Tuesday, January 03, 2012

On some common fallacious anti-atheism arguments.

I was just googling for an old image about adults with imaginary friends being stupid, and I ran across a derivative image trying to make a counter argument against atheism.

(And I want to clarify first and foremost that adults with imaginary friends aren't necessarily stupid inherently. They could have been tricked, brainwashed, led to believe false things by people they trusted, etc. The stupidity comes in when they refuse to look at the valid evidence and reasoning and rationally accept the overwhelming evidence and sound reasoning to the contrary of what they've been led to believe. Up until that point it's just an honest mistake... ignorance and falling prey to basic human cognitive biases and so forth. What angers me most about many "believers" is that they are in fact smart enough to know better, but choose irrational and dishonest self delusion and lying to others to preserve their beliefs... willful stupidity, and they even go so far as to glorify it... a kind of pervasive anti-intellectualism of the kind we see saturating the conservative and Republican political ideologies today. The celebration of ignorance, simple mindedness, and the vilification of science, education, reason, critical thinking, etc.)

The original image I was looking for was the following;

Adults with imaginary friends are stupid - thanks for not littering your mind

The argument, and another I found on the same page as one of the copies, were so riddled with fallacious reasoning that I felt compelled to address them here. I'll try to keep it brief. [ In retrospect on final editing, I failed as usual. ;) ]

Here are the two images I ran across that just made me roll my eyes and sigh in exasperation;

Fallacious counter argument against atheism

(Humorously this also serves as a strike against a number of atheists as I saw this on a lot of atheists sites, posted by atheists who clearly didn't read what it said and only looked at the top portion. They don't get a free pass just because they're "on our side". We should all be held to the same standard.)

Another fallacious counter argument against atheism

We'll address the longer one first because it's the first one I ran across, is directly in rebuttal to the original I was looking for, and is longer and bit more nuanced than the laughably stupid second one.

In case you can't read the text on the image, it goes as follows;

The ironic and self-defeating orderly appeal to reason for the existence of a reasonless universe without order, whose purpose is to evidence that there is no purpose, and whose morality is to argue that we should teach that there are no morals except that which they have reasoned for their purpose, which, in turn, produces the ultimate emotional articulation of self-centeredness which is fearfully bent toward the cover up and suppression of belief in an ultimate personal cause who brings order, purpose, and judgement to all things. Oh yeah ... I'm in.

I'll try to overlook the jabs of the opening and move into the meat of their claims. The first that we're making an "orderly appeal to reason for the existence of a reasonless universe without order". We never made the claim that the universe wasn't ordered. The universe in fact operates on a number of comprehensible laws that we have come to understand through empirical observation, testing, confirmation etc. In fact our argument is merely that this order is not itself evidence for their particular claim of a deity. This is a fallacious claim on their part. This brings us to the second and more subtle fallacy, the equivocation between "reason" as "a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.", and "reason" as in "the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences."

It is fundamentally important to understand this kind of fallacious argumentation on the part of the faithful because their excuses are not only riddled with such poor thinking and failures of sound reasoning, but they in fact cannot stand without them. They are inherently unreasonable, irrational, etc. So let's have a look at that particular fallacy a bit more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation states; "Equivocation is classified as both a formal and informal logical fallacy. It is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time)." It goes on to say "Equivocation is the use in a syllogism (a logical chain of reasoning) of a term several times, but giving the term a different meaning each time." and the example given under the "Fallacious Reasoning" section brilliantly illustrates exactly what we're seeing in our own case, with the apologist trying to ridicule us as too stupid to see the irony in contrary positions on reason, when in fact these are two entirely different words with fundamentally different meanings that merely sound the same, and which the apologists is trying to pull a fast one with in hopes that we don't notice.

It is simply put no different than the example given;

A feather is light.
What is light cannot be dark.
Therefore, a feather cannot be dark.

It's clearly obvious here that in spite of using the word "light" both times, fundamentally different meanings are meant in these two cases, and thus the conclusion does not logically follow from the premise.

Not only is this not self-defeating as they try to claim, but it also has nothing to do with the proposition of whether or not the universe actually does have any purpose. This is an entirely separate question which they do nothing to give any evidence for. Trying to ridicule us does nothing to address that lack of evidence on their part, and there is nothing to imply that the universe does have any "purpose" per se, and certainly not one expressly revolving around ourselves. The insistence on their part of some deeper "reason" or "purpose" always boils down to nothing more than wishful thinking and a basic appeal to emotion. They don't like the idea that there isn't some deeper meaning, so they think that they can invent one without giving any valid evidence to justify the claim. We'll see more on this as we go along.

More of the same with the line "whose purpose is to evidence that there is no purpose". Another equivocation with "purpose", trying to contrast our motivation in making an argument with the fundamental cause and "reason" of the existence of the universe. The two are not related, and again no valid argument or evidence is given for the proposition that there is any purpose, their obvious position.

Next we have "and whose morality is to argue that we should teach that there are no morals except that which they have reasoned for their purpose, which, in turn, produces the ultimate emotional articulation of self-centeredness which is fearfully bent toward the cover up and suppression of belief in an ultimate personal cause who brings order, purpose, and judgement to all things."

This part is a bit long, but we really need to tackle it as a whole. First they try to argue that we're arguing that there are no morals, which is false, but they go on to say "except for that which they have reasoned for their purpose" which itself doesn't state what the purpose is per se... not the previously mentioned purpose apparently... but goes on to give us a hint of what they think it is... "which, in turn, produces the ultimate emotional articulation of self-centeredness which is fearfully bent toward the cover up and suppression of belief in an ultimate personal cause who brings order, purpose, and judgement to all things."

Now sadly this is the part that is perhaps the most uninformed, misguided, and quite possibly willfully dishonest. The morality of the non-believer is generally based on modern day human understanding of the world we live in. (An important factor to note here is that all that unites non-believers is really the non-belief in a deity. There is no other over-arching doctrine or beliefs, although there is a strong prevalence of general adherence to reason and evidence etc. But let's not digress too much.) The lessons we've learned as a species about things like slavery, equal rights, etc. And those things are in part based on basic human empathy, our understanding of human suffering and how it feels to suffer. The fact that it pains us to see other human beings being hurt, or emotionally abused, or struggling with a heavy burden. Studies have shown that when we see a person carrying a heavy unbalanced load, we quite literally try helping them in our minds... we feel the distress of it almost toppling... and our brain goes through the motions of trying to help them.


(Sam Harris actually makes a great case for this position in his TED talk "Science can answer moral questions".)

So first and foremost our actions are actually something inherent in us as a function of our biological evolution. Second, this inherent sense of empathy is what motivates us to alleviate suffering in others. We know how they feel and we know we wouldn't like it if it were us. It in a way hurts us to see them being hurt. So we take actions to make the world not only a better place for our friends and family and those we care for, but because we understand our place in history and want to do for future generations what those who came before us have done for us to help bring us things like modern medicine and other technologies that have extended our lives and made them safer, healthier, longer, and arguably happier as a result. This couldn't be further from the "ultimate emotional articulation of self-centeredness" the apologist tries to argue. This is further illustrated by their explanation for what they think our motivation actually is...

"fearfully bent toward the cover up and suppression of belief in an ultimate personal cause who brings order, purpose, and judgement to all things."

