(1000 Posts)
Januarymadness Wed 24-Apr-13 21:05:41

Right I am going to bite. I shouldnt have looked at the facebook but I did.

Mr Ruggles you have made some horrible accusations. You have claimed everyone who disagreed with you was an atheist who lacked logic and reasoning. You were wrong on ALL counts. Many people told you they were Christian or Theists, they just didn't agree with you. The thread was also full of valid scientific arguments which were well worded and full of logic and reasoning.

You have also accused us all of being bullies. Something I saw no evidence of. Not agreeing with someone is not bullying.

So please do feel free to justify your off board comments here as speaking behind peoples backs is really not on.

Please could someone link to the old thread. Thanks

BestValue Tue 07-May-13 23:40:49

*"This is very clear, break my rules and you will be punished."

"Again, punishment for breaking the rules and significant reward for following them. This isn't even in a bizarre, mistakable part of the bible. It's the 10 commandments."

I see these an analogous to a parent telling a child not to run out into the street or not to touch the hot stove or they will get a spanking. Or telling them if they are on their best behaviour at the supermarket they will get a cookie when they get home. But as January mentioned, a parent is trying to teach her child to do right for the right reasons.

"Actually I'm fortunate enough not to have had to punish my son yet. He's only 2."

I'm glad to hear that. I'd say give it a while. ;^)

"*But being a parent, I don't understand what you call "god's love" at all, because quite clearly god 'loves' by threatening punishment."*

Only if you think of it very superficially. I think a parent better than anyone should understand God's love for His children. In fact, I might be so bold as to suggest that this is one of the main reasons God encourages us to have children - to better understand His love. That's also why He encourages us to study science - to better appreciate His power and the amazing universe He has made.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 08-May-13 00:02:03

I see these an analogous to a parent telling a child not to run out into the street or not to touch the hot stove or they will get a spanking.

I see it as analogous to a parent telling a child that they will deliver punishment upon their child and their child's children and grandchildren and great grandchildren if they look upon another person as if they were their parent. But, you know, I'm just reading what's written. Obviously there's some 'special christian' way of reading which makes words mean different things.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 08-May-13 00:03:48

God's love is disgusting and I hope I never ever deliver the pain and suffering that the god of the bible wishes on the infidels.

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 00:38:24

You only punish a child to keep them safe if you aren't a good enough parent to deal with it in a better way...

Once again there is a remarkable similarity between the love of God for his children and the ideas about child rearing present 2000 years ago.

How is it that humans now know better than God how to be a good parent?

Once again I would make the point that bible could not possibly be so full of contradictions, mistakes and shoddy ethics if it was the literal word of an omnipotent God.

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 00:41:42

Also gutted there is no rebuttal of my evidence against the existence of god...oh well.

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 01:01:08

"I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about quantum mechanics but I just don't find it reasonable or credible to deny the law of causality upon which all science is based. If it can be demonstrated conclusively that matter can pop into existence without a cause, then I will have to believe it but for now it simply requires more faith than I've got. That's the closest I will ever get to making a God-of-the Gaps argument or an argument from personal incredulity. I just have not seen any good evidence that something can pop into existence from nothing uncaused."

A quantum fluctuation is the temporary appearance of energetic particles out of empty space, as allowed by the Uncertainty Principle and Pauli's principle. For example, a particle pair can pop out of the vacuum during a very short time interval.

I work in a building with people who both calculate and measure such events. They are real.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 01:21:30

Hey guys, as we are nearing the half-way point of this second thread, I've been doing some reflecting and have a few things I would like to say.

First, when I am writing my responses to your posts it is often late at night and I am stressed. I don't type fast and make a lot of mistakes. The next day or a few days later when I re-read what I wrote, sometimes I think, "Did I really say that?" Sometimes my words come out stronger than I intend. I apologize if I have made anyone feel bad or implied that you are stupid or evil for not seeing things the same way I do.

Second, I read a post from a Christian on my FaceBook tonight whom I do not know personally. He was having an online debate with an atheist and . . . well, let's just say I could see a lot of myself in him. For a moment, I caught a glimpse of how some of you must view me. I didn't like what I saw. I understand why some of you might think I am obstinate, arrogant and even rude. If I leave this forum giving you a bad impression of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because of my conduct, I have failed. I am not conveying the type of person that I want to be.

