A Christian sends me email

Well, I assumed that this bloke was a Christian from the tone of his email, and verified it later (see below) with a few clicks of the mouse.

A person named—ironically—Jeff Templeton attended my speech at Appalachian State University on Thursday and tried to leave this comment on the ASU thread. Instead of putting it up as a comment, though, I thought it deserved to be seen above the fold, allowing Mr. Templeton the attention he so richly desires and deserves.

Jeff Templeton of Boone, North Carolina is one of the owners of Templeton Tours, Inc. an outfit that runs “Christian cruises.”

Here’s what he sent. Feel free to respond if you wish, but be polite (or try to!) No comments that he looks like an ape!

I attended your lecture last night at ASU and found your comments during the question and answer section to resemble those of a Radical Fundamental Evangelical Atheist. You went well beyond the world of empirical science and ventured into the realm of hyperbole and rhetoric. Substitute the word “religious” in your comments with “homosexual” and it would qualify as hate speech. You have no more evidence to support your claims that the “world would be better off without religion” than a believer does that a single deity created the universe. Wait a minute, the believer at least has the Bible as a reference text. Stick to science, and leave the social-engineering evolutionist conjecture to the Hitlers and Stalins of the world.

It’s a great pity that Mr. Templeton didn’t see fit to cite any examples of the kind of stuff that he sees as hyperbole or unevidenced, but the data on the connection between religiosity and antievolutionism was amply evidenced, as were the data showing a connection between social dysfunctionality and religiosity.

The Bible, in contrast, is pure fiction, not a “reference text.”  As for Hitler and Stalin, well, I don’t think that merits an answer, unless Templeton sees my desire to make a more egalitarian and more just world reminiscent of those dictators.

Pity that Mr. Templeton didn’t have the guts to stand up and air his differences with me in the Q&A session. But I did appreciate the tone of Christian love in his message.

Oh, and here’s a specimen of a Templeton Tour.  Sounds like a grand time!

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112 Comments

  1. Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I think the world would be a better place without electric hand-dryers. But wait! If I substituted the words “electric hand-dryers” with “black people” I’d be guilty of a hate crime. Oh my!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Very nice…I LOL’d that :)

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      +5

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Stop me if I’ve told you this one but…

      One of the more colourful and much-loved characters in our gay community used to be a man called Arthur. Although multi-talented, he worked as a hairdresser and happened to be cutting the hair of a friend of mine who was working in the Department of Statistics on the format of the census paper. He asked her why there was no question on sexual orientation in the paper, and she explained that it would get more inaccurate answers than accurate ones, because of all the closetted gay people and the jokers: “We have enough trouble with the religion question.”

      “Oh,” said Arthur “I put homosexual as my religion.”

    • articulett
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Perfect answer!

      Religion seems to make people particlularly poor at distinguishing between opinions (which can have many “right” answers” and objective issues which have one right answer that is the same no matter what people believe. They love to muddle the two so they can pretend that belief in their invisible savior is real, say, as evolution. I can’t tell if it’s dishonesty on their part or stupidity.

      Either the immaterial entities that Mr. Templeton believes in are more real than the ones he dismisses as imaginary– or they are not. All the evidence shows that they are not.

      My opinion is that the world would be a better place when we humans move beyond our superstitions and their are fewer people like Mr. Templeton. (Do you think someone should clue him into the fact that the Nazis considered themselves good Christians… just as I’m sure Mr. Templeton considers himself?)

  2. johne2010
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I would like to point out to Mr. Templeton that his master is was a false and failed prophet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBYLQxC7z0&

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing from the “hate speech” comment that this in one guy who believes with all his heart that Christians are being persecuted every time anyone says anything critical about his religion or his genocidal-ridden Bible.

    • Henk M
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      If mr Templeton wants to know about persecution he might want to look up the word “progrom” as well as information on the meetings of the early christian church (now catholic) at Elvira and Nicaea, where Jews were declared off limits, and any “christian” not adhering could face ex-communication. Worse than expulsion.
      And no – I am no Jew … far from it.

  4. Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The bars, casinos and slot machines will be closed and the ship’s entertainers will be replaced by Christian speakers and entertainers.

    Wait. What?

    I’m not the type to go for cruise ships, but what on Earth is the point if not for the Vegas atmosphere with all the trimmings?

    If you actually want to spend time in Alaska or other exotic locations, a cruise ship is the worst way to do it; you spend all your time on the boat and no time on the ground. But if you’re looking for an entertainment vacation with beautiful scenery, I’m sure that’s the way to go.

    But, seriously? A cruise ship stripped of all the fun stuff?

    What the hell is the point?

    Anyway, Mr. Templeton, you may be interested to know that neither Hitler nor Stalin were fans of Darwinian Evolution. Quite the opposite; Hitler was a Christian whose soldiers marched to war with “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckles, and his ideas of Arian racial purity are as far removed from Darwinism as you can get. And Stalin’s official biological position was Lamarckian Evolution, the diametric opposite of Darwinian Evolution.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Kingasaurus
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      “But, seriously? A cruise ship stripped of all the fun stuff?”

      The purpose of these things is so all these fundamentalists can look at a piece of an Alaskan glacier falling into the sea, or a grizzly bear, or a mountain, and think “Isn’t God’s creation amazing?” That’s the whole point of taking big groups of fundy Christian tour groups to exotic natural locations like this. It’s certainly not a “cruise” in the way that secular people think of it.

      Everything is seen as an opportunity to reinforce faith. They see this as a “ministry”, not a vacation.

      …And Charles Stanley is just another one of these TV Evangelists. He has to move money just to get to the bathroom.

      • Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        Holy Narcissism, Batman!

        “Golly gee, Mabel, isn’t Jesus awesome? He created all this stuff for us just so we could praise his wondrous works while we watch it pass by from the deck of this here cruise ship!”

        “He sure is, George. And don’t forget — he also had himself excruciatingly executed just so we could get the chance to praise him for all eternity in his heavenly home!”

        “Indeedy-do, Mabel! Our god is an awesome god!”

        <ghack />

        b&

        • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          “Look out the window at that sunset, Mabel. God’s paintbrush, right there.”

          “He is so great, George. Now can you change the channel? I don’t want to see this fundraising infomercial about children with leukemia.”

          • Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Well, at least it’s fair to state that George shares God’s family values:

            http://eddirt.frozenreality.co.uk/index.php?id=599

            Cheers,

            b&

          • Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Everybody’s favourite fundy, Ray Comfort has just posted on Facebook that there is more evidence for God than for the sun, then when someone challenged that he shifted the goalposts saying it would be easier to convince someone on a world in perpetual cloud of the existence of God than of the sun.

        • Posted May 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          I am betting George brought his Viagra with him, you know, so he can praise the Lord by gazing at all that god-made scenery passing by through the porthole.

          • Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            I’m guessing that the “scenery” on Templeton’s cruise won’t be wearing bikinis, and will probably be much too old for George’s tastes anyway….

            b&

      • neil
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        The faithists were right after all. There is a hell–being trapped on a Templeton cruise.

