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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Proofs of God's nonexistence

What is funny about this compilation of atheist arguments of God's nonexistence is that it is extraordinarily difficult to tell some of the real arguments from the parodies. It reminds me of one of the things I always enjoy about atheist testimonials, and why I think it can be very helpful for young Christians to be exposed to them, is that they reliably reveal how stupid and irrational the average atheist's rationale for his disbelief happens to be.

A few of my favorites:
ARGUMENT FROM THE SAGAN STANDARD (I)
(1) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
(2) The claim that God exists is extraordinary.
(3) Therefore, any evidence supporting it ought to be extraordinary as well.
(4) I'm not sure what I mean by "extraordinary."
(5) But whatever you come up with, it's not going to work.
(6) Therefore, God does not exist.

SIGMUND FREUD'S ARGUMENT FROM OEDIPUS
(1) The belief in God arises from the unconscious fear that your father is going to castrate you when he finds out you have a desire to sleep with your own mother.
(2) Obviously, only a crazy person would think that.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

ARGUMENT FROM INFANTILE INTELLIGENCE (I)
(1) Everyone is born an atheist.
(2) Therefore, we should think like that.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

SAM HARRIS'S IMAGINARY ARGUMENT
(1) Bad things happen.
(2) This means God is impotent, evil, or imaginary.
(3) If God is impotent, then He's not powerful and thus doesn't exist.
(4) If God is evil, then He's not good and thus doesn't exist.
(5) If God is imaginary, then God doesn't exist.
(6) Now some theists claim God allows bad things to happen to bring about a greater good.
(7) This would mean God might still be omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and real.
(8) I don't know any rational argument to disprove that.
(9) So, I'll make this appeal to emotion: it's callous to tell people that their suffering is meaningful.
(10) Therefore, God does not exist.

ARGUMENT FROM MODAL LOGIC (II)
(1) I am an atheist.
(2) I do not know what modal logic is.
(3) Any proof for God's existence that uses modal logic is not understood by me.
(4) If I don't understand something, then I can make fun of it.
(5) Therefore, God does not exist.

PARENTAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) My daddy told me that God exists.
(2) I hate my daddy.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.

RICKY GERVAIS'S ARGUMENT FROM HIS ELDER BROTHER
(1) I used to believe in God.
(2) But my older brother didn't.
(3) My mom told him to be quiet.
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.
I think the philosopher is missing one very important argument, however, an argument so incisive and indisputable that it can be utilized to win any debate on any subject. It is an argument so powerful, so convincing, and so conclusive that frankly, I'm surprised none of the major atheists have considered resorting to it in order to convince the ignorant, bigoted, religious masses of God's nonexistence.

JOHN SCALZI'S ARGUMENT FROM DEGREE
(1) I am an atheist.
(2) I have a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy of Language.
(3) From the University of Chicago!
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.

Labels:

147 Comments:

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 12, 2014 6:06 AM  

ARGUMENT FROM HOLLYWOOD (I)
(1) On average characters in Hollywood movies that don't profess Christian belief are more likeable and less crazy and creepy than those that do.
(2) Whenever it says "All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental", that means it's an accurate guide to what people are really like.
(3) Alternately: emotionally I get real and fictional characters muddled up, and remember fiction as if it was real, and that's close enough to it actually being real.
(4) God is the sort of person that exists if the most likeable people believe in Him but not if the people that believe in Him are not as likeable.
(5) Therefore, God does not exist.

Blogger JACIII January 12, 2014 6:07 AM  

Scalzi's argument is more of a nuclear option. A Whole other category of validity.

Anonymous lurking somewhere January 12, 2014 6:15 AM  

Imagination sometimes leads to scientific discovery, but until it does, it remains imagination

Blogger Doorstop January 12, 2014 6:26 AM  

Don't think anyone here is going to top the hilarity of the Scalzi "argument." But a number of years ago I saw Michael Shermer answer audience questions after his guest lecture at a private, Presbyterian-founded college, and would like to share this wishy-washy argument he presented shortly before the local Humanist society sponsoring his visit shut down the session:

(1) Science is about observing nature, so the supernatural and therefore religion are by definition outside its realm.
(2) I believe religion is a crutch.
(3) Weaker people need a crutch, but I do not.
(4) Therefore I believe God does not exist.

Doubtless that opportunist name-dropper who claimed he got her drunk would disagree about his need for a crutch...

Anonymous kh123 January 12, 2014 6:32 AM  

(10) There is no escape make your time.
(11) Hahahahaha.

Anonymous kh123 January 12, 2014 6:36 AM  

"ARGUMENT FROM HOLLYWOOD"

Which is just another way of saying Argumentum ad Coenum:

(1) Our grandfathers were denied entrance to goy country clubs.
(2) Therefore G-d doesn't exist.
(3) Look at the parking lot.

Blogger Krul January 12, 2014 6:45 AM  

PARENTAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) My daddy told me that God exists.
(2) I hate my daddy.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.


I was convinced long ago that this is THE one and only actual reason that over 99% of professing atheists are atheists. All the other arguments promulgated by the sophists among them are only so much rhetoric to give their position the appearance of rationality.

Anonymous Steveo January 12, 2014 6:51 AM  

ARGUMENT FROM COWARDICE
(1) I am an atheist and insist everyone live that way.
(2) I can b*tch about it to Christians as they will probably love me.
(3) Any proof for God's existence from Christians can be ridiculed and/or ignored; mass media, schools, the public square & legal protections may be denied them because they don't deserve social justice - just all other equal people do.
(4) I will not make fun of muslims or their prophet; render cartoons or write, say, or publish any disparaging works regarding the same, because, although I know God does not exist - they will beat, rape, kill, burn and/or hate me forever & seventy two days.
(5) Therefore, God does not exist for everyone but muslims and we will defend to the paycheck their right to pay us money for lobbying efforts regarding the same and this is consistent with egalitarianism & it's principles.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 12, 2014 6:52 AM  

Hey, Mark Helprin. I enjoyed his children's books quite a lot as an adult. "Swan Lake" et al., really good stuff. Not quite Narnia but in the same ballpark, a bit melancholy (but I'm into that).

Blogger JDC January 12, 2014 7:04 AM  

Argument from Liberal Christianity:

1) Christ is of culture, and there should be a happy alliance with the church and culture.
2) The New kingdom will happen in and through the structures of the world.
3) We spread the kingdom by advancing social justice, especially as it relates to the freedom to abort and the holy elevation of homosexuals, transvestites, transgendered, bisexual and anyone who isn’t sure…this is a holy fight
4) The core tenants of Christianity are false – especially as it relates to the divinity of God and the sinfulness of mankind (oops – humankind).
5) Church is not animated by a transcendent truth, and exists solely for the forwarding of social justice.
6) There is no absolute moral standard…except for a Christian to love. Love is defined as complete acceptance of all sin.
7) Social justice is not progressing as we would like it to.
8) Vox Day exists and prospers
9) There is no God

Anonymous Dr. Kenneth Noisewater January 12, 2014 7:16 AM  

Argument from Douglas Adams:

"The Babel fish," said The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, "is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

"The argument goes something like this: 'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
"'But,' says Man, 'the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'

"'Oh dear,' says God, 'I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"'Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

"Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his bestselling book, Well That about Wraps It Up for God.

"Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."

Blogger Lud VanB January 12, 2014 7:30 AM  

actually a lot of those sound like Christian argument in favor of God's existence

1) God created the world
2) The Bible exists in the world God created
3) The creation of the world is recorded in the bible
4) Therefore God exists

Anonymous hygate January 12, 2014 7:40 AM  

I've ran into this:

"ARGUMENT FROM WINNING THE ARGUMENT
(1) Theist: [Points out a contradiction in the atheist's argument.]
(2) Atheist: "Oh, you're just trying to win the argument."
(3) Therefore, God does not exist."

