Monday, July 18, 2011

Refuting the Atheist Professor vs the Christian Student

There's an embarrassing essay circulating around the Christian/theist world that claims to show a simple Christian student gets the better of an atheist professor of philosophy by turning the professor's own logic against him. I'm subscribed to a fairly popular Christian Facebook group (no, I didn't subscribe myself, but it is interesting), and someone posted this. I thought it was laughable, but sadly most of the members of this Christian discussion group seemed to think it was brilliant. I briefly refuted the essay and got lots of arguments, so I told them I'd do a whole blog showing how ridiculous the essay is.

It's a bit long, but it's important to read it because it illustrates what the secular/humanist/rational-thought community is up against when it comes to faith versus reason. (I fixed some typographical errors that were in the original so that it didn't distract from the main point). Here it is with my refutation. My first comment is about half way down.
An Atheist Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his Class on the Problem Science has with GOD, the ALMIGHTY. He asked one of his New Christian Students to stand and ...

Professor : You are a Christian, aren't you, son?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you Believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is GOD Good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor: Is GOD ALL - POWERFUL ?

Student : Yes.

Professor: My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to GOD to Heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn't. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent )

Professor: You can't answer, can you ? Let's start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Is Satan good ?

Student : No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from ?

Student : From . . . GOD . . .

Professor: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this World?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn't it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student : Yes.

Professor: So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer)

Professor: Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the World, don't they?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who Created them ?

(Student had no answer)

Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you. Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?

Student : No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?

Student : No , sir.

Professor: Have you ever Felt your GOD, Tasted your GOD, Smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?

Student : No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Professor: Yet you still Believe in HIM?

Student : Yes.

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student : Nothing. I only have my Faith.

Professor: Yes, Faith. And that is the Problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as Cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student : No, sir. There isn't.

(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events )

Student : Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat, a Little Heat or No Heat. But we don't have anything called Cold. We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as Cold. Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of Heat. We cannot Measure Cold. Heat is Energy. Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.

(There was Pin-Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )
This is so ridiculous it's embarassing. No professor of philosophy would be tricked by a stupid word game like this.

Words like "heat" and "cold" are not scientific or precise. We use them for brevity because we don't want to talk about molecular motion and energy in ordinary human conversations, and because they describe sensations that our nerves transmit to our brains.

To a scientist, "heat" is an imprecise word that describes the human perception of the amount of molecular energy that our bodies are absorbing at a given moment. "Cold" merely means that the amount of molecular energy is low enoungh to cause discomfort.

So it's stupid to say there is no such thing as cold. Everyone knows that "cold" is defined as the lack of heat, and is a subjective term.

Whoever wrote this essay wanted this to be the "shot across across the bow" of the professor's ship. It was supposed to be the startling moment that wakes us up, where we say, "Hey, what's going on here? Maybe this professor doesn't know everything after all!"

But in fact, it looks like the author of this essay simply never took a class in philosophy or linguistics.

When an eight-year-old does a simple magic trick in front of a bunch of professional magicians, they admire his pluck and encourage him. But if a grown man tries the same trick and thinks he's actually fooling everyone, it's embarrassing.
Student : What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is Night if there isn't Darkness?

Student : You're wrong again, sir.

Darkness is the Absence of Something. You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light ... But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and its called Darkness, isn't it? In reality, Darkness isn't. If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn't you?
Again, this is the same silly word trick. The author is claiming there is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is merely a subjective, relative term that says, "Insufficient photons are stimulating the retina for this human's present needs."

Replace "darkness" with "emptiness" and see how it sounds. Suppose your coffee cup is empty. Would you say there's no such thing as emptiness because you can't make your coffee cup any emptier than it already is?

The author of this essay has portrayed a "professor," but hasn't given him a high-school education. Any real professor of philosophy would make mincemeat of this argument. But real professors (especially in philosophy) are faced with smart-alec kids like this in every freshman Philosophy 101 class. Most of them learn to gently correct these young hotheads so that they can get on to important lessons.
Professor: So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?

Student : Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?
A real professor would have cut this student off by now and suggested some reading and a writing assignment to force the student to defend his position. And while writing the essay, the student would probably discover his errors.
Student : Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality. You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a Good GOD and a Bad GOD. You are viewing the Concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can't even explain a Thought. It uses Electricity and Magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view Death as the Opposite of Life is to be ignorant of the fact that Death cannot exist as a Substantive Thing. Death is Not the Opposite of Life: just the Absence of it.
This is so dense with errors it's hard refute in just a paragraph or two.

The Premise of Duality is a religious concept, not a scientific one. The author of this essay is trying to put religious logic into an atheist's argument. The professor would never do that.

Science has a deep and detailed understanding of the electrochemical mechanisms of the brain.

Saying that science doesn't understand "Electricity and Magnetism" shows glaring ignorance. The correct name is "electromagnetism," and there is no duality at all. It's a single thing that exhibits different physical effects in different situations. And electromagnetism is probably the best understood science of all.

Now we get to the heart of this paragraph: "Death as the opposite of Life" thing is just another manifestation of the silly "duality" arguments presented above regarding heat/cold and light/dark. No philosophy professor would fall for this trick.
Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.
This is a nonsequitur designed to trick the reader. By this time, the reader is supposed be thinking the student is really clever and has the professor "on the ropes." By introducing the controversial "e" word ("evolution"), the Christian readers get positively gleeful. The student is going to make mincemeat of evolution too!
Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir? (The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument was going )
Another subtle trick: the student says, "with your own eyes." Scientists use all sorts of instruments to extend our senses. You can't see sunspots "with your own eyes" because your eyes can't look at the sun. But does anyone not believe in sunspots? Or bacteria, viruses, supernova, radio waves, protons and electrons? It's ridiculous.

More importantly, scientists have observed evolution at every level. We've seen it at the microscopic level – it's the key to all modern medicine. And we've seen it at the macroscopic level, with plants and animals that continue to evolve as we watch. That's just a plain, irrefutable fact.

What the professor would really do is say, "Scientists see evolution in action every day. It's been proved over and over. Go take your biology, physics, chemistry and botany classes, and then come back to argue with me." Only the student wouldn't, because after taking those classes he'd realize he didn't have an argument.

Evolution is the best-proved theory in the history of the world. No other science can touch it.
Student : Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and cannot even prove that this Process is an On-Going Endeavor, are you not teaching your Opinion, sir? Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?

(The Class was in Uproar )
In a real classroom, by this time the student would have been respectfully corrected and would have shut up in embarrassment.
Student : Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor's Brain?

(The Class broke out into Laughter )

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt it? … No one appears to have done so. So, according to the Established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that You have No Brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?

(The Room was Silent. The Professor stared at the Student, his face unfathomable)

Professor: I guess you'll have to take them on Faith, son.

Student : That is it sir . . . Exactly! The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that Keeps Things Alive and Moving.
OMG. This is embarrassing.

Does the author of this essay really want to claim that we have to take the existence of our brains on faith alone? Do I have to state the obvious, that neurosurgeons operate on humans every day, and they've never found a walking, talking human who didn't have one? Or that coroners will tell you that a bullet through your brain will make you dead?

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the Conversation ... and if so ... You'll probably want your Friends / Colleagues to enjoy the same ... won't you? Forward them to Increase their Knowledge ... or FAITH.
This is the only true statement: "increase their Knowledge or faith." But not both. You can either use faith to believe stuff that can't be true, or you can use logic and reason to discover the wonders of this universe.

This essay illustrates perfectly my biggest objection to religion: it relies on ignorance and actively discourages logical thinking and true inquisitiveness. It resists education. It thwarts rational thought.

Why? Because education, logical thought and inquisitiveness are all the enemies of religion. Religious beliefs can't stand up to real scrutiny. So religion has developed all sorts of defense mechanisms to discourage learning and logic.

And that's why I keep writing. I don't know how many religious people will actually read this far, but for those of you who have, I hope I've at least given you some food for thought.

276 comments:

  1. Nice job, this is one of my favorite BS stories. My favorite part is when they say that "student" was a young Albert Einstein. Anytime you attach Einstein's name to a quote, it becomes smarter!

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    1. Only problem with saying the "student" was a young Einstein is Einstein was an avowed Atheist.

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    2. Einstein was definitely not an avowed Atheist. He claimed to be agnostic, even rejecting the idea of atheism. No doubt claiming the student to be Einstein is ridiculous, but don't attempt to refute a wrong claim with another wrong claim.

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    3. Einstein was not an Atheist, we has a documented Deist. He believed in a high power that orchestrates the universe.

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    4. For your information, Einstein was no more than a deist. This is far from being a Christian point of view. If you are a deist, you denounce the thought of a supernatural being, which willingly answers your prayers (as long as it suits the master plan, by all means) and interferes with humans and their activity. Einstein repeatedly SAID, that from a religious perspective, or from a 'Jesuit viewpoint', to be more exact, he was an atheist. Therefore, we do not know weather or not Einstein was an ATEIST, AGNOSTIC or a DEIST, for that matter, but what we do know is that Einstein defended the free thought and open-mindedness. The professor in this story is not that bright. His method of disproving the existence of God was quite flawed and, more importantly, Einstein himself used the same tactical low blow. The moral of this story is not about the existence of God, but in my opinion, the relationship between empirical evidence, reasoning and faith.

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    5. Normally I wouldn't comment on these, but it is too easy. Even with the smallest amount of research (on actual credited sources ie. not Wikipedia) you would find that as Einstein got older he began to dislike religion for lying to children and began to believe nature and god were one in the same and there wasn't a supreme being, also if I recall correctly he did in fact end up agnostic and def not atheist.

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    6. Why is it so hard for people to understand that atheism and agnosticism answer completely different questions???!!!! OK, I'll break it down like this: If someone asks, "Do you KNOW there is a god?" and you say "NO" then you are agnostic, if you say "Yes" then you are gnostic. Gnosticism answers the question of KNOWLEDGE. If someone asks, "Do you believe in a god?" and you say "NO" then you are an atheist, if you say "yes" then you are a theist. Theism answers the question of BELIEF. Knowledge and belief (faith) are 2 completely different things.

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    7. Depending on the quote you use, Einstein was either atheist, agnostic, or a Deist or Pantheist. He was in no way, however, a Christian, and was certainly not the idiot depicted in the story.

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    8. Come on guys, Einstein was a Jew!

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    9. In fact, if one would have wanted to force affiliation towards any religion onto Einstein, it would have to be Jewish. Which is also not what he chose to believe eventually anyway.

      But to author, thanks a lot! I just came across this essay and was looking for some evidence that it was one of those urban myths again.

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    10. Everyone knows that "cold" is defined as the lack of heat, and is a subjective term.

      I am not a Xian, but you have hit the nail on the head with the problem of good and evil. They don't exist. They are both subjective terms. So to say God is good or evil is wrong. Both good and evil are not nouns. There is no good or evil waves or particles pervading the universe. It is our perception of the same. So the question of God being good or evil is flawed. Existence of God is a different issue. We have to talk about defining the word before we can try to test Its' existence.

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    11. Here comes the theory of light simple if we want energy only from positive field it will never happen .If someone can want to be honest he will have to know what s are the activity counted as dishonest when one want to follow some specific religion one should have to know why this apart from other which is not possible as one has to be possessed by the person known as their creator so here every person becomes creator . someone has found a material and named it Higgs boson and telling this is the god particle . I will like to say its nothing more then a hindu myth that God is in every atoms and recently I have got a new theory about god and its so simple to understand but mind it simple thing can only be understand by simplicity it can be elaborated like- The cause of life in all the living body is the reflection of almighty and life is with you till one is properly getting it reflected and the ages are like dust which comes and covers so makes you less and lesser reflective and finally one ceases to reflect and here comes the reunion with the earthly material . So play it cool

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    12. You just want people to Buy your BOOKS and then you make this blog????? so incrimited

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  2. The funny thing for me is I just took a Philosphy class a month ago and my Proffessor was an Atheist. Taking what we learned from the FIRST WEEK I could refute about half of the points the blogger pointed out. I can't help but think that the author of the story has never touched a Philosophy book let alone talked with someone who knew anything about philosophy. Sadly unless people take a moment to understand what they are reading they will not realize the faults of the arguments.

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    1. Could you put some of your counter-arguments to the author in here?
      I really found his blog compelling and persuasive and would like to see how an actual philosophy student refutes it.

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    2. Aditya - I think you misunderstood Anon. He/she was siding with me and saying that the "author of the story" (that is, the author of the Christian-vs-Professor) had never taken a philosophy class, and that any beginning student of philosophy could demolish the Christian-vs-Professor story in short order.

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    3. To be fair, I got a little confused by what Anon was trying to say. He did say "the blogger", afterall.

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  3. You are awesome. It is also good to note that chain emails and repeated memes within the religious sphere of american culture also avoid a real classroom environment, where as you pointed out, such an argument would quickly have its flaws drawn up by various students (thank fuck for a varied student body) instead of being a straw-man audience as this chain-email would have you believe exists in colleges.

    Hell, most philosophical ideas we have in my class almost always end at a point where nobody is really sure of the answer, and even then after the discussion our teacher assigns us homework where all our attempted methods are already laid-out and anaylzed by many many philosophers before us. The avoidance of textbooks and any real attempt at insight is also a glaring flaw in this argument next to the apparently sham of a philosophy professor.

    Anyway good job, and I look forward to more of your writing!

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  4. It was painful reading that "essay". What is this christian facebook page you subscribe to? I want to see your rebuttal on the page and the response of the facebookers :O

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  5. Saying "Electricity and Magnetism" isn't really incorrect as such (aside from random capitalization). I had a graduate level physics class called "Electricity and Magnetism" which we usually abbreviated "E and M". They're just two pieces of electromagnetism (as you say) which were unified by the spectacularly elegant Maxwell's Equations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_equations in the mid 1800s. Yes they're thoroughly understood and can make predictions as accurate as those of mechanics, which is to say as accurate as the measurements of initial conditions.

