This post is a continuation of my series that I will simply refer to as: “Having fun with atheists and skeptics.” The purpose for doing these posts is to expose “strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” And by this, “destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God.” (see 2 Cor.10:3-5).
It is a lofty goal I readily admit, and well above my technical pay-grade, but I do have lots of help. I’m also fully aware that, in the final analysis, people will believe whatever they want to believe regardless of evidence to the contrary, so I’m not doing this to win an argument. My purpose is to first show that theism is a rational inference, and from this position, show that Christianity is the best explanation for theism.
I’ve been accused by atheists of being dishonest because I’m using quantum science to prove my Christian theology. But that was not my intention at all. And besides, it would be starting in the middle of the argument. I was simply employing what is called natural theology (as opposed to revealed theology) in order to show that you cannot prove (or dismiss) phenomenon outside of dimensional time and space by the same methods used to prove things inside of dimensional time and space.
My next posts on the subject will be to show that the most rational inference we can draw from the evidence is that there is a designer. Again, I’m only arguing for theism at this point.
I will do this with the help of video clips. This not only saves me time and words, but it’s also a more effective way to get my point across. And on that note, for my brothers and sisters in Christ who feel daunted by the militant atheist horde trolling the blogosphere, I would like a recommend a good source of Christian apologetics for laymen called “Inspiring Philosophy.” They have lots of good information on their website and, more importantly in our multimedia world, lots of short, easy-to-understand videos on a wide range of apologetic subjects.
As I’ve said before, I believe the atheist position that states nature designed itself, or requires no causal explanation, is not a rational argument (this is not the position of all atheists). A favorite agnostic “hand-waving” dodge to this assertion is to simply say, “I don’t know,” as if that fixes their problem.
But, as you will see on the video, when one says “I don’t know,” they admit they lack a position to argue from. You not only don’t know the best explanation, you also don’t know if the theist is correct.
“You cannot say you do not know but say that it’s wrong to infer a designer! In other words, pleading “I don’t know” means you have no opinion on the evidence for either side and can’t argue against the theist’s position….If you say this, and then go on to argue against a theist’s position, you’re basically saying, ‘I don’t know, but I know the theist is wrong!’ which refutes your claim that you don’t know…..If you’re going to plead, “I don’t know,” then you should also conclude that you are ignorant on your own position.” (video)
As the eminent atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, said (quoted on the video):
“…systematic features of the natural world are not coincidences, and I do not believe we can regard them as brute facts not requiring explanation. Regularities, patterns, and functional organization call out for explanation—the more so the more frequent they are.” (“Mind and Cosmos”, p.47)
Here’s a video from Inspiring Philosophy that unravels the confusion some atheists create with their fallacious arguments against natural theology. It also makes the point I’ve been making all along, that science cannot explain why there is science. Let the fun begin!
NOTE: Please confine your comments to the subject matter on the video. Also, please keep your comments concise (under 500 words).
UPDATE (7/13/17): I had put this second video in the comments but it’s more appropriate here. This is the author’s response to several atheist’s responses to the original video above.
Natural theology, my speciality!
Can you finally now address this proposition as forwarded by one of the great natural theologians, Paley:
“Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”
Know then the disposition, revealed as it must be through design, through the architecture, through history, and one may know the designer.
So Mel, what is the predominant tendency of the contrivance?
You have 13.8 billion years to draw your answer from…
This is not your agenda, John, where you can just insert your “contrivance” life verse at any opportunity you see fit. Deal with the points on the video. Any contrivance tendency is a different subject for another time.
Why, Mel, is this stunningly simple question so astoundingly difficult for you to answer?
Haha…whatever. What’s astounding is that you can’t stay on topic. You just want to push your agenda.
Mel, this is from the video:
So, unless you’re now running away from your own video, the video you want to discuss, could you please address the question as to where the evidence leads:
What is the predominant tendency of the contrivance, Mel?
Where does the evidence lead.
No, it’s not, John. The video is not taking on your pet issue of “predominant tendency of the contrivance.” I’m not going to keep going over this with you.
Yes, of course. But your question goes beyond the point of the video. You are obviously doing this to insert your agenda into the conversation so I will go down that rabbit hole with you. But the point of the video is what was stated: that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer.
I’m not challenging the existence of the Creator.
And the question does not go beyond the video. It dives into the very statement of what natural theology is.
Natural theology: following the evidence to where it leads.
I agree with your video.
Let’s follow the evidence.
“Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”
What is the predominant tendency of the contrivance, Mel?
Good, you agree, there is a creator. Going beyond that point is beyond the scope of this post and video. I made that very clear both in the post and my comments to you.
It is not beyond the scope of this post and video. In fact, it’s the very premise of the video… the video you implored us to comment on.
But Okay… Self-evidently, you don’t want to actually discuss the content of the video.
May I ask, why, then, did you post it?
It’s rather odd behaviour, Mel, don’t you think?
John, I already told you my point: “the point of the video is what was stated: that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer.”
If you agree with my point, then we’re done here.
Understood. You can’t actually talk about Natural Theology in any coherent, intelligible manner, so I’m to now stop talking to you about Natural Theology on a post about Natural Theology, that has a video (which you asked people to discuss) which states that Natural Theology is following the evidence… But you don’t want to talk about that evidence trail, because, well… I really have no idea.
Good. Stop talking then. When I actually get to the question of where natural theology leads, we can have that dialogue.
“…you cannot prove (or dismiss) phenomenon outside of dimensional time and space by the same methods used to prove things inside of dimensional time and space.”
Yet – very mysteriously – you do manage to ‘know’ enough about “phenomenon outside of dimensional time and space” to ‘conclude’ a divine Jesus. And your method inside this dimension of time and space, Mel?
How is this relevant to the points in the video, Tildeb? Obviously, by your question, you either didn’t watch it or you are dodging the points made.
It’s relevant to what you stated in the post! Or is it relevant only to comment about the video so that you can avoid criticisms of it by saying you didn’t make it?
This is exactly the point I was NOT making. That is not the point of using natural theology. If you understood what I said and what the video is saying you wouldn’t jump to this conclusion.
This video is PRATT. It starts by misrepresenting what science is: a method of inquiry that utilizes tentative evidence-adduced conclusions and models it for its predictive value. There really is no such thing a s a’scientific’ proof because as every should know, proofs are for axiomatic systems. Reality is not an axiomatic system. So for the video to start out this way is highly typical religious apologetics that relies on misrepresentation to address even the most basic criticisms about it: is the religious claim true and how do you ‘know’ that? This is where theology collapses because you gout nuttin’. You have no compelling evidence upon which to adduce anything.
So the real criticism non believers raise is not about theists lacking proofs (philosophy and metaphysics is built for producing exactly this); it’s all about pointing out that how you go about substantiating real world claims that you make as if containing your divine critter is fully imported by you and is substantiated only by granting trust to what you import. Your method does not produce knowledge; it produces only belief. And you have to do this because reality isn’t up to the job of supporting these religious beliefs. That is why your religious belief is wholly and fully predicated on your imported faith. And this importation successfully and consistently explains the robust correlation between geography and different religious beliefs. What’s true about reality should not produce this result. But apologetic videos never deal with these central criticisms nor the robust strength supported by compelling evidence from reality of them. Instead, we get this recycled PRATT.
And this is what you do (all you can do, really). Attack the motive and dismiss any method for best explanation other than inductive methods so you can dodge the actual points being made and avoid the conclusion.
A PRATT becomes a motive because the point has already been refuted repeatedly to absolutely no effect.
Look Mel, the reason why these kinds of videos keep making the rounds is not because they have merit; it’s because people want to confirm their beliefs and simply don’t care if the beliefs are worthy of such confidence and trust they’ve already awarded to them. So it’s the worthiness that atheists have been busy revealing – using independent evidence adduced from reality – to be unjustified. The confidence awarded to these beliefs is shown to be unjustified according to what is used to support them.
This trope about science – being about materialism and proofs – is framed this way so that the typical believer can think well of him- or herself for going along with the idea that ‘science’ has no say about some god. But that’s not the criticism raised by atheists (even though the video pretends to know what atheists are criticizing but is wrong!); we are talking about the lack of worthiness for certain religious ideas, certain beliefs describing the world we share, a lack that is directly supported by compelling contrary and incompatible evidence from reality independent of thee and me.
To fill in this absence of real world evidence, theists turn to metaphysics and philosophy to this job for them, to replace reality with a framework favourable to supporting their beliefs about it. Believers like you then go along with the charade that these methods are a means to use logic to deduce some god. Not reality. Not evidence. Logic. But they’re not a means. These approaches 1) substitute premises for evidence, and 2) do not EVER produce deduced knowledge about reality. They simply assemble premises and deduce conclusions based on them. They frame certain religious ideas with terms and then deduce a summation about those terms. This presumes a one-to-one correlation (that can be shown to not be the case) and THEN apply the artificially created conclusion it back onto reality as if descriptive of it. This the problem. The method. The framing – like the video improperly framing ‘science’ to be about logical proofs – is the problem atheists criticize. This is almost never addressed. Ever. By any theist including you. No theist explains HOW they arrive at their knowledge claims deduced by faith. EVER. And the reason for that is because they can’t. The method of using artificial framing is not descriptive about what is (independent of thee and me); it is descriptive about what one wishes to believe.
Since you apparently see through this “trope” tell me how you show that God is logically impossible? And whether you can or cannot show this, offer a better inference than that of a personal designer. And I want your logic for that conclusion.
A creative agency called God is logically possible. I’ve never said otherwise.
We don’t need inference to submit the hypothesis of a personal designer. We need evidence. We need to find a method that allows us to follow this evidence independent of where we wish it to go and we need to see whether or not it leads to elevating or depressing the likelihood of a designer. And when we do that, we find the likelihood decreases as our knowledge of material properties and processes and how they interact increases.
So we concentrate our attention and confidence more and more on how we think these properties and processes work and less and less on presupposing some interventionist design. We hypothesize how life changes over time to see if we do indeed find design without any interfering directive and intervening agency. We work both directions regarding the arrow of time.
We then test various explanatory models to see if this or that explanation increases or decreases likelihood of either directed (guided) or non directed design. The evidence indicates which. We find that nowhere do we meet evidence of any imposed or inserted design other than the ongoing recapitulation with occasional changes of local units obeying local rules from which complex design and emergent properties seem to arise… arise and manifest without any need to attribute these changes over time to any other directed agency than the material properties interacting with physics and chemistry. We find the same process at work in many fields into which we inquire and we find each seamlessly fits with one explanatory model. We then test this model rigorously and make predictions about what we should find. This bears fruit in many ways. We apply the model to various areas in which it can guide us and we can demonstrate its usefulness by establishing the understanding we think we have reached by developing therapies, technologies, and applications that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time based on this understanding.
This model then produces detailed offspring explanatory models that also seamlessly fit with the non directed design model and these bear the same ongoing fruits. All of these leads to adding support to the likelihood that the explanatory model does indeed reflect reality and explains how it actually works – by what forces, in what ways and means, by what mechanisms … without every encountering fatal contrary or incompatible evidence. Upon this growing confidence, we award the term ‘theory’ and we then teach it as a fundamental aspect of understanding how things seem to work. Further insights are gained, more applications, therapies, and technologies are developed, and so on. We call this process ‘science’.
Against this backdrop and using it as a means for an honest and fair comparison, one to establish equivalency of models through both practical functional and knowledge production, one that includes not just real world applications, therapies, and technologies, we encounter a contrary model involving unknown forces and unknowable agencies using undefined mechanisms by contra-physical and contra-chemical means that follows a Designer hypothesis. This model in comparison does not fit the evidence as well nor explains how exemptions to a coherent and consistent model can be productive. We find no expression of this model in therapies, applications and technologies that work. It does not fit with what to all extents and purposes are other ongoing Designer-less processes nor is it a reliable means to offering insight into predictions that can be tested.
So. which model is more reasonable to gain our hard-earned trust and confidence? Well, you’ve already decided… every time you return to where you parked your car, every time you make a cell phone call or use a computer, every time you take medication, eat farmed food, invest in energy and mining and silvaculture stocks. The only place you alter this confidence in how we come to understand how reality operates is when you encounter a stark discrepancy between your religious beliefs and how we think reality operates. Naturally, you then and only then blame how we can know anything about reality.
You are talking about a reproducible inductive scientific method in this world. But what kind of “evidence” do you suggest we use to prove or disprove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design? In other words, how does Hamlet perform the classic, reproducible scientific method to test for the existence of Shakespeare? How would we talk about this in any other way than by best inference?
Mel, you ask, “But what kind of “evidence” do you suggest we use to prove or disprove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design?”
Again, stop framing science as if it involves proofs within an axiomatic system. Reality is not an axiomatic system. You’re using the wrong method!
This means you have this burden to prove a designer because you’re the one telling us it is both reasonable and logical to hold such a belief. It is not my task to disprove a designer any more than it is your task to disprove unicorns exist. As I have said, there is simply no evidence I can find in favour of your claim, that there really, really, really is a personal designer you call God. Obviously, I must be missing something here so… show us the evidence for your claim. Show us HOW you have come to ‘know’ about this designer (this alternate method you seem to have special access to). Metaphysics is not equivalent to evidence. Philosophy is not equivalent to evidence. This video is not equivalent to evidence. Evidence in this reality that you have somehow managed to access to support your belief in a designer seems to be singularly lacking and no amount of talking and writing is going to get around this fatal problem YOU have for having neither evidence to support your claim nor a method of inquiry that produces knowledge to support your claim. In other words, you have not offered anything reasonable or knowable to support your claim. You’ve supplied your beliefs in spades.But that’s not equivalent to anything approaching reasonable or possible.
Fair enough. And, technically, this post was not to prove that a creator exists but to say that it’s logically reasonable. You said you agreed that a creator is logically possible. So, as far as this post is concerned we have no argument.
You then go on to say that the burden of proof is on me, but I’m puzzled by what you mean by proof because you still haven’t answered my question…”what KIND of “evidence” do you suggest we use to prove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design? You keep insisting I have no evidence. Sounds to me like you have a very narrow framing of what constitutes evidence.
Two points about your statement here. First, we are NOT talking about material properties so you will never arrive at any coherent conclusion this way. Second, you are basically saying you believe in the “god of the gaps” theory, which is atheistic hand-waving.
As the author said, “this kind of reasoning [“god of the gaps”] doesn’t offer a conclusion, it’s just an attempt to fill a hole with unknown knowledge of future humans. With this line of reasoning I could simply say that future scientists will find irrefutable proof that God exists. Appealing to the future doesn’t change the best evidence we have now. So, trying to refute a philosophical argument doesn’t work this way either. If atheists really want to refute theism, they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference.”
Btw. here is the author’s initial video response to various atheist reactions to the video…
But what kind of “evidence” do you suggest we use to prove or disprove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design?
The evidence, as accumulated over 13.8 billion years, is found in the predominant tendency of the contivance. That is to say, the quantifiable output of a machine orientated in one direction, and not the other…
But you don’t want to talk about that.
If “predominant tendency of the contrivance” infers the existence of a creator, then we have no argument.
You said you weren’t challenging the existence of a creator. Good. End of discussion.
Let me know when you want to actually talk about it in real terms.
I have no idea what this post is about… and nor do you, by the looks of things.
Whatever…Let me know when you actually want to read what I said was the topic of discussion instead of forcing your own agenda under the pretense of natural theology.
Like I said, be sure to let me know when you want to actually talk about it, natural theology, the title of this post, in real terms.
The title was “Natural theology AND atheistic confusion.” It wasn’t about exploring the depths of natural theology.
The topic was actually about how atheists confuse methodology, trying to refute a philosophical argument with classic scientific method, and then not offering a better inference. If you’re too stubborn or deceitful to see this, then there’s nothing more I can do. I will let you know when your agenda is relevant.