Though the atheist phrased it as,"you have an answer for everything, don't you" spoken in a sarcastic tone.

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 January 12, 2014 7:44 AM  

Philosophy of Language? Really?
Who, exactly, deems themselves entitled to "award" certificates of participation in recognition of "accredited" obfuscation?
Wait, is that a "Arts hyphen Humanities" science"?

CaptDMO

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 12, 2014 7:48 AM  

The Doctor who discovered hand washing, Ignaz Semmelweis, should be a household name. He had the statistical-empirical evidence but no causal mechanism. The story wasn't sufficiently padded to be appealing.
God can't be explained but He can be experienced.

Was watching Joan of Arc this evening with the children. There were a disheveled, disparate, disenfranchised people wanting/ waiting for a leader - anyone with a clear vision to build on and for. She turned up as a nation builder turning that tide in history.

The abject failure of atheists and secularists isn't a good enough reason to believe in God but it is one of them. Their failure to prove that "the nothing which isn't nothing caused everything" isn't the same as the case of "the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence in reality" - for in their specific case the "absence of nothing is evidence of nothing" in the rhetorical sense. They are empty. So thanks for the post.

Living in days of headless chooks, one wonders if it isn't simply time to pull out. John in revelation simply heard "come up here" - and was gone. A Joan of Arc isn't required because it isn't the mission; anyone's mission in these days.

Blogger njartist January 12, 2014 8:08 AM  

You possibly forgot a step in the Sagan Argument:
(6)Therefore God does not exist;
(7) but aliens do...somewhere.

And, dammit, now it is necessary for me to read up on modal logic.

Anonymous Salt January 12, 2014 8:12 AM  

Canb't leave out the argument from Dawkins,

"God doesn't exist, because I'm an asshole."

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 12, 2014 8:16 AM  

Krul: "I was convinced long ago that this is THE one and only actual reason that over 99% of professing atheists are atheists."

Long ago you were probably right.

But there are increasing numbers of children growing up with no father but the television, hence the increasing relevance of the ARGUMENT FROM HOLLYWOOD (I) (which as kh123 pointed out is is just another way of saying Argumentum ad Coenum).

Anonymous DJF January 12, 2014 8:21 AM  

"""(1) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.""""

Wrong. If the evidence is there then its there. Calling it extraordinary is just a way to put a finger on the scale of evidence and tilt it to where Sagan wants it to tilt. He is making a determination prior to looking at the facts.

Anonymous Rosalys January 12, 2014 8:23 AM  

This whole list IS a parody. It is an answer to another silly list put out by some atheists making fun of reasons why people believe. It would appear they are not really atheists because they have a god whose name is Science.

I don't think that most people who call themselves atheists are really atheists. If you really don't believe in something why would you dedicate your life to trying to explain it away. I had a colleague at work who insisted he was an atheist and spent a lot of time trying to convince himself of it. In truth he was a tortured, screwed up individual who didn't want to give up a few of his vices. He didn't not believe in God; he HATED God - and he ended up committing suicide. It was one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed.

Then there are those who go about living their lives as though He doesn't exist. They don't spend a lot of time actively hating and vilifying God; their attitude is more one of indifference or they use God as a tool to try to get others to do their bidding. I cringe when I see politicians invoking the Name of God to legitimize some of the most vial and unGodly proposals and actions with no fear of any wrath to come. I think these are the true atheists.

And then I know several liberal Christians who seem to believe in a quad-rine God - the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and Science. I don't know how to argue with these people.

Blogger JACIII January 12, 2014 8:25 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Jimmy January 12, 2014 8:26 AM  

Actual Christians do not believe that. Atheists are more Christian than Actual Christians, even more accepting and tolerant. Therefore God does not exist.

Blogger JACIII January 12, 2014 8:33 AM  

The Eternal Teenager Argument:

1) I do not have a Mercedes, nor am I a social icon

2) I am supposed to have a Mercedes and everyone is supposed to like and admire me

3) God is supposed to ensure I have a Mercedes and that everyone likes and admires me

4) God is not doing what God is supposed to do

5)Therefore I am angry at God

6) Therefore God does not exist!

7) That'll teach HIM !!!!

Anonymous Respectabiggle January 12, 2014 8:44 AM  

Or, as Doug Wilson points out:
There are two tenets of the New Atheism:
1. There is no God
2. I hate Him

Anonymous Gara January 12, 2014 8:45 AM  

"(6) Now some theists claim God allows bad things to happen to bring about a greater good."

If we accept its premise, the logical conclusion is that we should never try to help people who are in pain or in need – to do so would be to act against God's long term greater good plan. So we should never try to treat somebody who is dying of cancer or rescue someone from a burning house, since if God allowed that to happen, it must be because some greater good is going to come out of it.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 12, 2014 8:45 AM  

I think you forgot this one...

1) Fuck you, Christians, we hate you. We just do.

2) Therefore, God does not exist.

Blogger JACIII January 12, 2014 8:47 AM  

And Gara throws everyone down another Calvinist rabbithole...

Anonymous Porky January 12, 2014 8:58 AM  

ARGUMENT FROM RICHARD DAWKINS:

1) God is a stupid jerk.

2) Evolution is awesome.

3) Therefore there is no god.

Anonymous Porky January 12, 2014 9:01 AM  

Oh, and skyhooks.

Anonymous aero January 12, 2014 9:04 AM  

If there is no matter or energy. What color is a void?
God created man from dirt. does this mean man evolved from dirt? What about all the other creatures?
My questions are foolish? They are for the unbelievers to answer

Blogger vandelay January 12, 2014 9:09 AM  

Argument from Poontang:
1. Undergrad girls get turned on by things that sound intellectual and deep, regardless of whether they actually are.
2. Posting quotes from atheist authors (who are obscure to the majority of people) on my Facebook wall makes me look like a deep thinker to 20 year old girls, and a little dangerous maybe too.
3. This slightly increases my chances of sleeping with the girls in my dorm.
4. Therefore, god does not exist.

Anonymous vryedenker January 12, 2014 9:13 AM  

The Free Will argument:

1) If God is omnipotent, free will doesn't exist
2) The deterministic nature of an exclusively naturalistic worldview means free will does not exist.
3) ????
4) Therefore God does not exist

Blogger Kate Paulk January 12, 2014 9:19 AM  

My personal favorite has already been listed - thank you Dr Kenneth Noisewater. It nicely encapsulates human perversity via logic from a flawed starting point, which in my opinion was one of Douglas Adams strengths.

I also like the urban legend arguments for whether or not Hell is exothermic, because I have a twisted sense of humor.

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:32 AM  



1. I want to be gay with many many many men.
2. I wany my faggotry celebrated by everyone
3. Christians tell me God hates my gay acts
4. thus God does not exist... and Christians are evil bullies

Blogger Cinco January 12, 2014 9:37 AM  

The narcissist:

1) If God is omnipotent
2) The world should work exactly as I think it should
3) It doesn't, therefore; He does not exist

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:38 AM  

1. Republicans are pure evil
2. many are Christians
3. I vote Democrat, thus I'm an atheist

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:42 AM  

1. i believe in "progress" ... based on science and reason
2. Christians deny or impede this progress
3. thus I must constantly annoy everyone with my atheism

Blogger wrf3 January 12, 2014 9:44 AM  

vryedenker wrote:

1) If God is omnipotent, free will doesn't exist
2) The deterministic nature of an exclusively naturalistic worldview means free will does not exist.
3) ????
4) Therefore God does not exist


Step 3 is "I think I have free will" (whatever the heck that even means).

