementary honesty to prove a conviction before saying it is fine with me. Now, let’s start with religion…..

  157. #157 Matt Heath
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel@119.”What minds”
    The crude Platonism,it burns!

    The next person I see arguing on the basis of “a belief that X is a natural phenomenon is identical to the belief that X doesn’t exist” is getting a copy of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea shoved up their arse.

  158. #158 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Thanks for the links to Harris.

    Some have called this the ‘balkanization of epistemology’. I think words like ‘epistemology’ are overrated. And so do most Americans.

    heddle:

    I can not tell you how many times, after speaking to believers on science, I have been told words to the effect that it was wonderful to hear that a pro-science position that didn’t have to come at the expense of their beliefs.

    And, to quote Harris, the heart rejoices!

    (I’m tempted to tell heddle to go suck an egg, considering his pattern of running away from substantive arguments against his and then soon thereafter showing up here or on another ScienceBlog with the same lameass claims as though the earlier discussion had never occurred, but I won’t, as I’m sure heddle would simply quotemine along the lines of: “I ask atheists to prove their claims about the incompatibility of religion and an empirical approach, and people like SC just tell me to go suck an egg and other childish insults. That’s the best militant atheists have to offer theistic scientists.”

  159. #159 Paul
    February 4, 2009

    A couple seconds into the video and I find it utterly ironic how she uses the word “magically.”

  160. #160 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM

    I’m tempted to tell heddle to go suck an egg, considering his pattern of running away from substantive arguments against his and then soon thereafter showing up here or on another ScienceBlog with the same lameass claims as though the earlier discussion had never occurred, but I won’t, as I’m sure heddle…

    You are a lying sack O’ shit. You cannot point out where I have run from a substantive argument. The trouble I get in is I tend to hijack threads. But I don’t run from arguments. Or can you prove that? No, you can’t. So you know what? You can go suck that egg, jackass.

  161. #161 mothwentbad
    February 4, 2009

    Jesus Christ. She skipped the part where Darwin spent years giving himself ulcers worrying that he was wrong. And the part where evolution was largely regarded as a huge joke by the scientific community at the time, having Darwin’s soon-to-be Bulldog Thomas Henry Huxley himself as a vocal detractor. And the part where he actually got taken seriously because he actually posited an observable and imminently likely mechanism, natural selection, for how this is accomplished, a principle which is so self-evident that it didn’t find mainstream attention until the latter half of the 19th century. And… well, she pretty much skipped hundreds of pages of Janet Browne’s biography of Darwin. Who’s the moron who will just throw out whatever idea comes to them because they have an agenda now?

  162. #162 Arthur Dent
    February 4, 2009

    Darwin was familiar with the likes of this young woman – From his autobiography : “Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps as inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

  163. #163 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    If religion is in any sense “true” then it cannot be incompatible with science in any way.
    The problem is that through the thousands of years of pure religion, without the knowledge system that science provide, no diseases were reliably cured, no real insight into the “how” of the universe came along, and no realisation of the tree of life were ever produced.
    Prayer just doesn’t work, either as a curative or as a contemplative aid – at least as far as anything universally true is concerned.
    While it may be nice for religious people to have the unshakeable conviction that they, and only they, can know the mind of god this is, alas, an entirely useless insight for the rest of us.

  164. #164 KevinB
    February 4, 2009

    Actually what occurs to me is related: if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty to prove it, not just say it, as Coyne does.

    That is really really sad. It takes nothing more than a child of a few years to understand the incompatibility of understanding how the world works as opposed to essentially Santa Claus type thinking.

    It is a matter of honesty to admit that someone being raised from the dead is not a belief compatible with what we now of in science or that the myriad of religious beliefs from around the world are simply not square with the scientific knowledge of the day.

    It is rank dishonesty to pretend that science and religion are compatible while trying to backdoor tons of material as ‘outside’ the realm of science.

    And most people on here do. (And saying ?compartmentalization? is not a proof. It is a chant. Like the Krishnas

    Oh a new tactic from an apologist. How quaint. It is not a chant. It is a fact. People compartmentalize. Making snide comments doesn’t make your silliness more palatable. It makes you look sillier.

  165. #165 Kristin
    February 4, 2009

    i think she said ‘palin-tology.’ hmmmm.

  166. #166 Charles
    February 4, 2009

    Ouch! The stupid hurts…PZ, I need back the entire 10m32s of my life that I wasted on that thing.

  167. #167 strangest brew
    February 4, 2009

    Behold the product of not upsetting the little darlings in their ‘belief’

    Until the gloves are removed and text books state categorically the state of play and proudly…and teachers and educators do not have to skate around the E word then this is what the future holds…
    Multiply that young lady a few thousand times and that will be the workforce in less then a few years!

    Religion is far to far out of its kennel…time to chain it up firmly and muzzle personal belief in public…they can do their thang in their church or home environment if they must but it should remain their dirty little secret..not everyone else’s!

    It is nothing but spouting lies and ignorance because they are not challenged with incisiveness …they are allowed to get away with any claim and no comeback…of course this free for all results in a feedback loop with them all trying to out do each other in the lying for jeebus stakes.

    Everyone must pussyfoot around the nonsense…and the greatest betrayal is the fact that moderately positioned church bunnies say nothing and smile indulgently at the deluded!

    That is the crux of the matter…have your belief by all means but be aware that scientific evidence is what it is…a fact that the majority of scientists can check double check and check again…and what walks quacks and looks like a duck….very often is a duck… rather then not!

    That no one challenges this religiously barking nonsense at a meaningful level is the point…and it is a danger to the rest of us because it is simply wrong and very wrong at that!

    It should be held that in a lawful sense parroting palpable rubbish is an offence…it is a form of terrorism against rationality..a few test cases might clarify that one…

    Maybe part of lawyer training should be a science a based module that deals with…ahem! the evidence… they seem to think that aspect of any claim important…although admittedly only sometimes……

    Anyway a module across a range of subjects with a few extra pages on evolution and the facts about transitionals and how the theory of natural selection operates at the micro and macro level…not to the level of equational manipulation but access to the present ideas relating to principles of science…

    Maybe seminaries would benefit as well..more so in fact…going out into the world to preach lies and distortions is not a morally justifiable position in any religion…they have been getting away with that for far to long…but they will be better educated…they will have no defence…where before a mumbling about ignorant of detail could be made..now it would be a matter of ignorance is definitely no defence… and if they put themselves into a position to promote this nonsense then not only is it a crime against jeebus cos they are lying and they know it…but also in a court of law!

    Until there is more honesty in the major disciplines that society is comprised of nothing will change…few will be persuaded by the odd voice they hear or see in the media that is critical of the delusion…and they damn well will not hear those voices in their community that is for sure!

    About time society grew up a tad methinks!

  168. #168 5ive
    February 4, 2009

    About her shirt that reads “Anti-atheist” Technically, aren’t all religious people anti-atheist? I mean, we start out holding no belief in any god, right? I think those shirts should be EVERYWHERE…
    ANd, of course, she is outright lying. and the audience loves it, very odd…

  169. #169 Sean Chinery
    February 4, 2009

    Ow! Ow! Ow! This hurts soooooo much! I can’t stand her la-di-da-di-da tone. Oh, and I think it’s great how she’s using phrases like, “magic” and “story.” Oh, and I suppose those were just “suggestions” littering the deck of the H.M.S. Beagle. I hope she’s not representitive of students at NYU. Oh, and transitional fossils are not the same as photo morphing, it’s a little more complex than that, but you’ve already shown that you are unable to grasp it. Oh, and the whole countdown to death thing, what do you care? You’re waiting do die anyway because the afterlife is the real party, right? Why waste your time on this one? No, I have to stop now. It really is too painful. Thanks PZ, I think…

  170. #170 Nichole
    February 4, 2009

    Turn the other cheek, heddle!

  171. #171 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    KevinB, #164

    People compartmentalize.

    In other words, you can’t prove it. You can’t detect it. You can’t measure it. So you are just going to continue saying it. Like a chant. Like the Krishnas.

    Doing precisely what I said you would do doesn’t make your silliness more palatable. It makes you look sillier.

  172. #172 rjh
    February 4, 2009

    Geez, it’s not captioned. Anyone has the script? If not, then I guess my morning is still intact;)

  173. #173 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Not to belabor a point too much but come on;

    What minds? In the Darwinian scheme of things, thoughts are nothing more than secretions of the brain (much like bile is a secretion of the liver).

    Am I the only one to find this scream out loud funny?

  174. #174 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    And Newton was an objectionable nutter whose “research” was mostly years wasted years contemplating alchemy and mysticism. I don’t see that his views on religion are in any sense to be taken seriously.
    F = ma, fine.
    Creation? Utter shite.

  175. #175 Menyambal
    February 4, 2009

    Dammit, PZ, I hadn’t even had breakfast.

    She’s projecting like hell. Never seen better projection.

    She seems to have respect for scientists and for evidence, really, but doesn’t think it through. Why are all the bones being dug up, if they don’t show anything new?

    New York did just grow, really. I learned in my planning classes just how hard it is to fix the problems that should have been foreseen there.

    It’s really sad that anyone would think that video is convincing. Someone stands up, spouts some words, and I’m supposed to chuck a lifetime of thought? Ffffht!

    I think that the key difference between religion and science can be summed up thus: A religious audience believes what the speaker says, while a scientific audience is thinking, “The bastard could be lying.”

  176. #176 rjh
    February 4, 2009

    Geez, it’s not captioned. I guess my morning is still intact.

  177. #177 KevinB
    February 4, 2009

    You cannot point out where I have run from a substantive argument. The trouble I get in is I tend to hijack threads. But I don’t run from arguments. Or can you prove that? No, you can’t. So you know what? You can go suck that egg, jackass.

    heddle, you never actually prove anything. You just make really, really backass arguments until people quite literally run out of time/energy/get bored to discuss mindless clatter with you.

    That there are pro-science people who are religious is not in doubt. But PZ is correct that accepting this as true does not deal with all the underlying assumptions that make people think their religion is correct in the first place.

    Whether this is a good thing or not is often where the debate really is. From my perspective it is obviously false that the majority of religions are compatible with science. Especially the western forms. While one can be fideistic about it and be be fine, the other option is to allow the religion to operate in the social/emotional part of the brain and science in the reasonable part and hope they rarely comingle.

    This isn’t new and people have been asking questions about the sense of religion since it’s inception. And really what are it’s fruits? The charity that people do in it’s name would likely be done in another form and the HUGE sums of money sucked from the populace through the years has in a much greater percentage gone to enrich those already in the priesthood than those needing a meal.

  178. #178 Valis
    February 4, 2009

    The trouble I get in is I tend to hijack threads.

    Um, evidence please? So far, your comments are lost in the melee.

  179. #179 DrCogSci
    February 4, 2009

    I always smirk when people say “this post is going to ruin your day etc…”

    This one actually made me despair. It’s so, so sad.

  180. #180 RamblinDude
    February 4, 2009

    Very impressive young lady:

    Grossly uneducated and misinformed; contemptuous of science; repeats incredibly stupid things mechanically; fanatic about substituting faith for investigation; enthusiastic about training young people to believe that praising Jesus is all the knowledge they really need ? and she?s perky!

    She will go far as an evangelist . . . or maybe a Fox News woman.

  181. #181 Andysin
    February 4, 2009

    Let’s pharygulate this video:

    http://www.p4cm.com/p4cm/events/debate-series/give-up-atheism#comments

    I’ve already started.

  182. #182 Robin Brown
    February 4, 2009

    @ Heddle 131

    “Actually what occurs to me is related: if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty to prove it, not just say it, as Coyne does. And most people on here do. (And saying ?compartmentalization? is not a proof. It is a chant. Like the Krishnas”

    But Coyne just spent several thousand words supporting his position. Its you who is merely asserting a position, not him.

    Address his arguments by all means but he can hardly be accused of just chanting like the Krishnas.

  183. #183 Urmensch
    February 4, 2009

    Sigmund @ #9
    In Ireland we say gobshite.

  184. #184 SC, OM
    February 4, 2009

    You are a lying sack O’ shit.

    Nope – still you. You’re quite possibly the most intellectually-dishonest person I’ve yet encountered here.

    You cannot point out where I have run from a substantive argument. The trouble I get in is I tend to hijack threads. But I don’t run from arguments. Or can you prove that? No, you can’t.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/coyne_on_the_compatibility_of.php

    BTW, care to respond here to the challenge to your balkanization of epistemology (central to Coyne’s argument in his piece, which I’m not sure you’ve even read)?

  185. #185 KevinB
    February 4, 2009

    In other words, you can’t prove it. You can’t detect it. You can’t measure it. So you are just going to continue saying it. Like a chant. Like the Krishnas.

    Or any number of prayers said by any number of religions. Why single out the krishna’s? Or do you intend to demean yet another group of people?

    And your wrong, we can detect when people are using different parts of their brain for different things. I suspect this would be relatively easy to detect and prove.

    Doing precisely what I said you would do doesn’t make your silliness more palatable. It makes you look sillier.

    You have it exactly backwards. You are simply a creationist in fancy clothes. What you can’t explain you simply say is outside of science. It’s a dishonest dodge.

  186. #186 mangorick
    February 4, 2009

    Around 5:20 She pronounces “Nobel” like “noble.”

  187. #187 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    I don’t run from arguments.

    OK, then, so to repeat above, your claim that “Science does not reject the supernatural” is false in practice, because methodological naturalism does reject all supernatural explanations. And since all religions (Deism excepted) believe in some variety of supernatural intervention in the natural world, such beliefs must be opposed to science.

    Want to take a crack at that, or will you continue to ignore it?

  188. #188 rjh
    February 4, 2009

    Geez, it’s not captioned. I guess my morning is still intact. I pity the majority of deaf people because they are succumbing to all that religious nonsense left and right! I realize it’s a gigantic undertaking to turn on the ‘enlightenment’ light bulb in their narrow minds. I have a son I will make sure to grow up to be a free thinker! I am glad I found your blog!

  189. #189 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Knockgoats: “Rationality does not lie in the brain, but in the procedures we adopt – or in your case, refuse to adopt -to determine whether the ideas we come up with correspond to reality.”

    Given the materialistic conception of the mind offered by Darwinism, if we “adopt procedures” to check our thoughts against reality, the procedures themselves would be nothing more than products of electro/chemical activity in our brains – activity resulting from irrational material causes beyond our control. You are assuming that we have the ability to control our mental processes, an ability we can’t have if mind is a material phenomenon (as it must be if Darwinism – a wholly materialistic account of human existence – is true). Indeed, if you accept the Darwinian account of the human mind, you have no warrant for using the word “we,” which implies free will (i.e., the ability to think and act with at least some freedom from materialistic determinism). But free will is something that can’t exist if the materialistic account of our existence offered by Darwinism is true.

    (Note: To remind you, I’m using “irrational” to mean “lacking reason or understanding.”)

  190. #190 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    What a load of fucking shite, Mr Garfunkel

  191. #191 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    Another fascinating point to be made about these ‘such and such a constant must this exactly even for stars to exist’ claims …

    The other side of the coin is that even though we don’t currently understand why these constants have the values they do, that does not mean there isn’t a physical reason for them. That is, these constants may not be arbitrary with a very low probability of being exactly right in order to “produce” life as we know it. It could be that they can only be the values that they are. Actually, shouldn’t that be a requirement for a “theory of everything”, that it actually predicts what the electron charge has to be, etc? Not just what the universe would be like if the electron charge was different? In much the same way that Maxwell’s Laws predict the speed of light and then Einstein showed that inherent in the laws is the fact that the speed of light must appear to be the same in every inertial frame of reference. A good theory must be able to predict reality, not just catalog it.

  192. #192 Paul
    February 4, 2009

    “I won’t listen and ruin my day. I’m all happy because scientists at Oxford University have solved the mystery of why locusts swarm, besides “God sent them,” that is. I saw a Daily Planet science news segment that explained when they get crowded, their legs get tickled and they produce serotonin and change into the the swarming form. But I caught only the latter part of the news item.”

    …and at Cambridge and Sydney.

    It’s an excellent piee of work, but could it lead to a new way to control swarms? The authors won’t commit at this stage, as a chemical to disrupt the serotoin pathway would need to be locust specific and applied to swarms very early in their formation, but it’s possible that one could be developed.

    “Could serotonin antagonists be effective locust control agents? Given the ubiquity of serotonin signaling in the animal kingdom, any agent would have to be specific for the serotonin receptor mediating phase change, which is yet to be characterized. To be effective, it would have to be targeted at regions of incipient swarm formation to prevent locusts coalescing further into groups.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/323/5914/627

  193. #193 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel: “For example, it has been shown that if the expansion rate of the universe varied by even one part in 10^55 from the actual rate, no galaxies would form; if no galaxies formed, no stars would form; if no stars formed, no planets would form; if no planets formed, there would be no place for life to exist.”

    MartinM: “That would be a neat trick, given that the expansion rate is not a constant.”

    I should have said the *initial* expansion rate of the universe. If that rate had been too great, no galaxies, stars, and planets would have formed (neither would the heavy elements necessary for life, elements formed within stars). If it had been too slow, the universe would have collapsed on itself prior to the formation of galaxies, etc.
    Now that galaxies, stars, planets, and life exist, it doesn’t much matter that the expansion rate appears to be accelerating.

  194. #194 James F
    February 4, 2009

    #189

    Garfunkel,

    You appear to be arguing philosophy rather than science. Just to clarify, do you accept the scientific theory of evolution, as opposed to the philosophical naturalism that you’re calling “Darwinism?” How about the geological age of the Earth, and the cosmological age of the universe?

  195. #195 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    Actually what occurs to me is related: if one has a conviction that science and religion are incompatible, it is a matter of elementary honesty to prove it, not just say it, as Coyne does.

    Yes, the video just screams compatibility between science and religion, doesn’t it!

    She’s one of yours, heddle, every time you deny the evidence like the clip presented above and leaping into the fray to scream at us, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” How could anybody look at that video and believe that there is some sort of conflict between science and religion?

    Piss off heddle, you lying sack of crap. You’re too stupid to breath, and what’s worth, you act as if you think we’re as stupid as you are.

  196. #196 IST
    February 4, 2009

    ennui> I’m glad I’d read Harris prior to that essay, or I’d have had to wonder about him… great satire though.

  197. #197 Patricia, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Fuck off heddle. Your Calvinist bullshit is just as stupid as this woman’s crap.

  198. #198 Mike W
    February 4, 2009

    Wow! I think my ears are bleeding. If ignorance is a religion this girl is pope.

  199. #199 Bachalon
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel, what is “darwinism?”

  200. #200 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    About her shirt that reads “Anti-atheist” Technically, aren’t all religious people anti-atheist? I mean, we start out holding no belief in any god, right? I think those shirts should be EVERYWHERE…

    “Ex-Atheist” is different than “Anti-atheist”.

    And actually no, I think we really are born “theists”, in a sense. In the sense that I think theism is just an adult holdover of the inherent trust an infant and child has in their parents. To an infant, the parents really are “gods”. And evolution has wired us to believe so for our own survival. That this instinct has been abused so as to transfer trust in parents to trust in an etherial “god” is what we call religion. Religion is a desire to remain psychologically childlike. And religious leaders do not hide this fact, “our father who art in heaven…”, the speak of the “childlike wonder” of spritual enlightenment, “The Lord is my shepherd…” it is all catering to that desire to remain a child in the protection of an all powerful parent. It represents fear of growing up.

  201. #201 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    free will is something that can’t exist if the materialistic account of our existence offered by Darwinism is true.

    How does free will have anything to do with evolution? The problems for free will would be just as knotty if we poofed into existence. Or do you also doubt the “materialistic account” of neurology?

  202. #202 Brian Coughlan
    February 4, 2009

    @Garfunkel

    But free will is something that can’t exist if the materialistic account of our existence offered by Darwinism is true.

    This may be well be true … but so what? You or I will never know with certainty if this is the case, and in any event the inconceivable volume of inputs that contribute to your decisions, are so unfathomably vast, that to all intents and purposes you do have free will. Even if you don’t:-)

    Cheer up. You’re probably conciousness and sentient, or at the very least, you think you are. Thats enough for me:-)

  203. #203 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    What’th worth? Throwing a shthew at that jackath heddle hath me tho angry I’m lithping.

    Every time PZ presents battlefield footage of theists taking potshots at science and science lobbing grenades back, heddle wanders through in his little irreality bubble, demanding that we acknowledge there is no battle and that it’s the atheists who should STFU. He’s like Eyegore in Young Frankenstein, asking, “What hump?” except that the joke stops being funny for the one hundred and fifteenth time heddle pulls it.

  204. #204 Ben
    February 4, 2009

    Leh-NOOSE Pauling! Leh-NOOSE is loose! mwahaha!

    (Small of me to pick on a person’s mispronunciation, perhaps, but you could start anywhere on this one…)

  205. #205 Matt Heath
    February 4, 2009

    *Inserts popular philosophy book in Garfunkel’s backside*

    More crude, stupid Platonism. More blatant assertion that denying that things like free-will and subjectivity are transcendent and outside of physics is the same as denying they exist. Nearly every religious poster on Pharyngula brings this same shit.

    O Internet, I beg of you, send better trolls.

  206. #206 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    JamesF: “…do you accept the scientific theory of evolution, as opposed to the philosophical naturalism that you’re calling ‘Darwinism?’ How about the geological age of the Earth, and the cosmological age of the universe?”

    I use “Darwinism” to refer to “the scientific theory of evolution,” but I think the chief props of the theory are philosophical, not scientific. If matter is all there is, something like Darwinism has to be true, but it is materialism (or naturalism) that provides (for Darwinists) the certainty that their theory is true. The evidence isn’t good enough to provide that certainty.

    I have no quarrel with findings showing that the universe and the earth are billions of years old, not thousands of years old.

  207. #207 strangest brew
    February 4, 2009

    There might be another explanation because it is difficult to believe that so much stupid can congregate in one brain without reaching critical mass and imploding…….

    So playing devils advocate here…

    It is a poe!

    Could it be one of those famous debating societies where the topic is chosen and two teams…or two individuals… are asked to give a presentation representing the two sides of the debate?…whether or not they support one side or the other in reality?

    It just seems she included every creationist fallacy that Talk Origins has documented…and then some…seems to cheap and raving to be a true position…one or two delusions at best float in every creationist heart…not this veritable ocean going leaky old liner full of holes larger then the hole that sank Titanic!

    Just seems overkill!

  208. #208 BMcP
    February 4, 2009

    I think the title “If U want to stay an Atheist don’t watch this video” really says it all.

  209. #209 Danio
    February 4, 2009

    *shudder*

    I had to stop it at “If you can’t find a bone, leave my theory alone!”, as the audio was becoming difficult to hear over my moans of anguish.

    I have had the occasion to mentor several students with similar views who have participated in our Summer undergraduate research program. Many of them are medical school hopefuls. Many are chemistry or physics majors who want to get some experience in another science. The projects they undertake are necessarily very focused and self-contained, but they are clearly bothered by their inevitable brushes with evolution.

    When they give their oral presentations at the end of the Summer, they invariably put “GOD” (all caps) first on their acknowledgement slide, before any (living, demonstrably real) mentors or hosts. It’s more than a little bit sad.

  210. #210 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    I use “Darwinism” to refer to “the scientific theory of evolution,” but I think the chief props of the theory are philosophical, not scientific.

    That makes you an malevolently ignorant, doctrinaire buffoon.

    I have no quarrel with findings showing that the universe and the earth are billions of years old, not thousands of years old.

    And why not? Aren’t the chief props of cosmic evolution (and that’s what they call Astronomy courses at my college) philosophical, not scientific? Clearly, you are not hobbled by any consistency in your positions.

  211. #211 Valis
    February 4, 2009

    Hey Garfunkel, where’s Simon? Do you maybe think there’s a reason why he’s always been more popular than you?

  212. #212 MartinM
    February 4, 2009

    I should have said the *initial* expansion rate of the universe.

    No, you shouldn’t. The early expansion of the Universe was inflationary, which is by definition not constant. Try again.

    You’d have considerably better luck if you could show your work. Of course, you can’t, because you haven’t done any, nor could you if you wanted to.

  213. #213 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Matt Heath: “More blatant assertion that denying that things like free-will and subjectivity are transcendent and outside of physics is the same as denying they exist. Nearly every religious poster on Pharyngula brings this same shit.”

    In his 1998 Darwin Day address, Darwinist William Provine
    (Cornell), an ardent atheist, aptly observed:

    “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.

    1) no gods worth having exist;

    2) no life after death exists;

    3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists;

    4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and

    5) human free will is nonexistent.”

    If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will? As wholly material beings, what is the source of their rationality and their desire to know truth?

  214. #214 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    Robin Brown,

    But Coyne just spent several thousand words supporting his position. Its you who is merely asserting a position, not him.

    No, he just spent several thousand words asserting his position. Miller also spent a bunch of words (I didn’t count) asserting his counter-position. Neither is a demonstration of anything other than opinion. I could write a 3000 words essay on ?If Richard Dawkins became a Christian, he would be a better scientist.? It wouldn?t prove a damn thing. Neither does Coyne?s argument. There is no proof by length of essay.

    KevinB,

    And your wrong, we can detect when people are using different parts of their brain for different things. I suspect this would be relatively easy to detect and prove.

    Yes, as in everyone. If ?compartmentalization? means ?people use different parts of their brain? then yes we all compartmentalize all the time. But you and others chant compartmentalization as a proof of science-religion incompatibility. If it is just ?using different parts of your brain” then lots of stuff, including music and art, are incompatible with science. The ?compartmentalization? creed proves nothing. Or it proves everything. In any case, it?s useless.

    What you can’t explain you simply say is outside of science. It’s a dishonest dodge.

    No, it?s a dodge when I say something within science is outside of science. Here would be an example of a dodge: We cannot explain how stars work. Therefore God Did It. That would be a dodge. Can you grasp the concept?

    SC, OM, #184

    Yes, linking to a thread where I posted probably 20 times, mostly in response to attacks or question, is compelling evidence that I run away. You are still a lying sack O? steaming turds. What substantive question on that thread was asked that I didn?t try to answer? Now it is possible that I missed one–that is always possible in an N-on-1 scenario. Can you find one?

    BTW, care to respond here to the challenge to your balkanization of epistemology (central to Coyne’s argument in his piece, which I’m not sure you’ve even read)?

    No. And do they teach this at the PZ school of logic and rhetoric: when asking someone about a book or an article, be sure to imply they haven?t actually read it?it will give you a short-lived but exquisite boost of self confidence.

    Ken Cope, #195

    Are you really that friggin stupid? Where did I say that this video was evidence for science/religion compatibility? I said (paraphrasing) that it demonstrated a serious problem and work to be done, and the best people to do it are theists/scientists like myself. Some (not all) anti-science Christians will listen to me and others like me. None of them will listen to you or PZ. Of course, I don’t know why anyone listens to you.

    you act as if you think we’re as stupid as you are.

    In your case it is no act, because time and time again you provide ample evidence.

    Tulse,


    because methodological naturalism does reject all supernatural explanations.

    True enough. Methodological naturalism rejects supernatural explanations as a proper method of methodological naturalism. So when I invoke the supernatural to explain experimental data, then you will have a point. In attacking the IDers who say ID is science, this is a valid point.

  215. #215 Dan Jensen
    February 4, 2009

    This video is just sad. Ignorance heaped upon ignorance. Cosmology, biology, and theology all thrown into a food processor. Please tell me this video is the exception and not the rule.

  216. #216 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle,

    “Were you born an insufferable ass, or is it an acquired trait?”

    I don’t suffer fools lightly. It’s true. What percentage of that trait is nature and what comes from nurture, I’m afraid I can’t tell you.

  217. #217 strangest brew
    February 4, 2009

    193*

    Interesting points…where did you find these damning ‘facts’
    about this goldilocks scenario?

    Cos methinks they sold you a pup in a basket and not the pie!

  218. #218 siddharth
    February 4, 2009

    @heddle
    “No, it?s a dodge when I say something within science is outside of science”

    I don’t understand your point. There is nothing outside science, because by definition, science and the scientific method involves the study of the entire universe. The existence of God is a scientific hypothesis, and the belief is incompatible with experimental evidence.

    By making the statement “outside science”, you’re just semantically obfuscating the issue.

  219. #219 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Posted by: Garfunkel | February 4, 2009

    I use “Darwinism” to refer to “the scientific theory of evolution,” but I think the chief props of the theory are philosophical, not scientific.

    Your Inner Fish. Largely a work of philosophy. The recent announcement of Maiacetus inuus, a philosophical work. The documentaries of David Attenborough, a series of talking heads waxing philosophical about Darwinism.

    Garfunkel, you are insulting.

  220. #220 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    I said (paraphrasing) that it demonstrated a serious problem and work to be done, and the best people to do it are theists/scientists like myself. Some (not all) anti-science Christians will listen to me and others like me. None of them will listen to you or PZ. Of course, I don’t know why anyone listens to you.

    Then as long as you continue to deny that you are part of the problem that spawns morons like her and the people who create such monsters of stupidity, you are making things worse. Get off your ass and do something about the problem that you make worse with all your quacking here about theist/scientist compatitiblity on a forum that you claim (with biohazard levels of stupidity) nobody will listen to.

    You are part of the problem. You are on the wrong side.

    I don’t know why anyone listens to you.

    If I tried to address everything you don’t know, heddle, I’d never get anything done. Fuck off.

  221. #221 NNYSkeptic
    February 4, 2009

    She is cute, tho. :-)

  222. #222 Ben
    February 4, 2009

    This lost me at 14 seconds: “Topic: Why Atheist [sic] must reconsider their position”

    On second thought, maybe it would be cool to be like moose, sheep and deer and not have to add that pesky “s” every time we made ourselves plural.

  223. #223 Christopher Balambao
    February 4, 2009

    I found that last bit ironic.

  224. #224 arensb
    February 4, 2009

    I notice that the video is tagged “wayofthemaster” on YouTube. Why am I not surprised?

  225. #225 Dan Jensen
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel writes: “If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will?”

    Ask Spinoza. They share one free will: the will of God, to put it in theistic–or pantheistic–terms. Freedom is possible; you just have to give up all the bullshite about individual freedom. That’s not such a loss when you realize that each of us is a unique expression of that “divine” will.

    Besides, “atoms are not things” anyway, so relax. Natural selection doesn’t have to be strictly physicalist to be the beautiful science that it is. Just because one atheist suggests that Darwin annihilated all that is transcendent doesn’t mean that he’s right, or that he speaks for all atheists (non-theists).

  226. #226 mas528
    February 4, 2009

    Posted by: Garfunkel | February 4, 2009 11:07 AM

    What minds? In the Darwinian scheme of things, thoughts are nothing more than secretions of the brain (much like bile is a secretion of the liver).

    What in the name of blazes are you talking about?

    Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has nothing to say about where thoughts come from.

  227. #227 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    Ken Cope,

    Get off your ass and do something about the problem that you make worse with all your quacking here about theist/scientist compatitiblity on a forum that you claim (with biohazard levels of stupidity) nobody will listen to.

    I do, jackass. I talk to groups believers all the time about why they do not have to be anti-science. Even in my university my students know that I am a believer and a scientist, and this opens up many chances for discussion. What do you do, beyond sitting your ass down on this blog and backslapping your fellow Pharyngulites? Are you even a scientist? Do you know anything about science? Anything?

  228. #228 Matt Heath
    February 4, 2009

    In his 1998 Darwin Day address, Darwinist William Provine
    (Cornell), an ardent atheist, aptly observed:
    “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.
    1) no gods worth having exist;
    2) no life after death exists;
    3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists;
    4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and
    5) human free will is nonexistent.”

    Simply stating that one person thought this doesn’t make it so but I’d say 1 and 2 are almost certainly true and to believe otherwise is wishful thinking. However neither is a a necessary corollary of Darwin’s theory.

    3 and 4 are true but with the stress very strongly on “ultimate”. This is the Platonist shit I was talking about. No ultimate foundation for ethics doesn’t mean no basis for ethics and ditto for meaning. People had cobbled together meanings and ethics long before the question of an ultimate foundation even occurred to them. That transcendent foundations are not needed is not just something that comes from considering evolutionary biology or just from athiests. Consider Wittgenstein, the greatest anti-foundationalist of all. He was an observent Catholic and IFAIK had no real interst in natural sciences. He made a case (in Philosophical Investigations) that meaning doesn’t have to be (and isn’t) founded on a transcendent base that is almost universally accepted.

    As for 5, well dismissing all that was ever written about compatibilism in one short sentence is rather weak.

    If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will? As wholly material beings, what is the source of their rationality and their desire to know truth?

    I’m going to treat that as an honest question (although I fear it was in fact a mere talking point). The great problems of philosophy can’t be solved in a blog comment but if you want accounts of human will free will, of meaning, of consciousness and of morality from a naturalistic (and specifically evolutionary) point of view you should look at the work of Daniel Dennett. He carefully demolishes the idea that these are all-or-nothing phenomena and describes how it is possible to go from a past without these things to present with them by purely natural means. He also writes well for non-specialists (such as myself).

  229. #229 Caymen Paolo Diceda
    February 4, 2009

    This is an endless debate with these creationists/IDers that will likely never convince anyone in these forums to switch their ideas. Sometimes it’s fun, other times it’s just tedious. Anyone who takes the time to spout drivel like the above video is probably beyond the reach of critical thought. It is surely fun to tweak them, but that gets old after a while.

    Probably more important is to speak/write to the greater numbers out there who don’t think about this daily in forums where the sides have not already been drawn. I suspect that most of the time, our outrage expressed in this forum at stupidities like the above is preaching to the choir … although I do periodically see postings like Garfunkel’s.

    I used to be much more “live and let live – they can think what they want, so long as they don’t bother me,” but there is more at stake now. Creationist/ID weak thinking is a proxy for general weak understanding of science and technology and leads to cop-outs in solving hard problems (uhh – I don’t understand so it must be god who did it). It will be the death of us in competition with China and India.

    Creationists/IDers can think what they want so long as they keep it to themselves and don’t muck up important problems in society like stem cell research, family planning, gay rights, etc. They cannot be allowed to screw up the critical thinking skills of our kids through perversion of academic standards. We’ll never convince them, but we have to fight them on substantive matters that screw up society, until they die out … which will likely be generations.

  230. #230 siddharth
    February 4, 2009

    “. What do you do, beyond sitting your ass down on this blog and backslapping your fellow Pharyngulites? Are you even a scientist? Do you know anything about science? Anything?”

    Hedddle, I want to get back to topic and address your claim of “outside science”.

    Specifically, how is a belief in a resurrected human being, or a virgin birth, compatible with modern science? How does one excuse such beliefs as being “outside science” when they make claims about the universe which directly contradict scientific knowledge?

    Similarly, we know that prayer doesn’t heal or work, through controlled experiments. Therefore, how is a religious belief in prayer compatible with science?

    P.S I am a student of science :)

  231. #231 JSug
    February 4, 2009

    Couldn’t get through it. I gave up after she said something about how Darwin was an ex-Christian looking for a way to justify his life, so he created evolution.

  232. #232 christian aaron
    February 4, 2009

    What I think is funny about the semantic arguments going on here about free will is that…. and this happens a lot with these kinds of open threads and talks… what’s the point? What are you arguing? Where are you going with it? Seems to me the Garfunkel bottom line is a sneering attempt to say, “Well, if what you believe is true, then we are just chemical automotons and nothing is good and light and wonderful in the world…” or some such thing. Which is close to the arguments of “How can you love if we’re all just balls of chemical reactions?” It’s funny because the study of these questions is going on right now. Sam Harris is certainly one working on these questions. How do our brains work in these ways and how were these prcoesses affected by natural selection in human development? People are studying these most excellent questions right now. Yet, the anti-”Darwinist” or whatever just wants to sneeringly condemn “naturalism” by complaining that it somehow makes the human form less special in some way. Am I getting the argument ok? It’s vacuous….. Sounds like run-of-the-mill existential angst to me. Just as I have no problem wondering about the intracacies of the universe without actually KNOWING, I have no problem with “naturalistic” explanations that might shed light on Love, Honor, Loyalty, Inquisitiveness, or any other qualities that people value as human beings, without having to think it’s HUMAN MAGIC, or that it lessens the value we place on these things as a society. It’s ok, Garfunkel, even if you are “just” a ball of Darwinistically motivated chemicals, you’re still special…. to someone I’m sure. :-)

  233. #233 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will?

    Isn’t there a similar problem with an omniscient god? If god knows what will happen thoughout all space and time, how can there be free will?

    As wholly material beings, what is the source of their rationality and their desire to know truth?

    “emergent phenomena”, look it up.

  234. #234 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    it demonstrated a serious problem and work to be done, and the best people to do it are theists/scientists like myself.

    Heddle here is taking all responsbility for the problem.

    Every time we see another one of these videos, we’ll just blame heddle. He’s inviting us all to attribute every instance of these blithering theist science-denialists to failure by heddle to convince them that there is no conflict between the fatuous twaddle of religion and science. But there’s a catch. Poor little heddle would be so busy trying to solve the problem, but instead he’s got to park on these threads and claim theists/scientists can’t crush the dwarf of ignorance because we pesky atheists won’t STFU. I guess tenure gives heddle the privilege to behave here like any other useless framing concern troll.

    I expect progress reports, heddle, every time you force a theist to their knees and make them come to Jesus/Darwin.

  235. #235 MartinH
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel at #193 and elsewhere

    Please provide a reference for your claim that it has been demonstrated that the initial expansion of the universe had to be precisely set to 1 part in 10^55. Absent some mathematical mapping which compresses a physically realistic range of the variable into a tiny part of the number line, I assert that our scientific knowledge is inadequate to make statements about the universe to that precision, or anything remotely close to it.

  236. #236 DCP
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel, if you really think science and religion are not at odds with each other, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  237. #237 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    siddharth

    Specifically, how is a belief in a resurrected human being, or a virgin birth, compatible with modern science? How does one excuse such beliefs as being “outside science” when they make claims about the universe which directly contradict scientific knowledge?

    Fair question, and one that seems to be asked honestly. (Aside: Do you know where you are?) When you mention something like the virgin birth, you are correct that it is incompatible with science. It is supernatural. But nobody makes the claim that the supernatural is compatible with science. That would be absurd. By its very definition it is not. The claim is about religion and science. Or, in terms of the supernatural, the actual argument is not over the compatibility of the supernatural with science, both sides agreeing that there is none, but rather a belief in the supernatural and science. Is a belief in the supernatural compatible with science?

    And since all theists (and even deists) believe in the supernatural at some level, the question is equivalent to whether or not theism is compatible with science.

    Ken Cope,

    I expect progress reports, heddle

    Can?t do that Ken, it is a struggle to find words small enough that I am sure you?ll be able to understand.

  238. #238 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Here is the page if you want to see more of the EX t-shirts.

    EX Diva
    EX Hypocrite
    EX Fornicator
    EX Atheist
    EX Slave
    EX Homosexual
    EX Masturbator
    EX Rebel
    EX Hustler

    Time for me to find an EX Asshole tee.

  239. #239 MartinH
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle at #237

    You may not accept the story of the virgin birth, but perhaps you can clear something up for me.

    Is there any basis on which someone should accept the claim of virgin birth for Jesus? Even if the gospels are historical documents, what evidence could have been presented to someone who associated with Jesus only as an adult that his mother was virgin when he was born? What evidence could have been produced at his birth? Or before?

  240. #240 jagannath
    February 4, 2009

    Eh, who can take seriously a group selling t-shirts with a text, ex-wanker.

  241. #241 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    Can?t do that Ken, it is a struggle to find words small enough that I am sure you?ll be able to understand.

    Why not let Patricia or Janine or SC know how your little project is coming along, heddle, they can explain it to me in terms even I can follow. I hope you achieve more success convincing theists that there’s merit to science than you have on pharyngula convincing us that we’re all wrong.

  242. #242 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Matt Heath: “The great problems of philosophy can’t be solved in a blog comment but if you want accounts of human will free will, of meaning, of consciousness and of morality from a naturalistic (and specifically evolutionary) point of view you should look at the work of Daniel Dennett.”

    As you may know, Dennett’s trademark metaphor is that Darwin’s theory is a “universal acid” that “eats through just about every traditional concept” of morality, or religion, or social order. Apparently this is a very selective acid. It eats through other people’s views but leaves Dennett’s own views untouched. No doubt he wants his views to be taken seriously, but on his own terms – terms derived from a Darwinian conception of human existence – why should they be?

    As you may also know, evolutionary psychologists employ the idea of “memes” to explain mental states (memes being analogues to genes). Their favorite example of a meme is religion. Richard Dawkins has suggested that religion is tantamount to a computer virus that infects the brain. But what about Dawkins’s own beliefs? On his own terms, his commitment to Darwinian evolution must also result from infection by a mental virus. Why should he suppose that his mental infection results in valid thoughts, while other mental infections don’t? Evolutionary psychology cuts its own throat, epistemically speaking. Darwin himself sensed that his theory undercut human rationality. In a letter to W. Graham (July 3rd, 1881) he wrote: “The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

  243. #243 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    MartinH,

    Is there any basis on which someone should accept the claim of virgin birth for Jesus? Even if the gospels are historical documents, what evidence could have been presented to someone who associated with Jesus only as an adult that his mother was virgin when he was born? What evidence could have been produced at his birth? Or before?

    None that I know of. After all, virgin births are not impossible. But the claim is that Mary?s pregnancy was not the result of some unlikely set of circumstances or a medical procedure, but a supernatural intervention. Perhaps a strong case could have been made by examining Jesus? Y chromosome.

  244. #244 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    Ken Cope,

    I hope you achieve more success convincing theists that there’s merit to science than you have on pharyngula convincing us that we’re all wrong.

    I already have. But then again I actually try the former, not the latter. The latter is impossible. Any Calvinist knows that.

  245. #245 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Ken Cope, some one would have to relay heddle’s words to me. I killfiled him long ago. I was not able to follow his simple words.

  246. #246 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 4, 2009

    Time for me to find an EX Asshole tee.