1) Deductions rest upon ‘general principles, derived from inductive processes (our collective experiences.
2) History and forensics are ultimately based in induction. Philosophy is internally consistent or not.
3) Contingency is our experience (I can go on and on about this, see “The All in One” if you are a glutton for punishment).
4) At no point does the speaker make any effort to let us know what he means by ‘nature’, ‘natural’, or God. That’s really the problem.
The typical exposition on those matters quickly becomes incoherent – it is internally inconsistent.
It isn’t that I have a negative assessment of your proposition, it’s that I don’t know WTF you are talking about. You have to present me with a viable concept.
Now, if you wish to propose that a very powerful alien living in a super-physical, and inaccessible (from sub-physical) realm, created the universe, well OK.
My next question would be: How does that matter?
“Nature” simply means what we can observe, the universe. At this point in the conversation, “God” is the designer/creator.
The video’s subject was on the confusion about the evidence for God. Based on this point, I have two questions for you: First, would you agree that it is possible that God (designer/creator) exists? And, two, if it is possible that a designer exists, what kind of “evidence” do you suggest we use to prove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design (universe)?
At this point, I’m not asking why it should matter.
Well, those definitions are the problem, and we need a little more rigor on that account before moving on.
Because if “nature” means the world of identities and causal dependence, then no, there can be no “outside” creator – those terms would be incompatible.
If you mean to ask, “Is it possible that time’s beginning is inexplicable, and the resulting mystery is God?”, then sure. It is possible in the same way that it is possible that I am the only person that really exists, and everyone else and everything else have merely sprung from my subconscious.
That’s nonsensical. As atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel said on the video (starting at 2:19), “If God exists, he is not part of the natural order but a free agent not governed by natural laws. He may act partly by creating natural order, but whatever he does directly cannot be part of that order.” (Mind and Cosmos, p.26).
Yes, it is possible we’re all sprung from your subconscious but probably not the best and most reasonable inference based on the evidence.
A creator is instrumental. In other words, a creator draws upon what exists to produce novelty. This state of affairs is true even if the creator engages in rote copy-work.
There is an ‘if’ hidden in all creation – otherwise, the created must simply remain the extant. Creation necessarily occurs in context.
If you want to say, God kind of did something like what we do when we create – but completely unique, then you must stop there.
That’s what the Nagle quote is getting at: miracles are miracles, and like God, must be incomprehensible if they are to stand as such.
I would add that Nagel is not the pope, just cuz I sense a little argument from authority here…
And, I would love to hear your best argument against solipsism, but don’t feel obliged.
I can infer that atheists talk more about God than theists do by noticing that you have more comments that are longer on this series than any other. Did I logically deduce that correctly?
LOL! Yes, that would be the best and most reasonable inference from the evidence. 🙂
Do you think comments by more theists would clear up why the title of this post demonstrates not atheist but theist confusion? Hardly. I’ve never seen it happen yet.
It’s not atheists who are confused, dcummuta. It is theists who assume a logical form translates magically into making unknowable theistic premises relying on philosophical and metaphysical nebulous terminology really, really, really is reflective of reality. Ya just gotta believe!
Well, they are wrong. You can logically ‘prove’ the moon is made of green cheese. It’s not. Logical form alone doesn’t make it so.
What theists who rely on this kind of apologetic PRATT trying desperately to find any kind of support for the insupportable beliefs they hold about reality don’t seem to get it (or if they do, they don’t care): surprisingly, evidence from reality best describes reality.
Imagine that. How very confusing!
And this little gem about evidence is exactly what every theist AND atheist uses all the time to navigate reality… right up until the theist decides in one very special case where logic alone using nebulous language is a legitimate substitute and so those who don’t go along with this idiotic charade are somehow confused.
Yeah, I can logically deduce why there’s a long line of theistic commentators ready to point this out to our host.
No, Tildeb, the plethora of atheist comments only amplifies the video author’s point about the confusion, the fact that you STILL can’t see that you use inappropriate methods to refute theism. Like the author of the video said, “When we look at claims for things that are, by definition, outside the natural world, we obviously cannot do a scientific experiment. That would be like ‘show me the empirical proof in space-time” for something that exists outside of space-time!’ It is simply nonsense.” The point of the video is that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer. If you say you don’t know, then you have no position from which to argue from and this conversation is pointless.
“The point of the video is that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer. If you say you don’t know, then you have no position from which to argue from and this conversation is pointless.”
No. The refutation rests in very little likelihood – if any at all- for the object of belief to be real, and if so then to be knowable. The apologists have utterly failed to meet this basic requirement. And that likelihood is so very low because there is no compelling evidence. You require some standard of elemental evidence to know anything about anything. Declaring this requirement is not necessary means the “better inference” rest squarely on this absence of evidence, which reduces the likelihood, which should be reflected by a reduction in the confidence one is willing to grant for the belief to have any truth merit. This is the refutation. Reality.
The atheist says, “Show me compelling evidence and I will increase my confidence in your explanatory model.”
The theist says, “I don’t need evidence. I only need faith. Nothing you can import from reality will alter the certainty I possess in the correctness of my belief.”
You are trying to paint the former as somehow ‘confused’ and the latter as ‘logical’. You are badly confused.
And this statement is absolutely meaningless until you tell me what KIND of “compelling evidence” we should use to prove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design (outside of space-time universe)?
Curious, what “definition” are you referring to? Yours? Defining a being into being isn’t exactly compelling stuff.
At this point we’re talking about the possibility of a designer or creative agency who, by definition, would exist outside of its design. The point of the video is that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer.
As I told Ark, I will be away from my computer for a while. Take your time.
Yes, but by whose definition says this agent would exist outside its design?
Where are you getting this definition from?
I have no idea why you’re asking this question, John. Try common sense.
Are you saying that the designer can be the design? So Henry Ford was a car, too? A designer, BY DEFINITION, is not the design! He or she can interact with his or her design, but still exists apart from it (like Henry Ford existed apart from Ford automobiles, even though he could drive one).
Webster’s Dictionary: designer: one who creates and often executes plans for a project or structure.
Sure, why can’t the designer be the design? Many posit aseity as a quality of a supreme god, in which case the designer is the design for nothing is outside that being.
So, as I do believe you think Yhwh to be an aseitic being, am I correct then to assume you agree that Creation, this world, is an artificial construct?
That’s utter nonsense. The designer cannot design itself! To quote Nagel again: “If God exists, he is not part of the natural order but a free agent not governed by natural laws. He may acts partly by creating natural order, but whatever he does directly cannot be part of that order.” (Mind and Cosmos, p.26, 2:19 in video).
The one thing you cannot logically do is say the designer is the design! That is an absurdity.
Who cares what Nagel says. Why do you keep bringing him up.
So, am I correct to say you believe this world is an artificial construct?
I believe the “world” is a construct. And it intuitively reveals design. So, logic would follow that there a designer.
So that’s a Yes: this world is artificial. It is a contrivance.
What purpose does this artificial construct serve?
Why create it?
Let me guess, you don’t want to discuss that, right now, correct?
Why do you keep going back to this drivel: “if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer.”
No, atheists don’t have to do this because we recognize that conclusions deduced from logical form does not advocate for the truth value of its premises. This is Logic 101. A logical argument simply indicates correct form has been followed but it does do what the theist here wants: yield substance.
So let’s look at the inference part of the demands here.
When faced by a large amount of uncertainty, it is perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know” because that’s the truth… an accurate assessment of state of insufficient knowledge. That’s all it means. So what?
Well, that is a statement about a lack of sufficient knowledge to increase or decrease likelihood.
And that’s what inference is all about: establishing a stronger likelihood for or against a causal proposition..
This honesty does not give permission for the religiously motivated to then fill in this perfectly normal “I don’t know” state of ignorance in with a god of the gaps argument and then demand that those who still have not received additional knowledge from the theist to shift the ignorance level one iota are now burdened to demonstrate a logical impossibility.
See how the theist avoids following inference and resorts back to logical form?
The theist has offered nothing to provide a better inference but in fact will then consistently and reliably refuse any other inference no matter how robust the knowledge adduced from reality may be. And a perfect example for this theistic intransigence to follow their own rules they try to impose on atheists can be found in the refusal to accept evolution – an unguided, naturally occurring materialistic mechanism that changes life over time – as an explanatory model that works for everyone everywhere all the time versus the absolute firm belief where nary an interactive interventionist designer (Blessed be His name!) can be indicated. The inference is very clear here: there is no designer. But rather than follow the rules laid out to confuse and entrap atheists with religio-speak, the theist now starts adding a never-ending layer of unknowable premises for the non believer to climb. Today it’s the ‘outside of the design’ model that disallows any evidence to be necessary. And so when addressing the ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ supposed design (a distinction without any knowable difference… except to the theist who crosses this imaginary boundary with ease by simply believing there is a difference and then cannot produce ANY kind of evidence that links the marvels of the universe and everything it contains with this hypothetical ‘outside’ being!) But the theist isn’t concerned about any honest inferring whatsoever. Nor is the theist tasked with increasing the utter lack of knowledge adduced from the creator explanatory to link to this presumed ‘creation’. The theist simply wishes to blame the non believer for failing render it logically impossible… a task where we see people switch meanings of the terms being used in the premises to always thwart any honest refutation. One needs to look no further than what the term ‘god’ actually means, what it actually describes. The apologetcs on display here is turtles all the way down.
Tildeb, another long comment, adding statements about theists that are not true for all, making ridiculous comparisons, and STILL not really addressing the question. All you can do is make false accusations and denials. I have not once made a religious argument here, nor have I appealed to revealed theology. You are the one going on an on about religion here.
The first part your comment was relevant:
Fair enough. You can say ‘I don’t know.’ But then you have to say you have no position, nor can you prove the theist wrong. And in order to have a position, you need to understand that trying to deduce a creative agency will NEVER be found through classic scientific method. You cannot run experiments or make observations on something or someone that exists outside of nature. You must make inferences with the evidence we have to come to the best and most reasonable conclusion. Theists use philosophical argumentation. This was one example from the video.
And there are many other reasons we can point to.
But you have given me no reason not to believe in a creative agency. All you give me are condescending and sarcastic denials and “I don’t know.” And we’re not saying this proves God. We’re saying that believing in God is a reasonable conclusion, based on the evidence. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. But then stop prattling on, saying we have no evidence to back our reason to believe. It is simply not true.
Geez Louise, Mel. This so ridiculous it burns.
You say, “And in order to have a position, you need to understand that trying to deduce a creative agency will NEVER be found through classic scientific method. You cannot run experiments or make observations on something or someone that exists outside of nature”
Of course you cannot DEDUCE anything from outside of nature because YOU CANNOT KNOW OF ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF NATURE!!!!!!!
The best you can do is honestly admit “I don’t know” because you don’t know, Mel. YOU don’t know. You CANNOT know. NO ONE can know. Including me. The state of knowledge about anything ‘outside’ of nature is zero.
So the problem isn’t a logic problem;.it’s one that I keep coming back to in comment after comment: HOW can you have any knowledge about anything that supposedly ‘exists’ but is ‘outside’ of nature? How? You cannot deduce it because any premises you use about this ‘outside’ because any premises about it will be void of any knowledge value. In fact, combining the terms ‘outside of nature’ but still presuming something ‘exists’ is itself illogical terminology. These terms cancel each other out… leaving you with nothing.
That means we have turns to turn to nature, to adducing FROM nature. That’s it. The whole shebang. That’s all we have to work with. Nature. Reality. So I keep asking WHAT EVIDENCE FROM NATURE, FROM REALITY, are you using to inform ANY knowledge claim about a causal creator agency you declare is the case. And you keep returning to ‘logic’ without telling us HOW you inform the premises of this logic frame that constitute what you like to call ‘abduction’ for ‘outside’ of reality with anything of knowledge value here IN reality?!
You can’t. That’s why you won’t. But you utterly refuse to recognize this zero knowledge problem YOU have as being the case. Yet to me, it’s so painfully obvious because this is exactly why you require FAITH. You have no knowledge. You simply have FAITH. Trying to present it any other way is deceitful and dishonest. You believe because you believe. There’s no reason inherent in the position; there is reason why you do believe what you believe and it has nothing whatsoever to do about the truth value of what you believe. Trying to pretend otherwise reveals the dishonesty.
This circular reasoning you are exercising is absurd. And it’s a problem YOU have, that apologetics has, that has been pointed out a thousand times and more to absolutely no effect on those who keep on turning around in this circular argument to rationalize belief in the unbelievable. It’s PRATT, Mel.
Another very long reply that only shows you cannot grasp anything (or want to) outside of nature, which was my point when I started with this series on apologetics. You have a bias against the supernatural, or anything outside of nature, so you point to the wrong method of deducing such a conclusion. Again, you are like Hamlet saying there is no Shakespeare because you searched your castle and couldn’t find him. I find your lack of understanding of this obvious fact fascinating.
And I have already given some of the evidence in nature to infer a conclusion of a designer outside of nature. Again, this doesn’t prove God, in and of itself. But it gives us reasonable grounds to say there is one. And since you don’t have a better argument…well, I’m just repeating myself now.
Mel, you say that I “You have a bias against the supernatural, or anything outside of nature…”
No. I Do. Not.
I recognize the FACT that I can know nothing about it. You think you can. So, go ahead: demonstrate this knowledge please. Failing that, I have no reason to believe you.
As for your continued use of Hamlet and Shakespeare, I find it fascinating that you presume a character can be as alive as its author. In order for the analogy to work, you first have to presumes the conclusion, that the character has an author… if you wish to speak about this example logically, that is.
Apparently, you don’t get the point of the analogy. Yes, you obviously do have a bias, but since you won’t admit it, or stop talking, I will leave it at that. Believe whatever you want.
Sorry. I wrote “A logical argument simply indicates correct form has been followed but it does do what the theist here wants: yield substance.” Of course I mean “it does NOT do what the theist here wants here: yield substance.”:
What kind of evidence? The same KIND we rely upon in every other explanatory model we invest with confidence. The same KIND you fail to encounter that then allows you to dismiss every other supernatural claim of causation. The same KIND that grants us a means to link suggested cause with selected effects. Without this means to link between a designer and what appears to be complex life and processes, you’ve got exactly the same amount and KIND of evidence I have for believing in the existence of pixies in my garden: none. Furthermore, any selected effects have BETTER explanations for causes than inserting Oogity Boogity! as if this answers anything! The creationist model should possess very strong linking evidence. It possesses none.
Okay, right. Evidence is evidence. But it still doesn’t address the question. Let me put it another way. How would we logically deduce a conclusion when we’re talking about the possibility of a creative agency that exists outside of its creation?
And you can believe in things like pixies in your garden is not what the question is about.
Why don’t you ever address the content of my comments, Mel?
I don’t care to answer your sarcastic remarks, but I did answer your relevant comments in the previous response.
I think it only fair we put all your cards on the table here, Mel, as you are arguing for Christianity.
To this end: The designer you refer to is the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth.
Whenever a Christian refers to their god or this universal creator it is ALWAYS Jesus of Nazareth.
Therefore, before considering anything else, this is the evidence I require:
First: Demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the Pentateuch character,Yahweh is a real entity and not simply a man-made, bronze-age deity, thus refuting secular biblical scholarship.
Second: Fully explain the necessity why this apparent omniscient deity felt obliged to manifest in human form.
Third: Demonstrate that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth unequivocally states he is this creator Yahweh.
Not so fast, Ark. We’re not there yet. As I told Tildeb, you first need tell me what KIND of compelling evidence we should use to prove a designer who, by definition, exists outside of its design (outside of space-time universe)?
