The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

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The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

 

This is it. This is the official thread that Kelly and Sapient will try to interact with as many visitors as they can. If you are new here, welcome aboard. If viewing this from the homepage you can click the title of the thread, create an account, and post your comments. Kelly and Sapient will not have time to address all the email and would like to keep all of their exchanges public for the benefit of the readers who are curious. Soon we will have a downloadable document available right from this post that will expose as many arguments as we can expose from the ABC Nightline Face Off with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Here are the highlights of the face off from our eyes...

 

Did we make mistakes in the full debate? Yes. We stumbled on a few words, made an inaccurate point or two, and made a weak point at a moment or two. Ironically our worst points still seemed to be too much for them. So while we welcome criticism, especially constructive, please keep in mind that we feel we have a good handle on what we did wrong. We'll grow, learn, and get better. What we're really hoping for in this thread is for the actual content and discussion about gods existence to be brought into question. Challenge us to continue, and we will continue to respond to your claims. If you are a theist, please feel free to post your scientific evidence for God, leaving out the miserable arguments that Ray Comfort has already been beaten on of course. If you are having trouble finding the video on ABCs website, you can find most/all of the videos here. DIGG it.

A thread on our message board that has links to the entire unedited debate.

Other threads of interest:

Nightline Editing Bias - The Supporting Data

Gregfl starts a thread about Bashirs big blunder and the Nightline portrayal.

Some of the Christian mail coming in [YOU RESPOND] about the debate.

Pertaining to Jesus Mythicism A thorough examination of the evidence for Jesus by Rook Hawkins

A Silence That Screams - (No contemporary historical accounts for "jesus) by Todangst

Video from Rook outlining the basics of Jesus Mythicism

 

UPDATE Sapient spoke with ABC and voiced concerns leveled by many atheists in the community that the editing job for the Nightline piece gave Ray and Kirk a free pass. The most commonly voiced criticism of ABC was that it managed to show the debate as somewhat even and that there was no clear victor. This discussion was accepted only under the understanding that Ray and Kirk would prove God exists without invoking faith or the Bible. Anyone that understood the format saw that Ray and Kirk failed at their premise as soon as the proof of God became the Ten Commandments. ABC was made aware that commentary like "It was difficult to know if either side could claim victory" gave the impression that they were pandering to their largely Christian audience. While Sapient understood that this may be a wise business move, it was noted that it wasn't an accurate representation of the discussion. The Rational Response Squad brought it's "B" game and still destroyed every claim Kirk and Ray threw at them. In more positive news, we were made aware that the ABC unedited video of the debate was viewed over 160,000 times in the first 12 hours. Hopefully a few people have found the strength to overcome their god delusion.

AND THE PWNAGE CONTINUES:


THE FULL DEBATE!

 


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Sara wrote: Second,

Sara wrote:

Second, stating that the painting or creation analogy doesn't support the existence of God because it leads to the question of "who created God?" is simply ridiculous. I'm surprised that the RSS used that tactic as I'm sure they are familiar with the illogical premise of infinite regression (i.e. the creator who has a creator who has a creator ad infinitum.)

Sara, that was precisely the point. If you demand that everything have a creator, then it is special pleading to say that God does not. An eternal universe or multiverse theory has fewer ad hoc requirements than a God theory.

Sara wrote:
Also, Kelly's argument that if God existed she would expect to live in a magical universe where anything could happen actually proved the opposite. The fact that the universe follows a very strict set of phyical and natural laws implies that there is a Law Giver (i.e. an all powerful Being who used logic and power to govern the natural uinverse).

This is a linguistic fallacy. Just because you can call them "laws" does not imply that they have anything to do with the laws we have to regulate society. This is simply bad grammar.

Sara wrote:
If there were no God, then you would not expect anything to follow any sort of natural order (or as Kelly stated, be "magical&quotEye-wink.

"Natural order" implies not "supernatural". So why would we need a supernatural entity to keep natural order. Your argument here is nothing but a bald assertion. Please take us through the logic that brings us inevitably to your conclusion.

Sara wrote:
Finally, the idea that God is "a projection of your culture" didn't receive an adequate reply. The fact that most cultures, no matter how diverse, believe in a Higher Being or Beings could also be because they have an innate sense that such a Being exists. Instead of claiming that the majority of the world suffers from mass delusionment, it may be equally plausible to state that they are all aware of something the RRS refuses to acknowledge.

Not all cultures believe in deities. And every culture comes up with ideas about God that are coincidentally tied to the aspect of nature that is most important to them. Forest-based cultures had tree gods. Water-based cultures had water gods. Virtually every culture had sun gods. In the 20th century, the Pacific Island cultures had Cargo Cults built around the planes that dropped cargo out of the sky.

One thing all cultures (and all animals) have in common is a desire to not die. It is quite expected for belief in an afterlife to develop in response to this natural survival instinct. Let's just hope we can get a handle on it before it ironically ends our chance at survival.


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Quote: "Finally, the idea

Quote:
"Finally, the idea that God is "a projection of your culture" didn't receive an adequate reply. The fact that most cultures, no matter how diverse, believe in a Higher Being or Beings could also be because they have an innate sense that such a Being exists."

Or it could be due to... DMT. It's only now being researched seriously, but if true, it's one hell of a bomb!


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I just want to chime in and

I just want to chime in and say Congradulations!! I must admit I was embarrassed for Ray and Kirk. But as someone else suggested, their arrogance made them underestimate how informed and intelligent you both are.

 

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Thanks

Thanks to Brian and Kelly for an articulate performance. You have reinvigorated my belief that intelligent rational thought may actually overcome the ignorance and superstition that perpetuates religion. I have already placed a small token of my appreciation in your PayPal account but expect more to come.


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Quote: Entropy is the

Quote:
Entropy is the measure of order. The 2nd law basically states that things will tend to disorder. However, this does not mean the order is possible. For example, if you ever had ice cubes in your drink you know why. If I wanted to make liquid water (a relatively unordered state) into solid (a much more ordered state) I require energy. Now when I put the water in the freezer, the freezer does work and pumps out heat so the water freezes. Take away that energy (out of the freezer) and the water returns to it's original state.

 

Some say that the creation of life defies this. It would IF the Earth was a closed system (No energy in or out), but energy comes to Earth all the time you may know them as the Sun rays and also cosmic rays.

The question is: Is our universe a closed systen? In the multiverse theory, for example, it is may not be since other universes may leak energy into our universe. But if it is a closed system, it will tend to disorder and the human race is doomed.

Yes, but the argument used by Sapient was the 1st law in relation to the universe, not the Earth. I believe Sapient was stating the since the God is supposedly eternal, why can't the universe be. The reason the universe couldn't be eternal is because of the 2nd Law. I was wondering why this wasn't addressed.


Quote:

Einstein did not believe in the Christian God.

I never said he did. In fact, he was quite adamantly against a "Personal" God. Though it seems only logical that if God existed at all and made personal beings (i.e. humans) that He too would be personal.

Quote:

I guess they can say that most religions contradict each other.

