Tuesday, December 22, 2009

God, moral sense, and the argument from sufficient cause

Hey, you atheists out there. Want a good site to go to? Check out Atheism: Proving the Negative.

We're debating atheism and moral sense, and, so far, if the site author is to be believed, I'm losing, and losing badly -- I've got nothin'!

We now go to the debate in progress, where I am arguing from the premise of sufficient cause:

* * *

One of the principles of software engineering is that "what goes out, must have come in" i.e., there must be sufficient inputs to produce a given output.

All the closed-system of materialism has to offer us is human beings which are the product of mindless, amoral, purposeless processes (and nothing more). If I'm wrong about this first premise, let me know.

Now, humans are moral creatures. (If I'm wrong, let me know.)

What is the foundation of this moral sense? I see only two possibilities -- man himself, or nature, i.e, darwinian processes. (Wrong, let me know.)

Man himself.

The first source is man himself, with morality not being innate, but, as intelligent apes (or worms, or bacteria) being rationally determined by man as a rational creature (rationality is another problem for materialism, but let's grant it for the sake of argument.)

Morality in this view is the result of human reflection and contemplation -- and nothing more. In other words, we are not wired to be moral creatures, we overlay moral thinking upon our amoral urges.

In this view it is nothing more than a subjective overlay by humans upon more foundational realities -- i.e., that we are at essence, nothing more than stardust and water, re-mixed by an amoral, unthinking process, for no purpose.

Morality is then, at foundation, subjective. The human race may develop one set of moral constructs, an alien race another. And it would not be a question of one being right and the other wrong -- because in the closed system of materialism, morality is not intrinsic to the universe, it is some kind of overlay, and there is no external arbiter.

Indeed, different human groups or cultures could conceivably develop different moral systems, and the same problem would apply -- no outside, objective arbiter.

Now, the higher we go in moral thinking -- thinking that human beings have "value", thinking that human beings have "intrinsic worth", thinking that harming another human being is "wrong" or "evil", the higher we go in the disconnect from our origins from mindless, dead molecules -- and the more absurd and incongruous we become. Surely we deceive ourselves when we think we are worth something or have value! Our moral sense "emerges" like a vapor from the elements, but that's all it is at heart, vapor. It is grounded in nothing, ultimately.

Our moral thoughts are grounded in nothing more than utilitarian thinking -- I don't like to have pain inflicted upon me, so I won't inflict pain on others -- but this does not make inflicting pain "wrong". I feel good when I give to charity, so I'll give to charity -- but this does not make giving "good". This is not objective right and wrong, good and evil. This is just pragmatism, dressed up as right and wrong. This may get us to pragmatic advice for getting along in life, but it does not get us to objective right and wrong or good and evil. It falls short.

And, since there is no objective criteria "out there", anyone can refuse to play the game. Some people find pleasure in inflicting pain -- who's to say this is "wrong"? Who made you boss of me? Why are the conclusions of your uncreated, undesigned, purposeless brain any better than mine?

Darwinian foundations.

I prefer the view that moral sense is not just a human overlay, that it is indwelling, innate, and persistent. But this makes the problem even worse. Forget about rational foundations for morality. At least we are rational whereas the processes of nature, being mindless, are not. Now morality is rooted in nothing greater than darwinian wiring.

Darwinian processes are themselves mindless, amoral and purposeless (would you agree with that?).

If so, there is just insufficient input to take the output -- moral sense -- seriously. To trust it. To think that it actually means something. To think that it is anything more than a survival strategy (and strategy is the wrong word), it is really nothing more than a cruel burp of mindless, amoral evolution that doesn't care if we survive or not, let alone develop moral sense.

Conclusion

We are endued with the sense of "ought", the sense that some things are right and others wrong, much the same way that we believe there is something wrong with the notion that 2 + 2 =5 and that this belief is not just a matter of rational constructs of the human brain (view one) that 2 +2 should be 4, or feelings (view 2) that 2 +2 feels like four, but an apprehension of an objective fact objectively existing outside of subjective human sense experience which is true whether we recognize it or not.

The problem, of course, is, that in a closed-system materialistic world, there is no place for objective morality to exist outside of the molecules themselves. Unless you posit that morality somehow existed potentially in the stardust and water that begat us and is part of the fabric of the universe.

So, that is why I argue from absurdity. The materialist, in positing the objective existence of good and evil, right and wrong, cannot adequately account for it.

He can argue why we think there is right and wrong, but good and evil themselves cannot be sufficiently accounted for. And a truly scientific materialism would seek to debunk such thinking.

If moral sense is not rooted in God, but in stardust and water, it is, ultimately, rooted in nothing. (And, given the Big Bang theory of origins -- nothing is exactly what it is rooted in.)

And that is why I conclude that we have two fundamental choices: a) freedom from God and moral accountability to him coupled with admitting and accepting the absurdity of the human condition or b) God and accountability to Him, and authenticity.

This argument does not "prove" the existence of God. But it does demonstrate why rational human creatures should at least lean towards hoping that God in fact does exist.

Some might even say that leaning the other way would be a sin.

And that's the way the leaning-towards-God Ball bounces.

152 comments:

Joe said...

Distilling atheism

From nothing. By nothing. For nothing.

RkBall said...

That pretty much sums it up.

SDC said...

Not even close, Joe. It's closer to "We're here. Deal with it. Try to better ourselves." Your fantasy world has got ZERO evidence in support of it, as does your imaginary magic man in the sky.

Joe said...

Well SDC at least we agree that we are here. The question is how did we get here. Atheism doesn't provide that answer.

As for evidence could you provide evidence of the pre-biotic soup that evolutionists say had to exist for the emergence of life as we now know it?

I can only assume you know the cause of the big bang so I will wait with bated breath for your pearls of wisdom and insight.

Oh by the way SDC I don't believe in a magic man in the sky. Such a being could never have created all that we see and know. However I do believe in aself aware Being who named Himself I AM. You and I are a product of that Sentient Being whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.

SDC said...

I agree, "How did we get here?" is an unanswered question; the trouble is, YOUR "answer" is no sort of an "answer", because it is based on nothing more than wishful thinking and stone-age mythology. Why is your creation myth any more believable than any other cult's creation myth? You certainly have no more evidence for yours than they do for theirs. And that's where science comes in.
As for evidence of the "pre-biotic soup" you mention, recent discoveries show exactly that sort of thing in the tails of comets; NASA's Stardust mission collected a number of the building blocks of proteins and returned them to Earth 3 years ago, and the Earth was bombarded by thousands, if not millions, of such comets during its early history.
Since science depends on EVIDENCE (there's that inconvenient word again, Joe), no I can't say with certainty how the universe was formed, but neither can you; your wishful thinking causes you to jump past the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for your invisible magic man in the sky, and simply declaring it a fiat. Since there's no more evidence for that hypothesis than there is for the hypothesis that we were all created by a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius, why should I believe your fairy tale over any of the other possibilities?
Finally, Joe, if I'm to believe in the imaginary being that you choose to call your 'god", and said "god" actually existed, and had the powers that you ascribe to it, and gave a crap one way or the other about what humanity thought regarding its existence or non-existence, it could quite easily prove its existence once and for all. Since it hasn't, that means either that it doesn't care (highly unlikely, given the rest of your fairy tale), or that it simply DOESN'T EXIST, which is what the evidence shows. Past that, when we get into the intricacies of your particular cult, it shows your "god" up as an utterly immoral being, one that wouldn't deserve to be worshipped even if it existed. Your little magic book is chock full of examples of your imaginary "god" either approving of, requiring, or committing all manner of rape, murder, slavery, genocide, human sacrifice, and other assorted obscenities.

RkBall said...

SDC -- you haven't refuted Joe's assertion.

If not "from nothing", then, from what?

If not "by nothing", then, by what?

If not "for nothing", then, for what?

Joe said...

Several flaws with your logic SDC.

First of all that you refuse to acknowledge the existence of Yahweh does not mean that He has failed to reveal Himself. It means that no matter how much evidence is placed in front of you your bigotry will result in your rejection of said evidence.

Can you tell me why every time the origin of life comes up comets are mentioned? Could it be that because there is no evidence of same here on earth it had to have come from somewhere and the only know way that such a thing could happen is comets. The problem is that we have no way of telling if the refracted light we analyze is actually the result of light shining through pre-biotic soup or not. Of course comets also make for a real neat dodge. It reminds me of Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormons when he was convicted of fraud in a money digging scam. His excuse for not finding the money he was paid to dig for was because the money was 'slippery' and buried itself deeper faster than the men could dig for it. In other words since you can't find any evidence of pre-biotic soup on earth you simply move it to comets because you know no one will prove you wrong. If you can't find evidence of it on earth comets tails make the existence of life even more improbable. In an ocean the size of earth would have difficulty supplying enough pre-biotic material for random chance to bring together enough of the right pre-biotic material into close enough proximity to form a molecule capable of becoming life and now you are going to tell me that a comet's tale is going to do the trick? And you think I believe in fairy tales? I've got some swampland in Florida for sale interested? Oh and if you send a million dollars to Nigeria...

That put aside would you explain explain the organization of DNA for which there is no chemical reason for its existence?

SDC said...

Mr. Ball, under the rules of logic, it's up to Joe (and anyone else who believes in his fairy tale) to set out their hypothesis and to PROVE it with EVIDENCE; he and you may well believe that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius created the universe, but there is absolutely no evidence to support that claim, so there is absolutely no reason for anyone who values knowledge, logic, or truth to accept it. Simple enough for you?

SDC said...

Joe, I think you probably need a refresher course in logic if you can't se the gaping holes in your own myth. It is your claim that this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky exists, it is your claim that it created everyone and everything, it is your claim that it is all-powerful, omniscient, etc.,it is your claim that it would care one way or another if humans know of its existence, it is your claim that it has the power to make its existence known, and so on, therefore, it is up to YOU to support all of these claims with evidence; otherwise, your entire hypothesis has nothing more behind it than any other fantastic conspiracy theory dreamt up by some guy pushing a shopping cart and mumbling that the government was behind 9/11.
Science can only work with EVIDENCE, while religion has this amazing propensity for simply making things up. Every scientist I know is absolutely happy to lay out their findings and how they reached those findings, working from the evidence to a logical conclusion, but cults and superstitions take these questions very personally for some reason, the same way used-car salesmen do when you point out that the lemon they're trying to sell has got holes in the floorboards and a cracked cylinder.
The Stardust mission didn't just analyze light refract through the comet's tail, it actually COLLECTED material, by catching it in an aerogel grid. So, once again, we have ACTUAL evidence, (as opposed to your made-up "evidence"); for your hypothesis, we have what, again, exactly? A collection of fairy tales, written by people that believed in ghosts and angels, who believed that the sun went round the earth, who believed that slavery, murder, rape, and worse were all "ordained by god", and so on. You believe in an atavistic superstition, no better than the nonsense spouted by an African witch doctor.

RkBall said...

SDC: you say it's up to Joe to set out their hypothesis and to PROVE it with EVIDENCE. Here's the problem with this. Joe mentioned nothing about deity when he posed the atheist's mantra.

And you have not addressed it. It's a very simple proposition. If you disagree with his assertion, then how do you answer it, i.e., the universe:

If not "from nothing", then, from what?

If not "by nothing", then, by what?

If not "for nothing", then, for what?

It seems these are pretty important, foundational questions. What is your answer?

RkBall said...

SDC: you mention the rules of logic, and those who value knowledge, logic, and truth. You then condescendingly ask: Simple enough for you?

My answer is, obviously simple enough for you, but not for me. Please answer the following two questions without resorting to caricature or condescension (if your fevered brain is capable of such action).

1. What are your foundational reasons for believing in and trusting the rules of logic? Where do you believe they came from, and why should we trust them?

2. And what are your foundational reasons for trusting in the musings of the human brain -- according to your worldview, uncreated, undesigned, without function or purpose, the product of a mindless, a-logical, unthinking, undirected process? Why should we think the human brain is anything more than materialistic chemical actions and reactions, like a burp or hiccup?

In other words, what is your foundation for knowing anything, given your materialistic presuppositions?

RkBall said...

SDC: "he and you may well believe that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius created the universe".

I don't believe either of us made this assertion, and if all you've got is caricature and gross mischaracterization of the other person's views, then, you're out of bullets and have lost the argument.

Joe said...

Actually the funny part is that the from nothing by nothing for nothing quote is from a well known atheist.

However the problem is that the atheistic position is not capable of standing on its own merit philosophically. In fact I have spoken to and read quite a few other well known scientists who were dyed in the wool atheists both out of sentimentality and from their training who changed their view point when they examined the evidence in front of them. I doubt very much that SDC would grasp it as I am under the impression that SDC doesn't do much introspection preferring to spout lines he has picked up at college. I could recommend all kinds of literature written by Darwinists who decry the fact that their theory has more holes in it than Swiss Cheese. However I know that someone who would stoop to the childish taunts SDC engages in that there would be no point because the academic language would lose him on the first page. I read one philosopher who became a Christian because it was the only philosophy that answered all his questions. He looked at the modern cosmology and realized that the Big Bang was a major problem for naturalism. If the Big Bang was true then 'natural causes' no longer apply. He then spoke to a mathematician who explained that all the big numbers showed that the universe was created to support life. Numbers like gravitational attraction, subatomic attraction etc are set with a precision that can not be accounted for in any other way except Someone planned it. A biologist looked at DNA and realized there was no reason for DNA to form itself in the way it does. In fact its seeming random formation defies 'natural' organization. Natural organization would give you a regular pattern much like you see in crystals. Instead in DNA you have a written code that uses four characters to pass along the information needed for cells to remain healthy and multiply. Of course this too will go right over the head of someone like SDC. Then there is the issue of life. I believe it too is something that SDC has no answer for. How is it possible to put all the right chemicals in all the right places and still have inert matter.

Instead SDC prefers to play silly boy by trying belittle other's beliefs all the while hanging on to mystical comet tails.

SDC said...

Mr. Ball, an atheist starts with what we know through observation, and builds on that base through experimentation and further observation. Joe and yourself, and your ilk, reverse that process, by asserting that you "know" something (in this case, that there is an invisible magic man in the sky), and expect everyone else to believe you without any sort of supporting evidence whatsoever; this is exactly what the Muslim fundamentalists do when they assert that their little magic book is the be-all and end-all of knowledge. I don't believe YOUR nonsense for exactly the same reason I don't believe theirs, but that doesn't mean that I believe that we should stop looking for the answers to questions. It DOES mean that I'm not prepared to do what you and Joe do, and lie to myself in order to give myself some sort of comforting "answer".

"If not "from nothing", then, from what?"
Since none of us have atime machine that will let us go back to the beginning of time to actually observe what happened, this may be a question we will never be able to answer; that doesn't particularly bother me, but it seems to bother you to the extent that you will gladly make up a false "answer" just to give yourself a sense of security.

"If not "by nothing", then, by what?"
See above.

"If not "for nothing", then, for what?"
Here, you make the mistake of assuming that your life would be worthless or meaningless without your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky; I'm happy merely being alive and enjoying my limited time. During that time, I would prefer to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible, and if I can't find the truth of something, I'm happy to say that I don't have the information needed to reach a conclusion. You, on the other hand, are so desperate to believe something (ANYTHING) rather than admit you don't know, and to that end, you will profess belief in your self-contradictory superstition.

SDC said...

