Coming soon: some new apologetics

I’ve decided, thanks to a reader’s suggestion, that the strategy of suggesting that one book after another gives the “best argument” for God (if you find one deficient, another one pops up), should be called The Argument from Whack-A-Mole.

The last mole was David Bentley Hart’s book, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, which Sophisticated Theologians™ everywhere touted at the Best Argument for God. My copy has not yet arrived, but based on readers’ comments I’m not sure I’ll be headed for the pews after I read it.  In point of fact, I’m unlikely to be convinced by any argument for God that doesn’t adduce some kind of “evidence” beyond revelation.

But a new mole has appeared—even before the last one was whacked. Reader Cameron informs me of this book, by the author of the popular Fermat’s Last Theoremthat will appear April 15 (tax day in the U.S.):

51Ffs+k82RL

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

The renowned science writer, mathematician, and bestselling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem masterfully refutes the overreaching claims the “New Atheists,” providing millions of educated believers with a clear, engaging explanation of what science really says, how there’s still much space for the Divine in the universe, and why faith in both God and empirical science are not mutually exclusive.

A highly publicized coterie of scientists and thinkers, including Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, and Lawrence Krauss, have vehemently contended that breakthroughs in modern science have disproven the existence of God, asserting that we must accept that the creation of the universe came out of nothing, that religion is evil, that evolution fully explains the dazzling complexity of life, and more. In this much-needed book, science journalist Amir Aczel profoundly disagrees and conclusively demonstrates that science has not, as yet, provided any definitive proof refuting the existence of God.

Why Science Does Not Disprove God is his brilliant and incisive analyses of the theories and findings of such titans as Albert Einstein, Roger Penrose, Alan Guth, and Charles Darwin, all of whose major breakthroughs leave open the possibility— and even the strong likelihood—of a Creator. Bolstering his argument, Aczel lucidly discourses on arcane aspects of physics to reveal how quantum theory, the anthropic principle, the fine-tuned dance of protons and quarks, the existence of anti-matter and the theory of parallel universes, also fail to disprove God.

Do we really need to read all these books, which are appearing at an alarming rate? Is there really going to be new arguments for God in them? It appears that Aczel’s book, based on the statement  that it shows “that there’s still much space for the Divine in the universe,” is merely a reiteration of God-of-the-Gaps arguments. To quote Ingersoll, what we understand is science; what we don’t understand is God.

Of course science can’t completely disprove God in either a logical or absolutist sense: that’s not the way science works. And of course we’ll never understand everything. Dick Lewontin (my Ph.D. advisor) told me the other day that the human race would go extinct before we finally learned how our brains work, and he may be right. So if you want to find God in consciousness, for instance, then there’s plenty of time to do that. But it’s a losing strategy, and one that doesn’t even convince many theologians.

But we have disproven God in the same sense we’ve disproven Santa Claus, the Loch Ness monster, and Bigfoot. Extensive observation of the world looking for evidence of the divine has not, as with these other cases, turned up any evidence. That is “proof” in the vernacular (though not mathematical) sense. It’s “proof” in the sense that Anthony Grayling uses it: “Would you bet your house on the truth of a proposition?” If so, consider it proven.

I will read David Bentley Hart’s book, but this one I may skip. All such books should be required to contain a “warning label” saying something like “Note: this book contains NEW evidence for God of the following sort. . . .”  If you don’t see that, don’t buy it. Otherwise, we could see a spate of books showing that science hasn’t “definitively disproven” ESP, Nessie, or homeopathy.

Or maybe we should turn the tables, asking theologians if they’ve read the complete essays of Mencken, Ingersoll, and the atheist writings of Mark Twain, Spinoza, and other authors represented in Hitchens’s The Portable Atheist (buy it if you haven’t yet).  Then we’ll tell them that they can’t talk to us about God until they’ve read all that stuff.

178 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I like that last suggestion. Turn the Courtier’s Response back on them.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      It won’t help, since they keep repeating the same old, well refuted arguments. It’s like dealing with a child’s temper tantrum “I don’t want a bath!!”

      • gbjames
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Well, of course it won’t “work” in grand conversion terms. But it would be as useful a weapon as any verbal riposte when appropriately used.

  2. Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Be prepared to be underwhelmed by David Bentley Hart. The chances that Dawkins et.al. are unfamiliar with his Metaphysics 101 version of God are vanishingly small. They just don’t bother with it because no one but a few obscurantist metaphysicians believes in it. He demonstrates that all the major religions really believe in the same “God.” This “God” is what’s left after you perform a lobotomy on the Gods described in the various holy scriptures. The actual God of the Muslims, for example, condemns all those Christians who associate the word “begotten” with God, or who believe in the Trinity (about 99.99% of them) to burn in hell forever. Hart writes in the first part of his book that he finds such distinctions between the different versions of God “boring.” If the Muslims actually are right, he may have second thoughts about how “boring” it is after his first quintillion years or so in hell.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      “…obscurantist metaphysicians…”

      Are there any lucid metaphysicians?

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Only after they die and go to heaven and receive 72 virgins and are resurrected as elephants with karmic knowledge about yin and yang and are at peace with one.

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          Those’re the LSD metaphysicians. The lucid ones are the ones feeding the bonfire.

          b&

        • Georges Melki
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:44 am | Permalink

          Correction please! When a Muslim goes to Heaven, he(luckily, here, no one will argue with me for not using “he or she”)will be entitled, with every one of his earthly wives to:
          1- 70 houriya(no English equivalent!)
          2- 70 maids with each houriya

          This makes a total of 4971 women(including the wife). Now, if he has more than one wife, just use the multiplication table…
          I’m not making this up, believe me: it’s all on YouTube, but one needs to know Arabic….

  3. Darrin M Carter
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sub

    • francis
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      //

  4. kubrick2001
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’ll read this right after I finish reading “Why Science Does Not Disprove the Invisible, Incorporeal Floating Dragon That Lives In Carl Sagan’s Garage.”

    • H.H.
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      An Excellent point! This needs to be brought up early and often.

    • Marlon
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Sometimes I just substitute ‘The Invisible Pink Unicorn’ when reading blurbs for books like this. More entertaining that way.

  5. Darth Dog
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I never have read any “science points to the existence of God” pieces that aren’t pretty weak. I think that it was Sean Carroll who pointed out that if religion had never been invented, no one would look at problems in modern science and say “Hey, maybe there is something called God that explains this.” The arguments always start with the conclusion and work backwards.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think there’s going to be any evidence adduced at all for the existence of God. It’s just going to be the yet another of those big old gigantic God-Of-The-Gaps pleadings, as in “all of whose major breakthroughs leave open the possibility— and even the strong likelihood—of a Creator”.

      Also, seeing as Hitchens, Dawkins and Krauss have never ever contended that science disproves God, god or god(s); I’m guessing either the author or his blurb writer aren’t particularly keen on being truthful either. In short: this book is for people too afraid to read Dawkins but desperate for a book that says Dawkins is wrong.

  6. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I get the impression that mathematicians tend to be more religious (on average) than physicists/biologists. Presumably that’s because they descend less often from their ivory towers and look out of the window to see what the world is really like.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Mathematical platonism is a common working position, after all, amongst mathematicians …

    • Trophy
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      That’s also my impression. They don’t work with reality. Mathematical “reality” comes into existence by mere defition. Also, it doesn’t help that Mathematicians regularly deal with various contradictory systems that are all “true” and “valid”. For example, you can define an Euclidean geometry where there is exactly one line through a point parallel to another but you can also define Elliptic geometry where there are no parallel lines. Each system is well-defined, consistent, and valid on its own. They are all “true”.

      I’ve seen Mathematicians get confused by all this and argue the same with respect to religion and God. They just treat each faith as an internally consistent phillsophy so don’t see why they could be rejected. Also, I’ve seen Mathematician totally not get the concept of “burden of proof” because the concept doesn’t make any sense in Mathematics.

