81 Replies to “Atheists vs Christians: Who makes the better claims ?

  1. 1
    whistler says:

    These videos are creepy.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    How do you judge “better”?

  3. 3
    Otangelo says:

    Better = more likely to be true.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, “How do you judge “better”?”

    Sev, ought not you, a Darwinian materialist, ask yourself that very question? I mean really, under Darwinian materialism, where particles, the void, and selfish genes, run the show, there really is no way for you to judge whether anything is worse or better than anything else is. At the base of your worldview there is “nothing but pitiless indifference”

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    I mean really Seversky, the best you could ever hope to claim from your atheistic Darwinian worldview of ‘pitiless indifference’ is that evolution somehow gave you the ‘illusion’ that some things are better than other things.

    In other words, your atheistic worldview is bankrupt as to ever providing a real and true standard to judge whether anything really is better or worse than anything else.

    Whereas in Christian Theism, we do not suffer from such catastrophic epistemological failure. We have the infinite goodness of God as the real and true standard to judge whether anything is better or worse than anything else.

    As Jesus himself said, “No one is good – except God alone”

    Only God is good
    A man once came to Jesus to ask him a question. The man called him “Good teacher”, but Jesus responded: “Why do you call me good? No one is good – except God alone” (Mark 10:18). Jesus didn’t respond like this because Jesus was saying he wasn’t good (we’ll come onto that in the final session!). But he wanted the man to think about what he was saying. Who is truly good? Only God is truly good.
    If we want to see and know what true goodness is, we need to look to the Lord. He alone has true goodness. He is 100%, pure good.
    https://understandthebible.uk/posts/god-is-infinitely-good/

    In short Seversky, for you to even coherently answer your question “How do you judge “better”?” you must first presuppose the existence of an ultimate standard of goodness to judge by, i.e. you must presuppose the existence of God.

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    “Atheists vs Christians: Who makes the better claims ?”

    Honestly? Do you want my honest opinion? Atheists make the better claims, by far.
    They are so rational, these atheists. That we theists all know, right? I mean, let’s be honest for once. They are so objective. Unlike us, they are driven by science and not by personal preference. For atheists, it’s about facts, science, logic, truth, and nothing else.
    If there was any evidence of intelligent design in nature, a fight would break out among them to be the first ones to tell the world about it. The only reason this hasn’t happened yet is that there isn’t the slightest indication of intelligent design in biology. None whatsoever. Honestly. There is really nothing to report. Learn to trust science and reason, fellow theists.
    Similarly, if there was any indication of our universe being fine-tuned, the slightest whisper of an indication would suffice, they would shout it from every rooftop they could find. However, it is simply not the case that there is any indication of the universe being fine-tuned. They tell us how it is with compassion. We should understand that they have to tell the truth, right? We don’t want them to lie, do we? Let’s get some self-control here.
    The same thing with philosophy. Suppose that atheistic philosophers would experience even the slightest problem to come up with a naturalistic explanation of a rational free person, they would loud and clearly point out that this is the case. But the reality is that they don’t experience any such problems. Blind particles in the void easily explain the existence of rational free persons and all the rest. What problems could there possibly be? There are just no problems to report.

    ~ Good night all.

  6. 6
    relatd says:

    When man can only reference man then there is no higher standard. But man is not perfect, as we can see all around us. There are some who lead lives of virtue and criminals. But man has the capacity to learn and observe and make statements about what he sees to his fellow man. He might say ‘the world is like this’ while someone else might say, ‘no, the world is actually like this.’ Then men create scientific instruments and perform experiments. Why? To find out the truth. Deep down, most men prefer the truth. But some do not or would prefer an atmosphere of confusion.

    Choice #1

    In a world of “nothing but pitiless indifference,” what value does any claim for the truth have? Does anyone live in a world of pitiless indifference? Live or die, it’s all the same?

    Choice #2

    In an ordered world that is based on a standard that does not come from man but revelation, man has a context, a place from which to compare truths, including those from science, observation and Divine revelation. The natural man who excludes the latter is trapped in an environment where advances in science, for example, might help him live or do certain things, but that’s it. Death is the end and nothing lies beyond it. But we are told that death is not the end.

    Summary: Much can be said about the work of men from ages past that inform our understanding of the present and the great scientists and inventors that made cars and computers possible. Yet there is something – a person – beyond ourselves.

    Romans 2:15

    “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them”

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Otangelo/3

    Better = more likely to be true.

    Good, now how do you assess which is more likely to be true?

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/4

    Seversky, “How do you judge “better”?”

    Sev, ought not you, a Darwinian materialist, ask yourself that very question? I mean really, under Darwinian materialism, where particles, the void, and selfish genes, run the show, there really is no way for you to judge whether anything is worse or better than anything else is. At the base of your worldview there is “nothing but pitiless indifference”

    You are beating up a strawman of your own – dare I say – creation. Particles, the void, and selfish genes are a part of the picture but they do not run the whole show by themselves. Nobody really believes in that form of extreme reductionism.

    I mean really Seversky, the best you could ever hope to claim from your atheistic Darwinian worldview of ‘pitiless indifference’ is that evolution somehow gave you the ‘illusion’ that some things are better than other things.

    Another strawman. The absence of a God does not prevent us from deciding which is the better of two alternatives by our own criteria. For example, military aviators might decide which of two fighter designs are better by comparing features such as speed, maneuverability, range and armament but those would not be appropriate to determining which of two medications is the more efficacious. Whether the Universe is one of pitiless indifference or a divine Creation is largely irrelevant.

    As for our conscious awareness of objective reality, I don’t see it as an illusion but neither is it the whole picture. It is better understood as model in that it is created as a functional representation of what we observe via our senses but, like any model, it is not the same as the thing modeled. We know our senses can only abstract a limited range of data from all that is available out there but we use it to create a workable model that enables us to navigate that external reality reasonably well.

    In other words, your atheistic worldview is bankrupt as to ever providing a real and true standard to judge whether anything really is better or worse than anything else.

    If by that you mean that atheism alone does not provide moral guidance, I would agree. That is something we have to work out for ourselves and we have the ability to do that whether or not there is a God.

    Whereas in Christian Theism, we do not suffer from such catastrophic epistemological failure. We have the infinite goodness of God as the real and true standard to judge whether anything is better or worse than anything else.

    Are you talking about epistemology or morality?

    If you are referring to morality then, by the evidence of the Bible which is the only documentary record we have concerning God’s teachings and behavior, the picture is inconsistent and even contradictory. That is one reason why we have apologetics.

    In short Seversky, for you to even coherently answer your question “How do you judge “better”?” you must first presuppose the existence of an ultimate standard of goodness to judge by, i.e. you must presuppose the existence of God.

    Are you saying that you only know whether something is good or bad is if your God tells you?