    Now now. Don’t rush out and do anything harsh.

  247. #247 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    Any Calvinist knows that.

    No, any Calvinist thinks they know that, which is among the reasons you’re such a tedious fuckwit and laughingstock around here.

  248. #248 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle:

    If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will?

    It’s not “Darwinism” that says humans are material, it’s science. It would be far more accurate to blame “neuroscience” for a materialist view of mind than it is to blame evolutionary theory.

    And if human beings aren’t just bundles of neurons that connect to other tissues, why is it that damage to the brain damages the mind? How is it that neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s impact on “free will”?

    For that matter, how does positing a God solve this problem? How does God change things so that matter also has free will (I presume you do grant that we are made at least partly out of matter)? What is the mechanism by which free will interacts with the neurons in your brain?

  249. #249 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Janine: “Garfunkel, you are insulting.”

    And you’re not? In my short time here, I’ve learned that hurling insults must be the primary purpose of Pharyngula.

  250. #250 Hannah
    February 4, 2009

    Oh my GOODNESS this channel annoys me >>

    Do these people not READ?

    Also – I’m amused by the comment screening, switched off comment rating and switched off video rating.

  251. #251 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    And you’re not? In my short time here, I’ve learned that hurling insults must be the primary purpose of Pharyngula.

    Says the man who compares thoughts to bile and claims that evolution is more philosophical than evidence based.

    Sorry, you are arguing from bad premises and will get insulted for it.

  252. #252 DaveH
    February 4, 2009

    Late to the party as ever, but in answer to Sigmund at #9, the guy (Shea?) who read the Oxford English Dictionary in a year discovered the lovely word…

    Bayard(n): a person armed with the self-confidence of ignorance

  253. #253 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    heddle:

    True enough. Methodological naturalism rejects supernatural explanations as a proper method of methodological naturalism. So when I invoke the supernatural to explain experimental data, then you will have a point.

    The point, which I thought I made clear, is that all religions demand rejection of methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, and thus are antithetical to science in that sense. Once again you have dodged this point.

  254. #254 Dahan
    February 4, 2009

    “And you’re not? In my short time here, I’ve learned that hurling insults must be the primary purpose of Pharyngula.”

    You come here as a pedantic and sanctimonious troll and are met with insults. You deduce from this that inulting people must be the primary purpose of Pharyngula. What an excellent example of your logic.

  255. #255 MartinH
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle at #243

    It seems to me that science, with its methodological naturalism, would readily respond to the existence of the story of the virgin birth by recognizing:

    1. That there could be no practical evidence for such a claim available to people with the science of the day
    2. That therefore such a claim must be hearsay at best
    3. That it is not uncommon for people to lie and/or err

    Given these, the simplest explanation, thoroughly and easily compatible with methodological naturalism, is that this supposed virgin birth did not occur. Unlike the other supposed miracles, this one could have no eye witnesses except, perhaps, Mary.

    Of course, there are similarly strong reasons for rejecting the entire story of Jesus as mythical.

    Given this, surely those who believe in Christianity have abandoned science, and the scientific method. Is this not, at least in this instance, a pretty clear incompatibility between science and religion?

  256. #256 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse: “It’s not ‘Darwinism’ that says humans are material, it’s science.”

    I’ve often argued that in the hands of Darwinists, science has become indistinguishable from metaphysical naturalism (or philosophical materialism). Science quite properly employs methodological materialism, but when methodological materialism becomes a limitation on reality (as is the case when science says that humans are wholly material phenomena), science becomes the handmaiden of metaphysical naturalism. I appreciate your willingness to corroborate that argument.

  257. #257 J.D.
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel said:

    “Richard Dawkins has suggested that religion is tantamount to a computer virus that infects the brain. But what about Dawkins’s own beliefs? On his own terms, his commitment to Darwinian evolution must also result from infection by a mental virus. Why should he suppose that his mental infection results in valid thoughts, while other mental infections don’t?”

    Well you see Garf that is where the whole scientific method comes in with testable predictions to let the universe tell use when our memes our wrong. Something completely foreign to the cocksure ignorance of your memes.

    Garfunkel also regurgitated:

    If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will?

    Do you think your deity has absolute knowledge of your destiny?

  258. #258 Gordon
    February 4, 2009

    The videos actually not that bad… as long as you turn the sound off.

  259. #259 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse,

    I have not dodged that point, such as it is. It is certainly true if not ?duh? quality obvious that, say, Christianity rejects methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, such as the resurrection. Why is stating the obvious so important to you? What it does not do, except in the hands of the likes of the DI, is reject MN as the means for studying any physical phenomena that we might encounter. Ever. Anywhere. Nothing is excluded. Use science to attempt to explain all data ever encountered in the field or in the lab or in the observatory. Never invoke a miracle to explain anything you are examining. Christianity is compatible with that, and hence with science.

  260. #260 heliobates
    February 4, 2009

    @243 Heddle:

    After all, virgin births are not impossible.

    Uh, how could the offspring be male, given that two like chromosomes define the female sex in humans? Even Hwang’s artificially-induced parthenogenetic embryos were female.

    Or are you using some definition of “impossible” of which I’m unaware?

    It doesn’t invalidate your point about supernatural causes, but it does make you look as if you’re making shit up.

  261. #261 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    Christianity rejects methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, such as the resurrection.

    Begging the question that resurrection could ever be a physical phenomenon, but that isn’t the punchline:

    Never invoke a miracle to explain anything you are examining. Christianity is compatible with that, and hence with science.

    Just because you use the word “hence” and tack it on where the conclusion would go in a valid deductive argument doesn’t mean that it’s what would have to be true with the premises you offered. That is some criminally tortured logic, but otherwise just more comedy gold from heddle.

  262. #262 Jonathan
    February 4, 2009

    OMG What a fool I have been I see now that evolution is just a ruse and that I have thrown my life away reading books other than the bible.

  263. #263 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse: …all religions demand rejection of methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena.
    No. There’s variation and popular “vulgarization” contaminants but AFAIK neither Buddhism nor Taoism (harder to define) makes any such demands. Neither in principle does Hinduism at the same high level, unless we take the creation of the universe itself to be the phenomenon. Certainly not anything else.

  264. #264 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    MartinH, #355

    You are correct, MN would lead to conclude that none of the famous miracles occurred. If MN concluded that the miracles could have occurred, then they are not miracles. Did I not just say that the supernatural is by definition incompatible with science?

    The question is whether a belief that Jesus walked on water is incompatible with science. But MN does not say: MN is all that there is. You may not believe anything except that which is demonstrable by MN. MN says that it is the proper way to do science. The best way to study the natural world. I agree 100%. I do science just like anyone else?so there is no incompatibility until such time that I invoke a miracle to explain the results of an experiment. Then you would have incompatibility.

    heliobates #260,

    Uh, how could the offspring be male, given that two like chromosomes define the female sex in humans?

    There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?

  265. #265 MartinH
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel

    I’ve been waiting for an hour for the reference that I requested at #239 to your claim about the required precision of the initial expansion of the universe. In the meantime you have made several other postings.

    I suggest you withdraw your claim until you can support it with evidence that can be evaluated.

  266. #266 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    heddle :

    After all, virgin births are not impossible.

    In humans ? I’d really like to see that…

  267. #267 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel: “In my short time here, I’ve learned that hurling insults must be the primary purpose of Pharyngula.”

    Janine: “Says the man who compares thoughts to bile and claims that evolution is more philosophical than evidence based.”

    Well, if you see those remarks as insults, then I guess I’ve managed to fit right in.

  268. #268 Brett
    February 4, 2009

    If you open the youtube link its great to see that ratings are disabled for the video, as usual. Also, there are many more of these vids uploaded under P4cmDebateSeries and there are no comments on their user name page yet.

  269. #269 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    BdN,

    In humans ? I’d really like to see that…

    I don’t know if you can see it. But go read up on in vitro fertilization. Then imagine, say, a single woman using that method with donor sperm. Then imagine it was successful. Finally, consider the possibility that she was a virgin.

  270. #270 Valis
    February 4, 2009

    Congratulations heddle, you present some very convincing arguments. No, I really mean that. I’vr gone and read your blog since your first post here. Nuclear physicist, that means you are highly intelligent, and your arguments reflect that. But it just shows how strong the effect of compartmentalisation is.

  271. #271 MartinH
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle at #264

    I surmise that for you at this time, it is reasonable to say that Christianity is externally a collection of documents and of cultural practices and internally of feelings and experiences (I assume you are Christian). These are your experimental data, as it were, although we are dealing with historical science, but I think that is only a detail.

    This is what you are examining, and it has a perfectly reasonable explanation within the context of MN.
    There is no need to invoke anything supernatural to explain what you find around you and within you in Christianity. By your own lights, to be true to science, you should not invoke the supernatural to explain what you are examining.

    However, to be religious in this context, you need to invoke the supernatural. To do so, you must disavow the explanations arrived at by MN, and thus demonstrate the incompatibility of the two.

  272. #272 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Yes, linking to a thread where I posted probably 20 times, mostly in response to attacks or question, is compelling evidence that I run away. You are still a lying sack O? steaming turds. What substantive question on that thread was asked that I didn?t try to answer? Now it is possible that I missed one–that is always possible in an N-on-1 scenario. Can you find one?

    You’re such a fucking asshole, heddle. Sure – here are my posts that were in response to yours on that thread, #s:

    196
    202
    214
    220
    225
    237
    243
    428
    452
    453
    455
    473
    485

    Please read and make sure you’ve responded to them all, particularly #s 452, 455, and 473. I don’t find a response from you after a certain point. You simply disappeared.

    BTW, care to respond here to the challenge to your balkanization of epistemology (central to Coyne’s argument in his piece, which I’m not sure you’ve even read)?

    No. And do they teach this at the PZ school of logic and rhetoric: when asking someone about a book or an article, be sure to imply they haven?t actually read it?it will give you a short-lived but exquisite boost of self confidence.

    That should be evidence enough. If you’ve read it, and it’s what the earlier post was about, why won’t you reply to its arguments?

  273. #273 JJR
    February 4, 2009

    “There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?”

    No, but this is…

    (Mock surprise) So Mary was artificially inseminated by Space Aliens!! Finally it makes sense!

    …and is way more “sciency” than the biblical account.

    /smartass]

  274. #274 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    Well, I guess so. But that’s a really distorted view of what the words “virgin birth”. Usually, in biology, it refers to parthenogenesis, hence the response from heliobates (to which I concur).

    I don’t know why, but I kinda doubt they mastered artificial insemination that well 2000 years ago.

  275. #275 Timcol
    February 4, 2009

    I managed only to listen to 3 minutes of this.

    I think what it illustrates more than anything is that any old body can stand up in a church and say complete rubbish, and nobody for a moment questions what they are saying. In this case she happens to be talking about evolution, but the principle goes for just about everything else (including theology).

    How many people in the audience thought to themselves as they listend to her – well that’s interesting about lack of transitional forms, but I’m not sure she’s right so I’ll go research this myself when I get home (because of course she’s utterly and blatantly wrong). How many do you think? I would predict zero.

    As an ex-Christian, I’ve seen it first-hand myself (and believe a ton of ridiculous nonsense as a result). This is the real danger of fundamentalism and how it effectively chocks off our critical thinking processes.

  276. #276 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    No, Garfield, you do not fit in. If you think that evolution is mostly a philosophical enterprise, you know jack about the physical evidence and the physical hardships of the researchers going out and collecting their evidence. In other words, you have on your self imposed mental binders.

    Your ignoring of physical evidence in favor of your unhinged philosophical flights of fancy leaves you open to mocking. Deal with it.

  277. #277 Stewy.cvl
    February 4, 2009

    OMG I could predict almost everything she was going to say! Nothing new here… there’s bad creationism, and then there’s this…. regurgitated creationist vomit

  278. #278 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?

    Not necessarily. So you’re suggesting that Jesus, if he existed, was dry-humped into existence? The heart rejoices!

  279. #279 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    heddle:

    Christianity rejects methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, such as the resurrection.

    and

    Never invoke a miracle to explain anything you are examining. Christianity is compatible with that

    Aren’t these two passages essentially contradictory?

    there is no incompatibility until such time that I invoke a miracle to explain the results of an experiment

    Not just “experiment”, but any phenomenon, such as the Resurrection or parting of the Red Sea. In other words, this position immediately rules large swathes of religious beliefs out of bounds to science. That’s why religion is inimical to science.

    There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?

    Are you suggesting that there were techniques for doing artificial insemination 2000 years ago in the Middle East? And if Mary became pregnant through physical artificial insemination, why is his birth supposed to be miraculous?

    Neil B:

    There’s variation and popular “vulgarization” contaminants but AFAIK neither Buddhism nor Taoism (harder to define) makes any such demands.

    I would argue that to the extent one excludes the “vulgarizations” of superstitious practice, these belief systems aren’t really religions — certainly that is the view my Buddhist spouse would strongly defend. And frankly, the exclusion of “vulgarizations” seems to be a rather Western phenomenon, and results in something that looks very different from the historical and current practice of most adherents.

  280. #280 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?

    If they become pregnant after artificial insemination=virgin.
    Christian teenagers have anal sex to remain virgins.

    So you can have a kid while being sodomized and still be a virgin. That’s kind of a twisted religion/worldview/pseudo-philisophical stance

  281. #281 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    …Finally, consider the possibility that she was a virgin.

    Allow me to clarify. Are you positing an entirely natural explnation of “virgin” births? Then why invoke anythig non-natural in one case?

  282. #282 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    OK, since we are infested with christianists, perhaps one of you could provide an answer to a couple of simple questions.
    Jesus died in agony on the cross for our sins, correct?
    (That’s not one of them)
    Well, if so, what distinguishes his agonising death from the billions of agonising deaths, man or god made, since then? And if he died for our sins, how come we still sin, and still die, mostly, in pain and confusion?
    The only difference it seems to me it that we live longer and our children die much less frequently – thanks to science.
    What are your “thoughts” on these troubling conundrums?

  283. #283 Troy Britain
    February 4, 2009

    How about this?

    “Ignorrogance” – the espousal of ignorant nonsense combined with an arrogant air of authority.

    Anyone doing this would be considered “Ignorrogant”.

  284. #284 Sven DiMilo
    February 4, 2009

    Primitive turkey basters have been found in Mesopotamian archaeological sites dating back to the upper Iron Age.

  285. #285 One Eyed Jack
    February 4, 2009

    #9 Sigmund – “Unfortunately the English language actually needs a new term to describe the attitude of complete ignorance combined with that arrogant air of authority on show here.”

    Religiot.

  286. #286 heliobates
    February 4, 2009

    There are cases of women who become pregnant without intercourse. Artificial insemination, medically provided or accidental. Is that making shit up?

    No, that’s a rather vigorous equivocation on the term “virgin”, given the social and mythological contexts of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth. It does have the same effect on your credibility, however.

    I’m trying to see how you could misinterpret MarkH’s question to allow for the logical possibility that Mary’s pregnancy was the result of Roman turkey-baster tech, a dry-humping incident gone badly wrong, or perhaps saddlebacking.

    Why would you even float naturalistic possibilities when your point was to argue that the event was supernatural?

    I’ve been nodding along with some of your arguments that “science != incompatibility with religion”, but off-the-cuff stupidity like that doesn’t score any points for your side.

  287. #287 CJO
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle’s working from a little-known alternative reading of Isaiah 7:14

    “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman virgin shall conceive commit an unnatural act with a turkey baster, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el”

  288. #288 Logicel
    February 4, 2009

    I suppose Heddle is a proponent of NOMA. How very kosher for a Calvinist to keep a ritualized and make belief barrier between whatever one wants whether it be utensils for preparing dairy and meat, or religious belief and scientific findings.

    Compartmentalizing is a human trait, nothing unusual about it; it is commonly applied in our every day lives. But some compartmentalizations can be maladaptive, allowing a person not to confront problematic situations like the clear incompatibility between science and religion. Or parents not embracing the reality that their baby has grown up.

    Heddle is focusing on the mere ability to function as a scientist while holding theist beliefs as functional evidence that there is not a basic friction and an extremely troubling conflict between science and religion; hence several posters are calling out Heddle’s intellectual dishonesty and his emotionally/psychologically challenged stance.

    The baby has grown up, that is, our quest for understanding and deepening our grasp on what constitutes reality has developed into science, while religion remains as an obsolete means to acquire understanding. Heddle wants to keep both the infantile and grown-up aspects, and therefore is motivated to say that holding religious and scientific ideas poses no conflictual problems. As it is said in trading, he is talking his book though unlike his scientific understandings, he has no evidence for his religious beliefs.

    But, the lack of evidence causes no problems, he can do science and do religion, just like those aforementioned parents can let their grown up baby work and bring home money while watching over their baby’s every move, confining their child’s self-determination and autonomy just like Heddle is doing to his mind and his understanding of reality. Heddle is a pair of warring bad/good parents, pushing and pulling himself, stay an infant, grow up, stay an infant, grow up, ad nauseam. But he has it under control, after all, not only can he do science, he can encourage others to do the same compromise he has (sarcasm).

  289. #289 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    It is certainly true if not ?duh? quality obvious that, say, Christianity rejects methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, such as the resurrection. Why is stating the obvious so important to you?

    Um, because that’s the ENTIRE FUCKING ISSUE AT HAND?

  290. #290 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    Silly, they didn’t have turkey basters back then because they didn’t have turkeys. Or lesbians. No need, then.

  291. #291 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    Sven, just out of curiosity (I don’t have any reason to doubt what you’re saying) but could you provide a ref for the Mesopotamian turkey juice holders ?

  292. #292 BdN
    February 4, 2009
  293. #293 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse, I would say Buddhism even w/o supernaturalism is a “real religion”, but does you spouse consider it so? Yes, the gradation of religions into circles of outer/inner “vulgar”/savvy insider etc. makes characterizing them difficult, but it is a real force (e.g. the realistic beliefs of many liberal “Christians” etc. including or especially their clergy, versus the official fundamentals.)

    Again though, I find it sad that we again see “science” as the basic investigatory activity facing off against “religion” the passed-down superstition, with little regard for third-way, cutting edge philosophical musings about anthropic fine tuning etc. as from Paul Davies. I’ll spare you repetitions of my own take which is similar to his (or was), just mentioning the principle of the thing. BTW note that there are already quasi-scientific realms of study like history, which involve e.g. making judgment calls about whether to believe what someone wrote in a diary (and often not provable/disprovable claims, either – but most of us feel OK deciding whether to be convinced it’s likely true, etc.)

    Also, it seems silly to me that it could be OK to find the “beauty” or symmetry of laws etc. something reverential; it can be reasonable (if superstitious and unprovable) to believe in detailed features of God/s and their interaction and purposes in the World, but something in between like believing in a primordial purpose or meaning is “empty Deism” and the like dismissal.

  294. #294 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    And if he died for our sins, how come we still sin, and still die, mostly, in pain and confusion?

    He did not die in order to stop us from sinning or from dying. His suffering was intended to take the punishment that we should receive for our sins. So when God says “you stole a candy, 10 lashes”, you can reply, “Jesus already took the lashes for me” and just walk into heaven.

    At least that’s how most Christians seem to interpret it now. I think the “original intent” of the story was that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was only to “pay for” original sin. Any sins we commit in life we are still responsible for. You see, God painted himself into a corner with the curse he put on Adam for his disobediance and so came up with this loophole in order to punish everybody’s original sin all at once in the body of (well) himself suffering on the cross. Before Jesus, there was no way for people to atone for Adam’s sin and so were barred from heaven. Jesus had to “take it for the team”, so that people would at least have the possibility of heaven by atoning for their own sins.

    And that this all makes so much sense is the reason I am an atheist.

  295. #295 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    Oh, I see. That’s cleared that up then. But….oh never mind…

  296. #296 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM

    Those questions were answered. Or at least the main questions about the Chicago Statement were answered over and over and over. I can?t respond to every minor variation on the same question?or simply repeats of a question that someone else has asked. And yes, sometimes I move on when a thread winds down. The bulk of our internal thread was about the Chicago Statement and I?ve answered it a thousand times. The gist of your complaint is it provides no room for compatibility with science i.e., the old earth. This is in spite of the fact of the circumstantial evidence: some people who believe in an old earth were on the committee, and your theory means they produced and signed a document incompatible with their own beliefs. And, IIRC, other commenters on that thread, generally unfriendly to me, nevertheless agreed that the wording was such that there was a loophole for old earthers to walk through. (Indeed, it was designed as such.) And not to mention that it is irrelevant whether you see a irreconcilable problem, the question is do I, having affirmed it, see a problem. I do not. If you or someone else convinces me there is an incompatibility then I?ll renounce my support of the Chicago Statement.

    Not necessarily. So you’re suggesting that Jesus, if he existed, was dry-humped into existence? The heart rejoices!

    Yes, that is how an idiot such as you would interpret those comments in toto.

    Allow me to clarify. Are you positing an entirely natural explnation of “virgin” births? Then why invoke anythig non-natural in one case?

    Wonders! An almost reasonable question!

    What I said was (paraphrasing) that Christians believe that Mary’s pregnancy was supernatural. That Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. That’s the miracle–not the virgin birth per se, which, while in that particular case was miraculous, is not impossible.

    BdN

    So you can have a kid while being sodomized and still be a virgin. That’s kind of a twisted religion/worldview/pseudo-philisophical stance

    I didn’t see it at first but, yes, you are a moron. But congratulations, you are a fine representative of Pharyngula commenters.

  297. #297 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    To clarify: Some think it is warranted and worthy to have reverential ideas towards the basic beauty and laws of the universe, others think it actually is reasonable/credible to believe in “detailed features of God/s and their interaction and purposes in the World.” The former group doesn’t agree that such is “reasonable”, with good cause I accept; but both seem to gang up on the middle way and put it down as “empty Deism” etc.

    IOW, the nonreligious mostly seem to accept the religious folks’ framing of the issue of what should matter and have meaning or not. The nonreligious just don’t believe in the being/realm that would have those implications. But I’m asking, don’t assume that what religious people are most wrong about is whether or not God exists – maybe their idea of what matters about it is their biggest error.

  298. #298 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    So, in the meanwhile, where did they wait ?

  299. #299 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM

    And now I have to go teach Electricity and Magnetism. (You know, And God said: let there be light!) Feel free to interpret my absence as having run away.

  300. #300 christian aaron
    February 4, 2009

    >>Garfunkel: “but when methodological materialism becomes a limitation on reality (as is the case when science says that humans are wholly material phenomena), science becomes the handmaiden of metaphysical naturalism.<<

    See, again, what I find so funny is that a philosophical argument is being made with bold assertions and nobody on the other side really. Please point out where ‘methodolgocial materialism’ has become a limitation on reality… seems to me, only when it comes up against “beliefs”. Otherwise, when a purveyor of methodological materialism (scientist) comes up against something that requires more investigation, he says “I don’t know. We need to learn more about that’, and investigation goes on. More or less what you would say science is all about. The things that we haven’t figured out yet are boundless perhaps, but if they WILL be figured out, it will happen through inquisitiveness and investigation and hard work. Science. All of those things that are seen as “outside of the reality of materialism” will come within that sphere through investigation and necessity. Unless we’re talking about faith in things that have no evidence, or belief. The question is moot. And, by the way, I think you’d be hard pressed to find an atheist who has any problems with the concept of a little bit of mystery or the unknowable or whatever when it comes to the larger questions. Dawkins himself would say that he’s agnostic, that he doesn’t KNOW, that it’s “possible” that there is this great energy of consciousness or whatever in the universe, but that also has nothing to do with the personal Gods that people believe are answering prayers, or the ‘small gods” that most people believe in. So, who exactly is “on the other side” of your point? Atheists or “darwinists” certainly believe there are things that we don’t know, MAYBE even things we can’t know presently in our evolutionary stage. But that is fluid and changing. And has nothing to do with how we will go about knowing…. has nothing to do with methodological materialism as a means to knowledge. It IS our means to knowledge; if we are to know, that is how we will know. What is the mechanism for 1)knowing that there ARE things outside of your knowability, and 2)studying those things outside of your knowability? I find the whold philosophical argument funny and worthless…. yet I comment.

  301. #301 Garfunkel
    February 4, 2009

    Janine: “Your ignoring of physical evidence in favor of your unhinged philosophical flights of fancy leaves you open to mocking. Deal with it.”

    Janine, you ignorant slut. Not being persuaded by the evidence is not the same as ignoring the evidence. You’re apparently as stupid as you are ignorant (how am I doing?). I suspect that I’m as familiar with the evidence for evolutionary theory as you are. The difference is that you find it persuasive, and I don’t. If you weren’t such a fuckwit (I think I’m getting the hang of it), you’d know that, you moronic sack of shit (yeah, that’s it – can I have a gold star, PZ?).

  302. #302 Victor
    February 4, 2009

    Ruined indeed. Sadly, I recalled the sermons on the pentecostal church placed in front of my office back when I worked in Caribbean Nicaragua. How sad and sometimes discouraging to see these sort of things.

  303. #303 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    So, in the meanwhile, where did they wait ?

    Hell. That’s what Jesus was doing between death and resurrection, scouring hell for all the souls who could now go to heaven.

    Dante puts them in Limbo, but I hear that Limbo has been retconned.

  304. #304 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse, I would say Buddhism even w/o supernaturalism is a “real religion”, but does you spouse consider it so?

    No. She is very clear on this point.

    Yes, the gradation of religions into circles of outer/inner “vulgar”/savvy insider etc. makes characterizing them difficult, but it is a real force (e.g. the realistic beliefs of many liberal “Christians” etc. including or especially their clergy, versus the official fundamentals.)

    In the case of Christianity, I think you have that backwards — it is the fancy theologians who use big words to talk about “immanence” and “uncaused causes”, and the great majority of believers who pray to get over their cold.

    BTW note that there are already quasi-scientific realms of study like history, which involve e.g. making judgment calls about whether to believe what someone wrote in a diary

    Right, and we recognize that such is a judgement, and is provisional, and could be overturned were additional evidence found. Science, and more generally rationality, recognizes that there may be epistemic limits to the conclusions we can draw. That does not undercut science, that is simply how science operates. That is radically different than saying we can have certainty even without evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence, which is what religions claim.

    it can be reasonable (if superstitious and unprovable) to believe in detailed features of God/s and their interaction and purposes in the World,

    Who said that was “reasonable”? I certainly didn’t. As an ex-Catholic, I can understand how someone could believe such, but such beliefs are not “reasonable”.

    but something in between like believing in a primordial purpose or meaning is “empty Deism” and the like dismissal

    Believing in such things is a variety of Deism — I don’t see why you object to the term.

  305. #305 Janine, Queen of Assholes
    February 4, 2009

    Patricia! SC! A fuckwit just called me an ignorant slut! I win the thread!

  306. #306 heliobates
    February 4, 2009

    I didn’t see it at first but, yes, you are a moron.

    Well, you reduced the argument to that in the first place. Your paraphrase was better than what you actually said. If you’re going to offer the possibility for “virgin births” in general, saying “but Christians believe this was spiritual” doesn’t make the possibility go away.

    Quand on fait son lit…

  307. #307 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    heddle

    BdN

    So you can have a kid while being sodomized and still be a virgin. That’s kind of a twisted religion/worldview/pseudo-philisophical stance

    I didn’t see it at first but, yes, you are a moron. But congratulations, you are a fine representative of Pharyngula commenters.

    Well thank you!

    In case it wasn’t clear, what I meant was not that anal intercourse and the virgin birth were in themselves related. My comment was about the fact that in both cases, anal intercourse and artificial insemination, it supposedly preserves the virginity of the participant. That was the idead behind my dumb comment. Sorry if it sounds that stupid. I should see how these are two inherently different ways of thinking.

    I just still don’t see how artificial insemination qualifies as “virgin birth”. The only way it does is if the concept of virginity only applies to vaginal intercourse. That was my point.

  308. #308 AnthonyK
    February 4, 2009

    And now I have to go teach Electricity and Magnetism

    And what will you teach them, exactly?

    Feel free to interpret my absence as having run away

    Evidence of your absence does not excuse your absence of evidence.

  309. #309 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    Quand on fait son lit…

    Et a colle drolement au sujet!

  310. #310 Sven DiMIlo
    February 4, 2009

    could you provide a ref for the Mesopotamian turkey juice holders?

    No, I cannot. I was lying kidding.

  311. #311 Steve_C
    February 4, 2009

    HAHAHA. Gar-funkless has got to be a joke. No one is that stupid.

  312. #312 BdN
    February 4, 2009

    Blockquote fail.

    Obviously :

    So you can have a kid while being sodomized and still be a virgin. That’s kind of a twisted religion/worldview/pseudo-philisophical stance

    I didn’t see it at first but, yes, you are a moron. But congratulations, you are a fine representative of Pharyngula commenters.

  313. #313 MartinM
    February 4, 2009

    I suspect that I’m as familiar with the evidence for evolutionary theory as you are.

    If your grasp of cosmology is any indication, I highly doubt it.

  314. #314 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    The bulk of our internal thread was about the Chicago Statement and I?ve answered it a thousand times.

    Anyone can read that thread, in particular the comments I referenced, and understand what our conversation was about (including, but not limited to, that one issue). They can also read this one. You can pretend that people can’t read, but that doesn’t make it so.

    What I said was (paraphrasing) that Christians believe that Mary’s pregnancy was supernatural. That Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

    Based on what? Why would you believe this?

    That’s the miracle–not the virgin birth per se, which, while in that particular case was miraculous, is not impossible.

    Then why even talk about non-penetrative “virgin” births? A pregnancy without penetration is not impossible, and is indeed entirely natural. There is zero evidence, however, of supernatural pregnancy-miracles. You’re neither confusing nor fooling anyone.

    And now I have to go teach Electricity and Magnetism [Ooooooh!]. (You know, And God said: let there be light!) Feel free to interpret my absence as having run away.

    I rest my case. If I’m not around when heddle next appears, please link to this thread.

  315. #315 CrypticLife
    February 4, 2009

    Are you suggesting that there were techniques for doing artificial insemination 2000 years ago in the Middle East?

    I love coming up with completely bizarre explanations for supposed miracles that allegedly occurred, having theists complain, and then pointing out how much better it fits in with our knowledge of the world than a deity.

    It annoys them and does little to convince them, I think, but it’s so much fun.

  316. #316 Robert
    February 4, 2009

    Argh! Stupidity napalm!

    I kept watching, but I first wanted to hurl about 20 seconds in, when she invoked “magic”.

  317. #317 Nerd of Redhead
    February 4, 2009

    It’s always good for a laugh when Heddle stops by and tries to show that one can be a scientist and believe in god at the same time. Nobody says it’s impossible, just not easy for most people. And his dodges and evasions show the cognative dissonance and compartmentalization required for this to happen. He fools nobody, and convinces nobody. He is just wasting both our times.

  318. #318 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse: Who said that was “reasonable”?
    Those believers themselves, see my corrective explanation @ 297. And of course you referenced the definition of “Deism”, I was defending it against dismissive attitudes of irrelevance from both sides. REM: look for attitudinal language in arguments, not just descriptions. Liberal Xtianity: the clergy of liberal churches are less likely (almost by definition) to believe in actual virgin birth, resurrection, heaven/hell etc. than their flock, I know because I have talked to enough of them and read their journal type writings (about which they must take care.)

    @300: All of those things that are seen as “outside of the reality of materialism” will come within that sphere through investigation and necessity.,/i> Maybe so maybe not. Like many others you don’t appreciate the logical difference and difficulty, between finding physical principles and applying them to their expressions, versus finding out why this stuff exists and has the properties it has, or whether it’s all the sort of thing there can be, whether it is contingent on something else, etc. Your statement of faith in the future (not the demonstrated!) powers and scope of science is curiously ironic considering all the digging at religion here. And no, the latter is not my problem either since I’m working off philosophical method and not any revelation, “teachings” etc.

  319. #319 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Patricia! SC! A fuckwit just called me an ignorant slut! I win the thread!

    OK, sure, based on tradition, but heddle called me a lying sack O’ shit, and he’s a bigtime physics professor (we are none of us Doctors).

    Where’s Brenda, anyway?

  320. #320 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    Nerd, you are confusing different kinds of “religious” belief here. It does require compartmentalization to be both a scientist and believe in “miracles” like virgin birth and resurrections. It does not require any compartmentalization to believe that the laws of physics are the way they are, for the purpose of our (loosely, life of some kind) being here, or even to believe that a “god” (loosely) is behind all that. Not at all comparable to beliefs involving breaking such laws. It will be a problem only when it is clear, that the reason for anything at all, laws etc, is clearly self-sufficient and rationally explicated.

  321. #321 tony
    February 4, 2009

    Sorry all, but work still has to get done, so this is a little late:

    Heddle. Way back around the 200′s you made a statement during some conversation about the virgin birth…

    But nobody makes the claim that the supernatural is compatible with science. That would be absurd. By its very definition it is not. The claim is about religion and science

    What I need your help to understand, then, is this:

    If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics.

    In other words – what the fuck are you talking about?

  322. #322 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse, so what “is” that type of Buddhism if not a “religion”?
    BTW you have an inkling of the other part of my misgivings about traditional science/materialism (the first being, the interesting anthropic character of the laws), which is appreciation of how our feelings don’t come across like “mere information”. Whew is that a tough roe to hoe for some people …

  323. #323 Nerd of Redhead
    February 4, 2009

    Neil B, you are entitled to your opinion, which I do not share. But, given your track record, I’m not going to get into an argument with you on it.

  324. #324 SteveM
    February 4, 2009

    Anyway, back to the video. Somewhere buried in these 300some comments, someone noted that maybe this is simply a high school debate club and this was simply the “best” that she could come up with to argue the “Pro” side of “Resolved Atheist need to change”. I tend to agree that maybe we are reading too much into this and belittling this girl’s intelligence unfairly. I think the real stupid here is that “p4cm.com” thinks this video is sincere.

    (but maybe I’m just gullible)

  325. #325 Sven DiMIlo
    February 4, 2009

    Whew is that a tough roe to hoe for some people

    Got milt?

  326. #326 CJO
    February 4, 2009

    appreciation of how our feelings don’t come across like “mere information”. Whew is that a tough roe to hoe for some people …

    You got your horticultural idioms mixed up, there, Neil. It’s not a row to hoe, it’s a straw man. Nobody claims our feelings “come across” (and one of the most amusing things about dualist argumentation is the awkward evasion apparent in the treatment of such concepts: across where?) as anything other than feelings. Even when you’re picking a fight out of the blue (was anyone talking about your stupid dualism here?), you can’t argue honestly.

  327. #327 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    tony #321 wrote:

    If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics.

    I think this is a good question, and I also think it first requires a definition of “supernatural” with some weight to it.

    By that I mean, saying the supernatural is “that which is outside of nature” or “that which is beyond science’s ability to examine” is too simple, or easy, or empty.

    I do not “believe in” methodological naturalism. I think the term is silly, because there’s nothing in the methods of science which, up front, rule out supernatural explanations. Scientists look for the best explanations, and don’t stipulate whether these explanations have to be natural, or supernatural, before they begin looking.

    There are all sorts of fairy tales and science fiction stories which give us possible worlds where the supernatural is real, observable, and testable by science. And in this world, theologians, paranormalists, and religious scientists are always trying to come up with scientific support for the existence of God — or “mind forces.”

    The existence of the supernatural is compatible with the methods of science. It just doesn’t seem to fit in with any of the current working theories.

  328. #328 Petursey
    February 4, 2009

    Sorry I could only take about 30 seconds and then I had to turn it off…..

  329. #329 Petursey
    February 4, 2009

    But I’d love an

    EX-Believer
    EX-God Botherer
    EX-Rug Butter
    EX-Catholic
    EX-Protestant/Muslim/Buddist/Jew/etc etc etc etc

    T-shirt !!! Shall we start selling them somewhere ???

  330. #330 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Got milt?

    Don’t answer that! It’s a russe!

    (By the way, DiMilo, you’re making me consider not emailing anyone from here ever again. Harumph.)

  331. #331 roger scott
    February 4, 2009

    She was wearing a shirt labelled ‘EX-atheist’. Is this a case of devolution? Or was she really ever an atheist? She is so screwed up mentally that I really doubt it.

  332. #332 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    I mean, the way feelings are for us. What do you mean, by “come across as feelings” if you agree with that much, and what do you think they are? Some would just say, “the way it feels” and not use come across as if you don’t like that. If just describable as signals, then what about the “way they feel”? Are you a feigner of anesthesia? Why is pain worth being afraid of, if just patterns of activity with no qualitative nature of its own?

    BTW it is not necessary to believe in two substances because things can have relative aspects. One way we find out about things is by studying interactions with them. That merely shows us the result of the interaction, we get different aspects depending on what we study (as in particle, or wave, the illustration not being involved with whether that is an active distinction in this case.) To be the system itself is just not the same as looking at interactions with it. It is not a genuine dualism since there aren’t two separate things there, but some call this view “property dualism”. Don’t criticize it unless you know what it’s saying.

  333. #333 Kevin Schreck
    February 4, 2009

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

  334. #334 Tulse
    February 4, 2009

    Neil B:

    It does not require any compartmentalization to believe that the laws of physics are the way they are, for the purpose of our (loosely, life of some kind) being here, or even to believe that a “god” (loosely) is behind all that.

    Right, which is Deism, which is pretty much the only “religious” belief that is consistent with science. However, a belief in Deism would mean that one doesn’t believe in a personal God that responds to worship, pray, or praise, so it would pretty much rule out a lot of the aspects of religion that most people find important.

    Tulse, so what “is” that type of Buddhism if not a “religion”?

    Philosophy. Life orientation. Therapy. Social structure. In other words, similar to what Confucianism and Taoism are.

    Sastra:

    there’s nothing in the methods of science which, up front, rule out supernatural explanations

    I think that may be equivocating on what is meant by “supernatural”. Explanations in science are predicated on a unity of description of the physical world — one can’t invoke ad hoc principles to account for specific phenomena, but must instead posit that the effects seen result from some more general feature of the universe. If something is literally irreducible to other physical principles (even if one postulates emergentism), then you don’t have a scientific explanation.

    If we found beings who could control the physical universe through sheer force of will, and we could never provide an explanation for that in physical terms, using principles that we either currently understand, or principles that we uncover and also apply to other aspects of the universe (i.e., there is no ad hoc special pleading) then no, such would not be explainable by science.

    On the other hand, if we find “ghosts”, but discover that they are subject to certain natural force such as a proton beam and that they can be contained using physical fields (as in Ghostbusters), then there is good reason to think that it is merely our understanding of what is “natural” that is at fault, and not that such beings are “super”natural.

    In other (shorter) words, if we can study it scientifically, it isn’t supernatural.

  335. #335 CJO
    February 4, 2009

    Don’t criticize it unless you know what it’s saying.

    Fuck you, Neil. I know perfectly well what it (by which you mean Chalmers) is saying, and I disagree that property dualism rescues anything important or interesting or in need of explaining from the materialist defeat of substance dualism. It’s just mysterianism, to wit:

    To be the system itself is just not the same as looking at interactions with it.

    No fucking duh, genius. Now apply the same reasoning to any other scientific explanation. When do we ever get to “be the system” that we are studying? You are the one who doesn’t understand what he’s criticizing, you fucking waste of glucose.

  336. #336 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    In other (shorter) words, if we can study it scientifically, it isn’t supernatural.

    I agree with this. It’s the core of monism, I think: “supernatural” is meaningless. If some phenomenon can be empirically analyzed and systemically categorized, then knowledge of that phenomenon is science — even if all of the underlying mechanisms of the phenomenon are not known.

    Regarding your example of “beings who could control the physical universe through sheer force of will” (which sounds like what would more commonly be called “Gods”) — I quibble with “and we could never provide an explanation”: “never” implies a sort of epistemic despair. How would we know that we could never know? But this gets us into hair-splitting of definitions, I think.

    As a sort of tangent, windy pointed at an interesting-sounding book, @#593 on the teapots thread:

    Superior Beings. If They Exist, How Would We Know?
    Game-Theoretic Implications of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Immortality, and Incomprehensibility

    Which certainly suggests to me that even with beings that appear to be able to do anything, it’s possible to analyze them and figure out what limitations they might have, and perhaps even come up with some sort of testing regime.

    Or something like that, anyway.

  337. #337 b. j. edwards
    February 4, 2009

    The Evolution Denial Movement is just as blinkered as the 9/11 Denial Movement.

    PZ is right. It should be “open season on fresh meat.” We should all handle them just as Christopher Hitchins handled this 9/11 Denier, starting at 1:50 into the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veekHo8krOM

  338. #338 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    When do we ever get to “be the system” that we are studying?
    When the system is our own mind, brain activity, you stupid, dingleberry-encrusted puke! Of course we don’t get to be the rest of the time, that’s the point (and why our understanding of the rest of the world is different.) And I don’t believe any claim of philosophical acumen you make either, you’re the idiot who didn’t know what “naive realism” means in philosophy, nor that many otherwise intelligent people (including Dennett’s teacher Gilbert Ryle, who clearly ridiculed the other position in The Concept of Mind. Instead, you said:
    It’s an artless term of abuse that describes no one’s actual views.
    Wretched little tramp, you bitch about me and yet you are demonstrably philosophically illiterate. You are probably stupid enough to be one too, since almost all anesthesia-feigning eliminativists have to deny the visual image of our phenomenal experience as being “Cartesian theater” and because it is too stunning a case of phenomenology to evade. (Adjusting the nature of it per details etc. is understandable.)

    As for ” …rescues anything important or interesting or in need of explaining from the materialist defeat of substance dualism.” If you really don’t think feelings are inherently qualitative, you are either too stupid (like Ken Cope, Windy, etc.) to understand the issues involved, too much a blinded ideologue, or too literally pathological to have normal experiences. Consciousness denial is a psychopathology, not a philosophy (and denying the qualitative, “special” nature of it is denying it.) BTW you never did answer to my objections, like all of your tinny gray kind you evade such probing or throw up dishonest rationalizations.