First off we're not trying to cover it up. And in fact even a cursory understanding of contemporary history will show that it is time and time again the religious that seek to censor, and not the free thinkers. The free thinkers in fact thrive on the concept of free inquiry; that one should be able to express their mind in open and honest discourse. The religious have consistently sought to censor through threats, blasphemy laws, even torture, imprisonment, and murder, those who expressed views which they felt threatened their own. Sadly this concerted effort at oppression and censorship still goes on even today... something we constantly have to fight against. So it strikes me as absurdly disingenuous that the apologist would make such a counterfactual claim.

Further, the apologist makes yet another unfounded assertion. Not only are we not trying to cover up or suppress the belief the apologist asserts, but neither are we making the assertion that the belief we're supposedly trying to suppress is what they assert it is, nor have they as usual done anything whatsoever to establish the validity of that stated belief as they express it.

We are saying that there is no evidence for their claim. We are saying that we want people to think rationally and honestly about the issues in question and not fall prey to appeals to emotion, wishful thinking, fallacious arguments like the equivocation seen here, etc. We expect a burden of proof to be fulfilled... the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and no valid evidence has been given to justify a belief in what they are claiming.

(For instance the Scientific Method states that "a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." And that's putting it simply. You can't just make things up and expect them to hold any merit not only without any valid evidence to support such claims, but contrary to everything else we do know that has been established through this rigorous system of evidence, sound reasoning, critical assessment, falsifiability, peer review, predictive powers, and on and on.)

Now I want to move on to the next image, because this one really takes the cake with the blatant appeal to emotion. This is what the entire argument behind their faith comes down to, and this image really lays it bare.

"How are you anything other than the coincidental, purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, pointless, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?"

First off; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_emotion

Appeal to emotion is a potential fallacy which uses the manipulation of the recipient's emotions, rather than valid logic, to win an argument. The appeal to emotion fallacy uses emotions as the basis of an argument's position without factual evidence that logically supports the major ideas endorsed by the elicitor of the argument. Also this kind of thinking may be evident in one who lets emotions and/or other subjective considerations influence one's reasoning process. This kind of appeal to emotion is a type of red herring and encompasses several logical fallacies, including:

Instead of facts, persuasive language is used to develop the foundation of an appeal to emotion-based argument. Thus, the validity of the premises that establish such an argument does not prove to be verifiable.

Conclusively, the appeal to emotion fallacy presents a perspective intended to be superior to reason. Appeals to emotion are intended to draw visceral feelings from the acquirer of the information. And in turn, the acquirer of the information is intended to be convinced that the statements that were presented in the fallacious argument are true; solely on the basis that the statements may induce emotional stimulation such as fear, pity and joy. Though these emotions may be provoked by an appeal to emotion fallacy, substantial proof of the argument is not offered, and the argument's premises remain invalid.

I mean do we really even need to walk through the absurdity of these claims? "coincidental", "purposeless miscarriage of nature", "spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just" and on and on... the entire thing from start to finish is nothing more than a blatantly obvious attempt to make you feel lonely and insignificant so that you'll believe their position. But of course they never give any evidence for their actual position whatsoever. They do nothing whatsoever to rationally invalidate the very claims they're attempting to mock and use to sway you. And while their wording is intentionally meant to sound as terrible as possible, they've done nothing to show that it isn't actually true.

It doesn't matter if that reality isn't emotionally satisfying to you. Objective reality is not dependent on whether or not you like it or find it emotionally satisfying.

"Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality." (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishful_thinking)


Now even with that said, the reality still isn't as bad as they try to make it sound to scare you into taking their position. We are not mere coincidences. We are the result of millions of years of evolution, the application of the laws of nature in action. These forces have led to the evolution of our ability to think and understand... to be conscious of our own existence and our own mortality. It is a misunderstanding of theirs at best to refer to evolution and human life as "mere coincidence" as though it was nothing more than random chance. As with most things they fight against using simplistic and wrong binary thinking, it's much more complex and wondrous than that.


Further, as my previous statements imply, you're not merely a purposeless miscarriage of nature. You're the expression of evolution creating, within its confines, the best fit that it can with what it has to work with, a persistent reproductive life form in a given ecological niche. Now while there may not be any "purpose" on the cosmic level, and while in a broader sense the purpose of life may merely be procreation and perpetuation of itself... that doesn't mean that we personally cannot define our own purpose in life, even if that purpose is shaped in some part by the evolutionary baggage that effects the ways in which we perceive the universe around us.


On a personal level, the purpose of our lives is what we, and we alone, make it. And because we realize that we are most likely only going to have this one short time of sentient existence, we want to make the best of it... but we by and large don't choose to spend it in self serving hedonism. Many of us live arguably more moral lives than those of the religious primarily because our morality is based on the real world... on a modern and enlightened understanding of human rights, and not on some ancient tribal mythology that also condoned slavery and genocide and bigotry and intolerance... we understand how our actions effect others and we believe that we alone are responsible for those actions. We don't believe that some invisible man will forgive us, or that invisible monsters made us do bad things... or that we'll get eternal rewards or punishments after we die... we realize that we are responsible for our actions in the here and now and we try to avoid those acts which negatively effect others, and we try to make amends when we do with the persons we may have aggrieved, not closing our eyes and wishing for magic to make it all better.

So no... it is not a "futile, pointless, meaningless life" if you don't want it to be. That's why many of us try to do what we can to improve the world as a whole, because of how much we appreciate the great works of the human minds before us who made our own world a better place by acting selflessly for future generations... for humanity as a whole. And we do realize that all life eventually "finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness"... but we also realize that it's nothing more than returning to that state from which we came before we were born. Nothingness. Our constituent parts returning back into the forms from which they came... and our conscious to that same state of nonexistence that it was before we were formed.

There are many variations on the unsourced quote to follow, but the general meaning is what underpins the idea I've been getting at... the very nature of selflessness and the appreciation of our place in the circle of life.

"The people who benefit society the most, are those old men who plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In response to FOX & Friends' Brian Kilmeade's comments on Muslims as terrorists.

I hate to comment on anything FOX says, as they're so persistently dishonest (admittedly some parts much more so than others) that I could spend all day, every day, screaming into the void about it and be wasting my time. But... this particular news item struck a cord with me because it seemed illustrate a twist on a familiar maxim.

(I'd made a comment about this on Facebook, but felt that it was worth not being overlooked, so I'm reposting it here.)

What prompted all this was an article on ThinkProgress titled "Fox Host Brian Kilmeade Says ‘All Terrorists Are Muslim’ In Defense Of O’Reilly’s ‘Muslims Killed Us’ Remark".

Commenters on the social media sites were quick to make plays on his wording with such quips as "Brian Kilmeade of Fox News stated this morning that "not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim." - proving once and for all that not all idiots are anchors on Fox News, but all anchors on Fox News are idiots."

This brings to mind the familiar maxim of Hanlon's razor... "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

However, while this might usually be the case, this is importantly not the case with FOX News. These people know what the facts actually are... and some of them are very well educated people who merely pretend to be complete airheads on air in order to allow their target audience to better identify with them... pretending to not know what common words mean, drawing painfully obvious false parallels in feigned ignorance of the facts etc... it's done by well informed, intelligent people to intentionally manipulate their target audience, and in this case we see a further example of it in that even after having the facts pointed out to Kilmeade, he goes on to reiterate his false statement because it is the "party line" of FOX/Republicans, a group that is largely becoming synonymous these days.

