November 19, 2007

Are You There, Mister Dawkins? It's Me, Teci

i'd really appreciate it if you pass this to everyone that you know. i already took the liberty of posting this on the professor's forum. :)

-----------------------------


Are you there, Mister Dawkins?

It's me, Teci.

Sometimes i wonder if you're really there. i've never seen you in the flesh, with my own eyes. i've never heard you speak, with my own ears.
But they say that this is how you look like.






And there's this book that people say you wrote.





And people around the world gather in your name to hear you speak.







But, i don't know. Is that proof enough that you're alive? As in, really?

i still have my doubts. But, i have to admit, i can't really disprove your existence. i'm not sure that you do exist, but i'm not sure that you don't exist, either.

But there's this really intelligent professor who said that we cannot disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster either. This man said that, that is not enough to prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Tooth Fairy, or God. So he doesn't believe in any of them.

That means that even if i'm not sure that you're not real, i must NOT believe that that you, Professor Dawkins, exist.

Who was that intelligent guy again?

Oh, wait. That's...you.

Hmmm...

Professor, i'm confused. If you're real, you just proved to me and to millions around the world that you're not real.

If you're not real, then and only then can what you say be true. But then, you said nothing, for you are nothing.

So your existence and your statements cannot both be true at the same time.

If you are real, then what you say about God is false, and God is not unreal.

If you are not real, then nothing you say about God is false, and God is unreal. But "God is unreal," according to a figment of my imagination.

Your existence and your statements cannot both be true, but your existence and your statements can both be false.

And God? Still standing, unscratched. He did not have to do anything because you simply disproved yourself.

...

...

...

Are you there, Professor?

...

Why don't you show me a sign, so i can believe, once and for all.

...

...

...

Nothing?

...

...

...

dang. what a waste of time. well, at least now i'm sure of who NOT to talk to anymore.


********************************************************


Dear Prof. Dawkins, sir, and everyone else who is reading this:

i am sorry to have to resort to this. i hate sarcasm, but it's the only way i can show how even the most brilliant minds in the world can make mistakes.

Sir, and everyone: why don't you ask God --- if He's real --- to show Himself to you? The tricky thing is, He's not a puppet; He reveals Himself according to His will, not ours.

But He does promise that
all who seek Him with all their heart will find Him ; that everyone who cares for the truth recognizes His voice; that His still small voice --- what we commonly call "conscience" --- is already speaking in our hearts .

More than that,
God loves the whole world --- that includes you! --- so much that He gave His best, His one and only Son . For so many times, God repeats that all --- that includes you! --- who call on His name will be saved , and only they will have life to the full.]

(And by the way, if it isn't obvious by now, i do believe that you exist, in the same way that i believe He does. :) In the same way, i am sure that this is not a waste of time nor email space; and that you are NOT without hope. :) )]


-----------------------------

Much thanks to the satirical article "An Exclusive Interview with James Cameron" by Ted Olsen in Christianity Today, as well as the coming-of-age novel "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume and the contemplative novel "Mister God, This is Anna" by 'Fynn'. And also to that chain mail about the atheist professor's brains (you can't see them, so...).

All images taken from The Official Richard Dawkins website: A Clear-Thinking Oasis. As an agnostic-turned-Christian scientist myself, who was and is as thirsty for the truth as Prof. Dawkins is, i can say for certain that Mr. Dawkins has found only a mirage.

For the truth shall prevail; when all opinions fall to the ground and wither with those who make them. :)


-----------------------------


teci =)
http://tecigurl.blogspot.com/

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

-- Proverbs 19:21

75 comments:

  1. Using philosophy and science in itself, there are a lot of reasons why atheism cannot guarantee that you will live your life fully. The "tools" they say are there only to equip us humans to understand God's grand design and His workings. We can use philosophy and science to glorify God to the best that we can. It was Adam and Eve's first sin of disobeying God with the idea that we alone can grasp the entirety of life through our own "knowledge of good and evil".

    And i can go on.

    To cut short, i have few articles for you to read using both Scriptures and reason discussing about:

    (a) "Love and Skeptic" (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/0705fea3.asp)
    (b) "Atheism's Gods", discusses Mr. Dawkins missing points in his infamous articles. (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1995/9502fea3.asp) My comment: just don't apply science too much that it already become out of bounds.
    (c) Creating our own meaning of love (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/0705fea3sb1.asp)
    (d) Exodus from Atheism (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0501dr.asp)
    Any doubts? Use reason and scriptures! In the end, you will eventually need Authority for correct interpretations. Just don't try to reinvent the wheel -- appreciate the wheel and help us roll it forward for salvation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous7:26 PM

    This is the very best you can come up with? I pity you.

    It is best you go back to your invisible friend. It's all you're capable of handling.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Draw from the tree of Life not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Life is a Person. Truth can change the facts. People say that this is the way to salvation. But Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Perhaps the heart is too afraid or too timid to face the real issues of life - bearing fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, kindness, and self-control. No wonder we kept on committing the same mistake as in the past. "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. It is an invitation to partake Life not to prove or disprove good and evil. Our mind is subtle and viscous doubter of the Truth whose main aim is to feast and fatten ones own vanity. This is the reason why the tree of Life (Jesus) and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Cross) came back this time at the foot of Golgotha. Where the first adam failed is where the second adam succeeded. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

    ReplyDelete
  4. to Geekborj (Jrob?):
    Wow! Lotsa links! Where do i start? :) Thank you very much :)

    to (Sir?) Mel:
    Thanks for putting it all together comprehensively :)

    to Anonymous:
    If "I pity you" is the "best" comment that you yourself can come up with, and you are not even willing to identify yourself, then maybe it isn't me you should be pitying. For your own sake, i hope you can be true to yourself before looking down on others. It's a long road ahead, but my invisible friend wants to be your friend too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lethe6:06 PM

    So, is this a joke?

    Because it is pretty funny. I hope you don't actually mean all this, though. And the whole god thing. I hope you mean it as a joke.

    Your invisible friend wants to be somebody else's friend? Aaw, how sweet. And how ridiculous.

    Have you ever researched atheism? Because you can't fight atheism with logic. Atheism is logic.

    That just leaves stupid arguments. Sound familiar?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:20 PM

    So, I'm guessing that you are not going to go back to the Richard Dawkin's forum and answer any of the the comment's made there. That seems rather cowardly.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12:25 AM

    Hahaha! Lmao!! *wipes tears of laughter from eyes*

    Ahh, bless you (not literally). I hope good ol' God is still your friend though.

    Satan is mine :D

    Ohh, wait, I love this comment someone has made!

    "Use reason and scriptures!"

    Those two do not go together...if you are a reasonable, rational person, you cannot believe in scripture of any kind. That would mean you were not rational ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous5:40 AM

    How did you come into the conclusion that scriptures and logic do not go hand in hand (compliment)?

    Tell me how logic (reason) alone can describe the essence of humankind and man's life? Science and reason can only deal with how but cannot fully answer the why. Why?

    Eventually, everything boils down to faith or belief into something that cannot be proven false (axioms or postulates). How are you sure that they are not just "creations" of human brain? For Christians (definitely for Catholics), the human brain can never grasp the Truth -- much like putting all the water of the ocean to a glass (c.f. Aquinas). Do not fall into relativism because there are absolute truths that Plato asserts the whole reality cannot be completely known.

    Beware that science itself does not claim finality in its "theories" and "laws". Do not hold too much "faith" into these. At least we Christians have final Statements -- in them we rest our faith. :)

    Try looking really deep in your brain (or hearts) and ask "Why?" Soon you will realize that there are missing points (reasons) that Science cannot fully answer. It is at this point that we Christians are complete -- Science + Christianism.

    As Einstein says it plainly: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." With the true Church, indeed "see" farther, and i can almost see what we call "heaven" and my life is beyond this "lifetime", beyond my "life cycle" as science puts it.

    The human race have evolved from primitive era when God is not known. Do not go back to where we have begun.

    Peace of Our God!

    --geekborj

    ReplyDelete
  9. Everyone: Respect and Love :)

    THANK YOU for taking the trouble to give your comments :)

    1. Let's look at a SCIENTIFIC Law: for example, the Second Law of Thermodynamics which essentially contradicts evolution (moving to disorder versus moving to order).

    i did not see any scientist state that law; i do not know if that scientist was even actually alive. But i can verify the claims of that law and see for myself if they are true.

    Does God exist? Babies don't really come into the world knowing. But somebody claims that there is a God, somebody claims the opposite. i can verify their claims and see for myself which if any is true.

    2. Mr./Ms. Anonymous said, "if you are a reasonable, rational person, you cannot believe in scripture of any kind. That would mean you were not rational". Also, Lethe said, "Atheism is logic."

    This article shows the exact opposite: the utter lack of logic typically used in supposedly disproving God's existence. If the commenters still insist, then please do prove to us the reason and rationale and logic behind your statements instead of just saying so. Otherwise, who is really making "stupid arguments"?

    3. Mr./Ms. Anonymous said, "So, I'm guessing that you are not going to go back to the Richard Dawkin's forum and answer any of the the comment's made there. That seems rather cowardly."

    No, actually i do plan on going back and checking out the comments there :) i'm just busy with my PhD research :)

    This is why many conflicts get started. Please avoid not giving the benefit of the doubt in judging from a wrong statement based on a nonexistent assumption.

    If i were cowardly, i would not have (1) posted this article on Prof. Dawkins' site himself and emailed his given contact address, (2) used my full name and picture on every blog and forum i'm in, (3) encouraged everyone to comment and forward this. Heck, if i were really cowardly, why would i even begin to talk about God and Dawkins?

    On the other hand, i hope you would be as brave by at least identifying yourself :)

    4. Geekborj has just started his postdoctoral work in physics, Mel also has a doctorate in physics and is currently teaching it in a university, while yours truly is a PhD student also in physics. Just so you know :)

    Again, THANK YOU to all of you :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Oh, dear. I visited the forum you were talking about. It appears your thread has been locked.

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=29099&p=515021#p515021

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great one Teci. I was really troubled when the Dawkin's God Delusion came out. It is heartwarming to know that there are people who are making a stand against it

    ReplyDelete
  12. Disclaimer: I don't know who Mr. Dawkins is, and I've never read his book. But from what I can understand, in a nutshell, it's about the non-existence of God.

    That said, what I don't understand is...

    1. If Mr. Dawkins believes that God doesn't exist, why go through so much trouble to prove it? I mean, I suppose he could write a book that a smarglefasslebender (whatever that is) does not exist, but what's the point?

    2. If God indeed does not exist, then did Mr. Dawkins write a book about a useless subject and sell it to so many people who are, sadly, reading something about nothing? Waste of money if you ask me, I'd probably feel suckered after reading the last page.

    3. If God indeed does not exist then what is Mr. Dawkins dedicating his life to? Proving nothing? On his deathbed, if someone asks him what his life was about and what he stood for, at the end of it all, it amounts to nothing. I feel sorry for him.

    4. Why are so many people mislead by the same idea that God does not exist? It's not like Mr. Dawkins is saying something new. Many have tried in the past, and all have failed eventually.

    Now, what I do understand is:

    1. Between a book that says something about nothing and a book that speaks into my daily life, I'd rather pick up the latter.

    2. Between a guy who I've never met and Someone who is with me, protecting me and guiding me daily, I'd believe the latter. Mr. Dawkins doesn't care about me or any of the people who have bought his book. I know for a fact that God does, He shows it everyday. And God cares for everyone, even Mr. Dawkins.

    To all Christians out there, I have no need to say more. Our experience of God is deeply personal and cannot be understood by people who do not know God. All we can do is try our best to introduce Him to everyone we meet. Keep the faith and fight the good fight.

    To all you atheists out there, call me deluded or whatever you wish but just remember, when you fail, when your friends fail, when your money fails, when Mr. Dawkins fails, God will still be there for you to help you pick up the pieces and give you everlasting life, if you call on His name. It's not a question of "IF" but of "WHEN".

    Good work Teci. :)

    God bless you all.

    -Carl

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Kim and Carl. :)

    Kim: We can confidently make a stand because we already know the truth -- and this is not to boast or be arrogant, but in all humility, we share that truth with those who were also as confused or even blinded as we once were. :)

    Carl: beautifully put. :) It's not IF but WHEN :)

    and so...

    Anonymous: Thanks for the heads up. I saw your comment at about the same time that I was going to head over to Dawkins' site. Yeah, it's locked, and I just asked them to reopen so I can answer the comments that I just read now... :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Logical1:49 AM

    Carl,

    If you have such questions about the Dawkins book God Delusion, why don't you read it?

    Moaning about it is pointless, read the thing and make up your own mind.

    This is an interesting blog, but I cannot find anyone that has given any evidence for the existence of God, or the Flying Spagetti Monster. But that's the point - there is no evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Allister Sandy2:05 AM

    What are you talking about, it isn't locked. Everyone is waiting for your return to richard dawkins forum. Please come back pleeeease. All you have to do is back up your arguements logically and no one will ridicule you. A matter of fact I invite all of you to atleast come and see the atheist arguements.If you are so confident that you are right you should have no problem backing it up. Many theist are excepted on the site once they have logical arguements or ligitimate questions. So please come back and defend yourselves. Non of u are that willing to debate you here because lets fac it this site is pretty poorly constructed in comparison with our forum.So again, please think about it

    ReplyDelete
  16. Logical2:13 AM

    Carl said...

    Disclaimer: I don't know who Mr. Dawkins is, and I've never read his book. But from what I can understand, in a nutshell, it's about the non-existence of God.

    That said, what I don't understand is...

    1. If Mr. Dawkins believes that God doesn't exist, why go through so much trouble to prove it? I mean, I suppose he could write a book that a smarglefasslebender (whatever that is) does not exist, but what's the point?

    Logical said:Dawkins is concerned by the abuses of children and women in the name of religion and perpetrated by relious people.

    Carl said: 2. If God indeed does not exist, then did Mr. Dawkins write a book about a useless subject and sell it to so many people who are, sadly, reading something about nothing? Waste of money if you ask me, I'd probably feel suckered after reading the last page.

    Logical said: The book is about religion and what is wrong with it - are you sating religion is nothing? I agree.

    Carl said: 3. If God indeed does not exist then what is Mr. Dawkins dedicating his life to? Proving nothing? On his deathbed, if someone asks him what his life was about and what he stood for, at the end of it all, it amounts to nothing. I feel sorry for him.

    Logical said:Dawkins stands for reason and science and free thinking - aorthwhile casuses imo.

    Carl said: 4. Why are so many people mislead by the same idea that God does not exist? It's not like Mr. Dawkins is saying something new. Many have tried in the past, and all have failed eventually.

    Logical said: As many people are mislead by a fanciful idea that a Deity is watching over them and all of us. The decline in religious belief all over Eurpoe does not support your assertion that all who don't believe have failed or will fail.

    Carl said: Now, what I do understand is:

    1. Between a book that says something about nothing and a book that speaks into my daily life, I'd rather pick up the latter.

    Logical said: Once again you say religion is nothing - and again I agree.

    Carl said: 2. Between a guy who I've never met and Someone who is with me, protecting me and guiding me daily, I'd believe the latter. Mr. Dawkins doesn't care about me or any of the people who have bought his book. I know for a fact that God does, He shows it everyday. And God cares for everyone, even Mr. Dawkins.

    Logical said: Why don't you share this bloke who is always with you with other relious delusionists? Why keep him to yourself? Where is the proof that this bloke is with you and cares about you? Prove to me God cares about me, show me some evidence.

    Carl said: To all Christians out there, I have no need to say more. Our experience of God is deeply personal and cannot be understood by people who do not know God. All we can do is try our best to introduce Him to everyone we meet. Keep the faith and fight the good fight.

    Logical said: Very convenient: God is deeply personal and cannot be understood - blind faith eh?

    Carl said: To all you atheists out there, call me deluded or whatever you wish but just remember, when you fail, when your friends fail, when your money fails, when Mr. Dawkins fails, God will still be there for you to help you pick up the pieces and give you everlasting life, if you call on His name. It's not a question of "IF" but of "WHEN".