  339. #339 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    OK, in light of recent events, let me correct my #330:

    (By the way, Bill Dauphin, you’re making me consider not emailing anyone from here ever again. Harumph.)
    :)

  340. #340 Priya Lynn
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkel said “But free will is something that can’t exist if the materialistic account of our existence offered by Darwinism is true.”

    Brian Coughlin said “This may be well be true … but so what? You or I will never know with certainty if this is the case, and in any event the inconceivable volume of inputs that contribute to your decisions, are so unfathomably vast, that to all intents and purposes you do have free will. Even if you don’t:-)”.

    Hear Hear. I’ve long been confident that this is the case. Technically speaking we don’t have free will but for all practical intents and purposes we do. Its like the reality that technically speaking there are a finite number of grains of sands on the beach and theoretically we could predict the movement of each grain by angle of incidence equalling angle of refraction but practically speaking for all intents and purposes we can’t perfectly track the motion of every grain.

  341. #341 Inky
    February 4, 2009

    *sigh* Okay. I tried to have this in the background while proofing a paper (to submit to a scientific journal)–I could not even subconsciously listen for two minutes. To have a voice triumphantly declaring that evolution does nothing for science while I’m reading a paper about a protein in both humans and mice that contributes to skin tumorigenesis in both species–it was too much. The cognitive disjoint was so severe that my auditory networks have separated from the rest of my brain.

    Thanks, PZ.

  342. #342 kd
    February 4, 2009

    the profound ignorance spewing from this girl’s mouth is giving me heart palpitations and acid reflux — if god is such a perfect designer, why am i not impervious to the effects of such rampant stupidity.

  343. #343 aratina
    February 4, 2009

    Like tony said,

    supernatural is by definition incompatible with science

    Then exactly how is religion, which is largely codified supernatural beliefs, compatible with science? As for birth from a virgin, all good little Christian “virgins” know you can get pregnant from saddlebacking. Why believe it was a miracle when a) it probably is a mythological story just like all other virgin births, b) Mary could have been saddlebacking or some other non-devirginifying sex act, and c) Mary (or her handlers) could have been lying about her being a virgin in the first place.

  344. #344 weaves
    February 4, 2009

    You ruined my morning, you bastard!

  345. #345 CJO
    February 4, 2009

    Demonstrably philosophically illiterate, because I can recognize that, in your mouth, the term “naive realist” is a straw man term of abuse reserved for materialists who aren’t impressed by your douchebaggery? Tell another one, lackwit.

    Stupid, just like windy, eh? You really know your put-downs. Hell, you should aspire to be twice as stupid as windy; it’s hopeless, but even asshats need to dream. If I didn’t answer all of your inanity on the other thread, it’s because you’re a complete waste of time. SIWOTI syndrome resisted, at least that once.

  346. #346 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Tulse #334 wrote:

    I think that may be equivocating on what is meant by “supernatural”.

    How do you define ‘supernatural?’

    If we found beings who could control the physical universe through sheer force of will, and we could never provide an explanation for that in physical terms, using principles that we either currently understand, or principles that we uncover and also apply to other aspects of the universe (i.e., there is no ad hoc special pleading) then no, such would not be explainable by science.

    I think that, if we discovered that there were such supernatural mind-forces, then science would have to recognize their existence, study how they work, and incorporate them into its larger models of how the cosmos works.

  347. #347 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Owlmirror #336 wrote:

    “In other (shorter) words, if we can study it scientifically, it isn’t supernatural.”
    I agree with this. It’s the core of monism, I think: “supernatural” is meaningless. If some phenomenon can be empirically analyzed and systemically categorized, then knowledge of that phenomenon is science ? even if all of the underlying mechanisms of the phenomenon are not known.

    No, I think the core of (materialist) monism is that the supernatural doesn’t exist (or, from the other end, that the material world is made out of consciousness, and thus only the “supernatural” exists.)

    The reason supernatural causes are kept out of science isn’t just because they’re often too vague to mean anything other than “we don’t know.” It’s also because those supernatural hypotheses which are not just garbled metaphors for ignorance are wrong.

  348. #348 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    I think that, if we discovered that there were such supernatural mind-forces, then science would have to recognize their existence, study how they work, and incorporate them into its larger models of how the cosmos works

    Yet why call them “supernatural” if they can indeed be fitted into those models?

    Just as an example, aren’t radio waves “supernatural” in the same sense as telepathy; that is, without the explanatory framework of electromagnetic radiation and resonant circuits, it looks like magic? If you didn’t know that there was an explanatory framework, would it be correct to say that a radio or cell phone was a device that allowed on to access supernatural powers?

  349. #349 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    I believe that in the past couple of weeks Neil B. has called windy, CJO, truth machine, Ken Cope, thalarctos, and KnockGoats stupid and/or ignorant. That should tell anyone who reads this blog regularly all that they need to know about Neil B.

  350. #350 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 4, 2009

    I believe that in the past couple of weeks Neil B. has called windy, CJO, truth machine, Ken Cope, thalarctos, and KnockGoats stupid and/or ignorant. That should tell anyone who reads this blog regularly all that they need to know about Neil B.

    If he had also called me a genius there would be no doubt.

  351. #351 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM,

    Anyone can read that thread, in particular the comments I referenced, and understand what our conversation was about (including, but not limited to, that one issue). They can also read this one. You can pretend that people can’t read, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Yes they can, and can see that there was no running away. And the last post you referenced from the previous thread is too long. It looks like a post from the GEM of TKI guy on UD. And please remember that I try to answer all substantive questions. Not all of your questions meet that threshold. Let’s try something different, just give me one question that you claim I have avoided or Sir-Robbined. I’ll answer that, then if you want to ask another you can.

    Yes anyone can read that thread and see that I did not run away. Not that I would expect them to say so, because honesty is not exactly a hallmark of many of the commenters here. Instead what I would expect is mindless “Family Feud” style good answer SC, good answer! backslaps, such as from the drone known as…

    Nerd of the Redhead,

    And his dodges and evasions show the cognative dissonance and compartmentalization required for this to happen

    And your stupidity speaks for itself. I don’t believe you are, as you claim, a scientist. At least I hope not, for I never read one who is so incapable of constructing a self-consistent argument. Now please go look up the definition of cognitive dissonance. And please tell me how you test for compartmentalization.

  352. #352 Nerd of Redhead
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle, I will continue to laugh at you as long as you think you have a point. Keep coming and posting here. I love a good laugh at godbots.

  353. #353 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    No, I think the core of (materialist) monism is that the supernatural doesn’t exist

    Hm. That’s not exactly how I’m using it though, so perhaps my usage is idiosyncratic.

    If there is something, however ill-defined (and I think accurate definition is a crucial part of science in general, although not the entirety of science), that interacts with that which we can perceive, no matter how intermittently or weakly, that “something” is part of nature — and is part of the theoretically knowable. That is, it is natural, and accessible to science.

    If some hypothetical something is defined as never ever interacting with that which we can perceive, that “something” might well be called “supernatural”, but as such, it is utterly vacuous in meaning, and parsimony demands that we ignore it, if not reject it utterly. From (my) monistic point of view, if we absolutely cannot ever perceive it, or anything connected to it, it’s not part of the natural universe, but it’s also not anything that anyone can claim has anything to do with anything our universe, by their own definition. Or in other words, it might as well not exist.

    I think that’s how I would put it, for now. I may modify it if someone finds a problem with it.

  354. #354 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Owlmirror #348 wrote:

    Yet why call them “supernatural” if they can indeed be fitted into those models?

    How are you defining “supernatural?”

    Here’s my definition (so that you can see where I’m coming from):

    Supernatural:
    of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a top-down view of reality in which pure Mental being, properties and/or products somehow precede, ground, influence, connect with, or integrate material nature. Complex systems such as life, intelligence, consciousness, and values have some special element or essence which is not ultimately reducible to, or supervenient on, material processes.

    Something is supernatural if it both:

    1.) uses laws different than those which apply to the familiar form of the universe we share in common experience (ie matter, energy, time arrow, etc.)

    2.) is directly related in a significant way to the existence and direct causal power of thought, personhood, Mind, intention, emotion, intelligence, or values such as Good and Evil (or combinations thereof.)

    Examples of supernatural phenomenon which would now fall under this definition: disembodied souls, ghosts, ESP, psychokenesis, magical correspondences, vitalism, karma, prana, God, cosmic consciousness, mind as “energy force,” a universal tendency towards the harmonic balance of Good and Evil, progressive evolution towards Higher States, mind/body substance dualism, and holistic nonmaterialistic monism.

    I like this definition because it seems to capture what people actually mean when they talk about something being “supernatural.” It’s fuzzy at the edges, of course, but not as fuzzy as having a definition which allows ghosts, God, angels, magic, miracles, ESP, and PK to be reclassified as “natural” if science discovers them. I’m more or less following Richard Carrier here…

    Just as an example, aren’t radio waves “supernatural” in the same sense as telepathy; that is, without the explanatory framework of electromagnetic radiation and resonant circuits, it looks like magic?

    No; under my definition, radio waves are natural, and telepathy is supernatural. The mechanism matters.

  355. #355 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    That should tell anyone who reads this blog regularly all that they need to know about Neil B.

    In the old thread from January of 2008, I thought he was thought-provoking, at least. But I am now convinced that the various philosophers invoked in that thread are more likely to argue their positions more clearly in their own words, so if I wish to go further, I will investigate them directly.

    Neil B. hasn’t become any more coherent since then, so I find no point in trying to hunt through his typical word salad for a crouton of intellectual worth.

  356. #356 Nerd of Redhead
    February 4, 2009

    Neil B. hasn’t become any more coherent since then, so I find no point in trying to hunt through his typical word salad for a crouton of intellectual worth.

    Precisely why I don’t engage him. I recognized his type almost immediately from my university days.

  357. #357 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    And the last post you referenced from the previous thread is too long.

    WTF?

    It looks like a post from the GEM of TKI guy on UD.

    ‘Kaaaaay. And that relates to anything how?

    And please remember that I try to answer all substantive questions. Not all of your questions meet that threshold.

    Run, heddle, run!

    Let’s try something different, just give me one question that you claim I have avoided or Sir-Robbined. I’ll answer that, then if you want to ask another you can.

    Let’s try this: You answer the questions or arguments that have been put to you in response to your accusations, or you go away and stop showing up here making the same stupid fucking arguments over and over again. You can begin with 1) the one I asked above on this thread about the balkanization of epistemology (when I asked if you would respond, your curt answer was “No,” followed by a snide remark – of course no one could interpret that as evasion…); 2) since you acknowledge that fundamental principles can be in conflict even if individuals can in practice through various devices avoid the consequences of said conflict (as in my hypothetical example), why won’t you acknowledge that this is possible in the case of religion and science?; and 3) since you’ve requested “experimental” proof of the conflict between religion and science while, albeit bizarrely, defining an “experiment” as any systematic empirical observation bearing upon hypotheses, why do you reject existing historical or sociological evidence of this conflict, insisting that only your “experiment”* qualifies?

    *Which is ludicrous for a number of reasons. I’ve noted some but would be happy to describe them in more detail at your request.

    Thank you in advance.

  358. #358 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    Supernatural:
    of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a top-down view of reality in which pure Mental being, properties and/or products somehow precede, ground, influence, connect with, or integrate material nature. Complex systems such as life, intelligence, consciousness, and values have some special element or essence which is not ultimately reducible to, or supervenient on, material processes.

    By my definitions in @#353, no, that isn’t what I mean by supernatural from my monistic perspective. Again, if this immaterial substance, whatever it is, which might be called “Mind” or “vital fluid”, exists and interacts with the natural world according to certain discoverable rules, it is natural.

    I like this definition because it seems to capture what people actually mean when they talk about something being “supernatural.” It’s fuzzy at the edges, of course, but not as fuzzy as having a definition which allows ghosts, God, angels, magic, miracles, ESP, and PK to be reclassified as “natural” if science discovers them.

    I would probably agree that the above definition is a more typical usage of the term supernatural, and I would understand it as such. But my point is that the distinction of such dualism as such is itself incoherent. Why call “vital fluid” or “ghosts” supernatural, and not “electromagnetic radiation”, if they were both references to things that could be detected, analyzed, and understood?

    I understand that my careful philosophical point might well be lost in the weight of common usage, of course.

  359. #359 Priya Lynn
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM, to Heddle

    “Anyone can read that thread, in particular the comments I referenced, and understand what our conversation was about (including, but not limited to, that one issue). They can also read this one. You can pretend that people can’t read, but that doesn’t make it so.”

    Heddle said “Yes they can, and can see that there was no running away…I try to answer all substantive questions. Not all of your questions meet that threshold. Let’s try something different, just give me one question that you claim I have avoided or Sir-Robbined. I’ll answer that, then if you want to ask another you can.”

    You’re running away is obvious and your claim that you haven’t answered questions becaus they aren’t “substantive” is just a cheap excuse. To an objective observer its clear you avoid answering many questions and/or make fun of them because if you followed them one by one and answered them honestly and fully it would lead to a refutation of your non-sequitors and baseless assertions.

    For example, on this thread you ran away from a blatant contradiction you made:

    Tony said “Heddle. Way back around the 200′s you made a statement during some conversation about the virgin birth…

    You (Heddle) said “But nobody makes the claim that the supernatural is compatible with science. That would be absurd. By its very definition it is not. The claim is about religion and science.”

    What I need your help to understand, then, is this:

    If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics?”.

  360. #360 Ken Cope
    February 4, 2009

    I am now convinced that the various philosophers invoked in that thread are more likely to argue their positions more clearly in their own words

    It doesn’t matter whether he is championing or savaging the position, Neil can’t help but mangle and misrepresent any subject he splats up against, blustering and frothing at the mouth.

    I just got back from shopping in Napa with some olives, and a copy of Hofstadter’s recent book, I am a Strange Loop, which is what I’ll be reading while continuing to ignore Neil, who is more of a Stale Rut.

  361. #361 Chris Tucker
    February 4, 2009

    Thanks a lot, Myers!

    Now I’ve got stupid ALL OVER me.

  362. #362 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 4, 2009

    Arrgh! My Bullshit-Metre assploded at 1:29. Nearly another whole 9 minutes of that crap to go! I’m not going to make it!

    Even so – how could she start her rant with a description of Genesis (“everything magically appeared”) and then attribute it to a scientist and start tearing it down?
    Didn’t she ready that piece of paper before she got up there?
    Indeed the stoopid is strong with this one.

  363. #363 Arikia Millikan
    February 4, 2009

    PZ, I know we don’t talk much, but I want to say that I really, really love your blog.

  364. #364 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    I think it’s useful to quote the conclusion of Coyne’s piece:

    So the most important conflict–the one ignored by Giberson and Miller–is not between religion and science. It is between religion and secular reason. Secular reason includes science, but also embraces moral and political philosophy, mathematics, logic, history, journalism, and social science–every area that requires us to have good reasons for what we believe. Now I am not claiming that all faith is incompatible with science and secular reason–only those faiths whose claims about the nature of the universe flatly contradict scientific observations. Pantheism and some forms of Buddhism seem to pass the test. But the vast majority of the faithful–those 90 percent of Americans who believe in a personal God, most Muslims, Jews, and Hindus, and adherents to hundreds of other faiths–fall into the “incompatible” category.

    Unfortunately, some theologians with a deistic bent seem to think that they speak for all the faithful. These were the critics who denounced Dawkins and his colleagues for not grappling with every subtle theological argument for the existence of God, for not steeping themselves in the complex history of theology. Dawkins in particular was attacked for writing The God Delusion as a “middlebrow” book. But that misses the point. He did indeed produce a middlebrow book, but precisely because he was discussing religion as it is lived and practiced by real people. The reason that many liberal theologians see religion and evolution as harmonious is that they espouse a theology not only alien but unrecognizable as religion to most Americans.

    Statistics support this incompatibility. For example, among those thirty-four countries surveyed, we see a statistically strong negative relationship between the degree of faith and the acceptance of evolution. Countries such as Denmark, France, Japan and the United Kingdom have a high acceptance of Darwinism and low belief in God, while the situation is reversed in countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, Turkey, and the United States. And within America, scientists as a group are considerably less religious than non-scientists. This is not say that such statistics can determine the outcome of a philosophical debate. Nor does it matter whether these statistics mean that accepting science erodes religious faith, or that having faith erodes acceptance of science. (Both processes must surely occur.) What they do show, though, is that people have trouble accepting both at the same time. And given the substance of these respective worldviews, this is no surprise.

    This disharmony is a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious. After all, we want our grants funded by the government, and our schoolchildren exposed to real science instead of creationism. Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence–the existence of religious scientists–is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith. Now Darwin Year is upon us, and we can expect more books like those by Kenneth Miller and Karl Giberson. Attempts to reconcile God and evolution keep rolling off the intellectual assembly line. It never stops, because the reconciliation never works.

    If heddle is going to define science narrowly as the professional activities of a group of people and religion in a way that doesn’t comport with lived reality, well, then so be it (although his case even then is still eroding under his feet), but he’s not responding meaningfully or honestly to Coyne’s argument.

  365. #365 Lurkbot
    February 4, 2009

    I’m glad people here are willing to call Heddle on his shit. As a newcomer, I’d see him spouting off over at Ed’s place and everyone handled him with kid gloves, as if he were some sort of revered Elder Statesman. I was forced to conclude that I must be missing something, but I guess I wasn’t.

    This whole “chanting like Hare Krishnas”, though, that slays me! Chanting about Krishna (the anointed one) is just mindless repetition, because it’s not, well…Greek. Khristos, now, chanting about him isn’t mindless. (Same meaning, same root, but totally different.)

    Moran.

  366. #366 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Owlmirror #358 wrote:

    But my point is that the distinction of such dualism as such is itself incoherent. Why call “vital fluid” or “ghosts” supernatural, and not “electromagnetic radiation”, if they were both references to things that could be detected, analyzed, and understood?

    Because the critical distinction between natural and supernatural isn’t whether it’s capable of being detected, analyzed, and understood, but what sort of thing it is. Those first two (vitalism and ghosts) are fundamentally non-material, mindlike beings or forces — and the second one (electromagnetic radiation) is reducible to matter/energy which is both lifeless and mindless.

    People who believe in the supernatural believe it can be detected through the senses in the natural world. Using a definition which puts everything that can be detected through the senses in the natural world into the category of “Natural” isn’t tracking with how the word is being applied. It either rules out the supernatural by definition, or allows damn near anything and everything to be called “natural,” once we can detect it.

    If science finds God, I would rather say that this means that we metaphysical naturalists were wrong and the supernatural exists after all. I think it would be silly to say that no, we’re right — naturalism is still true. It’s just that God is now natural.

    Naw, that would be a word game.

    As I see it, metaphysical naturalism is a working theory — it’s not a prior commitment. Science supports it — so far. But, like all theories, it can be overturned, given new evidence.

  367. #367 Priya Lynn
    February 4, 2009

    Garfunkle asked “If human beings are simply the bundles of molecules in motion that Darwinism makes of them, how could they have free will?”

    As Brian Coughlan suggested to you, yes we are simply bundles of molecules in motion and although we technically don’t have free will the huge bundle of influences on our our decision making processes for all intents and purposes give us a damn good illusion of free will”.

    Garfunkel asked “As wholly material beings, what is the source of their rationality and their desire to know truth?”

    Intelligence is the ability to store, retrieve, and manipulate information in order to achieve goals. Our brains have the ability to store a model of the world and to play out scenarios in 3-D space and time. This model is constructed out of our sensory inputs and ultimately comes down to neurochemical model of many of our experiences and how we’ve observed the world to work. Rationality is a function of the nature of the world and our ability to store a model of it in our brains allowing us to know how things interact in the world. The development of specific patterns of interconnections in our brains during fetal development force certain patterns of thoughts to occur at certain times in our minds to cause us to respond to things like hunger, pain, and pleasure signals with actions that cause us to reinforce or counter those signals such as the accumulation of knowledge used to create physical states that produce patterns in our brain the structure identifies as success. The desire to know truth beyond a meeting of our primal needs is a side effect of the survival necessity of knowing what is and what isn’t an accurate representation of reality.

  368. #368 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Shoot! Left off the first paragraph (which PZ quoted in his post):

    It would appear, then, that one cannot be coherently religious and scientific at the same time. That alleged synthesis requires that with one part of your brain you accept only those things that are tested and supported by agreed-upon evidence, logic, and reason, while with the other part of your brain you accept things that are unsupportable or even falsified. In other words, the price of philosophical harmony is cognitive dissonance. Accepting both science and conventional faith leaves you with a double standard: rational on the origin of blood clotting, irrational on the Resurrection; rational on dinosaurs, irrational on virgin births. Without good cause, Giberson and Miller pick and choose what they believe. At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board. With his usual flair, the physicist Richard Feynman characterized this difference: “Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” With religion, there is just no way to know if you are fooling yourself.

  369. #369 Neil B ?
    February 4, 2009

    He/she is hardly worth the trouble, but CJO is a lying skunk trying to avoid admitting being a dumbfuck about “naive realist”: It’s an artless term of abuse that describes no one’s actual views – that’s nothing to support any pretense it was just about my use of it, and of course the term does describe very specific and long-windedly argued views as I noted. (And no one acknowledged, you can be dumb about X and not Y so their accomplishments in other fields proves nothing.)

    Yes Owlmirror do read those original thinkers, but they have exactly the same thing to say about perception being qualitative and not describable by informational terms, etc. on down the line. Furthermore, they use many of the nearly word for word expressions and examples I use to make the point, I know because I have read them. And they are attacked with the very same types of arguments used against me here, and so on. Can you accept that much of the reason, at least, for someone like me thrashing around with “salads” is the obtuse hostility and misunderstanding of those who hate an idea for what it is driving at and are first to throw childish boogers? Consider the venue, OK? We’re not even talking about disproven things like a young earth, but the nature of “experience” and e.g. known features of mathematics such as its deterministic nature. How can I sound anything close to like a decent professor with “students” or “colleagues” like that?

  370. #370 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Priya Lynn #367 wrote:

    Garfunkel asked “As wholly material beings, what is the source of their rationality and their desire to know truth?”
    Intelligence is the ability to store, retrieve, and manipulate information in order to achieve goals. Our brains have the ability to store a model of the world and to play out scenarios in 3-D space and time. This model is constructed out of our sensory inputs and ultimately comes down to neurochemical model of many of our experiences and how we’ve observed the world to work.

    I think this is a good illustration of my point regarding the basic divide between a natural view of reality, and a supernatural one.

    William Dembski put the divide this way:
    ?Is reality fundamentally mindful and purposive — or mindless and material??

    Priya is explaining how complex systems arise from simpler states. Mind and life are assembled out of lifeless, mindless components. He or she is building explanatory cranes from the bottom up. It starts out mindless and material, but builds up to mind and meaning through layers and patterns of complexity.

    Garfunkle, on the other hand, seems to be looking at reality from a top-down perspective which depends on sky hooks. You can’t get mind from not-mind. Mind is an irreducible essence which precedes matter, creates it. Meaning comes from a universe that has meaning as part of its underlying structure. Like comes from like, and all reductionism is greedy reductionism. If molecules can’t think, then a bunch of them moving around can’t think, either.

    Dawkins says ?A universe which begins with creative intelligence has got to be a very different kind of universe than one in which creative intelligence grows up.?

    Liberal, science-friendly theists disagree. No, they might look exactly the same, both working through evolution and mechanical laws. They want to posit a disembodied Intelligence which doesn’t conflict with anything science has revealed, or can deal with. This assumes, though, that the whole idea of a disembodied creative intelligence itself isn’t conflicting with anything science has revealed, or can deal with.

    I think it is.

  371. #371 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    If science finds God, I would rather say that this means that we metaphysical naturalists were wrong and the supernatural exists after all. I think it would be silly to say that no, we’re right — naturalism is still true. It’s just that God is now natural.

    Naw, that would be a word game.

    But word games are the crux of the matter.

    Science is about finding the best and most accurate definitions for words for things in the natural world through empirical verification — and acknowledging when the definition is necessarily fuzzy, but still within the boundaries of the more accurate definition.

    Religion, and politics, and other fields, are all about using words in whatever manner is convenient for the speaker at the time. Consider how creationists mangle the concept of “evolution”, for example. “God” is one of the most flexible words there is, and can mean almost anything and everything (“God is love”, to offer an obvious example).

    If science could and did find evidence for God, giving the word a definite and specific meaning, I bet one of the first things that the religious and political would do is say “That’s not God! We mean something even more completely ineffable than that, when we say ‘God’.”

    When the other side is playing word games to begin with, why not play right back, and play to win?

    As I see it, metaphysical naturalism is a working theory — it’s not a prior commitment. Science supports it — so far. But, like all theories, it can be overturned, given new evidence.

    Hm. The Wikipedia article for metaphysical naturalism has an interesting codicil:

    This particular definition rests in an ambiguity caused by the use of the term “supernatural” by Richard Carrier and other apologists for naturalism whereby this word indicates non-materially reducible entities (spiritual substances) rather than the traditional meaning (where a spiritual substance, if created, is encompassed within the natural world, though being a spiritual or immaterial substance).

  372. #372 heddle
    February 4, 2009

    SC, FCTE, OM,

    You are mistaking ?running away? with not being interested. I?m obligated to answer questions regarding things that I claim, and may choose to answer questions that I find interesting, but I?m not obligated to answer questions that do not relate to any claim that I have made, just because Your Worshipfulness asks. I found Coyne?s review boring and Miller?s response spot-on. I have no interest to add to the volumes that have already been written, beyond what I stated earlier which is manifestly true, that neither Coyne nor Miller proved anything, they both editorialized. You can?t prove science and religion are incompatible and more than you can prove atheism and science are incompatible. You can only editorialize. If I stated that Coyne?s argument was stupid, and that he made logical errors, then it would be fair to ask me to defend my statement. Otherwise your question has an implied would you care to? Well, I wouldn?t. If I asked you to address Calvin?s commentary on Obadiah, would you be running away if you didn?t answer? On the other thread you asked me about the Chicago Statement, as you always do because you consider it to be proof of something, but since I originally opened the door on that and stated my affirmation thereof, I felt obligated to answer your questions, at least to the point of diminishing returns.

    Priya Lynn,

    You’re running away is obvious ?If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics?”.

    No it is not obvious. I didn?t run away from that question, I answered it in #237. You apparently ran away from my answer. The supernatural by definition, if it exists, cannot be explained by science. Otherwise it would be natural, not supernatural. It is indeed incompatible?although orthogonal is a better word. But belief in the supernatural is not incompatible with science, because nothing compels me only to believe things that science addresses. There are plenty of things in my life (that are not religion) that I believe and yet science has nothing to say about them. The only way my belief in the miracles of old affects my science is if I invoke supernatural explanations to explain experimental data. I don?t, so it doesn?t. I bet you will run away from this question: How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science? Everyone on this blog has run away from that question. Everyone. But it is a fair question?if science and theism are incompatible, show me the measurable effect. The only answer is the Krishna Commmmm-partmentalization. Commmmm-partmentalization.

    Lurkbot,

    I’d see him spouting off over at Ed’s place and everyone handled him with kid gloves, as if he were some sort of revered Elder Statesman. I was forced to conclude that I must be missing something, but I guess I wasn’t.

    What you were missing is that on Ed?s blog people generally debate and ask each other questions. There is still a lot of fighting, but some really good exchanges. Here the proportions are reversed. Here are mostly drones. You?ll like it here, I can tell.

    Moran.

    Moran?

  373. #373 Facilis
    February 4, 2009

    Someone needs to send that girl a science textbook and a Greg Bahnsen lecture

  374. #374 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    heddle@#372:

    How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science?

    Hm.

    How about if said scientist specifically invokes the supernatural as the only possible explanation for some physical phenomenon?

  375. #375 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Owlmirror #371 wrote:

    Science is about finding the best and most accurate definitions for words for things in the natural world through empirical verification ? and acknowledging when the definition is necessarily fuzzy, but still within the boundaries of the more accurate definition.

    Science is about finding the best explanations in reality, using methods that try to eliminate subjective error and bias as much as possible. If the supernatural exists — or even exists as a working concept — then it ought to be describable, and distinguishable from that which is not supernatural. That’s what Richard Dawkins and PZ and other scientists are doing when they look at religion: they’re trying to pin down a definition of the supernatural which is clear and reasonable enough to allow it to be examined in the light of modern science.

    And that’s why the religious are howling. When the definition of “God” or “supernatural” gets too specific and clear, it becomes falsifiable. Thus the need for word games, and the constant trips to the Land of the Bad Analogy, the Island of Category Error, and the Pit of Obfuscation and Handwaving.

    the traditional meaning (of metaphysical naturalism)(where a spiritual substance, if created, is encompassed within the natural world, though being a spiritual or immaterial substance).

    So the “traditional meaning” of metaphysical naturalism allows belief in spiritual substances? Huh?

    That bothers me.

  376. #376 Facilis
    February 4, 2009

    One question , if religon is bad for science ,how come the fairly religious United States produce so much more scientific output than any one of those godless European nations they love so much

  377. #377 Wowbagger
    February 4, 2009

    Heddle,

    facilis and heddle in the same thread? This could get interesting.

    Anyway, heddle, ‘Moran’ comes from what you’ll see in this picture this picture – the irony is, as they say, delicious. I can’t remember exactly who he was directing it towards, but it’s from the US.

  378. #378 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Somebody needs to send Facilis even an eighth of a brain. No hope for his stupidity. He needs to show a glimmer of intelligence by ceasing his posts.

  379. #379 OctoberMermaid
    February 4, 2009

    #35

    “This is all October Mermaid’s fault.”

    If I have to suffer, everyone will suffer!

    But actually, I find it comforting knowing I’m not the only one gritting my teeth at this. Maybe our collective irritation can give her a migraine or something.

  380. #380 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    heddle #372 wrote:

    How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science?

    By their failure to apply the scientific method on any belief they consider “supernatural.”

    If we’re lucky, they keep the “supernatural” category very small.

  381. #381 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    …and a Greg Bahnsen lecture

    Bears, facilis! Big, hungry, child-eating bears are coming to eat you alive!

  382. #382 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Facilis, over 90% of the Nation Academy of Sciences are atheists or agnostics (mostly the former). They produce most of the science. Reliqion equals stupidity, like yourself.

  383. #383 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    facilis and heddle in the same thread? This could get interesting.

    They’ve been in the same thread before. As I recall, they avoided each other.

  384. #384 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    You know what, heddle? I just came back here planning to apologize for any unkindness in my post @ #357.

    …OK, I’ll do so anyway (I’m not a mean person and life’s too short), but you’ve really shown yourself to be an evasive doofus. You turned up on that other thread, which was about Coyne’s article, with no response to it – only another repetition of your ridiculous “challenge” and more “But where are all the fossils???” I’m convinced that you have no intention of trying to defend that challenge or respond to honest, substantive arguments or questions. It’s just one dodge after another, and you’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

    So do kindly go suck an egg.

  385. #385 Wowbagger
    February 4, 2009

    Er, apologies for the link fail. Never underestimate the value of the preview option.

    facilis wrote:

    One question , if religon is bad for science ,how come the fairly religious United States produce so much more scientific output than any one of those godless European nations they love so much

    A question, facilis. I doubt you’ll stop at one.

    Anyway, just think about how much more science the US would produce if science and scientists weren’t badmouthed so often by idiots like the one in the video. There are probably people who would otherwise be great in science but don’t go into certain fields because of their religion – e.g. if someone who could be a great doctor was born to Christian Scientist parents. And without religion scientists wouldn’t be forbidden from doing stem-cell research because of retarded religious beliefs either.

    Funding is also important, as was illustrated by anti-science idiot Sarah Palin and her contempt for research. There are plenty more people out there who are preventing science from getting the funding it needs.

    Overall, I think US science could be doing better.

  386. #386 Libbie
    February 4, 2009

    Eugenie C. Scott is rolling over in her grave–and she’s not even close to being dead yet!

  387. #387 heliobates
    February 4, 2009

    @Facilis

    Someone needs to send that girl a science textbook and a Greg Bahnsen lecture

    Why not just point a gun at her head? Apparently, whatever she says, you’ll still win the argument if you shoot her.

  388. #388 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    There are plenty of things in my life (that are not religion) that I believe and yet science has nothing to say about them.

    In case anyone’s wondering, this and heddle’s other statements were addressed (by me and I’m sure others) on that earlier thread, and he didn’t respond. Then he appears here refusing to answer those questions and singing the same tired old songs. That’s why he’s such an annoying git.

  389. #389 tony
    February 4, 2009

    Facilis asked (accidentally I think)

    how come the fairly religious United States produce so much more scientific output than any one of those godless European nations they love so much

    What are the stats ‘per captita’? How much of the science in the US is driven by capitalism (such as ‘big Pharma’)? What is the source of funding? How much of the ‘US’ Science is actually ‘GLOBAL’ Science?

    Like I’ve said many times – I’m NOT a scientist – so I’m not the person to ask for such information (other than anectodal that you can get from anywhere) – but I’m sure you’ll find real answers among the folks on this blog – real scientists, doing real science.

    The US is lucky to have some truly world class research centers – but they are becoming more ‘results oriented’ (if they were ever anything different). I’ve noticed a trend (certainly since I was in college) that researchers seems to be extremely closely tied to the grants process, and that grants too often come with stipulations (such as the Bush constrains on NIH funding for *anything* that might smack of stem cell therapies).

    What seems to be missing is basic science for the sake of science. Business doesn’t care about sciecne per se. It only cares about it’s bottom line – the results. I wonder if this is truly making an impact of science – from the perspective of ‘grassroots’ scientists – of if this is only the incorrect perspective of an occasional observer.

  390. #390 FrodoSaves
    February 4, 2009

    Behold, the power of the rhyme!

    “If you don’t find a bone, leave my theory alone!”

    Hah! I’m convinced.

  391. #391 Sastra
    February 4, 2009

    Facilis #376

    One question , if religon is bad for science ,how come the fairly religious United States produce so much more scientific output than any one of those godless European nations they love so much

    Assuming this is true (and it’s not simply related to relative sizes or something), one possible explanation is the diversity and competition at the top levels. The US gets a lot of scientists from other countries coming in due to the reputation — and the US has traditionally been known for its competitive nature.

    Science is a social process, a competition among peers to see who can find something new that stands up to critical scrutiny, which oversets something revered and respected. That’s one reason the religious mindset has trouble understanding it. They tend to frame it as a form of worship of the past — look at how this girl in the video says that Darwin “founded evolution.” They can believe in a vast conspiracy of close-minded scientists because they don’t get that something new and different is gold to a scientist.

    If there was anything to Intelligent Design, scientists would be crawling all over it like hungry jackals, trying to be the first to disprove key parts of the theory of evolution — vying for funding for experiment and research. They wouldn’t care if it “messes with their materialist world view.” Discovery! Money! Fame! Sex! (well, eventually) Especially if you prove God! Forget the Templeton Foundation… you’re going on Oprah! Where your mom sees you!

    If a Christian demonstrates that Jesus Christ was wrong, and didn’t know what he was talking about, he doesn’t “advance” Christianity. He undermines it. If a scientist — no, when scientists have shown that Charles Darwin got it wrong — that advances science. It would be considered progress.

    You can’t have a hegemonic conspiracy of old fogies in that kind of group. They feed on blood and controversy. If they’re ignoring Intelligent Design — or ESP research — or homeopathy — or some other “groundbreaking” theory that’s “too far out there” — then there’s something wrong. It’s not “too far out there.” There’s no there, there.

  392. #392 antaresrichard
    February 4, 2009

    Somehow, I find framing of the brick wall totally appropriate.

    George Sanders and Martin Stephens (Village of the Damned) in reverse!

  393. #393 antaresrichard
    February 4, 2009

    “the” framing of the brick wall…

  394. #394 windy
    February 4, 2009

    heddle:

    Everyone on this blog has run away from that question. Everyone. But it is a fair question?if science and theism are incompatible, show me the measurable effect.

    How come the proportion of theists among scientists is significantly smaller than in the general population, at least in Western countries? I don’t recall if you have proposed an explanation.

  395. #395 Kristine
    February 4, 2009

    She lost me at “no evidence, no science, no methodology or anything…”

    I turned this off. Life is too short.

    P.S. If people want to “teach the controversy,” there is a HUGE, REAL controversy, with real consequences (think of the Cheney e-mails) going on in archival science right now. Have you heard of it? No. Neither did I until recently.

  396. #396 mikecbraun
    February 4, 2009

    This girl’s sermon and knowledge base are even more clueless and inaccurate as Chris Farley’s in “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.”
    “This is one small step for man, and one big…I have a dream!”
    And who was that prominent signer of the Declaration of Independence? Herbie Hancock.
    Trust me dear, I am an expert in the use of sarcasm. Whatever you are saying in a sarcastic tone has to be at least somewhat accurate and truthful in order to have any real effect. Otherwise, you’re just caricaturing yourself.

  397. #397 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Hey lady,

    We got us many a fossil, and we’re not about to be docile!

  398. #398 Facilis
    February 4, 2009

    How come the proportion of theists among scientists is significantly smaller than in the general population, at least in Western countries? I don’t recall if you have proposed an explanation.

    You do know the proportion of Black and hispanics is also significantly lower than the general population. By the same token if we conclude that religion is bad , we should also think black people are opposed to science.

  399. #399 SmartLX
    February 4, 2009

    On http://www.p4cm.com, the DEBATE COACH link at the top left leads to the DVD extra on debating skills from the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters. I commented there to say this was likely breaching copyright as well as breaking a commandment, but I doubt it’ll be published.

    Anyone feel like letting MGM or Weinstein know where a cease-and-desist letter is needed?

  400. #400 tony
    February 4, 2009

    we should also think black people are opposed to science

    or maybe due to fuckwit, hegemonistic white educational policies?

    Fail.

    But you can have another try.

  401. #401 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 4, 2009

    Facilis the Fallacious Fool is still missing the point. Scientists are very intelligent. They also do not use god in their work. There is an inverse correlation between intelligence and belief in god. So it is not surprising that top scientists have little belief in god. Comparing other minority groups to scientists is like comparing apples and oranges.

  402. #402 Twin-Skies
    February 4, 2009

    Thanks for the daily dose of rage PZ. I was wondering where I’d get the energy today for the evening’s boxing classes, but it looks like you’ve solved my problem.

    Well, I’m off to mercilessly pummel a sparring partner or two in a bout of fisticuffs!

  403. #403 Nathan Jacobs
    February 4, 2009

    You ruined my night. But I’m still an atheist so all is well.

  404. #404 Kel
    February 4, 2009

    what is that bonehead facilis still doing around?

  405. #405 Wowbagger
    February 4, 2009

    what is that bonehead facilis still doing around?

    It appears he’s given up on the presup ber-failure and is back to making silly claims based on dubiously obtained and misinterpreted statistics sans context.

  406. #406 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    Sastra @#375

    Science is about finding the best explanations in reality, using methods that try to eliminate subjective error and bias as much as possible. If the supernatural exists — or even exists as a working concept — then it ought to be describable, and distinguishable from that which is not supernatural.

    Hm. Maybe that should be my argument for my concept of monism: That even if there is such a thing as “supernatural” that can is distinguished from “natural”, then given that they are both part of reality; the total entire universe; everything-there-is-that-has-any-testableness-at-all… then my monism is the concept of that universal testableness.

    I’m still not sure I’m expressing myself clearly, here. Oh, well.

    And that’s why the religious are howling. When the definition of “God” or “supernatural” gets too specific and clear, it becomes falsifiable. Thus the need for word games, and the constant trips to the Land of the Bad Analogy, the Island of Category Error, and the Pit of Obfuscation and Handwaving.

    Heh. I think we are entirely in agreement, here.

    So the “traditional meaning” of metaphysical naturalism allows belief in spiritual substances? Huh?

    That bothers me.

    Well, I didn’t write it (although I think the writer was trying to express what I have been). Maybe flag it with a “[citation needed]” ?

  407. #407 Kel
    February 4, 2009

    It appears he’s given up on the presup ber-failure

    Oh that’s good. Maybe he’s picked up a book on the scientific understanding on behaviour and realised that morality is not given by the good grace of God, though probably not.

  408. #408 Feshy
    February 4, 2009

    I made it nearly two minutes into that video.

    If she is right, and there is a hell, I’ll spend it listening to arguments of that exact logical and factual consistency.

    Has anyone set up a fund where we can contribute to some sort of entity that will sue this girl’s biology teachers for negligence? This has to be considered contributing to the delinquency of a minor at least.

  409. #409 Craig
    February 4, 2009

    “Nice Tee Shirt.”

    Nice bod, actually. Let’s just put a bag over her brain.

  410. #410 Vestrati
    February 4, 2009

    WTH

    If anyone has seen the Billy Madison movie, the scene where the guy says “We are all now dumber for having listened to that.” I totally get that now, my head hurts. Biggest load of tripe I’ve seen spewed in a long long time. I find it hard (impossible) to believe this woman was ever an atheist, barring as a child before indoctrination.

    (And Craig, think I’m gonna have to steal that bag over her brain thing)

  411. #411 Facilis
    February 4, 2009

    @Kel
    I haven’t given up. I still am here unrefuted.
    I think I should write some kind of book with a script because atheist responses here are getting too predictable it would go like

    Chap 2
    FACILIS’ TRANSCENDENTAL PROOF
    1) God is the necessary precondition for logic and reason. the existence of logic and reason proves God.
    2)If the atheist calls your argument a fallacy (argument from ignorance, circular logic….etc) ask, “By what standard of logic and reason do you call it a fallacy?’
    2)If atheist asks you to support premise 1 say “By the impossibility of the contrary”.
    3)If atheist accuses you of being dishonest say “Account for standard of morality by which you accuse me of immorality”.Also Refer to argument from morality in Chap 4.
    4)If atheist says anything else ask “Are you CERTAIN?” and “How do you KNOW this?”. Then refer to argument from certainty in chapter 5.
    5)Repeat steps 1-4 until atheist confesses God or concedes defeat or leaves.

