Sunday, December 30, 2007

Atheists Are Intolerant and Militant

 
Here's a video from "TheismBeatsAtheism." It's quite well done but still reflects the hollowness of the typical theist. Note that there's a lot of complaining about the "intolerance" and "militancy" of the atheists but very little defense of theism. The best proof they can offer for God's existence is the fact that 80-90% of American believe in him.

The theists are going to have to do better than this. If there is evidence of a supernatural being then let's hear it. I'm sick of those theists who claim that we have to read some "sophisticated" Christian apologetics in order to understand the arguments for God's existence. Those arguments have been around for 2000 years or more and none of them stand up to rational examination. (Note that they never recommend any Hindu books. Why is that? Every religion has their share of "sophisticated" books proving that their particular religion is correct. What does that tell you?)

I like the part where they complain about the universities. Apparently, getting a college education and learning how to think is detrimental to one's belief in a supernatural being. Do they have solutions to this problem, other than promoting ignorance? Yes, they do—more effort on brainwashing young children ought to work. What's interesting is that these theist dudes would complain about brainwashing by other religions1 but see nothing wrong with Christians doing it.



1. Especially the Muslim bogeyman. You might be surprised to learn than all Muslims are intolerant and would kill any atheist who lectured to them. I guess it's okay for Christians to be militant and intolerant toward other religions but not okay for atheists. I loathe hypocrisy.

[Hat Tip: Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist (These Atheists… They’re Everywhere!)]

45 comments :

  1. Here's a video from "TheismBeatsAtheism." It's quite well done but still reflects the hollowness of the typical theist. Note that there's a lot of complaining about the "intolerance" and "militancy" of the atheists but very little defense of theism.

    It's a short clip. What did you expect? You and other religious atheists demand lot but offer very little.


    The best proof they can offer for God's existence is the fact that 80-90% of American believe in him.

    Nowhere in the clip is said that the "best proof" for the existence of God is the fact that in the most scientifically sucessful nation on the planet, >85% of the people believe in the God of the Bible.
    What they say is that atheists are coming more evangelistic in their aproach, and at times, mean in their retoric.
    I recall how one atheist sugested that Dr Anthony Flew had somehow become senile only because he no longer believed that the universe and the biological world had created itself. Now, I am not saying Flew is a Christian (he is not). What I am saying is that atheists are becoming more militant. I think that is the point of the short clip.

    If there is evidence of a supernatural being then let's hear it.

    You mean, the fact that there is no natural impersonal force able to create living beings is not enough evidence for you? What do you want? A Picture of God doing the creating?


    I'm sick of those theists who claim that we have to read some "sophisticated" Christian apologetics in order to understand the arguments for God's existence.

    Well, there are modern sophisticated Christian apologetics wherein positive arguements for the existence of God are laid bare. Someare just the rehashing of old arguements, but some are new. For example, Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity are new arguements for the existence of God.

    Those arguments have been around for 2000 years or more and none of them stand up to rational examination.

    Yes, they do, which is why the Christian Faith has been, as someone has said, the "soul of science". Google it.


    (Note that they never recommend any Hindu books. Why is that?

    Why would a Christian recomend Hindu books? Not only Hindus are polytheists, but they don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind. Your question doesn't make sense, Larry.


    Every religion has their share of "sophisticated" books proving that their particular religion is correct. What does that tell you?)


    It tells me that people from the diferent religious perspectives (atheists included) take time to provide evidence which, in their view, suports their belief system. What is so wrong with that?


    I like the part where they complain about the universities. Apparently, getting a college education and learning how to think is detrimental to one's belief in a supernatural being.


    Again, that is not what they say. What they say is that most Christian go to college not knowing how to defend their faith. In there, atheist professors, who have more knowledge in anti-Christian rethoric than they have in Christian apologetics, pretty much destroy their shaky faith.
    Larry, you should learn to present the other party correctly. Misrepresentation doesn't do you no good, nor to your religious belief.

    Do they have solutions to this problem, other than promoting ignorance? Yes, they do—more effort on brainwashing young children ought to work.

    Translation: teach the children how to defend the Christian faith.


    What's interesting is that these theist dudes would complain about brainwashing by other religions1 but see nothing wrong with Christians doing it.


    Wrong again. The only ones who want to use the Law to prevent Christian homes from educating their children with the Christian worldview are atheists like Dawkins. Christians don't want Muslim parents to be forbiden by the law from educating their children in the islamic worldview.


    1. Especially the Muslim bogeyman. You might be surprised to learn than all Muslims are intolerant and would kill any atheist who lectured to them.


    Nowhere in the clip is that said. But thanks for the misrepresentation (again).

    What the clip says is that religious atheists say that Christian Fundamentalists are just like Muslim fundamentalists. Dr Ravi Zechariah then challenges ANY ATHEIST to go to the most islamically guided nation on the the plannet (Saudi Arabia), and rant all your anti-God nonsense. See how long would you last.

    Hey, Larry, this looks like a job for you. Why don't you take all your material and cruise all the way to SA, preaching against belief in the Supernatural, as you do so frequently? Who knows? With any luck you might become a martyr. (g)


    I guess it's okay for Christians to be militant and intolerant toward other religions but not okay for atheists. I loathe hypocrisy.
    It's ok to be lawfully intolerant with beliefs you don't agree with. It's another thing to equate all belief in God in the same bag.
    Anyone can do this:
    1. Stalin was an atheist who killed millions.
    2. You are an atheist.
    3. You and Stalin are just the same, which means that, if you ever get the power, you will kill millions.

