The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

RationalRespons...
Moderator
RationalResponseSquad's picture
Posts: 556
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
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!

 


Doubting Thomas
Doubting Thomas's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: 2006-12-20
User is offlineOffline
good job in the debate

I just wanted to drop you a line of support.

Let me know if I can do anything to help from Arkansas.

Thanks 


dallasloser
Posts: 2
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Ok. Atheists... Stop

Ok. Atheists... Stop trying to prove that a painting does not prove a painter. It does... Here are some definitions that might help.
Painting = something that was painted
Painter = something that paints

If something is painted it must have been painted at some point by something. Whether it be man, computer, tornado or my pet monkey. A painting is painted by a painter.

You guys are trying to prove a totally pointless argument. It is embarassing.

Theists.......

A painting is just that. Something that was painted. That does not imply that the universe was created. Calling it "creation" does not make it a created thing.
The idea that we have some apparent design does not imply that we have an apparent creator, it implies that we have a designer. That designer is EVOLUTION.


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Now, your question as to 'why' this information 'needs' physical matter to be transferred, I don't know. But I don't think that really matters in this discussion. Why does FM=A? Its a law of nature. Its the way things are. Information IS transferred via physical matter. The question is, where does it come from originally. So, I ask you, does information exist, and if so, what does it consist of. I argue that yes, information itself is evidence of 'intangible things' (not able to be seen or touched). You, of course, may say that it does not exist, but that would make everything we are doing in this discussion meaningless.

This is not evidence of intangible things. If something cannot be seen or touched, then it doesn't have any basis for interaction. without a basis for interaction with matter then matter cannot transfer it at all.  Simple ontology.

Being seen or touched are material processes. We see things due to a physical medium which allows material patterns to go from one place to another and indirectly interact with other material things. Being touched involved direct material contact. If the non-material information doesn't exist in any way that it is possible to interact with our physicality in any way, then there is no way that said information can influence, interact, or effect matter (or the other way around), thus to say that information is no material yet still interacts with material things is meaningless.

Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can  transfer from one medium to another through physical means. The encoding of information is variable, and we can create all sorts of ways to encode information. The information in DNA is not some idea or meaning that DNA molecules pass around, but rather it is the physical structure of (for example) the DNA that, when it interacts with the environment of a biological cell, nutrients, and all the other things that allow for replication of DNA and the actions of RNA, makes something happen.  The fact that that something is life is easily explained by the idea that if it didn't pass along this encoding process, it wouldn't survive.

At some point there is a complexity in the brain of some beings where a self-reflection is possible. At this point, self-awareness and consciousness develops. This is the arising of liguistic information, which is fundamentally based upon this self-reflection and awareness of internal and external states. At this point the information in DNA is able to be encoded and reflected upon. Before that moment, it was a non-conscious and material process passing down a chain of processes that were purely physical.  And when it is self-reflective, it is still purely material, onlynow it takes on new levels of complexity and reflective.

The fallacy in your question is in equivocating material mediums that encode a physical process with conscious and linguistic awareness, which is a form of information but at a higher level of complexity. Yes, we can take that physical process in DNA and make some sense of it, but that sense--that self-reflected awareness of the encoding and what it does--is not information in the same sense that a phone number, word, or story is.  the difference is one of degree--of quanity and complexity.

I would say more, but I'll ;eave it at that for now.

Shaun

Thanks for the well developed clarification of what my point was. You have explained it a lot better than I could.

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
todangst wrote: The

todangst wrote:

The question we have now is this: is our universe a mona lisa, or a piece of toast with mary 'appearing' on it...... never did I think that I'd write such a sentence....

Rorschach addresses this in The Watchmen, saying that the universe is a formless blank in which we see patterns after staring at it for too long. Of course, that would be the position of a character with that name...

 

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


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
pby wrote:

pby wrote:
One does not have to see the painter's signature on the painting to know that a painter painted it.

But "who is the painter/who created?" is the crucial question. You claim that it's god.  Others claim it's evolution.

Painters can be identified by their work. Evolution's brush strokes are all over the planet (the proof abounds). Where are God's?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


pby
Theist
Posts: 170
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
kellym78

kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
Kelly was wrong...Josephus definitely wrote about a historical Jesus.

Proof? Oh, that's right...you still haven't provided any.

Kelly 

In 1991 J. P. Meier, in volume 1 of his landmark series A Marginal Jew, defended a variant of the second solution; he argued that exactly three phrases are later Christian interpolations. Josephus did not write them; an overly enthusiastic Christian scribe did, and the additions were picked up in later copies. I offer the passage again, but with the three Christian phrases boldfaced:

Γινεται δε κατα τουτον τον χρονον Ιησους, σοφος ανηρ, [ειγε ανδρα αυτον λεγειν χρη·] ην γαρ παραδοξων εργων ποιητης, διδασκαλος ανθρωπων των ηδονη ταληθη δεχομενων, και πολλους μεν Ιουδαιους, πολλους δε και του Ελληνικου επηγαγετο· [ο Χριστος ουτος ην.] και αυτον ενδειξει των πρωτων ανδρων παρ ημιν σταυρω επιτετιμηκοτος Πιλατου ουκ επαυσαντο οι το πρωτον αγαπησαντες· [εφανη γαρ αυτοις τριτην εχων ημεραν παλιν ζων των θειων προφητων ταυτα τε και αλλα μυρια περι αυτου θαυμασια ειρηκοτων.] εις ετι τε νυν των Χριστιανων απο τουδε ωνομασμενον ουκ επελιπε το φυλον.

And there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, [if indeed it is necessary to call him a man,] for he was a doer of paradoxical works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure and many Jews on the one hand and also many of the Greeks on the other he drew to himself. [This man was the Christ.] And when, on the accusation of some of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first loved him did not cease to do so. [For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, the divine prophets having related both these things and countless other marvels about him.] And even till now the tribe of Christians, so named from this man, has not gone extinct.

According to Meier, Josephus himself actually wrote only what remains after excising the three offending statements:

Γινεται δε κατα τουτον τον χρονον Ιησους, σοφος ανηρ, ην γαρ παραδοξων εργων ποιητης, διδασκαλος ανθρωπων των ηδονη ταληθη δεχομενων, και πολλους μεν Ιουδαιους, πολλους δε και του Ελληνικου επηγαγετο· και αυτον ενδειξει των πρωτων ανδρων παρ ημιν σταυρω επιτετιμηκοτος Πιλατου ουκ επαυσαντο οι το πρωτον αγαπησαντες· εις ετι τε νυν των Χριστιανων απο τουδε ωνομασμενον ουκ επελιπε το φυλον.

And there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of paradoxical works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure, and many Jews on the one hand and also many of the Greeks on the other he drew to himself. And when, on the accusation of some of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first loved him did not cease to do so. And even till now the tribe of Christians, so named from this man, has not gone extinct.

This proposal has won many adherents and seems most cogent and rational. It must be emphasized, however, that it is only cogent and rational. It was arrived at without the benefit of textual evidence. The method used to arrive at this conclusion was simply to stare at the paragraph for a long time, then cut out what does not look like what a Jewish historian would have written. (Rather like my uncle, a wood-carver, telling me how to carve a duck out of a block of wood: Just cut out everything that does not look like a duck.)


canofbutter
Silver Member
canofbutter's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: 2007-01-18
User is offlineOffline
pby wrote: canofbutter

pby wrote:
canofbutter wrote:
pby wrote:

Um...How exactly does a painting paint itself?

With modern art, it looks like a tornado hit a canvas and paint store (though in some cases that might actually look better than some modern art).

 

Oh I see...and it would like the Mona Lisa or some other spectacular piece of artwork?

My comment was obviously a joke, but to simply say that a painting requires a painter is not true.