  412. #412 Owlmirror
    February 4, 2009

    6) The Christian godbot concedes that his argument rests on inane repetition, not logic or reason. The theist fails.

    7) Send in the bears!!!

  413. #413 Kel
    February 4, 2009

    I haven’t given up. I still am here unrefuted.

    lol, really?

    2)If the atheist calls your argument a fallacy (argument from ignorance, circular logic….etc) ask, “By what standard of logic and reason do you call it a fallacy?’

    lol, can you not see how absurd that line of thinking is? It’s like you are impervious to the shortcomings of your own position to the point where you parade your own mistakes as proof of disproof.

  414. #414 Stanton
    February 4, 2009

    Facilis, the only reason why you remain “unrefuted” is because you have never demonstrated how “God = logic”

    Can you please demonstrate how this is so in an example or three?

    Like, explain how God being the be-all and end-all of logic and reason can explain how Vetulicola and its cohorts figure into Deuterostoma, or why that deranged gentleman from Colorado demanded to know what religions his hostages were so he could kill all of the non-Christians, and fatally shot a Catholic man, even though Catholics are Christians?

  415. #415 Satan
    February 4, 2009

    SATAN’S TRANSCENDENTAL PROOF
    1) Satan is the necessary precondition for logic and reason. the existence of logic and reason proves Satan.
    2)If the Christian calls your argument a fallacy (argument from ignorance, circular logic….etc) ask, “By what standard of logic and reason do you call it a fallacy?’
    2)If Christian asks you to support premise 1 say “By the impossibility of the contrary”.
    3)If Christian accuses you of being dishonest say “Account for standard of morality by which you accuse me of immorality”.Also Refer to argument from morality in Chap 4.
    4)If Christian says anything else ask “Are you CERTAIN?” and “How do you KNOW this?”. Then refer to argument from certainty in chapter 5.
    5)Repeat steps 1-4 until Christian confesses Satan or concedes defeat or leaves.

  416. #416 Facilis
    February 4, 2009

    -The Christian godbot concedes that his argument rests on inane repetition, not logic or reason.-

    It was a joke man. Atheists are unable to account so you have to keep repeating until they do and realize that they should not deny that God is the source of all logic and reason. Then you’ve won the debate.

  417. #417 God
    February 4, 2009

    SATAN’S TRANSCENDENTAL PROOF

    Well, I am convinced.

    Hail Satan!

  418. #418 Satan
    February 4, 2009

    Hail Satan!

    Aw. That’s so nice to hear.

  419. #419 Stanton
    February 4, 2009
    The Christian godbot concedes that his argument rests on inane repetition, not logic or reason.

    It was a joke man. Atheists are unable to account so you have to keep repeating until they do and realize that they should not deny that God is the source of all logic and reason. Then you’ve won the debate.

    How come you refuse to demonstrate how God is the source of all logic and reason?

    Is this because you can not demonstrate how God is the source of all logic and reason?

  420. #420 Kel
    February 4, 2009

    Atheists are unable to account so you have to keep repeating until they do and realize that they should not deny that God is the source of all logic and reason. Then you’ve won the debate.

    My irony meter blew up… the fact that your proof is circular means that your position cannot be true. Come up with a non-circular proof and then come back.

  421. #421 Steve_C
    February 4, 2009

    Someone please explain to me how facilis can’t see that his circular arguments and assertions are completely devoid of reason.

    It’s like he’s saying “the bible exist. The bible is the word of god therefor god exists.”

    And he thinks he’s won. Pathetic.

  422. #422 Satan
    February 4, 2009

    Christians are unable to account so you have to keep repeating until they do and realize that they should not deny that Satan is the source of all logic and reason.

  423. #423 Stanton
    February 4, 2009

    Christians are unable to account so you have to keep repeating until they do and realize that they should not deny that Satan is the source of all logic and reason.

    I thought you were the source of all accountants and barbeque recipes.

  424. #424 Patricia, OM
    February 4, 2009

    DAMMMMMN! I missed all the fun. It isn’t everyday Janine get’s called an ignorant slut.

    I see heddle is still standing up for his stupid bullshit religion. Do you teach your students about total depravity heddle? Abomination go over big with the gay youngsters? How about the superiority of man over woman?

    Inquiring minds care about your students.

  425. #425 Wowbagger
    February 4, 2009

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I swear (by Bob) that I will accept facilis’ argument – if and when he can justify why his proof cannot be used to prove any god – past, present or future – other than his own. Or, of course, why it can’t be used to prove my own candidate: Sideshow Bob.

    He hasn’t managed so far. He just makes up rules about revelations that he can’t justify. But every other time I’ve brought it up he’s run away, which is almost as much fun.

  426. #426 Satan
    February 4, 2009

    I thought you were the source of all accountants and barbeque recipes.

    So? Don’t accountancy and barbecue follow from logic and reason?

    Come on. Work with me here.

  427. #427 Sideshow Bob
    February 5, 2009

    Actually, I am afraid that Satan has rather convinced me as well. Impeccable logic, don’t you know.

    Hail Satan!

    Satan, I humbly beseech your aid in killing one naughty little brat, named Bartholomew Simpson.

  428. #428 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    Satan, I humbly beseech your aid in killing one naughty little brat, named Bartholomew Simpson.

    Well, given your submission to Me, I think I can fit you in as My Holy Prophet. So I’ll get a couple of bears sent off post-haste. He’ll be torn to pieces in no time flat!

  429. #429 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis:

    1) God is the necessary precondition for logic and reason. the existence of logic and reason proves God.

    I pointed out to you the imbecility of this argument in the Russell’s Teapot thread, but you (surprise!) never acknowledged it.

    Millennia of experience in counting objects and measuring land led, through a process of abstraction, to the invention of mathematics. Centuries of experience doing mathematics led, through a similar process of abstraction, to the invention of logic.

    This is what made Russell and Whitehead’s effort to derive mathematics from logic such a back-asswards enterprise. Logic is not the ground of all being, it’s the codified observation of how mathematics works, and mathematics is just the codified observation of how quantity works. So you’re several layers of abstraction off from logic being the ground of everything and “God” being responsible for logic. Aristotle is responsible for (one form) of logic.

    Thanks for playing though, your arguments are good for a laugh.

  430. #430 Walter
    February 5, 2009

    A friend of mine who follows your blog gave me this link. I’ve been subjected to this kind of “teaching” very recently, so the horror is still fresh in my mind. What freaked me out was how many of the people around me just ate it up.

  431. #431 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Oh, great. Sideshow Bob’s come to life and joined up with Satan. This is what happens when you don’t keep your deity on a short leash.

  432. #432 Kagato
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis @411:

    1) God is the necessary precondition for logic and reason. the existence of logic and reason proves God.

    Yeah, I’m going to jump straight to 2). I’m a layman when it comes to logic, but it looks like you’re begging the question this time.

    (A is a necessary precondition for B, the existence of B proves A — but you don’t demonstrate A is a necessary precondition for B!)

    In other words, your logic may be valid but it is not sound.

    And if your first argument isn’t even logically sound, we might as well stop at step 2 because the rest of your argument kind of depends on you getting your logic right.

    But, because I’ve started writing this now, I might as well propose an alternative to your premise:

    * Thought originates with the evolution of the brain
    * Reason originates with an advanced brain (not necessarily
    just humans)
    * Logic is an emergent property of reason.

    The “laws of mathematics” state that 2+2=4, but it’s not a law granted from on high. If you’ve got two things, and you put two more things next to them, you’ll have four things. That’s just the way it is. And it doesn’t matter how complex or esoteric the math gets; it’s all derived from counting stuff.

    Likewise with logic; how you formalise it might be a matter of language and culture, but fundamentally it’s just looking at the world and using your brain. “This rock is different from that tree” is pretty self-evident, but think about it enough and you end up at “A is not B” and off you go.

    There is no “law” to be dictated. It’s just thinking about how things are.

  433. #433 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    Yeah, I’m going to jump straight to 2). I’m a layman when it comes to logic, but it looks like you’re begging the question this time.

    Kahegi, I’m sorry, but that’s been already pointed out to him.

    Look at step 2 in his script @#411. That’s what he does every fucking time any logical fallacy is pointed to him. It doesn’t matter what the fallacy is! He doesn’t give a shit! He doesn’t care that his argument for the source of logic and reason is logically fallacious! All he does is just babble babble babble! It’s pathetic! We all realize it’s pathetic! He doesn’t care that it’s pathetic! He doesn’t care that he looks like a moron!

    Gaaaaaah!

    Really, we’re all far beyond *facepalm* at this point.

    PS: Hail Satan!

  434. #434 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    Er, sorry, Kagato @#432, not Kahegi.

    But really, facilis has been doing this for weeks. He quite possibly has mental processing problems. I’m starting to suspect Asperger syndrome.

  435. #435 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    Just look in the “I’m in good company” thread, there facilis continually did exactly the same thing. Pointed out that without a means to describe logical fallacies that a logically fallacious position is still more sound than one that can’t account for the fallacy in the first place. It’s a mental mind-fuck, and I don’t know how someone arguing that logic makes God a necessity would have a position so full of logical fallaciousness, but that’s facilis for you. He’s pretty ignorant when it comes to the matter of morality too, but when your answer to everything is Goddidit, it’s at least understandable why he keeps himself in a state of perpetual ignorance.

  436. #436 Kagato
    February 5, 2009

    Yeah, I get that. The first half was more ragging in him for committing yet another fallacy, on top of the ones he complained about. :)

    Also a bit of logic practice for me. How’d I do?

    The second half wasn’t really even directed at Facilis, because I figure he’d just “declare victory” at the first paragraph…

  437. #437 Sideshow Bob
    February 5, 2009

    Sideshow Bob’s come to life and joined up with Satan.

    Oh, please. I transcend time and space, don’t I?

    But alas, I fail at omnipotence. That Bart keeps slipping through my fingers — but not, I hope, through the teeth of bears!

    Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  438. #438 Pyre
    February 5, 2009

    bigjohn756 @60: “I don’t think this young lady is lying. I think that she is simply stupid.”

    Alas, I think you overrate her honesty, and that she is engaging in “divine deception”, casting aside concern for factual truth as a hindrance when fishing for souls.

    Valis @154: I do not speak for Bill Hick or represent him in any way, so I cannot presume to guess at the depths of heartbreaking disappointment your present reservation has left him with. May I only and humbly suggest that you not rule out the possibility entirely until you’ve met him and discussed the question openly and honestly with him and any significant others you or he may have?

    Garfunkel @213: “no gods worth having exist”

    Except Ronson, the God of Apathy, who looks after his followers on condition they not bother him (quite a challenge in discretion there!)

  439. #439 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    In another thread – or possibly earlier in this one; it’s hard to remember – facilis expressed his admiration for the arguments of one SyeTenB and linked to his blog; I believe it’s he who facilis is plagiarising the arguments of. They’re pretty much word for word on the ‘but how can you know that unless there are laws of logic and reason and they must come from somewhere, therefore my god exists’ tripe.

    Posters there presented all manner of refutations; he either ignored them and/or simply repeated himself in the same way facilis does.

  440. #440 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    I loved that bit where he utterly refused to address any thought experiment using his own logic to show it’s shortcomings because that’s now what we truly believed. Nope, sorry, can’t address the Sideshow Bob argument, you don’t truly believe that so therefore it’s inadmissible. pfft

  441. #441 OctoberMermaid
    February 5, 2009

    I went to their P4CM site and they’re selling “ex-masturbator” t-shirts. Seriously. So the people who thought THAT was a good idea also think they have a handle on science and logic? Awesome.

    I tried to leave a few comments there, but, naturally, they are moderated. I wasn’t even mean about it. I just warned them that some poor dyslexic person might mistakenly believe they’re promoting the dreaded Masturbator Ex, first and most powerful of all masturbators, he who sits atop a sticky throne and holds the fate of many in his iron, Freudian grip.

  442. #442 GardenRake
    February 5, 2009

    I’m your worst enemy Sideshow Bob, and I know where you live. Muahahahaha

  443. #443 Pyre
    February 5, 2009

    It is, sadly, the West — with a schismatic Pope who fled the Orthodox Church centuries ago, and has in turn suffered schismatic departures since then — that has had the worst schisms of faith and reason, of religion and science.

    In Eastern Orthodoxy the traditions are less confounded, and the identity of God is still declared to be Truth. So how could anyone accuse scientists — the devoted servants and seekers of truth — of being enemies of God?

  444. #444 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Niiice Wowbagger!

    I swear by Eris, Thor, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that I will accept Facilis & Heddles gawd as the one true gawd, and fall back down on my knees and worship him when he appears in his biblical persona on Earth. Nothing new required.

    Let’s go Facilis & Heddle, trot out your gawd.

  445. #445 Pyre
    February 5, 2009

    Oh, Patricia, show at least some credible semblance of self-interest!

    Require that Gawd show up with a sign written in mile-high letters of flame, containing the winning numbers for the next lottery, with time for you to buy tickets.

    Or sumpthin’ like that.

  446. #446 Brain Hertz
    February 5, 2009

    I made it through, oh, a minute and a half or so. My key takeaways from that:

    1) Only an idiot would believe that the universe was poofed into existence using some sort of magic.

    2) We should ignore everything Darwin said, because he was a theologian and therefore didn’t know anything about anything.

    I don’t think I missed anything out.

  447. #447 John Morales
    February 5, 2009

    Kagato,

    (A is a necessary precondition for B, the existence of B proves A — but you don’t demonstrate A is a necessary precondition for B!)
    [... later]
    Also a bit of logic practice for me. How’d I do?

    How’s it go? Ah yes, “Dude, this is Pharyngula!” If you’d made an error, someone would’ve pointed it out :)

  448. #448 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    How’s it go? Ah yes, “Dude, this is Pharyngula!” If you’d made an error, someone would’ve pointed it out :)

    Yeah, you can’t get away with much here. Start waffling or talking shit and there’s bound to be someone who will call you out.

    “This is madness”
    “No, THIS. IS. PHARYNGULA!” *kicks facilis into a bottomless pit*

  449. #449 Richie P
    February 5, 2009

    Okay my day’s already been ruined by all the damn snow we have been getting here in the UK. This ignorant cow just rubs salt into the wounds. The arrogance with which these ridiculous arguments are espoused always amazes me. As does the hatred of Atheists, the wooing and cheering in the background was almost as disturbing as the actual talk itself.

  450. #450 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Pyre – Thanks, I’d love to do that, but I’ve made it an honor issue never to ask anything new of gawd.

    Making asses (other than heddle and facilis) speak, snakes talk, blazing messages, and just showing up in person – hey I’ll that that as proof. Or gawd could turn me into a pillar of salt. Dragons and Unicorns I’m luke warm on.

  451. #451 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    take that as proof…. damn germy Chimp!

  452. #452 Nemo
    February 5, 2009

    How does this thread get to 449 comments? Did I miss a cracker desecration?

    So she’s all “Millions of bones, and how many of them are transitional?”, and I’m like “Um… all of them.” But she’s like “None!” She must be expecting a crocoduck.

    I was more curious about the story (if any) behind her shirt. But her web site just crashes my browser… I could only see it long enough to catch the “Ex-masturbator” thing. Yeah, that’ll bring ‘em in.

  453. #453 AnthonyK
    February 5, 2009

    Nemo – there’s a discussion about the shirts, and where to find them, and the possibility of similar but…uh..differernt shirts upthread.
    I think that you haven’t missed too much here – tedious, sanctimonious crap from heddle, facilis, and some twerp called “garfunkel”. Apparently god exists. Who’dve thought it?

  454. #454 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Sastra,

    By their failure to apply the scientific method on any belief they consider “supernatural.”

    Not true. Bring me the resurrected Jesus, and I?ll apply the scientific method to his claim. I apply the scientific method to the origins of the cosmos all the time. Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done. God exists? If you tell me the test, I?ll apply it. There is not one belief that I have that I have put off limits for the scientific method. I have no objection whatsoever to proving that you can’t part the Red Sea. So you are dead wrong.

    Owlmirror,

    How about if said scientist specifically invokes the supernatural as the only possible explanation for some physical phenomenon?

    If it one that he is studying, definitely. Suppose you and I wrote separate papers on the possibility of walking on water. We publish simultaneously. It turns out we did the same analysis, ran the same experiments, and reached the same conclusion: it is impossible. Outside the lab, you might state: therefore Jesus didn?t walk on water. I might state: no he did, that?s why it?s called a miracle. In either case our science would be indistinguishable. If it is indistinguishable, it means my faith has no ill-effect on the science, nor did your atheism.

    Windy,

    How come the proportion of theists among scientists is significantly smaller than in the general population, at least in Western countries? I don’t recall if you have proposed an explanation.

    I did several times. The possibilities include

    1) It really is true that smart people are less likely to be believers.

    2) Christian schools and colleges do an abysmal job of teaching science and encouraging its study, reducing supply. Sort of the same reason why there are fewer women.

    3) Really smart people are more confident and so are less likely to buckle to the familial, peer, and cultural pressure of declaring as a believer. That is, they are more willing to come out and admit they are atheists. Thus the low percentage of professed believers among scientists might be far more accurate than the high percentages claimed in the general public.

    In any case none of those imply say anything about incompatibility. If there were only one rare theist who was smart enough to be a scientist I could still ask: show me where his theism is incompatible with his science, and nobody would have answer.

    SC, FCTE, OM

    In case anyone’s wondering, this and heddle’s other statements were addressed

    In case anyone is wondering they should do what and go read that thread, as you suggested, and if they are honest rather than a lapdog they will, I am confident, conclude that I did answer the questions to the point of ad nauseum. SC, FCTE, OM can repeat the running-away lie, but that won?t convert it to a truth.

    But where are all the fossils???”

    Liar?I never said anything remotely analogous to ?where are all the fossils?

    You are a liar many times over. I came on this thread with a legitimate debatable point?that theists/scientists are more effective (though by no means certain) of reaching kids like the girl in the video than are antagonistic atheist scientists. And a side point that many of you, given the choice between the girl staying as is or being a pro-science theist, would actually prefer the former. Your first response included a whine about running away on a previous thread, which is demonstrably false. The real point is you should have done one of two things: ignored me altogether or addressed my post. Several people on this thread (Windy, OwlMirror, Sastra come to mind. in this recent go-around) ask legitimate questions. Hundreds or thousands of others just ignore me. Instead you chose to be a confrontational liar.

  455. #455 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    Given the materialistic conception of the mind offered by Darwinism, if we “adopt procedures” to check our thoughts against reality, the procedures themselves would be nothing more than products of electro/chemical activity in our brains – activity resulting from irrational material causes beyond our control. You are assuming that we have the ability to control our mental processes, an ability we can’t have if mind is a material phenomenon (as it must be if Darwinism – a wholly materialistic account of human existence – is true). Indeed, if you accept the Darwinian account of the human mind, you have no warrant for using the word “we,” which implies free will (i.e., the ability to think and act with at least some freedom from materialistic determinism). But free will is something that can’t exist if the materialistic account of our existence offered by Darwinism is true. – Garfunkel

    You are quite wrong. Free will can indeed exist in a purely material and determined world. Read Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves” if you want to understand fully, but briefly, you are confusing “determined with “unavoidable”. A determinist account of free will says we have free will because we can anticipate the possible outcomes of our actions, and decide whether or not to perform them. Sometimes, of course, this is not so: you cannot avoid making a reflex movement in certain circumstances, so with regard to such movements, you do not have free will. Again, if you are in the grip of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or severe depression, your free will is impaired: you are physically capable of performing or not performing certain actions – you have the necessary anatomy, strength and dexterity – but your psychological state makes action (or inaction) unavoidable. It is no good telling me that this account is still compatible with everything being determined at the level of elementary particles, because I already know that; instead, you have to show that this account is incoherent. (A side issue: materialism does not imply determinism, but this is irrelevant to the question of free will because it does not make any relevant difference whether decisions are determined or the result of chance processes.)
    Before I converse with you any further, I require a brief account of what you understand by “free will” – just repeating the words like a mantra will not do. I suppose you think there is a non-material “soul”, but then the same range of possibilities arises as in a wholly material universe: either the decisions taken by this “soul” are determined, or they are the result of chance. If you insist that neither of these possibilities is compatible with free will, you have to give a coherent explanation of a third possibility.

  456. #456 John Morales
    February 5, 2009

    heddle:

    [hypothetical] … It turns out we did the same analysis, ran the same experiments, and reached the same conclusion: it is impossible. Outside the lab, you might state: therefore Jesus didn?t walk on water. I might state: no he did, that?s why it?s called a miracle. In either case our science would be indistinguishable. If it is indistinguishable, it means my faith has no ill-effect on the science, nor did your atheism.

    You’ve just stated that, outside the lab, you’d believe that which you’ve scientifically demonstrated is impossible inside the lab, in a post where you defend your view that there is no effect on your science.

    It’s a paradigmatic case of compartmentalisation; you apply different beliefs in different occasions.

    You’ve also stated that something you consider to be scientifically impossible can simultaneously be empirically possible, yet you don’t consider this affects your science.
    You really don’t see this as perceptual blindness used to avoid cognitive dissonance, do you? :)

  457. #457 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    As I’ve already said: “Truth be told, no one knows ‘how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be.’” That’s why it was so silly for Knockgoats to say that Dawkins’s book (“The God Delusion”) has the advantage of being true. – Garfunkel

    I said most of it is true. Dawkins makes no claim to absolute certainty that there is no god, and most of his book is about either the flaws in arguments for the existence of god, or about religion and its effects on individuals and the world. That we do not know “how the universe came to be, and how living things came to be” (science is of course making progress on both these questions while religion never makes any progress past “Goddidit”), is irrelevant to the truth of my claim.

  458. #458 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    To the contrary, it has been shown that minute variations in the forces and constants of the universe would make life impossible.,/I> – Garfunkel

    No, it most certainly has not. It has been claimed, but that’s a rather different thing. For example, there was a brief article in New Scientist of 2 August 2008 arguing against the claim, and another recently in Nature (sorry, don’t have the exact citation – anyone got it?) It is often claimed – as you have done – that if some constant had been different, there would have been no galaxies or whatever – but even if true, this does not mean there would have been no life, because we do not know the necessary conditions for life to develop. In addition, of course, you have not dealt with my other two points against the so-called fine-tuning argument for God.

    I’m somewhat puzzled Garfunkel: do you really think you have brought out anything that those here have not heard a thousand times before? That’s what’s so boring about theists – they so seldom have anything new to say.

  459. #459 GBG
    February 5, 2009

    I couldn’t get to the end of that video, it made me want to scream.

    isn’t there something in her primitive little death cult about not being a liar? I’m sure i read that somewhere.

  460. #460 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    – heddle

    What a dishonest little shit you are, heddle. You have no hesitation in spouting off about your religious convictions – I believe you even indoctrinate children with this filthy rubbish – yet you have never proved them. I suggest you STFU until you have done so.

  461. #461 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    John Morales ,

    You’ve just stated that, outside the lab, you’d believe that which you’ve scientifically demonstrated is impossible inside the lab, in a post where you defend your view that there is no effect on your science.

    Maybe–but I would say it doesn’t quite fit that description. For example, the cold fusion guys continued to insist that cold fusion was scientifically demonstrable in spite of what was happening in labs outside of Utah. They claimed others were doing the experiments wrong. At some point you can argue their beliefs affected their science.

    With walking on water I do not dispute that science demonstrates it impossible. I concur. If a trial needed an expert witness to demonstrate the scientific impossibility, I’d be happy to take the job.

    Your point is, I think: how can I still believe it, even in the one isolated case of Jesus? My answer would be that you are putting a demand on me that the scientific method does not place on me–namely that I only believe what science tells me. The method does not require that. It says: if you do science, this is the way you do it. These are the steps. Now I practice the scientific method and I believe science, but in principle even believing in science is not a requirement. Only the method is a requirement. A scientist could wake up one day and say: hell, I don’t believe any of this science stuff, but life is good and I want tenure and I know how to do it even if I don’t believe it. And that person could contribute mightily to the field because science is a methodology and while it is not advisable one could do the work and make contributions without believing any of it. In the same way that a pastor could wake up one day and realize he is an unbeliever but nevertheless say: what the hell this is a comfy gig, I can do this.

    So I think you are confusing my failure to live up to an ideal: I can only believe something if science tells me it is possible, with what science really is: a motive-agnostic time-tested methodology for studying the natural world.

  462. #462 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    I suggest you STFU until you have done so.

    I’m somewhat puzzled Knockgoats: do you really think you have brought out anything that those here have not heard a thousand times before? That’s what’s so boring about atheists – they so seldom have anything new to say.

  463. #463 SC, FCTE, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done.

    Infuckingdeed. *headdesk*

    If it one that he is studying, definitely. Suppose you and I wrote separate papers on the possibility of walking on water. We publish simultaneously. It turns out we did the same analysis, ran the same experiments, and reached the same conclusion: it is impossible. Outside the lab, you might state: therefore Jesus didn?t walk on water. I might state: no he did, that?s why it?s called a miracle. In either case our science would be indistinguishable. If it is indistinguishable, it means my faith has no ill-effect on the science, nor did your atheism.

    FFS! You’d really have to do research to find this? And Coyne and everyone else has included “outside the lab” in our discussions of incompatibility. It was one of the major points made by Coyne, as shown in the passages I quoted above. Your “science” isn’t at all indistinguishable. Belief in miracles and other supernatural interventions in the physical world is fundamentally incompatible with secular, scientific reason, as Coyne argues. If you’re not going to address his arguments, which was what the earlier post was about, then piss off. The point is that the existing evidence concerning what’s possible in the natural world, as well as any research you perform yourself, if they show no support for something you believe, or indeed that it is physically impossible without supernatural intervention, should have an effect on your beliefs. What the hell is the point of an empirical approach if you’ve no intention of adjusting your beliefs in accordance with what you or others find?

    When you say you hold other beliefs without evidence (in the social and political arenas), you’re also admitting to an approach that is not only antiscientific but also immoral. We have a moral responsibility to base our beliefs, which are the basis of our actions, upon real evidence.

    I did several times. The possibilities include

    1) It really is true that smart people are less likely to be believers.

    2) Christian schools and colleges do an abysmal job of teaching science and encouraging its study, reducing supply. Sort of the same reason why there are fewer women.

    3) Really smart people are more confident and so are less likely to buckle to the familial, peer, and cultural pressure of declaring as a believer. That is, they are more willing to come out and admit they are atheists. Thus the low percentage of professed believers among scientists might be far more accurate than the high percentages claimed in the general public.

    In any case none of those imply say anything about incompatibility.

    First, the one about science education in religious schools certainly implies something about it, particularly in historical context. (It’s not like the case with women – it’s specific to religious schools.) Second, your references to intelligence are mistaken and misleading – “smart people” are not what’s at issue. Scientists, specifically, are. No evidence has been presented that these percentages hold across academic disciplines, which surely are also made of of smart people. The evidence is suggestive that this pattern is true of scientists, and that the number of theists decreases as the levels increase. Your list of proposed explanations (the first one of which you may wnat to think about a bit more – where does it lead you?) fails to include the one that seems to square with the evidence provided by scientists themselves about the reason: an honestly- and consistently-applied scientific approach has led them to conclude that religious beliefs or explanations for natural phenomena are useless, wrong, and/or unsupported by any evidence and therefore not reasonable to maintain. This hypothesis has the strongest support going in; it could be tested further through more in-depth surveys or interviews with scientists (and this kind of thing is what I do).

    Liar?I never said anything remotely analogous to ?where are all the fossils?

    You’ve been saying something entirely analogous all along. “I don’t think they’re incompatible, and will reject all real-world evidence of incompatibility in any form other than my silly challenge. So where’s the evidence?” The evidence is not only in the fact of a large percentage of scientists becoming non-theists, but in things like this video, in religious persecution of scientists and rejection of scientific findings and interference with science education over several centuries, and so on. The evidence is in a fundamental conflict of epistemological principles between the two, which you simply refuse to acknowledge. The evidence is in your own sad balkanization. As I said, more research can be done, and I’m confident that my hypothesis will be supported by that as well. Why do you not accept any of the above as “measurable effects”? How do you justify this?

    You are a liar many times over.

    Sure. I‘m the liar.

    I came on this thread with a legitimate debatable point?that theists/scientists are more effective (though by no means certain) of reaching kids like the girl in the video than are antagonistic atheist scientists.

    And PZ responded to you. (Did you respond to him?) You have your own definition of “reaching” which does not really mean reaching them in an honest or meaningful way when it comes to science, which is unsurprising as you yourself are deluded.

    Your first response included a whine about running away on a previous thread,

    I pointed out that this is a pattern with you, and that it’s obnoxious and dishonest behavior on your part. I also asked you a question related to something else on this thread.

    which is demonstrably false.

    Right. That’s why I linked to the previous thread, then listed the relevant posts, then again asked you the questions I had earlier. You ran away again.

    The real point is you should have done one of two things: ignored me altogether or addressed my post.

    This isn’t your blog, dear, but take your own advice. What you should have done is address my posts on the earlier thread before starting with a new stupid argument on another. You’ve had several weeks now.

    Several people on this thread (Windy, OwlMirror, Sastra come to mind. in this recent go-around) ask legitimate questions. Hundreds or thousands of others just ignore me. Instead you chose to be a confrontational liar.

    All you’ve said is that my questions are “illegitimate.” You’ve given no explanation as to why, or to why, even if you feel this way, you can’t simply answer them to end the whole thing. It’s pathetic evasion.

    Now I have to get ready for work.

  464. #464 John Morales
    February 5, 2009

    heddle:

    Your point is, I think: how can I still believe it, even in the one isolated case of Jesus? My answer would be that you are putting a demand on me that the scientific method does not place on me–namely that I only believe what science tells me.

    No, my point is you’re compartmentalising (though I’m not doubting or trying to impugn your scientific integrity or methodology).

    So I think you are confusing my failure to live up to an ideal: I can only believe something if science tells me it is possible, with what science really is: a motive-agnostic time-tested methodology for studying the natural world.

    No, I’m saying that you’ve stated you consider the scientifically impossible to be empirically possible, and that your cognitive blinkers prevent you from seeing you’re thereby dismissing at least two of the major metaphysical bases of science: replicability of phenomena and causality.

  465. #465 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    I can see what heddle is trying to get at, though really it’s nothing more than compartmentalisation that at one point is going to hit together eventually. Walking on water is unfalsifiable, but that wasn’t the only miracle in the bible; and there certainly were passages where the events described would have left evidence in one form or another. At some point there has to be a compromise of evidence or an elimination of biblical inerracy.

  466. #466 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    The evidence is in a fundamental conflict of epistemological principles between the two, which you simply refuse to acknowledge.

    No there is no evidence, just chanting. Evidence to a scientist means data, predictions, falsifiability. There is none of that in Coyne’s article, or in Miller’s reply. .

    Why do you not accept any of the above as “measurable effects”? How do you justify this?

    Because they aren’t measurable. A meaurable effect is to demonstrate how the science a theist produces is different from that an atheist produces. Anything else is just words.

    and will reject all real-world evidence of incompatibility in any form other than my silly challenge.

    No, you are running away from my challenge by calling it silly. But I’ll accept another challenge that demonstrates the incompatibility rather than talks about it. Demonstrates it with an experiment. I proposed one experiment, which you call silly because you do not know how to deal with it, but I’ll accept another experiement–but not words. I have made the point over and over including recently that if OwlMirrow and I both studied walking on water that we would in principle produce indistinguishable papers on its impossibility. Tell me, how would you tell which paper was written by the the believer and which by the athiest? Your Answer: Oh that’s so silly! They are incomaptible but don’t ask me to put that to the test! No, as long as I use words like compartmentalization and balkanization then I have proved it!

    You ran away again.

    No I didn?t, you are repeating the lie. Running away does not mean getting bored with your repetitive questions. Running away is when someone posts a really good showstopper question and the person to whom it was addressed declines to answer and just goes away. I challenge you to reproduce from your list of posts on the previous thread one question that a reasonable person would say: yes, that or something close wasn?t already asked and answered, and it is a substantive question, and it is on topic, and heddle simply refused to answer. C?mon, do it.

    Did you respond to him (PZ)?

    Yes I did. In the following post I cast aspersions on his motives for not wanting that girl to come to a pro-science position.

  467. #467 Kagato
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle:

    Suppose you and I wrote separate papers on the possibility of walking on water. We publish simultaneously. It turns out we did the same analysis, ran the same experiments, and reached the same conclusion: it is impossible. Outside the lab, you might state: therefore Jesus didn?t walk on water. I might state: no he did, that?s why it?s called a miracle.

    The mind boggles.

    You’re seriously — seriously — arguing that there is no incompatibility between science; but if the results you reach don’t match your preconceived ideas, you’re willing to completely ignore the results??

    Oh sure, you might be capable of performing the mental gymnastics needed to actually complete a scientific study that runs contrary to your beliefs. you might even be able to isolate those beliefs enough that you don’t let them bias your research.

    But if, in the end, you look at your work and say:
    “There is no reliable data that this event took place. This event was not even scientifically possible. All evidence says this could not and did not happen. But you know what, I say that it did anyway!”
    …that right there is your fundamental incompatibility between science and religion!

    No one has said it’s not possible to go through the motions of following the scientific method. But science is used to guide us to the truth; and if you can say that the scientific results for any specific topic (even if you’re willing to reach them yourself) are irrelevant to the truth of that subject, then you are declaring that the scientific method does not apply there.

    How is that anything other than incompatible?

    All the talk of compartmentalisation is not about proof of incompatibility; it just explains how, in the face of that incompatibility, some people manage to work around the problem. Your quote above could be used as a textbook example of the concept! (While I’ve got my science hat on, proposition A is true. But when I take it off, proposition A is false!)

  468. #468 A. Noyd
    February 5, 2009

    heddle (#461)

    So I think you are confusing my failure to live up to an ideal: I can only believe something if science tells me it is possible, with what science really is: a motive-agnostic time-tested methodology for studying the natural world.

    If you can arbitrarily reject science on a whim, then what fucking use is it? Motive-agnostic does not mean purpose-agnostic, and your definition of science neglects its purpose: to give us a self-consistent (and therefore useful) description of reality. If you strip science of its purpose, it becomes only so much philosophical masturbation.

    Furthermore, if not science, what do you use to determine the validity of your beliefs? If they are immune to falsification, how do you demonstrate and distinguish false beliefs? That is, how can you leave reality open to your preferred superstitions and not leave a gap for everyone else’s at the same time?

  469. #469 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Good way to start off the morning. Laughing at Heddle’s tap dancing logic. Hahaahahahahhaa

  470. #470 SteveL
    February 5, 2009

    Did anyone notice the commenter on her youtube page who said he had a degree in “bio-medical science”? What is bio-medical science?

  471. #471 Faciliheddle
    February 5, 2009

    A. Noyd @468

    If you had the right presuppositions you wouldn’t have said any of that. I’m a Calvinist because in a miracle God told me I’m going to heaven and you’re not, and he also told me there is no conflict between science and religion because without God, there can be no science and religion.

    And then God stepped on a rake, you ignorant slut. Did I tell you I’m a physicist and the Bible is inerrant? Besides, the burden of proof is never on me, thou bald pate. Wait, what? She-bears? GAH

  472. #472 Sigmund
    February 5, 2009

    #470
    “What is bio-medical science?”
    It’s a common enough degree course in various parts of Europe. Its basically human biology taught for those who are interested in working in healthcare or going on to do a PhD.

  473. #473 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    You guys don’t get it. Without God as the necessary precondition for the laws of logic there is no standard of logic and reason, so all our objections that I am using “circular reasoning” are meaningless.
    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning before you accuse me of fallacies.

  474. #474 Ted
    February 5, 2009

    Turns out she is removing dissenting comments from her video so it looks like there are just supporters.

  475. #475 MartinM
    February 5, 2009

    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning

    You first.

  476. #476 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I swear (by Bob) that I will accept facilis’ argument – if and when he can justify why his proof cannot be used to prove any god – past, present or future

    It would make sense that these immaterial laws of logic come from some sort of immaterial being. This being would have to have absolute knowledge so he could know they applied universally.This being would have to be unchanging or the laws of logic could change and that would be absurd. The being would have to be eternal or else we can say there was a time where the laws of logic did not apply and that would be absurd. This being must be personal because he would have to reveal the laws of logic to us.
    Please note that the transcendental argument is only the 1st step in the presuppositional method. If I had an opponent who believed in some other kind of revelation, I would take both our revelations and examine them to see which provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of human experience.

  477. #477 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    @A. Noyd

    Furthermore, if not science, what do you use to determine the validity of your beliefs? If they are immune to falsification, how do you demonstrate and distinguish false beliefs?

    1) Are you saying science is the ONLY way to determine the validity of beliefs? If so please provide scientific evidence for this belief.
    My guess would be that heddle holds to a particular epistemology (since he is a reformed Christian it would’t be much of a stretch to suggest he holds to reformed epistemology) that he uses to justify belief.
    2)What is your epistemology? Does it make epistemic certainty possible?

  478. #478 Pyre
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle @454: “Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done. …. I have no objection whatsoever to proving that you can’t part the Red Sea.”

    Good grief, in a volcanism- and earthquake-prone region such as that, the Red Sea “parting” story practically screams tsunami, doesn’t it, like the water running all out of a harbor, leaving boats grounded and fish flopping, only to rush back in later and destroy half the town (not to mention killing all the happy folk who were picking up fresh fish).

  479. #479 Bernard Bumner
    February 5, 2009

    It’s a common enough degree course in various parts of Europe. Its basically human biology taught for those who are interested in working in healthcare or going on to do a PhD.

    Biomedical science is common enough, but “Bio-medical science”? It is usual to be able spell your own degree subject. (Maybe English is their second language? Maybe…)

  480. #480 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    A.Noyd, #468

    Motive-agnostic does not mean purpose-agnostic,

    Sure it does.

    If I look at a paper on neutron absorption cross sections, I cannot determine any of these:

    1) The author’s real purpose is the advancement of basic science.
    2) The author’s real purpose is the production of electricity.
    3) The author’s real purpose is to build a bomb and kill people.
    4) The author doesn’t actually believe what he published.
    5) The author is a Moslem.
    6) The author is gay.
    7) The author is black.
    8) The author is a pedophile.
    9) The author beats his wife.
    10) The author is a Calvinist.
    11) The author is a “New Atheist”.

    The science is agnostic about all of these. All that I can do is evaluate the paper on its scientific merit. Any fluff you attach to science in order to, by definition, make it incompatible with religion–or to demand noble goals as you define the–is just that: fluff.

    Nerd of the Redhead,

    Good way to start off the morning. Laughing at Heddle’s tap dancing logic. Hahaahahahahhaa

    Sigh. Let us pause to lament the grade-inflationary decline of the OM. When it was people like Kristine and some others–well then it was understandable why such a person’s comments were selected for special recognition of laudable acumen. Now the OM is just a shell of its former self.

  481. #481 heliobates
    February 5, 2009

    @Facilis

    That’s a remarkably accurate description of Sye’s argumentation. But you left out two additional steps:

    7) If the atheist grants, for the sake of argument, that universal, invariant laws of logic exist, and are a necessary scaffold for the presuppositionalist, and then asks to see these laws (e.g. full, formal proof of the Law of The Impossibility of the Contrary), with all axioms and rules for inference, toss a coin. Heads: start at #1 in another thread. Tails: argue with someone else.

    8) Assert that the existence of God is a necessary presupposition because of “modal logic and all possible worlds”. Insist that the atheist doesn’t understand modal logic. Refuse to provide the modal logical proof for this assertion. When asked, toss a coin. Heads: introduce an anecdote about how it’s okay to point a gun or shoot someone in order to win an argument. Tails: start at #1 in another thread.

    That should cover it.

  482. #482 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle, all you have is invective. The amusing part is you being the poster boy for what happens when a scientist believes in god. The mental tap dancing required is hilarious. I’ll enjoy laughing at you until you stop trying to pretend the two mix. You can always stop posting here.

  483. #483 charley
    February 5, 2009

    As an engineer, I lean toward a physical analogy. Science, reason and research are like a sewage treatment plant, accepting a flow of ideas and filtering out the shit. Religion is a bypass pipe which allows ideas to pass through unfiltered by testing or dispute. Heddle is plant manager who insists that the effluent from the northeast part of town be permanently connected to the bypass pipe because their shit doesn’t stink.

  484. #484 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead, OM,

    Heddle, all you have is invective

    Only in as much as it involves replying in kind. If people want to engage with me in a normal manner, I am always quite willing. When did you ever ask me a question as an adult? Never–so why should I treat your comments with any respect?

    You can always stop posting here.

    You can always add me to your killfile. Or just ignore me. Or you can address my comments, as you always have, with nothing better than: heddle you effin’ moron or the very easy and cheap and evasive false bravado: it is so funny, tee-hee, to see heddle and his twisted logic, that’s always good for a few chuckles!

  485. #485 Flonkbob
    February 5, 2009

    Today is one of those days I’m so very glad that I have blocked access to YouTube on my corporate network. It didn’t have a business purpose and was eating up lots of time, and now it would actually be damaging the brains of my poor innocent users if they could see this thing.

    So you didn’t ruin my morning, you made me feel good about my job. Thanks PZ!

  486. #486 Scottymate
    February 5, 2009

    The rage is strong with this one, difficult to get through in one sitting. You actually ruined my afternoon PZ. :P

  487. #487 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    heddle, as I understand it, you’re saying that while science would generally influence your opinion of the likelihood that some event happened, it would not affect your opinion on what your religion believes to be historical miracles. Is that correct?

    If so, doesn’t that completely vitiate the notion that religion does not affect science? By what scientific principle do you distinguish between possible miracles and physical events? Do you think that historians should also adopt such an approach, with the religious among them saying “Well, such an event is physically impossible, but my religion tells me it happened, so I’m sure it actually did”? Do you want your CSIs to testify in court “The DNA evidence came back negative, but God told me this man is the killer, so in my opinion he did it”?

