A few comments that didn’t get through

I get tons of comments like the three below, and usually bin them, but occasionally post a few just to show how the faithful react to this website. Here are a couple of good ones for your Sunday delectation:

From “Mike”:

Surely the existence of multiverses would prove that God does exist.

Think about it.

If there is an infinite number of universes, then everything that can happen, does happen.

Therefore anything is possible including the existence of God.

I think Mike is conflating “logically possible” with “physically possible.”

Reader “Jeff Phelps” comments on my post, “Would it help if this person read my book?” a response to another antievolution rant:

So the intelligentsia fascists are at it again with their circular logic that defines the work of GOD as outside the realm of science so therefore it is not science. Nice little word game you play but you don’t fool me. I’ve been on your side and your side is full of holes. Of course you wouldn’t listen if I listed them so why bother? I just wanted to stop by and remind you to keep up your Fascist Local 666 dues. How dare anyone question the almighty “professor” (who professes to know what he’s talking about since we’re playing word games – he doesn’t fool most people). I do have to give you kudos for an astounding arrogance that boggles the imagination. How could any ego ever be more obsessed than to swear they know the secret to the creation of life itself. But we all know you don’t. You’re guessing and professing. That’s it.

I can run circles around you when it comes to logic but you’re so high on your own fumes that you wouldn’t listen if God Himself walked up and smacked you on the forehead and declared you to be a dummy.

But whatever I say will be pearls before swine. You can discredit the idea that your religion is just a religion all you want. You aren’t fooling anyone but the minions who have to parrot what you say to get a grade.

Come back when you’ve seen reality. You clearly haven’t or you wouldn’t be sticking to your dogmatic rendering of reality. When you see a miracle face to face you’ll know it. And wow have you ever missed the boat on that. All those fumes won’t change that fact and it is a FACT despite your childish game of “I’m rubber and you’re glue”. How much do you get paid to recite that 100 times a day anyway? Too much. I already knew the answer to that.

Miracles hot shot. When you see one your entire perspective will change. I can hear your disdain from 1000 miles away and two weeks into the future. You’re just so predictable it’s ridiculous. And you will be until you’ve seen your first miracle.

I know you don’t want to know mine but here goes anyway. I’m still alive 24 years after having stage 3 cancer after a “professor” professed that I would be dead in 6 months. In fact the entire professing union professed the chances of me surviving beyond a short time didn’t exist. Guess what? They don’t make those decisions.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go back and read your Kierkegaard as if it would do you any good. You can’t see it from the outside. Through a glass darkly but one day face to face honcho. More than just prose or history. It’s called prophecy and I’ve seen that work too. But you wouldn’t even understand how signficant that is. Those fumes have pickled your brain.

And they call atheists arrogant??? Is every recovery from stage 3 cancer a miracle that proves God’s existence? I guess the larger number of people who succumb, including children, prove God’s maliciousness. But don’t worry, there aren’t any dues in “Fascist Local 666”.

And I just love the argument of reader “Alex”. It’s the best reader comment yet trying to make virtues from necessities.

Hello all!
Many of you apparently feel very comfortable being atheists. I sometimes wish I were one. Why? Mainly because I am like most of us not always willing to be responsible to a higher authority for my sinful actions.
The heavy opposition to the existence of God suggest that God exists.
The very existence of so much evil in the world points me to the necessary existence of a just God, who will ultimately bring to justice all those evil doers. Someone has to be held accountable for the 6 million jews during holocost, or 20 million during Stalins [sic] reign, or 40-50 million abortions (child murders) in the USA and the list goes on…
Our innate sense of justice and inner moral compass is to me one of the strongest evidences for God. Who doesn’t believe that raping children is very evil? or Slaughtering innocent people? Why do feel so outraged when such attrocities take place?
The very fact that many in the prosperous west are falling away from Christ demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ words. At the same time, the fastest growing number of christians can be found in China, Iran etc. These are countries who heavily persecute followers of Christ. Why would someone follow an imaginary person and subject oneself to such brutality from the authorities? True christians always thrive under extreme pressure.
I believe that Jesus is the very best role model for all humans, especially to men. [JAC: why “especially to men”?] If we only truly and daily practiced the command of Jesus to love one another as He loved us and gave His life for us, we would not have any of the above mentioned tragedies and indeed would have heaven on earth life. But who is willing to humble himself or herself to live such a lifestyle: denying their own selfish ambitions and serving their fellow man?

I hope readers of these thoughts may find reasons to reconsider their position on life.

for those who are scientifically oriented I would suggest visiting AnswersInGenesis.org for a good challenge to the modern religion of evolution responsible for communism, fascism, eugenics, rascism [sic] etc.