      • Marella
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m amazed they can persuade the shipping line (in this case Holland America) to be in this. I am sure they make huge sums of money from the bars, casinos and slot machines and that they are taking a considerable hit from not running these things.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      “In addition, the kitchens will serve only unsweetened porridge, and the toilet paper will be replaced with newsprint.”

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Maybe they have hair shirts for sale as well.

      • Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Porridge and newsprint! Well, la-di-da, my, aren’t we living the high life.

        When I went on my last Christian cruise, I tells ya, we were served gravel not only for breakfast but for toilet paper. And none of this polished river stone, mind you — we’re talking decomposed granite.

        And we liked it!

        Onward, Christian soldiers! Hallelujah! Braised Cheeses!

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Sam Chapman
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Y’all obviously haven’t seen too many christians of late. If there’s one thing they don’t skimp on, it’s sugar, salt, and lard/butter, assembled in various forms/foods.
          Instead of taking my parents on vacations, I’d considered buying them one of those Christian Tours. Glad I didn’t.

    • Occam
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Ben, Christian Cruises look like the ultimate Golgafrinchan ‘B’ Ark!

      As to the implications of Cruising Christians, we shall refrain from stirring Mr. Templeton’s subconscious, shan’t we?

      • Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        Hmm…excellent point! Hadn’t quite registered before.

        But who’ll sanitize our telephones? As I recall, that didn’t turn out so good last time it was tried….

        b&

        • Woof
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          OTOH, telephone sanitizers are actually somewhat useful.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The Hitler and Stalin comment is confusing. Judging from the tone of the over all piece, I’m sure it’s meant to imply Jerry is some sort of despot but it seems to instead suggest that Stalin and Hitler are the social engineers of choice – also for thinking a lot about evolution. Maybe it’s a Freudian Slip – in calling Jerry a despot he implies he’s the opposite (his inner free thinker is trying to get out) :)

    Indeed it is a shame he didn’t come forth with these things at the talk.

  6. ridelo
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I remember a time when there were nice Christians. Are they all gone atheist?

  7. Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    WHAT?? The believer has the bible as a “reference text”? Fine, the atheist has the God Delusion as a reference text. Happier now, Mr Templeton? As for “social engineering”-maybe it is time he said the same to Jerry Falwells and Tony Perkins’ of the world?

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Good point. They’re the ones doing the foisting. All our efforts are at preventing and undoing that foisting.

    • Mattapult
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The Bible is a pretty good reference document for what believers believe. That’s about as far as it goes…

      • Jon
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        It’s not even good for that. All these Christians read the same book and still manage to believe different things.

        • Mattapult
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          That’s the beauty of it… they only have to reference the parts they like.

          That’s a big reason they see God as perfect!

    • Bob J.
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      We can not use “God Delusion” as our reference text. Most of the claims can be backed-up with research and data. In order to compete of the same field we need a work of fiction. Maybe Grimm’s Fairy Tales or something from Dr. Susses?

  8. Alex Shuffell
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    “You have no more evidence to support your claims that the “world would be better off without religion” than a believer does that a single deity created the universe”

    Is he admitting that a believer doesn’t have evidence? He mentioned believers twice, never putting himself as one. He seems to be just another sympathiser using the faithful to make money from, we have all seen how easy that is to do. I admire him for showing us that cruises can be more horrifying than I thought.

  9. Martin
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Interesting piece of writ, I venture to guess that Mr. Templeton has learned to confront science minded non-religious individuals by imitating their style and syntax. I will venture further and guess that over time and by shear dint of numbers, Templeton has acquired quite a collection of correspondence from which he could imitate, cut and paste into a missive. That he does not include any examples of “hyperbole, and rhetoric” suggests that he doesn’t comprehend the concepts and is only repeating what other learned people have written to him in response to his assertions.

  10. Dermot C
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Who said this?

    …I cherish the firm conviction that the hour will come at last in which the millions who despise us today will stand by us and with us will hail the new, hard-won and painfully acquired German Reich we have created together, the new German kingdom of greatness and power and glory and justice. Amen.

    Hitler, of course. When? 10th February, 1933, eleven days after his accession to power. Obviously millenarian and religiose. The word ‘Reich’ itself consciously refers back to the Holy Roman Empire; the thousand years, to the length of the first German Reich, founded by Charlemagne. So Hitler saturated his propaganda with theocratic myth and metaphor. And if this is evidence of Hitler’s evolutionary conjecture, I’m an intelligently-designed banana.

    I cannot imagine how an evolutionary biologist could even think up, let alone believe, Hitler’s rhetoric, delivered to allay the suspicions of wavering Catholics.

    Ref: Richard J. Evans The Coming of the Third Reich, Kindle edition, 45%.

    • Cremnomaniac
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Hitler also said, “I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our creator. By fighting the Jews I am doing the Lord’s work” (Mein Kampf)

      Right Mr. Templeton let’s leave it to the Hitler’s and Stalin’s. What you don’t get is your “reference text” is exactly the thing tyrants like Hitler use as justification for their horror shows.

      Get your history right. Sorry I forgot, you have the bible for reference. No wonder you’re confused.

      • Occam
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        As often with Hitler, things are not quite as simple. The original passage you quoted from reads:

        „Die ewige Natur rächt unerbittlich die Übertretung ihrer Gebote. So glaube ich heute im Sinne des allmächtigen Schöpfers zu handeln: Indem ich mich des Juden erwehre, kämpfe ich für das Werk des Herrn“

        I have translated it as accurately as possible and underscored key terms:

        “Eternal Nature exacts merciless revenge for the trespassing of her commandments. Thus, I believe to act in accordance with the Creator omnipotent: As I am thwarting the Jew, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.

        Which term is at odds with the others? “Eternal Nature”, of course. This is typical of Hitler’s calculated mishmash of pseudo-religious and pseudo-naturalistic references. He tuned his emphasis to suit his target audience. Dermot is right in stating that this speech was mainly aimed at wavering Catholics. “Creator” and “Lord” are terms which Hitler normally used far less often than Vorsehung, “Providence”. The pseudo-religious element is always there; but the appeal to a vulgar form of “Naturphilosophie” and neo-paganism should never be underestimated. Both, of course, serving chiefly as rhetorical fly-traps.

        • Occam
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          Oops, failure of HTML underscore marks (worked in my HTML editor’s preview, though).
          The key terms are:
          – Eternal Nature
          – commandments
          – Creator omnipotent
          – the Lord’s work

  11. Eoin
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, the guy’s not too bright. But as a determinist, you must know that he never had any choice but to do exactly as he did. You say, ‘pity he didn’t…etc’, but of course he never could have.

    You talk about him not ‘having the guts’, but in a deterministic universe this kind of mocking language makes no more sense than retributive punishment. It’s like mocking a stone for falling down rather than up.