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  6. Sometimes I think that instead of keeping one's reasoning against the "theory of god", they go on to praise this reasoning as a religion. Why not just let people THINK? Or maybe contribute to a more constructive debate. These yes/no question and answers are just baseless.

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  7. Steve R - It's not that "Electricity and Magnetism" is or isn't correct, but rather that in the essay they were presented as a (vague) example of dualism, accompanied by the insinuation that it is the dualism itself that seems to baffle scientists. And don't you just Love random capitalization?

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    1. The capitalization wasn't random, it was Enlightenment-era "Capitalize ALL the Nouns!"

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  8. You're a batter man than me for spending the time to refute these nonsensical Facebook posts. Sadly I suspect the group of people you aim this at will get 3 sentences in go back to reinforce their beliefs with their friends and simply not understand, or care.

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  9. Yeah ok. Theres a difference between having a stone tied to your feet called strick religious rules verses having a TRUE relationship with God. When you have an in depth relationship with God the world seems to come together. God didn't create Evil. People did. The same Logic goes with the Guns. Do Guns kill people? NO People kill people. God didn't create Evil. We have free willto make choices, it all goes back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve fell from grace because why? They MADE A CHOICE and a bad one at that. And God never said don't learn or be educated. In fact he encourages it. Most of the "Philosophies" Fail anyway and never produce a 100% answer. The bible does all of that and gives you something more..God.

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    1. Oh my. I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just respond to each sentence you wrote in the order it comes to me. Under the Christian faith isn't God supposed to be an all-knowing, all-caring, all-loving, all-just being? Please explain how an all just God could allow "people to kill people". Or better yet, how God could create the human species at all. Please, try not to cite religious doctrine in an argument about the base of religion. The bible is a creation of a specific religion, and to argue the facts within this book (created by man) is a logical fallacy. Where is the legitimacy in a self-perpetuating, apparently self-aware, doctrine? What "Philosophies" are you speaking of? How do they fail? Please, you don't seem that unintelligent. Give yourself the credit of recognizing that God is an idea inside of yourself. You can come to terms with your own God without choking on the doctrine of others. The entire idea of organized religion cuts away at the idea of any true God. Take some time away from the bible, and find your own God. You may just find that God is just the idea of accepting your mortality and finding faith in humanity.

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    2. what was the fruit that god said not to eat... the fruit of, oh, what's that again? oh, right knowledge... so if god doesnt want us to eat of the tree of knowledge, it miiiiight seem kinda like he was against learning and education.

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    3. Well, the darn weird thing about faith and religion, in most cases, it's hard to prove that there is an existence of a God. Actually, it's impossible to prove by methods of science. But, at the same time, scientific research is based on discovering the unknown, and the darn funny thing about that is the more you discover the less you know. Now, Christians say that God is all-knowing. If that's the case, if we were able to know anything, essentially we would be gods of our own. This is the one thing I thing that kind of makes me ponder about the existence of something greater, because there is just no way us humans could ever understand everything about this complex universe. If I was God and if I loved the people, I would have not given people even the option of having a tree of knowledge to eat from (one could argue that he does so to give us a freedom of choice, which is a topic so hotly contested). Why? Because knowledge would send people on this drive to learn more that would never be satisfied, and as a person, I'd rather frolic around naked with no worries or cares in my life...haha at least compared to being a student...

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    4. Hey im just a random agnostic person interested in all religions and i just thought id put my two cents into this argument.

      To Anon July 18 2011, you shouldn’t use the example of Adam and Eve because the theory of evolution is widely regarded as a fact these days and many people will refute your ideas just from the mention of them. I understand that god created the earth but don’t Christians teach that all things come from god? Also your last argument is invalid; many people find that Christianity does not provide a 100% answer as well as those other “philosophies”.

      To Anon Jan 12 2012 – the person did explain how a just god could allow people to kill others. “They made the choice” – Christianity teaches that god gave free will to all mankind. Basic Christianity teaching 101 durr! And you cant tell people to not “cite religious doctrine” because you just did – with your statement “God supposed to be an all-knowing, all-caring, all-loving, all-just being?” those teachings come from the bible if I am not mistaken. Yes the bible is manmade, it’s not like it’s published by god himself or anything, like once a year they float down from the sky or something. But you must not forget that Christians believe that they were written under the guidance of god or the “spirit” of god working within the writers and so they will not be incorrect or the information corrupted. And also much of Christian teaching is based off the bible, they believe that the bible is all true, in some denominations of the Christian church they take it literally, thus why bishop usher calculated the age of the earth using it.
      Why did god create humans? I can’t remember where but somewhere in the bible (yes, ive read it) it states it was for his own pleasure. I dunno, with all the suffering that goes on in the world, I guess it’s in a kind of ~better to have loved than to have never loved at all ~ kind of thing. Like even through all the bad things that happen, the good times make it worth it? But if you think of him in a kind of evil way from all that suffering then you’ve also forgotten that Christians teach that god is in all of us, and he experiences that pain and suffering too. So it’s like even though he made us for his pleasure he gets hurt from creating us too. Through sinning we are supposed to offend god in a way that hurts him – like if you killed someone your mother would be horrified and it would cause her a lot of grief and pain. Same thing with Christian’s god.
      And your last bit, wtf are you on about. I’ve heard that argument but dude, the way you say it makes you sound like you’re a bit retarded in the head. Haha find your own god .. wtf? Is there multiple ones for each person now?

      To Anon march 31 2012 Christians believe that god wanted to create humans to share eternal life with him in a fleshy or physical way, where he is eternal but humans must die. You forget that the tree of knowledge is not of knowledge itself entirely but of good and evil also. Eve was tempted to eat the apple by the devil – the snake, she was told that if she ate of it she would become like God and become immortal like god. She wanted it then she shared it with her husband. So they became aware of their mortality, and they were given the ability of reasoning. Its like before, they were naked but they did not care but after they realised it and were embarrassed. This kind of shows that god may have shared with them information if they wanted it, but would they have truly known what it meant? We are talking of knowledge, of knowing something. Also, if God truly did not want it to happen, why put it there in the first place especially if he knew they would give into the temptation? He was testing them.

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    5. Perhaps it was inevitable and they may have succumbed eventually. He gave them the free will and they chose. Before they ate of the fruit they may have sinned, but is it truly a sin if you are unaware that is bad? Therefore before they ate of the fruit they were incapable of sin, however, its not like he was against humans having knowledge - jesus states in the new testament to search for knowledge or something like that I cant remember~ but yes, he encourages Christians to be inquisitive and do the best they can with their studies, etc.

      To Anon April 1 2012 - not necessarily. To say that humans are gods of our own just from knowing something .. I dunno, that doesn’t make sense to me. If that were the case then I would also be a god because god is all caring, and by caring about other people or anything for that matter I would be a sort of demi- god, having a lesser kind of caring than that of the all mighty and powerful full god who has it all. Or to put it in another way god is the creator of everything, and I would also be a god because I am a girl, and I can create life by having children, and men would be a even lesser demi- god providing the semen. Honestly, that just doesn’t make any sense (to me). And I wouldn’t want to frolic about without a care in the world, because this world is so awesome and sure, the more we learn about it the more complex it gets and no one can be expected to remember everything, but its just so fascinating that we try, and we keep coming back for more, thirsting for every ounce we can get. Regardless to whether there is a god or not, I am really thankful to everything I have, and I love the fact that I have the ability to think about these things. It’s the little fun I get out of this small mundane boring and depressing life of mine. But even with all the shit that happens to me for some reason I just still cant get away from being happy. :]

      And to the person that published this and put in your little two cents in the essay, THANK YOU!! I was actually kind of pissed that they actually thought a educated professor would react in such a way to a student that makes them appear as though they hadn’t done their work load to get to that position. I mean honestly, it is quite embarrassing to read. And the funny thing you missed out is the part where they stated that student was actually Einstein, which is totally hilarious as Einstein was agnostic (if im not mistaken, it is a hot topic for debate) and NEVER was he once in his lifetime a Christian.
      But I reject your statement that religion “resists education” and “thwarts rational thought”, because what I have found is some people who are quite educated and quite open to ideas and thoughts, but then there are those who are quite stanch, stubborn and even when the plain evidence is in front of their eyes are blind.

      Sorry if I sound a little er.. dumb at times xD im just recovering from a too much essay writing for uni and not enough sleep T_T
      I just thought id write on here cause im procrastinating even though I need to do more work. Bleh ;P end of my two cents ~~

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  10. sooo in the first argument the christian says God doesn't love all of us

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  11. re: Anonymous

    "God didn't create Evil"
    if you are a christian you might want to re-read your bible....

    Isiah 45:7 (KJV) "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

    hmmm....well the bible can't be wrong. There it is, right from the horses mouth. God makes evil.

    Heck just READ the bible. God kills millions in that thing (and that's JUST counting the numbered people) while satan? he kills 7...and he shares those kills with god because god was in a wager with satan.

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    1. i know the bible can't be wrong... but really it MUST be wrong, because it boldly contradicts itself several times throughout both old and new testament, and across testaments

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    2. Does God create evil?
      Isaiah 45:7 and Amos 3:6

      (Isaiah 45:7, KJV) - "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
      (Amos 3:6) - "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"

      Is God really the one who created evil? To answer the question we must first look at how the word for evil, "rah," is used in the Bible, examine the context of the Isaiah 45:7 passage, and look at other passages on the same subject.

      First of all, the Hebrew word for evil, "rah," is used in many different ways in the Bible. In the KJV Bible it occurs 663 times. 431 times it is translated as "evil." The other 232 times it is translated as "wicked," "bad," "hurt," "harm," "ill," "sorrow," "mischief," "displeased," "adversity," "affliction," "trouble," "calamity," "grievous," "misery," and "trouble." So we can see that the word does not require that it be translated as "evil." This is why different Bibles translate this verse differently. It is translated as "calamity" by the NASB and NKJV; "disaster" by the NIV; and "woe" by the RSV.

      Second, the context of the verse is speaking of natural phenomena.

      "I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these," (Isaiah 45:5-7).

      Notice that the context of the verse is dealing with who God is, that it is God who speaks of natural phenomena (sun, light, dark), and it is God who is able to cause "well-being" as well as "calamity." Contextually, this verse is dealing with natural disasters and human comfort issues. It is not speaking of moral evil; rather, it is dealing with calamity, distress, etc. This is consistent with other scriptures. For example,

      "And the Lord said to him, "Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11).
      "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6).

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  12. Anonymous wrote "Most of the "Philosophies" Fail anyway and never produce a 100% answer"

    That seems to be a core issue with 'faith' - it flourishes in people who demand to be 100% certain and right and unfortunately they never actually are. There are reportedly some 38,000 different denominations of Christians - which one of those has it exactly right in every detail? (the actual number isn't that important, but it is clear there are a huge number of them)

    If you don't know for CERTAIN then you don't have any true certainty - you have false faith.

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  13. I believe it's good for people to have faith in God. It gives them hope when life sucks. However if you start forcing your beliefs on an unwilling person's life, it's just WRONG or sinful. God gives people the right to choose, people who worship him should follow suit. So keep christianity out of national policies!

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  14. Anonymous wrote "you start forcing your beliefs on an unwilling person's life, it's just WRONG or sinful"

    Like religious parents do to their children?

    Anonymous also wrote: "I believe it's good for people to have faith in God. It gives them hope when life sucks."

    I have hope and wonder and awe without a false belief in a God. How you justify claiming hat people need this?

    I have hope in what is real, not what is imaginary. And more importantly, I don't have a false hope.

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    1. You can't force beliefs onto a person, because the core of the Christian belief centers around faith and no matter how much you force a person to be a Christian, ultimately it is that person's on decision to believe or not. The only thing parents can force is religious practices.

      As for hope false belief, you can't really say that either. You can't physically through scientific methods prove that there isn't an existence of a God, just like how Christians can't through scientific methods prove there is an existence of a God either.

      I think the Hope that is being referred to is the life after death. Eh...no one can prove that either, but if life was really that bad, that hope would be nice to have eh? Then, all the suffering wouldn't be for naught.

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    2. "You can't force beliefs onto a person, because the core of the Christian belief centers around faith and no matter how much you force a person to be a Christian, ultimately it is that person's on decision to believe or not."

      Are you freaking kidding me!? What about the Incans and the Aztecs? The Spanish Inquisition? This monumental 500 year effort to 'christianize' the world? Do you really think a country like the Philipines just heard of this great idea going around Europe and decided to become Catholic? You can make that argument about Buddhism or Hinduism, since they have no missionary tradition, but if you take proselytizing out of Christianity or Islam, you have nothing left.

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    3. religious people dont "force" their beliefs onto their children.

      Its like, your atheist (or whatever) right?

      You would raise your kids to believe what you believe to be right, and that is you dont believe in God, so you'll tell your kids that there is none.

      So its like that with religious people. Its only natural for them to raise their children to hold their beliefs. To do the opposite is unnatural and it is highly unlikely for the second generation to carry on those beliefs.

      I mean, if a muslim raised their child by saying to them "i believe in a god, one god, but you, you will have to decide for yourself whether you do or not", is it highly likely that the child will pass on those beliefs? No, they will decide whether they will for themselves or not, and with all the restrictions of that religion the chances are they will choose the opposite, especially if they really are not concerned whether there is one or not and if they cant be bothered thinking about it (or if they are dumb and are incapable of thinking things through thoroughly)

      I admit though that there are some staunch people in religions who force their beliefs on their family and the people around them, but i have also met atheists who are like that too. So its like that with all theists.

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    4. Actually, many (perhaps most) atheists encourage their children to explore other religious ideas. The point is not to be an atheist, but rather to examine the world critically and decide based on evidence what is true and what is not. It would be hypocritical for an atheist to "force" religion on his children.

      On the other hand, religious people almost never do the converse. In fact, all major religions have hard-core anti-atheism teachings. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I wrote a great deal about this in my newest book, "Is Christianity Dying" which you can find on Amazon.

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    5. Wow, your flawless empirical evidence is shockingly believable... I mean you both used the terms "many (perhaps most)" when talking about atheists, and "almost never" is attached to christians. Your argument must be true.