    See how anyone can play this game?

    Please try to present the other side fairl next time. It gets kind of boring that, when debating/chatting with atheists, Christians first have to expose some of the false assumptions religious atheists show in their "questions".

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  2. If the theists are so secure in their faith and so sure their magic man in the sky exists, why are they so afraid of rationalists and atheists?

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  3. You mean, the fact that there is no natural impersonal force able to create living beings is not enough evidence for you? What do you want? A Picture of God doing the creating?


    A picture would be great. What makes you so sure that there doesn't exist a natural impersonal force able to create living beings? A part of this force would be evolution, but I can agree that we don't have a thorough example of going from not living matter to living. We might never get one, but that doesn't exclude that living beings can come from chemicals. What's so special about something living anyway? A bacterium is a collection of complex molecules. Take any one molecule and you can't say that it's alive, you need the collection.

    For example, Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity are new arguements for the existence of God.

    Bah, if you've read this site you'll know that none of the people here will think that those are good arguments. Examples of IC and SC are either not actually IC and SC or are stuff we just don't know yet. There are pretty good accounts of how the bacterium flagellum came to be for example. Are you not afraid of using ignorance as a argument for a god?

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  4. mats says,

    Please try to present the other side fairly next time. It gets kind of boring that, when debating/chatting with atheists, Christians first have to expose some of the false assumptions religious atheists show in their "questions".

    The only question that interests me is whether supernatural beings exist.

    Do you have any evidence that any of the Hindu Gods exist? How about some of the Christian supernatural beings? Do you have any evidence that they (e.g. angels, demons) exist?

    I didn't think so .....

    I'm not interested in proving that some Christians are bad. The evidence for that is overwhelming. Some atheists are bad and so are some Muslims and some Hindus. That topic is irrelevant to the main issue of whether supernatural beings exist.

    If supernatural beings don't exist then the fact that some people behave badly isn't a surprise. If supernatural beings do exist then Christian apologists have 2000 years of rationalization to explain why God allows evil.

    I'm not interested in reading Christian apologetics until you prove to me that such rationalization is necessary. In other words, not only do you have to demonstrate that supernatural beings exist, you also have to demonstrate that it's your version of God that exists and that you know how to read His mind.

    Then, and only then, will I be interested in reading the "sophisticated" books on Christianity.

    BTW, Mats, why do you reject all the other Gods?

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  5. mats,

    I recall how one atheist sugested that Dr Anthony Flew had somehow become senile only because he no longer believed that the universe and the biological world had created itself.

    Anthony Flew most certainly is senile! He doesn't even remember important events and people from his life any more! He didn't even write his latest book!

    Dr Ravi Zechariah then challenges ANY ATHEIST to go to the most islamically guided nation on the the plannet (Saudi Arabia), and rant all your anti-God nonsense. See how long would you last.

    I think what you are trying to say is that no christian would react with violence to a "militant atheist", while many muslims would. This is false. Some christians in Nigeria and in less developed countries might. Some christians in America may have. Also, many muslims (liberals, moderates and conservatives) would not consider Saudi Arabia to be "islamically guided" at all.

    Overall, I thought this video (put out by the christian dominionists of the late D. James Kennedy's Corral Ridge Ministry) was a joke. It's basically a lot of whining about how atheists are writing popular books, getting on TV and saying "mean" things about God. Boo-hoo.

    Howver, the one thing that I thought that was legitimate about the video was when someone mentioned that atheists were not necessarily familiar with the works and ideas of conservative christian apologists. I think that is a fair comment. However, engaging them in any type of rational debate is another! Just try and make sense of what christian philosopher William Lane Craig is saying about the supposed resurrection of Jesus of Nazereth in this debate with New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman! Can you make heads or tails of what Craig is arguing? For the life of me, I can't!

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  6. According to mats, "For example, Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity are new arguements for the existence of God."

    The advocates of these arguments, the supporters of "Intelligent Design", make sure to tell us that these are not arguments for the existence of God. They are, according to the ID-supporters, arguments for the existence of design, and perhaps arguments for the existence of designer(s). They tell us that they believe that the designer is God, but that that is not a consequence of their arguments for design.

    And, by the way, the concept of "irreducible complexity" goes back some 300 years or more. The Wikipedia article "Irreducible complexity" under the header "Forerunners" gives references to several uses of the concept.

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  7. >If there is evidence of a supernatural being then let's hear it.

    I think the best arguments are the "forever prophecies" that are in our power to refute.

    It's easy therefore to test the Christian claim, and check the presence of the supernatural, simply try and rebuild or reinhabit Babylon.

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  8. Right, people should destroy ancient ruins of immense archeological value in order to refute your stupid biblical prophecy? Jesus, Lee, take your frickin' meds. You're not being a very good advertisement for the cognitive gulf between humans and chimps.

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  9. > Right, people should destroy ancient ruins of immense archeological value in order to refute your stupid biblical prophecy?

    I refer my comments to those who want to refute Christianity, which some people are evidently motivated to do. So I give them a way to refute the Christian claim, and also investigate evidence for the supernatural, which was what was actually requested.

    You will perhaps forgive me if I mistake a request for evidence of the supernatural, for a request for evidence of the supernatural.

    Note in this vein that Saddam in recent memory tried to rebuild and reinhabit this city, and also that he failed.

