The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

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The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

 

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

 

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

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

Other threads of interest:

Nightline Editing Bias - The Supporting Data

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

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

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

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

Video from Rook outlining the basics of Jesus Mythicism

 

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

AND THE PWNAGE CONTINUES:


THE FULL DEBATE!

 


HonestQuestioner
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I'm going on vacation this

I'm going on vacation this weekend, so I'll be out. I've enjoyed the discussions. Just don't think the absence of my responses constitute an admission of defeat Smiling


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Fallacy of the Excluded Middle

I posted this on the Nightline message board... it lasted for about 5 minutes, before the Administrators deleted it. I thought it might be more appreciated here: 
I watched the on-line videos of Cameron and Comfort... until I got sick of them. Their entire suite of arguments are based upon misconceptions and logical fallacies. The GOOD news is that such arguments are only effective when used to persuade people who are not adept in applying critical thinking skills to the processing of information. The BAD news is that this seems to account for about 85% of the population of the USA. The primary foolishness that serves Comfort and Cameron as a substitute for knowledge and reason is a logical fallacy (a flaw in thinking) known as the 'Argument From Incredulity'... which is a sub-category of the 'Argumentum ad Ignorantiam' (Argument From Ignorance). It goes something like this: "I can't conceive of (or imagine) how this might have come to be; therefore, God did it." That does not point to a limitation of nature or of science... rather, it exemplifies a limitation of knowledge and/or intellect. Also, it is intellectually dishonest, since it does not (as scientists do) ACKNOWLEDGE the limitation of knowledge and/or intellect... they merely invoke the fanciful idea of a supernatural creator-entity to manifest the ILLUSION that their ideations map to reality. Next in Comfort's bag-of-tricks is the 'Fallacy of the Excluded Middle', also known as the 'False Dilemma'. Be basically tells us that we have to choose between two alternatives, which are quite unrelated... either we believe that God did it (Designer/Creator), or we have to accept the ridiculous proposition that everything came into being by a series of random event that are the functional equivalent of throwing a bunch of assorted parts into a box, shaking it up, then opening it, only to find a fully assembled and functional pocket watch... with no parts left over. Well, we should be thankful that he gave us an alternative to god, at least. Mighty charitable of him. Through manipulation of these two logical fallacies (there are other fallacies involved, but these are the main ones), he creates an argument which asserts that something so complex as a pocket watch... or the universe, or life... requires a creator who (of necessity) must be MORE complex than the creation... otherwise, it would have been impossible for the 'creator' to 'design' it, or 'create' it. But IF complexity requires a more complex creator, THEN the FACT of the creator's complexity demands (of necessity) that it must ALSO have been created by a MORE complex creator.  Remember, according to the argument, complexity cannot arise by itself. That being the case, then, we end up with an infinite regression... creation... creator... creation... creator... creation... creator... creation... creator... etc... ad infinitum... ad nauseum... leading to infinite complexity (whatever THAT is). That is impossible... and thus, so is the concept of a creator of the universe... IF the logical argument for a creator is predicated on 'complexity'... which it is. Ray tries to wriggle out of this inescapable bit of logic by declaring that god exists in 'eternity', apart from space and time... thus, logic, and other limitations of reality, do not apply to him. (That is a logical fallacy, too, although I forget what its called, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now.) (Readers should take note that 'complicated'... which is what the Intelligent Design' folks mean when they say 'complex'... is a VERY naive definition, and is not at all what scientists and mathematicians mean when they speak of 'complexity'. 'Complicated is the opposite of 'simple'. 'Complex' is the opposite of 'independent'. Complex systems are typically self-organizing and self-adaptive (which certainly doesn't apply to watches), and they typically exhibit 'emergent' properties and behaviors (also does not apply to watches). So, when creationists/IDists say 'complex', they mean 'complicated'. But when I say things like "complexity arises from simplicity", I do NOT mean that "... things get more complicated." Also, Ray and Kurt do not seem to be able to tell the difference between natural systems (e.g., the solar system) and human artifacts (e.g., a watch):  * A watch is complex (ID-speak for 'complicated&#39Eye-wink.  * We know that the watch was designed and created by an intelligent agent of greater complexity.  * The universe is complex (ID-speak for 'complicated&#39Eye-wink; * Therefore, the universe, of necessity, MUST HAVE BEEN designed and created by an intelligent agent of greater complexity (MORE complicated). That, in a nutshell, expresses the whole of the argument for intelligent design... an exemplar of sloppy, fallacious thinking. Creationists conveniently ignore, though, the simple observable fact that in natural systems, complexity DOES arise from simplicity, in accordance with elementary natural processes and rules.  Interested parties should look up 'self-organizing complex systems'. A couple of the more obvious examples of non-biological self-organizing complex systems are solar systems and galaxies. Anyway... at the root of all of this intellectually dishonest clap-trap are 'faith' and 'belief'. (Imagine Mr. Mackey, the counselor, on South Park: "Bleeefs are baaaaddd... m'kay?&quotEye-wink 'Faith' (wishful, magical thinking) functions as a substitute for evidence.  'Belief' (the internalized 'certainty' that one is somehow privy to the 'truth' pertaining to some fundamental aspect of existence and/or reality) is a substitute for knowledge.
faith + belief --> self-delusion and willful ignorance


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pby wrote: Josephus (the

pby wrote:
Josephus (the Arabic version, according to the experts, probably contains what Josepus actually wrote about the historical Jesus).

You're speculating. You even admit it. You say probably. In other words this is self refuting.

pby wrote:
Every fossil is not a known "transitional" in the sense that a "transitional" is direct evidence of a species to new species transformation.

Not only is every fossil a transitional fossil that proves species evolving, but so is every life form walking/swimming/flying/floating/etc the planet today. You expect a dog to give birth to a cat, which will never happen. You don't even know what evolution is, and you think you can argue against it.

pby wrote:
These don't exist (but they are assumed).

They exist, and you assume they don't.

pby wrote:
The painter is obvious without knowing the process. If not, how did the painting come about...chance? What are the alternative explanations for the painting besides the painter?

This argument is ridiculous when approaching existance. We know a painting was painted because paint doesn't form itself into different colours and land on paper that chemically formed itself somehow and managed to create a square or rectangle(shapes that don't form without intervention). Paper must be made, paint must be made. The probability of paper and paint not only forming themselves through natural process but also doing so close together and coming into contact are so abysmally low as to be ridiculous. The application of paint on paper to create a painting can occur only if the materials already exist.

Existance does not have to be made. In fact, the idea is self contradictory. If god exists, then existance exists. Meaning existance cannot be created, it already exists. The forces within the universe define the universe. Suggesting a god needs to exist to have created it is like suggesting a mother creates her child by putting every molecule into place with her mind, instead of the child doing most of the work itself. There is nothing unnatural about the way the universe functions. It is quite irrational to assume an unnatural force is responsible for natural forces.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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REVLyle wrote: These rules

REVLyle wrote:

These rules that you find repressive are how we are to love Him and others on this planet. How does someone lie, steal, commit adultery, dishonor father and mother, and murder and THEN say – “Now I am really living . . . This is life to the full.” All these things bring pain. What is repressive about living a life within the boundaries of what God said is good? What I am attempting to ask is - What is it that the atheist desires to do, outside of “God’s repressive rules,” that enhances ones life.

I was really hoping you would clue me in on this question.  Don't leave it to a teenager Brian.  Come on - you can do it.  It is just a question.

I am not a teenager, but I'll take a shot at it. I desire to oppose the stoning of women, murder of children, slavery, genocide, rape, human sacrifice and fear mongering.

These things are all above and beyond the rules that the Christian God has laid out for you. I find that they enhance my life a great deal.

 

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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Add homophobia to that list

Add homophobia to that list as well. I knew I forgot something.


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TheSecularEvangelist

TheSecularEvangelist wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Well, I appreciate your response. However, I think it's flawed at a few points. One is that you assume some things that don't necessarily have to be true. I won't argue the Judeo-Christian God point at this time, although I believe your statements about Him are not accurate. I frankly just don't have the time right now, and would rather stick to my original assertion about information. So, to your argument: you say 'well...something made the universe happen, obviously, but whatever that something is, you know it is part of a natural system'. Why do I know that? If, as I have argued, there was an original source of information, this intelligence, it/he would likely be very different from us. This is obvious from the fact that he/it existed before us, and that he/it had the ability to introduce information into living bodies (which I would also assert he/it likely created). That would make him/it a different being on many levels, but a similar being in that he/it contained similar information. So, you say that the analogy would break down because this 'intelligence' would also be a construction of some sort of natural system. That's just your assumption, but I don't see why it necessarily must be true. As I said, he/it must be different on many levels than us, and as such, I would not attempt to make categorical statements about what he/it must be a part of or be constrained by. I don't think everything breaks down from this. I think there is good enough evidence that we can take it one step before us to an intelligent source of information, but I don't know how you could take it farther back than that. And if you take it back to that one source, then I would think knowing who/what that source is could be very very important. I personally think it's of the utmost importance. But I'm here at this time to argue logically sound scientific evidence that there is something present within nature that argues itself for an intelligent source, namely, information.

 

 

Everything that exists is part of existence, would you agree?

 

Science is the study of the natural universe, so the question now becomes how do you define the natural universe? To put it simply, eveything within existence is a part of the natural universe, we are not using the term universe in laymans terms any longer, we are using it in a scientific manner to describe everything in actual existence. So, the laymans universe has a boarder, what is beyond that boarder? Regardless of what it is, there is something beyond the boarder, and also regardless of what it is, it is still part of the natural universe. In short, just because we don't know doesn't mean we can't find out, because we can and will or most likely we will die trying. Wink

 

 

HonestQuestioner wrote:
This may seem trivial, but I think an important point must be made here. Your description of 'labels' for things, and another poster's description of information being simply some sort of projection of consciousness are interesting. However, they don't comport with reality. Let's face it folks. YOU DONT LIVE YOUR LIFE THAT WAY. Information does exist to you, and you ACT upon it. It isn't just a label. I think this gets to the point that words DO mean something. Your arguments, (and I think rightly so given your world view) are consistent with the idea that there are no absolute truths (moral or otherwise). But again, you don't live that way. If someone points a gun at you, and says, in the English language, 'if you don't duck, I'm going to shoot you in the head right now.' You duck. You don't say, 'my interpretation of that emanation of sound waves from that person's mouth is just a projection of my consciousness. I think I will place a label on it to categorize it in the realm of my consciousness and say that it contains 'information'. NO. You duck. Because words DO mean something. They do pass on something meaningful, and they do result in action, sometimes very complex action. I react differently to some energy than other energy. Is that a function of a difference in the physical waves of energy themselves, or the information they carry for me (in the context of my code)? And the same is true of cells. They act. DNA contains information that results in action. I've already discussed the ridiculousity of the assertion that simple structural proximity to other molecules encompasses the entirety of DNA's function and explains the results. So, I say all of that because 'semantics' matter. If words have no real meaning (contain no real information), then this discussion is as worthless as any other sound or collection of rays light in any meaningless pattern. So why bother. You will have argued your own argument into irrelevance. And the result is total random absurdity. But remember, you don't act that way.

 

Labels are applied to very real things that do in fact exist...I'm not sure how you understood otherwise...but yes, information is very real, I'm just saying the Word information is a label used to describe many different types of things, all of them dubbed information, but they aren't all the same kind of thing. I think you are getting observed information (DNA) confused with produced information (a computer program). Patterns exist and we see them because we are pattern seeking animals, but patterns are not evidence of a creator, it's evidence of our intelligence.