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  15. I'm an Atheist, and I love what you wrote, but I'd like to point out one other thing:

    That professor is terrible for harassing a student like that. I really can't justify him starting that whole thing.

    Once again, a good read; I enjoyed it.

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    1. You do realise, don't you, that the entire 'conversation' between the uppity condescending professor and the god-fearing, respectful, wholesome student was fabricated? It never happened.

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    2. No, you're right. Part of the point of this article is that in the story, both characters are at fault. The situation presented is fictional and improbable.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. re: Anonymous

    "Most of the 'Philosophies' Fail anyway and never produce a 100% answer."

    this is just plain ignorant. please do yourself a favor, learn something about the subject before you make absurd and idiotic claims.

    "God didn't create Evil."

    this one is just sad. at least learn about what you believe in before you put your faith in it.

    go down to the library and dig around the philosophy and theology sections. this way, when you respond to these sorts of blogs, you wont seem like a complete imbecile.

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  18. I will just point one thing out: Evolution is not the best proven theory in science, Quantum Mechanics are. Predictions made with the Schroedinger Equation etc are the most accurate of any science. Evolution cannot be used to make any predictions, which means it fails a fundamental criteria of science. This is not to say that its wrong - it patently isn't - but that it is not the best proven theory in science. In fact most of the domain of Physics is better proven. Einsteinian and Newtonian physics is far better proven than Evolution, and then, as I say, there is QM.

    The reality of Evolution is undisputed in science. The fossil and geological evidence are undeniable. But there isn't agreement as to what the mechanisms of Evolution are. Compare Dawkins' Neo-Darwinism with Gould's & Eldridge's Punctuated Equilibrium, or the Symbiogenesis of Lyn Marguilis or the Peripatric Speciation of Ernst Mayr.

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  19. Hey Craig - what happened to my earlier post regarding the ACTUAL discussion on the so-called 'a fairly popular Christian Facebook group'? Its gone! Want me to post it again?

    :-)

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  20. In case it was just a glitch, here is the gist again:

    1) The 'fairly popular Christian Facebook group' is not a Christian Facebook group. Its name is: 'Ephphatha: Spirituality, Religion, Science, Philosophy, History,... Life'. If you can find the word 'Christian' in there I will give you a cigar. I for one am not a Christian and nor are several of the most frequent posters. Like Craig, I was subscribed (ie I did not voluntarily join). I stayed because I assumed from the title that it was a place to discuss these subjects in general. There are Christians on the Group, but this does not make it a 'Christian Group'. One of the posts by the founder of the group reads: 'Satan is God'. Does that sound Christian to you? Batty, yes, but not Christian.

    2) Most of the members of the Group who commented on the article were neither Christians nor did they think it was 'brilliant'. There are 200+ members and about six or seven took part in the discussion. About four of us were not Christians in any way, shape or form. Most of us thought it was pretty flawed. I myself pointed out how the Student's brain argument was a massive own goal and that he would have been better off using consciousness instead of brain. Others were equally dissatisfied. No-one thought either side had conclusively won the argument.

    3) Craig did not refute it at all, unless you call this a refutation:

    >That is a horrible case of faulty analogies and defective philosophy. This little essay is an embarrassing example of everything that's wrong with religion. If you want to have faith, fine. But don't try to get in a battle of wits with philosophers and scientists when you're ignorant of the fundamental principles of science and philosophy.

    If you truly are interested in why, start with "The Evidence of the Senses" by Daniel Dennett.<

    That is in no way a refutation but an aggressive statement of opinion. It has no detail, no analysis, no points to make beyond an elaborate way of saying 'The article is wrong'. As such its no better than a Theist telling someone they are against God's will. What appears above is more of a refutation, but it remains puzzling as to why it is here and not in the Group.

    4) What we DID discuss in quite a wide-ranging way were Memes. Most of us felt they had no scientific basis and asked Craig to explain why he thought they did. So far he has pretty much stayed aloof from that discussion.

    I have no problem with anything said here or on the FB Group, I am just baffled as to why Craig felt he had to misrepresent what happened so dramatically. I hope no-one minds me popping in to say all this. Craig did invite us to.

    And I hope I won't have to post this again! I have a copy, just in case it vanishes once more.

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  21. I should also add that one of the commentators in the discussion (also not a Christian) has a strong background in both science and philosophy, but none of the points he took up were addressed by Craig.

    Perhaps I should invite him here to take part? What do you say?

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  22. Pegasus wrote "Evolution cannot be used to make any predictions, which means it fails a fundamental criteria of science"

    Origin of Species made numerous predictions which have since been supported by the evidence. There are TENS of THOUSANDS of scientific papers which confirm predictions and hypotheses related to evolutionary theory. The discovery of genetics as the mechanism of evolutionary change was confirmation of one of the many predictions of evolution.

    The best analogy I can think of is the science of Weather prediction (and evolution is many orders of magnitude more complex than weather). We can study the weather, we have models of weather, we CAN make predictions based on those models with some degree of accuracy, but the accuracy of prediction of future events is always going to be limited. We cannot PREDICT how some "random" future cosmic ray is going to alter a gene.

    Let's assume Humans are subject to all the laws of Physics - QM & Relativity - can you predict what I will have for lunch tomorrow based on that? No. Does that mean that QM and Relativity are not science because you cannot make that prediction? No, that would be silly. But you are trying to apply EXACTLY this same logic to Evolution. That's just not how science works.

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  23. Pegasus also wrote "Evolution is not the best proven theory in science"

    I think this was intended as a metaphorical position, not a measurable one. Also you equivocated from "best proven" to "most accurate".

    By measurability, QM or relativity would be the "most accurate" - but we also know that neither theory is complete. So I would agree with the statement that they are the most accurate models - but I disagree with the value assessment that they are the best PROVEN theory.

    Evolutionary theory is not a mathematical model but as a general hypothesis which is confirmed by millions of pieces of evidence it is not entirely unreasonable to call it the best proven theory in all of science.

    With the acknowledgement that this is cheating a little bit because we're talking about very different kinds of problems. We don't KNOW what the final theory of everything might be yet so it cannot be "proven" - while Evolution makes a very broad observation that has been studied by tens of thousands of people.

    The theory that the stars are balls of mostly hydrogen fusing into helium is also pretty well proven but it doesn't have the massive body of evidence behind it that Evolution has.

    But again - I think this is more of a metaphorical position than a literal statement of fact. Unless "best proven" is crisply defined with some measurable metric it will remain a poetic statement rather than one we can debate with any meaning.

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  24. Here is a response that I posted in the Facebook group where this discussion started...

    Thanks to everyone who responded. This certainly is a lively group. Here are a few quick comments regarding misunderstandings about my position and what I've said.

    Jake wrote: "This is NOT a 'fairly popular Christian Facebook group'..." Mea culpa. I was added to this group by Susan [the group moderator] and never looked at its "charter".

    Regarding the "scientific-ness" of memes: Nevan actually said it pretty well (see above in this thread) [Nevan wrote that memes are more of a sociological model than a scientific concept]. I have never claimed that memes have any scientific basis. The meme concept tries to capture complex socio-linguistic phenomena in an intuitive and easy-to-understand way. Nothing more, nothing less. The concept allows us to talk about these phenomena concisely, and to describe how and why some information passes across society and down through history while other information is left behind. At the risk of sounding self-serving, read "The Religion Virus" first. If you get to the end of it and think I've made any false claims about memes, then I'd love to hear from you on my blog or by email.

    Scientists and sociologists both use models to simplify their work. A physicist doesn't try to use quantum physics when calculating a billiard-ball collision -- it's too complex at that level. Instead, physicists use a higher-level model of matter where "billiard balls" (not atoms or quarks) are the objects of interest.

    Similarly, sociologists talk about families, communities, corporations, political parties and so forth as though these entities have personalities. But does anyone ever mistake this for a "scientific" approach? Does anyone really hear this and think that a family or corporation has its own brain and thought process? Of course not. We understand that these high-level concepts are used for brevity and conciseness, and that the "personality" of a corporation or family is nothing more than an emergent property of the interactions of individuals.

    Just so, a "meme" is a concept that allows us to encapsulate complex socio-linguistic activities in fewer words. It allows us to describe social phenomena quickly. A "meme" is mostly the word "idea" coupled with a description of how and why ideas are propagated across society and through history. Nobody ever claimed memes are "scientific." That's silly.

    Stephen Rego's diatribe criticizing my entire body of writing (apparently without ever having read it) is hardly worth comment except for this factual error: "What he wants is back-up from what I imagine is a rabid fanbase." My "rabid fan base" is mostly former Christians, Jews and Muslims. There are millions of people in the world who were sucked in by these three Abrahamic religions. They were told from infancy that they were evil from birth, and that all of their natural, healthy thoughts about sexuality and love were dirty and unnatural. When these people finally left their religions, they still had many of these tenacious memes stuck in their brains, making them feel guilty and afraid.

    My goal in writing "The Religion Virus" was to help people understand WHY they so much want to believe the unhealthy ideas that form the foundation of the Abrahamic religions. When my Aunt Carolyn (the one whose story is told in the book) finished reading an early draft, her first words to me were, "I feel so much better now."

    THAT is why I wrote the book, and people like my Aunt Carolyn (who is 80 years old, by the way) are my "rabid fan base." And that is why memes are important.

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  25. We are still awaiting your response on Facebook to the arguments against the concept of the meme in terms of its validity and efficacy in attempting to reduce what has been admitted are "complex social and political phenomena". For me, it is nothing short of a 'Deus ex machina' as an explanatory tool for relgion, and should only be regarded as a loose hermeneutic device (which is ill-suited for any serious discussion of the complexities of human nature). It is another attempt, and not a very good one at that, by Neo-Darwinists to reduce everything to "nothing but" or "just so" stories, which shows an implicit disdain for human nature in general.

    To repeat, then, we look forward to your input on the Facebook page (unless you require this space for others to do your bidding), and would add that it would be an idea to respect the privacy of the users in that discussion by not posting full names from a private (Closed) group on a public forum. Thanks.

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  26. Nice takedown of this little gem! I've been the unfortunate recipient of a few of these little "humiliate the atheist/professor/evolutionist" chainmail vignettes before, but this is one of the lamest. Not only are the arguments incoherent but it has all the usual university- and education-phobic touches.

    You get the arrogant, cruel "Professor" who exemplifies the fact that science/reason is just a cover for his dastardly atheistic beliefs. Folks peddling irrationality sure love to try and use the word "professor" as if it was a slur...

    Plus the weird exaggeration of formal science terms ("natural evolution process", "established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol"). Always trying to make science seem as narrow and instrumental as possible- what better way to open up room for the inevitable "there are other ways of knowing" tripe!

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    1. I also enjoy using blanket statements that support my beliefs and are so broad that they cannot be easily refuted.

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  27. To an outsider the silly story seems to imply that American university professors are so stupid that they would not be employed by any internationally respected university. That might be true, of course. Or it could be that the author of the story was so incredibly stupid that they would not even be accepted into an American level undergraduate program?

    In my country no qualified Secondary School Teacher would agree to the statement that "we come from monkeys", even if they were not a teacher of biological science. I cannot imagine any student managing to pass tertiary orientated Year 10 examinations who could not correct this stupid statement.

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  28. Thanks to everyone for responding to me fairly and with respect. Appreciated.

    @ Dark Star - if the comment on Evolution was meant metaphorically then that's ok by me, but I am sure you will agree that in order to win these debates against fallacious arguments its important to be absolutely precise in what one says.

    Having said that, I think you mistake my thrust in commenting on predictions regarding Evolution. I said quite clearly that the reality of Evolution is irrefutable and pointed out that the lack of predictive power compared to other disciplines does not make it false. The main criteria for a scientific theory are:

    1) Evidence

    2) Observability

    3) Falsifiability - ie can the theory be tested. Not is it false but can someone come up with a way of testing the theory so that it can seen to be true or false?

    4) Explanatory power

    5) Predictive power

    All sorts of current branches of science fulfil some but not all of these. String Theory, for instance, fails a lot of the criteria beyond mathematical proof and some explanatory power. Even Big Bang theory is not conclusively proven, although the observed evidence is overwhelmingly in its favour. Black Hole Theory is even less proven, being largely theoretical with a little bit of observational evidence (which is why Stephen Hawking has not been offered a Nobel Prize: a chief criteria is experimental proof).

    Newtonian Physics has passed nearly all the tests, which is why I would say it is better proven than Evolution. QM's 'accuracy' is a key aspect of its 'proof' - ie its ability to make almost perfect predictions is a fundamental aspect of why it has been accepted, even though it begs a vast amount of extra questions. If I posit a theory but it fails every predictive test (eg if I tie lead weights to a balloon it will move at 300mph and it clearly doesn't), then the theory is not proven.

    QM and Relativity are not complete theories, but nor is Evolution. We haven't observed Speciation and we don't have an explanation for how Life emerged out of non-living Matter (indeed 'Spontaneous Generation' as it is called was supposedly completely refuted by Pasteur in the late 19th/ early 20th Century). This doesn't invalidate Evolution, it just means there is more work to do. There is enough evidence as it is to show that it has happened, we just don't know everything about it.

    Hope this clears up what I meant.

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  29. @ Craig - thank you for your courteous, considered reply. As I say, my main purpose for chipping in was because of a sense of having had our discussion grossly misrepresented, a misrepresentation couched, if I may say, in condescending and intellectually insulting terms. But we have established that that was an error, so thanks again for your apology.

    My response is apparently too long for one post, so I am spreading it across two...

    I hear what you are saying about Memes, but I still maintain that as an argument, they have at best limited validity. One doesn't need Memes to know that the things you point out as being negative are negative. Indeed greater minds than ours have been attacking those ideas and doctrines for millennia - Hume, Schopenhauer, Nietszche, Russell and many others. Even people within those religions have been attacking them - Pelagius, Johannes Scotus, the entire Greek Orthodox Church which doesn't accept Original Sin as taught by the Catholics and Protestants at all. With this in mind, Meme Theory has precisely zilch to add to the debate, unless one decides that the words 'Idea' and 'Meme' are interchangeable, in which case using the term Meme is just a technique whereby one makes an obvious point sound as if it has a scientific meaning, which we have established it doesn't.