    To be clear, no one is saying that religious scientists can’t do good work in domains unrelated to their irrational, contrary-to-scientific-understanding, empirically unsupported beliefs. Coynes’ point, which others have explained and which you still haven’t really addressed, is that such scientists cannot do good work in science in general — their worldview is ultimately not scientific. And once you open that hole, once you abandon scientific reasoning for certain physical events, all bets are off — any belief about any physical event can be justified via the supernatural, and no one can object.

    For example, if you think that, despite scientific understanding, virgins can literally bear male children via divine insemination, then why can’t other scientists believe that Mohammed literally flew on a winged horse, or that two beings literally created the islands of Japan, or that there was literally a sunken continent called Lemuria that was once home to a seven foot tall, sexually hermaphroditic, egg-laying race who were precursors of humanity? If you abandon science for determining the probability that some event actually occurred, why should your specific Christian beliefs be privileged over those of Madame Blavatsky’s? You are stuck accepting that literally anything can happen, because anyone can now say “Regardless of the science, this actually happened.”

    How does that make for good science?

  488. #488 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle, I won’t engage you for the mental tap dancing you do. I tried, but the evasions you engaged in are not worth the effort. If you quit the evasions…
    Until then, you are comic relief. If you don’t like being comic relief, you need to do something to change that. Like stop posting here for a while.

  489. #489 phantomreader42
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis the Fallacious @ #473:

    You guys don’t get it. Without God as the necessary precondition for the laws of logic there is no standard of logic and reason, so all our objections that I am using “circular reasoning” are meaningless.
    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning before you accuse me of fallacies.

    No, YOU’RE the one who doesn’t get it.

    WHAT “laws of logic”, Facilis? What are these “laws” you keep babbling about? List them. Name them. Tell us what the fuck you mean!

    I know you won’t, you’ve been hiding from this question for almost a month. But you claim that there’s some set of “absolute, invariant, immutable, universal laws of logic and reason” which somehow can’t have arisen form any other source but your imaginary friend. You have fled in abject terror from every opportunity to support this claim. In order to support your claim you would need to first show that such laws actually exist, which would require listing them. You refuse to do so, you refuse to even acknowledge that the question has been asked. And that’s just the minimal first step!

    There is no magical infallible cosmic logic source. Your own statements prove this, you babble about logic but are obviously operating from a position that assuming your own conclusion, hiding from questions, making shit up, repeating yourself, and murder are valid forms of “logic”. Your version of “logic” is utterly insane, much like yourself. Logic, as practiced by sane people, is a product of understanding the world, not a mystical energy field that comes from some invisible being from beyond the universe. But you can’t understand this, because you are not a sane person and you understand nothing about the world you live in. Your entire life is based on a delusion.

    Nor will you give any sort of definition to the supposed “god” that you claim created these “laws”. And of course you hide from all questions of why it has to be YOUR personal imaginary friend. You can’t even bring yourself to explain what the fuck you’re talking about!

    I wonder if someone put a gun to your head and demanded you list these “laws” of yours or die, how would you react? Probably shit your pants and scream for your imaginary god to save you from your own total failure. And since you’re the one who decided that murder was an acceptable way to win an argument, you’ve just lost by your own standards. So go fuck yourself.

  490. #490 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Tulse,

    By what scientific principle do you distinguish between possible miracles and physical events?

    I don?t. If confronted with a puzzling observation that arouses my scientific curiosity, I would study it just as you did. Exactly the same way you would.I would have no intention of proving it was a miracle. If it turned out it was a miracle, I?d simply die without having found an answer.

    Do you think that historians should also adopt such an approach, with the religious among them saying “Well, such an event is physically impossible, but my religion tells me it happened, so I’m sure it actually did”?

    Not if they are publishing a scholarly history article; i.e., ?doing history??in which case they should follow the guidelines of their profession. If they are assessing the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus, they should evaluate and report on the evidence the same way a (professional) secular colleague would do, no matter where it leads.

    Do you want your CSIs to testify in court “The DNA evidence came back negative, but God told me this man is the killer, so in my opinion he did it”?

    C?mon, this question is not up to your usual standards.

    any belief about any physical event can be justified via the supernatural, and no one can object.

    That?s just ad absurdum. What practicing theistic scientists are going about invoking miracles? The only examples I know about of practicing scientists ignoring the evidence because of their beliefs are atheists. That would be Hoyle and especially Eddington resisting the Big Bang because of perceived religious implications.

    For example, if you think that, despite scientific understanding, virgins can literally bear male children via divine insemination, then why can’t other scientists believe that Mohammed?

    They can believe whatever the hell the want, including, a la Sam Harris, in Eastern Mysticism and the efficacy of torture. As long as when they are doing science they follow the scientific method I won?t care about nor will I be able to detect their beliefs.

    How does that make for good science?

    How does it make for bad science? Show me how you can detect the ill effects of Miller?s or Collins?s etc. beliefs on their science.

    Nerd of Redhead, OM

    Heddle, I won’t engage you for the mental tap dancing you do. I tried,

    No, you never tried. Tulse, above, is an example of trying to have a conversation. You were unclever insults and unoriginal snide comments from the beginning. I really think you should ad me to your killfile.

  491. #491 heliobates
    February 5, 2009

    And since you’re the one who decided that murder was an acceptable way to win an argument, you’ve just lost by your own standards. So go fuck yourself.

    I like the cut of your jib!

  492. #492 vsr
    February 5, 2009

    Goddamn. I want that synth behind the bitch!

  493. #493 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    Exactly the same way you would.I would have no intention of proving it was a miracle. If it turned out it was a miracle, I?d simply die without having found an answer.

    Sorry if I missed you explaining this, but how would you determine that it was a miracle and not that you just have not the tools or time invested to determine a natural explanation for it?

  494. #494 heliobates
    February 5, 2009

    Oh, phantomreader42, while you’re at it, see if you can get Facilis to explain how the presuppositionalist theory of truth accomodates or answers the Gettier problem. When I asked the great Sye Tenb. this exact question, he didn’t seem to know what I’m talking about.

    Say, you don’t think that “justified true beliefs” and “universal, absolute, invariant laws of logic” are just part of some script, do you? I mean, Facilis couldn’t just be throwing these terms out there, ignoring the refutations and then declaring victory, could he? It’s unpossible.

  495. #495 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    What practicing theistic scientists are going about invoking miracles?

    Han and Warda, Proteomics (which was what I was referencing in #374: “More logically, the points that show proteomics overlapping between different forms of life are more likely to be interpreted as a reflection of a single common fingerprint initiated by a mighty creator than relying on a single cell that is, in a doubtful way, surprisingly originating all other kinds of life.”)

    Closer to your own field, I understand that Frank Tipler has made some rather radical claims about physics and cosmology — albeit not in an actual peer-reviewed paper.

    There are probably others, but those are the ones that leapt to mind just now.

  496. #496 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp ,

    Sorry if I missed you explaining this, but how would you determine that it was a miracle and not that you just have not the tools or time invested to determine a natural explanation for it?

    I would never investigate something and determine it was a miracle. I have no way of determining what is miraculous. I wouldn’t know how to try. I can only assume, as every other scientists secular or theistic assumes, that everything we collect experimental data on has a natural explanation.

  497. #497 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    I would never investigate something and determine it was a miracle. I have no way of determining what is miraculous. I wouldn’t know how to try. I can only assume, as every other scientists secular or theistic assumes, that everything we collect experimental data on has a natural explanation.

    Ok, I guess I misunderstood this to mean you would determine it was a miracle

    If it turned out it was a miracle, I?d simply die without having found an answer.

    instead of you never knowing it was one.

  498. #498 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #554 wrote:

    (How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science?)” By their failure to apply the scientific method on any belief they consider “supernatural.”

    Not true. Bring me the resurrected Jesus, and I?ll apply the scientific method to his claim. I apply the scientific method to the origins of the cosmos all the time. Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done. God exists? If you tell me the test, I?ll apply it. There is not one belief that I have that I have put off limits for the scientific method. I have no objection whatsoever to proving that you can’t part the Red Sea. So you are dead wrong.

    Do the findings of modern science suggest that people can resurrect from the dead or part the red sea? Can one study physics, evolution, and neurology and arrive at the conclusion that self-awareness and cognition are forces which exist separate from brains? Does science find God?

    The answer, as you recognize, is ‘no.’ But because science is a method, you point out that someone can correctly follow the method and arrive at answers which they need not accept. They can set some arbitrary areas aside, and say that “science cannot go here.” They do so for emotional reasons, and because they don’t want to have to do science all the time.

    The scientific test for God is this: does it follow from the science? If not, it fails the test. Your solution for covering this failure is to reject the result and place it in another compartment. The Not-science compartment. This is what we mean by compartmentalization and inconsistency. You are not arguing against compartmentalization, but for it.

    The practice of science requires that one first hold the ethical value of truth-seeking and humility, of following the evidence only where it leads, and being as objective as possible. As you point out, you can effectively use science as a tool for those areas where you wish to seek truth — and then cast it aside in those areas where you wish to seek certainty and comfort.

    From our point of view, that feels like situational ethics. It would be like someone in your church being honest with their religion, but dishonest in business. A crook can still make an excellent theologian and wonderful minister. You would not be able to tell how a minister-thief’s occasional shoplifting antics affects his sermon, or his ministration to the sick, or his scholarly exposition of Paul’s letters. But you might still hesitate to say that it does not effect his religion.

    I came on this thread with a legitimate debatable point?that theists/scientists are more effective (though by no means certain) of reaching kids like the girl in the video than are antagonistic atheist scientists.

    I think that, for maximum effect, both approaches are needed. From a smaller, closer perspective, convincing creationists that they can keep their religion and accept evolution is more effective for getting people to change their minds about evolution, than trying to argue them to atheism.

    But, for the larger perspective which values science and the scientific mindset itself, we need arguments for consistency, science all the way down, cranes vs. skyhooks, and atheism.

    Besides, PZ and Dawkins being the Bad Cops makes you and Ken Miller into the Good Cops. That’s a strategy, too.

  499. #499 Ken Cope
    February 5, 2009

    Our plastic pal who’s fun to play with, theist/scientist poster child heddle, has invoked Francis Collins. I’ve just read atheist author Sam Harris’s review of Collin’s execrable book, The Language of God, which starts with this paragraph:

    Francis Collins-physical chemist, medical geneticist and head of the Human Genome Project-has written a book entitled “The Language of God.” In it, he attempts to demonstrate that there is “a consistent and profoundly satisfying harmony” between 21st-century science and evangelical Christianity. To say that he fails at his task does not quite get at the inadequacy of his efforts. He fails the way a surgeon would fail if he attempted to operate using only his toes. His failure is predictable, spectacular and vile. “The Language of God” reads like a hoax text, and the knowledge that it is not a hoax should be disturbing to anyone who cares about the future of intellectual and political discourse in the United States.

    No wonder heddle admires Francis Collins so. I’ve heard Collins interviewed numerous times and his capacity to mangle science and religion in his pompous discourse sets the bar. Ken Miller, at least, does not use his grasp of science to claim his reasons for belief are scientific. That heddle does not distinguish between the two authors is a testament to heddle’s dishonesty and hypocrisy. Read the essay for an enjoyable dissection of Collins’s nonsensical theology and theodicy before you challenge Harris’s concluding paragraph:

    If one wonders how beguiled, self-deceived and carefree in the service of fallacy a scientist can be in the United States in the 21st century, “The Language of God” provides the answer. The only thing that mitigates the harm this book will do to the stature of science in the United States is that it will be mostly read by people for whom science has little stature already. Viewed from abroad, “The Language of God” will be seen as another reason to wonder about the fate of American society. Indeed, it is rare that one sees the thumbprint of historical contingency so visible on the lens of intellectual discourse. This is an American book, attesting to American ignorance, written for Americans who believe that ignorance is stronger than death. Reading it should provoke feelings of collective guilt in any sensitive secularist. We should be ashamed that this book was written in our own time.

  500. #500 Nemo
    February 5, 2009

    heddle:

    I came on this thread with a legitimate debatable point?that theists/scientists are more effective (though by no means certain) of reaching kids like the girl in the video than are antagonistic atheist scientists.

    Why don’t you go try to reach her, then? You’re not accomplishing anything here. I’m not even sure what you think you can accomplish.

  501. #501 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    OwlMirror,

    Ouch. Fair enough. Unless they were using, quite poorly, irony or sarcasm, which doesn?t seem to be the case, I accept the presentation of the Han and Warda paper, assuming they are in fact scientists which appears to be the case, as an example where beliefs adversely affect the science. Tipler is another matter. People can publish whatever they like in the non peer-reviewed literature. We judge their science by their research publications, not their philosophical publications.

    (Aside: Do you accept Hoyle?s and Eddington?s reactions to the Big Bang as evidence where atheists let their beliefs adversely affect their science?)

    Sastra,

    The scientific test for God is this: does it follow from the science? If not, it fails the test. Your solution for covering this failure is to reject the result and place it in another compartment. The Not-science compartment. This is what we mean by compartmentalization and inconsistency. You are not arguing against compartmentalization, but for it.

    What test is that again? I?d like to be part of the collaboration. What equipment will we use? What measurements will we take? Count me in. But provide some details. But for heaven?s sake under no circumstances allow anyone to ?compartmentalize? this experiment. It must be done at all costs. Again, please send the research proposal.

    The practice of science requires that one first hold the ethical value of truth-seeking and humility, of following the evidence only where it leads, and being as objective as possible.

    No, yes, and yes. If science requires humility?oh boy we are in deep kimchee. Nor does it require any ethical values. The worst scoundrel on the planet can do science?as we have seen in the past, some great science has resulted from evil motives. I agree with the other points.

    But, for the larger perspective which values science and the scientific mindset itself, we need arguments for consistency, science all the way down, cranes vs. skyhooks, and atheism.

    I accept you believe that. I don?t see why. A secular, church and state separated society with religious freedom seems optimal to me. I think science all-the-way-down would be boring. Having a Moslem neighbor is more interesting than having a scientist as a neighbor. I see enough scientists at work.

  502. #502 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Nemo#500 wrote:

    You’re not accomplishing anything here. I’m not even sure what you think you can accomplish.

    Heddle is providing us with alternative viewpoints and arguments. Some people like that, some people don’t. Some people like the way he does it, some people don’t. Some people find the experience useful and interesting, some don’t.

    Are you sensing a pattern here?

    Some people respond to him, some people don’t. Now that this thread is officially over #500 comments, it’s not as if anyone should feel obligated to swell the count so PZ doesn’t feel hurt that nobody reads his blog.

  503. #503 CreateThis
    February 5, 2009

    Please stop calling evolution a religion. Intelligent people refuse to be a part of cults, no matter how large.

    This video perfectly shows the ignorant, uneducated, brainwashed minds of the creationists. Please site your references!!! The ancient scribblings of your book will not suffice. Scientific books that are updated with new information seems a little more accurate. Is this girl a scientist? (All this talk about the cell, most of it wrong)

    Wow

    She is brainwashed idiot #87686655

  504. #504 Cay
    February 5, 2009

    My kids go to public school here in Oregon. My seventh grader is studying horse fossils in Earth Science right now, with objectives of showing the progression of their evolution and how archeology works. No nods to creationism. Just want you all to have some confidence in the public school system.

  505. #505 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle wrote:

    What test is that again? I?d like to be part of the collaboration.

    Literalist ;)

    Is the existence of God a hypothesis?

    If not, what is it?

    I think science all-the-way-down would be boring. Having a Moslem neighbor is more interesting than having a scientist as a neighbor.

    Some of my best friends are New Agers ;)

    I think you’re answering a different question: are people with irrational or false beliefs sometimes very interesting and nice? Or, perhaps, can an individual decide that, for the sake of harmony and a little free time, they’re not going to fight every damn battle all the time?

    It’s probably similar to deciding that one isn’t going to try to convert the Damned at every opportunity, nor will one avoid them as friends.

    But at some point, truth (or Truth) matters. And whether Islam is true, homeopathy works, God exists, or Jesus Saves needs to be taken seriously, and — in some sense and way that keeps one from being a total and complete dick — applied to life all the way down.

  506. #506 Stu
    February 5, 2009

    Having a Moslem neighbor is more interesting than having a scientist as a neighbor

    Totally. Their cooking is way better.

  507. #507 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Sastra,

    I understand, I think, what you are saying and I agree with science all-the-way-down if by that you mean that we only teach accepted scientific theories in public schools and that we base our scientific and technological goals and policy on accepted science and we do not allow church interference in the state. I disagree that it should include any attempt to eradicate religion. If education accomplishes that, so be it. (Of course, as a Calvinist I am not worried.) I?d like to think that I?d even think that if I were an atheist, but who knows? It?s a spice of life thing?I?m not a scientist 24/7 (in fact I am now much more a science teacher than a scientist) and I?d rather, at least for good fractions of time, be among people very different from me rather than people just like me.

  508. #508 tony
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle: You asked

    Do you accept Hoyle?s and Eddington?s reactions to the Big Bang as evidence where atheists let their beliefs adversely affect their science?

    As an atheist who sees the ‘fruits of science’ continually quotemined by the religious to provide support (however fragile) to their creaking bronze-age philosophies – I undertand exactly why any scientist would fear the irrational use of their findings by unscrupulous ‘shepherds’. Especially such a finding, which could be twisted to support claims of biblical genesis and creation, regardless of truth or how much it had to be stretched to fit the narrow prejudice of pastors and their flocks.

    Science is assailed every day by God of the gaps arguments. The Big Bang hypothesis (which is still all that it is, you must agree) is sheer gold for unscrupulous preachers.

    You might note, however, that despite their fears (justified in light of subequent events) those scientists still published!

    That is the triumph of science. And it ultimately will be the downfall of religion.

    Uncomfortable truths in Science will always be aired in public, and scrutinized in the light of the global community of scientists, and of ‘lay people’ like myself.

    Uncomfortable truths in Religion — will continue to be glossed over, hidden from view, obfuscated, or demoted from fact to metaphor. When all of your religious ‘facts’ become metaphor, where then is the basis for your religion?

  509. #509 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    I’m somewhat puzzled Knockgoats: do you really think you have brought out anything that those here have not heard a thousand times before? That’s what’s so boring about atheists – they so seldom have anything new to say. – heddle the hypocrite

    Feeble, heddle, very feeble. If you think atheists are boring, what are you doing here? Show me where someone had previously objected to your demand that those convinced science and religion are incompatible shut up about it until they have proved it, on the grounds that you feel at liberty to indoctrinate children with your Calvinist crap even though you have not proved that. If you can’t, then all you have proved, yet again, is that you are a liar.

  510. #510 SC, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Argh! I don’t have time to respond fully enough to the nonsense and lies from Heddle the Slippery Calvinist Fish before my next class, and then I’m going to talks in Cambridge and Boston and won’t get home till late tonight. I probably won’t have a chance to fillet him until tomorrow.

  511. #511 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    I?d rather, at least for good fractions of time, be among people very different from me rather than people just like me. – heddle the hypocrite

    Well, something we can agree on – only I’d express it more strongly! I’d much rather, all the time, be among people very different from you rather than people just like you.

  512. #512 Watchman
    February 5, 2009

    SC, it’s 16F in The Hub. He’ll keep.

  513. #513 SC, OM
    February 5, 2009

    I think science all-the-way-down would be boring. Having a Moslem neighbor is more interesting than having a scientist as a neighbor. I see enough scientists at work.

    It?s a spice of life thing?I?m not a scientist 24/7 (in fact I am now much more a science teacher than a scientist) and I?d rather, at least for good fractions of time, be among people very different from me rather than people just like me.

    Yeah, ’cause that’s exactly what Sastra meant by science all the way down. heddle apparently sees enough evidential bases for fact claims at work as well, and hopes to avoid all such boring evidency stuff in the rest of his life (when forming an opinion on the war in Iraq, the economic stimulus plan, etc.).

  514. #514 Garfunkel
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle,

    You can take some comfort in the thought that most of the Pharyngula herd disagree with you. If I were you, I’d be more concerned about the quality of my thinking if they agreed with me.

  515. #515 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Tony,

    As an atheist who sees the ‘fruits of science’ continually quotemined by the religious to provide support (however fragile) to their creaking bronze-age philosophies – I undertand exactly why any scientist would fear the irrational use of their findings by unscrupulous ‘shepherds’. Especially such a finding, which could be twisted to support claims of biblical genesis and creation, regardless of truth or how much it had to be stretched to fit the narrow prejudice of pastors and their flocks.

    So what? And the quote-mining charge can be a cheap blunt instrument best used when presented with unfortunate facts. Neither Eddington nor Hoyle only went as far as taking the position: ?Shit. Crap. Damn. The data point to a universe with a beginning. The friggin? whackos are going to have a field day with this.? If they said that, and then added: ?But what can we do? That is where the data take us.? Then you?d have a point. I would be quote-mining. But both went the extra mile, both sought to dismiss the big-bang scientifically. Any atheist that doesn?t follow the data because it might be exploited by creationists is making a grievous mistake. You can argue that they didn?t do that, though I think the case is pretty strong, but you cannot claim this is a simple quote-mining.

    those scientists still published!

    They did, and that?s the point, just like OwlMirror?s example. If they didn?t publish, who cares what they believed? And so the question stands: Did Hoyle?s persistence of a (let?s face it, bizarre) modified steady-state model, adapted to accommodate expansion, and publishing on it, long after there was near unanimous acceptance of the big-bang, indicate that he was letting his beliefs adversely affect his science? I think it is possible. Or maybe you believe atheist scientists are always 100% pure?

    SC, OM,

    I probably won’t have a chance to fillet him until tomorrow.

    Ooh, that sounds so scary!

  516. #516 Priya Lynn
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis said “Without God as the necessary precondition for the laws of logic there is no standard of logic and reason, so all our objections that I am using “circular reasoning” are meaningless.
    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning before you accuse me of fallacies.”.

    Your god does not exist so cannot be the source of logic. A number of people on the various threads touched upon the source of logic and reason, but you, of course, were afraid to acknowledge what they said.

    The source of logic and reason is the nature of the world and the way things, people, etc. interact. We learn logic and reason by observing and remembering the way the world works and the nature of the universe.

    On one other thread you were endlessly repeating “Humans reason. In order to reason they use laws of logic. These laws of logic and reason are universal (apply to everyone), objective (not dependent on human opinion or conventions), immaterial (not made of matter) and invariant( do not change). God is universal,objective,immaterial and invariant and he is the necessary pre-condition for these laws of logic and reason to exist. This is proven by the impossibility of the contrary. How do you account account for the absolute ,invariant,universal, objective,immaterial laws of logic and mathematics?”

    It’s pretty clear why you’re wrong. Your claim that its impossible for the laws to have come from someone other than your imaginary god is clearly false. For example the laws of non-contradiction and identity that you referred to come from observing the interactions of things in the real world – we notice that one thing is never another and so on, we notice that heavier than air objects fall, e=MCsquared, etc. As well the case can be made that

    1) The laws of logic and reason are not necessarily universal or objective because some logic and reason is dependent on how people react to what they think and as such may vary from person to person.

    2) The laws are not immaterial as even the abstract ideas we hold in our heads ultimately exist as neuro-chemical firings and electricity. We have a model of the world in our brains that plays out scenarios based on how we’ve observed the world to work and that model consists of material things and as such even our thoughts are not immaterial.

    3 The laws are not necessarily invarient. As the laws of logic and reason exist in our minds as abstract concepts they can and do change with our growing understanding of the world. For example whereas it was once thought that newtonian physics perfectly explained motion we now have the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics – our understanding of the world and hence our rules of logic and reason have changed. A simpler example would be whereas we once reasoned that god opened a window in heaven to make it rain we now know a series of natural processes is responsible for this.

  517. #517 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #507 wrote:

    I understand, I think, what you are saying and I agree with science all-the-way-down if by that you mean that we only teach accepted scientific theories in public schools and that we base our scientific and technological goals and policy on accepted science and we do not allow church interference in the state.

    Yes, we agree on all this — but it’s not exactly what I meant by science-all-the-way-down.

    I disagree that it should include any attempt to eradicate religion.

    Depends on what you mean by the word “eradicate.” If you mean through force of law or government, I agree.

    But I don’t agree that religion and its claims for the supernatural should be out of bounds for science to have any say on — and that this issue shouldn’t be dealt with in public forums, lest it scare the public. As I was arguing rather longwindedly upthread, I don’t accept the use of the term “methodological naturalism” (depending on what is meant by it.) I don’t think that the supernatural, by definition, is beyond science’s scope.

    Yes, religious belief can be reconciled with science — but not in the sense that loving country music can be reconciled with accepting evolution. More in the sense that believing that water has a memory of healing chemicals diluted out of it when intention is imparted into it through shaking and motions made with a stick can be reconciled with being an excellent plastics chemist, top in their industry.

    Perhaps, on the personal level, the chemist is a better plastics chemist because he’s also a homeopath. He feels better, and gets to the lab more often. But fight, fight, fight against homeopathy nonetheless, because, if true, it ought to make a difference in Chemistry.

  518. #518 SC, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Ooh, that sounds so scary!

    I’m sure you’re not the least bit afraid. After all, you always have your three escape routes: willful obtuseness, slagging, and scampering away.

  519. #519 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    Well, something we can agree on – only I’d express it more strongly! I’d much rather, all the time, be among people very different from you rather than people just like you.

    That?s because, I would speculate, you are supremely insecure and require frequent if not constant validation.

    Hold on, don’t despair,–maybe Nerd Of Redhead will come by and say”

    Go get’m Knockgoats; you sure showed him! Haha, hahaha!

  520. #520 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 5, 2009

    Posted by: Garfunkel | February 5, 2009

    Heddle,

    You can take some comfort in the thought that most of the Pharyngula herd disagree with you. If I were you, I’d be more concerned about the quality of my thinking if they agreed with me.

    Says that person who says:”I suspect that I’m as familiar with the evidence for evolutionary theory as you are. The difference is that you find it persuasive, and I don’t.”

    Question, how do you know that all of the scientist are wrong about their research? Or do you think they are collectively lying?

  521. #521 Stu
    February 5, 2009

    That?s because, I would speculate, you are supremely insecure and require frequent if not constant validation.

    What the hell is it with Christians and projection?

  522. #522 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Sastras,

    But I don’t agree that religion and its claims for the supernatural should be out of bounds for science to have any say on — and that this issue shouldn’t be dealt with in public forums, lest it scare the public.

    I certainly agree. Anyone should be free to attack religion in the arena of ideas. And if anyone wants to use science against religion: go for it. After all my position is that my religion not only is but must be consistent with science. You will do me a favor by putting it to whatever test you can devise.

    I don’t think that the supernatural, by definition, is beyond science’s scope.

    I guess we disagree?but perhaps with a subtlety. The miracles were witnessed. They could have been photographed, documented, studied, measured, and analyzed. So in that sense they are in science?s scope. And that is how I would approach one, if I encountered it today. When I say they are outside of science?s scope, what I mean is that if they are actual miracles, then by definition science ultimately will fail in explaining them. But again, we don?t have any at our disposal to test our theories.

    SC, OM

    I’m sure you’re not the least bit afraid. After all, you always have your three escape routes: willful obtuseness, slagging, and scampering away.

    Only in your delusions of grandeur, where you imagine you have stopped me cold in my tracks with your compelling, powerful, and insightful gotcha! questions, and you have Nerd patting you on the back as proof!

  523. #523 CJO
    February 5, 2009

    Garfunkel:
    If I were you, I’d be more concerned about the quality of my thinking if they agreed with me.

    Making it perfectly clear that you are utterly incompetent when it comes to assessing propositions on their own merits. What I’ve quoted here is the same as admitting that you actually prefer the ad hominem approach as opposed to actual independent thinking: Members of group X, whom I dislike, disagree with me, therefore I must be right. So when I read any more of your inane screeds, I’ll be sure to keep in mind that you have no basis other than your ideological associations on which to make judgements.

  524. #524 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Stu,

    What the hell is it with Christians and projection?

    It’s just like Sam Harris’s, except it’s not Astral.

  525. #525 tony
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle: I’m shocked! Are you suggesting in your response that Scientists are never in disagreement about the meaning of their science?

    You may choose to ascribe Hoyle’s reluctance to recognize the “Big Bang” immediately however you prefer – but simply saying that he waited until “the consensus” was “overwhelmingly in favor of a Big Bang” is disingeneous at least.

    The big bang was a major “discontinuity event” in cosmological science. As such it had it’s adherents and it’s detractors. Scientists are people too! You bleat as if Hoyle is the only scientist EVER to face disquiet at what their data suggests is the truth. (Einstein’s disquiet with Quantum Theory comes to mind)

    Yes – the evidence, viewed dispassionately and objectively TODAY, points at an event we dub “Big Bang”. Other current (and more recent) cosmological theories also account for that ‘discontinuity’ (various oscilatory brane models, other recent models suggesting no ‘bang’ but more of a ‘bounce’, etc). You seem to be pissed because (a) Hoyle was an avowed atheist, and (b) felt that his ‘results’ were too strange to be reasonable, therefore was (c) reluctant to publish, and when he did publish (d) his paper proposed an extension of steady state.

    Hoyle – for the most part – did not like the big bang (nor do I for that matter) because it is so loose. It has zero explanatory power. WHY? What came BEFORE? Why is the universe thus & so, and not other?

    As someone who values science, I understand that reluctance to ‘throw in my hat’ with the ‘easy and obvious’ answer, and also because it does ‘play into the hands’ of creationists.

    So tell me. What is YOUR position on the ‘big bang’? What cosmological model do you find to be most accurate & provides the most explanatory power? WHY do you subscribe to that model versus another?

    But if you need to use ‘god’ in your answer, then by your own admission – that is not science.

    If, indeed, we discover that the steady state is indeed truer – through a ‘bounce’ model, instead of a ‘bang’ model — what effect would that have on the religious ‘creation as an event’ myth? Especially since ‘progressive’ faiths have climbed onto the big bang bandwagon in a major way.

  526. #526 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Knockgoats @460 – I second your opinion.

  527. #527 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    When I say they are outside of science?s scope, what I mean is that if they are actual miracles, then by definition science ultimately will fail in explaining them

    Forgive me if I missed these points somewhere above but I’ve been busy being snarky elsewhere.

    If these miracles interact with the “natural” world, the force interacting on the physical should be measurable. And being physically measurable it’s no longer supernatural.

    Once you cross that threshold of detection it enters into the realm of science being able to quantify and qualify it and eventually explain it. We may not have the tools at this point but that doesn’t mean we will not.

    If this is true shouldn’t this lead to the ability to “prove” miracles and therefor god(s) or just “prove” the opposite?

    If god interacts with the physical world via miracles, angels and / or divine intervention would it be or would not be detectable?

  528. #528 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis @ 473 repeats himself:

    You guys don’t get it. Without God as the necessary precondition for the laws of logic there is no standard of logic and reason, so all our objections that I am using “circular reasoning” are meaningless.
    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning before you accuse me of fallacies.

    I know this is a no-no, but he has failed repeatedly to deal with my argument, last repeated at #429, so I will paste the meat of it again. Apologies:

    Millennia of experience in counting objects and measuring land led, through a process of abstraction, to the invention of mathematics. Centuries of experience doing mathematics led, through a similar process of abstraction, to the invention of logic. This is what made Russell and Whitehead’s effort to derive mathematics from logic such a back-asswards enterprise. Logic is not the ground of all being, it’s the codified observation of how mathematics works, and mathematics is just the codified observation of how quantity works. So you’re several layers of abstraction off from logic being the ground of everything and “God” being responsible for logic. Aristotle is responsible for (one form) of logic.

    Deal with this or shut up! Refute it or you’ve got nothing!

    Heddle @ 490:

    That would be Hoyle and especially Eddington resisting the Big Bang because of perceived religious implications.

    Fred Hoyle rejected (and derisively named) the Big Bang Theory partially because he thought it gave aid and comfort to religion. His Steady State Theory was however, a testable theory, which eventually was tested and found wanting.

    Perhaps he wouldn’t have had this reaction had Georges Lemaitre not been the creator of the “Primeval Atom”. But even Father Lemaitre told the Pope that his theory had no bearing on religion and shouldn’t be used as an argument in support of Biblical creation.

    As for Eddington, now you’re just making shit up. Eddington was quite devout. Perhaps his reasoning powers being poisoned by religion account for the airy-fairy numerological nonsense he came up with to explain the values of the physical constants, or his suppression of Chandrasekhar’s proof of the existence of neutron stars that delayed his Nobel Prize for 40 years, but he was a convinced Christian and a conscientious objector in WWI. Or don’t Quakers count?

  529. #529 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Tony,

    but simply saying that he waited until “the consensus” was “overwhelmingly in favor of a Big Bang” is disingenuous at least

    No, I stated it stronger than that, or at least I intended to. He didn?t wait until there was a consensus, he waited beyond that point.

    Hoyle is the only scientist EVER to face disquiet at what their data suggests is the truth. (Einstein’s disquiet with Quantum Theory comes to mind)

    That would be fair if Hoyle was a blank slate. But he wasn?t. He made a lot of statements regarding religion and the big bang. (And even coined the term derisively, as I?m sure you know.) Given that we know that he was not just atheist but anti-theist, then the question is of interest. Did he hold on to a steady state model for so long because the creationists were gloating? You cannot pretend (well you can) that it is not a fair question for historians of science. I admit there is no way to prove it, should of it appearing as an admission in his journals?but there is circumstantial evidence. And I don?t think you believe that all atheist scientists are incapable of bad judgment.

    Hoyle – for the most part – did not like the big bang (nor do I for that matter) because it is so loose. It has zero explanatory power. WHY? What came BEFORE? Why is the universe thus & so, and not other?

    Zero explanatory power? Are you insane? It is one of the best tested models in all science. It friggin? predicts the cosmic background radiation. Modified, it predicts the slight non-uniformities in the background. It predicts the abundance of light elements. It makes all sort of predictions. It is one of the greatest scientific achievements ever, and you call it loose?

    So tell me. What is YOUR position on the ‘big bang’? What cosmological model do you find to be most accurate & provides the most explanatory power? WHY do you subscribe to that model versus another?

    I prefer the inflationary big bang models. They (in spite of your weird claims) are very predictive and well tested. No other speculative cosmology comes close. I don?t invoke God.

    If, indeed, we discover that the steady state is indeed truer – through a ‘bounce’ model, instead of a ‘bang’ model — what effect would that have on the religious ‘creation as an event’ myth?

    It would disprove Genesis, completely, with no chance of reconciliation. I strongly support research in this area.

  530. #530 MarkM
    February 5, 2009

    I just watched the whole video.
    I feel like I deserve a combat medal.
    At the very least, I should get lifetime
    disability payments for the damage to my
    cognitive abilities.

  531. #531 Priya Lynn
    February 5, 2009

    Replying to SC, FCTE, OM, Heddle said “You are mistaking ?running away? with not being interested. I?m obligated to answer questions regarding things that I claim, and may choose to answer questions that I find interesting, but I?m not obligated to answer questions that do not relate to any claim that I have made”.

    LOL, you suddenly become “not interested” when its clear the questions asked of you, if answered honestly and fully will lead to a clear refutation of your arguments. You’re claim that they “don’t relate to any claim” you’ve made is just a laughable excuse to hide.

    Tony said “If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics?”.

    Heddle said “I didn?t run away from that question, I answered it in #237. You apparently ran away from my answer.”.

    No you didn’t answer it in #237, you put down some empty words that explained nothing but aparently serve as a suitable hiding place from reality for you. You did the same thing in the “I’m in good company” thread where someone pointed out that your chicago statement showed science was incompatible with religion because it said scripture always trumps science. You replied to that with an absurd statement to the effect that “Scripture doesn’t always trump science, but science never trumps scripture”. That was just another way of saying the same thing, but that non-answer was a good enough excuse for you to hide from reality.

    Heddle said “The supernatural by definition, if it exists, cannot be explained by science. Otherwise it would be natural, not supernatural. It is indeed incompatible?although orthogonal is a better word. But belief in the supernatural is not incompatible with science, because nothing compels me only to believe things that science addresses.”.

    False. Honesty and rationality compel reasonable people to reject things for which there is no evidence and for which science has repeatedly failed to show possible like supernatural impregnation, or supernatural events of any sort.

    Heddle said “There are plenty of things in my life (that are not religion) that I believe and yet science has nothing to say about them.”.

    False. There is nothing that is off limits to science.

    Heddle said The only way my belief in the miracles of old affects my science is if I invoke supernatural explanations to explain experimental data. I don?t, so it doesn?t.”.

    No, your religion can also affect your science in that you may accept conclusions asserted by the bible and ignore evidence to the contrary to push those conclusions.

    Heddle said “I bet you will run away from this question: How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science?”.

    You’ve lost that bet. As an LGBT I see theist-”scientist”‘s beliefs in the supernatural affecting their science profoundly and repeatedly. Over and over I come up against theists doing “science” starting with the conclusion that its immoral to be LGBT and filtering evidence in their research to only accept that which portrays LGBTs in a bad light. Paul Cameron is the worst example and filters evidence to produce “research” that says gays typically die at 42, are disproportionately more likely to be child molesters, eat feces and so on. An objective view of his “research” always shows he’s filtering the evidence, prejudging, and often outright falsifying data in order to reach the conclusions he set out to reach. He doesn’t go where the evidence takes him, he reaches the conclusion first and then tries to make the data fit that conclusion.

    Now spare me your “no true scotsman” falicy that he’s not a scientist. He’s the epitome of what religious beliefs typically do to people trying to do science. He’s the classic example of religion being incompatible with science.

    Its no coincidence that one of the most common ploys of religionists to demean gays is to take a study that looks at AIDS patients, or attendees at an STD clinic and to claim that what is true for people in the study is true for all gays in general. Religion leads to people deciding on conclusions first and then filtering evidence to support those conclusions. Religion makes people dishonest. You may claim that this isn’t true for you, but you’d be far from typical if that wasn’t the case.

    Sastra said “By their failure to apply the scientific method on any belief they consider “supernatural.”"

    Heddle said “Not true. Bring me the resurrected Jesus, and I?ll apply the scientific method to his claim. I apply the scientific method to the origins of the cosmos all the time. Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done. God exists? If you tell me the test, I?ll apply it. There is not one belief that I have that I have put off limits for the scientific method.”.

    Liar. The bible says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Go ahead attempt it, this is your experiment. You’ll fail and prove the bible is a lie but you’ll still claim god and Jesus exist.

    Heddle said “Running away does not mean getting bored with your repetitive questions.”.

    How convenient. You “get bored” whenever you come across a question which answered honestly and fully would demonstrate you’re wrong.

    Heddle said “Running away is when someone posts a really good showstopper question and the person to whom it was addressed declines to answer and just goes away. I challenge you to reproduce from your list of posts on the previous thread one question that a reasonable person would say: yes, that or something close wasn?t already asked and answered, and it is a substantive question, and it is on topic, and heddle simply refused to answer. C?mon, do it.”.

    Its been done repeatedly and you’ve run away by either failing to answer or giving nonsensical non-answers such as “Scripture doesn’t always trump science, but science never trumps scripture” when it was pointed out to you that the chicago statement demonstrated that religion and science are incompatible. Or for example when Tony said “If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics?” you respond with some nebulous hair splitting that says nothing to any rational person.

    Heddle said “If science requires humility?oh boy we are in deep kimchee. Nor does it require any ethical values. The worst scoundrel on the planet can do science?”.

    Its a rare exception to find an unethical person who can do good science. Case in point the aforementioned Paul Cameron. He was ejected from the mental health associations he belongs to for unethical behavior including the falsification of data in pursuit of his vendetta against gays – a motivation that comes directly from his religion. In my life I see religion dirtying science again and again. A few exceptions to this rule doesn’t deny the fact that science and religion are incompatible.

  532. #532 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #522 wrote:

    After all my position is that my religion not only is but must be consistent with science. You will do me a favor by putting it to whatever test you can devise.

    I think that a religion that was genuinely consistent with science would adhere to the same principles, and approach the existence of God as a scientific hypothesis, coherent and uniform with other theories, and derivable from evidence — without an attitude of faith. That’s a bit more stringent, perhaps.

    I suppose it’s like saying that chocolate jelly donuts are “consistent with” a nutritious breakfast, in that you can eat a nutritious breakfast — and then have a chocolate jelly donut to wash it down. But people, being what they are, are likely to misunderstand that meaning of ‘consistent with,’ and not take it that loosely. It eventually becomes known as a health food, in a sort of deep-fat-fried version of creationism.

    When I say they are outside of science?s scope, what I mean is that if they are actual miracles, then by definition science ultimately will fail in explaining them.

    I think that, if they are actual miracles, science would fail in explaining them as natural and material. Instead, there would be a new scientific category for the supernatural, and that is how science would explain them.

  533. #533 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Lurkbot #528,

    As for Eddington, now you’re just making shit up.

    No I am not making shit up. I don?t care what his religion was, but I know he was against the big bang, which he termed ?repugnant? and ?preposterous? and demanded that a loophole be discovered, because he worried that it (a universe with a beginning) didn?t leave enough time for evolution to get started. Those at least hint at non-scientific reasons why he was opposed. Rarely is ?that’s repugnant? a valid scientific response to a sensible scientific proposal.

  534. #534 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #524 wrote:

    It’s just like Sam Harris’s, except it’s not Astral.

    Minor point, but Sam Harris doesn’t believe in Astral Projection — or any of the typical New Age-ish pseudoscience claims of that nature. His approach to mysticism is much more subtle, and a bit hard to pinpoint. He thinks the experience is completely brain-based, but useful psychologically and emotionally.

  535. #535 MartinH
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle

    At #270, I presented an argument for the incompatibility of science and religion at least as presuambly manifested in you. I was hoping for a response.

    It seems that you infer that incompatibility of science and religion must imply that a religious person cannot write a scientifically sound paper.

    This is clearly not true, and any number of papers and pieces of scientific work could be cited as examples. I am not aware of anyone who makes the claim that you appear to deduce. I infer that you are invoking a straw man.

    Thus trivially it seems that science and religion are not incompatible in the way you choose to define this term.

