Update 5-7-12

Just came across a very informative new link (which I have included in the links page and can also be found here). Atheism resource supplies the reader with information on current news involving atheists, as well as a plethora of articles about social issues (separation of church & state) and scientific issues (evolution, etc). I particularly liked the handbook for debating Christians though I didn’t care for the infographic they included (see below). I’m an atheist activist living in a christian nation and I fully support proselytizing atheism. That being said if we only debate reasonable Christians who’ll concede to reasonable arguments we cut off our legs at the knees before the race even starts. Yes, if you only debate someone who’ll listen to reason you will win every time, but that’s not why we talk to Christians (or at least not why I do). When you have an argument with someone religious they’ll defend their point to the death. Even if they come to realize at some point in the discussion they’re wrong pride won’t allow them to back down, but later when they’re alone they’ll think about it to themselves and may come to realize they’re wrong. That might even plant a seed in their mind that will lead them to atheism later in life, but it won’t happen in the duration of a single conversation.

I also took issue from the site’s slogan “Your source for everything atheism… from people just like you” because that presupposes that atheists are all the same, just like you. I know that’s probably what the site’s authors intended but it still didn’t sit quite right with me. The only thing that universally unites all atheists is the fact that we’re not all united under a single doctrine or dogma. That and we don’t believe in any god. Other than that I really enjoyed the content of the site and I hope you’ll find it useful.

 

 

Yes, I know they misspelled “obeyed”.

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~ by Arsirion on May 7, 2012.

68 Responses to “Update 5-7-12”

  1. Can you explain to me how evolution/science disproves God’s existence???

    • You’ve highlighted a misconception most theists have of atheists. No atheist claims that no god exists, or that science can disprove the existence of a god, they simply say “I don’t BELIEVE a god exists”.

      While proving a god doesn’t exist is impossible it is perfectly acceptable to say that, having examined a body of evidence, you have concluded that the god probably doesn’t exist and you choose not to believe in him for that reason. Christians do this with literally thousands of gods from Zeus to Allah.

      • Thank you, I do make that mistake between Atheists and Agnostics.

        You have that right to believe that there is no being such as God…food for thought…The Bible:

        If you live a lifestyle according to the Bible and there is no God…you have lived a good life promoting peace, justice, and love to the world.

        If you live a lifestyle according to the Bible and there is a God…you get rewarded by living in paradise after having lived in the world that is pretty messy right now.

        If you live a lifestyle opposed to the Bible and there is no God…there is no worry for consequences so you should live the most evil and corrupt way possible because it is of most logical benefit to you.

        If you live a lifestyle opposed to the Bible and there is a God…well, you do the math…because you’ll be living with all those evil and corrupt people that didn’t take the Bible seriously.

  2. I understand what you’re getting at. It’s an argument that very commonly is posed to atheists, called Pascal’s Wager. A direct quote reads:

    1. “God is, or He is not”
    2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
    3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
    4. You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
    5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
    6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

    While this may seem a solid justification to hang your hat on, if you really consider it the argument breaks down. If you’re of a rational or skeptical mindset you cannot change what you believe willingly, or without supporting evidence. So to believe in god the skeptic must fool himself into thinking he exists so that you can get in to heaven. You would no doubt agree with me that, while you may be able to fool yourself, you wouldn’t be able to fool god (assuming, in this case, that he exists).

    • You are correct that you cannot fool God, you probably understand God more than most people with that statement alone.

      However, you cannot fool yourself. You can fool others and you can be fooled, but it is illogical to fool yourself, wouldn’t you agree?

    • Sorry, I read the part where you state, “You would no doubt agree with me that, while you may be able to fool yourself,”

      I was asking if you would agree with my statement that:

      It is illogical to believe that you can fool yourself.

      You can fool others or be fooled by others, but to fool yourself is not possible…

    • So when you say “If you’re of a rational or skeptical mindset you cannot change what you believe willingly, or without supporting evidence. So to believe in god the skeptic must fool himself into thinking he exists so that you can get in to heaven.”

      What are you saying about the skeptic?

      • I simply say that if a person is a skeptic by nature (here, for clarity, we can define a skeptic as someone who only believes in testable, provable phenomena) they won’t believe in a god, therefore if they used pascal’s wager to justify belief in a god they would have to fool themselves into a belief.

      • If you use Pascal’s Wager and consider that God is not.