    My point is simply that Science as an argument against Religion has power when it is based on Science. Science's claim to superiority comes from its ability to actually verify and confirm its findings objectively while Religion cannot beyond subjective experience. If Memes are not a scientific concept, then they have no more validity than anything Religion has to offer. Its a case of using the unverifiable to defeat the unverifiable, which is no more effective than a Hindu and Muslim going 'Vishnu is better than Allah/ Allah is better than Vishnu'. An Evolutionist can go 'I can present concrete evidence for my theory, can you present concrete evidence for your God?' and win immediately. Meme Theory is not so effective.

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  30. Two more points:

    1) Unless one accepts that Memes are a universal concept and applies them to everything, they cannot be said to have explanatory value. If Memes are the building blocks of thought processes & values in the sense that particles/ electrons/ leptons etc are the building blocks of all physical reality, then all human values must be evaluated using Memes, not just ideas we don't like (eg Religion). If we apply them solely to things we don't like, then we are guilty of subjectivity (or Observer Bias) which is anathema to Scientific Enquiry. If we DO apply to them to all ideas, then the only way of evaluating them along Evolutionary Theory lines is to say any idea which survives the longest is 'successful', in which case some of these religious ideas are highly successful and, presumably, have a powerful evolutionary purpose. Ergo Meme/ Evolutionary Theory end up validating these ideas it is trying to eradicate. If survival of the fittest is the rule, then crappy ideas like Original Sin are the Tyrannosaurus Rex of Thought. Thus the argument defeats itself, and I am sure we don't want that!

    In other words, unless Meme Theory IS a scientific argument there is no more reason for anyone to accept it than Jungian, Freudian or any other form of Psychology, let alone any religious or philosophical ways of viewing things. There are many different ways of looking at the phenomenon of Religion in terms of the psyche. I mentioned Jung and Freud above. Fromm has interesting things to say, as do Eliade and some of the philosophers I mentioned above. Unless Memes CAN be presented as somehow superior in terms of objectivity to them they can only expect to be taken as part of the mix and discarded if not seen as appropriate.

    Or to put it another way - unhealthy ideas such as those your Aunt experienced need to be eradicated, but the means to do so may not be through Meme Theory. It may well have worked for her, which is wonderful, but as you know as a scientist, that is anecdotal in terms of evidence, albeit magnificent in terms of her personally.

    Also, you won't understand why people believe these unhealthy ideas unless you also factor in the other aspects of Religion that people are drawn to: a sense of meaning, or transcendence, harmony, peace, catharsis, community, coherence - qualities which can go hand in hand with intolerance and anger (especially those last two) as they can with peaceful and noble behaviour. We may not agree with their reasons or accept the validity of how they achieve them, but f these things weren't also attractions, the negatives would not be in place as well. If you want an analogy, people wouldn't take drugs knowing they damage the body unless they found something beneficial from the experience. Religion needs to be seen in its entirety if it is to be properly understood. Even those like Nietzsche, Russell, Sartre and Schopenhauer recognised that.

    Hoe all of this is taken in the spirit it is intended: discussion rather than aggression.

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  31. Ha! That ended up being ONE more point, not two! Sorry!

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  32. Snopes has a good article on this e-mail, and its variations:

    http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

    Lurker111

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  33. "Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?

    Professor: If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.

    This is a nonsequitur designed to trick the reader. By this time, the reader is supposed be thinking the student is really clever and has the professor "on the ropes." By introducing the controversial "e" word ("evolution"), the Christian readers get positively gleeful. The student is going to make mincemeat of evolution too!"

    More importantly, the professor would, presumably, answer, "If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, no, of course not. Humans didn't evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys evolved independently, but they shared a common ancestor."

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  34. I'm just amused that you found the need to refute it. Amazing that you have a whole blog dedicated to hate (or is that lack of love?). You spend all this time trying to denigrate a belief and its group of people while doing some of the very things you accuse them of doing?? Awesome. Rock on with your bad self.

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  35. Anon - The reason it needs to be refuted is because people believe this anti-science, anti-intellectual drivel. This nonsense has a real impact on our society. The attitudes fostered by this anti-intellectual nonsense is harming our schools, our children, and our political process. Your use of the word "hate," which is completely unfounded, shows just how desperate the anti-intellectual movement is. You can't fight an honest battle, so you resort to unjustified and inappropriate mudslinging.

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    1. I do say, excellent response sir, you really put him in his place, and you even did it on your OWN blog! Excellent work, I hope you sell a book or two now.

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  36. From the Baha'i Writings:
    "..it is education that brings the East and the West under the authority of man; it is education that produces wonderful industries; it is education that spreads great sciences and arts; it is education that makes manifest new discoveries and institutions." (Abdu'l-Baha)

    To claim all religions rely on ignorance and resist education is a bit of a sweeping statement. I feel your frustrations, but I think that they're misguided when you put them onto religion. Perhaps you should fight ignorance, resistance to progress, prejudice, closed mindedness. You may find this in abundance in certain areas of religious life, but you'll also find it amongst atheists, labour supporters, cat lovers, peace activists, school teachers, the Swiss. My point is these destructive human tendencies are among people of all different kinds.

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  37. Shirin – In spite of the emphasis on education by some religions (Baha'i and Judaism come to mind), I still believe that all religions ultimately have to be anti-education. Check out this blog to see why: 1001 Inventions: The Once Great Islam's Great Decline. Education, particularly in the sciences and philosophy, almost inevitably leads to agnosticism and atheism. A faith such as Baha'i that truly advocate education will soon find itself extinct. As time passes, the only faiths left are the ones that shun real education. That's what memetic evolution is all about, and why so many people are using it as a way to understand the peculiar history of religion.

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  38. What is evil? What is good? Can a man without knowledge of God's Law answer this question? What factual foundations do you use to reinforce your view?

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  39. Anon – Since man invented God, your questions are meaningless. Everything you ascribe to God is just human ideas being projected onto the God that we invented.

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  40. craig james, you sir are an idiot

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  41. Oh, if I might add one more point. The version of the "discusssion" I'm familiar with states that Einstein was the "Christian" student. For those who care to read, Einstein is Jewish. Not Christian.

    I do not oppose sharing one's faith. I do not oppose upholding that faith in the face of adversity, but I do oppose blind faith.

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  42. Einstein was of Jewish heritage but was an atheist. He wrote, "For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."

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    1. religion and faith in God are 2 completely different things. One is man made, one is God made. Einstein saw that faith was the one that was worth his time

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  43. You still have a chance..repent..

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  44. Some guy said that he heard a story from his sister that student at a neighboring school said...

    I'm sure the "Student" from this story would love to be interviewed on Fox news... lets see if they can locate him AND the professor.

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  45. "Ever since the the creation of the world, God's invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that are made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. CLAIMING TO BE WISE, THEY BECAME FOOLS, and exchanged the glory of Creator for the creation." Romans 1:20-23
    You arrogant, prideful people better hope that science can save your soul! Because, when you die, and you will, you will not have to answer to science...you will stand before the Creator and tell him how you traded a relationship with Him for textbooks and flawed theories.
    In case you weren't paying attention: just this year, two American scientists discovered that the universe is NOT slowing down in it's expansion, but rather speeding up...so trash the previous theory! Also, recently in Europe, a particle accelerator shot a sub-atomic particle from Switzerland to Italy, and they recorded a particle moving FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT. So toss the theory of relativity out the window! Don't you get it? Science will never even approach the majesty of a living, real God. I know...because I know my God. Poor people! If you only knew of the spiritual! You have a spirit and it is eternal...what are you going to do about it? Do you think that just because you don't "believe" in Truth, that it doesn't exist? Truth is not dependent upon your recognition of it; nor will it change for you and your woefully insufficient explanations of reality. God help you all. Go ahead, laugh your butts off and enjoy...ha ha ha...good for you...

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  46. disciplinegideon – Your knowledge of science is stunningly simplistic. When you die, you'll be dead, and you've wasted your life chasing after myth and fantasy rather than making this one life you have the best life possible. You could have studied real science instead of reading sound bites from anti-science zealots, but instead you decided to base your life on a two thousand year old book of myths and fables.

    Just because you want your god to exist doesn't make it true. Just because you can't bear the thought of dying doesn't mean you get to live forever.

    And why on Earth are you writing this superstitious dogma on my blog? Do you really think someone is going to read it and take it seriously?

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  47. To rational Explorer: your quote from Isaiah is a misunderstanding from your end. God did not create evil. The translation of the word "rah" had so many possibilities and in isaiah he was talking about light, dsrkness, peace and _____ ..clearly moral evil does not fit there. "rah" in the case of most newer bible versions (NIV), translated to calamity. Makes sense, doesn't it? It's peace against non-peace, not peace against evil.

    To further process your view of God creating evil, I offer this:

    Habakkuk (the prophet's complaint) 1:13 your eyes are too pure to behold evil and cannot look on wrongdoing/why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they?"

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  48. Anon – you're rationalizing. It's simple: According to Judeo-Christian theology, God created the universe and everything in it. Therefore, He created evil. There is no escaping this as a consequence of Judeo-Christian beliefs. You can rationalize evil as necessary or a "choice," but I lose respect when you deny the clear implications of your theology.

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    1. evil cannot be pointed at God at all, only one who misunderstands how the world was created would point evil toward God. God created the capacity for all things from the beginning of time. The capacity only. God created everything that was good, but for somthing to be good, there absolutely has to be another side, or good would not be good. Agian, God created the capacity for all things, it was humans who actually made the choice to open that door and walk in evil. God even said to stay away from evil, but humans made the choice to rebel. Ofcourse evil is a possibility in this world...but there is no way you can rationally tell me that it was God's fault that evil has taken power and become what it is

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    2. There really are two questions. Is there a God, and if there is a God, is he worth worshipping? If their is a God, and he put the capacity in his creation to piss him off, then he is just a masochist.

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  49. Mr. James, I am sorry to say but Einstein was not atheist but agnostic. He even criticized and rejected atheism mainly for reasons like this: pointless fighting and arguing. None of us know for sure if we are right or wrong. Christians have faith in their God so they believe in what they have read and heard in the Bible as atheist have with their textbooks. But in reality, none of us really know who is right. But we still fight and argue until we've felt like we won or until we feel that we are right. In one word, this is pride. I feel as if that is what you are upholding Mr. James. Throughout this blog, your attacks against others seem to not uphold logic but your own pride. You say that we should make this one life the best possible yet you waste it by attacking others that don't think the same way you do on the internet. I mean is this how you want to live out your life? Telling people why they're wrong about something and giving your two cents out like it's worth gold? Who are you to tell someone that they are wrong? You clearly do not know everything there is to know in this world. Yet you make yourself out to be a god and it seems to me that you have become your own religion. This is why Einstein rejects atheism. He believed in an attitude of humility. We may not know for sure what will happen after death but I can tell you one thing I know for sure, we have become a generation of trying to prove others wrong. We have left logic and use it only to make ourselves feel good. We are consumed by pride and we only use logic to boost it. We are infected and we try to make others sick instead of focusing on trying to cure ourselves. Religion is not the virus, we are the virus.

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  50. God created people with a free will; with the freedom to choose right or wrong. Evil is the result of turning away from God and choosing to be our own little god.
    C.S. Lewis said: "Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself for the present the Prince of this World. And, of course, that raises problems. Is this state of affairs in accordance with God's will or not? If it is, He is a strange God, you will say: and if it is not, how can anything happen
    contrary to the will of a being with absolute power?
    But anyone who has been in authority knows how a thing can be in accordance with your will in one way and not in another. It may be quite sensible for a mother to say to the children, "I'm not going to go and make you tidy the schoolroom every night. You've got to learn to keep it tidy on your own." Then she goes up one night and finds the Teddy bear and the ink and the French Grammar all lying in the grate. That is against her will. She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy. The same thing arises in any regiment, or trade union, or school. You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it. That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible.
    It is probably the same in the universe. God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is
    also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata-of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free."

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  51. Anon – Einstein was in fact an atheist. The word means "without god", and Einstein didn't believe in god or gods. You can also say he was an agnostic in the same sense that any scientist is. A scientist never talks in terms of absolutes, only the degree to which something is known. We have extremely strong evidence that the world is round, that evolution is real, and that the speed of light is constant. But no scientist would ever say that some weird new evidence could make us change our minds. It's just extremely unlikely. If you read Einstein (and keep in mind that he lived and wrote during a time when atheism was rare and reviled), you can plainly see that he didn't believe in God, and his "agnosticism" was nothing more than the philosophy of any true scientist.

    As to your statement that, "None of us know for sure if we are right or wrong," that's sloppy philosophy. You should read Isaac Asimov's essay, The Relativity of Wrong before you go any further.

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    1. you do a good job of avoiding the question and changing the subject, or twisting the subject to make it sound more to your favor.

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  52. Anon – You've fallen for Christian dogma hook, line and sinker. The idea of "free will" being tied to evil is ridiculous on the face of it. An almighty deity surely could have created happiness, love, goodness and joy without polluting the world with evil too.

    And how do you explain all the horrible things that happen to animals? They suffer the same diseases, feel horrible pain, get maimed and eaten, and die in misery, just like humans. But they have no "free will" by your definition.

    The world will make a lot more sense to you when you abandon your beliefs and start over with a fresh slate.

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    1. God must not exist because Craig A. James says so, can't you folks get that through your head? What more evidence do you need? Wait... does that make Craig A. James God? Praise be unto him.

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    2. No, God does or does not exist because God does or does not exist, and Craig A. James did not, and judging from what he has written, would not state otherwise. Your attempt at satire, or whatever it was meant to be, unfortunately fails miserably as it relies on believing Craig to be a teacher of dogmatism, when he is simply encouraging reason.