Yes, but that isn't the point. The fact that most humans believe there is a Higher Being regardless of their culture is still very telling.

Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies because they believe that small lies can serve big truths." ~ Richard C. Lewontin


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: But

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

But if it is a closed system, it will tend to disorder and the human race is doomed.

But not for a long time. Maybe by then we will have evolved into beings of pure energy, transcend up to the multiverse, and start our own universes. Then we can have fun messing with the heads of the creatures that evolve. Eye-wink


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Sara wrote: Yes, but the

Sara wrote:

Yes, but the argument used by Sapient was the 1st law in relation to the universe, not the Earth. I believe Sapient was stating the since the God is supposedly eternal, why can't the universe be. The reason the universe couldn't be eternal is because of the 2nd Law. I was wondering why this wasn't addressed.

 

 

You asked for clearfication of entropy (2nd law). I'm not understanding where you are getting the universe can't be eternal argument.


 


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Feral wrote: Hey Brian I

Feral wrote:

Hey Brian

I just watched the video on Youtube. I thought that you and kelly both did a tremendous job. Ray and Kirk were absolutely speechless, I couldn't believe that they had nothing to say and were scrambling for something add about the universe. I actually felt really sad for them, it was painful for me to witness their humilation.

I must admit Brian I was very skeptical when I heard about this debate. Well, it wasn't a debate really, you and Kelly both just anilated their arguments, it was more like verbal genocide. I am an atheist as well, and I am not a fan of the RRS. So when I heard that you were going to do this debate, I wasn't very excited about it. However that being said, you and Kelly did a great service for rational thinkers everywhere, you both had tremendous poise and the two of delivered the message with conviction and compassion.

Job well done, the both of you deserve a huge pat on the back.

 

Thanks, this obviously means a lot coming from someone skeptical of our appearance.  Thanks for the kudos!  The good news is, we'll keep getting better.

 

- Brian Sapient


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Sara

Sara wrote:

Quote:

Einstein did not believe in the Christian God.

I never said he did. In fact, he was quite adamantly against a "Personal" God. Though it seems only logical that if God existed at all and made personal beings (i.e. humans) that He too would be personal.

 

 

When Eistine refered to "God" he was refering to the natural order/laws of things was he not?  I think it was a mistake to coin the term god, as made abundantly clear by the misleading references to him believing in a divine being.

Sounds made up...
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Sorting out the second law

Sorting out the second law of thermodynamics... stating it like this helps.... all ordered systems revert to states of increasing disorder over time when left to their own devices...

technically, everything is subject to this, including the earth, the sun, your hair... it doesn't matter. Hair is my favorite example for folks who can't seem to grasp the concept... if you didn't cut, comb or wash your hair for a year, it would get progressively more chaotic and foul...

The thing that combats the 2nd law is work, adding energy and effort to a system that has fallen into disrepair. The sun continually bathes the earth with energy, which allows it to continue in what appears to short sighted humans as perpituity, but of course its not... 5 billion years from now the sun will have expended its fuel... and two billion years before that it appears that the Andromeda galaxy will colide with us anyway... we may get consumed, we may get tossed into the cold waste of space... who can say...

Even though a system like the earth receives energy from the sun, the sum total of the entropy of the universe still increases as the sun burns hydrogen into helium and so on.... heat death here we come.

Another aspect of  of the 2nd law is the usage of energy... energy always reverts to a state that is less and less useful (that's a human value, but it applies)... in other words EM radiation lengthens in frequency... which is why its microwave background radiation and not x-ray background radiation...

Anyway, just thought I would add my 2 cents...

I thought the debate went quite well... nerves were a little apparent, but you guys had a lot on the line on the biggest stage yet... I hope there are more venues for you guys like that... you guys give a human face and personality to the subject of atheism in a world that thinks of us as godless communist killjoys who read too much Camus. Nice work.

I have a wholehearted appreciation for mythology and an unimpeded contempt for superstition.


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Wow.  Am I late to this

Wow.  Am I late to this party or what?  Six pages of comments!

However, that makes my congratulations no less sincere.

Kelly and Sapient, you have done us all very proud. 

We can now truly imagine how public discussions/debates like this will be in the future.  Eyes will be opened and more people will start thinking for themselves. 

Again, congratulations on a job WELL DONE! 

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My two cents:   On the

My two cents:

 

On the subject of the second law, matter by itself (closed system) tends toward disorder, but matter is rarely ever in a closed system. I think the argument here is that we can't exist because things tend towards disorder, but closed/open system isn't very black/white. For example, the Universe can be considered a closed system because in theory it's going to die out somehow. One theory is that the universe will collapse in on itself once gravity overcomes the Universe's acceleration. One theory is that acceleration will continue indefinetly, and that we'll spread so thin that the universe will freeze from lack of outside energy. My point is that the Universe as a whole is tending toward disorder. On a smaller scale, we have hydrogen and oxygen combining to form water, because of shell completion (open system), and it's this nuclear force that's the best theory for abiogenesis.

Now the problem is that the universe is thought of as a closed system, when in actuallity it IS the system. Matter, in my opinion, is eternal, it always was and always will be, because that's all their is in the universe. Everything is matter, except space of course, but space must be eternal too. I don't believe that a creator is necassary, because I believe that matter, and lack of matter, is all that there ever was and ever will be.

My personal opinion is that time is nothing more than a form of measurement, so I only believe in three dimensions. I personally can't fathom how anyone can believe in time as acting upon the universe, anymore than a mile or a kilometer acts upon the universe. I think humanities problem is that we don't take things at face value. Maybe the truth is that the universe will always collapse in on itself, overcome it's own force, and expand until it collapses again. Life is just a side effect of a cosmic lotto, and we really don't mean anything to the universe.

But that's just my two cents.


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The 'rational subtitles'

The 'rational subtitles' were a nice touch.
I especially liked the bit where you called them on their fear tactics.
I think that as you become more and more public, the 'fear tactics' will perhaps be one of the most important. Christian defenses rely heavily on the believer's intuition, and 'loving God sends people to hell' is a difficult concept for even the most devout believer's intuition to accept. In Strobel's book, A Case for Faith, he eventually admitted that he couldn't personally make sense of it and appealed to the truth of the rest of the Bible that we must accept beliefs we do not fully understand.

Fear of hell is also one of the major blocks between a Christian and an honest assessment of their faith. Keep up the good work! Smile


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Quote: Sara, that was

Quote:

Sara, that was precisely the point. If you demand that everything have a creator, then it is special pleading to say that God does not. An eternal universe or multiverse theory has fewer ad hoc requirements than a God theory.

I don't demand that everything have a creator...only that which is contained in (and including) the natural universe. Since God is not contained in or subject to the natural universe, He doesn't require a creator. For Atheists to speculate that the universe is somehow eternal (in spite of the 2nd Law) is to move the universe itself outside of the natural into the supernatural and seems to be its own form of special pleading.

Quote:
This is a linguistic fallacy. Just because you can call them "laws" does not imply that they have anything to do with the laws we have to regulate society. This is simply bad grammar.