As I stated earlier, patterns do not mean anything outside of a code, even for smart guys like us Smiling Observed information is produced by intelligence, because observed information only exists in the context of a code. Codes do not arise spontaneously, they require information to be generated. DNA only transmits information because it contains a code. Seeking patterns would be totally useless if the patterns didn't mean anything. And they only mean something in the context of a code.


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Ok - can't figure out how

Ok - can't figure out how to make the "quote" thing work so that I can comment to individual points withing the quoted portion - guess I'm not exactly building anyone's confidence in my mental prowess!  And I'm also realizing that if I have any hope of getting away from this computer and hitting the sack, I should've minded my own business in the first place...oops.

Secular Evangelist Guy - you said "Yes, we know builders build buildings, and we know painters paint paintings, and we know people create things, but we do not know the same thing about gods and universes."

Why?  We have no trouble making the leap from a trampoline to a trampoline maker...how does reason allow us to then not leap from a frog to a frog Maker?

Secular Evangelist Guy - you said "We have a finite amount of information on the universe, this is true, but the information we do have does not confirm nor deny the existance of some sort of vague diestic sort of god."

Why?  We do not have an infinite amount of information about trampolines, either.  In fact, Thomas Edison said something like "We do not know one millionth of one percent about anything," yet we make conclusive judgments about many things even considering our relative lack of information.

SecularEvangelist, you said "when you say god most people automatically tend to associate it with the judeo-christian god."

Can you substantiate that claim, or prefer to qualify it?  Do you mean most people in America, or in the world?  I'm not sure that villagers in remote areas of China, for instance, would make that association.

SecularEvangelist, you said "We know the evidence we do have about the universe does not coincide with that of the judeo-christian God, so that is easily dismissed..."

How is that?  Is "we" confined to those on this message board?  Does it include all atheists?  I would assert that the ease of dismissal you referenced would be judged by who's doing the dismissing.  It's easy to claim ease of dismissal for the one doing the dismissing.  Obviously, I disagree and reject the dismissal altogether, much less the "ease" of such.  I can just as easily assert that any such can only be based on a misunderstanding, or purposeful distortion, of the character of God.  And I would imagine that you could just as easily "dismiss" that assertion.  But neither dismissal is based on reason, but rather they are based on a point of view.

SecularEvangelist, you said "what you are posing here is much more difficult because the only definition of god in this particular case is 'thing that made the universe happen'. "

Agreed.

SecularEvangelist, you said "Well...something made the universe happen obviously, but whatever that something is, you know it is part of a natural system."

How is that true?  It is only true when the definition of "science" is altered to exclude all but natural processes.  The definition hasn't always been limited in that way.  In decades past, science involved the search for truth wherever it may be found.  Only more recently (not sure when, I confess - too tired to look it up, so I am prepared to be hammered - but I'm pretty confident of the change in definition) has the definition been whittled down to include only naturalistic phenomena.  It's as if a math teacher spent the first six weeks of class saying over and over again, "there is no number 4, there is no number 4 - the number 4 is only a figment of your fundamentalist imagination," then asks the question, "Now...what is two plus two?"

SecularEvangelist, you said "So, the fault here really is just slapping the label of god on this something for no apparent reason whatsoever other than to make ridiculously ambiguous arguments on internet message boards that are not disprovable by any possible realistic means."

Hmm. Well, first of all I wouldn't agree that I (or any creationist that I know of) are guilty of "just slapping the label" on anything "for no apparent reason."  Granted, the "reason" is not "apparent" to you...but I would argue that the reasons are amply apparent to me.  Secondly, I'm not sure why you'd label the arguments ambiguous - you might disagree with them, but I think they are perfectly unambiguous.  And why do you find it necessary to label them not only "ambiguous," but "ridiculously" so?  Cannot we have a "rational" discussion without belittling adverbs (or is that an adjective?)?  Finally, by describing the "ridiculously ambiguous arguments" as "not disprovable," do you mean that you therefore yield the point?  Just kidding - I think I know the answer to that.  Smiling

SecularEvangelist, you said "In addition I don't think you will find many intellectual atheists of the belief that matter has always existed, personally I don't claim to know anything beyond that of what we know scientifically and we can get really really really close to the 'beginning' of it all, but not quite...but no one claims to know what happened before that."

 Ok, I accept your assertion that I will not likely find "many intellectual atheists of the belief that matter has always existed."  I confess my ignorance of what a consensus on that issue might be - I was only referring to that which Bryon stated in the debate - that such possibility existed.  But I'm not sure you are correct when you say "no one claims to know what happened before that."  I think I have seen others on this board actually supporting the eternal-state position (but maybe not - I am nearly comatose at this point).

SecularEvangelist, you said "God however, always seems to exist in some special sort of logical loop hole where he needs no one or no thing to exist."

Again, it seems to me that such loop hole only exists in the minds of those unwilling to concede the logic (by that I don't mean to say "unwilling to acknowledge God and submit to Him."  I am merely addressing the logic of the argument.).  In my estimation, the logical response to the argument would be, "While I do not agree that the god of the argument (namely, the "thing that made the universe&quotEye-wink is the God of the Bible, I can see your point at least."

Ok guys and gals - once again, thanks for having me.  I might be back, I might not - I can see now that if I ever want to get a normal amount of sleep, or perform my day-job to a satisfactory level...or eat...that it's probably better for me to pretend that I was never here.

On the other hand...this could be habit forming. Smiling

Have a good night.


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HonestQuestioner wrote: As

HonestQuestioner wrote:
As I stated earlier, patterns do not mean anything outside of a code, even for smart guys like us Smiling Observed information is produced by intelligence, because observed information only exists in the context of a code. Codes do not arise spontaneously, they require information to be generated. DNA only transmits information because it contains a code. Seeking patterns would be totally useless if the patterns didn't mean anything. And they only mean something in the context of a code.

 

Pattern seeking is needed for survival, not for some kind of deeper meaning in nature. We learn through patterns of what does and doesn't work, like eating a type of plant or animal, or doing scientific research, or even face recognition. There's an entire portion of our brain dedicated solely to face recognition, it's amazing really.  

 

You have no basis for the belief in the need for a "programmer" for this "code", it is the same arguement as the painter/painting builder/building argument. We don't know the type of "code" you are refering to was created by an intelligent being, it takes a logical leap to arrive at that conclusion. You are identifying it using a label that is also identified with human creation, so this is a bit of a lingual rabbit trap. A rock exists and is a complex arrangement of atoms but it was in no way created by anything but the forces of nature, and if you choose to label those forces God, that's all well and good, but you are doing yourself a disservice to think it's one and the same as the judeo-christian God because the evidence there does not line up. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Martin

 Did I have an auditory hallucination or did Martin really ask Sapient something like- can you explain to the audience in what way they have evolved since they were born....?

I could have sworn that's what he said. I can't believe it. I really can't believe he could possibly be serious. Did I misunderstand something?

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


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Amanda_Theist

Amanda_Theist wrote:

 Because only a supreme being of immense powers and love could have created me.

 Wow, and people say atheists are arrogant. Smile


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Hoode - "dittos" regarding

Hoode - "dittos" regarding your kindness...although I'm a little peeved that I found your reply AFTER I had firmly committed to go to bed!!! Smiling

Seriously, your reply is thoughtful, and likewise honest and humble.  Perfect recipe for meaningful dialogue, wouldn't you agree?

Honestly, the only portions of your comments with which I would take issue is your use of the word "mystical."  I think I understand the implication (which I think is not at all imflammatory, but descriptive - thanks again), but I disagree (of course).  What you term "mystical," I would describe as "revealed truth."  Just defining terms here - no "gigging" intended.

Also, you said "If ignorance were to not exist anymore, science would have succeeded," to which I would add "and succeeded by finally coming to a knowledge of the truth...as revealed in Scripture."  Smiling

 Thank you again, and good night (I mean it this time!).

 


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HonestQuestioner

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Interesting mental exercise, but it doesn't disprove the point. You can say that DNA is a code or that it contains a code. Either way, a code exists. The reading apparatus 'knows' that a 'stop codon' has been reached. How does it know? Because it acts according to a code. As I said, either way, a code exists within the living system, and my point is that codes require information input. So where did the code come from?

It should. I am saying that the reason DNA acts as it does can be reduced to its chemical properties. The DNA is a code for amino acids in the same sense as the rocks on the bottom of a stream are a code for the ripples of water that are observed as the stream flows by. One of the key requirements of a code is that the code is independent of that which it codes for. Language is a code, since the symbols that are used to convey something are independent of the thing they are conveying. The same is not true of DNA, or of pebbles at the bottom of the stream. This point is somewhat subtle, but crucial. To claim that DNA is a code despite the fact that it is not independent of the amino acids it codes for is to misunderstand or misconstrue the issue. 

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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REVLyle wrote: Your

REVLyle wrote:

Your children are still going to worship something. It maybe themselves, jobs, money, material possessions or whatever. It may not be a totem pole or a marble idol, but it will be something because people are born worshippers. My point is that people will either worship Yahweh or they will create a god. Brian worships himself and his intellect. I simply teach my children where their worship should be directed. They may reject God later in life. I do not know, but your response does not negate the fact that people all over the world have worshipped without being forced or told to do so. Where did that come from? The answer is, it was already in them.

Where is your empirical evidence for "worship" being biologically and universally intrinsic to the human condition? Can you cite scientific theory tested and reviewed that affirms this assertion?

Why could worship not , at least in part, be a matter of cultural influence and orientation? Comfort conceded last night that his background was steeped in "secular" New Zealand (hardly a hotbed of devoted worship). In historically cultural New Zealand, the "worship" of choice for the white settlers has traditionally been Christianity, evidently accounting for his own choice.

Why do you declare that "Brian worships himself and his intellect"? What have you seen last night or in videos, or read frorm this website that would lead you to such a conclusion?


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Amanda_Theist wrote: I

Amanda_Theist wrote:

I also have a couple of very dear friends who are devout atheists....(surprising?)...while it saddens me that in their great intellect they refuse to have "faith",

Hi Amanda. Welcome to the dialog. I have a question or two:

Would it also sadden you if they did have faith, but in the wrong things? What if one of your friends was a Christian Scientist and got in a terrible car crash? Because of his belief, he didn't get medical attention and he died. Or what if one of your friends had faith in radical Islam and blew herself up for Allah? What if one of your friends had faith in L. Ron Hubbard and moved into a Scientology compound? I actually worked with one of the guys who had faith in the Heaven's Gate cult and died to catch the Hale-Bopp Comet (he didn't come back to work). All religious "faith" saddens me because once you accept magical thinking, it can so easily warp into something really twisted.

Amanda_Theist wrote:

On that, why is it so difficult to just sit back and TRUST something on FAITH?

Hale-Bopp, Scientology, Islam, etc. If you accept one, there is no reason not to accept the others.

Amanda_Theist wrote:
As Ray pointed out, you quote "history" like it's a gospel.

For much of accepted history, we have multiple sources describing events. We often have documents by people who opposed the personalities in question. And even still, we don't accept history dogmatically. For example, American History has seen tremendous revision over the last century as we slowly realized that the native people got screwed and that black people are human beings, too.