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  53. Your concept of what "an almighty deity surely could have created" is your own; it's wishful thinking. Now let's look at things as they actually are. We live in a fallen world, and that means that sin has ramifications. There is no reset button; this is not a game. Fair? No. Sin is not fair. Not fair for animals, and not fair for victims of terrorism. That's why Jesus had to die, and He is currently in the process of setting things right, one life at a time. It's not simple; reality never is. But can you honestly say that your view of the world makes a lot more sense? I used to believe as you do, and then I started with a fresh slate with God. I don't have all the answers, but I believe I am on the right path, and following the One who does.

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  54. Almighty means almighty. It's your religion's creation, not mine. That's why Christian apologists have spent uncountable hours trying to justify all of the logical and moral contradictions. Christianity doesn't make sense unless you shut off your mind.

    Yes, I can honestly say the world makes sense without religion. I've never seen even a single thing that challenges that view. Everything from our existence to morality to the beauty of a sunset has a natural explanation. It's far more fascinating to learn the truth than to believe in ancient myths.

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  55. In the end Mr. James, you see the world and God how you want to see. You are wearing tinted sun glasses. If you really wanted to know the truth, you would leave all open to being the truth, but instead you are bias toward what you want to believe. That will never lead you anywhere. You will always be on here arguing with people that there is no God, because inside you really dont know if there is a God or not because nothing to you really says that its true or not. You argue because you are insecure about what you believe about the world and need a chance to build your ego and confidence through debating with people that dont have a phd like yourself but never actually coming to a conclusion, because you dont see a conclusion...if you really want the truth, go find someone as smart as yourself and be open minded not bias, stop messing around on here

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  56. Did you read "The Relativity of Wrong" that I posted above? Me insecure? It's laughable for you to pretend you know my state of mind or have ego problems. Put your money where your mouth is: how open-minded are you? Read this and prove it. Follow all the links. Learn about your own religion. I probably know more about your religion than you do, and I reject it completely. Most Christians are afraid to learn the history of their own religion because knowing the truth usually destroys faith.

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    1. Genius! Brilliant! All I have to do is follow a contrived exercise that was created for the purpose of disproving God, and then miraculously I can come to the conclusion that he doesn't exist! It is so definitive and irrefutable!

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  57. Thanks for sharing your beliefs, Mr. James, and allowing me to share mine. We are worlds apart, and that's not going to change easily. One of us is right, and one of us is wrong. We'll see. God bless you.

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  58. what a stupid post. God is not real you idiots.

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  59. I'm a Christian and I appreciate this article. I agree with all of you atheists who say there is a blatant ignorance of science and reason among religious people. I would have once been one of those people who said evolution was bull-crap. I admit, I am not 100% sold, but I'm getting there. I am finding more and more truth in Biology and the like. At the same time, I feel as though I still hold to my belief in God. Accepting evolution hasn't changed that.

    However, just like most of you, I still had many problems with this "story." Good job with your article. You made some valid points. I appreciate it.

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  60. Whats interesting is the Atheists and Evolutionists are so rude, they call everything else, other than their beliefes and theories, as nonsense. That to me is a very interesting part. I am proudly a Christian who believes in God who creaded the world and everything in six literal days. I believe there is no such thing as evolution.

    Now you are ALL welcome to spew as much insults as you wish. I am fine with that. I have done enough reading about EVERYTHING that you believe it, and have still come to one conclution, that There is a GOD in heaven, the Creator of the universe, the one who will stand and judge this world at the end.

    Dont worry, i will not even respond to your insults that will follow this post. God bless you all:-)

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    1. They would not be rude if they did not think they were right.

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  61. Bookmarked for future use. Thanks for going through the trouble of putting it all down. All I could ever do is face palm.

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  62. Personally, i feel it takes far far more faith to believe in theories such as "the big bang" or "evolution" than it does to beleive there is a supernatarul being beyond any of our (which means no one) understanding that created us and loves us etc.
    One day people will realize Science and God do not oppose one another but work in perfect harmony.

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  63. I used to be atheist (now a firm believe in the Most High God) and was all into science until science failed me and still does. Craig, i appreciate your efforts in trying to build up your argument reftuing this article etc but there is nothing as embarrasing as a person fighting themselves (i did that for years). You have literally shut down everything that is against what you say with out thinking about it twice, and in shutting it down you have shown more aggression than reason.

    It is scary that people who get told that what they could believe in is flawed could show so much rage and anger/ agression,no wonder the world is in the state that it is in now. A comment above spoke about pride, this is a prime example of it.


    Most of the things that you have posted are/were written by another person/man, who could of created that in their sleep (yes i said it) showing that you idolise them. The scripture is right in saying that you can not serve God and Mammon, you will dispise one and love the other.

    I pray that as Darwin did, you also get an opportunity to repent in your death bed. And that the scales of your eyes be removed.

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  64. To all of you "Anonymous" Christians above,

    It's sad, and somewhat telling, that the most common criticism leveled at me by Christians is that I'm angry. It's a subtle form of the classic ad hominem attack. Instead of addressing the issues, attack the messenger.

    The "angry" accusations (along with "rude", etc.) are nothing more than an attempt to make me look like a petulant child stomping his feet and shouting. You believe that if you can remove my dignity, you can win the argument without actually thinking. And you do this because you Christians can't come up with even one well-argued point that refutes anything I wrote about the hypothetical student-and-professor story.

    Here's a challenge: let's see just one well-reasoned criticism of what I wrote that didn't attack me personally.

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    1. I have nothing against you man believe what you will. Its cool that we can discuss these things at free will. I think the big thing for christians, which includes myself, is that we believe based on faith. Im not claiming to know anything about science or a lot about religion. I don't agree with christians telling you your wrong or you telling them their wrong. As the saying goes "we are all entitled to our opinion." I just wanted to say that we believe by faith and if thats how we want to live then why not let us? If our faith is so sad then just kindly leave it alone and enjoy your life. I would like to thank you though for having a really interesting conversation on here though. Once again its an awesome freedom we have to be able to discuss this freely.

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    2. I have nothing against you man believe what you will. Its cool that we can discuss these things at free will. I believe the thing for christians, which includes myself, is that we believe based on faith. Im not claiming to know anything about science or a lot about religion. I don't agree with christians telling you your wrong or you telling them their wrong. As the saying goes "we are all entitled to our opinion." I just wanted to say that we believe by faith and if thats how we want to live then why not let us? If our faith is so sad then just kindly leave it alone and enjoy your life. I would like to thank you though for having a really interesting conversation on here though. Once again its an awesome freedom we have to be able to discuss this freely.

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    3. The problem with faith is that it leads to errors. Serious errors. Errors that hold back society, repress minorities, and block scientific progress.

      It's one thing to have faith about things that are unknown or unknowable. The problem (as illustrated by this blog's topic) is that many Christians, Jews, and Muslims (maybe most) believe things that can't possibly be true. Many believe things that have been conclusively proved false (such as creationism).

      We are not entitled to our opinions when we're just plain wrong. There is opinion, and there is fact. Don't mix the two up.

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    4. I would agree that faith in the wrong thing can lead in the wrong direction, but how do we know that jesus christ didn't die for our sins? I mean the only true way to know that all of his miracles and his sacrifice for our sins are false is to have been there I believe. Also the only way for us to believe these things is faith. The christian lifestyle is all about love, compassiom, grace, and service to others. So why not let us share these things with those who want to be loved and shown compassion? I don't dabble in science because its not an intriguing subject to me, so I won't claim to know anything about it. I feel as though my God has done some pretty awesome things for me in my life so far. Im not gonna force my religion on anyone or tell them their wrong about what they believe, I just enjoy talking with people such as yourself about these isssues. So once again thank you for opening the discussion and allowing anyone to comment. I hope to continue this discussion with you.

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  65. Craig,

    All i would like to know is, this Darwinism etc. If asked, apart from Darwin himself, where can you say the true root of his analysis is based.

    I did mention that as you are, i was too an atheist so the anger that i mention above is directed at the way you answer to people on this discussion and isnt it funny that more than one person can see this yet you cant. (I mention that out of experience)

    The reason why we are not 'challenging' the what you wrote is that as a believer i am taught by The Word to deal with the root of issues (in this instance is you) instead of dealing with the fruit (the article).

    O and by the way, True Christianity is a lifestyle not a religion.

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  66. Anon - Darwin analyzed the data that was in front of his eyes, based on a career of careful study and an open mind. He is not some "god" to science. Dozens of other scientists in Darwin's time were coming to the same conclusions he reached. If Darwin hadn't published "Origin of the Species," dozens of other scientists would have. Since Darwin, millions of new pieces of evidence have been discovered that confirm, refine and reinforce the Theory of Evolution. And in spite of obfuscating claims by creationists, there has never been a single serious challenge to the Theory of Evolution. Every new discovery that "threatened" evolution turned out to strengthen it when it was fully understood.

    The root of Evolution is the world around us and what we can learn with our own eyes. It's only blind faith that blinds people to the wonderful and amazing truths of biology, physics, geology, astronomy and chemistry that science has uncovered, all of which support the Theory of Evolution.

    The reason why you are not "challenging" the what of what I wrote is that as a believer, you're incapable of using logic and reason to make an argument. You've been sucked in by the "Anti-Rationalism Meme" that convinces people that faith, not reason, is the root of all knowledge. It's the most insidious and crippling ideas that every infected humankind.

    A key principle in science is that credentials don't matter. If some high-school dropout disagrees with a PhD scientist, and the data support the high-school dropout, then the PhD scientist is wrong. Your claim to address the "root" by looking at the messenger instead of the message is just another symptom of everything that's wrong with faith. The facts speak for themselves. Truth is truth, and it doesn't matter who is speaking it. Check the facts for yourself, and if anyone tells you, "Trust me, have faith," then you should be immediately suspicious.

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  67. One question Craig, would there be atheists if there wasnt a God? And if not then what would you be?

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    1. I would be exactly the same.

      Are you an a-pinkunicornist because pink unicorns really exist? What would you be if they didn't?

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    2. It's not the absence of your god which makes people atheist; it's the absence of any evidence for any god which does that.

      Of course, you could refute that, and so destroy atheism in an instant, by producing a single piece of definitive evidence for any god. You could then convert us all to your religion by showing beyond doubt that it was evidence only for your particular god.

      Why do you never do that simple thing?

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    3. RosaRubicondior, you cant find evidence of God? What other evidence do you need, look outside for goodness sake, how about the fact that you see and think, the existence of space time, matter, energy... how ignorant can you be.

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    4. Well, why do those things necessitate the existance of god?

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  68. Anon - see this: http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/2010/11/atheist-agenda-make-christians-defend.html

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  69. As an agnostic I never want to get into a religious discussion with anyone who believes in talking snakes and demon infested pigs .. why even bother .. I would have thrown that kid in the freezer and told him to work it out if it's cold or not.

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  70. The best proved theory in the history of the world is Quantum Mechanics, not evolution. Not to say evolution isn't scientifically proved. But it's not actually close to right to say it's the best proved theory in the history of the world, there are myriad other physical theories before it that are better because of predictive potency.

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  71. Raihan - I simply disagree. Quantum Mechanics is solid indeed. It's inconceivable that it will be disproved in the future. But the amount of evidence supporting Quantum Mechanics doesn't come close to the amount of evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution.

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  72. Hahaha talk about forcing beliefs on someone, isnt that what the public schools are doing with evolution?

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  73. Evidence + Evolution... thats a good one.

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  74. Anon - Evolution is not a belief. It's a fact, proved with ridiculous certainty over the last couple centuries. Get over it.

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    1. Because we all have seen it happen over the last centuries that we all have been alive, huh?

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    2. Yes. And if you doubt this scientific fact, you need to go back to the classroom.

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  75. Im gonna make a claim using creationist logic =]
    I have a pet dragon in the front yard that says you cannot prove a negative.He also is older than god (it is tattooed? onto his skin so it must be true) and knows god origins.He is intangible to everyone but me.
    Following your logic, you would have to accept my claim is true until you provide evidence that it is undeniably false. You do not get to make exceptions to suit your god.

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  76. "It resists education." Oh, please. I am a Christian and study Applied Physics at a university. I agree with some of the points you make on this story, but some of your statements certainly seem to lack logic as well. I also want to add that not every Christian refuses to accept the theory of evolution.

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  77. In the end, if a person wants to believe in something, then why should we be the judge of whether they are good or bad? I hate the idea of duality, because theres no room for exceptions, and if anyone has any sense of how us humans are, they would know that we humans are far far from being perfect. As for religion, I personally believe "in something greater", but I dont do even half the things that other relgious people do. Also, I think its a common fact that this "god" is not something that is physical, and a large number of people who believe in god would agree as well.


    As for taking the word of the bible, exactly word by word, there will always be flaws and sometimes, things are just put into a satire. A simple example, is that they desribe the main four horsemen that come to earth and spread their terror. I seriously doubt that 3 people and 1 skeleton were able to spread their "reign of terror" throughout the world by simply running around on a horse, but they are simply used to illustrate things that can cause harm to people (like death, war, famine etc.)

    In the end, choose what you want to choose. If you want to be total atheist can claim that you KNOW that god or any other religion is fake, then please, show me your facts and evidence. If you are a completly religous person, then prove to me that god DOES exist. Since nether side can prove 100% proof of either, its best to just leave it to people to decide for themselves, rather than call each other right or wrong.

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    1. Your definition of "Atheist" is in error. The general stance of the "Total atheist" is that they are prepared to accept the existence of a deity(ies) once definite evidence, or non-fallacious argument is presented. No atheist claims to know any god or religion is fake if they are a "total atheist" - they only point out the lack of evidence or substantial argument to support the claims of any they've encounter so far. You commit the error of the false dilemma.

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  78. According to DeMorgan's theorem, stolen from wiki, states that The negation of a conjunction is the disjunction of the negations and the negation of a disjunction is the conjunction of the negations. We prove this by using a truth table and filling out out and comparing the outputs, which always match. Anyway that was the electronics side of the DeMorgan's duality principle, the principle is also applied to computers. When a programmer writes the software for whatever, he can choose to use either "if(a == b)", 'a' is equal to 'b', is true or "if(a != b)", 'a' is not equal to 'b' equals false. In the famous real world scenario it would be something like. "is the cup half full or half empty?"