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  10. @ Mats:


    the fact that there is no natural impersonal force able to create living beings is not enough evidence for you?



    Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity are new arguements for the existence of God.


    You fail. Gap arguments aren't testable positive evidence, so entirely beside the point. At least the video points out that the illusion of religion is a popular one. You don't even try to make a cogent point at all.

    @ lee_merrill:

    I have to agree with Steve, you won't find anyone supporting your project so it isn't usable. (And that should tell you something about religion.) Any realistic ideas?

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  11. > you won't find anyone supporting your project so it isn't usable. (And that should tell you something about religion.)

    I think this tells me about skeptics, whose motivation seems to have faded. You really are not interested in a good test for the supernatural?

    I would be.

    > Any realistic ideas?

    We can review the attempts to do what these prophecies said would not be done, Alexander ye Great also tried to rebuild Babylon, and failed, Hitler tried to destroy the Jewish nation, and would likely have had his opportunity to finish if he had gotten an atomic bomb. We note again however, a failure, all these, Saddam, Alexander, and Hitler could well have succeeded.

    The probability of this being coincidence goes down as the number of such failures increases.

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  12. You will perhaps forgive me if I mistake a request for evidence of the supernatural, for a request for evidence of the supernatural.


    The fact that you believe you offered something of the sort is amusing, in a pathetic sort of way.

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  13. Please try to present the other side fairly next time. It gets kind of boring that, when debating/chatting with atheists, Christians first have to expose some of the false assumptions religious atheists show in their "questions".

    The only question that interests me is whether supernatural beings exist.

    There is good indication of that. The total absence of any natural force able to create living beings out of nothing is good empirical evidence that there must be a Supernatural Creator.

    Do you have any evidence that any of the Hindu Gods exist?

    No.

    How about some of the Christian supernatural beings? Do you have any evidence that they (e.g. angels, demons) exist?
    Well, since a Supernatural Creator exists, then other immaterial beings might exist aswell.

    I didn't think so .....

    You might be wrong.

    I'm not interested in proving that some Christians are bad.

    How do you know what is good and what is bad?

    The evidence for that is overwhelming. Some atheists are bad and so are some Muslims and some Hindus. That topic is irrelevant to the main issue of whether supernatural beings exist.
    But that is not waht you said or implied in your blog post.

    If supernatural beings don't exist then the fact that some people behave badly isn't a surprise.

    Saying that "supernatural beings don't exist" is a claim materialists should have learned not to make. One simple question is enough to show how this is illogical:
    1. How do you know that supernatural beings don't exist anywhere in the universe (or outside of it)? Have you been in PLuto? Perhaps there are supernatural beings there, Larry.
    See, the only way you can know that supernatural beings don't exist anywhere is to know everything that is going on, everywhere, always. In other words, you would have to be God in order to know that God doesn't exist.
    What you can claim is that you personaly haven't seen any evidence for the supernatural. But that is just you.

    If supernatural beings do exist then Christian apologists have 2000 years of rationalization to explain why God allows evil.
    There is no evil in the atheistic worldview. What are you talking about, Larry? Things just "are".
    Secondly, "good and evil" are moral/religious issues. If you make a religious question, get ready to get a religious answer.


    I'm not interested in reading Christian apologetics until you prove to me that such rationalization is necessary.

    IN other words, you are not interested in reading Christian apologetics until a Christian can (apologetically) tell you why you should read Christian apologetics. Good logic, Larry.
    That is like saying that I am not interested in reading darwinian clarifications until a darwinist tells me why we need such clarifications. It doesn't make any sense.


    In other words, not only do you have to demonstrate that supernatural beings exist, you also have to demonstrate that it's your version of God that exists and that you know how to read His mind.


    The supernatural is easily demonstrable, as I showed above. Proving that YHWH is the One True God is also demonstrable by looking at the Book He gave us, and interpretating the world through it. Once we do that, things make sense.

    Then, and only then, will I be interested in reading the "sophisticated" books on Christianity.
    Christians need to use apologetics to make you read apologetics.

    BTW, Mats, why do you reject all the other Gods?
    Because I believe that YHWH is the True God.

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  14. "You mean, the fact that there is no natural impersonal force able to create living beings is not enough evidence for you? What do you want? A Picture of God doing the creating?"

    A picture would be great. What makes you so sure that there doesn't exist a natural impersonal force able to create living beings?

    No evidence, and I am sure none will ever be presented. We have a pretty good grasp on what unguided natural forces can do, and writting genetic algorythms is not one of them.


    A part of this force would be evolution, but I can agree that we don't have a thorough example of going from not living matter to living. We might never get one, but that doesn't exclude that living beings can come from chemicals.

    We don't have any evidence that life came from rocks in Mars. We might never get one, but that doesn't exclude that living beings can come from rocks in Mars.


    What's so special about something living anyway?

    They are alive.


    A bacterium is a collection of complex molecules. Take any one molecule and you can't say that it's alive, you need the collection.


    Exacly. But how does this help the belief that the natural world is he result of unguided forces of nature?


    For example, Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity are new arguements for the existence of God.


    Bah, if you've read this site you'll know that none of the people here will think that those are good arguments.

    The fact that materialists can't see the evidence doesn't mean there isn't one.