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:47 AM  

(dedicated to Lud)

1. I am an aspie
2. I am a social retard
3. thus God doesn't exist
4. whatever, God doesn't exist
5. so what? God doesn't exist.
6. says you! but God doesn't exit
7. that is nonsense. God doesn't exist.
8. wrong, God doesn't exist.
9. sure, but God still doesn't exist
10. etc etc etc 24-7

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 12, 2014 9:48 AM  

There was a powerful, wealthy cardinal, I think it might even have been Richelieu, who famously once said he really didn't know whether God existed, but he was certain that there was a Catholic Church.

Argument from Bourgeois Comfort:

1) I grew up in a university town. Now I live in rich, hipster Park Slope.

2) My parents were atheist liberals, and also successful professionals and intellectuals. Lots of Joan Baez records lying around the house as a kid.

3) It was a very pleasant life.

4) I've never once stepped outside the liberal bubble, because why would I? It's nice in here!

5) Therefore God does not exist.

Blogger Bard January 12, 2014 9:48 AM  

Vox,
That was the most hilarious close-out to one of your blog posts that I have ever read. I laughed for several minutes straight. God does not exist because.....philosophy major! Classic.

Blogger wrf3 January 12, 2014 9:50 AM  

JACIII wrote: And Gara throws everyone down another Calvinist rabbithole...

Look, as one of the resident Calvinists, it doesn't bother me when we get blamed for injecting Calvinist thinking into a response. I just did it, myself @ January 12, 2014 9:44 AM. I was just trying to help a brother out.

But the point raised by Gara isn't a Calvinist issue -- it's much broader than that: how are we to act in the presence of an omnipotent God? Stop we try and stop what's going to happen, anyway, or should we try to prevent it, even though we know that, in the long run, we can't? I think the answer is pretty clear. Over and over, Scripture tells us to "choose life" - even though everyone ends up dying (corner cases acknowledged, doesn't affect argument).

Blogger IM2L844 January 12, 2014 9:51 AM  

Argument from Protagoras:

1. Man is the measure of all things.
2. God doesn't scratch my itch.
3. Therefore, God doesn't exist...for me.

Anonymous David of One January 12, 2014 9:53 AM  

Vox, please forgive the OT ... for those whom C.S. Lewis is always of interest, the Washington Free Beacon has this ... Fortified

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:53 AM  

1. the Christian God does not exist.
2. does Allah exist? depends, are you a Muslim? are you black? are we in private? but those Christians are sure evil though, so lets talk about them instead...

Anonymous x January 12, 2014 9:59 AM  

1. I am a nice liberal... and an atheist
2. A lot other nice liberals believe in Buddhism New Age wicca spirituality
3. thus I will not be athest around my spiritual liberal friends, but save 100% of my wrath for conservative Christians...

Blogger JACIII January 12, 2014 10:19 AM  

WRF3;

Just bustin' your chops. Can we get some JoHo's around here to lighten up the place?

Anonymous Mudz January 12, 2014 10:19 AM  

ARGUMENT FROM INFANTILE INTELLIGENCE (I)
(1) Everyone is born an atheist.
(2) Therefore, we should think like that.
(3) Therefore, God does not exist.


That always cracks me up. Honestly, can they not see what they're saying when they post all those memes of baby atheists?

In that case, if we factor babies into atheist IQ statistics, it should average out to something like 40. Therefore, statistically, atheists are mentally retarded. :P

ARGUMENTUM EX RIDICULUM

1) I want the belief in God to be ridiculous.
2) So I'll make up something ridiculous.
3) Claim belief in God is like that.

Anonymous aero January 12, 2014 10:22 AM  

X=fool

Blogger Bogey January 12, 2014 10:35 AM  

Argument from Liberalism.
1. I am a Liberal.
2. The Liberal world view is moral and just.
3. The God of the old Testament did many things that do not align with the Liberal world view.
4. Therefore I do not believe in God.

Jesus was pretty cool though, if you take away all that religious stuff he preached and of course all the miracles.

Anonymous Steveo January 12, 2014 10:58 AM  

JACIII

...my friends all drive porsches.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 11:27 AM  

Much burden-shifting in this thread. Claims about god can simply be ignored until theists have a case. Wake me when that happens.

Anonymous VD January 12, 2014 11:34 AM  

Claims about god can simply be ignored until theists have a case.

We have. We have an excellent case. It is one that has been presented many, many times. The fact that you're obtuse and ignorant is hardly anyone else's fault.

Anonymous Bernard Brandt January 12, 2014 11:39 AM  

When I was 13, my sins included reading Montague Summers and Phillip Wylie. For my sins, I came to the conclusion that if the several things that Messrs Summers and Wylie had said were so (e.g. the Witch trials, Spanish Inquisition, persecution of Galileo, etc.), they were the consequences of belief in God, and were themselves unworthy of belief. I became a little atheist. By fifteen, I had encountered the fatal dog-biscuit of Ayn Rand, and became a proper little Randroid.

By sixteen, though, I came to the conclusion that to believe that there was no god was as much an act of faith as believing that there was, so I became an agnostic instead. As I decided that an agnostic who believed there was no way one could tell whether there was a god or not was begging the question, and so I decided to look a bit further into the atheism/theism arguments.

By eighteen, though, I had gone from Rand back to Aristotle, and discovered his arguments on the First Cause. Further, I had looked enough into logic and rational systems to realize that such systems did not go off into an infinite regress of causes and effects, but began with certain axioms, or primary statements worthy of belief. This led me to three conclusions: 1) if the universe is a rational system, it cannot go off into infinite regress, but must begin with a first cause; 2) if effects of a cause are present in that cause, then the wisdom, beauty, and order which could be found in the universe must also be present in its Cause; 3) there was no necessary conflict between Faith and Reason: a rational individual could examine the basic beliefs that he held, and by reasoning from them, or reasoning back to more primary beliefs, could find and hold axioms worthy of belief.

Between 18 and 24, I decided to study creation myths, moral and ethical systems, and religious systems. At the conclusion of that study, I had come to the conclusion that God had spoken to humankind through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the Prophets, and that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had become flesh in Jesus, the son of Joseph, the son of David. I had become a Christian.

From 24 to my present, wizened, age, I have come to the conclusion that the center of Christ's Church resides in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, but this fullness of faith is hampered by several things: 1) the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are in schism with one another; 2) the Orthodox Church is a part of the True Faith given to the wrong people; and 3) the Catholic Church is a part of the True Faith currently under the control of a clergy who are sons of Eli, when they are not being sons of Belial.

Sorry for the OT aspects of this entry. But I'd like to point out that there are some who actually like to think about their faith, and can reason to theism.

Blogger vandelay January 12, 2014 11:44 AM  

Argument from laziness:

1. I am not aware of any case for god.
2. I will not search out any case for god.
3. Therefore, there is no case for god.

Blogger vandelay January 12, 2014 11:49 AM  

That also functions as the argument from solipsism

Anonymous bob k. mando January 12, 2014 11:59 AM  

Titus Didius Tacitus January 12, 2014 8:16 AM
But there are increasing numbers of children growing up with no father



this doesn't mean that children don't hate their father.

it means that now children hate their fathers for what they didn't do ( being absent ) rather than what they did.

also, it's all too common for the mother to lie about the father and his actions after the mother has thrown the father out of the children's lives. because, otherwise, the anger of the children would be fixated on HER if they were allowed to know that she was the responsible party.


absence of father /= absence of hate for father



amusingly, we had an example of the Modality Argument here just the other day.


(1) I don't believe that critical thought can be taught.
(2) I do not know what critical thought is.
(3) Any method for teaching critical thought is not understood or known of by me.
(4) If I don't know about something, then I can make fun of it.
(5) Therefore, critical thought pedagogy does not exist.

Blogger rcocean January 12, 2014 1:06 PM  

I've come across this argument which seems to be a variation of "Sagan".