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  79. I have been observing the comments and Craig is not being "angry" he is arguing his point and what I have noticed is when he states his argument and when the anons can't say anything back to it then they just attack him with something else and change the subject i.e. telling him he is angry and rude. I see him trying to prove a point with evidence and I see the anons prove a point with their faith. Thus the argument goes no where and no one can ever be a clear winner or loser with the two beliefs because they are just simply different. It's like trying to tell a fish to walk. faith does a lot of good especially for people who have nothing to turn to but saying everything else isn't real and that science was created by God alone is being ignorant. Wake up! I don't have a problem with your faith but there is a problem when you reject all other evidence and say that only God made it.

    "You argue because you are insecure about what you believe about the world and need a chance to build your ego and confidence through debating with people that dont have a phd like yourself but never actually coming to a conclusion, because you dont see a conclusion...if you really want the truth, go find someone as smart as yourself and be open minded not bias"

    I think you are being insecure if you need to defend yourself with your faith. If you believe in it I don't think you have to go through this much trouble in proving that you are right.

    I am not a christian because of your arguments. Your kind of religious people make me turn into someone I am not. Not being a religious person does not mean I am a bad person and Society needs to realize this. I do community service all the time and I am very gracious when it comes to things I receive and I don't think you need to believe in something whether that be religion or science to be a good person. In the end it is what you believe in that matters and if you were confident about it then you need not argue with other people.

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  80. Einstein was not a deist. Most scholars who have read his books and private letters conclude that he was an "agnostic atheist" -- that is, he believed there was no evidence for anything supernatural nor any reason to suppose that any supernatural being exists. This is not the same as a "gnostic atheist," which is someone who claims to have positive knowledge that no gods exist.

    Most atheists (including me) are "agnostic atheists." See Russell's Teapot to understand why.

    To properly understand Einstein's public writings about God, you have to understand the times in which he lived. It was social and academic suicide to declare oneself an Atheist. Read about Bertrand Russell's persecution if you're not familiar with the perils atheists have faced in the past.

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    1. I agree with you Craig, due to the times that many Agnostics, Skeptics and freethinkers lived they stayed in the closet just because of fear.

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    2. "that is, he believed there was no evidence for anything supernatural nor any reason to suppose that any supernatural being exists."

      But that doesn't make him an "agnostic atheist", it makes him a naturalist. (agnostic naturalist)

      As far as I know Einstein called the Universe "God" and he said he believes in Spinoza's god (God=Universe). Possibly this was just a metaphor he used. (Yes, public writings, interviews, I know.) But also in personal coversations and letters he seemed to reject the lable "atheist":

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298-3,00.html


      He was angry about theists and atheists claiming him for their side.

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  81. I think you are all missing the point. How can science or faith prove anything about the other? This is a pointless matter to even argue. If being religious is what makes you happy throughout your life, go for it. If you choose not to be religious, good for you. But not for one second is it okay for one to impose on the other. Someone who denies faith and tries to force that belief (or lack thereof), is just as ignorant as someone who stands on a street corner passing out Bibles and shouting his/her beliefs at those passing by.

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    1. Not true. The problem is that those who rely on faith wander into areas in which science has a great deal to say. Then, when science and faith disagree, the "faithful" try to claim that science is just another faith.

      Science can prove many things, and has already proved many or most of the claims in the Bible about nature and the universe are simply wrong.

      If you want to claim that science and faith can't prove anything about each other, then you have to restrict faith to things about which science knows nothing. Today, there is very little indeed that science hasn't at least examined. Your assertion that science can't prove anything about faith is nothing more than the God in the Gaps argument.

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  82. Oh look it's another scientist out to make religious people look like idiots..thanks never seen one of these. I hope you feel oh so special now.

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    1. There seems to be a belief of persecution here. And of course the typical ad hominem argument. This is not the case of "another scientist out to make religious people look like idiots". This blog post was set out to demonstrate that a apocryphal story is false. It was passed around and promoted as an authentic event. One version of it has the student being Albert Einstein! I really doubt that Mr. Einstein (who was Jewish) would answer "yes" to the question "Are you a Christian?"

      You made an assumption about the motives of the original poster that is not supported by the evidence. You accuse him of the arrogance that you displayed by such a response.

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  83. Darkness is the Absence of Something. You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light ... But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and its called Darkness, isn't it? In reality, Darkness isn't. If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn't you?
    Again, this is the same silly word trick. The author is claiming there is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is merely a subjective, relative term that says, "Insufficient photons are stimulating the retina for this human's present needs."




    Insufficient photons are stimulating the retina for this human's present needs???????????? If i'm not mistaken, isn't this just restating the above, only in scientific terms? Wouldn't it still mean the absence of light??

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    1. No, it's not restating the above in scientific terms. The author of this silly essay made a strong assertion that "Darkness isn't." It's a stupid linguistic trick, not a scientific claim. Once we clearly define what we mean by "darkness," the trick is exposed.

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    2. Isnt it a stupid Linguistic trick in response to a stupid linguistic trick..

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  84. I was about to attempt a response to this popular myth for some friends and stumbled upon yours here. Well done!

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  85. I agree that most religions can't stand up to scrutiny.A true religion should stand up to scrutiny,to new ways of thought,to questions about the truthfulness of the said religion.Whether one chooses to believe there is a GOD,it up to him/her.You can't simply say that because God created satan,God is bad.I am speaking this from a christian point of view.Satan was created as an angel,he simply couldn't take it that God, the creator of everything in heaven or earth,was being worshipped.satan became jealous and also wanted to be like God,so satan rebelled.

    If you baked cookies and a few them came out slightly burned you can't simply say you are a Bad cook.
    I've studied,biology,chemistry and physics.Man might have evolved from a monkey,the monkey from something else but where did that first single cell come from?

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    1. Anon – Actually, I can say that if God created Satan (or more generally, God created this world in which there is such an incredible amount of suffering), then God is bad. It's pretty obvious.

      Christian theology focuses on humans, but virtually every creature with a brain on this planet feels suffering. Do dogs deserve mange, tapeworms and cancer? Obviously not, yet they suffer just as much as we do from these diseases. How does a Christian explain that?

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    2. We were given free will. We weren't created evil. God created us in the image of him, perfect and without sin. However, also having the ability to choose whatever we wanted, we were tempted into sin. If Satan was able to rebel, then he too must have had free will. Therefore once again, the evil wasn't created, it was chosen. God not interfering in everything we do, isn't him being evil. It's him letting everything play out. What's the point of having free will, and being able to do anything, if you always have someone catching you every time you make a little mistake? That's just not how it works. If he had wanted it that way, we wouldn't have free will, and we would all operate in one select way.

      Anyways, I won't be visiting this site again because it all seems rather silly, so don't bother responding to me. Just wanted to give you something to think about.

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  86. God created satan but he wasn't evil upon his creation. Lucifer, his real name, was an angel in heaven. Go read ths article and it will show you what satan was and his downfall from heaven. http://www.bible.com/bibleanswers_result.php?id=242

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    1. I hear this all the time and it's crazy to me that people still use that in arguments. "God" can't be all-knowing and all-powerful, yet not all-responsible. It's simply impossible (by definition) to be all 3. The free-will argument doesn't hold weight even if you only said he had a good guess of what the consequences of his actions were going to be let alone that he was sure.

      If a bake a poison cookie and leave it next to a starving baby, am I not responsible if the baby then eats the cookie and dies? How come I can't say "the baby had free-will"? I mean, that's basically the whole Adam and Eve story in a nutshell.

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  87. Wow, you all are really up in arms over this. It's meant mostly as satirical humor. Take a chill pill and do something more constructive than pissing at each other over views not agreeing with your own. LOL

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    1. You said everything!! Congrats.

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  88. What is funny to see is the desperation of atheists to convince believers that god doesn't exist. It's such a loss of time. I had a good laugh reading this try of showing a lot of knowledge and blah, blah, blah, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha and such a blindness to what the article really means behind the words. Such a lack of knowledge about the bible and god. God created Lucifer not to be bad, but god gives freedom to all to decide what to be. He gave us the world and freedom to do what we want. So, It's not god that lets one man to kill another man. He taught the right and the wrong and we decide what path to follow. God never was against knowledge and education. He just tested the obedience of Adam and Eve. Science do exist of course, and It's great and beautiful. Of course it is, god created it. The point is, if you don't believe in god, you have the right to, so live your life and respect others believes if you want to be respected too. You believe you have so much knowledge, still you won't scape from death, because god determined that we all will die to live again. Believe in what you want, make your choices and let others do the same. All you are saying here and the growth of believes like yours are in the bible. From now on, there will be more and more people thinking like you. All the Christians are aware of that. God does exist, he is watching everything, good and bad, and will act in the right time. Like you do when you raise your children. You show them wrong and right and you can't do anything if they choose wrong. You can advice, advice and advice, but they will change their path only when they decide inside of themselves. I am Christian, I am proud of that and this will never change. Those who believe will always believe and you are only doing your part, just like Judas did. By the way, I love knowledge and Science, I am Post Graduated, can communicate in several languages, play several instruments, live a healthy, happy and active life all being a Christian, and I believe I still have a lot to learn. So, as you can see, We are totally in favor of knowledge and education. The fact that I am a happy person doesn't mean that tragedies didn't happen in my life. But I have knowledge enough to know that god is not the guilty. The wrong choices of human being is. Well, Christians also have sense of humor, and that's why I took my time to read this, because I like to have a good laugh of people that lose time trying to make others think like they do. Clearly people that like to create discord and quarrels. I don't. So if I hurt you in any way with my words I ask you to forgive me. It wasn't my intention. I just wanted to show what I feel. If you have the right, I have too. I will pray for you. Be in peace and let others live in peace too. I will ask god to be by your side, because only those who are ill need a doctor around. Warm sincere hugs!!

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    1. Anon - don't flatter yourself. The "desperation" is purely in your imagination.

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  89. Craig has this amazing ability to make religious people post their thoughts in public, so everyone can see their lack of knowledge.

    And for the lack of knowledge: there is no excuse: study and learn MORE about the nature and the world/cosmos around us (with open mind).

    How many times there have been scientists rioting (with propaganda signs) around the churches against religious beliefs? And how many times the religious people are trying to infiltrate (their beliefs and comprehensions) to the scientific fields of study?

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  90. I've been reading so many opposing views even within your argument that it seems there is just no way to win this argument outside of the faith element. To state that evolution is the BEST PROVED THEORY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.....oh pleeeeze. Show me the billions of transitional forms and the billions of intact skulls and not just bone fragments proclaimed to be important...just to attain the next tax funded grant $$$$.....It is so full of holes, it's not funny. The original article does seem contrived, but professors as a whole are NOT open minded. They are a closed group of greedy non-thinkers who like their power and their money. They shoot anyone with ideas that don't fall in line with their profile. Education today is a sham. A huge, money grubbing, power hungry sham.

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    1. Probably one of the more embarrassing things I've read today. "Give a hoot, read a book."

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  91. Craig,

    I asked you earlier questions about Jesus Christ and I never heard back from you.

    Here is what I said "I would agree that faith in the wrong thing can lead in the wrong direction, but how do we know that jesus christ didn't die for our sins? I mean the only true way to know that all of his miracles and his sacrifice for our sins are false is to have been there I believe. Also the only way for us to believe these things is faith. The christian lifestyle is all about love, compassiom, grace, and service to others. So why not let us share these things with those who want to be loved and shown compassion? I don't dabble in science because its not an intriguing subject to me, so I won't claim to know anything about it. I feel as though my God has done some pretty awesome things for me in my life so far. Im not gonna force my religion on anyone or tell them their wrong about what they believe, I just enjoy talking with people such as yourself about these isssues. So once again thank you for opening the discussion and allowing anyone to comment. I hope to continue this discussion with you."

    Id just like to hear your thoughts on this.

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  92. Trey - First of all, if you'd been there, you almost certainly wouldn't have been very interested. According to non-Christian and ex-Christian historians who study Jesus' life without bias, the man you know as Jesus is probably an aggregation of several men who lived at the time, combined with all of the miracle stories that were the "urban legends" of the time. Every single story of Jesus performing a miracle pre-dates Jesus' birth, and were told about someone else. These stories, in a process known as syncretism, were "attached" to the myth of Jesus after he died. The simple fact is that Jesus' death went almost entirely unnoticed, because he wasn't a famous man during his own lifetime. You wouldn't have even known who he was.

    Second, you accept the Christian idea of "sin" as though it's a given. Here are two blogs that might interest you: We Are Animals", and morality comes from within us, based on our animal instincts.

    I also believe that the Christian idea of "original sin" is one of the worst ideas in the history of humanity

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    1. Considering that there are only four major western historians from that general time period, only Josephus lived outside of Rome, and even he was heavily biased from his Jewish roots and the control of Vespasian and Titus whom he traveled with; I am VERY interested in where these "unbiased" historians are getting their information, because it is definitely from a biased source.

      Also, the Muslim faith views Jesus as the only perfect prophet, not an aggregation of multiple people. While this is not a historians perspective persay, it is a non-Christian perspective and should be added in.

      Please try to research your comments before you make boldfaced generalizations based off of one historians opinion.

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    2. "While this is not a historians perspective persay, it is a non-Christian perspective and should be added in."

      While it is non-christian perspective it's still a religious perspective, and has bias.

      "Please try to research your comments before you make boldfaced generalizations based off of one historians opinion."

      Using assumptions about someone's argument as grounds to discredit it, won't get you anywhere. If he says his source is unbiased, ask him for a reference. Assuming his reference is invalid, won't win any arguments.

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  93. Thank you for taking the time to pull that little dialogue apart. It offended me on so many levels that I just couldn't look at it.