    If one human being shoots and kills another is that good or bad? If the killing is committed in the course of a robbery or out of malice we would say it was bad but if it was done in self-defense or to protect the life of another we might judge it to be good. However, the Sixth Commandment is usually expressed as “Thou shalt not kill”. There are no caveats, qualifications or exceptions. It is we who choose the narrower interpretation of “Thou shalt not murder”

    Unfortunately, there appears to be no God around today who we could consult directly to clarify the issue.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Relatd/6

    When man can only reference man then there is no higher standard. But man is not perfect, as we can see all around us.

    Man can be set as a standard for purposes of comparison. We can conceive of beings that embody our worst aspects so are worse than we are on average but we can also conceive of beings that embody our best aspects and are thereby better than we are on average. The question is how do we decide what is better or worse.

    In an ordered world that is based on a standard that does not come from man but revelation, man has a context, a place from which to compare truths, including those from science, observation and Divine revelation. The natural man who excludes the latter is trapped in an environment where advances in science, for example, might help him live or do certain things, but that’s it. Death is the end and nothing lies beyond it. But we are told that death is not the end.

    That may be true or it may be a narrative we have developed over time to comfort ourselves in the face of a Universe that appears to be pitilessly indifferent to us.

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    This is the equivalent of the high school locker room game of “mine’s bigger than yours.” You just can’t make this stuff up…..

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev: “Nobody really believes in that form of extreme reductionism.”

    And yet I cited your hero Dawkins to show that Darwinian materialists, whether they honestly admit it or not, are inextricably wedded to “that form of extreme reductionism”

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Sev: “As for our conscious awareness of objective reality, I don’t see it as an illusion but neither is it the whole picture.”

    Of course you don’t believe that consciousness is a ‘neuronal illusion’ because it is blatantly obvious that consciousness can’t possibly be a ‘neuronal illusion’.

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    And in so far as you disagree that consciousness is a ‘neuronal illusion’ of the material brain you are in fact, whether you honestly admit it or not, disagreeing with the reductive materialism that lies at the foundation of your Darwinian worldview,,, a worldview which holds that consciousness is some kind of ’emergent illusion’ of the unconscious material particles of the brain.

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    Sev, you really need to get honest with yourself and realize just how insane your worldview actually is. You can’t keep reaching over into the Christian’s worldview, and, (ahem), ‘borrowing’ things, in order to make up for the gross deficiencies that are found in your atheistic worldview.

  12. 12
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/9

    And yet I cited your hero Dawkins to show that Darwinian materialists, whether they honestly admit it or not, are inextricably wedded to that “that form of extreme reductionism”

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    That “pitiless indifference” passage is not a defense of reductionism, it is simply arguing that the Universe as we observe it appears to be indifferent to our existence. The following passage, however, shows that Dawkins takes the opposite view of reductionism to the one you impute to him.

    For those that like ‘-ism’ sorts of names, the aptest name for my approach to understanding how things work is probably ‘hierarchical reductionism’. If you read trendy intellectual magazines, you may have noticed that ‘reductionism’ is one of those things, like sin, that is only mentioned by people who are against it. To call oneself a reductionist will sound, in some circles, a bit like admitting to eating babies. But, just as nobody actually eats babies, so nobody is really a reductionist in any sense worth being against. The nonexistent reductionist – the sort that everybody is against, but who exists only in their imaginations – tries to explain complicated things directly in terms of the smallest parts, even, in some extreme versions of the myth, as the sum of the parts! The hierarchical reductionist, on the other hand, explains a complex entity at any particular level in the hierarchy of organization, in terms of entities only one level down the hierarchy; entities which, themselves, are likely to be complex enough to need further reducing to their own component parts; and so on. It goes without saying – though the mythical, baby-eating reductionist is reputed to deny this – that the kinds of explanations which are suitable at high levels in the hierarchy are quite different from the kinds of explanations which are suitable at lower levels. This was the point of explaining cars in terms of carburettors rather than quarks. But the hierarchical reductionist believes that carburettors are explained in terms of smaller units . . ., which are explained in terms of smaller units . . . , which are ultimately explained in terms of the smallest of fundamental particles. Reductionism, in this sense, is just another name for an honest desire to understand how things work.

    The Blind Watchmaker (1986), Richard Dawkins

  13. 13
    chuckdarwin says:

    Addendum:
    One advantage to living a life of illusion (which is preferable to a life of delusion) is that BA77, Querius, KF, et al. aren’t real. Like Neil Young says: “I am just a dreamer, but you are just a dream….”

  14. 14
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @

    But the hierarchical reductionist believes that carburettors are explained in terms of smaller units . . ., which are explained in terms of smaller units . . . , which are ultimately explained in terms of the smallest of fundamental particles.

    Nonsense story. There is precisely no difference between a “hierarchical reductionist” and the good old reductionist.
    If, as Dawkins says, units at level C are explained by smaller units at level B, and units at level B are explained by even smaller units at level A, then, in fact, level C units are explained by level A units. Old school “extreme” reductionism. It is that simple.
    Who is Dawkins trying to fool here?

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    I can’t say it better than Origenes did.

  16. 16
    chuckdarwin says:

    BA77
    Perhaps not, but you can definitely say it longer……

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    To add more clarity as to exactly where the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution fails, I think the George Ellis’s essay “Recognising Top-Down Causation” does an excellent job of clarifying exactly where reductive materialism fails,

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect
    If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.
    Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence
    If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    ,,,However there are many topics that one cannot understand by assuming this one-way flow of causation. The flourishing subject of social neuroscience makes clear how social influences act down on individual brain structure[2]; studies in physiology demonstrate that downward causation is necessary in understanding the heart, where this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes[3]; epigenetic studies demonstrate that biological development is crucially shaped by the environment[4]
    What about physics? In this essay I will make the case that top-down causation is also prevalent in physics, even though this is not often recognised as such. This does not occur by violating physical laws; on the contrary, it occurs through the laws of physics, by setting constraints on lower level interactions.
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics,,,,
    ,,, The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.2275.pdf

    Also of note to falsifying the reductive materialism of Darwinian atheists, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem has now been extended into quantum physics and demonstrates that, “even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour”,,, The researchers further commented that their findings “challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

  18. 18
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @14

    Agreed, Dawkins’s “hierarchical reductionism” just is reductionism. It’s no different from Alex Rosenberg’s view, except that Rosenberg is consistent with regard to human behavior. Dawkins writes of a “robot’s rebellion” in order to reconcile his humanistic values with his reductionist metaphysics., but since he cannot explain how such a ‘rebellion’ is even possible, the result is just a mess.

    Who is Dawkins trying to fool here?

    Only those who share his own sneering condescension towards worldviews that don’t make people like themselves the culmination of human history.

    At the same time, I certainly understand the impulse to make Dawkins and Rosenberg the representatives of “atheism” or “materialism” or “naturalism.” It’s easy to lampoon a view when the people taken to represent it are so absurd. It would be much harder to lampoon naturalism if one were to read a philosophical scientist who is actually good. But that would require reading, and who has time for that when there are so many people wrong on the Internet?