Again, I deeply apologize if I have offended anyone and I hope to conclude this discussion on a more positive note than the last one. I felt I needed to say that. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. smile

EllieArroway Wed 08-May-13 02:53:38


I think Einstein got pretty sick of people trying to claim him as one of their own. He was not a fan of the atheist movement back then, but that doesn't mean he wasn't one. His most famous quote of course is:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it

Most people misunderstand "personal" here. He doesn't mean personal to him, he means personal as in "a person" or having "person like" attributes.

Einstein was an atheist. Sorry.

Hitler wasn't though, if that makes you feel better wink

And yes, strictly speaking an agnostic is an atheist - and they get very annoyed with me for telling them that.

Oh, and - although I can't speak for anyone else - you haven't said anything remotely offensive that I can see.....and you've toned down the arrogance that was, imo, quite overwhelming in the last thread, intentional or not.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 06:54:48

I believe it's only been recently that atheism has been defined as a lack of belief in God. Webster's Dictionary still defines it as disbelief in God and this is what it means in philosophy. But atheists always like to redefine words to suit their agenda. (They do the same with "faith.") So if you want to play hardball, I'll say that even YOU are not an atheist. wink

Einstein was not an atheist. Neither was Darwin. They both specifically rejected it. Next, you're going to tell me that Hitler was a Christian (or that because I'm claiming Einstein wasn't an atheist, I think that somehow proves God.)

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 09:09:28

So this three element proof...

Everything must have a cause.....except quantum fluctuations show that stuff can turn up whenever, not so much.

The universe looks designed....except it doesn't it looks random and thrown fact if I were to design a universe it would be way way more organised....and I make no claims to omnipotence not so much.

There are moral absolutes....except that there aren' fact I find the idea of moral absolutes to be another slice of evil. Again if I were organising the universe I certainly wouldn't write down in black and white what was moral and not and then 'design' people for whom following the rules breaks the very nature of their being. But then I am not a sadistic God..

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 09:11:20

I don't think it is possible to be rational and disbelieve in the possibility of existence of any god's a big universe.

It is totally possible to be rational and disbelieve in the christian concept of a benevolent interested god.

I am the second type of atheist....I disbelieve in the existence of a christian god.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 09:33:10

"My theological argument:"

I appreciated this, ICBINEG. Very raw and honest. Thank you. I'll give a few comments.

"Personal: I have very slight bi-polar personality issues. There are the vast vast majority of normal days (like today - phew), there are rare depressive days when I know in my body, mind and soul that I am hated. The Universe hates me and would destroy me if it wasn't more fun to make me suffer. I have much much rarer manic days when I know in my body, mind and soul that I am loved. That the Universe is looking out for me and my soul will live forever."

This is kind of poetic and heart-wrenching at the same time. You should write a novel.

"Observational: 1. That in the history of humanity we have constantly ascribed the unknowable to mystical agents and that day by day more and more of those unknowable things become known - by which I mean that we can explain them as event caused by nature/chance/coincidence and can be described by a predictive theory of natural science."

Fair enough. But in the 20th and 21st centuries more and more scientific discoveries have seemed to be best explained by intelligent causes and not random-chance processes.

"2. That a decent gamma ray burst anywhere near here would wipe out all life on earth."

Sure. Curious to know why this is relevant, though. Is this a Hitchens thing (since I know you like him)? He always points out stuff like this and then says, "Some design." Is that what you are alluding to?

"3. That a substantial number of other people believe in a higher power all of the time."

True. That could be interpreted as evidence for God's existence, no?

"4. That you can make any atheist believe in God transiently by zapping the correct area of the brain with the right sort of electromagnetic signal."

Ah, I assume you are referring to Michael Persinger's God Helmet here. He is only about an hour and half away from me and I invited him to demonstrate it on a cable access TV show I used to host and produce called 'Beyond Belief' but, alas, he couldn't make it. :^(

"5. That there is a genetic component to faith with identical twins having faith levels that are more correlated than those of fraternal twins."

That's interesting. I didn't know that. However, I have developed my own theory that, since we know mutations generally break things, the design-detector gene (if such a thing exists) in atheists is broken or defective. An evolutionary explanation for atheism.