    Logical said: So God doesn't care about EVERYONE, only those who call on him and worship him? What a lovely lad your God is.

    Are there no Christians who have failed, whose money hs failed? Does it only happen to non-believers? I think not.

    ReplyDelete
  17. allister2:30 AM

    By the way if you want to see PROFESSOR DAWKINS or hear him try ted.com he has a short lecture on there

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous3:02 AM

    Helloooo are you there Miss Teci it's me, allister
    The thread was unlocked but if they think you are not comming back they will lock it again.
    WAKEY WAKEY

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous9:32 AM

    This is the response I gave your "blog" on the Dawkins forum.

    Let's go down the Basic Theist Check List 101.

    1. Circular Logic? Check!
    2. Automatic Assumption that a deity(s) exist without providing any evidence for it? Check!
    3. Preaching? Check!
    4. Using the handful of nice Bible quotes and ignoring all the other nasty racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist, and just plain hate-filled ones? Check!

    Did I miss anything?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous11:40 AM

    You are an embarrassment to the title PHD and the institute that gave you it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Response to logical's first post:

    A lot of people INCLUDING MYSELF criticize the Bible before ever reading it.

    Isn't it possible that some people have found evidence that others just haven't found yet?

    i gave an analogy in "To all the posters at Dawkins' forum" (2 articles after this): if i'm talking on the phone, an observer might think that

    (a) i'm just pretending to be talking to someone,

    (b) i really am communicating with someone on the other line, but the observer doesn't know anything yet about that person. :)

    You said, "no evidence".

    i say, "i used to think so too. But now i do have evidence." :)

    i am saying this with all objectivity and respect. Perhaps you just haven't encountered it yet, or haven't realized that it was right there all along.


    To paraphrase logical:

    If you have such questions (and criticisms) about the BIBLE, why don't you read it?

    Moaning about it is pointless, read the thing and make up your own mind.


    Exactly, my friend. (And i call you my friend with all sincerity :) )

    ReplyDelete
  22. To allister sandy:

    Thanks for informing me that it has been reopened. (If you check the posts you'll see it was locked for quite some time. See "To all the posters at Dawkins' forum", two blog entries after this one.)

    i do have some comments for you before i go back there:

    #1. If my arguments sound "illogical", perhaps you should realize that i am only echoing Prof. Dawkins himself. i am showing how "illogical" he is in disproving God.

    #2. "[N]o one will ridicule [me]"? i have already been called a crack whore, among other things. Prof. Dawkins said only religious fanatics were capable of such hate-filled deeds. :)

    #3. It was always my intention to come back. Thank you for your intention to have me there as well. :)

    #4. "[T]his site is pretty poorly constructed in comparison with our forum." Substance is more important than style to me :) But anyways, please be careful with your spelling OK :) "legitimate", "face", "arguments", "atleast".

    Thank you for replying and see you over there at Dawkins' :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=509965#p509965

    ReplyDelete
  24. allister9:58 PM

    Well the reason why your arguments sounds so illogical to us is that you seem to be lacking a sense of scale. You are comparing the existance of Professor Dawkins with the existence of an invisible being who supposedly created the universe and is both all powerful and all knowing, Even using our opponents arguement it still sounds silly

    I think you were called a blog whore, not a crack whore and this was only because of your abrupt exit. You were ridiculed for the silly arguement you posted. I very much doubt that any of us meant it with any kind of hate. You got it because you were pretty much asking for it. Refine your approach and try again.

    As for the substance of this site well... I'll just hope I have not seen all of it yet. The errors in my spelling are more the result of my poor typing skills then anything else (you didn't really think I spelt face wrong out of ignorance did you?). I usually debate face to face and am new to the online thing. Even on Richard's forum I am only ranked as a newbie.However I apologize for the spelling errors anyway (that includes those I may have missed in this post)

    ReplyDelete
  25. allister10:03 PM

    PS. you should really put in an edit feature. I only saw those errors AFTER I posted it

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous12:00 AM

    Great post on the Dawkins board. I posed the same question on another board called CARM. It is of course a board many times the size of the Richard dawkins board. I posed the question asking proof of the existence of Charles Darwin on the evolution section. they failed miserably. Of course they can't even prove they ate lunch 2 days ago.

    It is with blind faith, so many claim the existence of The Dawkins but have never met him.

    At least I can claim to have met Ken Ham in person and heard his voice.

    Coadie

    ReplyDelete
  27. Logical,

    I'm not a great thinker, reasoner, or philosopher but okay, let's look at this logically. (pun but no disrespect intended)

    The biggest argument that God doesn't exist seems to be the fact that nobody can prove through reason or empirical evidence that He exists. By the same reasoning, this means that without exception, what nobody can prove through reason or empirical evidence must therefore not exist. If this is so, then man, through his constant examination of nature around him, has actually caused many things to come into being. For example, before we could reasonably or empirically prove that electrons existed (or micro-organisms, or radio waves, or radiation and so on), then they must not have existed. Electrons must have only come into existence when man found out how to observe them. Now, we all know that this is an absurd notion, so what is wrong with the argument? The flaw lies in the assumption that proving something relies on man's ability to understand the world around him. As man understands more and more, however, he is also able to observe and reason more. Maybe one day, man will be able to observe and reason out everything. MAYBE.

    By the same argument, just because nobody you have met or spoken to can prove the existence of God, either empirically or reasonably, that doesn't mean that He does not exist.

    But that's not right. The error, as you would point out, is that religion presupposes the existence of a Supreme Being without having any basis in reason or empirical evidence. Unfortunately, this isn't true either. The Bible (yes, that book that so many people choose to ignore as evidence)... The Bible gives eye-witness accounts of encounters with a Being who seemed to possess supernatural abilities. This isn't true only for the Bible, however. There are many more written and verbal sources that to some extent or another describe a Being or beings that possess supernatural abilities. Of course, these could all be written off as fairy tales, but why is it so widespread and found in so many non-connected cultures all over the world?

    Let's go back to the example of electrons. Before they were properly observed and identified, there were people who suspected and were even convinced of their existence because of clues. From there, means and methods were developed to detect and eventually make use of electrons.

    The same goes for religion. The clues of a Supreme Being are there, particularly in the eye-witness accounts and the diversity of cultures that report contact with a Supreme Being. This is not an assumption based on a flight of fancy.

    So, although it cannot be empirically or reasonably proven that a Supreme Being exists, it also cannot be proven that the Supreme Being does not exist. And, given that there is some form of evidence indicating the existence of a Supreme Being, it would be safe to assume that man is simply too limited at this point to prove or disprove anything.

    While this argument opens up the possibility that a Supreme Being does not exist, it does, at the same time open up the possibility that a Supreme Being does indeed exist.

    And this is where we part ways. I choose to believe and I am convinced, again through personal experiences, that God does exist and is watching over me. You, on the other hand, choose not to, until someone proves otherwise. That's up to you.

    In the meantime, you ask us to share this "Bloke" we call God to you. Well, that's what we are doing right now. Sad thing is, you choose not to listen. I'll even send you a Bible if you give me your address.

    You ask for proof that God exists? Well, for me, waking up every morning is proof enough. I'm sorry if that's not enough for you.

    One last thing. God DOES care for everyone, but just like children who disown their parents, how can those who do not acknowledge Him and call upon His name receive the gifts that He has to offer? I'm guessing that if you chose to disown your dad and ignore his existence for whatever reason, even if he wanted to give you a Benz or a Porsche, your pride would stop you from accepting it.

    Well, God bless you my friend. I will be praying for you.

    Carl

    PS. This is getting long, and I'm afraid that we are hi-jacking teci's blog. If you want to reply to me personally, send me an email at carld614@yahoo.com.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Carl and Logical:
    PLEASE, by all means, continue here. i'm very glad that you're both coming back to discuss this with everyone else who might be reading :D It would benefit more people! i might not be able to follow or comment on what you two are saying but i hope you continue to discuss here. Much thanks :D

    ReplyDelete
  29. Coadie:
    Thank you. That's right, we can't even really prove what we ate two days ago. i'm glad that people like you are addressing the important differences between reasonable and blind faith.

    Here's something i just realized yesterday: What about RADIO DISC JOCKEYS? We listen to them, heck we talk to them and give our song requests. They give us news and trivia. Are they even human, we don't bother to ask. Can i tell a non-radio listener that i listen to a strange guy's voice every morning? Isn't that freaky? ;p

    Thanks for the heads up. i hope i can check out CARM sometime [if i have time after responding to the fanmail :p] Hope you can give us a link or something?

    Much thanks and God bless :D

    ReplyDelete
  30. Allister:

    Your comments REALLY surprised me. i hope you won't get angry with me for saying this but you deserve the truth: i LAUGHED and wasn't offended at all.

    It's MY fault you made spelling errors, because i don't have an edit feature?

    --> i didn't type the words for you, did i?

    It's MY fault i was ridiculed, because i asked for it and i made an abrupt exit ?

    --> i didn't type the words for them, did i?

    i don't mind you telling me over and over that i am completely responsible for other people's actions :p

    i am worried, however, over how life must be for you --- and the people around you --- when you can't even own up to what you do with your own two hands.

    i hope you think about that, Allister. i'm genuinely concerned for you.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Logical1:35 AM

    Hi Carl,

    Your post is a good one, and I agree that there is a chance that your God does exist. But that chance is so amazingly small that I dismiss it.

    I will immediately change my mind shoul he come back to Earth and show himself. Almost all Atheists share this point of view.

    In my experience Theists are not so open-minded and ready to embrace change.

    As far as reading the Bible I have done that. I read it as a boy and I read it again in my 20's when my atheism caused a rift in my family. I don't believe a word of it any more that I believe in the existence of Harry potter, the Courneys of Africa that Wilbur Smith wrote about or any other work of popular fiction.

    Thanks for praying for me, while I find it a touch condascending I am sure it will make no difference. Besides you don't ahave any idea who I am, nor I you.

    Don't feel sorry for me though, that's a waste of emotion and I cannot return the fsvour.

    Regards
    Log

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Log (and Hello to all):

    Peace of the Lord!

    Am sorry that (i think) you missed the message of the Bible and the whole Christianity (Tradition) entirely.

    Based on what i know and believe: Christianity believes in a Diety because He did came down to us as Jesus. One good thing is that His coming down was recorded in history not just in the Bible. Another good thing is that there were multitude of witnesses, prime and firsthand are the Apostles. These apostles + first "Christians" believed and died for what they believed. This belief was handed down to us until now and will be passed on in the next generation. It came out of the early Christians tradition to eventually write these different accounts (hence "gospel") into a collection of books now called Bible. It is a literary piece (but much different from HPs and the like) that contains the revelation of the Word of our Diety. Thus, the interpretation of the Bible has to be guarded by the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit "that no power can overcome it" and will be with the Church "till the ends of time."

    As per the HP and other definite creations of imagination, absolutely they no one to be their witness of the characters' existence.

    Given this comparison, i would really believe in the God of the Christians! In fact, whenever i recite the Nicene Creed or Apostles Creed, i'm proud that i recite what has actually happened (as witnessed be the Christians before me) and what will happen as revealed to them (plural, not just one).

    Speaking of history, this God of Christianity also goes even beyond the Full Revelation time (Jesus' times), back to the times of the Jewish people and early Israel.

    Another Message is also the idea that God do not guarantee smooth Christian life -- rather it guarantees a perfect afterlife (hence death is actually "birth"). In fact, Christian life is full of challenges, tribulations, and even breaking up of families for the "sake of His Name" are indeed happening. But as long that you abide by His Words (and when interpreted correctly, based on experience with those Christians before us), you will see his divine Wisdom. Please don't just read the Bible by yourself. Try to look for authentic explanation. I recommend looking at the Vatican official website (for Catholic Doctrines) or a good source of discussions http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/2007_ann.asp about Catholic ideas.

    Another point i would like to put through is that our arguments should be about the Idea not about the personalities implementing such idea. Look, even Peter was one of the worst apostles (even rebuked by Jesus himself as "satan", + denied Jesus thrice, etc); but he was assigned by Jesus "to feed Jesus' lambs" and given the "key to heaven and earth". So it is not in the person but on the position of that person that matters.

    Atheists wants a personal and real physical experience of face-to-face with God. But this real physical experience chance was already granted to our Christian predecessors (apostles and patriarchs, Moses example). According to Christian Dogma, the next time that we will see God is during the final judgement. Unfortunately, we also believe that God is so powerful and righteous that only the Saints can see Him (beatific vision). So the only possible proof atheists (or non-theists, in the word of Prof. Dawkins) can have is punishment -- self-destruction.

    I have been in your position in my youth (agnostic to some extent), was convinced that a person can only grasp anything thru science and reason. However, eventually, you will realize that reason is limited within its own predefined realm. Much like mathematical theorems resulting from axioms, being limited to the sets of solutions possible. Just think about the differences in the axioms of plane and non-planar geometries, for instance.

    Thus, we even scientists have to resort to our God to explain things that we as humans are short of. Anyway, we only have 5 senses to know the entire universe, right? What if God created even more than what we can sense? (And i think He did).

    Think of science looking at the Primary Cause of all these. But and more importantly is to look even beyond that, think about the Designer (intelligent design view) for the path of all particles in this Universe. We are only bound to discover the design, period. No more than that. Being with so much pride results to ignoring the fact that a God must have Created and Designed (Genesis tells us of the "creation", the idea that this creation has "stages" suggests a design or pattern). The Design of Salvation is the greatest because history of the Catholicism and the Jews confirm that our God is actually planning something for us sinners.

    I believe that Science and Reason are gifts to know and love the Creator by having a better appreciation of how this Universe works (and is designed). Please note that our God is beyond time and space (or any multiples of dimension). Imagine yourself, looking at the ants walking on surfaces -- they don't know where they are going but you perfectly know what lies in their future (paths).

    Note that God's great plan of salvation has been always in a form of Covenant. In covenants, both parties have to agree on something. Particular to Christians and their God, is that both parties should love the other (hence we were given divine laws, God does not need it for Himself because He always fulfills his promises). Through time, God always shows us that He loves us. The only question is, are we willing to love God back?

    How do we love Him back? Look at what Jesus (The Word of God Himself, or more politically "itself") has told to the early Followers. I bet you know the answer because you have read the Bible more than twice.

    Holding on to the (Catholic) Faith handed down from generation to generation indeed poses a great challenge to all of us. It involves continuous purging of our Spirit to our yearning to become Saints and experience the incomparable happiness of the beatific vision of God. Once in a while we stumble but God always give us chances to stand and move forward. Let us just continue to ask for Gods grace because it is through this grace that we can achieve our true purpose in this life.

    If you have any question that you would like to ask, you can email me at johnrob.bantang@gmail.com.

    Your brother in Faith,

    geekborj

    ReplyDelete
  33. Logical6:01 AM

    This is a lost cause.

    Too many references to unsubsatiatable old texts, personal experiences which again cannot be substantiated.

    I give up - some of you are way too deluded, I blame the indoctrination you were subjected to by your parents, carers, peers etc.

    I do not have any brothers either - so stop patronising.

    Cheerio

    Logical Free Thinker

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Obviously we don't condone vulgarity and profanity. It is on the filthy language that the atheist starts stinking before i is dead. the vulgarity is from hate and anger. It is from darkness that cannot face truth or consider repentence. when Hitchens starts getting filthy of the mouth, they actually prove their areguement is pure and emotional. It is not rational. Irational people can not contain their emotion.

    The profanity is the denial of rational thought and behavior.

    ReplyDelete
  35. On profanity.

    I agree. In fact, this idea (profanity harms our rationality) has already been recognized in the scriptures, that "a man who conquers his spirit is better than a man who conquers cities." That is, controlling urges and emotions (will power) is one of the greatest challenge of humankind.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Teci, I fear you may be wasting time and money, yours and others, by pursuing a career in science.