The point of the video (and this post) is that if atheists want to refute theism they either have to show that God is logically impossible or offer a better inference than that of a personal designer. If you say you don’t know, then you have no position from which to argue from and this conversation is pointless.
Will be away from my computer for awhile, so you have some time to think about it.
Whoa …. hold on. You see, you are bypassing deism and this is nether fair nor honest, for you are championing YOUR god, the biblical character/s Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth.
Thus, as I am sure there was plenty of speculation about other gods and other creators before the Canaanites came along, and much later before the bible arrived on the scene, and even later before the church got to arguing for the Trinity, it is perfectly reasonable for me to ask you to demonstrate the veracity of your claim that the character Jesus of Nazareth is the creator god Yahweh, along with the other pieces of evidence I asked for.
Then, once these other things have been established. we can fully turn our attention to this ”Personal god”, you claim.
Let me know when you can stay on the subject and answer my question.
You assert theism yet refuse to address the object of theism, Jesus of Nazareth.
John called you out, Tildeb called you out and Keith called you out.
Do you wonder why the atheists that engage you consider you are disingenuous?
Jesus Christ is not the only object of theism, and you know that, Ark. YOU are the one who is disingenuous here, or you’re just too stubborn to listen. You avoid what my post is actually about and then try to force your agenda,
Do you ever wonder why you get moderated and banned on sites?
I said I would eventually get to why I believe in Christianity. But it won’t be on this post. But you still can’t provide a better argumentation for why we should not believe in a creator, so why should I answer your question? You have no position to argue from.
The biblical character Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth is THE object of your theism.
But you are starting your ”quest” Arse -Backwards, and this is dishonest .
I am all for you believing in a creator if you want to. Nothing against deism, and never have had.
Yes, I disagree with it, but cannot disprove it.
As it has no other agenda it has no effect on me or anyone else.
However …. you call this creator Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth and try to teach it as fact.
This is something for which you have no damn evidence whatsoever to support such a claim.
And for this I have a problem with and you have a huge problem, as you are guilty of serious dishonesty; something you and all theists who demand there this a personal god suffer from.
And this is why you are regarded as disingenuous.
Come over to my spot and watch the video I posted by Dan Dennett. He explains your position a lot more eloquently.
If you believe we have reason for believing in a creator then fine. But then atheists should stop saying we have no evidence to make a reasonable conclusion that there is a creator.
And I doubt if Dan Dennett explains my position, probably in your mind he does. I will watch it when I get time, maybe in a couple of days. I’m very busy right now.
I do not believe you have ”reason”, but if you want to believe in deism then good for you.
Stop wheedling again, as this is why you have a filthy habit of coming across as disingenuous.
Have some common decency for gods’ sake!
And several of my comments are still in moderation, by the way. If you could release them I would be obliged.
(Sigh)…whatever. Believe whatever motives you want.
I believe I’ve released your comments already.
Excellent! Appreciate it.
Ark, I suspect Mel thinks he’s conducting some version of Socratic dialogue. You’re asking him to walk and chew gum at the same time, and that interferes with where he wants to take you.
No, John, I want you to stay on the subject, which you seem incapable of doing.
I’ll add this.The video also mentions deism and as this proposition has no strings attached there is no need to be concerned one way or another.
If you wish to state you believe in deism, good for you.
But the second you insist on a personal god, and in your case it is the character Jesus of Nazareth then you damn well need to have the integrity to step up to the plate and put up or push off.
Your rather slimy and somewhat wheedling approach has all the hallmarks of entrapment and you deserve every bit of scorn and derision heaped upon you.
Behaving in this fashion is unbecoming of a supposed religious minister. It is not smart and not clever. It is simply dishonest.
So be a deist then, Ark, since you have no position to argue against it.
Again, if you wish to ignore the point I was making for theism, then fine, but your judgmental moralizing is a bit hollow. I have done nothing dishonest here. I was CLEAR about the intent of this post, and I quote from the post:
So, my question is, why do you feel entrapped? Don’t you know why you believe what you believe? Just answer the questions and let the chips fall where they may. The point is, if I’m going to make an argument for my position, it MUST start with the possibility of a creator, otherwise the rest is pointless. I am also trying to weed out all the confusing rhetoric and mixed bag of accusations you atheists like to make. I must unravel your conflated argument one point at a time.
So, again, I don’t need your moralizing judgments, I will “put up” on my belief in Christianity at the appropriate time.
You really are a dishonest disingenuous individual, aren’t you?
I have no belief in deism but am not mythered if anyone wants to believe in a non-involved creator deity as there is no agenda.
Where can one possible go with such a belief?
You cannot invoke the Bible, Qur’an or Torah or any other religious text as they are all nonsense and do not serve your cause.
I don’t. But your pithy arguments, like those in the video, are designed to create an ”Aha, gotcha!” situation.
Okay, you have a deal. On the condition you do the same with an in-depth questionnaire regarding the bible and the tenets of your faith.
If you are up to this then we are A for away.
Mean time you can ponder on the evidence for the virgin birth of your supposed Savior.
Then stick with deism and we have no quarrel.
There is no conflated argument from our perspective.
Your god, Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct for whom there is absolutely no verifiable evidence whatsoever.
From this point, without faith, you are screwed. Period.
Not only am I not being dishonest here, I’m allowing your inappropriate sermonizing on what you think you know about the Bible, even though I have not brought up the Bible here.
You conflate evidence for a creator with particular beliefs in religion, so they must be unraveled first. You say you don’t believe in a designer yet you have NO argument that is better than what theists have concluded. So, I can only infer that you simply don’t want to believe in a designer. And that you have no position in which to prove theists are wrong. Not caring is not an argument.
And since God cannot be empirically proven by scientific method of observation and testing, faith is all anyone has, Ark.
So, there is no such thing as not having faith when it comes to believing or not believing something outside of nature. You believe there is no God; we believe there is. But it’s not blind faith as I have already shown.
Ask away ….
Oh, and If I post my questions on my blog you have to give your word you will come across and answer them.
Fair’s fair, after all. So, yes, you will probably get roasted by many of my readers, but you can always ask Wally etc to come help you out.
Your first question is …..
Ark, you’re the one who came on my blog and started your vitriolic attack. I am simply posting a systematic explanation of what I believe. I don’t have time to go down every rabbit trail atheists want to take me on. I don’t believe atheism is a rational position to take which I have shown here, because the only argument you could make against this is to allow for deism.
So there we are. Take it or leave it. You will believe whatever you want to believe regardless of what I say anyway. If you don’t want to go the route I’m taking, you’re free not to comment or visit my blog.
Well you posted this series to attract attention did you not?
And that likely included atheists.
If you aren’t happy, simply delete every comment and close off all dialogue.
It’s that simple, and no one, certainly not me, would say you did not have the right to do this.
And you can certainly do this for the next post. Easy as Pie.,
However, judging by some of your more petulant sounding replies I think you do want to point-score and defend your own fragile belief and thus, your ego won’t let you go about it any other way … until you feel peeved then you hold back comments and offer some pithy excuse.
I mean,let’s be honest, Mel, you sound as if you just want to practice your Apologist Tactics in an open forum and are probably a litle pissed off you saw your backside.
William Lane Craig probably went through this as well. He still does as far as most normal people are concerned.
And it isn’t as if you are posting anything we haven’t all heard oodles of times already, now is it?
Maybe if you offered something worthwhile, a bit of original thought perhaps? A little more honesty, maybe?Some out of the box thinking, or how about a few more dynamic ideas?
Because so far you haven’t actually said anything, now have you?
I have not deleted one comment yet. I just don’t post every repetitive, irrelevant, and disrespectful thing you want to say. That’s the right of a moderator, Ark. The world doesn’t revolve around your ego.
Whatever… rather ironic, since you have posited no valid position for why you deny a designer other than you don’t want to believe in one. Me thinks you protests too much, Ark.
Haha…look in the mirror when you say that.
Actually I don’t have to. One cannot gainsay someone who wants to claim a designer, but this does not meant they can present any evidence to back this claim.
Just because you may think it looks designed does not mean it necessarily is.
And the designer factor is only crucial to the theist who claims to believe in a revealed design via … in your case … the biblical character, Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth.
And for this has been constructed an entire religion and a huge amount of doctrine simply to demonstrate how much of a sinner you are.
Why bother? Seriously, what on earth is the point of your religion?
Okay, provide a better explanation than design.
Sheesh, are you dense?
I. Don’t. Have. To.
It is not important or necessary to me and has absolutely no bearing on my life …. until ….. (drum roll) someone like you , who thinks they are a Giant Sinner, who needs Saving says ,
”Ooh, look, I think this looks like it is designed and I know the designer is my god, Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth, because it says so in the bible.”
Suddenly you have it all to do. And the problem is, you have nothing whatsoever to back up such an outrageous claim. And you know it, don’t you, Mel?
Unless, of course you are prepared to lie.
Well, are you?
More childish rant instead of actually dealing with the subject, I see.
Uh, yes you do have to if you’re going to go around trying to talk people out of what they believe! We’re just supposed to go, “Oh, if you say so.”
Oh,you can believe what ever you like. Seriously, I really don’t care.
However …. if you declare it is fact and truth and wish to indoctrinate it into children (especially) then you have to be prepared to offer verifiable evidence for your claims, and especially the claims referring to damnation.
Otherwise it is a case of put up or push off!
So, what evidence have you got?
Mel, you say, “Okay, provide a better explanation than design.”
I have. On several occasions. In detail.
You are being deceitful claiming to want to be introduced to one. You have been and don’t care. You say something along the lines of, “Oh, well, that’s not the real topic here. The <i.real topic is to produce a logical argument versus my claim of “Oogity Boogity!dun didit” or “That’s not a point raised in the video. Argue with that!”
You’re not in the least bit interested in a better explanation. Obviously and demonstrably. You just don’t care to hear any other explanation that is full of compelling evidence adduced from this reality because it’s not from there – from that supernatural reality you pretend to know something about, or because it might be too long a comment, too detailed a response, too uncomfortable for you to accept any fair and honest comparison to determine what ‘better’ looks like.
All you’re really looking for is any crack anywhere into which you can insert a god of the gaps argument followed by the demand for everyone else who takes issue with this logical fallacy you keep committing to prove the negative.
Oh, so no questions, then? Not even one ?
I thought you said I had to … >em> answer the questions and let the chips fall where they may.
Sheesh, are you dense? The question this post asks is, it is reasonable to believe in a designer? In other words, do theists have a valid argument for design? I have proven that they do. And you have given me no argument that refutes this claim. You conceded that it’s possible even though you don’t agree with it (and have given no valid reason for this position).
And, please, stop with all the comments. I don’t care to spend my whole day answering everything you want to bring up when I have other things I’m working on. Just let it go.
You have proved nothing. Proofs are usually reserved for maths I beleive.
Wrong. Proofs are simply conclusions made on the best inference of the evidence until someone shows that they are wrong with a better explanation. Even in math, Einstein proved that some of Newton’s math did not provide explanatory scope.
So, if you say we are wrong then provide a better explanation that provides explanatory scope. Otherwise, stop with your meaningless accusations. They don’t work here. If you have no position (“I don’t know”), then you cannot prove we are wrong.
I don’t have to. You are making the assertion but at the same time not providing a single scrap of tangible evidence, merely your own highly emotive conjecture.
Again if you wish to claim a designer, who cares? Not me. It carries no baggage and no doctrine.
I, Mel Wild , beleive the universe was designed.”
Well, that’s great, Mel … have a nice day. Or at least, have a day.
However, if you wish to claim theism and a revealed designer then you are in big doo-doo, as all you have is unsubstantiated wafffle based upon the character Yahweh … and we all know you are too scared to touch that with a ten foot barge pole, don’t we, Mel?
Because at this juncture you would have to lie.
And that is a sin … right?
Oooh…. is that ‘Gotcha! ‘ I wonder?
I believe it just might be, you know?
Emotive conjecture? You mean like your sarcastic rants? You are in fantasy land, Ark. This was the whole point of this post! The video already alluded to some of the evidence from which we infer a designer.
Believe your own press if you want. I don’t buy it.
There are only a few cosmologist that I am aware of that lend any credence to Fine Tuning and they are theists.
Caroll has refuted all arguments so far.
That’s debatable whether Carroll is actually refuting theist’s claims. He puts forth theories that are full of holes themselves.
As I said, we will believe what we want to believe when it comes to things existing outside of nature, regardless of the evidence. That’s the only fact here. It’s a faith issue for both sides.
How on earth can Caroll’s theories be more full of holes than the nonsensical hol(e)y theories of theists in the first place?
Yahweh flooded the earth! Lol! Yeah right.
No, you are wrong, yet again. Here’s why …
For you, faith is crucial, as you have no hard evidence.
For me, faith as you understand it, is utterly meaningless.
And, furthermore, I do not care as it has no bearing on my life.whatsoever .
Remember, you are the one in danger of gong to Hell for eternity, and you are the one who has sleepless nights because of some massive guilt trip. Not me, chief!
You are the sinner, remember? You believe in a human blood sacrifice.
You believe in the Trinity and you beleive this is the very same god that created the universe.
And you are entitled to this belief.
But don’t expect you will have free reign to preach it without being challenged
I look forward with eager anticipation to your next post about Jesus of Nazareth.
Will you be able to write something without lying.
Hmmm, I wonder?
You have made several points about me that are based on your preconceived ideas of what I believe. Again, you simply cannot stay on topic.
And faith doesn’t depend on it being “crucial.” Faith is simply believing in a thing or concept that cannot be observed or has not been realized. You have no hard evidence to say the universe created itself from nothing, so you have faith in people like Collins, even though anything he would propose is an inference just like ours.
No, you are the one who can’t be honest.
You are a Christian. What preconceived ideas could I have possibly got wrong? Please enlighten me about each one.
I have addressed the content and merely extrapolated to include
the god you seem so keen to avoid involving. And I have stated – repeatedly – that as deosm is an uninvolved beleif with no baggage I have no real concerns about it as it has no effect on my life, or likely, anyone else’s.
Yup, for the Christian it is vital as every single tenet of your religion is untenable, and especially something like the virgin birth, which is simply a piece of fraudulent nonsense, and you know it.
I am not claiming I know anything about the universe, other than acknowledging what experts in the field all say.
So as far as I am aware all we have on this score is the Big Bang.
Are you talking about Francis Collins and the Human Gene Project? He’s a Christian isn’t he?
I mean, the points you made do not describe all Christian beliefs, including mine. For instance, I don’t believe in pagan human sacrifice, and there are at least four viable theories on what hell actually is. But to explain what I do believe will have to wait for another time. I don’t have the time to go into this right now. This is why I’m breaking the subject up into several posts.
1. So you don’t believe the Crucifixion of the biblical Character Jesus of Nazareth was necessary for your sins?
2. I am aware of the Hell variations, each one a church construct. So will the one you adhere to make you less of a True Christian?
1. I believe the crucifixion is necessary but not because Jesus had to be punished for us. There are several theories of atonement that are embraced by the church that are not based in pagan appeasement.
2. No. Variations about hell have been around among orthodox Christians from the beginning, including respected scholars today. The Eastern Orthodox church never abided by the Medieval Dante’s inferno version. What we think about hell is not a central tenet of the faith.
1. And here we go again. So why do you believe a blood sacrifice/ the Crucifixion is necessary?
Lol…. Ask someone like Wally!
No belief, then you are off to hell for eternity and I can link you to a dozen people, believers and deconverts that were thoroughly indoctrinated with this.
So it is most certainly a central tenet of the christian faith.
I think Wally would agree that disagreement on hell and the atonement are not central tenets of the faith.
I’m sorry if people were poisoned by bad theology (or bad behavior). But that doesn’t change anything. This is why I actually agree with you on indoctrination. Christians should know how to think through these things, and understand the other positions, not just accept what their pastor says. I am not a Fundamentalist.