    However, it is still possible that the rest of us have something different in mind when asserting this incompatibility, something that doesn’t have your implication. For me, that incompatibility consists simply in the fact that scientific (more generally, evidence-based) thinking and religious thinking lead to inconsistent conclusions when faced with the same set of data. My post in #270 is an example of this.

    If you prefer to think religiously, let’s try a parable, the parable of the 3 vessels.

    Three men set out across a hot desert, a day apart from each other. Before he left, each man was given the choice of one of three vessels, each with a spigot at the bottom and all corked so that he could not see the contents.

    Only one man made it across the desert, the one who had chosen the vessel filled with water. One made very little distance before he died of thirst when he discovered that he had chosen a vessel filled only with oil. The other man had chosen a vessel half-filled with water and half with oil. He made good progress until he discovered that he had finished all the water and the rest of the liquid was oil, not compatible with life and oddly immiscible with water.

    Garfunkel

    I’m still waiting eagerly – after more than a day – for your reference on the required precision of the initial universal expansion. All I need is a reference – I have access to a pretty good library.

  536. #536 CJO
    February 5, 2009

    It would disprove Genesis, completely

    That’s just silly. There is no claim to disprove, beyond “A being with infinite capabilities caused the beginning of everything.” Those powers, being unlimited, surely do not exclude the power to create a universe that appeared to every conceivable test to be without a beginning. It might seem perverse by our lights, but I’m always hearing about these “mysterious ways.” (And perversity doesn’t really seem to bother the big guy that much anyway, if the chronicles of his exploits are any guide.) I just don’t get a mindset that conceives of a transcendent, infinite, unknowable-by-human-reason being, and then expects our necessarily limited conception of the universe to conform to some way that being “must” have acted in the past.

  537. #537 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    [Eddington] worried that it (a universe with a beginning) didn?t leave enough time for evolution to get started

    Given that evolution was a popular scientific hypothesis at the time, it is not at all unreasonable to demand that cosmological age conform to what else is known about the universe (i.e., that evolution occurs). Evolution was originally questioned because the methods for determining the age of the earth suggested that the planet was not old enough for evolutionary processes to have taken place. I don’t see how this criticism of Eddington’s is somehow non-scientific, or the result of bias.

  538. #538 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    That?s because, I would speculate, you are supremely insecure and require frequent if not constant validation.- – heddle the hypocrite

    No, heddle, my distaste for people like you is simply a dislike of hypocrites, liars, and those who indoctrinate children with disgusting filth such as Calvinism.

  539. #539 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    MartinH, 535

    Oh Noes, I Sir Robbined another challenge!

    I didn?t answer your post in #270 because I had trouble understanding it.

    You said:

    Christianity is externally a collection of documents and of cultural practices and internally of feelings and experiences (I assume you are Christian). These are your experimental data, as it were, although we are dealing with historical science, but I think that is only a detail.

    There is a bible, is that what you mean? I agree there is a bible and it is fair to put anything it says to the test. Now when it describes something as a miracle, it is more or less telling you: you’ll never be able to explain this. Of course you can try–and of course there is plenty in the bible that is not describing a miracle but history and a wee bit of science. That can be tested in the normal sense.

    By your own lights, to be true to science, you should not invoke the supernatural to explain what you are examining.

    That is true.

    However, to be religious in this context, you need to invoke the supernatural. To do so, you must disavow the explanations arrived at by MN, and thus demonstrate the incompatibility of the two.

    That is not invoking the supernatural, that is accepting the biblical accounts as true.

    If accepting the biblical accounts as true is in and of itself sufficient to prove incompatibility, then you have a tidy tautology. If you are religious, you accept the supernatural, and if you accept the supernatural, you are incompatible with science. Like all question begging, such an argument cannot be refuted, excpt by pointing out it?s circularity. That is why I continue to ask for a demonstration, an experiement. Not words. Show me the affect of the incompatibility, don’t keep trying to prove it with words, which is impossible.

    Invoking the supernatural is this: 1) Do an experiment. 2) Collect the data. 3) Analyze the data. 4) Fail to explain the data. 5) Declare that as proof that God did it!

    Step 5 is invoking the supernatural, and step five is where you?d have me?it would be proof positive that my religion is incompatible with my science.

    Tulse,

    OK, fair enough. I stand by the claim that Eddington went beyond routine scientific concern over the problems he thought it would cause for evolution and stepped over the line to where the tail was wagging the dog–but I have no interest in fighting the fight. I was just curious whether people would even concede the possibility that Eddington or Hoyle might allowed their believes to adversely affect their science. If you say no, no way, then I’ll take that as a no, you don’t concede the possibility.

    CJO,

    OK I’ll modify it. It would disprove Genesis to me. I can interpret Genesis so as to be compatible with an old earth. I see no way to have an interpretation that is reconcilable to an infinitely old cosmos. So for me, Genesis would crumble, and the rest of the bible along with it. You are right, it doesn’t rule out some other deity–but it rules out the one I believe inspired Genesis.

  540. #540 windy
    February 5, 2009

    [heddle on the underrepresentation of theists in science]

    I did several times. The possibilities include
    1) It really is true that smart people are less likely to be believers.
    2) Christian schools and colleges do an abysmal job of teaching science and encouraging its study, reducing supply. Sort of the same reason why there are fewer women.
    3) Really smart people are more confident and so are less likely to buckle to the familial, peer, and cultural pressure of declaring as a believer. That is, they are more willing to come out and admit they are atheists. Thus the low percentage of professed believers among scientists might be far more accurate than the high percentages claimed in the general public.
    In any case none of those imply say anything about incompatibility.

    Number two might, depending on why Christian schools tend to teach science abysmally. As for explanation 1 under Calvinism, I’m curious, why do you think God would be more likely to bestow belief upon non-smart people and/or non-scientists?

    If there were only one rare theist who was smart enough to be a scientist I could still ask: show me where his theism is incompatible with his science, and nobody would have answer.

    Nonsense. Can I point to Kurt Wise and say that young earth creationism is compatible with paleontology, since he did not let creationism interfere with his work under SJ Gould?

  541. #541 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    heddle @#501:

    Tipler is another matter. People can publish whatever they like in the non peer-reviewed literature. We judge their science by their research publications, not their philosophical publications.

    And Isaac Newton famously did write bunches of stuff about angels and alchemy and his own take on theology, in addition to the Principia and works on optics, et cetera. OK, point granted.

    (although I note that you appear to be using “philosophical” to mean abstract non-empirical philosophy; science is an outgrowth of earlier empirical natural philosophy)

    (Aside: Do you accept Hoyle?s and Eddington?s reactions to the Big Bang as evidence where atheists let their beliefs adversely affect their science?)

    Yet as noted below, Eddington was not an atheist.

    I think it is possible that a scientist may let some (prior) ideological commitment(s) adversely affect science; colloquially called “crankiness”. There are plenty of examples of scientists who become slightly or extremely cranky for one reason or another. An example with no connection to religion that comes to mind is Lynn Margulis’ rejection of HIV being the cause of AIDS, and her description of horizontal gene flow as “Lamarckism”, and her castigation of “Darwinism”, which looks almost creationist-like until one reads her rather narrow definition of what that is, and her further qualifications and clarifications of terms.

    Getting back to Hoyle: ¹ I would agree that his ideological commitment to steady-state looks at least partly motivated by anti-religion, yet I think it could be argued that his motivation was also based on the common reaction to to cosmological argument: If God caused the universe, what caused God? If God does not need a cause, why does the universe need a cause?

    But I think it’s worth noting that non-religious crankiness in general tends to be from a minority of scientists, who are for the most part cranky about different things or in different ways; a small amount of noise in the much stronger “signal” that is the scientific consensus.

    The problem with religion is that it is prior ideological commitment with a much larger social backing and reinforcement, which leads to boosting the “noise” over the “signal” in such debacles as “creation science”, and scientists supporting creationism in areas outside their fields of expertise.

    ______________________________

    1: I note, from Wikipedia: “Ironically, he is responsible for coining the term “Big Bang” on a BBC radio program, The Nature of Things broadcast at 1830 GMT on 28 March 1949. It is popularly reported that Hoyle intended this to be pejorative, but the script from which he read aloud clearly shows that he intended the expression to help his listeners.[5] In addition, Hoyle explicitly denied that he was being insulting and said it was just a striking image meant to emphasize the difference between the two theories for radio listeners.[6]“

  542. #542 windy
    February 5, 2009

    It’s just like Sam Harris’s, except it’s not Astral.

    I too think Sam Harris is silly on eastern mysticism. But he seems to have waffled on it and said different things in different places, leading some people like Sastra in #534 to get a completely different impression.

    But let’s for the sake of the argument accept that
    1) Sam Harris is a scientist
    2) Sam Harris believes in astral projection.

    Does this make astral projection compatible with science?

  543. #543 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Windy,

    As for explanation 1 under Calvinism, I’m curious, why do you think God would be more likely to bestow belief upon non-smart people and/or non-scientists?

    I don?t know that he does (see number 3) but maybe he does. I do often worry about God?s sense of humor. The bible does talk about the foolish things shaming the wise, and the weak shaming the strong. I don?t that?s what it means, but maybe it is. There is also Jesus? statement that he came for the sick and the unrighteous, not the healthy and the (self) righteous. Are these consistent with fewer highly intelligent people being saved? I don?t know. A bit of a stretch, but maybe.

    Christian schools teach science abysmally because as we see in the video there is a fair amount of anti-science sentiment among Christians. Usually not as bad as that girl, but often a general distrust of science. That is exactly the kind of thing I like to fight. But the bottom line is?take a look sometime at the catalogues for many Christian colleges. With few exceptions (Wheaton, Grove City, a few others) the science offerings are pitiful.

    Nonsense. Can I point to Kurt Wise and say that young earth creationism is compatible with paleontology, since he did not let creationism interfere with his work under SJ Gould?

    I would say yes, though I have never seen his thesis?I assume it passes scientific muster. Either you would have to do the science in spite of what you believe?which as I have pointed out is always possible. There is no requirement that a String Theorist actually believes String Theory. Or you would have to choose problems that minimized your conflict. But as long as you could find them, you could do it. People choose what problems they want to work on all the time. Now if Wise, a la the Creation Scientists, began explicitly to insert YECism in some detectable way into his science, that would be a problem.

    Re: Sam Harris, assuming he really is deeply in to eastern mysticism. No, in the same sense I have been arguing about theists, his scientific production must be evaluated and praised or criticized as appropriate solely on the basis of its merit. To bring up his eastern mysticism when evaluating his science is an ad hominem.

  544. #544 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    I stand by the claim that Eddington went beyond routine scientific concern over the problems he thought it would cause for evolution

    I honestly don’t see it, at least based on what I’ve seen. This seemed to me to be more a matter of the consilience of science — if evolution is indeed a supported hypothesis, then any unsupported speculations shouldn’t contradict that hypothesis. Perhaps I don’t know enough about the specific source of Eddington’s views, but on the surface there seems nothing particularly biased. You may disagree, of course.

    I was just curious whether people would even concede the possibility that Eddington or Hoyle might allowed their believes to adversely affect their science. If you say no, no way, then I’ll take that as a no, you don’t concede the possibility.

    Of course I concede the “possibility” — don’t be ridiculous. It may very well be that further biographical research would reveal that either or both of them held their views out of deeply irrational beliefs. If that were the case, such beliefs would be just an inimical to the practice of science as would religious commitments.

    However, I very much doubt that in Eddington’s case his views were prompted by some sort of atheistic orientation, since contrary to your claim he was (very famously) a Quaker, and wrote a book on science and religion.

  545. #545 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    Getting back to Hoyle: I would agree that his ideological commitment to steady-state looks at least partly motivated by anti-religion, yet I think it could be argued that his motivation was also based on the common reaction to to cosmological argument: If God caused the universe, what caused God? If God does not need a cause, why does the universe need a cause?

    And it looks like however anti-religious he may have been, he was not atheistic:

    Sir Fred Hoyle reached the conclusion that the universe is governed by a greater intelligence.

    Really, Wikipedia outlines his descent into exceedingly cranky anti-evolutionist steady-state deism.

    I infer that Charlie Wagner picked up his own cranky ideas from Hoyle.

  546. #546 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #543 wrote:

    “Can I point to Kurt Wise and say that young earth creationism is compatible with paleontology, since he did not let creationism interfere with his work under SJ Gould?”
    I would say yes, though I have never seen his thesis?I assume it passes scientific muster. Either you would have to do the science in spite of what you believe?which as I have pointed out is always possible. There is no requirement that a String Theorist actually believes String Theory.

    Clearly, you are using the word “compatible” in a different sense than we are. Perhaps this sums up your position best:

    Miller is especially good at separating scientific rationality from every other form of human cognition. It is crucial that the reader understand that science is a trade: it does not matter what a scientist believes as long as he does his scientific work properly. This has been a stumbling block for many would-be intellectuals who imagine that science might have something to do with a comprehensive understanding of the universe, or that an awareness of the quantity and quality of evidence may know no boundaries. Perhaps an analogy will help: Let us say a cardiac surgeon believes that automobile accidents are caused, not by human inattention, brake failure, and the like, but by the Evil Eye. Would this reduce his stature as a physician? Of course not?because heart surgery has nothing to do with the indiscretions of car and driver. As Miller states, “the real issue is whether a scientist’s view on the question of God is incompatible with their scientific work. Clearly, it is not.” Yes, this is as clear the rising sun. I would only add that a belief in the Evil Eye is perfectly compatible with modern medicine?with the possible exception of ophthalmology. Some have called this the “balkanization of epistemology.” I think words like “epistemology” are overrated. And so do most Americans.

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/coyne09/coyne09_index.html

  547. #547 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    You guys have to stop equivocating with regard to the question of miracles and science. Science often deals with mechanistic processes (gravity, erosion…etc). A miracle is claimed to be the act of a transcendent personal agent. A personal agent is different from a mechanistic process.
    Claiming that God could not resurrect Jesus because of something in biology is like claiming I cannot pick up my laptop because of the law of gravity. The theist never claimed Jesus was restored to life my mechanistic processes, just as I never claimed my laptop got up on my desk by mechanistic processes. A personal agent changes things.

  548. #548 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    Here’s a way of framing the issue that might help to clarify positions somewhat: If non-scientific beliefs do not impact on research, then why should drug researchers disclose whether they have investments in a pharmaceutical company? Surely their research should be judged solely on the outcomes and following of protocol, and not whether they might happen to benefit from the outcomes? Why should we worry about possible conflicts of interest?

    I think the situation is analogous (at least for me) with religious scientists. I am certain that many can overlook their religious commitments when doing their work, and in an ideal world all scientific work would be replicated many times to correct the impact of systematic bias. However, the reality is that much work isn’t replicated, and we generally depend on scientists working “in good faith”, without prior commitments as to the outcomes of their work. Religious commitments work against that trust, because they can involve an undeclared “conflict of interest”.

  549. #549 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    It seems quite ironic that Harris is calling Collin’s book ignorant given the sheer amount of factual and logical errors present in his books.
    (His red-state/blue-state argument is a good source of laughter)

  550. #550 Steve_C
    February 5, 2009

    There are no miracles.

  551. #551 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    A personal agent is different from a mechanistic process.[...] A personal agent changes things.

    How? If Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, how did that happen? Did he create them ex nihilo, and thus added actual mass to the universe? Or did he convert some existing mass? If the latter, where did that mass come from? Were the atoms used actually transmuted into the appropriate elements, or did he pull the appropriate elements from other locations? How long did the process take? Was it temporally measurable, or did it take place literally instantaneously (which, if the matter were drawn from elsewhere, would imply either teleportation or faster-than-light travel)?

    Even if the process were not “mechanistic”, it was a process, and one that impacted on the physical world and thus could be characterized in physical terms.

    (And why is it “fishes”? Were there several species of fish involved?)

  552. #552 Owlmirror
    February 5, 2009

    Sastra @#505:

    Is the existence of God a hypothesis?

    If not, what is it?

    Heddle, you sidestepped Sastra’s questions here. Do you have any answer to the questions at all?

    I have some questions to tack on, though.

    1) Does God have definable traits at all?

    The theological stance of negative theology insists not, yet it certainly looks to me like taking the theology to its logical conclusion is one hairsbreadth — or even one Planck-length — away from Deism, pantheism, or even atheism.

    Do you agree with negative theology? Sometimes it looks like you don’t, but in the way that you shrug helplessly or carefully avoid when asked more specific questions, it looks like you do.

    2) If God does have definable traits, would you agree that at least some of those traits are defined by religions? How about by your own religion?

    3) If you agree with #2 above, what are God’s traits that you think are defined by your own religion?

  553. #553 MartinH
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle at #539

    Feel free to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something I write, and I will happily attempt it.

    Now please clarify something for me. Please define the word “incompatible” in the context of the present discussion.

  554. #554 Priya Lynn
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis at 516 I explained how your imaginary god is not the necessary precondition for the laws of logic and showed how contary to your claim the contary is not impossible. How about you acknowledge reality that the laws of logic and reason come from the nature of the universe and our observance how things interact with each other.

  555. #555 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Tulse,

    I stand utterly corrected regarding my contention that Eddington was an atheist.

    Religious commitments work against that trust, because they can involve an undeclared “conflict of interest”.

    Interesting theory. Give me a plausible example. In the case of the drug researcher with a financial conflict of interest, the potential for mischief is clear.

    Now take the religious nuclear physicist, working on an experiment on, say the pion form factor. If he wanted to, even subconsciously, have his theism influence his science, how would he? I wouldn?t know where to go in the bible to figure out what Q2 behavior God prefers for the pion form factor, or which theoretical model he would prefer to see validated.

    And how would that be different from common ?conflicts of interest? such as an experimenter trying to confirm an earlier result?most scientists are in this position at one time or another, and nobody relishes the thought of refuting a result from an earlier experiment they did?or an experimenter who has a vested interest in one theoretical model?maybe it is associated with his university?over a competitor. Aren’t those conflicts of interest that we assume 1) the experimenter will operate in good faith and 2) if he doesn’t the hope is the checks and balances of the peer review system will catch him. Wouldn’t the same applie to any conflicts of interest from the theist scientist?

  556. #556 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis #547 wrote:

    You guys have to stop equivocating with regard to the question of miracles and science. Science often deals with mechanistic processes (gravity, erosion…etc). A miracle is claimed to be the act of a transcendent personal agent. A personal agent is different from a mechanistic process.

    You misunderstand; we’re talking about justification, and whether, given the evidence we have, science supports the existence of miracles, and “transcendent personal agents” who move material objects around through psychokenesis. If not, then believing in such things is not justified scientifically. It requires a leap of faith.

    Could science accommodate the supernatural? Yes, in theory. Given strong enough evidence, it would have to.

    But can science accommodate “leaps of faith” which lead to a radically inconsistent view of how the world works? No, not in its practice, and not in its model of the world.

    If, on the other hand, these “leaps of faith” are kept absolutely minimal, are assumed to have no import in anything happening today, and are then placed in a rigid compartment separate from everything else, scientists can allow themselves to make them, and still do science. Science can accommodate such scientists.

    We do not think religious faith is consistent with science in anything but a trivial sense.

  557. #557 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle @ 501:

    (Aside: Do you accept Hoyle?s and Eddington?s reactions to the Big Bang as evidence where atheists let their beliefs adversely affect their science?)

    Me @ 528:

    As for Eddington, now you’re just making shit up. Eddington was quite devout…[snip]…but he was a convinced Christian and a conscientious objector in WWI. Or don’t Quakers count?

    Heddle @ 533:

    No I am not making shit up. I don?t care what his religion was…[snip]

    Don’t you just love principled intellectual discussion?

  558. #558 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis the Fallacious Fool, you haven’t proved your imaginary deity exists, so you need to realize until you do so, you add nothing whatsoever to the discussion except noise. You just look like the Fallacious Fool you are.

  559. #559 phantomreader42
    February 5, 2009

    And once again Facilis The Fallacious Fool flees in abject terror from the questions he’s been hiding from for a month. No surprise, of course.

  560. #560 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    Claiming that God could not resurrect Jesus because of something in biology is like claiming I cannot pick up my laptop because of the law of gravity.

    Analogy fail. We know that other forces working against gravity can “defeat it”. We can show them very easily. Your claim that your god can resurrect Jesus without giving any mechanism for it beyond an unestablished all powerfulness let alone unestablished existence, and lack of actual evidence of there even being a resurrection beyond a book that is not in any way established as reliable evidence is nothing like the above.

  561. #561 Priya Lynn
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle said to me “I bet you will run away from this question: How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science?”.

    LOL, I didn’t run away but you sure did! You’re weak Heddle.

    Once again the answer is that you can see the evidence they select is filtered to reach a pre-chosen conclusion. They ignore all evidence that contradicts what they want to conclude and focus on, doctor up, and even fabricate evidence that supports the conclusion they want to achieve. Case in point is the religious people doing “reseach” on gays such as Paul Cameron. It is notoriously flawed and dishonest. Case in point is the intelligent design scientists like Behe et al. Case in point is the pushing of intelligent design and the denial of evolution in schools pushed by religionists. Case in point is the video itelf at the start of this thread – you can see when religious people attempt to be scientific the vast majority of them bastardize science in order to kow tow to their religion. That there are a few exceptions to this rule does not counter the fact that in case after case after case religion is shown to be antagonistic to science.

    You ran away from this one again “If the supernatural is not compatible with science, how can religion be compatible, since without the supernatural foundation, religion is nothing more than philosophy and apologetics?”.

    You didn’t answer it in #237, you put down some empty words that explained nothing but aparently serve as a suitable hiding place from reality for you. You did the same thing in the “I’m in good company” thread where someone pointed out that your chicago statement showed science was incompatible with religion because it said scripture always trumps science. You replied to that with an absurd statement to the effect that “Scripture doesn’t always trump science, but science never trumps scripture” – another way of saying the same thing and pretending that was an excuse to hide from the implication that your chicago statment said where there’s a conflict scripture always trumps science which proves they are incompatible.

    And you hid from this:

    “God exists? If you tell me the test, I?ll apply it. There is not one belief that I have that I have put off limits for the scientific method.”.

    The bible says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Go ahead attempt it, this is your experiment. Try it, fail, and then acknowledge that your religion is wrong and not compatible with science.

  562. #562 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Owlmirror,

    Yes the existence of God is a hypothesis. I honestly thought I addressed this, in terms of anticipating where it would go, a number of times. That is: by all means put it to the test. But you?ll have to come up with the test, because I don?t know of any. But if you have one, do it.

    Does God have definable traits at all?

    Yes of course. He is holy. (OK, I don?t know exactly what holy means.) He is eternal, omnipotent, immutable, etc.

    No I do not agree with negative theology.

    If you agree with #2 above, what are God’s traits that you think are defined by your own religion?

    There is some semantics here. Of course all of them are in some sense defined by my religion, on the basis of what we read in scripture and to a more nebulous extent what is revealed in creation. (The heavens declare his glory.) So I don?t know if I should answer: yes they are defined or no, they are revealed in inspired scripture. I guess the latter would my answer.

    MartinH,

    Now please clarify something for me. Please define the word “incompatible” in the context of the present discussion.

    Sure, I always use incompatible this way: If incompatible is to mean something more than mumbo-jumbo, it must have a detectable effect. That is, if religion is incompatible with science then (to me) that means that a theist?s science is adversely effected by his theism in a way that can be demonstrated by examining his science.

    If that is not what incompatible means, I don?t really care whether someone claims science and religion are incompatible, for in that case it doesn?t really mean anything.

  563. #563 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Priya Lynn

    The bible says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Go ahead attempt it, this is your experiment. Try it, fail, and then acknowledge that your religion is wrong and not compatible with science.

    Let?s grant an absurdity?that Jesus meant this literally. Because we know that figures of speech are prohibited under the first, second, and possibly the ninth commandments. Metaphors are bad, and hyperbole is downright blasphemous. So let?s assume the Jesus meant this literally. Let?s test it, as you suggest: Now I am doing the experiment. There is a mound of dirt outside my office window. I?ll take that as my mountain. Now I?m concentrating, trying to move it, concentrating,?damn, nothing! But of course that doesn?t prove, as you contend, that my religion is wrong, it only proves that my faith is smaller than a mustard seed. Bummer!

    You can pull the SC, OM trick of repeatedly claiming I didn?t answer regarding reconciling the existence of the supernatural with my claim, in spite of the fact that I must have by now written 5000 words on the subject. That?s OK, I?ll agree that I ran away from the argument with my tail between my legs. I realized I couldn?t touch it with a ten foot pole. I was secretly hoping that when I argued they were compatible that nobody would bring up the supernatural or miracles. But damn, nothing gets by this bunch! Busted! Mea Culpa, you win.

  564. #564 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    facilis wrote:

    If I had an opponent who believed in some other kind of revelation, I would take both our revelations and examine them to see which provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of human experience.

    I’ve asked you these questions before, facilis; you still haven’t answered any of them:
    a) what qualifies you to make such judgements? Be specific.
    b) upon what standard can you judge them? You need an objective standard, because if you are judging it based on the Christian standard that means you are already accept the Christian standard without considering the possibility that the other ‘revelation’ may be correct – rendering your analysis biased and therefore invalid.

    Just to make it even more interesting, here are two more:

    c) Your claim is twofold – 1) something is responsible, and 2) Christianity is the best explanation for what that something is. But if you haven’t performed this examination on every religion there is, how do you know another is not more able to provide those answers than your version of Chrisitianity?

    d) list all the religions upon which you have performed this examination, and explain, in detail, what it was about them that allowed you to reach the conclusion that your particular version of Christianity (remember, there are many and they are often very different) is the best one.

    You have to have answers to these questions before you can make any claims about your religion being correct about its god being the one responsible for the laws of the universe.

    Do that and I swear (by Bob) I’ll accept your claim.

  565. #565 MartinH
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle at #562

    Sure, I always use incompatible this way: If incompatible is to mean something more than mumbo-jumbo, it must have a detectable effect. That is, if religion is incompatible with science then (to me) that means that a theist?s science is adversely effected by his theism in a way that can be demonstrated by examining his science.

    If that is not what incompatible means, I don?t really care whether someone claims science and religion are incompatible, for in that case it doesn?t really mean anything.

    This does seem a rather idiosyncratic definition, and as I said in an earlier post it seems to be a “straw man” definition. Does anyone espouse the view that science and religion are incompatible in this sense?

    Hoever, I need further clarification of your definition. Are you saying that it must be true for all theists who have produced examinable scientific work? Is one instance sufficient to prove incompatibility? Or is the existence of one theist who has produced only solid scientific work a disproof of incompatibility?

    I accept that you don’t care if people mean something different, but you haven’t demonstrated that if they don’t espouse your definition their term cannot have any meaning. In post #535 I proposed a definition which seems to me to have meaning, which is testable and yet is not the definition you have sketched.

  566. #566 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    MatinH, from #535

    For me, that incompatibility consists simply in the fact that scientific (more generally, evidence-based) thinking and religious thinking lead to inconsistent conclusions when faced with the same set of data.

    (I missed the point of your parable that followed.)

    If incompatibility means reaching different conclusions when faced with the same data (is that your definition?) then I can confidently assert, from years of attending seminars, colloquia, theses defenses, workshops, conferences, and not to mention reading peer-reviewed literature, the following: science is incompatible with science. For I have witnessed and participated in countless arguments over different conclusions reached by scientists of good faith presented with a common set of data.

  567. #567 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis:

    Still no answer to my #429 and Priya Lynn’s similar argument at # 516.

    Why is that? Can’t think of one? Here’s a hint: repeating the same crap you’ve said over and over again before about “God” being a prerequisite for logic and reason doesn’t constitute an argument. Deal with ours or give up!

  568. #568 Priya Lynn
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle said “Let?s grant an absurdity?that Jesus meant this literally”.

    LOL, that’s a good one Heddle. How do you know what is meant to be taken literally in the bible and what isn’t? Pretty convenient to claim anything you don’t like in the bible wasn’t meant to be taken literally. There is nothing in the bible that would lead you to believe “if you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move a mountain” wasn’t meant literally. If you can believe in a supernatural virgin conception you can believe this too.

    Heddle said “it only proves that my faith is smaller than a mustard seed. Bummer!”

    Some Christian somewhere must have faith greater than a mustard seed. The failure of any Christian to move mountains has thus demonstrated that the bible is a lie. Further Jesus says pray and ask for anything and you shall receive. Once again no one has received something that would require the supernatural – your experiment is done and your god is disproven.

    Heddle said “If incompatible is to mean something more than mumbo-jumbo, it must have a detectable effect. That is, if religion is incompatible with science then (to me) that means that a theist?s science is adversely effected by his theism in a way that can be demonstrated by examining his science.”.

    I and others have repeatedly demonstrated to you this to you. You can demonstrate that religion has affected theist’s science by looking at theists’ “research” on gays, particularly Paul Cameron. You can demonstrate it by looking at the science of the Intelligent design crowd such as Behe et al. You can detect it by looking at the science attempted by the girl in the video’s bastardization of evolutionary evidence. You can see the incompatibility of science and religion by looking at attempt after attempt to replace evolution in schools with intelligent design.

  569. #569 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    heddle #562 wrote:

    Yes the existence of God is a hypothesis.

    In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins set forth the God hypothesis as

    “there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it.”

    I realize that your version of God may include additional properties, but, as a simple form of the hypothesis, can you go along with this?

    If not, how would you rephrase it?

  570. #570 Seraphiel
    February 5, 2009

    We definitely do need a new word to describe that kind of behavior: The specific combination of stupidity and arrogance so often embodied by creationists.

    I was about to type smugnorance, but I decided to do a find on the page first… Good thing too, since I see now that someone’s suggested that word already.

    I’ll just add my vote for it. :)

  571. #571 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    The specific combination of stupidity and arrogance so often embodied by creationists.

    Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (as Charles Darwin put it).[3] They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,

    1. Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
    2. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
    3. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
    4. If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

    Though i doubt many creationist can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level to a point where they can acknowledge their previous lack of skill.

  572. #572 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    For the interest and edification of all, I have collected parts of heddle’s posts in order to try to understand what he means by “incompatibility between science and religion”. In this post I won’t comment further, because the thing’s long enough as it is. I’ve tried to get the main points, but he can of course object if he thinks I’ve missed anything vital. For clarity I’ve separated off what comes from each comment using rows of asterisks.

    *******************************************************

    If you despise this crap so much, when then do you team up with those who teach this kind of nonsense to fight those of us in the middle (scientist/theists)? When someone sends me an email or posts on my blog and leads with the “incompatibility of science and religion” I have to read on a bit to determine whether the writer is Myers-like or Hovind-like?for the basic attack will be the same in either case. Those of us who are theists and scientists are very effective at reaching people such as this, especially the young. I can not tell you how many times, after speaking to believers on science, I have been told words to the effect that it was wonderful to hear that a pro-science position that didn’t have to come at the expense of their beliefs. (True, some at such gatherings will use the heretic word?but one step at a time.) – heddle@22

    ********************************************************

    Christianity rejects methodological naturalism for some physical phenomena, such as the resurrection. What it does not do, except in the hands of the likes of the DI, is reject MN as the means for studying any physical phenomena that we might encounter. Ever. Anywhere. Nothing is excluded. Use science to attempt to explain all data ever encountered in the field or in the lab or in the observatory. Never invoke a miracle to explain anything you are examining. Christianity is compatible with that, and hence with science. – heddle@259

    *********************************************************

    You are correct, MN would lead to conclude that none of the famous miracles occurred. If MN concluded that the miracles could have occurred, then they are not miracles. Did I not just say that the supernatural is by definition incompatible with science?

    The question is whether a belief that Jesus walked on water is incompatible with science. But MN does not say: MN is all that there is. You may not believe anything except that which is demonstrable by MN. MN says that it is the proper way to do science. The best way to study the natural world. I agree 100%. I do science just like anyone else?so there is no incompatibility until such time that I invoke a miracle to explain the results of an experiment. Then you would have incompatibility. – heddle@264

    *******************************************************

    The supernatural by definition, if it exists, cannot be explained by science. Otherwise it would be natural, not supernatural. It is indeed incompatible?although orthogonal is a better word. But belief in the supernatural is not incompatible with science, because nothing compels me only to believe things that science addresses. There are plenty of things in my life (that are not religion) that I believe and yet science has nothing to say about them. The only way my belief in the miracles of old affects my science is if I invoke supernatural explanations to explain experimental data. I don?t, so it doesn?t. I bet you will run away from this question: How can you detect the way in which a theist-scientist?s belief in the supernatural affects his science? Everyone on this blog has run away from that question. Everyone. But it is a fair question?if science and theism are incompatible, show me the measurable effect. – heddle@372

    ******************************************************

    Bring me the resurrected Jesus, and I?ll apply the scientific method to his claim. I apply the scientific method to the origins of the cosmos all the time. Part the red sea? The scientific method says it cannot be done. God exists? If you tell me the test, I?ll apply it. There is not one belief that I have that I have put off limits for the scientific method. I have no objection whatsoever to proving that you can’t part the Red Sea. So you are dead wrong.

    Owlmirror,

    “How about if said scientist specifically invokes the supernatural as the only possible explanation for some physical phenomenon?”

    If it one that he is studying, definitely. Suppose you and I wrote separate papers on the possibility of walking on water. We publish simultaneously. It turns out we did the same analysis, ran the same experiments, and reached the same conclusion: it is impossible. Outside the lab, you might state: therefore Jesus didn?t walk on water. I might state: no he did, that?s why it?s called a miracle. In either case our science would be indistinguishable. If it is indistinguishable, it means my faith has no ill-effect on the science, nor did your atheism. – heddle@454

    ****************************************************

    With walking on water I do not dispute that science demonstrates it impossible. I concur. If a trial needed an expert witness to demonstrate the scientific impossibility, I’d be happy to take the job.

    Your point is, I think: how can I still believe it, even in the one isolated case of Jesus? My answer would be that you are putting a demand on me that the scientific method does not place on me–namely that I only believe what science tells me. The method does not require that. It says: if you do science, this is the way you do it. These are the steps. Now I practice the scientific method and I believe science, but in principle even believing in science is not a requirement. Only the method is a requirement. A scientist could wake up one day and say: hell, I don’t believe any of this science stuff, but life is good and I want tenure and I know how to do it even if I don’t believe it. And that person could contribute mightily to the field because science is a methodology and while it is not advisable one could do the work and make contributions without believing any of it. – heddle@461

    ******************************************************

    A meaurable effect is to demonstrate how the science a theist produces is different from that an atheist produces. Anything else is just words. – heddle@466

    *****************************************************

    “Do you think that historians should also adopt such an approach, with the religious among them saying “Well, such an event is physically impossible, but my religion tells me it happened, so I’m sure it actually did”?” – Tulse

    Not if they are publishing a scholarly history article; i.e., ?doing history??in which case they should follow the guidelines of their profession. If they are assessing the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus, they should evaluate and report on the evidence the same way a (professional) secular colleague would do, no matter where it leads.

    The only examples I know about of practicing scientists ignoring the evidence because of their beliefs are atheists. That would be Hoyle and especially Eddington resisting the Big Bang because of perceived religious implications. – heddle@490

    *****************************************************

    Ouch. Fair enough. Unless they were using, quite poorly, irony or sarcasm, which doesn?t seem to be the case, I accept the presentation of the Han and Warda paper, assuming they are in fact scientists which appears to be the case, as an example where beliefs adversely affect the science. Tipler is another matter. People can publish whatever they like in the non peer-reviewed literature. We judge their science by their research publications, not their philosophical publications.

    (Aside: Do you accept Hoyle?s and Eddington?s reactions to the Big Bang as evidence where atheists let their beliefs adversely affect their science?) – heddle@501

    ******************************************************

    The miracles were witnessed. They could have been photographed, documented, studied, measured, and analyzed. So in that sense they are in science?s scope. And that is how I would approach one, if I encountered it today. When I say they are outside of science?s scope, what I mean is that if they are actual miracles, then by definition science ultimately will fail in explaining them. But again, we don?t have any at our disposal to test our theories. – heddle@522

    ********************************************************

    “By your own lights, to be true to science, you should not invoke the supernatural to explain what you are examining.” – Martin H.

    That is true.

    “However, to be religious in this context, you need to invoke the supernatural. To do so, you must disavow the explanations arrived at by MN, and thus demonstrate the incompatibility of the two.” – Martin H.

    That is not invoking the supernatural, that is accepting the biblical accounts as true.

    If accepting the biblical accounts as true is in and of itself sufficient to prove incompatibility, then you have a tidy tautology. If you are religious, you accept the supernatural, and if you accept the supernatural, you are incompatible with science. – heddle@539

    ********************************************************

    Christian schools teach science abysmally because as we see in the video there is a fair amount of anti-science sentiment among Christians. Usually not as bad as that girl, but often a general distrust of science. That is exactly the kind of thing I like to fight. But the bottom line is?take a look sometime at the catalogues for many Christian colleges. With few exceptions (Wheaton, Grove City, a few others) the science offerings are pitiful. – heddle@543

    ****************************************************

    I stand utterly corrected regarding my contention that Eddington was an atheist.

    “Religious commitments work against that trust, because they can involve an undeclared “conflict of interest”.” – Tulse

    Interesting theory. Give me a plausible example. In the case of the drug researcher with a financial conflict of interest, the potential for mischief is clear. – heddle@555

  573. #573 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Priya Lynn

    Pretty convenient to claim anything you don’t like in the bible wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

    I know. I have a problem. Like when Jesus said: ?I am the vine? I know that has to mean that grapes can be plucked right off of him, at least during harvest. But I keep reading it as a metaphor. God help me. I am a bad person.

    Some Christian somewhere must have faith greater than a mustard seed.

    You would hope so, but maybe not. Or maybe they do move mountains and cause stuff like the explosion of Mt. St. Helens to kill any homosexuals camping nearby. Which would of course be their righteous duty.

    You can demonstrate that religion has affected theist’s science by looking at theists’ “research” on gays, particularly Paul Cameron.

    Yes, indeed, because one discredited lunatic proves your case. Now fair is fair: if I find one atheist who engages in pseudo science, say a vaccine (as in efficacy of) denier does that prove atheism is incompatible with science?

    You can demonstrate it by looking at the science of the Intelligent design crowd such as Behe et al.

    Yes, their almost uncontainable corpus of peer-reviewed publications demonstrates conclusively how they have been able to sneak their ideas into mainstream science.

    Sastra,

    “there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it.”

    Nope, Professor Dawkins nailed it. That definition works for me. As long as we allow for the possibility (certainty) of secondary causes. For example, such a definition does not rule out theistic evolution.

  574. #574 windy
    February 5, 2009
    Can I point to Kurt Wise and say that young earth creationism is compatible with paleontology, since he did not let creationism interfere with his work under SJ Gould?

    I would say yes, though I have never seen his thesis?I assume it passes scientific muster.

    According to Gould it did, so that seems more than good enough. So are you seriously suggesting that this single example shows that young earth creationism as a system of thought is not in conflict with science?

    Re: Sam Harris, assuming he really is deeply in to eastern mysticism. No, in the same sense I have been arguing about theists, his scientific production must be evaluated and praised or criticized as appropriate solely on the basis of its merit. To bring up his eastern mysticism when evaluating his science is an ad hominem.

    I agree, but nobody’s suggesting that we do that! You are trying to change the question from whether there is a conflict between two fields of inquiry, to how individual scientists should be judged on their work. To many of us these seem to be different questions.

    Sure, I always use incompatible this way: If incompatible is to mean something more than mumbo-jumbo, it must have a detectable effect. That is, if religion is incompatible with science then (to me) that means that a theist?s science is adversely effected by his theism in a way that can be demonstrated by examining his science.

    But what if there’s a statistical effect of religion turning people away from science? How can you say that it can be disproven by a single example of a theist doing good science? Is finding one perfectly healthy smoker enough to prove that smoking does not cause cancer?

  575. #575 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    Yes, indeed, because one discredited lunatic proves your case. Now fair is fair: if I find one atheist who engages in pseudo science, say a vaccine (as in efficacy of) denier does that prove atheism is incompatible with science?

    To be fair heddle, the atheist would have to deny vaccines because he was motivated by his non-belief for that analogy to be worth anything.

  576. #576 Peter Jan
    February 5, 2009

    On a (very) positive note: a famous Dutch television presenter (Andries Knevel) of the Dutch christian television-station EO has just committed himself fully to the evolution theory and he has apologized by letter for imposing a literal interpretation of Genesis on his audience for many, many years. True story. He has even denounced ID. Even though he is still a christian, it’s one extra point for evolution. Hooray!

  577. #577 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Thank You Knockgoats. PZ has the ban button warmed up, perhaps your post will catch his eye and he’ll be bored almost into a coma by Heddle’s bullshit ice skating maneuvers.

  578. #578 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    I think words like “epistemology” are overrated. And so do most Americans.

    It is odd that Coyne seeks to call people irrational without even interacting with their epistemology?

  579. #579 heddle
    February 5, 2009

    Windy,

    As I have argued people can believe anything and do good science. There is no demand on science that you like it, value it, trust it, believe it, admire it, want to use for the common good, etc. Every piece of work is judged on its own merits.

    For the NAS or any other statistical evidence you must realize, in addition to the other reasons I suggested, that quite simply there are additional career options available for theists, in the ministry, the mission fields, the seminaries etc. So if the best and brightest opt out of science, that does not necessarily mean there is an incompatibility, it means there is something else they prefer to do. Who knows what the effect of that really is–I sure don’t, I’m just making a point.

  580. #580 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis #578 wrote:

    “I think words like “epistemology” are overrated. And so do most Americans.”
    It is odd that Coyne seeks to call people irrational without even interacting with their epistemology?

    I’m not sure what you mean. The line you quoted was from Sam Harris, and he was being facetious. He thinks the importance of epistemology is underrated.

  581. #581 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    People choose what problems they want to work on all the time. Now if Wise, a la the Creation Scientists, began explicitly to insert YECism in some detectable way into his science, that would be a problem.

    Sorry, a bit late to this particular party. But it seems to be some serious micron-level hair-splitting on heddle’s part regarding the definition of conflict.