Second:

1: The rules of logic have been expressed and refined over thousands of years, and can be trusted because they have been questioned, tested, and re-tested over the same period. Your cult doesn't ALLOW such questioning, because it implies a "lack of faith". They don't "come" from anywhere, they exist as theoretical concepts, the same way that the Platonic solids do.
2: You ask this like we have any sort of a CHOICE? What do you offer in its place? As far as I can see, nothing at all.

rkball said...

... by asserting that you "know" something (in this case, that there is an invisible magic man in the sky""

Neither Joe nor I made any such assertion -- nor do you know that we began our intellectual search with this assumption. Nor can you possibly know the motive by which a person may embrace Christian belief, unless you are claiming that atheists have super-powers. As it is, you're just spouting off whatever pops into your head, which perhaps is as much as one can expect given darwinian assumptions about the human brain.

And I warned you against the use of condescending caricatures -- if you have to resort to these, as I've said, you've already lost the argument.

You better stop while you're behind.

SDC said...

"I don't believe either of us made this assertion, and if all you've got is caricature and gross mischaracterization of the other person's views, then, you're out of bullets and have lost the argument."

Richard, I thought you would at least be smart enough to recognize a metaphor; you may not realize it, but that IS your argument in a nutshell. You claim that the universe was created by something that we cannot prove exists, have no evidence for, and we are expected to believe in on nothing more than blind faith, and that position is utterly ludicrous whether you're talking about your imaginary "god" or a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius.

rkball said...

Are the rules of logic inviable? Do they exist outside of the human mind, or are they subjective human constructs?

And, if you have no idea what caused the universe to exist, how can you possibly rule out God as an explanatory cause? Are you claiming omniscience for atheists? Or, are you claiming that perhaps there is an exception to the tried-and-tested maxim that "everything that begins to exist must have a sufficient cause"? In which case, logic goes out the window.

"2: You ask this like we have any sort of a CHOICE? What do you offer in its place? As far as I can see, nothing at all."

On the contrary. A theist has grounded reason for trusting in logic -- a super-mind lying behind the material, created universe. The point is, theists have a reason to trust in logic -- atheists must assume its cohesion and integrity, but cannot adequately explain why it should exist, or why the universe should successfully submit to logical inquiry.

rkball said...

"You claim that the universe was created by something that we cannot prove exists, have no evidence for, and we are expected to believe in on nothing more than blind faith"

No, I did not.

The arguments you are making exist only in your mind -- because I certainly never made them. Perhaps you are hearing voices -- which means your fevered darwinian brain is acting up again, but, again, when something is undesigned you really can't expect it to work very well.

rkball said...

"you will gladly make up a false "answer" just to give yourself a sense of security."

1. How do you know the answer if false? Atheistic omniscience at work?

2. How do you know why I believe in God? Omniscience again? Just spoutin' off? Whatever pops into the ol' undesigned darwinian head? Should I take your posts as evidence of darwinian mind burps?

SDC said...

Joe, like Richard, you would prefer to believe a comforting lie than an uncomfortable truth, and that's the real reason I'm not about to believe any of the snake-oil that religion sells. I look at this issue in the same way I would look at the following hypothetical example:
A group of people from all times and cultures in history are walking through a desert, and they come across a box that no-one can open. Naturally, everyone wonders what is inside the box, until the religious members of the group start to claim that "Hey, god must be in that box!" Now, there's no reason whatsoever to believe that, but, sure enough, the Viking says "Odin must be in that box, and I have a large collection of stories that tell me how Odin wants me to behave". The ancient Greek says "Zeus must be in that box, and I have a large collection of stories that tell me how Zeus wants me to behave". The animist says "The power of nature must be in that box, and I have a large collection of stories that tell me how I'm supposed to behave according to the power of nature". The African witch doctor says "The sacred power of the volcano must be in that box, and since the volcano god talks to me directly through my visions, I know how we're all supposed to behave". The Muslim says "Allah must be in that box, and I have a collection of stories in my little magic book that tells me how to behave, and if you don't believe me, I should kill you". The Christian says "God must be in that box, and I have a collection of stories in my little magic book that tells me how to behave, and if you don't believe me, you deserve to be tortured forever as a heretic". And so on and so forth...
I, as a rationalist and an atheist, say there is no reason whatsoever to make or believe any of these sorts of arrogant proclamations, as they're all based on NOTHING, and that includes your own. If you want someone to believe you, you need to prove your hypothesis, and not just say "My little magic book says...", since your little magic book is based on the same sort of BS that gave the Viking his myths, the ancient Greek his myths, the animist his myths, the muslim his myths, and so on.

SDC said...

"how can you possibly rule out God as an explanatory cause?"

Because there is NO EVIDENCE for this "god" you speak of, any more than there's any evidence for agiant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius. There are an endless number of hypothetical possibilities, but without any actual evidence to suggest that a given hypothesis is correct, your chosen hypothesis is no more correct than the giant purple bunny rabbit.
Second, the dodge you offer is subject to the exact same "fault" that you claim applies to mine; how are you supposed to be able to accurately evaluate logic and reason with your fallible human brain?

SDC said...

"No, I did not."

That is most certainly the argument you are making, that "My "god" exists even though I can't prove its existence".

SDC said...

"1. How do you know the answer if false?"

Because an answer is not an answer until it's been proven; just like the Muslims' "answer", and the ancient Egyptians' "answer", and the Mormons' "answer", and the "answer" of every single OTHER cult or superstition that has claimed to have some sort of monopoly on the truth, your cult is simply a fairy-tale pulled out of someone's ass to try to explain something that they had no way of explaining.

2. How do you know why I believe in God?
Because that is the way that cults operate; they gain members either through people being born into them (and thus being indoctrinated into that belief, no matter how ilogical or self-contradictory), or by offering some sort of mental comfort, so that people who may find themselves under some sort of stress can put their minds at ease. These both operate entirely independently of the truth or falsehood of the cults' claims, and the second one is simply the equivalent of the "placebo effect".

rkball said...

""how can you possibly rule out God as an explanatory cause?"

Because there is NO EVIDENCE for this "god" you speak of"

There is the universe -- for which you have no explanation. There is you -- endued with rational abilities and moral sense. There is the Bible -- which, unlike your mindless rants, stands up well against the other religious systems you mentioned. There is the historical evidence for the resurrection. And on, and on, and on, and on. You really have to calm down and stop thinking that by putting your words in ALL CAPS that somehow you will "win" the argument.

rkball said...

2. How do you know why I believe in God?
"Because that is the way that cults operate....

Your powers are extraordinary -- you claim to know me, whom you do not know and have never met, better than I know myself. Your self-aggrandizing self-confidence is worthy of the most earnest fundamentalist -- for surely, that is what you are. Surely the fevered froth of a darwinian brain at work, evidence of the primordial soup, sludge, really, at work.

rkball said...

"No, I did not."

That is most certainly the argument you are making, that "My "god" exists even though I can't prove its existence".

I never said this either. Please try to get control of the darwinian mind-sludge faucet.

rkball said...

"the dodge you offer is subject to the exact same "fault" that you claim applies to mine; how are you supposed to be able to accurately evaluate logic and reason with your fallible human brain?

Man, you walked into this one. The atheist has no grounded reason for trusting anything that comes out of his darwinian brain -- it's no more than mind-burps and mind-hic-cups.

Unlike the atheist/materialist, a theist has grounded reason for trusting in his mind, because he believes he perceives that it has been created for use in areas such as logic, mathematics, etc.

In fact, the only deep grounding for trusting anything that emanates from a human mind is to believe that the human mind is trustworthy when it works for the purpose for which it was designed.

Unfortunately, for atheists, you're stuck with the notion that your brain wasn't created by anybody for anything, and has no design and no purpose.

The fact that you continue to act as if it does means that, at the deepest level, you have embraced theist assumptions for the actual living of your life.

Which is really all you can do. Atheism is unlivable in practice because of its logical implications.

Which is yet another reason to consider theism. But these ideas are clearly beyond your fevered darwinian brain, which cannot get beyond pink bunnies and other crazy ideas.

rkball said...

In other words, I have rational grounding for believing what comes out of my mind, but you have no rational grounding for believing what comes out of yours.

Joe said...

So let me get this straight SDC you are not logically correct, not philosophically valid and not scientifically sound but I am to believe you because???? On top of that you say that an answer isn't an answer because it isn't proven. Yet your position is not only unproven it is unprovable, after all you can't prove the negative. Somehow you believe that science stood still 150 years ago when Darwin exposed his theory because you reject all the science since that time that shows Darwin's theory is little more than a wish that there is no God.
Well if Darwin is right Einstein is wrong and no Einstein was not a theist. I do not speak for the personal beliefs of Einstein one way or the other I simply apply his theory to the universe and expose Darwin as a fraud.

Now if you don't want to believe in Yahweh then please enjoy your life or what ever it is you choose to call a life and leave it at that. However please don't engage in serious debate with people who know far more than you do by belittling their understanding of the universe. As it is you sound a bit like Lucy of Charlie Brown fame calling Aristotle and Plato dummies because they didn't speak English.

SDC said...

"There is the universe -- for which you have no explanation."

All that the universe shows is that we are here; it gives no indication one way or another what began the universe, and certainly no evidence for your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky. Once again, you may as well be arguing that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius "created the universe", since there is as much evidence for that proposition as there is for yours. What science can prove is that all the matter in the universe was at one time packed very densely together, and we see the after-effects of a giant explosion that has sent that matter expanding out into space.

"There is you -- endued with rational abilities and moral sense."

Which, once again, is proof of nothing more than I am here; every creature we know of has the ability to learn, adapt and survive, which is just as much an explanation for intelligence as your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky is.

"There is the Bible -- which, unlike your mindless rants, stands up well against the other religious systems you mentioned."

And, once again, your little magic book contradicts itself so many times on so many things that it is no more "true" than any other cults' little magic book; just like any other supposed "message from god", it is a collection of fables and fairy-tales, used by power-hungry humans to serve their own ends, and nothing more.

"There is the historical evidence for the resurrection."

And which "historical evidence" would that be? The self-contradicting stories in your little magic book? You wouldn't accept similar stories if they were offered on behalf of any other cult, so why do you expect anyone to accept them on behalf of YOUR cult? I'd also like a straight answer to one of my earlier points; why is it that you think that the characters in your little magic book (whom we are told were all Jews), chose to deliberately flout Jewish burial law in several respects ONLY in this one case, particularly when your "prophet" earlier claimed (Matthew 5:17) that he did not want to change any of those laws?

"And on, and on, and on, and on."

See above; wishful thinking has no relation to reality, and that goes for your cult as much as it does for any other.

"You really have to calm down and stop thinking that by putting your words in ALL CAPS that somehow you will "win" the argument."

When I use "all caps", it is merely a matter of emphasis, I assure you, since volume doesn't carry well over the intertubes.

SDC said...

"Your powers are extraordinary -- you claim to know me, whom you do not know and have never met, better than I know myself."

I've never met YOU personally, but I have met a number iof people in person that share your delusion, including a number that were so deluded as to claim that they "talked to Jesus and/or god". Now, why is it that when someone like Phillip Garrido claims to "talk to god", we can all recognize that for the plain and simple mental illness it is, but we are willing to give other religious fruitcakes a pass on that very same claim? One of the rotating headlines on your blog claimed at one time that "he lifted me", or some such nonsense, leading me to believe that you fall into the second category of "true believers", those who suffered some sort of stress at one point that made them latch onto their particular chosen superstition, and, having found a certain amount of comfort in it, decided that this was somehow some sort of "proof" that their superstition was therefore true. Well, I'm afraid to break it to you, but reality doesn't work that way.

SDC said...

"I never said this either. Please try to get control of the darwinian mind-sludge faucet."

If you have some evidence for the existence of your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, where is it? Should I just take your word for it? If so, why wouldn't I just as gullibly take any other cults' word for it that THEY'RE right and you're wrong?

SDC said...

"Unlike the atheist/materialist, a theist has grounded reason for trusting in his mind, because he believes he perceives that it has been created for use in areas such as logic, mathematics, etc."

Key word here; "believes". You have no more reason or evidence to believe your nonsense than any other cult does, where science has actual verifiable evidence.

SDC said...

"In other words, I have rational grounding for believing what comes out of my mind, but you have no rational grounding for believing what comes out of yours."

No, you have no more rational grounding for your "faith" than the Queen of Hearts did in "Alice in Wonderland"; you assume that your simplistic cult gives you the "answer" to everything because you don't want to look any further than your cult is willing to give you answers. And, if those "answers" aren't supported by reality, then you simply don't care. Well, those of us who DO care about the truth aren't willing to buy the sort of claptrap that your cult is in the business of selling.

SDC said...

And Joe, every single bit of scientific evidence uncovered so far supports the idea of evolution, in direct contrast to the fairy tales offered by your little magic book. Evolution is a scientific theory just like gravity; you're free to believe any other ludicrous thing you want to, but if you want to actually CONVINCE people that you're right, you're going to have to pony up with some evidence, and not just ancient fairy tales.

RkBall said...

"Should I just take your word for it? If so, why wouldn't I just as gullibly take any other cults' word for it that THEY'RE right and you're wrong?"

Previously, I gave you ten criteria off the top of my head for comparing the miracles of the Bible to the miracles of other faith traditions. You didn't bother responding to that; instead, you just go on like a broken record, repeating yourself.

Being able to evaluate one worldview vs. another, and one set of religious claims vs. another, requires analytical, intuitive, and rational reasoning abilities. Apparently not everyone is up to the task.

RkBall said...

""In other words, I have rational grounding for believing what comes out of my mind, but you have no rational grounding for believing what comes out of yours."

No, you have no more rational grounding for your "faith" than the Queen of Hearts did in "Alice in Wonderland"...."

You missed the point -- yet again.

My point is that a theist has grounds for trusting the ruminations of a human mind, whereas the atheist, believing the human mind emerged from mindless sludge, by a mindless process, for no purpose whatsoever, does not.

You have not even attempted to address this argument, let alone refute it. I suspect you didn't even "get" it.

You continue to settle for endlessly repeating mindless statements about pink bunnies and magic books, rather than doing some actual thinking.

RkBall said...

"reality doesn't work that way."

You don't know how -- or why -- the universe came into being.

You don't know how -- or why -- life emerged on earth.

You cannot adequately explain how self-consciousness, the mind, free-will, and moral sense emerged from lifeless matter.

In other words, you don't have the first clue about why we are here on earth, or how we got here.

Furthermore, you have no idea whether there is life after death, whether there is a God or not, whether God chooses to reveal himself to persons, or whether, like Jesus claimed, there is a judgment that follows this life in which man is held morally accountable for his deeds.

Given all of the above, it seems that you don't have the first clue about how reality works, and I don't think you are in much of a position to be lecturing me, or anybody else, on the matter.

joe_agnost said...

Joe (no relation) wrote: "you reject all the science since that time that shows Darwin's theory is little more than a wish that there is no God."

BWAAHAAHAAHAA!

Seriously - this is classic, just classic.

It is the complete opposite that is true. 150 years of scientists TRYING TO DISPROVE the theory of evolution and every single one confirms it. Every one. From DNA to fossils every single advancement in science has confirmed the ToE.

Your statement needs an example Joe... just one example will do. Name ONE thing science has found that disputes the ToE. Just one. That's it, one among the many you seem to believe dispute the theory.