        Then the skeptic becomes the person that observes untestable, unprovable phenomena, they will believe in something that science can’t explain, therefore if they use pascal’s wager to justify their belief in only testable, provable phenomena they would have to fool themselves into a belief.

        It works both ways.

      • Then the skeptic becomes the person that observes untestable, unprovable phenomena, they will believe in something that science can’t explain…

        The problem I see with this is how can it be untestable if it’s observable? If it’s observable and predictable, that means science can study it.

        …if they use pascal’s wager to justify their belief in only testable, provable phenomena they would have to fool themselves into a belief.

        It works both ways.

        There’s a bit of a difference between believing in the knowable and the unknowable. It’s the difference between demonstrated value and wishful thinking.

        The reason science is practical is because it produces accurate results. If our theories conform to reality, that often means we can use that knowledge to our advantage. We can engineer useful machines because we understand thermodynamics and predict how the parts will act together. Sometimes, however, they’re to our disadvantage: We can’t make perpetual motion machines because they would violate the laws of thermodynamics, for example. Every attempt at a perpetual motion machine fails, as expected by thermodynamics. No new energy emerges that wasn’t already in the system, and energy is lost to entropy.

        Supernatural beliefs like the god(s) of Pascal’s Wager are different: We’re asked to believe in them because they’re asserted, not demonstrated, to produce value. It’s equivalent to believing in an alternative to thermodynamics specifically because it’d be neat to have a perpetual motion machine. I won’t believe in the viability of a PMM until I see a working model that’s been rigorously tested.

        Pascal’s Wager fails because it removes logic and evidence from the debate and replaces it with a false dichotomy: Belief in one specific god versus disbelief in that specific god. It manufactures that false scenario specifically to make the gamble on the unknowable god a “best strategy” instead of honestly viewing the odds: An infinity of equally likely unknowable entities versus defaulting to disbelief and sticking to what we can know. When there’s an infinity of unknowables, there’s no “best strategy” for picking one. For beliefs in knowable entities, science is the best strategy.

      • First, let’s stop using the term provable phenomena.

        In this case, take the universe. It is quite possible given the size of the universe that their is life on another plant. Do you believe in aliens?

        Given the scientific data we have no proof for or against life elsewhere, but in terms of math and probabilities it cannot be ruled out.

        To set your basis on purely science (which follows a defined set of rules, thus has limitations to what we currently are able test and re-test expecting the same results). You have placed your faith and belief that science is the ultimate source of knowledge.

        For a person who believes in God is the ultimate source of life and knowledge they have placed their faith in something that is beyond the current knowledge of science (i.e., when the world was flat).

        It would be foolish for a scientist not to believe in something that is unknown because than science would have no purpose to us. Science provides a basis for testing and retesting the observable, but it is driven by the unknowable. When an apple falls to the ground a question is posed, why did the apple fall? Before gravity was understood man was posed with with a question of an unknown force.

      • In this case, take the universe. It is quite possible given the size of the universe that their is life on another plant. Do you believe in aliens?

        Given the scientific data we have no proof for or against life elsewhere, but in terms of math and probabilities it cannot be ruled out.

        The existence of alien life is highly plausible based on the scale of the universe and relative ease with which the relevant chemicals can form, but not yet demonstrated.

        To set your basis on purely science (which follows a defined set of rules, thus has limitations to what we currently are able test and re-test expecting the same results). You have placed your faith and belief that science is the ultimate source of knowledge.

        Science isn’t so much a “source” as how we filter our observations to prevent self-deception. It’s not the ultimate method, just the best one we have, and it’s utility is demonstrated by all the advances we’ve been able to make with it.

        It would be foolish for a scientist not to believe in something that is unknown because than science would have no purpose to us. Science provides a basis for testing and retesting the observable, but it is driven by the unknowable. When an apple falls to the ground a question is posed, why did the apple fall? Before gravity was understood man was posed with with a question of an unknown force.

        I’m not questioning the existence of unknown things as a category, but as individual claims.

        If someone came up to me and posited that there are fundamental particles we haven’t discovered, I’d be inclined to agree that it’s likely, but I can’t change the way I make decisions if I don’t know anything about them. For every hypothetical particle whose existence could influence me toward an action, there could just as likely be a hypothetical particle that would influence me against that same action. It’s the same for gods.

        If someone came up to me and posited the existence of some new particle with properties of X, Y, and Z, I would want scientific evidence.