Paintings like the Mona Lisa have an extremely high probability of having a painter (very, very, very close to 100%) because there is evidence of it. The evidence for "regular" paintings would be indirect evidence based on our knowlege and experience of paintings and their production process.

Evidence that da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa is actually quite a bit different - I don't have the information in front of me to support or deny that da Vinci existed and painted the Mona Lisa, however I do belive that there's a pretty strong probability of it based on what I do know of history.

Yes, paintings usually have painters (I'm speaking of designers, not tornados or whateveR), however each human-made object has its own lines of evidence to show they were created. To them jump to say that it follows that everything must be created in its complete and final form is not true (i.e. you can't say that because paintings were painted (created) that the universe and/or life was also created).

We know paintings were designed for completely different reasons than you think the universe was designed. Order typically rises out of complexity (e.g. fractals, genetic algorithms, etc). The earth is very complex and with the right selective mechanism (i.e. survivial) ordered things will prevail over disorderly things. With sufficient diversity, dynamic environment, and need for robustnes. Evolution is not random. Neither is the painting. The painting was artificially selected by the painter using a very strict selection routine (appealing colors, design that looks like something, etc).

Based on a vast amount of past experience and other knowlege, we know that there is an extremely high probability that a painting was designed and painted by someone, however one can't say with 100% certainty that it was painted by someone (even if the probability of it occuring randomly is 1*10^-912381908238213124323423...

Why yes, I can believe it's not butter!


formerfaithhead
formerfaithhead's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: 2007-03-03
User is offlineOffline
Why RRS is a good thing in the culture wars

So Kelly and Brian don't exactly come across like Dawkins and Harris in their oratory abilities. Despite their nervousness, they were not as nervous as Ray and Kirk.

Many science educated atheists are embarrassed that such a low brow debate even has to occur. And this is the problem with us science educated atheists. We are trained to be honest and adherent to evidence and truth, we are not trained to be duplicitous politicians. As a result, we just pass people like Cameron and Comfort off as delusional freaks flying under the radar. And we may see the RRS as a bunch of college tokers who enjoy feeling brilliant about themselves for not being delusional amidst a sea of insanity.

But I reject these attitudes. The RRS does matter greatly. The arguments are often juvenile and embarrassing, but one must understand that this is where the public in America is. I suspect most people in America would actually find Cameron's photos of the intermediate species compelling in some profoundly absurd and ignorant way.

While people like us are listening to Dawkins and Harris, there is another segment of the population- a vast segment of the population, who have such a limited understanding that they could not hold their attention through any book which mentioned 'philosophy" or "biology", and these are the types of people who typically find Comfort and Cameron compelling- maybe 1/3 of America. The fact that Cameron even thinks his pictures were worth showing completely demonstrate his utter lack of knowledge of the subject.

The RRS is to be supported because they take the battle to where the masses are, especially the younger masses who are recovering from their brainwashing or encountering doubt for the first time. By planting the seeds of doubt early on through the internet and pop culture, we can thwart an entire generation of superstition, and marginalize faith to extinction.

Long live RRS.

Anyone got a match? I need to sacrifice a goat to make god happy.


daddymatt33ih
Theist
Posts: 11
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
I will ask you the same

I will ask you the same question if the universe has always existed why not God always existing. Look at our world we live in we have male and female for reproduction our bodies are so complex. If evolution is true prove it there is no proof in the pudding it's just a theory and that's it a theory does not make something a fact. Using the snake as proof of evolution is false read Genesis 3:14 you will find out why the snake slides on it belly


1225Truth
1225Truth's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2006-12-16
User is offlineOffline
pby wrote: kellym78

pby wrote:
kellym78 wrote:

Quote:
Kelly was wrong...Josephus definitely wrote about a historical Jesus.

Proof? Oh, that's right...you still haven't provided any.

Kelly


According to Meier, Josephus himself actually wrote only what remains after excising the three offending statements:

Γινεται δε κατα τουτον τον χρονον Ιησους, σοφος ανηρ, ην γαρ παραδοξων εργων ποιητης, διδασκαλος ανθρωπων των ηδονη ταληθη δεχομενων, και πολλους μεν Ιουδαιους, πολλους δε και του Ελληνικου επηγαγετο· και αυτον ενδειξει των πρωτων ανδρων παρ ημιν σταυρω επιτετιμηκοτος Πιλατου ουκ επαυσαντο οι το πρωτον αγαπησαντες· εις ετι τε νυν των Χριστιανων απο τουδε ωνομασμενον ουκ επελιπε το φυλον.

And there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of paradoxical works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure, and many Jews on the one hand and also many of the Greeks on the other he drew to himself. And when, on the accusation of some of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first loved him did not cease to do so. And even till now the tribe of Christians, so named from this man, has not gone extinct.

This proposal has won many adherents and seems most cogent and rational. It must be emphasized, however, that it is only cogent and rational. It was arrived at without the benefit of textual evidence. The method used to arrive at this conclusion was simply to stare at the paragraph for a long time, then cut out what does not look like what a Jewish historian would have written. (Rather like my uncle, a wood-carver, telling me how to carve a duck out of a block of wood: Just cut out everything that does not look like a duck.)

 

This suggested corruption is not entirely rational for still not explaining why Josephus would offer such a parsimonious account as to why Pilate would see fit to condemn Jesus to the cross. "Paradoxical works" seems far too ambiguous and benign from a blatantly provocative conduct that might be picked up on Pilate's radar as circumstances worth snuffing out. "Accusation"? What accusation(s)? Where would the accusation(s) fall within the ideological parties (Pharisees, Zealots, Essenes, etc.), either as the accuser or accused, that so incensed Roman authority as detailed in the two histories of Josephus?

I have other problems and issues with the Testimonium that I wll relate, time permitting.


gary7infiltrator
gary7infiltrator's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
From pby:  "Introduction

From pby:  "Introduction To The Acts Of The Apostles...etc. ad nauseum"

GAH!  Paragraphs, please, in the name of all that's sacred.


Bargle
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-08
User is offlineOffline
On the may 9th show of the

On the may 9th show of the worlds #1 podcast http://wayofthemasterradio.com/podcast/ they play clips of the cancer lady and rant about angry atheists. No response to the RRS arguments just "atheists are mean WAAAAAA" LOL!!


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
daddymatt33ih wrote: I will

daddymatt33ih wrote:
I will ask you the same question if the universe has always existed why not God always existing. Look at our world we live in we have male and female for reproduction our bodies are so complex. If evolution is true prove it there is no proof in the pudding it's just a theory and that's it a theory does not make something a fact. Using the snake as proof of evolution is false read Genesis 3:14 you will find out why the snake slides on it belly

Perhaps it's because the God of the Bible was constructed when the books that make it up were written? 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Iruka Naminori
atheist
Iruka Naminori's picture
Posts: 1955
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
Dunstan wrote: Hi guys,

Dunstan wrote:
Hi guys, just wanted to stop in and congratulate you on a job well done. Also, for all the criticism that outspoken atheists in general, and the RRS in particular, get for supposedly being rude and insulting.

Thanks, Dunstan.  I'm only part of the support group and that accusation gets old for me. Smiling I imagine the core team must get really, really tired of it. One of our main goals is to put religion on an even playing field, to subject it to the same scrutiny and criticism as every other area of life. 

As it is now, even some atheists want to give it a free pass: "Aw, it's not hurting anyone!" Oh really?  There are so many things wrong with that statement, I sometimes don't know where to start. Smiling

Welcome, Dunstan.  I hope you stick around! 

Books on atheism, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
formerfaithhead wrote: So

formerfaithhead wrote:

So Kelly and Brian don't exactly come across like Dawkins and Harris in their oratory abilities. Despite their nervousness, they were not as nervous as Ray and Kirk.