      • Latverian Diplomat
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        The simplest and best explanation for higher belief rates in some fields is self selection. People who want to do brain work but not confront scientific findings that confront their beliefs can do so in engineering, mathematics, or medicine. The fraction of atheists in these fields is still higher than in the general population though.

        Burden of proof is a simple concept, understood easily by many people who have no use for it in their daily occupation. I suspect the person or persons you are referring to just didn’t want to understand its application to this context, or didn’t want to cede the point, rather than being intellectually broken by years of study in mathematics.

        As opposed to the obvious self selection explanation there seems to be a certain perverse attraction to the idea that certain fields of study cause certain specific types of brain damage. I’d like to see some evidence for that type of extraordinary claim. The burden of proof, you might say, is on you.

    • Joe
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      I wonder if my observation that analytical, rather than “continental” philosophy seems to produce a larger number of defences/proofs of god these days has anything to do with a mathematical mindset that seems ready to divorce logic from empirical reality.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      That’s extremely patronizing, and about as accurate a stereotype as the white-coat scientist with a flask in each hand and a pocket protector.

      Mathematicians are just normal guys and girls with a job.

      • Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        It’s not a stereotype, it’s an hypothesis. And from a casual google one that has some support e.g. for instance: http://www.transformingteachers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=193&Itemid=173. And patronising? hardly. We do know from various surveys that scientists are on average less religious than the public as a whole. Is that patronising to the general public?

        • Harrison
          Posted March 6, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

          The patronizing stereotype was the bit about “not descending from their ivory towers.”

          The implication being that mathematicians are not ordinary people with a career but some sort of intellectual cabal.

        • Harrison
          Posted March 6, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

          And to make my point more clearly, the problem here is not that you made a hypothesis, because even if your hypothesis happens to be correct, your ad hoc explanation is rooted entirely in an unfounded supposition that mathematicians are cloistered elitists who don’t, in your words, know what the world is really like.

          Any good scientist and/or skeptic should be aware of the dangers of ad hoc explanations.

          I would also like to point out that your cited “support” reeks of religious apologetics language accusing evolutionary biology of being “full of holes” and of biologists “failing to discover transitional species.” Get better sources.

          • Posted March 6, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            A survey is hardly invalidated, because someone reporting it has weird beliefs!? You did notice that the person who conducted that research wasn’t the author of that article, right?

            As to the ivory tower bit – the point is that pure mathematics deals with abstract ideas. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but those ideas don’t challenge your perception of the way the world works in the same way that evolutionary biology and physics do.

            I do agree with you, though, that mathematicians can be normal human beings sometimes. In fact I even know a few who don’t often wear anoraks or sandals and replace their thick lensed spectacles with contacts on occasions too!

  7. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Bingo card needed!

    /@

  8. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Fantasy will find a way. Pangu help us all.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      This is fantasy all the way up. Sickness that leads to infuriation. I was having a pleasant day until this post.

      Via Ingersoll: Ignorance is God..it is anything you want it to be that is not science.

      Aczel’s strategy: hoist banners of doubt founded on serf wisdom so that the jealousy of what we do not know or possibly may never know will overwhelm us to the un-reasoned conclusions that it must be God. Ahhhg…I intensely loathe this stuff.

  9. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    “The Argument from Whack-A-Mole”

    I have an alternative suggestion: How about “The Argument from Overheated Imagination”. L

    • Greg Esres
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      While that statement is funny, it’s unfortunately a bit naive. People have a tendency to believe certain kinds of claims presented without evidence, so the practical burden does rest on those who wish to disprove the claims. Not fair, I know.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I attached that to the wrong comment.

  10. Scientifik
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Science doesn’t have to disprove God. To quote Christopher Hitchens, ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’

    • Greg Esres
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      While that statement is funny, it’s unfortunately a bit naive. People have a tendency to believe certain kinds of claims presented without evidence, so the practical burden does rest on those who wish to disprove the claims. Not fair, I know.

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Only if we let them get away with it…we need to call them on it every chance we get…make an outlandish assertion present the outlandish evidence please

        • Greg Esres
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          “we need to call them”

          Doesn’t do much good…when people like a conclusion, merely pointing out the lack of supporting evidence isn’t enough to dislodge it.

          • Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            It still does some good. It’s often a mental timebomb that plants the seeds for a future embracing of sanity, and it can have much more immediate and significant effects on “the lurkers.”

            …and then there’s the Overton Window….

            Cheers,

            b&

      • Filippo
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Yea, verily, part of humanity’s bearing “the stamp of our lowly origin.” (Darwin)

  11. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    “…So if you want to find God in consciousness, for instance, then there’s plenty of time to do that….” JAC

    Well, I’ve found just that. How the all gods begin in a failure of human consciousness. It is called ‘Human Sub-Set Theory’ and it goes like this…

    Humans are not homogeneous. There are stark differences in the operations of the brain between, say, blue-Collar and White Collar. For the latter, their brain is dedicated to forming ideologies. But don’t worry; science is an ideology, but a very special one whereby the scientist already has a weakened reliance upon the assumptions of adolescence, and learns to decouple his or her ideology from personal emotional need. But it is more complicated than that.

    Most White Collar children, grow in an Intentional Universe, controlled by their parents. If they fail, as adolescents, to notice the natural world or the wild and shocking world outside their family life, they internalise an Intentional Universe into their adult brain. Look at a religious family to see the ease of impressing upon youngsters the ‘intentionality’ of human experience! Religious families tend to be cautious, circumspect, formal and intellectually unadventurous. And so the youngsters begin their adult life convinced as to intentionality in all things. That idea is embedded as part of their Brain Operating System. It is, in fact, their own group form of consciousness. And it requires a short piece of reasoning to go from ‘intentionality’ to the existence of gods. Crap assumptions hidden deep within the brain lead to crap explanations for the experiences of adult life. Therefore the religions are NOT the result of indoctrination; they are the result of too much exposure to the assumption of ‘intentionality’

    I feel that debates are not the cause of the decline in religion. The greater impact has been dispassionate wildlife programs such as those of David Att. Through those programs you see that the living world is an abattoir, with no hint of intentionality and no role for the gods.

    The internet book called ‘Origins of Belief and Behaviour’ runs to well over 2000 pages. Once you understand how the brain works, then almost all religious arguments form a recognisable pattern. You have a key to understanding that which you cannot believe.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Neurotheology breaks down in the face of psychopathy. Unless, of course, we want to say Mephistopheles is manipulating N-methyl-D-aspartate. In that case, demonization research grants will soon be offered by the NIMH. What’s old is new, same as it ever was.

  12. Ian Liberman
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Book publishers and literary agents in North America are very sympathetic to apologetic authors and the reconciliation of science and faith in their books. It is a huge market. It brings comfort and support to the religious who make up most of the U.S I also know because of my own book and being told that. I have written a book for young adults and scientifically illiterate adults that explains concepts of cosmology and quantum physics in a very simplified way using pop culture. I have five excellent endorsements but the fact that I take an anti-religious viewpoint has been making it difficult to find agents. I have been asked to change the perspective to open the market for my book. Whether it loop quantum gravity or chaotic inflation or string theory , these theories do not talk about the supernatural. In most of these cases quantum fluctuations originate in a vacuum out of almost nothing. It is through quantum field theory that spontaneous creations of the universe occurs. Quantum physics is based on probability, not predetermined accuracy. Our natural laws are deterministic but the behaviour within the laws are based on randomness and probability. Heisenberg`s Uncertainty Principle supports this. and Mlodinow,A Drunkard`s Walk explains it nicely. An existing entity would be breaking his own rules. These events occur without the necessity of the supernatural . Even if you look at loop quantum gravity which has no big bang,the collapse of one universe creates another through looping. Many scientists believe that you can still attribute this theory to initially quantum fluctuations. No God again. As Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking have stated , God does not fit in anywhere . In the National Academy of Science, where the stats say that virtually all of scientists are not religious and atheists (Stenger, New Scientist);no one discusses faith or religion as part of cosmology. Why? Science and Faith are not compatible or reconcilable. Period. As Jerry mentioned an omnipotent entity would have left evidence of its presence. It has not. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328562.300-the-god-issue-god-is-a-testable-hypothesis.html

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Paragraphs are good.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Since, paragraphs are, and punctuation, because once, a letter, on a desk that belonged to my father, I read, such I’ve never seen before, of 3 sentences, and 3 paragraphs, ending german style the open clauses in one grand heap of a mess.