      • I can’t believe how unreasonably hard it is to reason with you. Especially when you have been deceived by the very thing you use to prevent self-deception.

        My reality is that we deceive ourselves with scientific evidence all the time. Yes, I agree with the advantages science has, but we can’t realize the deception of science. Consider this:

        I have drank water and ate hamburgers all my life literally tested/re-tested thousands of times and I have concluded they are safe. I think I will have a glass of water and a hamburger for lunch today. But today the water you drank had poison in it and the hamburger was lodged in your throat and you died. Science taught you it was safe, but it deceived you and took your life.

        Just because something can be tested over and over a million times does not mean the 1,000,001 time the outcome will be the same. The more times it is tested the probability increases that the outcome will be the same but I think you will agree that in science there is never a 100% success rate.

      • Welcome to the uncertain universe.

        Now, what’s your alternative to scientific methodology?

        Science isn’t the ultimate answer, merely the best we’ve got so far. We’re flawed creatures with flawed perceptions in a complex universe that runs on rules we’re trying to figure out while we’re stuck in the middle of it. Science is what we do to get as much confidence as we can out of the giant mess. We’re mere mortals, so we have to make do with playing the odds. I see no means of actually obtaining absolute certainty or absolute truth, merely close approximations.

        If you’ve got an answer, don’t be shy about it.

      • I never stated I was opposed to scientific methodology. I agree with it in so much as it helps us understand the universe we live in.

        The God I believe in as absolute truth, is a God that with an intelligence greater than man can attain; created a universe that is so incredibly large in its size and yet incredibly small in its particles. And that science has shown us life would not exist on this Earth if it wasn’t for the incredible exactness it has (Distance from the sun, distance from the moon, tilt of its axis, the mixture of gasses in the air, etc.).

        That there is a being outside the human element of understanding that intimately wants us to be completely fascinated by Him and the world He created.

        Everything in our world has a divine purpose. Our bodies may be mortal but our soul’s long for eternity. It is why we are stopped by a meadow and say, “This is beauty.” Or why we look up at the stars and wonder why we exist. It is the hope and joy of mankind that there has to be something more than what we can ever fathom. Some logical explanation to ALL of this that is greater than the logic we will ever possess.

        And while we are flawed, I believe in a God that isn’t flawed. A perfect being that continually works at returning humanity to that same perfection, the way He originally created it.

        There is so much I think we miss out on if we rely on science and neglect all the unknowns, because the reality I’ve come to understand is that a second from now we can never know what will happen. That is the amazing reason I believe in a Creator God that is described in the Bible. That is why I choose to live a Biblical lifestyle and accept God and the Bible as the authority in life.

      • The God I believe in as absolute truth, is a God that with an intelligence greater than man can attain; created a universe that is so incredibly large in its size and yet incredibly small in its particles.

        How do you know this?

        And that science has shown us life would not exist on this Earth if it wasn’t for the incredible exactness it has (Distance from the sun, distance from the moon, tilt of its axis, the mixture of gasses in the air, etc.).

        Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. You’re painting a bullseye after the shots were fired. Remember, there’s a whole universe out there for probability to play with. It’s no surprise that we live on a planet we can live on. If Earth turned out to be uninhabitable, there’d be no one around here to complain.

        That there is a being outside the human element of understanding that intimately wants us to be completely fascinated by Him and the world He created.

        How do you know this?

        And while we are flawed, I believe in a God that isn’t flawed. A perfect being that continually works at returning humanity to that same perfection, the way He originally created it.

        What evidence do you have of this “perfection”? I still see a quadrupedal spine jerry-rigged for bipedalism. I still see retinal veins creating a blind spot by being on the wrong side of the photo receptors.

        Of course, how do you know he’s perfect if you’re imperfect?

        There is so much I think we miss out on if we rely on science and neglect all the unknowns, because the reality I’ve come to understand is that a second from now we can never know what will happen. That is the amazing reason I believe in a Creator God that is described in the Bible. That is why I choose to live a Biblical lifestyle and accept God and the Bible as the authority in life.

        Why do you choose that particular god hypothesis and not one of the countless other god hypotheses out there? What makes your god hypothesis more likely than any of the innumerable alternatives?

      • How often do you have these types of debates with people who believe in a God other than the Christian God?

      • 1. Not quite as often. I get a lot of newagers and the occasional Muslim. It’s subject to a lot of sampling bias since I’m in Texas and restricted to English without the help of Babelfish.