The heavy opposition to the efficacy of homeopathic medicine also proves that it works, as does the opposition to the existence of UFOs, which prove that they exist.

107 Comments

  1. Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    If you’re looking for some more Sunday masochism, another intellect gone badly pear shaped, have a read of The Atheist Orthodoxy that Drove Me to Faith.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Uh oh, Jeff is on to you. 🙂 I’d be worried because he seems to be able to travel in space and time and has really good hearing (“1000 miles away and two weeks into the future”).

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Maybe it’s just tinnitus. 1000 miles away is likely to be in a deserted area, like an ocean. He thinks he hears wind, which he’s trying to replicate with his bloviating.

  3. Becca Stareyes
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Of course, by Mike’s argument, there’s no reason to assume God is here or paying attention: ‘somewhere in the multiverse’ does not mean ‘this plane in this universe’. You also can’t have both, say, a God imagined by fundamentalist Muslims and a God imagined by fundamentalist Christians both in charge of the whole of the multiverse, because they are mutually exclusive.

    For that matter, I can imagine a God who Coincidentally Holds All of Rebecca’s Moral Values* who is quite pleased with me at the moment and totally wants me to continue being skeptical of deities.

    Also racism has existed long before Charles Darwin was even toddling around his parents’ garden poking at earthworms. And a less ‘scientific-sounding’ form of eugenics, which was mostly ‘if we kill the men and take the women as slaves, our enemies won’t exist as a people any more and we will grow numerous and wealthy’. Humans managed to figure out artificial selection as soon as we took up agriculture and animal domestication.

    (As for fascism AND communism, one might as well blame Newton’s Law of Gravity, the Tale of Genji and the Declaration of Independence as well. After all, all of those things were written down before either appeared on the scene.)

    * Which isn’t so unlikely, since I come across many variations of people beleving in these deities, with a minor change of the insert-name-here variety.

    • agentwhim
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Erm… Sorry to be picky, but wouldn’t there have to be a god who created the multiverse which contains the supposedly necessary-because-logically-possible god-containing universe?

      • agentwhim
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        (I’m directing this at Mike btw, not Becca.)

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Is this the “meta-ontological argument” for the existence of god? I love it!
        But not as much as I love Becca’s “You also can’t have both, say, a God imagined by fundamentalist Muslims and a God imagined by fundamentalist Christians both in charge of the whole of the multiverse, because they are mutually exclusive.” Brilliant!

        • Posted June 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          And on top of that, who’s to day god “can happen”? That’s a pretty big assumption.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          They’re only mutually exclusive because our theology is not sophistimacated enough. They’re just facets – projections into our reality – of the One True God who exists on a higher plane than we can comprehend. If we were sophisticated enough we’d be able to see that the apparent contradictions are just illusions caused by our differing viewpoints. Just as light behaves like a wave or a particle depending how you observe it, so the projections in our reality of the One True God depend on the observer.

          Gosh this is fun. These mushrooms are really really good.

        • Logicophilosophicus
          Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:23 am | Permalink

          It’s the oncological argument…

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            Good one.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      The religious really like the whole multiverse idea. I was very amused at Dinesh D’Souza’s line of questioning in this debate at around the 22.10 mark where he, as David Silverman puts it postulates “that God is some sort of inter-dimensional space alien”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed6DJdx7gAU

      BTW this is part 2 of the debate; it’s a good debate so if you want to watch it all, part 1 is here: http://youtu.be/KnPybvTrTcM.

      • Marcoli
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        I always thought they were strongly against it, as it makes God unnecessary and further de-centralizes our place in the universe. Besides evolution, it is one of the things about cosmology that they oppose.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Those ones that like to contort science in some weird way to “prove” god as D’Souza does really love physics….like Deepak Chopra’s embarrassing contortion of quantum physics.

      • moarscienceplz
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        “The religious really like the whole multiverse idea.”

        Well sure, it gives them a place to tuck Heaven into, since the old ‘atop the clouds’ idea is now obviously ridiculous.

    • fivegreenleafs
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      “Also racism has existed long before Charles Darwin … which was mostly ‘if we kill the men and take the women as slaves, our enemies won’t exist as a people any more and we will grow numerous and wealthy”

      +1

      Sometimes one wonders if they have even really read their “sacred” book, which must be one of the earliest written manuals and description of genocide, that makes our 20th century “latecomers”, look like raving amateurs…

      Just think about all the poor Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites, not to mention what happened to the Midianites:

      “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him. But all the woman-childrenthat hath not known a man by laying with him, keep alive for yourself”

      • Posted June 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        But I don’t take it literally, so don’t go quoting verses at me and why would you quote a book you reject anyway.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          If you don’t take literally what are supposed to be historical accounts in it, why do you bother with the thing at all?