To illustrate this point... let's look at Gretchen Carlson, one of FOX's iconic blonde "pretty lady" hosts.

"Carlson ... graduated from Anoka-Hennepin School District 11's Anoka High School, in 1984, as valedictorian."

"Carlson is also a former pageant winner. She won the title "Miss Minnesota" in 1989 and became the third woman from Minnesota to win the "Miss America" title. For the talent competition, Carlson played Zigeunerweisen, the violin composition of Sarasate."

She not only graduated valedictorian from high school, and went on to win a couple pageants, including Miss America, including classical violin performances etc... but here comes the punch-line:

"Carlson was graduated with Honors from Stanford University, in 1990, with a specialized degree in the field of Sociology (organizational behavior). While enrolled at Stanford University, she studied abroad as part of her Stanford program at Oxford University."

Graduated with honors from Standford with a specialized degree in the "organizational behavior" area of Sociology, including studying abroad at Oxford University in England.

And yet she routinely plays up the image of the "dumb blonde bimbo" on FOX in order to promote misinformation, to take jabs at the opposition through pretending to ignorantly misrepresent things using the same methodology as Push Polling, in that it's not so much about the inherent validity of what's being said, as that can be disproven fairly easily... it's about the constant repetition of the misinformation to create an underlying narrative that the audience subscribes to, assisted by their perceived rapport with the the hosts facilitated by the faux "down to earth common man" charade.

Saying that all terrorists are Muslim fits what Americans would like to believe, and promotes that idea in the face of clear evidence to the contrary because the audience does not want to think about the fact that there are many Christian terrorists today (as listed in the ThinkProgress article, and many others)... as well as other religions, and even non-religious terrorists, of which Timothy McVeigh could be counted as one... people who are merely exceptionally ideologically driven by the ideas of patriotism, liberty, the Constitution, etc... all of which reflect in one way or another on the "Tea Party" red blooded American self image of the core FOX demographic.

So it doesn't really matter that it's not true, and that it's easily proven as not true... it's that the hosts pander to what the audience wants to hear, and repeats the lies often enough to maintain the narrative and keep the audience believing it enough to act on it... to vote for the people FOX wants them to vote for, to buy the books they're selling, the products they're advertising, and so forth.

Which brings us back to the key point. While Hanlon'z Razor posits "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.", in this case, when dealing with FOX, it should be more accurately stated "When dealing with FOX, Never attribute to stupidity that which is more accurately explained by Machiavellianism."

(I could go on further to discuss the relationship of the word "malice" in Hanlon'z Razor to the actions of FOX and their ilk, and the actual effect their manipulation of the general public has on the well being and even the safety and very lives of many human beings... but I think that's enough for today.

Some other related points I'd like to cover in relation to this story include some comments Bill Maher made on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno about the Mosque at Ground Zero, as well as some further information about why Islam is in fact the most dangerous religion today and is far from the "religion of peace" its adherents largely try to make it out to be, and cover specifically why that is, and why they are in fact commanded by their religion to say that and to lie to non-believers and people of other religions about what their religion actually is and says in order to further the agendas of Islam... namely implementing Sharia etc.

But that's for another article...)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Response to Dave Stroebe's letter about C3Exhange

I was recently pointed in the direction of a letter on MLive.com ("Letters: Church has lost its core beliefs" by Dave Stroebe) via The Muskegon Chronicle regarding a "church" that some friends of mine attend. I'd written the following response to the author of that letter where it appeared on MLive.com, but I'm guessing that either due to the size of the comment, or the links therein, that it was held for moderation. So in the meantime I'm going to post it here and try to create a "non-link" to it in a comment there so that it can be read in the meantime.

Well let's address for a moment the issue underlying Dave's letter... the validity of Christianity in the first place.

We know for a fact, based on a vast wealth of objective evidence that we can actually verify through empirical observation and testing etc, we know that essentially every single claim made in the Judeo-Christian Creation story is provably false.

Since we know these things... that for instance the Earth is not flat, nor 5,700 years old, nor is the sky overhead a physical dome holding back a second ocean above just like the one here on the ground, in which the bible claims that God opened floodgates to allow it to pour in to flood the Earth for Noah's flood, etc... but most importantly that we know for a fact that human beings did not originate in Mesopotamia 5,700 years ago. Not by several orders of magnitude and not even on the same continent.

Because we know that such claims as made in the bible are demonstrably, provably false, based on the wealth of real world objective evidence we actually have, we know that Adam and Eve were never in the mythical Garden of Eden as claimed. They weren't there to be tempted by a talking serpent to commit the Original Sin. And since they weren't there to commit it, it never happened. And since it never happened, the very act which Jesus claims to be dying to gain our salvation from never happened in the first place, thus rendering moot the argument that we should be worshiping him for that supposed deed. The best that can be argued is that he died for a noble, but misguided gesture. And remember, we actually have the vast wealth of evidence to back that position up, which is profoundly more valid than the mythological claims of middle eastern bronze age tribesmen from a culture that was one of the most scientifically illiterate and primitive in the region, essentially the known world, at that time.

The burden of proof should one try to refute all that actual modern day objective evidence we have lies soundly on their shoulders. But we can prove that the very core claims of the Judeo-Christian bible that were meant to establish the power and authority of that God provably never happened and that what actually did happen involved different processes, different differentiation between the things created, vastly different spans of time, forms of life not even listed because the authors were ignorant of them, different orders of events, different locations, and on and on. Every single aspect of creation was profoundly different, and provably so, than the authors of the bible literally claim, and upon which literal claims the authority and power of God is derived, and from which the tale of Original Sin comes, which is later relied upon as a literal truth for the subsequent literal claims of truth of Jesus himself about being the son of God... and in Romans explicitly linking the requisite literal truth of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve to Salvation through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:12-21 (NIV):

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And of course we know these things thanks to the overwhelming extent and accuracy of the knowledge we have accrued and refined over the convening centuries through the greatest method of establishing objective truths and gaining knowledge based thereupon ever derived by man; The Scientific Method.


"Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."

Which has led us to such things as, to only barely touch the tip of the vast iceberg of knowledge we now have...













http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_mitochondrial_DNA_haplogroup ... which leads into terms like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam, which the Christian mindset of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias instantly tries to mold into their mythology of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden... but these figurative individuals share their name no more than naming the planets after the Roman gods made those gods literally real.

I think you can understand why they chose the names. ;) Not to mention that both of these individuals lived far down in Africa, and many thousands of years separated from each other... and were not the first humans either, but merely the earliest common ancestor genetically we can find due to the way Y chromosomes and Mitochondrial DNA are passed down through generations etc.


That image shows simply how that early ancestor, while not the only person around, ends up passing her particular mitochondrial DNA on to everyone else...

As a matter of fact, just read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve#Common_fallacies to clarify these points.





And further...



"The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science."




And I could go ON and ON....

Evolution is an objective, empirically observed fact. The only thing really up for honest debate these days are the mechanisms involved... eg; sexual selection, epigenetics, punctuated equilibrium, horizontal gene transfer, and so forth.




But that it happens is none the less a fact, and one that many Christians seem to have such a profound problem with only because it contradicts their provably false ancient mythological explanation for things that we do actually have a fundamentally vastly superior understanding of today.