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  15. Nuclear reactions can account for the creation of numeroud elements from hydrogen alone. Chemical reactions can accoun for the enormous number of chemical substances arising from the 90-odd naturally ocurring elements. Just a couple of examples of what unguided natural forces can do. I will leave the biochemistry to larry

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  16. Mats,
    Is the formation of complex, perfectly symmetrical snow crystals an "unguided" process? It seems difficult that such perfection could have been put together as a result of a random, unguided process. It seems readily ridiculous, doesn't it. WE ca laugh at the idea that is the result of random blindness.
    So. is each perfect snow crystal ACTUALLY being PUT TOGETHER by an intelligent someone?

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  17. Well, the metal roadblock has shown itself, mats old book cannot be wrong. Anyone who says it is cannot be correct. End of story.

    Thank FSM that certain parts of this world have progressed dispite such closed thinking.

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  18. Tierhon said:
    There are pretty good accounts of how the bacterium flagellum came to be for example. Are you not afraid of using ignorance as a argument for a god?"

    Neal said: I bet your "pretty good accounts" are relegated to the "type three secratory system". Shit!!!! This is why so many people who are following this dialogue between darwinsists (mostly atheists) and intelligent design proponents get so pissed off?

    The atheists (in my opinion, although I don't know for sure would include not just Dawkins, but Ken Miller, the perrenial anti-scientific "hack") promote this thing as, basically their "poster child" in claiming some sort of "transitional" system that eventually becomes a flagellum. my understanding is there are no direct scientifically shown corellations between these systems. For all anybody knows they could have independently "spontaneously arrisen somehow. Scientific opinions describe this system more likely than not to be a genetic degeneration of the flagellum. It's main function is to parasitically collaborate with healthy cells and inject deleterious solutions that will KILL THE CELL. That is one hell of a concept to build upon to biochemically "build up" a system to more elaborate functionality eh asshole? What else do you have?

    GOD DAMN IT YOU BASTARDS!!!!! STOP YOUR "FLAT EARTHERESQUE" TYPE ANTICS!!!! The above elaboration is just a f______ figment of vast array of scientifically demonstrated constraints upon the worn out concept of darwinian evolution as a concept that can adequately describe "chemicals to ecosystems".

    Get your fucking antireligious sentiments out of your eyes and start taking science seriously as though you actually have some sort of obligations to the public who fund your pathetic asses. Or soon you will NOT be considered relevant and therefore your kind WILL NOT BE welcome anymore into the publically funded realm of REAL SCIENCE!!!!!!

    NEAL

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  19. mats wrote:

    "The fact that materialists can't see the evidence doesn't mean there isn't one."

    In the case of Irreducible Complexity and Specified Complexity, the names most associated with these phrases do not claim that they are arguments for the existence of God.

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  20. You really are not interested in a good test for the supernatural?


    Of course. But as the probability for any supernatural phenomena is already vanishingly low, the proposal to tear down an historic site that can predictably teach us so much historical facts and have such an intrinsic value isn't realistic.

    Hence the question.


    We can review the attempts


    No testable alternative then.

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  21. @Mats:


    The fact that materialists can't see the evidence doesn't mean there isn't one.


    No, empirical science has a proven track record of getting to observable repeatable facts and testable predictive theories, validated knowledge of a sort that no other discipline can boast of.

    As you show again and again in your comments, when asked for testable positive evidence for your theism you come up empty. You parade the creationist smörgåsbord of lies, false claims, unsupported or non-definable terms ("specified complexity") and false dichotomies (evidence against a specific scientific theory is willy-nilly assumed to be evidence for a supernaturalistic fairy tale, against trivial logic), but haven't said anything not explained based on science before. Read Talk Origins and explain how your arguments differ from the usual creationist screed, and where the science based answers are wrong.

    @ NEAL:


    start taking science seriously


    Please point to any claim in the answers to mats and explain how they aren't part of science. The accounts of the bacterium flaggellum for example is accepted biology published in peer-reviewed biology papers, which you can easily check.

    Now who is the anti-scientists here? And where are your or Mats testable positive evidence for supernatural agents?

    Aren't you tired of lying for your gods, as you just did? And more to the point, how do you believe that your lies will convince anybody that your religion is a moral and just endeavor?

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  22. Mats,
    Is the formation of complex, perfectly symmetrical snow crystals an "unguided" process?

    Yes, I think one can say that.

    It seems difficult that such perfection could have been put together as a result of a random, unguided process.

    No, it does not. The elegance and in the simetry of snow flakes is the result of atomic thermodynamic balance. In other words, they will always do the same thing, the moment the temperature gets right.
    But this example is not really a good example. See, in the process of forming a snowflake nothing new was created that didn't exist. The atoms where there. The force of nature were there, etc, and, above all, the snowflakes, albeit being beautiful to see and elegant, do no constitute what one could call a living form.
    Thirdly,snowflakes, due to the fact that they are not alive, do no self-heal, do not reproduce, etc,etc. Nice try, but this is no evidence for the darwinian mechanism (unguided natural impersonal forces creating living beings).


    Typical of darwinist to use as evidence something that, upon close examination,fails totally.


    It seems readily ridiculous, doesn't it. WE ca laugh at the idea that is the result of random blindness.

    But....it is not really random. It is the response the created atoms therein give when the temperature reaches a certain level. But even if it was random, it is not evidence, since snowflakes are not alive.


    So. is each perfect snow crystal ACTUALLY being PUT TOGETHER by an intelligent someone?