        2. Which Christian god? Last I checked, there were over 30,000 relatively “official” denominations, and I expect that number will keep on growing over time. Even within individual denominations, there can be wildly different god hypotheses. Specifying a given member’s denomination won’t even tell me if they’re a Young Earth Creationist or a theistic evolutionist, which feature radically different gods. Heck, the denominations themselves won’t stand still. Quite frankly, Christianity seems to be in a state of perpetual, divergent chaos.

      • I like you. You do your homework. Trust me when I say this because I realized very early on that you’re a fundamental atheist.

        You have likely read the Bible and are firmly set in what you believe, just as devoutly religious people are. There is nothing I can say that can change your mind and you likely find great joy in debating religious people.

        I choose reality over rationalization. I choose intelligent conversation over logical debate. I choose the unknown over the explained. I do not contend to know everything and I hope neither do you. I choose God over science.

        If you are interested in the God I believe; in read my blog, ask me questions, get to know me. If you want a logical debate BE LOGICAL and not simply “defend your point to the death.”

      • What logical fallacies have I performed? On what basis do you assert that I’m a “fundamentalist atheist”?

        I’m willing to put any god hypothesis to the test. Atheism isn’t a necessary part of my identity. The problem I have is that theists generally lose interest in the subject of god when I start asking questions that would lead to testable claims. Generally, they change the subject to a fixation on my personal life or they start semantics games.

      • I accept the world we live in for what it is, on that you and I agree. Where we disagree is on the existence of God. You state that Atheism is not a part of your identity, then prove it?

      • Okay. Give me a parsimonious god hypothesis that makes predictions contrary to established scientific theories and evidence of those predictions coming true.

      • You are avoiding the question.

        Prove to me that you are not a fundamentalist Atheist or that Atheism is not a part of your identity?

      • That’s not avoiding the question, that’s how I would prove it: You give me what I ask for, and see how I respond. If I’m a fundamentalist atheist, I’ll perform signature logical fallacies and ignore high-quality scientific evidence.

        If I’m just a regular atheist, and if your hypothesis logically consistent, and is verified by the test, I’ll switch to a theist.

        Do you have an alternative way for me to prove that I hold the position that I assert I hold?

      • The reason I believe my god hypothesis is Jesus.

        I believe in God because the only person ever born on this earth that I am willing to lay down my life and follow is Jesus. No other person in human history has lived the life that Jesus lived. And no other physical person has died and come back to life.

        The God of the Bible has survived in 3 cultures, 2 of which teaches the way to Heaven is by your own merits. Christianity is the only one that teaches it’s be God’s merits and He humbled Himself, became man, and died and rose from the dead, so that we could live: God is the One that saves us from eternal punishment.

        You’ll probably comeback with some obscure reference to “this has been used in other god hypothesis'” But examine the life of Christ (that’s why I keep telling you to read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel).

        One thing to consider is you believe all that you believe about Alexander the Great right? The earliest manuscript (singular) of his life was written in 45 A.D. almost 400 years after his death.

        Jesus…The Gospel’s of Jesus are written by people who knew Jesus from first hand accounts (This includes a second hand author writing from a first hand source). All within 100 years of Jesus’ death.

      • You might find this interesting.

        Oh, and I find the whole blood sacrifice thing to be absurd. A god sacrifices himself to himself in order to get the capacity to not “punish” us in the torture chamber he himself invented?

  3. On the topic of Pascal’s Wager, I strongly recommend the video, “Betting on Infinity” by QualiaSoup and TheraminTrees.

    For the distinction between types of atheism, we can have different stances for different god hypotheses. The default is a lack of belief due to lack of evidence or because the god isn’t defined in a testable way (unknowable or incoherent, thus we don’t even know what would be evidence).

    Some gods are defined in self-contradictory ways (logically impossible) or fail to live up to their predictions (testable and falsified), in which case we actively disbelieve.

    An important thing to bear in mind is that there is no one Christian god, but many.

    As for the human capacity for self-deception, I’d say it’s quite hard to do it deliberately. We fool ourselves and are fooled by others because we have various cognitive biases and we don’t take them into account. Science and skepticism are essentially about raising our awareness of those biases and taking measures against them.

  4. Okay, the question is:

    If you are not a fundamental Atheist prove that God does not exist?