    I’m not trying to be a pedant here. I get what you’re doing and why you’d react that way (I would too). I just honestly don’t see how your reaction fits with the deterministic view of things you described before.

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Let’s nip this line of thought in the bud right here. Yes, I think that all human actions are predetermined and not under some kind of dualistic control. Nevertheless we all, including incompatibilists like myself, act as if we have choices, for our feeling of agency is strong. So please don’t say that I shouldn’t make “should” statements because of that. I will act as though I have free choices even though I don’t. And of course you have to admit that what I say, determined or not, can influence the future actions of others.

      And yes, Templeton had no choice, but I can still call him out, and maybe that will affect other peoples’ behavior.

      Or would you prefer that I give up writing this website since I can’t express any opinions, criticize or praise others, and so on since everything (including my opinions) are all determined by the laws of physics.

      Your line of thinking means that all determinists, even those who are compatibilists, have no right to express opinions about anyone’s behavior.

      • Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        I still don’t get why people equate “determinism” with “fatalism” and from there instantly leap to “defeatism.”

        We are all decision-making machines. Indeed, all that we ever do of any significance is make decisions.

        That the decisions we make are as predictable as the decisions made by any other computing device is utterly irrelevant. We still make decisions and it is those decisions that shape our lives and who we are.

        So why not make decisions that will (hopefully, theoretically) lead to positive outcomes?

        To decide to do anything else is the utmost in idiocy, the perfect example of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

        Cheers,

        b&

      • Eoin
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        To be fair, rights have nothing to do with it and weren’t part of my argument.

        And I think you would have to admit that when you attacked his ‘guts’ you weren’t trying to influence his behavior or anyone else’s. It was an emotional reaction based on the idea that there are ways people should be and can be if they make brave/correct/honest choices. But you don’t believe people can make choices.

        I see your overall argument: that you might as well act like there are choices and that words like ‘should’ have meaning. Fine, I see the logic of that. You’re entitled to think the world is one way and act like it’s another. (That probably sounds sarcastic but it’s not supposed to be, I’m serious, I think that’s fine!) However, if you’re going to do that, why do you come down so heavily on those who believe in moral responsibility?

        This subject is interesting to me and I appreciate your replying to my comment. I still believe your views are inconsistent, but I hope none of this sounds antagonistic.

        • notsont
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Can you define “moral responsibility”?

  12. rosie
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure if god exists,but you do know how believers are.Their entire life is the bible and god.They pray in the morning on what to wear that day,what to eat etc.

    • Dominic
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Do I go with the cirese cassock or the purple one? hmmm – special holy day so I choose the purple, top it off with a mitre maybe!

  13. Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Templeton,
    I’m sincerely glad to see you are aware of the odiousness of hate speech against homosexuals, and commend you for your implicit preparedness to speak out against it. I hope you regularly counsel Christians to ignore the hateful and stupid pronouncements in the Bible.

    However, religion, unlike sexual orientation, is a matter of choice. So that’s a bad analogy. And more importantly, hate speech is not just criticism of a set of ideas. For example, your association of my atheism with Hitler and Stalin is one that I find quite offensive, but I don’t consider it hate speech. I’d counter it by pointing out the inaccuracies in it.

  14. Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr.Templeton

    Vancouver, British Columbia may not be the best place to begin your cruise to Alaska:

    Almost two-thirds of British Columbians are shirking organized religion, according to a new poll commissioned by the B.C. Humanist Association.

    Just 33 per cent of respondents in the Justason Marketing Intelligence survey said they practice a particular religion or faith, while 64 per cent subscribe to none.

    tinyurl.com/bvot4sw For more info: tinyurl.com/d6385ws

  15. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “No comments that he looks like an ape!”

    Hey, I resemble that remark! Because it is funny to point out the common ancestry.

    I attended your lecture last night at ASU and found your comments during the question and answer section to resemble those of a Radical Fundamental Evangelical Atheist.

    – “Radical”

    Atheism has been the same since the atomists of Greece. It is older, _less_ radical than abrahamic belief.

    If not for the european and now arabian religiously [sic!] instituted Middle Ages, secularism wouldn’t feel like starting over.

    – “Fundamental”

    As is usually noted in the context of this claim is that very few atheists, and I haven’t seen such a one in years, are “fundamentalist”. So it is a very stupid claim.

    Few atheists are fundamentalist because it is very hard to remove the fundamental [sic!] empirical nature of atheism. You can be an atheist on the ground you have never heard of or seen magic. Similarly an atheist can, if asked, describe what will change his or her mind.

    For example, I would be forced to stop being an atheist given evidence that magic action has broken conservation of energy in closed systems. Say, if we had seen evidence of our universe being magically created instead of spontaneously formed in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) that observes the inflation process. Alas, WMAP and Planck has independently shown there is no such magic – our universe must be the result of a spontaneous process.

    Pray tell, Mr Templeton, what would make you give up your magical beliefs? Or are you an actual fundamentalist?

    – “Evangelical”

    As for “evangelist”, it isn’t as if atheism was a sectarian belief, with something to convert “to” rather than from.

    As it turns out, democracy and human rights and freedoms are effective evangelists of atheism, since religiosity is most strongly correlated with dysfunctional societies. And within functional societies, science makes the same evangelist service for atheism since according to statistics education and science makes people much less religious.

    – “Atheist”

    Well, you can’t fumble all the balls! Guilty as charged, Mr Templeton.

    In IHEU’s latest poll, non-religious were a _larger group_ than christianism sects, which in turn now shared 2nd place with islamism sects.

    So it was an easy, likely call. On the other hand, it is starting to become hard to guess what minority groups religious are members of.

    Why, Mr Templeton, are religious such as yourself so ashamed for their beliefs? It couldn’t be that they are now both silly and losing membership?

  16. Mattapult
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Most of these arguments would have been avoided if only our ancient ancestors had the integrity to say, “We don’t know.”

    Or at least put their writings on the fiction shelf.

  17. Posted May 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Templeton’s thinly veiled insult in his reference to Hitler and Stalin is very offensive and showcases his vast ignorance.
    Talk about a tenuous leap in faith on his part as well as an equally tenuous leap in logic!

  18. Dominic
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The bible as a reference text?! Hilarious! Flies/ointment.

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      …which reminds me..eating shellfish is proscribed by the Bible. Hope they don’t serve clams or oysters, no lobsters, shrimp…all proscribed!

  19. Posted May 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    §

  20. Posted May 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Does he not know that Hitler was a Catholic? That Pol Pot was a Catholic and even went, after his parochial education, to a Catholic university until he decided to become a mass-murdering, utopian maniac?

    That Mao grew up as a Buddhist? That Stalin grew up Orthodox?

    If we are to believe the religous, the fundamental moral compass of these individuals was set when they were, in fact, growing up in these religious beliefs. And not, as they pretend, by their later socio-political ideologies.

    Now, I of course, don’t believe either.

    Rather, I believe these were murderous sociopaths who used whatever tools necessary to gain power and that they must be viewed solely on those grounds. That any argument based on religion, or lack there of, is, essentially, false and lacking merit.