Well, I guess Einstein and I are in the same boat...I was simply using his terms "natural law" and "Law Giver" to refer to the Being Who set those laws in order.

Quote:
"Natural order" implies not "supernatural". So why would we need a supernatural entity to keep natural order. Your argument here is nothing but a bald assertion. Please take us through the logic that brings us inevitably to your conclusion.

Why you are correct sir. It is a bald assertion based on what I understand about God. But it really isn't much different than a scientist stating that natural laws operate by themselves. That is an assertion as well.

Quote:
Not all cultures believe in deities. And every culture comes up with ideas about God that are coincidentally tied to the aspect of nature that is most important to them. Forest-based cultures had tree gods. Water-based cultures had water gods. Virtually every culture had sun gods. In the 20th century, the Pacific Island cultures had Cargo Cults built around the planes that dropped cargo out of the sky.

One thing all cultures (and all animals) have in common is a desire to not die. It is quite expected for belief in an afterlife to develop in response to this natural survival instinct. Let's just hope we can get a handle on it before it ironically ends our chance at survival.

Well, that's one theory. But another equally plausible theory is that a Higher Being exists and humans know this innately. That's why they take what they find "important" and deify it. That doesn't mean that the concept of God is a figment of the human imagination, only that humans have a desire to worship Someone and tend to substitute various items in His place.

Your arguments are based heavily on materialism. If the material universe is all that exists, then you would, of course, be correct. But since this has hardly been proven, the idea that God exists is just (if not more) likely. But thanks for the responses, they are very though provoking.

Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies because they believe that small lies can serve big truths." ~ Richard C. Lewontin


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canofbutter wrote:

canofbutter wrote:

I've always been puzzled why it is assumed that "We don't know yet" is not a good enough answer. If there isn't a proven theory on a given subject, you can't just insert "god" into the blank.

If we don't have the tools, resources, or other information to prove a theory, why not just say "I don't know".

Because that statement is a fearful one for many people. They've grown reliant on their infantile certainties. I believe it was agreed upon long ago that the greatest fear to man is the unknown.
Otherwise, perhaps some people are just too conceited to accept that their existence is NOT in fact the centrepiece of the universe.

The only other rationalising of the God concept I can concieve is that, if there is a supreme being with a human-like personage, then that being can be appealed to, as Theists often attempt. This gives them the comforting illusion of having some measure of control over that which they, in reality, have none.

 

Sara wrote:
I don't demand that everything have a creator...only that which is contained in (and including) the natural universe. Since God is not contained in or subject to the natural universe, He doesn't require a creator. For Atheists to speculate that the universe is somehow eternal (in spite of the 2nd Law) is to move the universe itself outside of the natural into the supernatural and seems to be its own form of special pleading.

You determine what is natural and what is supernatural, without the need to provide any reasoning therefore?

Indeed a God does exist, Her name is Sara.

 

Sara wrote:
Well, that's one theory. But another equally plausible theory is that a Higher Being exists and humans know this innately. That's why they take what they find "important" and deify it. That doesn't mean that the concept of God is a figment of the human imagination, only that humans have a desire to worship Someone and tend to substitute various items in His place.


This proves quite the contrary. It may be only natural for a human being, having the ability to create what exists in her immediate surroundings, can only assume that a being larger than her - in her likeness - must have created what she cannot.
It is a folly to invoke this primitive reasoning in defence of a logically indefensible concept.
Try again.

Live 'til you die.


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todangst wrote:

todangst wrote:
Named wrote:

 

I have a few questions.
Have you read those quotes in original Deutsch, as I have? Secondly, have you read the full context concerning each of the quotes, assuming you met the first condition.

Good. You sound like you're interested in history.

Then you'll be happy to examine this:

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/hitler_and_martin_luther

Again, hitler's religious stance is moot. What matters is that he called upon pre-existent hatred of Jews. This hatred was inspired by christians and particularly by Martin Luther.

 

 

Regardless of Hitler's personal feelings on religion, he used it to unite the country under his leadership.

Let me preface this next statement with a caveat: I'm not comparing Hitler to G. W. Bush. Hitler was much smarter and could speak in complete sentences. Also, much of America has finally awakened and realized what a boob Bush is.

BUT, I've seen a lot of people who think Bush doesn't actually believe all that right-wing Christian hogwash. He only uses it to pacify his base and get what he wants. I'm not one of those people. I think Bush really does believe "all that right-wing Christian hogwash."  Either way, he has tried to use religion to attain his goals.  Lots of leaders do the same thing.  Sometimes they mean well.  Sometimes they just do it for greedy reasons.

Now back to Nazis: Isn't this a pretty silly thing for an anti-religious Nazi to wear:

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Sara wrote: Quote: Sara,

Sara wrote:
Quote:

Sara, that was precisely the point. If you demand that everything have a creator, then it is special pleading to say that God does not. An eternal universe or multiverse theory has fewer ad hoc requirements than a God theory.

I don't demand that everything have a creator...only that which is contained in (and including) the natural universe. Since God is not contained in or subject to the natural universe, He doesn't require a creator. For Atheists to speculate that the universe is somehow eternal (in spite of the 2nd Law) is to move the universe itself outside of the natural into the supernatural and seems to be its own form of special pleading.

Why do you draw this arbitrary line between the universe with all of its contents and God? Why not just draw the line between the multiverse and the universe? As I stated previously, a multiverse theory has fewer ad hoc assumptions than an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnitemporal God. A multiverse can simply "be" with no anthropomorphic qualities or consciousness whatsoever.

Sara wrote:
Quote:
"Natural order" implies not "supernatural". So why would we need a supernatural entity to keep natural order. Your argument here is nothing but a bald assertion. Please take us through the logic that brings us inevitably to your conclusion.

Why you are correct sir. It is a bald assertion based on what I understand about God. But it really isn't much different than a scientist stating that natural laws operate by themselves. That is an assertion as well.

The scientist need not assert anything. You are adding an unnecessary complication. I could assert that the laws of nature cannot operate without supernatural snot in the first layer of heaven parallel to our dimension based on my understanding of the muccous matrix. I see no reason for anyone to buy this, however, since it is a completely unnecessary and unhelpful idea.

Sara wrote:
Quote:
One thing all cultures (and all animals) have in common is a desire to not die. It is quite expected for belief in an afterlife to develop in response to this natural survival instinct. Let's just hope we can get a handle on it before it ironically ends our chance at survival.

Well, that's one theory. But another equally plausible theory is that a Higher Being exists and humans know this innately.

I'm afraid I cannot see that as equally plausible. My theory is a predictable outcome of evolution. Your theory is only plausible if you already accept the likelihood of a god, a theory for which I can find no scientific support. Now if all cultures had exceeding similar ideas about God, that might lead credence to your theory. But even then we would have to look at our natural desire to persist after death and see if that impulse would logically lead to the commonality of belief.

Sara wrote:
Your arguments are based heavily on materialism. If the material universe is all that exists, then you would, of course, be correct. But since this has hardly been proven, the idea that God exists is just (if not more) likely.