You won't be able to list one because there are exactly NONE!

That is why the Theory of Evolution is considered by many to be the most solid theory to date (over gravitational theory, germ theory, etc.). The theory of evolution has the most evidence for it - more that gravity and germ theory.

Joe continues: "if Darwin is right Einstein is wrong..."

BUZZ - nope, wrong again. There isn't ONE SINGLE scientific discovery that disputes the ToE, Einstein included.

Joe wrote: "I simply apply his (Einstein`s) theory to the universe and expose Darwin as a fraud."

This should be good... please explain yourself here (as you're demonstrably wrong again).

Joe continues: "please don't engage in serious debate with people who know far more than you do..."

As far as this thread goes I'm afraid that SDC seems to be the only one producing anything with merit. You (joe) clearly don't understand science - much like RK_Ball it seems - but you seem happy to type either lies about science or ignorant statements about it (that's being polite).

Joe finishes: "As it is you sound a bit like Lucy of Charlie Brown fame calling Aristotle and Plato dummies because they didn't speak English."

Oh the irony... it's killing me!

So here you go Joe - it's your time to show my errors. It should be easy for you because all you have to do is produce one, just one, bit of science that disproves the ToE. You've claimed a lot of the science of the past 150 years does this - just give one example please.

Oh, and from RKBall: "You don't know how -- or why -- life emerged on earth."

OK. We have some pretty solid hypotheses but no concrete GOTCHA (yet).

"You cannot adequately explain how self-consciousness, the mind, free-will, and moral sense emerged from lifeless matter."

So?

"In other words, you don't have the first clue about why we are here on earth, or how we got here."

You`ve been forgetting to mention that you don`t have a clue about these things either though... well, no more a clue than the muslims, hindus, scientologists, etc. do...

RKBall finishes with this little gem: "Given all of the above, it seems that you don't have the first clue about how reality works, and I don't think you are in much of a position to be lecturing me, or anybody else, on the matter"

Wow... you are claiming that because SDC cannot explain everything about the world/universe, that he is no position to talk about what he DOES know? The fact that he can`t answer every question means that he doesn`t have the "first clue about how reality works"?
It doesn`t follow from that I`m afraid... it`s bizaar that you would suggest it. Well, coming from you (Ball) it`s no real surprise...

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

I'd like to jump in here with a few comments. As a Biblical-Christian I present Jesus Christ. In all the discussions of evidence, I believe the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah is the point that needs to be addressed. Jesus was God made flesh, who walked among men, He was born of a virgin, claimed to be God (YAHWEH, I AM, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) was crucified and died on a cross, was buried, resurrected and appeared to many witnesses and then ascended into Heaven. Paul himself said if this is not true then there is no gospel to preach. If Jesus was who He claimed to be then He is God, He is the Word (which has existed since the beginning) and that Word says that God was complete in the beginning in the community of the Trinity and created all things by His hand and by His choosing and to this day all things are held together by this same Jesus.

This is no myth. The Mythological figures of other cults are myths exactly because their god did not enter time and space to interact with, to become man. Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life. He came to provide forgiveness for sinners, to seek and to save that which was lost, not to make people good but to provide a way so man could live.

So, I would submit that Jesus as the truth, the evidence. If Jesus was who He claimed to be, then all nature and all of natures processes are His creation and will testify to His Lordship (which is exactly what I believe). Science can never speak to origins, so Christian believers should not hitch their wagon to science. Science is limited in that all it will ever be able to do is theorize about what might have happened, there is no sense trying to prove anything relative to origins with science. What we can see from science, however, is how greatly God is to be praised for the wonder of things like the information agents like DNA, logic and reasoning in human beings who are created in the likeness of Him, the human soul and the feelings of conscience and 'oughtness' that compels us to choose right behavior. These are testimonies of God's creation not evidence of His existence.

But He provides much more than that. Jesus spoke to the human condition, why we are what we are and why we do what we do. Our hearts are desperately wicked, even many times when we do good things it is due to pride or greed so even our motivations are wrong. He speaks to our eternal destination and came specifically to provide a way for atonement for our sins and for forgiveness so we can be justified before a perfect God. In short, He provides for us a cogent, coherent, non-contradictory answer to all the major questions in life, namely origin, meaning, morality and destiny.

So, in summary my position is that Jesus is the Christ and therefore is the one true God who created all things and who even now holds all things together. Therefore, I believe all nature testifies to that truth in how beautiful and sublime it all is, and how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. Other scientists much more intelligent than I speak to things such as irreducible complexity, specified complexity, arguments for the existence of God such as the cosmological, teleological and ontological arguments. These things all testify to what we already know to be true based on a person who walked with us and talked with us: Jesus is Lord.

So, I would suggest those who suggest Christitanity is a myth, just like other cults I would challenge them to study the claims of Christ and His birth, life, death and resurrection. Like Anthony Flew, what you find may be all the evidence you'll ever need.

joe_agnost said...

jeremy wrote: "Jesus was God made flesh, who walked among men, He was born of a virgin, claimed to be God (YAHWEH, I AM, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) was crucified and died on a cross, was buried, resurrected and..."

and continued: "This is no myth."

Except that it is a myth. A very famous one, but still a myth.

Jeremy continued: "The Mythological figures of other cults are myths exactly because their god did not enter time and space to interact with, to become man."

Not quite... they're all myths for exactly the same reason your religion is a myth, there is no difference.

SDC said...

"Previously, I gave you ten criteria off the top of my head for comparing the miracles of the Bible to the miracles of other faith traditions. You didn't bother responding to that; instead, you just go on like a broken record, repeating yourself."

Joe agnost has already convincingly rebutted your other arguments, but if you bother to actually LOOK at the thread in question, you'll see that I refuted every single one of your "ten" (actually nine) criteria, showing why your little magic book is no more convincing than any other cults' little magic book. Furthermore, you studiously continue to refuse to address the fact that your own little magic book contradicts itself in a number of ways regarding what is supposed to be the central event in your superstition, the supposed "resurrection" of this cult leader who was killed for being a pain in the ass to the Romans. Next, if any of the so-called "miracles" in your little magic book actually occurred, why is it that we don't hear about them from any other source? It seems to me that if someone had actually raised the dead, walked on water, fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and so on, then someone OUTSIDE of this peculiar offshoot of the Jewish cult would have heard about it, no? In fact, I'd be willing to say that the Romans would have been willing to CRAWL all the way to Judea to kiss his ass if these stories were true. But, what do we hear of these stories from any unbiased contemporary source? Not a thing. Instead, we have more evidence of OTHER characters from that time period who claimed to have performed similar "miracles", but likewise disappeared into history, than we have of yours.
And Jeremy, if you'd bother to think about it for a little while, you'd realize that there is no more evidence for the stories in your cult than there is for the similar stories in any other cult. Since it matters to me whether what I believe is the TRUTH or not, I'm not about to take your collection of fairy-tales as true, any more than I'd be willing to take the fairy-tales of any other cult as true.

RkBall said...

"Richard, I thought you would at least be smart enough to recognize a metaphor"

What you said was a crude caricature; there was no metaphor involved in it. One might think that a person of such high self-regard might at least be expected to understand some of the rudiments of grammar, but that would, apparently, be expecting too much of you.

RkBall said...

SDC -- your language is deteriorating to the point where I may be compelled to excise your posts. It appears that underneath your rude exterior may lie an ugly interior. Is nastiness a learned behavior, or is it innate? If innate, what does it say about human nature? Fit for heaven? Fit for eternal rewards -- or fit for the trash heap, the reject pile?

One of the points that Jeremy makes is that we are all sinners. It is those who acknowledge their sinfulness and regret it who seek a Savior; those who like to wallow in their filth "party on" to destruction. Our own sinfulness is one of the truths that the Bible attests to that every one can assess for him- or herself.

RkBall said...

"Next, if any of the so-called "miracles" in your little magic book actually occurred, why is it that we don't hear about them from any other source?... what do we hear of these stories from any unbiased contemporary source?"

1. You reject the entire testimony of the apostles and their colleagues as biased? You reject the testimony of John. Of Peter. Of Matthew. Of Luke. Of Mark...

You reject the testimony of the apostle Paul, who was formerly a persecutor of the Christian sect.

You reject the testimony of James, the brother of Christ, who during Christ's lifetime disbelieved in him.

I'm sure you've thought this all through and have a reasoned explanation for the sudden change of heart and mind of both Paul and James -- both of whom were willing to be martyred for their belief in the risen Christ. We're all waiting to hear what you've got to say about this.

2. There are external sources who bear witness to Christ's reputation as a miracle worker. But, I suspect, no amount of evidence would ever persuade you -- because your mind is already made up. The fact that you are apparently ignorant of these sources only reinforces the notion that, when it comes to arguing about these matters, you're one taco short of a combination plate.

SDC said...

"metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them"

That is exactly the relationship between an imaginary giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius and your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, like it or not.

SDC said...

My LANGUAGE? Get realistic, and admit that you'd like to excise my posts not for a figure of speech that is a common aspect of life, but for the fact that I don't hesitate to point out some of the many logical non-sequiturs inherent in your superstition. I don't see why I should have to show any more faux "respect" for YOUR chosen superstition than I show for any OTHER baseless superstition, be it Mormonism, Islam, Scientology, or volcano worship.

RkBall said...

"That is exactly the relationship between an imaginary giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius and your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, like it or not."

I believe in neither the purple bunny, nor the imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, so whoever you are arguing with -- yourself perhaps? -- it is not me.

Nor does equating one fanciful caricature with another constitute the use of metaphor.

You're unwillingness or inability (pick one) to express the Christian conception of God says far more about you and the poverty of your argument than it does about me.

RkBall said...

"My LANGUAGE? .... YOUR chosen superstition than I show for any OTHER baseless superstition....

There you go, again. Another CAPS ON moment, friends.

SDC said...

"You reject the entire testimony of the apostles and their colleagues as biased? You reject the testimony of John. Of Peter. Of Matthew. Of Luke. Of Mark..."

I reject them as after-the-fact fabrications, written by people whom we do not even KNOW (the supposed "authorship" having been decided centuries after the fact) and which contradict each other on matters large and small. And, once again, I STILL haven't heard you offer any sort of explanation for the fact that your little magic book claims that these people (observant Jews, all) chose to disregard the very laws that their superstition attaches to the handling of dead bodies. This is inordinately fishy, to the point where if something similar was seen in any OTHER cult, you and your ilk would immediately latch onto it as proof that said cult was therefore not to be believed.

"You reject the testimony of the apostle Paul, who was formerly a persecutor of the Christian sect."

Who only converted to your superstition after seeing a hallucination and hearing voices; what do we call these people again? That's right, "CRAZY" (see Phillip Garrido).

"You reject the testimony of James, the brother of Christ, who during Christ's lifetime disbelieved in him."

Yes, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; I don't ask anything of your cult in the way of evidence that I don't ask for from any other cult. This "James" fellow claims to have seen a "resurrected" Jesus, but we have no reason or evidence to believe him; why should I or you gullibly swallow that tale without evidence, any more than I or you would gullibly swallow Joseph Smith's tale of having been given a golden book by an "angel"?

"I'm sure you've thought this all through and have a reasoned explanation for the sudden change of heart and mind of both Paul and James -- both of whom were willing to be martyred for their belief in the risen Christ."

There is no end of crazy people that are perfectly willing to die for whatever crazy beliefs they may hold, and you don't need to look very far to find them; your argument falls flat on its face.

"There are external sources who bear witness to Christ's reputation as a miracle worker."

And these "external sources" are where, exactly? Are they simply retellings of what this particular cult claimed to believe (as with the Roman reports of the existence of "Jesus"), or are they accounts by someone with no reason to favour a particular interpretation? Once again, if said "miracles" actually occured, why is it only this peculiar offshoot of the Jewish cult that happened to notice them? If a graveyard full of dead bodies had suddenly come to life and walked through a town (as your little magic book claims), that seems to me to be the sort of thing that people are likely to NOTICE and report on. Instead, we have nothing to indicate that this was anything but one more fairy-tale in your book full of fairy-tales.

SDC said...

"I believe in neither the purple bunny, nor the imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, so whoever you are arguing with -- yourself perhaps? -- it is not me."

You claim that this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky created the universe and everything in it, and that said invisible magic man has a multitude of powers, but you don't have any evidence to support your delusion. Therefore, you may as well be arguing the exact same things for a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius, as you have an equal amount of evidence that both of them exist.

RkBall said...

"... admit that you'd like to excise my posts... for the fact that I don't hesitate to point out some of the many logical non-sequiturs inherent in your superstition."

SDC, once again you engage in gross self-flattery. So far you haven't demonstrated you even understand how logic works. If you did, you should be able to cobble together some kind of coherent, sustained argument that rises above invective and name-calling.

Perhaps you find this therapeutic. However, I doubt it. You seem to be in quite a lather over a God you claim (hope?) does not exist. You know, the One who created you, before whom you will one day stand to give an account of your life.

Perhaps this is why you prefer to think of this God in terms of pink bunnies -- a little less fearsome, to a troubled conscience, perhaps?

SDC said...

"There you go, again. Another CAPS ON moment, friends."

That's right, and whenever I want to EMPHASIZE a particular word, I will CONTINUE to use all-caps, TYVM.

RkBall said...

"You claim that this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky created the universe".

No, I don't. This is your characterization, not mine. It's called the straw man argument. I'm sure you're familiar with it. It's an argument-for-losers approach to debating. Your argumentation borders on the persistently delusional -- especially since I have called you on this a couple of times already.

SDC said...

"You know, the One who created you, before whom you will one day stand to give an account of your life."

If this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky you claim "created" me actually EXISTED, and had the powers that you CLAIM, I have no doubt he or it could make its presence known in no uncertain terms. But, since it HASN'T, that means either that he/it couldn't care less what I think, or that he/it is just as imaginary as any of the endless multitude of other "gods" that weak-minded sheep have chosen to believe in. I'm putting my money on option 2.

RkBall said...

"There is no end of crazy people that are perfectly willing to die for whatever crazy beliefs they may hold, and you don't need to look very far to find them; your argument falls flat on its face."

So, the author of the epistle to say, the Romans, was crazy, and the author of the book of James was crazy, and Peter was crazy, and Matthew, and the author of the gospel of John -- all crazy -- is that your theory?

Is that the best you've got? "They were all crazy?"

SDC said...

"No, I don't. This is your characterization, not mine."

Is this "god" of yours visible? No. That makes it invisible. Do you claim this "god" of yours is capable of "miracles"? Yes. That makes it magic. Is this "god" of yours male? You refer to it as "male", so I would assume that it is male. So, we have "invisible magic man" sewn up. Now, do we have any more evidence for your "god" than we have for green and orange zebras on Pluto, or for the existence of a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius? Not one thin dimes' worth. Imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, QED.

SDC said...

"Is that the best you've got? "They were all crazy?""

Not necessarilly ALL crazy, but certainly all deluded to the point that any other "true believer" in any cult is crazy. You and I both know that Scientologists are bat-shit crazy; you and I both know that Muslims are bat-shit crazy; you and I both know that Mormons are bat-shit crazy, and so on. But, the difference between you and me is that you're not willing to apply the same critical eye to YOUR superstition that you are only too happy to apply to any of those other cults.

SDC said...

And with that, I go to bed to return tomorrow.

RkBall said...