Amanda_Theist wrote:
Now, while I'm not a history buff by any means...isn't it entirely possible that, since Christianity, like ALL THINGS, had to have a beginning, and in the BEGINNING, it wasn't a smiled-upon concept, because it took "power" away from the rulers of that time, that the historical "facts" that you rely so heavily on were modified to omit and degrade the teachings of Jesus Christ, in order to prevent His following from growing?

I'm afraid that the exact opposite is more likely. The Catholic Church had a virtual monopoly on all books for over 1000 years. A Christian mob burned the Great Library of Alexandria and its irreplaceable collection of books, likely under the benevolent watch of Saint Cyril. The Church had free reign to preserve or destroy whatever they liked.

And let's look at the Bible as history. All of the evidence for Jesus is contained in the Bible. There is no other written evidence of Jesus from the time that he is said to have lived. The Bible is written by men who are almost completely unknown to us. The Gospel author's have been assigned names but we have no real evidence that those names are correct. Even if those 4 books were written by gentlemen by the names of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, we have no other knowledge of these men. Were they farmers, lawyers, thieves, con artists? Luke is claimed to be a physician. Who did he study with? Does anyone outside the Bible attest to the trustworthiness of these men?

We know more of Paul simply because we have more of his own writings. Acts was most likely written long after Paul's death so it is impossible to know what in Acts is true and what is amplification. But regardless, Paul is generally considered our earliest witness. But what do we learn from Paul? Does Paul tell us the name of Christ's mother and father, where or when Christ was born or where or when he died? No. Paul tells us none of these things.

So we have a book written by anonymous authors, where the earliest witness gives us almost none of the story, and the rest of the story is only told 2 generations after the supposed death of Christ.

This is not a good history book.

Amanda_Theist wrote:
If I need proof that God exists, all I have to do is look in the mirror. Because only a supreme being of immense powers and love could have created me.

Yes, that is a pretty story. It is nice to "know" that we are each special and especially designed by the creator of the entire universe. Too bad he created me with zits as a teenager. Too bad he created my mother-in-law with a bad liver so she died when she was in her 50s. Too bad he created me with eyes that have steadily degenerated as I have aged.

The beauty of a story does not make it true. Study science and you will discover how you came to be sitting at your computer reading this text 14 billion years after the universe started to expand. It's an awe inspiring tale and no God need attend.

Amanda_Theist wrote:
Besides, the world is too much into having to know "all things" and explain every thing that happens "scientifically". That's why they are called miracles. They only have Heavenly explanations.

Please show me evidence that any miracle has ever occurred. Couldn't Jesus have done a single miracle that actually left evidence behind? If the Shroud of Turin had been real, that would at least have been some minor evidence.

Amanda_Theist wrote:
I appreciate your time in reading my humble thoughts. I wish you well.

I wish you well, too, Amanda. You realize that atheists are not evil so that is a start. Keep asking questions. You may find that the world makes much more sense without a belief in God, Satan, miracles, angels or any other sort of magical disruption.

-Amanda


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I made a mention of a

I made a mention of a specific theory on page 7 of the thread, which no one has bothered commenting on.  Anyone care to?

 -FG

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

-BHG


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Sara

Sara wrote:

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.

As I understand it, THIS universe that we occupy and observe can be eternal into the future but will eventually wind down and become very cold. I think the reason that I am not getting my point across is because I am using "universe" to refer both to the known universe and to a potential multiverse. A multiverse is only one possible explanation for where our universe came from but it is the one I am most acquainted with so I will use it as my example for simplicity sake.

The entire theory of a multiverse is very new. We do not know what properties the multiverse might have if it exists. However, we can posit a number of properties. It is quite possible that the nature of the multiverse is essentially like a vacuum fluctuation. Perhaps when our universe erupted, an equal and opposite negative universe happened at the same time. Or perhaps every black hole that forms is the mother of a new universe. We do not know at this time.

All of the myriad theories have a couple of huge advantages over the God theory:

  1. They are potentially testable. As with the weirdness we call quantum mechanics, we may be able to use some of the concepts behind the theories, together with math that is well beyond me, to predict very specific outcomes. If those outcomes are realized through experimentation, they lead credence to the theory. If they fail, they add support to the idea that the theory should be rejected. A God theory provides no predictions to test against as far as I can tell.
  2. They do not add any magical elements. A multiverse would operate under specific laws that are predictable, just as everything we know about energy and matter in our observable universe operates according to predictable natural laws. Under a god theory, we have to assume something profoundly different from what we observe in our ordinary universe.
  3. Since the multiverse would have natural laws, it would essentially be nothing more than an extension of the nature that we already know and see. That is why a multiverse theory is less ad hoc than a God theory. We have no way to understand what a god realm would be like. This proposed god has many, many properties (intellect, reason, desire for worship) that exist nowhere else in our experience but in Man. And then we usually embue this God with the all-alls. A multiverse needs none of this.

Look around the universe, Sara. What do you see? Do you find intelligent black holes? Passionate galaxies? No. You see a mindless universe plodding along without any care for the complex carbon systems on this planet.


Sara wrote:
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.

Many theories other than God fill this role nicely.

Sara wrote:
And since the universe reflects intelligence, order and power, I can conclude that what caused the universe must also contain those attributes.

On average, I see virtually no intelligence in the universe. Count up the total atoms in all of humanity and weigh it against our own single sun and you will see that the universe hasn't expended much of its mass on intelligent systems. Power is simply another word for energy, which we know is simply matter in another form. Order comes from natural laws. We should not be surprised by a certain degree of order since if there was ought but chaos, we wouldn't be here to talk about it. I just can't see how any of this shows a need for an entity, much less a god.

Sara wrote:
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.

Sara, I used to believe in God. Even after I stopped being a Christian, I still considered the concept of a Creator to be very likely. But this slowly faded as my emotional attachment to the idea receded. I have no "desire" to reject God. I am not biased against God because He did something bad to me. I have just lost the emotional attachment to the idea. But I still understand very well why God seems the simplest answer to you.

Sara wrote:

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.

Please enumerate some of the questions and additional complexity. Certainly evolution and cosmology are more complex than "God did it" but we are fortunate to have some brialliant science in place to explain these things. We have very good explanations for how nearly everything originated. Once you eliminate magical thinking, everything makes sense. Life without the safety net seems scary at first but it is ultimately liberating.

The meaning of life is to live it as happily as we can. Since our biology insists on continuance, we are hard wired to be more happy if our decendents will continue after we are gone. So we receive greater happiness when we create an environment in which our children may prosper. What more meaning do you need? What more meaning do you deserve than this?

Sara wrote:
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.

Show me this axim. Stars beget radiation and ultimately heavier atoms. Gravity draws these atoms together into planets and other stars. Some of these planets are rocky and some are gaseous. How is any of this a discription of like begets like? Processes simply lead to other processes.

Sara wrote:
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.

Chimps ostracise antisocial chimps. We see degrees of morality in the higher mammals. No other animal approaches Sara or Scott but there are plenty of chimps who surpass many less gifted humans. Average human intelligence is 100. Chimps and orangutans may be around 40 and can be trained in sign language. This would be considered moderate retardation in a human. But God would have an IQ of infinity. We have nothing close to an IQ overlap with God. We can have nothing in common with a timeless being of infinite knowledge.

Sara wrote:
And just because our intelligence is far beneath that of God's, does not mean that we are akin to animals.

We are animals. We just happen to be the brightest. But we are not the strongest or fastest or the best visually. Some don't even think we are the best looking? Eye-wink

Sara wrote:
But that's exactly what materialism does. It starts with the presupposition that everything originates with the material universe.

It starts with what we can see and measure. That is all we can know. Everything else is simply guessing. If that guessing does not yield useful, testable information, then we have no basis for continued belief. Otherwise we have no way to distinguish between those concepts we should take seriously and those we should discard.

What you assert does not seem like an alternative to materialism. It is simply materialism plus a magic deity.


Sara wrote:
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.

You are conflating evolution with abiogenesis. I freely admit that we are still at the beginning stages of discovering a mechanism for abiogenesis. Yes, a gap still remains. But evolution is well established science so once we figure out the initial spark, God has no place left to hide in the story of life.

Sara wrote:
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.

Sara, I think you need to do a bit more research on evolution. You might want to spend some time over at talkorigins.org or read a Dawkins book or two. Evolution is the only theory that fits the available evidence but I cannot prove that to you in 3 sentences.

You might also want to check out some of these excellent short videos on YouTube.


Sara wrote:
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.

Yes, lacking a proper understanding of all that science has discovered, it would not be surprising for people to come up with a God concept. But for a scientifically educated person to come to the God conclusion, I would assert that the idea would have to already have some hold on that individual's mind. Otherwise there is no reason to supplement known natural processes with the complexity of God.

Sara wrote:
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.

Name one prophecy in the Bible that came true after the Bible was written. It is not prophecy if you write the story after the event has occurred. How has the Bible proven itself historically? There are no extra-biblical mentions of Jesus or any of his incredible miracles by any contemporary writer. No mention of the earthquakes and risen saints in Jerusalem as mentioned in Matthew. Don't you think someone would have noticed that and commented on it? Even if you assume that Josephus is not a forgery, Josephus wasn't even born until 37 CE so he hardly counts as a contemporary.

Sara wrote:
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

I don't think such a book would be hard to write. Smiling

Sara wrote:
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.

The idea that the world was not the center of the universe was pretty abhorrent to a lot of people once.


Sara wrote:
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.

Our mind is designed to look for correlation and meaning. The fact that our rational mind can understand science gives no special validity to our emotional longings.

Sara, life is not meaningless under any reality. Why do you believe that life has to be endless to be meaningful?


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REVLyle wrote: These rules

REVLyle wrote:

These rules that you find repressive are how we are to love Him and others on this planet. How does someone lie, steal, commit adultery, dishonor father and mother, and murder and THEN say – “Now I am really living . . . This is life to the full.” All these things bring pain. What is repressive about living a life within the boundaries of what God said is good? What I am attempting to ask is - What is it that the atheist desires to do, outside of “God’s repressive rules,” that enhances ones life.

I was really hoping you would clue me in on this question. Don't leave it to a teenager Brian. Come on - you can do it. It is just a question.

Wow, those things bring pain? Do you think we atheists might be happier if we stop lying, stealing and murdering people? What do you think guys? Should we give it a try? I know it will be hard giving up the joy of killing and eating small children, but it might be worth it if it makes our lives happier. I just hope to God that we can pull it off without believing in God. Doh!


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DuckPhup wrote: I posted

DuckPhup wrote:
I posted this on the Nightline message board... it lasted for about 5 minutes, before the Administrators deleted it. I thought it might be more appreciated here:

Very nicely put, DuckPhup. 


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Family_Guy wrote: I made a

Family_Guy wrote:

I made a mention of a specific theory on page 7 of the thread, which no one has bothered commenting on. Anyone care to?

-FG

The theory sounds interesting but seems too complex to digest at the moment. On the surface it is a bit hard to imagine but so is quantum physics. Seems worth a bit more research.


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gary7infiltrator

gary7infiltrator wrote:

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.

 

 

Thank you for the greeting. Seems my post got swamped in the theological debate and trolling. I agree, they did win, but that was because Kirk Cameron and Comfort didn't stick to the rules. As I mentioned, a better moderator than Martin Bashir would have called them on that. When I have a little more time, I'll post an intro on the board for that. Like I said in the e-mail, I highly doubt I will convince anyone on this board, atheist or Christian, to change their views, but I will endeavor to do so without snarkiness or name-calling. And to the trolls out there, scram. Don't you have anything better to do?