My arguments are based on what we can know. I don't need to prove materialism since all I am claiming is that what we see is what we get. You are supplementing my concept with a god. So the burden is on you to prove that the universe cannot make sense without adding this additional complication.

Sara wrote:
But thanks for the responses, they are very though provoking.

Thank you for the cordial dialogue.


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Sara wrote: Your arguments

Sara wrote:

Your arguments are based heavily on materialism. If the material universe is all that exists, then you would, of course, be correct. But since this has hardly been proven, the idea that God exists is just (if not more) likely. But thanks for the responses, they are very though provoking.

???

Not being able to prove the material universe is all that exists makes the existence of God more probable? Well it makes the existence of flying pigs, unicorns and the Tooth Fairy more probable as well then...

I always find this kind of thinking funny. Why is the onus on atheists to disprove the existence of God?  Because theists are in the majority with the irrational belief? I think the point that Ray Comfort failed at making is the same thing that authors like Sam Harris call upon theists to try to accomplish... God is your claim.... prove it. It's the theists' argument to make or break. We deserve a rational explaination. We demand a rational explanation. Humans are entitled to a rational explanation in all matters of thought and discourse. Everything else is an unknown at best... but it hardly makes things more more likely for God, Isis or Snuffleupagus.

I have a wholehearted appreciation for mythology and an unimpeded contempt for superstition.


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I don't demand that

I don't demand that everything have a creator...only that which is contained in (and including) the natural universe. Since God is not contained in or subject to the natural universe, He doesn't require a creator. For Atheists to speculate that the universe is somehow eternal (in spite of the 2nd Law) is to move the universe itself outside of the natural into the supernatural and seems to be its own form of special pleading

 

Quote:
You determine what is natural and what is supernatural, without the need to provide any reasoning therefore?

Indeed a God does exist, Her name is Sara.

Ok.? I thought I was being rather clear. Apparently I shall have to be more explicit. My point was that by stating the universe is not subject to the 2nd law (i.e. that it is eternal), then that makes the universe somehow supernatural (or above nature)...Is that clearer? I'm not redefining any terms here, so your comment is unfounded.

 

Quote:
This proves quite the contrary. It may be only natural for a human being, having the ability to create what exists in her immediate surroundings, can only assume that a being larger than her - in her likeness - must have created what she cannot.
It is a folly to invoke this primitive reasoning in defence of a logically indefensible concept.
Try again.

Actually, I thought it made quite a bit of sense. I merely gave an alternative view to what the poster claimed was the human ability to manufacture a god. And I don't really see how my explanation is in any way "primative reasoning". But I don't fault you for your denial, that's the only answer you could give in light of your belief system.

Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies because they believe that small lies can serve big truths." ~ Richard C. Lewontin


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Incidentally for those

Incidentally for those wrangling about with the 2nd law of thermodynamics... there is nothing in the second law that excludes either a finite or an infinite universe... the universe could continue on in a very thin, cold, unhospitable way of very boring, unuseful decaying protons and limping, low frequency photons. It would be dark, cold, thin and vast. And not very pleasant or interesting to visit.

I have a wholehearted appreciation for mythology and an unimpeded contempt for superstition.


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I am still kind of confused

I am still kind of confused about this whole entropy thing.  So I understand that the second laws says entropy of an isolated system can only increase or stay the same.  Systems that are not isolated or are “self-organizing systems” are different because they have energy flow. So plants and animals take energy make food and give waste heat back to the environment.  This is how systems maintain or even increase order and have low entropy.  It’s all because of the energy flow right?  So is the universe an isolated system?  Is there anyway to tell?  Is the only qualification to be a non-isolated system energy flow?

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You guys did a good job

You guys did a good job although Kelly seemed a bit more nervous than Brian. Kirk and Ray spewed the typical retorts and propositions and tried to give the appearance of answering the questions, when all they did was change the argument. I know you guys will do better next time and I will be looking forward to it. Congrats.


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Jessica0 wrote: I am still

Jessica0 wrote:

I am still kind of confused about this whole entropy thing.  So I understand that the second laws says entropy of an isolated system can only increase or stay the same.  Systems that are not isolated or are “self-organizing systems” are different because they have energy flow. So plants and animals take energy make food and give waste heat back to the environment.  This is how systems maintain or even increase order and have low entropy.  It’s all because of the energy flow right?  So is the universe an isolated system?  Is there anyway to tell?  Is the only qualification to be a non-isolated system energy flow?

Yes, an isolated system is isolated from energy. The only energy in the system is the energy of the system itself. No energy is leaked out to it's surrondings.

 

The entropy of a system is related to the energy. Remember my ice explanition? Well, If I was in the North pole, the water is already ice. This is because it lacks heat. There is no energy to excite the water molecules enough for them to be in the liquid form, and hence they are naturally in the solid form. So if I wanted to change their state (in this case from solid to liquid) I would need to do work.


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The second law of

The second law of thermodynamics always applies. It does not govern a select part of the universe and not others or systems classified as closed versus systems classified as open. Even a system like the sun heating the earth will not continue forever. Entropy, and the sum total of entropy in the universe always increases over time. There are no exceptions. Now, on a case by case, microcosmic scale, say in a particular ecosystem on our fragile planet, they appear to sustain themselves over a long period of time... but it doesn't last forever.

Stars burn fuel, elements have half-lives, some even think black holes "evaporate"....

Give any ordered system long enough and it will get more chaotic.

I have a wholehearted appreciation for mythology and an unimpeded contempt for superstition.


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Quote: Why do you draw this

Quote:
Why do you draw this arbitrary line between the universe with all of its contents and God? Why not just draw the line between the multiverse and the universe? As I stated previously, a multiverse theory has fewer ad hoc assumptions than an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnitemporal God. A multiverse can simply "be" with no anthropomorphic qualities or consciousness whatsoever.

The reason why I draw the line between the universe and all of its contents and God is because it would be illogical for anything to create itself. If God were somehow contained within the material, then He would have to have created Himself (which is impossible). Nor could the universe have formed itself.

Multiverses are just as ad hoc as you claim God is. I know that you like that explanation better because you feel it is simpler from a materialist's view. But I think that God is a simpler and more thorough explanation for the formation of the universe.

For example, pure materialism cannot explain how the universe arose from nothing by itself and formed personal beings. That makes less sense to me than believing that a Personal God made humans in His image.

 

Quote:
The scientist need not assert anything. You are adding an unnecessary complication. I could assert that the laws of nature cannot operate without supernatural snot in the first layer of heaven parallel to our dimension based on my understanding of the muccous matrix. I see no reason for anyone to buy this, however, since it is a completely unnecessary and unhelpful idea.

Well, if you were trying to explain the origin of snot, your explanation makes more sense than saying snot came from nothing by its own power and is eternal (which is analogous to the materialists' explanation for the origin of the universe).