1. I don't believe God exists
2. Its up to theists to prove he does
3. Your Evidence doesn't convince me (it never does).
4. Therefore, God doesn't exist

Blogger rcocean January 12, 2014 1:09 PM  

Application to other areas:

1. The earth is flat
2. Its up to you to prove otherwise
3. Your argument doesn't convince me
4. Therefore, the earth is flat.

Anonymous Richard M January 12, 2014 1:47 PM  

1. The physical world is governed by rules.
2. We have worked out a lot of the rules.
3. If there was a god he'd create a world with magic like a Tolkien novel, and not base things on rules.
4. There are no wizards or dragons, and the clergy have no mystical powers, special abilities etc.
5. There is no god.

Anonymous Blume January 12, 2014 1:55 PM  

Gara January 12, 2014 8:45 AM

" "(6) Now some theists claim God allows bad things to happen to bring about a greater good."

If we accept its premise, the logical conclusion is that we should never try to help people who are in pain or in need – to do so would be to act against God's long term greater good plan. So we should never try to treat somebody who is dying of cancer or rescue someone from a burning house, since if God allowed that to happen, it must be because some greater good is going to come out of it."

Not true. The greater god being created could be a calling to you to cure cancer or become a fire fighter. Just because pain and suffering has a purpose doesn't mean that you shouldn't alleviate it. In fact just the opposite if you believe the biblical calling to serve others.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 2:28 PM  

There is obviously no conclusive proof for or against what we call god. However, it is definitely telling that prophets, people we consider to have communed with god, really just brought back rules and stories, no real knowledge, no real predictions, no real facts. Nothing that passes the bullshit test.

Anonymous truth January 12, 2014 2:48 PM  

Arguing isnt needed. Theres simply no reason to believe God DOES exist. Someone made up God a long time ago when they were picking berries in a loin cloth and people are still falling for the prank.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 12, 2014 2:52 PM  

Richard M January 12, 2014 1:47 PM
3. If there was a god he'd create a world with magic like a Tolkien novel, and not base things on rules.



people actually think magic doesn't have 'rules'?

that's the whole point of bad juju. how do you appease the gods, etc. it's all fricking rule based.

even ( especially? ) Tolkein's system has rules. Tolkein may not have spelled them out but it's apparent that Gandalf, if left to his own devices, could have directly done far more than he did. his actions were rather constrained unless contesting directly against another maiar like the balrog.

Anonymous The Voice of Reason - now with serious reasons January 12, 2014 3:08 PM  

(1) God doesn't exist
(2)... No, wait... Sh*t, I'm supposed to lead up to the conclusion.
(3) ...










(4) Give me a minute.






(5) [Browses smartphone]








(6) ...Wait, someone friended me on Facebook...














(7) It's not a hot chick.










(8) Ok... So yeah, it's simply made up. Oral history. Bronze age. Goat herders. Documentary hypothesis. Some oedipal complex thrown in.
(9) Gilgamesh.
(10) I looked up that last one myself.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:08 PM  

Theres simply no reason to believe God DOES exist.

You pretend as if theism is just a superfluous belief, like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But everyone who isn't an agnostic has to have SOME belief about things related to, say, abiogenesis. They have just as much turf to defend.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:13 PM  

In other words, remember Christians: If they asshole about their atheism, you are entirely within your rights to interrogate them about abiogenesis. After all, they have to know - not just believe but KNOW - that it happened in order to hold that theism is ridiculous.

Remember this. Always go straight to abiogenesis. Always.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:15 PM  

Study on the matter, memorize the facts. Their knowledge will almost certainly be on the level of "didn't someone somewhere make amino acids in a test tube?"

It is easy to embarrass them on this.

Anonymous Jou_ma_se January 12, 2014 3:33 PM  

"Remember this. Always go straight to abiogenesis. Always."

Not sure how abiogenesis excludes God. I guess it excludes Young Earth Creationism. Then again does it even do that?

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 3:42 PM  

Do you consider viruses alive? Biologists don't. Yet viruses can replicate themselves. Do you consider prions alive? Biologists don't. Yet they too can replicate themselves. It's awful easy to view abiogenesis as the chink in the armor of a naturalistic worldview if you're looking to win a gotcha game, but in terms of scientific grounding even abiogenesis is a more robust and testable concept than anything creationists or whatever they're calling themselves now have to offer.

Anonymous Gara January 12, 2014 3:43 PM  

"Not true. The greater god being created could be a calling to you to cure cancer or become a fire fighter."

That doesn't make a lot of sense for an omnipotent God. It would be like a father letting his baby daughter fall into a pool only to let his son feel like a hero by saving her from drowning. Wouldn't it be better just to prevent the bad thing from happening in the first place?

"After all, they have to know - not just believe but KNOW - that it happened in order to hold that theism is ridiculous.

Remember this. Always go straight to abiogenesis. Always"

Nice God of the gaps argument. There is nothing preventing an atheist from saying "we don't know yet how life started, it doesn't mean God did it". In any case, I think the fact that your faith is intellectually supported mainly by a LACK of scientific knowledge on a subject is very telling.

If we were in ancient Greece you would be the guy telling us "do you know what causes lightning? no? Well it obviously means Zeus does!!!!"

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:44 PM  

Not sure how abiogenesis excludes God.

The implication goes the other way. They need to believe in either abiogenesis or directed panspermia (which was initially invented as a joke, to ridicule abiogenesis) to hold that theism is ridiculous. As life obviously is here, and their model says that there was a time when there was no life.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:46 PM  

There is nothing preventing an atheist from saying "we don't know yet how life started, it doesn't mean God did it".

They can justify withholding judgement on the matter, but they cannot justify ridicule. For THAT, they have to actually know. Note that I said "if they asshole about it..."

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:48 PM  

Do you consider viruses alive? Biologists don't. Yet viruses can replicate themselves. Do you consider prions alive? Biologists don't.

Nope. So, now you have THREE things to explain the origin of. But I'll be satisfied with just the one, namely life. Because I'm so generous.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 3:50 PM  

Markku, you seem to be in the camp of "theism is the default truth until proved otherwise." Please explain why theism is to be taken as a default position. How did god turn dust into the complex biological structures and processes we witness today?

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 3:51 PM  

Markku, you seem to be in the camp of "theism is the default truth until proved otherwise."

Incorrect. Agnosticism is the default position until one is compelled by evidence one way or the other.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 3:53 PM  

Cool. Then we're on the same page.

Anonymous kh123 January 12, 2014 3:54 PM  

A quote by the resident Dr. Claw, from some months ago:

"Due to methodological naturalism, science doesn't even TRY to answer the question "what is the most likely explanation for X?" [In this case, the origin of life.] Rather, it answers the question "among the perfectly naturalistic answers, what is the most likely explanation for X?". It doesn't matter if the answer is preposterously unlikely, like you'd need a trillion times longer time span to get to even 0.0000001% probability. If that is the most likely one, then science has done its job."

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 3:56 PM  

On abiogenesis, the fundamental chicken-egg problem (of gene coding for enzyme) was solved with the discovery of ribozymes which act as both gene and enzyme. Ribozymes could constitute a self-replicator, an essential proto-organism. RNA is awesome like that; it can both code and create.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 4:02 PM  

Vitalism has long been debunked, but chemistry shows us that matter is more vivacious that we give it credit for. Chemically there are structures that bootstrap themselves up from self-assembling monomers. There are atomic lattices that self-extend infinitely in the right conditions. If I believed in god I would see him/her/it through that lens. Because the higher power thing is just punting the unknown, putting it into kiddie terms.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 4:10 PM  

"Due to methodological naturalism, science doesn't even TRY to answer the question "what is the most likely explanation for X?" [In this case, the origin of life.] Rather, it answers the question "among the perfectly naturalistic answers, what is the most likely explanation for X?"

