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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is Science Compatible With the Bible?

I'm lookin for ammunition. If anyone can provide some knockdown, drag-out arguments I count on you all. There is a monthly meeting in my local town at a pizza place with the expressed purpose of "asking the toughest questions about Christianity". A few local theologians tackle a particular question each month. I have gone every month and skewered them. When they say "toughest questions", what they mean is questions pertaining to how one interprets a particular passage. I'm not sure they see my questions as polite-even though I am absolutely respectful in my questioning. Anyways, the topic in Dec. is science and the bible. They are rather liberal in their talks, so they will claim that science and the bible DO NOT conflict.

They know me well. They know I have a PhD in molecular biology. For this reason, they have recruited a full-fledged PhD in cell biology to give the talk. Now, I am not worried in the least. In fact, if she turns out to be an ID advocate I will believe in a god because this couldn't be any more perfect. However, I am not that lucky. I expect her to be a moderate Christian, like Ken Miller who can accept the ridiculous notion that the Bible accurately depicts the historical "fact" that a god-man turned zombie rose from the dead. In any case, I wish to bring up one point: what about all the creationists? Why is evolution only rejected by religious people for religious reasons? Consider this: what if the bible had described the "creation" as a long process of gradual selection from a single common ancestor? Would moderates still claim that the Genesis account was meant only to ascribe creation to God? No. They would claim that science justifies belief in God. Instead they just claim that Genesis is allegorical. If so, then why are so many Christians confused on this point?

Anyways, I am interested in your takes on the notion that science and the Bible are either Non-overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) or the idea that they are incompatible. There, I've opened the flood gates....

158 comments:

  1. The fact that the Bible tells us that placing striped sticks in front of mating animals will cause the offspring of those animals to be striped and spotted and speckled says it all. I don't know a lot about about genetics, but that doesn't seem right.

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  2. Well, there's a a site that may prove useful...

    As for archeology goes, this may be useful.

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  3. The first question that has to be asked is: do the claims made in the bible about "nature" stand up to scientific scrutiny? The answer is most usually no, allowing some descriptions of natural patterns in the bible that were obvious and right (e.g. see on Reynold's link re paths of the sea) and ignoring some descriptions of natural patterns that were obvious and wrong (e.g. the firmament).

    The second question, which probably should be the first, is: shouldn't an omniscient being know better when writing his inerrant thesis?

    Thirdly, why aren't these people data mining the bible for scientific discoveries as yet undiscovered that the omniscient being surely placed there?

    This is a rich seam.

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  4. [The fact that the Bible tells us that placing striped sticks in front of mating animals will cause the offspring of those animals to be striped and spotted and speckled says it all. I don't know a lot about about genetics, but that doesn't seem right.]
    In case you did not notice Rufus, That was a miracle. you arte just queston begging naturalism

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  5. [ridiculous notion that the Bible accurately depicts the historical "fact" that a god-man turned zombie rose from the dead]
    why do you think this notion is so ridiculous? Is that just your worldview speaking?

    [Why is evolution only rejected by religious people for religious reasons? ]
    I guess we got to define evolution. If you mean changes in allelic frequency and such, even the ID advocates and creationists accept it. If you mean that it account for all the diversity in life, I suppose i could dig up some non-religious persons who reject that idea.

    [Consider this: what if the bible had described the "creation" as a long process of gradual selection from a single common ancestor? Would moderates still claim that the Genesis account was meant only to ascribe creation to God? No. They would claim that science justifies belief in God.]
    Yeah I probably would (got me there).But I think the thing would be whether we can tell if the description is literal or poetic. I don't see someone on the fence going either way on their interpretation of Genesis.

    [Instead they just claim that Genesis is allegorical. If so, then why are so many Christians confused on this point?]
    I think people pick up their English translation and ignore the poetic aspects and most don't know much about ancient Hebrew.I think a proper understanding of Genesis would lead you to realise that it does not need to be 7 literal days. YECism is bankrupt.

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  6. [shouldn't an omniscient being know better when writing his inerrant thesis?]
    I don't think you need to conflate inspiration with inerrancy.

    [Thirdly, why aren't these people data mining the bible for scientific discoveries as yet undiscovered that the omniscient being surely placed there?]
    I'll give you a scientific discovery from the bible.
    Hebrews 1:10- the earth will perish. When it happens you canmarvel at the bibles accuracy.
    .....lol

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  7. Lookie what I found
    http://www.typealyzer.com/index.php?lang=en
    I entered Ray's blog and it said he was a thinker type.

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  8. And your answer to my first question, MFT?

    Many of your fellow travelers believe in the inerrancy of the bible, despite its errancy. You may not. Either way, inerrancy or inspiration, they doesn't stack up to scientific scrutiny, nor to claims of omniscience.

    Sorry mate (while appreciating your sense of humour) claims to the earth perishing don't make the grade of scientific discovery.

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  9. There's a few aspects that play into the hypothetical scenario there.

    As a Christian, I believe that Genesis is allegorical for two reasons;

    1) The writing style doesn't demand a literal interpretation. The first chapter is a poem. An Ancient Hebrew poem. The second chapter has all the ear-marks of an ancient Hebrew "once-upon-a-time" type of story.
    There's only so much literal interpretation you can squeeze from those two writing styles without some sort of outside affirmation that you're on the right track.

    B) I can see Alpha Centauri. We know how fast light travels. No way the earth is 6,000 years old.


    If the first two chapters were written as an historical document (the same writing style as, say, 1 and 2 chronicles), and it said that God created the animals by a long process of selection, then I would absolutely say that science supports the Bible's creation story. Because it'd be a different world where that's not questionable. In this world, such an idea can be questioned pretty fairly.

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  10. Ahh, it's a miracle. Of course. God did it.

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  11. Clostridiophile wrote:
    [Why is evolution only rejected by religious people for religious reasons? ]
    MrFeeThinker responded:
    I guess we got to define evolution. If you mean changes in allelic frequency and such, even the ID advocates and creationists accept it. If you mean that it account for all the diversity in life, I suppose i could dig up some non-religious persons who reject that idea.

    Context, Free.

    In this case, since Clostridiophile is referring to the form of evolution that is "only rejected by religious people for religious reasons", it is clear that he is is talking about "common ancestry", simply because in the vast majority this is clearly the case.

    I don't doubt you could dig up a non-religious person who claims to doubt evolution, whether it be due to "radical skepticism" (ie, skeptical of everything, including what they ate this morning), simply not knowing anything about it and having been told a few lies by religinuts (deliciously illogical), or for some other reason.

    But the trend is extremely clear: if someone rejects common ancestory, there is a 99.999% chance it will be for religious reasons.

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  12. Science - systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, ect.

    Romans 1:
    19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    True science is compatible with the Bible. The problem is that what can be observed is denied, because they deny the very God who created them and close their eyes to the truth that has been given them (His Word). They deny their Creator who has authority over them and exalt the creation whom they feel they can reign over themselves.

    Proverbs 1:
    7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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  13. Mrfreethinker:

         Yeah, it got that wrong for my blog, too. Strictly speaking, of course, it only indicates a personality preference. Thinkers have emotions and feelers do have the capacity for rational thought.

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  14. Hello Brandon, and welcome to SMRT. Well, sort of. Soon, anyway.

    Just a little word of advice: preaching will get you nowhere with us. If you're willing to think before posting, however, then you are very welcome here.

    Now, to your post:
    Brandon wrote:
    "True science is compatible with the Bible. The problem is that what can be observed is denied, because they deny the very God who created them and close their eyes to the truth that has been given them (His Word)."

    The problem is, there are many other truths that have been given us, including the Torah, the Qu'ran, and the one true Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And each of them verifies itself in the same way: by saying that it is the word of a great, powerful, delicious being.

    We don't "deny" your God, anymore than we deny Odin. We simply can't see any evidence that your holy book is in any way different to all the others. And we can see much that indicates that it isn't.

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  15. Well, all the blogs I entered got defined as INTP's. I reckon it's just looking for keywords: Ray says "evolution" and "science" a lot, so it doesn't realise that he's actually attacking them rather than thinking about them.

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  16. I will put in my two cents

    Of course two cents doesn't buy much these days.

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  17. Dan plus cross plus,

    Sorry, but that reads more like a wish list to be taken seriously than an authoritative assertion of the Bible's compatibility with science. For example, the circumcision thing is a complete red herring. If god was clued up on issues of health, he wouldn't have prescribed it in the first place.

    Here's another thing. Science as a study didn't even exist when the Bible was written. Its hapless characters were bewitched by sleights of hand and enchanted with the promise of transmutation. Several millennia later, and alchemy is synonymous with a fool's errand. Water cannot be turned into wine. Wine cannot be turned into blood. It just cannot be done. Miracles are not a caveat. They are a mea culpa, an embarrassing red flag of sheer, insurmountable complete impossibility.

    Now, is the Bible compatible with science? Connect the few remaining dots...

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  18. Since falsifiability seems to be the cornerstone of science (I'm no scientist so that's an assumption), ask how God (or a designer) can be falsified.

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  19. [Water cannot be turned into wine. Wine cannot be turned into blood. It just cannot be done. Miracles are not a caveat. They are a mea culpa, an embarrassing red flag of sheer, insurmountable complete impossibility.]
    I suppose it would be too much to ask of you WHY you think miracles can't happen. Please do so without appealing to your worldview.

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  20. I actually ascribe to NOMA. Not because I think religion is true but because of things like the backfire effect. You have to get people to look at science on their own and they have to seek their own answers. Within the NOMA idea I include getting people to understand how psychics, magicians, and mentalists work (hint: it is all the same way, pretty much). I think once you start learning how the mind can be easily tricked you start to have a more skeptical view. The thing is we cannot force anyone to change to this view. It is a path the person has to find on their own. It is a hard path to follow, usually going against everything you believed in growing up. People have a tough time admitting they are wrong, much less that they were wrong for their entire life. I believe NOMA is a good starting place, religion and science do not have to cross. They usually only cross when religion tries to make them anyway.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. mrtrollthinker

    You are making the positive claim that miracles happen. Please provide proof of said miracles that can have no other explanation but the supernatural; and have multiple different sources documenting them. Preferably something within the last 50 years.

    Edit: typos

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  23. @Jack and the Beanstalk
    [You are making the positive claim that miracles happen. ]
    No I'm not. Frodo was making the positive claim that miracles don't happen.

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  24. MFT,

    It would not be too much to ask at all, though you'll have to call me out if you think I'm appealing to my worldview.

    You and I and the readers of this comments page live in a physical world, the components of which interact with each other, and for wont of evidence otherwise, solely with each other.

    Perhaps here, at "for wont of evidence otherwise", you'd call me out, and argue that the miracles themselves are the "evidence otherwise", and by dismissing that, I'm appealing to my worldview.

    However, science is a matter of building knowledge and understanding upon observations. It can explain causal pathways between, e.g., water and wine. “Miracle” is a purported explanation of a causal pathway too. Since science builds our knowledge base upon observing and explaining interactions of the components of the physical world, it must first attempt to explain observed phenomena according to existing known causal pathways, such as melting or sublimation.

    If an event occurs which is inexplicable by known causal pathways, we must attempt a rigorous investigation into how the change occurred, building upon the knowledge we have.

    If that event happened to be water turning into wine, we would have to investigate afresh how that could have occurred according to the known constraints of our physical world. If some new causal pathway unknown to science was discovered, such that H2O could spontaneously become an –OH group, so be it. Only after that investigation failed to find any such new pathway would it be sensible to invoke the name “miracle”.

    The problem is of course observing water being turned into wine. It *cough* rarely happens, such that the process cannot be investigated in order to discover any new pathway. Since no investigation can take place, I submit it would be jumping to conclusions to argue miracles are an acceptable conclusion.

    Biblical evidence of miracles is worth nought, because it’s ancient testimony with the palpable agenda of prophecy fulfilment behind it. Perhaps my concern with good evidence is “appealing to my worldview”. But that’s what you get when you start talking to a lawyer.

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  25. You are right Mr.Troll, Frodo was the first person to bring up miracles in post number 4 where it said:

    "[The fact that the Bible tells us that placing striped sticks in front of mating animals will cause the offspring of those animals to be striped and spotted and speckled says it all. I don't know a lot about about genetics, but that doesn't seem right.]
    In case you did not notice Rufus, That was a miracle. you arte just queston begging naturalism"

    Emphasis mine.

    Oh wait that wasn't Frodo, that was you making a positive claim about a miracle. Go back under your bridge.

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  26. I haven't read all the responses yet, but I'll just go with the fact that according to the Bible, hair length and superhuman strength are intertwined.

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  27. Lance,

    When we all know that super human strength comes from [delete as applicable] gamma bomb exposure / radioactive spider bite / Earth's yellow sun / Bananas / Spinach / Pat Robertson's Protein Shakes

    (hint: they're all fiction - including the hair thing)

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  28. "I haven't read all the responses yet, but I'll just go with the fact that according to the Bible, hair length and superhuman strength are intertwined."

    Lance,

    Holy shit, that is hilarious!!! I'll have to use that!!! Not to mention the fact that they took "witches" seriously!!

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  29. @ Quasar:

    The problem is, there are many other truths that have been given us, including the Torah, the Qu'ran, and the one true Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And each of them verifies itself in the same way: by saying that it is the word of a great, powerful, delicious being.

    Funny thing about those three books, though...

    The Torah (at least, the Pentateuch) is actually part of the Bible. The Qu'ran actually says inside of it that Christians have the right to judge it's message and the Bible is the word of God, and the One True Gospel of the FSM is a spoof.

    Maybe you might try appealing to the writings of Hindu instead?

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  30. @ MFT:

    I suppose it would be too much to ask of you WHY you think miracles can't happen. Please do so without appealing to your worldview.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you just ask him to elaborate on his worldview without appealing to his worldview?

    Did you just ask him to not talk?

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  31. @ Lance Christian Johnson:

    I haven't read all the responses yet, but I'll just go with the fact that according to the Bible, hair length and superhuman strength are intertwined.

    Only if you have a covenant with God that says so. According to the Bible.

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  32. MFT,

    "[ridiculous notion that the Bible accurately depicts the historical "fact" that a god-man turned zombie rose from the dead]
    why do you think this notion is so ridiculous? Is that just your worldview speaking?"

    Well.....not that I should even have to address this....the notion is ridiculous because people like yourself are relying on "faith" to settle a claim in history that could not possibly be corroborated one way or the other. We have to balance the odds here . What is more likely, that this story was made up (and is just as extraordinary as all the other mythologies) or it is true. That a god-man hybrid came down to force us to kill him (if he is god, how could he "die"?) so that he could forgive us for his own bad design and unhappiness despite being omniscient and omnipotent. Listen, settling truths about history by relying on faith is ridiculous. If you believe this...then you have no reason to reject the claim that Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan were born of a virgin. No evidence one way or another in these cases, or Jesus. So we just to accept any claim of parthenogenesis in mammals now.