  19. 19
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @17

    George Ellis’s essay “Recognising Top-Down Causation” does an excellent job of clarifying exactly where reductive materialism fails,

    Ellis’s essay (found here) is excellent. Unfortunately he defends emergentism, and since we all know that’s nonsense, Ellis is no friend to anti-naturalism. (Perhaps a frenemy?)

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    PM1, since, in my honest opinion, you had your philosophical head handed to you yesterday by Jblais over on the “god of the gaps” thread, it might behoove you to be a little more humble and circumspect in your own philosophical claims. I agree with you that materialistic reductionism is completely absurd, but your philosophy, from what I saw of it yesterday, can hardly be considered an improvement to the absurdity of reductive materialism, which, I note, reductive materialism happens to be the absurd atheistic philosophy which currently dominates science and our school systems

  21. 21
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @20

    PM1, since, in my honest opinion, you had your philosophical head handed to you yesterday by Jblais over on the “god of the gaps” thread, it might behoove you to be a little more humble and circumspect in your own philosophical claims.

    Jblais and I are still having an enjoyable little sparring match, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

    I agree with you that materialistic reductionism is completely absurd, but your philosophy, from what I saw of it yesterday, can hardly be considered an improvement to the absurdity of reductive materialism

    I wasn’t even attempting to articulate my own philosophical system. Jblais and I are just discussing whether a commitment to the principle of sufficient reason is consistent with believing that the universe has a transcendent Creator.

    which, I note, reductive materialism happens to be the absurd atheistic philosophy which currently dominates science and our school systems

    That’s just nonsense. It dominates neither.

  22. 22
    Seversky says:

    PyrrhoManiac1/18

    Only those who share his own sneering condescension towards worldviews that don’t make people like themselves the culmination of human history.

    That was not the impression of Dawkins that I took away from his earlier books. In fact at that time I quite relished his take-no-prisoners approach to religious belief and his later elevation to one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism. I saw the movement – such as it is – as an almost inevitable response to the widespread oppression of atheism in the United States although it’s degenerated into a form of celebrity atheism more recently. Which is not to say that the cause is not still worthy.

    That said I see that Dawkins’s written and spoken works could give the appearance of “sneering condescension” and that impression has become a little more more pronounced latterly. The problem for academics is that many of them give that impression – mostly unintentionally I think – to a lay audience simply by virtue of knowing a lot more about their specialization than that audience.

    On the issue of reductionism, I read Dawkins’s response as a defense against the standard “nothing-buttery” attack on atheistic materialism. I should add that I first came across the phrase “nothing-buttery” in a critique of Dawkins’s philosophy by British Christian philosopher Michael Poole:

    Reductionism

    Reductionism also belongs under the canopy of explanation and it needs to be distinguished in its various forms. Using Ayala’s nomenclature, there is the theologically benign methodological reductionism which is simply one of the standard scientific procedures of reducing things to their component parts for study. Within this framework Dawkins’ methodological approach fits comfortably:

    For those who like ‘ism’ sorts of names, the aptest name for my approach to understanding how things work is probably ‘hierarchical reductionism’. If you read trendy intellectual magazines, you may have noticed that ‘reductionism’ is one of those things, like sin, that is only mentioned by people who are against it . . . . The nonexistent reductionist-the sort that everybody is against, but who exists only in their imaginations-tries to explain complicated things directly in terms of the smallest part, even, in some extremes of the myth, as the sum of the parts! The hierarchical reductionist, on the other hand, explains a complex entity at any particular level in the hierarchy of organization, in terms of entities only one level down the hierarchy; entities which, themselves, are likely to be complex enough to need further reducing to their own component parts; and so on. [BWM, p. 13]

    He illustrates his position by reference to the components of a car. However, from his naturalistic stance Dawkins also espouses reductionism in its second form of ontological reductionism [ontology: the study of existence, of being]. In denying God and the supernatural, Dawkins expresses his belief that the material is all that there is. Ontological reductionism, commonly abbreviated to reductionism and dubbed by MacKay as ‘nothing buttery’, ‘is taken to imply that religion is just psychology, psychology is basically biology, biology is the chemistry of large molecules, whose atoms obey the laws of physics, which will ultimately account for everything!’ The difficulty about any attempt to justify a dogmatic assertion that the material is all that exists, is that it would require some privileged insight into the way things actually are, in order to know whether it is true or not.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    Origenes/

    Nonsense story. There is precisely no difference between a “hierarchical reductionist” and the good old reductionist.
    If, as Dawkins says, units at level C are explained by smaller units at level B, and units at level B are explained by even smaller units at level A, then, in fact, level C units are explained by level A units. Old school “extreme” reductionism. It is that simple.

    Is it?

    Are you saying that there is no difference between methodological reductionism, which seeks to explain phenomena through a causal relationship with the next lower level in the hierarchy, and old-school extreme reductionism which is little more than a rhetorical device that alleges that reductive materialists are so dumb as to believe that everything can be explained entirely in terms of blind, fundamental particles in motion?

  24. 24
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @

    Are you saying that there is no difference between methodological reductionism, which seeks to explain phenomena through a causal relationship with the next lower level in the hierarchy, and old-school extreme reductionism (…) ?

    The extremity, you complain about, is built in. Materialism claims that everything is physical; everything can be exhaustively described and explained in principle by (particle) physics. You (and Dawkins) tell me that methodological reductionism gets to the fundamental particle level in a step-wise manner. What is the big news here? There seems to be nothing new in methodological reductionism nor in Dawkins’ hierarchical reductionism.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    BA77: “which, I note, reductive materialism happens to be the absurd atheistic philosophy which currently dominates science and our school systems”

    PM1, “That’s just nonsense. It dominates neither.”

    Really??? Perhaps you can explain exactly why ‘bottom-up’ Darwinian evolution, which posits that mindless, unguided, material processes generated life, and all the diversity therein, via common descent, is mandated, by law, in schools. And/or perhaps you also can explain why ‘bottom-up’ inflationary cosmology is still the go-to explanation for why the universe has the macroscopic features of homogeneity and flatness?

    Despite your denial, reductive materialism IS the dominate philosophy being promulgated in public school systems, universities and even in science as a whole.