"If this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky you claim "created" me actually EXISTED, and had the powers that you CLAIM, I have no doubt he or it could make its presence known in no uncertain terms."

Good. This is the first half-way sensible thing you have said. The nonsensical part of what you have said is to surmise that an imaginary creature could exist and make its presence known. That's absurd, but par for the course from you.

So, let me re-word it and strip it of your pathological mutterings.

"If God actually EXISTED, and had the powers that you CLAIM, I have no doubt he could make his presence known in no uncertain terms."

This is true.

Yet, SDC, when persons such as myself claim that this very God has revealed himself to us, and that we have come to know him, you characterize our testimony as nonsensical -- when you have just postulated the very fact to which we bear witness.

As did Paul, Peter, Matthew, John, Mark, Luke, James, etc. etc. etc.

God has made himself known, in Christ. And he does make himself known. PErhaps what you are mad about is why he hasn't made himself known to you.

You could perhaps start by stop insulting his name. You could check your heart for sincerity. And you could pray.

Isaiah 53.

SDC said...

"The nonsensical part of what you have said is to surmise that an imaginary creature could exist and make its presence known."

How is this "nonsense"? If it existed, it could make its presence known, and if it doesn't exist, it couldn't.

"Yet, SDC, when persons such as myself claim that this very God has revealed himself to us, and that we have come to know him, you characterize our testimony as nonsensical"

Absolutely; what is it that makes YOUR feelings (and feelings is all they are, without evidence to back them up) that your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky exists worth any more than Phillip Garrido's feelings that that same imaginary invisible magic man in the sky "talked to him through a box"? He's just as convinced as YOU are that said imaginary invisible magic man in the sky exists, and that said imaginary invisible magic man in the sky talks to him, and he has JUST AS MUCH EVIDENCE TO BACK HIM UP AS YOU DO (<<<EMPHASIS ADDED). You know he's crazy, and I know he's crazy, but what is it that you think makes your crazy any less crazy than his crazy?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

SDC, let me start by saying that I did read the entire string before commenting and neither you, nor joeagnost, have provided any refutation for the claims of Christ. You have made assertions based on your assumptions, but that is not a refutation just an assertion. I'd like to try to clear up a few points and get you to provide similar evidence for your assertions.
You said that Jesus was a problem for the Romans. Jesus was never a problem for the Romans. He didn't come to take the world by force, He came to defeat death and the grave by willfully dying on behalf of all men, including yourself. It was the Jewish population (especially the Pharisees) who were looking for a Messiah that would come to establish the rule of Israel on earth. We see a litany of attempts in the Scritural record by Pilate and Herod to wash their hands of the whole situation, but for the potential uprising among the Jews.
You claimed that no one outside this little Jewish cult heard of Jesus' miraculous works. The historical record plainly shows many who record Jesus of Nazareth and what He was doing at the time. Here are a few such sources which you can review for yourself: Eusebius, Papias, Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Josephus, Tacitus, Tatian. In total, the number of references to the New Testament scripture before 325 A.D. totaled greater than 32,000. People outside the Jewish community were hardly ignorant of Jesus.
The Bible is a historically accurate document. There are over 24,000 extant copies of scripture with the earliest copy coming prior to 55 A.D. That's less than 50 years from the recorded event, less than one generation. Unless you are going to dismiss out of hand everything written in antiquity, you must look at the Bible as the most attested document in ancient literature.
Myth is defined as: "any invented story, idea, or concept. An imaginary or fictitious thing or person." Please review what I have presented, check the specific extra-biblical sources I gave from something other than Wikipedia, and the accuracy of the attestation of the historicity of the New Testament and bring a specific refutation for them, otherwise you may not reserve the right to just claim out-of-hand that Jesus was a myth.
I'm not sure what contradiction you are referencing regarding the burial of Jesus. He was crucified at the Passover, and no one could remain on the cross during Passover. This is why the theives legs were broken, to speed up their death and ensure everyone would be taken down prior to the Passover (Jesus legs would have been broken if He had not already died). Jesus was put in the tomb offered up by Joseph. Mary and Martha were coming back to properly prepare the body after the Passover all according to accepted procedure during that time. There is no contradiction here. Again, I would encourage you to read the Bible in context, as what these facts of the resurrection account provide is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah (no broken bones, buried in a pure location, etc.) not a contradiction of any kind.
My point again, is that based on all the evidence substantiating the life and ministry of Jesus, His fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah, and the truth of His claim to be God, nature testifies to what we already believe to be true, namely Jesus is Lord.
I apologize for the length of the email, but I didn't see any other way to try to satisfy your questioning. I hope I have not been condescending or disrespectful in my arguments. If we can move beyond the myth issue, I would love to address some of the more specific aspects of evolution that you and joeagnost have said is so compelling.

joe_agnost said...
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joe_agnost said...
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RkBall said...

"The nonsensical part of what you have said is to surmise that an imaginary creature could exist and make its presence known."

How is this "nonsense"? If it existed, it could make its presence known, and if it doesn't exist, it couldn't.

SDC: Here's how logic works. If the creature was imaginary, he wouldn't exist. If he existed he wouldn't be imaginary. It's called the law of the excluded middle. Perhaps the word you are looking for is "hypothetical".

RkBall said...

"I STILL haven't heard you offer any sort of explanation for the fact that your little magic book claims that these people (observant Jews, all) chose to disregard the very laws that their superstition attaches to the handling of dead bodies."

SDC: You've got me stumped on this one. First, you say I STILL haven't explained this -- I checked through the thread and can't see where you raised this previously. Secondly, I don't know what problem you are referring to. All of Christendom hangs in the balance. Elucidate.

And, I see you are continuing with the "little magic book" meme. I assume it is meant to be an insult; I am taking it as such. That is why I am being pointed in my responses to you. Endlessly referring to a little magic book may pass as withering argument in your circles, but it really doesn't rise above the level of gratuitous insult.

RkBall said...

A distillation of SDC's argument, so far:

Your little magic book

their little magic book

my little magic book

any other cults' little magic book

Yet, as I recall, there was no mention of the Bible in the original post to which SDC.

* * *

Your fantasy world has got ZERO evidence in support of it, as does your imaginary magic man in the sky.

your wishful thinking causes you to jump past the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for your invisible magic man in the sky,

there's no more evidence for that hypothesis than there is for the hypothesis that we were all created by a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius,

Your little magic book is chock full of examples of your imaginary "god"

he and you may well believe that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius created the universe,

It is your claim that this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky exists

imaginary "god" or a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius.

we were all created by a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius,

any more than there's any evidence for agiant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius.

a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius "created the universe",

imaginary giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius and your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky,

You claim that this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky created the universe

green and orange zebras on Pluto,

or for the existence of a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius?

Imaginary invisible magic man in the sky,

QED.

RkBall said...

"ZERO evidence"

There's the book -- which SDC dismisses.

There's the evidence about Christ -- which SDC dismisses.

There's the emergence and growth of the Church, led by leaders willing to die for their testimony that Christ rose from the dead -- which SDC dismisses.

There's personal testimony of transformed lives -- which SDC dismisses.

There's the universe itself, for which SDC pleads complete and utter ignorance of origins, and yet, like Sgt. Shultz "I see nothing, nothing!" gives it ZERO (to use his expression) evidentiary value.

There's the emergence of life, about which once again SDC pleads utter ignorance.

There's the rise of exquisite, complex, life-forms bearing information and evidence of intricate design, which SDC, being a Dawkinite, presumably dismisses as well.

There's the existence of self-consciousness and the mind, both of which defy adequate scientific explanation.

There's moral sense, which was supposed to be the point of this thread.

There's the fact that we exist as observing creatures, coupled with the fact that the universe exists to us as an observable entity. Without these conditions, science would be impossible -- what is a sufficient reason for this?

There's the fact that we are endowed with rational abilities (supposedly caused by an arational, mindless process), and the universe itself submits to rational scrutiny, and gives every appearance of being organized and ordered along rational, exquisite mathematical lines. What is the sufficient explanation for this?

* * *

If there is, as SDC mindlessly asserts, ZERO evidence, then why does he bother attempting to refute the arguments given? Either there is evidence, or there is not.

Let me help SDC out. Perhaps by evidence, he means evidence in a very restrictive sense, i.e., scientific evidence. The problem with this is science is constructed along the lines of methodological naturalism, meaning that scientists are only willing to consider natural causes. They exclude the supernatural by definition. So, science by its self-imposed limitation becomes an utterly insufficient tool in the investigation of the supernatural. It's like looking for a Beatles' song under a microscope -- the music may be playing, but you're not going to find it. "Ergo, ZERO evidence of Beatles' music QED!"

Nor can science answer any of the "why" questions.

Here's one. If the universe had no intelligent cause (or no cause whatsoever), and is at its essence mindless and purposeless, why are human beings wired to ask why questions? Why is asking why innate to us as creatures?

The only answer available to the atheist about ultimate why questions is "for no reason or purpose whatsoever". Asking "why" surely does not provide darwinian survival benefit. So, why are we wired to ask why?

Why, indeed.

RkBall said...

Let's try to settle the metaphor issue.

SDC: "he and you may well believe that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius created the universe".

RkB I don't believe either of us made this assertion, and if all you've got is caricature...

SDC: Richard, I thought you would at least be smart enough to recognize a metaphor

RkB: What you said was a crude caricature; there was no metaphor involved in it.

SDC: "metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them"

That is exactly the relationship between an imaginary giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius and your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, like it or not.

RkB: Nor does equating one fanciful caricature with another constitute the use of metaphor.

* * *

Examples of metaphors:

“A mighty fortress is our God.”

"All the world's a stage"

“A man is but a weak reed”;

“The road was a ribbon of moonlight.”

What do all these have in common? The verb "is". As in, "A is B". At the very minimum, the two thoughts must be co-joined in the same phrase, such as "a sea of troubles".

For your usage to have constituted a metaphor, it would have had to be along the lines of:

"Your imaginary invisible magic man is a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius."

And even then it is scarcely a metaphor.

As it is, you simply used, separately, two caricatures to represent the Christian conception of God.

joe_agnost said...

Clearly rkBall doesn't like to see his idiocy and hypocrisy pointed out to him...

Deleting peoples comments - the last refuge for the loser.

RkBall said...

JA - got a bit of the ad hominem happening today, wot? Try to advance the argument, and if you feel you must insult, as I've advised in the past, please try to do in a witty way to at least entertain our readers.

joe_agnost said...

@RK_Ball:

All I did was point out how hypocritical you were being denouncing SDC when your words have been at least (if not more so) as insulting than SDCs.

You spend more time insulting than anyone, here are some examples from this thread (barely halfway down and already got 8 quotes!):

"Please answer the following [snip snip]...(if your fevered brain is capable of such action)."

"...you're just spouting off whatever pops into your head, which perhaps is as much as one can expect given darwinian assumptions about the human brain."

"Perhaps you are hearing voices -- which means your fevered darwinian brain is acting up again..."

"...Whatever pops into the ol' undesigned darwinian head? Should I take your posts as evidence of darwinian mind burps?"

"Your self-aggrandizing self-confidence is worthy of the most earnest fundamentalist -- for surely, that is what you are."

"Surely the fevered froth of a darwinian brain at work, evidence of the primordial soup, sludge, really, at work."

"...Please try to get control of the darwinian mind-sludge faucet."

"...these ideas are clearly beyond your fevered darwinian brain, which cannot get beyond pink bunnies and other crazy ideas."

It's so funny because SDC is the only one who appears to actually ~think~ about things.

Continue to delete my posts if you like - but there is no denying that you, RKBALL, are the ad-hominem king!

joe_agnost said...

jeremy wrote: "I hope I have not been condescending or disrespectful in my arguments."

Not at all... you've been nothing but polite.

"I would love to address some of the more specific aspects of evolution that you and joeagnost have said is so compelling."

By all means... go for it! What do you want to know?

RkBall said...

Joe Agnost -- you're back, man, you're back!

"The Ad Hominem King" -- I love it -- thank you. You know, I already use something you said as one of my main page quotes, and now, this!

Now, all the things which you rightly pointed out were unkind, and for which I apologize:

I was making a point -- these were not gratuitous. Two points, actually.

1. SDC's incessant statements about pink bunnies and magic books. This is not argument; this is someone who has doused himself in too many Harry Potter books or spent too much time wandering the aisles of the Atheists-R-Us and no longer has a functioning brain. I told him to move on, but he couldn't help himself.

2. I made the point (which he did not refute) that the darwinian has no foundation for trusting anything that comes out of the human brain -- an collection of molecules which is by their admission, uncreated, undesigned, and without purpose of function.

The human mind, is by a naturalist's account, can be nothing more than undirected chemical reactions taking place inside the brain -- there is no free will, there is no immaterial supervisory self to direct the material brain -- it's all just mindless matter in motion according to natural laws -- and nothing more.

If you don't think this is what naturalists like Dennett believe, I can give you references.

The theist, on the other hand, has foundational reasons for trusting in reason, logic, and the workings of the human mind, and for the existence of an immaterial supervisory self, i.e., the "you" and the "me" -- all things that you and SDC rely on constantly.

So, since SDC had not responded to this line of argument, I was needling him about it while responding in kind to his incessant and tiresome comments about magic books and pink bunnies.

Now, you may think it was "wrong" for me to do so, but according to your darwinian view of things, objective right and wrong cannot possibly exist. It is not wrong for matter and molecules to swirl about doing their thing, and, under materialistic, atheistic, darwinian explanations of reality, that's all you've got.

And that is why when materialistic science tries to explaining everything, it ends up explaining nothing, at least nothing that is essential to what it means to be a living, loving, thinking, morally aware human being.

It's like reducing the Beatles' music to their digital on/off bits. Sure we can do this. But how do we account for the inspiration behind their music, or the why behind their music -- why does it exist at all? Reductionistic science is good at reducing everything to the bits and bytes, but it misses the larger picture.

Take DNA. Infinitely more complex than a Beatles' track. Yet, with libraries of information contained in a single cell, you guys look at the little tiny bits and say, "nothing to see here, move on".

We dance to the music. What the materialist cannot answer is, why we dance, why we are even here, and why is there music.

In the spirit of the Beatles, let me offer to you and SDC the following by way of conciliation:

All we need is love -- we can work it out.

Try to see it my way.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

joeagnost, thanks for the kind comments. I always believe that in discussing any of these matters, that even if no one's opinions are changed a wit we can at least discuss the issues in a respectful manner because there is very good intellectual material on both sides of all these issues.

As to evolution, why don't we just start with a comment you made in a previous post, namely:

"From DNA to fossils every single advancement in science has confirmed the ToE."

My specific questions are these particular ones:

With respect to DNA, modern research into DNA has shown that DNA is an information agent, directing protein operations to perform many myriad functions within the body. I'm curious how a mindless, thoughtless step-by-step process could have led not to the development of a thing like DNA, but to the carrying and transmission of information. To my knowledge, nothing we have observed or tested has made the change from formation to information without the intervention of a designing agent.

With respect to the fossil record, what explanation would the evolutionist have for the phenomena commonly know as the Cambrian Explosion (sudden appearance of many fully developed forms). Also, what of intermediate forms, fossils where transitions from sea-land, land-air, etc. are observed in explicit fashion?

I realize that is a lot to get to at once, but maybe a good starting point.

RkBall said...