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  33. Mr. Penn,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you just ask him to elaborate on his worldview without appealing to his worldview?

    That's exactly what it felt like when I started hammering out a response. I think I failed.

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  34. "[Why is evolution only rejected by religious people for religious reasons? ]
    I guess we got to define evolution. If you mean changes in allelic frequency and such, even the ID advocates and creationists accept it. If you mean that it account for all the diversity in life, I suppose i could dig up some non-religious persons who reject that idea."

    With 6.7 billion people...I have no doubt you could. I've never met a single person who rejected evolution for non-religious reasons. I hope you aren't nieve enough to think that the IDers are not religious...or that Michael Denton is really an agnostic.

    Now, in regards to Genesis, and the creation poem...why, if this being is truly the designer, and inspired the text, did He not at very least provide an accurate description of the earth and the universe? It's wrong. Plain wrong. The problem is, as Sam Harris observed, that there is nothing in this book that couldn't have been written by a bronze age human mammal. Nothing. Nothing at all. It is so ordinary that it astounds me that anyone at all could believe that it was divinely inspired. The provinciality of it should be the first clue.

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  35. I suppose it would be too much to ask of you WHY you think miracles can't happen. Please do so without appealing to your worldview.

    Is there a new fundie manual out that I haven't seen? MFT's approach here is becoming all too common amongst fundie apologists -- pseudo-intellectual, pithy bullshit.

    This is precisely why I tolerate (hell, enjoy, to a certain extent) discussions with Dan (or, as Frodo would say, "Dan plus cross plus"). He's deluded, sure, but at least he states a position and attempts to argue from it. Jackass trolls like MFT just hop in, crap out a worthless profound-sounding question, and buzz around like some sort of fly sniffing its own feces, waiting to see who else might bite.

    MFT and pals: If you can't actually offer an argument, or select a position to defend, then do the rest of us a favor and get the fuck out. Actual debate and discussion is absolutely acceptable, but bullshit pretentiousness is not.

    Double-speak. Nothing but double-speak.

    --
    Stan

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  36. So, Brandon, do you troll a lot?

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  37. Publius,
    "Thinkers have emotions and feelers do have the capacity for rational thought."

    "Life is a comedy for those who think, but a tragedy for those who feel." Waypoole

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  38. @ Clostridiophile:

    The problem is, as Sam Harris observed, that there is nothing in this book that couldn't have been written by a bronze age human mammal.

    Actually, it's incredibly unique among writings of bronze-age mammals (and however far back it was actually composed as an oral tradition) in that it's the only one in the area at that point in time that says one deity did it all by himself, without having to sex up some goddess or slay some celestial beast.

    Unless I'm missing a story, of course. Then it's only very unique.

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  39. Lance Christian Johnson said...
    "I haven't read all the responses yet, but I'll just go with the fact that according to the Bible, hair length and superhuman strength are intertwined."

    LCJ - don't you bring this up a lot? You seem to be facinated with this one story... was this your favorit as a kid?

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  40. Rob Penn,

    Watch this show http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

    The ancient Hebrews were not monotheistic not until really after the Babylonian exile, that would be circa 537 BCE. That is also when the Pentateuch was put together by Ezra and other priests. Ezra is also often cited as the redactor who changed a few things to make them less contradictory.

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  41. Rob,

    Actually, it's incredibly unique among writings of bronze-age mammals (and however far back it was actually composed as an oral tradition) in that it's the only one in the area at that point in time that says one deity did it all by himself, without having to sex up some goddess or slay some celestial beast.

    Unless I'm missing a story, of course. Then it's only very unique.


    Yeah, you're missing something alright.

    What Clos said when he quoted Harris was that there is nothing in the bible that could not have been written by any other bronze age human mammal. The uniqueness was not called into question, nor your claims as to what it says.

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  42. @Rob Penn,

    "Actually, it's incredibly unique among writings of bronze-age mammals (and however far back it was actually composed as an oral tradition) in that it's the only one in the area at that point in time that says one deity did it all by himself, without having to sex up some goddess or slay some celestial beast.

    Unless I'm missing a story, of course. Then it's only very unique."

    Rob,

    I respect you. You are one of the intelligent moderates that quite frankly baffle me. The argument you just presented is a common one that I hear from moderates quite a bit. The moderator of the discussion series I was talking about in this post said exactly the same thing a few months ago. I was astounded with this reasoning. Who cares if the story is unique? What does that say about it's truth value? Crucifixion and rising from the dead are NOT unique stories...nor are virgin births on Dec. 25th (which the bible doesn't say). The fact is that there is nothing written in this book that COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY A HUMAN BEING AT THAT TIME. What if the Bible had discussed DNA, or the evolutionary process? What about truths about the universe that would have to await 21st century technology to verify? The book says nothing extraordinary. In fact, it says alot of stupid things..superstitious things. Witches? Sorcerors?

    If you think the story is true only because it deviates from "sexing up goddesses" or "slaying celestial beasts", you really need to go back and rethink this position.

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  43. @ Beamstalk:

    The ancient Hebrews were not monotheistic not until really after the Babylonian exile, that would be circa 537 BCE. That is also when the Pentateuch was put together by Ezra and other priests. Ezra is also often cited as the redactor who changed a few things to make them less contradictory.

    I know this. See my posts to the NOVA Bible documentary post here. My first one isn't too far from the top.

    I never said that the Hebrews were monotheistic. I said that the story is unique because it says that YHWH did things by himself.

    The Hebrews, even though they worshiped Ashteroth and put up her poles all over the place, didn't teach in the Genesis account that God had sex with her in order to create the universe.

    The Pentateuch wasn't created after the Babylonian exile, it was compiled. The writings were already there, and had been circulated as oral traditions before they were put on paper.

    Even the Canon doesn't believe that the Hebrews were monotheistic. Check out Judges.

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. [Lance,
    Holy shit, that is hilarious!!! I'll have to use that!!! Not to mention the fact that they took "witches" seriously!!]


    I honestly hope that people here were joking (and realise that that was a special promise god made to Samson). But Clos, Allah doesn't exist, doesn't that mean we shouldn't take muslims seriously?
    (Even though you have presented no evidence for your conclusion that witchcraft is not real)
    even if I accept that witchcraft is not real, why shouldn't the biblical writers take witches seriously?

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  46. @Rob Penn
    About miracles
    Usually when I ask these kinds of questions about miracles , Atheist usually jump to "the miracles are false because naturalism is true".Then I go to to ask why naturalism is true and they say something to the effect of "because miracles don't happen".
    It's the worst case of circular logic I've seen and it is really ten times as annoying to me than if a fundie appealed to the bible to prove the bible.
    I was trying to see if Frodo could say why miracles don't happen without appealing to naturalism.

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  47. @Clos
    [I hope you aren't nieve enough to think that the IDers are not religious...or that Michael Denton is really an agnostic. ]
    I think some of the ID'ers like David Beerlinski and Anthony Flew and Lawrence Krauss. While I don't agree with ID I think it is unfair to label it as religious

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  48. I liked what D’Souza said about atheists trying to establish science as the the only source of truth and access to reality. They go far as to claim that everything outside of science is irrelevant and even absurd. It's this same philosophy that has totally infiltrated our school systems.

    Science, indeed, gives us pretty good explanation as to how things work. Science though give explanations at one level while ignoring explanations on another level.

    For example, there is a pot of water on the stove. If someone to pose a question "Why is this water boiling?"

    The scientific answer would go something to like this: The water is boiling because the temperature is excess of a hundred degrees, when that happens it has an effect on the molecules, and those molecules begin to react in a certain way and that's why the water is boiling. And that is a perfectly good scientific explanation.

    But here is another explanation as to why the water is boiling, Because "Dan plus cross plus" wants to have a cup of tea. That is an explanation on a different level then a scientific explanation and yet it is completely valid and moreover, the scientific explanation itself, would be incomprehensible if you didn't put into the context as to why the pot got on the stove in the first place, because "Dan plus cross plus" is trying to make himself some tea. Thats why the set of events have been set into motion that cannot be described scientifically.

    So what we illustrate by this example is the scientific explanation is true as far as it goes but it doesn't go all that far. It doesn't give a full account of the phenomenon at hand. When we are looking at the big questions that we face in life. Why do we have a universe? How did we get life out of non-life? Why do we have conscientiousness, morality?

    What's the scientific explanation as to why we have a universe?

    "We don't know the answer to that one."

    What is the evolutionary or scientific explanation for how we got life, not how we got life form 'A' from life form 'B', but how we got life in the first place?

    "We are working on that one we really don't know."

    What about conscientiousness, if you think of human conscientiousness, you have all typed of living creatures, bacteria, amoebas and so on they are living, but they are not conscious, what is the evolutionary benefit to conscientiousness? Conscientiousness takes a lot out of us, a lot of the energy of the living animal is devoted to the brain and conscientiousness, why do we need it? What adaptive advantage does it confer?

    "We have absolutely no idea."

    So the point is in some of these domains science is trying to figure it out and in other domains the question itself lies outside the boundaries of science. In both case the new atheist, in some sense, is trying to claim for science far more then science can actually deliver.

    OK this is the new post for my blog.

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  49. @Clos

    If you'd like to discuss the historicity of the ressurection of Jesus you can anytime with me.
    But what I was asking is why you find this notion that Jesus resurrected absurd.

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  50. @ MFT:



    @Rob Penn
    About miracles
    Usually when I ask these kinds of questions about miracles , Atheist usually jump to "the miracles are false because naturalism is true".Then I go to to ask why naturalism is true and they say something to the effect of "because miracles don't happen".
    It's the worst case of circular logic I've seen and it is really ten times as annoying to me than if a fundie appealed to the bible to prove the bible.
    I was trying to see if Frodo could say why miracles don't happen without appealing to naturalism.


    So, then, you were asking him to explain naturalism without an appeal to naturalism.

    That would be about the same thing as if an Atheist asked me to explain why I believe God exists without saying I believe God exists.

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  51. @Frodo
    [The problem is of course observing water being turned into wine. It *cough* rarely happens, such that the process cannot be investigated in order to discover any new pathway. Since no investigation can take place, I submit it would be jumping to conclusions to argue miracles are an acceptable conclusion.]
    I see you are retreating from your previous position
    "It just cannot be done. "
    to now a more humble position that it is not an acceptable conclusion.
    Perhaps it might not be a scientfic conclusion but why isn't ti accetable? Do you test everything with science? Or do you accept some things on the basis of testimony and other sources?



    [Biblical evidence of miracles is worth nought, because it’s ancient testimony with the palpable agenda of prophecy fulfilment behind it. ]
    Why only the bible? Why not other historical sources? I don't see why you should reject all.

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  52. [So, then, you were asking him to explain naturalism without an appeal to naturalism.]
    Not exactly. I wasking him to make an argument against miracles without appealing to , "I believe naturalism sez it , so itz true"

    [That would be about the same thing as if an Atheist asked me to explain why I believe God exists without saying I believe God exists.]
    It would be more like you giving an argument for miracles without resorting to, "I believe a miracle working -god exists so miracles are true"

    ReplyDelete
  53. Dan with a bunch of crosses after his name,

    "But here is another explanation as to why the water is boiling, Because "Dan plus cross plus" wants to have a cup of tea. That is an explanation on a different level then a scientific explanation and yet it is completely valid and moreover, the scientific explanation itself, would be incomprehensible if you didn't put into the context as to why the pot got on the stove in the first place, because "Dan plus cross plus" is trying to make himself some tea. Thats why the set of events have been set into motion that cannot be described scientifically."

    I hate to tell you this, but water doesn't boil because you want a cup of tea. Your wanting a cup of tea is a desire that you have, you have to actually do something about that desire, like putting the water in a container and putting the container over a sufficient heat source in order for it to boil. By doing these things you come back around to the scientific explanation for why water boils.

    Your explanation isn't 'on a different level', it is simply inaccurate.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hey! If Dan says that not collecting stamps is a religion then he can sure as hell say that wishing for a cup of tea is 'another level' of answering the boiling water question.

    I think you better have that cup of tea, Dan, you need to relax and have a re-think.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "Your explanation isn't 'on a different level', it is simply inaccurate"

    To the question as to 'why the water on the stove is boiling' is because Dan wants a cup of tea, is inaccurate?

    Please explain

    ReplyDelete
  56. ooohhh, the trolls are so cute...
    Would it hurt if I feed them with a tiny little...cracker?

    ReplyDelete
  57. http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f204/hedonisticpleasureseeker/Please_Do_Not_Feed_The_Troll.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  58. who would eat trolls? No matter how you call them...

    ReplyDelete
  59. TROLL, noun, often used as an acerbic, puerile, exclamatory insult -- a knee-jerk ad hominem often employed in a feeble effort to discredit another poster because one has been flummoxed, proven to be wrong, ignorant or incompetent.

    ReplyDelete
  60. @MFT

    "I think some of the ID'ers like David Beerlinski and Anthony Flew and Lawrence Krauss. While I don't agree with ID I think it is unfair to label it as religious."

    Listen, to call onself an Intelligent design advocate means subscribing to irreducible complexity. They claim that ALL of life contains "IC", which means that some non-living, and thus supernatural intelligence had to start life...otherwise the whole thing doesn't make sense. They are appealing to a supernatural designer since they-by definition-claim that life could not have arisen naturally. Therefore, they must at very least be deistic. Now, unfortunately for them, IC does not justify a leap to "design" because they can say nothing about the structure in the past. We know about cooption, gene duplication and scaffolding...so their arguments are pretty infantile and uninformed.

    The point here, which it would be nice if you would just concede, is that the vast majority of opposition to evolution is religious in nature. If you can't admit this, either you haven't followed the arguments...or you are being dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hey Dan X's,

    Do you think that Expelled represented the events and arguments appropriately? Just curious because of your avatar.

    ReplyDelete
  62. @MFT

    "If you'd like to discuss the historicity of the ressurection of Jesus you can anytime with me.
    But what I was asking is why you find this notion that Jesus resurrected absurd."

    What will a discussion of "historicity" tell us? The gospels are the only "evidence"...and they cannot be taken as reliable. In fact, we couldn't even take outside sources as reliable. Even today gurus and yogis.