Many science educated atheists are embarrassed that such a low brow debate even has to occur. And this is the problem with us science educated atheists. We are trained to be honest and adherent to evidence and truth, we are not trained to be duplicitous politicians. As a result, we just pass people like Cameron and Comfort off as delusional freaks flying under the radar. And we may see the RRS as a bunch of college tokers who enjoy feeling brilliant about themselves for not being delusional amidst a sea of insanity.

But I reject these attitudes. The RRS does matter greatly. The arguments are often juvenile and embarrassing, but one must understand that this is where the public in America is. I suspect most people in America would actually find Cameron's photos of the intermediate species compelling in some profoundly absurd and ignorant way.

While people like us are listening to Dawkins and Harris, there is another segment of the population- a vast segment of the population, who have such a limited understanding that they could not hold their attention through any book which mentioned 'philosophy" or "biology", and these are the types of people who typically find Comfort and Cameron compelling- maybe 1/3 of America. The fact that Cameron even thinks his pictures were worth showing completely demonstrate his utter lack of knowledge of the subject.

The RRS is to be supported because they take the battle to where the masses are, especially the younger masses who are recovering from their brainwashing or encountering doubt for the first time. By planting the seeds of doubt early on through the internet and pop culture, we can thwart an entire generation of superstition, and marginalize faith to extinction.

Long live RRS.

 

Thanks for "getting it."  It amazes me that there are quite a few residents of the Ivory Tower who don't "get it."

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


pby
Theist
Posts: 170
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
gary7infiltrator

gary7infiltrator wrote:

From pby:  "Introduction To The Acts Of The Apostles...etc. ad nauseum"

GAH!  Paragraphs, please, in the name of all that's sacred.

 

Yeah...I agree!

I don't know what happened. The paragraphs were in the preview but not the post.

Sorry! 

 

 


BusterFriendly
Posts: 2
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
I'd be interested in

I'd be interested in watching more of these debates, particularly if Kelly argues in a bikini.


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Domomojo

Domomojo wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Any thoughts?

I think you are asking where the information in our DNA comes from, right? The trivial answer is that my DNA came from my parents, their DNA from their parents, and so on back. If we had a "time TV" you could trace the history of the DNA code. We don't have a "time TV" but because of the overwhelming evidence the vast majority of scientists accept evolution as the explanation for the origin of the information. Through the evolutionary process of change and selection information "grows" out of previous generations, from the simplest bacteria to the variety of life we see today.

I assume you accept the Earth to be 4.5 billion years old? For most of the history of life on Earth the only thing that existed were bacteria. Their DNA maybe came from simpler forms of RNA, from simpler proto-cells. There are various ideas, and I'm no expert. Of course nobody knows the complete story, but science is working on it!

I am guessing you think an intelligent force started the whole process? Maybe yes, but probably no. There is no evidence for such an event. And it just pushes the problem further back since we have to ask where that intelligence came from. Sure there are still gaps in our knowledge for some type of "god", but a literal biblical Yahweh is just silly. Until you give me evidence for something, I'm not going to invest belief in any idea, especially not supernatural ones. 

 You might also find this link helpful:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html 

New layer...New layer... Ok, first I’ll address your ‘trivial answer’. My question was where the information encoded within or ‘behind’ the DNA came from. You answered me by telling me where the physical matter came from. I assert that the information is not the matter itself. Just as a stick is not information in and of itself. It may be used to transmit information if there is a code that TWO people (or molecules in the case of the body) already ‘understand’. For information transfer to take place in any meaningful way, there must be a sender, who understands the code, a receiver, who understands the code, and a medium to transfer the information. So the DNA, just like the stick, is not information. I want to know where the information that is encoded in and transmitted by the physical DNA comes from. I have done research and talked with many other scientists, and none of them have been able to claim categorically that they can explain how information or codes came into being by the process of evolution. I would challenge you to do that if you would like to try. Basically the beginning of your argument to answer my question sounds like this: ‘Well we don’t entirely know the whole history of the universe all the way back (ala time TV), but if we did, we could see that there was no intelligence behind it’. And your description of DNA coming from RNA, and RNA coming from simpler protocells does nothing to answer the main question, and that is, ‘How do you account for the presence of the information that RNA and DNA use both to replicate themselves, and to replicate cells and perform all the thousands and millions of cellular processes that cause cells and organisms to live’. Are you saying that it is an intrinsic process within the universe that information arises from inorganic matter? If it is, I think you may see that this opens up a whole new can of worms for you in your beliefs. If not, then how do you account for the presence of this information. If you want to trust science then use scientific reasoning. If I look at DNA, and I recognize that it encodes and uses information (all scientists recognize this), then I must attempt to account for the origin of the information—NOT just the physical medium of the transfer or encoding of that information. I must account for where the code originated. So again, your answer 1)presumes that there is no intelligent beginning from the start 2) does not account for the presence of information, but only ATTEMPTS to account for the origin of the physical matter. So finally, I would say again, ‘do you accept that information exists, and if so, where did it come from?’


Ader
Theist
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Sapient on christians wasting their lives if there is no God

Maybe this is a bit off-topic, but I couldn't resist commenting on the comment to the e-mail sent by the christian fella to Sapient. It is displayed on the front page of this site. I quote from Sapient's response:

"Furthermore if we do simply cease to exist, than millions of people have wasted the only life they get trying to appease some sort of sky daddy creator. I hope they figure it out before it's too late. Eye-wink"

Now I don't know what kind of christians Sapient has met, whose lives would be wasted if there was no God. I so thoroughly enjoy life as a christian that I think I would continue living like one even if I got proof that there was no God. Let's see... what is the christian life all about:

- Love. I know I'm valuable and loved even if the whole world would unite against me.

- Virtually no worries. I know there is an almighty God who cares for my needs.

- It is actually wonderful to believe in something worth dying for. 

When I became a christian it was like going from a black-white movie to one with colours and surround sound! I imagine going back would horribly dull and boring. If I die and find there is nothing after life (which I won't since there won't be any me to find anything), I would still think I made the best choice I could, and lived the best life possible! It is definitely NOT a waste!

Am I the only christian who feels that life is wonderful, or did Sapient miss out on something here?

Rasmus

 


leor613
Theist
Posts: 44
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
My e-mail in response to last night's show

Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent this morning to this site. I've had a few problems getting logged in, so the text may be a bit haphazard. If this is the wrong forum to post this in, I apologize. 

To Mr. "Sapient", and Kelly,

I would like to congratulate you for putting in the better performance in
the debate aired last night by Nightline. Not for winning the debate,
because I don't feel you were that persuasive, merely that you were far
more skillful in presenting your case. Of course you were debating Mike
Seaver and a Jack Chick wannabe, not Nachmanides, so you did not need to
be too convincing. I am not a Christian, so I completely disagree with Mr.
Cameron and Mr. Comfort. I am an Orthodox Jew, and I happened to catch the
show. Neither you nor your Christ-loving opponents convinced of me of the
validity of either argument. Your argument is that there is no proof for
the existence of any god, they argued that not only is there a god, it's
the god outlined in the latter half of the KJB.

I am not going to start an argument with you that you are wrong, because
in my experience, no one can convince another person of the
validity/invalidity of their belief system through words alone.

You have recognized the moral bankruptcy of the Christian faith, a faith
which preaches love and burns people at the stake at the same time.
However, you have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Not all
religions are the same. Furthermore, your attitude last night comports
with that of most of the atheists I have met: the idea that snarkiness is
a good substitute for good arguments. That kind of snarkiness is found in
the whole "Blasphemy Contest", not to mention several entries. (I will
never forgive the entry that denies the existence of Optimus Prime! How
low can you atheists sink? Smiling  ) Basically, a kind word, a nice gesture,
politeness, these are how you can convince people to listen to you. You
had few kind words or nice gestures last night, and you were far from
polite. A more competent debater would have called the two of you on that,
as would a more astute moderator.