Wanna bet? He believes Hell and the Dante inferno type is where it’s at for non-believers and is definitely one of the central tenets of your faith.
Can you give me an example of good chriatian theology?
I didn’t say anything about what Wally believes. The point is doctrinal agreement in order to be considered a Christian. You would have to ask Wally if we have to all have the same understanding of hell to be considered Christians. I doubt he will say, yes.
Again, to answer your question about “good theology” would take time I don’t have. I’ve already stated that following Jesus is good theology. But you’re going to have to wait on further explanation.
Fair enough. So therefore Christadelphians, who also follow Jesus are also Christians following good theology.
I’m not thoroughly familiar with Christadelphians so I can’t make an informed comment. I do know they don’t believe Jesus is divine. While I would consider their doctrine heterodoxical, if they have faith in Christ, they are believers. I’ll have to leave the rest up to God to judge.
What exactly do you mean by ”faith in christ?”
And I see Wally ‘hedged his bets a bit about hell!
He believes I am going to burn for eternity!
Ark, all Christians believe that you will end up in “hell” for not believing. It’s just depends on how “hell” is interpreted. Besides infernalism, there is annihilation Christian universalism (or purgatory). The Eastern Orthodox believe it’s figurative language, you will “burn” with hatred for God, as C.S. Lewis stated, the gates of hell are locked from the inside. All of these positions have been maintained by orthodox believers in Christian history, including by those who wrote the creeds.
And could you now answer the other part of
the question: What exactly do you mean by ”faith in christ?”
When you ascribe words to me I never said, we call that a lie.
I did not hedge my bets. I absolutely believe in a literal place of torment called Hell. All I did is acknowledge somebody can believe not the same as me and still be Christian.
hedge one’s bets
phrase of hedge
avoid committing oneself when faced with a difficult choice.
I do not lie.
And I know you beleive in a literal place of torment .
That’s because you do not understand your own doctrine or it’s origins and beleive what you have been indoctrinated to accept.
Motivated largely by guilt I suspect.
Yes, I said that. That’s not hedging. I believe what I believe, others believe different. The issue is not salvific in nature, and there was no choice needed.
Yes, you are a chronic, habitual liar.
As always, thanks for enlightening me on what I think and mean LOL.
I suggest you answer that other fellows question instead of using me as your foil to avoid answering. Again, you are a colossal waste of time with only 5 comments which you regurgitate and spew out repeatedly
Well,if you sat so. I can’t argue with a liar, now can I?
For the record , I think you are a wee wee face and big fat poo poo head .
What questions have I not answered Oh Great Wallyed One?
And once more, proving how much of a waste of time I am you STILL find the time to pop over here, read the comments, and enter into dialogue.
And I still get to listen to Al di Meola while I write to you?
Have a day.
Blessings to you for your patience in dealing with these guys. I pop over now that then to see how this is going, but have no plans to engaged is all this, as the last several years have proven it to be a waste of time. I see I still have a rent free room in poor Ark’s head, and that he continues to find anyway do cause strife and dissension on the Body.
Obviously, you probably know I AM a fundamentalist. I don’t suffer the least bit of embarrassment or discomfort in claiming that label. Since we have never talked about it. I can’t say if we agree or don’t agree on all of the details about Hell. If I was to guess, I bet mine is some different than yours. Having said that, it is simple fact that we can have pretty wide views on the particulars of specifically what eternity means for the non believer, and nobody needs to start waving the heretic flag around.
Indoctrination. I fear the non believers use that term to mean any slight hint being taught that the Christian world view is correct to the exclusion of others. That is not indoctrination; that is simply teaching. We all do that don’t we? We all share our world view with those in our charge, whatever that world view happens to be. Don’t the non believers teach those they influence that God belief is wrong? Of course they do. I bet they even say it multiple times over the course of some years. I bet they even say OTHER world views are wrong. I am pretty positive they don’t give the theist and/or Christian worldviews equal consideration in their sharing, either. I think they would like to pretend that their teachings to folks in their circle of influence is content free in regards to religion, but that’s an absurd proposition.
Drive on here, brother. That’s right, Ark….Mel is in fact my brother.
Thanks Wally. While I’m not a Fundamentalist, I totally agree with what you said here. and feel at right at home with you being my brother in Christ. Jesus Himself said we will be known by our love for one another, not our lockstep doctrinal agreement (John 13:35). And we do agree on the important stuff.
I also agree with what you said about atheists teaching people on their worldview as if it’s only legitimate one to have. Blessings back at you!
It’s interesting that none of the athiests seem to be able to answer one simple question with one simple answer. You’ve asked the same question several times, “What kind of compelling evidence would they accept?” It’s as if they think they are trying to show us all how intelligent they are by repeating over and over again some big words and phrases that they have memorized! But they can’t even answer one simple question with one simple answer. In fact, simple answers seem to be beyond them. And I find them anything but convincing when they avoid answering your direct questions and keep trying to take you off on rabbit trails of more high sounding phrases that they have memorized to impress all of us poor theists. They haven’t written one thing that would in any way sway an intelligent thinker. And when they try to belittle you to make themselves look more intelligent because they know they are losing the argument, they only make themselves look ridiculous and irrelevant. I can appreciate a debate where both sides can discuss the topic with respect and open-mindedness, but it seems you are dealing with a lot of anger and childish resentment instead. Still you handle it well. You have made your points convincingly, simply and succinctly! Good job, Mel!
I think I’m wasting my time beyond this point on this subject. As you said, all I’m getting is condescending rants.
I’ve already answered this question about KIND.
Just because you don’t like the answer doesn’t mean it hasn’t been answered.
No, you haven’t, Tildeb. You just gave me long-winded explanations of how you think the evidence should be deduced. And since you seem to be incapable of going beyond the possibility of something existing outside of nature, you only accept a narrow-minded, naturalist method. I’m sorry but that will never answer the question. You will never even answer the question of why science.
Okay, to be fair, you did answer what kind of evidence. But I have provided the only evidence you can use to conclude something outside of nature. That is what you are unwilling to accept because of your naturalist bias.
That’s what you’d like to believe because it makes you feel superior somehow. The truth is we will always have the higher ground in this argument because no one can disprove something just because they have no experience of it. You think you can tell all of us that something doesn’t exist because you have never experienced it and we laugh because we know that we have. Your arguments only cause us to believe more because we know the greatness of what we believe in and everything you say just proves how awesome and great what we believe in really is and how foolish it is to rage against something you have no understanding of. If you try to tell me that there is no Grand Canyon because you have never been there and have never seen it, I will simply laugh and feel a little sad for you because I know that it does exist and I can never be convinced that it doesn’t. You may say, “Well it can be proved that the Grand Canyon is really there! You can go there and see it, there are pictures, there is evidence!” And yet, when I go to the doctor and tell them that something is wrong because there is great pain somewhere in my body, they have to take my word for the pain because I am the only one experiencing it and there is no test for it except in how my body might react to it. And yet they cannot deny that it is very real, without any evidence but my own experience of it. And because of my experience of pain, they may eventually find some truth of it in my body when they look for it, though they never find the actual pain. Doctors believe in pain because so many people have the experience of it, even if they never felt it for themselves. And you cannot deny that over the centuries there has been more than enough people testifying to experiencing God that it is clear to anyone but those who just don’t want to see the truth, who have their own reasons for not wanting to believe in a deity. Not believing in something can never prove it isn’t real. And why would anyone spend their life trying to prove that something isn’t real? I don’t care who believes in pixies or unicorns or anything else I don’t believe in. I would have much more reason for trying to convince people of something I do believe in, like good nutrition or volunteerism, because I believe it will benefit them. It’s sad that all you want to do is make people feel stupid and foolish. Great way to spend your life.
The late great physicist Richard Feynman said something at a CalTech commencement speech that I think is absolutely central to your claims about knowing and understanding through personal revelation an object you call ‘God’. He said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself –
and you are the easiest person to fool.”
I take this advice to heart because I respect what is true. And to get there, I have great concerns about what is knowable, which underlies the truth value of claims like the kind our host makes. So my first question(s) when reading about god claims – especially when presented as if they had scientific merit like Mel’s latest series of posts – is to ask myself, “are these claims true and how can we know?” Surely one must have knowledge about something before one can legitimately claim to own any related understanding. And the key point is not about the object of what one believes but about the process of gaining knowledge that produces understanding. And as Feynman reminds us, we are the easiest people in the world to fool… especially me.
Note the emphasis of my question, maurwild: HOW can we know if some claim is indeed true, does indeed have much merit to support it? Not what. HOW. This is why I place such emphasis in my lengthy comments of explanation so that readers can see HOW I arrive at favouring this likelihood over that one, why this claim produces knowledge but that one does not, that this understanding is stronger in knowledge merit and more likely to be the case accurately describing reality than that understanding, and so on. I don’t want to fool myself and I don’t think anyone else wants to, either. And I think none of us wants to be so credulous as to be gullible. To be fools.
The way to ensure this is to use the best means possible to examine a claim. This is a HOW question and not a WHAT question. If you get the HOW part right, the WHAT doesn’t just naturally follow but is also productive in yielding applicable knowledge that demonstrates understanding that fits reality. In other words, it works reliably and consistently for everyone everywhere all the time. That’s a very powerful and robust condition for a knowledge claim.
How we examine claims is called ‘epistemology’. This approach produces knowledge claims, which we call ‘ontology’. Epistemology determines ontology. How we think produces what we think. Change the HOW, change the WHAT. So my criticisms about Mel’s knowledge claims is that he doesn’t use a sound epistemology – in fact, he can’t even describe it! And because of this state of poor thinking, his ontology is very weak. In fact, it is foolish. It is more than credulous; it is exactly how one becomes gullible. And what is demonstrable when this happens is that any concern of what is actually true becomes irrelevant, becomes beside the point, becomes something of no concern. And this shows that the appeal to having knowledge and understanding while similarly rejecting the essential shared ground of respecting what is the case, what is true, what is knowable, is hollow. In fact, beliefs contrary to reality based on feelings and unearned confidence are the constituent parts necessary to be gullible, to be foolish… no matter what the object of that belief may be.
i actually did answer this and if you read up you will notice that Mel hand-waved it away as not being on topic.
But I will provide you with the same criteria as I asked of Mel. Perhaps you can provide the evidence ?
Here you go ….
First: Demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the Pentateuch character,Yahweh is a real entity and not simply a man-made, bronze-age deity, thus refuting secular biblical scholarship.
Second: Fully explain the necessity why this apparent omniscient deity felt obliged to manifest in human form.
Third: Demonstrate that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth unequivocally states he is this creator Yahweh.
There we are, maurwild the floor is all yours …. when Mel releases the comment, of course.
This is really directed at me (maurwild can comment too). Ark, AGAIN, these are all questions that are NOT the subject here. Why don’t you get this?
So, here is what I will do. I will write these questions down and deal with them separately. Fair enough? But you’re going to have to wait until I can get to them.
But they are relevant because this is the god you are touting … you are a THEIST.
If you want to tout simply for a non involved creator… then believe what you like, because it has no bearing on anyone’s life.
They are only relevant when we get to that point in the conversation. So far, yes, I have shown why I’m a theist.
They ground your entire worldview for god’s sake! Therefore they are the foundation of any conversation involving theists/Christians.
Yes. and you will see the fuller picture of my worldview as I describe it in subsequent posts on this subject (apologetics won’t be all I blog on since this really not what my blog is about).
“for god’s sake!” Which god are you referring to?
Pick a god… any god!
Unlike Mel, I do not have the patience to spend innumerable hours going over the minutia of why I believe what I believe with you, but I notice that you didn’t even respond to my post about the burden of proof belonging to you because you are the one so intent on convincing others not to believe. We don’t care if you don’t believe, but why you think it is so important for you to get on here and bloviate in order to convince believers that they are somehow wrong and foolish is a mystery to me. I share my faith with true searchers, not someone who just wants to argue and prove they are somehow smarter than all the rest of us. BTW, you are far from accomplishing that.
I have addressed this in your other comment.
Do you consider you are ”smarter” than Muslims with regard religious belief?
Ha, I notice, as with Mel, that you never really address the “meat” of the comment, the real point. You simply skirt around it and try to start an argument. That certainly is very telling. I never said I was smarter than anyone. If you really read my comment you would see that I was saying I am not trying to prove I am smarter than anyone else. I simply believe and base my life on my beliefs. I give everyone the right to do that, Muslims, Buddhists, even you, but I don’t attack their beliefs or try to make them look foolish. I will, however, be glad to share my beliefs, as I said, with true searchers.
Well then, if this is the case them you and I have no quarrel at all. And all I will say is go in peace.
But just to confirm, you do not preach this stuff to children who are obviously too young to be seekers, yes?
I absolutely do because children are the greatest seekers of all, hungry for truth. I know that I was when I was a child. And if I don’t tell them what I believe, and all they hear is everything else, how can they possibly make a truly informed decision. They don’t live in a vacuum. They live in a world where they have to choose what to believe and what not to believe, just as I and everyone else in the world did.
Good for you. I do the same and not ashamed about it
Aaah, I had a suspicion this was what you were alluding to.
So in actual fact you do not only preach to ”seekers” but indoctrinate kids.
This is little different from child abuse. Ask any deconvert from fundamentalism.
Ark, your claim that teaching children about God is totally baseless. Of course, we can find examples of abusive religious practices that have turned people away from theism, but that is a dysfunctional church, theology, relationships. I can point to hundreds of examples where children grew up in a Christian home, even home-schooled, and excelled in excellence in society without having to jettison their belief in God. Your argument has no bearing on believing in God, only bad religion or people. You can’t make a claim by pointing to the worst forms of religion.
Ironically, the evidence is that children intuitively believe in God and to teach them the atheistic version of “POOFism” would be totally counter-intuitive. You have to teach children there is no God, not the other way around.
Dr. Justin Barrett, senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, said that belief in God seems to be evident in children. “In his book, “Born Believers,” he argues that science supports the idea that we are born to know God exist and that is a self-evident belief. While this point can be argued, what cannot be argued is that for most people in the world a belief in God seems to be self-evident, not an extraordinary claim.” (from second video, starting at 4:24)
Here’s what Barrett said in an article in The Telegraph in 2008:
So, I could argue that to “indoctrinate” children in atheism and remove any teaching on theism (or intelligent design) is unnatural and detrimental to their learning.
“Ironically, the evidence is that children intuitively believe in God…”
This is factually incorrect. Don’t make me call NeuroNotes to overwhelm you with contrary facts, lists of studies, decades of research, psychological periodicals, academic journals, scholarly articles, child development textbooks, yada, yada, yada to yet again ever-so-popular lie to address this apologetic nonsense you’re spewing. Suffice to say, your claim here is absolutely wrong. Inexcusably wrong. Deleteriously wrong. Perniciously wrong. It’s not true and we know it’s not true. You just prefer to believe it is and think this is justification enough to repeat it in spite of what’s true.
No surprise here.
“…and to teach them the atheistic version of “POOFism” would be totally counter-intuitive. You have to teach children there is no God, not the other way around.”
So do this little experiment, Mel: show me one child in the past, say, 1000 years, who has come up with the Christian god independent of any other religious teachings and I’ll show you the real live bodies of aliens creature from the moon I personally captured in downtown Detroit with a whistle and a fridge magnet..
Oh Mel. It burns, the idiocy.
This is yet another trope that insists that you can teach non belief in some god to children.
Good grief. Where does the mind go to utter such claims? Mine boggles.