    Take Sai Baba, for instance. We actually have photos of this guy, who lived in the 20th century. This is what wiki says about his purported miraculous powers:

    "Sai Baba's millions of disciples, followers and devotees believe that he had performed many miracles. Some of them were: bilocation, exorcisms, curing the incurably sick, helping his devotees in need in a miraculous way, reading the minds of others. Numerous inhabitants of Shirdi talked about these miracles. Some of them even wrote about them in books. They talked and wrote about how they (and others) were the witnesses of his unusual Yogic powers: levitation, entering a state of Samādhi at wish, even removing his limbs and sticking them back to his body (Khanda Yoga) or doing the same with his intestines.

    According to his followers he appeared to them after his death, in dreams, visions and even in bodily form, whence he often gave them advice. His devotees have many stories and experiences to tell.[36] Many books have been written on the same."

    Mr F,

    Surely, you must believe this. Afterall, if the Jesus story is so persuasive, Sai Baba should blow you away!

    To answer your question, I find the resurrection of both Jesus, and Sai Baba absurd for the same reason...once an organism reaches chemical equilibrium with their environment, there is, unfortunately no going back. We have experience after experience after experience with this. You claim in this one instance, we should accept it...the onus is on you. You better do better than "Matthew said so" or "Josephus wrote a sentence about Christus". I don't want to hear about "500 eyewitnesses" or an "empty tomb". If you tell me any of these things, you simply have an empty head.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Dan with multiple crosses after his name who also apparently has horrific reading comprehension skills:

    "To the question as to 'why the water on the stove is boiling' is because Dan wants a cup of tea, is inaccurate?

    Please explain"


    I explained this to you already in the comment you are responding to. Please try to play attention.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Clos,

    "Do you think that Expelled represented the events and arguments appropriately? Just curious because of your avatar."

    I enjoyed this picture so much I thought of using it instead but I liked how mine turned out.

    BTW, Expelled represented the events and arguments approximately.

    ReplyDelete
  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Non magic who cannot comprehend the most basic of English himself,

    You are taking an extremely literal approach to the question of why the water is boiling. I could put it more directly for you to understand the question: "For what reason (why), is the water boiling?"

    Get it?

    ReplyDelete
  67. "BTW, Expelled represented the events and arguments approximately."

    Like the gigantic Darwin quote-mine? Like the ridiculous notion that a description of nature is "necessary but not sufficient" ,to use Berlinski's claim, for genocide? Shouldn't we blame Einstein for the nuclear age then? Why not blame Newton every time a bullet rips through someone? Approximately? Look at the facts regarding Gonzalez's tenure...his publication record dropped precipitously after he got involved with ID. Productivity is part and parcel with tenure decisions. He was on the wrong slope of results.

    Sternberg wasn't even an employee of the Smithsonian, so he couldn't be "expelled". they didn't even kick him out of his office. Did you read the Meyer paper? I had the misfortune of reading it. There was nothing scholarly about it. The logical errors were supreme, and looking at his references told me immediately that he hasn't done much reading at all in the field of biology for quite some time-if ever. He basically just jacked-off for several pages until he could spring his "intelligent design" proposal at the end, without justification or evidence. Sternberg is known to be associated with creationist movements. The Smithsonian journal has an impact factor that is a fraction of 1 (meaning that nobody reads it). Stein et al make it sound like this is a big-time journal. There was no peer review. For peer review to happen, peers have to read the article. Editors are not supposed to just publish without at least a couple experts in the field having a read. Approximately? How about this being a "free speech" issue? Listen, bad ideas are bad ideas. Scientists in the field have conclusively shown that ID is vacuous, but yet these nitwits still claim they have something. Science is not a democratic process. It is brutal. If there is a hole in my hypothesis, I had better find it, or my career will be in jeopardy. The proverbial little dutch boy doesn't have enough appendages to fill all the holes in the dam that is ID. This is about freedom to pursue any scientific pursuit? At taxpayer expense?? Hell no. Stein suggests all of this. That IDers should be given equal legitimacy in scientific circles, and with this, funding. Why should we fund this? It doesn't explain anything. There are no hypotheses to test. Get a clue.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Dan with many crosses after his name,

    "Non magic who cannot comprehend the most basic of English himself,"

    Please provide proof for your claim that I do not understand basic English. Please be specific.

    Also, I am not a male.

    "You are taking an extremely literal approach to the question of why the water is boiling. I could put it more directly for you to understand the question: "For what reason (why), is the water boiling?"

    According to your original comment you said this: (in part)

    "But here is another explanation as to why the water is boiling, Because "Dan plus cross plus" wants to have a cup of tea. That is an explanation on a different level then a scientific explanation and yet it is completely valid and moreover, the scientific explanation itself, would be incomprehensible if you didn't put into the context as to why the pot got on the stove in the first place, because "Dan plus cross plus" is trying to make himself some tea. Thats why the set of events have been set into motion that cannot be described scientifically."

    According to what you stated in your comment, the mere desire in you to have tea makes water boil. Perhaps writing is not your strong point or you didn't make your point clear. I stated to you why your desire to have tea does not make water boil. If you can not understand why a desire does not cause something to happen, then there is no amount of explaining that will help you.

    The inaccuracies in your comment, which you turned into a post on your blog, have been thoroughly explained to you in the comments for that post. Please review.


    There is a scientific reason why water boils, which you do seem to at least comprehend on some basic level. Your attempt to postulate that your desire makes it boil is inaccurate.



    "Get it?"

    Yep. Do you?

    ReplyDelete
  69. Clos,

    You feel better now getting that off your chest?

    ReplyDelete
  70. TROLL, noun, often used as an acerbic, puerile, exclamatory insult -- a knee-jerk ad hominem often employed in a feeble effort to discredit another poster because one has been flummoxed, proven to be wrong, ignorant or incompetent.

    Please try again. Actually just check my link it gives an accurate description.

    Did you just call me a cracker?

    Because turning things that have nothign to do with race into a race issues is not trollish behavior. Let me guess you were just "joking".

    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/evilclown.htm

    ReplyDelete
  71. "Clos,

    You feel better now getting that off your chest?"

    Dan X's,

    Feel stupid now for having that dumb avatar/beliefs?

    ReplyDelete
  72. @ Clostridiophile:

    Rob,

    I respect you. You are one of the intelligent moderates that quite frankly baffle me.


    As always, I have to emphasize the coolness of that respect. I like it, and it's cool that you haven't written me off as an idiot just because I'm a theist.


    The argument you just presented is a common one that I hear from moderates quite a bit. The moderator of the discussion series I was talking about in this post said exactly the same thing a few months ago. I was astounded with this reasoning. Who cares if the story is unique? What does that say about it's truth value?

    The idea that a group of people, surrounded by cultures who worship Ashteroth, dieties who have created the universe by killing something, etc. and even worship those dieties themselves and still hold up a story that claims only one deity was involved with creation and did it alone is a psychological oddity to say the least. It seems that if they came to believe this, that they would change the story or abandon it. Instead, they hold it up as the truth.


    Crucifixion and rising from the dead are NOT unique stories...nor are virgin births on Dec. 25th (which the bible doesn't say). The fact is that there is nothing written in this book that COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY A HUMAN BEING AT THAT TIME.

    I don't view the Bible as a book. I view it as a library, and right now we're only talking about two specific items within that library. That is, the Poem and "once-upon-a-time" story which make up the first and second chapters of Genesis respectively.

    Good to know that you don't believe the Canon teaches Jesus' birth on the 25th of December. I mean, I assumed you did, because I don't have a reason to believe you're so ignorant, but it's nice to actually see that rather than assume.


    What if the Bible had discussed DNA, or the evolutionary process?

    I suppose I'd say that the Canon and the idea of Evolutionary process line up with each other.


    What about truths about the universe that would have to await 21st century technology to verify?

    I suppose if the purpose of the Canon was to teach me about these truths, then it would matter a bit more to me.

    As it stands, that wasn't the Canon's purpose. So, if the Canon lines up with a scientific theory, I can say "Hm, this lines up," or if it doesn't, I can say "Hm, this doesn't line up."

    I haven't found a place where the Canon is wrong scientifically, which is what I assume you're meaning, that bothers me.


    The book says nothing extraordinary. In fact, it says alot of stupid things..superstitious things. Witches? Sorcerors?

    The Canon also makes a distinction between real witches and ones who are shams. Check out Saul's visit to the Medium. It's in 1 Samuel. When the spirit of Samuel actually appears, we see that she probably wasn't the real deal. Why? Because she craps herself.

    I have yet to meet a witch or wizard or druid or anything like that that displays for me real power.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Rob,

    "The Canon also makes a distinction between real witches and ones who are shams."

    So there ARE real witches, you just haven't met one?

    Where are these witches supposed to draw their power from?

    I feel like I've slipped into a Harry Potter forum....

    ReplyDelete
  74. Rob,

    Please tell Matt the story you told me about the people who prayed for something bad to happen to the missionaries....am I getting this right? I can't remember it exactly, but it had tones of some sort of 'black magic' or something like that.

    I know you were sincere when you told it, but you know I also laughed really hard because it's just so completely silly!

    ReplyDelete
  75. @ ExPatMatt:

    So there ARE real witches, you just haven't met one?

    Where are these witches supposed to draw their power from?

    I feel like I've slipped into a Harry Potter forum....


    I don't know if I believe that real witches exist today. That is, I believe that at one point in time that there were real witches, but I don't know if their traditions and rites have survived to the present day.

    If I were to meet a witch with real power, I wouldn't have a clue where they believe their power to come from. I believe that there are two opposing forces in the spiritual realm, that of YHWH's and that of Lucifer's. I would believe their power to come from Satan.

    ReplyDelete
  76. @ nonmagic:

    Not missionaries. Missionaries are illegal. They are there to run an orphanage.


    Here's what happened. In this orphanage, the kids would get really really sick. Just crazy sick out of the blue. It happened every friday at the same time like clock work.

    Some one from outside the orphanage told them that at that time, the Imams at the nearest mosque were leading prayers that asked Allah to curse the children and the orphanage. So, every friday at that time, the people who ran the orphanage would also begin to pray.

    The kids stopped getting sick. Then a while later, one of the Imams came and asked them to stop praying because "Allah couldn't hear their prayers."


    I'm not sure I would count a Muslim person as a "witch" or anything like that, but I suppose that this would be a similar thing. I met the people at the orphanage, but I didn't meet any one from the Mosque.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Rob, that's the one!! But...it seemed more dramatic last time. Maybe you're leaving something out or maybe I just need to turn the lights down low and play some spooky music while I read it. ;)

    I kid you, Rob, and you take it well. You are more polished than the others over at the Swamp. I wonder if, when you are middle aged and I am-- *cough* elderly, feeble and smell funny--if you'll be a fence sitter by then. One never knows do they?

    ReplyDelete
  78. "I believe that there are two opposing forces in the spiritual realm, that of YHWH's and that of Lucifer's. I would believe their power to come from Satan."

    Rob,

    I'm sorry, but you brought this up...what is a "spiritual realm" and where is it? To me, such statements are no different than someone claiming there is a gumdrop forest with candy roads and a chocolate river with unicorns jumping over the river. The concept of Satan, so far as I can tell, is nothing more than spooky language, and a desperate attempt to explain away evil in the world, and in so doing, justify the existence of a "good" deity.

    ReplyDelete
  79. @ nonmagic:

    Rob, that's the one!! But...it seemed more dramatic last time. Maybe you're leaving something out or maybe I just need to turn the lights down low and play some spooky music while I read it. ;)

    I kid you, Rob, and you take it well. You are more polished than the others over at the Swamp. I wonder if, when you are middle aged and I am-- *cough* elderly, feeble and smell funny--if you'll be a fence sitter by then. One never knows do they?


    Depends on what you mean by "fence sitter," I suppose.

    ;)

    I take the kidding well only because I had to learn that skill for survival. When I started high school, I met a lot of people who expressed their affections (friendly and otherwise) by picking.

    Soon after, I learned that they also feel reciprocation of those affections best by return-fire. Ya heathen.

    ....

    Yeah, I was never good at that part. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  80. D’Souza goes on to say "Science is an attempt to understand the natural world in a natural way. Science then in that sense is restricted to natural explanations for natural phenomena. If a natural explanation is inadequate then science stops."

    Atheists keep saying "you believe based on absoluetly no evidence that there is an after life"

    D’Souza responds "you believe based on absoluetly no evidence that there is no after life."

    No one has any scientific knowledge about whether there is an afterlife. Once we are at death the scientific explanation is at an end. There is no empirical test that we can perform that can tell us whether there is an afterlife , or not.

    We both don't 'know' on the bases of faith. There is no scientific high horse that atheists can sit on.

    Is there scientific proof of God?

    No, because science is limited to the provinces of natural explanations. But there are things in science that can legitimately point beyond science to provinces of metaphysics.

    For example almost all of science is based upon the question that every effect has a cause. Science asks what is that cause. We have a material object, the Universe, and the universe has a beginning but the question is does it require a cause, if it has a cause is it a natural cause or a supernatural cause?

    It turns out the natural cause is not a very good explanation because the universe itself includes all of nature so if your saying that nature had a natural cause you are almost saying that nature caused itself out of non-nature. There was once no nature and then nature produced nature itself? Seems far fetched.

    One can draw ligament and reasonable inferences out of Science that it is pointing to something bigger, A Creator. But I don't think there is any scientific proof in the sense."

    ReplyDelete
  81. Clos-

    hair length and superhuman strength are intertwined

    So, for African-Americans that would be a

    super natural?

    ReplyDelete
  82. @ Clostridiophile:

    Rob,

    I'm sorry, but you brought this up...what is a "spiritual realm" and where is it?


    I don't know it's location, but I know that it meets the physical world on Earth.

    The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is made up of all of Christ's followers. There are angels that come to earth, and the Holy Spirit lives in all of God's people.

    Satan is like a roaring lion blah blah blah. Basically, he's on Earth with his angels, too, trying to trick people. His "Kingdom" on Earth is made up of people who aren't followers of Christ.

    I'll keep it at the short version, since I know you've heard it before and wouldn't want to waste your time.

    It's quite possible that the "location" of the spiritual realm is that it's in the universe just like the physical realm. We just can't see it. I tend to believe this, but there's no scripture that actually says this. It all merely assumes the existence of the supernatural.

    To me, such statements are no different than someone claiming there is a gumdrop forest with candy roads and a chocolate river with unicorns jumping over the river. The concept of Satan, so far as I can tell, is nothing more than spooky language, and a desperate attempt to explain away evil in the world, and in so doing, justify the existence of a "good" deity.

    Ok.

    ReplyDelete
  83. @Rob

    "I don't know it's location, but I know that it meets the physical world on Earth.

    The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is made up of all of Christ's followers. There are angels that come to earth, and the Holy Spirit lives in all of God's people.

    Satan is like a roaring lion blah blah blah. Basically, he's on Earth with his angels, too, trying to trick people. His "Kingdom" on Earth is made up of people who aren't followers of Christ."