    I've been poking around on your blog, and as someone who has degrees in both philosophy and science, I can tell you that there are a lot of jaw dropping errors and classic examples of circular reasoning. If your goal is to get a diploma so that you can use the authority of a scientific degree to back religious dogma, you are not only wasting your time, you are doing violence to the truth. If that is your intent, you should be deeply ashamed.

    The first thing that you must understand about science is the scientific method. Science is not a collection of facts, but a method for ascertaining the truth. Your statements regarding evolution convince me that you know nothing about this. A theory like evolution does not survive and go from strength to strength for 150 years simply because people believe in it. It is not a popularity contest. They believe in it because it has accounted for every relevant piece of evidence within its sphere, and makes accurate predictions of regarding the fossil record, genetics, disease, and everything else it touches upon. Nor has any shred of evidence ever been found to discredit it. If it were possible to discredit evolution, the scientist who made this breakthrough would be instantly famous, fantastically wealthy, and guaranteed a Nobel prize. It's not as if no one has tried. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is a dismal failure. It accounts for nothing, predicts nothing, has no evidence to support it, and is not even falsifiable (please tell me that you understand the criterion of falsifiability!)

    Science is not simply opinion established by authority. It must submit to the weight of evidence. your religion is purely a circle of opinion. Some historical elements have been found to be true, others false, but there is not a single scrap of evidence anywhere for the supernatural claims of religion. The religious claims of of dogmatic Christianity exist in an hermetically sealed bubble of opinion that pays no homage to anything beyond itself. Yes, even your claim that all this is in the service of God is mere opinion. I have only your word on your interpretation, and your insistence that others who share your views are correct. You should also know that the first great Christian theologian, Augustine, argued against literal interpretations of Genesis, and stated plainly that where science and scripture conflict, scripture must give way.

    I know this because I made all the mistakes you are making when I was your age. I had the same religious experiences--which were, if anything, more intense. But what I saw as a result of those experiences was that all religious dogmas are idols of the mind, and that all religious authorities seek to establish other idols, most commonly, in the case of Christianity, Bibliolatry and Christolatry. There are strong elements within the Judeo-Christian tradition, echoed by mystics of those and many other religions, that the fixation upon any one idea, book, person, or dogma as Absolute Truth is the greatest sin one can commit, a sin of pride, a claim to certainty that no human has the right to make.

    You claimed to have the Truth. From everything I've learned, if there is a Hell, that one statement will send you there. Upon that claim a thousand Hells have been built on earth. Humility is saying "I don't know" when you don't, learning what you can know, and keeping silent on what you can't.

    So I will give you a variation on Pascal's Wager. I will undertake to learn all I can, speak what I believe to be true, and hold my tongue when I don't know. There is a very small chance there may be a God. There is an even smaller chance that of all possible Gods, that God may be your God. But I will bet that if there is a God, and that God really is good, he will value an allegiance to the truth over sycophancy and groveling. And if there is no God, I will still have the benefit of a life well lived.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dear Elentar:

    Peace to you. :) Your response is very well-expressed, and very well-appreciated. :)

    i completely agree with your statements regarding science: “Science is not a collection of facts, but a method for ascertaining the truth… It is not a popularity contest... Science is not simply opinion established by authority.” True, and i would not have it any other way.

    The circular reasoning you (and others) mentioned might sound like the following: i-believe-God-because-the-Bible-says-so-
    -and-the-Bible-is-God’s-Word. i understand what you mean! i know that kind of reasoning is irrational; which is why i do not use it when explaining to skeptics or non-Christians. But of course, that is still the reasoning implicitly expressed, and i must explain.

    Since you have been “poking around my blog” :) perhaps you might notice that i write more qualitatively, about life with God, and less quantitatively/scientifically, about proof of God. Must a scientist always talk about science, or in a scientific manner? :) i am also a writer: not the journalistic, stick-to-the-facts type, but the creative one who deals more with realizations and emotions. Realizations and emotions are rarely substantiated with equations and evidence: they are of different natures, but that does not mean that the former are invalid or not true.

    But now we speak of truth. Indeed, someone can feel ‘truly happy’ or ‘truly sad’ with a lie or a misinterpretation. Indeed, like you said, “Humility is saying "I don't know" when you don't, learning what you can know, and keeping silent on what you can't.”

    But that is the point. i do know the truth. If i keep silent, or if i actively deny it, then that is when i am “doing violence to the truth.”

    Here is an example that might sound trivial but carries a lot of depth (perhaps that is what my entire blog seems to be!). When i say “my best friend lives in Australia,” it is difficult to prove because i am living in a different country. If my other Filipino friends refuse to believe because they do not see her, what can i do? Part of the statement asserts that she is not here with me presently. i can show them pictures, chat transcripts, even recorded voice messages, but i understand that these can still be dismissed as indirect, or inconclusive evidence.

    Right now i do not know what you look like. i could check out your profile and so on, but it can all just be an elaborate hoax (this is the Internet after all!) That is my point in ‘Are You There…’: there are actually many things we all take for granted: everyday assumptions and beliefs that are actually ‘leaps of faith even if they do not deal with God, life, and the afterlife.

    Let us go back to the example. Mima in the Philippines might not believe that Nina of Australia is my best friend, and Mima might even doubt that Nina is real. This is certainly a valid doubt! :) But if i hand over the phone to Mima and let her communicate with Nina herself? If i just let Nina speak for herself: that she is (i) real, (ii) in Australia, and (iii) my best friend, then Nina can easily prove my claim: “my best friend lives in Australia.” Moreover, they can be friends with each other as well.

    That is what i mean when i quote “all who seek Him with all their heart will find Him”, and “taste and see that the LORD is good”. i can talk all day long, but really it is one’s own encounter with God that brings all doubt and disbelief to a halt. When i realized the presence of God and the truth of the Bible, i had and still have a lot of questions; but the main turning point --- “God is real” --- has been made.

    i speak of personal experience but others talk of logic and reasoning as the basis of their conversion. i highly recommend Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org/) and Lee Strobel (www.leestrobel.com/). In particular, Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” lists the objective evidence for the God of the Bible; an outline summary can be found here: [www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/
    the-case-for-christ.htm]

    Back to Nina and Mima. [This is a great example because not only do they refer to real people, they really are my best friends since grade school! :) ] Mima and Nina really were close back then but they drifted apart; while Nina and i attended the same high school and were constantly in touch. Suddenly i bump into Mima, and i report that Nina’s in Australia. How would Mima react? She has to process that (i) it has been a long time (over a decade!) since she heard of or from Nina; then she might realize (ii) she barely remembers Nina; before thinking (iii) what has happened since then --- to Nina and to her?

    Elentar, you say you “had the same religious experiences--which were, if anything, more intense. But what I saw as a result of those experiences was that all religious dogmas are idols of the mind, and that all religious authorities seek to establish other idols…”

    You say you already had experiences. Looking back, and i speak from my own experience --- it is easy to dismiss them as wishful thinking, or hallucinations, or “idols of the mind.” But here is something that is less easy to deny:

    Transformed lives.

    i have changed. More correctly, i have been changed.

    From proudly proclaiming my views, to humbly expressing (yet firmly defending) God’s. i say humble because time and time again i had to take the wrong road i wanted, before admitting and proving to myself that it was wrong. i say humble because my statements often show my weaknesses and God’s glory in working through them. i say humble because i literally would have never understood God and life, apart from His revelations and explanations.

    i used to think i was brave for going after what i wanted. Now i realize that it takes more courage to do what is right.

    i used to think i was good because i did good things. Now i realize that i was just doing what i wanted, and i equally did both wrong and right depending on what appealed to me more. Now i realize that i am not good enough for God who is perfect, but in His perfect love He still made a way for me to be so.

    My priorities, my actions, my speech, my thoughts. My entire life has been and is still being transformed, for the better. This is something that the people around me cannot deny, and if i deny it in myself i can still see that living active change in other people.

    You said that “[science] is not a popularity contest.” i think we will agree that truth, in general, is not a popularity contest either. How come you later talk about possibilities? You said that “[t]here is an even smaller chance that of all possible Gods, that God may be your God.” It does not matter what the possibilities are, especially with regards to the active imagination of every person who ever lived. The only thing that matters is the truth.

    You say, “I will undertake to learn all I can, speak what I believe to be true, and hold my tongue when I don't know.” That is most certainly what i do.

    You say, “But I will bet that if there is a God, and that God really is good, he will value an allegiance to the truth over sycophancy and groveling.”

    This is what i say: If that God is really good, He will value truth. He will provide truth to those incapable of reaching it on their own.

    Now i ask: what happens to those who have already encountered the truth? You say He will value “an allegiance to the truth.” Does this include calling truth a “mistake”, an “idol of the mind”, “the greatest sin one can commit”?

    You remind me that science is "a method for ascertaining the truth", and you accuse me of “doing violence to the truth”. Yet shortly after you say (and i repeat) "the fixation upon [anything] as Absolute Truth is the greatest sin one can commit, a sin of pride, a claim to certainty that no human has the right to make." Have you noticed this?

    God will value truth, i agree. And we have no excuse, especially if we have already encountered truth in the past. And He values an allegiance to the truth over the sycophancy and groveling over the 'fact' that we do not know, when we in 'fact' already know it.

    Elentar, what is the life well-lived, apart from truth? Earlier i said that someone can be happy over a lie, and i know that you will agree. But i have found this to be true: apart from God there is no good thing, there is no life well-lived. As a scientist and as a Bible-believing Christian, i urge you to seek the truth, and have an allegiance to it. What is “doing violence to the truth” apart from denying its very essence?

    i thank you once again for your response and for the opportunity to discuss this with you. i truly wish you well.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Log,

    I must apologize if some things did not come across clearly so I shall try to explain. About my offer to pray for you, please do not perceive it as condescending. I do not imply in any way that you are in need of help. To me, prayer is real and powerful and in all sincerity and humility, my offer to pray was made out of a genuine desire to bless you, regardless of your current situation. As you said, to you it may not make any difference, but to me it does. Also, though I do not know who you are and you don't know who I am, I am firmly convinced that God does know both of us intimately.

    Also, please understand that I don't feel sorry for you. I simply apologized if my proof of God (waking up every morning) was too trivial for you. Nothing more.

    I had to say that, just so we're clear. As much as possible, I try to be respectful to everyone I come into contact with.

    Now that's out of the way, I'm curious about your statements:

    "I will immediately change my mind shoul(sic) he come back to Earth and show himself. Almost all Atheists share this point of view.

    In my experience Theists are not so open-minded and ready to embrace change."

    From what I understand, it seems that you assume that theists will not accept proof that God does not exist, should such a proof ever arise. Somehow, I find it difficult believe that you have enough understanding of a group of people that you have chosen to give up on to predict how they will decide to behave in a given situation. Also, you seem to speak for all atheists when you say that they will be open minded enough to accept the proof of a God, should that proof ever arise. Though you are an atheist yourself, can you be certain? Many people have trouble even understanding themselves sometimes.

    Not to be disrespectful or anything, but to say that you can predict the outcome of an event that has yet to happen based on factors you cannot comprehend is not logical.

    Also, you said that you agree that there is a chance that God exists but to you, the chance is so amazingly small that you choose to dismiss it.

    Isn't it true, that in order to be able to weigh the chances of anything, you would have to know and understand most, if not all factors involved. Even so, your "amazingly small" could easily become "amazingly big", if you fail to take something important or several seemingly unimportant things into consideration. Now, somehow, I cannot believe that anyone can take EVERYTHING into consideration in a matter as large and complicated as this. This being the case, I can only guess that your assessment here is flawed, yet you cling to it with fervor, which is, again, not logical.

    Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not attacking you or trying to convince you of anything. As I said earlier, there will always be people who will believe or won't believe, so I'm not trying to force you to do either. I'm just curious and I wish to understand the logical thought process you underwent in order to get where you are now. So far, what you've written is quite confusing and inconsistent.

    Cheers,

    Carl

    ReplyDelete
  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Elentar,

    I like this one. :)

    "A theory like evolution does not survive and go from strength to strength for 150 years simply because people believe in it. It is not a popularity contest. They believe in it because it has accounted for every relevant piece of evidence within its sphere, and makes accurate predictions of regarding the fossil record, genetics, disease, and everything else it touches upon. Nor has any shred of evidence ever been found to discredit it. If it were possible to discredit evolution, the scientist who made this breakthrough would be instantly famous, fantastically wealthy, and guaranteed a Nobel prize. It's not as if no one has tried. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is a dismal failure. It accounts for nothing, predicts nothing, has no evidence to support it, and is not even falsifiable (please tell me that you understand the criterion of falsifiability!)"

    Let me make a few changes...

    Religion and God do not survive and go from strength to strength for... hmmmm.... MUCH longer than 150 years.... simply because people believe in it. It is not a popularity contest. They believe in it because of the countless documented and undocumented miracles, testimonies, eye-witness accounts and first-hand experiences. Nor has any shred of evidence ever been found to discredit God. If it were possible to discredit Him, the person who made this breakthrough would be instantly famous, fantastically wealthy, and guaranteed some sort of prize. It's not as if no one has tried....

    Now interestingly, the theory of evolution, after 150 years, is still, precisely that. A theory.

    About the supernatural claims of religion, well, what about all the miracles reported in the Bible and by people up to this day and age? Oh, that's right, they are all too convieniently non-believable, non-verifyable or just plain coincidence. Or are they? You said so yourself, some historical facts are verifiable and some aren't. So isn't it possible that some miracles are true and some aren't?

    Finally, I also find this interesting:

    "So I will give you a variation on Pascal's Wager. I will undertake to learn all I can, speak what I believe to be true, AND HOLD MY TONGUE WHEN I DON'T KNOW."

    And then you go on to say:

    "There is a very small chance there may be a God. There is an even smaller chance that of all possible Gods, that God may be your God. But I will bet that if there is a God, and that God really is good, he will value an allegiance to the truth over sycophancy and groveling. And if there is no God, I will still have the benefit of a life well lived."

    If I read this right, you know you don't know everything yet you declare, by your own limited understanding, that the chance that God does exists is very small. By that same limited understanding, you try to second guess Him and put words in His mouth. And, finally, who's to say that your life is a life well lived if you have no measuring stick to measure it with? If you base it on your own limited understanding, what is well-lived for you, may not be well-lived for anyone else.

    I am convinced that there is an Absolute. You and I adhere to it, whether consciously or otherwise. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that you can say that you have a "life well lived" because in your heart, you know that you're following an Absolute Good. :)

    Cheers,

    Carl

    PS. Sorry about deleting my previous post. I had to fix some grammar. :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous2:23 AM

    ... regarding this ongoing debate, it seems IMHO that to prove that god exists or does not exists using science or logic will always be beset with difficulties. this is not helped by the usual tendency of the theistic devotees to question the merits of scientific method. in matters of the supernatural, it seems that any actual empirical experiment will never be adequate or sufficient. To the atheists, of course, it is more than enough.

    Conversely too, to prove that god exists would naturally, i assume be a simple task for the believer especially since their faith enables them to overcome any doubts or arguments denying the existence of gods. faith too, i think, enables them to accept answers that are provided by the bible as sufficient, though some might cite that extra biblical evidence such as works of other people.

    the point i'm trying to make is that in many of the arguments that have been presented by the comments above, the mere fact that different methods or evidences are being presented by both sides, having little or no common ground (or having found little or no acceptance on the opposite side), any argument put forward hence will necessarily be biased for one or the other.

    i suggest that both parties must first agree on what constitutes a necessary and sufficient method for proving that god exists. without this, i believe, any exchange would almost be futile. next, in accordance with the accepted method, we must faithfully adhere to the method agreed upon. finally, we must all learn to accept the findings. assuming that everything goes well, this discussion can now move on.

    now, i suppose the first step alone constitutes a mountain of a task with both sides keen on suggesting the "best method".... sadly because of this the debate regarding god will never escape from being a rhetorical one, rather than evolving to a serious issue that can/can't be resolved....

    the best of luck to us all.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Teci:

    You make the mistake of thinking that I rejected my experiences. Far from it. I followed those experiences all the way, to their rational and moral conclusions. It is my hope that you will do the same.