You could say it's much like the law of gravity versus the theory of gravity. That gravity exists is a fact, one that we can observe and study. Why gravity exists and how exactly it works is still an area of intense scientific study.


People inventing those Judeo-Christian creation myths in one of the most scientifically illiterate cultures even of their time, thousands of years ago, at least had a good excuse for their beliefs... they had no way of knowing any better. Christians today do not share that luxury.

And we can only assume that those who would promote those claims as "truth" and "fact" etc, in spite of the wealth of evidence to the contrary, are so profoundly ignorant of the actual scientific facts because they must focus on sites like "The Institute for Creation Research", "Answers In Genesis", "Discovery Institute", and so forth if they even bother to consider the matter at all, which most intentionally don't... (most Christians never really consider the conflict between their modern scientific understanding of the world around them and the profoundly different standards by which they judge (or rather don't judge) the mythological claims of their religion. This is a form of psychological compartmentalization as a means of avoiding the forementioned cognitive dissonance etc... but we'll leave that for later as this is getting much too long as it is.)




These are sites that persist in peddling false information in spite of it being shown to be profoundly wrong over and over again because they are more concerned with how effectively they can fool the scientifically illiterate faithful into believing them, not in actually proving any of their points honestly based on real evidence etc.

One might want to read the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

To understand the motivations of the people they seem to be so eagerly taking as honest and truthful promoters of "Truth" with a capital T etc.



And so forth.

This is not a message of religious intolerance, it is a lesson in well supported facts and the sound reasoning based thereupon.

When we have established all these facts, the nature of what C3Exhange is doing becomes rather moot, because in reality they are hardly any less valid than Christianity itself, both having been provably invented based on the wishful thinking of human beings, and neither offering any objective evidence to support themselves, and both relying solely on subjective emotional appeals and a willful denial of evidence and reasoning to the contrary of either.

So don't get me wrong, I'm not a real fan of way C3Exchange promotes unsupported happy feelings as somehow establishing some sort of "truth" about the objective nature of the universe we live in, in spite of the actual real world facts and logic to the contrary... but it's a little beside the point in the context of this opinion piece since the author has no more of a sound footing to be standing on himself to be preaching such intolerance at Ian and his congregation.


"Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality."

Now I can certainly expand upon this discussion vastly, go into greater detail if need be, and lay out more specifically the logical fallacies etc involved in arguments by those such as Dave Stroebe (the author of the opinion piece above) as well as Ian Lawton and many of his "faithful" etc. While I find both to be invalid, I at least have a little more forgiving attitude toward Ian for being more progressive about the whole thing.

Some of the most common issues that arise in these discussions are the following;















Slightly more subtle, but fundamentally important points...


Objective – is a statement that is completely unbiased. It is not touched by the speaker’s previous experiences or tastes. It is verifiable by looking up facts or performing mathematical calculations.

Subjective – is a statement that has been colored by the character of the speaker or writer. It often has a basis in reality, but reflects the perspective through with the speaker views reality. It cannot be verified using concrete facts and figures.

And even more sublte ones such as;




And so on...

That should be more than enough for now to establish the foundation of sound reason and evidence behind my assertions. Sorry for the length, I figured I would just get a lot of the heavy lifting out of the way right off the bat to hopefully save myself the trouble of having to type it later.

Color me foolishly optimistic. ;)

If you've made it this far and actually read and thought about all of that, I sincerely thank you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The idiocy continues...

This began as a discussion on Facebook with a younger man that ended up being handed off to his father (a pastor) part way through.

It was after I had posted the original discussion here, in the post entitled "Your par for course debate with Christians on Facebook.", which he commented upon that I noticed that he had his own blog, where he'd been blogging his take on what the debate had amounted to. I wrote a few comments on there (and here and here etc) to clarify a few things and to present a link to the original discussion so that people could read the debate for themselves and make an honest, informed opinion based on the actual argument, and not solely on the tail end of one of the final comments of a 46 page, almost 23,000 word debate... where after 3 days of debating with him only sliding further and further into absurdity I finally snapped and dealt him some well deserved insults. (As he had copy pasted just the last bit of one of my final comments, and not even the whole comment, to try to cast me in a bad light.)

After a bit of commenting there, I decided to write him again on facebook and try to approach the issue from a more human standpoint, to give a little background as to who I was and what my personal experiences with religion were etc.

Unfortunately this too only quickly devolved into the most frustratingly absurd back and forth with Don's impenetrable delusion... where not even the most simplified explanations seemed to have any effect. Where not even clearly pointing out the fallacies for the Nth time, the clear contradictions, contrary statements, invalid arguments, flat out dishonest ones, utter lack of evidence on his part in the face of absolutely overwhelming evidence to the contrary... nothing gets through to him. (which led me back to his blog to leave the angry third comment on the first "here" comment link above.)

At this point I don't see how I can continue with it... it's gotten me so angry at this point that I just quickly stoop to angry insults peppering my rebuttal of his mindlessly repeated invalid excuse making... impervious to even the most basic standards of reason, logic, evidence, honesty, etc... he mindlessly chants his mantra of "it's all just made up opinion! the atheist agenda to rewrite history! only the bible is an accurate account of history and everything else is just a conspiracy to try to rewrite history! science is just an atheist agenda that has no facts whatsoever... and is wholly invalid... and is worthless in contrast with the truth of the bible, the ONLY REAL truth!" etc. (of course that's a paraphrase, but you get the idea.)

Another method that he has increasingly relied on is the Straw Man argument... where he repeatedly misstates what science is, what science's methods and intentions are, what my intentions are, specifically and intentionally misstates things I've already clearly stated to the contrary in the very same discussion etc...

A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar yet weaker proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

... and then tries to invalidate those misstatements using further arguments that are in themselves fallacious and invalid on top of the misstatement. They're not even really properly formed Straw Men... they're more like another fallacious method of argument he's been increasingly relying on... Red Herring distractions from the main facts and argument where he brings up the BP oil spill, the date of Christmas, belief in Unicorns, Hillary Clinton's claims about a right wing conspiracy etc... all to try to distract us from the valid facts, sound reasoning etc...

Similar in category, but with darker implications than ignoratio elenchi, a "red herring" is an answer, given in reply to a questioner, that goes beyond an innocent logical irrelevance. A "red herring" is a deliberate attempt to divert a process of enquiry by changing the subject.

... by using distracting statements that aren't even relevant to the matter at hand, are not even accurate statements in themselves most of the time, and completely ignore previously established facts about the differences between objective facts and subjective claims etc. Again, just layer upon layer of demonstrably invalid, erroneous, dishonest, and thoroughly fallacious arguments drowning in clearly evident cognitive biases (and that's putting it mildly).

A cognitive bias is the human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions in certain circumstances based on cognitive factors rather than evidence. Such biases are thought to be a form of "cognitive shortcut", often based upon rules of thumb, and include errors in statistical judgment, social attribution, and memory. Cognitive biases are a common outcome of human thought, and often drastically skew the reliability of anecdotal and legal evidence. It is a phenomenon studied in cognitive science and social psychology.