    The atoms, the laws of nature, the water and everything else came into existence as the result of design. The formation of the crystal is the result of the forces of nature operating upon already existing atoms.
    This in no way confirms the darwinian mechanism.
    You should provide us with the natural force which is able to create living beings out of nothing, wrote complex codes (DNA) where there was none, etc, etc.

    Good luck!

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  23. @Mats:


    The fact that materialists can't see the evidence doesn't mean there isn't one.


    No, empirical science has a proven track record of getting to observable repeatable facts and testable predictive theories, validated knowledge of a sort that no other discipline can boast of.

    Yes, and it is empirical (testable, repeatable, falsifiable) that makes us see that the darwinian story is unscientific.

    As you show again and again in your comments, when asked for testable positive evidence for your theism you come up empty.
    Read my above reply to Larry.

    Read Talk Origins and explain how your arguments differ from the usual creationist screed, and where the science based answers are wrong.
    I think I have to repeat myself over and over again: Creationists are not against science, but against darwinism.
    Science is fine. Darwinism is not. Please, don't confuse the two.
    It is because of science (also but not only) that we see that darwinism's mechanism doesn't exist. Unguided, impersonal, undirected forces of nature don't have the ability to generate genetic algorythms.
    I give this example to darwinists, and they can see what I mean:
    - If one day you went ot the beach, and found the words "Good morning" written on the beach shore, would it be illogical to assume inteligent causation? Wouldn't we assume intelligent design due to 1) the content and the code in which the message is written and 2) our knowledge of the limits of natural forces? We sure would.
    It is because of the knowledge we have of the content (DNA, etc) and the limits of natural forces that we can see that the living world owes its existence to a Supernatural Mind.

    Science leads us to God.

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  24. @ Mats:

    Fine, let us debate the problem with creationism instead of futilely waiting for your testable positive evidence for supernatural agents.


    In other words, they will always do the same thing, the moment the temperature gets right.


    No, they never do the same thing - each snowflake is a unique individual. Snowflakes develop by an unstable, contingent process.

    For the rest of your comment, you duck the question why such a random, unguided process will be endlessly creative and result in unique apparent "designs".

    Just as evolution, btw, which it is analogous, but certainly not identical, to. But that wasn't the argument. The question is why you see "design" in evolution, but not in other unguided processes.


    You should provide us with the natural force which is able to create living beings out of nothing, wrote complex codes (DNA) where there was none, etc, etc.


    Creationist bait. You should either provide testable positive evidence for supernatural agents, or discuss why you see apparent design in some natural processes but not others.

    And what have abiogenesis to do with evolutionary mechanisms (such as the darwinian)? Are you sure you are qualified to discuss science on a science blog? You can't distinguish one theory from another. Maybe you should read Talk Origins first and find out what the basics of biology are.

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  25. @ Mats:


    Read my above reply to Larry.


    I did, which spurred my comment. Please describe a test that positively asserts that there are supernatural agents. You haven't done so - or if you think you did, point it out among the rest.


    Creationists are not against science, but against darwinism.


    Please define "darwinism". If you mean evolution, it is the basics of the science of biology. So yes, every creationist group are against at least one science.

    Most often, like the IDC or YEC cults, they drag most every science into their negative assertions on accepted knowledge, such as physics, geology, hydrology, astronomy, cosmology, et cetera. These cults are obsessive about empowering their fundamentalist movements and disempowering the science that problematizes their religious dogmas.


    Unguided, impersonal, undirected forces of nature don't have the ability to generate genetic algorythms.


    Evolution isn't a genetic algorithm, it is (the) process of life that can be minimally defined as:


    Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.


    as noted on this very blog. Several mechanisms have been identified that combines to a theory that can predict effects fulfilling the definition. That theory, evolution theory, can in some cases be modeled and described as a form of genetic algorithm.

    So you see, whether these mechanisms generate algorithms is beside the point. (What does that mean anyway - "generate algorithms"? Trust a creationist to not define his blather.)


    Science leads us to God.


    Read "The God Delusion" and you will see why you are naively wrong. Science debunks supernatural agents, such as your particular deity among the other equally possible ones, as improbable in the face of evidence.

    But fine, put your money where your mouth is: what is your testable, positive evidence for supernatural agents? Words in sand, yours or Dembski's, isn't it.

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  26. Sophisticated religions see evolution just like you see crystal formation: god sets out the rules, but he does not descend form heaven every time to cobble up each new species we see in the fossil record.

    Creationists make a strawman out of evolution as if by saying it is un unguided process, scientists are saying it is random. Evolution is a highly deterministic process with random components.

    I will give you that darwinian theory leaves too much unexplained, and is even wrong on some points (for instance, adaptationism).

    But this is science. You cannot invok supernatural intervention, much less in arbitrary fashion; here yes, but there, no.

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  27. Organism development is no different from crystal formation: they are unguided. For instance, mats, does god actually put together the human fetus through supernatural agency?
    I think any reasonable person would admit that development is not guided.

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  28. does god actually put together the human fetus through supernatural agency?

    Based on some of the birth defects I've seen, he doesn't do a very good job. I know, I know - "the Curse". But how does he decide which fetuses to curse, before they've even "sinned"? Nasty dude, this Yahweh. Not sure I like him at all.

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  29. > Lee: You really are not interested in a good test for the supernatural?
    >
    > Torbjörn: Of course. But as the probability for any supernatural phenomena is already vanishingly low...

    I think this kind of assumes your conclusion?