Like I said, I don't expect my e-mail to convert you to theism of any
stripe. To think so would be the height of arrogance. What I do wonder is:
do you ever doubt your position? As a Jew, I believe that within all humans
are two warring forces, a good inclination and an evil one. The evil
inclination preys on my doubt, my worries, my laziness. Any religious
person who says they never know doubt is a liar. But do you ever doubt
your disbelief? Wonder about what comes after the end of your life (may it
not come till you reach 120 years of age)? Or are you so full of passion
for your cause that you are as sure as good ol' Kirk? Just wondering.

Once again, congratulations. You bested them through their own ineptitude,
not your sterling speech.

Leor Blumenthal



1225Truth
1225Truth's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2006-12-16
User is offlineOffline
Sapient

Sapient wrote:
formerfaithhead wrote:

So Kelly and Brian don't exactly come across like Dawkins and Harris in their oratory abilities. Despite their nervousness, they were not as nervous as Ray and Kirk.

Many science educated atheists are embarrassed that such a low brow debate even has to occur. And this is the problem with us science educated atheists. We are trained to be honest and adherent to evidence and truth, we are not trained to be duplicitous politicians. As a result, we just pass people like Cameron and Comfort off as delusional freaks flying under the radar. And we may see the RRS as a bunch of college tokers who enjoy feeling brilliant about themselves for not being delusional amidst a sea of insanity.

But I reject these attitudes. The RRS does matter greatly. The arguments are often juvenile and embarrassing, but one must understand that this is where the public in America is. I suspect most people in America would actually find Cameron's photos of the intermediate species compelling in some profoundly absurd and ignorant way.

While people like us are listening to Dawkins and Harris, there is another segment of the population- a vast segment of the population, who have such a limited understanding that they could not hold their attention through any book which mentioned 'philosophy" or "biology", and these are the types of people who typically find Comfort and Cameron compelling- maybe 1/3 of America. The fact that Cameron even thinks his pictures were worth showing completely demonstrate his utter lack of knowledge of the subject.

The RRS is to be supported because they take the battle to where the masses are, especially the younger masses who are recovering from their brainwashing or encountering doubt for the first time. By planting the seeds of doubt early on through the internet and pop culture, we can thwart an entire generation of superstition, and marginalize faith to extinction.

Long live RRS.

 

Thanks for "getting it." It amazes me that there are quite a few residents of the Ivory Tower who don't "get it."

 

 

This is my greatest concern -- whether or not our national community of science professionals "gets it." A recent article in Free Inquiry by Sam Harris reveals his displeasure with the responses of scientists at the Beyond Belief conference in La Jolla, CA. While scientists jockey for grants to test their favored hypotheses, others are consumed with their lab experiments, and younger instructors are absorbed with acquiring tenure and getting published; pseudo science charlatans are duping the public into adhering to bogus postulates that buttress popularly accepted mythologies.

I fear that our scientific vangard is just asleep to the "dumbing down" of the general American public on matters of scientific literacy -- partly to be politically correct in being sensitive to public religious sensitivities. The statistics I have seen are more dire than posed by formerfaithhead -- more like half or better or have limited understanding of central scientific truths.

It is credentialed scientists that should be participating in more of these public debates. If they do not want to see a decline in American competitive advange, irrational decision making in the civic arena, irrational dogma that impairs our civil rights and liberties, then they must take their queue from Carl Sagan. We experience a desperate need for professionals to take much greater responsibility for public science education.

 

 


Domomojo
Domomojo's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2006-04-06
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner wrote: So

HonestQuestioner wrote:
So again, your answer 1)presumes that there is no intelligent beginning from the start 2) does not account for the presence of information, but only ATTEMPTS to account for the origin of the physical matter. So finally, I would say again, ‘do you accept that information exists, and if so, where did it come from?’

 I only have time for a quick reply. In short, you are correct. It is only an attempt. The information is there, I attempted to explain it through materialistic processes. Do you have another option? I don't find supernatural explanations useful or interesting. 


pby
Theist
Posts: 170
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Domomojo wrote: pby

Domomojo wrote:
pby wrote:

Jesus came in the flesh and walked among men...The writings of Josephus do nothing but state that Jesus existed historically. It definitely doesn't do what you infer.

For the sake of argument, if I gave you that, so what? Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, and Rev. Moon also "came in the flesh" and at least one of them is still "walking among men." Do you believe the claims made about them? If not, why not?  

No.

 These men did not claim to be the Son of God and have not performed miracles (raising people from the dead, and the like).

These men also proved to be fallible in regard to their prophecy.

These men did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.

Do you have specific claims about these men in mind?


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
Ader wrote: Maybe this is

Ader wrote:

Maybe this is a bit off-topic, but I couldn't resist commenting on the comment to the e-mail sent by the christian fella to Sapient. It is displayed on the front page of this site. I quote from Sapient's response:

"Furthermore if we do simply cease to exist, than millions of people have wasted the only life they get trying to appease some sort of sky daddy creator. I hope they figure it out before it's too late. Eye-wink"

Now I don't know what kind of christians Sapient has met, whose lives would be wasted if there was no God. I so thoroughly enjoy life as a christian that I think I would continue living like one even if I got proof that there was no God. Let's see... what is the christian life all about:

- Love. I know I'm valuable and loved even if the whole world would unite against me.

- Virtually no worries. I know there is an almighty God who cares for my needs.

- It is actually wonderful to believe in something worth dying for. 

When I became a christian it was like going from a black-white movie to one with colours and surround sound! I imagine going back would horribly dull and boring. If I die and find there is nothing after life (which I won't since there won't be any me to find anything), I would still think I made the best choice I could, and lived the best life possible! It is definitely NOT a waste!

Am I the only christian who feels that life is wonderful, or did Sapient miss out on something here?

Rasmus

 

The idea that things are going to be OK, is a comforting feeling, not often is it unfounded.  When you see someone suffering on the other side of the world.  Religion allows for it to be OK, because god will fix it in the end.  It becomes OK to ignore atrocities because god will fix it in the end.  Does it not close your eyes to suffering of all kinds.  Remember if God doesn't exist then it is us to make it OK.  Are you willing to take that chance with someone else's life?   Religion devalues life.  Accepting god is to accept less from life.  (of course that is my personal view)

It is not wonderful to believe something is worth dying for, it is wonderful to think there is something worth living for.  You have no worries when playing a video game either, if your character dies you can restart and in some cases, have a magical fairy bring you back to life.  Love exist without a god just as hate does.

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


gary7infiltrator
gary7infiltrator's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Rasmus -   You and

Rasmus -

 

You and Christians like you are not living by the Bible.  Not in whole.  I know you think you are.  Maybe it even offends you that I say this to you.  However, if you were living exactly as the Bible told you to live, you would not believe that Christianity is all about love, but all about supremacy and converting others to be like you.  That's what is in the New Testament.   Also, Jesus commands you to despise your life on Earth, not to enjoy it, so that you might better appreciate how rad Heaven apparently is.  Not to mention, you are not commanded to love your friends and family, but rather to despise and hate them.  Jesus also assures you that you will get all kinds of great treasures if you follow him, which he explicitly states that he will take from the hands of unbelievers to give you to - right before you're supposed to murder them in His holy name for not believing.

 

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."(Luke 14:26).

 

"He that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:25)

 

 "I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me." (Luke 19:26-27)

 

GREAT guy you worship, there.  He constantly throws tantrums, calls his disciples idiots for not "getting" his cryptic b.s. "parables."  Plus, you know, the whole thing where he says that you should murder non-Christians.  