    Secondly, my intent was not to convert, but to instill up you the need for scientific honesty. Part of the Wedge Strategy is to push Christians through science degrees so that they can use their credentials to damage science. Evolution is one of the crown jewels of science. You have a duty to know this.

    There is in Christianity a tradition known as Natural Law. The principle of Natural Law holds that the will of God is revealed in the natural world, and that we can understand God by studying nature. Throughout the Dark Ages this tradition existed but was thwarted by the iron grip of dogma. When the reformation splintered and weakened this dogma, this principle allowed science enough room to maneuver. The result was Newton, Leibniz, the scientific method, and yes, Darwin. Darwin began as a devout Christian, but he could not ignore what the evidence was telling him. As a good Christian, he knew that truth trumps dogma every time. It is quite possible to be a bad Christian and not know that. He sat on it for twenty years, only publishing when it became clear that someone else was going to publish the same ideas anyway. And his work would have benefitted immensely if he had known at the time about the results of Mendel. Mendel's independent research supported evolution. Mendel too was a good Christian, a monk, in fact.

    If you allow dogma to override the truth, you are not a good Christian. Dogma is human opinion. The Bible was created by human hands. Read Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus if you want to know how it was created. Truth belongs to God. Don't trust what cannot be verified, or your own solipsistic interpretations. Trust the evidence of nature, and submit your judgements to peer review. It is curious that religious believers, who so pride themselves on submitting to God, do not, in fact, submit to anything beyond their own opinions and those of people of like mind.

    Carl's arguments are old and tired, based mainly upon appeal to ignorance and false dichotomy--you don't know everything, therefore God. He even trots out the old "Evolution is just a theory" trope. A scientific theory is not a guess--that, in science, is called a hypothesis. Correcting this misconception should have been Teci's job, not mine. He relies upon a false symmetry between the claims of science and the claims of religion, forgetting the very thing that breaks the symmetry: physical evidence. Carl sites testimonial evidence. You may have noticed that in the story of Moses, the Pharoah's priests also turn their staves into snakes, which Moses' snake eats. So, by common belief and eyewitness accounts, apparently their gods also exist. Testimonies are mere anecdotal evidence--worthless--without physical evidence to back them up. Mere testimony would suggest that Sylvia Browne and Uri Geller are genuine miracle workers. Do not honor the testimony of fools. You will not like the result.

    The anonymous poster had the best comments. As for what would constitute proof of God's existence: clear unambiguous communication that did not originate with a human agent. "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM", inscibed on the moon in letters 50 miles wide, for example--in any language. Now I must counter with Antony Flew's question: "What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of the love of, or the existence of, God?"

    A warning: Antony Flew is now quite old and senile, and has been duped into putting his name to a book that he did not write, the contents of which he cannot remember. This says nothing about Flew or Flew's earlier work, but speaks volumes of the mendacity of the so-called 'Christian' who would exploit an old man in his dotage to make some dubious point. To cite this book to fellow Christians is to become a willing accomplice in this travesty. To cite this book to those familiar with Flew's earlier work will win you nothing but utter and well deserved contempt.

    Flew's question, incidentally, highlights an accident of history which contributed greatly to Christianity's triumph. The Torah was written by the Jews during the Babylonian exile, a period in which the Jewish identity was in peril of assimilation and extinction. The Hebrew god had been like most other gods, a god of wonders and favors, quite naturalistic, and therefore quite falsifiable. In the Babylonian exile he seemed to have vanished. The Hebrew scholars needed to envision a god to hold the people together, a god that was immune to the evidence against him. The result was the first unfalsifiable deity. With the decline of the Roman gods, largely due to the embarrasments of the god-emperors, a Jewish god of the Christians, immune to contrary evidence, had a distinct survival advantage over the falsifiable gods of the Romans. Christianity won by natural selection.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anonymous:

    Well said. Yes, it's true that the task of getting Theists and Atheists to work together will be extremely difficult. Not impossible though. :)

    Elentar,

    I did not propose that because we don't know everything, God must exist. Rather, because we don't know everything, how can we say that God doesn't?

    As for the theory of evolution, well yes, it works, yes, it seems to fit, however, only in as much as what has been discovered to date seems to fit the theory. Would you say that it's an absolute truth? That it can never be disproven in the future?

    I'm not really trying to prove to you or convince you that God exists. You've already admitted the possibility and that's enough for me. All I'm saying is that if man doesn't explore this possibility, it's rather shortsighted of us, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Hi Ma'am teci! I have been your student inphysics lab a few years back. I always remember you for such a nice aura every time you teach us. You feed us with the Word of God.
    I lived a life only half believing that there is God. I mean, I just did my own thing and pray some times. Everything just for my own convenience.. Then after graduation this year, having only a few things to do, that's when I started to ask questions about God's existence, if He really hears, and such and such... Well I sought Him with all my heart. I begged Him for it. I said if His real, then reveal Himself to me. It has been tough bec I don't know where to start. I remember Karl Marx said that religion or the belief in God's existence is just because people want to have some one bigger thatn them to turn to when everything seems to fall out. There are so many arguments about it. Huh! It was tough! It was such a long testimony. I was once among the people who is only half-believing, I mean just going with the crowd who prays. But now, I just can't explain what happened to me. I just know His there. My heart, my desires, my views.. it all changed. I experienced exceeding joy. I realized that if we are really curious about God, we indeed need to ask Him for it. We need to ask with all our heart because years of separation due to our sins is like a huge block placed in front of us so that we cannot hear, see or feel. God is in heaven and we are on earth. We need to humble pourselves before Him. Most of the time, people seek Him if they already hit the Rock-bottom. Well, I have a lot of testimonies about how it all happened in my life. I suggest everyone to really ask God to reveal themselves to them because THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE LIFE... TO REALLY HAVE A LIFE... Jesus Christ is really the Saviour! God Bless you Maám Teci.. Hope I receive more msgs frm u...

    ReplyDelete
  45. allister9:52 PM

    Am Teci, where did I blame you for my typing errors? As I can remember it I blamed my own typing skills. I did suggest that you put in an edit feature but I never said it was your fault. I suggest you read people's posts more carefully.
    I am glad you found my post so Amusing, I was really hoping I had not been to blunt. I would hate to make an enemy of a girl as lovely as yourself.
    I am quite aware that you did not MAKE people type the negative comments but you must understand people at RDF had high hopes for you and when you fail to put forward ANYTHING of substance... well you disappointed a lot of people. As a Phd student we all thought you would have known better which is why I said you deserved the harsh comments. As for your latter arguments concerning the second law of thermodynamics I believe one of our mods have already set you straight IN QUITE A BIT OF DETAIL and again being an up comming scientist YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER in the first place.
    In all your posts I keep seeing references to proof and evidence but we are yet to see any at all.
    Opposed to this we have radio-metric dating which indicates the earth is far older than 6000 years which is indicated by the bible.
    We have all those lovely contradictions in the bible that shakes it's reliability.
    The external contridictions with science, history and the observable reality
    The many failed prophecies such as the invasion of Egypt by Nebuccanezer (probably miss-spelt but who cares) that never happened.
    I could go on and on but I am a pretty lazy guy so come on and post again on RDF so some one else can school you.
    By the way I already know that these things don't neccessarily disprove god just the bible but think about it, moving on to the next best definition of god has been done time and time again, it's just pure interlectual dishonesty. Your moving from one excuse to the other

    ReplyDelete
  46. Calilasseia9:07 AM

    So, having complained that the thread you launched over at RDF was locked, we unlocked it. Specifically for the purpose of allowing you to return and reply to the points put to you.

    And did you?

    NO.

    You've apparently had time to update your blog, but, strangely, not found sufficient time to return to the thread that you complained about having locked in order to post in it. It now runs to twenty pages and climbing. As I check the thread in question whilst typing this, it contains four hundred and ninety eight posts. Of which yours comprise a small minority. Furthermore, a significant proportion of those posts are devoted not to addressing the numerous substantive issues raised for you to address by many of the other posters, but to complaints about such trivia as our policy on drive-by posters and the choice of epithet used not in the actual posts of some of our members, but in their post signatures. On the relatively few occasions that you have posted something resembling substantive content, your assorted assertions have been found to be precisely that - assertions. None of which are supported by evidence, and several of which are flatly contradicted by observational reality.

    Take for example, your assertion in one post that the "global flood" was a real event. This is flatly contradicted by observational reality. Indeed, the ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE for this ever having taken place was what led geologists to abandon the idea in the first place, because they gave precedence to what the real world was telling them over and above the unsupported and increasingly falsified assertions of a doctrine. Geologists even back in the early days of the development of the discipline as a scientific endeavour knew what genuine flood deposits should look like, and when they went looking for what should have been the mother of all flood deposits if the "global flood" myth had been a historical event, they found ... NOTHING. They found instead a VAST variation in the features extant in the real Planet Earth, indicative of an age that is at least five orders of magnitude greater than the ridiculous figure adherred to by certain individuals who place more credence upon the words of a 3,000 year old book written by goat herders than the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of thousands of professional scientists who spent decades mastering their chosen fields of endeavour. I'll leave aside such details as the fact that various civilisations exhibit evidence of unbroken continuity of existence right through the middle of the time that they are supposed to be under 9,000 metres of water, the fact that whole swathes of aquatic taxa, from the aquatic higher plants through the reef building corals to virtually all of the fishes would have been exterminated wholesale by such an event, the fact that the thermodynamic calculations associated with every so-called "flood model" proposed by creationists result in physically unreal conditions on Earth, with temperature swings in one case ranging from Pluto-type surface temperatures and the solidifcation of breathable gases to the dumping of enough heat into the biosphere during the reverse exchanges to raise the temperature to that of molten copper, and in one extreme case (the ludicrous "accelerated nuclear decay" scenario proposed by yet more individuals more interested in apologetics for a doctrine than scientific rigour) results in temperatures extant on the Earth that would have been high enough to reproduce the physics of Grand Unification.

    Even worse, however, you regurgitated canards in your posts that are KNOWN to be canards. Such as the canard about "inconsistency" in dating the Earth. I notice you did not even acknowledge the existence of the post in which I pointed to the UK National Physical Laboratory's website containing the vast data on the half-lives of all the known radioactive isotopes (a table with in excess of two thousand entries), and the list of isotopes that I presented whose half-lives were such that they should still be present if your assertion of an Earth being only a few millennia old bore any relation to observational reality. NONE of those elements are found, with the odd exception of isotopes such as Technetium created in situ by well-understood and well-documented physical processes involving interactions between the radiation output of long-lived nuclides and key stable isotopes of relevant precursor elements, where those occur side by side in rocks. The fact that I felt compelled to document this extensively in answer to someone who purports to be a graduate physicist, yet who composes posts containing demonstrable scientific errors, should give pause for thought to any reasonable observer reading said content. Not least because, as I stated in that post of mine where I documented extensively which nuclides should still be present if your contention bore any connection to reality, the processes of radionuclide decay are governed by a precise mathematical law that I learned to derive from first principles via the relevant differential equations at the age of fifteen.

    That was simply one canard that was contained in your output that required refutation. The one canard that really stood out from your assorted musings was the one in which you insisted that the Second Law of Thermodynamics somehow "disproved" evolution - a canard so banal as to be beneath deserving of a point of view even when posted by the usual drive-by fundamentalist troll, yet one whose presence in posts from a graduate physicist borders upon the surreal. Even more amusing was your admission that you could not recall a scientist ever having proposed that law in the first place - an admission of ignorance of a truly EPIC level that surely invalidates ANY claim you make henceforth to be any kind of arbiter on these subjects?

    More to the point, we at the Richard Dawkins Forums have seen all the other familiar canards erected - strawman caricatures of evolution omitting natural selection, assorted ex recto assertions of the alleged "improbability" of evolutiion taking place on the basis of unspecified probability "calculations" whose underlying assumptions are also never stated and thus are untestable with respect to their veracity, the entirely specious erection of a "symmetry" between a valid branch of science founded upon evidence from observational reality and the assertions of a doctrine (hint: one does not "believe" in evolution, one accepts the scientific case made for its correspondence with observational reality - "belief" doesn't come into it) and of course your gleeful pointing of everyone to that abysmal site purporting to contain quotes from "evolutionists" that "refute" evolution. Well the bad news for you arises upon several fronts, namely:

    [1] There is no such thing as an "evolutionist" - this term is an entirely synthetic discoursive elision erected by creationists to suggest that a "symmetry" exists between reality-based science and doctrine, when no such symmetry exists. There are evolutionary biologists and individuals outside that specialist field who accept the evidence that supports their conclusions with respect to their analysis of data from observational reality. Some of those professional biologists are members of the Richard Dawkins Forums and are heartily sick and tired of the impugning of their professional work, their dedication, their integrity and their diligent labours to solve pressing problems in areas such as agriculture, human medicine and understanding of ecology, by mendacious propagandists for a doctrine that is based upon scientific illiteracy, bad apologetics and outright theological pornography;

    [2] Those "quotes" are not true quotes at all, they are quote mines. And have been ruthlessly dissected as such by comparison of the snipped segments of text with the full context supplied by the original authors, several of whom have made public statements to the effect that they find such twisting of the meaning of their words offensive. Indeed, the science journals recently received a letter from one retired scientist who has asked for his original paper to be withdrawn because it was being abused mendaciously by said propagandists. Look up Homer Jacobson - his letter asking for withdrawal of his paper appears in the November/December 2007 edition of American Scientist magazine. Even more pointedly, several of the quotes are attributed to the late Stephen Jay Gould, who repeatedly complained about creationist quote mining of his writings, which shamefully and obscenely continues to this day;

    [3] Even in the case of those authors who express doubts about the technical intricacies of certain parts of the theory, and the support for particular hypothesised mechanisms, never ONCE doubt that the central thesis underpinning the theory is sound. The entirely specious magnification of minor disagreements over intricate technical details and their presentation as some kind of "imminent crisis for the entire theory of evolution" is another mendacious discoursive elision that has been practised so often that the regulars at the Richard Dawkins Forums can recognise it in their sleep.

    Now, this is just a small sample of the substantive issues awaiting addressing. Is there even the slightest chance that you will address these issues directly, or will we be treated to yet more posts littered with MySpace style hyperactive-teenage smiley overload combined with content that is about as substantive as the filling of a Twinkie?

    Oh, and in case the temptation to unleash a little editing mendacity upon my words becomes overwhelming (a precedent that is frequently encountered upon creationist blogs, with numerous well-known instances of after-the-fact historical revisionism on record) the original text of this comment is being saved, and furthermore being posted over at RDF in its original form. Other measures allowing the tracking of any mendacity are also in place.

    ReplyDelete
  47. carl said: "I did not propose that because we don't know everything, God must exist. Rather, because we don't know everything, how can we say that God doesn't? "

    You're absolutely right carl. Just like how I believe in leprechauns and pixies. We can't disprove their existence, so I think it's a little short-sighted to say that they don't exist, right?

    carl also said: "As for the theory of evolution, well yes, it works, yes, it seems to fit, however, only in as much as what has been discovered to date seems to fit the theory. Would you say that it's an absolute truth? That it can never be disproven in the future?"

    Do you feel the same way about the theory of gravity?

    ReplyDelete
  48. dr. jack cambrian said:
    "You're absolutely right carl. Just like how I believe in leprechauns and pixies. We can't disprove their existence, so I think it's a little short-sighted to say that they don't exist, right?"

    carl also said: "As for the theory of evolution, well yes, it works, yes, it seems to fit, however, only in as much as what has been discovered to date seems to fit the theory. Would you say that it's an absolute truth? That it can never be disproven in the future?"

    dr. jack cambrian said:
    "Do you feel the same way about the theory of gravity?"

    =======================


    Which was why i wrote this "Are You There..." article in the first place. Just because something cannot be seen does not mean it is not true.

    Jack, you group God with leprechauns and pixies. i group God with Dawkins and yes, gravity.