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          Oh, and it was my poor fathers task to decipher the letter. It was from a customer to the company he worked with…

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Yoda! Little green dude! How’s it hangin? And would you please back Torbjön give keyboard to his him?

          b&

    • Scientifik
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      “Book publishers and literary agents in North America are very sympathetic to apologetic authors and the reconciliation of science and faith in their books. It is a huge market.”

      It seems that this self-deluding market of religious apologists urgently needs the book ‘Why Science Disproves Religious Truth Claims’ which will clearly lay out the scientific evidence disproving creation myths, Noah’s ark story, virgin birth, the supposed divine origins of morality, effectiveness of prayer, omnipotence of god etc

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      “It is a huge market.”

      One only has to stroll into any bookstore and compare the shelf-feet given over to woo of every sort to the shelf-feet given over to science to see that people want to read woo.

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I was wondering where the apologetic books where science cannot disprove God would be shelved. In the science section? Hope not. But I see plenty of books there that do not belong.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I’m starting to think one can no longer trust the Library of Congress for providing classifications.

      • Kevin
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        It is a hug-love market. The religious want to be hugged and loved by their infatuation with God. They actually need reassurance more than they need God.

        • gluonspring
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Of course, the books are the only real part.

      • Zetopan
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        I used to regularly go to a bookstore in a very large shopping center relatively nearby (sorry, but I can no longer recall the name of the store, although they were a national chain). In any case I eventually quit going to that bookstore when the science section shrunk down to quite literally one half of a short half high section of freestanding shelves. At the same time frame the religion and occult (which is really the same thing) section grew so large that they had to install two freestanding very long floor to ceiling double sided book shelves to hold the additional books. It was quite clear where the book market was going. The only potentially good thing that came from that store is that they are apparently no longer in business (while I don’t recall the name I would recognize it if I saw it, my memory works that way for names).

  13. Stephen P
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The renowned science writer, mathematician, and bestselling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem …

    Actually the bestselling Fermat’s Last Theorem was written by Simon Singh, and I strongly recommend it. (Apparently the American publisher decided to change the title – why on earth do publishers keep doing that?) Amir Aczel’s version appears, judging from the Amazon comments, to be a third-rate imitation.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      So Fermat’s Last Theorem was not written by Fermat? Next you’ll be telling us about Grant’s tomb.

      • Stephen P
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think Fermat’s version sold many copies …

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      You’re thinking of Fermat’s Enigma.

      • mattpenfold
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        No he’s not.

        • Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

          That’s the title he’s thinking of that’s used for publication in the US.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      I think I read both (once) and thought they were OK, but clearly one of them was redundant.

      “why on earth do publishers keep doing that?” – as Prof Dawkins says at least once in every one of his books.

  14. Slumbery
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    This author has an interesting cosmopolitan family background. He has a Hungarian sounding family name from a Mediterranean ship captain father and an Arab first name, born in Israel and studied/lives in the USA.

    As for this book of his, it very probably does not worth my time. They just repeat the same nonsense over and over.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Certainly one shouldn’t buy such books, as that just encourages more to be written. The market for religious and other such wishful thinking books is quite lucrative.

    • gravityfly
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Does anyone know if the author is a theist of some sort? Judging by his name and bio he could be a follower of any of the 3 desert religions.

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        He was born in Haifa, Israel. So it’s likely that he follows the Jewish religion. There’s a strong correlation between where you happen to be born and your religion, which is in itself a good reason for thinking that truth isn’t an important criteria in religious belief.

        • Slumbery
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          He has a characteristically Arab first name, not a Jewish one and Haifa is an old Arab city there. Together with his paternal ancestry this can make him anything, included Christian, Muslim, or general theist.

  15. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’m going to publish a short corollary book to this one: “The list of scientists who have ever claimed that science DISPROVES God.”

    In fact, I’ll publish it right here, right now.

    Done.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      You forgot Victor Stenger.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      If a PhD is enough, and if by “disprove” you mean conclusively test, I would say:

      – Stenger
      – Dawkins (even though he claims not, his estimate of likelihood is sufficient)

      and

      – me

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Arguably, the moment that Newton disproved the Aristotelian Prime Mover, all else has been academic. That really ruled out any sort of ultimate transcendence; if motion can and does exist as its own self-sufficient reason without need for an external explanation, then there’s really no such thing as a causal chain in the ancient sense.

        That doesn’t rule out local agents with local powers, but it certainly ruled out any and all gods of any degree of sophistication or of cosmic importance.

        Cheers,

        b&

      • Tulse
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Dawkins (even though he claims not, his estimate of likelihood is sufficient)

        But that is a critical point — science is all about evaluating the likelihood of claims, rather than any “proof” in the formal sense.

        Perhaps more cogently, if one believes that objective evidence against atheism is in principle possible, then one does not believe that god has been “disproven” in the strong sense.

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s fair to state that science has disproven gods at least to the same extent it’s disproven Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster — and I’m reasonably confident that Richard would agree with me on that point. We would both note that this kind of disproof is always provisional, but, at the same time, one quickly reaches a point where it’s insultingly naïve or insane to persist in belief in such thoroughly-discredited entities in spite of the overwhelming evidence against.

          But I would go farther than Richard on this point. First, I would go all the way back to Epicurus and point out that the so-called “Existential Problem of Evil” is overwhelming and painfully hard empirical evidence against the existence of powerful agents with the best interests of humanity at heart — a very low hurdle indeed for any definition of divinity. That Jesus never calls 9-1-1 is proof that Jesus is either incompetent or evil or nonexistent, in the exact same sense that Michelson-Morley is proof of the non-existence of the Luminescent Aether. There still remains the ultimate conspiracy theory loophole in this instance; that, for example, we can’t rule out the possibility that this is all just some fleeting nightmare sent by Satan and we’ll all wake up in an hour or so relieved that it’s just a dream.

          That, however, leads directly to the ironclad logical proof you’re looking for. Even the gods themselves can’t rule out the possibility that they themselves are delusional or being deceived by some other entity or are merely a subroutine in a massive computer simulation. And if even the gods are incapable, even in principle, of certainty about the ultimate nature of reality and their own role in it, of what possible sense does it make to describe them as gods?

          Cheers,

          b&

          • Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            I understand Ben and Tjorborn’s position, but i take a hard line on the word “disprove”.

            Overall, the term “atheist” is used as a weapon against us by believers who define us as “people who KNOW god does not exist.” Why even begin to put that weapon in their hands?

            I take atheism to mean “living out a worldview that does not require/invoke theism to explain things.” The gods you propose as explanatory, Mr. Believer, have no evidence in support of their existence. I can not literally disprove a fAnciful assertion, but i can certainly refuse to engage the question on your skewed framing…because the precursor to “proof” or disproof is you providing evidence that can only be supported by your god Hypothesis. And you have none. There is nothing to disprove.

            • Posted March 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

              First, would you be comfortable with the language that science has disproved the existence of the Luminiferous Aether? If so, how about the Loch Ness Monster? The effectiveness of drugs that fail double-blind placebo trials? The effectiveness of intercessory prayer as patient therapy?

              And if you’d be okay with “disproof” in those contexts, why not also gods?

              I take atheism to mean “living out a worldview that does not require/invoke theism to explain things.”

              That’s a perfectly valid definition, and one that I’d agree with (even if that’s not how I’d phrase it).