          And since it’s the basis for your (I presume Christian) belief, what could be more relevant to quote?

          • Posted June 3, 2013 at 4:24 am | Permalink

            my previous comment was a paraphrase of a member of the sect of wooliganism known as skepticreationists – skeptical about everything BUT religion – specifically christianity – because religion isn’t woo

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted June 3, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

              Okay, I did wonder if you were serious. You can take my snarky reply as being addressed to that brand of pseudo-skeptics and not you personally.

              Very hard to tell tone of voice over the Internet. 🙂

  4. NewEnglandBob
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    These people seem to have a few things in common. Ignorance, failure to grasp reality and lying.

  5. SA Gould
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    What I want to know: what does “Jeff Phelps” REALLY think about atheists?

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      What I’d like to know is: when is he going to start using some of that superior logic he was on about?

  6. michieux
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If I hit you with a physical brick, chances are, you’ll be seriously damaged, or dead.

    If I hit you with a metaphysical brick, well… Anything is possible.

    Like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and god(s).

  7. mikerol
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    It may now be a “Higgful” world, yet the medieval conundrum of “ex nihilo” persists. Since minds have the capacity to be puzzled, puzzlment will persist. “X” as an answer it appears does not suffice to alleviate it.

  8. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Jeff sure has a lot to say for someone who’s convinced that there’s no point in saying it.

    • Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I got to wonder if he is suffering from mania, and would suggest seeking professional help except the word, professional shares too many letters with professor, a sequence of letters particularly irksome to him.

  9. Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Disappointedly all that lies under Jeff’s spirited prose is just gullibility.

    • starskeptic
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I like that description – for all the cluelessness it was very well written…

    • darrelle
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget anti intellectualism. He has a severe case of it.

      Also, his comment is a classic demonstration of the Dunning Kruger effect. His experiences with his cancer were, understandably, traumatic. But apparently they broke his tiny little mind. He thinks that because he personally survived that the “professors” who told him he was going to die weren’t just wrong, they were idiots and they were immoral. And not just them, all those people with good educations, the entire system of higher education is wrong and immoral.

      Of course, the reality of the issue has no impact on him. The fact that the percentage of people that survive his condition is extremely low, and that this information is simply statistics of actual cases that actually occurred and not a guess or a “theory,” is just not relevant to him. No, those “professors” were idiots. And how immoral of them to tell him the truth of what the statistics meant for his chances of surviving.

      He survived cancer so, . . . MAGIC. And those people that don’t believe in “teh MAGIC™” aren’t just idiots, they are immoral too.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        …and his survival means they were always wrong because he doesn’t consider the multitude of time they were correct. Poor sausage.

      • Marcoli
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        I have encountered two individuals who had a personal miracle story like his, but neither were actually true. The sad truth — no, the sick truth — was that they made it up. It reminds me of people who so deeply believe in UFOs that they fabricate their own sitings.

        • Dale Franzwa
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          So, where was the “miracle of survival” for all those folks who died in the Moore, OK, tornado? Most (maybe all) were good, religious people. Didn’t they deserve a miracle as well? One of the survivors was an atheist (interviewed by Wolf Blitzer of CNN). Why does G-d allow the religious to perish and this atheist to survive? (Note: she did not suddenly drop her atheism and become religious.)

  10. David Appell
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Well, there are physicists who think that an infinite universe would include “Boltzmann brains” — self-aware entities with any degree of complexity….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_brain

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Sure, but they’re bound by the same laws of physics as we are, and so fantastically unlikely that the nearest one is far beyond our Hubble horizon and therefore unable to interact with us.

      • David Appell
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know about that. Humans came into being about 9.7 billion years after the Big Bang. If some entities managed to do it 8.7 Byrs after it, they could already have intelligence beyond our comprehension….

        • moarscienceplz
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          Ummmm…do you perhaps mean that LIFE came into being 9.7 BY after the Big Bang (i.e., 4 BY ago)? Homo Sapiens Sapiens is only about 200,000 years old and our line split from the Chimps and Bonobos only 6 MY ago..

          • David Appell
            Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

            Yes, sorry. So if life elsewhere had developed just 8.7 Byrs after the Big Bang, it has a huge head start on us about might be nearly unrecognizable. There are galaxies that formed less than 1 Byrs after the Big Bang.

            • Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

              Actually, complex life requires complex chemistry. And complex chemistry requires huge swaths of he periodic table. And all the exotic stuff in the periodic table only gets created after the matter’s been through multiple generations of stars.