Correct, science does screen for bullshit by ruling out propositions that are intentionally untestable. If a claim has been articulated such that it cannot be tested, such that it cannot be proved or disproved, then it is quite obviously pointless to test it. If you want to believe in lala land you're completely free to do so. It's wholly outside the purview of study. It's faith.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 4:13 PM  

The purpose is to screen for intentional bullshit, but the rules of methodological naturalism end up screening more than that. This isn't a fault of science per se, it's just that one has to understand what its limitations are. It cannot make a judgement between the probability of the most likely testable explanation, and the most likely untestable one.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 4:26 PM  

What's an example of over-screening by methodological naturalism in your opinion?

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 4:30 PM  

What's an example of over-screening by methodological naturalism in your opinion?

Theistic versus naturalistic origin of life and the universe. Although "over-screening" is a loaded word, as if this were a fault of the methodology, such that it could be improved so as to give an answer on the issue. But rather, the error is with the person who concludes that the mere existence of the naturalistic answer has made belief in God superfluous.

Blogger William Smith January 12, 2014 4:32 PM  

Nik said:
"There is obviously no conclusive proof for or against what we call god. However, it is definitely telling that prophets, people we consider to have communed with god, really just brought back rules and stories, no real knowledge, no real predictions, no real facts. Nothing that passes the bullshit test."

You just claimed that there is obviously no proof one way or another yet you claimed that something that is conclusive to some people is not real knowledge. That's begging the question of what should be considered conclusive. Also, many philosophers from various traditions have used startlingly similar arguments for the existence of God (as in an entity that is the ground of existence itself). They found these arguments to be compelling in spite of the fact that the entity described in the conclusions was vastly different from their understandings of the gods. This can be found in Plotinus, Plato, Aristotle, the Upanishads, Aquinas, and also in Paul Radin's book, "Primitive Man as Philosopher."

truth said,
"Arguing isnt needed. Theres simply no reason to believe God DOES exist. Someone made up God a long time ago when they were picking berries in a loin cloth and people are still falling for the prank."

Lots of people have personal experiences that lead them to believe God DOES exist. Personal experience is a major reason to believe lots of things. It's foundational to the scientific method. Your claim to know about an ancient, unrecorded event, its berry picking circumstances, and its intent as a prank on the other hand is something that there really is no reason to believe.

Blogger Markku January 12, 2014 4:33 PM  

Also, there is this concept of "soft sciences". How come we need such a concept? Because human agency makes hard science impossible in those areas. No scientific experiment can be guaranteed to be repeatable when there is a human involved. And for exactly the same reason, God would be untestable.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 4:37 PM  

"Theistic versus naturalistic origin of life and the universe. Although "over-screening" is a loaded word, as if this were a fault of the methodology, such that it could be improved so as to give an answer on the issue. But rather, the error is with the person who concludes that the mere existence of the naturalistic answer has made belief in God superfluous."

I think this reflects the inherent limitations of science and scientific method. Science purports to deal with experimental subjects. That which cannot be examined experimentally is simply out of reach of science.

Increasingly people fetishize science as the answer to everything. It never was and never pretended to be.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 12, 2014 6:13 PM  

but in terms of scientific grounding even abiogenesis is a more robust and testable concept than anything creationists or whatever they're calling themselves now have to offer.

How, exactly, does one falsify abiogenesis?

Anonymous Kevin January 12, 2014 6:33 PM  

1) I'm not super smart
2) i know a bunch of sooper smart people who believe God doesn't exist
3) i trust them
4) therefore, God doesn't exist

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 6:47 PM  

"How, exactly, does one falsify abiogenesis?"

How does one falsify the "god-did-it" position? Right, one really doesn't. One merely weighs the evidence in favor of each position. Abiogenesis has a model, a model that is corroborated with evidence. Your position doesn't have a model or evidence. It's inchoate. It's faith.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 6:55 PM  

If you can outline conditions by which the "god-did-it" model can be tested, then we can have a fruitful conversation. The current state of affairs is one of scientists providing models and detractors asking for a standard of evidence they themselves have neglected to meet. It's rather boring and we're happy to forge ahead with or without the likes of you.

Anonymous kh123 January 12, 2014 6:58 PM  

" Abiogenesis has a model, a model that is corroborated with evidence."

Right, but the question was how it was potentially falsifiable.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 7:03 PM  

To answer you candidly, it's not. If you're a researcher, you know shit generally can't be falsified. It can only be corroborated with varying degrees of evidence. So the real test is the extent of the evidence that supports (or doesn't support) any given position.

Blogger James Dixon January 12, 2014 7:12 PM  

> Correct, science does screen for bullshit by ruling out propositions that are intentionally untestable.

And since the existence of God can't be proven either way, the scientific default is also agnosticism. And yet most atheists claim to be followers of science.

Blogger nik January 12, 2014 7:14 PM  

And that's precisely why religious positions are harder to change. You, a person with religious convictions, thinks your ass is on the line. So you believe whatever you think will best cover your ass. Those without a priori conclusions are free to make decisions not based upon fear. It's really about intellectual cowardice, the zealot being a consummate coward.

Anonymous Mudz January 12, 2014 7:36 PM  

On abiogenesis, the fundamental chicken-egg problem (of gene coding for enzyme) was solved with the discovery of ribozymes which act as both gene and enzyme. Ribozymes could constitute a self-replicator, an essential proto-organism. RNA is awesome like that; it can both code and create.


You solved the problem of by positing the existence of a first pre-biotic complex molecule that came from Somewhere, did it's Thing somehow, thus Making All Life.

Way to solve your problem, nik. You really did your research. RNA that can replicate more of another RNA strand than it used to. That totally solves the chicken and egg of self-replication. (Gene coding for enzyme, what the heck? That's what genes do.)

It "could" constitute a self-replicator? Feel free to stick some actual, empirical science in front of that proposal, because that's exactly what you just said you solved. 'Hypothetically' ain't gonna cut it.

They have only (which is nonetheless impressive) managed to get a rare, already functional, existent RNA that can almost completely duplicate another RNA strand under specific laboratory conditions, not self-replicate, which is a big conundrum, but certainly not the largest.

The biggest problem is where did this miraculous piece of hypothetical, unseen, unproven, unrecorded genetic all-father machine come from, even assuming it was favoured by conditions to get its genesis on?

But hey, just to rub some irony in the wounds, here's a quick quote from a Yay for RNA article (http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/10/quest-for-self-replicating-rna-edges-closer-to-origin-of-life/):

"It's great progress, but the result still comes far short of a molecule that can copy itself. For one thing, the ribozyme tended to stop short of the end of the molecule it was copying, mostly because the two fell out of contact. The authors could tether the two RNA molecules (the ribozyme and the template it was copying) together, which improved matters but didn't solve the problem entirely. The second problem was the fact that the molecule being copied folded over and formed base pairs with itself, which prevented the ribozyme from copying through the folded structure.

This creates a serious problem since the activity of the ribozyme depends on it being able to fold into a three-dimensional structure—which creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem for making a self-replicating ribozyme."


Did you see it? No? Let's replay< that:

nik January 12, 2014 3:56 PM

On abiogenesis, the fundamental chicken-egg problem (of gene coding for enzyme) was solved with the discovery of ribozymes which act as both gene and enzyme.

me, quoting thing, now (zoom up on the money-quote, Sam)
"It's great progress, but the result still comes far short of a molecule that can copy itself." "...which creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem for making a self-replicating ribozyme."

Bam! (Don't look at me like that. No-one could have resisted such a perfectly faux-assured, research-lite and citrus-free offering as you made. I'm only a man.)