Leor


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I first saw the debate on

I first saw the debate on NIghtline and in a discussion in another forum I stated that while I thought they did a good job they seemed a little petulent and smug. 

 

I finally had the opportunity to see the whole debate and was very disturbed by the editiing done by Nightline.  They did everything they could to present the RRS folks in a negative light.  As well, Nightline should have shown Kirk and Comfort's stunned silence when confronted with the law of mass/energy convservation.  I may use a sceenshot of Kirk looking like he'd been shot as my new screensaver.  The moderator was useless it seems, allowing Kirk and C to invoke their faith and the bible, although the whole point was that they should not.

 

I am an atheist, and I hope, I critical thinker.  But my initial reaction shows the depth to which religion is granted an automatic pass.  As well, I am generally very skeptical of the media, but I let this one go right over my head.

 

Could it have gone better, sure, and Kelly and Sapient in their comments made that clear.  This is how we get better; by doing this sort of thing.

 

I think you both did an admirable job.  I apologize for not watching the entire video before making my initial comments. (Although I did acknowledge that in my thread.)  

 

Keep it up! 

 


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You are totally

You are totally misrepresenting the Bible.  There is nothing in the New Testament that tells me that I am to:

stone women - I seem to remember Jesus stopping this

murder children - whereas other religions were sacrificing children, Yahweh forbade it.  Lev. 20

have slaves - never commands me to take slaves and if you will remember - God took the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt.

Jesus made it clear that I am to love my neighbor as myself - never mentions genocide

I was never commanded to rape or invoke fear in people and I certainly was never told to fear homosexuals.

Just because thing happened in the Bible and just because God even commanded His people to do things in the Old Testament which the Bible is very descriptive, these are not necessarily prescriptive.  Please whoe me anywhere in the New Testament where I am told to do any of these things.

You missed the point completely.  When Jesus or the apostles teach us how to live as Christian people, "To Love others as Self" (not even going to talk about loving God yet) what is repressive about God's command.  If I hate homosexuals that is sin and IS NOT commanded by God.  He does command that we are not to fall into the sin of homosexuality.  But never am I to hate someone because they have fallen into that sin.  If that were true - you would have to hate me for being a man who has lusted - also a sin.

When Brian or anyone else calls the standards of life that God has set (Love others as yourself) repressive and you should no longer live in fear of what God wants - what is the freedom that the atheist wants???  Let me make it more plain.

I want Freedom to _______________ so my life will really be good.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Product as proof of creator flaw

Not sure if somebody already pointed this out, but let's say you have a painting and supposedly that's proof of a painter (which is BS and might as well be proof for the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Anyway, I take the painting, burn it, turn the ashes into a brick and build a building. Would then the building be proof of a painter? I don’t think so.


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Where is your empirical

Where is your empirical evidence for "worship" being biologically and universally intrinsic to the human condition? Can you cite scientific theory tested and reviewed that affirms this assertion?

Why could worship not , at least in part, be a matter of cultural influence and orientation? Comfort conceded last night that his background was steeped in "secular" New Zealand (hardly a hotbed of devoted worship). In historically cultural New Zealand, the "worship" of choice for the white settlers has traditionally been Christianity, evidently accounting for his own choice.

Why do you declare that "Brian worships himself and his intellect"? What have you seen last night or in videos, or read frorm this website that would lead you to such a conclusion?

 

#1 - Sure there empirical evidence for worship being biologically and universally intrinsic to human nature.  Again, every single civilization, be it primitive or developed has worshipped without the influence of other societies forcing it upon them.  A societies have certainly come in forced a type of worship, but worship was going on before the invader forced a type.  The definition of empirical research is Empirical research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality.  On another note, not everything that is biologically intrinsic to the human being has to stand the test of empirical evidence.  Even Kelly spoke of the conscience as being evolved for gene proliferation and yet is there any empirical evidence that the conscience even exists.

#2 - I am not sure what you are getting at in your second point other than does culture shape worship - and I would certainly say, YES.  BUT God is over and above culture.  We simply state that the truths of God are absolute (true for all people, in all places, and for all times)  If one's culture is in conflict with the truth of God - then the culture should change - not ones view of God.  An example of this would be that if the culture dictated that one should abuse your wife - God's word states that the Husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church - be willing to lay his life down for her - then the culture should change to fit with what God says.

#3 - Why would I say that about Brian?  I could be wrong but I do not think Brian is offended by this statement.  Worship is certainly a reverence to a devine being but it is also  - extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar> .  Brian's respect is for man's intellect - free thinkers as he calls it - especially his thoughts on the world.  I am educated, but I know that my wisdom is but foolishness to God.  God's thoughts are not my thoughts because they are much to high for me to obtain.  God's ways are not my ways.  I trust in God who is infinite and I am finite.  Brian really believes that freedom comes from man's intellect.

 

Thanks for your questions.  This kind of dialogue is awesome.  You asked - you did not attack.  I do not want to belittle anyone, including Brian. - I simply want to engage in the dialogue.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Bargle wrote: I just

Bargle wrote:

I just watched all the clips on abc. I find it intersting that they clearly believe all people who never hear the gospel go to hell. They go to hell for not following every law in the bible without fail for their entire lives and not disbelief. Ray will not come right out and say that they all go to hell why the tap dancing?

You break the law you go to hell. Jesus is the only one that can prevent this. Everyone breaks the law. Just try to take the good person test online and pass, its rigged. If you never heard of Jesus thats no defense. As far as I can tell from their sites WOTM even believes that the handicapped incapable of understanding the message go to hell. Scarier still is that they believe these people deserve to burn.

The majority of people ever born are doomed to hell and could not have done anything to avoid it. Its not gods fault that way of the master radio didnt exist in the Americas for thousands of years. Its all Satans doing but why does he own god in the soul war so hard if god is the superpower?

 

This is exactly what I don't understand about Christian "reasoning."  This makes zero sense at all.  It doesn't matter how you look at it, it's just a bunch of nonsense.

 

God is omniscient, meaning he knows everything that can be known, past, present, and future.  So he KNOWS before he even creates them that the majority of people will never even have the opportunity to learn about Jesus, so they will go to Hell, no matter what.  Doesn't that seem like a huge waste of time?  I know God is supposed to be "outside of time," (whatever the hell that means) but still - it seems like he could think of better things to do than make a whole bunch of people who are going to be damned anyway.

And if God is all-powerful, why can't he just get rid of Satan right off the bat?  I mean, if Satan kicks his ass so hard all the time by making SOOOOO much evil in the world that God's "beloved" children just can't resist, and then they have to go to Hell for eternity.  If God is so mighty, why can't he just flick Satan out of existence like flicking a booger off your finger?

The most important question of all:  Why does anybody believe this?  As Ray Comfort pointed out again and again, all it takes to see what's going on here is "a brain that works."  I must suppose that the brains of Christians just don't work, if they have had an opportunity to learn about logic and reason but reject it in favor of a ridiculous non-sequitur like God's omniscience/God damning everybody who never hears of Jesus. 


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HonestQuestioner wrote:

HonestQuestioner wrote:
Interesting mental exercise, but it doesn't disprove the point. You can say that DNA is a code or that it contains a code. Either way, a code exists. The reading apparatus 'knows' that a 'stop codon' has been reached. How does it know? Because it acts according to a code. As I said, either way, a code exists within the living system, and my point is that codes require information input. So where did the code come from?


Have you ever thought you've heard a knock on the door, only to find it was a tree limb being blown by the wind? If so, you've just interpreted a natural pattern for information.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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gary7infiltrator wrote: The

gary7infiltrator wrote:

The only difference between what we choose to call "religion" and what we choose to call "delusion" - the ONLY difference - is numbers. There are more people who suffer from the delusion of religion than do not; therefore, we have chosen for no good reason to not acknowledge the obvious mental illness of religious belief.

What is or isn't diagnosed as 'clinical' depends on either statistics (any trait that can be expressed as being two SD above the mean), or something that is the results psychosomatic malfunctions.

So no, it isn't just about numbers. You can say it's subjective because the norms for 'normal' and 'abnormal' behavior and cognitions is often a construct of culture, but you're being incredibly naive when you pull out the ancient 'argument' of numbers.

 

Quote:
As for only speaking out against separation of church and state because religion harms no one - just look at the Middle East. They've been murdering each other for hundreds - thousands - of years, purely in the name fo religion, and recently we invaded their country because our President believes that God told him to, thereby assuring thousands of more deaths in the name of religion.

Wars aren't just about religion. Sure, it helps as a means of social cohesion, reinforcement of devotion, and moral pressure to pick sides, but if you think the conflicts in the ME are entirely to blame on religion, you are being incredibly naive. Wars are fought in the first place of resources. Ideologies are an important part, but right now, religion is only a mediator for a struggle that is about resources (economic and military power).

 

Quote:
Religion harms EVERYBODY. Moderate and extreme. Its time has come and gone. It does no good to you or to anybody else that you cannot derive from a nonreligious source if you only care enough to educate yourself about what the world is really like.

The good thing about moderate religion is that aren't so arrogant as to make such bold claims about "what the world is really like". Of course you can always say you can just as well draw on a non-religious source. But if some people find positive things in religoin and then act on them, great! Let them believe it, and stop acting like every act of religious belief harms you by drawing absurd charicatures of christians and muslims.

Some people respond to overt individual rationality, others respond to collectivism and religious ideas. Let them do whatever the hell they like. Make a case for seperation of church and state if you want to control religious power, but you simply can't touch what people do in their own lives.


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It appears that most of the

It appears that most of the arguments in favor of the existance of God are using Philosophy instead of science. Hume brings up several criticisms that effectively shows that these philosophical arguments are not enough to prove the existence of God.

For example, you can claim that something had to be necessary for everything to exist, but you cannot make any specific claim about the properties of this necessity, other than it being necessary, without some kind of proof. And without proof that explicitly points to a Abrahamic God, you can't prove this necessity is sentient, cares about us, deigned us or had any specific purpose in mind when it created us. Nor can you prove this necessity will give us eternal life. In fact, you can't prove this necessity even continues to take a personal interest in what it caused to exist. All of these properties could simply be a projection of what you want this necessity to be.

As for the claim that we appear to be designed, you're comparing us with machines that we know were designed. Yet when we look at completed machines vs. nature, why can we easily differentiate between that which was made by man and that which was not. Also, unlike things designed by man, we do not have a reference of something proven to designed by God that we can compare ourselves to. As such, the claim that we were intelligent designed this is clearly a guess on the part of the theists. However, If we are going to survive as a species, it would be be in our best interest to perceive human beings as orderly, compelling beings, regardless of how "well designed" we really are. In other words, if aliens landed on our planet, they might find us just as ugly and unsophisticated as we might find them, based on inherit genetic biases.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


stillmatic
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REVLyle wrote: You are

REVLyle wrote:

You are totally misrepresenting the Bible.  There is nothing in the New Testament that tells me that I am to:

stone women - I seem to remember Jesus stopping this

murder children - whereas other religions were sacrificing children, Yahweh forbade it.  Lev. 20

have slaves - never commands me to take slaves and if you will remember - God took the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt.

Jesus made it clear that I am to love my neighbor as myself - never mentions genocide

I was never commanded to rape or invoke fear in people and I certainly was never told to fear homosexuals.