I would predict that in MRIs there might be areas of the brain which light up in theists in response to certain stimuli that do not light up in atheist's brains. That is a testable hypothesis.

"My Conclusion: That the universe is a cold an uncaring one that will kill us without noticing (because of the GRB's)."

What are GRB's?

"That everything will one day be explained by a predictive theory of natural science (because we heading so fast in that direction - it is only a matter of time before the remaining holes are plugged)."

I predict it won't happen. The elusive Theory of Everything will remain elusive. But how long is reasonable to wait until design becomes a rational conclusion? Forever?

"That people believe in God because of their brain biochemistry, rather than because God exists (because my own brain does it sometimes and the rest of the time the whole idea seems nuts to me, and because you can externally alter the brain to reproduce the effect, and because it is only a matter of time before we isolate the genes responsible for faith)."

So those faith genes would have had to confer a survival advantage. What would that be? And if religious people kill other religious people (because as we know, all the wars in history are religious** ;^)), shouldn't we let them kill each other off so the rational people who have lost their faith genes can rule the world?

**NOTE: Less than 7% of the wars in history are classified as religious. Slightly more than half of those involved Islam - in just the past 1,400 years. We should clearly make a distinction between religions.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 09:50:32

"Occams razor and this debate -2 competing theories."

"Best - The universe is 6000 yrs old"

"*The rest of the people here- The universe is older than that."*

"*To reach your conclusion you have to start with several presumptions."*

Wait. If you're referring to the three starting assumptions at the beginning of thread #1, I clarified that. Those are assumptions I asked you all to make in order to discuss a young earth. They are not assumptions to me. The only assumptions I can think of at present that I make are:

1. I exist.
2. The world and the universe exist.
3. I can apprehend reliable data about the world and the universe through my five senses in order to conduct experiments.

"To reach our conclusions we dont have to start with any presumptions."

Yes you do and I've listed some of them and backed it up with evidence.

"We look at the evidence as it is given. Even you admit that the evidence points our way unless you presume."

No, I believe I said that the evidence points your way only if I start with your assumptions.

"Baring in mind the above you HAVE to reject Occams Razor or the only logical conclusion would be ours."

This is false. I don't reject Occam's Razor. I simply have no need of that hypothesis. (Who can tell me what I'm referencing there? You all should recognize it.)

"As you reject Occams razor in your basic argument you cannot therefore use it to support parts of that argument."

This is not at all how Occam's Razor is used. My Flood hypothesis satisfies Occam's Razor in spades as it explains the fossil record, the origin of comets, the ice age, mountain building and much more. So if we are going to employ Occam's Razor to determine which model to go with, I win hands down.

"Now we can give it a rest thanks."


BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:03:09

"No it really doesn't - altruism can make absolute genetic sense if you evolved in a society in which you are (relatively) closely related to those around you. Humans did evolve in close societies, so also evolved advantageous and complex social mechanisms to enable them to live together cooperatively (in the main)."

But what about doing something for someone from whom you have absolutely no hope of ever getting anything in return? I think Dawkins in The God Delusion called it "a blessed mistake." But why should it be blessed? Hume said you can't get an "ought" from an "is", right? Why should we value and respect altruism? Someone who gives their life for others - especially without reproducing first - is an evolutionary failure and should be subject to scorn. Besides - the altruism gene should be weeded out by natural selection.

*"Anyway I won't go into a huge amount of detail, I'm sure you've read The Selfish Gene eagerly from cover to cover yourself."

Yes, a few years ago. I didn't take it literally so I didn't believe a word of it. wink

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:11:21

"Does the Bible explain altruism? Or does it just tell you to be altruistic?"

I think the Bible explains pretty much everything if you look deep enough. Off the top of my head I would cite:

1. Jesus' instruction to us to love our enemies.
2. The parable of the Good Samaritan.
3. 1 John 4:19 - "We love because he [God] first loved us."

That's the best I've got on short notice. smile

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:16:07

"So not true Best. And who said I was an athiest?"

I wasn't specifically referring to you there, Infamous. I just meant atheists in general.

ICBINEG Wed 08-May-13 10:16:42

GRB = gamma ray bursts. If one goes off near here we are toast...theist and atheist alike.