    Jack, with all due respect, your argument destroyed itself. :)

    ======================

    Of course, there must be direct proof to assert existence, i think we all agree here. But some atheists seem completely sure of God's non-existence! If you are *sure* He does not exist, i demand the same thing that you demand of me: proof.

    Else, should not atheists just say, "The proof for God is not enough," or "not convincing enough"? Perhaps, there is no God, but it is also possible there is proof that they have not encountered or accepted YET.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Allister said: Opposed to this we have radio-metric dating which indicates the earth is far older than 6000 years which is indicated by the bible. We have all those lovely contradictions in the bible that shakes it's reliability.
    The external contridictions with science, history and the observable reality. The many failed prophecies such as the invasion of Egypt by Nebuccanezer (probably miss-spelt but who cares) that never happened....By the way I already know that these things don't neccessarily disprove god just the bible but think about it, moving on to the next best definition of god has been done time and time again, it's just pure interlectual dishonesty. Your moving from one excuse to the other"



    i'm not moving from one excuse to the other because neither God nor the Bible was disproven. :)

    The Great Flood, if it did happen, could have caused gross miscalculations in the carbon dating methods we use today.

    Failed prophecies? i am not too sure about the one you mentioned (please be more specific if you can). What about the many prophecies that did occur, that were fulfilled? (ex: Jesus was born in Bethlehem but was raised in Nazareth: people disagreed over whether He was the Christ, because they did not realize He fulfilled both seemingly inconsistent prophecies!)

    How come some people look at that "failed" prophecy (that i have yet to check out) yet disregard the HUNDREDS or more that were fulfilled? (Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus: see http://www.bprc.org/
    topics/fulfill.html. Those fulfilled before and after Jesus' time, including the present: http://www.answering-islam.org/
    Nehls/Answer/fulfilled.html)

    How come some people acknowledge the Bible as an excellent source for ancient history yet turn a blind eye to the Mover explicitly indicated in that history?

    How come some people embrace Jesus'
    teachings on love and kindness yet ignore His claims of Deity and exclusivity (only way to the Father)?

    =============


    Thanks for the compliment. As for the "harsh" comments: no, i deserve more respect than that. Each person does. Regardless, i will be returning there when i have the time. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. To Calilasseia:
    Sorry for the delay in going back and responding over at Dawkins'.

    *As you can see, i don't even have time to respond to the comments here.

    *As for updating my blog, presently, much of it is citing other people's articles and sites!

    *i requested the thread to be unlocked so i can return in the first place. (Most or maybe all of you thought i won't ever go back.) i did not promise immediate responses but i did say i'm here (there) for the long run.

    * As for not acknowledging the existence of your and others' posts: i obviously could not yet find time to read 20+ pages of posts, let alone mention each one.

    *No need to safeguard your original comment, i'm not doing any editing. (Right, Allister? :) )


    And, Cali, i'm actually flattered that for all the irritation and annoyance that my posts (or their absence) have caused, you are still demanding my return. (i prefer this to locking threads.)

    So, thank you. :)

    (And, again, sorry, i cannot go back yet. :) )

    ReplyDelete
  51. Calilasseia9:25 PM

    I notice that this canard:

    The Great Flood, if it did happen, could have caused gross miscalculations in the carbon dating methods we use today.

    is still a part of your repertoire, even though I never mentioned carbon dating in my original post over at RDF, and in my above post on your blog referred to other isotopes - which necessarily includes isotopes present in igneous rocks that would NOT be affected by ANY flood whatsoever. Those isotopes include (along with their half-lives (sadly your blog doesn't support superscript and subscript tags, which somewhat ruins my original formatting):

    K-40 : 1,277,000,000 years
    Ca-41 : 103,000 years *
    V-50 : 140,000,000,000,000,000 years
    Mn-53 : 3,740,000 years *
    Fe-60 : 1,500,000 years *
    Se-82 : 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 years
    Rb-87 : 47,500,000,000 years
    Zr-93 : 1,530,000 years*
    Nb-92 : 34,700,000 years *
    Tc-97 : 2,600,000 years *
    Tc-98 : 4,200,000 years *
    Tc-99 : 211,000 years *
    Pd-107 : 6,500,000 years *
    Cd-113 : 9,000,000,000,000,000 years
    In-115 : 440,000,000,000,000 years
    Sn-126 : 100,000 years *
    Te-123 : 13,000,000,000,000 years
    I-129 : 15,700,000 years *
    Cs-135 : 2,300,000 years *
    La-138 : 105,000,000,000 years
    Nd-144 : 2,300,000,000,000,000 years
    Sm-146 : 103,000,000 years *
    Sm-147 : 106,000,000,000 years
    Sm-148 : 7,000,000,000,000,000 years
    Gd-150 : 1,790,000 years *
    Gd-152 : 110,000,000,000,000
    Dy-154 : 3,000,000 years *
    Lu-176 : 37,800,000,000 years
    Hf-174 : 2,000,000,000,000,000 years
    Hf-182: 9,000,000 years *
    Ta-180m : 1,200,000,000,000,000 years
    Re-186m : 200,000 years *
    Re-187 : 43,500,000,000 years
    Os-186 : 2,000,000,000,000,000 years
    Pt-190 : 650,000,000,000 years
    Pb-205 : 15,200,000 years *
    Bi-208 : 368,000 years *
    Bi-210m : 3,040,000 years *
    Th-232 : 14,050,000,000 years
    U-233 : 159,200 years *
    U-234 : 245,000 years *
    U-235 : 703,800,000 years
    U-236 : 23,420,000 years *
    U-238 : 4,468,000,000 years
    Np-236 : 154,000 years *
    Np-237 : 2,140,000 years *
    Pu-242 : 373,300 years *
    Pu-244 : 81,700,000 years *
    Cm-247 : 15,600,000 years *
    Cm-248 : 340,000 years *

    and this list is by no means exhaustive. Furthermore, the isotopes I marked with an asterisk * above are isotopes whose half-lives are sufficiently short to be completely depleted in an Earth that is 4.5 billion years old, but sufficiently long to be present in measurable abundance in an Earth that is only 6,000 years old. And what do we find when we look for those isotopes? Complete depletion. Therefore, observational reality says that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and your canard about C-14 dating above is irrelevant.

    But then if you had bothered to take note of my original post over at RDF, where I mentioned this, and where I provided the links to the relevant nuclide data, you would know this. For the benefit of other readers, here are those links - the complete Table of the Nuclides compiled by the UK National Physical Laboratory, split into sections because of its sheer size:

    [1] Hydrogen to Flourine (H-1 to F-24)

    [2] Neon to Potassium (Ne-17 to K-54)

    [3] Calcium to Copper (Ca-35 to Cu-75)

    [4] Zinc to Yttrium (Zn-57 to Y-101)

    [5] Zirconium to Indium (Zr-81 to In-133)

    [6] Tin to Praesodymium (Sn-103 to Pr-154)

    [7] Neodymium to Thulium (Nd-129 to Tm-177)

    [8] Ytterbium to gold (Yb-151 to Au-204)

    [9] Mercury to Actinium (Hg-175 to Ac-233)

    [10] Thorium to Einsteinium (Th-212 to Es-256)

    [11] Fermium to Roentgenium (name not yet officially recognised by IUPAC) (Fm-242 to Rg-272)

    This data is the result of decades of laboratory work examining the behaviour of all of these isotopes, and has been repeated around the world in other laboratories (e.g., Los Alamos, Sandia Labs, the various European labs that contribute to the maintenance of the SI standards) and the data is, pardon the pun, rock solid. The ONLY way in which you can possibly suggest that these half-lives are not applicable is if you wish to suggest, as certain individuals have done, that decay rates were accelerated in the past, and apart from the fact that this results in obscenely ridiculous conditions that would not merely have vaporised the entire planet, but generated a sea of exotic Grand Unification particles, this idea is a non-starter because it requires fundamental operations to the principles of quantum mechanics on such a scale that stable atoms would cease to be possible full stop. Once again, I find it utterly surreal that a graduate physicist is posting in a blog canards to the effect that the very subject she is studying and the mountain of experimental evidence from that subject are somehow overridden by the entirely unsupported assertions of a 3,000 year old book, particularly in the light of the fact that those assertions in several instances are flatly contradicted by observational reality. These canards are scientifically invalid, demonstrably so and are only ever erected as an exercise in religious apologetics. Now if you wish to assert that your religious apologetics supersedes solidly established laws of physics, then I think your supervisor should be informed about this, because if I was guiding someone through a Ph.D in physics, I would want to be sure that the student I was thus mentoring was rigorous in their application of robust scientific principles and didn't entertain any strange ideas that are manifestly at variance with the scientific discipline in question.

    As for your contention that the bible has not been "disproven", it states that a global flood occurred and was a real historical event. This statement is flatly contradicted by observational reality as I posted above, and in that post I cited enough reasons why it is flatly contradicted by observational reality to satisfy any reasonable observer, and therefore this is one instance in which your bible is "disproven" - the mythical "global flood" NEVER HAPPENED. The ridiculous apologetic gymnastics that continue to be advanced in order to prop up the flatly FALSE assertion that it did happen alone should make a reasonable observer with critical faculties intact highly suspicious of the notion, even before one consults the evidence from observational reality and compares that evidence to what would be expected had such an event been a historical reality. Therefore the bible is in this instance historically unreliable, scientifically invalid and PLAIN WRONG. Which as a corollary leads one to ask if it can be this wrong with respect to an event that can be subject to independent corroboration as to its veracity, how wrong is it elsewhere with respect to the various events for which no independent corroboration exists? The fact that the bible makes a statement about the history of the planet that is DEMONSTRABLY FALSE when subject to independent corroboration by dozens of lines of consilient scientific inquiry places significant doubts upon its reliability elsewhere - after all, one would not place credence upon a witness in a court case whose testimony had been demonstrably falsified, unless subsequent evidence presented by that witness was subject to independent corroboration of its veracity, so how come you accept a much weaker standard of critical rigour with respect to the bible than you presumably do with respect to physical evidence? I think we should be informed about this candidly.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Calilasseia9:31 PM

    Correction to erratum above: the sentence in question should read:

    "fundamental changes to the principles of quantum mechanics"

    Other than that, the above stands "as is".

    ReplyDelete
  53. Well since Cali has already cleaned you out pretty well there is nothing left to debunk except your reliance on prophecy. Which brings me to the question why on earth would you say that you have not yet done research on false prophecies? This is a written debate, you don't have to give an immediate rebutle (YOU OBVIOUSLY ALREADY KNOW THIS) you had enough time to research it BEFORE YOU POSTED. As for all those Prophecies that were fulfilled
    http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Prophecies_prove_the_accuracy_of_the_Bible
    Short, sweet and to the point. I am not as willing to do all that typing like Cali so you'll have to ACTUALLY LOOK FOR YOURSELF like I did.
    Ps the site I menioned above is only one area of Wikipedias very extensive list ofcreationist arguments and rebutles, enjoy

    ReplyDelete
  54. Elentar: i have much to say but am pressed for time; so this is my partial response.

    Elentar says: "You make the mistake of thinking that I rejected my experiences. Far from it. I followed those experiences all the way, to their rational and moral conclusions. It is my hope that you will do the same."

    i cannot understand how you claim to have "religious experiences" that you say might even be "more intense" than mine, and "followed those experiences all the way, to their rational and moral conclusions"...and later on say you hope that i "will do the same".

    i encounter the living God. My rational conclusion is, "God exists." While reading the Bible or listening to the Holy Spirit, my rational conclusion is, "God speaks to me, and His Word never fails." My moral conclusion to all of this is: "I will follow God, life with Him is the only life worth living."

    But Elentar, what about you? Previously you said "I made all the mistakes you are making when I was your age. I had the same religious experiences--which were, if anything, more intense. But what I saw as a result of those experiences was that all religious dogmas are idols of the mind, and that all religious authorities seek to establish other idols, most commonly, in the case of Christianity, Bibliolatry and Christolatry. There are strong elements within the Judeo-Christian tradition, echoed by mystics of those and many other religions, that the fixation upon any one idea, book, person, or dogma as Absolute Truth is the greatest sin one can commit, a sin of pride, a claim to certainty that no human has the right to make."

    i cannot reconcile how you can say you had "intense religious experiences" which made you conclude that they are all in a person's head....Am i to be faulted for "[making] the mistake of thinking that [you] rejected [your] experiences"? Does not actual experience validate truth instead of cloud it?

    i think i have an idea of what you mean (though how you say seems quite inconsistent. So please correct me if i am wrong here, OK? :)

    Do you mean to say, that since everybody has religious experience, but different religious authorities have different explanations, then religions are all just idols of the mind?

    I can partially agree. For example, ancient peoples see the sun rising everyday and ascribed different reasons for it (say, a different sun god per culture). Perhaps one of the explanations is correct, but they cannot all simultaneously be correct.

    But more importantly, the fact remains that the sun is there and it "rises" everyday.

    In the same way, i am aware that the religious experience is not just experienced by Christians but by many other faiths/religions/cultures. Different religions, different explanations. Perhaps one of the explanations is correct, but they cannot all simultaneously be correct.

    And, more importantly, the fact remains that people experience.."something."

    And so i echo you, Elentar, and i say: "I followed those experiences all the way, to their rational and moral conclusions. It is my hope that you will do the same." :)

    ======================

    Elentar also writes: "If you allow dogma to override the truth, you are not a good Christian. Dogma is human opinion."

    * Your statement reminds me of the Cretan who said "All Cretans are liars."

    * Your statement is quite dogmatic, don't you think?

    * Is your statement human opinion/dogma? Or have you found truth? Are you suddenly above all your fellow humans, with your claims above their opinions?

    i do not wish to be mean. But i do not know how to point this out without being blunt.

    i understand your distrust of human authority and human opinion. Yes, we are all bound to be mistaken (aside from the times that we deliberately deceive others!). i COMPLETELY understand!

    But let's have some "if's".

    * IF an all-knowing God exists, is He not above human opinion?

    * IF that God makes Himself known to humans (truth), and they believe what He says, will their beliefs then be centered on absolute truth or personal opinion?

    =====================================

    Lastly (for now), Elentar says: "Secondly, my intent was not to convert, but to instill up you the need for scientific honesty. Part of the Wedge Strategy is to push Christians through science degrees so that they can use their credentials to damage science."

    This sounds like a serious accusation on my person, don't you think? :)

    This is scientific honesty: i was in science and in physics long before i followed Christ. In fact, i was in physics specifically because i rejected Him! i sought to just do my own thing and speculate on my own version of "truth" (which of course was not absolute).

    This is scientific honesty: Now, i follow Christ. And i still have the desire and the ability to pursue a career in science.

    Science is the pursuit of truth. Truth will prevail in the life of a scientist, whether Christian or not.

    Science is an important but not the exclusive basis for finding the truth. Nevertheless, science cannot be damaged by lies. Hindered, perhaps, or clouded, but not damaged, if science really is intent on the truth.

    Christians believe that Truth is already revealed by God and is available for all of us. Why should Christians want to "damage" science? Since Christians hold on to what we are assured is *true*, then will not science simply back up or verify our beliefs?

    Do you think anybody will be able to last long in a field or discipline if all he/she cared about was to damage it? Eventually, he/she will leave because there is not enough passion and/or ability for that person to remain.

    You say: "Evolution is one of the crown jewels of science. You have a duty to know this."

    i say: No. i respectfully do not believe in evolution. This does not make me any less of a scientist. And i am not the only scientist who has this view.

    (Here ends my partial response.)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Calilasseia12:24 AM

    Oh dear. Not this again.

    You say: "Evolution is one of the crown jewels of science. You have a duty to know this."

    i say: No. i respectfully do not believe in evolution. This does not make me any less of a scientist. And i am not the only scientist who has this view.