Just because thing happened in the Bible and just because God even commanded His people to do things in the Old Testament which the Bible is very descriptive, these are not necessarily prescriptive.  Please whoe me anywhere in the New Testament where I am told to do any of these things.

Unfortunately, you missed the point and are misrepresenting your bible.

Matthew 5:17-19 -- "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "

 Luke 16:17 -- "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 -- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

2 Peter 1:20-21 -- "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Mark 7:10 -- "For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Jesus criticizing the Jews for not killing disobedient children)

Matthew 15:3-4 -- "But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death." (Jesus criticizing the Jews for not killing disobedient children)

Matthew 5:27-32 -- "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

1 Peter 2:18 -- "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." (Repeating attitude towards slavery from the OT)

John 7:19 -- "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?"

John 10:35 -- "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken."

Clearly, the New Testament does not replace Old Testament law. Luckily for us, most of Christianity has followed the moral zeitgeist of civilization.

Quote:
You missed the point completely.  When Jesus or the apostles teach us how to live as Christian people, "To Love others as Self" (not even going to talk about loving God yet) what is repressive about God's command.  If I hate homosexuals that is sin and IS NOT commanded by God.  He does command that we are not to fall into the sin of homosexuality.  But never am I to hate someone because they have fallen into that sin.  If that were true - you would have to hate me for being a man who has lusted - also a sin.

Matthew 10:34-37 -- "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Matthew 10:20-22 -- "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

Jesus clearly does not object to Old Testament law, killing, stoning, slavery, homophobia, misogyny, etc. I'm not even going to go into Revelations.

 

Quote:
When Brian or anyone else calls the standards of life that God has set (Love others as yourself) repressive and you should no longer live in fear of what God wants - what is the freedom that the atheist wants???  Let me make it more plain.

I want Freedom to _______________ so my life will really be good.

My answer hasn't changed.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


Bargle
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gary7infiltrator

gary7infiltrator wrote:
 

This is exactly what I don't understand about Christian "reasoning." This makes zero sense at all. It doesn't matter how you look at it, it's just a bunch of nonsense.

 

God is omniscient, meaning he knows everything that can be known, past, present, and future. So he KNOWS before he even creates them that the majority of people will never even have the opportunity to learn about Jesus, so they will go to Hell, no matter what. Doesn't that seem like a huge waste of time? I know God is supposed to be "outside of time," (whatever the hell that means) but still - it seems like he could think of better things to do than make a whole bunch of people who are going to be damned anyway.

And if God is all-powerful, why can't he just get rid of Satan right off the bat? I mean, if Satan kicks his ass so hard all the time by making SOOOOO much evil in the world that God's "beloved" children just can't resist, and then they have to go to Hell for eternity. If God is so mighty, why can't he just flick Satan out of existence like flicking a booger off your finger?

The most important question of all: Why does anybody believe this? As Ray Comfort pointed out again and again, all it takes to see what's going on here is "a brain that works." I must suppose that the brains of Christians just don't work, if they have had an opportunity to learn about logic and reason but reject it in favor of a ridiculous non-sequitur like God's omniscience/God damning everybody who never hears of Jesus.

 

Not all Christians are that hard core about hell but they try to have it both ways. If you can go to heaven without hearing the gospel then Jesus is not the only path to salvation. Just try to get one to admit that I dare you. If Jesus is the only way like he says in the bible then they have to admit that most people who ever lived were born doomed to hell. They wont admit that either.

If you dont need the gospel to go to heaven then are missionaries doing more harm than good? Someone who lived a good life and would have gone to heaven otherwise  could end up in hell because they told him about Jesus without offering proof. 

What is the burden of proof missionaries must meet before you are eligible for the hell club? Is shouting Jesus saves from a passing buss enough?

The only answers I get are the usualy "its a mystery" or "we cant judge god" junk. Ask them if murderers go to hell and they say yes. Ask if all muslims/jews/mormons go to hell and most of them get all nervous. Either just about everybody goes to hell unjustly or we dont need Jesus and knowingly rejecting Jesus is not a deal breaker with god. You have to pick one morons or explain how it is otherwise.

I did get an answer from one Bozo. Those who never hear the gospel are judged seperately and have a chance. When you preach the gospel to someone Jesus will reveal himself to them without fail. Just by hearing it they know it is the truth. If they reject it after that they deserve to burn. It is impossible to hear the gospel and not know beyound doubt that it is true so you are choosing hell. I dont know how popular this opinion is. 


gary7infiltrator
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Sure, I'll have a crack at

Sure, I'll have a crack at RevLyle before I have to drag myself off to the studio and start working.  This is VERY LONG, so I hope you'll do me the respect of reading it all, RevLyle.

 

Quote:
Atheism is merely the absence of any belief in God.  This is a quote by Brian and yet later Kelly stated that all of us are atheist because atheism is “a lack of a belief.” Atheist means “not God or no God” just the same way asymmetrical means “not symmetrical or no symmetry.” Kelly is very wrong in her definition.

I think Kelly can be forgiven for her obvious mistake of leaving off the words "in god."  However, her point was sound.  You do not believe in any other god than the one you call God.  Therefore, you are an atheist with regards to the other gods who have been thought up throughout human culture.  "atheist" doesn't mean "no Judeo-Christian God."  It means "no god," period, no matter what you define as "god."  When it comes to Zeus, you ARE an atheist. 

Kelly never postulated that one must be either a polytheist or an atheist.  You are simply stating that to try to shore up your weak-ass argument. 

Quote:
Who created God? God is not a creation. He is the creator. He has always been. He will always be.

Says you and your bible.  If you assert that all things MUST have been created, then ALL things must have been created.  To say that God is exempt from your rule is just a weak deflection of the logic trap you've sunk yourselves into.  "All things MUST have been created!  Oh, except for God.  That doesn't apply to him."  How can that make sense to you?  Just because YOU have chosen to label God as "the Creator" doesn't mean a thing.  Either all things require creation in order to exist, or all things do not require creation. 

 

Quote:
This line of thought should not be so foreign to science, since scientist once claimed the same for creation and scientists wanted all of us to believe it.

Yeah, but the difference between science and dogma is that science feels free to change its collective mind when enough evidence comes along.  Dogma tries to change the evidence to fit itself. 

Quote:
Carl Sagan used to state on his show, Cosmos, what was - has always been. That was all the way until the 1960’s. Until scientist all of a sudden figured out that there was a beginning to the universe – Just like the Bible stated. God does not have a creator. This is beyond our comprehension, but it does not make it untrue.

Scientists have figured out that there was a beginning to the universe AS WE KNOW IT TODAY.  Scientists also have not yet found any way to disprove the First Law of Thermodynamics, so scientists must assume that all the matter and energy in the universe has always existed - just in a DIFFERENT FORM.  

Carl Sagan was referring to the First Law of Thermodynamics in his Cosmos statement.

And again, Carl Sagan can be forgiven for providing the best information we had in the 1960s even if it turned out to be more complex than that once we learned more.  Again:  The beauty of science.    

Quote:
The atheist makes this argument: Examples of unintelligent design includes: Nipples and mammary glands on men, Blind spot on the eye, and our ecosystem which includes the loss of life in order to sustain life and legs on snakes. AND YET, later Kelly talks about how science changes. Kelly stated, “The real beauty of science is that it is revisable and it continually changes with the addition of new information.” Everyday we find out something we did not know about our body, the world, and everything in it. So how is it that we, with certainty, claim that these things do not make sense or they are worthless when tomorrow we may find out that they do make sense and they are valuable?

 

PLEASE give me one example of a snake using its vestigial legs.  Kindly provide me with this information.  Humankind has been around snakes long enough that we ought to have observed some kind of use for their legs hundreds of years ago.

 

Quote:
Let me give you one example. Our planet experiences the natural occurrence of lightening and thunder with storm systems. We know how the lightening happens and yet scientists are claiming that we have only scratched the surface as to the purpose of lightening. Why does it occur above the clouds into space as well as from ground to cloud? How does it benefit and harm the planet? Is life even possible without it? AND YET, we will get up on a platform and state that these things that you mentioned have no purpose. MAYBE we simply have not found that out.

 

First, it's LIGHTNING, not LIGHTENING.  Lightening is a verb.  Lightning is a noun.  ("I THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTELLECT!  YIKES!&quotEye-wink

Second, maybe there is a way in which lightning is useful to life on Earth (or a way we can make it useful).  However, there is no "purpose" to it.  Nature does not act with a conscience.  Nature doesn't say, "I need to accomplish X and Y today.  I think I need some lightning to get this done."  Nature just IS, and we're along for the ride.  To beleive otherwise is to be naive in the face of the current evidence.

Third, if and when a use for lightning is found, it won't be religion that finds is.  So what is your point, exactly?  Oh, and we DO know what causes lightning.

 

Quote:
Science came from religious institutions. They were not separated. The scientific method came from religious men.

 

That is true.  However, because of what science IS, it separated itself from religion.  When that happened, and scientists were free to think outside the constraints of religious dogma, we began doubling our rate of understanding and our development of technology every twenty years or so.  We have never grown so much as a species when religion controlled all important aspects of life.  It should tell you a lot that it was when science broke free of religion that we began to make huge leaps forward in not only science, but humanitarian pursuits as well. 

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The schism between religion and science happened during the time period known as The Great Awakening.

It was aptly named. 

 

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What has religion given that atheist cannot give: In a word – hope.

YOU perceive that "hope" can only come from religion.  Atheists do not derive their sense of hope from religion (obviously).  Yes, we all have a sense of hope.  We derive our sense of hope from the idea that we will one day (preferably soon) understand enough about the world and each other that we will be able to cure all diseases, end all wars, and become the truly peaceful, united society that every sane human being wants.  We do not feel that religion is the path to achieving those goals.  We DO feel that free thinking and reason will get us there.  It gives us hope that more people are abandoning religion every day.  It makes us believe that we could leave a better world to the generations yet to come.  That is a powerful sense of hope. 

Quote:
Even though I have not gone to scripture, because you do not want to address the Bible, let me state as a Christian, “Hope comes from belief in Jesus Christ.”

No, hope comes to YOU from belief in Jesus Christ.  The concept of "hope" doesn't work the same way for everybody just because you think it should.  When I was religious, I had no hope, despite my "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ.  I knew, because the Bible told me, that everybody I loved who was not also a Christian would be cast into the Lake of Fire, and would suffer for eternity.  I knew that the Earth I loved would be destroyed when Jesus came again in his wrath.  I was continually depressed and anxious.  I was on medication because of my belief in Jesus Christ and his message of "hope."  I did not feel happy at all, at any point, that I can remember.

 Once I realized that Jesus was a myth and that there is no God, I became the most functional, happy, med-free person I knew.  I never imagined I could feel so good and love my life so much when I was a Christian.  There is no Lake of Fire; Jesus is not coming back to kick everybody's ass and lay about him with his sword until all my friends and relatives are slaughtered.  It's just a dumb story!  Hey!  Life is good!

I have no fear of death.  What you mean when you say "hope" is "I hope there's more for me after I die."  I guess religion does provide that, but there's no proof of it, so why believe it anyway?  It's just a story that somebody made up a few thousand years ago so he'd feel better about the fact that he's going to die some day.  I've been much more comfortable accepting the apparent fact that when I die, I'm dead.  End of story (literally).  Since "I" won't be around to say, "Oh, crap!  I'm dead, and there's no Heaven!" then why worry about it?  It's something that happens to everybody.  I don't want to die any time soon if I can avoid it, but I will some day - oh, well.  It was a fun ride while it lasted.  