Quote:
I'm afraid I cannot see that as equally plausible. My theory is a predictable outcome of evolution. Your theory is only plausible if you already accept the likelihood of a god, a theory for which I can find no scientific support. Now if all cultures had exceeding similar ideas about God, that might lead credence to your theory. But even then we would have to look at our natural desire to persist after death and see if that impulse would logically lead to the commonality of belief.

Yes, it is the predicable outcome of evolution. But you again, must begin with the premise that materialism is true from the onset and then go on to make theories based on that premise. Evolution is the best theory that fits within this paradigm.

I, obviously, don't see materialism as the sole plausible theory for the origin of the universe, so pardon me if I reject some of those theories that heavily rely on it.

Quote:
My arguments are based on what we can know. I don't need to prove materialism since all I am claiming is that what we see is what we get. You are supplementing my concept with a god. So the burden is on you to prove that the universe cannot make sense without adding this additional complication.

That's a very convenient position for the materialist. However, it may be entirely inaccurate to assume that the universe is all there is, ever was or will be. As I already stated, it seems illogical to maintain that the impersonal universe produced personal beings. Materialism cannot begin to explain why we seek to relate to eachother without reducing our relationships to meaningless interactions. I doubt you tell your loved ones that your interactions with them are nothing more than biological impulses that are necessary for your survival. Most people want to think that there is more meaning to life than materialism provides.

 

Again, thank you for the interesting points. It's been nice chatting with you. I'm done for now, but will be back tomorrow.

Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies because they believe that small lies can serve big truths." ~ Richard C. Lewontin


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Excellent job

I don't think I can shower enough - I feel dirty having been a "fan" of Kirk Cameron in my junior high days. I don't think that dirty feeling will ever go away. I guess this is what hell is supposed to be like. : )

That said, despite the fact that a couple of your points were flubbed, at least you USED SCIENCE, as Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron claimed they would. I'll have to watch it a few more times to give a more in-depth critique and perhaps some suggestions, but kudos to both of you for rising to the challenge and defeating the zealots.

Towel

"...it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty." - Prof. Thomas Henry Huxley


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Grammar

You know, I really hate to say this, and I'm sure it has already been mentioned... but slips of the tongue like "way more better" are incredibly dangerous. I say this before going through the all the pages here because repeating it can only help to stress this point:

Improper grammar drops an air of ignorance onto everything you say, and many people immediately disregard anything surrounding a sentence that isn't spoken "perfectly". The basic thought goes along the lines of "if they can't be bothered to learn to speak properly why should I believe they bothered to look into the facts?"

Certainly being on national TV is incredibly stressful, and I'm sure that contributed to the relatively few slip-ups... but it leaves a lasting impression. A person unable to convey the ideas elloquently will often be ignored outright. How many of you read the four paragraph ravings of the lunatics that post to the forums of richarddawkins.net written without a single carriage return?

There are a great many people who rely solely on language to recieve information, having verbal intelligence that greatly overshadows their logic centers. These people often *cannot* follow an argument when it involves a slip up, they end up perseverating on the mild blips rather than paying any attention to what is actually said. Most people in my family functions in this way, and it seems a great deal of the more "influential" people from previous generations do as well (you know, before it became "hip" to talk like a drunken hobo?).

That aside, great job holding it together out there. It was astounding to see the two you were "debating" resort to verbatim arguments used in their previous videos as if they hadn't already been dismissed in a reasonable way. They remind me a great deal of the "popular" defenders of mormonism who, when confronted with the lack of horse fossils, suggest a continent wide plague that somehow ate away all the old bone matter as well as the elephants, carts, goats, et. al., regardless of how many dozens of times people have told them face to face the reasons that such an explanation is not possible.


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Sara wrote: The reason why

Sara wrote:

The reason why I draw the line between the universe and all of its contents and God is because it would be illogical for anything to create itself.

But no one ever claimed that the universe created itself. The claim is that it always existed. This is the same claim that you make for God, but there is no explanation as to why this superdeity should exist at all.

Sara wrote:
Multiverses are just as ad hoc as you claim God is. I know that you like that explanation better because you feel it is simpler from a materialist's view. But I think that God is a simpler and more thorough explanation for the formation of the universe.

Yes, multiverses are ad hoc, and they may be completely wrong. We may find the truth to be far more prosaic or far more complex. But the multiverse theory claims fewer ad hoc assumptions than the God theory.

Since you assume God exists, it makes sense that the God theory would seem simple. As soon as you stop assuming God's existence, God reveals himself as a very complex answer, especially since God is supposed to be all-all. A world where the vast majority of animals die in agony makes no sense given the God hypothesis. It makes perfect sense on the "there's nothing but natural processes" hypothesis.

Sara wrote:
For example, pure materialism cannot explain how the universe arose from nothing by itself and formed personal beings. That makes less sense to me than believing that a Personal God made humans in His image.

The universe need not have arisen from nothing. It may have always been in some form or another. As for personal beings, what makes you think a personal being is so special? We are nothing compared to a black hole. In the grand scheme of things, we are barely able to have any impact on the universe. Your anthropocentric view leads you to an anthropomorphic god where none is really called for.

And what must God really be like to say that we are made in his image? We are not all-anything. Compared to the mind of your proposed God, we are indistinguishable from chimps and dolphins.

Sara wrote:
But you again, must begin with the premise that materialism is true from the onset and then go on to make theories based on that premise.

Not at all. We don't need to begin with any premise. We just look at what we can see and find the explanations that best fit the observations. Again, you are adding an unnecessary and unknowable extra layer of explanation.

Sara wrote:
Evolution is the best theory that fits within this paradigm.

It is the best evidence that fits the overwhelming evidence available to our senses and logic, whether that logic comes from a god or not. If God is true and evolution is wrong, then I want to know why God is set on misleading us...

Sara wrote:
Quote:
My arguments are based on what we can know. I don't need to prove materialism since all I am claiming is that what we see is what we get. You are supplementing my concept with a god. So the burden is on you to prove that the universe cannot make sense without adding this additional complication.

That's a very convenient position for the materialist.

It is not convenient. It is the only rational positon. We can only operate on what we can know. If we allow in all of the things that we can never know on an equal basis with what we can, then we have to accept every flight of fancy imaginable. Why should we not give credence to the idea of all negative emotions being caused by body thetans? It seems only rational to assume that all love is caused by the touch of the horn of an invisible, incorporeal unicorn until you can prove otherwise! Where does this end?

Sara wrote:

However, it may be entirely inaccurate to assume that the universe is all there is, ever was or will be.

I make no such assumptions.

Sara wrote:
As I already stated, it seems illogical to maintain that the impersonal universe produced personal beings.

Only because, as a personal being, you view personal beings as somehow special? And we are. To personal beings.

Sara wrote:
Materialism cannot begin to explain why we seek to relate to each other without reducing our relationships to meaningless interactions.

It certainly can. Emotional, social and cultural evolution are all explainable by natural selection and random mutation. You might want to read "Religion is Not About God" by Loyal Rue.

Sara wrote:
I doubt you tell your loved ones that your interactions with them are nothing more than biological impulses that are necessary for your survival. Most people want to think that there is more meaning to life than materialism provides.