    Ok.

    "It's quite possible that the "location" of the spiritual realm is that it's in the universe just like the physical realm. We just can't see it."

    Ah.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Rob,

    I hope I mean you no harm when I kid you. I like what i know of you as a person, or at least as much as someone can know another through an internet persona, and I find you to be funny and friendly. I still take issue with you leaving Raytractors because you claimed your deity told you to and then coming back on what seemed to be a whim, but you at least stand by your convictions, as odd as they seem to me.

    You most likely think that my beliefs are silliness, too, and that's fine.

    Now let me ask you, how do you know that this spiritual realm you speak of meets the physical world on earth.

    I postulate that you know no such thing, you believe it. But you knew I was going to say that, didn't you because we've been down this 'knowing/believing road' before.

    Oh, and let me ask this.

    "It's quite possible that the "location" of the spiritual realm is that it's in the universe just like the physical realm.

    Is it not also possible that no such realm exists at all? I mean, if you are going to talk possibilities...

    ReplyDelete
  85. I don't know about anyone else here, but for me, nothing beats "sexing up goddesses" right after "slaying celestial beasts".

    It doesn't get any better than that.

    ReplyDelete
  86. BF,

    LOL! Rob, have you been partaking in some of that Song of Solomon again? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  87. All of a sudden, the thought of unicorns gliding over a river of chocolate doesn't sound so squirrel turd nutty anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  88. @Rob,

    "Satan is like a roaring lion blah blah blah. Basically, he's on Earth with his angels, too, trying to trick people. His "Kingdom" on Earth is made up of people who aren't followers of Christ.""

    So you think that all of us moral people over here are Satan's "kingdom"? Damn! Everyone, we've been had!! Quick, unleash your evil Satanic powers!!!

    ReplyDelete
  89. Clos,

    I would unleash my evil Satanic powers but my Satanic Powers Pro account lapsed and I don't have the 29.99 to renew it right now. I'm hoping Satan will run a special or something, but you know how temperamental he gets this time of year. And what happened to the half off sales he used to do? I guess the economy really IS hurting all over!

    ReplyDelete
  90. NM,

    If you go to the website then you can download Satanic Powers Express which is free; it doesn't have all of the features of the Pro version, but it is fine for day to day evil like fixing elections, tempting priests and sending rude photos to interweb fucktards.

    P.S. Captch was "goduall". How wierd is that?

    ReplyDelete
  91. nonmagic,

    I thought I recognized that hilarious wittiness.

    Is this the infamous TracieH?

    It's a pleasure to talk to you again, and I am sure the pleasure is all mine. :)

    ReplyDelete
  92. nonmagic,

    Well, with Christmas coming, the dark one is sure to run a special. Too bad he already has your soul...you could have used that as payment for at least the next 5 years. Well, hopefully the rest of you have renewed your account...now UNLEASH your otherworldly power!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Clos,

    My favorite part of the whole Expelled debacle is when the main writer said, on his blog, that the female professor came the closest to being actually "expelled".

    As you can see, I'm forgetting the names of all of the players, but it should be google-able.

    In other words, the writer of the movie admitted that no one was actually expelled, and only the female professor was the closest to being so.

    "Approximately". Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  94. D’Souza responds "you believe based on absoluetly no evidence that there is no after life."

    And that's why he fails. Because you'll find that the vast majority of us atheists simply say,

    "oh, you assert that there's an afterlife? Where's the evidence?"

    A more correct statement would be:

    "we don't believe in an afterlife based on the lack of evidence for one."

    Now, D'Souza obviously has to change that so it says something else, to try to move the goalposts and put the burden of proof on us.

    Nice trick, but a FAIL.

    ReplyDelete
  95. nohm,

    yeah, the whole film was one long string of propoganda. You are speaking of the adjunct prof (if I recall) over at George Mason. Assuming that this was even about ID...they would have every right to fire her if she is teaching college students nonsense. She said ID was "only mentioned on a few slides". Right! She probably told the students that "darwinism" is full of holes and the evidence is better explained by "intelligence". People like this should not be teaching. They should be fired. This isn't about free speech, it is about giving students the education they fucking paid for. It is about not lying to students. Ah!! These people infuriate me!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Clos,

    Actually, the exact slides that she displayed are on the web somewhere.

    To be clear, my point was that *the main writer of Expelled* admitted on his own blog that she (the teacher) was "the closest" to being "expelled".

    In other words, the main writer of Expelled admitted that no one was actually expelled.

    ReplyDelete
  97. LCJ - don't you bring this up a lot? You seem to be facinated with this one story... was this your favorit as a kid?

    I love the story, but to think that it really happened is absurd. It's a funny example, so I like it.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Paul,

    The last time I got roped into that Satanic Powers Express deal, their was a contract and get this--right after I signed they ran a special. I'm kinda tired of getting jerked around by the Big Hot Guy, ya know?

    ReplyDelete
  99. Dan o' crosses,

    I don't know who Tracie H. is. Sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  100. MFT,

    I see you are retreating from your previous position... to now a more humble position that it is not an acceptable conclusion.

    While I may have toned down the verbosity of my language between those two posts, I wouldn't say that I am retreating. How is saying that miracles are an unacceptable conclusion a "humble position"? It is equally a refutation that miracles are possible, albeit one without several blustery synonyms.

    Are you going to offer any positive contributions yourself? What do you have to say about miracles?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Clos,

    Whenever I feel annoyed by the ID'ers, I just read a little of Judge Jones' opinion in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover judgment.

    That, my friend, is some righteous pwnage.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Cross Dan,

    But here is another explanation as to why the water is boiling, Because "Dan plus cross plus" wants to have a cup of tea.

    That's not an alternative explanation, it's a discussion of context following on from a different interpretation of your original question, "why is this water boiling?".

    You could rephrase the scientific question as "what are the chemical and physical processes that cause this water to heat and eventually boil?". And you could rephrase the contextual question as "what are the circumstances and motivations of actors involved that led this teapot to be on a heated stove?"

    So they're not different answers. They're different questions.

    ReplyDelete
  103. @ nonmagic:

    It is possible that there is no supernatural realm in the same way that it is possible that there is no Rob Penn.

    ReplyDelete

  104. BF,

    LOL! Rob, have you been partaking in some of that Song of Solomon again? ;)


    Nope. I read through it REALLY quick once, when I read through the entire Canon. I decided never again until I'm married. I =/= matureness.


    Is this the right time for a "your mom" joke? Because some one more clever than I needs to make it...

    ReplyDelete
  105. @ Clostridiophile:

    So you think that all of us moral people over here are Satan's "kingdom"? Damn! Everyone, we've been had!! Quick, unleash your evil Satanic powers!!!

    Not that people who don't follow Christ can't be Moral people. They just can't be sinless according to the teachings in the Canon.

    Don't worry, I don't think you're going to be hexing me or anything. Nor do I think that you're serving any sort of deity or supernatural being.

    ReplyDelete
  106. [The point here, which it would be nice if you would just concede, is that the vast majority of opposition to evolution is religious in nature.]
    Sure
    A couple question Clos.
    1)Do you think Gonzalez would have been fired had he become involved in some other scientific theory that was proven false?(I am a bit uninformed on this. I am just curious as to how research goes)
    2)"You said that "once an organism reaches chemical equilibrium with their environment, there is, unfortunately no going back. We have experience after experience after experience with this.".
    What do you think of the well-documented and attested Near-death experiences recorded in medical journals? There are reports of people having out of body experiences and obtaining information they could not have known otherwise. do you think this is evidence against your naturalism?Do you think we can take the resurrection of Jesus as an example of this phenomena we have other evidence for?
    3)You seem to disregard eyewitness testimony , historical documentation ..etc when youwere talking about the resuection of Jesus.Do you think someone can make a good case for sch an event using history?If so what kind of evidence should he use?

    and as for the Sai Baba example, I haven't researched it but I would tend to go on a case by case basis.
    I'm not a naturalist so I see no reason to reject the miracles attributed to him a priori. I haven't read much about him though.
    (Either way it won't affect me much. The bible says as long a a prophet doesn't teach the message of 1 true god, miracles don't matter)

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  107. @ nonmagic:

    Sounds kinda like those folks at Finale. They used to have a free version that you could download for unlimited use, and simply get smaller space and number of voices you can write for, but now they've got this "limited trial version" mess.

    Maybe Finale and Satan are comparing notes?


    This actually sounds kinda like the kind of discussions my friends and I have here. Except there's usually talk about how God's cool.

    And we also talk about bodily functions. Poop is a favorite right now.

    Ich habe in meine hose gekacht.

    ^_^

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  108. MFT,

    You said:

    "What do you think of the well-documented and attested Near-death experiences recorded in medical journals? There are reports of people having out of body experiences and obtaining information they could not have known otherwise."


    Please present evidence for this claim, including the name of the journal and the date of publication, also links to it.

    Please present evidence for the 'information they could not have known otherwise' part, because, pardon the pun, but I'm dying to hear you back that one up.

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  109. Rob, I think I need more explanation on the part about how it is possible for their to be no supernatural realm like it is possible there is no Robb Penn.

    Nope. I read through it REALLY quick once, when I read through the entire Canon. I decided never again until I'm married. I =/= matureness.


    Rob, you crack me up!

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  110. @ nonmagic:

    I believe that there is a supernatural realm for the same reason you believe that there is a Rob Penn. We've interacted.

    I talk to God on a regular basis. And he talks back. It's cool. I like it.

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  111. MFT:

    Do you think Gonzalez would have been fired

    Guillermo Gonzalez was never fired from Iowa State University.

    I encourage you to do some serious research into his story, and then you might understand why people think he was unqualified for tenure.

    I have no question that you were informed that he was fired, though. Stories like that play better than the reality, right?

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  112. Oh, and to comment on whether or not I, personally, think Gonzalez would have been denied tenure if he believed in some other theory that was "proven" (heh) false:

    Assuming everything else was the same (that is, all of those other reasons that are why he *actually* was denied tenure), then yes.

    It's my opinion that you're focusing on the wrong reason, MFT.

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  113. rob penn,
    I don't want to be pedantic (ok, I don't care...) but it really has to be "gekackt" not "gekacht". And if you want to be rude instead of childish you should say "geschissen"

    (For what reason ever: "Scheiße" is usually the first German word our foreigners at work learn. The first French word they learn is " merci". I try not to interpret to much into it.)

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  114. MFT,

    You said:

    "What do you think of the well-documented and attested Near-death experiences recorded in medical journals? There are reports of people having out of body experiences and obtaining information they could not have known otherwise."


    Please present evidence for this claim, including the name of the journal and the date of publication, also links to it.

    Please present evidence for the 'information they could not have known otherwise' part, because, pardon the pun, but I'm dying to hear you back that one up.


    Don't hold your breath NM. Also be prepared for him to switch the burden of proof like it tried with me. It still hasn't shown any evidence for miracles.

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  115. sorry for butting in but I've been to the mountain top, I've looked beyond and what I've seen is truely miraclulous.

    http://www2.victoriassecret.com/collection/?cgname=OSBRPVERVIL&cgnbr=OSBRPVERVIL&rfnbr=1096

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  116. Rob,

    Since there is no evidence for a god of any sort, but plenty of evidence for the part of the brain that is in high activity when people say they experience religious phenomena, I am led by the evidence to believe that you are just talking to yourself.

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  117. Beam,

    Oh I predict that he will either turn it around as you said, which is cowardly, or he will ignore it, which is par for him or he will produce some ambiguous crap that he pulled out of the dark recesses of his ass and claim it as 'proof'.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Craig said...

    sorry for butting in but I've been to the mountain top, I've looked beyond and what I've seen is truely miraclulous.


    Nice Beavis and Butthead quote :)

    ReplyDelete
  119. @ nonmagic:

    Rob,

    Since there is no evidence for a god of any sort, but plenty of evidence for the part of the brain that is in high activity when people say they experience religious phenomena, I am led by the evidence to believe that you are just talking to yourself.


    I've been interested in the psychology of religions for quite a while now. The thing is, there's not a lot of places that I can look for information about it here in under grad. Where do I get to see that article? What journal is it in?


    To say that that part of the brain is the sole source of a religious experience is assuming that there's nothing out there to look for that could be affecting the brain. The problem is, your brain springs into activity when I talk to you also. With a word, I can change the biochemistry in your head. The brain's chemistry changes to respond to stimuli; what stimuli am I experiencing when I have a "religious experience?" How do they define "religious experience" in the studies?


    And there's more, too. What about when I'm not talking to God, but I am seeing things that he's doing? Or what his enemy is doing? I'm talking about spiritual warfare, here, so turn down your lights and turn up the spooky music, Hitchcock. ;)


    Every year, in February, we have a conference that we attend. When that time starts to come near, there's always a list of things that happen.

    A week or two prior to leaving, someone on the student leadership team has a family member go to the hospital. Our Transportation always fails, either the vehicle or the driver gets sick or something. We always have technical problems. One year, a laptop actually caught fire, and that was after the other two computers in the house crashed.

    These things happen periodically other times of the year, but they all happen during that time. It's been a consistent and predictable thing for the past 13 or 14 years.

    There are similar occurrences when other things are upcoming. The bigger the thing (not in size, but in importance to God as can be assessed in hindsight), the bigger the "attack" is.


    I've also had requests answered. Every one, actually. I get a "Yes," a "no," or "wait a while." It's not hard to look at my life and see where the "yes"es are, and why I have gotten "no" and "wait a while." This past summer, I and my girlfriend were working a week of church camp. The other counselor on my team was in a car crash a long time ago, and had to have some work done on her ankle. All of that work was undone when she went in to break up a fight at the school where she teaches. Our students and I prayed for her, and the next morning there was no pain at all. She was sure to be careful with it, but wanted to see just how much she could to, and so she got up on the low ropes course with us and did really well where some of the high schoolers were having troubles, and just the day before she was using a cane (a nifty little cane that folds out into a chair) and a power wheel chair.

    There's other instances, but I chose these because they're some of my favorites to think about, and because there's really not much question in my mind as to whether this was interaction with the supernatural or coincidence.

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  120. Rob,

    I am actually going to be late to a dentist apt. for answering this, so I will have to get back to you on the links to the brain activity thing.

    You've told me the laptop thing before.

    I explained it before.

    You are seeing supernatural things where there aren't any because of your conformation bias towards those things.

    It's just plain silly, Rob.

    But I don't condemn you for it, and I like you in spite of it.

    I'll get back to you again later this afternoon, I really have to get out the door!!

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  121. Rob, as for your February trips, you're describing "selective thinking".

    In other words, you're counting the hits while ignoring the misses.

    This is not any kind of insult; it happens to everyone, even if you've prepared yourself for it.