Everybody should go back and re-read the original post. As far as I can see, neither SDC nor Joe Agnost has made a single reference or rebuttal to it.

That's what I mean when I refer to the ability to think, to use logic, and to argue -- the ability to respond to what is actually said -- and not merely posit pink bunnies and magic books that are nothing more than the ruminations of one's own fevered imagination.

Otherwise, you are not arguing with someone, you are having a little argument in your own head.

joe_agnost said...

RkBall wrote: "all the things which you rightly pointed out were unkind, and for which I apologize"

There is no need to apologize... that's not the point I was trying to make. You don't need to apologize, you just need to stop taking others to task for insults since you clearly have no problems with insults yourself.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Just a quick note. I did go back and re-read the original post and thought i'd interject a helpful illustration that C.S. Lewis presented relative to morality (I can't remember the reference but i'll try to find it), maybe you've heard it before as well.

Mr. Lewis said morality is like a man in a hallway faced with a series of doors that represent a number of moral decisions. How does he know which door to choose? His desire is to make the right choice, but without a knowledge of right and wrong (i.e. morality) a priori, how does he know which door will be the right one. If you don't stipulate an inherent morality then there is no basis on which to make a moral decision, we are left to just remain in the hall, or worse run haphazardly into any old room.

lastchancetosee said...

(I hope you had a merry christmas)

Boy, this is a long discussion!

Commenting on the original post:
Your premises:
First premise - humans as a product of mindless processes: True.
Second premise - humans are moral creatures: False. Or more precisely: I don't know. It is true that many people have a moral sense, it is also true that some don't. We also tend to override both out moral and immoral impulses at will, so I'm not really sure if we can say that we are moral creatures. I think we'd run the risk of presupposing what we set out to prove.
Third premise - foundation for morality is either man or nature: False. This is not either/or. It could very well be both (and, if you look at it, clearly is).

This sort of ruins the rest of your argument, but let me just quickly summarize it (I hope fairly, if not, correct me) for further discussion:
a) If morality comes from man, then it is subjective and arbitrary.
b) If morality comes from natural processes, then they themselves have to be moral or build on something moral, because of input/output-problems.

Fair enough?

a) is something we observe all the time. Morals change over time, are completely different in different cultures, religions etc.. So, obviously they are something created at least in part by us. Do I think that they are entirely created by us? No. I think many of them (and probably those you would find in more or less the same form in all cultures) are the product of our evolution as social creatures. "Do not kill" makes sense, survival-wise, and so does the categorical imperative.

So, in summary: I don't know if we are moral creatures, but if we are then our overriding moral values, the broad strokes so to speak, will be the product of what made sense for our survival. Everything else is arbitrarily created by societal consensus.

Your one argument against all this seems to be the input-output-problem you mention, yet you fail to explain how that would be a problem. You just posit it to be. You claim that "morality" (and also "rationality") is something elemental like energy, something that can not be created by natural processes, yet you offer not a shred of evidence for that extraordinary claim.
Unless you provide that I'm afraid I have to agree with the guys at atheismblog - You've got nothin'.

SDC said...

"You have made assertions based on your assumptions, but that is not a refutation just an assertion."

No, Jeremy, I have read your own little magic book and evaluated the arguments presented in said book just as I would if offered that book as "evidence" on any other issue or for any other cult. Your entire little magic book contradicts itself time and time again on issues large and small, an dparticularly so in regards to what is supposed to be the pivotal event of the founding of your cult, the supposed "resurrection" of this "Jesus" character.

"You said that Jesus was a problem for the Romans."

If I'm to believe what is written in your little magic book, then this "Jesus" character most CERTAINLY posed a threat to Roman rule in Judea, which was why the authorities would have wanted him dead and out of the way. Similar scenarios have been played out throughout human history too many times to count.

"The historical record plainly shows many who record Jesus of Nazareth and what He was doing at the time."

The problem for your argument is that all of these supposed "sources" fall into two groups, either those who were merely REPORTING what this cult in Judea claimed to believe, or those who were already converts/"true believers", and therefore have an abundant reason to make claims for which there is no evidence. As I've asked Richard before (without reply), if I write a book saying that the Mormons believe that their founder was given a book of gold by an angel, does that mean that an ACTUAL "angel" ACTUALLY gave Joseph Smith an ACTUAL book of gold, or does it merely mean that this is the sort of BS that Mormons believe? That disposes of the first group. The second group is no different than taking any OTHER cult members' word for it that their cult is "the one true faith", and I think you'd have to agree that this would be a ludicrous intellectual stand to take; cults of ALL types make all sorts of claims of "miracles" on behalf of those cults, but I'm no more likely to believe theirs without evidence than I'm about to believe yours.

"The Bible is a historically accurate document."

Your little magic book directly contradicts itself almost too many times to count, including in recorded history, and given that shady past, I'm going to have to see more than just "Trust me, it was only driven by a little old lady on Sundays". I feel confident that there probably WAS a Jewish cult leader named "Jesus" who was killed for posing a threat to Roman rule in Judea, but that is still a FAR, FAR cry from establishing that said "Jesus" had supernatural powers, was "resurrected", was "the son of god", or any other such claptrap.

SDC said...

(continued)

"I'm not sure what contradiction you are referencing regarding the burial of Jesus."

There are several such contradictions regarding the whos, whats, wheres, and whens of the "resurrection” story, as each of the four accounts differ in these details, but the one that sticks out in my mind is the fact that the people in the story were all presented to be observant Jews (further confirmed by Matthew 5;17, where "Jesus" is claimed to have said that he did not want to change any aspect of Jewish law). There are two Jewish burial laws in particular that weren't followed in the story as given, which means that the story as told couldn't be true; one, a dead body must be accompanied from the time of death until the time of burial, and all burial preparations have to be completed before the body is placed in a grave/tomb, because it is forbidden to disturb a body after it has been placed in that grave/tomb. Two, like other religions, Judaism has a number of sexual hangups, and this means that men are prohibited from having anything to do with a dead female body, and women are prohibited from having anything to do with a dead male body. Your myth breaks BOTH of these laws, in that it claims that one or more women (once again, the different accounts tell different stories) went to a tomb to "anoint the body of Jesus", both of which actions were and are completely prohibited under Jewish funerary law.

All of the so-called "evidence" you claim that supports your cult's myth comes to us from (surprise, surprise) your own cult's little magic book; can you guess why I'm no more willing to accept your word that your cult is true than I'm willing to accept a Mormon's word that THEIR cult is true, or a Muslim's word that THEIR cult is true? None of you have any actual evidence for your position, simply the fairy-tales which you have been brainwashed into accepting unquestioningly.

SDC said...

"SDC: Here's how logic works. If the creature was imaginary, he wouldn't exist. If he existed he wouldn't be imaginary. It's called the law of the excluded middle. Perhaps the word you are looking for is "hypothetical"."

With no actual evidence that your imaginary/hypothetical invisible magic man in the sky actually exists, it remains just as hypothetical as a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius; if you prefer hypothetical rather than imaginary, I personally don't see any practical difference, as the upshot remains the same.

SDC said...

"SDC: You've got me stumped on this one. First, you say I STILL haven't explained this -- I checked through the thread and can't see where you raised this previously. Secondly, I don't know what problem you are referring to. All of Christendom hangs in the balance. Elucidate."

See my above response to Jeremy; how are we supposed to believe that the presented "resurrection" stories are in any way accurate when they present such a contradictory story; the characters in these varying stories could not have done what the stories claim they did if they were Jewish, yet that is the claim that is made.

"And, I see you are continuing with the "little magic book" meme."

And without any sort of evidence that it is an accurate portrayal of events (despite the fact that it contradicts itself almost too many times to count, and is largely disregarded even by those who claim to believe it), your little magic book is no more "a message from god" than any other cult's little magic book.

SDC said...

"A distillation of SDC's argument, so far:"

Except that you don't bother to even ADDRESS any of the actual issues I've raised. When I decide to believe in something, I evaluate the arguments on both sides of the issue, and I weigh the evidence on both sides. You and your cult go completely past that first step, insisting that you know "the truth" without even offering any evidence for your position, which is no different than the way any other cult operates. Given that, doe sit really surprise you that I have nothing but contempt for the sort of mind control that cults of all types practice, including your own?

SDC said...

"There's the book -- which SDC dismisses."

Just as I dismiss the little magic books of every OTHER cult as well, since none of them are any sort of objective evidence, only the collected fairy-tales of "true believers". Lest you forget, your little magic book also arrived at its present form by way of a vote of the Council of Nicea, and certainly wasn't handed down by your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky.

"There's the evidence about Christ -- which SDC dismisses."

And which again comes to us through the single source of your little magic book; if I'm to believe YOUR myths based on the single source of your little magic book, why shouldn't I believe the Muslims' myths based on their little magic book, or the Mormons' myths based on their little magic book, or the Hindus' myths based on their little magic book, or the Vikings' myths based on their little magic book, or the Mayans' myths based on their little magic book, and on, and on, and on? If you actually care about the truth, at some point you have to move past the realm of fairy-tales and into the realm of reality, which is where evidence comes in.

"There's the emergence and growth of the Church, led by leaders willing to die for their testimony that Christ rose from the dead -- which SDC dismisses."

Tell me, Richard, if the "emergence and growth" of YOUR cult is "evidence" for the veracity of your cult, then what is the "emergence and growth" of any OTHER cult, from animism to Zoroastrianism, "evidence" for? As I've already told you, there is no end of crazy people willing to die for crazy things, and the presence of those crazy people is hardly an indication of the truthfulness of what they claim to believe.

SDC said...

"There's personal testimony of transformed lives -- which SDC dismisses."

And, once again, you can find adherents in ANY cult that will claim that their belief in their particular cult is what made beneficial changes in their lives possible; since this is a universal cross-cult phenomenon, that means that those changes are due NOT to the cult being followed, but to the self-will of the individuals involved; the placebo effect is surprisingly powerful in some people.

"There's the universe itself, for which SDC pleads complete and utter ignorance of origins, and yet, like Sgt. Shultz "I see nothing, nothing!" gives it ZERO (to use his expression) evidentiary value."

Unlike yourself, Richard, I care enough about the truth of what I believe that I'm not willing to simply jump to a convenient comforting answer, or to make unsupported assumptions without evidence; your cult does both of these things, as does every other. There is no more evidence for your "god" than there is for the Scientologists' "xenu", so I reject them both without supporting evidence.

"There's the emergence of life, about which once again SDC pleads utter ignorance."

In any other aspect of your life, do you make any sort of a decision without any sort of information to base that decision on? I certainly HOPE not, but that is exactly what you do in this case; you have no evidence for your theory of "creation", yet you proclaim it to be the "truth"; science, on the other hand can only look at the evidence that is available to it, and from what we can see, there could be a number of possible origins for the existence of life on earth.

"There's the rise of exquisite, complex, life-forms bearing information and evidence of intricate design, which SDC, being a Dawkinite, presumably dismisses as well."

Which is no problem at all, given the BILLIONS of years that life has been present on this planet, and the fact that we see constant evolution at work. Where did the endless number of recovered fossils that we have supporting the theory of evolution come from, if not from our earlier ancestors? Did you imaginary invisible magic man in the sky "plant" those fossils there to attempt to trick us all into believing in evolution? Did your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky deliberately fuse two primate chromosomes at the right spot to "create" humans that would later develop technology that could let us pinpoint the specific base pair at which those chromosomes fused, and thereby trick those future humans into believing in evolution? Either the answer to these questions is "yes", or your cult is simply a relic of the days when proto-people could only mumble "The gods must have done it" when they were faced with a question they couldn't answer.

SDC said...

"There's the existence of self-consciousness and the mind, both of which defy adequate scientific explanation."

What sort of "explanation" do you want? These things are required for survival, which makes it more likely that a given species will reproduce, which makes it more likely that some members of that next generation will be naturally more better at certain aspects of survival, which makes it more likely to reproduce, and so on, in a giant feedback loop. There is absolutely no requirement for any sort of supernatural explanation for any of this, only your desire to have a supernatural explanation.

"There's moral sense, which was supposed to be the point of this thread."

"Moral" sense is simply a result of living in an ordered society, as we see "moral" behaviours in many other higher mammals. In our particular case, we certainly have the ability to place ourselves in the position of someone else, and evaluating whether or not we would like to be in that other person's position. That, and that alone, is the basis for "morality", and if I was looking for a moral guide, I'd have to think that your cult would probably be one of the last places I'd look. Your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky (as presented in your little magic book) condones all manner of immorality, from murder and human sacrifice, to rape, slavery, and robbery, complete with "appropriate" instances for each; I'm ALREADY more moral than that, so why should I seek to lower my standards in any way?

"There's the fact that we exist as observing creatures, coupled with the fact that the universe exists to us as an observable entity. Without these conditions, science would be impossible -- what is a sufficient reason for this?"

Without actual evidence, all that we can say is that we are here; your made-up explanation is no more supported by evidence than the Scientologists' made-up explanation, or the Mayans' made-up explanation, or the ancient Greeks' made-up explanation, and so on. I'm happy to continue looking for that evidence, rather than jump to unsupported conclusions the way that these assorted cults do.

"There's the fact that we are endowed with rational abilities (supposedly caused by an arational, mindless process), and the universe itself submits to rational scrutiny, and gives every appearance of being organized and ordered along rational, exquisite mathematical lines. What is the sufficient explanation for this?"

See above; logic is a series of rules arrived at over a process of thousands of years of refinement, and which has been proven to operate successfully; your cult would like to set that on its head, by jumping to a conclusion without evidence, and then trying to work backwards to "evidence".

"If there is, as SDC mindlessly asserts, ZERO evidence, then why does he bother attempting to refute the arguments given? Either there is evidence, or there is not."

Because what you're CLAIMING is "evidence" ISN'T "evidence", and wouldn't be considered by you as such if it was offered by any other cult; once again, you jump to the conclusion you want to (ie. "my cult is true") and then try to work backwards to fulfill that wish.

As a result of years of observation, there are a number of things that I can say that I believe without reservation; one, people will lie at the drop of a hat for personal prestige or power, and two, there are no such things as "miracles" or "magic". Those two factors alone mean that your superstition has to make an overwhelmingly convincing case in order for me to consider it anything BUT just another loony superstition, no different than any of the thousands, if not millions, of others that have seen the light of day.

SDC said...

"It's like looking for a Beatles' song under a microscope"

The difference here is that a song on CD, record, or tape, or other electro-mechanical method of storage is detectable, while your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky isn't. Since you claim to have evidence of that existence, it's up to YOU to prove it, just as it would be up to ME to prove it if I claimed that I had a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius living in my garage.

"why are human beings wired to ask why questions? Why is asking why innate to us as creatures?"

Because asking questions is what has allowed us to survive as a species, from "Why do I feel warm when I hold my hand over this bright glowing stick I found at the top of the hill after the lightning god punished that tree for growing up there?" to "Why did Og get sick and die after that green snake bit him, but Ag didn't die after that brown snake bit HIM?" Why indeed.

SDC said...

"For your usage to have constituted a metaphor, it would have had to be along the lines of:

"Your imaginary invisible magic man is a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius."

And even then it is scarcely a metaphor.

As it is, you simply used, separately, two caricatures to represent the Christian conception of God."

You're wrong again, in that you're not willing to admit to yourself that the process is exactly the same; whether you want to insist that your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky "created the universe", or you want to insist that a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius "created the universe", you have in both cases made nothing more than an unsupportable assertion, absent any evidence.