What we want to think need have no bearing on what is actually true. And in this case, the reality is largely irrelevant. No matter what the ultimate source of my interactions, the affect on my loved ones is still important to me and to them.

Sara wrote:
Again, thank you for the interesting points. It's been nice chatting with you. I'm done for now, but will be back tomorrow.

I'll try to be here for a bit as well. Although I may have to take a sabbatical tomorrow so that I can get a bit more actual work done.

 


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Rational Debate

Hello,

I am new to your site and I am waiting to see the whole debate on tv in an hour. I wish I could see the whole version anywhere right now. It is good of you to admit you made a couple of mistakes, of course Ray and Kirk did too. We are all humans and not perfect. I believe in God and I love factual science. The problem for both sides is that there are too many theorys and not enough facts. I was recently reading the wikipedia articles about Origin of Life and Abiogenesis and the last I saw they were very good and unbiased. I would recommend them to anyone. I am really looking forward to some good honest discussion with you all and I hope we can keep it factual and also discuss it like mature adults. (Name calling doesn't advance anyone) We should all be looking to continually advance our personal knowledge for the sake of humanity as a whole, this means being open minded to everything as long as it is rational. Enough blabbing and I hope to talk to you all soon. 


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Great job on the debate

Great job on the debate guys!

On a side note, I'm really enjoying the debate here between scottmax and sara. 


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Funny

An actor and an evangelist got stomped by a couple of kids who have, seemingly, very little practice in oratory on such a stage. Funny. Again, dogmatics, stay away from science; just say I've decided to believe. I have faith my belief is right. Its the end of the discussion. But to try to make the Zeus story, the Horus tale, the Dionysus legend, the Mithras claim, or the YHVH submission a scientific claim is patently stupid. Oh, btw, outside the obivous absence of scientific credulity, it would be interesting to explore Kirks commitment to so-called research of the various re-casting of the Bible and the choices to include and leave out various dogmatic pronouncements, and the other evangeiist's commitment to the idea of blashpemy on the one hand, and then his assertion of the story of Moses and God as the foundation for the notion that God's name is I am; Well, if Gods name is I am, or YHVH, or Chief Rocker, or whatever, then how am I blaspheming by saying god-damnit?

These guys are too easy.


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Quote: You know, I really

Quote:
You know, I really hate to say this,...

I hear you on this, being a grammar nazi myself, but the fact is that being under that kind of pressure is difficult to handle. It isn't always possible to make the best, most succinct argument or make every statement perfectly. Trust me, I've watched it many times and I cringe every time I see that part. And I'm not even including the additional nervousness of having my mic fall out of my thigh-highs (again) which was edited out, etc. Anyway, we do appreciate constructive criticism, but like we stated in the OP, we are already aware. At this point, it's like rubbing salt into a wound.

Thanks,

Kelly 


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Thanks!

First of all, Brian & Kelly, thank you very much for actually accepting this "challenge"!

 

 I've only watched the short clips available non-chronologically at the abc nightline website, but still it's so obvious to the naked eye that their "evidence" was totally destroyed, not even scientifically valid.

I hope abc won't edit the debate in the favour of the ID baboons. Seems like an impossible task anyway Laughing out loud Anyway, I am very happy to see the topic discussed on national TV, and I hope people will be inspired to use their rational minds a little more in the future.

Thanks for putting in your effort!

(and for overlooking my poor english, I'm Norwegian)


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kellym78 wrote: Quote: You

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
You know, I really hate to say this,...

I hear you on this, being a grammar nazi myself, but the fact is that being under that kind of pressure is difficult to handle. It isn't always possible to make the best, most succinct argument or make every statement perfectly. Trust me, I've watched it many times and I cringe every time I see that part. And I'm not even including the additional nervousness of having my mic fall out of my thigh-highs (again) which was edited out, etc. Anyway, we do appreciate constructive criticism, but like we stated in the OP, we are already aware. At this point, it's like rubbing salt into a wound.

Thanks,

Kelly

I don't know a whole lot of people who could be on national TV and do what Kelly and Sapient did.  I'm usually quite well-spoken, but there's no doubt I would be a babbling idiot in a situation like that.

It's beyond my comprehension why folks feel a need to say ANYTHING besides something positive.  Kelly and Sapient totally owned those guys and, personally, I'm proud as punch of them!

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Hi.. I was not enthusiastic

Hi..

I was not enthusiastic about the idea of debating these two. It gives them credibility they dont deserve, and given their lack of a coherent argument, you could have won by not saying anything at all!

Having seen a good portion of the video, I have to say you guys did a great job! As dumb as these guys act, they are very experienced public personalities and could have steamrolled you with Ray's high-pressure car salesman act or Kirk's teen star charm.

They didnt.. you came prepared and showed what sad delusional people they actually are. It was obvious that they werent used to talking to anyone with a triple digit IQ. I almost felt sorry for them .. but then I remembered just how much damage they could do if they had a chance.

congrats! Laughing


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jesse wrote: I am really

jesse wrote:

I am really looking forward to some good honest discussion with you all and I hope we can keep it factual and also discuss it like mature adults. (Name calling doesn't advance anyone) We should all be looking to continually advance our personal knowledge for the sake of humanity as a whole, this means being open minded to everything as long as it is rational.

Welcome Jesse. I couldn't agree more. I hope much of the content of this thread serves as evidence that you can find rational debate here at RRS. Hopefully the debate will bring many more believers and non-believers here for productive conversation.


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The Thread Seems Hijacked, But Here's Two Cents....

Leave it to the person who wishes they knew more about physics to come in bearing a possible solution.

Sara was mentioning that it was 'common sense' that something couldn't create itself, and that the Second Law of Thermodynamics implied a First Cause/Creator. I'm here to try to smash that claim.

Has anyone heard of J. Richard Gott? He's a professor of physics at Princeton University, and in 2001, wrote a great book called "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe". If you're into that sort of thing, I'd pick it up from your local B&N. Anyhoo, what I'm driving at is in Chapter 4, "Time Travel and the Beginning of the Universe".

For those of you who'd like to read what I'm talking about, here's a link:

Can the universe create itself

The exact points worth mentioning are on pp. 186-190.

What he drives at is that the Universe could have been its own creator through time travel; that the geometry of the Universe is constructed in such a way that through quantum tunneling effects, the Universe could have been in an infinite time loop of no size until it inflated into existence (the Big Bang). He goes on to point out that this is why we cannot go backward in time, because to go backward in time would imply that we could go back into said time loop before the Big Bang and cause a reaction of an infinite energy buildup.

So, I've produced (albeit roughly) a theory that involves the Universe coming into existence without a Creator. The kicker is? Gott's a theist. I'll probably bludgeon his quote, but the gist of it is "I have no theological axes to grind. People can make of this what they will. I believe that a self-creating Universe doesn't answer the question of why a self-creating Universe would exist. I do admit that the repercussions of my work may be troubling, but maybe that is what the Universe is supposed to be."

For the physics buffs out there, I went ahead and tracked down the actual paper - times like this, I wish for improved math skills.