    As for the "yes", "no", or "wait", please view this video to see that it works just as well for a jug of milk.

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  122. Oh, and since Nonmagic referenced Confirmation Bias, I thought I'd give a link to that also, for anyone who doesn't know what it is.

    Enjoy! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  123. Rocky S. said...

    Nice Beavis and Butthead quote :)

    It's a miracle bra, damn it.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Rob, in addition to the link on selective thinking (which is a great one), please check out the following....

    Wait, let me say this first. I'm not trying to get you to lose your faith. Your faith is your personal business. But when someone makes repeated fantastical claims, I do challenge the individual claims and offer alternative ways of looking at it.

    I would actually be highly disappointed in you or anyone else who said 'She made me lose my faith'. A person's faith is something they have to find their own way in or out of. I may chide you about it, I make even out right make fun of a lot of the claims made by the faithful, but it's their responsibility to find their way in life, not mine to lead them.


    Anyyyyway....check this out first. Consider what happened to her brain and how it made her feel. Consider how the brain of a normal, healthy person may act similarly when they are having a religious experience.

    Next, take a look at this. Pay particular attention to this part:

    "A study by Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, has shown that when experiencing deep religious connections, people seem to lose a sense of their "self". This is a sensation is not limited to ordinary people. "Einstein, with his feelings of humility, awe, and wonder and his sense of oneness with the universe, belongs with the great religious mystics." (5) In addition to this feeling, their brains undergo several physical changes.
    It is important to note that the researchers could not replicate the intense religious experience that some people experience because it is difficult to replicate in the lab. Instead they looked at meditation and prayer, conditions which induce similar states, although less intense.
    Primarily, part of the parietal lobe shuts down during mediation and prayer, during which the subjects reported that "It feels like a loss of boundary. It's as if the film of your life broke and you were seeing the light that allowed the film to be projected."(6) The left hemisphere of the parietal lobe maintains a sense of the individual's body image, while the right-hemisphere handles its context, or "the space and time inhabited by the self."(7) Newberg hypothesizes that with mediation, people learn to develop this feeling of oneness, and they cut off their perceptions of the outside world. In other words, to experience a religious event, the self-definition of the brain shuts down
    The researchers also "found intense activity in the parts of the brain that regulate attention" (8). These parts are components of the brain's reticular activating system. It is comprised of nerves in many parts of the brain, including the thalamus, hypothalamus, brain stem, and cerebral cortex. This is consistent with the results and common sense: people must concentrate in order to meditate or pray. But it also implies that the people in the study have developed control over their experiences.
    The implication is that people have a degree of choice, or can develop control, over their definition of self. But it also suggests that since there are biological differences in people, people have a natural different affinity towards religious experiences. This does not mean that some people are more religious than others: training and cultural aspects have a great affect on people."



    That should be a good starting point for you and should point you in the direction of further research on your own into the matter of neuroscience and religion. Do some research on neurotheology.

    The thing that struck me about what I quoted above was that part of the brain shuts down during prayer. Think about what they may mean. I suspect that because of your beliefs you will come to a totally different conclusion about that than I did, but give it some long hard thought.

    Lastly, take a look at this study. It was published in The American Heart Journal, so yes it did hit a peer reviewed journal. Consider how people that knew they were being prayed for actually got worse. Does that mean that the mind is more powerful that any supposed deity? It would seem to suggest it.

    Now, with the info I've provided you can actually go online and look up these journals and their studies. Look at how the studies were performed. That's always important in determining the veracity of any study.

    Ultimately, I can only point to the path. It's yours to go down. Good luck.

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  125. Rob,

    Since I've already covered how I feel about the laptop incidents, let me cover the ankle incident.

    If there is a god and that god would answer the prayers of people praying over an ankle while ignoring the prayers of million, possibly billions of people praying for an end to starvation, disease and abuse of children then that god can kiss my ass.

    Also, there are many, many possibilities as to why her ankle felt better. 'Goddidit' doesn't have to be the only one you jump on.


    And remember, if you think my opinions are rough, just think of me as training ground for when you got out into the real world and try telling people this stuff. I'm easy compared to what some would say about your postulating that your deity healed an ankle, but not starving, diseased kids.

    It's just plain not logical, Rob.

    I say these things with respect towards you, but not your claims or how you arrived at your conclusions.

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  126. @ nonmagic:

    Consider what happened to her brain and how it made her feel. Consider how the brain of a normal, healthy person may act similarly when they are having a religious experience.

    I don't think the brain of a normal, healthy person can act similarly to hers. She was having a stroke.

    She says a lot about moving into the right hemisphere of the brain, but she doesn't say anything about how. That is, outside of having a stroke. Is that metaphorical? Does she mean you have to literally shut down the left half of your brain? I think she may be speaking literally, if that's the connection I'm to make with the next article you gave me (which was kind of cool, btw.)


    That should be a good starting point for you and should point you in the direction of further research on your own into the matter of neuroscience and religion. Do some research on neurotheology.

    There's a few things missing from that person's article. And from every article that they cited (there was one which I couldn't access without subscription); Operational Definitions.

    What do they mean by "religious experience?" I have never had a religious experience where I lose my sense of self. My deepest and most profound spiritual experiences are usually exactly the opposite, when I am reminded of who I am.

    I am God's child.
    I am gifted as a minister, simply because God thought that's a cool idea.
    I am called into a great adventure.
    I am on the right path in my life.
    I am blessed with a community.
    I am a different person than I was.
    I am the image bearer of God.
    I am broken, but God loves me and uses my brokenness to make a wonderful mosaic that he can use, and in the process brings healing.

    There also seems to be a different definition of "soul" here. The soul, from the Christian viewpoint, is the complete combination on the body, the mind (as a separate synergetic system), and the spirit. No, you can't measure spirit. It's a matter of faith, based on an empirical trust in God's word.


    I'm not sure that I've even heard the word neurotheology before. Where do I research that thing?


    The thing that struck me about what I quoted above was that part of the brain shuts down during prayer. Think about what they may mean. I suspect that because of your beliefs you will come to a totally different conclusion about that than I did, but give it some long hard thought.

    I would have to have my brain looked at while I was praying. I mean, I've prayed a lot, and it's never made me feel the way that these people describe a religious experience. I've fallen asleep before, but I don't think that constitutes an "out of body experience."


    Lastly, take a look at this study. It was published in The American Heart Journal, so yes it did hit a peer reviewed journal. Consider how people that knew they were being prayed for actually got worse. Does that mean that the mind is more powerful that any supposed deity? It would seem to suggest it.

    That depends on what it is you're looking for.

    The problem with studying prayer like a science is not that, like the article said, it presupposes supernatural intervention, putting it by definition beyond the reach of science (though this could certainly be called a truism), but that the science assumes that the purpose of prayer is to make things happen.

    Intercessory prayer is not the process by which we make God do things we want him to do. It's how we talk to God and tell him what we want for other people. The study assumes that intercessory prayer will always be answered with a "yes."

    When the Hebrews were taken to Babylon, Daniel, Shadrac,Meshack, and Abednigo were deported to Babylon because they were among Israel's best and brightest. They were old enough to remember the day when Babylonian soldiers came in, setting fire to their kingdom, and when they cried to God for help he said "no."

    When Rack, Shack, and Benny were about to be thrown in the furnace, they told Nebuchadnezzar that "If God saves us, then he is God. But if he doesn't, then he is still God."

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  127. @ nonmagic:

    If there is a god and that god would answer the prayers of people praying over an ankle while ignoring the prayers of million, possibly billions of people praying for an end to starvation, disease and abuse of children then that god can kiss my ass.

    There are people in the world who go hungry because those with food to spare do not feed them. God has given plenty of food for people to eat. Where is it all being hoarded?
    Some times, people are meant to be God's answer to the prayers they're praying.

    The end to disease is coming. ;)

    The abuse of children is a sad, sad thing indeed. However, for every child that is abused, there's an abuser who refuses to love them as God would have them to. The whole free will thing.


    Also, there are many, many possibilities as to why her ankle felt better. 'Goddidit' doesn't have to be the only one you jump on.

    Name some for me, and show me how they have to be completely independent of God's hand.


    And remember, if you think my opinions are rough, just think of me as training ground for when you got out into the real world and try telling people this stuff. I'm easy compared to what some would say about your postulating that your deity healed an ankle, but not starving, diseased kids.

    Your opinions aren't all that rough. I had a fraternity brother who made it his mission to shatter my faith, because he thought I'd be a cool person to hang out with if he could.

    So far, your opinions sound pretty similar to his. Minus the annoying "I'm better and smarter than you" facial expressions. And a lot less vulgarly expressed.

    ^_^

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  128. Rob,

    I don't think the brain of a normal, healthy person can act similarly to hers. She was having a stroke.


    That wasn’t really my point, Rob. My point was that people have so called religious experiences all the time and report feeling similar things that she did. It’s all in the brain.


    She says a lot about moving into the right hemisphere of the brain, but she doesn't say anything about how. That is, outside of having a stroke. Is that metaphorical? Does she mean you have to literally shut down the left half of your brain? I think she may be speaking literally, if that's the connection I'm to make with the next article you gave me (which was kind of cool, btw.)



    I don’t think it was metaphorical, but I can’t speak for her. Yes, I think she is speaking literally.


    There's a few things missing from that person's article. And from every article that they cited (there was one which I couldn't access without subscription); Operational Definitions.

    There are no formal operational definitions for having a religious experience. You should know this, Rob.


    What do they mean by "religious experience?" I have never had a religious experience where I lose my sense of self. My deepest and most profound spiritual experiences are usually exactly the opposite, when I am reminded of who I am.




    That doesn’t mean that during prayer your brain might not act the same way as the brains of the people they studied.


    I am God's child.
    I am gifted as a minister, simply because God thought that's a cool idea.
    I am called into a great adventure.
    I am on the right path in my life.
    I am blessed with a community.
    I am a different person than I was.
    I am the image bearer of God.
    I am broken, but God loves me and uses my brokenness to make a wonderful mosaic that he can use, and in the process brings healing.




    LOL, religious people are some of the most egocentric people on this planet. If those things are what you need to tell yourself to get through the day, have at it. Every time I hear some religious person spout stuff like that I am more thankful that I don’t need to think that way to get thorough life.



    There also seems to be a different definition of "soul" here. The soul, from the Christian viewpoint, is the complete combination on the body, the mind (as a separate synergetic system), and the spirit. No, you can't measure spirit. It's a matter of faith, based on an empirical trust in God's word.

    Rob, stop pretending to speak for all xians. I know and have known plenty who didn’t share your view on the soul.


    I'm not sure that I've even heard the word neurotheology before. Where do I research that thing?

    There this thing called Google and these things called libraries….. .


    That depends on what it is you're looking for.

    The problem with studying prayer like a science is not that, like the article said, it presupposes supernatural intervention, putting it by definition beyond the reach of science (though this could certainly be called a truism), but that the science assumes that the purpose of prayer is to make things happen.

    Intercessory prayer is not the process by which we make God do things we want him to do. It's how we talk to God and tell him what we want for other people. The study assumes that intercessory prayer will always be answered with a "yes."

    When the Hebrews were taken to Babylon, Daniel, Shadrac,Meshack, and Abednigo were deported to Babylon because they were among Israel's best and brightest. They were old enough to remember the day when Babylonian soldiers came in, setting fire to their kingdom, and when they cried to God for help he said "no."

    When Rack, Shack, and Benny were about to be thrown in the furnace, they told Nebuchadnezzar that "If God saves us, then he is God. But if he doesn't, then he is still God."



    Rob, I’m going to be very clear on what you just said. It’s bullshit. Saying that your deity always answers prayer, just sometimes answers no is just you regurgitating some apologetics you heard or read somewhere. It’s not an original thought for certain and it’s not logical besides that. It’s just a way for xians to count the hits and not the misses with prayer and make excuses for why their nonexistent friend can’t perform. Pointing to myths in your book doesn’t make it any more valid.

    The problem you have, Rob, as we are about to see below, is that like so many xians you are good at verbal cut n paste of some apologists words, but not so good with critical thought and logic. You also, as do the apologists, commit a lot of logical fallacies.


    There are people in the world who go hungry because those with food to spare do not feed them. God has given plenty of food for people to eat. Where is it all being hoarded?
    Some times, people are meant to be God's answer to the prayers they're praying.


    What we have here is Rob blaming humans for his sky friend falling down on the job. Yes, people hoard, but if your friend wanted to he could still save starving kids no matter what humans do.

    Saying that people are the supposed to do your gods work for him makes your god sound like a feeble imbecile. Supposedly, according to the religious and your magic book, he runs around healing people all day long. But let it be something tangible like filling the bellies of starving kids and suddenly he takes to his sick bed and has to rely on humans and humans just aren't doing it so that lets your friend off the hook.

    Nope, Rob, that bullshit doesn't fly. It's a cop out on your part and on the part of the apologists who try to use such shit to fill in the gaps where their god fails so utterly and pitifully it's pathetic.


    The end to disease is coming. ;)


    So is Santa !! Just fuck all those people that died waiting for it...it's coming!!! Gimme a break.


    The abuse of children is a sad, sad thing indeed. However, for every child that is abused, there's an abuser who refuses to love them as God would have them to. The whole free will thing

    Rob, the abuse of children is one of the most reprehensible things on the face of this earth and for you to sit there and let your friend off the hook by saying it's man's fault and your god can't stop it because he gave man freewill is a slap in the face of every abused child. This is your biggest heap of bullshit yet.

    Also, your god is supposed to know all. So he knew in advance that innocent kids would suffer getting fucked and beaten, starved and killed by adults and yet he still gave man freewill to do it anyway. You can't just throw out the words free will and walk away acting smug like you just solved some great riddle of mankind, Rob. If this is what passes for you explaining your supposed god and his actions to to others, you are failing and failing hard.



    Oh, wait!! I just read the headlines in this mornings paper!! It says 'GOD HEALS SOME WOMAN'S ANKLE BUT TELLS ABUSED KIDS TO FUCK OFF; SAYS IT'S NOT HIS PROBLEM'

    What a guy!


    I said:

    Also, there are many, many possibilities as to why her ankle felt better. 'Goddidit' doesn't have to be the only one you jump on.




    And you said:

    Name some for me, and show me how they have to be completely independent of God's hand


    LOL!! A heating pad. Staying off it for a few hours. Tylenol. Should I go on??

    Let me guess, Rob, she did none of those, it was da Jebus. And you know this because you followed her around for 24 hours.

    Rob, I've been talking to you for a few months now and I have observed that you do the same thing that so many other xians do--they either don't even try to find alternate explanations for things or they just want to plug their god into every thing they can so they end up committing some of the worst false dichotomies I've ever seen.