    No reputable scientist holds this view. The only people who do are the assorted Discovery Institute "Fellows" and their camp followers, none of whom possess any genuine scientific credibility whatsoever

    I notice you completely ignored my above posts, including the one in which I explained in detail that "belief" simply does not enter into one's consideration of the veracity of evolutionary theory, because it is a valid scientific theory and not a religion, despite the entirely specious erection of a fake "symmetry" between a valid scientific theory and religious apologetics that is the stock in trade of many reality-denial enthusiasts of various flavours of creationism. The fact that I have to continue educating you with respect to this because of your repeated and plain flat wrong insistence that evolution is something one "believes" in, once again causes me to call your basic scientific competence into question. I have read what must be in excess of forty scientific papers in the past few months on the subject of evolutionary biology, on topics ranging from a direct comparison of human and chimpanzee genomes to the application of Shannon theory to the genome and evolutionary processes, and all of those papers present rock solid evidence in support of their conclusions, all peer reviewed by some of the foremost and most eminent names in the world of biology, and many of them appearing in prestigious journals such as Nature, the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and the Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences of America. The evidence in support of evolutionary hypotheses has long since transcended the merely overwhelming, it has reached the point where rejection of evolutionary paradigms is utterly perverse. There is NO other theory that is as well supported by evidence (indeed our academic institutions are overflowing with the evidence) or enjoys the tightness of correlation with observational reality as the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. Indeed, I'm awaiting the future announcement of the results of particular work on Cichlid fishes (something of a passion of mine as an aquarist) in which it is anticipated that one particular species will in the near future provide scientists with a documented example of a speciation event complete with a genetic audit trail allowing us to determine with ever better resolution of detail what gene changes constitute 'speciation' in real living organisms. When this occurs (and I say "when" with confidence here) it will be yet another spectacular confirmation of the validity of evolutionary theory, which is being reinforced on a daily basis by thousands of hard working, honest scientists whose endeavours - including in several instances endeavours aimed at alleviating human suffering and eradicating disease - you reject summarily for no other reason than those endeavours fail to conform to your pet religious doctrine. I contend at this juncture that this is intellectually dishonest.

    I notice in addition that you have posted no response at all to the other points I have made. I shall take this as evidence that you simply do not possess contrary arguments, which I do not find in the least surprising. Indeed, the one continuing source of bewilderment emanating from your posts and the ideas contained therein is that someone who makes the claim of being a scientist harbours views upon the nature of observational reality that are manifestly at variance with rigorously determined scientific conclusions. While I am aware that one cannot spread oneself across all fields of endeavour with the same degree of thoroughness if one wishes to specialise in a particular field of interest, the mere fact that the individuals who specialise in evolutionary biology have undergone similar rigorous training to yourself and have submitted their hypotheses to the same rigorous tests with respect to their correspondence with observational reality - which after all, is the ultimate "acid test" of science - and that those hypotheses have passed those tests with flying colours and have continued to do so for 150 years, despite the long-trumpeted claim of creationists that "the death of evolution is at hand" (I seem to recall Mark Twain had apposite words to apply to this, given that this claim has been in circulation for almost the same 150 years that evolutionary biology has gone from strength to strength) should tell you something about the veracity of those hypotheses. Yet, you seem to consider that a different test should be applied to those hypotheses, based NOT upon their correlation to observational reality, but upon whether or not they conform to a religious doctrine you hold dear. Again, I contend that this is dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Durro9:25 AM

    Teci,

    You are being well and truly flogged by Calillasseia and your inability to rebut with any substantial arguments is frankly embarrassing.

    For a PHD student in physics, you certainly have a bizarre view on scientific evidence and rational thinking.

    I can see why you haven't been brave enough to come back to the Dawkins thread. You are probably best off staying here with your friends - the imaginary magical sky ones and your other deluded ones.

    Durro

    ReplyDelete
  57. Teci:

    Religious experiences are subjective, and are usually interpreted in a way that we find most flattering. There is no way to confirm whether one person's mystical experience has the same qualities as another's, nor any evidence for a particular interpretation. The most flattering interpretation of all is that the experience is a personal visitation by an all-powerful Deity. The implication of this interpretation is that one is a close and special confidante of the greatest celebrity of all, that one has the highest of friends in the highest of all places, and that, with an entire universe to manage, God has taken time out to talk to you, making you, for that moment anyway, the center of the universe.

    Supernaturalistic interpetations are the most attractive to our pride, but they are also the most conducive to delusional beliefs in our own unique importance in the cosmos, and carry the added hazard of magical thinking. I have encountered people who are quite literally losing their mind under the burden of this interpretation. Crazy people, of course, never consider themselves crazy. There are less flattering, but more significant interpretations; that the experience is actually fairly common, does not impart any special status, but does provide an insight into the common ground of human ethics that applies across cultural boundaries. In short, they are not intrinsically religious, but pre-religious--they are an insight into common human nature, not indicative of any supernatural reality. Claims regarding common human nature, however, can be confirmed or refuted by cross-cultural studies. Religion, by situating them into a particular dogmatic cultural tradition, actually renders the experience contingent and forces it into a limited context, as well as cutting it adrift from empirical study. It reduces the universal to the merely tribal, the objective to the merely subjective. The opportunity is missed, and once missed, may be lost forever.

    My statement about the Wedge strategy is a simple fact, laid out in detail in the infamous Wedge document. Yes, Christians are actually doing this, encouraging young Christians to gain science degrees with the express purpose of undermining science, and they have even provided strategy guides on how to get through a science degree without tipping off their professors that they actually have no intention of doing real science, but are simply getting the piece of paper to further a political agenda. This is a well documented fact. I did not say that you were doing this, only that if that was your intention, it is dishonest.

    Your comments on dogma simply dispute well established definitions. Dogma is based upon faith without evidence, and indeed, against evidence. Faith is simply belief, or personal opinion, and remains so without the support of evidence. Subjective experience is not evidence--it is not repeatable or independantly verifiable, particularly if the experience requires unproven assumptions. Believers often say that seeing is believing, but this is simply confirmation bias and begging the question at work. Assume my conclusion: therefore, my conclusion. The circularity is that simple. My explanation is not dogma, only simple foundational rules of logic. One of the things that embarrassed me most as a believer was the duplicitous and facile arguments advanced in favour of religion, arguments I knew that reputable theologians had cast aside centuries ago as empty of merit, embarrasments to their profession. The Christian right moved towards fascism in the early 20th century when it conceded that reason could not aid its cause; accepting this, they embraced a political ideology which was itself the enemy of reason. Nothing has changed in this regard. Religious dogmatists still routinely fall prey to the totalitarian temptation, might making right, opinion established as truth by the force of the jackboot. It is this tendency in post-modern religion that we so vehemently oppose.

    Regarding evolution, I refer you to Calilasseia. Read his posts closely, because I have observed in you a marked tendency to gloss over what you read and infer only what you already believe. The disbelief in evolution is a hallmark of dogmatism and a retreat into magical thinking. This is why we monitor the statistics on this belief so closely; the lower the number of people who understand evolution, the closer the dark ages loom. A world guided by ignorance and superstition will lay waste to all you know and love. Whether you know it or not, we are fighting for your survival, as well as our own.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Calilasseia said: "Even worse, however, you regurgitated canards in your posts that are KNOWN to be canards."

    Have i? Then i apologize.

    i hope you are aware, though, that the manner in which you have put down God, the Bible, and Christianity is simply by the use of canards as well.


    Durro said: "your inability to rebut with any substantial arguments is frankly embarrassing...I can see why you haven't been brave enough to come back to the Dawkins thread. You are probably best off staying here with your friends - the imaginary magical sky ones and your other deluded ones."

    Hi Durro :) Thanks for thinking that i should be embarrassed by now :) But thanks, i'm doing just fine :)

    i really appreciate Cali's coming over here while i haven't returned to RDF, and posting for all the world to see (no need to register and login!). It's interesting that you're telling me about my "staying here with [my] friends", because actually, this site is open to everyone. Can we say the same for RDF? :) (Which is why i say, over and over again, that i cannot go back easily [to RDF] and give sound replies to every post, because there are just too many people with too many posts!)

    Again (over and over again!)...as a PhD student, i do have work to do :)

    And again (over and over again!)...if i were so afraid, why would i go to RDF in the first place? And beg for the thread to reopen when it was closed?

    (By the way, this shows how sciwoman was mistaken in saying that "the discussion died down" eh? :) )


    So before i disappear yet again, maybe i should rephrase you Durro...

    teci says: "I hope more of you are brave enough to leave the Dawkins thread and post here. I know you are better off sharing and discussing with the rest of the world and not just your friends."


    Peace, and over and out :) (for now!)

    ReplyDelete
  59. Calilasseia2:25 AM

    Let's take a look at this latest response shall we?

    First of all ...

    Calilasseia said: "Even worse, however, you regurgitated canards in your posts that are KNOWN to be canards."

    Have i? Then i apologize.


    I find this response again completely surreal, particularly in the light of the fact that the evidence I presented with respect to several of your canards was factual scientific knowledge that you should have acquired a long while ago as part of your education as a physicist. Once again, I am led to ask serious questions about your scientific competence in the light of this.

    Moving on ...

    i hope you are aware, though, that the manner in which you have put down God, the Bible, and Christianity is simply by the use of canards as well.

    Really? Then NAME THEM.

    Provide substantial evidential backup for the above assertion as I have provide evidential backup for my claims. None of which, incidentally, you have even attempted to address thus far. And before you begin, simply preaching bible passages at me doesn't count as substantive evidence.

    Moving on ...

    Durro said: "your inability to rebut with any substantial arguments is frankly embarrassing...I can see why you haven't been brave enough to come back to the Dawkins thread. You are probably best off staying here with your friends - the imaginary magical sky ones and your other deluded ones."

    Hi Durro :) Thanks for thinking that i should be embarrassed by now :) But thanks, i'm doing just fine :)


    So your complete failure to address a large body of substantive evidence presented to you in support of the reality based world view does not trouble you in the least?

    I shall bear this in mind if ever the "you cannot be moral if you are an atheist" canard is ever erected.

    Moving on ...

    i really appreciate Cali's coming over here while i haven't returned to RDF, and posting for all the world to see (no need to register and login!). It's interesting that you're telling me about my "staying here with [my] friends", because actually, this site is open to everyone. Can we say the same for RDF? :)

    Yes you can. The only time we close the doors is if people engage in egregious trolling and spamming. Any half decent bulletin board requires moderation, and given the nature of some of the trolls that arrive over at RDF, there are times when moderation is not merely a full time job, sometimes it's a battleground.

    Meanwhile ...

    (Which is why i say, over and over again, that i cannot go back easily [to RDF] and give sound replies to every post, because there are just too many people with too many posts!)

    I seem to be able to manage to operate as a full time member of the moderation team over at RDF, post lengthy essays on various topics, contribute to other bulletin boards as well (including ones unrelated to the defence of reality based world views - I need some relaxation now and again) and still find time to visit here to address your responses, such as they are. This presumably makes me Superman.

    Moving on ...

    Again (over and over again!)...as a PhD student, i do have work to do :)

    Yet you found the time to launch the original thread at RDF that precipitated all of this. What did you think would happen? Did you honestly think that everyone would look at your contribution, and somehow drop everything and regard it as a startlingly new revelatory piece of wisdom? Hopefully you've been disabused of that particular delusion if you ever held it.

    And again (over and over again!)...if i were so afraid, why would i go to RDF in the first place? And beg for the thread to reopen when it was closed?

    Well only you can answer that, but the evidence we have to hand suggests that your intention was simply that of drive by proselytising. I have yet to see any substantive contribution containing any supportive evidence with respect either to the assertions you made over at RDF (whose paucity of number is matched by your paucity of posts) or the assertions made here in somewhat larger numbers with respect to a variety of topics. I am still waiting to discover if any substantive evidence in this regard will ever materialise.

    (By the way, this shows how sciwoman was mistaken in saying that "the discussion died down" eh? :) )

    Only because [1] another brave soil stepped into the breach over at RDF in your absence and kept that thread alive (for which we commend him) , and [2] because numerous of the RDF posters in that thread, frustrated with an absence of answers from you, felt the need to take the discussion over here in the hope that our assorted salient points would ever be addressed. I for one seem to be as far away from receiving anything substantive in response as ever.

    so before i disappear yet again, maybe i should rephrase you Durro...

    teci says: "I hope more of you are brave enough to leave the Dawkins thread and post here. I know you are better off sharing and discussing with the rest of the world and not just your friends."


    I would hardly call some of the trolls I am called upon to deal with in my moderation duties at RDF "my friends" ... but that is beside the point. RDF is a public domain entity and a well-publicised one. So the idea that it is simply some ghetto for the like-minded is one that is disabused immediately, given that the contributor who is keeping your old thread alive over there in your absence is not the only theist contributor to RDF. Indeed, some of us seem to have adopted him in a strange way, because unlike the trolls, he makes an attempt to engage in civilised discourse, even if we disagree with his ideas, and as far as decorum is concerned, has a commendable track record. He isn't the only one of course, but I bring him to everyone's attention because he's bravely taking the fire in your stead.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Apologies for what might be a long comment. I've read Teci's original post and a good chunk of the comments already left and would like to share my thoughts.

    Firstly, Teci, you are being dishonest. You don't disbelieve in the existence of Richard Dawkins. I appreciate the analogy you try to draw, but it is false. You can get tickets and see Dawkisn talk, you can buy his books or DVDs, you can even, if you work at it, talk to him face to face and shake his hand. This is not the case for god. I cannot see god with my eyes, nor hear him with my ears. I cannot go and see him give a lecture, or shake his hand or even have a good chat with him. There are no photographic pictures of him or recordings of his voice. It is therefore reasonable to doubt his existance.

    To accept the existance of god would require some form of evidence. As a number of commenters have said, the evidence they have is deeply personal and subjective. They cannot show me this evidence as it is in the form of feelings, revelation and such like. Christians should therefore not be bothered that atheists refuse to convert. We have no such evidence and therefore no reason to assume he exists. Many of the standard arguements for theism are actually arguements for deism (i.e. intelligent design, creation of the universe, etc) and suffer an enormous disconnect between the actual faiths. Even if i acknowledge that the universe was created and that we were intelligently designed (and i don't accept either of these), this tells me nothing about which god is responsible. It could be Allah, Christ, Zeus or Odin.

    Like most of the atheists that post at the dawkins forum, i am well aquainted with the bible and have read it cover to cover a number of times. As an instruction manual for how to live ones life it falls very short of the mark. Society has simple progressed beyond the tribal law of the desert. We live (in the western world) in societies vastly more decent, free and happy than the biblical jews and christians. There laws and morals appear barbaric to us, it is clear to see thatthe bible offers little moral instruction.

    As for authenticity, the events in the bible are undoubtably amazing. As a scientific type, i would want colloborating evidence of these events. Christ lived under the rule of the Romans, who kept exc ellent records. But what do we find. History records no slaughter of children by Herod. It records no mass rising of the dead when christ died on the cross. It contains no record of christ....at all. The nearest records are the gospels (at least 80 years after the death of christ) and the works of early chroniclers such as josephus who talks only of the followers of christ, not of christ himself. While i am prepared to admit that there may well have been a man called Jesus who existed at that time and led a small cult, it seems unthinkable that if he had been performing miracles and drawing huge crowds, that he would have not appeared in the records of the time.

    Similarly for the old testament. There is no record, at all, of the Jews ever being in Egypt. None.

    Then we have to evaluate the christian evidence against the evidence for the other deities. Mohammed certainy wrote a better book, but he had the advantage of being the guy writing/dictating it. The jews had their own book which predicted a messiah, predictions that Christ utterly failed to fulfill by the way (check out the attributes of the jewish messiah against christ, totally different MO.

    With so many competing faiths, all clamouring that they alone are the one true faith, and with such flimsy evidence, largely unsupported by historical record, how is an atheist to recognise the true religion.

    So my question.

    "What can christianity offer me that the other religions can't?"

    And i'm speaking of evidence to choose it over the other religions. What makes christianity more real than the others.

    Also while we are at it.
    "If you were born in Iran, do you believe you would still be a christian, given the demographics of geography? If yes, why aren't there more christian Iranians".

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hello:

    I appreciate Gribble in giving such an objective presentation of his/her points against theism (or deism). That is a presentation almost without any sign of anger towards any particular person.