And I suppose I should include it here for the sake of completeness, that insulting someone while providing evidence and reason to back up that insult.. is not a fallacious argument. Saying "you're an idiot because you refuse to admit that there is any possibility you could ever be wrong, while simultaneously admitting that you don't really understand the issue and don't have any proof that you're right... and yet still insist that all the actual real world evidence is wrong, and your belief is absolute and cannot be argued" etc. THAT makes one an idiot. Now on the other hand, saying "you're wrong because you're an atheist" or "science is wrong because it's just an atheist agenda of opinions trying to rewrite history"... well, those ARE fallacious ad hominem type arguments that fail to address the validity of the actual facts and instead solely seek to try discrediting the messenger so to speak.

"An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise."

And from Common misconceptions about ad hominem;

Gratuitous verbal abuse or "name-calling" itself is not an argumentum ad hominem or a logical fallacy. The fallacy only occurs if personal attacks are employed instead of an argument to devalue an argument by attacking the speaker, not personal insults in the middle of an otherwise sound argument or insults that stand alone. "X's argument is invalid because X's analogy is false, there are differences between a republic and a democracy. But then again, X is idiotically ignorant." is gratuitously abusive but is not a fallacy because X's argument is actually addressed directly in the opening statement. "X is idiotically ignorant" is not a fallacy of itself. It is an argument that X doesn't know the difference between a republic and a democracy.

I've explained this to him numerous times now, even clearly defined a logical fallacy for him and so on... but yet his entire argument rests on these kinds of willfully repeated fallacious arguments and stubborn denial of the facts etc.

Now I can't help but think that his behavior when dealing with the presentation of all these facts and valid reasoning etc... that the more overwhelming they get, the more blatantly he flat out denies their existence or validity and starts quoting atheist conspiracy theories etc... that Don (and many other Christians) descend into textbook pathological denial, which is defined as follows:

Level 1 - Pathological

The mechanisms on this level, when predominating, almost always are severely pathological. These four defenses, in conjunction, permit one to effectively rearrange external experiences to eliminate the need to cope with reality. The pathological users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane to others. These are the "psychotic" defenses, common in overt psychosis. However, they are found in dreams and throughout childhood as well.

They include:
  • Delusional Projection: Grossly frank delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory nature.

  • Denial: Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn't exist; resolution of emotional conflict and reduction of anxiety by refusing to perceive or consciously acknowledge the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.

  • Distortion: A gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs.

  • Splitting: A primitive defence. Negative and positive impulses are split off and unintegrated. Fundamental example: An individual views other people as either innately good or innately evil, rather than a whole continuous being.

  • Extreme projection: The blatant denial of a moral or psychological deficiency, which is perceived as a deficiency in another individual or group.

And while I certainly don't think that Don is pathologically neurotic, with some fundamental physical malformation in his brain or something... I do most certainly think that he is incredibly irrational and displays at least some extent of every one of these symptoms as a result of his brainwashing by his own religious beliefs... beliefs he is now so invested in that he is utterly unwilling to, and incapable of, considering to be in error... regardless of the overwhelming level of evidence and sound reasoning to the contrary.

Anyway... read for yourselves and see what I mean.

On a somewhat friendly side note. :)
Myself June 17 at 3:51pm

It seems a bit unfortunate that your son and I got off on the wrong foot on such a divisive issue, as we have other things in common.

The reason I have so much time to spend on these discussions is because I am self employed as graphic design and web development guy who also does general IT work etc (and have been for over 15 years now, including working for GM and Ford world headquarters in Detroit, the tribal government up north as variously network admin, webmaster, and even interim IT manager for a bit...)

The relevant point being that for the past 2 years my main job has been as the head admin running a Japanese language learning website. http://thejapanesepage.com/

Interestingly enough, my boss is actually #religion removed for privacy#. ;) He and I have debated religion a few times, but generally we avoid it because we really enjoy our friendship and working relationship outside of that.

My interest in Japanese is actually what brought Jack and I together here on Facebook as friends, as he taught a number of my friends at ########## and is a friend of one of our longtime family friends Rod ######, and knows my father etc. When I found out that he lived in Japan now we started talking and became friends here on FB... and this was only a few months ago.

I just happen to be very unapologetic when it comes to religion because of my many years as a Christian, involvement in DecoTEC etc... and the kind of irrational hate I faced when I eventually began questioning my beliefs and after many years of in depth research and critical assessment eventually became the atheist I am today (at 36 years old).

As a result, my own father has unfriended me here on facebook, half of my relatives... my uncle called me a threat to his family as real as a murderer or rapist... my own mother said that because I was an atheist I'd be happy to put out a hit on her and my father and have them killed because they were Christians... something SO insane that my father actually defended me for the only time EVER... coming out of the bedroom to say to my mother, and I quote; "Melody, have you lost your fucking mind!?"

(Or for instance when she said she didn't care if EVERY Nobel laureate scientist on Earth agreed on a particular fact and had all the evidence in the world to prove it... if it contradicted what the bible said, they were completely wrong and the BIBLE 100% right. In spite of, for instance, being an insulin dependent diabetic who relies on medical science instead of prayer to keep herself alive...)

I've seen the harm first hand that religious irrationality can do to a family when a provably false religion, imaginary friends, and so forth are put ahead of your own children and your relationship with them... you know, like Jesus says to do in Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV) that I referenced in our other discussion...

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

I have had my own mother threaten to disown me for talking to my own sister about religion, and recently reiterate that she was perfectly right in that threat... I was accused of being possessed by demons, rather than simply well educated and making well informed and well reasoned statements based on that education. I was considered the black sheep of the family, a failure on my parents part to raise me right in spite of not only being the only child (out of my living brother and sister and I) to actually graduate high school, but to go on to college... to work out in silicon valley during the dot com boom, and some of the other aforementioned jobs etc... and in spite of being a generally good person with a very loving and kind girlfriend who while also being an atheist, works in adult foster care taking care of mentally handicapped older men, visits her family almost every day and talks to them every day etc.

I have lived for years now with the kind of irrational hatred that Christians have for atheists purely because Christians are absolutely unwilling to even CONSIDER that they might be mistaken, or to acknowledge the illogical clash between admitting that you have no proof of something, and yet simultaneously claiming that you will not argue that issue, and state that nothing could ever change your mind about it... and atheists thus exist as a threat to that unfounded and irrational belief system because we present the facts, the sound reasoning etc... we pose a threat to a cherished belief that Christians have built lives around.

For instance you have gone to school to learn your religion, made a life for yourself as a religious man...

To admit at this point that you might be mistaken would be to admit that you might have wasted years of your life invested in something untrue. That could be embarrassing... and not only that, but it could threaten the relationships with the friends you've built relationships with... or even threaten your relationship with your family, as it did mine... it would remove the unfounded surety that you'll get to live in a magic castle in the sky when you die... that someone is always loving you and looking out for you.... and easy black and white answers to problems without having to think too hard or do too much research etc...

These are all valid reasons to be resistant to admitting the possibility of a mistake, and I understand that. I have lived through them myself.

So while I'm sure you're a very nice guy, and we probably do have things in common... and the same with your son etc... having been a Christian myself, having lived through both sides of the equation... and having seen the negative effects of religion on myself, my friends, and countless other people throughout the world who are deprived of rights, oppressed, and even hurt and killed by the irrationality inherent in religion, it is the one thing I can't abide. I simply expect more of people who claim to be rational, intelligent, mature adults... and to be clear, people who otherwise ARE good people, with the best intentions etc.