    Your opinions aren't all that rough. I had a fraternity brother who made it his mission to shatter my faith, because he thought I'd be a cool person to hang out with if he could.

    So far, your opinions sound pretty similar to his. Minus the annoying "I'm better and smarter than you" facial expressions. And a lot less vulgarly expressed.


    I'm just getting warmed up.

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  129. Oh Rob, btw,

    That thing you said over at the Swamp about how atheists can't experience joy was pretty damn uneducated and you came off like a smug kid who thinks they know something but really knows shit.

    I have experienced more joy since leaving Christianity than I ever did in it, so watch those blanket statements and judgments.

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  130. The thing that struck me about the lady at TED when she asked at the end, which hemisphere should we choose to inhabit, is that, when she was totally in her right brain she was utterly useless as a human being.

    She could not talk, or read or follow a coherent plan.

    We obviously need both hemispheres working together, our right brain for the creativity and puppy loving and our left brain for the logistics to get it to happen.

    Although she was undergoing a stroke I am willing to accept that what she experienced might be common for all humans UNDERGOING A STROKE AND HAVING A BLOOD CLOT PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE LANGUAGE CENTRE.

    Sorry about the shout.

    It's like NDS. When recreated with pilots and astronauts under high g forces, it is a trauma response from the brain, and its universality is not a proof of much else.

    Certainly not a proof of the divine, and nor is the Nirvana experience when undergoing a stroke.

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  131. @ nonmagic:

    There are no formal operational definitions for having a religious experience. You should know this, Rob.

    Why not?
    If we're going to treat this like a dependent variable, then there must be one or the study isn't valid because the change of the dependent variable isn't measurable.

    What if we changed the definition of "Religious Experience" to include those which don't involve feelings of being outside of the body, feelings of fusing with the world around them, and in the case of the woman in the video clip, an impaired ability to read, talk, walk, and think coherently?
    What would the brain activity look like then? Surely, it would look different if that brain activity is connected with those sensations.


    That doesn’t mean that during prayer your brain might not act the same way as the brains of the people they studied.

    The woman couldn't tell where her arm ended and where the wall began.
    And that's a similar description to the people in the article.

    If my brain is doing what their brains are, and I can still distinguish between my body and the rest of the world, then something is very wrong with either them or me.


    LOL, religious people are some of the most egocentric people on this planet. If those things are what you need to tell yourself to get through the day, have at it. Every time I hear some religious person spout stuff like that I am more thankful that I don’t need to think that way to get thorough life.

    I've gotten through the day long before I really believed these things (I had heard most of them many times before I believed them.) I'm not interested in getting through the day without psychic scaring; I'm interested in living life.


    Rob, stop pretending to speak for all xians. I know and have known plenty who didn’t share your view on the soul.

    Very true. It was an inappropriate blanket statement.


    Rob, I’m going to be very clear on what you just said. It’s bullshit. Saying that your deity always answers prayer, just sometimes answers no is just you regurgitating some apologetics you heard or read somewhere. It’s not an original thought for certain and it’s not logical besides that. It’s just a way for xians to count the hits and not the misses with prayer and make excuses for why their nonexistent friend can’t perform. Pointing to myths in your book doesn’t make it any more valid.

    Pointing to the content of the Canon doesn't make my viewpoint valid in any way except that, if I'm studying it and using it properly, it points to what the character of the Christian God is supposed to look like (if he's out there.)

    If some one says "haha! your God doesn't exist because he never does this!" I would ask them why he's obligated to do that.

    Why is God obligated to operate like you say he should? Does he or anything in the Canon promise that he will? Because if not, then I'm not obliged to look at that lack of expected behavior as evidence that he isn't there.


    What we have here is Rob blaming humans for his sky friend falling down on the job.

    God falling down on the job, or God not doing what you want him to?

    Where is God's job description?
    If God is falling down on the Job, then there must be a description of what that job is somewhere, otherwise the statement isn't much more than an expression of frustration that the job isn't being done the way you want it to.


    Saying that people are the supposed to do your gods work for him makes your god sound like a feeble imbecile. Supposedly, according to the religious and your magic book, he runs around healing people all day long. But let it be something tangible like filling the bellies of starving kids and suddenly he takes to his sick bed and has to rely on humans and humans just aren't doing it so that lets your friend off the hook.

    That people are hungry doesn't mean every one who is hungry stays hungry. People get fed. God's got his people on it right now, and I've seen it happening.

    No, I've never seen a plant miraculously sprout up and spit fruit at people who need food. However, if people are about God's business, in order to say that God didn't have a hand in it we'd have to go back to the religious experience discussion and show that they're talking to themselves rather than talking to God.


    Nope, Rob, that bullshit doesn't fly. It's a cop out on your part and on the part of the apologists who try to use such shit to fill in the gaps where their god fails so utterly and pitifully it's pathetic.

    In order to fail, there must be a goal. Without a set standard or goal, there's no failure.

    What's the goal?


    Rob, the abuse of children is one of the most reprehensible things on the face of this earth and for you to sit there and let your friend off the hook by saying it's man's fault and your god can't stop it because he gave man freewill is a slap in the face of every abused child. This is your biggest heap of bullshit yet.

    Never said "can't." God can do whatever he wants. He doesn't want to take away free will, because free will is a prerequisite for real Love.


    Also, your god is supposed to know all. So he knew in advance that innocent kids would suffer getting fucked and beaten, starved and killed by adults and yet he still gave man freewill to do it anyway.

    Omniscience is a loaded word for the open theist. The super oversimplified version is that God doesn't know the future because the future hasn't happened yet and isn't there for him to know. He could know it, but that would involve taking away free will and dictating it.


    You can't just throw out the words free will and walk away acting smug like you just solved some great riddle of mankind, Rob.

    I haven't walked anywhere. I'm still in this discussion, ready to take it as far as you want to go with it.


    LOL!! A heating pad. Staying off it for a few hours. Tylenol. Should I go on??

    Let me guess, Rob, she did none of those, it was da Jebus. And you know this because you followed her around for 24 hours.


    Staying off it for a few hours wasn't good enough for the weeks she was in pain before.

    And I know she didn't take Tylenol. Her prescription pain meds weren't even strong enough to make all of the pain go away, much less Tylenol.

    And if she had a heating pad, then she had it for the entirety of the camp week before that day as well. What was the difference?


    Rob, I've been talking to you for a few months now and I have observed that you do the same thing that so many other xians do--they either don't even try to find alternate explanations for things or they just want to plug their god into every thing they can so they end up committing some of the worst false dichotomies I've ever seen.

    You say that I don't try to find alternative explanations like it's a bad thing.

    If I have an explanation that works, why would I search for another?

    Or, if I can rephrase the question to make it more suited to this particular conversation, if I have an explanation that I perceive as one that works, why should I be expected to find another one?


    I'm just getting warmed up.

    If it hurts too much, I'll be sure to cry uncle. ;)

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  132. @ nonmagic:

    Oh Rob, btw,

    That thing you said over at the Swamp about how atheists can't experience joy was pretty damn uneducated and you came off like a smug kid who thinks they know something but really knows shit.

    I have experienced more joy since leaving Christianity than I ever did in it, so watch those blanket statements and judgments.


    I'm sorry that you were offended by what I said.

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  133. Rob,

    Why not?
    If we're going to treat this like a dependent variable, then there must be one or the study isn't valid because the change of the dependent variable isn't measurable.

    What if we changed the definition of "Religious Experience" to include those which don't involve feelings of being outside of the body, feelings of fusing with the world around them, and in the case of the woman in the video clip, an impaired ability to read, talk, walk, and think coherently?
    What would the brain activity look like then? Surely, it would look different if that brain activity is connected with those sensations.



    I don't think the definition of religious experience matters unless you are looking to research a certain kind of religious experience, such as speaking in tongues or meditation or prayer during church vs. prayer while on a walk.

    Sure, redefine it. But what I suspect would happen is that if you think you are in contact with a divine being in some way, your brain is going to function in pretty much the same way it did in the study.


    What you are attempting to do here is to twist the results of that study and pretty much ignore the results all together because they are inconvenient to your belief system.

    The woman couldn't tell where her arm ended and where the wall began.
    And that's a similar description to the people in the article.

    If my brain is doing what their brains are, and I can still distinguish between my body and the rest of the world, then something is very wrong with either them or me.


    You do not know this to be true. If we tested your brain during prayer, no matter how you were acting and feeling and found similar results as those found in this study then you can not say that there has to be something wrong with you or them.


    I've gotten through the day long before I really believed these things (I had heard most of them many times before I believed them.) I'm not interested in getting through the day without psychic scaring; I'm interested in living life.

    And at the end of the day you're still egocentric.


    Pointing to the content of the Canon doesn't make my viewpoint valid in any way except that, if I'm studying it and using it properly, it points to what the character of the Christian God is supposed to look like (if he's out there.)

    If some one says "haha! your God doesn't exist because he never does this!" I would ask them why he's obligated to do that.

    Why is God obligated to operate like you say he should? Does he or anything in the Canon promise that he will? Because if not, then I'm not obliged to look at that lack of expected behavior as evidence that he isn't there.


    If there were a god he wouldn't be obligated to act in any sort of way, unless he said he would and then didn't. Which your god did. He would just be a callous prick unworthy of worship if he didn't at least live up to the bare minimum of standards that humans are capable of. And yours doesn't.


    You also aren't obligated to look at his lack of expected behavior as evidence of anything. A critically thinking, logical human being would look at the fact that there are a shitload of humans that out do your god on his morals every second of everyday. But you certainly aren't obligated to think critically or logically. Most religious people do not.


    God falling down on the job, or God not doing what you want him to?

    Where is God's job description?
    If God is falling down on the Job, then there must be a description of what that job is somewhere, otherwise the statement isn't much more than an expression of frustration that the job isn't being done the way you want it to.


    If there is a god and we are his children his job description should be to be a good parent. also, he says in the bible that he will if you ask then it is given. Letting kids starve to death, die from abuse and disease of not a good parent. it also doesn't live up the the promises you god made in the bible.

    But then again I bet you'd object if you had a kid and he told you a lie and I suggested that if he didn't repent for that lie that you went out and set fire to him. But you worship such a creature.

    And it's not how I want it to be done, Rob, it's what I have observed is not being done by your so called all powerful, all knowing, miracle working invisible friend. I do not 'want' him to do anything because logically it does not makes sense to want an invisible being that there is no proof for to do something.



    That people are hungry doesn't mean every one who is hungry stays hungry. People get fed. God's got his people on it right now, and I've seen it happening.

    Yeah, Rob, fuck the people that he did let die of starvation. God has people all over it right now to keep from him fucking up again !!


    No, I've never seen a plant miraculously sprout up and spit fruit at people who need food. However, if people are about God's business, in order to say that God didn't have a hand in it we'd have to go back to the religious experience discussion and show that they're talking to themselves rather than talking to God.


    What kind of twisted logic is this Rob? If your god exists ,either your god can and won't or he can't and doesn't. It really is that simple.


    In order to fail, there must be a goal. Without a set standard or goal, there's no failure.

    What's the goal?



    The goal would be that he would live up to the promises in the bible, which he does not, and care for his supposed children, which he does not.


    Never said "can't." God can do whatever he wants. He doesn't want to take away free will, because free will is a prerequisite for real Love.




    When you speak to me, use terms that are not nebulous like 'real love'. I can say any nebulous thing like that and give it my own definition and use it to excuse anything. and no, I do not want you to go back and define 'real love'. Just use words without nebulous definitions.

    If your god can do whatever he wants and there are kids starving, dying if disease, and getting beaten and raped to death then he must not want to help those kids. If so fuck him.


    Omniscience is a loaded word for the open theist. The super oversimplified version is that God doesn't know the future because the future hasn't happened yet and isn't there for him to know. He could know it, but that would involve taking away free will and dictating it.

    Apologetic bullshit. You've been pushing this open theism for as long as I've been talking to you, yet you can't justify it.

    Just like any other other apologetics, it's just a way to twist the bible so that it makes your god look better than he is. Also, it isn't logical.

    Also, omniscience is not a loaded word for anything. It's a word, period, and it has a definition, so use it. Stop taking words that have actual definitions and convoluting them with your religious apologetics.



    Staying off it for a few hours wasn't good enough for the weeks she was in pain before.

    And I know she didn't take Tylenol. Her prescription pain meds weren't even strong enough to make all of the pain go away, much less Tylenol.

    And if she had a heating pad, then she had it for the entirety of the camp week before that day as well. What was the difference?


    I don't know what the difference was and neither do you and that is the POINT! to say that prayer was the only thing that changed is a false dichotomy. this is what I mean when I say you continually use faulty logic in your arguments.

    You think that prayer was the only difference and you do not know that to be true, yet you proclaim it as so.

    Happy selective thinking, Rob. Did you even read the link to that information?


    You say that I don't try to find alternative explanations like it's a bad thing. If I have an explanation that works, why would I search for another?

    Yeah, Rob, it is a bad thing because if there are other explanations and you do not seek them out then you will believe something that is false. Now, if believing false info and/or selective info is your thing, and it certainly seems that it is, then go for it. People that think critically and logically look for ALL explanations before they find one that is most likely. Often we can not know ALL explanations so we collect as much data as we can for consideration and leave the possibility open that even through we are reasonably sure that we know the correct answer, there is always the possibility that we do not, given the possibly unknown variables.

    Also, just because your explanation 'works' doesn't mean it is true. I could handle snakes and say that if one bites me then it must be god's will and that explanation could 'work', but it wouldn't be true. What is much more likely is that we have evidence that snakes bite people when they feel threatened, and no evidence for a god, much less one that causes snakes to bite people.


    Or, if I can rephrase the question to make it more suited to this particular conversation, if I have an explanation that I perceive as one that works, why should I be expected to find another one?

    If I am dying of cancer and I have a bunch of religious people stand around me and pray and I feel a lot better and I can get up and walk and run and go to work, I can perceive that I am healed of the cancer. That doesn't make it so.

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  134. Rob,

    I'm sorry that you were offended by what I said.

    You still don't get it. It's not about being offended, it's that you are disseminating false information.

    Joy is an emotion. You claimed that atheists can't feel it. That is false. Do not propagate lies. That is the point.

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  135. @ nonmagic:

    I don't think the definition of religious experience matters unless you are looking to research a certain kind of religious experience, such as speaking in tongues or meditation or prayer during church vs. prayer while on a walk.

    In any study, the operational definition matters.
    it shapes the results. you can't measure the changes in the dependent variable without a definition of what you're measuring.

    And they aren't measuring anything that resembles my religious experiences. Or any of my friends' religious experiences. Or that of any one in my family.
    The study doesn't relate to any of them or me until the operational definition is changed to include them.