    However, as a Christian, I'd like you to please realize that it is possible to both be logical and scientific and to embrace a religion. It certainly can't be the unthinking, fundamentalist tripe that seems to be how we've come to identify Christianity, but one can be spiritual and faithful without abandoning intellect.

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  94. You say all these thing with uncertanty though so if it is not fact then the truth still remains to be found correct? You said that Jesus's story was the result of a bunch of Syncretistic Controversy. The syncretistic controversy was casued though by a single man using his own interpritation of the gospel, Georg Calixt, tried to consolidate two things: the roman catholic church and the new protestant church's. So all of these controversies are based on what this one fellow tried to do 1600 years after Jesus's death. So if you take out Georg Calixt then there is no Syncretism in the christian faith. This controversy talks nothing of Jesus Christ himself though, but rather trying to combine two different belief systems.

    You also said that all of Jesus's miracles occured before he was born but where did you get this information? Let's look at the story of Jesus walking on water. Im sure you know the story and if you look up information regarding the story you will find that it says, "The lack of any record of protests against the truth of this and other miracles is held to be proof of their historical reality." So then how does one say that this miracle happened before his birth when here is say's that there is lack of proof to say it is nothing less than the truth.

    Thanks for talking,

    Trey

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  95. Trey – I wasn't even referring to Georg Calixt. He's unimportant, and is NOT influential to most unbiased historians. The theory of the Syncretistic origin of Jesus is widely known and accepted by most historians ... INCLUDING serious Christian scholars. It's one of the "dirty secrets" of Christianity that a great deal of what's taught in seminaries is never passed along to the common worshippers sitting in the pews.

    Here is a blog that outlines the problem: Why Atheists Laugh at the Bible - and Why They Shouldn't

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    1. No ideas but in blogs!

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  96. I think you make an excellent point, it's an absurd scenario, but then again it's not meant to be an accurate transcript of a real scenario. No discussion like that would occur because no professor would be so unprofessional as to introduce it, or be tricked into agreeing that there was such a physical thing as cold and then yet again dark. I don't particularly like your use of the word 'essay' but I can hardly dispute it, it's an accurate description but implies it was intended as a considered and informative account when maybe it originated in an email or something casual.

    The references to cold and dark are flimsy and the professor would never really fall for it, but that's not how it's intended, they're meant to be practical examples to propose how evil can be an absence of good. The author doesn't say that darkness doesn't actually exist therefore evil doesn't exist, because that's not their point. It is supposed to be an argument, much the same as your comment, so I don't understand why you've examined the use of the words cold and dark because while they perhaps show lack of consideration, that doesn't completely negate the point of the argument so I don't see why you pointed them out.

    Also, I think given that the brain is probably the least understood organ, you were a bit unfair on them for their point about thought. We can visualise and measure electrochemical gradients in the brain, or whatever it was you said (I don't recall your wording but it was something to that effect) but it was only recently that anyone even observed changes in genetic material in the brain. We know a lot about the brain, but if you look at the unresolved questions then we know relatively little.

    Again, they may have referred to electricity and magnetism as separate entities, but it's not an unreasonable thing for a student of philosophy to say, they are seen by most people as two different phenomena and I don't see why you picked up on that. Similarly to the understanding of the brain, we understand how diamagnetism and paramagetism work, but at the most fundamental level we are left with currently unresolved hypotheses. It isn't a field of science I know anything about really, so please excuse my ignorance if you disagree with me.

    My point is that science has only got so far and beyond that it's clear we don't know how it works, and start producing theories which cannot at present be proven. It's not unreasonable to say that we don't know how electromagnetism works, even though it is a very sweeping statement which ignores the fact that we know a bit about how electromagnetism works.

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  97. Again, I think it hardly matters that he says 'with your own eyes' because it's a device of rhetoric, but even so the professor probably wouldn't have observed any evidence of evolution, only atatements from scientists who have. Scientists have seen 'proof' that evolution is a working theory, but not any proof that it has actually occurred on a greater scale. I say that not because I don't believe that evolution didn't occur, because I do, I just dislike the use of the word 'proof' because people assume from proof that something is proven, which is a terribly unscientific attitude. Evolution is not proven, there is merely strong, compelling evidence for it. We can regard it as the true version of events unless we get strong evidence to the contrary. It has not been 'proved over and over', even if we do have a strong case for it. I agree with your point, but not your approach.

    As such, in a real situation, the professor would be more likely to say that there was strong evidence in favour of the theory and the student would be wrong to disregard that. It was strong supposition to state that nobody has observed the process of evolution at work: We may have observed the varying forms of organisms over time from fossil records and whatever genomic material we can scrape together, and though this is not direct observation of the process since we have sparing units of evidence and no conclusive way of showing that the changes were an evolutionary process, we can suppose evolution has been observed at work by geneticists, microbiologists etc. Maybe what they meant was that there is no way of proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution has occurred over the history of life on earth because we can't directly observe that, in which case they would be right, but if so they phrased it appallingly.

    I think you are being unfair on the author at the point where they question whether supposing his brain exists is a leap of faith. You yourself said neurosurgeons see human brains every day, you are arguably acting on faith because you have never heard of a human that didn't have a brain, but there is no evidence that nobody has opened up the head of a living human and found it empty and decided not to mention the fact. You would be fairly stupid not to make the assumption that every living human has a brain. Assumptions are necessary for science because we rely on the observations of instruments and other people and even the veracity of our own senses and reason, but you seem to be treating faith as 'unreasonable assumptions' which I would disagree with because I don't see how faith is any more than an assumption without concrete evidence, (which is just an assumption really) does that make it unreasonable? I'm sure you wouldn't dispute that many assumptions are reasonable and necessary. As a scientist you rely on those observations, as I said, but I'm not going to argue that skepticism isn't essential, because Hwang Woo-Suk would still be directing high-profile stem cell research if people hadn't questioned his findings. But I think you will agree that reasonable assumptions are necessary. Which assumptions are reasonable or unreasonable?

    Thank you, you have given me food for thought. You haven't dissuaded me by any means, but I thought it was very interesting that you chose to comment on this dialogue thingy even if I disagreed with aspects of your approach. Please forgive me, I am not as well read as you, so if I seem ignorant it's because I am. I can hardly help that this has been the case, but maybe I will improve.

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  98. you (the blog administration) are ridicolous

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    1. If you're going to insult me, you should check your spelling.

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  99. I in my ignorance am more than a little envious (lol) of the reasoning by knowledge in many of the posts. I have only a little college. As I grow older (I'm 63) I find more and more I'm fascinated by physics and logic yet don't have the knowledge to partake in such a conversation, although I do understand much of what is said. In regards to this particular Einstein story, when I first read it I thought to myself "this story has GOT to be full of holes!". I'm so glad there are people who have a thirst for knowledge and THINK, and expose the nonsense behind such stories and saddened that so many prefer to remain in ignorance in believing them.

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    1. Anon - thanks. You might enjoy Dan Barker's book, "Godless." It's a fascinating story of his personal journey from being a well-know Christian songwriter and evangelical to one of America's best-known atheists. Along the way, he discusses many of the aspects of religion that just don't make sense from a philosophical and scientific point of view, but using layman's language.

      Another great book is "The Blind Watchmaker" by Dawkins. It's a bit more serious but still quite readable. It gives a very thorough account of why almost all scientists are not religious.

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  100. Dear Craig,

    First, I wish to state, so as not to waste your future time, that I do not plan on returning to this blog, and thus will not see any possible reply you might make to this comment. Not because of anything wrong with it, just because I do not have a high interest to and have college finals coming up.

    Second, I applaud you for trying to find flaws in such an argument and not accepting it prima facie. Such an action expands not only your understanding but others as well when you share the flaws you find it. No matter what someone tells you always try to apply and expand your understanding of something (only of course if you freely choose to do so, otherwise this statement becomes paradoxical).

    Third, It is nice to see someone who actively responds to criticism and comments in such a timely manner.

    Fourth, In the sake of honesty I shall admit that I have only read about 40% of your rebuttals to this “essay”. I did not feel like reading all of it because in each and every one it took an average of only 15 seconds to find a flaw in each of your arguments against the flaws of the “essay”. Some of the flaws are from improper definition, others from lack of scientific knowledge, and others further still from mistakes in logic. Succinctly put, some of the flaws that you claim exist in the “essay” do not because of minor faults in your reasoning or knowledge of the subject matter in which it addresses. I apologize for not discussing why they are flawed, but as mentioned earlier I will have the time to. To simply point out each mistake without backing up why would be an injustice to the hard work you have obviously put into your argument. I apologize for not having the time to discuss the mistakes with you in the detail you deserve.

    Fifth, for the sake of proper argument if you are going to call the argument you are refuting an essay please give proper credence why. Saying you got it from a Facebook post hardly makes it so. The specification of whether is an essay or not is important because the medium in which a person presents an argument has impact on how the argument is received and interpreted.

    Sixth, I do not know enough about your academic background, even if I knew everything about it still wouldn’t know everything about what you know since we are not one in the same, from your “About the Author” tab, but it appears your scientific knowledge about subjects you try to use as evidence is very lacking. I constructively criticize that you should probably consult others who are more versed in the subjects you are trying to use to give validity to your argument. Or at the very least do a little more research on the definitions of the various topics.

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  101. Seventh, “The problem with faith is that it leads to errors. Serious errors. Errors that hold back society, repress minorities, and block scientific progress.
    It's one thing to have faith about things that are unknown or unknowable. The problem (as illustrated by this blog's topic) is that many Christians, Jews, and Muslims (maybe most) believe things that can't possibly be true. Many believe things that have been conclusively proved false (such as creationism).

    We are not entitled to our opinions when we're just plain wrong. There is opinion, and there is fact. Don't mix the two up.” This post if full of inaccuracies that may help show my point of why you may need to revise/take a second look at your rebuttals. There is truth in that religion has been used to “hold back society, repress minorities, and block scientific progress”. But it is inaccurate to the problem is with faith. The problem lies with those who use faith to “hold back society, repress minorities, and block scientific progress”. In these contexts faith is merely a tool that has been used in negative ways. This is analogous to a gun. A gun has the power to hold back society. A monarch could use a gun to shoot anyone who tried to initiate political reform in order to hold onto their power. Guns have most certainly been used to repress minorities of all types in several ways for centuries. A dictator could force a scientist to not create a cure for a virus that they created to weaken the populace and seize power. In all these ways the gun is shown to be dangerous, it is a dangerous tool. The gun is only dangerous if used by someone to do something dangerous. By itself the gun is simply a collection of particles in a solid state. Without an operator it can’t fire bullets or even act as a blunt instrument. Someone would have to bump into or trip over it for it to even be remotely dangerous on its own. Similarly faith by itself is not dangerous. It has been used for negative reasons such as the Catholic Church using it to have political control over nations or falsely saying that a religious text says that it ok to treat females as subservient to males. Both the gun and faith (and any number of other tools for that matter) can be used for negative reasons and in negative ways. But they can also be used for positive reasons in positive ways and have positive consequences. Faith can give people hope, it can ensure that we do not harm others, it can motivate people to advance science and academia fields. Guns can be used for self defense and the means to victory for a democratic revolution. While you do have the adjective modifier of “maybe” you still impose an overgeneralization that “most” followers of Abrahamic religions believe in “things that have been conclusively proved false”. As far as I know you are not a telepath (thought reader) and even if you were the probability of you knowing the thoughts/beliefs of billions of people is extremely small. The primary issue with your claim is that it is a major overgeneralization due to the shear improbability of knowing what so many people believe. Secondly, it is overgeneralization for the additional reason that even if some people of a group believe in “things that have been conclusively proved false”, that does not mean the majority does. Third, there are different divisions of the various religions for a reason. Christianity itself for example has thousands of subdivisions. People of a various faith may have a few overreaching beliefs that tie them under the same umbrella group but they can have serious disagreements even then about the interpretation and implementation of those central beliefs. Many sects do not have strict literal interpretations of their holy texts.

    Eighth, While I did have the time to explore this specific post of yours in detail, I do not have time to explore every flaw in your argument. This is in an injustice to you, for which I apologize for not giving your rhetoric the proper time for discussion it deserves.

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  102. Ninth, Duality most certainly does exist in science sir. In mathematics for example there is the duality of probability. The total probability of events in a situation is 1. P(A) is the probability of event A occurring, which is between 0 and 1. Conversely, the probability of event A not occurring is 1-P(A). They are dual probabilities with no intersection. If the probability of A increases then the probability of 1-P(A) decreases. For a chemistry example consider the amount of matter available for one-way reactant to product chemical reaction: At the beginning there x atoms of the reactants. The chemical reaction begins. Say 2 minutes later 30% of the reactants have reacted to form the product. There is now 0.7*x atoms of reactants and approximately 0.3*x amount of y atoms of the product. There is a duality in the amount of atoms of the reactants. The amount left to form the products is dual to the amount already used. I can’t increase the amount used without decreasing the amount left. In physics, for an atom to be stable it needs a proton for every electron.

    Tenth, there is the constitutional/moral error and logic error with your statement “We are not entitled to our opinions when we're just plain wrong. There is opinion, and there is fact. Don't mix the two up. ” First, assuming you live in the United States, then your statement is wrong, at least in the legal since. A person is legally and morally entitled to their opinion when they are wrong. A person can say and believe that evolution has made one ethnic group of humans less intelligent than another ethnic group even when there are countless evidence and tests that prove the contrary. We are entitled to believe and have an opinion whatever we wish in spite of whatever the facts maybe. Second, your sentence “Don't mix the two up” implies that there is no mix of fact and opinion. Mathematically if there is no intersection of fact and opinion then no one can have a factual opinion. So if I am of the opinion that I possess a nose, than according to your statement I in fact do not possess a nose.

    Eleventh, from your "Apr 16, 2012 01:03 PM” post you claim to be an “"agnostic atheist". Based on that I pose the following: Say the evidence for a phenomenon exists. Say the phenomenon is tested under the scientific method and passes several times. Thousands of years pass and the evidence for the phenomena has severely deteriorated over time. The awareness of the phenomena’s existence still exists through tales passed down generations. The phenomenon has changed over time in a way that it no longer can be actively observed through the human senses or be tested by the scientific method. The phenomena still exists but can longer be verified. The previous is not a hypothetical.