              There’s good reason to think that life on Earth developed just about as soon after the Big Bang as reasonably practicable. There’s room in there to shave off a billion years, but it probably really does take at least a half-dozen billion years to get from a hydrogen / helium universe to one with wet, rocky planets with mineral-rich crusts capable of supporting complex life — and it almost certainly really does take another few billion years for life to make it to any appreciable level of complexity (even if very simplistic life arises practically instantly in geological time).

              A civilization a billion years older than us wouldn’t surprise me, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if we’re the first in the galaxy to make it to the spacefaring level of technology. A civilization much more than a few billion years older than us would greatly surprise me, though.

              Not that we’ll ever know about any other civilizations….

              Cheers,

              b&

              • Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

                An evolutionary perspective maybe sheds light on biblegod. Imagine you had spent 13 thousand million years overseeing the evolution of a universe, 3.5 billion years of life on earth, only to see it go all pear shaped the day after you place a divine spark in a hominid species. No wonder biblegod is pictured sparking lightning from his head, cursing & shouting ,” damn ” at everyone. I’ve been a bit like that myself over much less significant events.

                What would you be like if you had spent 13 billion years on what started out as your favourite computer game, finally get to the ultimate screen when your wife shouts you for dinner, distracting you, and it’s back to square one ? Fuming mad ?

                Maybe creationists are like Sisyphus in Tartarus. They haven’t studied the detail of the theory of evolution so they see it as a very steep slope which they think a boulder could not roll up, so don’t even try. Yet somehow they think the boulder could roll up a cliff ? This leaves them stuck at the bottom with their boulder, waiting for a lift from a god who never shows up. I suspect if they studied the details they would see a more gradual slope and manage to roll the boulder to the top, breaking free of Tartarus and escaping into the light of reality.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, I thought you were talking about God as a Boltzmann brain fluctuating spontaneously out of the void.

          If you want to talk about evolved intelligences similar to our own (or greater), then sure, those are a whole lot more likely and almost certainly exist somewhere in our Hubble volume. But you don’t need Boltzmann brains to make that argument. (And they’re still bound by the same physics as us.)

    • mikerol
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      The infinite vanity of philosophers who project their heavily cathected brain activity into a timeless universe! Another form of the eternal return.

    • Marcoli
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      That is an interesting idea, but random fluctuations of matter that collapses to a low entropy state would not form a long-lasting mind. It would be like “I think, therefore I —–” Gone. Only selection from evolution can produce a mind that sticks around.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see that that necessarily follows. If a random fluctuation of matter should happen (by some astronomically remote chance) to form a diamond crystal, why shouldn’t we expect that diamond to be just as durable and stable as diamonds formed in more conventional ways?

        Granted, the overwhelming majority of Boltzmann brains will be malformed or unstable in some way, just because there’s more ways of being a flawed Boltzmann brain than of being a functional one. But that doesn’t preclude the (even more remote) possibility of stable Boltzmann brains, given a suitable energy source.

        • Marcoli
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          So you are saying that maybe — just maybe — a BB could form somewhere that was stable de novo. OK, I get it, and concede the point.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that BBs should dominate in an eternal universe as ours, since matter will eventually dilute but BBs will pop up now and then. Which makes us seeing ourselves not being BBs unlikely.*

        But it relies on being able to compare distributions over an infinite universe, which problem if licked would likely lick BBs too, see my previous comment.

        [* It reminds me, there is now a 3d option besides the multiverse options, and that is a serial (cyclic) universe. If I understand its modern proponent, Steinhardt (of inflation fame) correctly, the old cyclic universe had a problem with entropy.

        Entropy increases over time, making the universes larger over each cycle. Going backwards then means running into a big bang singularity which the universe was suggested to avoid.

        Steinhardts cyclic universes relies on dark energy to dilute the universe back to the same entropy density at each cycle.

        Of course, few believes he is correct. For myself, I find his finetunings (cosmological constant, standard particle model), presumably pretty much kept each cycle, problematic.]

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      There are also those that use BBs to argue that:

      either
      there is a way to measure distributions over a universe (and so we have a multiverse, with mostly normal observers in some parts),

      or
      universes are finite in time (and so we have a multiverse, with universes transiting to terminal states and mostly normal observers in some parts).

      [Bousso has tried both variants, AFAIK.]

      Seems to me BBs, which comes out of QM, means you need inflation, which comes out of GR.

      _That_ is interesting. Invisible agents, not so much.

  11. Mark Joseph
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Jeff Phelps? Fred Phelps? Same last name–coincidence? I don’t think so…

    Hey, Alex:
    “Our innate sense of justice and inner moral compass is to me one of the strongest evidences for God.”
    OK, which god? You are assuming that your god is the right one, but that is because you were born in the west, not because there is any evidence that your god is the true one (or even exists) and that all the other gods aren’t. A muslim uses the same argument as evidence for Allah.
    But, I see you refer us to AiG, which means that you aren’t really in the mood for a serious and honest intellectual discussion.