Only people who fear death need "hope" for an afterlife or salvation.  People who don't fear it enjoy their lives thoroughly without dwelling on the fact that one day we'll all die.

 

Quote:
Religion has done some terrible things and people have done some horrible things in the NAME of God – but faith in Christ and true Christianity has done nothing but good.

"True Christianity" as you are describing it here is a product of MODERN TIMES (read: after The Great Awakening, when science pulled itself out of religion and realized that humans are humans).  Christianity "by the book," so to speak, promotes evil in its own name.  Please read Luke and tell me you don't get the same impression.  You, like all moderate Christians, are ignoring the bad bits and paying attention only to the nice parts, because that's what modern, secular society has decided you need to do in order to remain a functional member of humanity.

True Christianity is every bit as self-serving and exclusionary as Islam and Judaism.   

Quote:
There is no doubt that people who do not believe in God do some good things in life, but an atheist cannot give man hope.

True, an atheist cannot give man hope of a life after death.  But who cares?  Atheists don't delight in telling lies, so we're not going to tell you that you'll most definitely survive your death (but you'll only have a good time if you believe in Jesus - otherwise, you'll be tortured for eternity).  If all you can think about day in and day out is the fact that you will die, then you have deeper problems than your lack of logic. 

Quote:
The only thing that exists for the atheist is this world and our intellect.

And doesn't that make this world and our intellect incredibly precious treasures?  Shouldn't we treasure every day we have, because at any moment, it could all disappear?  

That makes even the most mundane life beautiful and incredible and inspiring - not a pit of hopeless despair.

 

Quote:
So what can mankind expect as an atheist, well certainly there are good things God has given us in this world but ultimately all that man can expect is . . . war, disaster, hurt, disease, and eventually death.

No, we can expect to use our brains to fix war, disaster, hurt, disease, and maybe even some day death - who knows?  

We sure don't believe that these things will go away by wishing to an imaginary friend that they will go away, though. 

Quote:
You state that since you do not believe in God nor in an afterlife – that you live this life how you want without being hindered by the “rules of God.” God says that we are to love him with all our heart and then love others as yourself.

 

Jesus said that.  Jesus also said, "Those who do not want me to reign over them, bring them before me and kill them in my sight."  NO atheist has ever said, "Anybody who doesn't want to be an atheist, just kill him.  He's not worthy to live."  Some non-religious jerk dictator have said to kill people who didn't want to accept their rule, but in the name of "statehood," NOT in the name of atheism.  Jesus has also said scores of other unChristianly things - things that you  have to choose to gloss over in order to continue to believe the ridiculous claim that Christianity is a "loving" religion.

The fact, based on reading the Bible with an open mind, is that Jesus and the OT god both contradict themselves many times, but are perfectly clear that if one doesn't cater to their need to be worshiped, one must be killed outright or one must expect to suffer for eternity.  VERY loving. 

And anyway, who's to know which "laws of God" to follow and which not?  Isnt' it better to live by the laws of society, that we've all agreed upon?  Seems much simpler to me than trying to decipher a social code from over 2,000 years ago. 

 

Quote:
So what is it, outside of what God tells us to do, that is “good.” These rules that you find repressive are how we are to love Him and others on this planet. How does someone lie, steal, commit adultery, dishonor father and mother, and murder and THEN say – “Now I am really living . . . This is life to the full.” All these things bring pain.

 

Yes - and that is why most atheists don't do those things.  I think it's hilarious that you believe that atheists just go around killing people and cheating on their spouses and robbing banks.  If that were the case, wouldn't it be in the news all the time? 

In fact, there are more Christians in the U.S. prison system than atheists.  If atheists truly lived immorally and Christians were never subject to breaking God's laws, wouldn't there be more atheists in prison and less Christians,  even considering the fact that at least 80% of the general population describes themselves as Christian?

There will always be antisocial types who break laws.  Fortunately, many more of us follow laws and are kind to one another, because that's what feels best.

By the way, the Code of Hamurabi existed long befor the Bible ever did, and contained almost the same rules of basic conduct.  That proves that the general rules of society predate the Bible and any concept of the Judeo-Christian God.  So the rules we choose as a society to follow are not "God's laws." 

Quote:
What is repressive about living a life within the boundaries of what God said is good? What I am attempting to ask is - What is it that the atheist desires to do, outside of “God’s repressive rules,” that enhances ones life.

Nothing.  But the fact is that they are not JUST God's laws.  They're general "laws" that have probably been around since humans first formed language.  We needed them to survive as groups, and we needed groups to survive as individuals.  We needed those rules well before we needed any god.  At the very least, we have indisputable proof that the rules themselves predate the Bible in the Code of Hamruabi.

We object to being told the lie that God made these rules up.  He didn't - we did.  Possibly before we ever made God up.  The rules themselves are just proof that humans are born with an inner capacity to form and protect social bonds - whether we're Christian, atheist, or anything else. 

Quote:
Brian claims that we are all born as atheists and we must be taught to be theist. I would state that quite differently. We are all born with the need to worship something.

Wrong.  I have no need to worship anything.  I feel quite content not worshiping.  As I was indoctrinated into religion as a baby, I can only assume that I was born as I am today, and that my religious "need to worship" was a learned behavior. 

Quote:
Every single society (not most of them, not the vast majority of them), both primitive and developed have had systems of worship. Developed societies did not go in and teach natives in America or natives in deep dark Africa to worship. They were already doing it. If you begin to think that you, as an atheist, are not worshipping something – incorrect again – it is self – it is the human intellect that you are putting on your throne.

I disagree.  I think that societies worshipped because they didn't understand the world enough to know that there's no reason to worship anything.

 And I do not worship the self.  I don't light votive candles, I don't pray to myself, I don't go to Self Church and discuss the tenets of the self with other self-worshippers.  

People like you are unable to wrap your heads around the concept of a TRUE LACK OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, because it is so central to your life.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  I do not worship anything, period. 

Quote:
You cannot state that a 2 year is taught to worship (or brain washed) simply because when he or she is young, and he or she doesn’t act upon what is already created in them.

"Created?"  What?  By whom?  You're defining this all in terms of God again.

We know that a few cases of feral children that have been observed in the world in the last hundred years or so. Children who grew completely outside of human influence, sometimes into fairly advanced ages (I believe 11 or 12 in the case of Oksana, the girl raised by dobs in the Balkans).  These children had no concept of God or the "sacredness" of anything.  These are well documented cases.  Feel free to research them for yourself.  Although they are a small sampling, they do illustrate that these children apparently had no inborn "need" to develop a system of worship.  They simply existed as themselves.

Make of that what you will. 

Quote:
When it comes to worship we are not teaching them to become theist - we are teaching them to worship God (The one worthy of worship) and HOW to worship God.

Why is your God the only one worth of worship?  Why is a child born in India taught to worship the Hindu gods, and that they are the only ones worthy of worship?

If we were all created by the Judeo-Christian God, and we are all born with the "need" to worship, why don't we all naturally worship the same God?  Didn't God create Indian people as surely as he created Americans and Europeans?  What possible purpose would it serve to make them "need" to worship a God or gods who is not/are not himself? 


Quote:
I hope you realize that your scientist is stating something that CANNOT be tested in your way and yet this is called science. When are you and others going to come to grips with the fact that this issue is not science vs. religion? This is philosophy vs. philosophy.

WHAT?  Ha ha!  Wow, you really read Dawkins poorly, methinks.  I don't get that impression at all from reading the passage that you quoted. 

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Let me also point out Francis Collins’ response. “This is an interesting choice. Barring a theoretical resolution, which I think is unlikely, you either have to say there are zillions of parallel universes out there that we can't observe at present or you have to say there was a plan. I actually find the argument of the existence of a God who did the planning more compelling than the bubbling of all these multiverses. So Occam's razor--Occam says you should choose the explanation that is most simple and straightforward--leads me more to believe in God than in the multiverse, which seems quite a stretch of the imagination.”

So you're quoting Collins' opinion.  Further, Collins has the OPINION that God is the more simple answer.  Really?  I have the opinion that the infinite regress that God necessarily presents makes him impossibly too complex to ever fit into Occam's razor.  Sorry, doesn't work for me.  The bubble multiverse makes way more sense than a Creator who didn't have to be created himself. 

Quote:
Kelly states that God negates science completely. Again I would state this quite differently. God doesn’t negate science. He created it and is beyond it.

 

Seriously, that is the weakest argument ever, dude.  You keep coming back to the same wimpy premise that Ray and Kirk used.  Basically, you're saying that you don't understand science enough, so you're inserting a God that is "beyond the rules of nature" to explain everything.  Words cannot describe how intellectually cowardly that looks to a skeptic or an atheist.  Just read more books!  Study more!  The more you understand about scientific process, the clearer science will eventually become for you, until you cease to believe that "God is outside science, and he created it" makes a lick of sense.   



Quote:
AH yes, the conscience. Kelly wants to know why parents have to teach children anything at all if they really have a conscience. Surely, you realize what you are doing here? You are invoking a philosophical question and then wanting Christians to answer it using only direct and indirect experimentation. This is not a fair game. You cannot have it both ways.

 

But it's a perfectly fair question to ask.  If we are born with a conscience, why do we have to be taught not to cause others pain at a young age?

Let's get purely philosophical here, Rev.  I invite you to answer this question philosophically, not scientifically.  If you respond to nothing else in my huge post, please respond to this.  If we are born already possessing the conscience that God instilled in us, why do we have to be taught not to pull hair and not to take each other's toys away? 

Quote:
Just like in the debate you don’t want the Christian to use the Bible then you misrepresent what it says in order to build your argument.

Actually, THEY said they wouldn't use the Bible or faith.  They lied.  (that means Ray Comfort is a liar, just like he loves to yell at people on the streets about!)  Using the Bible back at them was fair game at that point. 

Quote:
we live in a fallen world in which our minds and bodies love sin and without the power of God to help you and me – we are capable of anything.

The reason why this is so flawed is because you believe we live in a fallen world BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO.  You have no  real evidence that we actually live in a "fallen" world, because you have no "non-fallen" control world with which to compare it.  You cannot possibly KNOW that we live in a fallen world.  You believe it because you were told to believe it. And that is totally illogical.  Therefore, I cannot accept the concept of a "fallen world" or take such an idea seriously.

Quote:
then why doesn’t any other animal either have a conscience OR why have their species continued without it????

The following are all species that are known to have a clear "code of ethics" for group survival.  Members of these societies who "break the law" are punished physically or are cast out of the group (or sometimes killed).  This is only a small sampling of the species with ethical codes with which I am familiar.  There are more out there.

Equines (including wild burros, zebras, wild asses, horses)

Canines (all known forms of canines, incl. domestic dogs)

All great apes (additionally, African chimpanzees are known to make war on rival tribes, apparently just for the purpose of eradicating them so that they don't compete for resources.  Sound familiar?)

Baboons and mandrills

Spider monkeys and macaques

Elephants

Emperor penguins

 Vampire bats

Honeybees 

 I invite you to do further research into animal ethics to learn more for yourself.  The subject is quite well documented.  It is probably safe to assume that every single group-living animal has some form of "rules" and some consequences for breaking the rules.

Quote:
To put it simply, the observable problem with your statement is that apes have not died out because they did not have a conscience.