Jesus doesn't spend all that much time preaching love and kindness, all in all.  He spends the majority of his time assuring his listeners that if they do not devote themselves totally to God, they will most definitely burn in hell for all eternity - much like the God of the Old Testament did.  The few times he does mention love and forgiveness, most scholars (who aren't themselves Christians) believe that there is plenty of evidence to suggest he means ONLY OTHER JEWS (remember- his followers at the time were all Jews).  It's perfectly okay with Jesus, based on much of his own speeches (such as Luke 19:26-27) to take the belongings and the lives of non-Jewish people, or other Jews who didn't buy that he was the Messiah.

So...the question here is, why is Christianity so different today?  It's clearly not because Jesus told us to be kind to EVERYBODY.  For corn's sake, he told us to kill anybody who wouldn't accept his rule!  So why don't you go around murdering non-Christians if they refuse to convert?  You're supposed to!

 The reason is because you and your kind know that it's not acceptable in secular, pan-religious society to kill people.  For any reason.  Even for the horrible crime of not being Christian.  Human society used to be far more ignorant and barbaric - back then, it was pretty much okay to do so.  Today, thanks in large part to science broadening our understanding of the world and of each other, it's no longer considered all right to murder due to differences of opinion.  

Just as Jews no longer murder their own children when they sass off, even though it not only says explicitly to do so in Deuteronomy, but it also says explicitly to take everything in Deuteronomy literally.  Why don't they stone their kids to death anymore if they misbehave?  Because GENERAL SOCIETY no longer accepts it.

 

That's why Christianity is now a "peaceful" religion, even though the evidence is plain for all to read that it was never intended to be so.  It's peaceful because if it didn't adapt itself to match the Zeitgeist of evolving human culture, it would have died out long ago.

If only we'd been so lucky. 


gary7infiltrator
gary7infiltrator's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Hey there, Leor - welcome

Hey there, Leor - welcome to RRS.

 

I just wanted to point out that RRS's purpose in the debate wasn't to disprove God, but only to show that Ray and Kirk would not be able to "prove" God "scientifically" without invoking the Bible or faith.  In that, RRS succeeded admirably.

 

 


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
pby wrote: Domomojo

pby wrote:
Domomojo wrote:
pby wrote:

Jesus came in the flesh and walked among men...The writings of Josephus do nothing but state that Jesus existed historically. It definitely doesn't do what you infer.

For the sake of argument, if I gave you that, so what? Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, and Rev. Moon also "came in the flesh" and at least one of them is still "walking among men." Do you believe the claims made about them? If not, why not?

No.

These men did not claim to be the Son of God and have not performed miracles (raising people from the dead, and the like).

These men also proved to be fallible in regard to their prophecy.

These men did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.

Do you have specific claims about these men in mind?

If you're looking for those who fulfill messianic prophecies you have to take Jesus off your list also.

Link: http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/messianic.html

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Now, your question as to 'why' this information 'needs' physical matter to be transferred, I don't know. But I don't think that really matters in this discussion. Why does FM=A? Its a law of nature. Its the way things are. Information IS transferred via physical matter. The question is, where does it come from originally. So, I ask you, does information exist, and if so, what does it consist of. I argue that yes, information itself is evidence of 'intangible things' (not able to be seen or touched). You, of course, may say that it does not exist, but that would make everything we are doing in this discussion meaningless.

This is not evidence of intangible things. If something cannot be seen or touched, then it doesn't have any basis for interaction. without a basis for interaction with matter then matter cannot transfer it at all.  Simple ontology.

Being seen or touched are material processes. We see things due to a physical medium which allows material patterns to go from one place to another and indirectly interact with other material things. Being touched involved direct material contact. If the non-material information doesn't exist in any way that it is possible to interact with our physicality in any way, then there is no way that said information can influence, interact, or effect matter (or the other way around), thus to say that information is no material yet still interacts with material things is meaningless.

Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can  transfer from one medium to another through physical means. The encoding of information is variable, and we can create all sorts of ways to encode information. The information in DNA is not some idea or meaning that DNA molecules pass around, but rather it is the physical structure of (for example) the DNA that, when it interacts with the environment of a biological cell, nutrients, and all the other things that allow for replication of DNA and the actions of RNA, makes something happen.  The fact that that something is life is easily explained by the idea that if it didn't pass along this encoding process, it wouldn't survive.

At some point there is a complexity in the brain of some beings where a self-reflection is possible. At this point, self-awareness and consciousness develops. This is the arising of liguistic information, which is fundamentally based upon this self-reflection and awareness of internal and external states. At this point the information in DNA is able to be encoded and reflected upon. Before that moment, it was a non-conscious and material process passing down a chain of processes that were purely physical.  And when it is self-reflective, it is still purely material, onlynow it takes on new levels of complexity and reflective.

The fallacy in your question is in equivocating material mediums that encode a physical process with conscious and linguistic awareness, which is a form of information but at a higher level of complexity. Yes, we can take that physical process in DNA and make some sense of it, but that sense--that self-reflected awareness of the encoding and what it does--is not information in the same sense that a phone number, word, or story is.  the difference is one of degree--of quanity and complexity.

I would say more, but I'll ;eave it at that for now.

Shaun

Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:
ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

 

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information? And where does that information come from? Then you say

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘we can create all sorts of ways to encode information’

I agree. Interesting that you said that ‘we can create’ all sorts of ways. Encoding of information requires an intelligent creator who 1) has information to pass along 2) is able to create codes. Then you say

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘The information in DNA is not some idea or meaning that DNA molecules pass around, but rather it is the physical structure of (for example) the DNA'.

I say, wrong. The information in the DNA is the physical DNA? Do you understand the fallacy of that? So the information contained my hands moving in sign language to another person is my hands themselves? I don’t think so. And the same can be said of DNA. Sure, the structure is ‘recognized’ by other structures, and has a meaning, but the meaning is not the structure, it is something else. It is information. Then ‘something happens’. You say,

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘The fact that that something is life is easily explained by the idea that if it didn't pass along this encoding process, it wouldn't survive.’

So why is surviving important? Where did the information for that idea come from? Then

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘at some point’ comes ‘the arising of linguistic information’.

The arising? What in the world does that mean? Arising from where? You then say

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘At this point the information in DNA is able to be encoded and reflected upon. Before that moment, it was a non-conscious and material process passing down a chain of processes that were purely physical.’

I’m sorry, but by your understanding of the chronology of life, the information in DNA was already encoded prior to what you term ‘consciousness’. Or are you saying DNA did something different back then than it does now, namely, encode information for cellular processes. The fact that we now understand some of that information does not mean that the information was not there before we understood it. At one point I didn’t understand Spanish. The words on the page meant nothing to me. But now that I do, does that mean that before I understood it, there was no information being transferred in its use? I doubt it. Finally, you say

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘The fallacy in your question is in equivocating material mediums that encode a physical process with conscious and linguistic awareness, which is a form of information but at a higher level of complexity’.

Again, you use the word encode. Encode with what? Material mediums that encode….physical process? You mean encode information about how a physical process is to occur. It is nonsensical to say that DNA is ‘encoded with’ the actual touching and moving of molecules (actions). It is encoded with information about how these processes are to occur, not the processes themselves. Surely you understand that. So, you may say that my analogy comparing linguistic information to the information encoded in DNA is a fallacy (which I don’t agree with anyway), but how I don’t understand how they are entirely different. Language is a physical pattern (of sound waves), just as DNA has a physical pattern. As you yourself say, this pattern is encoded. Again, I say, encoded with WHAT? Information. And as such, you must consider the origin of that information. And just because you don’t understand how information and physical matter interact does not mean that they do not interact. Simply by the fact that we are having this conversation we prove that physical matter is a medium for transfer of information. The two do interact. If they did not, then this would not be possible. Finally, I find it terribly ironic that your free thinking friends here (todangst and magus), simply must have glossed over these glaringly obvious problems with your statements, calling them ‘terrific’.