  12. godsbelow
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “Who doesn’t believe that raping children is very evil?”

    Uh, several hundred Catholic clergymen, Alex?

    • steve oberski
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      The number is far, far higher than that.

      As of 2012 there were 38,964 catholic priests in the US and if one assumes a very conservative rate of 5% for kiddie rapers, that gets us 2,000 in the US alone.

      And one can reasonably assume that those who do not rape are quite aware of the behaviour of those who do and aid and abet the kiddy rapers by their silence.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Mohammed – he married a six year old and consummated the marriage when she was nine.

  13. Brygida Berse
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    As usual, I am amused at the religious fundamentalists calling the evolutionary theory a “religion”, when they want to discredit it.

    • Darth Dog
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      It makes sense though in a bizarre sort of way. Every believer has to deal with the fact that their religion is just one of many. So their religion is the true religion and all other religions are false. As soon as they classify evolution as a religion, it just goes in the very big trash bin they already have for false religions.

      • David Appell
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        This does make a lot of sense.

    • steve oberski
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes, strange that the worst insult that the religious can hurl at non believers is that “you are just as bad as we are”.

  14. DrDroid
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I was trying to think where I had last seen the level of belligerent, ignorant arrogance displayed by Jeff Phelps. He reminds me of some of the people who audition for a spot on American Idol: when they are over-the-top convinced they are the next superstar you can always bet they got nothin’. And so it seems with Jeff Phelps; the arrogant assurance and anger toward smart “professors” is an attempt to compensate for a deep sense of inferiority.

  15. Marcoli
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Ironically we just had a post about religiosity and mental illness, and here we see a possible example in Jeff. To me that diatribe has signs of megalomania. I think he needs help.

  16. Andrikzen
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    These comments remind me of the same debate/arguments I used to have with “Jesus Freaks” back in the late 70’s. I finally stopped wasting my time and effort, thinking this type of stuff was going to go away – WOW! Back with a vengeance.

    The world with god, however conjured up, makes no sense, hence all the ambiguity.

    The world without god makes perfect sense.

    It is what it is – there is nothing behind the curtain – discoverable by reason and science. Think about it, it really is that simple.

    The crux of the biscuit is that without god the responsibility for making this all work is up to us. It’s easier, however, to hang onto god and do nothing and continue on our blind, drunkard’s walk with the fiction that somehow god is going to make it all right in the end.

    We haven’t grown up yet. We are still in our adolescence, at least most of us it seems.

    • mikerol
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      One nice feature of Judaism is that you are not meant to make yourself an image of God. Taking this thought beyond the icongraphic – what vanity to think that we are even meant to understand the universe. That our poor brains might suffice!

      • moarscienceplz
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        That seems like quite a stumbling block to any Jew who aspires to be a scientist.

        • mikerol
          Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          you do not find many fundamentalists of any kind in science i don’t think.

    • Bess Bibbentucker
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      “Crux of the biscuit…” –Cazart!

  17. Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Alex, if you’re reading this, I have a quick question.

    Why doesn’t Jesus ever call 9-1-1?

    I mean, it’s clear that you think he’ll be giving the bad guys their just deserts in the hereafter, so he’s got to be aware of what they’re doing.

    So why not at least call the cops so they can put a stop to their evildoing before it gets too far out of hand?

    Is Jesus unable to call 9-1-1? If so, what makes you think he has the power to do any of that miracle stuff?

    Does he not think calling 9-1-1 is a good idea? If so, what makes you think he’s got the moral qualifications to righteously judge humanity? After all, a human with knowledge of a crime who fails to alert the authorities is generally considered an accomplice as much responsible for the crime as the one performing the criminal actions.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Good point Ben Goren. Prevention is better than cure.
      If there were angels, what are they playing at ? Too busy singing to prevent crime ?
      Alex -See Acts 12v23 which has God able to strike down Herod Agrippa for merely failing to praise God yet God couldn’t strike down Hitler. This makes me think Acts tale is fiction.

      How come angels seem no more clever than iron age peasants, otherwise they would have pointed out to whoever wrote the old religious texts that life on earth evolved and that it would be unethical to let people suffer after death.

      They might also have advised that if God could create the whole animal kingdom in 144 hours then it would have been kinder to let Adam & Eve die and restart the human race with no one else doomed – or wipe everyone out in a global flood and make another animal kingdom. Maybe one with all animals vegetarian, only having two offspring and living for 70 healthy years before dying abruptly in their sleep.