Apes do appear to have a "conscience."  At least they have many of the same core values that we have in society (don't "lie," don't kill without cause, don't interfere with the survival of another member of the group) and they have clear punishments for breaking the rules, up to and including execution. 

 

Quote:
I am sure that Hitler knew about Jesus, (even you know about Him) but I can assure you that Hitler did not KNOW Jesus. Hitler may have believed that Jesus existed, but HE did not believe in Him which would have been reflected in Hitler’s actions. No person who knows Christ would do what he did.

 

Wait - you just said that we can't KNOW Hitler.  Just because you believe that anybody who truly believed in Christ and thought that they were following him would never massacre millions of innocent people doesn't mean that HITLER HIMSELF didn't truly, honestly believe in his heart that he was a good Christian.  YOU cannot possibly know that.

Further, YOUR OWN BIBLE says that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin.  THE ONLY ONE.  Murdering millions is A-okay, ACCORDING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST, as long as you a) ask forgiveness and b) are truly repentent in your heart.  How do you know that Hitler didn't ask forgiveness and become truly repentent in his heart before he died?  Maybe he did, and in that case, you can expect to have tea and crumpets with him in Heaven.

And finally, you said yourself that it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that saves the soul.  So you are agreeing with Ray that the Jews that Hitler killed went to Hell, right?  I mean, after all, they didn't know Jesus, or didn't accept him - and Ray was quick to point out that the pre-resurrection Jews went to Heaven - but he as strangely silent on the topic of Holocaust victims.  Please elucidate, my friend. 

 


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DuckPhup wrote: I posted

DuckPhup wrote:
I posted this on the Nightline message board... it lasted for about 5 minutes, before the Administrators deleted it. I thought it might be more appreciated here:

 

Good post. 


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REVLyle wrote: Where is

REVLyle wrote:

Where is your empirical evidence for "worship" being biologically and universally intrinsic to the human condition? Can you cite scientific theory tested and reviewed that affirms this assertion?

Why could worship not , at least in part, be a matter of cultural influence and orientation? Comfort conceded last night that his background was steeped in "secular" New Zealand (hardly a hotbed of devoted worship). In historically cultural New Zealand, the "worship" of choice for the white settlers has traditionally been Christianity, evidently accounting for his own choice.

Why do you declare that "Brian worships himself and his intellect"? What have you seen last night or in videos, or read frorm this website that would lead you to such a conclusion?

 

#1 - Sure there empirical evidence for worship being biologically and universally intrinsic to human nature. Again, every single civilization, be it primitive or developed has worshipped without the influence of other societies forcing it upon them. A societies have certainly come in forced a type of worship, but worship was going on before the invader forced a type. The definition of empirical research is Empirical research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. On another note, not everything that is biologically intrinsic to the human being has to stand the test of empirical evidence. Even Kelly spoke of the conscience as being evolved for gene proliferation and yet is there any empirical evidence that the conscience even exists.

#2 - I am not sure what you are getting at in your second point other than does culture shape worship - and I would certainly say, YES. BUT God is over and above culture. We simply state that the truths of God are absolute (true for all people, in all places, and for all times) If one's culture is in conflict with the truth of God - then the culture should change - not ones view of God. An example of this would be that if the culture dictated that one should abuse your wife - God's word states that the Husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church - be willing to lay his life down for her - then the culture should change to fit with what God says.

#3 - Why would I say that about Brian? I could be wrong but I do not think Brian is offended by this statement. Worship is certainly a reverence to a devine being but it is also - extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar> . Brian's respect is for man's intellect - free thinkers as he calls it - especially his thoughts on the world. I am educated, but I know that my wisdom is but foolishness to God. God's thoughts are not my thoughts because they are much to high for me to obtain. God's ways are not my ways. I trust in God who is infinite and I am finite. Brian really believes that freedom comes from man's intellect.

 

Thanks for your questions. This kind of dialogue is awesome. You asked - you did not attack. I do not want to belittle anyone, including Brian. - I simply want to engage in the dialogue.

I'm a man. As such, I have a genetic predetermination to have sex as often as possible - regardless if this behavior is in by best interest or not. This is a remnant of an age where the infant mortally rate was astronomical. For example, in the time that Jesus was to have walked the earth, the infant morality rate is estimated to be 400+ in every 1000 birth. Today, the infant mortally rate is around 6 in every 1000. As such, this sort of behavior is no longer necessary or socially expectable. Yet men all over the world still are effected by this genetic directive.

My point is that - just because we have a biological impulse, it does not mean that [a] we should always follow through with it and [b] that is is necessarily in our best interest to do so.

Also, there have been suggestions that human beings have only gained the ability to reflect on their own thoughts and desires within the last three to four thousand years. As such, the rise of consciousness would radically change the playing field of evolution. While we are not competently free from our genetic directives, we can use conciseness to help guide the process of evolution in a more positive direction. For example, I may feel anger, but I can reflect on these feelings and decide if I should expand them into actions that may effect others.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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formerfaithhead wrote:

formerfaithhead wrote:

Did I have an auditory hallucination or did Martin really ask Sapient something like- can you explain to the audience in what way they have evolved since they were born....?

I could have sworn that's what he said. I can't believe it. I really can't believe he could possibly be serious. Did I misunderstand something?

 

Yeah, well, the dude describes himself as a "devout Christian," so what were you expecting?  Eye-wink 


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scottmax wrote: REVLyle

scottmax wrote:
REVLyle wrote:

These rules that you find repressive are how we are to love Him and others on this planet. How does someone lie, steal, commit adultery, dishonor father and mother, and murder and THEN say – “Now I am really living . . . This is life to the full.” All these things bring pain. What is repressive about living a life within the boundaries of what God said is good? What I am attempting to ask is - What is it that the atheist desires to do, outside of “God’s repressive rules,” that enhances ones life.

I was really hoping you would clue me in on this question. Don't leave it to a teenager Brian. Come on - you can do it. It is just a question.

Wow, those things bring pain? Do you think we atheists might be happier if we stop lying, stealing and murdering people? What do you think guys? Should we give it a try? I know it will be hard giving up the joy of killing and eating small children, but it might be worth it if it makes our lives happier. I just hope to God that we can pull it off without believing in God. Doh!

 

I don't know...I'm pretty attached to my routine of murdering old ladies and then laughing heartily about it.  Plus, I was thinking I was going to steal my neighbor's car later today.  I mean, it's nice, and I want it pretty badly.  That's enough justification.

 Plus giving up my hedonistic, socially destructive ways would mean I can't cheat on my husband anymore, and I sure derive a lot of enjoyment from that.


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REVLyle wrote: I want

REVLyle wrote:

I want Freedom to _______________ so my life will really be good.

 

 

I want freedom to have a world without superstition and religiously sanctioned hatred so my life will be really good.


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I'd also note that

I'd also note that conciseness is a good answer to the moderator's question of "why should we protect the poor, weak or elderly when evolution is based on survival of the fittest?"  If we've only recently became conscious, evolution is useful to explain how complex lifeforms, such as human beings, initially developed from simple forms of life. However, once we've reached the point where human beings developed conciseness, evolution need not be the only force we use to make moral judgments or decisions going forward.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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blessed848 wrote: No

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

 You're projecting your childish like logic.

Quote:
i dare you to pray every day for 2 weeks, "God if your real, reveal yourself", If you really ask He will.

I dare you to research enough to not only realize that Kelly and I have both done that, but to also research enough to know just how serious we were about Christianity when we were Christians.

P.S. God didn't reveal himself under repetetive testing. 

 

- Brian Sapient


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djneibarger wrote: my

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

Thanks!

- Kelly and Brian

- Brian Sapient


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Ruttled wrote: I first saw

Ruttled wrote:

I first saw the debate on NIghtline and in a discussion in another forum I stated that while I thought they did a good job they seemed a little petulent and smug.

 

I finally had the opportunity to see the whole debate and was very disturbed by the editiing done by Nightline. They did everything they could to present the RRS folks in a negative light. As well, Nightline should have shown Kirk and Comfort's stunned silence when confronted with the law of mass/energy convservation. I may use a sceenshot of Kirk looking like he'd been shot as my new screensaver. The moderator was useless it seems, allowing Kirk and C to invoke their faith and the bible, although the whole point was that they should not.

 

I am an atheist, and I hope, I critical thinker. But my initial reaction shows the depth to which religion is granted an automatic pass. As well, I am generally very skeptical of the media, but I let this one go right over my head.

 

Could it have gone better, sure, and Kelly and Sapient in their comments made that clear. This is how we get better; by doing this sort of thing.

 

I think you both did an admirable job. I apologize for not watching the entire video before making my initial comments. (Although I did acknowledge that in my thread.)

 

Keep it up!

 

 

Thanks for the revision of stance based on new data.  We appreciate the rational mind.

 

- Kelly and Sapient

 

- Brian Sapient


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Sapient wrote: blessed848

Sapient wrote:

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

You're projecting your childish like logic.

Quote:
i dare you to pray every day for 2 weeks, "God if your real, reveal yourself", If you really ask He will.

I dare you to research enough to not only realize that Kelly and I have both done that, but to also research enough to know just how serious we were about Christianity when we were Christians.

P.S. God didn't reveal himself under repetetive testing.

 

Didn't their Jesus say something about "vain reptition" in prayer? 

"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


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Gary7infiltrator, I skimmed

Gary7infiltrator, I skimmed your post to RevLyle.  It looked really good from what I saw, thanks for taking the time so that I could instead deal with the 384 unread emails I have.  Sticking out tongue

 

- Brian Sapient


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Sapient

Sapient wrote:

Gary7infiltrator, I skimmed your post to RevLyle. It looked really good from what I saw, thanks for taking the time so that I could instead deal with the 384 unread emails I have. Sticking out tongue

 

Price of fame, Mr. Sapient.

Be a success and people start calling you out. 

"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


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How do I get involved? I'd

How do I get involved? I'd love to provide the Social Psychological/Anthropological perspective. Still reading and learning, however, I could already provide some insight as to the cultural/psychological mechanisms you are and will continue to face. Anything I can do in Colorado (soon to be in South Dakota)?


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HoodE wrote: How do I get

HoodE wrote:
How do I get involved? I'd love to provide the Social Psychological/Anthropological perspective. Still reading and learning, however, I could already provide some insight as to the cultural/psychological mechanisms you are and will continue to face. Anything I can do in Colorado (soon to be in South Dakota)?

 Get involved by posting responses to people on this site.  There are many people here engaging in discussion, please add your slant to the conversation.

- Brian Sapient


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REVLyle wrote: You are

REVLyle wrote:


You are totally misrepresenting the Bible. There is nothing in the New Testament that tells me that I am to:

have slaves - never commands me to take slaves and if you will remember - God took the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt.


How can you claim the Bible it the true word of an omnipotent, omniscient God? How can you tell when the authors of the Bible are being influenced by "God" vs cultural and historical bias? I do not need to know the cultural or history of the Jains to understand their Mahavira: "Do not injure, *abuse*, *oppress*, *enslave*, insult, torment or kill any living beings or creatures." it's clear, simple and straight to the point. And it was written at about the same time as the Old Testament (6th century BCE).  If the Bible was this clear, would we have had slavery? What about the crusades or the inquisition? Why were the Jains able to do in one sentence what the entire Bible could not? How does this reflect on the "perfect word of God?"