    > ... the proposal to tear down an historic site that can predictably teach us so much historical facts and have such an intrinsic value isn't realistic.

    It's already been torn down in substantial measure, Saddam built a palace, and was then rather suddenly interrupted.

    But no need to rebuild the whole city, just reinhabiting Babylon will do.

    > Lee: We can review the attempts ...
    >
    > Torbjörn: No testable alternative then.

    The point nonetheless was that these prophecies have been tested, three failures so far by several who could well have succeeded.

    So a conscious test by attempting to rebuild or reinhabit a site that was said to be desolate forever (there are several) knowing what that would mean, would be even more instructive. I would say.

    I guess I did say.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Torbjörn Larsson said:

    @ Mats:

    Fine, let us debate the problem with creationism instead of futilely waiting for your testable positive evidence for supernatural agents.


    I am waiting for your testable, empirical evidence for the magical powers of unguided forces. Don't duck the question, since it is your religion that is being preached in public schools with our money. It is your religion that is qualified as "science", and contrary evidence is dismissed as "unscientific".
    But even so, I gave you a positive evidence for the existence of the Supernatural God: the non-existence of any unguided, impersonal, undirected force able to generate living beings, let alone the basic code. Put your darwinian money where your mouth is, Torbbie.


    In other words, they will always do the same thing, the moment the temperature gets right.


    No, they never do the same thing - each snowflake is a unique individual. Snowflakes develop by an unstable, contingent process.

    But they are....sonwflakes. Under certain conditions they will develop into...snowflakes, not into bacteria.


    For the rest of your comment, you duck the question why such a random, unguided process will be endlessly creative and result in unique apparent "designs".

    Just as evolution, btw, which it is analogous, but certainly not identical, to.

    It isn't even analogous. Evolution, so we are told, is the process by which LIVING BEINGS came into existence. Snowflakes are not alive.


    But that wasn't the argument. The question is why you see "design" in evolution, but not in other unguided processes.

    Actually, the question is:
    "Since evolution relies on the magical abilities of unguided forces, how come we have never seen it happening? How come all the evidence we have so far mitigates against the creative powers of impersonal forces?"


    You should provide us with the natural force which is able to create living beings out of nothing, wrote complex codes (DNA) where there was none, etc, etc.


    Creationist bait.

    No, This is called "science". You make a claim, then provide the evidence.



    And what have abiogenesis to do with evolutionary mechanisms (such as the darwinian)?


    Everything. If the magical forces of unguided mechanisms can't even start the process, no reason to limit science within an area (naturalism) which we know it's insuficient.
    Besides, chemical evolution has everything to do with evolution, so much so that many darwinian textbooks cite the Miller/Urey defunct experience as evidence that magical forces can create life out of non-existing matter. Your atempt to separate darwinism from chemical evolution is further evidence that you yourself dont have much faith in the power of impersonal forces.

    @ Mats:

    Read my above reply to Larry.

    I did, which spurred my comment. Please describe a test that positively asserts that there are supernatural agents.

    I did. The total absence for any impersonal force to generate living forms out of dead chemicals is overwhelming positive evidence for the Supernatural. Life is the positive evidence that a life Giver exists. What your religion tries to convicne us is that life is the result of non-life, something no one was able to show.


    Creationists are not against science, but against darwinism.



    Please define "darwinism".

    The magical theory which, contrary to testable evidence, speculates that codes and messages wrote themselves inside dead chemicals, which, then, became alive (magically!)

    If you mean evolution, it is the basics of the science of biology.

    Nonsense. Dr Skell, Emeritus Prof of Chemistry, debunked this religiously motivated belief.
    The belief that the living world owes its existence as the result of impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature is irrelevant to science. It's value its mearely a philosophical anti-Christian value.

    So yes, every creationist group are against at least one science.

    No, since, among other obvious things, most of the branches of sciecne today, specially the ones related to biology, were started by creationists (Mendel, Linaeus, etc), not by people who believe that things made themselves.
    The theory of evolution could disapear tomorrow morning, and science would continue as if nothing had happened.


    Most often, like the IDC or YEC cults, they drag most every science into their negative assertions on accepted knowledge, such as physics, geology, hydrology, astronomy, cosmology, et cetera.

    Physics (Newton), Geology (Steno (sp?)), astromony (Galileo) and cosmology (Copernicus) are areas which owe a lot to creation scientists (scientists who believed that the world had been created by the God of the BIble), and owe absolutly nothing to atheistic myths like the magical powers of non-existing forces of nature.

    These cults are obsessive about empowering their fundamentalist movements and disempowering the science that problematizes their religious dogmas.


    Except that they don't "problematize" their religions dogmas.


    Unguided, impersonal, undirected forces of nature don't have the ability to generate genetic algorythms.



    Evolution isn't a genetic algorithm, it is (the) process of life that can be minimally defined as:


    Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.


    Nice try, Torbbie. You cleverly forgot the "unguided, impersonal, undirected" part of the theory, which is the heart of said theory.
    If evolution means only "change over time", then all screation scientists are evolutionists.



    as noted on this very blog. Several mechanisms have been identified that combines to a theory that can predict effects fulfilling the definition.

    Except the missing force of nature able to write the codes inside living systems.

    ReplyDelete
  31. mats said: "Evolution, so we are told, is the process by which LIVING BEINGS came into existence."

    No one says that because that's not what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  32. mats said...
    But even so, I gave you a positive evidence for the existence of the Supernatural God: the non-existence of any unguided, impersonal, undirected force able to generate living beings, let alone the basic code. Put your darwinian money where your mouth is, Torbbie.