    Now, if we’re going to get into religion and effect on society in general and the (relatively) normal population therein… I think the argument is against religion. And I think many excellent arguments, here and in other venues, have been made to show how religion poisons and parasites society.

    Whether it’s the horrific ‘just world’ hypotheses, or the rampant xenophobic world view, or the regressive social norms, there is nothing that religion, in the end, doesn’t taint, if not destroy.

  21. Woof
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Today at lunch I was told that I was “acting like a Christian”. It was from a nice old man so I didn’t punch him.

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      “acting like a Christian”??? You mean, you gave away all your wealth?

      I haven’t seen a churchgoer yet who follows the basic Xtian tenants: starting with, giving away your worldly possessions, to anyone who might ask for ALL of them.

      • Woof
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        No, I didn’t even offer him the remainder of my pulled pork sandwich. (Had he asked, though, he could have had my pickle.)

        He was with a group of a dozen or so gray/blue-hair AARP types* who purported to be Christian bikers and while *I* was riding 250 miles in 40-something degree weather with scattered showers, *they* were caging it. Freakin’ amateurs.

        We were nice to him and deflected the question “Are you Christians?” I thought about going all Hitchens on his ass, but it had already been a long day at that point.

        He gave us (there were 2 of being insane bikers yesterday) rather thick paperback books titled GOD’S PROMISES. I plan on being amused by it later today.

        * Yeah, well… I’m an actual member, but I don’t act like it.

  22. Nate
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Related to topic.

    Evolutionists by country (Ipsos poll).

    >60% acceptance = Sweden (68), Germany (65), China (64), Belgium (61), Japan (60).

    >50% acceptance = France (55), Great Britain (55), Hungary (55), Spain (53), Australia (51).

    Chart of above data: i.imgur.com/jBQX3jJ.png

    I was caught off guard by Hungary, didn’t really know if they were/are a religious country so I took a quick look.

    According to Michael Martin’s “The Cambridge Companion to Atheism” Hungary is 32 to 46% atheist which fits in perfectly with the “less religion = higher acceptance of evolution” correlation.

    Hungary atheism source: adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

    Martin’s book source:
    amazon.com/Cambridge-Companion-Atheism-Companions-Philosophy/dp/0521603676

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Hmm… there are so many things wrong with the poll statement I’m not sure I’d actually say I agree with it.

      “evolutionist’s” Really?

      /@

      • Nate
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t know until today that some people think “evolutionist” is a bad word. I doubt the authors of the poll meant to cause offense.

        The poll they did was the most detailed one I have seen on the subject. The margin of error is about 3%.

        docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.2&thid=13e0ee414878f79a&mt=application/vnd.ms-powerpoint&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui%3D2%26ik%3D84d01c5d34%26view%3Datt%26th%3D13e0ee414878f79a%26attid%3D0.2%26disp%3Dsafe%26realattid%3Debd6206d887990ec_0.2%26zw&sig=AHIEtbSYt9zYS-earNIZ_co4Gcw2bWFa5w

        ev•o•lu•tion•ist (ˌɛv əˈlu ʃə nɪst; esp. Brit. ˌi və-)

        n.
        1. a person who believes in or supports the principles of evolution in biology.
        2. a person who supports a policy of gradual growth or development rather than sudden change or expansion.
        adj.
        3. of or pertaining to evolution or evolutionists.
        4. believing in or supporting the principles of evolution in biology.
        Also, ev`o•lu`tion•is′tic.
        [1855–60]

        • Posted May 6, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

          Actually, that specific poke was more to do with the gramma – possessive not plural!

          But look at the statement. As it stands, whatever your view of human evolution is, it’s true: There ≤i>are people that might be called “evolutionists” that have that view!

          But, more objectionable:
          created over a long period of time
          • grew into fully formed human beings
          • lower species such as apes

          /@

  23. Nate
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I think it should also be noted that Slovenia, Czeck Republic, and Estonia (Dr. Coyne, you used these countries, plus Hungary, in your chart here: whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/country.jpg?w=670&h=608

    …have really high proportion of atheists (and are ALL >60% evolutionists in your chart).

    Czeck Republic (54-61% atheist)
    Estonia (49)
    Hungary (32-46)
    Slovenia (35-38)

    Above numbers according to: adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

  24. madscientist
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I think he means leave the social engineering to Hitler, Stalin, and the christian god. They’re birds of a feather. Obviously any decent person would oppose all 5 of those …

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Check what I say above – he seems to support Hitler, Stalin etc. in what I believe is a failed attempt to do the opposite.

  25. marcusa1971
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    “Radical Fundamental Evangelical Atheist.” To a christian (aka jebus sycophant), is there any other way for an atheist to be?

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Oh, definitely. Many Christians are much more fond of atheist butters. As in, “I’m an atheist, but I’m not one of those strident atheists like Richard Dawkins, and I take every opportunity I can to osculate the rump of faith.”

      Cheers,

      b&

  26. ric74
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    On a side note,just for the sake of scientific accuracy, the Bible isn’t pure (100%) fiction. It contain some fragments of genuine historical facts confirmed by archaeological work. Which does not invalidate your point, of course.

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes and no.

      Are there real places and people mentioned in the Bible?

      Yes…but really only in the same sense that, say, a Paul Bunyan story does. The stories are set in familiar places and real names of real people are dropped for the sake of verisimilitude, but that’s it; the actual stories themselves are unabashed fiction.

      For example, King Herod Agrippa is mentioned in the Bible as the king of Israel during Jesus’s evangelism. And Agrippa really was king of Israel in the first half of the first century.

      But Agrippa had a relative by marriage, Philo of Alexandria, who was a prolific author and who chronicled all sorts of goings-on in the Jewish world of the time, and Philo never mentions even a hint of a peep of a rumor of anything that could even vaguely remotely be mistraken as the goings-on of Jesus and the events of the Gospels — and this is while Philo is busy inventing the Logos (the “Word” of John 1:1), too.

      It’s the same story all throughout the Bible. Egypt was real and so were the Pyramids, but the Jews didn’t build them and no Egyptian army was drowned chasing Jews out of Egypt. Kingdoms that the Bible records Jews as having wiped out flourished without even noticing they had been smitten by YHWH. And so on.

      Cheers,

      b&

  27. emotter178
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I think Atheism takes as much faith as Christianity. There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of God. What’s interesting is that science can inflict as much damage as religion.
    Some of the comments on here are as smug and hateful as the author’s example. There’s a reason why it’s difficult to have an intelligent dialogue between Atheists and Christians. How can you be so certain that you’re right?

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of God.

      Quite to the contrary.

      If you’d care to tell us which god it is you’re so certain is real, many of us here would be more than happy to demonstrate its non-existence.

      And, really, doing so is generally no more difficult than demonstrating the non-existence of Santa or Harry Potter or Darth Vader — or, for certain popular gods, than demonstrating that there are no married bachelors and that there’s nothing north of the North Pole.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • emotter178
        Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Give me some scientific journal articles that provide facts on the non-existence of God.

        • Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          You won’t find any for the same reason you won’t find any proving the non-existence of Santa.

          But I’m quite serious.

          Tell us which god — there are so many to choose from, after all — you don’t think can be disproven, and we’ll be more than happy to demonstrate for you how it’s done.

          So. Thor? Wotan? Quetzalcoatl? Ra? Krishna?

          Cheers,

          b&

          • emotter178
            Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            See my other comments above, but it’s important for me to understand why you are so passionate about what you believe. I’m only a simple minded Christian, so explain it to me in terms I’ll understand.

            It seems like you feel called to evangelize to non-unbelievers like me about atheism. Show me your data and your charts and graph. Also, show me the statistical significance for each data driven example you can find. Actually, show me with bunny rabbits instead, maybe I’ll understand it that way.

            Help me understand why Pascal was wrong in his logic. Maybe do it in a bedtime story format. I like bedtime stories. Throw in Aquinas too while you’re at it. Maybe give me a super hero cape in the story.

            Oh yea, also tell me why scientists would care so much about this topic than other science type stuff. I mean they’re really busy doing really important things beyond my comprehension.

            My point of origin will be different from your point of origin in any discourse about God. Both of us believe we are right, but when either or both parties feel that their point of origin is superior to the other we are reduced to screaming at brick walls. We both can only come to the table from a philosophical perspective alone and any scientist who believes it is their calling to disprove the existence of God is in the wrong field of study.

            • Mattapult
              Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

              Throughout history history, mankind has documented over 2000 deities. If you can only pick one, which one? Pascals wager leaves you less than 0.05% chance of being right. Even if it was 50/50 between say God and Allah, would you find Pascals wager comforting?

            • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

              I’m only a simple minded Christian, so explain it to me in terms I’ll understand.

              Very well.

              We know — we all know, you included — that Christianity is purest bullshit, through and through, soup to nuts.

              And we know it because it’s so obviously, so unabashedly, so transparently, bullshit.

              I mean, fer chrissakes, it opens with a fourth-rate faery tale about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry wizard. And that’s hardly the silliest story in there; indeed, one of the most famous is about a talking shrubbery — on fire, no less! — that gives magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero. The best is saved for last, of course; the story ostensibly about why one should believe all of this is really an utterly bizarre zombie snuff pr0n fantasy in which the monster king orders one of his thralls to “thrust” — and that’s the exact word used — his hands into the king’s sides and fondle the king’s intestines through a gaping chest wound.

              You don’t honestly expect anybody old enough to need more than two hands to count his age to actually believe any of that, do you?

              It’d be just fine if this were some sort of fantasy story that people got all caught up in, like Star Trek or Harry Potter. But people — grown adults who damned well should know better — have the gall to proclaim that they actually, truly, sincerely think all this really happened in reality.

              Worse, they then go on to sing the praises of some of the worst monsters in all of fiction. YHWH personally drowned all the kittens on the planet, along with everything else. And Jesus demands a blood sacrifice be made of all non-Christians with the promise to personally lead the slaughter when he returns “any day now.” And Armageddon isn’t even enough for him; if you don’t kiss his ass in just the right way, he’ll hand you over to his brother for a never-ending torture session.

              And you think a science journal is going to bother debunking that type of bullshit?

              Puh-leeze.

              The “respectable” gods of the theologians are no better. We’re supposed to believe that there’s this all-powerful, all-loving overmind keeping watch, and yet it can’t even be arsed to call 9-1-1 to alert the police that a couple kids were about to blow up some pressure cookers at the Boston Marathon finish line. What, Jesus can’t afford a cell phone? No speakee Ingrish? Too busy jerking off to his priests raping children?

              And that leads us right into to what countless Christians have done in Jesus’s name over the millennia: the Crusades, the Conquistadors, the Inquisition, the Pogroms, Gott Mit Uns — and, ohbytheway, the ongoing global child rape racket, the AIDS biowarfare in Africa, the murders of women’s health physicians here in America, and too much more to even touch upon here.

              Well, you asked for it…and there’s plenty more where that came from if you really want to know what I think….

              Cheers,

              b&

              • emotter178
                Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

                All I read here is rhetoric. This is why serious discussions cannot happen in this group if you don’t agree with the ideology. You have a small basis in reality about what your talking about.

                Frankly, I have more respect for atheists that actually take the time to read and understand religion instead of regurgitate what they’ve been told. I seriously question that you’ve given religion an honest and objective look.

                I believe what I believe because of Faith. I can’t give you the proof that you want. If that makes you feel like you’ve won the debate then we’ve already reduced this discussion to grade school bantering.

                Christians have committed atrocities in the past. We’ve done some pretty horrible things. But, you can’t tell me that widespread militant atheism isn’t just as toxic. China and the USSR are perfect examples. Stalin killed thousands because they didn’t accept the atheist principles of the State.

                My point I’m trying to make to you is that you have a belief system too. You can’t prove to me that it’s correct, you can only do what the Westburo Baptists do. You speak without self awareness.

              • Woof
                Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

                Just saw this on a poster:

                OUT OF HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT RELIGIONS YOU WERE BORN INTO THE RIGHT ONE.

                OUT OF MILLIONS OF GODS YOU WORSHIP THE RIGHT ONE.

                OUT OF AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF POSSIBLE OUTCOMES AFTER DEATH, YOUR OUTCOME IS THE RIGHT ONE.

                GOOD FOR YOU.

              • Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

                All I read here is rhetoric.

                So you mean that you’ve never actually read the Bible yourself? That you’re unaware that it opens with the story of the Garden of Eden, you don’t know about I AM in the burning bush teaching Moses the power of the Rod of Aaron, and that nobody’s ever told you the story of Doubting Thomas and the the “virtues” of faith?

                Frankly, I have more respect for atheists that actually take the time to read and understand religion instead of regurgitate what they’ve been told.

                Damn. And I was assured that this last batch of irony meters was industrial strength. You’d think I’d have learned to have given up on them by now…the cleanup gets real tedious, you know?

                I believe what I believe because of Faith.

                And there’s your problem right there.

                A person with faith is one who makes conclusions about that which he has concluded is inconclusive, has knowledge about that which she knows is unknowable. Faith is not “willful ignorance,” but rather “willful insanity” or “willful idiocy.” Faith is a thing deserving not praise and respect, but pity and scorn.

                You know this, too. There’s no doubt in your mind — none whatsoever.

                If a used car salesman told you to have a little faith, no need to take that cherry to a mechanic to have it checked out, you’d know you were being scammed.

                If a stock broker told you to have a little faith, that you don’t need to read the prospectus because this penny stock is pumped to soar, you’d be pretty sure you were being scammed.

                If a real estate broker told you to have a bit of faith about the Arizona oceanfront property for sale for pennies on the dollar, and that you don’t need to bother actually traveling to the desert to check it out until after the deal is complete, you would have no doubt whatsoever that you were, indeed, being scammed.