Non belief is the default, Mel. No indoctrination necessary. This should be obvious. Yet not to religious apologists. You can demonstrate why this claim is absurd to yourself: nobody has had to to teach you not to believe in, say, Mictlancihuatl. You wouldn’t, Mel, because the doctrine is no more absurd than Christianity and you have absolutely no reason at all to suddenly believe in it. Why would you? Anyone who takes your track here and tries to claim you would ‘naturally’ believe in Mictlancihuatl – or Jesus – is claiming something truly and remarkably absurd. It’s a ridiculous claim.
Yes, we can all drag out our credible sources to prove our point. But, in the end, we will find that damage done to children is a human problem, not a theistic problem. Dysfunctional people will use religion to their dysfunctional end. David Wood was an example of an sociopathic atheist. Healthy people, atheist or theist, will raise healthy people. This is a psychological problem, not a religious problem. This why Hitchen’s argument that religion poisons everything is biased nonsense.
Again, it’s a bit hypocritical of you all to dismiss anything that disagrees with your presuppositions and only accept atheist sources. It makes trying to reason with you pointless.
And this is your professional opinion? In spite of the research by people like Dr. Barrett?
Yes. My professional opinion as well as my personal. The evidence is incontrovertible. To say otherwise is completely about a religious agenda by use of nebulous language to turn the factual default into a metaphysical contortion to suit the agenda. And you’ve bought into it not because of any knowledge-based merit but because you demand your religious beliefs to be the guideline. This is why you have selected a professional to support your religious beliefs rather than allow the facts to guide your beliefs. And this is why you so stupidly refer to those who formulate their beliefs according to reality’s dictates and not your religious ones to be ‘atheistic’. It’s a religious framing that leads you from simply being credulous to being not just gullible but an active promoter of lies and deceit. Non belief is the default setting for children regarding gods or a god. That’s why you feel compelled to indoctrinate them… because they’re not going to arrive at the same set of religious beliefs you hold on their own, are they? They have to be manipulated by authority figures when you or for reasons other than respecting what’s probably true when they’re older. This should be self-evident, Mel… unless you don’t wish to believe it and will cherry pick whatever ‘expertise’ best fits only with your beliefs. This is exactly what religious apologists do and you’re no different. You don’t have any desire to find out what might be the case or you would not frame and prejudice your inquiries this way.
You’re mistaken here, Mel. Humans are hardwired to finding agency in nature. Not the “gods.”
Barrett’s work has been widely debunked. He’s a Creationist researcher at Fuller Theological Seminary, and is led by his biases. This is from the wiki page:
Now, this is from a researcher (Corriveau) debunking his work.
The actual leaders in this field are Banerjee and Bloom, who in 2013 said:
Let’s repeat that: “they adopt the particular creationist account that their culture supplies.”
That’s pretty clear. Culture.
So, what we are predisposed to is finding agency in nature, and this is a wonderful evolutionary trick which served us enormously well not the long ago when even the strongest of us were considered snack items.
A breeze bending blades of grass could easily be attributed, albeit incorrectly, to a stalking lioness and all the dangers that it implied. The causal associations between the unpredictable movement of grasses and the presence of danger was a good thing, a skill, and like all skills the better practiced and more highly trained the trick the better it is for the individual and, more importantly, the group at large.
We, as a species, erred on the side of caution. Our evolutionary path rewarded the lesser of two evils whereby the cost of paranoia was deemed lower than the cost of scepticism which, if wrong, extracts a painfully high price; namely death. The sceptical hominid might see the bending grass but take a moment to then survey surrounding trees and see if they too were bending. If they were then the probability of wind causing the movement of the grass increased but did not necessarily rule out the presence of a hungry lioness. Wrongly attributing the bending grass to an approaching lioness ninety-nine times out of a hundred was, it appears, less costly than being wrong once. The paranoid lived on, whereas the brazen sceptic tired of jumping at the slightest rustle met a less than pleasant demise.
In a sentence, nature beatified the neurotic. Finding agency in nature was a survival mechanism, and a very, very good one. A tendency to make quick albeit mostly false associations was deemed more evolutionarily beneficial than more reliable but equally more time-consuming rational cynicism. There was a price to pay for this paranoia, anxiety, but the price was evidently considered tolerable in the face of the more costly alternatives. We are, as such, biologically attuned to this neurosis. It is, at a genetic level, our default setting; a physiological reality etched deep inside the genome of every highly strung naked ape.
Agency, Mel, not the gods.
Well, you should be ashamed. Thoroughly ashamed by your own guilt-ridden willful ignorance. And let’s be clear, you are not satisfied with this, you also want to corrupt and warp the minds of children who have little or no defense against the utter garbage of Young Earth Creationism,
A 6000 year old earth and dinosaurs existing with humans? Seriously?
And worse, you want to terrorize them with the notion of eternal torture and damnation in Hell, a wholly invented church construct.
Do you have any idea the psychological trauma that this vile doctrine alone does to many vulnerable children?
Have you seen The Cage video, Wally?
And you cannot see the harm in what you are doing?
I sincerely hope that Mel has the integrity to call you out over this issue.
Him and I disagree on a whole heap of things but I’ll bet dollars to donuts he wouldn’t want his young kids left in your care if for one second he thought you were going to lay this nonsense on them.
You want what’s best for children? I call foul on this Mr Fry.
Be ashamed, Wally, because one day some grown-up kid who you taught is going to point a finger at you for what you are doing now.
Ark, one does not have to make a choice between young earth or old earth creationism in order to be a Christian. Most Christians are aware of both interpretations, and the Bible arguably supports both. But if I had to make a choice between giving my kids to Wally to raise in his Christian beliefs, or give them to you to teach your atheism, telling them that the universe has no creative agency, no God, I would choose Wally hands down. To me, making children go against what is self-evident to them, that there is a designer, would cause serious damage and confusion. That is one form of child abuse I would not tolerate. Besides, I’m sure Wally’s a good parent. 🙂
Wrong. This is a fallacy touted by Christians all the time and you are either ignorant of the facts or do not want to face the truth.
Children assign AGENCY.
Learn the damn difference!
And if John Z sees your comment he will take you to the cleaners over it.
Barrett is a bloody Christian and I read this particular piece of work a couple of years ago when it did the rounds, thank you very much!
So you think it’s okay to indoctrinate kids about hell and all the trauma that often happens?
You hypocritical piece of shit!
First, I was talking about design in general, and God in particular. Children intuitively know that there is a designer (which you apparently don’t know). You have to teach them that there is no creative agency.
Yes, Barrett is a “bloody” senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind who happens to be a Christian. And if we’re going to go with that standard of citation, then I cannot allow you to quote ANY atheist or agnostic sources. Nothing like a hypocritical double-standard here!
And, of course, you didn’t receive the book! You wouldn’t receive Christ if He was staring you in the face! You have clearly shown that you are not open to anything but your atheist dogma. You are an extreme Fundamentalist in that regard.
What, are you 14? This is the problem with you, Ark (not with academic atheists). I show you that its’ counter-intuitive for children to be an atheist with academic research and you give me your emotive vitriolic rant. Who’s the hypocrite here? So, go off to your pals and link this post if it will make you feel better about yourself. But this type of comment only makes you look juvenile to any thinking mature person. Believe whatever you want.
Yes, Barrett is a “bloody” senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind
No, he’s not. He once held that position, briefly. He is a Creationist researcher at Fuller Theological Seminary.
So let’s play dismiss the “Creationist.” He held that position when his book and article was written.
My apologies, I did not mean to dismiss him entirely because of his creationist beliefs. It seems, though, Barrett is lead by his biases, and this has been noted time after time by the field’s leading experts.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I can see where he’s making his leaps, and I can even sympathise with him… But they are leaps of faith. He seems to wilfully ignore the evolutionary explanation for why we see what we do in nature.
But Tildeb is right on this one. It’s a tired old road you’re passing down here, Mel, in rolling out Barrett as some sort of appeal to authority. It might play well in your congregation of people who want to be decieved (as Eusebius of Caesarea described believers), but it won’t play in the real world.
Understood. I really wasn’t trying to make the point that children intuitively know “God” specifically, but that they intuit a design, or agency, as you put it. But kids themselves aren’t that nuanced so they may just call it “God.” The point is, they intuitively know that the universe didn’t just design itself.
I would agree with you that culture plays a part in revealed religion. People tend to attribute “agency” to the god of their culture. Nonetheless, people have found Christ is cultures hostile to Christianity (China, Pakistan, India). In some cases, with no one preaching to them and at the risk of death and torture. For instance, the Chinese church didn’t really grow until it was suppressed by the Communists after WWII. It just went underground. Now, it’s estimated that there are over 150 million Christians in China, and growing. So, we can’t mark it all down to culture.
And as to “rolling out Barrett.” You guys roll out your people all the time! That statement means nothing, John. I know the whole game of “debunking” anyone that theists bring up. But you cannot honestly dismiss it, only disagree with their findings. When it comes to things like design and agency and philosophy, things that cannot be tested or observed, the idea that atheist sources are somehow more unbiased or disinterested than theists was a popular myth from the Enlightenment critical thinkers that’s definitely been debunked and dumped in the ash heap of history.
Thing is, it’s not just kids finding agency in nature, but the human species. It’s the root of all superstitions, a hardwired cognitive blunder in causal correlation where we observe one event (B) happening after another event (A) and assume A is responsible for B. As Bacon put it:
But as I said, it is a hardwired blunder that served us extremely well from an evolutionary perspective. Finding agency in nature has a real evolutionary payoff, and it’s no surprise that this skill kicked in just as soon as we possessed enough processing power up top to enable it.
And Mel, there are not “atheist” sources. Atheism is content free. Please don’t project your perception that there is some kind of battle going on. There’s not. There’s just learned people (people far smarter than me) learning how to be less wrong about reality. If that work ends up contradicting your beliefs, then the problem is in your beliefs, not the people doing the research. Good science does not start with the conclusion, but a question.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought you were at pains to keep this thread on the things concerning the video only? 😉
But to blow off people like Barrett by saying humans are just naturally “superstitious” is a biased view against anything supernatural. Sure, there is superstition, but if it was “hardwired,” as you say, it was for a reason. To mark it down as an evolutionary benefit is an extremely biased conclusion. Yes, we “evolved” in our understanding of our reality, but it doesn’t follow that this proves that intuitive belief in something outside of our “world” was a false one.
First, atheism is content free? What??? This is where you are either being willfully deceptive or you just naively believe your own propaganda. There is no such thing! No one goes into research with absolutely no worldview. And I’m not saying the research itself is biased, I’m saying their conclusions include bias, especially in this area. Again, you CANNOT prove theism or atheism by disinterested scientific observation or testing. It can only be inferred indirectly by the evidence we have, which always includes a bias. Believing that atheists aren’t biased is the biggest myth of all!
Second, the battle is not necessarily between the scientists and academics themselves, it is with you lot. You are the ones coming on Christian sites like militant Fundamentalists evangelizing your worldview and telling us we’re too stupid to understand the real world. And I don’t have a problem with you having your worldview or even sharing it here. But the point here is, you cannot dismiss theist sources anymore than I can dismiss an atheist(non-theist) source.
And I am trying to stay on subject but it’s a bit like herding cats. 🙂
Superstition has nothing to do with supernatural. Superstition is a blunder in causation. Superstition (that blunder) has its roots in our evolutionary history where we (equipped with enough brain power to perform the task) learned to find agency in nature. We learned to make connections (and therefore predictions) that weren’t necessarily there.
To mark it down as an evolutionary benefit is an extremely biased conclusion.
You’re kidding, aren’t you?
You see, this is Tildeb’s criticism of you, and it’s justified.
Yes, we “evolved” in our understanding of our reality, but it doesn’t follow that this proves that intuitive belief in something outside of our “world” was a false one.
What on earth are you babbling on about? It’s not intuitive. We find agency in nature, Mel. If you want to talk about gods, then we move into culture.
atheism is content free? What???
Yes. Where is the content in a-theism? Don’t conflate anti-theism, or even humanism, which do have content, with a-theism. Theists make the positive claim; a-theists say they’re not convinced. There is nothing more to it. Period.
Second, the battle is not necessarily between the scientists and academics themselves, it is with you lot. You are the ones coming on Christian sites like militant Fundamentalists evangelizing your worldview and telling us we’re too stupid to understand the real world.
Oh… so when you write a post criticising atheists we’re not supposed to respond?
That’s very “Christian” of you.
So, you didn’t mean that evolution was beneficial in leading us out of our “blunder” (superstition)? Does this “blunder” not include anything believed that smacks of the supernatural in your thinking? Words like blunder and superstition, applied in a general way like you put, implies a bias whether you want to admit to it or not.
But now you’re suddenly making a differentiation. And I agree with your point. Actually, I think that’s what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn’t say it clearly. What you’re talking about is the difference between the evidence and the conclusions we infer from the evidence. The anti-theists use the evidence to prove their conclusions (just like anti-atheists do). The “atheists” as you have differentiated, simply aren’t convinced. Fair enough. I’m not convinced that it’s all superstition either.
Mel, slow down. You’re getting yourself all confused here. The evolutionary trick was in our ability to find agency in nature. A consequence of this was (is) our tendency to superstitious belief. Superstition, like theism (animism was first), is cultural. It varies. A monstrous, head-exploding, palm tree bending sneeze on the Banks Islands of Polynesia is cause for serious concern as someone is certainly talking badly of you, but for the Maoris in nearby New Zealand the same roof-lifting nose orgasm is reason to celebrate because someone fun is surely about to visit.
And yes, it is a propensity to make a causation blunder. 99 times out of a 100 it’s a mistake that has no great consequence. It has tremendous impact that 1-time in 100 when, to use my earlier example, bending blades of grass were indeed a stalking lioness.
Cued by causation, jumping before we saw/heard danger served us very, very, very well when we were eaten by apex predators.
Now, you take that physiologically hardwired disposition (that neither you nor I can change) and start adding creative language (culture) to it, and we arrive at superstitions, the gods, supernatural. It’s root, though, is deep in our evolutionary history.
I agree with your point on tendency toward superstition, but then your conclusion to lump that in with general theism is biased. I don’t know why you don’t get this. And, yes, particular religions are cultural. I said I agreed with that to a point. But it cannot be proven to be a conclusive statement for all matters of faith, as I pointed out. Some people came to belief in spite of their culture.
My point is, this “propensity to causation blunder” is not an accident or trick of nature. It is “hardwired.” We intuitively know there is a designer or agency at the core of who we are. The blunder is only because of ignorance, not necessarily because there is no intelligent agency. In other words, the blunders in the past don’t change the fact that we know there is more to life than what we can observe and test. You are not going to argue this out of people, no matter how hard you try.
So, to my original point of this post:
When we look at claims for things that are, by definition, outside the natural world, we obviously cannot do a scientific experiment. That would be like “show me the empirical proof in space-time” for something that exists outside of space-time!” It is simply nonsense. We must make inferences based on the evidence we do have and come up with the most reasonable conclusion that provides explanatory scope. Just saying it’s all superstition miserably fails in this regard. So, if that’s your argument, prepare yourself for disappointment.
We intuitively know there is a designer or agency at the core of who we are.
Wrong. That is not what libraries of research tell us.
So you have empirical evidence that concludes that children are always total atheists until they are taught otherwise by their culture? First of all, no one lives in a vacuum, John. Tell me, in which atheist culture, 100% devoid of theism, did they test this theory? And if that is possible, who is to say that atheism in that culture didn’t equally influence them?
These kind of conclusions sound good in theory but are not conclusively provable in real life. There is no such thing as non-cultural influence.
Mel, theism is new information imposed over the default: a-theism.