    Twelfth, The following is a hypothetical. Suppose that the microscope and any other invention that would lead directly or indirectly to the discovery of microscopic particles is never invented or could be invented, such as there being no way to assemble a material that amplifies eyesight. The fact that matter consists of the particles remains true but there is no way to ever prove it. Obviously I making the correlation that just because there is no way to verify a theory of phenomena, the theory or phenomena is not automatically false. If there is never a way to prove that an Almighty beings exists that does not mean that an Almighty being exists. It just means there is no way to verify if it exists. It possibly could exist, it possibly could not. Thus an Almighty may exist but we may never know, even in the afterlife. And from the previous paragraph it follows that there may have been a way that proved its existence in the past that no longer can be used today to test the existence.

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  103. Thirteenth, personally I believe that most modern evidence that an Almighty being exists is personal. I have had several moments of a religious or spiritual nature. The evidence was compelling, numerous and withstood several tests of the scientific method. It would be against the scientific method and unscientific to not have a belief in an Almighty in the face of so much evidence. Unfortunately because the evidence was personal it can’t be objectively tested. I can try and explain my experiences, but even if I am able to convince a person that an Almighty being exists it wouldn’t be true belief. Unless they had their own experiences and//or observations of evidence and/or leap of faith then there belief is simply a belief that I wouldn’t lie to them. Also, there is non-personal evidence that can be objectionably tested that has persisted throughout time and still exists today and will likely exist far into the future. The evidence is too numerous to even mention all the various topics it covers, but for one example there the existence and origin of matter.

    Fourteenth, I am both a scientist and religious. If I always took a literal interpretation of the holy text I follow I would run into several contradictions. I personally have a very loose interpretation of said holy text. I believe in evolution AND creation (not creationism in the definition you seem to be implying). For one thing evolution has to do with a process of change, not with the origin of creation. Science and religion do not have to, and often do not conflict. They often support and raise another to new heights. I am religious, spiritual, a philosopher, and a scientist.

    Finally, Craig I don’t expect to make you believe. You can only believe if you trust in the facts presented or if you take a leap of faith. You are free to choose to believe in whatever you wish. Please go ahead and argue your beliefs. I just ask as someone who wishes to see the collective intellectual state of humankind, and sentient beings in general, grow and evolve that you take the proper time to argue thoroughly, logically, and correctly with fact and truth. You are also free to take whatever tone you wish when you make your arguments, but you make them sound weaker when you get into an angry or dismissive tone, for example when you said, “It's ridiculous” you only make yourself sound weaker by not focusing on the argument at hand and shifting focus to your opinion of reasonability of the argument. I once again aplogize for not having the time to converse your arugment in the proper detail it deserves.

    Thank you for your time for any part of this you did read. Good luck in your endeavors, whatever they maybe.

    Have a good day.

    Sincerely,

    Anonymous

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  104. Anon -- "... I do not plan on returning to this blog, and thus will not see any possible reply you might make to this comment."

    If you're not even willing to see if anyone cares what you wrote, what's the point? As soon as I saw that, I pretty much skipped the rest of your post.

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    1. Sounds like someone couldn't think of anything to say...

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  105. Can anyone tell me the name of student?

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  106. Question: Do scientist believe the Universe was created by an organized being/entity or the "big bang theory"

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    1. Scientists don't "believe" in the same sense that religious people believe. Scientists find evidence to support a certain explanation of how things work (a "theory"), and then their "belief" (the strength of their conviction that the theory is correct) is based directly on the strength of the evidence. It doesn't involve any faith or assumptions.

      The "Clovis Comet" controversy is a perfect example of a hypothesis that has some good evidence, but could easily be overturned by stronger evidence. See How Science REALLY Works: The Clovis Comet for a fascinating story.

      On the other hand, the Theory of Relativity, Plate Tectonics and the Theory of Evolution all have so much evidence to support them that it is inconceivable that any new evidence will refute them.

      Scientists do not believe the universe was created by an "organized being/entity." The Big Bang Theory is currently much like the Clovis Comet controversy. There's a lot of evidence for the Big Bang, but it's still conceivable that another theory could come along that explained the facts better.

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  107. I also noticed that the first half of the story is a theodicy debate,, and the "student' never does come up with an answer to the problem of evil. he just changes the topic. That's something else that philosophy professor would never let him get away with.

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  108. umm if it really was Albert Einstein.wouldnt this have been a valid argument seeing as how we did'nt know as much about science befor as we did now? maybe now all this seems stupid but back then it could have valid but again thats just my opinion lol i think its charming XD lol

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  109. Words like "heat" and "cold" are not scientific or precise. We use them for brevity because we don't want to talk about molecular motion and energy in ordinary human conversations, and because they describe sensations that our nerves transmit to our brains.

    To a scientist, "heat" is an imprecise word that describes the human perception of the amount of molecular energy that our bodies are absorbing at a given moment. "Cold" merely means that the amount of molecular energy is low enoungh to cause discomfort.

    So it's stupid to say there is no such thing as cold. Everyone knows that "cold" is defined as the lack of heat, and is a subjective term.


    This isn't correct. "Heat" is a very precise term. "Cold" isn't precise, but it is specific. The argument being made is gibberish, though; it's a non-scientist's idea of what science sounds like.

    "Cold" is a qualitative description of a (relatively) low temperature (as compared to "hot").

    "Heat" is the spontaneous transfer of energy from a body at a higher temperature to a body at a lower temperature.

    "Heat" and "Hot" are fundamentally different concepts, but the alleged Einstein freely mixes them up. For instance, there is no such thing as "white heat", but there is such a thing as "white hot" (an approximate range of temperatures at which a hypothetical black body emits light in the visible range so as to appear approximately white).

    This:

    We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can't go any further after that.

    Is just teeth-grindingly wrong.

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  110. I really Enjoy this analysis, I would like to see what a cristians will say about this..

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  111. I just spent an enormous amount of time reading all of the comments and arguments. Some are well edjucated, both religious and non-religious sides. Some blatantly idiotic. Some unfortunately misguided. What I have noticed they ALL have in common is that no one is looking at this from the outsiders view. If what you believe is different than someone else's specific belief that is perfectly fine. But when you assume that you are, with 100% certainty, right and that they are, likewise, wrong. You are just plain ignorant. 1) I don't care how smart you think you are, there is currently not a scientific theory which actually disproves the existence of God. The same way that there is no absolute way to PROVE the existence of God. Plenty of arguments on both side that make nothing more than SUGGESTIONS. Not proof. The benefit of the Christian mind is as follows. Faith is enough where logic cannot explain. The downfall is lack of proof. The scientific mind has a worse standpoint. Science is based off of proof. If you cannot prove that something is, it clearly isn't. Do how can you be so absolutely certain that there isn't a God even though there is NO SCIENTIFIC WAY to prove it? Here's an open challenge. If you think you can prove it. Give it your best shot. I can personally guarantee it will be laughable. And before you challenge Christians to do the same, remember that they don't require PROOF to believe. They are happy with simple faith. So I ask you, who is the bigger fool. The person who doesn't need proof? Or the person who needs it but can't deliver?

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  112. Is it "ridiculous" when Believers cannot prove the existence of God but NOT ridiculous that scientists cannot prove the non-existence of God.
    Science derives that there is no God from the inability of believers to provide proof of His existence. Believers in God do not need proof.
    Science which can prove many things do not exist, cannot prove that God does not exist. Why is this NOT RIDICULOUS.
    If scientists claim there is no God, prove there is none. Don't go round saying there is no God because believers who take it all on faith, do not provide evidence.
    Just because something is not proven does not ever mean it is not real or that it does not exists. It may just be that the means to demonstrate it's existence is beyond you. Or in more likelihood, it is BEYOND your human ability, scope or intelligence to ever demonstrate, comprehend, or prove it!

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  113. Anon - it's not ridiculous that science can't prove non-existence. You need to read Russell's Teapot, the famous argument that shows why you are wrong.

    Basically, Russell shows that when anyone (scientist, philosopher or layman) makes a claim that can't be disproved, that person has to prove it rather than insisting that others disprove it. I can claim, "Unicorns exist, and you can't prove they don't!" And my unicorn claim is just as good as your claim that "God exists, and you can't prove He doesn't!".

    I don't have to prove God doesn't exist, any more than I have to prove that Russell's teapot doesn't exist. Both are amazing claims with no evidence whatsoever.

    Believers can't prove God exists -- end of story.

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    1. Although I cannot prove to you that God exists, since I'm a mere human. But at the right timing, I believe God will reveal himself to you in a very personal way.

      In my country, people are jailed/persecuted for believing in Jesus...its easier to denounce God & go on as a free person than to believe. Yet, it is God's revelation in these people that kept them believing.

      It takes a simple book (like what you wrote) to shake the faith of today's Americans. But even through death, many Persians & Asian Christians held on to their faith, because the truth has set them free.

      May God bless you and your country men.

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  114. EXACTLY ... "Amazing claims with no evidence whatsoever" - in other words, there is no conclusion to the issue. In the final analysis your money is as good as anyone else's on whether God exists or not. It is NOT "end of story" .... as you arbitrarily declared.
    Thus as many have expressed in comments above "no one should be coerced into accepting God, neither thus should anyone denounce as "ridiculous, illogical superstition"; acceptance and belief in God.
    What if some one says he believes in Unicorns? It is entirely his prerogative & other than in a regime where individual freedom and rights are not entrenched & guaranteed; WHO IS TO DENY HIM THAT however illogical, superstitious or non Socratic it may be?
    Some one wishes to believe that Craig A. James has the answer to the Ultimate Truth; regardless of all other logical, analytical proofs, arguments & whatnots that that is superstition; he is entirely free to so believe.
    It is a personal choice.
    Imagine how a worm would be able to figure out QM or anything other than what its wormy brain is equipped to do.
    Then imagine humans as having that same 'intellectual capacity' in regards to God.
    When some entity is beyond our human (though rather intelligent - by our own standards) ability to fathom it is best we accept our limitations. In times past when there were no means available to analyse/prove many of those then mysterious superstitious items now proven by science to be factual, were they regarded as ridiculous? When people knew nothing about viruses, electrons, plasmons, etc were these classified as ridiculous, illogical dribbles?

    Please do not take the high ground to run others down just because one assumes intellectual superiority due to perceived excellence in one's academic training/qualifications/abilities etc! However intelligent one may think one is, ultimate knowledge and understanding of all things (superstitions & otherwise), is not attainable as a mortal human being.

    The time might come when we might be given the ability to know the Truth.
    The story never ends .. at least not for many who believe!

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  115. Wow. Craig. You dislike the thought of having to obey a God, which contradicts your own plans so much, that you turn to 'science'. 'Science' cannot even comprehend the Universe, or consciousness. If you really are that narrow minded and self-centered that the greatest thing in your life is finite matter and knowledge of said matter, then perhaps nothingness used to exist. After all, it carries through between your ears.

    Quit running from the truth. God isn't leaving, and neither is the prospect of Hell.

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  116. The truth is, I have a choices. I can either believe that God is the answer or I can believe that man is the answer. I can honestly say, that I would much rather put my faith in God than in man. I have not always been a follower of Christ, especially in my 20s but now I am nearing my 40s and I've been in this world long enough to see what it's like to live without God in my life and compare it to my life dedicated to the Lord's service. I can only speak from personal experience, but I would never go back to living life absent of God's love. I've tried it both ways, with and without God and I can't wait to spend the next 40 years under God's grace, guidance and love. Peace to you all.

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    1. Or maybe ancient, highly evolved myths that are incredibly infectious have enslaved them to a life of ignoring the truth. Just because you would "rather put your faith in God than in man" doesn't mean your faith is warranted. It doesn't matter how much you want something to be true. Truth is independent of our desires. That's one of the classic mistakes of people of faith. Just because a young widow with a baby wants to believe her dead soldier husband is really alive doesn't make it true. Just because you have no faith in humanity and science doesn't make your religion true. Sometimes the truth is unpleasant ... but it's still the truth. Peace to you too ... and I hope you look beyond simple faith to find your answers.

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  117. I'm not saying that anything you said here is wrong. However, I do not need to prove the existence of God for me to believe in Him. I enjoy science and everything about it, but just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean I can't.

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    1. Excellent point, and I agree 100%. I would never say otherwise. However, I do encourage everyone to examine the root of their faith, and to not accept anything just because someone else told you it's true or because you want to believe it. Religion has evolved (in a very real sense) over the last ten thousand year into a very attractive set of beliefs that are hard to dismiss ... whether they're true or not.

      At the risk of sounding self serving, that's why I wrote The Religion Virus. I have no objection to faith, but I do think people should understand the history and evolution of their own beliefs. The Religion Virus gives you a new insights into where the ideas that you call "faith" originated and how they came down through history to you. (In spite of the harsh-sounding title, it's not actually an anti-religion book.)

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  118. Atheist attempts to debunk Christian rebuttal as linguistic trickery.
    Atheist then uses similar linguistic trickery to make his points.
    Atheist audience eats it up.

    Priceless.

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    1. Haha this is true, but at least the points made about the philosopher being more educated and able to diminish the flawed arguments of the student are spot on.

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  119. The student's response is a red herring. His faith was the issue not whether cold exists. Even of cold didnt exist ( rolls eyes) this is not proof of god or justification for belief in one...

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  120. We do not have to see God to believe as you pointed out the same thing concerning science. There are things existing that we cant see or smell or hear or touch and science agrees with this. Instruments have been made by man to discover these things. God is something that takes faith to believe. Many of us just "know" he is real which is exactly what science is...knowledge...and than knowing the things we didn't know before. We see him and feel him and hear him. Only in a different way than any instrument can measure. We do have an instrument built into us however to "see" God. Its our "heart". Our spirit. God is spirit and that is the only way we can see him and receive him. Open the eyes of our hearts God...we want to see you.

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Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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