My argument against 1 particular belief a person holds is not an attack on their character as a whole, or a statement that they are completely stupid (unless they actually are)... because even my father, who I consider a smart man... is an idiot when it comes to religion and I've told him so. But luckily he isn't as REMOTELY as insane as my mother. But I digress...

The point was that I am a human being. I have had my own experiences and have a life outside of arguing religion. I am defined only as an atheist so much as religion exists to be a non-believer of, and so long as it persists as a cancer on human progress, to stand up and speak out against.

I would be a much happier man if it simply didn't exist, and quite frankly even your life would really be no different if you stopped believing. You just might have to think a little more and re-evaluate some of your friendships and what they're based upon.

It can take a strong person to admit that nobody knows what happens when you die and that you'll probably just turn back into dirt... or to admit that you don't have an imaginary friend always loving you and looking out for you and your best interests and to instead rely on your friends and family. But it really isn't so different from your every day life... the vast majority of which you do without ever thinking about Jesus or religion.

If anything I see the world much more clearly since leaving the faith... as the cognitive dissonance melted away... it was like a breath of fresh air to not have to compartmentalize my beliefs... to feel that discomfort of knowing that the real world around me didn't match up with what religion claimed as fact...

For instance, if a man walked up to you and said he saw a man walking across the water of the Pere Marquette Channel, you would say he was lying... you'd ask for evidence... you'd try to think of a rational explanation for how he managed it... a bridge just under the surface of the water or something... and this same type of critical thinking and rational assessment of fact applies to essentially every other aspect of your daily life.

And yet when a book written thousands of years ago by primitive and ignorant bronze age tribesmen claims that a man walked out on the sea and told another man that if he believed hard enough he could do it too... you believe it without question. You don't apply the same rational assessment to those ancient mythological claims as you do everything else in your daily life.

That is the compartmentalization... that is where the cognitive dissonance comes in when someone points out that disparity in your beliefs... the disparity in your application of critical assessment.

"Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing them. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology."


And since you have already decided that you ABSOLUTELY believe in your chosen faith, confirmation bias then comes in to subconsciously influence you to reject information contrary to your preconceptions and focus solely on that which might reaffirm your existing beliefs.

"Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, independently of whether they are true. This results in people selectively collecting new evidence, interpreting evidence in a biased way, or selectively recalling information from memory."


This bias is inherent in ALL of us, and so powerful and subconscious that science has had to develop methods of working around it because human beings essentially cannot be unbiased even if they try.



But as I'm digressing a bit far afield, and I only originally meant to write the first part about how I know Jack and what we have in common with your son etc, I'll just leave it at this.

I hope you'll read an consider what I've written. :)


Don Sr. June 17 at 4:17pm
You didn't get off on the wrong foot with me or him either. My daughter #######(friend of your sister) explain to me how you were raised. Don and I call these people"Chrispy Christians". According to them, I will be sitting next to you in hell. LOL

Don Sr. June 17 at 4:32pm
First to address your statement
And yet when a book written thousands of years ago by primitive and ignorant bronze age tribesmen claims that a man walked out on the sea and told another man that if he believed hard enough he could do it too... you believe it without question. You don't apply the same rational assessment to those ancient mythological claims as you do everything else in your daily life.
Yes, yes,yes yes.................... that is my point exactly. It's like putting a new car togather with a book about antique car assembly
It need to be relevent to today.
In the beginning God created the internet? I don't think so. That is why I want to get past the redeculous(sp)
My belief is not like the "Crispy Christians', and I think I'm a nice guy. MY BELIEF says that I can't judge you and I won't. I am way to sinfull for that. I am ordained by a non denominational branch and am not ti

Don Sr. June 17 at 4:37pm Report
I am not tied by my ordination to any denomination. There is no watch dog making sure that I don't offend the faith. You may call me a rogue preacher, but as I tried to explain before.....My faith is between God and Me. Yes, I am biased, but not stupid in the face of logic and common sense. I really hate conversing this way as it is very impersonal. Its just words typed on a screen.

Myself June 17 at 5:08pm
The point you're not getting is that your concept of God, along with your assertion that Jesus Christ specifically died for your sins etc... those things CAN be addressed, as I did.

Put simply, you have derived your faith from the bible and Judeo-Christian religion, presuming their validity and authority, and are now trying to remove that foundation while still expecting the house built upon it, upon which it necessarily relies, to remain standing... which it doesn't.

This is why I referenced wishful thinking, negative proof, burden of proof, judicial impartiality, logical consistency, special pleading, etc... because all these things are fundamentally related to your assertions about your religious beliefs.

You cannot just make up your own religion, without any evidence to support it, and then use that unsupported belief that you've invented (and in reality based soundly upon Christianity) to justify flat out denying the validity of beliefs which DO have a wealth of evidence to support them.

That is where your overwhelming (logically fallacious) bias comes in where you allow your own unsupported beliefs to stand without evidence (any at all), while flat out denying in every way you can modern scientific knowledge that IS based on an absolute wealth of convergent and mutually conformational information from numerous disparate fields of science... fact based, tested, independently confirmed as OBJECTIVELY true... not subjectively opined etc...

The reason I keep trying to get you to pay attention to the logical fallacies and cognitive biases you're falling victim to is because until you actually understand what constitutes sound reasoning, valid logic, etc... you're just going to keep making these mental blunders in your reasoning.

And I don't mean that to try to insult you, it's just a statement of fact. If you read some of those links I provided you (a number of times now), maybe you'll see from their examples how and why those rules exist and why they are right.

You know, like the difference between fact and opinion... that difference itself is a FACT. It's like saying a stone and a blue-jay are two different things. That is a statement of FACT. It is not an opinion. It is an objective observation about a physical object in the natural world. It is not just an opinion any more than saying blue is not red, or up is not down, or I am not you etc... those are just statements of fact.

Opinions are things like "I don't like cheese", or "Mary is mean" etc... they are SUBJECTIVE opinions about things based on your own feelings, thoughts, emotions etc...

Objective facts can be independently verified because they have nothing to do with the observer.

Subjective opinions can and do differ between people because they deal with the observers feelings, emotions, etc... and those are different from person to person.

When you claim that numerous objective facts are nothing more than opinions, you are making an error in your assertion, whether intentional or not.

The reason I have been trying so hard to get you to actually read and think about what I'm saying is so that you'll stop making all these little fundamental errors in your reasoning... so that you can more accurately deal with the actual facts.

And you might want to ask Kaylee about the fact that I have an IQ in the 98th percentile, skipped the sixth grade because I was too smart for my own good, etc... I'm not just making shit up... this is all WELL established fact and so forth, and I have done a great deal of studying over the years to educate myself.

And before you YET AGAIN try dismissing the collective knowledge of science and academia as "opinion", go back and re-read what I just wrote to you... and don't let your confirmation bias trick you into just letting it all go in one ear and right out the other to preserve your preconceptions, or to ignore the point I clarified about standards of evidence that goes in tandem with that difference between objective facts and subjective opinions etc.

"Objective – is a statement that is completely unbiased. It is not touched by the speaker’s previous experiences or tastes. It is verifiable by looking up facts or performing mathematical calculations.

Subjective – is a statement that has been colored by the character of the speaker or writer. It often has a basis in reality, but reflects the perspective through with the speaker views reality. It cannot be verified using concrete facts and figures."


And science inherently is based upon objective facts. Things that you can independently verify, test, etc.