If any given mythology were even remotely true (a claim made by all) then that cult, its deities, its rituals, behavioural codes and canons would have emerged independently at least twice on the planet. Its truth would in fact be demonstrable in this supernatural event. This, however, has never happened, nor will it ever happen. Captain Cook did not stumble upon Aborigines sucking back Christian communion wafers at Botany Bay, Columbus was not confronted by a wall of Arawak asses pointed away from Mecca at sunrise on the beaches of Santa María de la Concepción, and Pedro Álvares Cabral did not find tribes of Aimore Indians auditing their Thetans with shiny new Mark Super VII Quantum Electropsychometers. This fact alone is proof theism is unnatural, and if neglected for just one generation its deities and practices would simply die off. Granted, a few generations down the line some other nonsense would emerge, superstition seems (for now) an inevitable blunder, but as Penn Jillette rightly observed, it wouldn’t be the same nonsense.
Again, you’re making a point I’m not making. Cultural influence (which I never denied) doesn’t prove that the intuition itself is based on blunder.
Granted, but we have an evolutionary explanation for the blunder. Why are you ignoring this?
Because I’m explaining what and why I believe in this series of posts, not what you believe.
But you haven’t explained anything here. In fact, you’ve led yourself into a field that roundly debunks your claims.
Anthropomorphic theism is about as natural as tennis rackets, ice cream cones and bikinis. It is neither automatic nor inevitable. No religion has emerged twice anywhere on the planet, no single deity has been envisaged by two populations separated by time and geography, and not a solitary person in history has arrived independently at Mithraism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Scientology or Judaism without it first being taught to them. That is an inalienable, unarguable truth. Theism (the progeny of far older generations of pantheism, Totemism, paganism, animism and the oldest of them all, ancestor cults) is nothing but the latest imaginative appendage to have grown out from (culturally-centric) superstition; itself nothing but the elaborately dressed-up residue cast off from blunders in causation and correlation… albeit an immeasurably beneficial one for our deep ancestors some 830,000 generations ago.
BTW, I’ve asked an infrequent blogger friend, Neuronotes, to pop in (if she has time) to explain the body of research that exists. She is an expert in this field.
JZ’s point doesn’t “prove it directly” but how about you actually USE that inference you keep trumpeting and realize that the lack of duplication is very damning to your hypothesis that theism is only natural, is the default setting. Without this duplication, Penn’s point is exactly right: your superstitious nonsense is only different superstitious nonsense in detail from any other that draws on the magical and wishful and delusional and not in principle. That fact elevates geography to be far more robust and accurate and predictive a consideration for inference than what you presume: that your proposition’s has some valid truth merit independent of your belief in magic, your wishful thinking, your preferred religious delusion. Take away the believer’s support and your proposition that theism is the default and we find it has no support at all from reality. That’s the important inference you absolutely refuse to accept. And that’s rather telling…
No it isn’t. Now you’re talking about a completely different subject, revealed theology. Revealed religion, by definition, is not based on intuition or natural selection. It’s specifically revealed by someone outside of nature normally referred to as “God(s).” And there is duplication within the revealed world religions. In fact you people are always pointing that out, as if that disproves anything. But we believe that Jesus Christ is culmination of that revelation and we have reasons for that, but it’s not in the realm of natural theology. So, the duplication argument is not what you think it is.
Paul pointed out this “duplication” in his answer to the Athenian philosophers:
Revealed theology presumes the conclusion as a premise. Logic fail, Mel.
No, logically speaking, it’s built on the premise that infers the best and most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence, that the existence of a creator/designer is logically possible, which you cannot refute.
Based on evidence? You’re too much, Mel! You’ve already ruled out any need for evidence and have, in fact, argued that it is ‘biased’ to even try! So any ‘inference’ you make must be without evidence to meet your criteria. So which side of your mouth should I try to respond to here?
And, again, you don’t even grasp that ‘logically possible’ means a conclusion logically deduced in correct form from it premises. That’s all it means. What you do is what I criticize: you import premises and then try to claim that the conclusion being logical deduced from them is sufficient unto itself to make it possible. You then call this bait and switch tactic ‘inference’. I hate to break it to you, but the possible has to be linked in some way to the premises themselves in order to be INFERRED, and this is the vital role evidence plays…. linking the two… evidence that you tells us repeatedly is not necessary, which justifies only in your own mind that which you have ruled out by fiat. This makes your reasoning broken, Mel.
No, I haven’t ruled out evidence, Tildeb. We are talking method here. You clearly don’t understand what I’m saying and obviously didn’t watch the video. You missed the whole point!
This is from the video:
When we look at claims for things that are, by definition, outside the natural world, we obviously cannot do a scientific experiment. That would be like “show me the empirical proof in space-time” for something that exists outside of space-time!” It is simply nonsense.
Natural theology does not attempt to prove a designer exists, like one proves a scientific fact through measurement or observation. Rather these philosophical arguments take the evidence we can evaluate (like that the Universe has a beginning, the fine-tuning of the universe, moral realism, the Universe acts like a quantum computer, and consciousness, etc.) to reach the most rational inference of something outside the universe to explain things where science cannot go because the logical mind seeks the most rational inference to the evidence. The evidence points to an inference of design from outside the universe.
And I have addressed this claim about method of inference and criticized how it is dishonestly used to reach a conclusion you want. But you won’t answer the ‘method’ criticisms I have raised even though I have asked repeatedly: HOW do you know if the premises used are true? I have pointed out that the role of evidence is to LINK what you access to here in this reality to the premises used and this is exactly what you are missing and filling in with a god-of-the-gaps argument. How do you link the claim about the Big Bang to some causal agency? How do you link universal constants to some causal agency? How do you link moral realism to a causal agency? How do link quantum physics to a causal agency? My point is that you’ve used rain as ‘evidence’ from which you claim to infer the cause to be the rain dancer, and then justified it by saying this is the ‘best inference’ because it’s logical. There’s something wrong with this reasoning, Mel…. and it has nothing to do with me and certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with some claimed ‘confusion’ on the part of those who legitimately question and reject your causal claims for some Designer.
First, this is not the god of the gaps argument. The god of the gaps argument is when we say we “don’t know” but trust in some future human to figure it out for us. That’s exactly what you are advocating.
Second, something that looks designed infers a designer. A beginning infers a causation.
Suppose you stumbled upon the Great Pyramids for the first time with no prior knowledge of history or archeology, and you noticed the perfectly symmetrical pyramid shape. And further suppose you could walk inside and see the tunnels, sarcophagus, the gold works of art, inscriptions on the wall, etc. What would you infer from the evidence? More specifically, would you in your wildest imagination think that there was no designer? Would you go back and say that these pyramids just made themselves, that there is no design? NO! You wouldn’t, Tildeb. Not in a million years.
While it would be rational to say “I don’t know who built them,” it’s not a rational argument to say they are not designed. You are the one being dishonest here.
The Bible you don’t believe in sure called you out on this one:
First, this is not the god of the gaps argument. The god of the gaps argument is when we say we “don’t know” but trust in some future human to figure it out for us.
Good grief, Mel You have this completely and utterly backwards.
God of the gaps is practiced by THEISTS. It inserts “God” in those questions which science/naturalism hasn’t yet answered.
Example: What was happening before Inflation?
Scientist: I don’t know.
PRATT. You just refuse to think clearly, Mel, and are white-knuckling this discarded argument for fear of having nothing reasonable, nothing rational, to support your religious creationist beliefs. And the sad fact is, using and recycling discredited fallacious arguments is the best you’ve got. That’s a clue….
This argument that appearance of design allows one to infer a designer is a false analogy. It’s called the teleological argument or, more commonly, the watchmaker’s fallacy (or Paisley’s watch). It fails on two accounts: it presumes the conclusion (as I’ve pointed out repeatedly) and assumes you discern the difference between artificial and natural design. You can’t. RationalWiki has a pretty good explanation here why our understanding of properties and processes has shelved this ancient argument permanently for lack of merit in both logic and knowledge value. And isn’t that revealing about the actual ‘insight’ your religious beliefs purport to supply: PRATT (points refuted a thousand times).
I’ve submitted a comment with a link which is why I think it has gone into moderation. Just a heads up.
All my comments are in Moderation.
It’s painful, and thoroughly unnecessary.
Censorship is never good. It shows only extreme weakness and fear.
John, learn what moderation means and stop calling it censorship. You don’t have the right to say whatever you want and push your agenda on my site. It’s not weakness and fear. To quote Nero Wolfe, “I can dodge folly without backing into fear.”
It is censorship.
And please, show me where I have once been rude or untoward… something that justifies your ongoing censorship?
Well, you have been rude and trying to push your agenda in the past. But I tell you what, I will take you off moderation and see how it goes. Just so you know, if you start being rude, pushing your agenda, you will go back on. Fair enough? 🙂
Pushing what agenda Mel?
You keep saying this, so could you please explain what you actually mean… with examples?
You apparently love to talk about this. I’ve seen you post this particular Paley phrase several times. That is your agenda and beyond the scope of what is being discussed here. Again, I don’t have the time to go down this rabbit trail with you.
Yes, that is ON TOPIC. You do want to talk about design, do you not?
Is that not what this “series” is about?
Here, another example of God-of-the-Gaps
Question: Where does lightning come from?
Person A: I don’t know.
Person B (Theist): God does it!
No. God doesn’t do it. Gap closed.
Those “gaps” just keep getting smaller and smaller. God didn’t do it is the answer all the time. As a good blogging friend of mine, Allalt, recently wrote:
John, this fallacy operates either way. Here’s a good explanation from gotquestions.org:
This is exactly what you’ve been telling me all along, that science will eventually solve every mystery and faith in God will go the way of “superstitious nonsense.” That is a textbook example of the “god of the gaps” fallacy.
On the other hand, saying that design infers a designer is no such fallacy. I can infer something from the evidence and not commit fallacy. If I were to say this proves that God exists, then you may have that argument. But I said no such thing.
No Mel. I don’t know means I don’t know.
God of the gaps is theists inserting “god” in the gaps of present day human knowledge.
Okay, to be clear, my original point to Tildeb was that acknowledging a design (possible designer) but not know who the designer is would be a rational argument. I have no problem with that. But to look at something clearly designed (like in my Pyramid analogy) and say there is no designer is irrational.
And, again, while Christians have done what you say, asserting God for unknown phenomenon, which would qualify for the god of the gaps, to simply infer that God is a reasonable explanation is not the same thing. But also, conversely, to assert that science will eventually solve all mysteries is an example of the god of the gaps, too (“god” being scientific advancement in this case). I hope that makes sense.
Mel, you outline the problem when you say, “Okay, to be clear, my original point to Tildeb was that acknowledging a design (possible designer) but not know who the designer is would be a rational argument. I have no problem with that. But to look at something clearly designed (like in my Pyramid analogy) and say there is no designer is irrational.”
You presume agency and then use that as a premise to conclude a designer. To do so, you rely on assuming ‘clear’ design.
So I’ve explained how the APPEARANCE of design does NOT necessarily indicate an agency, does NOT allow you to necessarily infer a designer. Evolution is perfect example where it’s easy to be fooled into thinking the appearance of design is, in fact, designed. We know that scaffolding between generations with small changes to improve fitness is the driving mechanism for what you see as ‘design’ and, therefore, you ASSERT is evidence for a designer. There is no room in the mechanism for an outside agency and, if an outside agency tinkered with this fully interior scaffolding, there really, really, really would be compelling evidence for this intervention. So far, we do not find any. ANY! No evidence, Mel, where the evidence should be plentiful if a designer really did design.
This is where Ark’s point comes into play: we can find no evidence of tinkering, of design other than the scaffolding of the natural, unguided mechanism of natural selection. This goes backwards into ancestry and is fully compatible with population genetics (when it shouldn’t be if some designing agency were causal). We know there is no evidence for any designer every which way we come at various populations and their ancestries….until we reach deep time where we have no evidence one way or the other and, using this gap in our knowledge as a basis for belief in some creator agency, we can only infer the possibility for deism. You’ll note that most atheists are fine with this quaint belief because it does stand incompatible to the totality of evidence for evolution. But there is a problem when some people think they have knowledge of a creator agency designing what we know is naturally occurring AND for which there is zero evidence where it should be plentiful for design, for intervention, for creative events. Zero, Mel. Zero.Your beliefs are incompatible with the very best science we have, contrary to its methodology, contrary to its finding, contrary to its coherence, contrary to its explanatory model that works for everyone everywhere all the time and produces applications, therapies and technologies that work. You contrary belief has no evidential support either directly or which can be reasonably inferred. Your creationist beliefs are not related to reality in any way but stands firmly contrary to and incompatible with it.
Tildeb, Okay, let’s take evolution as an example. So, does evolution have a beginning? What started evolution 13.8 billion years ago? Why was it started? Explain why the elegance of the universe. How can you say it has no initial causation? And why does it evolve the way it does? In other words, why evolution? Your method will never answer that question or provide a satisfactory explanatory scope. Science cannot bring closure to this question that must be answered for a rational mind. It can only observe the process. Explaining how something works and observing process does not answer the question of origin or causation.
To all these ‘why’ questions, I can honestly say I don’t know and you don’t know either. The difference between us is one of understanding: I understand that the ‘why’ question is unknowable. You take it as an opportunity to insert your god and then have the temerity to insist you have inferred your insertion. I’m just trying to keep you as a believer as honest as any other atheist. I think it’s the least you can do before trying to call us ‘confused’.
I still don’t think you’re understanding me, Tildeb. Again, I’m not trying to get you to admit “god” or my God here. And I don’t have a problem with “It looks designed, but I don’t know who or what did it.” What is irrational to me is for you to say there is no design or no causation but I know theists are wrong. Again, I agree with you on theists taking this as an opportunity to insert our particular God here. But, again, again, again…I’m not using this argument that way. I’m showing that it’s rational and logical to infer a designer. You don’t have to agree with it, but then you better provide a better explanation that provides explanatory scope. And, so far, you cannot answer causation, you only give me process, which does not provide explanatory scope. It doesn’t answer all the questions, so I have no reason to agree with you.
What started evolution 13.8 billion years ago?
At 10-34 seconds after inflation the quark-gluon plasma that was once the entirety of this particular universe cooled from 100 nonillion Kelvin to 1 billion Kelvin, snap-freezing in-place the fundamental laws of interaction. Conservation and symmetry, continuity and transfer, classical mechanics and motion, gravity, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, photonics, and a myriad of smaller but no less unmoveable pieces of ‘legislation’ set the stage for affinities that would regulate all things without sentiment or bias.
That’s what started it.
Cooled gases become liquids, cooled liquids become solids, and solids arrange themselves into increasingly complex, ultimately self-replicating patterns, no driver required. As the strikingly impressive 19th Century historian and philosopher, John Fiske, so prudently observed:
“As soon as it became cool enough for oxygen and hydrogen to unite into a stable compound, they did unite to form vapour of water. As soon as it became cool enough for double salts to exist, then the mutual affinities of simple binary compounds and single salts, variously brought into juxtaposition sufficed to produce double salts. And so on throughout the inorganic world … Here we obtain a hint as to the origin of organic life upon the earth’s surface. In accordance with the modern dynamic theory of life, we are bound to admit that the higher and less stable aggregations of molecules which constitute protoplasm were built up in just the same way in which the lower and more stable aggregations of molecules which constitute a single or a double salt were built up. Dynamically, the only difference between carbonate of ammonia and protoplasm which can be called fundamental is the greater molecular complexity and consequent instability of the latter.”
Wait…time out. Where did the quark-gluon plasma come from? And when you say, “10-34″ seconds after…” you are referring to time, which Einstein said was an illusion (only relevant to space-time). This does not answer the question about causality at all, only what happened after the Big Bang. Obviously, if there were quark-gluons, which I don’t doubt, something took place before this event.
Yes, the hypothesised BB happened before. We don’t know what actually was going on before because all physics breaks down. We might, therefore, never know.
No, you’ve still got it dead wrong.
Again: I don’t know, means I don’t know.
No one is asserting “but I will know in the future.”