              (For the record, I understand an atheist to simply be a person without gods, for whatever reason. Those whose gods are limited to one or more cats and / or the Sun are granted special dispensation for obvious reasons.)

              Overall, the term “atheist” is used as a weapon against us by believers who define us as “people who KNOW god does not exist.”

              But that’s just it — I happen to know that gods are as imaginary as the faeries at the bottom of the garden. While I’d certainly agree that it’s my lack of belief that defines me as an atheist, it’s also certainly true that I don’t stop there.

              (And, frankly, I rather doubt you or very many other self-identifying atheists stop there, either — but that’s a different matter and only tangentially relevant.)

              So why should it be something to get upset about that theists think at least some atheists know the theists are just talking to their imaginary friends? Yes, of course, clarify your own position — but, just as you wouldn’t want me to disavow you as a “real” atheist because you don’t actively reject the existence of gods, can’t you understand why I’d be a bit disturbed to see you suggest that I’m somehow impure because I do?

              b&

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

                You, as usual, make a very good case. Your position isn’t impure”. Internally among self identifying atheists i have no problem. But my concern is a rhetorical one when discussing with “outsiders”.

                Imagine if you will, that a person has a hardened, indoctrinated position/belief that atheists are evil for a variety of reasons, including that they “hate God” at the same time that they “Know God doesn’t exist.” (Internally inconsistent, i know, but I’ve actually had this discussion a number of times.)

                I’m looking for the rhetorical wedge that has any chance at all of sneaking past the armor even a small bit. You know, it’s like the conversation that begins, “are you a ‘Liberal?’ “Why yes, I am.” “Screw you, I hate liberals.” Conversation over if you accept their frame.

                Rather…
                “Oh… You feel that atheists claim to KNOW God does not exist. You have been misled. And into my definition…).

                I might, over time, be able to drag them to your position, but it seems that starting there is… Well, a non-starter. It might be argued that any kind of discussion with a hardened believer is a non starter, i suppose.

                But if there were a “hill I’m willing to die on, in defense of my atheism” it need not be, for me, the question of knowledge and disproof.

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

                Im looking for the rhetorical wedge that has any chance at all of sneaking past the armor even a small bit. You know, its like the conversation that begins, are you a Liberal? Why yes, I am. Screw you, I hate liberals. Conversation over if you accept their frame.

                So don’t accept their frame!

                …but, first, those people aren’t looking for discussion. They’e looking for argument, or maybe abuse — but not discussion. Your best bet is likely to go on the offensive and, for example, accusing them of hating not just Quetzalcoatl and Haruman but Santa and the Tooth Fairy, too. Are they upset because the Tooth Fairy only left a dime under the pillow while Johnny got an entire quarter?

                …no?

                …what’s this? They don’t actually believe in the Tooth Fairy?

                Well, now that we’ve established that, maybe we can make some progress.

                And, oh-by-the-way, they’re now left in the position of explaining why their gods are more plausible than the Tooth Fairy, which is almost (but not quite) as embarrassing and indefensible a position a theist can be in. When they frustratedly reject the Tooth Fairy as childish nonsense but aren’t willing to do the same for their gods, you can “rescue” them by asking which gods outside of their own are worth taking seriously. The Olympic pantheon, perhaps? Brahma and Siva? Xenu? Moroni?

                Then, when they insist that only the Christian pantheon is respectable, ask why the Bible opens with a a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry wizard, and how this is supposed to be more “respectable” than the Tooth Fairy.

                …I think that should keep you busy for a while….

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Tulse
                Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

                those people aren’t looking for discussion. They’e looking for argument, or maybe abuse

                No they’re not!

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

                Stupid git.

                b&

  16. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    If the best argument you can muster — or even, if it’s merely a non-trivial argument in your quiver — is “science hasn’t disproved this,” then you’re no better than any other conspiracy theorist. Science is also equally incapable of proving that there are no aliens with stealth technology and mind rays orbiting the Earth controlling your every thought. And it’s just as incapable of proving that the aliens themselves — along with the rest of us — aren’t just a subroutine in some pangalactic teenager’s favorite video game.

    And if you ever go past “science hasn’t disproved this,” to “science cannot disprove this,” then you’ve earned yourself the same contempt we heap upon snake oil salesmen and psychic palm readers and perpetual motion machine hucksters. If it’s not even theoretically possible to disprove something, and that’s your reason for believing in it, you’re a fraud, pure and simple, nothing more nor less.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Martin
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I agree, arguments such as these, and perhaps all sophisticated theology boils down to argument ad yellow brick road. That is to say that there must be a Emerald city else where does the yellow brick go to?

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        If I wasn’t planning on using mulch for the pathways in the garden, I’d put in yellow bricks….

        b&

        • Martin
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          Dang it of course I meant the yellow brick road. Reads much differently without the road. Mulch is of course the better route.

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          But where does the mulch path lead? There must be a gazebo, right? Even if I cannot see it.

          • Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            There will, eventually, I hope, actually be a gazebo in there somewhere. Or, at least, a gazebette — I don’t have that much room to work with….

            b&

      • Filippo
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Well, in the movie we see where it starts . . . or do we?

        • Kevin Alexander
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it spirals up out of the Ground of Being

          • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            The Wicked Witch of the East is God?

            b&

  17. Mark
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    “God” has failed miserably at “writing” books that “prove” him. The Bible being the best known failure.

    Why does “God” need a book? Why doesn’t he simply reveal himself?

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      He’s prevented from appearing by a non-compete clause in his contract with the world’s religious leaders.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Yeah, probably signed and NDA too!

  18. Jonathan Smith
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    But we have disproven God in the same sense we’ve disproven Santa Claus, the Loch Ness monster, and Bigfoot.
    As a true Scot I recent that statement,no one has ever disproven the Loch Ness monster !!

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Do you by any chance own an inn on the shores of Loch Ness? ;-)

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Yes, but what did you eat for breakfast? You’ll have to establish your credentials before we can be certain you’re truly true.

      b&

      • Stephen P
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Do you think that that perhaps Flew over his head?

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          Antony’s possible….

          b&

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          or in the case of Flew, over the cuckoo’s nest.

          • NewEnglandBob
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            +2

  19. Paul S
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    After a quick search on Amazon I think I’ll get Amir D. Aczel’s entire collection.
    I can wait to get my copy of How to Beat the I.R.S. at Its Own Game: Strategies to Avoid-and Fight-an Audit

    • Paul S
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Arg, of course I meant I can’t wait.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        I could care less.

  20. moarscienceplz
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “Or maybe we should turn the tables, asking theologians if they’ve read the complete essays of Mencken, Ingersoll, and the atheist writings of Mark Twain, Spinoza, and other authors”

    Actually, I’m not at all sure that anybody actually reads these “Hey, here’s a dusty corner which science hasn’t disproven might be occupied by God” books. They sell well, but I suspect that so many are published just so theists can line their walls with them as insulation to help block the facts leaking in from the real world.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      “Actually, I’m not at all sure that anybody actually reads these”

      I can assure you that they do.

  21. Andrikzen
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I feel pretty confident if real evidence of Gods existents presents itself, we would not have to read about it.

  22. darrelle
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “A highly publicized coterie of scientists and thinkers, including Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, and Lawrence Krauss, have vehemently contended that breakthroughs in modern science have disproven the existence of God, . . . “

    I doubt that any of those people would agree with what seems to be intended by this claim. Rather, I think all of them would say something like “science has been making steady inexorable progress in refuting religious claims for hundreds of years,” not that suddenly, just recently science has made the breakthroughs that “disprove God.”

    “. . . asserting that we must accept that the creation of the universe came out of nothing, . . .”

    Disingenuous or merely confused? Krauss and others using that argument don’t claim that it must be accepted that the universe came out of nothing. What they claim is that there is good reason to believe that the claim “something can’t come from nothing (and therefore magic man don’it),” is just wrong.