SDC said...

"So, since SDC had not responded to this line of argument, I was needling him about it while responding in kind to his incessant and tiresome comments about magic books and pink bunnies."

Ah, but I DID respond to that "line of argument" (actually, you simply made an assertion), and you can see it yourself above, if you manage to cure yourself of your cult-induced blindness. Though the brain operates by way of chemical and electrical process, our ability to learn and process information allows us logically evaluate arguments, including those which claim that there is an invisible magic man in the sky.

SDC said...

"As far as I can see, neither SDC nor Joe Agnost has made a single reference or rebuttal to it."

And now, you have an entire PAGE full of rebuttal to your myth, at no cost. Feel free to take a look any time you need a dose of reality ;-)

RkBall said...

LC2C -- I need to think about what you have said. Give me a day.

RkBall said...

The Book: "Just as I dismiss the little magic books of every OTHER cult.

Unlike every other book, the Bible contains predictive prophecy, much of which has already been fulfilled, some of it in our generation. That is a clear distinctive, for starters. Secondly, unlike the Koran and Mormonism, it is the product of multiple witnesses over multiple centuries in multiple languages -- so the witness is much more extensive. That's a second distinctive.

certainly wasn't handed down by your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky."

There you go again -- no one has suggested it was. You are the only one making this argument. Please try to argue based on what is actually said.

RkBall said...

And which again comes to us through the single source of your little magic book; if I'm to believe YOUR myths based on the single source of your little magic book, why shouldn't I believe the Muslims' myths based on their little magic book, or the Mormons' myths....

See previous answer. 1. Predictive prophecy which has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled today, and shall be fulfilled. 2. Multiple authors -- not a "single source", but a collection of writings. 3. What the Bible says about human nature, sin, etc. vs. other books. 3. Don't forget what I've already said about sincerity of purpose in seeking and prayer -- without sincerity of heart, you haven't got a prayer! Either Jesus can bring a person to the knowledge of the Father or he cannot -- this is experiential evidence open to all, but sincerity of heart is a prerequisite.

RkBall said...

""There's the existence of self-consciousness and the mind, both of which defy adequate scientific explanation."

What sort of "explanation" do you want?

Is the mind equal to the brain?

Is the mind immaterial or material?

How does self-consciousness arise from inanimate matter, or, living matter even?

Is there a supervisory self which directs the actions of a human being, or are we reducible to molecular machines?

How does the sense of self persist across 40 years, when every single cell in our body has been replaced every seven years or so?

"These things are required for survival."

Absolutely untrue. All kinds of lifeforms exist without either a mind or self-consciousness. The rise of both are completely gratuitous and inexplicable in darwinian terms.

Plus, even if they were somehow required for survival, necessity does not guarantee outcome, especially given the hypothesis of a mindless, purposeless mechanism.

RkBall said...

Moral Argument:

"Moral" sense is simply a result of living in an ordered society"

*So, there is no innate conscience indwelling human beings?

as we see "moral" behaviours in many other higher mammals.

*Can animals do right and wrong, good and evil? Is it immoral for a polar bear to eat its young?

In our particular case, we certainly have the ability to place ourselves in the position of someone else, and evaluating whether or not we would like to be in that other person's position. That, and that alone, is the basis for "morality",

*So, morality is purely a matter of personal, subjective taste? Opinion?

I'm ALREADY more moral than that, so why should I seek to lower my standards in any way?

* Would you say you are as moral as Jesus Christ who required that morality be not just a matter of outward behavior, but the motives of the heart as well?

RkBall said...

"There's the fact that we are endowed with rational abilities (supposedly caused by an arational, mindless process), and the universe itself submits to rational scrutiny, and gives every appearance of being organized and ordered along rational, exquisite mathematical lines. What is the sufficient explanation for this?"

See above; logic is a series of rules arrived at over a process of thousands of years of refinement, and which has been proven to operate successfully; your cult would like to set that on its head, by jumping to a conclusion without evidence, and then trying to work backwards to "evidence".

* You didn't answer the question. Perhaps you didn't understand it.

RkBall said...

"As far as I can see, neither SDC nor Joe Agnost has made a single reference or rebuttal to it."

And now, you have an entire PAGE full of rebuttal to your myth, at no cost. Feel free to take a look any time you need a dose of reality ;-)

* Once again, it appears that you didn't take the time to understand what was being said. My original post was not about Christianity or the Bible or Christ -- it was about God, moral sense, and the argument from sufficient cause.

The most you have come up with so far is a brief utilitarian argument.

RkBall said...

"Though the brain operates by way of chemical and electrical process, our ability to learn and process information allows us logically evaluate arguments"

You still haven't provided the grounds for trusting anything that emanates from an undesigned, purposeless processor. Would you suppose that, e.g., whatever is in a gorilla's mind (if a gorilla has a mind), would be trustworthy? A rabbit's? A worm's? Since we are so closely related to worms (and bacteria for that matter), why should anyone take anything that a human being thinks seriously?

Are we capable of independent thought, or is our brain just one big molecular machine? If capable of independent thought, independent of nature around us and the molecular machine which is our body, and the brain, which is our central processor, where does this independence come from? Does our mind equal our brain? If so, how can we possibly expect to have any control over it?

RkBall said...

""why are human beings wired to ask why questions? Why is asking why innate to us as creatures?"

Because asking questions is what has allowed us to survive as a species, "

The speculative why questions I am referring to have nothing to do with mere survival.

You have mentioned survival a couple of times. In your assessment of reality, is life ultimately about survival, and nothing more, or are there higher values which are inexplicable by reference to brute survival only?

RkBall said...

"The difference here is that a song on CD, record, or tape, or other electro-mechanical method of storage is detectable, while your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky isn't."

DNA is detectable -- and it's a trillion times more complex than the information stored on a Beatles' track. The point is -- would you be capable of believing a complex music track existed without a composer? Well, a human being is a trillion times more complex, exquisite, and valuable, than a mere track of music.

SDC said...

"Unlike every other book, the Bible contains predictive prophecy, much of which has already been fulfilled, some of it in our generation."

Hardly; like every other example of "prophecy", "fortune-telling", and the like, the "prophecies" in your little magic book fall into one of three groups. Either they are a result of a person trying to twist reality to fit the "prophecy" as written (which is how we see "true believers" in Nostradamus trying to make his "prophecies" fit any and every event from the Black Plague to the atom bomb, and then saying "See! He really COULD see the future!"), by writing the "prophecy" to fit past events (which is how Nazareth is claimed to be the birthplace of your supposed "prophet"), or by simply pulling it out of your ass, and saying "All you need to do is wait, and it'll come true", ala Sylvia Browne and similar fakirs. As a side-note here, I'll point out that one of the "prophecies" made by your supposed "prophet" failed to come true when he claimed it would come true (Mark 13:30, where he is claimed to have said that "the sun will darken and the stars will fall from the sky" before that generation had died); isn't that supposed to be one of the indicators of a FALSE prophet, at least according to your little magic book?

"There you go again -- no one has suggested it was."

Do you not claim that your little magic book was "divinely inspired", or some such nonsense? You prove my point.

SDC said...

"See previous answer. 1. Predictive prophecy which has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled today, and shall be fulfilled."

See previous reply; your little magic book's "prophecies" are no more "prophecies" than Nostradamus' are, since you will twist language and logic itself in order to make those "prophecies" mean what you WANT them to mean.

"2. Multiple authors -- not a "single source", but a collection of writings."

A collection of writings all based on the same myths, and all written by "true believers", in exactly the same way that every other cults' little magic book was written. Colour me surprised that a Christian claims that his little magic book is true, that a Mormon claims his little magic book is true, that a Muslim claims his little magic book is true, and so on.

"3. What the Bible says about human nature, sin, etc. vs. other books."

Which doesn't say anything that any other cults' little magic book doesn't also say; people in every culture, of every time, and belonging to every superstition behave in similar immoral manners towards one another, and each of those little magic books recognizes that, no more.

"3. Don't forget what I've already said about sincerity of purpose in seeking and prayer -- without sincerity of heart, you haven't got a prayer!"

Which is exactly what every other cult ALSO claims, ie. that you have to "have faith in order to believe". Well, I don't believe things based on "faith", and except in this one case, you don't either. Why is it that in this one case, you choose to throw out every bit of intellect you might once have possessed, in return for a soothing lie?

SDC said...

"Is the mind equal to the brain?"

Since a mind can't exist without a brain, I would say that it is for all intents and purposes equal to a brain.

"Is the mind immaterial or material?"

How are you defining "mind"? Thought processes are a result of moving electrons and chemical transmitters within our brains, and those are material processes, but their effect is fleeting and immaterial.

"How does self-consciousness arise from inanimate matter, or, living matter even?"

Self consciousness is a feature of every living thing, even if all that "consciousness" amounts to is "I need nutrition", or "I need sunlight", or "This environment is hurting me". In that respect, it's allied with the very fact of life. Does the fact that I may not know SPECIFICALLY how life arose entitle me to do as you do, and pull a convenient comfortable "answer" out of my ass? Of course not, but that hasn't stopped cults like yours from time immemorial from doing exactly that.

"Is there a supervisory self which directs the actions of a human being, or are we reducible to molecular machines?"

Animals which have a sense of time and of the future (including humans) dertainly seem to possess such a sense, again because they can evaluate a desirable outcome vs an undesirable outcome. This is a function of our minds again, which operate through electrical and chemical signals.

"How does the sense of self persist across 40 years, when every single cell in our body has been replaced every seven years or so?"

Because we are constantly filtering, replacing, and reinforcing information which we deem "important"; where can I pick up my Nobel Prize?

""These things are required for survival."

Absolutely untrue. All kinds of lifeforms exist without either a mind or self-consciousness."

Such as? Even flatworms can recognize a hostile environment when they are exposed to one, and will do their best to avoid such an environment. Flora from bacteria through sunflowers are able to react to their environment, sensing that their requirements for life are met by some conditions, and not met by other conditions.

"Plus, even if they were somehow required for survival, necessity does not guarantee outcome, especially given the hypothesis of a mindless, purposeless mechanism."

Which is were randomness enters the equation; if an organism is able to survive, it will reproduce and pass on those slightly-better genes to the next generation, which, if they survive, will pass on their genes to the next generation, which, if they survive... and so on.

SDC said...

"So, there is no innate conscience indwelling human beings?"

Humans (and some other animals) have an ability to place themselves in someone else's position, and thereby decide "Yes, I would like to be in that position", or "No, I would not like to be in that position", and that is all that a "conscience" is; some people pay attention to that sense, while others don't care.

"Can animals do right and wrong, good and evil? Is it immoral for a polar bear to eat its young?"

Some animals act in ways that we might INTERPRET that way; for example, a chimp that rescues a child that has fallen into the moat around its enclosure, or a dolphin that saves a swimmer from drowning. On the other hand, there have been cases of animals that have seemed to take absolute "pleasure" in committing as much mayhem as possible, out of either revenge or anger. Your example of an animal eating ("it's", though this is unknown in many cases, and it is a common evolutionary feature in some species to destroy offspring of competitors) young may, in some cases, simply be a case of the lesser of two evils; if both a parent and the offspring starve to death, then that genetic line ends there, but if the sexually-mature animal survives to breed again, then those genes survive. This is a crucial feature of reproduction among some insect species, where the male offers itself up as a meal while copulating, thereby making it more likely that his genes will survive.

SDC said...

"So, morality is purely a matter of personal, subjective taste? Opinion?"

I would say that "morality" is more a matter of community opinion than anything else, and your little magic book serves to prove this as well as anything. Some of the most immoral acts in your little magic book are held up as EXAMPLES of good morality, yet these people would rapidly find themselves behind bars if they were to do anything similar in your community today. For examples, I give you Jepthah's sacrifice of his daughter, Abraham's attempted sacrificwe of his son, and Lot's attempt to protect some strangers by offering up hs daughters for rape. The fact that these are all likely nothing more than myths isn't nearly as important as the fact that the people who wrote your little magic book thought that these were all "moral" actions, even though I'm sure that even YOU can see how immoral they are.

"* Would you say you are as moral as Jesus Christ who required that morality be not just a matter of outward behavior, but the motives of the heart as well?"

I don't know this "Jesus" character any more than I know Napoleon Bonaparte, and have no way of knowing how he acted in real life even if he was, in fact, a real person; what I DO know is that I'm more moral that the "god" presented in your little magic book, as the stories contained therein show said "god" to be little more than a jealous, evil tyrant, prone to fits of rage and temper-tantrums.

SDC said...

"You didn't answer the question. Perhaps you didn't understand it."

I DID answer it, you just didn't like the answer; we INTERPRET the universe as being ordered in certain ways because conceiving of things in patterns is part of what has allowed us to survive as a species. That doesn't mean that there actually IS a pattern there, just that we find it easier to interpret things when we think of them in patterns (just as with Rohrshach ink blots).

SDC said...

"Once again, it appears that you didn't take the time to understand what was being said. My original post was not about Christianity or the Bible or Christ -- it was about God, moral sense, and the argument from sufficient cause."

And, once again, you try to divert the issue with a red herring; your entire argument is based solely on your delusion that there is an invisible magic man in the sky, which is ALSO dependendent on your delusion that your cult and your little magic book has some sort of relation to said invisible magic man in the sky. Your cult has got no more relation to REALITY than the Scientologists' has.

SDC said...

"You still haven't provided the grounds for trusting anything that emanates from an undesigned, purposeless processor."

The reason we can trust it is because we can TEST it, and in the vast majority of cases, it works; this is the rationale behind the scientific process, and is why any scientific theory can be overturned by a simple process of displaying a circumstance or experiment which does not conform to the predictions of that test.

SDC said...

"Would you suppose that, e.g., whatever is in a gorilla's mind (if a gorilla has a mind), would be trustworthy? A rabbit's? A worm's?"

That depends on the information that is required to be processed; if I wanted to know which sort of grass would be the best for a rabbit to eat, and which was tastiest to a rabbit, who would know better than a rabbit? If I wanted to know how to build an airplane, I wouldn't bother asking a rabbit, any more than I'd bother asking your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky.
Yes, our brain IS a "big molecular machine", but it is under our control (at least those of us who are sane enough to realize that we control our actions). For the most part, we control our brains in the same way that we control our arms and legs, but since our brain is constantly evaluating and monitoring things, it never truly "sleeps".

SDC said...

"You have mentioned survival a couple of times. In your assessment of reality, is life ultimately about survival, and nothing more, or are there higher values which are inexplicable by reference to brute survival only?"

Survival (and the passing on of one's genes) are the only REAL "purpose" of life, but that doesn't mean that that's ALL it has to be about. You seem to be under the delusion that life wouldn't be worth living if you didn't believe inyour imaginary invisible magic man in the sky, which makes absolutely no sense. Is your sense of self-worth so limited that you can't appreciate life for itself?

SDC said...

"DNA is detectable -- and it's a trillion times more complex than the information stored on a Beatles' track."

Which tells us absolutely nothing about whether or not that DNA was "designed" or not; in fact, the more we learn about the way that DNA replicates itself, the more it proves evolution as indisputable fact, and shows itself as a purely chemical process.

RkBall said...

SDC -- I think before we go any further, you need to learn what is meant by consciousness and self-consciousness.

RkBall said...