    • I think you’re misinformed about how mainstream atheism works. In general, I lack belief in gods. When a god is defined in a self-contradictory way or if it fails to live up to its testable predictions, only then do I actively assert the negative. I don’t know enough about your god hypothesis to put it in the latter category.

      • I apologize if I came of hastily. I will rephrase my previous question for you.

        Prove to me that the Evangelical Christian Bible that has 66 Books starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation is contradictory?

      • Again, your seemingly sidetracking my questions is irritating.

        Prove to me that the Evangelical Christian Bible that has 66 Books starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation is contradictory?

      • For contradictions, here’s a decent list to start. There’s some wiggle room depending on how you interpret the relevant bits of text.

        Of course, another concern is about where it contradicts the evidence from the world outside, if you’re willing to open that can of worms.

      • I don’t really want to but from the one’s I read it’s silly that those are what Atheist’s consider contradictions…

        Anyways, let’s open the other can of worms. Where is your list from the outside world?

      • I’m mostly just curious in what those arguments are…but after this…I hope we simply can agree to disagree with one another!

      • One general thing to bear in mind about internet debate: You’re almost never the first person to bring something up. Be prepared for ready responses.

        I’m also an ex-Christian, so I was once on the other side of this debate table.

      • I truly hope you realize your greatest logical fallacy that God does not exist before it’s too late.

        You have made something that is not God, god, it’s plain to me and I can only hope you see it at some point. But you have the freedom to choose what you believe or don’t believe. And to hide behind a shroud of human logic is the most foolish thing I’ve come to understand.

      • My beliefs about truth are formed from the humble process of science. They have limitations, and I recognize that. Any idea is questionable because everything we do has a risk of flaws. Just because science isn’t perfect is no reason to give up. If you’ve got something better than science, tell me what it is.

        I don’t have the necessary arrogance to think that I can grasp absolute certainty. I harbor no delusions of an inherent superiority over the rest of humanity. I’m just a modified monkey trying to live a life of integrity and help my brethren make the most of a sub-optimal world.

        Which logical fallacies did I commit? Name them. I don’t want you to keep holding back for the sake of my feelings. I want constructive criticism. If I’m wrong, I want to know how and why.

        And I don’t want you to lie to my virtual face about what I’m thinking.

      • Thank you for expressing the ability to be reasonable.

        Because of the infinite probability we can conclude that there is the same probability for or against the existence of God. We agree on that.

        We disagree when it comes to what side of the fence we’re on:

        I am a Theist 100%, to me there is nothing you can ever come up with that will change my viewpoint or my belief that there is a God.

        You are an Atheist. By definition an atheist would believe 100% that a god or gods do not exist.

        However you state “give me provable phenomena and so long as there are no logical fallacies I will change to a theist.” Which to me is inherently flawed logic by definition.

        If you are how you saw you are and not 100% Atheistic, which would be to say you are something other than an Atheist, I encourage you to read “The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. A book written by someone like you that turned to a theist by examining the evidence (provable phenomena) around Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. If not and you are an Atheist it is illogical for us to continue this conversation.

        Truth be told, God has nothing to prove to you other than what He’s already done.

        I will also ask for forgiveness for how I have responded to you at times during this conversation?

      • Don’t lie to me about my own beliefs.

        You are an Atheist. By definition an atheist would believe 100% that a god or gods do not exist.

        I know exactly zero atheists who meet that definition. Your definition is based on narrow conditions, not the general case. I’m only a “strong” atheist for a relatively small number of gods, but I’m a “weak” atheist for the vast majority.

        When you define a belief in a manner that no one subscribes to it, and try to use that definition in an argument, you’re creating a straw man fallacy.

        Very important question: What would it take to prove to you that your god doesn’t exist?

        However you state “give me provable phenomena and so long as there are no logical fallacies I will change to a theist.” Which to me is inherently flawed logic by definition.

        Willingness to admit I’m wrong if demonstrated to be wrong is inherently flawed logic? That’s one of the cornerstones in science. That’s how science makes progress.

        I will also ask for forgiveness for how I have responded to you at times during this conversation?

        Normally, I only forgive if there’s a willingness to change the offending behavior. Stop telling me what I believe and listen when I tell you.

        I’m an atheist for the same reason I’m an aunicornist: There’s no evidence of unicorns that I know of. I didn’t scour all of space and time to prove their non-existence. I shouldn’t need to. The burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim. I will continue to lack belief in unicorns until someone shows me good evidence of a unicorn, thus falsifying the null hypothesis (that there are no unicorns).