    Shoot, even questioning atheistic naturalism in public schools, and suggesting that life is best explained by ‘top-down’ Intelligent Design instead of ‘bottom-up’ Darwinian evolution, is enough to get you “EXPELLED”,

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (full movie)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EPymcWp-g

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    Volume 1 of a trilogy, the disturbing premise of this book documents widespread discrimination by Darwin loyalists against Darwin skeptics in academia and within the scientific community. Multiple case studies expose the tactics used to destroy the careers of Darwin skeptics, denying them earned degrees and awards, tenure, and other career benefits offered to non-skeptics. The book exposes how freedom of speech and freedom of expression are widely promoted as not applicable to Darwin doubters, and reveals the depth and extent of hostility and bigotry exhibited towards those who would dare to question Darwinism. The book also shows how even the slightest hint of sympathy for Darwin Doubters often results in a vigorous and rabid response from those who believe such sympathies represent an attack on science itself.,,,
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Slaughter of the Dissidents – Dr. Jerry Bergman – June 2013 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v5nAYU2GD0

    Discrimination (by Darwinists) is a pervasive reality in the scientific (and education) world. It’s also a hidden reality.
    Scott Minnich
    Richard Sternberg
    Günter Bechly
    Eric Hedin
    Don McDonald
    David Coppedge
    Caroline Crocker
    Bryan Leonard
    Martin Gaskell
    Dean Kenyon
    Roger DeHart
    Granville Sewell
    https://freescience.today/stories/
    Here are many more examples of discrimination against people who dare question Darwinism
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/review-of-darwins-doubt-slams-id-theorists-for-not-publishing-in-darwinist-run-journals/

    At Mind Matters News: Non-Materialist Science Is Wanted — Dead Or Alive – August 29, 2021
    Michael Egnor: As an example of how difficult this can be, I’ve been involved quite a bit in the intelligent design vs. Darwinism debates. I have a friend who is a basic scientist and molecular biologist who is one of the leading people in this field. He is exceptionally accomplished… great guy.
    I was at a meeting with him one time and he took me aside and he said, “I’ve seen what you’ve been doing with intelligent design and so on. I’m a Christian. And I think you’re right. I think Darwinism and materialism are grossly inadequate ways of understanding biology. But I can’t say that out loud. I can’t say a word about that, because my wife is sick. We need our health insurance. I need my job. And if I said a word about materialism or Darwinism not being acceptable frameworks for doing the science, I would never get another grant. I couldn’t feed my family.”
    And that’s true. They will destroy people. They will destroy people’s careers. Look at what people tried to do to Mike Behe for writing Darwin’s Black Box (1996). He’s tenured. But in his department, he was treated as a pariah. If they could have fired him, they would have done it in a minute.
    Arjuna Das: I was wondering how he got away with it.
    Michael Egnor: He’s tenured. I’ve gotten calls to my department in my university demanding that I be fired. That’s a fairly frequent thing.
    I was called a couple of years ago by the campus police that there was a death threat against me and they wanted to protect me. So this kind of stuff goes on. And some of these people are vicious.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-mind-matters-news-non-materialist-science-is-wanted-dead-or-alive/

  26. 26
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @22

    My view on Dawkins’s “atheism” is precisely that of Terry Eagleton:

    These are not just the views of an enraged atheist. They are the opinions of a readily identifiable kind of English middle-class liberal rationalist. Reading Dawkins, who occasionally writes as though ‘Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness’ is a mighty funny way to describe a Grecian urn, one can be reasonably certain that he would not be Europe’s greatest enthusiast for Foucault, psychoanalysis, agitprop, Dadaism, anarchism or separatist feminism. All of these phenomena, one imagines, would be as distasteful to his brisk, bloodless rationality as the virgin birth. Yet one can of course be an atheist and a fervent fan of them all. His God-hating, then, is by no means simply the view of a scientist admirably cleansed of prejudice. It belongs to a specific cultural context. One would not expect to muster many votes for either anarchism or the virgin birth in North Oxford.

    Dawkins, exactly like Stephen Pinker, conflates his specific cultural context with rationality as such, and is unable to appreciate how anyone might reasonably disagree with him. Since he doesn’t think there’s anything that theology could even so much as refer to, he doesn’t see the point of reading Tillich, Rahner, or Cone. But that doesn’t stop him from opining about how nonsensical theology must be. It’s an attitude just as anti-intellectual and reprehensible as that of conservatives who wax hysterical about “cultural Marxism” and “critical race theory”.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    PM1: “Jblais and I are still having an enjoyable little sparring match, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

    What tricks? Are you going to bite Jblais’ legs off? 🙂

    Monty Python – The Black Knight – Tis But A Scratch
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs

  28. 28
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    What tricks? Are you going to bite his legs off?

    Of course not. I’m going to turn him into a Scotsman. It’s the only way to win Wimbledon.

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    PM1@

    Jblais and I are still having an enjoyable little sparring match, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

    Is truth among them? Do you hold that the Truth exists PM1? Do you hold that there is only one Truth and one Truth only?

  30. 30
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 8,

    Problem #1: Military aviators do not design anything. A requirement is issued for an aircraft with a certain speed, range and bomb load plus a weight requirement. Aerospace engineers then hand in proposals. If something is selected, a test example is built. Regular pilots do not fly it, only test pilots. After various successful shake-down flights, it is ordered into production. Then regular pilots get to fly it.

    Problem #2. NASA and Richard Dawkins would certainly like a word with you about this.

    “Whether the Universe is one of pitiless indifference or a divine Creation is largely irrelevant.”

    You have a worldview, it’s quite obvious. You live in Seversky Land where you, and only you, get to decide whatever. Anyone attempting to stop you from making your own choice is like a poison to be avoided.

    Problem #3: Apologetics are to clarify and add explanatory material. It would not surprise me that anything you consider ‘contradictory’ in the Bible has been asked about and answered already.

    Problem #4:

    “Are you saying that you only know whether something is good or bad is if your God tells you?

    “If one human being shoots and kills another is that good or bad? If the killing is committed in the course of a robbery or out of malice we would say it was bad but if it was done in self-defense or to protect the life of another we might judge it to be good. However, the Sixth Commandment is usually expressed as “Thou shalt not kill”. There are no caveats, qualifications or exceptions. It is we who choose the narrower interpretation of “Thou shalt not murder”’

    You show again that you are no Bible scholar and, in at least this case, you want the Bible to say what you want it to say. Self-defense is legitimate. I have seen unpublished photos of American troops having Mass in the field during World War II.

    Problem #5: Since you say there is no God around today to consult, what is your default position? The words of men? Books by men you admire that you’ve read?

  31. 31
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 9,

    ‘Maybe’ this or maybe that is not a good answer. If you are over the age of 30 I’m sure you have made plenty of decisions that did not involve maybe but a definite decision. And once again, men are not the best or highest standard.

  32. 32
    relatd says:

    CD at 10,

    None of us could ‘make up’ your responses. Just sayin’.

  33. 33
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 12,

    “Reductionism, in this sense, is just another name for an honest desire to understand how things work.”

    “The Blind Watchmaker (1986), Richard Dawkins”

    Do you think a blind man could invent and make a watch?

  34. 34
    relatd says:

    CD at 13,

    And here folks, we have nothing worth noting or remembering.

  35. 35
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 18,

    People on the internet can be wrong? Post nonsense? Illogical junk? Sure. But some people don’t. I keep track of those comments since they are worth reading.

  36. 36
    relatd says:

    Ba77 at 20,

    The following should be realized by all.

    “… reductive materialism happens to be the absurd atheistic philosophy which currently dominates science and our school systems”

  37. 37
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 26,

    “Conservatives,” as you call them, have been watching the antics of the cultural manipulators quite closely. Watching their attempts to infect others, especially the young, with their “What WE prefer” talk. I read it, understand it and then reject it.