    Sure, redefine it. But what I suspect would happen is that if you think you are in contact with a divine being in some way, your brain is going to function in pretty much the same way it did in the study.

    we can suspect that, but until we find or conduct a study that shows this to be true it's simply an assertion.


    What you are attempting to do here is to twist the results of that study and pretty much ignore the results all together because they are inconvenient to your belief system.

    What I'm doing is applying the most basic rules of psychology.if the operational definition is faulty, then the study is faulty.

    This study clearly shows that out-of-body experiences and the sensation that one is indistinguishable from the world around them is related to this kind of brain activity.
    Not all religious experiences are like this.


    You do not know this to be true. If we tested your brain during prayer, no matter how you were acting and feeling and found similar results as those found in this study then you can not say that there has to be something wrong with you or them.

    There's more than prayer described, though. I don't feel anything that they feel, and never have.

    Whenever I pray or meditate, I still know where my body is, I know that I'm still inside of it, and I know where my arm ends and the wall begins.
    There's more than just a small difference here between whatever they're experiencing and what I'm experiencing. That needs to be included into the operational definition.


    And at the end of the day you're still egocentric.

    Which you have concluded from watching me my entire life and having an accurate understanding of my personality.

    Or, which you have concluded as a response to a small portion of my life which I gave as examples of religious experiences. And not even all of my religious experiences. Christianity focuses on community just as much as the individual, and I have had many religious experiences wrapped up in community and groups rather than me as an individual.


    If there were a god he wouldn't be obligated to act in any sort of way, unless he said he would and then didn't. Which your god did.

    How so?


    He would just be a callous prick unworthy of worship if he didn't at least live up to the bare minimum of standards that humans are capable of. And yours doesn't.

    Because leaving your place in Heaven and coming down to be tortured and die just so you could have the opportunity to hang out with cool people and keep them out of a terrible torturous future doesn't live up to the bare minimum standards that humans are capable of.

    Which is what Christianity believes God did.


    You also aren't obligated to look at his lack of expected behavior as evidence of anything. A critically thinking, logical human being would look at the fact that there are a shitload of humans that out do your god on his morals every second of everyday. But you certainly aren't obligated to think critically or logically. Most religious people do not.

    So, what are God's morals and where does he fail in them?


    If there is a god and we are his children his job description should be to be a good parent. also, he says in the bible that he will if you ask then it is given.

    So then, who are God's children?

    And where does God say "ask and it will be given?"


    Letting kids starve to death, die from abuse and disease of not a good parent. it also doesn't live up the the promises you god made in the bible.

    What promises would those be?


    But then again I bet you'd object if you had a kid and he told you a lie and I suggested that if he didn't repent for that lie that you went out and set fire to him. But you worship such a creature.

    Nope. I worship a creature (if God can be called a creature... never thought of that...) who knows where the fire is, gave people the option out, and is trying desperately to get them to take it.


    Yeah, Rob, fuck the people that he did let die of starvation. God has people all over it right now to keep from him fucking up again !!

    And if every one internalized that kind of behavior (the kind that feeds people, that is), then there would be no more starvation. At least, there'd be MUCH less of it.

    Place the blame where blame's due, dude. It's not his fault that people won't share.


    What kind of twisted logic is this Rob? If your god exists ,either your god can and won't or he can't and doesn't. It really is that simple.

    God can, and does. He chooses to use his people to do it, because he likes it when the creatures that he makes play nice together.

    Why, if a person has a religious experience that says they need to feed hungry people, shouldn't I believe the origin of that religious experience to be God?


    The goal would be that he would live up to the promises in the bible, which he does not, and care for his supposed children, which he does not.

    What promises in the Bible does God not live up to?

    What children of God's does he fail to care for? Who are God's children, any way?


    When you speak to me, use terms that are not nebulous like 'real love'. I can say any nebulous thing like that and give it my own definition and use it to excuse anything. and no, I do not want you to go back and define 'real love'. Just use words without nebulous definitions.

    Real love, as I would define it, is the realization of what a person is like and the choice to have a relationship with them.

    In a romantic sense, it's the realization of a person's faults, and the decision that life is not worth living without them in spite of those things about them that you can't stand, even hate.

    If a platonic sense, it is the decision that a friendship is has such an impact and is so good and healthy and rewarding that choosing to keep that friendship is made in spite of all of those things about the person that one couldn't stand.

    Love isn't an emotion like warm fuzzies in the stomach. That's infatuation. It's a choice, and because Love is a choice which is made over and over again it can't happen without the ability to choose.


    If your god can do whatever he wants and there are kids starving, dying if disease, and getting beaten and raped to death then he must not want to help those kids. If so fuck him.

    So, then, when a Christian does help out these kids because God created a real care for them and gave them the ability to help, it doesn't matter at all?


    Apologetic bullshit. You've been pushing this open theism for as long as I've been talking to you, yet you can't justify it.

    Where does it fail? I'm not married to the idea, it's just the best sounding that I've found so far. I wouldn't mind being shown a better way to describe God if you have one.


    Just like any other other apologetics, it's just a way to twist the bible so that it makes your god look better than he is. Also, it isn't logical.

    Show me where the Canon has anything that contradicts the idea of open theism.


    Also, omniscience is not a loaded word for anything. It's a word, period, and it has a definition, so use it. Stop taking words that have actual definitions and convoluting them with your religious apologetics.

    Loaded word hasn't anything to do with definition. It has everything to do with connotation and potential to spark lively discussions.

    I haven't changed the definition of omniscient. Omniscience is to know everything that there is to know.

    If God knows everything there is to know, and the future isn't there for him to know, then why should I expect him to know it without completely writing it out for us?


    I don't know what the difference was and neither do you and that is the POINT! to say that prayer was the only thing that changed is a false dichotomy. this is what I mean when I say you continually use faulty logic in your arguments.

    So then, my conclusions should all be based off of what I don't know as opposed to what I observe?


    You think that prayer was the only difference and you do not know that to be true, yet you proclaim it as so.

    It's the only one I can see. unless something else is shown to me, then what have I to look for?


    Happy selective thinking, Rob. Did you even read the link to that information?

    Nope. I saw your other articles about religious experiences and the brain and they caught my eye.

    I'll be sure to go back to that today. ^_^


    Yeah, Rob, it is a bad thing because if there are other explanations and you do not seek them out then you will believe something that is false.

    Then give me another explanation.


    Often we can not know ALL explanations so we collect as much data as we can for consideration and leave the possibility open that even through we are reasonably sure that we know the correct answer, there is always the possibility that we do not, given the possibly unknown variables.

    And you would have me base my conclusion on those unknown variables?

    I think I'd much rather base my conclusions on what I'm seeing.


    Also, just because your explanation 'works' doesn't mean it is true. I could handle snakes and say that if one bites me then it must be god's will and that explanation could 'work', but it wouldn't be true. What is much more likely is that we have evidence that snakes bite people when they feel threatened, and no evidence for a god, much less one that causes snakes to bite people.

    Snake handling was never my thing.

    As for the truth of an explanation, I have to assume that it's true because it's all I see.

    We assume that gravity is some how associated with mass because we see that things with more mass have more gravity. We don't see things with lesser mass as having a stronger gravitational pull than those with more mass.
    Unless my understanding of the thing is old and outdated.

    Point being, until I see a better explanation that doesn't include any deity in my religious experiences at all, I will continue to believe that there is one.


    If I am dying of cancer and I have a bunch of religious people stand around me and pray and I feel a lot better and I can get up and walk and run and go to work, I can perceive that I am healed of the cancer. That doesn't make it so.

    But if one has tests run that say they are better, then they would assume that they are, yes?

    Pain leaving a cancer patient doesn't make their caner better. Pain leaving a person in pain means that person's pain is better.

    Slightly different.

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  136. @ nonmagic:

    You still don't get it. It's not about being offended, it's that you are disseminating false information.

    Joy is an emotion. You claimed that atheists can't feel it. That is false. Do not propagate lies. That is the point.


    I also freely admitted that I have a slightly different definition of the word "joy," and that it was absolutely connected to my religious beliefs.

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  137. 1)Do you think Gonzalez would have been fired had he become involved in some other scientific theory that was proven false?(I am a bit uninformed on this. I am just curious as to how research goes)

    The problem would not be his beliefs, but his lack of productivity. If he had only published one little piece of shit about anything else, yes, he would not get tenure. To get tenure you have to prove you can contribute to your field of study in the form of peer reviewed publications. Lots of them. One little puny little piece of shit will not cut it. Evaluations for tenure are harsh. Many many "tenure tacked" assistant profs do not make it. Many with way better productivities than this guy have been denied tenure. I guess that, given the pressure and the number of people competing for these positions, proclaiming excuses such as "it was because my disbelief in evolution" and other, similar nonsense, will become common. A way of claiming to be discriminated. In short: Just an excuse to bullshit the system.

    G.E.

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  138. Dan,

    TROLL, noun, often used as an acerbic, puerile, exclamatory insult -- a knee-jerk ad hominem often employed in a feeble effort to discredit another poster because one has been flummoxed, proven to be wrong, ignorant or incompetent.

    REBUKED: adjective, often used as an acerbic, puerile, exclamatory insult -- a knee-jerk ad hominem often employed in a feeble effort to discredit another poster because one has been flummoxed, proven to be wrong, ignorant or incompetent.

    G.E.

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  139. GE,


    "REBUKED..."

    Touché, but only if it were true.

    2 Corinthians 6:14

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  140. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  141. Oh Danny, but it is true.

    2 Corinthians 6:3

    G.E.

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  142. Rob,

    I also freely admitted that I have a slightly different definition of the word "joy," and that it was absolutely connected to my religious beliefs.

    Which is a very annoying thing about religion. It's adherents take words and use them with definitions that are not true to their original definitions.

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  143. Rob,

    I've been looking for a good sparing partner to debate with and I thought you were coming out of the gate weak previously, but you've stepped up just slightly. Not too much, you need practice. A lot of practice.

    Just because they aren't measuring anything that resembles your religious experiences, doesn't negate their findings.

    Also, I have already said that an operational definition could be whatever one thinks of as having a religious experience. I feel like you aren't even reading what I'm spending time putting out here, so I'm not going to put a great deal of time into this.

    Also, I have a psychology degree. You do not need to go back over how experiments are performed with me.


    What you are doing with the study, as I've already said, is just trying to look for ways that it doesn't apply to you. So be it. You already think that demons set laptops on fire, or some such nonsense, so me spending time trying to get you tho think logically about something is time wasted anyway.

    Of course the study doesn't apply to you, Rob. Or anyone you know. Or anyone for that matter. The fairy Jebus heals ankles and demons set laptops on fire and there is no reason to use your brain to try to think of any alternative reasons why these things might happen. It's the fairy Jebus.

    Also, if you aren't even going to read the link provided on selective thinking then it is useless to have a discussion with you about it.

    Now here is your answer to the promise that your god doesn't keep:

    Matthew 7:7-8

    "Ask and it will be given unto you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened unto you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

    Now I predict that what you will do is come back with the words of some apologist who is going to say that the verse doesn't really mean what it says or that Jesus was really talking about such and such to such and such, and you can do that. But I won't waste my time reading it. It's simply either true or it isn't, and it isn't.

    Now you said this:

    "So, then, when a Christian does help out these kids because God created a real care for them and gave them the ability to help, it doesn't matter at all?"

    I didn't say it didn't matter, but there is no reason to think it is anything supernatural. It's just a person helping another person, like people should do anyway without having to have the mythology of religion wrapped around it.

    And this:

    "Where does it fail? I'm not married to the idea, it's just the best sounding that I've found so far. I wouldn't mind being shown a better way to describe God if you have one."

    Open theism fails, just like any other form of apologetics, because if the bible were true and made sense we wouldn't need aplologetics in the first place. Sure, you can believe anything that sounds good and makes it seem like it all fits. But it if all fit, then apologetics wouldn't exist.

    Yes, I do have a better description of god: the figment of the imagination of people who need psychological comfort, or do not understand the world scientifically, and need to feel like there are absolute answers in a world of uncertainty.

    You said:

    "Show me where the Canon has anything that contradicts the idea of open theism."

    I have no idea if there is anything in the Canon that contradicts open theism or not and I do not care. Not even a little. What you've done here is skirt off the original point and tried to change the subject. And I'll say this again, if the bible were true or made sense then there would be no need for open theism or any other form of apologetics.


    You said:

    "Loaded word hasn't anything to do with definition. It has everything to do with connotation and potential to spark lively discussions.

    I haven't changed the definition of omniscient. Omniscience is to know everything that there is to know.

    If God knows everything there is to know, and the future isn't there for him to know, then why should I expect him to know it without completely writing it out for us?"


    In the way you used it, it does have to do with definition. Just like how you changed the definition of joy to fit your religious beliefs and openly admitted it.

    God is either omniscient or he isn't, Rob.


    "So then, my conclusions should all be based off of what I don't know as opposed to what I observe"

    No, your conclusions should be based off of looking at all the available data and trying to think of all of the alternatives as to why an event took place. You don't. You stop at goddidit. Or you think of one or two and then stop, and say goddidit.

    Regarding prayer about this woman's ankle you said:

    "It's the only one I can see. unless something else is shown to me, then what have I to look for?"

    You mean to tell me you are in college and you can't look for things on your own with someone having to show it to you? Jesus, Rob, there is more than one possible answer to why her freaking ankle didn't hurt anymore.

    Then you said:

    "Then give me another explanation."

    I did. Your mind is locked up so tight by religion that you refuse to see anything outside of it.

    "And you would have me base my conclusion on those unknown variables?"

    No. THINK. At least look for the unknown variables.

    "I think I'd much rather base my conclusions on what I'm seeing."

    If all you ever base your conclusions on is what you see right in front of you then you are closing off your brain. Do you think scientists just look at what is right in front of them and never consider other things that they do not currently observe?

    Point being, until I see a better explanation that doesn't include any deity in my religious experiences at all, I will continue to believe that there is one.



    If you don't look for it, you'll never find it.

    Regarding the cancer analogy you said this:

    "But if one has tests run that say they are better, then they would assume that they are, yes?"


    Yes, but cancer goes into spontaneous remission in a certain number of cases that aren't prayed for. Let me guess, goddidit.

    Pain leaving a cancer patient doesn't make their caner better. Pain leaving a person in pain means that person's pain is better.

    Not necessarily true. It simply means that person is no longer in pain.

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  144. [It's adherents take words and use them with definitions that are not true to their original definitions. ]
    Wow that from an atheist. A lot attempt to redefine their position in a poorly vieled attempt to shift burdens of proof.