      How could a god turn a blind eye to all the predation that goes on in the rest of the animal kingdom but when it comes to humans it becomes a crime deserving infinite punishment ?
      Maybe due more to psychological warfare by priests than ideas from a tyrant god ?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        God is too busy answering all those requests for ponies and professional sport team successes 😉

      • mikerol
        Posted June 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        angels like saints exist in a neo-Platonic world of “as if” – suggestions, wishes, and in that respect are rather pleasant beings. if you press them too hard, they disappear!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      I can see a practical problem with that.
      “Emergency response here, how can I help you?”
      “There’s going to be a murder at 47 Sixth Avenue in 15 minutes, please send the police”
      “Your name sir?”
      “Jesus”
      “You’re Hispanic?” [doesn’t sound Hispanic]
      “No, Jesus of Nazareth”
      “Of course, sir. Address?”
      “Heaven! Please hurry”
      “No sir, I meant earthly address”
      … and you can imagine how it goes from there…

      • Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        The first time?

        Yes, certainly.

        The next couple times? Quite possibly.

        After that? He gets his own private hotline.

        b&

  18. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Jerry’s examples are better, but I think the “logic” comes through like this:

    The heavy opposition to the existence of God suggest that God exists.

    The heavy opposition to the existence 1 + 1 = 3 suggest that 1 + 1 = 3 exists.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      One of the stupidest creationist posts I read on a (French) forum was a list of “criteria to make a theory scientific” used to compare creationism and evolutionism (sic). One of these criteria was (my translation, but nearly word for word):
      “Science requires that the theory survived several critical experiments that may have invalidated it.

      Creationism: This theory has never been so criticized than during the last century but, however, scientific progresses are still running in its direction (think about DNA discovery, minimal genome, discontinuities in the fossil record).
      Evolutionism: The fossil record invalidates evolution and this is confirmed even by evolutionists themselves as this lead them to a reformulation of the theory (‘evolution does not leave traces’) thus removing any possibility to test the theory at the fossil level.”

      The “logic” seems to be: If you’re encountering opposition when trying to peddle religion as science and to lie about evolution, you’re doing genuine scientific research.

      Desnes Diev

    • Logicophilosophicus
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      As in all those anti-one-plus-one-equals-three polemics we find on all those anti-one-plus-one-equals-three websites…

  19. dea
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Dear “Alex:”

    If you wish to abandon your selfish ambitions and truly serve your fellow man, you can start by painting my house.

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Be careful he doesn’t serve you with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti!

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

    Theists always seem to talk about Hitler as if he somehow got away with everything.

    He didn’t. He lost. He shot himself in a bunker in defeat.

    Maybe if he really were sipping mimosas in Argentina they’d have a case that he got away with it.

  21. Jim Thomerson
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Some years ago, I read an article about how we should pay more attention to the statistically unlikely medical events. Complete remission from a fatal cancer, for example. As I recall, the idea was that if we could get together enough information about these rare events, we might actually learn why they occurred. Rare, and unpredictable, events are, of course, very difficult to study.

  22. mikerol
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    All that killing described in the Bible most assuredly took place. The Roman empire that allowed everyone to worship – for selfish reeasons – whatever god they liked as long as they were good citizens was a huge advance over what went on in the Middle East back then – or now for that matter. The hotbed of forever revenge and itntr-family extermination. Good God! Let’s cement it over!

    • Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      All that killing described in the Bible most assuredly took place.

      It most certainly did not.

      At least, not the specific genocides detailed in the Bible.

      The Israelites were inconsequential nobodies, and the nations they allegedly wiped off the face of the Earth flourished all through the period they were supposed to have been massacred out of existence — before, during, and after. And those nations came to an end in the usual way, not in genocidal orgies.

      Now, were there plenty of horrific things done in those days? Absolutely. There are even places that remain deserted to this day because the Romans not only killed everybody and everything that lived there, but they salted the very earth and nothing will grow.

      But the Israelites didn’t have the wherewithal to pull off any of the stuff they bragged about in the Bible.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Logicophilosophicus
        Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

        “The Israelites were inconsequential nobodies, and the nations they allegedly wiped off the face of the Earth flourished all through the period they were supposed to have been massacred out of existence — before, during, and after.”

        Could you give an example of such a nation?

        • Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Um…any of them?

          But Midian certainly springs to mind. More prominently, the Egyptian military most assuredly never suffered any humiliating defeats at the hands of the Israelites.

          Basically, if it’s in the Bible, a good working assumption is that it’s either entirely or substantially fiction. And the more detailed, the more certain it is that it’s fiction.

          b&

          • Logicophilosophicus
            Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            I don’t think the Bible alleges that the Israelites wiped out the Egyptian nation, and I don’t think that there is any evidence that Midian flourished after the tribe was wiped out. So in this case I remain sceptical of your scepticism, which seems (from this and earlier exchanges) to be based on a prejudice that the entire Bible must be false, perhaps in case fragments of actual history are used to lend auhority to miraculous passages.