Sara
Theist
Sara's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: 2006-08-13
User is offlineOffline
Scottmax: Quote: But no one

Scottmax:

Quote:
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.

As I've already stated, the universe cannot be eternal unless it somehow violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The way I understand this law, all energy in the universe (though it cannot be created or destroyed by anything contained within the universe) may exist or be converted into different forms of energy. This process, however, requires an expenditure of energy to occur and it will be lost over time. If the universe were eternal, there would be no useable energy left, it would have become "dead" matter long ago and heat death would have already ensued.

The point is, in order for matter to exist eternally and contain useful (or workable) energy, there must be either a constant source of energy fluxing into the system from some outside source (i.e. be an open system) or something even more powerful must preserve that energy from being lost. Since science claims the universe is a closed system, there is no opportunity for energy to enter it. And since nothing within the known universe is capable of circumventing the 2nd Law, then it is incorrect to claim the universe is eternal.

The claim that I make for God being eternal is that since nothing in the known universe can either be created or destroyed by anything within the known universe, something or Someone outside of it must have formed it. Since we know that infinite regression (i.e. a Creator who has a Creator who has a Creator, etc.) is impossible, there most be One First Cause to the known universe. And since the universe reflects intelligence, order and power, I can conclude that what caused the universe must also contain those attributes.

Quote:
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.

I don't agree. The only reason you find the "God theory" to be more ad hoc, is that you reject the idea of God in general.

Quote:
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.

On the contrary, without God, there is more complexity, questions, and lack of purpose. If I assumed that God did not exist, the problems would quickly become more numerous than the answers. There is no explanation for the origin of anything or anyone and life becomes pretty well meaningless since, in a Godless scenario, there is no purpose for it. I find I am more confused by my surroundings and circumstances since I have no reference point through which to view it.

Quote:
The universe need not have arisen from nothing. It may have always been in some form or another.

As I mentioned above, the 2nd Law dictates that eternal energy could not exist and retain workable energy.

Quote:
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.

My point with the personal being argument is that from observational science, we understand that like begets like. In other words, a personal being can only come from another personal being. Since the universe is obviously impersonal, it does not follow that it should be able to produce something wholly unlike it. Our minds cannot be the product of mindless matter.

Quote:
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.

I'm always amazed at this argument. I don't see dolphins or chimps as moral beings who ponder their existence with those of their own kind. Only humans do this. And just because our intelligence is far beneath that of God's, does not mean that we are akin to animals.

Quote:
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.

But that's exactly what materialism does. It starts with the presupposition that everything originates with the material universe. I don't think that is necessarily a given. I've already discussed how the universe could not have formed itself, nor does it seem possible for the universe to form personal beings with minds. These questions aren't easily answered by materialism and often reduce our existence to nothing more than purposeless incidences.

Quote:
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...

I don't see evolution as the most logical or the most evident explanation. Like I said, you must assume a great deal to accept evolution as the agent for making a man from a chemical soup. Nor has observational or experimental science even come close to showing how this process occurred. Instead, scientists grope for an explanation that fits a materialist view and go on to propose a theory based on it. My feeling is that if a person were to simply go off of what we see happening today, they would acknowledge that there is a vast variety of life inhabiting the planet with some being more similar to others. However, going on to then claim that all this life had a common ancestor takes a lot of faith and makes assumptions that have not been proven.

Quote:
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?

I'm not asking you or anyone else to entertain just any presupposition. I am attempting to show how a person could arrive at the conclusion that God exists by using common sense and logic. But we can only go so far looking at the created universe before we require more revelation from God to explain certain phenomenon that we observe happening in our world. I believe the bible is that further revelation and has proven itself historically and prophetically reliable. And that is reason for me to trust what it says regarding the Person of God and our circumstances here on Earth.

Just an aside, if a book were written by an entity claiming to be incorporeal unicorn that was on par with the bible and predicted future events, I suppose it would be foolish for anyone to reject it out of hand Smiling


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

Like I said before, my point was to show that a mindless, impersonal universe could not produce a personal being with a mind.

Quote:
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.

Social/cultural evolution can provide an answer, but not a very satisfying one. Claiming that we are nothing more than self-seeking biological impulses is pretty abhorrent to most people.

Quote:
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.

But that still glosses over the problem. Whenever our mind or logic recoils against the meaninglessness of life, the materialist must chalk it up to delusionment. It seems odd that the mind can be trusted to understand all the physical processes of the universe, cannot be trusted when it comes to philosophical matters such as meaning.


 

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


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
daddymatt33ih wrote: I will

daddymatt33ih wrote:
I will ask you the same question if the universe has always existed why not God always existing.

We have evidence for the existance of the universe - it is what we call everything we can sense. We have no such evidence for God. So the burden of proof is on theists to show that God exists before they can claim that he is eternal. 

daddymatt33ih wrote:

Look at our world we live in we have male and female for reproduction our bodies are so complex.

This is an argument from ignorance. Basically you are saying "I don't understand how it works so it must be God." This is not logically valid.

daddymatt33ih wrote:

If evolution is true prove it there is no proof in the pudding it's just a theory and that's it a theory does not make something a fact.

Evolution has been proven over and over again using every scientific method at our disposal. Do some basic reading before you make such a ridiculous statement. Evolution is called a theory as a pure formality. The laws of gravity are also formally called the Theory of Gravity. Established and tested scientific theories are fact.

daddymatt33ih wrote:

Using the snake as proof of evolution is false read Genesis 3:14 you will find out why the snake slides on it belly

Actually, it is perfectly possible to use snakes as proof of evolution. We can find fossil ancestors of snakes that still had legs. Some species of boa constrictors still have vestigal hind limbs today. By tracing the changes in snake ancestors through the fossil record, we can see that the ancestors of snakes gradually changed into the creature we see today.

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


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian

Tilberian wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
I'm sorry, but that's the very definition of beating around the bush. It was a very emotional answer, and I appreciate your honesty, but your answer amounts to this: 'I don't know'. And that's fine, but it would be better if you just said that. My point is exactly that I believe information itself, its existence, is a fairly strong argument for the existence of a source of original information.

The source of information is the human brain. It is what happens when the brain tries to create a relationship between the self and the matter and energy that make up the universe. Take away consciousness, and you have no information except in the most technical, irrelevant sense of the sound that a tree makes falling in an empty forest.

If you disagree with me, please point to some information and tell me how much it weighs, or how much work it can do. 

Strangely, I agree with your statement that information cannot exist without at least some consciousness at some point. However, information does exist in living cells despite them being conscious of it or not. Bacterial DNA encodes loads of information, and bacteria, as far as we know, are not conscious. And yet, information is being transferred in them all day long. So what consciousness spawned that information? Information can be created by the human mind, and used to create other codes to pass information. But the information for how to produce a human mind (from DNA) did not originate from the human mind. I agree, however, that it must have originated from something similar. And finally, your last statement is just strange. ‘Please point to some information and tell me how much it weighs and how much work it can do’. You stated that information does not exist in the absence of consciousness. Well, we’ll use information in the context of consciousness to answer your question. By your very statement, you admit that information exists in the presence of consciousness. But you seem to be trying to say by your last statement that information does not exist?.?.or can’t exist unless it has weight or does work? So you tell me. You asserted it existed, so tell me how much it weighs and how much work it does. I don’t know. All I know is that it exists, and yet I can’t weigh it or make it work.