  23. Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    “Or maybe we should turn the tables, asking theologians if they’ve read the complete essays of Mencken, Ingersoll, and the atheist writings of Mark Twain, Spinoza, and other authors represented in Hitchens’s The Portable Atheist (buy it if you haven’t yet). Then we’ll tell them that they can’t talk to us about God until they’ve read all that stuff.”

    The thing is, most of them have. Not all of them, but most theologians have read at least SOME atheists.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Most atheists have read at least SOME theology.

      I’m with Jerry; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Whatever theists have read, it’s not good enough. We can keep adding tomes as long as they can.

  24. Jiten
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    This is what Paul Dirac had to say :

    “I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.”

    • Cliff Melick
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Nice.

      • gravityfly
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Great quote!

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Agreed! Does anyone have the source?

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

            Remarks made during the Fifth Solvay International Conference (October 1927), as quoted in Physics and Beyond : Encounters and Conversations (1971) by Werner Heisenberg, pp. 85-86

            Via Wikiquotes.

            /@

    • Kevin
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Dirac. One of the great humans to walk the earth and one of my heroes. Great quote.

      • Jiten
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 3:40 am | Permalink

        I read his excellent biography by Graham Farmello called The Strangest Man. He was never formally diagnosed as autistic but the signs were clearly there. Great book.

    • Richard Olson
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Just rewards. Just deserts. Work harder. Obey. Acceptance is virtuous. There is a perfect plan just for you, and your time will come. So stfu.

      • Filippo
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Said the private corporate tyranny to its human “resources” and “capital.”

  25. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    …the human race would go extinct before we finally learned how our brains work…

    It may not be in my lifetime (but I am an Old Git), but I think it could be in my sons’ lifetimes. And where will god be then?

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Right where he is now. In the needs of the people who believe.
      When the last neurone is perfectly understood in its place connected to all the other neurons then believers will either deny the facts and say goddit or accept the facts and say goddit anyway.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Those neurons-in-their-places will show design! And that they have to be in just the right places–the nueronic-anthropic principle is suddenly obvious…Also, it’s obviously way too complex to have arisen by chance. Plus, a synapse is a gap, therefore…

  26. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    It’s too bad Aczel doesn’t mention in the promotional blurb which God he will be arguing for. It would be disappointing if he pulls the usual bait-and-switch of defending the most vague, numinous, desitic God and then attempting to substitute Yahweh or Allah, both of whom are sufficiently disproven.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      I think we can confidently predict which way he’d go on that, he won’t want to frighten the Foundation. Now I’m thinking of an old soap ad, slightly tweaked.

      woman in bath reading magazine: Templeton looks nice.

      man in bath, lifting phone: Simon? Templeton.

      Simon the pilot, banking: Roger, wilco.

  27. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    These books you mention are not very serious. When are you going to tackle a really sophisticated account of theology such as Jesus is like my Scanning Electron Microscope</a. by Mark Armitage?

  28. Jonathan Smith
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    moarscienceplz

    No I live in the US now, but I always eat Scots porridge oats for breakfast

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      That’s a start.

      Next: compare and contrast the reactions of those around you when you play the bagpipes and toss the caber.

      b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        or throw a stone/hammer.

  29. Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    How gushy can a book description get? Let us summarize. The author and the book are described as
    ‘renowned, engaging, profound, conclusive, brilliant, incisive, & lucid’.

    Those nasty New Atheists who would oppose this Very Important Book are described as ‘overreaching’ and are ‘vehemently contending’ this Beautiful Idea. Poopy on them.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the fact that he has conclusively proved that there’s no conclusive disproof! That’s some awesome logic-fu there!

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, exactly — anytime somebody claims that you can’t prove a negative, just ask them if they can prove that claim. With luck, after cleaning up after the brain asplosion, you might be able to move on to a more productive conversation.

        b&

        • darrelle
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          In a perfect world there would by all rights be a brain assplosion. But in the reality we actually inhabit that logically devastating point would sail right over their head. At best you would get a brief slightly puzzled look quickly replaced with mild irritation or scorn. Most likely they would immediately double down with something even more ridiculous.

          • Posted March 4, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            Sad, but true.

            But, again, if you’re lucky, you do sometimes actually get real brain assplosions with those sorts of logic bombs. And, believe me, they’re fun to watch!

            b&

            • darrelle
              Posted March 4, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

              For some reason I’m thinking of certain scenes from the Men in Black movies involving much spitting out of mouth and wiping out of eyes of much slimy gory stuff.

              • Posted March 4, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

                Either that, or Ghostbuterian ectoplasm….

                b&

  30. Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    OK, let’s have some fun. There are a lot of good scientists in this group. How creative can we be?

    It’s pretty safe to say that we have a good handle on the how energy and matter work in this universe. It would be hard – but perhaps not impossible – to find God, or ghosts, or the supernatural here.

    But we know squat about other universes and dimensions, and whether they can overlap and interact with our own, and what that might look like.

    It’s been boring fisking the science-y claims of theologians and philosophers, but perhaps we have an intellectual duty to stretch ourselves to present the best scientific case for the supernatural as put forth by knowledgeable scientists.

    Let’s assert that God showed up last week in Washington, DC, did some parlor tricks, and then took off for a while. How would we explain it?

    Might it involve other dimensions, other universes? And there are still some mysteries left in this universe, which might provide a clue? We don’t really understand magnetism yet, do we? How do we explain Einstein’s creepy effect at a distance? How can we claim to have a really good handle on energy and matter in this universe, when we just discovered dark matter and dark energy, believe them to be representative of most of our universe, and do not have much of an understanding of them?

    Perhaps we should present our best case for the supernatural?

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      But we know squat about other universes and dimensions, and whether they can overlap and interact with our own, and what that might look like.

      Actually, that’s very much an untrue statement.

      The laws underlying the physics of everyday life are completely understood.

      That rules out the possibility of any “alternative dimensions” or what-not interacting with the everyday world — unless, of course, you wish to go the conspiracy theorist route and propose, for example, that we’re all being victimized by alien mind probes, or that we’re subroutines in a computer simulation, or that sort of thing.

      Sean is also a cosmologist, and his day job is other universes and dimensions. While he’d be the first to agree that we don’t have answers, he’d also vigorously object to the notion that they we don’t know anything about them. Indeed, there’s a great deal we can know about them, if they exist, through various processes of elimination. His job — and he’s quite good at it — is adding more things to the list of that which has been eliminated, with the eventual goal of the field being the whittling it down to the point that there’s only one remaining option.

      Lets assert that God showed up last week in Washington, DC, did some parlor tricks, and then took off for a while. How would we explain it?

      Conspiracy theory. It’s some advanced alien with interstellar travel capabilities playing a prank on us, or maybe we really are being manipulated by alien mind rays, or somebody tweaked the computer simulation, or something like that. And then the whole focus of physics shifts from understanding the universe as it appears to be to ferreting out, if at all possible, the nature of the deception being perpetrated upon us.

      At this point, it’s important to point out not just that we can’t eliminate the possibility of conspiracy theories, but neither could the gods. Even an allegedly omnipotent entity would be perfectly incapable of eliminating the possibility that it’s delusional. This is easily provable, with a very close parallel of the common proof offered of Turing’s Halting Problem. Thus, we know for a certainty that there are no real gods, even though there could certainly be local agents with great powers. But, again, even if said agents exist, we know from the fact that none even does so much as call 9-1-1 that they don’t have the best interests of humanity at heart.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Posted March 4, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        But Sean’s article does not mention other dimensions or universes at all, or how they might interact with the one we live in.

        We don’t know what the physical constants might be in other universes – indeed, we use that fact to argue against fine tuning.

        C’mon – you’re not giving this a good go. Perhaps god is an interdimensional being. He can exist in another universe, but come into ours. Perhaps, like the Restaurant at the end of the Universe, he can “come into” our universe, while still being inside his own, like an amoeba engulfing a food particle. Using energy from a different universe, he could affect this one.

        He could then appear to break the laws of our universe, but be “outside” of them. Which is exactly how theologians describe how he must be constructed.