                Just the same, when a priest says, “Here — eat this cracker and drink this wine. It’s actually the millennia-old flesh and blood of an ancient Jewish zombie, and cannibalizing him will make you an immortal zombie thrall,” I can assure you, whether you’ll admit it out loud or not, there’s no doubt in your mind but that you’re being scammed.

                Stalin killed thousands because they didn’t accept the atheist principles of the State.

                Absolutely right! Oh, would that Stalin had abandoned his atheism, we would have been spared the Purges! All it would have taken would have been the embrace of even one god, such as Quetzalcoatl or Ares or Set and he would have no longer been an atheist and all those poor souls would have been spared.

                Wait. What?

                You mean those gods wouldn’t have done any good, that only one god in particular would have done any good?

                Well, as it turns out, Stalin knew a hell of a lot more about that particular god you’re thinking of than you do. He did go to seminary, after all. And that’s where he would have read your oh-so-beloved war monster’s favorite quotes on the matter.

                You know? About brining not peace but a sword? Coming to rip families apart, to set fathers against sons and daughters against mothers? That Jesus will personally supervise the infinite torture of anybody who loves any human more than Jesus? The commandment to Christians to bring all non-Christians who will not submit to Jesus and slay them before him? The promise of an imminent glorious return where he’ll personally kill everybody whom his followers haven’t first taken care of, and then, just for good measure, torture them all for all eternity anyway?

                You speak without self awareness.

                Damn. What the hell is it with these irony meters? You’d think I could make it through at least one post on half a case, but nooooo….

                Anyway, you’re right. You obviously came here not for room 12A, arguments, but for room 12, abuse (“stupid git”).

                But if you’re really looking to demonstrate to us the strength of your faith and, by extension, the truth of it, you can actually do that quite easily.

                Had you actually bothered to have read your Bible all the way through to the end, and not just the coloring book version, you’d know that the call to evangelization came from none other than Jesus himself — and in his final word to his creation, to boot.

                I refer, of course, to the final (sixteenth) chapter of the Gospel According to Saint Mark.

                Just to recap, Jesus has been tried, crucified, and buried. He has gloriously risen from the grave and revealed his true nature to all — and he’s just chastised his disciples for their disturbing lack of faith.

                And then, in quite literally his final words on Earth, he delivers the Great Commission, ordering his disciple to spread the Gospel far and wide.

                But, of course, Jesus is no dummy; he knows full well that this is a rather tall tale, and nobody’d going to believe it without some sort of evidence. So, he instructs his disciples in how, exactly, to present their bona fides to unbelievers so that we may have our eyes opened and thus avoid damnation.

                So that’s all you have to do for us. And you don’t even have to bother with the snake handling and the glossolalia; you can skip right to the money shot.

                We can arrange to meet in front of the emergency entrance to any hospital in the Metro Phoenix area. I’ll hand you a tall glass of ammonia for you to chug, and then give you a bleach chaser. Assuming your faith is pure and don’t get admitted to the hospital right there in critical condition, we can then take a tour of the hospital and you can lay your hands on everybody within who’s sick, and they can then get up, having been cured by your touch, and join in the ultimate demonstration of true faith as described by Jesus himself in his final words.

                This, of course, is your cue to demonstrate your complete and utter lack of faith — but also to try to bluster your way out of it, typically mumbling something about “metaphor” or “late addition” or the like.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • rosie
                Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

                Agree with you, also they believe in after accepting jesus that they will have everlasting life or eternal life-forever.Years ago I thought how nice that would be but no Christian asked about how that could be.Now if one brings it up to me i’ll say how boring after the first 1000 or 2000 years what would be new. Another fairy tale they don’t seem to question.

            • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

              “Actually, show me with bunny rabbits instead, maybe I’ll understand it that way.”

              There were no bunny rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian. Ergo: God (as described in Genesis) doesn’t exist.

              /@

              • pulseteresa
                Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

                Silly me, I actually thought this was the direction he was headed when I read “bunny rabbits.”

                I accept your point and concede the argument on emotter’s behalf. I can can do that, right?
                ;)

            • Notagod
              Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

              Once upon a time there was a mythology called christianity. Along came Joseph the Smith who asked upon the christian doGs saying, which one of all the christian doGs is the really true God? And the chrisian gods sayeth upon Joseph the Smith, none of the christian doGs are real and truly gods for they have wandered afar and have not enough wives. You Joseph the Smith are selected from all humans past, present, and future to be the Decider of the model of doGs. You must collect and marry many women, ya, even young girls to impregnate, that you will be as a god unto them all. You must remember to eat the flesh of one god, Christ, in bead and remember to drink one god, Christ, in water. None except your followers will be able to dwell with the one god after they die except that young girls will be dunked in a bath that unmormanized zombies be asked and accept the myth of Joe the Smith. If the zombies do they will be allowed to live happily ever after.

              Awoomen!

              Now it’s past your bedtime emotter178, scurry off and don’t forget to bray.

        • Keith
          Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          The burden of proof falls squarely on the one making the claim of existence. Are you really this obtuse in your understanding of basic logic, reason and how science works? Perhaps you would care to cite some scientific journal articles that provide facts on the non-existence of the flying spaghetti monster?

          • emotter178
            Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            This is comment is laughable at best. The goal of science isn’t to prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural being and that’s my point. You can’t find a peer reviewed journal that shows any empirical evidence that there is no God because it would violate the basic philosophical principles of science.

            That’s the interesting aspect of atheism. It tries so hard to cogently argue against the existence of a deity or deities, but in the end it has no head data to fall back on.

            How can you explain the origin of our existence? At some point as you trace it back in time you arrive in the realm of theory. Fanatic atheism often mistakes theory for fact. Theory is a constructed argument based on a series of possibilities.

            The absolute hatred for anything to do with faith really limits the discussion between atheists and theists.

            Perhaps I’ll challenge you in this way. Explain to me why it’s important for science to dismiss the idea of a supreme being. Why does this aide in the advancement of science? If you belief God doesn’t exist then why does it matter to you what I think?

            • Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

              “The goal of science isn’t to prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural being…”

              You are absolutely correct.

              The goal of science is to learn more about how the world actually works. It’s goal is not to prove anything. Science is not about proof. It’s about weeding out bad explanations. It’s a refiner’s fire, continuously trying to falsify hypotheses so that only those that provide the best approximations to the truth survive.

              And “God” is a terrible hypothesis.

              Continually, we have found that our scientitific theories have no need of that hypothesis.

              And now (LHC, Planck), while we may not be able to rule our the existence of “God” (depending on how you conceive “Him”), we can rule out any means of interaction between “God” and us that is not described by the Standard Model of physics and we can rule out “God” creating the observable material universe, or in any way influencing it from “another realm”, as the net energy of the universe is zero.