    It appears that, in his mind, conflict is limited to someone doing science a particular way under then influence of religion – and not when someone choosing to avoid doing the science in the first place because of the conflict between the science and the religion – as was the case with Wise.

    Just because the conflict is passive rather than active doesn’t stop it being conflict. How much difference is there between a racist doctor deliberately killing a black patient and the same racist doctor letting the same patient die by refusing to treat him or her?

    The lawyers, of course, will tell you there’s a vast difference. The dead black kid, on the other hand? Well, he or she is dead either way no matter what happens to Dr Racist. But using heddle’s logic Dr. Racist has done nothing wrong in the second example, because the conflict was passive, not active.

  582. #582 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis, you intelligence is overrated in your own mind. We understand your gross limitations, like the inability to extend a true argument for your presupposition. So, until you learn elsewhere, you will be mocked here.

  583. #583 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    facilis wrote (emphasis mine):

    It is odd that Coyne seeks to call people irrational without even interacting with their epistemology?

    Good grief. Who the hell writes like this? Gah! It makes me want to take a fork to him, even without all the other rubbish he spouts.

  584. #584 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    WHAT “laws of logic”, Facilis? What are these “laws” you keep babbling about? List them. Name them.

    I’ve named some. Law of identity, law of non-contradiction.

    You have fled in abject terror from every opportunity to support this claim.

    I PROVED it by the impossibility of the contrary

    And since you’re the one who decided that murder was an acceptable way to win an argument,

    So “Is murder objectively wrong?”

  585. #585 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Wowbagger, no wonder FFF copies and pastes. He couldn’t think his way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it.

  586. #586 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    facilis,

    Is murder objectively wrong

    You’ve had this explained to you before – have you forgotten already? Murder is by definition wrong; it is the word used for wrongful killing. If you want to argue about whether killing is wrong then you may. But there is no argument for murder.

    But more important is what you’re doing here anyway. Did you not see my post #564? Go back and read it – it’s important. Basically, you need to be examining the revelations of every religion of the world to ensure yours (and your version thereof; remember, lots of different sects of Christianity) is the most correct one, and explaining to us how you reached that conclusion.

    Otherwise your claim of responsibility for universal laws is applicable to any and all of the gods that have ever been posited.

  587. #587 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2009

    Now, let’s try some heddle-ical exegesis.

    In his first intervention in this thread, heddle complains that PZ “teams up” with creationists, and that atheists send him emails and blog comments claiming the “incompatibility of science and religion”. Now, heddle must know that PZ has explicitly stated that theists can do good science. So clearly he can’t be complaining that PZ is claiming they cannot (let’s call this incompatibility-1), yet the implication seems to be that PZ is claiming that science and religion are incompatible – which, indeed, he does, in the sense (incompatibility-2) that (PZ claims), science mandates you to adjust your beliefs in conformity with the evidence, while religion (and specifically theism) tells you to believe what your religious authority (whether a person, committee, book or whatever) tell you to believe. These would both seem to be quite reasonable interpretations of “science and religion are incompatible”, but heddle insists that only incompatibility-1 is an acceptable meaning of the phrase, because (he says), science is simply a method, following which does not require you to believe anything; and he demands evidence that the alleged incompatibility be shown to have effects. Heddle also claims, repeatedly, that the term “compartmentalization” is just a “mantra” or “chant”, having no useful meaning. There are at least two other possible meanings for “science and religion are incompatible”, which might be regarded as weaker versions of the two already outlined. The first is that in practice, science and religion do not in general get on well together, either in society or in individuals (incompatibility-1a). The second (incompatibility-1b) is that religion marks out certain phenomena where the conclusions of science are to be rejected.

    Now, no-one hear, and no-one heddle has cited (AFAIK – I haven’t read Coyne) holds incompatibility-1. Evidence has been presented for incompatibility-1a – some of it by heddle himself (anti-science sentiment among Christians and the perhaps consequent poor science teaching of Christian “colleges”), most of it by others (the strong negative correlation between religious belief and scientific eminence, the paper of Han and Warda, research on gays by Paul Cameron, the history of religious attempts to suppress specific types of scientific research and conclusions, and to insinuate religious beliefs into science classrooms). Moreover, heddle’s counterclaim that the only examples he knows of beliefs concerning religion affecting scientific outcomes concerned the atheists Eddington and Hoyle collapsed in farce when it turned out they were a Quaker and a deist respectively. So evidence for effects has indeed been presented, heddle has failed to refute it, and incompatibility-1a is at least a hypothesis with more support than its negation. Heddle himself appears to accept incompatibility-2a, since he (a) accepts that science would conclude that miracles (specifically, walking on water) are impossible, but (b) believes it anyway, because his holy book tells him it happened. This seems, incidentally, as good an example of the compartmentalization whose existence he denies as one could possibly hope to find.

    So in sum:
    incompatibility-1: no-one, here at least, claims this is true.
    incompatibility-2: heddle can maintain his denial of this only by holding that it is possible to be a scientist and do good science while not believing any of your conclusions. To say the least, this is arguable. Perhaps the odd individual (and I do mean odd) can do this – one would think at considerable psychological cost – but could science continue if all scientists took this attitude, or even a significant proportion of them? Why would they continue to do so, and why would anyone pay them to?
    In pursuit of this claim, heddle has asserted that young Earth creationism is compatible with science – given the example of Kurt Wise. This raises a difficulty however: if young Earth creationism is compatible with science, why does he oppose it, and moreover, get on his high horse and insist atheists STFU so he can do so more effectively?
    incompatibility-2a: everyone here seems to accept this, at least with regard to theism.

    This came in after my “Thoughts of Chairman Heddle” above:
    If incompatibility means reaching different conclusions when faced with the same data (is that your definition?) then I can confidently assert, from years of attending seminars, colloquia, theses defenses, workshops, conferences, and not to mention reading peer-reviewed literature, the following: science is incompatible with science. For I have witnessed and participated in countless arguments over different conclusions reached by scientists of good faith presented with a common set of data. – hedlle@566

    What was meant, of course, was that a single person – to whit, heddle – comes to two different conclusions given the same data, depending on whether he’s currently using the scientific or the religious compartment of his belief-system. This is pretty close to incompatibility-2a.

    Now heddle can speak for himself (and he will, he will), but my conclusion from all this is that he’s full of shit. The only one of the four meanings I have distinguished where he has a strong case is incompatibility-1, which no-one here is maintaining, and PX has explicitly denied holding on numerous occasions. On any other interpretation, he has failed to make a good, let alone a conclusive case, so his whining about PZ and other atheists asserting incompatibility is unjustified. Moreover, he is himself the clearest possible example of the compartmentalization whose existence he denies.

  588. #588 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis #584 wrote:

    Law of identity, law of non-contradiction.

    The law of identity (A = A) and the law of non-contradiction (A =/= Non-A) do not need any justification, and therefore you cannot demand that someone justify them. They are both self-evident, and incorrigible — and examples are readily available to the senses.

    “A thing is what it is, and it isn’t what it isn’t.”

    That’s your proof of God? Really? That’s your miracle? And you’re amazed that it applies to everything.

    No. That sort of basic, clear self-consistency isn’t some befuddling mystery which requires supernatural foundation, because we otherwise can’t figure out how we can “account” for it. It’s foundational. It’s more basic than “”there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it.” It’s certainly more obvious, I don’t care how orgasmic your special revelation was.

    Next time you ask for us to justify it, or account for it, I’m going to ask you “Do you think it’s wrong?”

    And you will tell me that you don’t think it’s wrong, but, unless I believe in God, I don’t have any right to believe it, and then I will point to a dictionary and ask you to look up the definition of “self-evident.”

    This is one of the silliest arguments for the existence of God out there. And yes, I’ve read Bahnsen and Van Til, and they’re no better at it. It reduces to nonsense.

  589. #589 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Sastra,

    Maybe you’ll answer what facilis dodges – is there any way of taking his argument (if we were to accept as valid that there are ‘universal laws’ and his claim that a being is responsible for creating them) to the point where it is applicable to only one of the many gods that humanity has produced?

    As I’ve mentioned before I don’t know enough logic/philosophy to argue whether that claim is valid (and, unlike facilis, I don’t just cut-and-paste arguments; I need to actually understand what I’m saying) but I can’t see that there’s any way it can be shown to apply to only the Christian god and not anyone else’s.

  590. #590 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    Your god does not exist so cannot be the source of logic. A number of people on the various threads touched upon the source of logic and reason, but you, of course, were afraid to acknowledge what they said.

    I showed exactly how their reasoning was circular and false.

    The source of logic and reason is the nature of the world and the way things, people, etc. interact. We learn logic and reason by observing and remembering the way the world works and the nature of the universe.

    1)But you are seeking to establish universals. How do you get universals from particulars(i.e. subjective experience)?
    2) But how do you KNOW this? You might say you got it from your senses but you just push the problem back agains. How do you KNOW your senses are reliable?

    The laws of logic and reason are not necessarily universal or objective because some logic and reason is dependent on how people react to what they think and as such may vary from person to person.

    3) Can my logic be different from yours? This is inconsistent. If you call my argument a fallacy I could just say that “logic varies from person to person” and even though it might be a fallacy it is sill correct for some people.

    2) The laws are not immaterial as even the abstract ideas we hold in our heads ultimately exist as neuro-chemical firings and electricity.

    4)Let us take my mouse. Does the law of identity apply to it? If no why not?

    3 The laws are not necessarily invarient. As the laws of logic and reason exist in our minds as abstract concepts they can and do change with our growing understanding of the world.

    5)The laws of logic change?? Have they changed since we started talking? Is it possible that [the girl in the videos] arguments are fallacious now but can be true tomorrow?

  591. #591 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis the Fallicious Fool.
    First you only have alleged. We have been awaiting your full “proof”, which you have be studiously avoiding giving us. What an ignorant ape.
    Second, you keep asking questions when you need to be supplying answers. Which you studiously avoid doing. What an ignorant ape.
    Third, you have no logic since you mangle it so badly. What an ignorant ape.
    Big rant, no substance, just more ignorance and fallacies. Just another ignorant ape. With my apologies to real apes.

  592. #592 A. Noyd
    February 5, 2009

    @ Facilis (in #477 and everywhere else)

    I’m not going to engage you — not because you’re onto the truth but because you’re wrapped in an impenetrable bubble of your own ignorance. Your entire purpose here is to watch people react to the faces you make squawking nonsense and mashing your fat, sucker-like lips against the inside.

  593. #593 Facilis
    February 5, 2009

    lack of actual evidence of there even being a resurrection beyond a book that is not in any way established as reliable evidence is nothing like the above.

    Well of course there are lots of historians and philosophers who disagree with you. (not to mention that we have more than 1 book. We have several lettters and biographies and an early creed as well as eyewitnesses.)
    I’ll name drop Richard Swinburne and N.T. Wright if you want to do some reading to correct your ignorance.

  594. #594 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Facilis, in order to correct you ignorance I recommend any grade school level book of logic. You need to start somewhere, as you are showing no logic here.

  595. #595 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    I showed exactly how their reasoning was circular and false.

    By invoking Me! Hee hee hee.

    But I am the source of logic and reason. I say so, so it must be true, because, as the source of logic and reason, I cannot possibly lie.

  596. #596 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Kenny got junked at 273 comments. I wonder how close Facilis is to the magic number?

  597. #597 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    facilis lied:

    I showed exactly how their reasoning was circular and false.

    No, you asserted that their reasoning was circular and false. You’ve got a very poor memory, haven’t you? Just to remind you: ASSERTION ? EVIDENCE!

    That aside; how can you afford to be wasting this time writing lies on a blog? You should be busy examining, remember?

    In order to support your claim to need to be examining the revelations of every religion in the world, past and present, and showing us how you reach your conclusion that it is less able to make the claim of its deity (or deities) being responsible for the universal laws than your sect of Christianity.

    Until then you can’t question anyone about anything, because you can’t account for the logic you use.

  598. #598 KFX Felix
    February 5, 2009

    I got two minutes in.

    Then I had to shut it down to preserve the sanity I had left.

  599. #599 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    This is one of the silliest arguments for the existence of God out there.

    Quite true. It’s a silly argument for the existence of God, since it is in actuality a perfect and excellent argument for the existence of Me.

  600. #600 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Satan – Did you bring any pineapples? Facilis needs to be entertained.

  601. #601 Theo
    February 5, 2009

    Insipidity is grounds for junking. I checked, although I’m not sure it is possible to KNOW if it is though.

  602. #602 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    Satan – Did you bring any pineapples?

    No, but I do have a couple of hungry bears. They enjoy eating the flesh of those who deny Me or insult My Holy Prophets, such as Sideshow Bob.

  603. #603 heliobates
    February 5, 2009

    I’ve named some. Law of identity, law of non-contradiction.

    Where is the full formal treatment that you use to reason correctly from these laws? Where is the complete set of axioms, their proofs and rules of inference? How does your axiomatic system avoid Goedel incompleteness? If they are truly universal, invariant, absolute and KNOWN, how hard is it to support even one of your assertions by providing a link or reference to this formal presentation. Your continued refusal to do so completely undermines your entire argument. When I asked Sye the same question he, also couldn’t answer me. So are both of you being coy on purpose or did you really bring a logical spoon to a philosophical gunfight? I’m not sure which possibility is more disturbing.

    You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

    I PROVED it by the impossibility of the contrary

    Let me see if your veil of stupidity really is impenetrable.

    You say “…because of the law of The Impossibility of the Contrary…”

    So I say: “Ah, but TIOTC doesn’t apply to God because of Helio’s Fourth Axiom.”

    And you say: “That’s not one of UULL!”

    And I say: “Sure it is.”

    How do you prove me wrong?

    You still have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

    You say: “How does an atheist account for certainty in knowledge?”

    I say: “How do you account for certainty in knowledge?”

    You say: “Goddidit! Take that atheist blackguard!”

    And I say: “How does ‘Goddidit!’ answer the Gettier problem? In other words, how does assuming God give you certainty, given Gettier’s demonstration that beliefs can be true, and justified and still not be knowledge?”

    You STILL have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

  604. #604 A. Noyd
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle (#480)

    A.Noyd, #468

    Motive-agnostic does not mean purpose-agnostic,

    Sure it does.
    If I look at a paper on neutron absorption cross sections, I cannot determine any of these: [motives and characteristics of the author].
    The science is agnostic about all of these.

    I’m not talking about the purpose of the scientist, but the purpose of science itself, you evasive, illiterate, turd-gargling twit. Now, if it doesn’t break your fragile intellect, reread #468 with that in mind and answer my questions minus the not-so-clever dodge.

  605. #605 God
    February 5, 2009

    It’s a silly argument for the existence of God, since it is in actuality a perfect and excellent argument for the existence of Me.

    It’s a silly argument for the existence of anyone!

    And quit giving Yourself airs. When I said “Hail Satan!” before, I was being sarcastic.

    I was first, no two ways about it.

  606. #606 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    I was first, no two ways about it.

    How do You KNOW?

    After all, as the omnipotent source of all reason and knowledge, I could have hidden the particular knowledge of my precedence and omnipotence from You.

  607. #607 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    answer my questions minus the not-so-clever dodge.

    And take away the only reason Heddle should take his mental tap dancing on the road? I got three belly laughs a two tee-hees from Heddle today. He can do better. Unless he decides be become honest with himself. Then I get no laughs.

  608. #608 God
    February 5, 2009

    After all, as the omnipotent source of all reason and knowledge, I could have hidden the particular knowledge of my precedence and omnipotence from You.

    [...]

    Now You cut that out!

  609. #609 God
    February 5, 2009

    I mean, really, why would an omnipotent entity create another entity and make that entity think that the first entity wasn’t the first, and was less omnipotent than the second?

    It’s insane, and a complete violation of parsimony!

  610. #610 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    I mean, really, why would an omnipotent entity create another entity and make that entity think that the first entity wasn’t the first, and was less omnipotent than the second?

    It’s insane, and a complete violation of parsimony!

    Like sacrificing part of Yourself to Yourself so as to save Your creation from being punished by Yourself as the result of one of Your creatures being tempted by another of Your creatures?

  611. #611 God
    February 5, 2009

    Like sacrificing part of Yourself to Yourself so as to save Your creation from being punished by Yourself as the result of one of Your creatures being tempted by another of Your creatures?

    [...]

    Well, yes… But I didn’t do that! The whole thing was a hoax! You know this!

  612. #612 Satan
    February 5, 2009

    But I didn’t do that! The whole thing was a hoax! You know this!

    Ah, but you wanted the humans to think it was true.

    I rest my case.

  613. #613 God
    February 5, 2009

    Ah, but you wanted the humans to think it was true.

    I rest my case.

    Ah. So in other words, a bored omnipotent entity is liable to do insane things for no particular reason other than that it seems funny at the time.

    Point taken.

  614. #614 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    heddle’s position is similar to one I described on another post a while back about how Christians determine which aspects of the bible are figurative/metaphorical and which are literal*. It can applied to morality as well.

    Where the bible says something about reality and science and gets it correct then that part is meant to be taken literally. Where the bible gets something about reality and science wrong (bats being birds, the cure for leprosy, dragons and unicorns existing and so forth), well, that’s not meant to be taken literally.

    But over the years the proportions of literal vs. metaphorical/figurative have shifted – obviously, at one point none of it was metaphorical/figurative, because no-one knew any better. But in more enlightened times it’s amazing how much turns out to have been written ‘in a different genre’ or ‘as an allegory’.

    What an amazing coincidence that God was able to predict what science would be able to dismiss. He must be very clever.

    *I’ve never studied logic/philosophy; no doubt there’s already a name for, and a succint description of, this particular fallacy but I don’t know what it is. Until someone tells me what it is I’ll stick with my own words.

  615. #615 Patricia, OM
    February 5, 2009

    I am disappointed about the pineapples Satan. Your bears, I’m sure, are terrifying, but compared to god you really are 2nd rate.

    To paraphrase – God, “I’m gonna kill everyone.” Ezekiel 6:12

  616. #616 Odin
    February 5, 2009

    I hung myself on the World Tree, sacrificing myself to myself, for the gift of the Runes! Pikers!

  617. #617 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Wowbagger @ 614:

    Where the bible says something about reality and science and gets it correct then that part is meant to be taken literally.

    Where is our old friend Teno Groppi when we ned him?

  618. #618 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Where is our old friend Teno Groppi when we ned him?

    That rings a bell – was he the one who’d concocted a list of where the bible ‘predicted’ modern scientific discoveries? Like because it mentioned bats that predicted humans developing sonar and such?

  619. #619 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    Where is our old friend Teno Groppi when we ned him?

    (Makes sign of crossed noodley appendages.)

  620. #620 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Damn! Now we’ve posted his name three times – he’s bound to appear.

  621. #621 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    Wowbagger:

    The very same. He made just as much sense as Heddle, Facilis, and Garfunkel put together and was much more entertaining.

  622. #622 Lurkbot
    February 5, 2009

    I don’t think we have to worry–when that thread got too long, PZ started a new thread just for him and he couldn’t find it. (Insert joke about creationists, both hands, and a flashlight.)

  623. #623 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Lurkbot,

    Yeah, I just did a search and found him on a thread from last year on Entropy and Evolution. I should have remembered the name; the thread shows that I joined in with a few of the others for a good, clean, old-fashioned, fun-filled troll stomp.

    My contributions included dubbing him ‘Tenuous Teno’ and mocked him for seeing doctors when sick rather than follow the bible’s medical advice of a) anointing with oil, and b) praying.

  624. #624 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2009

    I remember all that. At first he was just trying to knock evolution. It took me a good day of wheedling to get TG to actually begin to state his ideas. Then the fun began as others joined in. PZ even had to open a new thread.

  625. #625 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Nerd,

    Yeah, it was quite bizarre; the crazy-woo certainly was strong in him. At one point his argument for the bible predicting antiobiotics and vaccinations was that the phrase ‘bitter water’ appears.

    In his mind? Unequivocal.

  626. #626 Lee Picton
    February 5, 2009

    This is for Sastra:
    I thank you profusely for your elegant, incisive, and elucidating commentary on nearly everything. But (you knew there was a but coming, didn’t you)…. in spite of all your endless patience, you have failed to get through to either FFF or Heddle. So when you are addressing either of them, I have taken to skimming. I would rather you addressed those issues (all others) and I could continue enriching myself with your superb discourse – with those two, I thing you are casting your pearls before swine.

  627. #627 Feynmaniac
    February 5, 2009

    My favourite Tenocious G quote:

    Aren’t you at least curious as to whats in the Bible pertaining to future technology?

    Second favourite :

    You people need to get a life and escape out of the realm of satans control. You know, I veagly remember one of Hitlers tactics of control….

    Once you invoke Satan Goodwin’s law seems like a step back.

    That guy made Facilis look like a Rhodes scholar.

  628. #628 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 5, 2009

    Well of course there are lots of historians and philosophers who disagree with you. (not to mention that we have more than 1 book. We have several lettters and biographies and an early creed as well as eyewitnesses.)

    Letters and biographies?!? Well shucks.

    And eyewitness accounts handed down to people who handed them down to people who then wrote them down who passed them along to others who translated them and threw out parts and translated again?

    Well shit yeah.

    That’s establishment right there.

    And philosophical arguments too?

    Holy shit I’m convinced.

    Gooooooooooooly.

    Well you sure got me.

  629. #629 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    That guy made Facilis look like a Rhodes scholar.

    A chimp writing with a crayon clenched between its butt cheeks makes facilis look like a Rhodes scholar.

    At least we can give Tenuous Teno some points for at least trying to come up with some ideas rather than having been stupid enough to steal flaccid arguments from another idiot without either stopping to think them through or bothering to check if they’d been debunked.

  630. #630 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Wowbagger #589 wrote:

    Maybe you’ll answer what facilis dodges – is there any way of taking his argument (if we were to accept as valid that there are ‘universal laws’ and his claim that a being is responsible for creating them) to the point where it is applicable to only one of the many gods that humanity has produced?

    As far as I know, short answer: no. The Transcendental Argument for God — and all the presuppositional arguments — only get you to a vague “transcendental source” — even if they worked. They do this by claiming that “God exists” is an obviously properly basic belief, a precondition for logic, reason, and universals.

    They then go further and try to say that “The Christian God exists” is also an obviously properly basic belief — because it is so to them. Following this principle either leads to an extreme epistemic relativism — with everyone allowed to say what is their own properly basic belief — or special pleading, where only they can say it, because only they are right.

    Plantinga calls this objection “the Great Pumpkin Objection” (after Linus) — but he doesn’t really have an answer for it. Facilis once said, on another thread, that, because the atheist objections are anticipated, this means they’re irrelevant, and shows him that the TAG is doing its work.

    No. It’s just that any reasonably astute philospher — or first year philosophy student — or person thinking it over — can see the problems coming.

    My understanding is that most theists scorn this argument, and you seldom see it in the philosophy or theology rags. Even Calvinists and Presbyterians are divided on it. I doubt that heddle supports it — though I think he does believe regeneration by the holy ghost is necessary for belief.

  631. #631 Feshy
    February 5, 2009

    It’s too bad I’m 600 comments in, because this actually gets even funnier / sadder. Someone sent me a link to a “funny” shirt, and I recognized the font from this video. Check out this photo bucket profile that is possibly the source of the Ex-Atheist shirt:

    http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/acureton/

    It has several funny and disturbing things. The first is that there are several other “Ex” shirts — fornicator, hustler, diva… masturbator.

    Disturbingly, it has a folder for Ex Homosexual as well — not just the shirt, but articles. So the stupid is also bigoted (big surprise.)

    The last funny thing is there’s also a folder with Beyonce pictures in provocative poses. Meaning that the poster is lying about one or more of those Ex’s — either masturbator or homosexual, depending on their gender ;) You can tell they feel guilty about it, because they left a bloody picture of Jesus in that folder too for guilt!

    The photography is actually decent though, in my unprofessional (even un-amateur in that field) opinion.

    Again, it’s a shame I’m so far down that most people will miss this new and interesting addition to the story.

  632. #632 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    You guys don’t get it. Without God as the necessary precondition for the laws of logic there is no standard of logic and reason, so all our objections that I am using “circular reasoning” are meaningless.
    Account for the laws of logic and reasoning before you accuse me of fallacies.

    The laws of logic simply are, there it’s accounted for. Though it’s irrelevant, we both agree that logic exists, and from that we can both see that your position is circular and therefore invalid. It’s like saying “can you account for the laws of physics? No, therefore the universe is 6000 years old and we were created out of dirt.” *but we see galaxies billions of light years away, and rocks billions of years old on earth* “But you can’t account for them therefore my position is better”

  633. #633 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Lee Picton #626 wrote:

    … in spite of all your endless patience, you have failed to get through to either FFF or Heddle.

    Thanks … I am patient because I am cynical. I do not expect positive results, and would be astonished to see any theist admit any major reversal in blog comments. Both Facilius and heddle have thought through their positions a great deal. I am probably unlikely to come up with anything completely unanticipated (though I can hope.)

    They probably know the weaknesses in their arguments better than I do. Sometimes you only notice problems when you’re making your best case. That’s true for me, at any rate. So I’m more focused on trying to improve myself, than them. And understand the argument better.

    There’s also smaller victories. Hey — if Facilius, at any point, thinks to himself “this is more complicated than it looks when I watch the professionals” — then win! None of us is likely to have any real idea of what “gets through” or works — and in what area. When I used to go into debate rooms, my goal was just to get them to eventually say “Well, I still think you’re wrong — but I can see now why you might think you’re right.” To some people, that is cataclysmic.

    It’s tough on our side, too. Unless we can figure out how they can reasonably come to the conclusions they’ve come to, nobody is going anywhere, and nothing will be effective. The worst position is “they’re nuts.” No they’re not. That girl in the video could have been me. My job is to figure out how.

  634. #634 Feshy
    February 5, 2009

    It looks like what I linked to might just be the photographer working with the Passion 4 Christ people (who held this “Debate” — their site is hilarious) and that I read too much into it. It’s just a little comical how well it fits though. Don’t read too much serious into it.

    p4cm.com, however (Passion 4 Christ Movement) is a different story. The Ex-masturbator story is leading the page right now. In case the first video was an insufficient dose of stupid, there are plenty more…

  635. #635 Sastra
    February 5, 2009

    Feshy #631 wrote:

    It’s too bad I’m 600 comments in, because this actually gets even funnier / sadder. Someone sent me a link to a “funny” shirt, and I recognized the font from this video.

    I’m not going to scroll back and look, but people on the thread were laughing about the t-shirts earlier — particularly “EX-masturbator” — so I think they either found your link, or one like it.

  636. #636 windy
    February 5, 2009

    Knockgoats:

    In pursuit of this claim, heddle has asserted that young Earth creationism is compatible with science – given the example of Kurt Wise. This raises a difficulty however: if young Earth creationism is compatible with science, why does he oppose it, and moreover, get on his high horse and insist atheists STFU so he can do so more effectively?

    Exactly!

  637. #637 MartinH
    February 5, 2009

    Heddle at #566

    In my absence, Knockgoats at #587 covered what would have been my response to you, and much, much more, in his excellent synthesis. I think he’s done a pretty good job of demonstrating that as far as your definition of incompatibility goes, there seems to be agreement with you on this thread. However, he has also shown a strong case that other assertions of incompatibility adopting more natural definitions are well supported, and unsurprisingly, are actually espoused by people on this thread.

    In my view, you are less of a scientist than you might be for believing in christianity, since you have adopted that belief in the teeth of strong evidence that Jesus is a mythical figure. I would be extremely interested in the case you could make to persuade someone of the truth of your beliefs.

    I speculate that your obsession with incompatibility_1 (to use Knockgoats’ terminology) is that you want people to somehow buy into the view that you are a solidly rational being. Holding two incompatible thought schemes would threaten that. Only if you can force the discussion to remain focussed on incompatibility_1 can you win the argument, which combined with your presumably impeccable and religion-free scientific opus lets you off the hook. Well, people here clearly think that you are holding two incompatible thought schemes in that one head, and are less sound rationally for it.

  638. #638 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Sastra, #630

    Thanks for that. I couldn’t imagine there’d be a way they (facilis and his ilk) could limit the argument to work for only their god, but I wanted to be sure – though that facilis hadn’t managed to find anyone to appropriate anything from that’s an argument against it is pretty good evidence.

    But I have to say something: you this wrote in #633:

    Both Facilius and heddle have thought through their positions a great deal.

    heddle has definitely thought through his position; he’s buried deep inside a cocoon of obfuscation and sophistry. But facilis, on the other hand, is a flat-out plagiariser. All he’s done is regurgitate the arguments made by someone named SyeTenB – several days ago, when forced into yet another corner, he linked to this person’s site; I went there and realised he’s repeated it word-for-word.

    All he does is looks for where the same argument have been presented to his idol and indulges in a bit of cut-and-paste. Whenever he is faced with something neither he nor his man-crush has dealt with then he hides and waits until enough comments have been added (or a new post appears) and then starts again.

    He’s really not worthy of the respect you give him and the patience you show him – but I admire you immensely for being able to do so.

  639. #639 Tulse
    February 5, 2009

    The Transcendental Argument for God — and all the presuppositional arguments — only get you to a vague “transcendental source” — even if they worked.

    Do they necessarily even get you to monotheism? Could multiple “sources” be responsible for the multiple necessary features that presuppositionalists, um, presuppose?

  640. #640 Wowbagger
    February 5, 2009

    Do they necessarily even get you to monotheism? Could multiple “sources” be responsible for the multiple necessary features that presuppositionalists, um, presuppose?

    I would say that it only gets you as far a deism, since it isn’t necessary for the deity to be interventionist in any way.

  641. #641 Kel
    February 5, 2009

    It’s easy to respect heddle’s way of thinking, even if I personally disagree with it. Facilis on the other hand, he’s just the king of fallacies which he’s been able to mask himself from with his absurd position that one needs to account for logic in order to be able to use it. Maybe it’s well thought out in the respect that it’s a hard nut to crack (any attempt to use logic is just dismissed off-hand), but it’s not well thought out in the sense of a valid worldview. It’s childish really, it’s like a YEC saying Goddidit is a more valid answer than we don’t know.

  642. #642 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    I would say that it only gets you as far a deism, since it isn’t necessary for the deity to be interventionist in any way.

    Again as I said, I critique my opponent’s worldview. I would critique deism if I met a deist. It seems so bizarre here that atheists are unable to stick with their beliefs. It’s like worldview hopping. Every time a theist destroys this worldview, you hop to another and after he destroys that you hop to another… and when the theist gives up the atheist claims victory. And btw both Sye and I learned from the same source (Greg Banhsen)- so it is no accident that our arguments are similar. I also learned some debating tips from watching him win debates.

  643. #643 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Back from a very productive day. The thing that I find so sad about heddle (forget about facilis and Garfunkle, and ignore the fact that we have yet to see heddle lift a finger to actually model for the rest of us why and how he is the man to dissuade theists who reject science from the error of their ways–it’s always a united front among the theists; heddle has yet to confront them here on their science-denial and don’t hold your breath)is heddle’s inability or unwillingness to look at the basic Christian Gospels and see them as a collection of stories that seek to imagine and establish a flavor of mythological hero/god that is the greatest and most badass of all time, during an era in which there was much competition and source material to emulate/plagiarize. Due diligence is going to show anybody where the serial numbers got filed off earlier accounts. Once you see stories from the Far East that predate The Naz that had been around for centuries, and most certainly passed through the Middle East on their way to eventual Hellenization, it’s just bizarre to try and figure out how anybody could look at the form of such tales, their tropes and style, and go to all the trouble of treating genre fiction as historical documents.

    Treating fairy tales as true, requiring so much transparent tap-dancing and compartmentalization for somebody who claims to understand and value science, especially in the course of the sort of civil discourse that Sastra has shamed heddle into participating in, is a really bizarre mental feat for somebody waving the banner of science so unconvincingly, as if heddle has to convince himself he really is a scientist. The behavior is quite a bit more pathetic than that of the aliens from the film Galaxy Quest who regarded a cheap SF TV show (modeled on TOS/Now Generation) that they intercepted as “the historical documents.”

  644. #644 Wowbagger
    February 6, 2009

    facilis wrote:

    I would critique deism if I met a deist.

    You think you can disprove deism? You really are stupider than I thought. Do you even know what deism is?

    Since you brought it up, though, I’ll remind you that you’re still hiding from my post #564, facilis. Here are two of the questions you’re dodging:

    a) what qualifies you to make such judgements? Be specific.

    b) upon what standard can you judge them? You need an objective standard, because if you are judging it based on the Christian standard that means you are already accept the Christian standard without considering the possibility that the other ‘revelation’ may be correct – rendering your analysis biased and therefore invalid.

    Next in a long line of blunders:

    It seems so bizarre here that atheists are unable to stick with their beliefs. It’s like worldview hopping. Every time a theist destroys this worldview, you hop to another and after he destroys that you hop to another… and when the theist gives up the atheist claims victory.

    Do you even know what those words in that sentence mean? I’m guessing the answer is no – with particular focus on ‘atheist’, ‘beliefs’, ‘destroys’, ‘worldview’ and – most of all, ‘victory’. Trust me, you’re never going to experience that last one if you keep coming here.

    Once you’ve consulted a dictionary you might be able to understand my response.

    I don’t need to hold a belief to use what that belief presents as an example to show how your belief is invalid. In fact, the very existence of a belief system other than yours undermines your claim for a universal deity.

    Destroyed my worldview? Are you high? The only thing you’ve destroyed is what I’ve considered to be the lower limit on human stupidity and obtuse self-indulgent babbling. You’ve certainly blown those away.

    And for extra chuckles:

    I also learned some debating dodging tips from watching him win dodge debates by hiding from questions he couldn’t answer.

    Fixed if for you. Indeed, you’ve learned very well. I’d congratulate you, but I don’t respect cowardice.

  645. #645 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    I don’t respect heddle’s point of view for one instant.

    Kel have you checked out Calvinism? It’s as foul as the Catholics. The concept of total depravity is something no one should be burdened with. The Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy is chump change compared to TULIP.

    Perhaps you don’t have any of this sick sect in your country.

  646. #646 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    Kel have you checked out Calvinism?

    I have not, nor do I wish to. Like I said, I don’t agree with his religious point of view. But I don’t really give a shit just as long as the science is not affected. Just as Francis Collins or Ken Miller or Robert T Bakker can keep their faith and do good science. Obviously I think that some points there is contention, and that’s what Jerry Coyne was talking about, and heddle doesn’t really contend with those properly. I highlighted my concerns probably 150 posts ago, but I didn’t really get a reply. Maybe he’s answered them before so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

    Just took a glance at Calvinism, it does sound really fucked-up. Though only on a par with the bile that Pilty spews in the name of Catholicism.

  647. #647 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    Perhaps you don’t have any of this sick sect in your country.

    Religions in Australia for the most part are pretty liberal really. It surprises me how right-wing the Catholic Church seems to be in the US.

  648. #648 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    I’ve asked you these questions before, facilis; you still haven’t answered any of them:
    a) what qualifies you to make such judgements? Be specific.

    I examine my opponent’s worldview to see which can provide the necessary preconditions of the intelligibility of human experience. IF he fails I will show my worldview is superior

    b) upon what standard can you judge them? You need an objective standard, because if you are judging it based on the Christian standard that means you are already accept the Christian standard without considering the possibility that the other ‘revelation’ may be correct – rendering your analysis biased and therefore invalid.
    Just to make it even more interesting, here are two more:
    c) Your claim is twofold – 1) something is responsible, and 2) Christianity is the best explanation for what that something is. But if you haven’t performed this examination on every religion there is, how do you know another is not more able to provide those answers than your version of Chrisitianity?

    I KNOW this because God has revealed it to me with certainty. I demonstrate it by critiquing other worldview, as I have done here with atheism

  649. #649 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    I examine my opponent’s worldview to see which can provide the necessary preconditions of the intelligibility of human experience. IF he fails I will show my worldview is superior

    You have failed to demonstrate that your worldview is coherent, let alone superior. You still have the same fallacious nature at the core of everything you say. Everyone can see it’s fallacious apart from you!

  650. #650 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    You think you can disprove deism? You really are stupider than I thought. Do you even know what deism is?

    Yes and yes.

  651. #651 Feynmaniac
    February 6, 2009

    Facilis,

    I KNOW this because God has revealed it to me with certainty

    You keep saying that, but I have yet to read the details. Did he appear to you in a piece of toast and start talking about the laws of logic? Or did a giant cheese burger become animate and start telling you vague prophecies? Or was there some masculine, deep voice in your head telling you it’s God and that you should kill, kill?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  652. #652 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    What is it Patricia, about the Calvinist Elect? Lo, before the foundations of time, they, and only they, got their celestial pre-boarding pass, as if they were the current Battlestar Galactica’s Final 144K, predestined to be struck by the realization that they would experience the joy of filling their nostrils with the scent of the damned, flamb, from the battlements of heaven for all eternity. All those other Christians who aren’t Calvinists? They’re just as extra crispy as me and Patricia.

    Paul Schrader’s film starring George C. Scott, Hardcore, portraying a Calvinist looking for his runaway daughter in LA’s 70s porn scene, contains pretty much everything we pre-damned un-elect need to know about Calvinism. The more you learn, the sooner you’ll be yelling, “Turn it off!

  653. #653 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2009

    Ken Cope (#643)

    we have yet to see heddle lift a finger to actually model for the rest of us why and how he is the man to dissuade theists who reject science from the error of their ways

    He probably thinks what he said back up in #22 is sufficient: “I can not tell you how many times, after speaking to believers on science, I have been told words to the effect that it was wonderful to hear that a pro-science position that didn’t have to come at the expense of their beliefs.”

    He lets the little dears keep their beliefs. Aww. Athiest scientist who want to take those beliefs away are too scary to be properly convincing. Rawr!

    So he basically has to make a case for giving people an incorrect and incomplete understanding of science in the name of fostering acceptance. But that would require he realize he’s practicing deception in the first place and he’s his own victim here.

  654. #654 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    I don’t think heddle will worry about you guys’ feeling about Calvinism. As James White always says, it is not surprising that depraved sinners who spend their lives in rebellion against God should be offended when presented with God’s true teaching.

  655. #655 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    I KNOW this because God has revealed it to me with certainty.

    Ken Ham and Pat Robertson both think their worldviews have been told by God with certainty. Funny that anyone can say that God has revealed to them, that God gives contradictory accounts, and that anyone could think that being certain somehow makes them superior. Im certain that facilis is a moronic little shit, therefore facilis is a moronic little shit. It’s okay, the Sideshow Bob figurine confirmed it. It being eternal and accounting for all logic makes it so not circular…

  656. #656 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Wowbagger @644:

    Destroyed my worldview? Are you high?

    “I’m high all right. But not on false drugs! I’m high on the real thing: powerful gasoline, a clean windshield, and a shoe shine!” –op. cit. The Firesign Theatre

  657. #657 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    I don’t think heddle will worry about you guys’ feeling about Calvinism. As James White always says, it is not surprising that depraved sinners who spend their lives in rebellion against God should be offended when presented with God’s true teaching.

    lol, reminds me of this. Got to love the way that any criticism can be brushed aside without even a second thought. It’s not true what they are saying, it’s the original sin talking. All this needs is the bible quote about atheists being fools for completion.

  658. #658 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    Facilis, God told me to skin you alive. Funny thing about God talking to you, it is a sign of mental problems.

    Seek medical help.

  659. #659 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Well Ken, I was damned to begin with. Being female I am guilty of the original sin. That’s extra crispy!

  660. #660 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    So he basically has to make a case for giving people an incorrect and incomplete understanding of science in the name of fostering acceptance.

    Where did heddle say this?

  661. #661 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    That’s extra crispy!

    As well as delicious and habit-forming, leading to activities that paradoxically yield serendipitous weight-loss for all participants (with certain notable exceptions).

  662. #662 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Kel – You might want to check out Calvinism just so you could inform/protect any children in your family from the disgusting teachings.

  663. #663 Wowbagger
    February 6, 2009

    facilis, the question was what qualifies you to make this judgement? this:

    I examine my opponent’s worldview to see which can provide the necessary preconditions of the intelligibility of human experience. IF he fails I will show my worldview is superior

    …is not an answer to that question. You see, when you say you are going to examine something to see if it provides an answer, you have to explain what that answer is, and how you’re going to go about looking for it.

    You have not done that. Just saying-so does not count.

    Next mistake:

    I KNOW this because God has revealed it to me with certainty. I demonstrate it by critiquing other worldview, as I have done here with atheism

    So, you’re trying to tell us that your ability to judge, objectively, whether any of the gods of other religions’ revelations has the capacity to be more valid than your own is dependant on knowledge given by your god?

    I can’t even begin to explain exactly how idiotic an argument that is. I don’t think that I can make my mind function in the limited ways yours does with doing it some kind of traumatic injury – and I don’t want to wake up Christian, so I’m not going to risk it.

  664. #664 Rey Fox
    February 6, 2009

    “depraved sinners”

    I always love it when they really get up in the pulpit. So facilis, what depraved sins do you think we’ve engaged in?

  665. #665 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    Patricia, can you say “Devil’s Gateway”?

  666. #666 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    “Depraved sinners”? I am working at being a refined sinner.

  667. #667 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Where did heddle say this?

    Don’t worry about it facilis. You’re not a Calvinist, so you’re gonna burn forever and ever, pain without end, amen. But if you let Jello Biafra skin you alive, I’m sure you’ll make a fine condom, so you’re not a complete loss. And now, kids, here’s a cut from Frankenchrist that I think you’ll really dig.

  668. #668 Facilis
    February 6, 2009

    I always love it when they really get up in the pulpit. So facilis, what depraved sins do you think we’ve engaged in?

    See here
    http://www.livingwaters.com/good/

  669. #669 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Janine, I worked so hard to get Post of the Beast. What’s your secret?

  670. #670 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    Ken, what if Facilis’ skin is as porous as his mind? Perhaps is can be given to the Rookie in order to bind his books.