        • Posted March 4, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          Sean realistically only had so many column inches to deal with.

          Again, it’s always possible (and trivial) to devise a conspiracy theory that can’t be disproven, with hallucination and deception center stage. Your examples fall squarely in that category. But that kind of paranoid delusion has never proven to be a profitable way to further one’s understanding of the universe, which is why most people don’t waste their time with it.

          Suffice it that Sean is one of the foremost cosmologists of our day, and he gets paid to think about other dimensions and other universes, and he knows as much about other dimensions and other universes as anybody else ever has. (There’re a handful of others who know as much as he does, and they’ll all agree with Sean on these points.) If those other dimensions or universes could plausibly interact with ours, he wouldn’t have written that article; instead, he would have written about the remaining plausible methods by which the supernatural could interact with the natural.

          What you’re describing as other dimensions and other universes actually has nothing to do with the way that physicists use those terms. As Ant Allan recently replied to somebody else, what you’re describing is more akin to the “Astral Plane” or Valhalla. Those types of phenomena were ruled out long before quantum field theory.

          Cheers,

          b&

  31. Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Ye gods. That Amazon blurb is taking 236 to describe what is nothing but the god of the gaps argument. And it sounds as if the entire book is just the same argument repeated over and over and OVER AND OVER…

  32. kelskye
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I could imagine the argument goes something like this:
    1. The universe comes from nothing
    2. There is no natural explanation
    3. God, if he existed, would be able to explain why the universe exists
    4. Therefore, God represents a better inference to the best explanation than naturalistic explanation.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      But I think you describe an eternally agnostic God…one that can never be known. For any explanation I can think of that fits the data would be science and not God. So, yes, any better explanation is always out of reach, ethereal, possibly auspicious, but out of bounds.

      • kelskye
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:16 am | Permalink

        That’s one interesting consequence of accepting that argument at face value, what Michael Martin would refer to the gap in theistic arguments. The god that would be the conclusion wouldn’t necessarily have any properties beyond simply that it creates universes from nothing – so such an argument would *at best* be consistent with Christianity, but by no means support Christianity.

        Though realistically speaking, premises 1, 2, and 3 are all contentious propositions to begin with. What does it mean to say the universe comes “from nothing”? If it’s a physically realisable quantity, then there’s no guaranteeing premise 2. If it’s not physically realisable, then how can we say that’s the starting point of the universe?

        The theistic equivocation often happens here. Yet the issue with premise 2 is that in its strong form it’s totally unjustifiable – if we don’t have a complete understanding of the universe, how can we rule out a naturalistic explanation? A weaker version of the premise might be that we don’t yet have a good account, or that because the situation is so alien to our physics that we have reason to suspect an account cannot come (the theistic response is “something can’t come from nothing), but the weaker premise cannot rule it out, leaving it a question of whether a natural explanation is more likely than theism.

        Premise 3 is where things go fuzzy, how does God do this? God acting isn’t a scientifically-realisable quantity, and it’s something of which we have no experience of. The general response would be that since God is omnipotent, it would be within God’s powers to do such a thing – assuming of course that eternal beings can have any sort of temporal act (something from nothing is prima facie a temporal event), but then we’d only get consistency rather than something that begs out.

        So to the conclusion, the question comes down to whether it’s more likely that there’s an as-yet-unknown naturalistic process that could provide an answer, or that God provides an answer. So in this case, the question becomes how to reason about God? J.L. Mackie used Hume’s miracles argument to give a way of recognising God’s intervention – a miracle that would be sufficiently well testified would be powerful evidence for God. But in taking this path, the base probability is very low (otherwise, we’d just say “God did it” for everything).

        So weighing up those two options, we add one further piece of evidence – an inductive argument based on success of naturalistic explanations. That when we’ve had gaps in our naturalistic understanding before, it has turned out that naturalistic explanations have been hugely successful. So even if we have a gap in our knowledge on how a universe could come from nothing, we have reason to be confident in a naturalistic answer. So it would be false that God provides a better explanation than naturalism even on an inference to the best explanation.

        So if one were a theist, the way to avoid this conclusion would either be to accept the strong version of (2), or come up with a better way of seeing God’s hand in nature (3).

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Yup. Also known as the god of the gaps.

      These would be much more suitable gods of the gaps…if they weren’t all anorexic….

      b&

      • kelskye
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:18 am | Permalink

        I suppose if one tried hard enough, one could turn it into a positive argument for God rather than simply the absence of knowing better. Though that would require coming up with a meaningful way to make novel predictions from the fact that God exists, rather than simply saying after the fact “God did it that way”.

        • Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Yes, that’s exactly it. “God” is a bad theory. It’s no better than, “My invisible friend doesn’t like you, so he made himself a thousand feet tall and pissed on your house last night which is why it rained at your place but not mine.” It can explain anything, which means it explains nothing. It’s a paranoid conspiracy theory, and nobody’s ever been able to get any significant work done with any of them.

          b&

          • kelskye
            Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            What I see, though, is that there is at least *in principle* recourse for a theist to use God in such an abductive sense. The burden would be on the theist to conceive God in such a way that God becomes a meaningful explanation – rather than just simply to let it follow from the definition of God – and would be a God of the gaps argument until then.

            One would have to explain, for example, why it is that God was not even close to the truth when it came to the origin of the solar system or the origin of species. Why did the “god hypothesis” fail in those cases so miserably? Is it simply that we have scientific explanations now and before then God was warranted? If so, God is nothing but the “god of the gaps” as you rightly recognise. Yet I think the theist wouldn’t be satisfied there, and it would be on them to work towards a satisfying answer. Unfortunately, I don’t think many theists recognise this burden of proof, let alone are equipped for dealing with it, and thus aren’t able to make meaningful pronouncements about God in an age of science.

            • Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

              There’re two problems there.

              First is that, almost certainly by design (even if not consciously so), gods are never defined in such a way as to be falsifiable. Rather, the goal is to be as all-encompassing as possible.

              Second is that it’s not enough to come up with a theory that fits some small subset of the evidence; you’ve got to come up with a theory that fits all of the evidence — or, at least, a valid reason for limiting the scope of your theory. It’s okay that Newtonian Mechanics breaks down at large and small scales because we know better than to try to apply it at those scales.

              …but any theory of divinity is going to have to fit the so-called “Evidential Problem of Evil,” which is conclusive proof that, as Epicurus observed half a millennium before the invention of Christianity, there are no powerful agents with the best interests of humanity at heart.

              Maybe some new entity could show up on the scene, but that still doesn’t change the fact that all the most important claims of all the world religions have already been overwhelmingly conclusively been invalidated by trivially-obtained evidence.

              Even despite the attempts of theists to redefine their gods out of evidence’s reach….

              Cheers,

              b&

              • kelskye
                Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:29 am | Permalink

                Agree 100%, Ben. It is a current problem for theism that theists simply don’t want a God that is amenable to falsification. At the same time, they want to make claims relating to God. One has to give.

                Though the way I framed it was for a hypothetical theist who is truly interested in framing the discussion properly. Though given the way that theists use God is grounds for pessimism. Still, there could always be *one* who takes this approach. Though I would imagine that it’s probably a very quick way to become an atheist.

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

                Bingo. Faith is toxic to reason; even the slightest bit perverts the whole. Reason can only ever truly exist in the perfect absence of faith, while faith is happy to feed off the decaying corpse of reason.

                b&

  33. Felix
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “To quote Ingersoll, what we understand is science; what we don’t understand is God.”

    another great quote I need to memorize.

  34. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    “We don’t know everything therefore magic.”

    Next!

  35. Richard Olson
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ll hold off reading any books that contain claims about a god that exists until an author publishes one with actual evidence that survives a peer review process. Even then, unless the book contains information pertinent to my activities, I may not read it, choosing instead only analyses/synopses that sufficiently inform me. After the documentary airs, I may be persuaded reading the book is worth it to me.