        Science is based on falsification of null hypotheses, not on proving negatives.

        What I’m describing is mainstream atheism. What you’re describing is a very narrow, conditional definition reserved for a very specific type of god.

        For every possible unknowable belief that rewards me for believing it, there’s an infinity of possible unknowable beliefs that punish me for believing the first thing. That’s why I don’t bother picking unknowable beliefs and stick to believing in knowable things. I don’t want to make decisions about what I believe to be true based on long shot odds of one out of infinity or out of arrogance and wishful thinking. The only gods I’d be willing to believe in are the knowable ones. Is your god knowable, and if so, by what means?

        As for the book recommendation, tell me what the non-common knowledge arguments are. Last time, you complained that I was using my familiarity with common knowledge refutations of common knowledge arguments that were described in the summary. I’m not willing to read a book if it’s just a simple rehash of common arguments that already failed to stand up to scrutiny.

      • Also, I would like to add. Given infinite probabilities there is the same probability for or against science as the source of our existence.

        I hope that you would also agree with me on that.

      • Also, I would like to add. Given infinite probabilities there is the same probability for or against science as the source of our existence.

        Science isn’t the source of our existence. It’s a process for evaluating truth claims. We know with good confidence generally what happened back to some tiny fraction of a second into the Big Bang. Before that, we simply don’t know, though cosmologists are exploring ideas, trying to find ways to test them.

        The problem with all these unknowables is that if they’re all equally likely, and the for/against ones essentially cancel out. Constantly letting them worry us would only serve the cause of defeatism. If we’re punished for embracing only the knowable and what’s likely given the available evidence, the odds were already stacked against us. The only alternative I can see to methods like science is finding truth by dumb luck.

        If you’ve got an alternative to science or dumb luck, go ahead and present it.

      • I’ll say it once:

        To do so would be pointless. You have proven that over and over again. It would be insane to continue and expect a different result.

        Admit to yourself that you are Fundamental in your beliefs that there is no god or search for God in what you don’t know or understand and stop trying to prove something that can neither be proven or dis-proven.

        Like I said, I believe God has already proven Himself to all mankind and that he doesn’t need me to “prove” Him to anyone else, I need nothing further in my life: I am made complete in my belief of God.

      • You can’t jump to conclusions about my willingness to change my mind if you can’t even clearly describe what it is you want me to change my mind about.

        Is your god provable in principle or not? What properties does your god have? What predictions can we make based on your god hypothesis? How do these predictions differ from the predictions of established scientific theories?

        Hypothetically, if you were wrong about your god, how could you find out?

      • The only dignified response I can give you is to make up your mind:

        Are you and Atheist?

      • Yes. I am an atheist. I have never said otherwise.

      • Just so I’m entirely clear with you:

        For you to be an Atheist you are 100% that a god or gods does not exist.

        Atheism is defined as:
        1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
        2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

        There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. You have decided that, that is who you are, Atheism is FUNDAMENTAL. To say that “if you can provide me with such and such, then I will no longer be an Atheist” is to CONTRADICT yourself.

        Either admit to yourself that Atheism is fundamental or admit to yourself that you are not an atheist and are actually an agnostic.

        It is the same with Theism, there is no wiggle room. Because I am a logical being I have realized, and been trying to get you to realize that a conversation between a Theist and an Atheist is absurd and pointless.

        Feel free to contradict yourself about your Atheism!

        I would much enjoy a conversation about sports, but any continuation with you of a conversation about the existence or non-existence of a god or god’s is off limits. And I would lose all respect for you if you choose to continue one.

      • You’re just angry that I don’t act like the fictional atheist caricature in your quasi-solipsistic head.

        I won’t lie about my beliefs just because you throw a fantasy bestiary at me and call it a dictionary.

        I’ve already identified and disarmed “100% certainty” as an obvious trap, so you can’t soothe your guilty conscience by telling yourself that I fell for the same trap you did.

      • Okay, you have the right to keep telling yourself that!

      • I don’t want a defeatist pity party about how people never, ever change their minds about anything. I will not lie about my beliefs just to conform to popular scripts written by Hollywood hacks.

        If I’m wrong about gods, I want you to try to prove it.

        Is your god provable in principle or not? What testable predictions does your god hypothesis make, and how do these predictions differ from those made by established scientific theories?

      • Won’t know until we die. I’m okay with that.