And here's another one! Just because I like quoting things.

http://www.lifesorigin.com/chap10/RNA-self-replication-3.php

To quotate: " Given the extreme difficulties associated with synthesizing an RNA molecule containing 200 or more bases, it is unlikely that even one such molecule ever existed on the primitive earth, and 15 trillion are needed to just get 65 functional ribozymes. Furthermore, ribozymes are not self replicators."

Blogger arborist January 12, 2014 7:39 PM  

Bernard Brandt: "I'd like to point out that there are some who actually like to think about their faith, and can reason to theism."

Well said. I do, and have. It has taken almost thirty years so far. I continue to add to my knowledge.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 12, 2014 7:41 PM  

To answer you candidly, it's not.

Thank you. It's refreshing to see some good old fashioned backpedaling from a militant atheist. Lol!

If you're a researcher, you know shit generally can't be falsified.

True. Shit cannot be falsified. A good scientific hypothesis, however, must be falsifiable. Otherwise... it's just shit. Lol!

Abiogenesis has a model.

Lol! No, it doesn't. It has a "nature-did-it" template and a mishmash of phenomenon that might or might not fit in with that template.

If you can outline conditions by which the "god-did-it" model can be tested, then we can have a fruitful conversation.

Says the fellow who, by his own admission, cannot test his own "nature-did-it" model. Lol!

Nik, there is indeed a reason that you cannot have a fruitful discussion about these things. And it has very little to do with God's testability. Lol!

Anonymous George of the Hole January 12, 2014 7:47 PM  

If you're a researcher, you know shit generally can't be falsified. It can only be corroborated with varying degrees of evidence. So the real test is the extent of the evidence that supports (or doesn't support) any given position.

Well, by nik's own standard we can now include eyewitness testimony to the miracles of Christ as scientific evidence!

Are we having a fruitful discussion now, nik? LOL!

Blogger wrf3 January 12, 2014 7:48 PM  

nik wrote: You, a person with religious convictions, thinks your ass is on the line.

How typically atheist of you. You think that because you have a possible explanation that it's a true explanation. But your position is complete nonsense, because if we changed our mind, then our "ass", as it were, would no longer be "on the line." If I were convinced that Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then I'd drop Christianity immediately.

And, by the way, it's funny to hear atheists arguing about "evidence" when, if atheism is true, the issue isn't about evidence at all.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 12, 2014 9:23 PM  

George of the dipstick hole,

every single journal is the testimony of eyewitness accounts. They each invite you to repeat the experiment and verify the data.

The Gospels are no different. Enter into the operating system faith. Without prejudice to God's opportunities - wait for a result. ie. you pray and wait. If God cannot convince you of a miracle, He isn't God.

It is not a zero sum game.

[as for me and my house, we worship the Lord]

Your empiricism is a fraud if you cannot acknowledge limitations on recognizing the boundary conditions to the experiment. The simplest of objects are non localized at some level and the observer is part of the experiment. You like predictability because it is what you like.

Blogger Bogey January 12, 2014 9:44 PM  

If you're a researcher, you know shit generally can't be falsified. It can only be corroborated with varying degrees of evidence. So the real test is the extent of the evidence that supports (or doesn't support) any given position.

Absurd, "shit" can be falsified. The Hollow Earth theory can easily be falsified. The Geocentric theory can be falsified as well as the Heliocentric theory.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 12, 2014 10:14 PM  

PhillipGeorge(c)2014: "every single journal is the testimony of eyewitness accounts. They each invite you to repeat the experiment and verify the data."

Great! Call me when I can replicate abiogenesis. Lol!

Phillip, my dear, you seem to have missed the point. Our friend nik, who apparently is a "researcher" of some sort, has informed us that science can reliably be done without the need for pesky things like "falsification" or "testability". All you need is supporting evidence of some kind, and voila! U can haz scienz!!

LOL!

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 12, 2014 10:33 PM  

;well actually Bogey, if the Michelson Morley was a false negative and the ether is a very energy dense spinning object geocentrics might be right. If space is flat, the Earth certainly appears to within measurable limitations at the centre of the Universe. Others seriously postulate our solar system orbiting Sirius. If you can seriously do that number crunching you'd be able to support the dogma. Few, I believe, can or have.

Your right George, I missed the point. Abiogenesis is pure religion in muddy waters.

OpenID standingagainsttheworld January 12, 2014 11:38 PM  

Dear Vox I would be interested in your book review of this Atheist claiming that the Universe did spring from nothing:

http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/1451624468

Apparently God was not required.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 13, 2014 1:15 AM  

Nik should have shut up when he had the chance.

Anonymous Mudz January 13, 2014 1:51 AM  

Dear Vox I would be interested in your book review of this Atheist claiming that the Universe did spring from nothing:

http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/1451624468

Apparently God was not required.


That's the claim certainly. But I'd bet (if I were a gambling man) that Krauss' 'nothing' will be a 'Very Special Kind of Nothing'. We've already heard that infamous variation of dissembling from Dawkins. (I'll pick up the book myself anyway, just in case there's more to it, but googling doesn't seem to indicate he's come up with anything new or special.)

That's not actually 'nothing', that's a squeamish deferral trying to claim that 'nothing' is equal to 'almost nothing'. It's pure deception, bait and switch, with a big side of question-begging.

It looks like WLC has already debated with Krauss on this book, so you'd probably be well-served to look that up first, if you haven't already.

Here's a link and rundown of another debate with Krauss: http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/lawrence-krauss-debates-a-universe-from-nothing-with-an-astrophysicist/

And another review: http://www.bethinking.org/science-christianity/advanced/a-universe-from-someone-against-lawrence-krauss.htm

Which seems to confirm my suspicions, though I'll have to read the book anyway just in case. But it's there for you, presuming you've read the book.

But in any case, just to run with it:

God may not be required for 'something rather than nothing', because He is already something. But His existence may be necessarily true because there is something. In other words, being the ultimate genesis point, containing the entire sum of all existence (including what would become space and time and sentient life) in a spaceless, timeless (infinite, eternal) pre-universe point, that Something would have to be/contain God, the manifest ultimate in infinite magnitude. (It's a theory I've been nesting on.) So it's one and the same thing.

Another way to look at it:

He (or at least, a supernatural creator) is necessary to get something from nothing, in the proper definition of the term.

If we posit that the original conditions of the universe is 'nothing' (actual nothing), for it to do 'something', i.e. act against its nature, that would require a Cause, a directing force to produce an artificial interruption in the stability of the nothingness, making somethingness.

E.g. your standard supernatural/extraphysical creative force. Theology 101. Kalam Cosmological Argument.

True nothingness, which is the definition of nothing that metaphysicians must address to honestly answer 'why something instead of nothing', literally requires a supernatural creator with supernatural power to mess with it, for us to get something from it.

Atheists are kinda screwed on this point, because when it comes to cosmological beginnings, all roads lead to God.

(They've found themselves trying to explain the origin of nature, when they've arbitrarily defined supernaturalism as inherently anti-science. Strangely, atheists don't seem to get worked up into a lather when their hailed Brights try to wrestle with metaphysics and softly peddled supernatural theories when it claims to trying to disprove God. It's only pro-God arguments that is the enemy of science for some strange, inexplicable and unfathomable reason. Really, they should get nailed more than they do about this.)

Anonymous Mudz January 13, 2014 1:58 AM  

Actually, to be fair, all the roads lead to a demiurge, which nonetheless covers the significant attributes of creator God for these cosmological arguments.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 13, 2014 2:25 AM  

All things have a beginning except for the beginning.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 13, 2014 3:00 AM  

"There is obviously no conclusive proof for or against what we call god. However, it is definitely telling that prophets, people we consider to have communed with god, really just brought back rules and stories, no real knowledge, no real predictions, no real facts. Nothing that passes the bullshit test."