    I’ll closely follow coverage of the Nobel ceremony for the author, though. Will it be in physics, I wonder, or chemistry? Maybe a multidisciplinary special, one-time-only prize will be created. He probably won’t be awarded the Peace Prize that first year, though, that’s almost a virtual certainty. If anything, the discovery of god is likely to provoke a World War of Religions.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      The Nobel prize for progress in Theodynamics…

      Strange how we are saddled with Theology (knowledge of god) but we haven’t got to the first scientific law of Theodynamics (how god works).

  36. Chukar
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I hope that Jerry Coyne and anyone else who reads Hart’s or Aczel’s pro-god books either gets free copies from the publisher or from the public library. Otherwise – as Bill Nye did with the debate at the Creation Museum – you’re just spending your dollars to support nonsense.

  37. madscientist
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    “educated believers”

    I wonder what people mean by “educated” – it seems to mean everything and nothing all at once.

  38. Lurker111
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Science does not disprove the invisible unicorn in my bottom desk drawer, either.

  39. Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I think we need to clean up our language. Science is not in the business of disproving anything. Science is in the business of obtaining evidence in support of an hypothesis. By accepting this kind of language, we are accepting that the onus is on Science to support the null – that is definitely not the Scientific Method. We must be vigilant in maintaining the onus on the claimant to provide evidence in support of the claim. When no or insufficient evidence is forthcoming, the null cannot be rejected (this is where we are to date with regard to the God claim).

    So the title of Azcel’s book is based on a false premise and can be dismissed just based on this alone.

    • Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Science is not in the business of disproving anything.

      Er…you’ve got it exactly backwards.

      See the Luminiferous Aether, Calorific, Epicycles, and countless other examples.

      Including all the various faery tales, especially including the gods.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        perhaps we are dealing in semantics…one cannot provide proof of a negative (which is what is meant by disprove) in the scientific sense of proof…in each of the cases you provide the hypotheses fell by the wayside either because there was insufficient (or no) evidence in support of the hypothesis and thus the null could not be dismissed (e.g. Luminferous Aether*) or the hypothesis was superseded by another that fit the data more precisely (e.g., Epicycles -which did fit observations at the time – though tortuously so).

        *I think this is where we are at with the God hypothesis. But the problem here is that one cannot ‘disprove’ a hypothesis with 100% certainty (there may be evidence forthcoming just around the corner, due to increase in sensitivity of our measurements for example – see Higgs Boson) and this is where the religious make their stand…this is their foot in the door if we let it be so

        • Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          one cannot provide proof of a negative

          Care to offer your breakthrough proof demonstrating the nonexistence of nonexistence proofs?

          Because the simple fact of the matter is that not only can you prove a negative, that’s almost always the way these things are done. And it’s been that way since the beginning; see Euclid’s beautiful proof of the infinitude of primes, for example.

          You right now can prove to your complete satisfaction that there is not an herd of angry tyrannosaurusessesses rexeni stampeding through the room you’re in. That’s a non-existence proof.

          So it was with the Luminiferous Aether. Michelson and Morley looked for evidence where evidence must exist, and found no evidence; Luminiferous Aether disproven.

          And so it is with the supernatural. As Sean Carroll so well puts it, the laws underlying the physics of everyday life are completely understood. If the supernatural were real, we’d have seen evidence of it by now — especially the physicists and cosmologists would have seen it, because their stock in trade is looking for effects far too subtle for humans to otherwise perceive. But they’ve looked through the entire room and, while we certainly don’t have a complete inventory of the room, we know for a fact that there aren’t any angry herds of stampeding tyr…man-eating dinobots.

          As always with science, there’s the caveat of the conspiracy theory; you can’t disprove that there really are big toothy monsters, but some of them are in spaceships and they’ve trapped you in a mind ray as they fatten you up. But that’s especially applicable to the gods, because even the gods can’t rule out the possibility that they themselves are a subroutine of a computer game, and that pretty effectively rules out the possibility of them being divine.

          Cheers,

          b&

          • Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Me: one cannot provide proof of a negative
            You: Care to offer your breakthrough proof demonstrating the nonexistence of nonexistence proofs?

            Me: You are not related to William Lane Craig are you? :-) It’s never too long before logic puzzles enter into these discussions. I knew I was running that risk and tried to establish that I was dealing with proof in the scientific sense…oh well…

            You: You right now can prove to your complete satisfaction that there is not an herd of angry tyrannosaurusessesses rexeni stampeding through the room you’re in. That’s a non-existence proof.

            ME: Again, we may be dealing in semantics…but Science never starts out with a negative for which one needs to provide proof…for instance, I will today get out of bed and prove there are no tyr stampeding in my room or prove there are no oranges the size of my kitchen in my kitchen or prove there are no flying turkeys (As god is my witness I thought turkeys could fly!). In fact a negative (the null hypothesis) always implies a claim, and it is from the claim that we start science…the onus is squarely on the claimant to provide evidence in support of claim otherwise we cannot (must not) reject the null hypothesis.

            The tyr example is rather circumscribed as it is limited in both time and space (time being the most critical component – will there never be tyr stampeding in this particular spot? :-)) But what about more complicated phenomena? Take the Higgs Boson…until a couple of years ago there was no empirical evidence of its existence…would you say that was non-existence proof? The scientific enterprise is probabilistic and provisional. And this is the crack in door that the religious want to go through. By turning the onus on science to disprove, with 100% certainty, that god doesn’t exist they can claim a win. But the win is based on a false premise. We need to turn the focus where it should be – the need for those making the claim to provide the evidence in support of the claim.

            I am with Sean Carroll…I am confident there is no god in the same way that I am confident there are no fairies nor leprechauns nor bigfoot nor dragons etc. I don’t need to disprove these claims. The evidence just ain’t there – I can’t reject the null. But, should evidence arise…

            BTW, thanks for the lively discussion Ben.

            • Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

              Take the Higgs Bosonuntil a couple of years ago there was no empirical evidence of its existencewould you say that was non-existence proof?

              No! Most emphatically, no.

              The key difference between the Higgs and the death lizards in your room is that, until recently, we hadn’t finished searching everywhere the Higgs might reasonably have been found. Indeed, our very own Ant Allan wrote his Phd. dissertation on the search for the Higgs and under what circumstances it would be easy and difficult to find and so on.

              If the LHC didn’t find evidence of the Higgs, then that would have constituted a non-existence proof. (I think…I don’t remember if there were theories of the Higgs that included energies larger than the LHC is or will be capable of producing.)

              Before the CERN team’s monumental work reached its climax, the proper position was one of cautiously affirmative agnosticism. The Higgs was a very reasonable proposition, and what most people expected and what many were tentatively working with in order to get a jump on the “what comes next” problems…but we really didn’t know. And, had the LHC disproven the existence of the Higgs, just as happened a century ago after Michelson and Morley did their essential and seminal experimental work, physicists would have grudgingly admitted that they had to toss out some theories they had gotten rather fond of and started fresh — but at least with a very important piece of the puzzle added to the picture.

              The scientific enterprise is probabilistic and provisional.

              Yes, it is.

              And we have six-sigma confidence in the existence of the Higgs, and, as a direct result, even more confidence in the validity of the Standard Model — and, as a further result when combined with the rest of physics, an unimaginable degree of confidence in the nonexistence of the supernatural. Indeed, we can be much more confident that the supernatural doesn’t exist than we can be confident that the Luminiferous Aether doesn’t exist, for every experiment ever done in all of science could have supplied significant evidence for the supernatural, yet not a single one ever has. And the more careful our measurements, the less and less wiggle room remains — with today’s experiments being so insanely careful it’s beyond funny.

              If that doesn’t count for you as an empirical non-existence proof, then you’re being held captive in a conspiracy theory factory….

              Cheers,

              b&

            • gbjames
              Posted March 4, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

              Prepare to be smote, infidel. Turkeys can fly.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Right. One cannot disprove that there is a Convair B-36 intercontinental bomber in orbit around some star in the Andromeda galaxy.