    And there lies the problem...

    Just because you say there doesn't exit (or more accurately, it hasn't been proven to you) a force able to generate living beings doesn't make you believe in god. In actuality it's probably the other way around.

    I can think evolution is wrong and still not believe in god. I can think that we just haven't found the answer yet. (BTW, I'm in the evolution camp)

    mats, your logic here escapes me. But, then again, I guess that's kinda the point.

    Don't blabber at me about whatever it is you blabber about. You will never change my mind, and I, along with most of the readers here, will never change yours.

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi all,

    As a devout atheist, who grew up in Ireland (and as such had the christian bible hammered into my head for years), I see these "supernatural being exists or not" arguments as kind of silly. I was of the understanding that it is not possible, logically, to prove that something which actually does not exist, does not exist. Hence the implaccable disconnect between Mat and pretty much everybody else. The atheists want proof that God exists (which he/she/it does not, hence the proof cannot be provided), and Mat wants proof that, effectively, nothing actually exists. When I say nothing, I mean the "natural force able to create living beings out of nothing" that Mat wants to see. This is a very childish and ignorant way of thinking of these things. There is no one single thing that magically creates life. Fact is, we live on a planet with all the right chemicals, and for 3 billion years or so we have had pretty much the right temperature. In my humble opinion, that combination makes the very complex combination of chemical reactions inevitable. But I digress - the existance or not of a god charater is irrelevant. It's much more important that we concentrate on our behavour here in the real world, in the here and now. Atheists and Theists together shoud respect one another, and learn from each other also. There are aspects of our world which are clear to theists which, in my experince, us atheists just can't see. It's like we can't see the wood for the trees. Or maybe we can't see the trees for the wood.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Paul Nelson says,

    There are aspects of our world which are clear to theists which, in my experince, us atheists just can't see. It's like we can't see the wood for the trees. Or maybe we can't see the trees for the wood.

    I agree with you. Hindus, for example, see all kinds of things "clearly" that atheists just don't see.

    But that's not really the point, is it? The point is whether those things that they see "clearly" are real or not.

    By making an analogy to trees and woods you imply that there is something real that theists can see but atheists can't. Could you name three aspects of our world that are clear to Hindus and, say, Roman Catholics, that atheists can't see?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Larry, once again you ask for 3 specific "things". The real universe which we are living in isn't that simple. I agree that all of the various churches - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Baha'i, Buddhism et al all have their own (often shared, actually) insights which aren't obvious to atheists.

    Strictly speaking, from a purely non emotional viewpoint, those persons who can't find gainful employment (or aren't succesful at robbery) should be left homeless, and to die of hunger, as they are not contributing to any capitalist economy. But the christian, islamic and Baha'i churches - as well as others, I am sure - all look to support the needy. As an atheist, I see this as an evolutionarily selected social instinct - we look after each other, as a more healthy group can survive. Intellectual analysis would show interested atheists that this is the case - but how many people in a totally atheist election can you think of who, if you said, "we have to increase taxes to take care of jobless and homeless people" would vote for you rather than someone who said "we are going to decrease taxes a let the homeless and jobless die because we owe them nothing". Sorry, I have a cold, and am not going to make the effort to think af 2 more examples, as hopefully this one gets to the point I am trying to make.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Paul Nelson asks,

    Intellectual analysis would show interested atheists that this is the case - but how many people in a totally atheist election can you think of who, if you said, "we have to increase taxes to take care of jobless and homeless people" would vote for you rather than someone who said "we are going to decrease taxes a let the homeless and jobless die because we owe them nothing".

    I believe that a higher percentage of atheists are socialists than are Christians. What in the world ever gave you the idea that atheists can't be socialists and care about the homeless and jobless?

    As a general rule, the citizens of the secular nations like Sweden and France pay higher taxes and do a better job of looking after the disadvantaged that the very religious USA.

    ReplyDelete
  37. You're assuming I am saying all atheists are not socialists. I am an atheist, and a socialist. Where do you think socialist ideas got their grounding? Personally, I see Jesus of Nazareth, who christians call christ, as the first socialist.

    Anyway, we're getting off track here. This is falling into the usual email style misinformation mess. All I was trying to point out is that there are ideas - morals, if you wish - which are largely taught to us in a religious arena, and are (mostly) good. As such, in my humble opinion, these religious ideas should be read by all. Religious morals are largely the same across all religions, with a few minor differences, and even these differences differ within a single "religion" in a sectarian manner - in christianity, for example, catholics (non clergy) can marry to one person at a time (in some areas, divorce is very discouraged, but always allowed at least a couple of times in extreme circumstances), drink is allowed, smoking is allowed, and pretty much anything can be eaten, except meat on Fridays. 7th day adventists can eat no meat at all, and cannot drink any alcohol. Mormons cannot drink, and their religious text permits (indeed ancourages) a man taking more than one wife, though of course US Federal law over-rules the law of that particular god except in the case of certain high profile polygamists.

    Religion gives a moral framework, and this should not be ignored. It should be analysed, and this should be done in the light of the fact that there is no god. One's own moral decisions and framework should be built up on these standards. That is way I am saying religions should not simply be brushed aside as a bunch of freaks. I hope that makes it clearer.