1. Nicolaas "Siener" van Rensburg Part 1 of 3 .
2. Nicolaas "Siener" van Rensburg Part 2 of 3
3. Nicolaas "Siener" van Rensburg Part 1 of 3

The presenter and narrator is an atheist progressive by the name of Max Du Preez.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 13, 2014 3:09 AM  

VryeDenker,

"You know, for you told you so"

Thank you for a statement of your dogma. Having published your conclusions there seems little reason to open the link. You "know" what's out there, happened and explains the things you see in-connection with all the religion that can exist. Hence, you are as open to discussion as any tomb marker with two dates.

Anonymous Mudz January 13, 2014 3:26 AM  

Yeah, real provocative, dude. If you're too lazy to click links, and dumb enough to think your post meaningful, don't expect anyone to care.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 13, 2014 3:51 AM  

Ah yes the argument from "I don't want to look at the evidence so it doesn't count".

Let's see. An old man who lived in 1920 predicted that

1. South Africa will have a black president,
2. He will die and his body will be displayed in a glass coffin in Pretoria
3. Prominent leaders from around the world will come to pay their respects

and then in 2013:
Nelson Mandela dies, is put in a glass coffin and displayed at the union building in Pretoria while everyone from Barack Obama to Robert Mugabe show up to pay their respects and take selfies.

There it is right there. You can "discuss" it all you want, but the evidence is there that a man could see 100 years into the future. He was also spot on regarding both world wars, Chernobyl, racial conflict in Europe and AIDS.

It's not my fault that you are too afraid to look at evidence presented to you that contradicts your assertions. Even when that evidence is presented by someone who is sympathetic to your cause.

Anonymous Y January 13, 2014 4:05 AM  

1. I am afraid of dying.
2. The bible gives reasons why I don't need to be afraid of death.
3. I don't like being afraid of dying.
4. The bible says God exists.
5. Therefore God exists.

or

1. I like to hate on gays and blacks.
2. If I cherry pick through the bible, I can find reasons why my pet hatreds are supposedly 'holy'.
3. I like feeling holy about my pet hatreds.
4. The bible says God exists.
5. Therefore God exists.

Blogger ScuzzaMan January 13, 2014 5:21 AM  

If you're a researcher, you know shit generally can't be falsified. It can only be corroborated with varying degrees of evidence. So the real test is the extent of the evidence that supports (or doesn't support) any given position.

This is a result of (a) confusion, (b) poor teaching of science, (c) emotional responses given expression before thought kicks in, or (d) some grisly combination of all three.

In order to qualify as a valid theory, the proposition must be falsifiable. Ideally, the one who proposes the theory should provide some real world test (i.e. an experiment) that will produce evidence either supporting or contradicting the theory.

If no such experiment can be made (string theory comes to mind, altho I dont claim to know, but many have said there's no conceievable way to test the theory, therefore it is at best pretty but useless) then what we have is merely a proposition that does not rise to the level of theory.

Alternately, if every result 'proves' the theory (global warming springs to mind, which seems to be true no matter if the earth is warmer or cooler) then what we have is not a theory but a superstition (which may later rise to the level of a religion, given sufficient adherents, resources, rituals, high priests and etc).

Having done some experiments, then our theory (assuming we had a valid one to begin with) is either found to be falsified by the data thus gathered, or not falsified. Science is asymmetric in this respect; no theory can be proven. This is because science is not a method for finding truth (or Truth) but only a method for avoiding error.

A 'not falsified' theory is not true, it is only 'correct' in the limited sense that no observation has yet falsified it. IOW, it is correct in that it accounts for the current state of information on the subject it addresses, without contradicting any of that information. Thus there can be many competing theories, which contradict each other in significant respects, that are all simultaneously correct.

Sadly, few today who speak on the subject of science, have much in the way of training on or exposure to the philosophy of science. This is, I deem, a significant gap in our teaching of the subject.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 13, 2014 8:03 AM  

Actually Ann Coulter came up with what might well be the best possible argument: "Try contemplating Michael Moore as one of God's special treasures."

Of course, that really only proves that God is inscrutable, not that He doesn't exist, and Ann, naturally, knew that.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 13, 2014 8:11 AM  

"If we accept its premise, the logical conclusion is that we should never try to help people who are in pain or in need – to do so would be to act against God's long term greater good plan."

Don't be sillier than necessary, that could well _be_ the greater good.

That said, my church's pet project is educating Haitians. Having had some dealing with Haitians (I was the adj for Death Camp GTMO before it was Death Camp GTMO), I think the net effect of educating Haitians is to let more of the better ones - and some are very admirable, indeed - escape. Good for them? Yes, probably, but bad for the millions left behind, and left all the poorer in human capital because my church helped some of that human capital escape the country. So I won't give a dime to the project because I believe the net result is bad.

This, however, is one extreme example. There are any number of areas where charity is to the good, and where God may well provide the opportunity for us to do good.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 13, 2014 8:33 AM  

VryeDenker, well Mudz cares about us both, having laid his thought bubble down, there isn't a prick in sight to burst it.
Sorry VryeDenker, I'm lost on you as well. Are you saying Prophets are a dime a dozen. prolific and ubiquitous, can't avoid them, or that we all should worship Niccolas? Not the latter - I'd guess.

Well that leaves subliminal or unavoidable double entendres. Prophets are compelled, not volitional. People merely used. Everyone can be back masked, skip coded, read into beyond thought or reason for they are all pens in the hand of a divine author who hides layers of meaning both and beneath everything;.
Well seeing it's obvious no mirror gives us a three, four or five dimensional image then why not agree with your useful, but not cognitionally asserted prose - the stuff intended of the unseen hand, as they are, to us, statements of received wisdom. You have said unintentionally, more than you ever wanted to, have you not?

You could not avoid but make the case for God.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 13, 2014 9:47 AM  

Good for them? Yes, probably, but bad for the millions left behind, and left all the poorer in human capital because my church helped some of that human capital escape the country. So I won't give a dime to the project because I believe the net result is bad.

Funny you should mention it. I'm currently reading this book where this topic is touched upon in the context of exporting Moslems to another planet and something about the equitable distribution of human capital in 2050. Oh wait...

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 10:17 AM  

What I meant was a universal negative can't be proved. That's a convenient fact for people like theists who like to make shit up. Obviously scientific theories and propositions can be tested and can fail tests. In fact the ability to be falsified is necessary in order for a proposition to be scientifically valid. Someone else pointed it out. Anyway, I see you are all quite happy to not look for god's influence, to not put your beliefs to any kind of test. That's fine. Carry on.

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 10:39 AM  

It's the whole Russell's teapot thing. Claims about god are quite literally pointless, because they can't be proved or disproved. And that really doesn't matter to the Christian, because the Christian is emotionally attached to the Jebus. It is an emotional position, not an intellectual one. No surprise theism has contributed nothing to science. Theism can't be tested, so it's completely irrelevant scientifically. Scientists know this best.

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 10:47 AM  

It's hilarious to hear theists piss and moan about science though. It's just penis envy really. I'd be pissed too if I signed up for a worldview that makes huge promises and delivers nothing.

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 10:52 AM  

Of course, most of the promises religion makes, too, are deliberately unfalsifiable. Bullshit persists by insulting itself from reality in that way.

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 11:03 AM  

*insulating

Blogger Markku January 13, 2014 11:37 AM  

Claims about god are quite literally pointless, because they can't be proved or disproved.

Yes they can, at the Final Judgement.

Note how this is exactly the same sort of defense that you give for abiogenesis.

Blogger Markku January 13, 2014 11:47 AM  

I find it funny how you tried to sound reasonable for a while there, yesterday. But then just a day passes and you give away your game with "Jebus".

I'm starting to think that Boghossian is not a threat after all. Nobody can herd this crowd.

Anonymous VD January 13, 2014 11:52 AM  

In fact the ability to be falsified is necessary in order for a proposition to be scientifically valid.