    I only have some personal comments on the thoughts that you have shared above.

    1. Your argument against the non-existence of Prof. Dawkins is good. However, asking for a photographic evidence, recordings of voice, shaking hands, or the like with our God is also flawed. Firstly, God did reveal Himself in Jesus. However, it should be easy to recognize that any photograph, voice recordings, would be impossible during his time due to the technological limits of the time. I hope we don't ask for these types of "evidences." By the way, i believe that Prof. Dawkins does exist. This i believe not just because his pictures and/or records of voice (and images) but also the books written about him, people who testify of his arguments and about his presence in this world. Prof. Dawkins indeed exists! But note, that I (a Catholic Christian, btw) believe that Jesus exists because of the same: books written about him, there are people who testified about his walks and talks, and who even died to testify about what Jesus has been and been saying. Just like you who will die just to testify about the existence of Prof. Dawkins. In this line of argument, the existence of Jesus can be taken to be true. Any other religion does not have this type of testimony -- hence evidence. Please also take note that you have to consider the customs of the early Christians before anyone can blame them of not recording things up. They are more of oral transfer of accounts than on writing. Romans never did have any records of anything outside their culture since they abhor the Jewish then. Only after the time that Christianity became an official "religion" of Rome when Christianity was made acceptable to the early West society.

    2. The bible should not be taken as a consistent proof of scientific facts. It is about an idea. This is because it is written to account for the Faith (Idea) that Jesus has fully revealed. The ideas of making clear of the historical track of the Jewish faith. It is also written not to be taken literally and explained in terms of the modern ideas. It is not written for the future (as "now") but only for their own use. It is the best evidence being an account that these ideas were really presented and happened. The inconsistencies are minor and insignificant to the one idea. These inconsistencies are like different perspectives of the same object. The inconsistencies of the "explanation" of the message of the Bible (note, not "messages") can be traced in the idea that "anybody can understand the Bible by himself alone". It has to be explained by an Authority much like we need Judges and Attorneys to explain to us what the Constitution or the by-laws say.

    3. I don't like the statement: "We live (in the western world) in societies vastly more decent, free and happy than the biblical jews and christians. There laws and morals appear barbaric to us, it is clear to see thatthe bible offers little moral instruction." Specially the idea that it now seems that the Western "race" is proud of what they are when they compare it to the christians. Please do note that the Western Culture was highly influenced by the Christian culture. It was when the western world "separated" from the influence of the Catholic Church that wars and the like came about. The Christian culture was the first to clarify the idea of "decency" and "freedom" and "genuine happiness". The word "barbaric" refers to the "early western" behavior. Science also owe something from the Church. It was the Church who did more scientific research and philosophical search. The current state of "christians" as you claim must be the slow expansion of true christianism to the "non-West". The phrase "more decent, free, and happy" is an overstatement, if not overly biased. In fact, scarcely very few Western country have a high score in the "Happiness level" according to research.

    4. Look for the most consistent Christian "flavor", i would answer. It should offer consistent, coherent, and "with evidence" IDEA that no other religion can offer. This is my answer to your first quoted question.

    5. As an answer to your last quoted question: Being a Christian is a great challenge. The ideas are sometimes, if not always, greatly against the "easy" and "self-gratifying" preference of the ordinary non-Christian (or non-theist). This includes the definition of love, freedom, sex, marriage, morals, and other rules in life. In my opinion, my flavor of Christianity offers the best solution to possibly all human social problems you can find in this current world!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Dear Gribble:

    Hello and thank you for your well-written, objective, respectful comments. And please, no apologies necessary. It is i who needs to apologize to those i have yet to respond to, here in my blog and in Professor Dawkins' Faith and Religion subforum. :)

    First off, regarding my belief on Dawkins' existence. i wrote this near the end of "Are You There": "And by the way, if it isn't obvious by now, i do believe that you exist..." i mean no disrespect to Dawkins nor to anyone else. i merely wrote the article in a satirical manner, using the line of reasoning that atheists have been known to use. The "dishonesty" you refer to is but artistic license; would you accuse novelists or actors of being false as well?

    You say, "It is therefore reasonable to doubt his existance." Surely, i agree! And i understand why Dawkins and others would like to compare God to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and so on; their point is, just because something cannot be disproved doesn't mean it's true. My counterpoint is just because something cannot be disproved doesn't mean it's not true.

    But God's existence is not merely non-disprovable, the proof can be positive. You first mentioned the universe and the natural world and the arguments for intelligent design and so on. i do not really distinguish between "theism" and "deism", in that i am a Bible-based Christian and do not have the same beliefs as every theist and deist. (In the same way that i have met enough atheists to know that there are still some "differences" or nuances among them.) That's how it starts i suppose, especially for intellectually-inclined people. "If" the universe was purposefully created [as opposed to randomly occurred], they can then ask: "Who?" "How?" "Why?" We currently have several claims by different religions and/or world views. Like you mentioned, these are --- "conflicting" and they cannot be simultaneously true, but it is also possible that one of them is true. Many people have acknowledged deism/theism by looking at nature and the universe; but even if "this tells [us] nothing about which god is responsible", then we can look elsewhere for the rest of the answers.

    For further evidence of God, you correctly noted that several commenters have "deeply personal and subjective" proof. i assure you that the evidence is not limited to that, but first let us look at the validity of even what is ("merely"?) personal and subjective.

    i am a teacher so i'll use a classroom analogy. No matter how many teachers talk about a particular lesson, no matter how many in the class already know that lesson, each student learns at his/her own pace. The student can have a moment of realization during lecture time, or understand the application of the lesson while performing an experiment. The student can fit all the pieces of the puzzle with or without help from the teacher, classmates, or someone else. But even on the most objective of topics, the learning is personal and the understanding, subjective. Even if each and every student verified the speed of light, their scores on the relativity quiz can still vary widely...and note that for "objective" topics, there is but one set of answers. [This is not an argument for theism, rather for "personal and subjective" proof of objective reality.]

    But i agree that "personal and subjective" can be mistaken, even grossly erroneous. Biblical Christianity is true in that it is not limited to these kinds of "proof". Some Christians talk of logic and reasoning as the basis of their conversion. i highly recommend Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org/) and Lee Strobel (www.leestrobel.com/). In particular, Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” lists the objective evidence for the God of the Bible; an outline summary can be found here: http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/The-Case-For-Christ.htm. Meanwhile, Dr. Zacharias takes the philosophical approach: apart from God, there is no way for us to define morality, purpose, meaning, and value judgments.

    ================

    Like Geekborj, i must respectfully yet strongly disagree on your negative perception of the Bible as "an instruction manual for how to live one[']s life". Surely, the ancient Jews were desert nomads and were products of their time and culture as well; but there are ideas and principles that transcend time and culture. The best example i could give is the many laws regarding slavery in the Old and even New Testaments. i could argue that the laws are very just and even merciful, but the practice of slavery still feels "barbaric", doesn't it? Centuries after Jesus' resurrection, Christians led the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of slaves. Are the Christian beliefs of Wilberforce and Lincoln called into question, or are these beliefs the main motivation for them to fight and prevail over slavery?

    When we say "Society has simple progressed beyond the tribal law of the desert," we must be clear whether we have completely done away with said tribal laws, or whether we used them as essential foundations on our upward climb. Here i make three points.

    Point 1, on progress beyond tribal desert laws:
    You are probably aware of the revolutionary paradigm shift between the Old and New Testaments. "An eye for an eye" (clear-cut justice) progressed into "turn the other cheek" (for accepting undeserved pain) and "do not let your right hand know what your left is doing" (for not accepting deserved praise)."Love your neighbor" progressed into "Love your neighbor". This kind of progression is perfect and impossible; something the present society, no matter how advanced in other areas, has yet to reach. Why even impose this? Jesus pointed out that we can attain this only through God's help. If the Bible is fictitious and no such perfect-God exists, how can the Bible authors (and any of us) even have an idea of what "perfect" is?

    Point 2, on the definition of progress:
    Continuing from point 1, what exactly is "progress" anyway? Which way is "up" or the right way? [i occasionally ask evolutionists a similar question: if everything occurred randomly, then why do we impose that it is the "fittest" who survive, that creatures have a hierarchy, and so on?] From an atheistic point of view, how can we say that society progressed? In which direction are we headed anyway, if there is nothing around us but conflicting ideologies and opposing examples? But if our goal is towards a perfect society, the definitions of perfect justice, love and all else are found only in the Biblical God. *Note*: The principles of what are "good" and so on are universal and i have never met anyone, regardless of belief, who does not have them; but we must ask *Why* or *how come* we all have these principles in the first place.

    Point 3, on society's progress:
    The first judicial system and the first constitution in ancient times were based on the Biblical commandments; the first universities and hospitals in the more contemporary times were again based on Christian values. The very foundation of America as the place where people are free to worship (the underlying reason for the separation of church and state), were led by Christians. i was surprised when i first learned about some of these, but eventually it made more and more sense. Why would i even want to deprive myself for the benefit of another? Why would i want others to have the same rights that as myself? Again, how can we seek after justice and goodness, how can we even define these principles/values, if all the universe was just an accident and every instance/action is equally probable (and acceptable)? The Bible claims that it is God's word, written because we could not understand Him completely nor correctly on our own. In line with this, His commands are patterns on how we can live like Him, who is just and good.

    ================

    Let us now go to the authenticity of the Bible. Surely we want collaborating/corroborating evidence for what has been recorded in it. You mention the records of the Romans, Egyptians, and Jews like Josephus. Your point is well-taken. However, if i were to order the mass slaughter of babies like Herod, or leader of a mighty empire brought to its knees by nomad slaves like Pharaoh, or waiting for a Messiah while a non-Messiah type reportedly rose from the dead like Josephus, or the political and religious leaders who plotted to kill the adult Jesus...what would i do? Surely they would be the last to record or to publicly admit that "This is God". Even in "objective" fields like history and science, human perception greatly colors the records; and even in the past century certain countries have had some historical events distorted, if not taken off the record altogether.

    You say, "While i am prepared to admit that there may well have been a man called Jesus who existed at that time and led a small cult...", and so at least Josephus' account helps us reach a common point that Jesus existed. If we are to talk of secondary (corroborating) evidence alone, there was no claim of "This is Jesus' body, he did not rise again". But the disciples were (understandably) accused of taking His body and claiming He rose again. Note that these followers ran off when Jesus was arrested, how can they suddenly have the guts to sneak past Roman guards and proclaim Jesus resurrected until their own dying breaths? Others dispute that Jesus did not really die but was in a trance-like state that enabled Him to survive the cross. But historically, many people have died by scourging alone, even before they carried and got nailed to the cross. And Jesus was speared on His side, releasing fluid around his heart. And, as pointed out in Strobel's book, who would want to proclaim Jesus as victorious conqueror of death if he was a survivor of the worst death penalty there was...and looked it?

    People, especially those of the scientific/intellectual/rational type as yourself, would want objective records of historical events: listing them down as they happened, even if the authors would be shown in a negative light, simply because they are writing down what is true. But that is already what the Bible is. There are people who object to the Bible because "history is written by the winners" --- but the Israelites and later on the early Christians were anything but: the Bible honestly and humbly portrays the faults of the slaves, the kings, the prophets, and the perfect God who loves them (and us all) anyway.

    Let us go to more technical details. Scholars say: "The Bible is better preserved, by far, than accepted writings of Homer, Plato and Aristotle." The manuscripts of ancient works we currently have are usually only a handful (hundreds, tens or less) and dated decades or centuries from the supposed time of writing. In comparison, currently the earliest records for Jesus have been dated seven years after his death and resurrection (yes, not ninety years, all of the New Testament was written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses). And there are thousands of these ancient manuscripts preserved until now. In terms of details about ancient civilizations, it is so easy to disprove the Bible. But actually, all the archaeological/cultural/even physiological evidence being discovered until now has done is to corroborate it.

    ================

    Now "to evaluate the christian evidence against the evidence for the other deities." i do not know why you say that "Mohammed certain[l]y wrote a better book". But did you know that even the Koran concedes that only Jesus and not Mohammed was virgin-born? And Mohammed had no claims of feeding five thousand nor of rising from the dead.

    Regarding the Jewish books: Christians refer to them as the "Old Testament" of the Bible because we see no disconnect between the two. (Previously i have shown an example of "progression" from OT to NT commands.) Has "Christ utterly failed to fulfill" the Jewish predictions? The NT books particularly Matthew and Revelation consistently refer the reader that Jesus' actions or even His circumstances were "fulfilled according to Scripture", which in that time was just the Jewish books/Christian OT. Actually all NT books refer to OT. For prophecies fulfilled by Jesus: see http://www.bprc.org/topics/fulfill.html. Those fulfilled before and after Jesus' time, including the present: http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Answer/fulfilled.html.

    The Jewish Messiah's attributes [powerful political ruler] are different from Jesus' servant attitude. But Jesus promised to come again as that (OT) kind of Messiah. i heard somewhere that Jews and Christians are both waiting for the Savior: the first group awaits the first coming while the second awaits the second coming. In any case, note that the majority of the first Christians were Jews/Hebrews/Israelites, and that one of the major issues of the early church was whether to include non-Jews (Gentiles). This shows how many (thousands daily) of the Jews believed, once they realized that there was no disconnect between OT Messiah and Jesus.

    ================

    i shall try to answer this first: "If you were born in Iran, do you believe you would still be a christian, given the demographics of geography? If yes, why aren't there more christian Iranians".

    For any faith or even any non-religious idea, there are many reasons why said idea would propagate easily across one area compared to another, at times even leaving their "motherland". But i can generalize the question to "Why aren't there more Christians around the world anyways?" i have talked to people and have seen for myself how God is on the move even in --- especially in --- places where He is not permitted. i am learning how God is all powerful and can do all things, and how He chooses to use people, circumstances, dreams, miracles, and other means to draw people, in complete free will, to Him.

    If the God of the Bible is real, then why does He not show Himself so clearly? But this same Bible says (1) all who seek Him with all their heart will find Him, and (2) one day He will show Himself clearly and all will bow, but it will already be judgment day by then.

    ================


    And, lastly, "What can christianity offer me that the other religions can't?"

    Short answer: "It is the truth, verifiable both objectively and personally. Thankfully, this truth is also good." (And i have listed various reasons/elaborations in the previous paragraphs.)


    i have quoted this often: "All that I have seen enables me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

    i may be a graduate student in the sciences but i have first realized God to be true in the area of --- yes --- personal experience. It was an emotional time for me, undoubtedly my lowest point, and for the first time i needed to trust in something other than myself. My eyes and ears were finally open enough for God.

    But that is where scientific training is useful. Always, i would rather choose a harsh truth than a feel-good lie. i had and still have so many questions and issues regarding God's existence, the Bible's authenticity, morality, free will, and so on. But being honest about it means admitting when i do not know, and holding on when i do know.

    i have come to acknowledge God as God through personal/emotional/subjective means, but because God is objective reality i can see Him through objective means as well. My every question might not have been answered (yet), but every answer leads to the One Living God. And i am ready to die for that God, for i have lived with Him long and well enough to know that what the Bible says about Him is true. :)


    So i thank you, Gribble, for your insightful comments and for the opportunity to share mine. i wish you all the best :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Calilasseia11:13 AM

    I notice once again you avoided addressing the points I made. Yet took time to post a long passage in which you cited the apologetics of Lee Strobel as "objective evidence" among other canards, despite the fact that any reasonably educated person knows that apologetics is a far from rigorous discipline, and at bottom consists of abstruse mental gymnastics in pursuit of wishful thinking.

    You found time to construct a long post addressing another poster, depsite having made repeated assertions to the effect that the time to engage in this exercise, both here and at RDF, was not available to you. The studious avoidance of the issues I have presented leads me to conclude that this absence of time you cite is elastic to put it mildly, and depends entirely upon whether or not you actually have any answers. More to the point, in your long post you offered the following little snippet:

    And, lastly, "What can christianity offer me that the other religions can't?"