        If you have to have proof that a god or gods exists, do it yourself. It’s that simple.

        Does this make me a bad Christian: No

        Does this make you a bad Atheist: ???

      • Of course, if your god’s unprovable, you do realize you’re asking me to change my mind justifying it with baseless whimsy, right? Chaos just doesn’t appeal to me as an epistemology.

        I’d change my mind if presented with evidence in the afterlife, but I’m beginning to suspect your god is one of those baselessly and pointlessly evil ones that he’d torture me for eternity just because I was too humble and cautious to believe in some random internet guy’s god before the evidence came in.

        Not that I’d ally with a god like that. Belief and allegiance are two different things.

      • Yep???

        My refusal to continue trying to prove to you the existence of a god or gods, is me asking you to change your mind. My telling you that I believe in God and that it’s okay for you to not believe in a god or gods, is me asking you to change your mind.

        To me it says…I will continue believing what I believe and you can continue believing what you believe, is that clear enough?

      • Oh, I apologize.

        In a moment of charity, I forgot that you consider discussion about the issue (and possibly any other issue featuring disagreement) to be inherently purposeless apparently because beliefs are inherently unchangeable or something like that.

        I’m sorry I forgot you were in this for the lulz.

      • I’ll tell you a joke,

        An Atheist and a Theist walk into a bar. They get to talking without realizing that each is considered the top and most knowledgeable of their time. Soon the topic turns to God. The sit and debate each sharing why they believe what they finally the night ends and each goes peaceably their opposite ways.

        The Atheist says to himself, “Man, I’m sure glad I’m not like him, he believes in that god. What a fool?

        The Theist says to himself, “Pity on him, his complete lack of understanding of God, What a fool?

      • I hate the trope of the false stalemate. It’s a force for stagnation and sloth. There are just far too many people who are either too politically correct, too deceitful, or just too passive to really deal with ideological conflict and measure ideas by their actual merits.

      • My final words to you are, do it yourself:

        If you are interested in the logical appeal of the Christian God read Richard Swinburne or maybe even C.S. Lewis

        If you are interested in testable evidence for the Christian God read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel or one of his other Case for… books.

        If you are interesting on my thoughts and understanding of the Bible and God read my blog.

      • Did a search for stuff on Swinburne, and found a guy who blogged on one of his books. Let me know if you’ve got any disagreements with this guy. I’ll be reading.

      • Just curious about my Sherlock Holmes skills, if I have any.

        Facts you have given: From TX, background in Christianity

        But I would say about you:
        Male
        I’d say you’re about 22/23 years of age
        Smart wanted to attend UT but settled on smaller school Houston?
        About to graduate Or recently did
        Christian background probably Methodist
        Always interested in math and science mainly physics
        Changed major from physics to philosophy
        Became an Atheist around age 20
        Have a dog named Sam
        Have had a few girlfriends but not the right one, anyways hooking up is more fun!

      • Almost 32. Finishing off my graduate thesis for a Masters in Spatial Science (Geographic Information Systems). My BA is in Art, of all things, specializing in digital media, so my understanding of raster and vector-based drawing was transferable.

        My brother has a BA in philosophy, but he’s working on his web development skills right now.

        My family was Methodist, but we’re all atheists, now. I suspect my dad was always a closeted atheist whenever I look back.

        I do have a lot of science interest in my background. I miss the good old days when Discovery was 95% science and 0% fishermen and lumberjacks. I became an atheist around 16~17, but that was initially because of wishful thinking, to make a model of the universe compatible with my pro-democracy morality. Switched to the regular lack of belief and developed an embarrassment for those relatively fluffy newagey days (no gurus or crazy stuff, just generic “spiritual but not religious”) around my early 20’s. Started my first skeptical blogging at 25, and getting back into it, again.

        I’m about 90% asexual, 10% heterosexual. I could see how I could get enjoyment out of sex, but I’m really just not all that interested.

      • Good to know!
        27, married with one kid and one on the way
        Working on my BA of general studies concentration in psychology
        Raised Lutheran questioned how God could be real when it seemed no one took what the Bible said seriously ages 13-21
        Changed my view on Christ at 21 even though most professors I had always seemed to try and convince students otherwise
        Always liked science and math, still do.
        Em, foolish Cubs fan (gambler’s fallacy) “there’s always next year”
        From Nebraska
        Have become fascinated by writing and desire to you use my blog to help in it

    • Now you just sadden me…I feel like around and around the looney bin we go.