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Domomojo

Domomojo wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
So again, your answer 1)presumes that there is no intelligent beginning from the start 2) does not account for the presence of information, but only ATTEMPTS to account for the origin of the physical matter. So finally, I would say again, ‘do you accept that information exists, and if so, where did it come from?’

 I only have time for a quick reply. In short, you are correct. It is only an attempt. The information is there, I attempted to explain it through materialistic processes. Do you have another option? I don't find supernatural explanations useful or interesting. 

Ok, so the information is there. Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information. So if your ‘natural’ or ‘materialistic’ processes don’t explain the origin of intelligent information, could you not see that a better explanation might be that information exists because, just as in our present day ‘natural’ experience (we do this all the time), an intelligent being created it? I think that your 'materialistic' explanations are far less useful, and far less interesting in this case.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
Ader wrote: When I became

Ader wrote:

When I became a christian it was like going from a black-white movie to one with colours and surround sound! I imagine going back would horribly dull and boring. If I die and find there is nothing after life (which I won't since there won't be any me to find anything), I would still think I made the best choice I could, and lived the best life possible! It is definitely NOT a waste!

Am I the only christian who feels that life is wonderful, or did Sapient miss out on something here?

Rasmus

Hi Rasmus. Unfortunately there are many Christians who think we are in the middle of a great spiritual war between God and "the Enemy". They imagine Satan's influence everywhere. They take the mere existence of atheists denying God as evidence of the fulfillment of end times prophecies. So you may derive joy and light from Christianity, but many others focus much more on the darker aspects.

Here is one question for you. Do you have kids? If you derive joy from Christianity, raise your kids to trust in faith, and they turn to the more fanatical teachings and worry constantly about Hell and the Enemy's influence on the world, will that be OK with you? If you discover then that there is no God but your children have been lost in the dark areas of religious fundamentalism because you taught them that it OK to base their lives on faith, will you have any regrets?

As atheists get more vocal and more numerous, I think we are going to see a steady erosion of moderate believers. Moderate belief is not supportable rationally or scripturally. I think as moderates leave their churches, they will go one of two places: atheism or fundamentalism. One holds rationality supreme while the other lives by unchanging, infallible scripture. I just hope more choose to live without mythology than choose to live by inflexible dogma.


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Ader wrote: Now I don't

Ader wrote:

Now I don't know what kind of christians Sapient has met, whose lives would be wasted if there was no God. I so thoroughly enjoy life as a christian that I think I would continue living like one even if I got proof that there was no God.

Of course you would. That's called faith - belief regardless of evidence. Actually, you are already doing this, since the proof that there is no God is all around you, all the time.

 

Ader wrote:
Let's see... what is the christian life all about:
- Love. I know I'm valuable and loved even if the whole world would unite against me.

You mean you imagine that you are loved...by an imaginary being. I guess this is fine if it is your premise that delusion is as good as truth. 

Ader wrote:

- Virtually no worries. I know there is an almighty God who cares for my needs.

You are lying. You get up every day and work to better your circumstances and to gain security and needed things for yourself. If you really believed that God would provide, you would have no motivation to do that, in fact doing so would be a pointless waste of time.

Ader wrote:

- It is actually wonderful to believe in something worth dying for.

Sure is, though I prefer that thing to be an actual thing like family or country rather than an imaginary myth. You certainly do no need God in order to find things in this world worth dying for.

Ader wrote:

When I became a christian it was like going from a black-white movie to one with colours and surround sound! I imagine going back would horribly dull and boring.

If you would embrace rationality and start making some discoveries about the world around you, your movie would become a 3D IMAX production with surround sound. You could discover that the actual nature of the universe is a billion times more beautiful and awe-inspiring than anything contained in religion.

Ader wrote:
 
If I die and find there is nothing after life (which I won't since there won't be any me to find anything), I would still think I made the best choice I could, and lived the best life possible! It is definitely NOT a waste!

If you can seriously point to a benefit that your faith is bringing you, then you do have a rational reason for holding it. The belief itself remains irrational, and the question is begged if you could realize that same benefit without faith, but you are still at least rational in choosing to be irrational in this respect.

There are many people in this world, and I am one, that are so interested in correct understanding and discovering truth that we can see few fates more dismal than to be trapped in a condition of ignorance. For us, faith can never be the answer, or deliver any benefit greater than the penalty in terms of lost cognitive possibilities.  

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


cynicastoic
Posts: 8
Joined: 2006-09-01
User is offlineOffline
I understand...

I understand your point, but I think it was more of a shock value statement than showing the ludicrous nature of assigning attributes to God...only in the fact that I did not see the full context of statement as Nightline did a good job of portraying Sapient and Kelly as they wanted.


scottmax
scottmax's picture
Posts: 164
Joined: 2007-03-12
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner wrote: Ok,

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, so the information is there. Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information.

Since we do not yet know how exactly the mind works, this statement is pretty unsupportable. This is classic "God of the Gaps" theology.

Let's go back in time for an analogous statement:

We shoot the arrow and it continues forward, even after it is no longer in contact with the bow. Since the bow can no longer be keeping the arrow moving forward, a god must be taking over from there and carrying it to its destination.


wackadoo
Posts: 21
Joined: 2007-04-15
User is offlineOffline
Sapient

Sapient wrote:
formerfaithhead wrote:

So Kelly and Brian don't exactly come across like Dawkins and Harris in their oratory abilities. Despite their nervousness, they were not as nervous as Ray and Kirk.

Many science educated atheists are embarrassed that such a low brow debate even has to occur. And this is the problem with us science educated atheists. We are trained to be honest and adherent to evidence and truth, we are not trained to be duplicitous politicians. As a result, we just pass people like Cameron and Comfort off as delusional freaks flying under the radar. And we may see the RRS as a bunch of college tokers who enjoy feeling brilliant about themselves for not being delusional amidst a sea of insanity.

But I reject these attitudes. The RRS does matter greatly. The arguments are often juvenile and embarrassing, but one must understand that this is where the public in America is. I suspect most people in America would actually find Cameron's photos of the intermediate species compelling in some profoundly absurd and ignorant way.

While people like us are listening to Dawkins and Harris, there is another segment of the population- a vast segment of the population, who have such a limited understanding that they could not hold their attention through any book which mentioned 'philosophy" or "biology", and these are the types of people who typically find Comfort and Cameron compelling- maybe 1/3 of America. The fact that Cameron even thinks his pictures were worth showing completely demonstrate his utter lack of knowledge of the subject.

The RRS is to be supported because they take the battle to where the masses are, especially the younger masses who are recovering from their brainwashing or encountering doubt for the first time. By planting the seeds of doubt early on through the internet and pop culture, we can thwart an entire generation of superstition, and marginalize faith to extinction.

Long live RRS.

 

Thanks for "getting it."  It amazes me that there are quite a few residents of the Ivory Tower who don't "get it."

 

Well said


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner wrote:  

HonestQuestioner wrote:
  Ok, so the information is there. Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information.

This is false. Shaun already dealt with this earlier in the thread.

 

Quote:
 

So if your ‘natural’ or ‘materialistic’ processes don’t explain the origin of intelligent information,

You're building an argument from personal ignorance.

Quote:
 

could you not see that a better explanation might be that information exists because, just as in our present day ‘natural’ experience (we do this all the time), an intelligent being created it?

Explain how information can exist without matter or energy.

Provide an ontology for your 'god'

Oh, and leaving aside these enormous problems for a second, explain why explaining the existence of intelligence by appealing to intelligence 'solves' anything.

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

 

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information?

He's telling you that information is encoded in physical patterns. You're rewording his statement as if the statement is circular when it is not.

I call that convoluted.

Now, can you tell me how information can be stored without any matter or energy? 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


blessed848
Theist
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Funny

No offense guys but this website is very very childish. Im a firm believer in God and no lies will ever change that. Our youth group will be praying for all of you that before it's too late, you will come to know who God really his. He loves all of you. Before you guys start giving your souls away, i dare you to pray every day for 2 weeks, "God if your real, reveal yourself", If you really ask He will. God bless all of you.