"Self consciousness is a feature of every living thing, even if all that "consciousness" amounts to is "I need nutrition", or "I need sunlight", or "This environment is hurting me"."

You really need to do some basic study on what is meant by self-consciousness.

RkBall said...

"Do you not claim that your little magic book was "divinely inspired", or some such nonsense? You prove my point."

You are muttering to yourself, once again. It might be simpler for you to simply open your own blog, and debate with yourself.

RkBall said...

"3. Don't forget what I've already said about sincerity of purpose in seeking and prayer -- without sincerity of heart, you haven't got a prayer!"

Which is exactly what every other cult ALSO claims, ie. that you have to "have faith in order to believe".

*What you said, '' have faith..." is not equal to what what I said. Once again, you display an inability to enter into real discussion or argument.

RkBall said...

For examples, I give you Jepthah's sacrifice of his daughter,

Reported, but not commended.

Abraham's attempted sacrificwe of his son,

A divine test that turned out well.

Lot's attempt to protect some strangers by offering up hs daughters for rape.

Once again, reported, but not commended. The world was a very brutal place, prior to the leavening effect of the Law and Gospel.

" the fact that the people who wrote your little magic book thought that these were all "moral" actions"

Absolutely not true in the case of Jeph. and Lot.

In the case of Abraham, the point is that, unlike ourselves, the Giver of life is authorized to take life -- and does. We exist not by right, but at his pleasure. He can take our life at any time.

As it is, the story foreshadows the death of God's son on the cross.

RkBall said...

"How does the sense of self persist across 40 years, when every single cell in our body has been replaced every seven years or so?"

Because we are constantly filtering, replacing, and reinforcing information which we deem "important"; where can I pick up my Nobel Prize?

* You'll have to check with the professional philosophers to see how well you have done on this question.

RkBall said...

I DO know is that I'm more moral that the "god" presented in your little magic book.

How much of this book have you actually read?

RkBall said...

I DID answer it, you just didn't like the answer; we INTERPRET the universe as being ordered in certain ways because conceiving of things in patterns is part of what has allowed us to survive as a species. That doesn't mean that there actually IS a pattern there, just that we find it easier to interpret things when we think of them in patterns (just as with Rohrshach ink blots).

So, is the human brain a reliable processor of information, or is it not? Is science just dealing with appearances and interpretations, or do we actually know something -- which is it?

RkBall said...

"DNA is detectable -- and it's a trillion times more complex than the information stored on a Beatles' track."

Which tells us absolutely nothing about whether or not that DNA was "designed" or not;

Then you don't know whether it was designed or not?

RkBall said...

"in fact, the more we learn about the way that DNA replicates itself, the more it proves evolution as indisputable fact, and shows itself as a purely chemical process."

No one disputes that evolution is a fact. What is at stake is micro- vs. macro-evolution, and the insufficiency of the darwinian mechanism to explain life as it actually exists -- which was the point of the original post with 95% of the arguments made in it left utterly unchallenged.

And, of course, why such a biochemical process should exist at all.

And how such a mindless, purposeless biochemical process should just somehow emerge from the dead stardust of the universe, and then, once in place, lead a seamless stream of teeny-tiny mutations from pond scum to Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Newton.

RkBall said...

SDC -- the Jewish burial issue. Where did you get this information? How do you know the information you have is true? What are your sources for saying this?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

SDC, I can see that there is no point in continuing with you on this line. I gave you specific primary sources external from the Bible who acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth and His crucifixion. I gave you specific data regarding numbers of references and with regard to the veracity of the New Testament as measured against other documents of antiquity. My challenge to you before was to address these specific points. You responded by continuing your mantra of myth and waiving your hand.

The only actual question you raised was to the burial procedures, but I had already explained your questions with the fact of the impending Sabbath (for clarification, in my previous post I errantly typed Passover when I intended Sabbath, please excuse the typo). The only way to judge the burial procedures is with the Jewish traditions. John 19:40 says "And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews."

If you have a specific refutation of the facts I presented or about the resurrection account itself, not just conditioning and hand-waiving, i'll be happy to respond and do my best to answer the presented concern. This shouldn't be a problem for you since you claim to have many contradictions large and small. I'm just asking for one regarding the resurrection, we can take them one at a time.

You said, "I feel confident that there probably WAS a Jewish cult leader named "Jesus" who was killed for posing a threat to Roman rule in Judea". From whence does this confidence come? If you say that the Bible is a book of fairy tales with no historical relevance and all the other hitorical documents that mention Jesus are unreliable because they are biased or are just reporting, then what possible confidence could you have that anyone named Jesus from Nazareth ever existed at all. Based on your test for historical accuracy no one in antiquity ever existed.

You say you have read the Bible, and i'm glad. My prayer is that you will at least set aside your pre-drawn conclusions and read it on it's merits.

If you address the specific items I listed I will respond, otherwise I hope to get the opportunity to continue on another line at another time.

joe_agnost said...

The stupid is getting far too deep for me here... Statements like (from RkBall):

"The point is -- would you be capable of believing a complex music track existed without a composer? Well, a human being is a trillion times more complex, exquisite, and valuable, than a mere track of music."

It makes me feel a little dumber just from reading it!

You know what Rk? If that music you're talking about was the product of self-replicating cells (the way animals/plants are) I would consider your analogy apt, but since it's not all you've got is the 'found a watch in the desert' analogy which has been thoughly debunked (self replicating cells and all that).

Evolution is fact. The theory of evolution through natural selection is the ABSOLUTE best theory to date that explains the fact of evolution. You aren't breaking any new ground here...

RkBall said...

"The stupid is getting far too deep for me here... Statements like (from RkBall): It makes me feel a little dumber just from reading it!"

Got the ad hominem working again, today, wot?

OK, since you know a lot and I am a mere ignoramus, help me out.

Here's the test:

1. Provide a sufficient explanation for the existence of self-replicating living cells (in which blueprint design information is encoded, transmitted, and replicated).

2. Then, answer this: how did this life-replication and design advancement process emerge from dead matter?

3. Then this: Why do these natural processes -- both lifeless chemical and bio-chemical, exist at all, rather, than chaotic, disorganized processes that produce nothing?

4. Then this: Why does something, i.e., the universe, exist, rather than nothing at all?

5. Then this: why does this universe, with its exquisitely and improbably fine-tuned parameters exist, rather than some other universe?

Provide sufficient answers to the above question, and you'll receive a passing grade. Oh, yeah, and don't forget to provide "evidence" and "proof".

RkBall said...

" If that music you're talking about was the product of self-replicating cells (the way animals/plants are) I would consider your analogy apt"

What you are talking about is analogous to the DVD burner, the replicator. Go back a step or two. Where did the information come from, not the the bits and bytes that are being replicated, but the information encoded in the bits and bytes? Did the information come from a mindful or mindless source.

Don't guess.

joe_agnost said...

RkBall wrote: "Got the ad hominem working again, today, wot?"

Sure... happy new year!

Ball continued: "I am a mere ignoramus"

Just about science and rational thought... you seem to know a lot about believing in god and self delution though! ;)

RkBall wrote: "Here's the test:"

I've got a new years party to get ready for... sorry.

RkBall wrote: "What you are talking about is analogous to the DVD burner, the replicator. Go back a step or two."

I'm simply pointing out the error in your "music had a composer, man is more complex ergo man has a composer" fallacy.

Man (all plants and animals) are self replicating and can be observed changing over time. There wasn't a 'designer' doing the changing - DNA mutations etc. leads to the changes (randomly) and then natural selection handles the rest.

It's simple, beautiful and amazing all at the same time... no god required.

SDC said...

"SDC -- I think before we go any further, you need to learn what is meant by consciousness and self-consciousness."

Well, you need to define what you MEAN by "self-consciousness", just as I pointed out; an organism that reacts to external stimuli is "self-conscious" to some degree, just as an organism that sits and imagines an invisible magic man in the sky is.

SDC said...

"You are muttering to yourself, once again."

Not in the least; your cult CLAIMS that your little magic book was "divinely-inspired", otherwise there would be no reason to think it would be any different than any OTHER work of fiction, correct?

SDC said...

"*What you said, '' have faith..." is not equal to what what I said. Once again, you display an inability to enter into real discussion or argument."

Don't be deliberately dense; you're telling me that in order to "find your truth", I would have to "pray" to something for which there is no evidence. That being the case, if I "pray" to the All-Powerful Box of Instant Mashed Potatoes on my cupboard shelf, and something good happens to me, can I logically infer some sort of causal connection between those two things? Of course not, yet that is EXACTLY what your cult does, and claims that these two unrelated things are somehow "proof" of the veracity of your superstition.

SDC said...

"For examples, I give you Jepthah's sacrifice of his daughter,

Reported, but not commended."

Commended in exactly the same way that this Abraham character's attempted sacrifice of his son was; these two situations were for all intents and purposes IDENTICAL. Both Abraham and Jepthah intended to sacrifice their children as an appeasement/offering to this imaginary invisible magic man in the sky in return for some sort of benefit, and despite the story told that Jepthah went through with it and Abraham didn't, your little magic book claims that both of these contradictory actions pleased your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky; why the difference? Are daughters more expendable than sons?

""Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son"

A divine test that turned out well."

Momentarily assuming that your imaginary invisible magic man in the sky wasn't just a fantasy, what sort of unjust immoral monster would even ASK, let alone expect a parent to do something like this? Tell me, Richard, what do you think you would do if your neighbour came over and told you that he had had a "vision" telling him that all he needed to do to secure eternal happiness was to slaughter his family for his "god"? What if YOU had said delusion/hallucination/"vision"? Well, we know what happened when Phillip Garrido had such an experience, and I don't think I've heard a single peep that "Hey, maybe he was just following "god's" orders". I'd hope that you would take such a thing as a warning sign to check yourself (or tell your neighbour to check himself) into a hospital for a CAT scan and some psychiatric evaluation, but in the supposed case of Abraham, you have been so successfully brainwashed by your cult into believing that this was a "good" thing that you don't even think twice about it. That is so IMMORAL that it's disgusting, and you should take a long hard look at the sort of nonsense you willingly swallow just because you've been fed it by your cult.

"Lot's attempt to protect some strangers by offering up hs daughters for rape.

Once again, reported, but not commended."

Just as with the other two reports, this character (whom, we're told, was the only "just" man in Sodom), is claimed to have done something that was utterly IMMORAL, yet your little magic book holds him up as someone to be venerated. As an interesting sidenote, your little magic book also claims that Lot's wife was "turne dto apillar of salt" for the "sin" of turning back to look at the home she was leaving; which is more immoral, Mr. Ball, offering your daughters up for rape, or looking back at a home you are leaving? It is an appalling, immoral tale on all accounts, and reading through your little magic book is one of the best arguments for atheism that I can imagine.

"The world was a very brutal place, prior to the leavening effect of the Law and Gospel."

And your little magic book CONDONED said brutality, going so far as to say who could be enslaved, how they should be treated and marked, how male and female slaves could be treated differently, how much they could be sold for, how their children were to be likewise sold, a warning to beat a slave only so hard that said slave wouldn't die right away, and so on. Again, utter immorality, and it should turn your stomach to see the obscenities that your little magic book approves of.

""the fact that the people who wrote your little magic book thought that these were all "moral" actions"

Absolutely not true in the case of Jeph. and Lot."

Absolutely true in all three cases; all of these tales were related as "the proper way to act", which should give you more than a little pause to wonder how anyone with any moral sense at all could claim to believe this nonsense.

SDC said...

"You'll have to check with the professional philosophers to see how well you have done on this question."

If I get to the point where I care, I may have to park outside the philosophy factory one day, and I'll ask someone while they're leaving.

SDC said...

"How much of this book have you actually read?"

I read through the entire thing while I was in high school, and still read through parts to find occasional passages now and then; since then, I've also read entirely through English translations of both the Jews' and the Muslims' little magic books, and I'm trying to find a copy of the Mormon's little magic book so I can do the same. None of them have any more evidence than any of the others, and without that evidence, they all rightfully remain on the big pile of superstitions that most people discarded long ago.

SDC said...

"So, is the human brain a reliable processor of information, or is it not? Is science just dealing with appearances and interpretations, or do we actually know something -- which is it?"

For the most part, the human brain can be considered a reliable processor of information, but it isn't infallible; it can easily be duped or misled, and your cult is a case in point. "Garbage in, garbage out", as they say. That's why science depends on constant review as a balance against the sort of "edicts" that cults like yours operate on, and because science is a democratic process, unexplained occurrences have to be explained, they can't just be written off as "miracles" or "god's will". For all we know, someone could tomorrow disprove the theory of gravity, but I won't be holding my breath.

SDC said...

""Which tells us absolutely nothing about whether or not that DNA was "designed" or not;"

Then you don't know whether it was designed or not?"

What that means is that it makes absolutely NO sense to do what you do, and ASSUME that it was "designed", as there is no evidence to suggest that it was designed by any supernatural force. There is no more reason to ascribe it to YOUR unseen force than to any OTHER unseen force (whether that unseen force is aliens, time-travelling wizards from an alternate dimension, or a giant purple bunny rabbit named Aloysius), and in the absence of any such evidence, all we have evidence for is a purely natural cause.

SDC said...

"No one disputes that evolution is a fact. What is at stake is micro- vs. macro-evolution, and the insufficiency of the darwinian mechanism to explain life as it actually exists"

And what precisely is the problem you have with believing that billions of years of tiny incremental changes would lead to large changes? Are you hung up on your little magic book's laughable "6000 years" timetable, or is it something more substantive? In its simplest terms, evolution can be explained as "if it doesn't work, it dies", and that's all that evolution says. In the fossil record, we can see entire species rise, grow, and then disappear over millions of years, only to be replaced by other more-successful species.

SDC said...

"SDC -- the Jewish burial issue. Where did you get this information? How do you know the information you have is true? What are your sources for saying this?"

There are 1.4 million hits for "Jewish burial law" on Google, and you're more than welcome to research it for yourself; alternatively, you could ask a rabbi or a synagogue. In fact, I INVITE you to, as that may be the only way you could be convinced that your cult is merely a superstition.

SDC said...

"SDC, I can see that there is no point in continuing with you on this line. I gave you specific primary sources external from the Bible who acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth and His crucifixion. I gave you specific data regarding numbers of references and with regard to the veracity of the New Testament as measured against other documents of antiquity. My challenge to you before was to address these specific points."

And I responded to all of those points, by showing how all of this supposed "evidence" would be treated by you if it was offered on behalf of another cult. A bystander reporting that your cult believed that these things happen does not constitute evidence that those things ACTUALLY happened, only that your cult BELIEVES they happened, and you would dismiss such claims from any other superstition.

"The only way to judge the burial procedures is with the Jewish traditions. John 19:40 says "And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.""

And this is what I would EXPECT of a Jewish burial; what I would NOT expect (and is in fact PROHIBITED) is for a Jew to break their own funerary laws and 1) go to "anoint a body" after said body has already been placed in a tomb/grave, and 2) have a WOMAN go to do this. This is like claiming that they had lobster bisque and ham sandwiches at the "last supper" and then not stopping to say "Hey! These people were Jews; they weren't ALLOWED to eat lobster bisque and ham sandwiches". On top of all of this, there are numerous contradictions in the four account of this "resurrection" around who did what when, what they saw, where they saw it, and so on, that believers in your cult are only too happy to wave off as "minor", but which you wouldn't accept for an instant if they occurred in any cult but your own.