    [ because if the bible were true and made sense we wouldn't need aplologetics in the first place.
    But it if all fit, then apologetics wouldn't exist.]
    Nonmagic , then why do people go out everyday to defend science education or people like Matt D. and Hitchens try to defend atheism.
    Whatever view you hold to, truth has to be defended. Some people will be in denial, some will misunderstand the philosophy and some will misled by faulty information. Which is why we need people to defend truth.

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  145. MrFreeThinker: "Whatever view you hold to, truth has to be defended."

    Amen brother!

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  146. MFT,

    Defending is one thing, changing the definition of words to make them fit, interpreting ambiguous scripture to make it seem like prophecy, all the things that apologetics tries to do is quite a different story.

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  147. @ nonmagic:

    I've been looking for a good sparing partner to debate with and I thought you were coming out of the gate weak previously, but you've stepped up just slightly. Not too much, you need practice. A lot of practice.

    I'll take that compliment. ^_^ ty

    I like to think that we're doing more than just "sparring," ya know? Sparring sounds so much like competition, and I try not to compete so much as search.

    I mean, some times I get competitive, but I try to curb that. I find that I'm not mature enough to keep that from turning a good discussion into an argument.


    Just because they aren't measuring anything that resembles your religious experiences, doesn't negate their findings.

    Absolutely. I still agree with the findings, so long as the findings are specified to "religious experiences" which involve the out-of-body experiences that their participants described. Those are clearly connected to that certain brain activity.


    Also, I have already said that an operational definition could be whatever one thinks of as having a religious experience. I feel like you aren't even reading what I'm spending time putting out here, so I'm not going to put a great deal of time into this.

    So, what if there were a study that had multiple categories of "religious experiences?" I mean, it'd be more work, but it'd also give findings that were more applicable.

    It could start with surveys...
    That's really cool. I gotta file that away for future reference.


    What you are doing with the study, as I've already said, is just trying to look for ways that it doesn't apply to you. So be it. You already think that demons set laptops on fire, or some such nonsense, so me spending time trying to get you tho think logically about something is time wasted anyway.

    I don't experience any of the sensations that these people do. Why should the study apply to me any more than studies about color blindness or about phantom limb syndrome?


    Of course the study doesn't apply to you, Rob. Or anyone you know. Or anyone for that matter. The fairy Jebus heals ankles and demons set laptops on fire and there is no reason to use your brain to try to think of any alternative reasons why these things might happen. It's the fairy Jebus.

    Heh... Fairy Jebus is a new one. I've heard Da Jebus before, but I think I like this one better.


    Also, if you aren't even going to read the link provided on selective thinking then it is useless to have a discussion with you about it.

    I read it. Seems possible. Maybe even probable in the case of the ankle.


    I didn't say it didn't matter, but there is no reason to think it is anything supernatural. It's just a person helping another person, like people should do anyway without having to have the mythology of religion wrapped around it.

    If they're doing it because of a religious experience, and they find that they are becoming the kind of person who simply finds joy in doing this because of that religious experience, then why should I not assume that their religious experience is the root of it?


    Open theism fails, just like any other form of apologetics, because if the bible were true and made sense we wouldn't need aplologetics in the first place.

    Darwin's ideas are pretty established as truth. Did he need to defend his beliefs?


    In the way you used it, it does have to do with definition. Just like how you changed the definition of joy to fit your religious beliefs and openly admitted it.

    God is either omniscient or he isn't, Rob.


    I'm not saying he's not. God knows everything that there is to know. He knows all. Omniscient.


    If all you ever base your conclusions on is what you see right in front of you then you are closing off your brain. Do you think scientists just look at what is right in front of them and never consider other things that they do not currently observe?

    My brain's not as closed off as you think. Seriously. If you had known me this time three years ago, you might agree.


    Yes, but cancer goes into spontaneous remission in a certain number of cases that aren't prayed for. Let me guess, goddidit.

    I don't pretend everything to be a miracle. Heck, I don't even pretend all "healings" to be miracles. I do believe that nature takes it's course, and I do believe that God uses natural processes to get things done.


    Not necessarily true. It simply means that person is no longer in pain.

    So, then, their pain is better?

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  148. Rob,

    Absolutely. I still agree with the findings, so long as the findings are specified to "religious experiences" which involve the out-of-body experiences that their participants described. Those are clearly connected to that certain brain activity.



    You agree so long as it has nothing to do with you.



    If they're doing it because of a religious experience, and they find that they are becoming the kind of person who simply finds joy in doing this because of that religious experience, then why should I not assume that their religious experience is the root of it?




    A religious experience might be at the root of it, but religious experiences are not proof of anything supernatural, as we have seen in the much debated study.


    Darwin's ideas are pretty established as truth. Did he need to defend his beliefs?

    Nobody needs to take Darwin's words and twist them into something they aren't in order to make his work make sense. That's the realm of religious apologetics.


    My brain's not as closed off as you think. Seriously. If you had known me this time three years ago, you might agree.

    You mean it was worse?


    I don't pretend everything to be a miracle. Heck, I don't even pretend all "healings" to be miracles. I do believe that nature takes it's course, and I do believe that God uses natural processes to get things done

    What happened to her ankle, Rob?

    What happened to the laptops, Rob?

    What happened to the sick children, Rob?


    So, then, their pain is better?

    You're never gonna get through psychology thinking like this.

    Where did I say the word 'better'?

    Maybe apologetics has taught you to take the words of someone and twist them into something they aren't, or maybe you need to take a debate class or two, but this....this, Rob....this is sad.

    Practice, practice, practice!

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  149. @ nonmagic:

    You agree so long as it has nothing to do with you.

    I agree that it doesn't have anything to do with me.

    When I start leaving my own body, and fusing with the walls, then I might look at this study as more applicable to my religious experiences.


    A religious experience might be at the root of it, but religious experiences are not proof of anything supernatural, as we have seen in the much debated study.

    The study doesn't show that nothing supernatural happened, only that there was a certain brain activity associated with that particular sort of religious experience.

    And it doesn't even say anything about coherent, in-body experiences.


    Nobody needs to take Darwin's words and twist them into something they aren't in order to make his work make sense. That's the realm of religious apologetics.

    How have I twisted the Canon into something it isn't?


    You mean it was worse?

    That depends on what you mean by "worse."

    I tend to think that it was. I pretty much just took every thing religious in nature as my grandfather and family fed it to me.

    No spiritual gifts. Men have short hair. Women don't get to have clergy positions. Drinking, even in moderation and responsibly, is evil. Christians are only allowed to listen to Christian music. I was one of those guys.

    Don't get me wrong; I don't think that they're any less Christian than I am or anything. I just think that they're wrong.


    What happened to her ankle, Rob?

    My opinion about her ankle didn't change.


    What happened to the laptops, Rob?

    My opinion about the events which happen every February haven't changed.

    What happened to the sick children, Rob?

    Well, they got better.
    But my opinion about this situation hasn't changed.


    You're never gonna get through psychology thinking like this.

    Where did I say the word 'better'?


    When I say "the pain is better," I understand that to mean "the pain isn't there" or "the pain has lessened to the point that I don't notice it."

    That's just how I've said it for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's just an Arkansas poor grammar thing?


    Maybe apologetics has taught you to take the words of someone and twist them into something they aren't, or maybe you need to take a debate class or two, but this....this, Rob....this is sad.

    Where have I taken some one's words and twisted them into something that they aren't?


    Practice, practice, practice!

    I actually like to think of you more as a person than just practice.
    ;)

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  150. Rob,

    I agree that it doesn't have anything to do with me.

    When I start leaving my own body, and fusing with the walls, then I might look at this study as more applicable to my religious experiences.


    I doubt you would. You'd just think it was a demon or some other such religious BS and wait for the laptops to start exploding.


    The study doesn't show that nothing supernatural happened, only that there was a certain brain activity associated with that particular sort of religious experience.

    And it doesn't even say anything about coherent, in-body experiences.


    The point. It is lost on you.



    I tend to think that it was. I pretty much just took every thing religious in nature as my grandfather and family fed it to me.

    No spiritual gifts. Men have short hair. Women don't get to have clergy positions. Drinking, even in moderation and responsibly, is evil. Christians are only allowed to listen to Christian music. I was one of those guys.

    Don't get me wrong; I don't think that they're any less Christian than I am or anything. I just think that they're wrong.


    Uhh...yeah...ok...

    Blah, blah, blah....


    This is the last I'm going to say on this, Rob. If there is a god and that god lets things like this happen, even for 5 seconds, then fuck that god and anyone who defends him.

    I'm not going to read your apologetics bullshit about how 'Oh see, it's the people that are awful, not my fairy sky daddy!'

    Your invisible friend either could stop it and didn't or couldn't, and if he couldn't then he's not worth a second of consideration much less worship.

    Enjoy your delusions.

    End of story.

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  151. @ nonmagic:

    I doubt you would. You'd just think it was a demon or some other such religious BS and wait for the laptops to start exploding.

    No, that only happens in February when we need the laptops the most. and the fire only happened once.
    ;)

    You're assuming that, because I have specific instances in my life that I attribute to spiritual activity, that everything in my life is attributed to spiritual and supernatural activity. That's just not true.


    The point. It is lost on you.

    The point you're trying to make is that there is a rational explanation outside of supernatural happenings for the religious experiences that people have.

    The point is not lost on me. The point simply can't be made for every single religious experience based on that study of a specific kind of religious experience.

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  152. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  153. Nonmagic

    "If there is a god and that god lets things like this happen, even for 5 seconds, then fuck that god and anyone who defends him."

    If there is not a God and evolution lets things like this happen, even for 5 seconds, then %$# that type of humanity and anyone who defends that theory.

    Thanks for infuriating my day here. I am not angry at you Nonmagic at all, I am furious at that evil prick that did that to that child.

    I get it, you blame God for that happening, I perfectly understand your frustration. Walk with me for just a moment, lets place ourselves into God shoes.

    God says His creation will have free will. Free will will mean that they can choose to do right or wrong. He places them in the most ideal place for there existence and they (Adam and Eve) run to do evil. This angers and frustrates God as a Dad gets angry when his child defies him.

    This paper thin shell of a man taking care of Baby P is evil, yes we all can agree. Do we blame God for creating such an animal? Maybe. Do you blame his Dad for raising such a child that would do this when he grows up? Do we blame the mother for not hugging him enough? Possibly, but why are we not only angry at this jerk that did it? Free will is free will, he chose to do horrific things.

    You say fine then, remove free will. So how would that work exactly? No choice to do anything? That would be like a world without woman, it just wouldn't work.

    If I was an atheist I would have no retribution against this guy. Evil needs to be dealt with harshly. That guy needs to have the same hurt that he placed on that poor helpless child but instead for all of eternity. Atheism belief system doesn't give that release or satisfaction. Evolution belief system doesn't give that release or satisfaction. We would just have to take it, without ramifications, for anyones actions. What if this guy fled to Mexico and never got caught? Would you feel great about secular humanity if we can't bring a guy like this to justice? Would you throw your arms up in the air and say "oh well, maybe we will get them next time?"

    I can't tell you how satisfying it is to know there is a God watching all of us and will right the wrongs and punish the wicked in a very horrifying way.

    Would it be fair to torture this guy for all of eternity? Sarah Palin said it best with "You betcha!"

    I will be humbled knowing people like this will be punished for their wickedness. What I can't grasp yet is that there are people, like my own Mom, that is in the same place this guy deserves. This is where faith comes in and must trust Him to right the wrongs and do the right thing. I can only rely on Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

    You can be sure this guy has his just reward coming soon. Just knowing this helps me feel a lot better about life. I pray Baby P's hurt is now gone and the crown on that little child's head can light up all of Heaven on its own.

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  154. Hi Dan,

    (Sorry Rob, I can't take any more of your defending apologetics and magical thinking)


    Dan, you can be upset with me if you want. I'm not affected by strangers online being angered with me or my opinions.

    So let's discuss this. We'll start here:


    I get it, you blame God for that happening, I perfectly understand your frustration. Walk with me for just a moment, lets place ourselves into God shoes.


    Nope. You don't get it, Dan. I'm not upset with any deity. I do not believe any deities exist, therefore I can not be upset with what I do not believe to exist.

    What I do get frustrated with is people claiming that they have a god that can and does so many amazing miracles in their lives, yet there is never any documented evidence of any of these supposed miracles and when you bring up why such a powerful deity would heal some chic's ankle, and yet let this happen to a child they give pat apologetics answers that do not mean shit and answer nothing.


    Going down the path of Adam and Eve is a fail. For a deity to blame all of mankind for some people chewing on a piece of fruit in a garden however long ago is illogical. Also, the story of Adam and Eve is myth. So, while I appreciate all that you took time to type out, the free will/Adam and Eve thing is just what I got through explaining to Rob -- it's a way to take the deity off the hook and put the blame back on man. It excuses the insipid evil of a deity that either can and won't prevent acts like these or simply can't.


    Now here's where you really went wrong...

    Atheism belief system doesn't give that release or satisfaction.

    Atheism is not a belief system. The word atheism simply means lack of a belief in a god(s).

    Evolution belief system doesn't give that release or satisfaction.

    Evolution is not a belief system.

    The word evolution means the following :

    1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
    2.
    a. The process of developing.
    b. Gradual development.
    3. Biology
    a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
    b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
    4. A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements.
    5. Mathematics The extraction of a root of a quantity.

    So the argument that you are making that there is a god that will punish this guy one day fails because 1) you presuppose a deity for which there is no evidence 2) you presuppose that said deity would be the one you believe in, for which there is no evidence and 3) there is no evidence that even if there were a deity that said deity would punish anyone. Please do not start pointing to the bible to prove the bible. Circular reasoning fails, also.


    While believing that there is a deity that may one day punish this person for their acts may make you feel better, the fact is that just because something makes you feel better, or avenged, does not make it so.

    What we do have evidence for is that things of this nature happen all the time and that many of the people who perpetrate such acts are never punished. A lot of times when they are, the punishment does not fit the crime. But as for punishment after death, there is no evidence for such. I'm glad it gives you some peace to think that there is, though.

    Have a good one and thanks for your response,

    NM

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  155. @ nonmagic:

    Sorry Rob, I can't take any more of your defending apologetics and magical thinking.

    Is this the part where I declare myself the winner because you quit?

    ;)

    Don't worry, that was a joke.

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  156. No, Rob. I just have better things to do with my time.

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  157. Dan,

    If there is not a God and evolution lets things like this happen, even for 5 seconds, then %$# that type of humanity and anyone who defends that theory.

    You got it all wrong again despite tons of explanations wasted on you. Some by myself at your own blog. Proof that you can't read? (now I put that on, so you can claim ad hominem).

    Here we go: Evolution is a process. You cannot talk about it like you talk about a god. It would be like saying: "If gravity let that happen ..."

    G.E.

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