  40. Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    here’s another of these gappy arguments

  41. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    In this case, I think it is just an attempt to flatter people into buying the book. Something like it was going on in The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Intended as a reply to #37. :(

  42. cremnomaniac
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    This excerpt from the books blurb disgusts me.

    …asserting that we must accept that the creation of the universe came out of nothing, that religion is evil, that evolution fully explains the dazzling complexity of life, and more. In this much-needed book, science journalist Amir Aczel profoundly disagrees and conclusively demonstrates that science has not, as yet, provided any definitive proof

    To suggest that the “dazzling complexity of life” is just so incredible that it can’t be explained, except by embracing a delusion, is ignorance of the highest order.

    Does it ever occur to these “morans” that its simply limitations of our species cognitive capabilities that keeps us from explaining and/or comprehending the vastness of the universe?
    No, but with their limited cognitive capacities they are able to conjure an imaginary being, that explains EVERYTHING.

    Its so conceited and arrogant of them. They think humans are absolutely conscious, aware, and intelligent. We are simply a species in development. We don’t have the intelligence or insight to recognize our own limitations or where evolution could take us. We are NOT the end game. These morons prove that.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Yep. They claim we are super special awesome, that magic man created the universe just for us. And yet at the same time we are poor simple minded children who are incapable of comprehending any of it, or of even learning how to behave decently.

      But don’t worry cuz magic man will do all that for us too! He’ll tell us how to think and how to behave. And even though we are all morons we get to choose whether or not to listen to him!

      Choose to do what he says? An eternity of happiness is yours! Choose not to listen? An eternity of maximum suffering just for you!

      Cuz your special! You didn’t evolve from no monkey! Nope you had the honor of being created from dirt and a puff of bad breath! I guess that’s a little better than being created from sweat from a divine armpit.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      In this much-needed book, science journalist Amir Aczel profoundly disagrees and conclusively demonstrates that science has not, as yet, provided any definitive proof

      Dear Mr. Aczel:

      Please provide a brief précis of what you would consider “definitive proof”, along with clear definitions of any terms whose meaning may not be universally agreed upon, such as “god”.

      After you have provided this, I and my friends will be happy to present you with the proof that you desire.

      Sincerely,

      Mark Joseph

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        @Ben Goren, this I agree with. Holding the believer to their specific claims, which can either be individually refuted or in combination demonstrated to be mutually exclusive.

        Demanding internal consistency is legit.

  43. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    “The renowned science writer, mathematician, and bestselling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem”

    That would be Simon Singh, I take it? ;)

  44. Posted March 4, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “Do we really need to read all these books, which are appearing at an alarming rate?”

    No, but I disagree they’re appearing at an alarming rate. The same has been said about books about atheism, and we are fighting for a marketplace of ideas. To that end we have to put up with them publishing furiously in their attempts to refute us. Can they stand on their own? Will they do more than rehash old, frequently debunked arguments? Probably not.

    So I disagree with railing at the profligacy of books proclaiming the victory of theism. I think we should point to them in the way Shakespeare once observed: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

    “Or maybe we should turn the tables, asking theologians if they’ve read the complete essays of Mencken, Ingersoll, and the atheist writings of Mark Twain, Spinoza, and other authors represented in Hitchens’s The Portable Atheist (buy it if you haven’t yet). Then we’ll tell them that they can’t talk to us about God until they’ve read all that stuff.”

    Ramen to that. I heartily endorse this suggestion.

  45. Super Mario
    Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    There are two kinds of beliefs. One is based on evidence, logic, reason, testable repeatable experiments. Rational mind has no option but to accept their truthfulness (sometimes after laborious examination of evidence or step by step verification of logical deduction). You could go on and deny obvious truth, but that leads to cognitive dissonance and is rather mentally taxing. The other belief is opposite, it is not based on any evidence at all and it is called faith. You are believing things without having sufficient or any evidence for it. Note also that all religions are faith based. If they were based on evidence, religion would be a branch of science, it would be a scientific theory (which is the highest pedestal a scientific hypothesis can be placed upon, only mathematics has theorems).

    There is now strong evidence that theistic gods i.e. gods that care about human beings, that interfere in their lives, that tell you what you should do, what you should eat, on what days, who you may sleep with and in what position, gods who break the known laws of nature for their people, god who stops the motion of the sun around earth so certain people in the Bible can finish their work, god who takes “our” side in a war, a god that gives itself body so it can kill it to save the humanity are man made invention.

    Religion comes to us from other human mammals who not only know there is a god, but they also know his mind what he wants us to do. And how do they know? Revelation of course, god told them something often times contradictory what he told others. And you never even seek evidence for their extraordinary claims. But revelation is useless and unreliable as a way to discover truth

    Revelation can only ever be relevant to the person to whom something is revealed. As soon as that person shares and relates the revelation to someone else, it becomes a testimony at that point. And then it becomes a matter of trusting that person for the claim they are making. Also, the person to whom something is revealed should be apprehensive and wonder which is more likely that laws of nature have been bent in their favor no less, or if perhaps they are under apprehension.

    Revelations are dime a dozen. Numerous people have claimed that something has been revealed to them. Even worse different people have claimed same god has revealed things that are contradictory to the things god has revealed to other people. In Christianity god reveals himself as a human, he dies on the cross, and resurrects. In Islam, Jesus is not only not the son of god, he never died on the cross and never resurrected. Believing otherwise will have you condemned to hell. In Christianity god says love your enemies, in Islam he says kill your enemies and apostates. Yes it’s the same god, and yet both sides claim divine revelation for the “wisdom” they preach.

    Content of revelation paints a picture of a god who is quite frankly incompetent, stupid and has morals lesser than average decent human being today. And most importantly he leaves it to chance what you will believe about him and if you will be damned to eternity.

    What religion you get indoctrinated into has very little to do with its truthfulness, but everything to do with where you were born. If you were born in Saudi Arabia for example you would be a Muslim defending Islam right now. Yet both Islam and Christianity and Judaism (the three desert dogmas) all claim to posses the true and perfect words of the creator of the universe. Yet how many sleepless nights have you spent worrying that Islam could be right? And why is that?

    And isn’t it incredibly stupid of a supreme, intelligent, omnipotent, omnipresent being to demand belief in him without evidence? God would presumably know that people would invent scientific method as the only sure way to discover truth. Yet he leaves such important things as if you will be damned for eternity to belief without evidence leading to three desert dogmas that teach completely opposite things about him. Yahweh himself besides being stupid is rather evil god. Look how he behaves exactly as you would expect the people of that age that invented him to behave (he orders genocide of neighboring tribes that worship other gods, enslavement of women and children etc, just read random book of old testament). By the way he was never meant to be god of all, he was meant to be a god of a single tribe (otherwise a lot of stuff god says and orders makes no sense). Evolution of competing religions and the fact we have multiple religions like this is exactly what you would expect to see if religion were man made.

    All metaphysical claims and especially all physical claims made by religion were proved to be wrong. And would you expect it any other way really? Religion was our first approximation of cosmology, medicine etc. But like all first approximations it proved to be completely wrong. Jesus casts out demons to heal people, he heals lepers instead of healing leprosy, no germs ever mentioned in the Bible (naturally no germ theory of disease either).

    But now we know better. We know how solar systems are formed, we know how planets are formed, we know how life evolves, we even know how a universe can come from nothing. We really don’t need god to kick off any of these things any more. Besides positing an intelligent god capable of creating universes, god that always existed, or that spontaneously came into being is assuming a lot more than assuming the same about the universe itself i.e. dumb matter. Occam’s razor cuts him out of existence as superfluous assumption that does not explain anything.

  46. sensorrhea
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    For completeness:

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04/18/2014/amir-aczel-why-science-does-not-disprove-god.html

    This guy is an idiot.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Most of the commenters on that piece seem to agree with you… (and so do I)


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