History leads us to believe that we probably will have answers tomorrow for questions today, that is the pattern after all, but no one I’m aware of has ever claimed we will know.
You’re just making things up, Mel. You’ve got your god-of-the-gaps usage completely, absolutely, hopelessly wrong. I’d advise you to never try using that in reverse again with other interlocutors, they might not be as gentle as Tildeb and I are being.
You assume that because science have found answers in the past to mysteries within nature that it will eventually find answers to what’s outside of nature? How will they, John? You need to explain how this will ever happen? How are they going to prove causation? Or, why causation? Because that’s not going to go away…ever. You cannot simply stuff “I don’t know why we’re here” in the closet and hope it goes away. Now, you are insulting my intelligence (common sense). You are in denial, but I doubt you’ll never admit it.
Got any evidence for something outside nature, Mel?
Again, we infer, John. That’s the only thing we can do. This is not a science problem, it’s a philosophical problem. Again, you’re trying to solve something with the wrong method.
We infer something outside of nature because we know the universe has a beginning, the fine tuning, that reality works like a quantum computer, moral realism, consciousness, and a host of other questions.
OK, enough. Shall we move on now to the post where you’ll permit an actual discussion on the design?
And Mel, Cause and Effect are not the correct way to approach cosmology. As Carroll wrote in “Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists”, which I recommend you reading (link below):
Click to access nd-paper.pdf
Wait a minute…”laws of nature?” Why? Why are there laws of nature, John? How come we can calculate it? Why is there a material world at all? Carroll does not answer these questions. Of course, he cannot because he is appealing to science, which can only obverse phenomenon in the material world. And he knows that by saying that science doesn’t normally talk about causality. It’s the wrong method to answer these questions. That’s what I’ve been saying all along, and the subject of the video.
I’m sorry, the emperor has no clothes here.
So, your entire argument rests on the absolute rigidity of cause and effect, but then you break that rule by positing an uncaused agent.
Can we move on now to discussing design in another post?
I’m saying you cannot answer that question, which logically must be answered, in order to provide explanatory scope. I am positing the philosophical argument that my inference to an “uncaused agent” is rational and provides the best explanation to answer these questions. Again, I’m not saying it “proves God,” but that it is the best rational explanation.
So, you will never win this argument if you cannot provide a better explanation to causation. You will just choose to keep your head stuck in the sand and say, “I don’t know…but the theists are wrong!”
So, now we’ve had almost 300 comments and have indeed proved the author of the video’s point about your confusion over this.
No, it’s irrational because it anhiliates your utter dependence on the rigidity of cause and effect.
Can we move on now?
So because a bunch of non believers explain ad nauseum where you go wrong in your reasoning, patiently explaining in multiple ways why your approach doesn’t infer anything, doesn’t respect the linking role of evidence to connect a conclusion about reality to the truth value of the premises, doesn’t produce knowledge, doesn’t increase but reduces probability to near zero, you then conclude that this number of attempts to explain, correct, and teach reflects ongoing confusion… on the part of atheists!
What a chuckle you must be having, to have intentionally wasted so much time and effort of others to merely amuse you in your steeping religious certainty.
Pardon my French, but such a conclusion about demonstrating atheist confusion because of the number of comments is unbe-fucking-lievable. Such arrogance. Such hubris.
You are a piece of dishonest work, Mel, and waste the time of everyone who bothers to read this mewling apologetic shit you spew. Go fuck yourself. I’m done with you. You’ve earned my disgust.
I’m not sure where I was ever talking about “religious certainty” in these 300 or so comments but thank you for your opinion. Good-bye.
Have a comment with a link. It’s in Moderation. Just a heads up
No Mel, that does not solve the problem. It’s very easy for someone to simply say, “that god you worship, the one with a different name, well he’s actually the same as my god.” No. That does not demonstrate the same religion, deity, cannons, moral codes, stories, cosmogony, theology emerging independently (at least) twice in (at least) two cultures separated by time and/or geography.
Please don’t insult our intelligence with such nonsense.
I wish there was a ‘Like’ button for this comment, JZ. It’s right on the money.
“We intuitively know there is a designer or agency at the core of who we are.”
Yes, we do. We know we come from parents. We know that our parents come from previous generations. We each have ancestors. And we know that we inherit our genes. We don’t start from scratch, you’ll note. We start with an inheritance from male and female. But where your thinking goes off the rails and sends it on its merry way Crazy Town is that we also know we are not assembled by an external interactive Assembler (blessed be His name!) deciding which bits will go where.
So how is it possible that we can be self-assembled from the previous material and ongoing energy alone without some intentional and probably divine interventionist furiously twiddling and tweaking away at every cell division so that we don’t end up wearing gonads on our foreheads and lips on our toes?
The mechanisms of biology have arrived to serve our understanding. There’s your ‘Designer’, Mel: local units obeying local rules… rules based almost entirely on the physical and chemical properties of the units replicating within a changing environment No outside agency is required. No guidance is required. This mechanistic unguided process aligns perfectly with the consistent absence of any evidence for intervention, for intention, for purpose, for design. What we have is a model explanation of how, over the generations, small genetic changes in replication that improve fitness gain prominence in populations and cause what we call ‘evolution’. No god is needed and does nothing but complicate the explanatory model with imported and unnecessary superstitious nonsense that explains nothing knowable.
Now, in biology, we call this biological transference of genetic ordering ‘scaffolding’. The design is inherited. But IDiots (drooling followers of the Discovery Institute) like to call this understanding equivalent to believing such ordering, such inheritance, such explanations of how scaffolding really works, to be a contrary religious belief – Atheism! – that all life as we know it is ‘random’ and came into being by ‘chance’ and then sputter endlessly about crocducks and hurricanes in junkyards assembling 747s. It’s so dishonest that it’s actually nauseating to have to encounter this PRATT time and time again by those who just pretend to be reasonable, just pretend to want to examine this question about the appearance of design further, who merely pretend to want to study the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of fundamental biology.
They don’t really want to – not if it conflicts with their already established beyond any reasonable doubt religious belief in POOF!ism caused by Oogity Boogity! – or they would.
Sop here’s the final nail in the coffin of such IDiocy: you can sometimes find religion without creationism, but you will never find creationism without religion. And that why you believe as you do, Mel…. for religious reasons alone. Reality plays no part and you care about what’s true not at all.
There you go. Tildeb, bloviating on and on again with your naturalism bias. Of course, I know you think biology is the answer to everything. You keep circling back to this same irrelevant argument but it DOESN’T prove or disprove a designer. Biology is the WRONG method! Don’t you get this? It will never answer any questions that go outside of biology. It will never answer why biology in the first place. You are stuck in a narrow-minded closed loop bound by your own stubborn pride. A life without any design or meaning other than it went POOF and here we are, just a bag of chemicals destined to be worm food. Wow. Compelling.
You are so stubbornly narrow-minded you cannot possibly imagine anything outside of nature. “It just can’t be” because we can’t measure it or perform tests on it, even though billions of people on the planet can intuit it. AGAIN, you’re never going to even touch answering something outside of nature by appealing to biology. All you can do is make philosophical inferences to the best answer that provides explanatory scope. And your explanation that nature designed nature is massive “Oogity Boogity!” It’s laughable. You don’t even realize how foolish that sounds. Simply amazing.
You’re the one who says you rely on best inference. So I provide tangible, knowable information about this issue – the appearance of design – that covers every aspect of the appearance of design using only biology, only knowledge, only evidence accrued fro this reality. It’s a complete explanation.
There is no reason – other than compelling evidence – to then turn reality aside and suggest maybe, perhaps, quite possibly, there was this other magical and mysterious agency involved, one that produced guidance and tinkering and purpose… for which there is no evidence from reality at all. To get around this problem, you then pretend that evidence from this reality isn’t required… because you can magically infer this agency! Your inference you claim doesn’t need anything from this reality to make it a legitimate inference and to insist as I do that knowledge about anything requires access to the ‘anything’ in this reality is somehow inherently biased against the superstition! This is irrational because you just established a means to claim knowledge by inference by deleting the knowledge part entirely and going with what you cannot know anything about: this ‘other’ realm you’re pulling out of nowhere! So your ‘inference’ is not an inference, Mel, and it certainly isn’t the BEST inference because you cancelled the essential ingredient for it: knowledge adduced from this reality for which there is overwhelming evidence in its explanatory power.
Your religious beliefs – what I call ‘superstitious nonsense’ because it’s identical to it in every conceivable way – is best described as what you import and stamp as ‘religious’. It is all about you, what you wish, what you hope for, what you think you’d like to see, and you are dishonest to pretend that what you collect by inference from reality is what supports your claim. It doesn’t and you don’t.
No, Tildeb, you appeal to natural reasons that can be observed within the material world to explain the material world. I have no argument with that at all. But that’s all you’re argument amounts to. It doesn’t touch the point I’ve been making all along about how we infer something outside of nature, and you have no answer whatsoever for why we have nature. You say it just is. I’m sorry but that’s not a very compelling answer. THAT is nonsense.
And I keep insisting that no one including thee and me can infer anything from which we have no knowledge. No knowledge equals the phrase, “I don’t know” and it this applies as much to me as it does to you about ideas that have no means to know anything about them. So the truth of the matter is that when it comes to some ‘realm’ ‘outside’ of our reality, the very best we can do is say we don’t know anything about it even if it were true? Why won’t you admit this? Why aren’t you even willing to admit this? Curious and curiouser.
Mel, you say, “Sure, there is superstition, but if it was “hardwired,” as you say, it was for a reason. To mark it down as an evolutionary benefit is an extremely biased conclusion.”
No. To presume a reason involves some external designing agency is a biased premise. To show benefit to fitness – completely and utterly unguided by any other consideration – is what the mechanism of natural selection is. You are calling understanding the mechanism and how it works ‘biased’. No so, Mel. It is simply a brute fact you don’t seem to grasp.
No, there’s a difference between identifying the mechanism and making a conclusion on why it’s the way it is. I’m saying that calling it all “superstition and “blunder” in order to dismiss the possibility of intuitive theism is a blatently biased conclusion that you cannot prove. That’s what you cannot seem to grasp.
You’re confused, Mel. You respond to my comment with “No, there’s a difference between identifying the mechanism and making a conclusion on why it’s the way it is.”
The ‘why’ is not knowable beyond the process itself. You are importing an answer to the why and then mistakenly assuming I am, too, by denying this superstitious explanation you’ve introduced. But that’s not the case. I am simply observing that you have no means nor any evidence to pretend your explanation is anything other than what you wish to believe. That’s not being biased, Mel: it’s called being ‘honest’.
I’m not confused, Tildeb. I’m simply pointing out that you are using the wrong method to conclude the possibility of a designer which, by any sane definition, means they are not part of the design! If you were honest you would admit you would never use this logic on any other apparent design. You would naturally assume someone designed it.
And yes we do have means to infer the best explanation. That’s exactly what theistic philosophers do! It’s what I’ve been talking about the whole time. Of course, it doesn’t prove a designer, it proves that a designer is a rational argument. Whether you believe or don’t believe in a designer is a matter of faith. You have no way to prove it, one way or the other.
But again, you prove the author’s point on the video. You continue to be confused about how to deduce evidence for the possibility of something that exists outside of nature. You keep appealing to nature! It doesn’t answer the question.
To show benefit to fitness – completely and utterly unguided by any other consideration – is what the mechanism of natural selection is.
There you go, explaining things better than I could.
Thanks Mel. LOL, I suppose like any parent I have ups and downs lol. Ark’s persistence in trying to get us turn on each other is admirable. Perhaps we should have a throw down just to make him happy? If we just kill each other maybe he would shut up. His accusations are baseless in the extreme, and his constant talk of abuse is absurd. I certainly tell kids truth. ALL the truth. Judgement and grace. It’s all there, and we teach it all. I am not scared to talk to kids I teach about what other views teach, in fact I think that is important if we want to send young people into the world with a good grounding. I would venture to say that it’s even more important for fundamentalists such as me to clearly present what else is our there. It’s a hostile world, and hiding kids from it won’t help them at all.
I would gladly lay my life down for you, Wally. 🙂
Ark, you can call foul all day long, just like you spew every thing else you say with nothing to back it up. Sad for you, that profanity, insults, and repetition do not constitute proof.
Fact. I promise you I do a better job with the young people in my charge in presenting opposing world views than you do. I clearly present views not my own. I bet you don’t do that. Why? Because the opposing view scares you to death. That is evident from your reaction in the face of people who don’t bow down to your bully tactics. All you have is cursing and insults.
It is YOU who apparently hates children and wishes to shield them from any world view that does not match your own.
Finally. Since you actually have NO clue how or what I teach young people in my charge, then the things you make up in fact become lies.
You are a liar and a bully.
So….I guess you have had foul called on YOU.
I took me awhile to find this conversation about the indoctrination of children. You don’t think teaching the doctrine of hell is harmful to little kids? You are threatening them with eternal torture if they don’t love the god of your choice. Explain to me how that’s not psychological coercion? Explain to me how that’s really a “choice” for a child? Explain to me how you can sleep at night knowing little kids are afraid they’re GOING TO BURN FOREVER (while being separated from their friends and families) if they don’t accept your ideas? Step outside of your religion for one second and see how sick that is!
Let’s not even mention how little kids turn into neurotic adults who fear the same thing. Does god want willing people to freely love him? Then His, and your, tactics are all wrong.
Where did I say this? We were talking about children intuitively assuming design.
It appears maurwild and wally were talking about the indoctrination of children…and you agreed with them here: “But if I had to make a choice between giving my kids to Wally to raise in his Christian beliefs, or give them to you to teach your atheism, telling them that the universe has no creative agency, no God, I would choose Wally hands down.” We know from Wally’s comments he teaches both grace and judgement.
So what do you teach kids, Mel? I’d love a clarification of this issue, which is close to my heart. Do you teach about hell?
Being that there are at least four Christian views about “hell,” three of which don’t include eternal torment, that’s a bit of a jump.
And my point is that I would prefer Wally’s beliefs (and I seriously doubt he’s scaring children) to indoctrinating them in Ark’s atheism.
You’re not answering my question. What do you teach kids about god’s final judgment? Do you teach Hell? Eternal separation from god? What?
I’m a bit of an agnostic on what exactly hell is. I believe there is one, but it’s debatable what its nature is. I teach that we separate ourselves from God. As C.S. Lewis said, the gates of hell are locked from the inside.
So you tell kids that they’ll go to hell, which in many christian denominations is viewed as a lake of fire, but you personally leave out the lake of fire part? You teach they’ll be separated from god and those they love, and that they’ll have to remain alone, for eternity?
Have you any idea how afraid children are of being separated from their caretakers? Psychologists call this “separation anxiety” and it is evident in human nature from infancy. Do you seriously believe this won’t terrorize and coerce children into accepting whatever you say?
I would never tell a child anything like that. And, again, you misrepresent my position. What I teach is that people choose to separate themselves from God, even though they are not actually separated. Beyond that, I don’t have a dogmatic position. I teach children that God loves them completely and unconditionally.
I understand exactly what you’re saying. You are telling kids if they don’t believe in your god and your ideas about him, they’ll be separated from god and those they love for eternity. How is this a “choice” to a child, who not only has separation anxiety, but who also has impulse control issues and who has a brain that doesn’t fully develop until age 25?
That doesn’t sound like unconditional love to me.
Source on brain development: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051
I’m telling children no such thing! I just told you that. You are mischaracterizing me. You asked my position on hell and what I tell children. They are two very different subjects. But then you just began putting words in my mouth by conflating the two together. And, btw, our children’s teachers would never say such things either. There’s a such thing as age-appropriate subjects. One of our children’s workers is trained in child development, so please stop with your judgmental moralizing.