We don't know that mutations generally break think that...but you are wrong. Vast numbers of mutations make things better or increase complexity. Sure they are only a small number of the total mutations being made...but more than enough to make more complex more interesting organisms from simpler ones.

In fact given that one of my ancestors is an amoeba, and my unshakable belief that I have more complexity, more function and have more abilities than an amoeba, I find it impossible to think that mutations can only destroy.

So that leads us to the idea that those with a 'faith gene' are either more or less evolved or more or less successful in the current environment than those without.....only time will tell....although the current direction of travel heavily implies that religion is dying out....

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:26:22

"What about atheists who were raised in a Buddhist society? Or Buddhists themselves? Or Muslims? To claim that Christianity has somehow saved the world from slavery is patent nonsense."

Hi, Lizzy. I should have been clearer. Those who stood up to slavery in the West were primarily Christian. There really wasn't much opposition to slavery (except by the slaves) in history until Christianity entered the world 2,000 years ago. This is well-documented in Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity."

I can't speak much about slavery in other countries as I haven't studied it. I know there is still much slavery going on today in China with child labour. And Hindus have the caste system and believe in Karma so if you were a slave they would probably believe that was your lot in life because you were paying a debt from a previous life.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:29:48

"the bible condones slavery because it was written by men in a time when slavery was ok. We've moved on since."

I think Infamous gets it. She does not condemn them for keeping slaves. If she were an atheist, she would be logically consistent and I commend her for it.

BestValue Wed 08-May-13 10:37:50

"Best, you said a few pages back that your imaginary friend can't, actually, do everything it wants to do. Why not? I thought that gods were supposed to be omnipotent ie they can do whatever they want."

Excellent question, SGB. I'm surprised nobody picked up on that earlier. Here are 10 things, according to Scripture that God cannot do.:

I would add that He cannot exist and not exist at the same time and He cannot make a rock so big that He Himself cannot lift it. He cannot make a square circle or a married bachelor and He cannot direct an undirected process like evolution. These are are logical impossibilities and God cannot do the logically impossible.

Thank you for being respectful (with the exception of the "imaginary friend" remark - but I forgive you.) wink

Snorbs Wed 08-May-13 10:51:26

"Does the Bible explain altruism? Or does it just tell you to be altruistic?"

You've just demonstrated my point. The Bible doesn't explain altruism, it just tells you that you should be altruistic.

An explanation for altruism from an evolutionary standpoint would presumably talk about net benefit to groups of hominids who are likely to be closely related. So if one of the group collects and shares food they all benefit which then confers an evolutionary advantage. Plus there is a net benefit for altruism on a wider, societal scale as well.

But that's a (possible) explanation. Just repeating that the Bible has stories that indicate altruism is something that makes the Abrahamic god happy isn't an explanation of anything other than that god's particular will.

LizzyDay Wed 08-May-13 10:52:36

"But what about doing something for someone from whom you have absolutely no hope of ever getting anything in return?"

I would say it has something to do with the fact that we have evolved with a tendency to behave cooperatively as social animals. Not every instance of being helpful to others will result in a genetic reward, but that's not the point - it's a numbers game.

"Besides - the altruism gene should be weeded out by natural selection."

No - not in every instance. Again, it's a numbers game. If behaving cooperatively gives a genetic advantage, however slight, then animals will tend to evolve that way. Maybe you should read the Selfish Gene again, you might not like Dawkins but his explanations are beautifully elegant and simple to understand if you make the effort.

Snorbs Wed 08-May-13 10:59:39

These are are logical impossibilities and God cannot do the logically impossible.

But allegedly he can perform miracles such as walking on water. If it was not impossible for Jesus to walk on water, what makes it so miraculous?

LizzyDay Wed 08-May-13 10:59:58

And I would also say that there's a natural variation between humans (and other animals) in the expression of altruistic behaviours. Some people are 'naturally' kinder / more social / motherly / fatherly due to genetics / hormones / brain chemistry type factors.

And obviously 'nurture' will be a large factor as well - societies and sub-societies vary for lots of complex and interacting reasons, and people will adapt behaviours accordingly.

Snorbs Wed 08-May-13 11:02:02

These are are logical impossibilities and God cannot do the logically impossible.

Talking of that, is it logically impossible for your god to do something immoral?

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