Totally true. Would you accept that Christianity is a scientific proposition if it can be falsified?

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 12:21 PM  

Theism can't be tested, so it's completely irrelevant scientifically.

Sort of like your faith in abiogenesis, nik?

LOL!

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 12:44 PM  

It's hilarious to hear theists piss and moan about science though. It's just penis envy really.

Lol! May I attempt to encapsulate your incredibly persuasive argument thus far, nik? Thank you so much.

1) Science is amazing because it is testable. Just look at abiogenesis!
2) Ok, abiogenesis is not testable.
3) But neither is "the Jebus."
4) So obviously you are all just jealous of my big, throbbing science.

LOL!!!!



Blogger nik January 13, 2014 1:20 PM  

Abiogenesis is testable.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 1:38 PM  

Abiogenesis is testable.

ROFL!!!!

Yes, it is just as testable as flying, rainbow-colored pinnipeds. Now we just need to find one of those suckers so we can test it.

Lol!!! ROFL!!

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 1:38 PM  

That is to say, abiogenesis hypotheses are testable. Abiogenesis, by itself, is merely the blanket term for any number of scenarios from which life arises from nonlife. Those scenarios can be tested and ruled out as indicated. The idea of abiogenesis per se cannot. This is rather nuanced so I don't expect you to get it. But for those of you who are actually interested in learning about the science you can start by looking into ribozymes, a chemical that can act as both gene and enzyme, a great candidate for proto-life.

Blogger nik January 13, 2014 1:41 PM  

Since people here seem to be philosophically minded, I would expect them to understand you can't really prove a universal negative. You can't prove that some specific hypothetical evident did not, at any time, occur. Unless that evident is logically self-contradictory in some way.

Blogger Bogey January 13, 2014 1:55 PM  

a universal negative can't be proved.

Bullshit, no one by the name of nik has ever stepped foot into my house, I've never given a Hindu a ride in my car, I've never had sex with a midget. No one who is currently living in my town has ever won the Nobel Prize in literature.

Anonymous VD January 13, 2014 2:36 PM  

nik, I asked you a question. As per the rules of the blog, please answer it.

Would you accept that Christianity is a scientific proposition if it can be falsified?

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 2:39 PM  

That is to say, abiogenesis hypotheses are testable.

Except there aren't any. Lol!

There are are, of course, some rather broad concepts fraught with implausible conditions and impenetrable barriers. Nothing that would lend itself to the scientific method in any meaningful way.

But I wish you the best of luck in your search for the elusive rainbow-striped-flying pinniped, nik. It simply MUST be out there, riiighhht??

ROFL!!

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 2:50 PM  

But for those of you who are actually interested in learning about the science you can start by looking into ribozymes, a chemical that can act as both gene and enzyme, a great candidate for proto-life.

ROFL!

So nik apparently thinks that if we paint a pinniped in rainbow tempera stripes and drop him from a helicopter, this represents some kind "scientific test" for the elusive rainbow striped flying pinniped??? After all, I can't think of a better "candidate"! Lol!

LOLOLOLOL!!!

Nik, we are all dying to know what kind of "research" you spend your days performing. The mind simply reels! Lol!!!

Anonymous George of the Hole January 13, 2014 3:06 PM  

If you tell us that you study semiaquatic marine mammals I will soil my pants. LOL!!

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 13, 2014 7:47 PM  

Bogey, you gave three testimonial / eye witness accounts you can't prove, but want to be believed, and then made one claim that you can't prove - unless you are everywhere in town at once.

No one who is currently living in my town has ever won the Nobel Prize in literature. and town isn't exactly "the universe"



....

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 13, 2014 7:49 PM  

for the small town, parochial, perhaps "town is your universe" and "nothing exists beyond it" - I like the metaphor you unintentionally provided.

Blogger Bogey January 13, 2014 9:14 PM  

for the small town, parochial, perhaps "town is your universe" and "nothing exists beyond it" - I like the metaphor you unintentionally provided.

Fine, fine, I was reaching for something less known to everyone. Let me use the classic example, "No bachelor is married."

Anonymous Mudz January 13, 2014 11:03 PM  

That is to say, abiogenesis hypotheses are testable. Abiogenesis, by itself, is merely the blanket term for any number of scenarios from which life arises from nonlife. Those scenarios can be tested and ruled out as indicated. The idea of abiogenesis per se cannot. This is rather nuanced so I don't expect you to get it.

The fact that you consider the concept of a 'category' nuanced, is utterly charming.

That's a hell of a retreat though. You admit there is no proof of any abiogenesis theory, but you're okay because the concept of abiogenesis is alive and well. So is the concept of astrology, dude.

But for those of you who are actually interested in learning about the science you can start by looking into ribozymes, a chemical that can act as both gene and enzyme, a great candidate for proto-life.

Right. Having already proved you are ignorant, utterly insensible of scientific relevance, and completely free of a good argument, you're going to try and recover your self-love by pretending it was deliberate. Have fun with that.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 January 14, 2014 2:09 AM  


Bogey
in that which is an axiomatic tautolgoy, there is nothing to refute, negate. It is a re-statement of :All Bachelors are single. Something that can only be affirmed by definition.

eg. Can God create a weight He cannot lift? ----- Its a non question.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 8:15 AM  

"Would you accept that Christianity is a scientific proposition if it can be falsified?"

The question was not for me, but I would consider Christianity scientific if it can be falsified IN PRACTICE. Thats it, if there was an specific event or observation that could reasonably take place that would render it false. The criteria you have mentioned so far in earlier threads (the aniquliation of the jews and the absence of the poor) don't fall anywhere near that, because of the fact that proving a negative is close to imposible on practice. The non-existance of jews could only be demostrated by searching all over the earth and showing that there are indeed no more jews left, and for the second one you would have to give a very specific definition of "poor" in order to even beginn considering it.

"a universal negative can't be proved.

Bullshit, no one by the name of nik has ever stepped foot into my house, I've never given a Hindu a ride in my car, I've never had sex with a midget. No one who is currently living in my town has ever won the Nobel Prize in literature."

Bogey, you obviously don't know the difference between asserting something and proving it. How do you PROVE nobody named nik has ever been in your house? How would you demostrate to somebody else that no Hindu has been on your car or that you have never fucked a midget? How do you prove that a Nobel Prize in literature is not incognito hiding in your town somewhere. Actually PROVING a negative is clore ot impossible for most practical situations.

Blogger Bogey January 14, 2014 5:42 PM  

I could keep a list of every single person I've ever given a ride to (but notice you've changed the original statement to mean no Hindu has ever been in my car which is impossible for me to know, but I can keep tabs on every person I've ever given a ride while I owned my car and I could call up every single person who I've given a ride in my car and ask if anyone of them are a Hindu, if the answer is "no" I've just proved my statement "I've never given a Hindu a ride in my car." If anyone of them say "yes I am a Hindu" my statement would be false and therefore disproved. I could look up the census of my city and match that up against the list of winners of the Nobel prize in literature and if not one of them is currently living in my town than the statement "No one who is currently living in my town has ever won the Nobel Prize in literature." is proved. And if for some odd reason we are concerned about anyone of those Nobel Prize Laureates hiding out here in my town we could reasonably check the list of currently living Laureates and find there whereabouts. I can also give you a list of every person I've ever had sex with and together we can go and visit them to which you would say, "You really have never had sex with a midget, dud you're really missing out."

Blogger Bogey January 14, 2014 5:43 PM  

Oops, sorry about the wall of text.

Blogger nik January 22, 2014 9:28 PM  

VD, I apologize for the delay here. In regards to "Would you accept that Christianity is a scientific proposition if it can be falsified?"

Yes, to the extent that Christianity can be expressed as a proposition. My feeling is that Christianity actually consists of several propositions however.

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