Your belief in God is a purely subjective opinion, and one that even goes so far as to be contrary to the objective facts we do have... of which we have an absolutely overwhelming amount.

And again, I have to stress that you just DENYING all that information because it doesn't agree with you is not valid nor honest.

And again, that's not to offend you... it's just a statement of fact. :(

Myself June 17 at 5:11pm
And just to be clear, I would like you to read that entire message carefully and think about it before you respond. If you don't, there is no point in us discussing this any further because you're not learning anything and not addressing the information presented as I am doing with you. (And I am clearly investing a LOT of my time and emotional energy into this, to the detriment of my JOB as I should have been working for these past almost 4 days now... and when you consider that I make $## an hour, I think you can understand that my investment in this discussion with you is not only an emotional one.)

Thank you for your consideration.

Don Sr. June 17 at 5:29pm Report
First of all ....no offense taken. Again I most likely can't measure up to your IQ. To me, the world is not black and white. I can't prove or disprove that Jesus walked on the water. I've seen magicians and illutionist do that. I wasn't there when this happened. Maybe I need to symplify this for my sake as well as yours. If tonight I am beamed aboard the Star Ship Enterprise and am shown that Jesus was actually Mr. Spock being held up by a tractor beam, I might have a change of heart. I don't see that happening. If you think this is rediculus, remember that space travel to the moon was laughable back in the biblical times. My faith is nothing new or inventive, I just choose not to be identified by my denomination or anything else. I am smart enough to know that the bible is old, and we can argue if the flood covered the whole earth or the whole Known world. Our faith grows because it is

Don Sr. June 17 at 5:38pm Report
Living. Yes faith is believing without seeing. i believe a person can think for themselves and my faith is not formed by DR. James Dobson.
The fact that I can, makes it reality. If I'm wrong and end up worm bait for enternity, you are more then welcome to laugh. That I believe that life is alot more then the few years we have on this planet gives me hope in living and sharing my life with others. Is that the difference between optamism and pesamism(sp) ? Science, I love it, embrase it and know that it is falable. After all it is not perfect and it continues to grow, just like relegion.

Myself June 17 at 5:56pm
So why aren't you a Muslim? A religion with just as many people claiming that miracles happened in the name of their God, in a religion that denies the divinity of Christ, and a more recent revelation of the Abrahamic faith, as Christianity was to Judaism? Why are those 1.2 to 1.5 BILLION people wrong, and their eye witness accounts in their scriptures?

Or why aren't you a Jew, who were there before Christianity, with Jesus actually being one... and upon the authority of which Christianity was founded and Jesus himself staked his claims?

What makes those religions false, but yours true?

How about Hinduism? It predates Christianity by well over a thousand years, and has almost a billion followers? And also has eye witness accounts.

Again, you're failing to see that you're not following the logic through... you're not applying the same standard of critical assessment to your own religious beliefs as you're applying to others. You're not acknowledging that by the same standards that you assert the validity of your own beliefs, the others must be true as well... and they cannot all be true, as there are numerous mutually exclusive claims between them, contrary goals, etc.

We do know that magicians and illusionists make it look like they walk on water... but today people know that magic isn't real, and we can see how they did the tricks etc. That really doesn't relate to the claims of a book from thousands of years ago... which is better address by what I just wrote a moment ago.

This is the reason why, given the problem I laid out, why we base our decisions on sound reason, actual evidence, etc... because that is the best way we as human beings have to establish the nature of the reality in which we live... what is true and false... what is objective fact verses opinion or fallacious claim etc.

Also, like I said, atheists don't claim that there isn't anything in the universe beyond our understanding. We only claim to know what is true or false based on what we DO know... and based on that, we DO know that Christianity itself is nothing more than one of many absurd ancient mythologies, and wasn't even the most popular in its day... and really only took off because of the ideas about redemption, salvation, eternal life, etc.

The problem is that while you're trying to imply that you only believe in some vague concept of an impersonal deistic God, a concept less difficult to defend than that Abrahamic God and Jesus specifically... the God you specifically cite, both in the manner you describe your belief, and even explicitly in your words, is the Christian God and your faith in Jesus Christ as your savior etc.

The point is that you're claiming your absolutely objectively unsupported claims of FACT are MORE valid and somehow deserve more merit than the actual wealth of ACTUAL OBJECTIVE FACT that we have that proves your beliefs WRONG.

That's not an opinion Don. It's a fact that we know based on all that objective evidence and verified and validated understanding of it. All things which your beliefs are utterly lacking.

You cannot claim to be RIGHT about something you yourself admit you cannot possibly know. You can't claim it as true, and you can't deny actual REAL FACTS because they contradict that claim for which you cannot possibly know.

And as for science, as I explained to you already, science inherently acknowledges its fallibility. The entire scientific method is built on the understanding that human knowledge is limited, and seeks to expand itself through studying the objective facts, testing its hypotheses, trying to intentionally disprove them so that it can correct its own errors.

It is nothing like religion, again as I already explained... so please don't start irritating me by repeating things that you've already misstated and I've already corrected more than once.

Myself June 17 at 6:02pm
Now answer me honestly, are you actually reading what I'm writing? You seem to not have read or understand at all the information about the difference between and objective fact and subjective opinions or beliefs, in spite of me having repeated it at least 3 different times now and even gave a link to an article further explaining it...

It just seems like you skim a little of what I say, having already decided you're not going to really think about what I'm saying... and you just go on and continue denying what I'm saying and asserting the validity of your own position.

For instance we CAN prove that by EVERY SINGLE THING we know as OBJECTIVE FACT about the world we live in.... there is NO WAY Jesus could have walked on water in the miraculous sense clearly meant in the bible (considering that Peter sunk when he began to doubt, so we know he wasn't just standing on a sandbar, aside from the fact that that would completely negate the intended miracle of it).

So because we know that there is no way, based on all the objective, factual evidence that he walked on water as written, that leaves us to consider how accurate and authoritative the biblical account itself is, and how its claims stack up against other religious claims both contemporary to and preceding and proceeding it.

And that is where you have to face the fact that if you believe these things as true solely because the book itself claims them to be true... then the very same kind of claims, by the very same standard of evidence, of other religions, must also be true... and because we know they can't all be true... then we MUST rely on what we DO know to be true... the objective facts rather than the unsupported ancient mythological claims that contradict those established objective facts.

So you need to answer the question about why it is that you claim the validity of your particular religion and deny the validity of the others?

The answer seems fairly clear to me... but I want you to try to answer that question for me, based on everything I've just explained to you.

And please don't just tell me I'm wrong and insist why you think you're right. I want you to answer my questions and work through that problem in your head and deal with it rather than trying to skirt around it.

Tackle that cognitive dissonance head on and TRY to answer me rationally.


Don Sr. June 17 at 6:44pm Report
Ok let me explain this another way. The bible is the only historical book of that age. Am I missing another book written at the beginning of time. I don't think so. Athiest now want to invent there own history. Everyone wishes they could write their own history but they can't Facts are facts. I hope I havn't waste this time in trying to explain something so simple. lack of evidence is what bothers athiest. History, eyewitness of people who lived during the time vs. guesses from athiest with an agenda. Sorry to get rought with you but that is history.

Myself June 17 at 7:08pm
Yes, in fact you are missing things from earlier religions... like Hinduism etc... and Egyptian etc... who also have their own distinctly different gods, origins, miraculous claims etc...