      But Jesus loves you.

      If you want some light reading:

      The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne
      The Coherence of Theism by Richard Swinburne
      The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

      Good day, sir!

    • Why so sad? I’m just asking honest questions and stating my position.

      As for “light reading,” I’d be up to my ears in books given all the recommendations I get while online. “Read my book!” made it into the original Doggerel Index because it’s usually a way to get out of answering questions. It’s also a way to “fluff up” an idea that’s fallacious at a basic level.

      What unique arguments do these books give? At least give me the gist of some.

      The thing about the internet is that I can come across core arguments online, presented by people who strongly advocate a position, so they’re interested in presenting the best arguments they know. So far, I’ve seen no one present a convincing case for any of the Christianities despite reading a lot of debates. The arguments fall into familiar fallacy-ridden cliches. Is my luck really just that terrible?

      • The Existence of God…Richard Swinburne presents a substantially rewritten and updated edition of his most celebrated book. No other work has made a more powerful case for the probability of the existence of God. Swinburne argues compellingly that the existence of the universe, its law-governed nature and fine-tuning, human consciousness and moral awareness, and evidence of miracles and religious experience, all taken together (and despite the occurrence of pain and suffering), make it likely that there is a God.

        The Coherence of Theism…This book investigates what it means, and whether it is coherent, to say that there is a God. The author concludes that, despite philosophical objections, the claims which religious believers make about God are generally coherent; and that although some important claims are coherent only if the words by which they are expressed are being used in stretched or analogical senses, this is in fact the way in which theologians have usually claimed they are being used. This revised edition includes various minor corrections and clarifications.

        He has a handful of other books, check amazon.com.

        The Case for Christ…Pretty self explanatory…Atheist turned theist Lee Strobel is an investigative journalist who investigated New Testament accounts of Jesus.

      • Merging the branches…

        -From the book description, and what I’m already expecting:

        Orderly nature of the universe: I fail to see why that leads to a belief in a sentient creator. Frankly, I would think order would be easier to produce than genuine chaos. It’s just a regular old non-sequitur mixed with projecting the human ego onto the universe. Just because humans like to make orderly things doesn’t mean every orderly thing was created by a human-like entity.

        Fine-tuning of the universe: Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy writ larger. It’s also kind of jumping the gun to make such a grand assertion based on a sample size of one. Also a bit more egocentrism involved there, believing the universe was created specifically for us.

        Human consciousness and moral awareness: Neurology and evolution have that explained more parsimoniously.

        Miracles: Usually mundane explanations. I’m pretty confident that every religion has its own miracle claims as well.

        Religious experience: Neurology, again. They’ve been able to induce religious experiences artificially. Even without that knowledge, we know the human mind is subject to malfunctions of various types, so it’d be more parsimonious to tentatively conclude they’re malfunctions. Religious experiences wouldn’t be good evidence unless they all agreed. They don’t. Other religions have them, too.

        The coherence of theism: Still needs backing by good evidence. A coherent hypothesis still needs to make testable predictions.

        I doubt he’s got a good explanation for the existence of suffering, by the way. I’ve been up and down that one a lot. A good person would do what he could to prevent suffering, and I doubt preventing natural disasters would harm anyone’s personal autonomy.

        Evidence from the outside world that contradicts the bible comes in stuff like the various methods we’ve used to date the universe and the Earth, the evidence for evolution and inflationary cosmology (Big Bang) over Creationism, the sphereoid shape and composition of the Earth contradicting the domed floating island description in Genesis, the absence of evidence for a sudden global flood, and so on. There’s also little stuff like grasshoppers having six legs instead of being “on all fours.”

        Any in particular you’d like to focus on first?

      • It doesn’t matter what order and we are going to have to agree to disagree sooner than I thought.

        You have presupposed what logical fallacy without even looking at the argument to support your Atheistic views, you are a Fundamentalist.

        Good night, and God bless!

      • The problem is that it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. Other people before you have tried the same arguments which are built on the same logical fallacies. A lot of those arguments have been recycled for centuries. It’s simple pattern recognition by now. It’s not like these arguments are some obscure secret weapon that’s been lying dormant. It’s common knowledge.

        For one example, what makes this fine-tuning argument different from all the other fine-tuning arguments I’ve encountered? Until I’m given a reason why this one isn’t based on the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, I’m just going to call it like I see it.

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