Here's the abstract:

http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/9712344

 

And the actual paper itself (you need Adobe Acrobat)

http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/9712/9712344v1.pdf

Hope this gives people some food for thought.

 

{edit - fixed link length} 

 

 

"Like Fingerpainting 101, gimme no credit for having class; one thumb on the pulse of the nation, one thumb in your girlfriend's ass; written on, written off, some calling me a joke, I don't think that I'm a sellout but I do enjoy Coke."

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wow that was so heavily

wow that was so heavily biased. they cut out any good points and arguments you have made and displayed the atheists as hateful and angry people.

 

 

...

 

 

 

 

i'm speechless, wow. this has greatly angered me...

 

HE HELD UP PICTURES OF BULL+FROGS!? AND SHEEP+DOG!?!! WTF!? 


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Sara wrote: The reason why

Sara wrote:
The reason why I draw the line between the universe and all of its contents and God is because it would be illogical for anything to create itself. If God were somehow contained within the material, then He would have to have created Himself (which is impossible). Nor could the universe have formed itself.

You are using an anthropomorphic model of "creation" and observing, rightly, that the beginning of the universe (if there was one) couldn't have been anything like that. What you have to remember is that under the extreme conditions of the Big Bang, time, space and all the physical laws were probably broken down to quantum effects, or something even more chaotic. It may very well be completely off base to talk about one thing leading to another in this scenario.

Sara wrote:
Multiverses are just as ad hoc as you claim God is. I know that you like that explanation better because you feel it is simpler from a materialist's view. But I think that God is a simpler and more thorough explanation for the formation of the universe.

You can think it, but you're wrong. In order to use God as an explanation for anything, you have to introduce dozens of elements for which you have no explanation at all and for which there is no evidence. Multiverse theory stays entirely within the empirical evidence that we have, and proposes a theory that works with the observed facts. In order to postulate God, you have to throw out numerous established scientific facts. 

Sara wrote:

For example, pure materialism cannot explain how the universe arose from nothing by itself and formed personal beings. That makes less sense to me than believing that a Personal God made humans in His image.

This isn't about what makes sense to you, it's about facts and truth. The fact is that no one knows how the universe could have come into existance, and it appears that the question itself might not even make sense. Your personal God, on the other hand, makes no sense from any perspective that draws on the real world for a basis. It is pure fantasy. 

Sara wrote:

Well, if you were trying to explain the origin of snot, your explanation makes more sense than saying snot came from nothing by its own power and is eternal (which is analogous to the materialists' explanation for the origin of the universe).

If time started along with the rest of the universe, then how can you say that anything which preceded the first instant could have affected anything which follows? 

Sara wrote:
Yes, it is the predicable outcome of evolution. But you again, must begin with the premise that materialism is true from the onset and then go on to make theories based on that premise. Evolution is the best theory that fits within this paradigm.

I, obviously, don't see materialism as the sole plausible theory for the origin of the universe, so pardon me if I reject some of those theories that heavily rely on it.

You have no choice but to accept materialism unless you want to abandon rationality. You have no evidence for the existance of immaterial things, and no explanation for how such things could interact with the material world. Further, your entire concept of immaterial is incoherent and describes nothing. You might as well say that we need a theory of flimflamgibberjabber because you aren't happy with the incompleteness of science. News flash: your impatience with our ignorance doesn't make it go away. 

Sara wrote:
That's a very convenient position for the materialist. However, it may be entirely inaccurate to assume that the universe is all there is, ever was or will be. As I already stated, it seems illogical to maintain that the impersonal universe produced personal beings. Materialism cannot begin to explain why we seek to relate to eachother without reducing our relationships to meaningless interactions. I doubt you tell your loved ones that your interactions with them are nothing more than biological impulses that are necessary for your survival. Most people want to think that there is more meaning to life than materialism provides.

You just can't seem to separate your desires from real fact. It doesn't matter how much people want to pretend that love makes the universe go 'round - it just isn't so. Our thoughts and feelings have nowhere else to come from except our brains. And the entire Earth filled with all the passion that has ever existed amounts to less than a subatomic particle in the whole scheme of the universe. Our feelings mean nothing to anything but ourselves.

As for the things that "it may be inaccurate to assume," that can include everything we think we know. So what? Does that mean knowledge is a free-for-all with no boundary between fantasy and reality? Guess I won't have to stay up late Christmas Eve this year, since Sara tells me that Santa will come if you just want him to enough.  

Your entire argument for immaterialism boils down to wishful thinking and not wanting to believe things that aren't fun. Some of us take our worldviews more seriously.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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The nightline story was

The nightline story was lame. It was just a short piece on the existance of the debate and not really covering the event in detail. I hate the way they cut the closing agruments of both sides together.

I would like to see more of the audience reactions. Its nice to know that I am lost without christ and can never be happy. I am glad they feel sorry for me thats sweet. 


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Wow! ABC/Nightline

Wow! ABC/Nightline producers must be in cahoots with Cameron & Comfort. They really tried to do a total hatchet job on RRS while building up Comfort and his online business.

They only used clips showing atheists as mean and angry (lady yelling, Sapient uttering criticism, frowning atheists, etc.), while the soft spoken Cameron and Comfort were doing their usual comforting proselytizing bullshit to the brain dead sheeple. And absolutely nothing from that lengthy and superb presentation made by Kelly at the podium! WTF is up with that? Just shows that religion is all about appeals to emotion, and nothing about facts, reason, and intellectual honesty.  In watching the raw debate video, it's clear Sapient and Kelly blew them to pieces!

And then the poor beaten up Christian boys get to cry and whine about those mean and angry atheists in the audience who upset them so. Fuck Nightline! After watching that slanted piece, I'd say atheists have damn good reason to be angry!

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." ~ Abraham Lincoln


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Stretchnuts wrote: > I

Stretchnuts wrote:
>

I hope abc won't edit the debate in the favour of the ID baboons. Seems like an impossible task anyway Laughing out loud

Apparently the impossible was possible.  The edit was extremely weak.  Cameron and Comfort need to party hard tonight and feel good about their fundraising opportunities tomorrow.  What a free pass those two just got.  Unreal.  Or shall I say "What a numbnut?" Eye-wink

 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


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I just finished watching

I just finished watching the Nightline edit and I must say, I'm growing tired of how slanted anything having to do with television is nowadays. Especially these news-magazine types of shows that cater to conservative audiences.

 Nonetheless, I'm pleased that RRS is getting this exposure and I'm glad for the inevitable dialogue that will come out of this.

 Congratulations, Brian and Kelly. I hope RRS continues to make waves!


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Well, I said on my blog

Well, I said on my blog that Kelly and Brian winning this debate was a foregone conclusion before the debate ever even started.  I maintain that you guys won before you even started because of the terms of the debate.

Comfort states that a painting is proof positive of a painter, and the RRS adds the sarcastic caption that it only proof of a painting.  I disagree.  A painting as intricate as the Mona Lisa implies a painter, because no  amount of accidental bombardment of a canvass with paint will produce a picture like that.  With that in mind, I propose that a planet as intricately designed and as thoughtfully placed as Earth requires a Creator.  A universe as finely tuned as our requires a Creator.