    Right now, I am seeing another run at the ‘fake goals’ of the 1960s, relabeled and repackaged. The Total Strangers in charge of all this think no one is paying attention? We are.

  38. 38
    AaronS1978 says:

    Lol

    “Reductionism, in this sense, is just another name for an honest desire to understand how things work.”

    This absolutely blows my mind, what a cheery and optimistic way of looking at something that is used quite often simply to reduce and destroy meaning for things other people value.

    Reductionism is a tool, so I don’t completely blame the tool, like I don’t blame a gun for the damage it does, but the people that use it are often enthusiastic nihilists of whom I do blame.

    We have a plethora of examples of scientific individuals, miss using the idea of reductionism. This site alone has them posted all over.

    How many times have we heard atheists like Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins reduce the values of life (particularly religion, and the consciousness) to chemical reactions

    There’s no reason for them to do that, and it doesn’t help them get a higher understanding of them. They use it to strictly undercut religious concepts, love, and the mind (specifically in relation to the soul)

    The tactic seems to be if you reduce it to nothing with explanations it will go away.

    Helen Fisher is a good example of someone they got burnt by the concept of love (married 6 months and then divorced) and has made a career out of reducing the concept of love to biological chemicals in the brain.

    Paul Zak is another good example of making a career out of reducing human mortality, love, and trust to oxytocin very like influence by his not great childhood.. His fallacious little Crusade finally came crashing down when we discovered the real functionality of oxytocin and it is most certainly not the love hormone.

    Nancy Segal and her bazaar obsession with twin studies, stems directly from her fraternal twin and her need to reduce everything to genetics. She’s been called out for being a genetic determinist multiple times and tries to skate by that in interviews, misuses twin studies to support her personal view and her study methods are very sloppy.

    People often use reductionism with an exceptional amount of bias. It can be helpful, but it is often abused by a certain type of philosophical atheist that really doesn’t like religion

  39. 39
    whistler says:

    Who remembers the logo of EA game company:” Challenge everything!”? We ,as kids, didn’t understand this was a self-defeating statement . All leftist ,progressive statements are self-defeating statements and we have plenty of examples here on UD : Seversky, PyrrhoManiac1, chuckdarwin , Viola Lee, JVL, etc.

  40. 40
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @39

    All leftist ,progressive statements are self-defeating statements and we have plenty of examples here on UD : Seversky, PyrrhoManiac1, chuckdarwin , Viola Lee, JVL, etc.

    Just curious: can you actually identify any specific claim I’ve made as being “self-defeating”? Or are you just assuming that I must have made a self-defeating claim, because that’s what people with my kind of politics (or more precisely, what you imagine my politics to be) do?

    (Apart from some arguments I’ve made about why it would be an error to judge Marx’s critique of capitalism based solely on the Soviet Union’s body-count, what have I actually said to reveal what my politics even are?)

  41. 41
    Seversky says:

    PyrrhoManiac1/26

    My view on Dawkins’s “atheism” is precisely that of Terry Eagleton:

    I think Eagleton’s acerbic review makes good points although it’s not helped when he veers towards ad hominem. That said, I find little to disagree with in his final paragraph except one claim.

    Apart from the occasional perfunctory gesture to ‘sophisticated’ religious believers, Dawkins tends to see religion and fundamentalist religion as one and the same. This is not only grotesquely false; it is also a device to outflank any more reflective kind of faith by implying that it belongs to the coterie and not to the mass. The huge numbers of believers who hold something like the theology I outlined above can thus be conveniently lumped with rednecks who murder abortionists and malign homosexuals. As far as such outrages go, however, The God Delusion does a very fine job indeed. The two most deadly texts on the planet, apart perhaps from Donald Rumsfeld’s emails, are the Bible and the Koran; and Dawkins, as one the best of liberals as well as one of the worst, has done a magnificent job over the years of speaking out against that particular strain of psychopathology known as fundamentalism, whether Texan or Taliban. He is right to repudiate the brand of mealy-mouthed liberalism which believes that one has to respect other people’s silly or obnoxious ideas just because they are other people’s. In its admirably angry way, The God Delusion argues that the status of atheists in the US is nowadays about the same as that of gays fifty years ago. The book is full of vivid vignettes of the sheer horrors of religion, fundamentalist or otherwise. Nearly 50 per cent of Americans believe that a glorious Second Coming is imminent, and some of them are doing their damnedest to bring it about. But Dawkins could have told us all this without being so appallingly bitchy about those of his scientific colleagues who disagree with him, and without being so theologically illiterate. He might also have avoided being the second most frequently mentioned individual in his book – if you count God as an individual.

    The one allegation I would take issue with is Dawkins’ theological illiteracy, often expressed as a lack of familiarity with the fine details of modern sophisticated theology. I don’t know what Dawkins has read about theology, modern or otherwise, and the criticism might well be true but my question would be, so what? Belief in the existence of God is fundamental to Christianity. Pull that out from under and the whole apologetics edifice comes tumbling down like a pack of cards. Theological disputes become little different from Star Wars and Star Trek fans squabbling over whether a Galaxy-class starship could defeat an Imperial Star Destroyer in open battle. The only real difference is that the fans are – mostly – aware that the objects of their veneration are fictional.

    And the antipathy felt by Dawkins and other atheists towards organized religion is understandable in the context of how atheists have been viewed and treated in the past and to a lesser extent now as illustrated by this article:

    Why Are Americans Still Uncomfortable with Atheism?

    […]

    Daniel Seeger was twenty-one when he wrote to his local draft board to say, “I have concluded that war, from the practical standpoint, is futile and self-defeating, and from the more important moral standpoint, it is unethical.” Some time later, he received the United States Selective Service System’s Form 150, asking him to detail his objections to military service. It took him a few days to reply, because he had no answer for the form’s first question: “Do you believe in a Supreme Being?”

    Unsatisfied with the two available options—“Yes” and “No”—Seeger finally decided to draw and check a third box: “See attached pages.” There were eight of those pages, and in them he described reading Plato, Aristotle, and Spinoza, all of whom “evolved comprehensive ethical systems of intellectual and moral integrity without belief in God,” and concluded that “the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven, and the essence of His nature cannot be determined.” For good measure, Seeger also used scare quotes and strike-throughs to doctor the printed statement he was required to sign, so that it read, “I am, by reason of my ‘religious’ training and belief, conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.”

    By the time Seeger submitted his form, in the late nineteen-fifties, thousands of conscientious objectors in the U.S. had refused to fight in the two World Wars. Those who belonged to pacifist religious traditions, such as Mennonites and Quakers, were sent to war as noncombatants or to work as farmers or firefighters on the home front through the Civilian Public Service; eventually, so were those who could prove their own independent, religiously motivated pacifism. Those who could not were sent to prison or to labor camps. But while Selective Service laws had been revised again and again to clarify the criteria for conscientious objection, they still did not account for young men who, like Seeger, refused to say that their opposition to war came from belief in a Supreme Being.