            An informative counter-example is your ready acceptance of the myth – so modern it might be called an urban legend – that he Romans sowed the site of Carthage with salt. Ironically, the story is most probably borrowed/copied from the Bible (Abimelech’s destruction of Shechem).

            • Posted June 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

              “I don’t think the Bible alleges that the Israelites wiped out the Egyptian nation…”

              And Ben didn’t say it did.

              • Logicophilosophicus
                Posted June 5, 2013 at 1:10 am | Permalink

                That’s right. Asked to give a single example of such a nation (BG: “The Israelites were inconsequential nobodies, and the nations they allegedly wiped off the face of the Earth flourished all through the period they were supposed to have been massacred out of existence — before, during, and after…”) he gave instead two examples of nations which do not support his point.

                The reality is that, in a region of petty kingdoms and city states, the Hebrews were a major force. Even after the fragmentation into Judah and Israel, King Ahab was able to contribute a fearsome contingent – 2,000 chariots and 10,000 infantry – to the coalition which apparently defeated Shalmaneser III at Qarqar, holding back Assyrian imperial expansion for a generation. (The OT sources, after extensive Judahite redaction, devote chapters to the supposed sins of Ahab but have air-brushed out this major military venture.)

          • Logicophilosophicus
            Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

            I don’t think the Bible alleges that the Israelites wiped out the Egyptian nation, and I don’t think that there is any evidence that Midian flourished after the tribe was wiped out. Neither case fits your claim, so in this case I remain sceptical of your scepticism, which seems (from this and earlier exchanges) to be based on a prejudice that the entire Bible must be false, perhaps in case fragments of actual history are used to lend auhority to miraculous passages.

            An informative counter-example is your ready acceptance of the myth – so modern it might be called an urban legend – that he Romans sowed the site of Carthage with salt. Ironically, the story is most probably borrowed/copied from the Bible (Abimelech’s destruction of Shechem).

          • Logicophilosophicus
            Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            Sorry re double post – I amended (for clarity) before posting… so I thought.

      • mikerol
        Posted June 3, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        I love all that expertise about events during B.C. , including mine. If the Israells merely boasted about whom they had wiped off the face of the earth, they certainly do no need to now, not with 250 atomic bombs in their arsenal they can take the entire world down.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      The Roman stuff is full of historical inaccuracy pertaining to citizenry and the implied peacefulness/civilness. I’m too rushed to address…

  23. teinfeldt
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    “If there is an infinite number of universes, then everything that can happen, does happen.”

    I have heard a number of variations on this argument that infinite possibilities is equivalent to everything being possible, which conflates infinite with all-encompassing. Can anyone tell me if there is a specific term for this fallacy?

    • mikerol
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      The conflation of infinite with all-encompassing is a sign of sloppy inattentive thinking. No specaial syndrome. I think the BB can be ruled out by everything we know about the physical universe, the generosity that we cannot assert that everything we know is everything because we have so often been proved wrong (God does play at dice!) however does not mean that we ought to entertain the most ridiculous possibilities among the possible unknowns and unknowables.

      • Logicophilosophicus
        Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

        Not so. It is a simple consequence of the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. But, in any case, if we assume that a universe is finite and has a finite number of quantum states, then any form of infinite multiverses must contain an infinite number of exact copies of each of the vast but finite number of possible universes. Personally I think that is philosophically unacceptable; but go to Max Tegmark’s website for a swift rundown on the thinking of (many) physicists.

  24. phillupino
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Mr.Phelps,
    If god healed your stage 3 cancer, why doesn’t just he cure all cancers. But what puzzles me is why he picked a sorry excuse of a human being like you.

    • marcusa1971
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Pearler! I’d by that for a dollar!

    • Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      In fact, why would god let him have the cancer in the first place?
      Or is god trying to do a replay of Job?

  25. phillupino
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Alex,
    ‘ol Hambo is the ayatollah of Appalacha.

  26. marcusa1971
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    So much mental masturbation here, so little time.
    The “infinite possibilities” argument. Let’s accept “Mike’s” argument that with infinite universes there will be some with gods. How do christians (aka jebus sycophants) know that it is this one?
    JAC has already taken down Jeff “Intellectually (though probably not actually) related to Fred” Phelps’ argument, but his is a beautiful illustration of the faux “humility” of jebus sycophants. Criticizing others for arrogance when displaying a truly super-human level of thier own.
    Finally, I love how Alex says that the decline of people in the west willing to give jebus a metaphorical handjob as evidence FOR christianity! No chance that the decline is because more people realise it’s a steaming pile of ceiling cat feces? And you can guarantee that if christianity was becoming MORE popular in the west, Alex would use that as evidence of it’s truth(iness).