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

 

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information?

  You are missing the point information "is" the pattern.

 

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Magus

Magus wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

 

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information?

You are missing the point information "is" the pattern.

 

Bingo. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
blessed848 wrote: No

blessed848 wrote:
No offense guys but this website is very very childish.

Trolling is more childish. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
scottmax

scottmax wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, so the information is there. Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information.

Since we do not yet know how exactly the mind works, this statement is pretty unsupportable. This is classic "God of the Gaps" theology.

Let's go back in time for an analogous statement:

We shoot the arrow and it continues forward, even after it is no longer in contact with the bow. Since the bow can no longer be keeping the arrow moving forward, a god must be taking over from there and carrying it to its destination.

Did you even read what we were discussing? DNA. I assert that information, and the complexity of encoding that information, comes from intelligence. That is my experience, and the experience of science. Scientists DO NOT say that information is not contained in the coding of DNA. They assert that fact. And the deeper we understand this code, the more complex it seems. Now, either information is there or it is not. The poster I was responding to states that it is there. I ask, where did it come from? Science has not demonstrated that nonliving, inanimate matter produces information or understands it. So I stated that it would make more sense that information arose in the same way we view it arising: from intelligent, living beings. You want to say that it arose in some other fashion. I challenge you to produce that fashion. And you say, 'well we just don't know, but IT CANT BE A CREATOR'. Well, that's pretty closed=minded of you, and it rejects obvious realities that are easily perceivable. But hey, if you're dead set in your closed-mindedness, the why even discuss it.


HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Magus

Magus wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

 

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information?

  You are missing the point information "is" the pattern.

 

WRONG. Man, you don't read anything I post. Patterns are not information outside of a code. You must have a code for a pattern to mean anything. And guess where codes come from? Intelligent information formation. So no, no 'bingo' for you.


vincegamer
Posts: 3
Joined: 2007-02-14
User is offlineOffline
It's explained pretty well

It's explained pretty well in the Blind Watchmaker. As I understand it, matter carries information.  No one has to put it there, it's inherent in the nature of matter. 

DNA carries a particular type of information, but it got there from either mutation, combination or both.  Still no need for a creator.


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
HonestQuestioner

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Magus wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Ok, your argument is extremely convoluted, and it really is shifty in that it asserts things in vague terms that really beg the same question. You say:

ShaunPhilly wrote:
‘Information is encoded physical patterns, patterns which can transfer from one medium to another through physical means.’

Now think about that for a second. Information is physical patterns that are encoded. Ok, well, what are they encoded with? Uh, information?

  You are missing the point information "is" the pattern.

WRONG. Man, you don't read anything I post. Patterns are not information outside of a code. You must have a code for a pattern to mean anything. And guess where codes come from? Intelligent information formation. So no, no 'bingo' for you.
SO what you are saying is the patterns of 1 and 0 are not what is the information in a computer?

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


Maruta
Posts: 8
Joined: 2007-05-09
User is offlineOffline
mintcheerios wrote:

mintcheerios wrote:

What keeps these religious people in power is the respect people like you give to their irrational beliefs. You would not give this same glow of respect towards outrageous claims outside of religion. If a doctor getting a medical degree claims in all seriousness that voodoo magic is a good substitute for chemotherapy, not only is he not getting a degree, he is going to be laughed out of the room. People's lives depend on this happening. Yet with religion, you can claim to hear voices in your head and still be president. It's your respect towards irrationality that protects religion from receiving the criticism it needs to end once and for all. It IS a mind disorder and people like you make it taboo to call a spade a spade.

 

If you're worried about religious power, you should make a case for seperation of church and state, and not vehemently attack believers. And I respect everyone's right to believe whatever the hell they like, as long as it doesn't hurt others. Unlike you, I'm not going to compare all religious beliefs to not bothering to cure cancer.

Religion isn't a mind disoder. Though some things can be diagnosed as clinical according to the DSM-IV (what you described is Paranoid Schizophrenia) and others point to malfunctive cognitions (such as Thought Action Fusion Morality), if you ever took a serious look at Clinical Psychology you'd realise that religion is not a disorder. It is only so when practiced to the extreme, but that goes for everything.

 

Quote:
The skeptic doesn't bear the burden of proof.

But you are far beyond skeptic. You call it pathological bullshit, that's taking a very strong stance. If you said "I don't believe the Bible", you don't necessarily have the burdon of proof. But when you claim that it's obvious that its a pile of shit, you need to prove yourself.

 

Quote:
Specific knowledge in a specific field is not required to believe that it is true or not true. Theology is not required to realize that the bible is full of shit in the same way fairyology is not required to realize that fairies are fake. I don't need a degree in physics to know that the theory of gravity isn't a hoax.

It's not required for believing, but if you really want to push your point as if it were fact, you need specific skill.

 

I just think you guys don't realise what kind of crowd you are fighting. These people don't care about your rationality, because everything Kirk & Ray do is motivated by the fear of Hell. Because this threat paralysis all doubt, they're not going to be moved from their faith no matter how clearly you show that they are stupid. And I know this because I was also bothered by those threats of eternal torture in the afterlife. It's really hard to move away from your faith when you intrinsically associate religious doubt with immorality and blasphemy. It took me years to get rid of it.

On top of that, by clearly showing how much you enjoy seeing them emberass themselves in public, you're only strengthening them in their faith. Most of these people think that being ridiculed is part of being a believer of the 'True' faith. Their not going to admit your point when you're insulting them. You're not just fighting ignorance, you're fighting cognitive dissonance.




HonestQuestioner
Theist
Posts: 22
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
todangst

todangst wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
  Ok, so the information is there. Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information.

This is false. Shaun already dealt with this earlier in the thread.

 

Quote:
 

So if your ‘natural’ or ‘materialistic’ processes don’t explain the origin of intelligent information,

You're building an argument from personal ignorance.

Quote:
 

could you not see that a better explanation might be that information exists because, just as in our present day ‘natural’ experience (we do this all the time), an intelligent being created it?

Explain how information can exist without matter or energy.

Provide an ontology for your 'god'

Oh, and leaving aside these enormous problems for a second, explain why explaining the existence of intelligence by appealing to intelligence 'solves' anything.

 

todangst wrote:
This is false. Shaun already dealt with this earlier in the thread.

 

Wrong, he showed no way in which inanimate materialistic processes produce information. He tried to slip in the word 'encoded' into his description of materialistic processes, and therefore threw information in from the beginning (very sneaky).

todangst wrote:
You're building an argument from personal ignorance.
Oh really? Well give me the information on how materialistic processes explain the origin of intelligent information. Cite some articles or facts. I'm a physician, I've studied science plenty.
todangst wrote:
Explain how information can exist without matter or energy.

Why? I have explained that it exists now, and you agree. You're saying that it suddenly came into being, while I'm saying it's always existed. Why do I need to explain how it exists without matter or energy? I just want to know where it comes from.

todangst wrote:
Provide an ontology for your God

You're ducking the question of where information comes from. So if I can't tell you where a God comes from you won't answer the question? All I said is that there must be an original source of information.

todangst wrote:
explain why explaining the existence of intelligence by appealing to intelligence 'solves' anything.

I said information comes from intelligence. And appealing to that would mean that the information encoded by our DNA must have come from intelligence. I think that opens the door to alot more questions.


djneibarger
Superfan
djneibarger's picture
Posts: 564
Joined: 2007-04-13
User is offlineOffline
my congratulations to Kelly

my congratulations to Kelly and Sapient. was it perfect? no. did you make us proud? absolutely.