  671. #671 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    Damn, I did not even notice. It must be like attracting like.

  672. #672 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    See here http://www.livingwaters.com/good/

    Wow, and here I thought you’d actually try and shine away from that archaic petty bullshit. It’s exactly what is wrong with Christianity placed conveniently in a flash presentation.

    Oh and what a surprise, it’s made by those Liars for Jesustm: Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Great people to represent morality there and doing “good”. Nothing like telling lie after lie then sugar coating it by condemning anyone who doesn’t have faith in Jesus to eternal damnation. Even with your limited mental capacities, I thought you would have done better than those two liars.

  673. #673 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Ken Cope – You are well known, sirrah, as a fine judge of a well turned ass.

    And now you stride forward with a taste for the delicious, serendipitous, and the paradoxical. You realize, of course, that only Waterford has a glass to hold that?

  674. #674 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Dammit – y’all are so much faster than me.

  675. #675 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Oh, Kel. The sacrifices you make on our behalf, to suss out that facilis was foisting Comfort and Cameron on us? It’s the sort of thing that makes me wonder if “facilis” isn’t a collective identity shared among a load pzombies who take turns experiencing the qualia of sanctimonious Gobsmackery by clicking “Post” to drive up PZ’s stats.

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Kel. Here’s a unicorn chaser, the site promoting Coraline.

  676. #676 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    Though I guess facilis was oddly appropriate in posting some Ray Comfort logic in a thread entitled “The stupid, it burns”. Good work there making the comments on the blog as stupid as the person the blog was based on, well done facilis.

  677. #677 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    only Waterford has a glass to hold that

    *clink*

  678. #678 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    given to the Rookie in order to bind his books

    If it wasn’t any more binding than fallacious’ logic, poor Pete’s pages would all waft away in the breeze.

  679. #679 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    I know that is a site for advertising a movie, but it is beautiful.

  680. #680 Wowbagger
    February 6, 2009

    facilis is linking to Ray Comfort? We must have broken his brain (gets mental image of the key on a wind-up toy mouse grinding to a halt…)

    I stopped feeling real scorn for Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron after watching the video of their ‘debate’ with RRS – and before any idiot (facilis, I’m looking at you) says that it was edited to make them look bad, I’ll explain that it wasn’t anything they said, it was the looks on their faces after one of the RRS delivered a line.

    Heck, I can’t even remember what that line was. But the looks on Ray and Kirk’s faces illustrated exactly what was going on – they were little kids trying to play with the big boys and they’d just realised exactly how little they knew about the game. It took away any real antipathy I had for them. To hate them would be like kicking a puppy.

    Of course, I dislike them for being morons who spread lies, but that’s not quite the same thing.

  681. #681 Rey Fox
    February 6, 2009

    Hmm. You disappoint me. I always thought that the Christians thought that we, because of our lack of the threat of punishment by a god, must all be inveterate liars, murderers, people who enjoy sexual activity, etc. But I guess we’re just being accused of little everyday sins, as well as the bogus ones like buying beer on Sundays. And that “sinned in our hearts” nonsense. But because we don’t grovel enough to God, we’re “depraved”. Meh.

  682. #682 Kel
    February 6, 2009

    Mathematics with facilis:
    Kel – I say 2+2=4
    facilis – you can’t say that!
    K – Why not?
    F – Because you can’t account for logic
    K -What do you mean I can’t account for logic?
    F – Well where do you think logic comes from?
    K – logic is derived from the universe.
    F – No it isn’t, the universe cannot account for logic.
    K – Why not?
    F – because logic needs a logic giver
    K – Wait, what?
    F – Logic is immaterial, the universe doesn’t fit logic so logic must be transcendent.
    K – How does that stop me from applying logic?
    F – Because you cannot account for it, so how can you use what you cannot account for?
    K – Like this: here are two objects, I couple them with two more objects. Look, it’s exactly the same size as that pile of 4 objects!
    F – But you cannot say that without being able to account for logic in the first place.
    K – *facepalm* so facilis, how do you add two plus two?
    F – I know that logic comes from God, he told me himself. Now that I can have a point of explanation for logic, I can assure you that 2+2=5
    K – Wait, no it doesn’t. I’ve demonstrated that 2+2=4. It can never equal 5.
    F – Ahh, but you can’t account for why 2+2=4, I can account for why 2+2=5 so I win.
    K – No you don’t, mathematics can be used regardless of how it was obtained by humanity. It may be a constant in the universe, it may be given down by a divine being, it may simply be a construct of the macroscopic world as we see it. The point is that one needs not know where it comes from in order to apply it
    F – Nope, you can’t use it. 2+2=5 because I’m certain it’s right and my worldview is superior to yours!

  683. #683 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2009

    Facilis (#660)

    Where did heddle say this?

    Where did I say heddle said he said that? (No, really.)

  684. #684 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2009

    Whoops, that’s supposed to be: Where did I say heddle said that?

  685. #685 heddle
    February 6, 2009

    In pursuit of this claim, heddle has asserted that young Earth creationism is compatible with science – given the example of Kurt Wise. This raises a difficulty however: if young Earth creationism is compatible with science, why does he oppose it, and moreover, get on his high horse and insist atheists STFU so he can do so more effectively?

    Because it is wrong. Eastern mysticism is also wrong. But an eastern mystic can do science at the highest level. No difference. If I couldn’t oppose something just because its proponents were capable of doing perfectly fine science, there wouldn’t be much left that I could oppose. KenCope-ism maybe, but that’s not very high on my radar. I never said, let alone insist, that atheists should STFU. My original post was related to the fact of strange bedfellows?the New Atheists and the anti-science YECs are united in their opposition to pro-science theism.

    MartinH,

    I think he’s done a pretty good job of demonstrating that as far as your definition of incompatibility goes, there seems to be agreement with you on this thread.

    I understand that. I even understand that I am arguing a strawman. That’s because the actual definition is meaningless. If there is no effect on, say, Miller’s ability to do science because of his theism, then any discussion of the incompatibility is intangible gobbledygook. As I have said before, I could a 3000 word psycho-babble essay on why Dawkins’s science would improve if he converted to Christianity. If I did, you would be right to ask me for evidence where someone’s faith improved their science. That’s what I am asking.

    I would be extremely interested in the case you could make to persuade someone of the truth of your beliefs.

    You’ll be extremely bored with the answer: I don’t make any such case, ever. If I witness to someone I give the gospel and maybe my testimony. I never, ever try to persuade someone of the truth of my beliefs. I may try to persuade someone that they have an incorrect exegesis, and sometimes I get persuaded that I do, but that is a different matter.

    Ken Cope,

    it’s always a united front among the theists; heddle has yet to confront them here on their science-denial and don’t hold your breath)

    It’s true I stay out of and generally don’t follow parallel discussions you guys have with other theists. I have little more than a vague knowledge that they are happening. I would hardly call that a united front. If we went about backslapping each other Nerd of Redhead style, that’d be a different matter. The reason is mostly historic. Once on this blog I was in the thread and stated another Christian (Vox Dey I think) was wrong. The discussion deteriorated, in as much as that is possible, to ?well how do we know which one of you Christians is the True Christian??? Bleh. However on my blog I routinely call out YECs and the Dembski crowd. So go there if in-the-family disputes give you the chuckles.

    in the course of the sort of civil discourse that Sastra has shamed heddle into participating in,

    Yeah right. I would hope a more accurate statement for you is: the civil discouse between Sastra and heddle has shamed me, KenCope, into realizing that such adult converstion is possible. But I don’t think you have any shame.

    All those other Christians who aren’t Calvinists? They’re just as extra crispy as me and Patricia.

    Where did you get that idea? That is anti-Calvinism. The most important verse for Calvinism is God will have mercy upon whom God will have mercy. That’s not: God will have mercy on those who can pass an exam in Calvinist doctrine, just in case you need that to be spelled out.

  686. #686 Knockgoats
    February 6, 2009

    Kel have you checked out Calvinism? It’s as foul as the Catholics. The concept of total depravity is something no one should be burdened with. – Patricia

    Well said! Calvinists believe God created billions of human beings predestined to eternal torment – and they worship this vile monster. In other words, they worship infinite evil. Even Pilty wanking over his fantasies of torturing heretics is less disgusting. That heddle peddles this vileness to unfortunate children ensures that he has my deepest contempt.

  687. #687 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Facilis, still the Fallacious Fool. Can’t even give a straight answer to a simple question. Until you learn to do so, you will be rightfully mocked and scorned. Not answering simple questions in a straightforward manner is not a sign of a superior intelligence, but rather a sign of somebody who is pulling a scam and knows it. You are a liar and bullshitter until you prove otherwise.

  688. #688 SC, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Composing a response to heddle’s lies at the moment. Here are a couple of highlights fom the earlier thread:

    SC, #196: YECs. Are you suggesting that position is compatible with science?

    heddle, #199: I think I said as clearly as I possibly can, on multiple occasions including in my previous comment, that it is not.

    ***

    heddle, #445: As I said, I can ?point out? why religious belief might be helpful to a scientist…

    SC, #455: OK. Go ahead. You claimed above that the Bible tells people to go do science. Where do you find that? How do you square that interpretation with some of the passages and writings people have pointed to above, or with the larger message of faith without evidence? Are you just saying that people can find inspiration in their religious beliefs or ideas? Inspiration can come from anywhere, just as the drive to understand the universe has a number of sources. Are you suggesting there’s something specific to religion (or Christianity) that’s an advantage in doing good science, and that it nullifies the larger incompatibility issues raised above? How?

    heddle, #?: [still waiting]

  689. #689 funnythat
    February 6, 2009

    Rey Fox, did your mother ever tell you you could only have cookies after dinner, and you snuck into the kitchen and ate a cookie while she was emptying the washing machine?

    You’re absolutely depraved and you deserve to burn in hell forever and ever. Amen.

  690. #690 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 6, 2009

    See here http://www.livingwaters.com/good/

    You have GOT to be kidding me.

    Ray Comfort?

    I KNOW this because God has revealed it to me with certainty.

    You can not with any certainty distinguish between what could be a psychological episode and what you claim is divine revelation.

  691. #691 heddle
    February 6, 2009

    SC, OM,

    You have one that is fair enough: I have made, on the surface, contrary statements about whether YECism is compatible with science. The same could be said about, for example, eastern mysticism. I accept that deserved criticism, attribute it to my own sloppiness, and will clarify:

    1. YECism is incompatible with science in the sense that what it claims (a young earth) is demonstrably false.

    2. It is not incompatible in the sense that we have discussed on this thread–that is a YEC could choose, for whatever purposes, if only to be mischievous, to do good science, and that good science would not carry a detectable signature of his YEC beliefs.

    So I accept that criticism, and you can accept or reject my explanation at your pleasure.

    SC, #455: OK. Go ahead. You claimed above that the Bible tells people to go do science. [1]Where do you find that? [2]How do you square that interpretation with some of the passages and writings people have pointed to above, or with the larger message of faith without evidence? [3]Are you just saying that people can find inspiration in their religious beliefs or ideas? Inspiration can come from anywhere, just as the drive to understand the universe has a number of sources. [4]Are you suggesting there’s something specific to religion (or Christianity) that’s an advantage in doing good science, and that it nullifies the larger incompatibility issues raised above? [5]How?

    (Enumeration added.)

    Now is this is representative of big-tough-showstopper questions I have avoided? Have you stopped to think that neither I nor many other people care to wade through a dense paragraph of rapid fire questions? Your definition of running away is peculiar: No matter how annoying I am, unless heddle answers all my questions he is a coward!

    1) Romans 1:20. Even without the bible creation leaves men without excuse. That presupposes the study of creation. That’s science. That passage says, in effect, that even science will reveal characteristics of God. (Considered that answered. If you don’t agree that’s too bad, but it has been answered.)

    2) As for faith and evidence, I don’t recall what people were talking about. It was probably the misconception that the bible calls for blind faith and treats it as a virtue. People (atheists and fundamentalist Christians?you guys are often on the same side) often say that, referring to Hebrews 11:1. I have ad nauseum, even on this blog. addressed that. If you are actually interested, here is a Sunday school I gave on that topic.

    3) No. I can only guess you took my claim ?I can write an essay showing why faith makes you a better scientist? (or something similar) not as an example of why science-faith incompatibility arguments are senseless, but that I was actually making the claim.

    4) No, as my now numerous comments that anyone with the requisite skills can do good science regardless of their personal beliefs or pathologies demonstrates.

    5)I don’t have to answer how, since I answered no to #4.

  692. #692 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2009

    heddle (#685)

    I understand that. I even understand that I am arguing a strawman. That’s because the actual definition is meaningless.

    Is it safe to assume you’re referring to “incompatibility-2″ as explained* in Knockgoats’ post at #587? On what grounds have you determined its lack of meaning? I suppose the rest of us are deluded when we find this defintion completely meaningful and relevant. (Ironically, you invoke shades of it yourself in criticism of other would-be thestic scientists: YECs, etc.)

    I’m convinced you’re compelled to reject this definition not on its lack of meaning but because anything other than your own definition is inconvenient to your worldview and would require further mental gymnastics to reconcile science and theism. Or more simply put, you’re in denial. The most honest thing you could have done would be to admit your rejection of other definitions from the start and then refrain from the whole strawman diversion.

    Oh, and you still haven’t answered my questions in #468 with the clarifications given in #604. Is that because you’re bored or because you’re incapable? (Guess which I’m going to assume.)

    “[S]cience mandates you to adjust your beliefs in conformity with the evidence, while religion (and specifically theism) tells you to believe what your religious authority (whether a person, committee, book or whatever) tell you to believe.”

  693. #693 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2009

    Oh, and just for fun, I thought I’d point out you also made a straw man out of “compartmentalization” by conveniently redefining it way back in #214: “If ‘compartmentalization’ means ‘people use different parts of their brain’ then yes we all compartmentalize all the time.”

    You realize that’s a terrible, terrible habit, don’t you?

  694. #694 Wowbagger
    February 6, 2009

    heddle, #691, wrote:

    …atheists and fundamentalist Christians?you guys are often on the same side…

    Not attempting to derail the discussion you’re having with SC, but I’d like to point out that stating this is more than a little disingenuous.

    We may come to the same conclusion on an issue, (liberal, caf Christianity is a dodge in order to avoid cognitive dissonance) but that is not the same thing as being on the same side

    To say atheists and fundamentalists are ‘on the same side’ is like saying competing boxers who both agree to wear red gloves during the fight are ‘on the same side’, or that the generals of two armies fighting each other both look at the heavy clouds in the sky and realise it’s going to rain are ‘on the same side’.

  695. #695 heddle
    February 6, 2009

    A.Noyd,

    No I was confused by this exchange:

    1) Heddle: ?science is motivation-agnostic? clearly referring to the motivations of the scientist.

    2) A.Noyd: ?Motive-agnostic does not mean purpose-agnostic?

    3) Heddle: (not realizing that A.Noyd has shifted the emphasis away from the scientist science itself, answers regarding the purpose of the scientists.)

    4) A.Noyd responds like a jackass in #604.

    5) Heddle reviews #468 d and notices three things: I) A.Noyd did indeed refer to science, ii) A.Noyd was already displaying signs of jackassedness, , iii) A.Noyd gave a biased, question-begging, non standard definition of science: to give us a self-consistent (and therefore useful) description of reality. The word reality should have in front of it the adjective physical.

    Is this your question that you are so proud of?

    [1]If you can arbitrarily reject science on a whim, then what fucking use is it? [2]Motive-agnostic does not mean purpose-agnostic, and your definition of science neglects its purpose: to give us a self-consistent (and therefore useful) description of reality. [3]If you strip science of its purpose, it becomes only so much philosophical masturbation.
    [4]Furthermore, if not science, what do you use to determine the validity of your beliefs? [5]If they are immune to falsification, how do you demonstrate and distinguish false beliefs? [6]That is, how can you leave reality open to your preferred superstitions and not leave a gap for everyone else’s at the same time?

    1) I don’t reject science ever, let alone arbitrarily or on a whim.

    2) As discussed, that is not a definition of science.

    3) I guess I’ll just keep doing science until I need glasses.

    4) Faith, and the sum total of experiences in my religious life, self-consistency, the Holy Spirit, all relying upon the fact that I have been regenerated.

    5) They are not immune to falsification. A cosmos without a beginning would shatter my faith,

    6) Believe whatever you like.

    Im convinced you’re compelled to reject this definition not on its lack of meaning

    Good for you. The real reason I am compelled to reject the definition is I am a scientist. So I don’t accept someone?PZ, Coyne, or you telling me they are incompatible. Any fool can do that. I want them to show me. With an experiment.

    Wowbagger,#694

    Fair enough–that is a bad habit I have. But it is such a guilty pleasure.

  696. #696 Stanton
    February 6, 2009

    Has Facilis answered my request for a demonstration of how “God = Logic”?

  697. #697 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Stanton, what do you think? He appears to be afraid to do anything other than posture and pose, like little fallacious fool he is. If he offers any evidence the chances of being refuted, like everything he has proposed to date, approach 100%.

  698. #698 Wowbagger
    February 6, 2009

    Fair enough–that is a bad habit I have. But it is such a guilty pleasure.

    Eh, I probably shouldn’t complain. Apparently, I’ve been known to take the occasional cheap shot myself; the last person who went down the ‘I find it interesting that atheists and fundamentalists think the same thing’ path expressed immense distaste for the expression ‘cafeteria Christian’ – so I used it in every subsequent post just to annoy him.

    Back to our glass houses I guess.

  699. #699 heliobates
    February 6, 2009

    @Facilis

    Every time a theist destroys this worldview, you hop to another and after he destroys that you hop to another… and when the theist gives up the atheist claims victory.

    You know what would destroy my worldview? The formal demonstration that laws of logic exist; that they are universal, absolute and invariant. Providing evidential support for the first assertion made by proofthatgodexists.org.

    Shockingly, the internet apologetic equivalent of Ren and Stimpy (you’re Stimpy, BTW) haven’t been able to pull that off.

    I examine my opponent’s worldview to see which can provide the necessary preconditions of the intelligibility of human experience. IF he fails I will show my worldview is superior

    Your worldview fails at the Gettier problem. Discuss.

  700. #700 Knockgoats
    February 6, 2009

    Because it is wrong. Eastern mysticism is also wrong. But an eastern mystic can do science at the highest level. No difference. If I couldn’t oppose something just because its proponents were capable of doing perfectly fine science, there wouldn’t be much left that I could oppose. KenCope-ism maybe, but that’s not very high on my radar. I never said, let alone insist, that atheists should STFU. My original post was related to the fact of strange bedfellows?the New Atheists and the anti-science YECs are united in their opposition to pro-science theism. – heddle

    You really are so full of shit I’m coming to the conclusion that you must be a sewage treatment plant. You complained about atheists voicing their conviction that science and religion are incompatible, and falsely said they “team up” with anti-science theists. Groups opposing something from opposite sides are not “strange bedfellows”. That term, like “team up”, specifically implies working together.

    1. YECism is incompatible with science in the sense that what it claims (a young earth) is demonstrably false. heddle

    So are the claims that anyone can walk on water (you have said yourself that scientifically, this is “impossible”), that human beings can be born without a biological father, that people dead several days can be brought back to life, that five loaves and two fishes can feed five thousand people. You believe these absurdities because your interpretation of the Bible is that it says they really happened – just as the YEC believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1 because of their interpretation of the Bible. You do not, as you have dishonestly claimed, simply believe things that science does not tell you to believe; you believe things that you have admitted science tells you are impossible – because of your religious convictions.

    2. It is not incompatible in the sense that we have discussed on this thread–that is a YEC could choose, for whatever purposes, if only to be mischievous, to do good science, and that good science would not carry a detectable signature of his YEC beliefs.

    Well at least you’re admitting that there is more than one sense in which it can be asserted that science and religion are incompatible. Your (2) above is my incompatibility-1 @587 which PZ has repeatedly said he does not claim, and which no-one here has supported. Yet your original whine was simply about atheists asserting the incompatibility of science and religion – sense of incompatibility unspecified. You must know perfectly well that PZ does not claim incompatibility-1, and most people here know that you must know it, so the natural assumption was that you were talking about some other version of incompatibility – and all the other three variants I distinguished @587 were brought up in the course of the thread. You cannot honestly claim that only the one you want to talk about is the one “we have discussed on this thread”.

  701. #701 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Eastern mysticism is also wrong.

    In contrast to what’s right, rejoicing that the Magic Skydaddy who created the universe for the express purpose of clairvoyantly eavesdropping on heddle’s deep and prayerful contrition for the last time heddle masturbated, to forgive him, because hey, it’s heddle we’re talking about here. It must be one of heddle’s amazing theist/scientist superpowers that enable him to declare, with certainty, that any stance apart from heddle’s is as wrong as atheism, especially if it’s something Sam Harris studies.

    My original post was related to the fact of strange bedfellows?the New Atheists and the anti-science YECs are united in their opposition to pro-science theism.

    But atheists are black on the right side and white on the left, while all of the anti-science YECs are white on the right side. Wait! You mean that we’re really just exactly the same as each other! I see, because atheists who explore the world through the lens of science and reject religion are just exactly the same as the anti-science YECs because…heddle says so.

  702. #702 heddle
    February 6, 2009

    Knockgoats ,

    You really are so full of shit I’m coming to the conclusion that you must be a sewage treatment plant.

    I have no comment on this. I just wanted to repost it because it is such beautiful prose. Darn near Hitchens-esque.

    just as the YEC believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1 because of their interpretation of the Bible. You do not, as you have dishonestly claimed, simply believe things that science does not tell you to believe; you believe things that you have admitted science tells you are impossible.

    Yeah?is that supposed to be new insight? Have I hidden my belief in the supernatural? Hmm? I think not.

    Man you don?t get it. Both the YECs and OECs agree that God can perform supernatural deeds. We both agree that God supernaturally created the cosmos.

    It is not that YECs claim supernatural origins and OECs do not, it is that the YEC claim can be put to the test. When you measure the age of the earth you are not refuting the supernatural, but rather the natural consequence of the alleged supernatural event as the YECs claim it. Could God have created the cosmos 6000 years ago? Sure. But if he did then there will be a natural as opposed to a supernatural effect: the measured age will be 6000 years.

    Consider this: If Jesus walked on the water, you are free to apply science but we both know the answer will be: he can?t do that. However if I came by just after he walked on water, and I didn?t see it, I could do an experiment. If I were very careful I could measure the waves and do an inverse scattering problem to see if they were consistent with eyewitness accounts of a man walking on the water.

    That?s the concept. All theists believe in the supernatural?even deists do. Once again if believing in the supernatural is synonymous with an incompatibility then you have victory by definition. Congratulations.

  703. #703 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    However on my blog I routinely call out YECs and the Dembski crowd. So go there if in-the-family disputes give you the chuckles.

    It’s not exactly giving me the chuckles is watch heddle use PZ’s blog to godbot and pimp his own blog.

  704. #704 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Could God have created the cosmos 6000 years ago? Sure. But if he did then there will be a natural as opposed to a supernatural effect: the measured age will be 6000 years.

    What, the Supernatural Pixie who does it all for heddle falls so short of omnipotence that He couldn’t have poofed the universe into existence 6000 years while making it appear to have happened 13.8BYA without the need for any supernatural agency? Nah, heddle knows–he doesn’t worship a trickster.

  705. #705 SC, OM
    February 6, 2009

    heddle:

    No, you are running away from my challenge by calling it silly. But I’ll accept another challenge that demonstrates the incompatibility rather than talks about it. Demonstrates it with an experiment. I proposed one experiment, which you call silly because you do not know how to deal with it, but I’ll accept another experiement–but not words. I have made the point over and over including recently that if OwlMirrow and I both studied walking on water that we would in principle produce indistinguishable papers on its impossibility. Tell me, how would you tell which paper was written by the the believer and which by the athiest [sic]? Your Answer: Oh that’s so silly! They are incomaptible but don’t ask me to put that to the test! No, as long as I use words like compartmentalization and balkanization then I have proved it!

    Do you have no sense of honor at all, heddle? You just lie openly, and feel no shame? I said on this very thread, @ #357: ?Which is ludicrous for a number of reasons. I’ve noted some but would be happy to describe them in more detail at your request.? If you wanted me to remind you of its problems, you simply had to ask. You?re a lying jerk.

    The claims that are being made are about the incompatibility of religion and science, while you, in your own self-interest, have arbitrarily reduced the question to ?Does theism affect scientific production?? and asserted that if you can find examples of cases in which it does not then you have shown that the two are incompatible. Leaving aside this misrepresentation and shrinking for the moment, even your narrowed version runs into trouble when you start to discuss empirical investigation.

    I tried several times on the earlier thread to explain to you that in the social sciences (the question at hand being a social-scientific one), experiments are only one method of research. Sociologists, for example, use surveys, interviews, participant observation, content analysis, and existing data to answer our questions. Experiments (which can be interesting and lead to insights) are used fairly rarely in my experience, for the obvious reason that controlled conditions are artificial and don?t necessarily relate to real-world behavior (less true, of course, of ?experiments in nature?).

    After much difficulty on the part of a number of people explaining to you that an experiment involves manipulating/controlling conditions, you finally managed (without, I?ll note, apologizing for insulting me for understanding what an experiment is and simply calling you on your own ignorance) to define ?experiment?:

    522: So I am using experiment this way: measurements made to confirm, refute, or guide the theoretical side of the discipline.
    530: Maybe by some precise definition as Sven proposed, but I am using it in way to include things like measuring (and analyzing) stellar spectra. Those scientists would, I believe, not object to the title “experimental Astronomer.” It is true, I concede, that you are not necessarily manipulating an independent variable (but possibly you are). Nevertheless you are making observations to test theories.

    So you, idiosyncratically, define an experiment as systematic empirical observation and measurement (of course, you should include analysis) to test hypotheses. This is not the definition of ?experiment? but of ?research.? (The use of the term ?experimental physics? to distinguish empirical work from theoretical work has evidently confused you somewhat, though I doubt your fellow physicists are as unclear on what ?an experiment? means.) This broad definition, as I explained to you on the other thread, means that you have no justification for rejecting the relevant findings of other research methods and insisting on experiments as the only acceptable method. You can?t move back and forth as it suits you. In any event, what you?re proposing ? your ?challenge? ? is not an experiment. It doesn?t involve controlling conditions to precisely measure relationships between or among variables. As you present it, it doesn?t remotely qualify as sociological research, but is closer to a game-show stunt.

    But let?s say for the sake of argument that we could approach this as research to answer the question you pose ? again, ?Does religion affect scientific work??. First, we would note that what we?re doing is not an experiment but a form of content analysis. We would be looking at existing scientific productions and examining them for ?marks? of religion, just as we could do for ?marks? of any other belief system. Our first problem would be in terms of the measurement tool itself. You keep saying ?I?ll show you? this or that set of papers, but who is ?you?? I?m not qualified to judge what would probably often be subtle evidence in papers in disciplines in which I know relatively little of the content of existing knowledge or the accepted methods. So who are our coders going to be? How are they going to be trained to make these determinations in a way that eliminates the possibility that it is their ignorance of the disciplines in question that doesn?t allow them to distinguish the work of a theist from that of a nontheist?

    On what basis are the people reading the papers to make their determinations, and which are we calling relevant to our question? It is certainly possible that someone could identify a theist?s paper based on elements that have little or nothing to do with any fundamental incompatibility ? the writer used Bible verses or fables, terms usually used by the religious, etc. This would allow for identification, but not in any way relevant to answering our question. How do we separate these out from those identifying markers that would point to incompatibility? (According to your challenge as presented, identification based on anything at all would be accepted by you as evidence against your position.)

    Then we have to think about the examples of scientific production offered for measurement and analysis. Even if we?re only looking at published, peer-reviewed work, questions of sampling (even if this were as random as possible) arise. The fact that the proportion of theistic scientists is small (and decreases the fursther up you go) is relevant and important data that any honest researcher would have to report, and not just in a footnote. What if in a given field or subfield (say, research on abiogenesis) you are selecting 5 papers by theists and five papers by nontheists, but the five by theists are the only ones published by theists in that field in the past 5 years, whereas for nontheists you had 500 to choose from. That is not pertinent? (If I selected ten NBA players and gave you their stats and you couldn?t guess their heights, would this be good evidence that being short does not affect one?s possibilities of rising to the top levels in basketball? And more generally, if ?one discredited lunatic? doesn?t prove the case against you, how many theistic scientists doing good work prove your own case? Real-world statistics can simply be ignored?)

    But the biggest problem for your challenge is one you yourself have noted on numerous occasions in the mistaken belief that it?s helping your case. Your attempt to appropriate the rule that we should only judge science by published, peer-reviewed work for your ends is really slimy and underhanded. The reason for this is that the reason we don?t accept other productions is because published, peer-reviewed work has been vetted ? arguments and methods incompatible with good science have been weeded out and rejected (either whole papers or portions thereof). When, in response to the suggestion that ?You can demonstrate [the incompatibility] by looking at the science of the Intelligent design crowd such as Behe et al.,? you respond ?Yes, their almost uncontainable corpus of peer-reviewed publications demonstrates conclusively how they have been able to sneak their ideas into mainstream science,? you have made the clearest argument against your proposed method that anyone can. An honest examination of the effects of religion on scientific production would necessarily inlcude submissions to peer-reviewed journals that have been rejected, as well as other writings (including books) that are non-peer-reviewed. It would explicitly appreciate the role of the vetting process of peer-review and the meaning of this in terms of answering our question.

    As I said on the Coyne thread, ?I mean, there were some Stalinist scientists who did good work. Doesn’t mean there was no incompatibility there.? I?ll elaborate: I?m fairly confident I could produce 15 articles in your or a related field with which you?re familiar, published in peer-reviewed journals in the 1930s: 5 by diehard Stalinists/diamats, 5 by non-Stalinists working in the Soviet sphere, and 5 by non-Stalinists elsewhere, and that you could not distinguish among them (at least in terms of scientific claims, analyses, and methods). Would this convince you that Stalinism was compatible with science? If not, why not? How about if I pointed to, say, ten, good scientists who were scientists? Would this be evidence against incompatibility?

    Let?s talk about books. You keep mentioning Miller as an example of a scientist whose theism has not affected his capacity to do good science. But read Coyne?s discussion of Miller?s arguments about theistic evolution in his article. Science includes the analysis and interpretation of evidence. I agree with Coyne that the evidence so far doesn?t square with Miller?s presentation, and yet Miller continues to trumpet theistic evolution in speech and writing. What is your response to Coyne about this? Where does Miller respond to what Coyne is saying about the science of evoution in a way you find satisfying?

    In closing this post, in addition to asking once again on what grounds you justify excluding all evidence derived through non-experimental (in the narrow sense) methods*, I?ll point out the profound hypocrisy at work in your posts. You insist on evidence (data, falsifiability,?) in support of claims about incompatibility. But these are social-scientific claims, and you?ve maintained several times, idiotically, that you hold social/political/economic beliefs that aren?t based on any evidence. You also maintain that outside ?the lab? evidence (religious and otherwise) may be accepted or rejected based on personal preference. So why should anyone bother presenting you with any evidence at all?

    *When I asked ?Why do you not accept any of the above as “measurable effects”? How do you justify this?? you responded ?Because they aren’t measurable. A meaurable effect is to demonstrate how the science a theist produces is different from that an atheist produces. Anything else is just words.? Excuse me, but what the hell? How are these other things not measurable? The percentage of theistic scientists is measurable, and has been measured. The interference of religious groups with scientific education is measurable. The persecution of scientists by established churches is measurable. You cannot show that these aren?t measurable. You can only repeat that you reject this evidence, but you?ve offered no justification for this.

  706. #706 heddle
    February 6, 2009

    KenCope,

    It’s not exactly giving me the chuckles is watch heddle use PZ’s blog to godbot and pimp his own blog.

    I’m not godboting. I have purposely, with one minor exception, avoided all the comments about Calvinism. (Which of course really means that they were devastating rebukes for which I have no comeback.) Nor have I proselytized. The subject of the post has to do with religion. How the hell can you discuss it without discussing religion?

    Nor have I pimped my own blog. I explained why I don’t jump into other subthreads involving theists. Only on the occasion of referring SC OM to a revalent post on blind-faith did I link my blog. In what, 50 posts on this blog I provided one link to avoid pasting a long argument here? That is hardly pimping by anyone’s standards.

    But hey, you can certainly be a manly tattletale and encourage PZ to put me in the dungeon. Here’s two things about that:

    1) If he does I’ll never mention it on my blog or anywhere else. That is, I will not claim martyrdom.

    2) If he wants, he can send me an email right now saying: please don’t post on my blog anymore. And I won’t, no muss, no fuss, no comment on my own blog, not publishing his email, no claim of martyrdom.

    It is entirely his blog and he is within his rights to ask me to leave or force me to leave, though he doesn’t need to do that. Though I would think the sight of you trying to goad him into it would be distasteful?but what do I know?

  707. #707 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    I would hope a more accurate statement for you is: the civil discouse between Sastra and heddle has shamed me, KenCope, into realizing that such adult converstion is possible. But I don’t think you have any shame.

    Sastra possesses a far more sophisticated and subtle knife than anybody else on this blog, wielding it with a Socratic air and a calming smile. Me, I point and laugh, along with everybody else.

  708. #708 tony
    February 6, 2009

    Heddle

    Way back when (in the early 500′s) I posted a comment suggesting you were being somewhat biased in your statement suggesting that Hoyle “allowed his atheism to influence his results”. At that time I stated (I paraphrase) scientists can legitimately reach different conclusions from the same data – which you essentially then lambasted in a ‘Hah!’ post.

    Sometime later, downthread, you made the following comment

    For I have witnessed and participated in countless arguments over different conclusions reached by scientists of good faith presented with a common set of data

    WTF?

    So You have observed many times different scientists reaching different conclusions from the same data … yet find it absurd that Hoyle would reach conclusions different from his peers? You also implied that the overriding rationale for Hoyle’s stance must be his anti-theism (as you put it)? Why not simply accept that his position was founded upon his investment in Steady State in addition to his disquiet at the potential misuse of the results for religious purposes.

    You also objected strongly to my use of the word ‘loose’ regarding the big bang theory. I do not disagree that the explanatory power of the inflationary model is immense – but as you yourself stated, it is incomplete. Modified, it predicts the slight non-uniformities in the background. There is still much room for improvement.

    My comment was quite clear, that ‘zero explanatory power’ was in the context of ‘what came before’. You focused on ‘what came after’. As I said – that is most definitely NOT the big bang theory.

    I do not disagree with inflation (as your intemperate response seemed to suggest). I disagree (as did Hoyle) with the ‘act of creation’. It appears to me to be simply absurd. The does not mean that it is false. It does mean that I reserve judgment of that portion of the theory. I stated (and you later agreed) that part of the theory requires further work, and many different cosmological models are being presented and theorized in an attempt to explain what we see as ‘the big bang’.

    So despite the fact that you called me insane for suggesting the ‘big bang’ was in any way wrong or incomplete – you agree that it is incomplete and ‘needs further work’.

    Again
    WTF?

  709. #709 Bobber
    February 6, 2009

    Just a comment regarding Heddle at #702, and in many other places, actually. If I am interpreting Heddle correctly, if he himself were to witness a seemingly miraculous event – for example, Jesus walking on water – he would be bound by his scientific training to examine that event using scientific methodology to discover how Jesus accomplished this feat. Likewise, had the event been videotaped, the videotape could then be subjected to scientific scrutiny afteward.

    However, if the event occurred far in the past, and was (supposedly) witnessed by persons who would be more familiar with Bronze Age mysticism than with Enlightenment science, and is ascribed to a supernatural power because – well, because these witnesses unlearned in the ways of science SAY SO – well, that is a miracle, to be believed as such on faith, and is not open to scientific scrutiny, because we didn’t directly witness it, and no one trained in science was an eyewitness and offered a critique.

    But maybe I’m wrong, because then Heddle said:

    Consider this: If Jesus walked on the water, you are free to apply science but we both know the answer will be: he can?t do that. However if I came by just after he walked on water, and I didn?t see it, I could do an experiment. If I were very careful I could measure the waves and do an inverse scattering problem to see if they were consistent with eyewitness accounts of a man walking on the water.

    If the answer is still “there is no way, using the processes that we know to operate in the natural world, that Jesus could actually have walked on water”, then the simple conclusion is, he didn’t. To conclude otherwise is to say, yes, I take this on faith – and isn’t that kind of unfounded belief the very antithesis of science? Is this where the argument over “compatability” enters in – is it that Francis Collins may be (and is) an excellent scientist, but if “being a scientist” could be measured on a continuum, that Collins is “less scientist-y” than one who has no faith beliefs?

    As a non-scientist doing his best to follow the line of discussion, these are the impressions I have so far.

  710. #710 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    Nor have I pimped my own blog. I explained why I don’t jump into other subthreads involving theists. Only on the occasion of referring SC OM to a revalent post on blind-faith did I link my blog.

    Only if you don’t count the link from your name to http://helives.blogspot.com/ at the top of every one of your posts and the personal invitation to visit your blog @685. It was a feeble excuse for your solidarity here with the morons.

    what do I know?

    Nothing.

  711. #711 phantomreader42
    February 6, 2009

    One of many questions Facilis has been hiding from for a month:

    WHAT “laws of logic”, Facilis? What are these “laws” you keep babbling about? List them. Name them.

    Facilis The Fallacious Fool @ #584:

    I’ve named some. Law of identity, law of non-contradiction.

    Wow, you actually acknowledged that the question was being asked! And it only took you a MONTH!

    Of course, you still failed to ANSWER it. Maybe in another month you’ll make a real attempt.

    Really, is this the best you can do? You’re amazed that your imaginary friend exudes some sort of magical field that makes A=A?

    These “laws” you babble about in capital letters are trivial and self-evident. They are observable facts. They do not require justification by magic, much less the work of your specific imaginary friend.

    And, of course, you haven’t listed ALL of your precious “absolute, invariant, universal, immaterial laws of logic and reason“. January 9, 2009 (almost a month ago) was the first time I asked you this question, in these words:

    Oh, and what laws are those EXACTLY? Go ahead, list, in exact detail, each and every one of these “absolute, invariant, universal, immaterial laws of logic and reason”. If there’s any disagreement, that’s proof that they’re not universal. If any follow from properties of matter, that’s proof they’re not immaterial. If any of them have a single exception, that’s proof they’re not absoulte or invariant. And if you leave any out, that’s proof you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. So go ahead, detail EXACTLY what these “absolute, invariant, universal, immaterial laws of logic and reason” say, or shut up about them.

    As you have utterly failed to provide the entire list of “absolute, invariant, universal, immaterial laws of logic and reason”, you obviously don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. Nor do you have the basic common courtesy to shut up once it’s been proven repeatedly that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    Also, you have fled in terror from multiple requests to justify why YOUR version of god is the correct one. Even if logic required a god (and you have done nothing whatsoever to show that it does, or even to define the features of logic that supposedly require such) you have given no reason why that god couldn’t be Anubis, Bokonon, Coyote, Dionysius, Enki, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Grumsh, Haephestus, Isis, John Frum, Kira, Laharl, Marduk, Nerull, Odin, Palkia, Quetzalcoatl, Ra, Sousuke Aizen, Thor, Ungoliant the Unlight, Vishnu, Waspinator, Xemnas, Yu Yevon, or Zeus.

    (bonus points to anyone who can identify the sources of all these deities, some of which are there as a joke just to show how little respect I have for Facilis’ vacuous arguments)

    More Fallacious Foolery from Facilis:

    I PROVED it by the impossibility of the contrary

    You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

    Yet more Fallacious Foolery:

    So “Is murder objectively wrong?”

    Yes, by the definition of murder, as has been explained to you REPEATEDLY. Not that you’re ever going to get it. And even if it weren’t it wouldn’t make it a valid form of argument. The fact that you’re a murderous sociopath does not make you right. It makes you insane.

  712. #712 Ken Cope
    February 6, 2009

    It is entirely his blog and he is within his rights to ask me to leave or force me to leave, though he doesn’t need to do that.

    Why should PZ ask the heddle to leave? You’re a spectacular example of PZ’s and Coyne’s stance on the incompatibility of theism and science! Who knew there could be stupid more burning than that open-mike ignorance slam in the initial post, until along comes heddle and The Sound of Stupid with Facilis and Garfunkle, highlighting the contrast between brains, and brains on religion. Any questions?

  713. #713 phantomreader42
    February 6, 2009

    heliobates @ #699, to Facilis the Fallacious Fool:

    Shockingly, the internet apologetic equivalent of Ren and Stimpy (you’re Stimpy, BTW) haven’t been able to pull that off.

    So that makes Facilis a worthless sack of protoplasm. I’ve PROVED it by the impossibility of the contrary. :P

  714. #714 Knockgoats
    February 6, 2009

    belief in the supernatural is not incompatible with science, because nothing compels me only to believe things that science addresses. – heddle@372

    But science does address the question of whether it is possible for anyone to walk on water. It says that is not possible – as you yourself admitted. That is the inconsistency in your position. That we cannot test the specific claim that Ned Ludd walked on the waters of the Trent, or Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, is neither here nor there. We apply this kind of reasoning from empirically established impossibility to the falsity of specific claims routinely. Did the Red Sea part for Moses as described in Exodus? (IIRC, this one you don’t believe – I have no idea on what grounds you accept some Biblical miracles and reject others.) No: water does not pile up in walls and remain there. Did Heracles strangle two snakes in his cradle? No, babies are not capable of such feats. Have any yogis or Tibetan lamas really vanished from one place and appeared in another without travelling a continuous path between the two points? No: physical objects cannot be teleported. Did any of the medieval alchemists who claimed to have turned lead into gold really do so? No: at least without particle accelerators (maybe not even with them – I’m not a physicist), it can’t be done. That the specific individual claims cannot now be tested, because all these events are in the past and the evidence has vanished, is irrelevant.

    Could God have created the cosmos 6000 years ago? Sure. But if he did then there will be a natural as opposed to a supernatural effect: the measured age will be 6000 years. – heddle

    Why? Are you presuming to tel