In addition, the Bible is presented as a story. The key to story telling is mystery, drama and exaggeration. How can you separate the facts from the story?

REVLyle wrote:

You missed the point completely. When Jesus or the apostles teach us how to live as Christian people, "To Love others as Self" (not even going to talk about loving God yet) what is repressive about God's command. If I hate homosexuals that is sin and IS NOT commanded by God. He does command that we are not to fall into the sin of homosexuality. But never am I to hate someone because they have fallen into that sin. If that were true - you would have to hate me for being a man who has lusted - also a sin.


I base my moral decisions on practical experience and historical results, not rules that must be followed. Please show me practical, historical evidence that homosexuality should be an offense worthy of capital punishment.

REVLyle wrote:


When Brian or anyone else calls the standards of life that God has set (Love others as yourself) repressive and you should no longer live in fear of what God wants - what is the freedom that the atheist wants??? Let me make it more plain.

I want Freedom to _______________ so my life will really be good.
 


I wast Freedom from people who use the concept of God to make decisions that effect my life an humanity as a whole.  God is a concept. Concepts only have value in limited situations. When theists try to use the concept of God in a situation that it has no proven historical value, the results can range from worse outcomes to violence and death.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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Information

Quote:
Your problem is that inanimate materialistic processes alone cannot explain the presence of information.

Crystals are a good example of inanimate materialistic processes storing, replicating and transmitting information without intelligence. 

 (Bearing in mind what Trilberian and Secular Evangelist have already said about "information" being an abstract concept that intelligence imposes on physical processes that we observe, which is true)...

  In its most basic form, information is just an organized pattern of matter that persists in time.  The information encoded in an alum crystal, for example, could be called "instructions for how to make alum crystalline structures."  If you drop this alum crystal into a saturated solution, this code will be "read" by the dissolved alum molecules, and they'll be electrochemically organized into the alum crystal pattern according to those instructions.

The alum crystal doesn't "know" the chemical formula or arrangement of molecules, and the information didn't require intelligence to decode and apply.  Also the original seed crystal didn't require any intelligence to create or design--it just arose spontaneously out of the chemical responses to particular starting conditions earlier.

This is true of all crystals--the arrangement of the parts (i.e. information) arises--not at random or by chance--but as an inevitable result of certain starting conditions.  Put some carbon molecules into one kind of environment, and you get graphite.  Put them in a different environment, and you get a diamond.  The crystal didn't decide to become a diamond and it didn't require a designer/creator to become a diamond: the organization of the matter (that is the blueprint of "how to make a diamond&quotEye-wink arose inevitably from those starting conditions.

DNA and other organic molecules work the same way, but on a more complex scale.  They mash against each other mechanically and chemically, and then mash against other things to build proteins and so forth, but none of this requires any intelligence.  The mistake in your thinking, Honest Questioner, is in interpreting the "reading" of DNA information on a human scale--which requires intelligence.  DNA is "read" by physical and chemical operations analagous to the crystal example above, and it happens without any intelligence.

To answer your other question, the best guess that science currently has for where genetic "information" came from originally is that it resulted electrochemically, not by random chance, but rather from particular starting conditions (including environmental selection pressures).  Then, like with a crystal, once it got going, it just kept on.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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REVLyle wrote:   #1 -

REVLyle wrote:

 

#1 - Sure there empirical evidence for worship being biologically and universally intrinsic to human nature. Again, every single civilization, be it primitive or developed has worshipped without the influence of other societies forcing it upon them. A societies have certainly come in forced a type of worship, but worship was going on before the invader forced a type. The definition of empirical research is Empirical research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. On another note, not everything that is biologically intrinsic to the human being has to stand the test of empirical evidence. Even Kelly spoke of the conscience as being evolved for gene proliferation and yet is there any empirical evidence that the conscience even exists.

#2 - I am not sure what you are getting at in your second point other than does culture shape worship - and I would certainly say, YES. BUT God is over and above culture. We simply state that the truths of God are absolute (true for all people, in all places, and for all times) If one's culture is in conflict with the truth of God - then the culture should change - not ones view of God. An example of this would be that if the culture dictated that one should abuse your wife - God's word states that the Husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church - be willing to lay his life down for her - then the culture should change to fit with what God says.

#3 - Why would I say that about Brian? I could be wrong but I do not think Brian is offended by this statement. Worship is certainly a reverence to a devine being but it is also - extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar> . Brian's respect is for man's intellect - free thinkers as he calls it - especially his thoughts on the world. I am educated, but I know that my wisdom is but foolishness to God. God's thoughts are not my thoughts because they are much to high for me to obtain. God's ways are not my ways. I trust in God who is infinite and I am finite. Brian really believes that freedom comes from man's intellect.

 

Thanks for your questions. This kind of dialogue is awesome. You asked - you did not attack. I do not want to belittle anyone, including Brian. - I simply want to engage in the dialogue.

 

1) "Research" is of little value to anyone but the researcher if the outcome of the process is not known to any other parties. You have not identified any conclusions for public dispensation of empirical research that answers the question. Nonetheless, for argument's sake, I will accept your weighty anthropological hypothesis about intrinsic disposition to worship, assumptively. The best efforts of statisticians have noted that in recent times, approximately 16% of the global population identifies themselves non-religious (atheist, agnostic, no relgious identification). For 1.1 billion people who have no identification with any significant institutional belief paradigm of relgious foundation, we can logically deduce they do not "worship", in profound contradiction to our assumption about human disposition. I am reasonably confident that I can advance some plausible theories that explain the contradiction. The outcome of progress in science that explains tangible physical reality a) fills in more of the "God of the gaps", as it were, offering public examination for conclusions that account for material natural processes where once they could only look to the authority of accepted institutions touting supernatural dogmas -- b) people domiciled in social and political cultures that genuinely tolerate and encourage (not just lip service) the individual's ability to reason and use logic to reach one's own conclusion.

If you want empirical evidence for conscience, I would suggest you visit the National Archives in Washington, DC. There you will find primary sources for activity that was, at least in part, very much the expression of conscience given the circumstances and experience of those parties who drafted and ratified the documents that serve as compelling evidence. The study of history and even literature present evidence of conscience, that can be verified by biliographies and similar or identical accounts from other sources. Proof? -- Not always, but usually very compelling empirical evidence.

 

2) It is illogical to accept assertions of absolutes without extraordinary evidence -- especially if the absolutes are framed in metaphysical and immaterial constructs. I could never recommend that anyone ever embrace or otherwise alter their conduct according to a priori pronouncements that rely on authority which only offers itself as reason for the insistence on others' compliance. From empathy and reason, a man can determine not to abuse his wife. If he values her love and companionship, it is no "leap" for him to surmise that he could seriously compromise his ability to be further recipient to her affection and loving companionship. If his emotions of anger and resentments supersede his ability to reason through such unfortunate conflicts, science is ever-more offering him the opportunity for behavior modifications that will cease the abuse. (Regrettably, our civic reality is not keeping step with the opportunity for a potential abuser to seek assistance from specialized rational and scientific sources.)

3) if God's thoughts are too high for you to obtain, how can you have such absolute certitude about his laws and regulations over human conduct? I cannot speak for Brian, but I think he believes that man's freedom comes from the social and political tolerance and even encouragement to exercise one's intellect and act on behalf of it.


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Vastet wrote: pby

Vastet wrote:
pby wrote:
Josephus (the Arabic version, according to the experts, probably contains what Josepus actually wrote about the historical Jesus).
You're speculating. You even admit it. You say probably. In other words this is self refuting.
pby wrote:
Every fossil is not a known "transitional" in the sense that a "transitional" is direct evidence of a species to new species transformation.
Not only is every fossil a transitional fossil that proves species evolving, but so is every life form walking/swimming/flying/floating/etc the planet today. You expect a dog to give birth to a cat, which will never happen. You don't even know what evolution is, and you think you can argue against it.
pby wrote:
These don't exist (but they are assumed).
They exist, and you assume they don't.
pby wrote:
The painter is obvious without knowing the process. If not, how did the painting come about...chance? What are the alternative explanations for the painting besides the painter?
This argument is ridiculous when approaching existance. We know a painting was painted because paint doesn't form itself into different colours and land on paper that chemically formed itself somehow and managed to create a square or rectangle(shapes that don't form without intervention). Paper must be made, paint must be made. The probability of paper and paint not only forming themselves through natural process but also doing so close together and coming into contact are so abysmally low as to be ridiculous. The application of paint on paper to create a painting can occur only if the materials already exist. Existance does not have to be made. In fact, the idea is self contradictory. If god exists, then existance exists. Meaning existance cannot be created, it already exists. The forces within the universe define the universe. Suggesting a god needs to exist to have created it is like suggesting a mother creates her child by putting every molecule into place with her mind, instead of the child doing most of the work itself. There is nothing unnatural about the way the universe functions. It is quite irrational to assume an unnatural force is responsible for natural forces.

Sorry...no speculation, here. It is how many historians/experts on Josephus and the Testimonium state the issue. I cited some of the experts in an earlier post, if you would like to check it out.

I do not expect a dog to give birth to a cat (but maybe a dinosaur birthing a bird)...sorry to disappoint, though.

"Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations."  I think that I understand that concept but I don't understand your assertion that "every fossil is a transitional that proves species evolving." How can a single fossil provide evidence of heritable changes in a population?  

The universe didn't use to exist. Life didn't use to exist. How did it come into existence?


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I've just watched the

I've just watched the debate: really good work. My only criticism: obviously Ray blew it by bringing the bible into it, but it was a shame that RRS took the bait. You should have insisted on keeping strictly to the point. The arguments against the Bible and against the Christian religion (which version of the 10 commandments? do you feel bad if you eat pork? Hitler is allowed to go to heaven, etc...) were irrelevant to the issue that was meant to be being discussed: the possibility of a scientific proof of God.

 

Having made the point that Ray had used the Bible in his arguments, what was then necessary was to take those arguments apart, strip all references to the Bible and see what was left. Of course you gave some great replies, but you lost some time simply criticising Christianity  when you should have been explaining in the clearest, simplest terms why those coke can and banana theories have nothing to do with science. 

 

Just a few thoughts:

 

- Ray brought up his favourite argument with the coke can (he must have forgotten to bring the banana). If we follow his reasoning with coke can and banana to its logical conclusion, we must conclude that the banana was also created in a factory. Does Ray not concede that there is a fundamental difference between a man-made object and one that grows on a tree, that has grown from a seed...?

 

- Ray suggests a supposedly scientific test of putting 12 scientists in a room with a painting. First, you need to make clear that this has nothing to do with a controlled scientific experiment. And even if we tried it: what might happen? It's not at all sure that all the scientists would say "there was a painter": one might say "this was painted by a painter", a second one might reply "There could have been more than one painter", a third one might say "it's possible that this painting was made by a machine", and so on. Now do the same experiment, but replace the painting with a frog: what will the scientists say then? I don't think they'll all say "there was a frog maker".

 

- Ray believes that the existence of a moral conscience is proof of God's existence. Kelly already pointed out that there are other, totally valid explanations for the existence of a conscience. It would indeed be good to go deeper here, looking at the fact that consciences differ widely in different parts of the world: what one person considers a "sin" will depend heavily on that person's upbringing. But there's a more important point here: even if we do not know for sure why people have moral consciences, this does not in any way prove the existence of God. This is the old argument from ignorance: "since you can't prove your hypothesis, my hypothesis is true".