    […]

    When Seeger’s local board was unmoved by his argument, he took it all the way to the Supreme Court, where, in 1965, the Justices found unanimously that a draftee did not need to believe in God in order to have a conscience that could object.

    Seeger’s victory helped mark a turning point for a minority that had once been denied so much as the right to testify in court, even in their own defense. Atheists, long discriminated against by civil authorities and derided by their fellow-citizens, were suddenly eligible for some of the exemptions and protections that had previously been restricted to believers. But, in the decades since U.S. v. Seeger, despite an increase in the number of people who identify as nonbelievers, their standing before the courts and in the public sphere has been slow to improve. Americans, in large numbers, still do not want atheists teaching their children, or marrying them. They would, according to surveys, prefer a female, gay, Mormon, or Muslim President to having an atheist in the White House, and some of them do not object to attempts to keep nonbelievers from holding other offices, even when the office is that of notary public. Atheists are not welcome in the Masonic Lodge, and while the Boy Scouts of America has opened its organization to gays and to girls, it continues to bar any participant who will not pledge “to do my duty to God.”

    Such discrimination is both a cause and an effect of the crude way in which we parse belief, which has barely changed since Daniel Seeger completed his C.O. application: check “Yes” and endless questions follow; check “No” and the questioning ends. Lack of belief in God is still too often taken to mean the absence of any other meaningful moral beliefs, and that has made atheists an easy minority to revile. This is especially true in America, where an insistence on the idea that we are a Christian nation has tied patriotism to religiosity, leading to such strange paroxysms as the one produced by President Trump at last year’s Values Voter Summit: “In America, we don’t worship government—we worship God.”

    I would only add that when I saw Christian Evangelical clergy perform a laying-on-of-hands on then-President Donald Trump and claims emerging that he was anointed by God to lead the country back to greatness without any forthright repudiation of what, when I was still a Christian, would have been considered blasphemy, I could well understand how Dawkins and other atheists felt.

  42. 42
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 41,

    Here’s the formula:

    Create alleged victim group.
    Collect the worst anti-victim group examples available.
    Present to the public and hope for >> outrage <<.

    Throughout my life, my first question to any strangers I meet is not "Are you an atheist?" However, during the 1960s, the U.S. Government told all Americans that we were in a struggle with "Godless Communism." Imagine that. A country where the official State "religion" was atheism.

    So before you go after "Christian Evangelicals," who, as I understand it, are the embodiment of bad Christianity, consider the crimes of the Soviet Union where a neighbor could report a neighbor for saying something bad against the State.

    I want to like everyone. I've always felt that way. But the Left's goal of creating groups of victims and groups of enemies is classic Marxist Class Warfare. Instead of working out our differences in a truly civil way, the Left has created the Enemies Class and the Victims Class. I'm sure you know who's on both lists.

    The Left also believes, through self-appointment, that it is the ONLY means of solving problems. It has given itself a quasi-moral authority that denies to ALL religious leaders ANY moral authority.

    It is Judge.
    It is Jury.
    And it is Social Executioner.

    Because The Left – and ONLY The Left – knows that deep down, EVERYBODY is a Racist, Homophobe, Anti-this and Anti-that.

    The Left is the self-proclaimed OFFICIAL ACCUSER of all men.

    Don't look now friends, but we're talking about a Dictatorship here. The Left can and does act as a group of DICTATORS.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    jerry says:

    Relevant to the question in the OP, one side has all the advantage.

    No place in our universe is there a coherent discussion of why atheism is true. There are however thousands of coherent discussions for a creator. So the question in the OP is inane.

    Aside: there is a rhetorical trick going on in the video. All the atheist supporters are made to look unappealing.

  45. 45
    jerry says:

    I am currently on a cruise, just closely passed KF’s Monserrat a couple days ago.

    I have been going through old comments and organizing them. Here is one from almost 17 years ago that is relevant.

    As some have said, faith has many connotations. I am not sure I agree with the first entry in the American Heritage Dictionary that Barry offered. Faith must have a significant component of doubt. Several years ago I had a discussion with a Jewish gentleman who was an adjunct professor and we were sharing the same office while teaching. He said faith must always have doubt attached to it otherwise it isn’t faith and I bought his argument because it seemed to apply to my understanding of faith. We do not have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow or as Mark Frank said that 2 + 2 = 4. We have knowledge. People have faith that God gave Moses the ten commandments or that Christ rose from the dead or that an angel spoke to Mohammed in a cave or that there will be a life after death or in the personal area that someone we know very well will support us in time of need. There is no hard proof of any of these. On the other hand faith does not mean there is no evidence but only that no conclusive evidence exists and there is the possibility that what we believe may not be true.

    Under this definition, atheism is a faith. There has to be doubts about it. It hard to imagine what Mark Frank says that they can see no evidence for a Deity especially for someone as educated as Dawkins. That has to be nonsense. I could go into the litany of arguments that we all know pointing to design in the universe and in life. Even Dawkins must know some if not all of them. It does not mean he believes any of the litany but only that he knows they have some merit and might be a possibility. So even Dawkins and other atheists 1) believes something independently of logic and evidence (the arguments for design are over whelming) or 2) has some doubts about his position and thus either way his atheism is faith according to both Mark Frank’s and the definition I prefer.

  46. 46
    Seversky says:

    Atheists Vs Christians: Who Makes The Better Claims ?

    Agnostics.

  47. 47
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 46,

    Ah, the middle-of-the-roaders.

  48. 48
    AaronS1978 says:

    I feel most of the arguments against God are just arguments of dissatisfaction, and really don’t have any bearing on God’s existence

    Richard Dawkins argument about the left recurrent laryngeal nerve has no bearing on whether something was designed, or whether God exists. It’s honestly silly.

    His argument is consistent with someone bitching about some feature on Microsoft Windows, declaring it’s poorly designed, and then claiming that Bill Gates doesn’t exist because of it.

  49. 49
    martin_r says:

    Aaron @48

    Richard Dawkins argument about the left recurrent laryngeal nerve has no bearing on whether something was designed, or whether God exists. It’s honestly silly.

    As to laryng. nerve thing.
    (I said the following before, I will say it again.)

    As you said, it is silly and beyond absurd.

    Perhaps you know that I am a mechanical engineer (with decent background in IT).

    There are 10,000,000 of kind of species on this planet.
    Let’s say, that each of these species is made of 1000 of parts.

    That means, 10,000,000 x 1000 = 10,000,000,000 parts.

    How many design “flaws” did these Darwinian clowns find ? Out of 10,000,000,000 parts ?

    Laryng. nerve? :))))))

    This alone should rise eyebrows :))))

    Each species is an engineering masterpiece.

    Seriously, these people are not normal … that is for sure.

  50. 50
    Seversky says:

    Proof of God

    Here there comes a practical question which has often troubled me. Whenever I go into a foreign country or a prison or any similar place they always ask me what is my religion.

    I never know whether I should say “Agnostic” or whether I should say “Atheist”. It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.

    On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

    None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof.

    Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line.