    Short answer: "It is the truth, verifiable both objectively and personally


    This is quite simply wrong. I have mentioned in my previous posts instances where the bible makes statements that are flatly contradicted by observational reality, yet you have not addressed a single one of those instances. You continue to assert the alleged "truth" of your doctrine, and once again apply an entirely different test of validity to your doctrine than the test you apply to material outside your doctrine. Again, I hereby contend that this is intellectually dishonest.

    I would like to be able to state here that I consider this to be a disappointment, but past precedent in dealing with individuals such as yourself means that it is no surprise whatsoever to see the evasions, discoursive elisions and other instances of intellectual malfeasance that abound in your content. For example, you accused me of using canards to "put down god, the bible and christianity", and in my subsequent post I challenged you to NAME those canards you allege that I have used. I am still waiting for you to meet that challenge. I don't anticipate it being met in a hurry, but it would be nice to see at least some intellectual diligence being applied to the matter, even if the content subsequently proves to be less than optimally rigorous. So, given the issues I have raised in my posts above and in a post elsewhere on your blog (which was also left completely ignored despite my presenting valid scientific evidence in abundance in that particular post), is there any chance that you will demonstrate some integrity and address the issues I have raised? Or shall I simply conclude that further communication with you is a complete and utter waste of my time, and devote myself in future to more fruitful endeavours?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Calilasseia writes: "I don't anticipate it being met in a hurry, but it would be nice to see at least some intellectual diligence being applied to the matter, even if the content subsequently proves to be less than optimally rigorous."

    Thank you Cali. You might have time to reply to every statement raised to you but obviously i cannot. You might have discerned from my response to Gribble that i am more familiar with the issues that he/she has raised.


    Calilasseia writes:"...is there any chance that you will demonstrate some integrity and address the issues I have raised? Or shall I simply conclude that further communication with you is a complete and utter waste of my time, and devote myself in future to more fruitful endeavours?"

    i am continually honored by the time and effort you have given in speaking to me. This obviously takes, in your own words, enormous "intellectual diligence", and the only way i can "demonstrate my integrity" is to not respond until i can offer more of the same.

    Once again, it is not my wish to leave you or anyone else hanging. It would be tragic, but completely understandable, if you would think that your time and effort have been wasted. i have reiterated that i am staying in/returning to the forum, and that i will at least attempt to answer what have been raised, just not immediately.

    Those who know me personally could attest that there is nothing i would want to do more right now than to sit down and address your points one by one --- most especially yours, Cali. Your points deserve the finest of responses. But i have to attend to the "pressing" matters of academics and research, especially as they have been ignored because of the already significant amount of my own time and effort spent on this blog and even on some forums.

    i do hope you understand Cali. i seem to just be repeating myself here but, i have nothing but respect for you and i do not wish to disrespect you by giving half-baked thoughtless replies.

    You may assess and conclude as you will; though of course it is still my personal wish that we can correspond.

    i wish you all the best. :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Dear Calilasseia [and to some extent, Elentar]:

    Here is one point i would like to address quickly. i would rather have more time to say more, but as you have made clear you would appreciate any effort to directly respond as soon as possible. [Thank you for clarifying this so i can have a clearer idea of how to accommodate your request.]

    Elentar said: "Evolution is one of the crown jewels of science. You have a duty to know this."

    i said: "No. i respectfully do not believe in evolution. This does not make me any less of a scientist. And i am not the only scientist who has this view."

    Calilasseia said: "No reputable scientist holds this view. The only people who do are the assorted Discovery Institute "Fellows" and their camp followers, none of whom possess any genuine scientific credibility whatsoever."


    Understandably, my first idea was to make a list of all scientists who were professing Christians, past and present. [Incidentally, they are not to be confused with adherents of the "Christian Science" religion.]

    In a country like the Philippines where i live, faith in Jesus or Allah is a given for an overwhelming majority, including those who are in science. [And to answer the speculation of some posters in RDF, i do not study in a Christian university but rather in the premier national university that has a reputation for being too atheistic and/or humanistic and/or communistic.] And so i can give a list of my Christian colleagues who are involved in groundbreaking research of international caliber.

    But it would be more effective to list down the internationally known scientists who were also Christians.

    * "Scientists of the Christian Faith: A Presentation of the Pioneers, Practitioners and Supporters of Modern Science" is a comprehensive article found here: http://www.tektonics.org/scim/sciencemony.htm

    * "50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God" are listed here: http://www.adherents.com/people/100_Nobel.html.

    * "Some Famous Scientists who were Christians" are listed here: http://www.adherents.com/people/100_scientists.html#Christian.

    These sites have links to many other related lists.

    Particularly i would note Alister McGrath, who like Richard Dawkins is a professor in Oxford. McGrath has a PhD for research in molecular biophysics and wrote "The Dawkins Delusion" in response to Dawkins' book "The God Delusion".

    Hence, saying that "no reputable scientist" believes in God and/or disbelieves in evolution is a "canard"; that is, "a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor."

    Where does this leave us?

    The intellectual capabilities and achievements of a person would definitely lend credence to his/her beliefs, yet said beliefs may still be incorrect or grossly wrong.

    It is sometimes helpful to look at said capabilities and achievements, but the beliefs are based on truth claims that must stand on their own merit --- regardless of the abilities of or the mere number of the people who hold them.

    And so we now go to the truth claims themselves. Are these valid? Are these even remotely possible? On what basis can we trust them?

    Unfortunately this is where i must end for now. i hope that aside from supporting one of my claims, this response would show that i am not evading certain issues, but only attempting to answer them competently and correctly [as you doubtless would want me to do so].

    Thank you and a good day to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Previously, i wrote:
    "And, lastly, "What can Christianity offer me that the other religions can't?"

    Short answer: "It is the truth, verifiable both objectively and personally."

    To which Calilasseia responded:
    "This is quite simply wrong. I have mentioned in my previous posts instances where the bible makes statements that are flatly contradicted by observational reality, yet you have not addressed a single one of those instances. You continue to assert the alleged "truth" of your doctrine, and once again apply an entirely different test of validity to your doctrine than the test you apply to material outside your doctrine. Again, I hereby contend that this is intellectually dishonest."



    There are statements in the Bible that seem confusing.

    But i ask: Does "confusing" mean false?

    No.

    For a scientist who relies on absolute reality, "confusing" simply means it will take a bit more time and effort to be understood, to be proven or disproven.


    There are claims in the Bible that are different from everyday occurrence.

    But i ask: Does "different" mean false?

    For a scientist who relies on objective reality, "different" simply means another thing to be investigated on its own merits, regardless of the personal background and biases of the investigator.


    No matter how much indirect evidence we have to confirm or deny, say, the origins of life, the fact remains that neither i nor anyone else reading this was alive to witness this event with our own eyes. We can only attempt to conclude as much as we can, with the information that is available and verifiable to us.

    But what are the things that are available and verifiable to me?

    As a Christian, i have the Bible to guide me, in my personal life.

    As a scientist, i must concede that there is always a possibility of the Bible failing me.

    But as a scientist, i must also honestly report that that possibility has yet to be realized in my life.


    And so i ask:

    Can you recognize the possibility of something, perhaps just that it has not yet been realized in your own life?

    Can you concede that there is even a possibility that God exists, even if you have not perceived or verified it for yourself?



    What is intellectual honesty?

    It is testing and verifying and forming the best conclusions, regardless of one's personal biases.

    For twenty-odd years i grew up alternately ignoring and hating what little i knew about God. True, my change of heart came about from an experience that was "personal" and "subjective". But it was just the beginning of the journey, and every step is marked by questions from a curious [and many times just forgetful] me.

    Why do you say i "apply an entirely different test of validity" to God as compared to other "material"? No; i have used the same test of validity to everything that comes my way. Perhaps there is just some misunderstanding; for a supreme being does not conveniently fall into the categories of molecules or numbers, and [in my humble opinion] must not be investigated as merely such.

    To conclude, intellectual honesty would entail a thorough objective investigation before concluding one way or another...all the while admitting that there may be flaws in one's perception or judgment, and that there might be evidence in the future that could radically modify these conclusions.

    Intellectual honesty involves recognizing what is possible, and determining what is certain.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Anonymous7:15 AM

    About radio-isotope dating. Are we really sure about all the datings? For what i know there is always uncertainty in these dating methods.

    About the so much regarded sciences. Are we really sure that what we know today, are still true 200 or even 1000 years from now? For all i know, the "scientific truths" of the entire world 1000 years ago is now known to be false.

    Why are we so much trusting with all the books that scientists wrote? Or probably with the books that historians wrote? If so, why not believe the book on a Faith written by witnesses within the lifetime of the previous ones? So far, the only "truth" surviving in our world is that there is a God. I think it is just plain blind (or trying to be one) if we just ignore such Idea. In any case, even scientific ideas started with weird ones. I'd rather believe in one. I already picked mine. Now its your turn.

    ReplyDelete
  68. To add to the response of the last Anonymous poster:

    Indeed, as i posted before [please see http://tecigurl.blogspot.com/
    search?q=dogmatic+scientists], that is the difference between "scientific truth" and "revealed truth".

    Science begins with the assumption that it does not know. Thus it is very careful to test before making conclusions, and even then, it is still possible to be mistaken. When something in science is proven, well and good. But when something in science is disproven, progress is made, for at least now we are aware that we have been mistaken, and we can start looking for the answers once again.

    But revealed truth, particularly regarding the Bible and "the Word of God", begins with the assumption that one knows, and has made it known. Again, if something is proven, well and good. But if something in the Bible is disproven, the entirety of the Christian faith will collapse.



    Note that, for all its details about past events and absolutist claims about personal lives, the Bible has yet to be proven wrong.

    Note that, though love, compassion, and grace are at times severely lacking in Christians' lives, we must be "forgiven" for being dogmatic and fundamentalist --- we hold on to absolute truths that are proven with every step, and have yet to be disproven.

    Note that on the other hand, scientists CANNOT be dogmatic nor fundamentalist in the same way.

    If there is any group of people who must be:

    * CRITICAL ("i must test before concluding");

    * OBJECTIVE ("let us look at this from several perspectives");

    * OPEN-MINDED ("that is a possibility"); and

    * HUMBLE ("i might be mistaken")...


    ...it must be the scientists. These traits are implicit in the scientific method used to determine the truth.

    Even with the most reliable of scientific truths, the best that science can say is, "This is as far as we know."


    We must note that matters concerning God (at least i speak for the Biblical Christian faith) are not only scientific; they encompass every other sphere of one's life, and everything else. Indeed, they say that intelligent design has already been ruled as being "not a scientific theory".

    And so i ask: Why approach the God issue from a purely scientific viewpoint?

    My dear professor and science college dean asks: Just because something is "not scientific", does that mean it is not true?

    And another thing: Remembering the self-admitted limits of science, why not approach the God issue from other perspectives?


    But let us end by using one more practice from the scientific mindset: just ONE counterexample is all it takes to prove a theory, even an entire belief system, wrong. It doesn't matter how many arguments there are about the non-existence of God --- all these can say is...

    "As far as we know..."

    "...This does not show evidence for any god."


    i ask, has anyone ever actually found conclusive "proof" that there is no God? [Note that this is significantly different from saying there is no conclusive proof for a God.]


    It is possible for me to have never seen snow before, but that does not mean that snow does not exist. How arrogant of me to conclude that there is no snow, just because i have not seen it --- and to stubbornly hold such views against those who have already seen snow (or at least they claim to!). In fact, they might even want to take me to where snow is...if i just even start with the possibility that snow even exists.

    ReplyDelete
  69. "But revealed truth, particularly regarding the Bible and "the Word of God", begins with the assumption that one knows, and has made it known. Again, if something is proven, well and good. But if something in the Bible is disproven, the entirety of the Christian faith will collapse.

    Note that, for all its details about past events and absolutist claims about personal lives, the Bible has yet to be proven wrong."

    Teci, you remind me of those early medieval theologians who bet the whole farm on their proof of the existence of God. They claimed that if anyone could refute their proofs, then God did not exist. The Church was less than pleased when their "proofs" were debunked, casting ridicule on the faith. They paid for their arrogance dearly, and today respectable theologians stay clear of "proofs". Likewise, the staggering number of errors in the Bible is common knowledge to those with a good understanding of Christianity and its history, including all of the best biblical scholars in the world (i.e. the ones that have actually compared early manuscripts.) A quick Google search would tell you that, if you actually had any interest in knowing the truth.

    I'm not certain which is worse: the profound ignorance of science evident on this site, or the profound ignorance of Christianity and its history. Just as it is possible to go through rote learning of scientific facts and procedures without ever grasping the point of what you're doing, it is also possible to be an enthusiastic proselytizer without ever gaining the slightest idea of what a religion is about. In twelve step programs they call this two-stepping; you join up (step one) and then immediately declare yourself an expert and go on to tell others about it (step 12).

    Fundamentalism is junk religion, if it can be called religion at all. It is primarily a political and economic tool. By fostering and supporting Islamic fundamentalism, the British and later the Americans were able to maintain the Middle East in a backward state incapable of asserting sovereignty. In America, Christian fundamentalism is advanced and manipulated by cynical secularists like Karl Rove and Ralph Reed; a guaranteed voter block which can be tapped and moved like a chess piece with an orchestrated targetted messaging campaign. The tenets of this political movement have so little to do with the original tenets of Christianity that Jeshua Ben Joseph wouldn't recognize any of it.

    But then, some of the most dramatic changes came within a couple decades of his death, at the hands of Saul of Tarsis, who incorporated various pagan elements and removed much of the influence of Judaism. Saul's writings influenced what would eventually become the gospels, which were written at least 70 years after the death of Jeshua (Saul's writings come after in the Bible, but were actually written long before the Gospels.) There is actually very little of the gospels that we can be sure are genuine. In hand-copying the text, the copyists took liberties, adding and deleting as they saw fit. Some of the copyists may not have even been Christians, but hired scribes. It seems that some of the most popular passages were not in the earliest versions of the gospels.

    It appears, by the content of your posts, that you are a part of the political movement, rather than a Christian. Christians, for example, don't consider the Bible inerrant, don't really take the book of Genesis literally, and therefore have no quarrel with evolution. Saint Augustine, the first great Christian theologian, argued strongly against the literal interpretation of Genesis. Only fairly recently, in backwards rural areas of America in the last century, did the superstition of literal creationism reappear as unquestioned dogma. Far from being fundamental, fundamentalism is a radical departure both from Christian tradition and from the core principles of the faith.

    ReplyDelete
  70. TheFluffyDuck11:49 PM

    Ahh Yes, THe sarcastic mind of an idiot is better than all the stand-up comics in the world combined.

    There is a fatal flaw in that piss poor attempt at logic.

    Richard dawkins is a human and doesnt have super powers. God is all powefull with super powers and can do anything (aparently).

    If god did want to reveal himself he could. It even says so in the bible that he has many times in the past to people. Including Moses, Adam and EVE. Amoung many others.

    YOu would have to be thick to wonder why no body else has seen him in the "flesh" so to speak for 2000 years. And even thicker to still think its anything more than a made up story.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hello Fluffy! You have merited your own blog entry, do check it out :)

    http://tecigurl.blogspot.com/2008/06/why-has-nobody-else-seen-god-in-past.html


    To everyone: a proper "closure of sorts" may be found here:

    http://tecigurl.blogspot.com/2008/06/brief-history-of-timeof-evolution-ofwhy.html

    But new comments are always welcome :) It looks like i have more time to respond, but in any case again i say that i will always try my best to do so :)

    All the best and i do hope to hear and correspond with you :)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Anonymous1:04 AM

    Juvenile solipsist nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hello anonymous poster:

    "Juvenile solipsist nonsense."

    i am simply showing that the reasoning of many atheists actually lacks reason.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Anonymous12:37 AM

    Christopher Hitchins is dead. Dead as a a door nail. Christ Lives and Reigns Forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To the last Anonymous commenter: I agree.

      Everyone: You might be interested in my latest post: http://tecigurl.blogspot.com/2013/10/god-science.html

      May the God of Truth and Love be with us all

      Delete