  27. Dale Franzwa
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Alex, about this “abortion” thing. Are you aware that God is the biggest abortionist on the planet? Richard Dawkins (among others) has pointed out that 20% of all pregnancies end up as miscarriages which I call natural abortions (unassisted by human hands). If God is so against abortion, why doesn’t he stop doing them or at least correct the problem? Could it be that God doesn’t exist?

  28. Geoff Boulton
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    ‘Our innate sense of justice and inner moral compass is to me one of the strongest evidences for God.’

    Except, of course, for the innate senses of justice of Hitler, Stalin, members of the Inquisition, suicide bombers or any one of the millions of people who have done evil things. Obviously, those senses of justice are one of the strongest evidences for the Devil. Yahey, I’ve just proved God and the Devil exist. 😉

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      I think you’ve just proved they’re one and the same being. 🙂

  29. Dominic
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Some people are just nasty.

  30. abandonwoo
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Late to the dance subscribe.

  31. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    “The heavy opposition to the efficacy of homeopathic medicine also proves that it works, as does the opposition to the existence of UFOs, which prove that they exist.”

    Great line of reasoning. I guess on this basis the long list of comments on this post just prove him right all over again! 😉

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      Woops – think I got bamboozled by the indents there and thought the comment was part of Alex’s original message rather than JAC’s ironic comment on it!

  32. DV
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    >>I believe that Jesus is the very best role model for all humans, especially to men.

    Alex’s prescription for humans – be unmarried exorcist preachers with delusions of divinity.

  33. Diane G.
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    sub

  34. Posted June 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    So anyway, after having sat ever so patiently for 8 thousand million years, doing next to nothing except drinking beer & watching the universal fruit machine for three cherries in a row, finally a solar system that might be suitable for organic life comes up. So biblegod then spends another thousand million years trying to ping the tiddly wink into the cup, using every sort of trick of chemistry including a fair bit of lightning & cosmic rays to get RNA up and running. Finally out of pure frustration he picks up asteroids and starts hurling them at Earth along with a fair bit of abuse, ” Good for nothing piece of shit “. The big pointing finger turns from, ” It could be you ” to ” It is “. God shouts, ” Hallelujah, I haven’t the foggiest what i did but it worked, everyone needs a bit of luck from time to time ” Then after another 3.5 billion years, of lying about idly, he is ready to use his borosilicate pipette to fertilize the lucky ones with ambrosia nectar. No sooner does a drop hit the membrane than he hears a tiny crack and watches in horror as the whole picture fractures into a billion splinters. Then a few moments later it dawns on him that not only has he failed to carry out a Health & Safety risk assessment but also he now begins to remember a similar disaster in his last universe & had he not been in such a rush of excitement would have consulted his notes & might not have blown it again. To make matters even worse such was his over confidence in his abilities that he hadn’t used insurance. He is so mortified of the whole thing that he can hardly bare to go to work each day and pulls a sickie, quite typical of the withdrawal model, which is why he wasn’t seen around much.

    At any rate after another 200,000 years humans manage to teach themselves how to read & write. By this time god is in danger of getting the P45 so he thinks he’d better put in an appearance at work, plus it will be his holidays in a couple of weeks anyway and he won’t enjoy them if he is sick rather than having official leave. So then, still smarting with embarrassment & in denial, god tries to minimize the magnitude of his cock up by telling humans that actually it was just a mere weeks work and anyway it was really the fault of this other cowboy subcontractor who didn’t follow his COSHH guidelines . It was the fault of humans, don’t ask, just cause.

    However by this time the humans are adolescents and ask biblegod how come he didn’t follow best practice to which he replies that unless they be like little children they would get what for. But from that moment god diminished in greatness even more in their eyes. Their childhood illusions shattered they just had to face reality.

    • mikerol
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      The idea of God is certainly one of the most fertile that the human monkey has produced – i can’t think of anoher that has elicited so much fantasy, such a wealth of projections that tell us as much about what goes on in our minds. Just think of the huge humber of genesis tales, one for each tribe as it were, and how these are then elaborated. These testify to the creative puzzlment of the speciee, probably not confined to the species except we appear to be the only one that can communicate it to each other, and express it in art and science.

      The need to believe and then have religions and priests to guard against the destructive incursion of a sense of meaninglessness of the universe is the dangerous aspect of all that puzzling.

  35. Gabrielle Guichard
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    “Surely the existence of multiverses would prove that God does exist.” According to the Mormons they would prove that gods do exist, since they believe each human being will be a god after death. Is Mike a Mormon? He should be disappointed: cured and alive he can’t get his own universe.


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