    — Bertrand Russell (1947)

  51. 51
    jerry says:

    Bertrand Russell

    Smart, yet he was so screwed up on his thinking.

    Zeus makes more sense than his beliefs.

  52. 52
    ram says:

    It comes down to a matter of brain programming.

    Die and find out what’s really going on. Afterlife/priorlife/no-life. We’ll all see.

    It’s that simple.

    Everyone has their view and you can argue till the cows come home.

    Not going to settle the matter.

    I’m a theist/creationist, of no particular religion, and I really hope I’m wrong.

    Die and find out what’s going on.

    Everything else is chin music.

    RAM (I love you all!)

    P.S. a good friend of mine died suddenly Sunday from heat failure at 63. Probably a good idea to be ready. At any age. At least for anyone who cares about death.

    Death. It’s coming for you.

  53. 53
    relatd says:

    Ram at 52,

    For the sake of others here, finding out after death will mean some will not repent and ask Jesus to come into their lives. Our lives are not our own. Judgment, not Death, is the key thing to think about.

    Hebrews 9:27

    “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,”

  54. 54
    Origenes says:

    Wiki on Bertrand Russell:

    For the advancement of science and protection of liberty of expression, Russell advocated The Will to Doubt, the recognition that all human knowledge is at most a best guess, that one should always remember:
    B.Russell : None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error. ….

    Question to my fellow forum members: what is the problem with uncle Bert’s opening sentence? What did he overlook?

  55. 55
    vividbleau says:

    O
    “None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error. …”

    If true at least one of our beliefs, not “none”, are true.

    Vivid

  56. 56
    vividbleau says:

    Ram
    “Die and find out what’s really going on. Afterlife/priorlife/no-life. We’ll all see.

    It’s that simple.”

    Yes it is!

    Love ya back!

    Vivid

  57. 57
    Origenes says:

    Vivid @55
    Right.
    Jim Slagle puts it like this:

    …. those who claim that all beliefs, acts of reasoning, etc., are nonveracious are positing a closed circle in which no beliefs are produced by the proper methods by which beliefs can be said to be veracious or rational. Yet at the same time, they are arrogating to themselves a position outside of this circle by which they can judge the beliefs of others, a move they deny to their opponents. Since the raison d’être of their thesis is that there is no outside of the circle, they do not have the epistemic right to assume a position independent of it, and so their beliefs about the nonveracity of beliefs or reasoning are just as nonveracious as those they criticize. If all of the beliefs inside the circle are suspect, we cannot judge between truth and falsity, since any such judgment would be just as suspect as what it seeks to adjudicate. We would have to seek another argument, another chain of reasoning, another set of beliefs, by which we can judge the judgment—and a third set to judge the judgment of the judgment, ad infinitum. At no point can they step out of the circle to a transcendent standpoint that would allow them to reject some beliefs as tainted while remaining untainted themselves.

    Stupid uncle Bert ….

  58. 58
    Querius says:

    Ram @52,

    Condolences for your friend and your friend’s family!

    I’m a theist/creationist, of no particular religion, and I really hope I’m wrong.

    Here are some thoughts. The world is filled with astonishing design of incredible complexity and beauty. Is there design or purpose for humanity beyond that of the great apes? If so, HOW would one expect to find out?

    For some reason, humanity is able to recognize beauty, justice, and evil. Are these real or simply neural illusions?

    Quantum mechanics demonstrates that human choice and consciousness can alter reality by collapsing probability waves into particles, so it would seem that consciousness and choice transcend the reality that it’s able to minutely control. so . . .

    Is it possible that what we consider reality is a filter, a stage, or a sandbox of some kind? If so, what might its purpose, especially considering your theism.

    Are we being filtered on IQ, athletic ability, business acumen, philosophical achievement, killing the most people in the name of social justice (kidding) or something else?

    Everyone has their view and you can argue till the cows come home.

    Definitely! So, that’s not the route to take.

    Die and find out what’s going on.

    Or maybe someone who died and came back . . . if you trust their story.

    Kind regards,

    -Q

  59. 59
    relatd says:

    Origenes at 54,

    Bertrand Russell is a man who prefers vagueness. Such people should not be allowed to drive.

  60. 60
    Seversky says:

    Bertrand Russell is a man who is honest enough to confront the reality that there is a lot we don’t know about the world – including ourselves – and strong enough to live with that unavoidable uncertainty. You can see the world in binary black-and-white if you prefer the simplicity – if it makes you feel better – but don’t kid yourselves that it’s more accurate because there is a whole lot you’ll be missing out.

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    Bertrand Russell is a man strong enough to want to project his own befuddlement onto others and lecture them on the “uncertainty” of their beliefs while baselessly arrogating a position of alleged superior understanding to himself.

  62. 62
    vividbleau says:

    O 61

    Well stated.

    “but don’t kid yourselves that it’s more accurate because there is a whole lot you’ll be missing out.”

    Black and white much?

    Vivid

  63. 63
    AaronS1978 says:

    Oh thanks Sev for reminding me of the atheist argument of intellectual arrogance and the delusion of being brave, because you believe in an unpopular idea.

  64. 64
    jerry says:

    Was Bertrand Russell a person to justify his beliefs?

    No. Nor is anyone who challenges ID.

  65. 65
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 60,

    “… but don’t kid yourselves that it’s more accurate because there is a whole lot you’ll be missing out.”

    Tell us about this ‘whole lot.’ A list of what I might be missing out on would be helpful.

  66. 66
    Seversky says:

    AaronS1978/63

    Oh thanks Sev for reminding me of the atheist argument of intellectual arrogance and the delusion of being brave, because you believe in an unpopular idea.

    President George H W Bush, in an interview in 1987, was asked if he recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists. He replied, “No, I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

    Is that what you believe?

  67. 67
    Seversky says:

    Relatd/59

    Bertrand Russell is a man who prefers vagueness. Such people should not be allowed to drive.

    Would you prefer the arrogance of pretending to a certainty you don’t have?

  68. 68
  69. 69
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 67,

    I disapprove of the arrogance of the Woke Mob who believes that they are perfect and are THE ANSWER to all social problems. I was taught right and wrong along with my contemporaries. I have no reason to change what I was taught since it’s all been proven true.

    I’m waiting for your list of “things I might be missing out on.”

  70. 70
  71. 71
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 70,

    If those statements about George Bush senior, and others, are true, why didn’t atheists go to the Supreme Court or the ACLU?

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky is upset about a very questionable quote denigrating atheists?

    The Claim is that George H.W. Bush said this at an airport while he was Vice President in 1987. The person who claimed Bush made the statement was Rob Sherman, who was writing an article about Bush for American Atheists magazine.