    ReplyDelete
  38. You're assuming I am saying all atheists are not socialists. I am an atheist, and a socialist. Where do you think socialist ideas got their grounding? Personally, I see Jesus of Nazareth, who christians call christ, as the first socialist.

    Anyway, we're getting off track here. This is falling into the usual email style misinformation mess. All I was trying to point out is that there are ideas - morals, if you wish - which are largely taught to us in a religious arena, and are (mostly) good. As such, in my humble opinion, these religious ideas should be read by all. Religious morals are largely the same across all religions, with a few minor differences, and even these differences differ within a single "religion" in a sectarian manner - in christianity, for example, catholics (non clergy) can marry to one person at a time (in some areas, divorce is very discouraged, but always allowed at least a couple of times in extreme circumstances), drink is allowed, smoking is allowed, and pretty much anything can be eaten, except meat on Fridays. 7th day adventists can eat no meat at all, and cannot drink any alcohol. Mormons cannot drink, and their religious text permits (indeed ancourages) a man taking more than one wife, though of course US Federal law over-rules the law of that particular god except in the case of certain high profile polygamists.

    Religion gives a moral framework, and this should not be ignored. It should be analysed, and this should be done in the light of the fact that there is no god. One's own moral decisions and framework should be built up on these standards. That is way I am saying religions should not simply be brushed aside as a bunch of freaks. I hope that makes it clearer.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Mats,
    Is the formation of complex, perfectly symmetrical snow crystals an "unguided" process?"

    Yes, I think one can say that.

    Oh my goodness Mats, are you saying that the snowflake somehow created itself? Look at the intricacy of a snowflake, the incredible diversity of the designs. Don't you realize the statistical improbability of your assertion?

    For each of the atoms to be precisely positioned to create such a beautiful, unique, complex and irreducible structure you must turn to the inevitable conclusion that a snowflake-making God did it.

    If God didn't make snowflakes, then who created the Universe? Super Aliens?

    I think denying God is a serious offence within certain circles. Somebody is trouble now...

    ReplyDelete
  40. > Paul: I was of the understanding that it is not possible, logically, to prove that something which actually does not exist, does not exist.

    We are again assuming our conclusion here, I would say. But it is possible to prove that a number between .9999... and 1.0 does not exist, non-existence proofs are not inherently impossible.

    Regards,
    Lee

    ReplyDelete

  41. Just because you say there doesn't exit (or more accurately, it hasn't been proven to you) a force able to generate living beings doesn't make you believe in god.


    It doesn't make one believe in God, but makes belief in God suported with (At elast) one empirical evidence.


    Don't blabber at me about whatever it is you blabber about. You will never change my mind, and I, along with most of the readers here, will never change yours.


    My aim was not to change anyone's mind, but to make you see that, contrary to what you were brainwashed to believe, belief in evolution demans more faith than belief in God.


    "Mats,
    Is the formation of complex, perfectly symmetrical snow crystals an "unguided" process?"

    Yes, I think one can say that.

    Oh my goodness Mats, are you saying that the snowflake somehow created itself?

    No, I am saying that the atoms which already existed, when interacting with the already existing unguided forces of nature, cause the formation of snowflakes.


    Look at the intricacy of a snowflake, the incredible diversity of the designs. Don't you realize the statistical improbability of your assertion?


    Call me back when snowflakes start reproducing, self-healing, and growing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. My aim was not to change anyone's mind, but to make you see that, contrary to what you were brainwashed to believe, belief in evolution demans more faith than belief in God.

    But life is basically a biochemical phenomenon, so why wouldn't it evolve? Neurons are cells that form the basis of brain activity, without which there is no mental activity. And you are an ape. Just look in the mirror.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Mats said...

    Just because you say there doesn't exit (or more accurately, it hasn't been proven to you) a force able to generate living beings doesn't make you believe in god.

    It doesn't make one believe in God, but makes belief in God supported with (At least) one empirical evidence.


    Empirical evidence? Empirical evidence is "evidence acquired through direct observation, preferably under controlled circumstances, with results reported in well-defined units of measure. Empirical evidence is therefore provisional, as any other observation might have been different."

    So, because you don't think evolution is a provable (or hasn't been proven to your liking), that's proof, under controlled circumstances, with well-defined units of measure (please notice that units is plural), that there is a god?

    Are you open to the idea that your hypothesis might have to change if the evidence does come in?

    My aim was not to change anyone's mind, but to make you see that, contrary to what you were brainwashed to believe, belief in evolution demans more faith than belief in God.

    If you're trying to make me see, you're trying to change my mind. You’re just wasting your time.

    You can quote your sources all you want, tell the scientists they're wrong all you want, tell me that I've been brainwashed all you want, and you still sound like a fool to those around here. Saying evolution doesn't exist equates to saying you don't believe in science, and it makes you look like a fool.

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  44. No, I am saying that the atoms which already existed, when interacting with the already existing unguided forces of nature, cause the formation of snowflakes.

    So God had absolutely nothing to do with it? Who made snowflakes, Mats? Don't switch the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  45. FWIW, catching up on old threads:

    @ lee:


    I think this kind of assumes your conclusion?


    It comes from observation. Do you see miracles often?


    The point nonetheless was that these prophecies have been tested,


    First you want to make a test, now you claimed it is done. Well, where is the results?

    @ Mats:


    Torbbie


    Sorry, if you don't respect your respondents they won't respect you or your argument. Seriously, it was rubbish trolling before this, but thanks for saving me wasting time.

    ReplyDelete