              As to why scientists – and others! – are so keen to dismiss the idea of a supreme being, it’s because faith in such a being and their supposed rule for mankind, is simply bad. Faith (and often a consequent rejection of naturalism and science) leads people to do things that harm themselves, or others, or humanity as a whole, whether it be a failure to seek proper medical attention (in the belief that God will heal them), denying others (esp. women and LGBTQ people) their rights as full human beings (because of misguided obedience to parochial doctrine), or discounting anthropogenic climate change (by citing God’s covenant with Noah).

              /@

            • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

              Hmm… I’ll just leave this here:

              Theorology is a constructed argument based on a series of impossibilities.

              /@

            • Your Name's not Bruce?
              Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

              So what led you to belief in Christianity over all the other religions from which you could have chosen? how do you know that none of the others is true? How do you know that your version of Christianity above all others (and there are thousands of variations)is true?

              Many phenomena like plagues, earthquakes, lightning which were once attributed to gods are now understood to e completely natural in their explanations; no gods required. How many peer reviewed papers are there (outside of creationist circles) where scientists conclude that the phenomenon under study was the result of the actions of a god or gods? Which god or gods is it ascribed to? How would they know if it was Odin, or Osiris, Aphrodite or Vishnu who was responsible?

              The Bible offers no evidence that it is the “word” of a god or that the god described therein exists. It is ignorant of the same things of which its writers had no knowledge of. No molecules, no galaxies, no bacteria, no wombats, no Western hemisphere, no sense that stars are suns with planets around them-the list goes on and on. Science has shown us that the universe is much larger and more intricate than one could possibly learn from reading the Bible. So it cannot be considered an accurate, reliable source of knowledge about the actual state of the universe. Commands ascribed to the god depicted in the Bible are morally repugnant. People following “Biblical morality” to the letter would be thrown into prison. For all the “nice” parts of the Bible, there are irredeemably cruel, barbarous, and heinous divine injunctions. Slavery, rape and genocide are all condoned by the god in these stories. Secular, western, democratic values are kinder, fairer and more compassionate than many of those presented in the Bible. Thus it cannot be considered a useful, consistent source of morality.

              So what evidence do you have that a god exists? How do you know it is the Christian god? Billions of believers in other gods would claim you were wrong o no better grounds than you have for being right. How would one determine by looking at the world around us which god was the right one to follow, assuming there are any gods at all? How could one determine if there were one or many gods in existence? If they were “male” or “female” as they seem to be usually categorized. Competing, contradictory god claims cannot all be correct, but they can all be wrong. Science has careful safeguards to help to correct for error and choose from amongst competing hypotheses. Religion has no such mechanisms for self-correction.

              Science, in exploring and describing the state of the world, has discovered no gods. The burden of proof is yours if you wish to claim there is/are a god or gods and that it/they are the god described in your holy book. And, please note, these are in fact two separate claims.

              Please show your work.

            • Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

              It is -not- “important for science to dismiss the idea of a supreme being.” Not at all.

              All things previously thought to be supernatural in the past, such as lightning, water suspended in clouds that fell as rain, earthquakes, volcanoes, have been found to natural phenomena, with scientific explanations. All things, such as memory, were deemed, for thousands of years, to be without physical evidence and so the province of religion. Because those that wrote the Bible, the Quran, all those writers had no knowledge of cells, atoms, molecules, enzymes, they thought memory had no physical basis. You write, “You can’t find a peer reviewed journal that shows any empirical evidence that there is no God..” but that is an untrue statement.

              The conclusion must be drawn by the reader, that if what is written in a scientific journal is true, then the issue put forth in the peer-reviewed article renders it impossible to be any afterlife, and thus, no God.

              Your memory, emotter178, is what makes you, YOU, and it has been the subject of thousands of peer reviewed articles. Do you want a list of said journals? Articles? Thousands (1000s) of these peer-reviewed articles point to one thing: memory is a fantastically complex, immeasurably complex interaction of thousands of enzymes, and we know these enzymes. Those enzymes, the calcium ions that create the YOU reading this page, are discussed in many many peer reviewed journals. Just as your nose does not disappear when you die, nor do your toes, ears, heart, brain, the hippocampus where much memory is synthesized, those complex patterns of ions, enzymes, your memory, do NOT disappear as well. -Nothing- that physically creates your memory “flies off” to some other realm.

              This is a scientific certainty.

              A person’s memories are like an exquisite ice sculpture, unique to yourself…unique to each one of us, but when we die, it “melts” and becomes a formless “splash of water” where an intricate ice sculpture once stood. Many…many, peer reviewed papers on memory make it clear, that memory does not “fly” after death. Where is the -absence- of those calcium ions, your hippocampus, used in every person’s memory, after death?

              It is up to you to read and apply what is true, derived from peer-review journals. There is no afterlife, and this world (held in each person’s memory) is all we have. A natural world, with no supernatural god(s).

    • Bear Millotts
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      “I think Atheism takes as much faith as Christianity.”

      Really? Atheism is lack of belief in any god(s), while Xtianity is the belief that a god killed himself and then came back from the dead. Which of these two positions REALLY takes more faith to accept as true, the person who says “I don’t believe it” or the person who says “Jebus, who is Gawd, died and rose from the dead!” If you think they are equivalent statements, you are intellectually dishonest.

      “There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of God.”

      Ah, yes, the ole “proving a negative” dodge. You do realize that replacing “God” in your statement leads to absurdity, right?

      There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of a giant space hamster orbiting Venus. That space hamster just keeps runnin’ on that space wheel!

      There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of Vishnu (and all the other Hindu gods) or Thor (and all the Norse gods). Thor and Vishnu are angry with you.

      There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of an invisible dragon in my garage. I heard him banging around last night.

      There is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of my cat Jack’s orbital mind control ray. He’s controlling us all. Where’s your evidence that isn’t true?

      How about you quit dodging. Is there any empirical evidence to prove the existence of any god? If you have some, why don’t you provide it. I’m sure everyone here would be interested.

      “What’s interesting is that science can inflict as much damage as religion.”

      So you admit that religion inflicts damage. Let’s see if science can be as bad. The Catholic church says to Africans that Aids may be bad but condoms are worse. Nope. Guess science isn’t as bad in that case. How about this one: two parents recently allowed their child to die because they chose prayer rather than medicine. Guess science wins that one, too. How about all those folks who’s lives are made better by science and technology while they are told they are hateful, awful sinning creatures by their Xtian pastors and that they deserve to suffer eternal torments by a “loving” gawd? It looks like science wins that one as well. Shall I go on?

      “Some of the comments here are as smug and hateful as the author’s example.”

      Clutch at your pearls and tone-troll all you want. It isn’t impressing us one bit. Why don’t you show some empirical evidence that any gods exist.

      “There’s a reason why it’s difficult to have an intelligent dialogue between Atheists and Christians.”

      Yeah, it’s because Atheists are smart enough to actually say “I don’t believe your fairy-tales. Why don’t you show us some evidence.” And the Christians think that’s unfair and whine and moan about it.

      “How can you be so certain that you’re right?”