    There is little proof that Bush actually made the comments. There is no video or audio recording, nor were there any other witnesses to the comment to corroborate it. Sherman did not even take contemporary notes at the time. Sherman seems to indicate that other reporters were there and recorded the conversation, but that none of them bothered to save those recording or to report on those sensational comments at the time. If any other reporter did hear the Vice President say that, you can be sure they would have reported it. Given that Bush has never said anything else like that before or after, I find it hard to believe that he would make such a comment.
    https://www.quora.com/In-an-interview-did-George-W-Bush-really-say-atheists-shouldnt-be-considered-full-citizens-because-America-is-a-nation-under-God

    If Seversky is really concerned with equal treatment between Christians and atheists, then why is Seversky not even more upset that atheists persecute Christians in academia with impunity? Or is it only OK for atheists to ruin a Christian’s livelihood, whilst even saying anything derogatory about atheists is to be punished and strictly forbidden? That’s a pretty unbalanced scale of justice you have there Sev.

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (full movie)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EPymcWp-g

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    Volume 1 of a trilogy, the disturbing premise of this book documents widespread discrimination by Darwin loyalists against Darwin skeptics in academia and within the scientific community. Multiple case studies expose the tactics used to destroy the careers of Darwin skeptics, denying them earned degrees and awards, tenure, and other career benefits offered to non-skeptics. The book exposes how freedom of speech and freedom of expression are widely promoted as not applicable to Darwin doubters, and reveals the depth and extent of hostility and bigotry exhibited towards those who would dare to question Darwinism. The book also shows how even the slightest hint of sympathy for Darwin Doubters often results in a vigorous and rabid response from those who believe such sympathies represent an attack on science itself.,,,
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Discrimination (by Darwinists) is a pervasive reality in the scientific (and education) world. It’s also a hidden reality.
    Scott Minnich
    Richard Sternberg
    Günter Bechly
    Eric Hedin
    Don McDonald
    David Coppedge
    Caroline Crocker
    Bryan Leonard
    Martin Gaskell
    Dean Kenyon
    Roger DeHart
    Granville Sewell
    https://freescience.today/stories/
    Here are many more examples of discrimination against people who dare question Darwinism
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/review-of-darwins-doubt-slams-id-theorists-for-not-publishing-in-darwinist-run-journals/

  73. 73
    ram says:

    relatd, the New Testament is loaded with false prophecies, false proof texting, and contradictions.

    Maybe you should be a little humble.

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    Who Wrote the Gospels? – Dr. Timothy McGrew – Week 1 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gldvim1yjYM

    The Gospels as History: – Dr. Timothy McGrew – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAPG3eECaxw

    Alleged Historic Errors in the Gospels – Dr. Timothy McGrew – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKzSV8bWKk0

    Alleged Contradictions in the Gospels – Dr. Timothy McGrew – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJizWvoGCIg

    Tim McGrew – Undesigned coincidences – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLe1tMOs8ARn08J6XcziBKENY6GDdIP7LI

  75. 75
    relatd says:

    Ram at 73,

    Your claims about the New Testament are not supported by Catholic teaching. Humility is not required. Avoiding error and false accusations is required. I first became aware of attempts to discredit parts of the Bible through an ad in a late 1950s magazine.

  76. 76
    Querius says:

    Ram @73,

    . . . the New Testament is loaded with false prophecies, false proof texting, and contradictions.

    As you and I both know, this subject has been debated for nearly 2,000 years. Let me again make the points that

    Yeshua Ha’Nazaret was an orthodox Jew. He was not a “Christian.”

    • The only scriptures Yeshua used was the Tanakh. The B’rit Chadashah hadn’t been written yet.

    • The term “Christian” was used as a derogatory name for the disciples of Yeshua until as late as 170 C.E.

    Both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud mention something miraculous that happened around 30 CE (which also happens to be when Yeshua was crucified):

    “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple [in 70 AD], the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open.” – Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, p.156-157

    “Our rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-colored strap become white; nor did the western most light shine; and the doors of the Hekel [Temple] would open by themselves.” – Soncino version, Yoma 39b

    Isn’t that strange?

    Do you believe that the Tanakh is also loaded with false prophecies, false proof texting, and contradictions? Surely you must scoff at absolutely crazy prophecies claiming

    • That there will be an invasion of Israel from the North from what’s now called Iran, Turkey, southern Russia, and several other countries.

    • That the countries of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria are missing from the invasion.

    • That the southern Arab States will be suspicious and object to the plan.

    The prophecy goes on to state that there will be a massive earthquake and that Hashem will step in and annihilate the attackers on the mountains of Israel.

    Another prophecy says that Jerusalem will be surrounded and that the weakest of the defenders will fight like David and the strongest like Hashem.

    Surely you would agree that such an attack against Israel could never happen in this day and age, right?

    -Q

  77. 77
    whistler says:

    Ram
    relatd, the New Testament is loaded with false prophecies, false proof texting, and contradictions.

    Maybe you should be a little humble.

    :)) A clown would do anything to be noticed.

  78. 78
    ram says:

    related: Your claims about the New Testament are not supported by Catholic teaching.

    Who gives a crap about that?

  79. 79
    ram says:

    Querius, if you’re really interested, let’s go elsewhere and discuss the problems.

  80. 80
    Querius says:

    Ram @79,

    Thanks for the offer. Please know that

    * Over several months, I’ve completed a class in Judaism at a synagogue involving at least a half dozen books on the subject, including all the objections raised against Yeshua as Moshiach.

    * I’ve also spend at least as much time studying the Tanakh as the B’rit Chadashah. Some of that time is spent in researching the Dead Sea Scrolls and comparing the Greek Septuagint (c. 250 BCE) with the Masoretic text and its Rabbinic recensions.

    * I’ve listened to a number lively scholarly debates between Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews.

    Thus, I hope you will at least grant me that the grounds for my trust in Yeshua is not cultural.

    Realistically, I have no doubt that you cannot be convinced either of the teachings of the Rabbis nor the reality of the Messiah without some profound intervention for several massive reasons. In the meantime, consider this passage written to you by one of your own prophets:

    Zecharyah 12: 8-10 (Orthodox Jewish Bible)
    8 In Yom Hahu shall Hashem defend the inhabitants of Yerushalayim; and he that is feeble among them in Yom Hahu shall be like Dovid; and the Bais Dovid shall be like Elohim, like the Malach Hashem before them.

    9 And it shall come to pass in Yom Hahu, that I will seek to destroy kol HaGoyim that attack Yerushalayim.

    10 And I will pour upon the Bais Dovid, and upon the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, the Ruach (Spirit) of Chen (grace) and of Tachanunim (supplications for favor); and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced [dakar, “pierce through” cf. Yeshayah 53:5; Targum HaShivim Tehillim 22:17], and they shall mourn for Him (Moshiach) as one mourneth for his yachid (only son), and shall grieve in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his bechor (firstborn).

    11 In Yom Hahu shall there be a great mourning in Yerushalayim, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

    Let me suggest that your own eyes will see this day.

    Yes, this is more appropriately covered in a different forum.

    Kindest regards,
    -Q

  81. 81
    ram says:

    Querius,

    This kicks the teeth out of the Christian views of Zech 12 in two difference ways:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcWXDZdoxcQ

    https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/analysis-of-zechariah-1210

    Enjoy,
    Ram

Leave a Reply