I have only proved deism.  I'm a far cry away from proving the Christian God exists.  For that, I will need to turn to the pages of the Bible, which is, of course, against the terms of the debate.

This makes the entire debate an absurd waste of time for everyone involved.

That doesn't change the fact that, as far as I could see, Cameron and Comfort repeatedly ignored the rules of the debate and invoked the Bible.  They argued from emotion rather than trying to focus on the science involved.  They used the typical witness tools of speaking to the conscience.  Their motive was to evangelize and reach the lost, not win a debate.

I can't say that they did a bad thing, nor will I go against the notion that God led them to handle things in this fashion, I will say that based on the rules of the debate, they lost the first time Ray mentioned the 10 Commandments.

If Cameron and Comfort represent the best of Christian apologetics, our side is in trouble. 

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. --Galileo Galilei


nncarroll
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long-time lurker

I've been a long-time lurker of the website, your youtube page, Dawkins' pages, etc.  Though most of my friends and family know that I am an atheist, I still feel somewhat closeted simply due to the fact that I feel I can't hold open discussions about it with anyone (except for my atheist college friends whom I unfortunately seldom see as of late).  I often hold my tongue in surface discussions of anything godly so as to avoid any deeper confrontations that might become unsightly.

After checking the Rational Responders' youtube account, I found the video compilation of highlights from the debate, and my interest was immediately piqued.  When I told a friend about the debate to be shown on Nightline, she said that she felt it was old hat, but I respectfully disagreed.  While people may personally debate within themselves about such subjects, I can't say that I've seen televised many debates (at least on American television) about subjects as important and big-questionish as this one.

 I'd like to say congratulations to Brian Sapient and Kelly for what was a spectacular performance.  As a public-speechophobe myself, I can't even imagine debating in front of a crowd of people with the knowledge that millions may view your every move on national television.  But I do know that upon dipping oneself oneself into an experience multiple times, you come out pretty hard-coated, and eventually, the fears (especially the irrational ones) become easier to deal with.  That being said, this was a great first widely televised performance of what I hope will be many.  I could only wish to be as eloquent and articulate (and witty) as Kelly and Brian in my discussions.

I must admit, however, that I was not as pleased with ABC's editing of the debate.  Bashir's narration described the tone of Brian and Kelly's arguments as mocking, but it's hard not to mock when it seems like Ray is the host of an infomercial and Kirk is holding up photoshopped animal pictures that I couldn't, being of sound mind, show to an elementary school class in defense of faith.  I was also displeased when they ran the audio from Brian's mic in reaction to the pictures being shown (I think I heard "numb-nut"?  haha).  It painted a picture that atheists are naturally without compassion for those less enlightened.  In fact, Ray and Kirk described the audience as being full of "angry atheists" in their post-debate interview.

I fully realize the need for ABC to soften the blow-out and make it seem that both sides brought to the table valid arguments, but let's get serious!  A coke-can??  wtf?  I kept wondering, where was Ray's beloved banana?  So, I guess as much as the broadcast made Brian and Kelly seem like ruthless bullies, it made Ray and Kirk seem like total evangelist kooks.  But the difference is that Brian and Kelly aren't bullies.  I just wish they would have shown the Occam's razor bit with Ray and Kirk himming and hawing mouths agape in defeat.

 I've read a few of the comments on here about the debate.  Some felt it might have been a mistake for the RRS to have even agreed to debate with those two transitional evolutionary forms.  I know that it has personally envigorated me in my non-belief, and I have seen that other atheists have come out of the woodwork because of it.  And of course, a nationally televised debate over the subject might at least get people questioning what they believe (or don't believe).  And I think this debate might open the door for many more like it.

 Cheers, Brian and Kelly, for a job well done.  And I personally thank you for being an inspiration.

If god does indeed exist, then he is very much a fool, because I, too, exist.


HonestQuestioner
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In the beginning was...?

I have found this debate very interesting, and I have enjoyed reading all of the comments on this board. It has been very thought provoking. My question comes from more of a biological background. I am a physician and I must confess that my understanding of complex physics is not what it once was. That being said, I do have a decent understanding of biological systems. My question for the atheist crowd is, where did the information come from? Let me explain. When I look at, say, cascade reactions that take place in the human body, there are interactions between molecules. One molecule comes into contact with another molecule in a cascade reaction, and then, after the contact, the second molecule goes on to have contact with another molecule, and so on. And eventually, the desired endpoint is reached. Now, when the molecules interact, something is passed between them. What is passed is information. The molecules themselves are not information. The intangible message is something else. And it can only be 'understood' in the context of a code. We all know very well that there is a complex code within each of our cells. Now, codes do not, in any experience that I am aware of, come into being without the input of intelligent information. So my question is, where did the information come from? I think this question goes beyond the physics arguments, because it necessarily requires intelligent input. We have a code that allows passage of information that is not material. And codes require information to exist. So, where did the information come from? Evolutionary theories do attempt to explain how inorganic molecules came together to form biological structures, and I think that in itself is a huge leap, but that still doesn't explain how these 'structures' pass an intangible message, and why would they do that? I have asked this question of atheists before, and I have never recieved a good answer. I anxiously await your thoughts. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this discussion.


Satansbitch
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You guys were great!

You guys did a great job! Hope you can get on more talk shows. Stick to the facts and you can't go wrong.

P.S. Kelly is such a hottie!


Frakkum
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I'd never heard of Rational

I'd never heard of Rational Responders until I happened to be flipping through the stations tonight and saw the debate. I have to say, though, this debate was rather like being told that you were going to face the most ferocious fastball pitcher of all time, and then you stepped up to the plate and found the guy threw the ball 40 MPH. Sure, you missed once or twice, but that's because you were expecting something like 110 MPH. I mean "The fact that there's a creation means there's a creator?" Come on. I bet Pope Benedict groaned when he heard that moldy oldy.

Anyway, I'm a writer who currently lives in Alabama (not many atheists down here, as you might expect) and I enjoy your Web site (although I'm too poor to contribute any money).


Frakkum
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I'd never heard of Rational

double post


Zombywolf
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That angry lady makes me

That angry lady makes me laugh each time I don't know why. I think a better question to ask is why would God leave us with vestigal body parts like the appendix. I didn't really like the nightline edition it was horrible I didn't get to see anything really just Ray and Kirk talking about being Christian and than all they showed of the negative argument was an angry atheist yelling about cancer. I like how she didn't let him slip out of it I think she could of done it without losing temper like that.

I'd like to know the reason behind this debate it was clear no one really won. No one in the audience seemed to have a change of heart so what was the point was it to stand up for our way of life to open peoples minds up to the idea of atheism. In the end the atheist seemed to still be atheist and the Christians still go on believing the way they do it seems like no side has won really seeing how most Americans are Christian and the ones that are atheist didn't seem to have a change of heart. This debate and others I've seen makes me wonder if ignorance is bliss.