      Not certain at all, actually. But Atheists require something more than simply your say-so that you are right. We want evidence and guess what? Xtians prevaricate and lie and move the goal posts and never, ever actually provide any evidence that their gawd exists.

      If you are so certain that you are right, why don’t you provide us with empirical evidence that any gawd exists?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      First of all, I commend you for coming over here and talking to the godless in a fairly polite manner.

      Here is my perspective:

      Equating faith and atheism implies atheism is a religion like Christianity. I feel compelled to paraphrase Bill Maher here because he so well crystallizes the lack of symmetry in the two in his metaphor: Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position. Atheism doesn’t require faith, it requires evidence and when it sees no evidence it rejects that claim (in this case regarding the existence of gods) at least provisionally until such evidence presents itself.

      Now to your more explicit point that there is no empirical evidence that disproves the existence of God. As others have rightly pointed out, the onus is on the believers of a god to prove the existence, not the other way around because they are making the positive claim. It is worth pointing out that many atheists would cease being atheists if such proof could be made. Given that whenever there the natural world has been investigated, there has been no evidence found to show that the universe has a purpose or that a god exists. Add to this the scientific understanding of the way the human brain works (to seek patterns, assign agents) and the logical conclusion is it is highly unlikely that a god or gods exist but more likely that humans invented them.

      As for your claim that science and religion can inflict equal horrors on the world, it is ideas and the execution of those ideas that are dangerous. Ideas are the result of bad thinking and bad thinking (especially dogmatic, non evidence based thinking) can come out of religion or out of political dogma. This is why atheists don’t like the bad thinking religion requires. On the other hand science is one tool (including critical thinking) that can help get us out of that bad thinking and challenge bad ideas.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Quantum field theory is complete. Therefore, supernatural entities have been definitively ruled out.

      Don’t know what that means? Tough. Get an education.

      • Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Here’s a good place to start: Sean CarrolL’s ”The Higgs boson and the fundamental nature of reality”.

        /@

      • Alex
        Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        Sorry, Kevin, I have a Phd in quantum field theory and I don’t know what you mean. Therefore, I find your smugness towards the guy inappropriate.

        Of course QFT is capable to describe all every day phenomena, arguably apart from gravity, but no one can ever rule out a supernatural entity that takes pains not to be detected in a laboratory experiment. But that’s not the point, is it? As people have understood for centuries before the advent of QFT, god was simply not necessary to explain the world, and at the same time, a terribly bad and ill-defined explanation.

        • Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

          This was Carroll’s argument (you might want to review the video to check that I’m representing this fairly):

          • If there is a supernatural force that interactions with “normal matter” (such as our brains or the DNA of ur-humans), then QFT tells us that there must be some particle (force carrier) that interacts with protons (or electrons): e.g., X p -> X p.
          • QFT tells us that if X p -> X p is true (for ANY unknown force), then p anti-p -> X anti-X is also true. That is, that X–anti-X pairs can be created at the LHC.
          • The fact that we have not seen this pair production tells us that this “X” force must be weaker than gravity or shorter range than the strong nuclear force (i.e., intra-proton).
          • Either way, this force can have no appreciable effects in everyday life.

          /@

          • Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

            * interactions » interacts

            ** can be created at the LHC if the X mass is “low enough”

          • Alex
            Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

            Cool, thanks for quickly summarizing Carrol’s argument for me, I find it quite witty. It is directly reminiscent of the arguments in the literature how one can relate the detection, production, and big bang origin of dark matter particles which are mediated by the processes pp->XX, pX->pX and XX->pp.

            It’s clever to use this crossing symmetry to argue that new forces of the Chopraesque kind which would play a role in every day life, automatically would show up in collider experiments, and I think it’s a good way to argue against stuff like alleged earth rays, PSI fields etc, which are assumed to be of static and universal strength.

            Of course, nothing prevents me from claiming that a supernatural being has the power to locally change the coupling constant of some interaction from planck-suppressed strength to weak interaction strength in order to accomplish a deed, and then return the coupling constant back to planck-suppression. For a “God”, this would arguably the equivalent of us turning on a magnetic field inside a test tube.

            To be more specific: If there is a planck-suppressed interaction of five fields, and our being has the technology to turn on a localized near-planck-scale value for one of them akin to an electric field, you create an unsuppressed four-field-interaction which you then can use to manipulate the world.

            • Alex
              Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

              btw, by “planck-suppressed”, I mean of gravity strength

            • Posted May 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

              If we allow a trickster God, all bets are off!

              /@

              PS. I have a PhD in high-energy collider phenomenology, from the time when the SPS was regarded as “high energy”!

              • Alex
                Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

                Good times… good times… :D

                Did you witness the W,Z discoveries or was that before your time?

              • Alex
                Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                “If we allow a trickster God, all bets are off!”

                I agree completely, and I think that the Christian god basically *is* a trickster God, or at least complex enough to be one of it so chooses.

                Therefore, Kevin’s brash statement does not hold water even after I now understand what he meant. It’s nice as a skeptical argument, but it does _not add anything new_ to the case against a personal God.

              • Posted May 7, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

                I witnessed them second-hand. We did make use of the published background/baseline data for “Squark production at the pp̅ collider” and “Scalar quark signatures at the pp̅ collider”.

                We nearly didn’t get the first published because Carlo Rubbia, who led the SPS experiments, was also an editor of Nuclear Physics and was incensed that we were using “his” data.

                My coauthor Nigel Glover is now a professor at the university of Durham.

                Back on topic, God may be the ultimate sysadmin, with no segregation of duties controls: He can manipulate any data He wants, and manipulate the audit logs so there’s no forensic evidence to show what He’s done!

                /@

    • Kevin
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      You do not have “faith”. You have credulity.

      There’s a difference.

  28. Diane G.
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    sub

  29. Hannah
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Comparing an ethnically Jewish guy to Hitler? That’s stooping pretty low…

  30. abandonwoo
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    *That’s the interesting aspect of atheism. It tries so hard to cogently argue against the existence of a deity or deities, but in the end it has no head data to fall back on.*

    A tedious aspect of apologist theist’s that is not interesting is their insistence that lack of faith in supernatural agency is, voila’!, tantamount to some sort of entity replete with dogma.

    There is precisely as much evidence in support of this contention as evidence for the existence of supernatural agency.

    Now that I take a moment to review what I wrote in the two previous paragraphs, I see that it is anything but inconsistent for emotter178 and other theist’s to simultaneously maintain both assertions.

  31. Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    It always gets me when people try to compare anti-religious views to anti-homosexual views. A person’s religion can change; it isn’t inherent. The same cannot be said of sexual orientation.

    • Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, some religious folks would make exactly the opposite assertion: Thus if you criticise their religion, you are criticising them; and homosexuals can be “cured”.

      /@

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      That reminds me of Brian Dalton’s hilarious reparative therapy video for heterosexuals. Michael Shermer’s cameo at the end is hilarious: http://youtu.be/zqv-y5Ys3fg


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