And for instance at the very time Judaism claims the world was being created, civilizations such as the Egyptians and Sumerians etc were already well in swing and didn't seem to notice or mention this creation, nor especially a giant flood was wiping out all life on Earth at the time claimed, etc.

I think you're missing the concept of Historical Fiction, something I thought I'd mentioned already.

Just because your favorite book says it, doesn't mean it's true... AGAIN, the reason we contrast with contemporaneous religions, earlier religions, later religions, and especially objective facts as we know them today, archaeological evidence, geological evidence, and everything we know scientifically about the actual age and formation of the Earth, solar system, and on and on and on.

We know for a fact that the Old Testament cannot be considered as an infallible source of accurate information about early events. And you know it too. So when we are trying to establish what is factually true, again we use the methods as listed.

We're not INVENTING HISTORY Don. We're actually establishing what is OBJECTIVELY REAL AND TRUE based on the ACTUAL EVIDENCE.

Hinduism claims that the world rests on the back of a giant turtle, held up by 4 elephants standing on its back.

Now why don't we believe this? Because we've obviously traveled all around the world now and even out into space USING F'ING SCIENCE for that latter bit no less... and we've looked at the entire planet, as a sphere floating in the void of space... bound by the principles of physics as we know them, validating science that had clarified this contrary to the ancient biblical claims of a flat Earth... and we traveled to the moon, that the ancients believed was a lesser sun, with the sun and moon being two of the same kind of bodies, and the stars being entirely different... more things we have learned better than since then.

So you trying to claim that we're just INVENTING these things is the polar opposite of what is actually happening.

YOU RELIGIOUS PEOPLE invented all this crap based on feelings and imagination etc... and science is now ACTUALLY REALLY ANSWERING those original questions.... undoing the long standing mythologies that religion put in place and told us not to question.

You know... to have FAITH in.

Also, get it through your head that we actually have evidence that proves Christianity wrong. So it's not a lack of evidence Don, it's the fact that you stubbornly insist that your "NO evidence" is better than our "LOTS OF evidence".

Got that yet?

And I'm sorry, but for as many times as I've explained that point and you still don't get it... *sigh*


There is no "atheist agenda". Science isn't pro-atheist... it's simply about finding the objective truth about how things work based on the actual real world evidence etc.

You're not getting rough with me... you're just getting stubbornly stupid and it's starting to tick me off again because I tire of fucking repeating myself like I'm hand holding a child because you just can't wrap your head around these very simple explanations.

So when treating you like an intelligent adult doesn't work, what the hell else am I supposed to do?

"History, eyewitness of people who lived during the time"

That particularly is a stupid statement considering that I just pointed out that other religions are based on their own eye witness accounts of creation etc... by the claims of their scriptures, both before and after your religion... and they claim DIFFERENT things.

Thus the whole damn explanation I already gave you that, just as I feared, went in one ear and out the other.

Allow me to leave you with a quote that illustrates the fundamental simple point here that you just can't seem comprehend because it isn't what you want it to be.

"You don't use science to show you're right, you use science to become right." --xkcd

Got that?

Science isn't about serving any agenda. It's entire methodology is created to avoid that specifically, using things like the double blind testing methods etc that I already linked you to earlier. It's a method of acquiring knowledge about objective facts and truths, correctly previous information, and using that to make accurate predictions of further information etc.

You use that methodology to understand objective facts that exist irrespective of us and our wishes.

So you use that methodology to BECOME right by learning what the facts ACTUALLY ARE.

NOT by deciding what they are before hand, as you have done, and then trying to find ways to confirm your preconceptions.

Can I possibly make that any more clear? I don't think so. And if you can't grasp that Don, I'm sorry but you're an idiot beyond my help because I've run out of patience.

Don Sr. June 17 at 9:07pm Report
I read and I just don't understand . Just because you don't like history you cant write your own. One question, what other history book is there. Fact Fact Fact Thae fact that science and athiesm can't disapprove . Please wake up or move on. You are avoiding the truth, there is nothing else matter how you try to change history, you can't. Don't insult people with saying that you know more then the people who were there and wrote about it. Please, it is insulting to everyone.

Myself June 17 at 9:34pm
No Don, YOU don't understand. There is nothing that makes your bible inherently any more accurate than all the other histories written by other cultures before and after the bible was written that contradict what it says and make their own same claims of eye witness accounts etc.

So we're not INVENTING a history, as YOUR religion did (and the others as well), we're establishing what we DO know of history based on ALL of the ACTUAL EVIDENCE that we have. Corroborating contemporary evidence between cultures that lines up with the archaeological evidence, geological evidence, etc.

You have a fucking book. That's it.

The Hebrew Calender and Judeo-Christian religions etc state the Universe as having been created in 3760 BC.

But we know FOR A FACT that that is wrong by literally a factor of almost a MILLION TIMES. And that fact has been verified through numerous different independent methods by independent researchers around the world for years now.

We have all the evidence that proves your book wrong.

You are a deluded idiot who cannot accept that you have NOTHING to stack up against all the real world evidence that WE ACTUALLY DO have. Just your obviously deep seated need to cling to a provably false ancient myth because you've invested your life in a demonstrable lie.


You're clinging to a fucking ancient middle eastern tribal myth because it makes you feel better.

A small child could understand this... I honestly cannot fathom how you can be so willfully self deluded and dishonest. It's this kind of abject fucking stupidity that makes me hate religion so much... because it takes a grown man like you makes him too fucking stupid to realize that the FACT BASED, EVIDENCE BASED, SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE we have that built the fucking computer sitting in front of him... technology beyond his comprehension (but not mine), was discovered, refined, and built into the machine in front of him using that scientific method... the same damn method that shows, based on all we know now, after 2,000 years of continued advancement, new discoveries, enlightenment etc... THAT WE DON'T LIVE ON THE BACK OF A GIANT FUCKING TURTLE JUST BECAUSE A BOOK WRITTEN BY FUCKING IGNORANT DESERT SHEEP HERDERS THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO SAYS SO.


(And that last part was meant as sarcasm, which you'd probably also miss if I didn't point it out... YOUR book says we live on a flat disk with a mechanical dome overhead that holds up a second water ocean, within which are suspended 2 giant twin lights for lighting the day and night, and other tiny lights to navigate by, with the earth as the immovable center of of this system. Only slightly less retarded than the turtle, but just as WRONG.)

I'm sorry Don... I give up. You're beyond help. I'm just pissed at this point that I wasted so much time on this... I seriously just don't get how people can be so fucking stubbornly self deluded that they LIE about shit like this.



You haven't done a fucking thing aside from deny even that book, that is the ONLY "evidence" you even have... while claiming that it alone somehow invalidates 2,000 years of human progress, enlightenment, discovery, knowledge, understanding, and immeasurable amounts of actual REAL WORLD OBJECTIVE FACTS... convergence and mutually confirmation evidence from countless fields of study.

Fuck it... I don't know why I'm wasting my time. Enjoy wallowing in your deluded willfully self imposed ignorance... I have work and study to do.

DON'T write me back or I'll block you. You've wasted enough of my time. Try rereading all the information presented and maybe eventually you'll get it. If you want to talk then remotely on my level, then you may contact me. Anything short of that and I'll block you permanently.

I hope I've made myself clear.

Good luck.