"From whence does this confidence come?"

Because, given the time-frames involved, a couple of hundred years is too short of a time to make up such a fairy tale out of entirely whole cloth; that means that this myth grew up the same way OTHER similar myths grow up, around the kernel of some reality. The most likely explanation in this case is that after this cult-leader was killed, his followers dispersed but kept the stories alive and continued to embellish them, to the point where "miracles" were added (as was a common claim for other cult leaders of the time, such as Appolonius of Tyana, Simon Magus, and others; all of these characters were ALSO claimed to have performed "miracles" in front of witnesses, but I think you're just as sceptical on that point as I am. So, without proof, your "prophet" is just one cult-leader among many, and the ONLY reason your cult has survived to the present day is because Constantine chose to convert to it after seeing clouds that he thought resembled a cross. That gave your cult the "stamp of approval" that allowed it to spread.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

SDC, you did not present me evidence, what you did was correctly identify a number of cults and categorically lump the account of Jesus in with them. What I have done is provide you specific facts about number of copies of written historical accounts, along with extra-biblical sources to show precisely that the Bible is unique in all of antiquity as the most attested document from the period, specifically unlike any of the other cults you mentioned. You must address the specific facts I presented and not just say matter-of-fact that Christianity is just like all the rest just because you think it is.

As to the burial account of Jesus, the scripture I provided was John 19:40 which states that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus prepared and buried Jesus. Here are verses 39-40:

"He (Joseph of Arimethea) was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a misture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs." These two took Jesus body, prepared it with spices, wrapped it in linen and placed it in the tomb. They may have done this in haste because of the Jewish day of Preparation, but speed of action does not equate to a neglect of procedure. In none of the gospel accounts did the women bury or assist in the burial of Jesus. The women came after the Day of Preparation with additional spices to adorn the body, an act of devotion and love. Please look at the gospel accounts and compare that against Jewish tradition. Context and an accurate reading of any text is necessary if the truth is really important.

Also, you continue to bring up examples of others who told of exploits, heard voices, saw visions, etc. and lump in Christ as if we have nothing but one person's vision. This is not the case. John 1:1 says "In the beginning was the Word..." We have been given the Word of God which is a historical record and an account of what those who walked and talked with Jesus saw Him do, and heard Him say. You cannot just waive your hand at this fact. You also cannot selectively select which parts you choose to accept and which parts you don't. If Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and the other writers of the New Testament existed, and other things they recorded are to be believed like the existence of Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, Pilate and Herod and the actual locations of Nazareth, Galilee, Judea and Bethlehem existed (all out of Luke 2 in honor of our recent holiday) then you must consider that they are at least reporting everything else they saw and heard. You may choose to question whether it is possible, but you may not reserve the right to say they never saw it or heard it. I hope you can at least agree to that point.

Finally, you continue to speak of contradictions large and small that are present all over the Old Testament. I asked you before and i'll repeat the request again for you to stop just postulating the existence of contradictions and actually present just one. We can take them one at a time if you would at least be willing to present just one. I am presenting you with primary source data and actual facts from recorded history and archeology and you are making general accusations and broad generalizations. We cannot have a meaningful and reasonable discussion if you are unwilling to present anything other than those kind of statements. Please address the facts with specific scripture or other verifiable source data in defense of the particular places where you feel the Bible is in error as I have done.

Once again, my intention with those comments is not to be condescending or insulting. We simply cannot continue with me providing facts and you responding with unfounded allegations.

SDC said...

"SDC, you did not present me evidence, what you did was correctly identify a number of cults and categorically lump the account of Jesus in with them. What I have done is provide you specific facts about number of copies of written historical accounts, along with extra-biblical sources to show precisely that the Bible is unique in all of antiquity as the most attested document from the period, specifically unlike any of the other cults you mentioned."

Hogwash; what you call "evidence" is nothing more than the retellings of what your cult believes, coming both from adherents and sceptics of your cult, and is therefore not evidence that what your cult believes is actually true, simply evidence that your cult believes that they are true. To put it into a form which you might understand, if I write a book saying that the Muslims believe that "Mohammed rode a winged horse over Jerusalem", does that mean that *I* believe that Mohammed rode a winged horse over Jerusalem? Of course not. Does it mean that Mohammed ACTUALLY rode a winged horse over Jerusalem? Again, of course not. However, just as with your cult and its myths, the Muslims will swear up and down that THEIR myths are true, for no other reason than that's what they believe, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. And so it goes with all of the supposed "evidence" that you like to imagine in support of your cult.

"In none of the gospel accounts did the women bury or assist in the burial of Jesus. The women came after the Day of Preparation with additional spices to adorn the body, an act of devotion and love."

Here, not only does your little magic book contradict itself, YOU contradict yourself; under Jewish burial law, all funerary preparations have to be completed before the body is buried or entombed, and it is absolutely FORBIDDEN to go back again after the fact and do anything else with that body after it has been buried or entombed, particularly by a member of the opposite sex of the deceased. Now, this makes a certain amount of sense from an anthropological standpoint, because handling a dead body is extremely likely to result in any number of particularly nasty diseases, but the fact remains that the story as presented in your little magic book contradicts Jewish burial laws, no matter how you'd like to spin it.

"We have been given the Word of God which is a historical record and an account of what those who walked and talked with Jesus saw Him do, and heard Him say. You cannot just waive your hand at this fact."

Baloney; I CAN and DO "waive" (sic) my hand at this, because your little magic book has no more actual evidence in its favour than any OTHER cults' little magic book; you simply accept your cult's version unquestioningly, without the same sort of critical eye that you're only too happy to cast on any other cult.

SDC said...

"You may choose to question whether it is possible, but you may not reserve the right to say they never saw it or heard it."

Since no part of the "new testament" of your little magic book dates to within a generation of the lifetimes of those who were supposed to have actually "witnessed" these things, I most certainly CAN say they never saw or heard it; at best, we have second-hand accounts of what some cult members may have CLAIMED happened, which doesn't rise to the level of evidence that you would normally require in order to believe anything else. For example, there are any number of people who will swear up and down that Kennedy was killed by a "second shooter on the grassy knoll", but who do not offer any evidence to support that theory. Likewise, there are any number of people that will swear up and down that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the US government/George Bush/the Illuminati/the Tri-Partite Commission/yadda yadda yadda, again without any evidence to support that theory. Am I supposed to believe THEM without evidence, in the same way that you expect me to believe YOU without evidence?

SDC said...

"I asked you before and i'll repeat the request again for you to stop just postulating the existence of contradictions and actually present just one."

I'll give you eight, for starters;
How many women came to the tomb after the crucifixion?

John 20:1 says 1, Matthew 28:1 says 2, Mark 16:1 says 2 and possibly 3, and Luke 24:9 says at LEAST 3.

When did they go to the tomb?

Luke simply says that it was "early", but Matthew and Mark both say that it was dawn, and John 20:1 says that it was still dark (ie. before dawn). This isn't such a big deal to non-Jews, but they consider the "dawn" as being of importance in marking "the Sabbath", so they would've made notice of it either way. The fact that they do not agree is alone reason for suspicion.

Who rolled the stone blocking the tomb away from the door?

Matthew 28:2 says that there was a "great earthquake", and that an "angel" came down to roll the stone away, while Mark, Luke and John say nothing of the sort, saying simply that they "found" the stone rolled away. Now, if I'd felt an earthquake and "saw an angel", that seems to be the sort of thing I'd make deliberate notice of, so why the two conflicting stories? These are so different that one or the other (or both) must be made up.

What did they see in the tomb?

Matthew 28:2 says that they saw only the "angel", sitting on the stone that it had "rolled away", while Mark 16:5 says that they saw an "angel" sitting INSIDE the tomb, while both Luke and John say that there were actually TWO "angels" (with Luke saying that the "angels" were sitting where "Jesus'" body was, and John saying that they were standing). Now, maybe YOU see "angels" often enough that you tend to get a little bit loose with the facts surrounding how many you saw and what they were doing, but I know I'M certainly not the kind of person to do so. Another made-up religious fairy-tale.

What did this supposed "risen prophet" do after his nap?

Matthew 28 says that he immediately met the "two Marys" (from the earlier contradiction about the number of women), and (after they had prostrated themselves and held his feet) told them to go tell everyone else to meet him in Galillee.
Mark 16:9 says only that he met Mary Magdalene, who went alone to tell everyone else, but John 20 says that he met Mary Magdalene and told her not to touch him, because he "hadn't yet returned to his father". These differing stories are SO specific in their claims that they can't be simultaneously true, and this is one of the things that the Council of Nicea missed when they had their vote on what parts to include in your little magic book.

How many of the "disciples" came to check that Mary wasn't just feeding them a line of crap?

Luke 24:12 says that Peter went alone to the tomb, and found only scraps of cloth, but John says that Simon AND Peter AND an unnamed "other disciple" did this. So, is Luke lying about Peter going alone, or is John lying about Simon AND Peter AND someone else going?

How many "disciples" met this "Jesus" character afterwards, and where did they meet him?

Matthew, Mark and John all say that this "meeting" occurred in Galillee, but where Matthew and Mark say all 11 met him at the same time, John says that one (Didymus, of "doubting Thomas" fame) didn't meet him until later.
Luke 24:13, on the other hand, says that they didn't even GET to Galillee, and that this "Jesus" character was met on the road at a village named Emmaus, then returned to Jerusalem. Another claim, another contradiction.

SDC said...

(continued)

What did this "Jesus" character say to his "disciples", and what happened to him afterwards?

Mark and Luke both relate a sort of speech (in the form of quotes, though they both differ too much to be considered quotes of the same person at the same time), followed by his "ascending into heaven", but neither goes into the details of this "ascension".
Matthew 28, OTOH, mentions a similar speech, but says nothing about "ascending into heaven", while John says simply that this Jesus character hung around, continuing to "perform miracles".

These are the sorts of things that make me wonder at the sanity of anyone who can claim to believe them; not only do they contradict rationality and common sense, they contradict EACH OTHER.

And here's another one:

Mark 16:1 says that Mary Magdalene and one or possibly two other women had gone to the tomb to "anoint Jesus' body with spices"; how is it that they would've expected to "anoint Jesus' body with spices", if they believed that said body was still enclosed in a tomb, blocked with a stone?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

SDC, you say you gave me eight "contradictions" when in fact you didn't present any real contradictions at all.

The first seven problems you presented are all answered the same way, there is no contradiction. If you begin by looking at the scripture as each of four different people telling what they saw, heard or obtained by interviewing eyewitnesses as Luke specifically says he does, each in their own way, then it is plausible and even espected different things will be more important than for others. Each four men came from different backgrounds, with different relations and simply recorded different parts of the same story.

This happens even today. We certainly would not find a contradiction if three reporters were to come on the scene of a car wreck involving three people where one has a personal connection with the victim so writes about the individuals in the wreck but says nothing of the damage done to vehicles, another is a forensic scientist and says he saw one person thrown from the vehicle and then explains about the location and position of the vehicle and how it might of happened, a third had a deadline with another story to cover and speaks to the policeman on the scene and reports that at least two people were in an accident on a rainy day and no foul play was suspected. The accounts don't contradict one another just because they don't all tell the exact same story the exact same way with the exact same details. A contradiction would be if one reported that there was an accident with three people and the another said there had never been an accident in the first place.

The second "contradiction" you presented Mark 16:1 and that some women went to annoint the body with spices but why would they go to do this if they knew there was a stone in the way. The answer to this is found just two verses further on, "they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, 'Who will roll the stone away from entrance of the tomb.'" My answer would be that they knew full well their was a stone covering the tomb, but prepared the spices anyway and went on with the hopes they could get some men to help them. This is no contradiction, just a testimony to how much they loved Jesus.

None of these questions regarding the exact nature of the details surrounding the resurrection are contradictory accounts between the gospel writers. I guess I should have been more specific in my request. By a contradiction, I mean where one gospel writer presents an opposite view of the events of the resurrection. I am contending they all agree that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, rose from the tomb, appeared to many witnesses and then ascended into Heaven. Which one says one of those things did not occur? That would be a contradiction.

SDC said...

"The first seven problems you presented are all answered the same way, there is no contradiction."

Bovine excrement, and you know it as much as I do; if you were a police officer investigating a crime, and four supposed "eyewitnesses" to a crime gave you four stories that differ as much from each other as the four stories of the "resurrection" given in your little magic book do, you would KNOW that you were being lied to. These stories contradict each other in regards to who, what where, when, and how, and often so specifically that the two or more competing stories can't be reconciled, they can only be "glossed over" by brainwashed cultists. You obviously wouldn't accept this sort of jiggery-pokery offered as "evidence" for any other superstition, so why is it that you're happy to in this case?
In the case of the car wreck you offer, you wouldn't believe four "eyewitnesses" who told you that different numbers of people and vehicles were involved, that the accident happened at different times, that the accident happened at different locations, and that the same people did different things at the same time. In this case, however, you are willing to turn logic on its head in order to try to hold onto your superstition, and you STILL haven't explained how it is that you expect to explain the fact that the things your little magic book CLAIMS were done are specifically PROHIBITED by Jewish burial laws.
Further, if you bother to think about it for more than a nanosecond, if these women that were going to do something that was specifically prohibited by their cult from doing, could have so easily moved the stone away from the tomb themselves, what makes you think that they couldn't just as easily have done so themselves, removed the body to make it APPEAR that said "resurrection" appeared, and the fairy-tale grew from there, in exactly the same way that other unsubstantiated myths like the "second shooter" and "remote-controlled 9/11 airplanes" have?

SDC said...

To put it into your "car wreck" scenario, imagine that three of your supposed "eyewitnesses" claimed that one of the vehicles involved was simply parked on the street, while the fourth of your supposed "eyewitnesses" claimed that that vehicle had dropped out of low-earth orbit, bounced once, and came to a stop before the accident had occurred? This is exactly analogous to the differing stories of what the first visitor to the tomb is claimed to have seen, with three of them saying that that first person only "found the stone rolled away", and the fourth saying that "an earthquake happened, and an angel came down to physically ROLL that stone away". Creationists have a remarkable ability to ignore reality in favour of myths when it comes to their cult, and you are a typical example.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

SDC said:

"Bovine excrement". I suppose I am finished with this line with you. I would prefer to spend my time with those who are interested in meaningful and reasonably civil discussion. I am fine with you disagreeing with me, I am comfortable continuing to call a belief of mine that I hold dear a myth and other terms, but when you fall to the levels that you now have I can spend my time better elsewhere. You may continue to be angry and crass with your attitude toward differing beliefs if you wish. I will continue to pray for you, and hope that in my remarks I have been diligent to express even areas of disagreement with you in at least repectful and civil terms.

SDC said...

And once again, rather than explain why any person with even a moderately-developed sense of logic and reasoning ability would choose to believe your self-contradictory myths, a Christian runs away; you're happy to ask similar questions of any other cult, but when someone points out that your own cult has an abundant supply of similar non-sequitors, contradictions, and outright lies, the best you can do is run away? Why am I not surprised?

RkBall said...

Jeremy D. Thanks for helping out. My reading from the Proverbs last night -- Proverbs 1:20-22

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.

21 She cries out in the chief concourses,

At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:

22 “ How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?

For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.

I think there might be a nugget hidden in there for you!

*
* *

SDC said...

And gullible fools will swallow any tale in the name of their "god", eh, Richard? ;-)

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"