And I don’t doubt your research. I would probably agree with it. That’s why I would never do such a thing to a young child. Actually, if you read my blog posts you would find that I am just as hard on Christians who manipulate through fear as any atheist would be.
But what you lot are trying to do here is take the worst example of child abusing religious people and paint everyone else with the same brush. That is prejudicial and just plain nonsense.
Look Mel, perhaps I came on a bit strong…childhood indoctrination is an important issue to me and I can get a hot over it. I’ve spent some time reading several of your posts on separation from god (and several other posts as well). You do not teach a literal hell, but you do support Wally, who does teach a literal hell…and you don’t think he’s damaging kids. I’m not trying to divide you two…I just want you to think about that what that might say about your beliefs on hell.
I understand the ideas behind “give milk before meat.” You teach young kids all about the love of god, and then when they hit the age of 7 (or thereabouts) you get into deeper doctrine about the consequences of not believing. But it’s not always about what you SAY to kids, it’s about what you don’t say to them. When you say, “we *choose* separation from god,” there are certain inferences kids will make from that. One being that they will be alone forever if they screw up and don’t do what you tell them. Please, you don’t have to answer to me or justify yourself to any of us. Just think about these things deeply for awhile and consider how kids, who don’t have full functional/logical brains until the age of 25, might see these teachings.
I agree with you in principle, Violet. And I commend your concern for children. It’s a worthy cause. Too many children are being abused in more ways than just fearmongering religion. Many teens that have come to our youth group from outside (about 85% of the kids in our group according to our survey), came from broken homes, where they never went to church, their parents have no religious beliefs, and they live in awful conditions with drugs, alcoholism, physical and verbal abuse, lacking proper diet, and their parent(s) basically leaves them to raise themselves. And this is more the “norm” than we would like to think. My point is, religion didn’t do this, dysfunctional people did it.
I don’t think we do what you think we do. I have no way of proving that unless I had you interview our children. But they are loved and we don’t shelter them from public school where they hear other views. I think the point you’re making, and I agree, it should be age-appropriate. The problem is, as Maureen said earlier, they don’t live in a vacuum. They will be exposed to all kinds of fearful things at a very early age in our culture, regardless. That’s why love never fails. 🙂
Agreed that atheism isn’t a cure for all the world’s ills. Atheism does protect against a certain kind of childhood indoctrination because we don’t link our choices with eternal punishment (be it hell or separation). With my background in psychology, I don’t think I can endorse teaching that kind of thing until the kid was around 25, when they have a fully functional brain. It’s perfectly fine to teach children of all ages about natural consequences to their behaviors.
You’re no doubt technically right, and that would probably be best in a perfect world. But these kids don’t live in a vacuum and they are constantly being swayed by worldviews, regardless of what we do. So to be fair, it should be age-appropriate, done with care and with the parent’s permission. And we should be able to teach them about God, but not indoctrinate them, teaching them how to think, not what to think. They can make up their own mind when they’re 25. They usually do anyway. 🙂
It’s hard to make up your own mind (at 25) if you’ve already had years of christian teachings. Perhaps we’re disagreeing about the forcefulness of the teaching…with you saying you don’t indoctrinate forcefully, while I’m saying it doesn’t have to be forceful to be damaging.
I shall think on all these things further. Thanks for the discussion…I must head off to bed. 🙂
That would be true in cases where Christians were isolated and indoctrinated, but that’s not the norm. Usually, they grow up fully exposed to media, schooling, and lots of people telling them opposing world views. And college professors certainly don’t wait until their 25! (My son is finishing up his doctorate to be a college professor so I’m not against college professors).
So, yes, we’re probably talking about degree of forcefulness. Anyway, good talking to you, Violet. I wish you the best. I’m glad you’re taking on the fight for children. I don’t think we’re on opposing sides there. Good-night. 🙂
Btw, we don’t teach children about the consequences of not believing at any age. As they get older, we teach them to be respectful and responsible, and that there are consequences for their actions (in this life).
OK, wait, I’m not clear on this. Christianity is about humanity needing a savior to save us from the consequences of our sin…this is the whole reason jesus was tortured, crucified, and then risen. How do you teach salvation without teaching the consequences not believing? Are you not of a christian denomination…perhaps I have things really wrong here!
Okay. First, we are a Christian church. Let me make that clear. The heart of salvation is that God so loved us that He gave Christ so that we would not live a wasted life (which is what the word “perish” means) but live one according to our intended design (John 3:16). He came to save us from ourselves, so to speak. This is what the early church taught, and I have written on this fairly extensively here. “Sin” has its own consequences because it’s a failure to walk in other-centered, self-giving love, which was the purpose for the commandments to begin with.
What you are expressing is one particular theory of atonement (albeit a popular one). Either way, to express it like you did would not only be inappropriate, but way over children’s heads.
Here’s the thing. Children don’t need to be told that because loving God comes very natural to them. They just love and have grace. They understand unconditional love because that’s how they love. This why Jesus said wee need to become like children.
Interesting. So you give them the love, but not the other side of the coin? You don’t discuss sin in terms of how god views it?
Yes, absolutely. But that’s also a loaded question. There is no “other side of the coin” to God is love. Everything He does is because of other-centered, self-giving love. You’re confusing the character roles here.
WE (humankind) are the ones who do the evil things, kill one another, hate, manipulate, marginalize, and abuse. Salvation was a rescue mission to save us from ourselves. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal.5:1), not to create a new form of religious bondage. We project our “religion” on to God (I use the word religion pejoratively here). And we were the ones who scapegoated Jesus by killing Him (Rene Girard), That’s what we do to love. It wasn’t “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” (popularized by Jonathan Edwards), but more like “A loving God in the hands of angry sinners.”
Anyway, we’re getting way off the original intend of the post here. I talked more in depth about this elsewhere on this blog.
Okay, to be fair to you, Violet. I just read my answer on my laptop (I was answering your questions on my iPhone). I was answering the question on hell, but you were asking what I teach children about hell. So I can see why you responded that way. My apologies! To be clear, I was treating the subject of hell and teaching children as two distinctly different subjects.
But, again, we don’t teach children on hell or the consequences of not believing. We compel by love, not fear. As Paul said, it’s the love of Christ that compels us not live for ourselves (2 Cor.5:14-15).
Once again, I have to laugh at people who have never experienced real relationship with God trying to tell us what we believe and what we do. You make up your own stories based on YOUR BIAS, as do all the experts you quote. Why is it okay to have an athiest bias, but not a theist, creationist bias? Who is to say which one is more correct? The problem is that the scientific community is overwhelmingly controlled by people who are afraid to believe in God so they reject anything that even remotely gives credence to a creator.
As I said, you cannot deny the existence of something based on the fact that you have no experience of it. That is both foolish and unscientific. There is no way that you can deny my experience, no matter how much you write or how many names you call, nor how you try to turn every point into Christians abusing people or children. It’s no more true than it is that every athiest is a murderer because some athiests were, or that every man of color rapes women because some did, or every teenager does drugs because some do, and on and on. Are you trying to say that no athiests ever do harmful, wrong things! How ridiculous! So lets just stop the whole, “I can show you deconverts that can tell you about the abuse they went through.”. We can all bring up witnesses that will support our point of view because the world is full of all kinds of people. And people of all beliefs and cultures do wrong things. But the overwhelming number of Christians over the centuries that have done good are undeniable.
I was raised in a Christian home by wonderful, loving parents. I was never abused. I was taught to love and honor other people no matter how different they were from me. I was encouraged to be whoever I wanted to be and to believe in myself. I and my 9 siblings are all devout Christians as are our children, none who were abused or forced in any way. And I will say the same of all the Christian families I know. Their children are loved and cherished and grow up to be good people who contribute to the good of their communities.
Maureen, let me set you right here.
Your statement: “The problem is that the scientific community is overwhelmingly controlled by people who are afraid to believe in God so they reject anything that even remotely gives credence to a creator.” Really?
This is so absolutely wrong, you have shown your inability to understand science and scientists and it is incomprehensible to believe how and why you actually believe this? Otherwise please tell me exactly who has told you that arguably the smartest people on our planet are afraid to believe in God?
Maureen, please don’t make the mistake of thinking most atheists haven’t had a personal realtionship with jesus at some point in their lives. Yes, there are some lifelong athiests, but many, many atheists are deconverted christians. Some were religiously abused and so left their religion, but others left of their own accord without trauma. Even pastors and priests leave the faith.
Cue the next argument: “but deconverts, you weren’t ‘real’ chrisitans if you left the religion.” 😦
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First of all you are in violation of your own god’s laws. I think you are a divorcee if I’m right and as a divorcee you are already an adulterer.
You admitted you raised your first kids as non-believers.
You are a rampant disingenuous hypocrite of the first order Mr Fry.
[Edited by moderator]
Okay, enough of the personal attacks. No one is a perfect example of what they believe here, including you, Ark.
That’s right! Perfection is reserved for your god, yes?
That’s called grace, Ark. Yup, my ways in which I have sinned against a Holy God are numerous. I am, however completely forgiven by the work of Jesus Christ. I suppose it’s good my eternal destiny is not in your hands eh?
Want some more good news? You aren’t out of His reach either.
But Jesus says you are an adulterer. Did he change his mind somewhere?
How do you deal with the fact you believe your older kids are going to burn in hell for eternity?
Asked and answered. Grace and forgiveness.
But, now I have important things to do such as beating my toes with a hammer, which is substantially more useful than talking with you.
But you are still an adulterer, yes? According to Jesus, that is.
Do you still think your older kids are going to burn in Hell for ever? You didn’t answer.
Don’t forget the nails through your hands too!
Here you go, Wally. This comment was just left on my blog from Charity who also experienced the type of Hell doctrine as a child that you preach/believe in.
Maybe you would like to explain your reasons why this repulsive doctrine is s necessary to her?
Are you man enough?
Read it carefully,Wally then read it again. Then try to put one of your kids in her place and imagine what that kid goes through ….
Crap! Another two-step shuffle to save face. John posted excerpts from research completely debunking Barrett. And this dismisses his claims and assertions because it demonstrates Barrett’s conclusions were not only wrong but that his methodology was flawed from the outset.
Seriously, please put up your next post in this series as. I am dying to read how you spin that one.
Haha…whatever. Then stop talking and I will have time to move on.
You do so love the … I-have-run-out-of-anything- intelligent-to-say ”whatever” phrase, don’t you?
No one says you have to respond to every comment, Mel?
I say “whatever” because what you’re saying is nonsense.
That’s funny. When I don’t respond to your comments you accuse me of not answering you, or you go off and claim your victory over the stupid Christians.
And you seem to be the master of wanting the last word because you keep commenting, speaking of hypocrisy.
No, it only seriously pisses me off when you hold comments in moderation or only answer half a comment.
And as it is your blog then the last word will always fall to you … if you so wish.
I answer what I can, Ark. Keep in mind, there’s about a half dozen of you guys now (that you’ve invited on from your site, by the way) all firing comments at me, some of them are over 1,000 words long! Sheesh! I don’t have the time to read War and Peace, and I certainly don’t have the time to answer every point of every comment. Perhaps if you commented less, and people were more concise and stayed on subject, I would be able to focus on what’s so important to you. For instance, if we would’ve stay on the subject of how we infer a designer (or disprove), there would probably have been 20 comments and I could’ve moved on. But you just can’t seem to stay on the subject. You must jump to your accusations and drive the conversation to what you want to talk about.
So, yes, it is my blog and I can choose the course of the discussion. But I don’t necessarily need the last word,
Well, your replies are mostly disingenuous as you demonstrated so aptly with that garbage about Barrett and then when called out you tried to back pedal that you were not referring to God(sic) but design in general.
Tildeb has explained time and again how you have little clue what you are talking about re: quantum and the supernatural and even I can understand this, but you simply refuse to acknowledge. And of course the crap you hand-waved away about Hell and Wally.
That really was despicable . Especially as your own Church believes in eternal damnation, demonstrating quite clearly that you are behaving like a hypocrite.
I won’t make the mistake of affording you the benefit of the doubt over such an issue again, you can be very sure of that.
Mel, I realize my comments about hell are not on the topic of your post, but I hope you will continue to allow them. Please do not view this comment as an attack on you…the mental health of children is far more improtant than either of us and our own personal stances or issues.
It was brought to my attention that you are the pastor of Foursquare Church denomination, and that this church has doctine that believes in a literal hell. There is a phamplet on amazon that discusses the view of the church here:
We believe that hell is the place of eternal torment for all who reject Christ as the Savior (Revelation 20:10,15).
Click to access Print_Brochure_What_Foursquare_Believes_English.pdf
Is this true?
If so, how do you reconcile this conservative view of hell with your more progressive ideas about hell (literal hell versus separation from god)? How can you be sure other people at your church aren’t teaching kids about burning in the lake of fire?
That’s a fair question, Violet. There are leaders within Foursquare that do not hold tightly to nonessential views like the one you referenced, and that’s perfectly acceptable. And remember, I said that I was agnostic on the subject of hell. In other words, I don’t have a strong position for this particular interpretation or against it. There are four valid views. I’m not so sure we can make a dogmatic conclusion on exactly what hell is.
And I know no one is teaching kids about burning in the lake of fire at my church. As far as other churches in Foursquare, I don’t know but I seriously doubt it’s being taught to children there either.
Well that is a relief. If, as the pastor, you have the power to decide what doctrines are taught in your church, that’s a good thing. Progressive views tend to be less harmful than conservative views.
Please thought Mel, if you find other pastors teaching the abusive idea of a literal hell, confront them to the best of your abilities. You, being on the inside of christianity and in a position of power, can make a greater difference on this front than any of us nonbelievers. This is only doing right by the kids. 🙂
We do have the power to decide in these nonessential doctrines. And I would say that the church, as a whole, is slowly moving away from these Medieval Dante’s inferno interpretations of hell. Keep in mind that theology evolves just as society evolves. Not that the Bible changes, we change and mature as human beings. When we mature, our interpretations also mature.
But either way, I agree with you. Scaring children (or anyone, for that matter) to follow the God (who is love) is a bit contradictory, let alone manipulative. There is no fear of punishment in love (1 John 4:18), so we shouldn’t come to Him that way either.
Well I’m glad some protestants are evolving to more progressive ideas. Catholics are a little slower on the evolution front. 😉
Just an FYI: if nonbelievers can easily find that your church believes in a literal hell on the internet, so can your kids. If they ask questions and you stick to your stance of hell being separation from god, be aware that children have a real terror about being left alone.
You don’t have to answer me about this stuff and I’m not going to bang you over the head with it, I just want you to ponder these issues in a quiet moment. I will also ponder some of your points.
Quick answer on non-believers coming to my site, yes, I would explain the difference. My view has consistently been that if we come to Christ by His love, hell is not an important subject.
And I think subjects like hell, evolution, and the age of the earth will become more non-essential points of contention in the years to come. The Catholic Church is a very big ship, if you will, hard to make quick turns. 🙂 I do like their current Pope and the direction he’s taking it. And doctrines should change very slowly and thoughtfully. But I believe we’ll eventually see that you don’t have to jettison your faith to believe either way on these kinds of subjects.
As you have demonstrated your penchant for giving the impression you know about certain things when you clearly do not, I think it unfair that you make such a statement about what you ”seriously doubt” unless you can produce evidence to back such a ”serious doubt” to the hilt.
I have a right to seriously doubt, based on my experience with other pastors and churches, Ark. Now you’re just being ridiculous. Do you have to comment on everything everyone says?
Based on your experience Jesus talks to you, healing miracles happen and prayer works and
In any other arena this would be called delusional, I suspect.
This might not be such a good example why we should trust your ”experience”, hmmm?
No. I don’t have to comment on everything.
Oh … oops! Dammit, this means I have just commented.
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