SEB Mailbag: Easily impressed idiots.

Time for another attempt at debate from the True Believers™. Got this in my inbox this morning:

From: Kevin Roelofse
Subject: wow

Hey
U sound so brave and sure of yourself…your 40years of age…wow…christians cannot prove God’s existence…those to claim that are unwise..but evolutionary’s can’t Prove evolution…evolutionary’s say in the beginning there was a big bang..well where the the matter come frm to cause the big bang..no proof to substantiate their claims..where is God,prove He exists no can do…but one way or another each of them including ur professed confession of atheist is something you believe by faith…so in our search for meaing and existence don’t jump to assumptions and make decisions based upon silly info…me of 25 years old can figure that out i figured you cud aswell..
Kevin

As you can imagine I was immediately swayed by the powerful and well thought-out arguments Kevin made in his email and I’ve since converted to a True Believer myself. Now I just have to pick which God belief to put my faith in. Oh hell, I’ll cover my ass completely and adopt them all. It’s a Christmas miracle!

33 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Easily impressed idiots.

  1. Do you keep any statistics regarding the apparent intelligence of those who choose to send you emails?

    It’s a big subjective, but surely you receive some well written and thought provoking arguments from the ‘True-believer’ crowd.

    They can’t all be raving, borderline-illiterate rants such as this.

  2. Granted, it took me a couple of re-reads, but I think I’m getting the point of what this guy is saying.

    He’s saying that there equal amount of non-evidence for God’s existence as there is for the Big Bang. Therefore, you have to choose to believe in God or the Big Bang and have faith that these concepts are real because there will never be cold, hard, irrefutable proof for either of them.

    The concept of the Big Bang is just as incredible as any Babylonian creation myth I’ve ever heard, so I can comfortably say I’ve heard of it and take it at face value. If you choose to believe in the Big Bang, it can lead you to plenty of other interesting theories. If you choose to believe the Babylonian creation myth, the other mythologies that follow are cool too.

    Blind faith in something is rarely advisable, but you should be able to believe in something based on experiential evidence. For example, let’s say you and I meet and become friends. Then I don’t see you for 20 years, are we still friends? I may not have irrefutable proof of it, but I can say that based on my experience, I believe we are still friends.

    Recognizing a Divine presence in life can be a similar thing, but it’s not something I can prove to others. As for the Big Bang, other than musing on more powerful farts I’ve had, I don’t have alot of belief in it either way. It’s a means to and end.

  3. For the Big Bang in particular, I can state emphatically that I have no “faith” in it. Certainly not in the Christian sense.

    It’s nothing but a convenient start point for theoretical arguments. It is a reasonable explanation on the surface, but I don’t think you’ll find a scientist out there that would claim that it holds up to any sort of scrutiny. The math falls apart miserably as you approach T=0.

    True-believers seem to have trouble understanding that rational thinkers are completely comfortable with “I don’t know”. For some reason they are soothed by replacing “I don’t know” with “an invisible omniscient/omnipotent being sprang magically into existence and did it”.

  4. but one way or another each of them including ur professed confession of atheist is something you believe by faith

    This one always kills me.  Just for the record, Atheism is lack of belief in god or gods.  Another way to say it, which I personally refrain from because it causes confusion, is: “I do not believe there is a god.”

    Again:

    I don’t believe in god = I don’t believe there is a god = a negative statement on the existence of god = not actually a belief

    I wonder what Kevin would say about the Muslims that have found his argument to support their faith, or the Hindus or practitioners of any religion for that matter.  I would bet that he doesn’t think all religions are equal.

    Also, strictly speaking, the ONLY thing that defines an Atheist as such is the lack of belief in god.  Big Bang theory is not part of it.

  5. I just don’t understand how they always conflate evolution and the big bang.  The two have nothing to do with each other.

    But…but…you forgot Abiogenesis!

  6. Les- Would it be cynical of me to suggest that there seems to be an inverse correlation between correctness of spelling and grammar, and degree of blind faith, in these moving attempts to sway your sinful heart?

  7. Kevin does appear a bit retarded, but there’s also a change that he’s handicapped in a way that makes it very difficult for him to write. If that is the case, it’s quite understandable that he wouldn’t bother to correct his typos.

  8. Oh yes! Don’t forget abiogenesis. These people just don’t care at all to actually learn something. They just want to be told how their simple life works. If there religion preached evolution they would be staunch supporters of it.

  9. I have started to wonder about god and the creation of man. I have a hard time thinking that something that I can not see or feel is out there. I truely think that a lot of people are scared about the fact that once we die there is no after life and if there is no after life there is no God. But I am still on the fence about this and I just haven’t been able to make any since of the entire belife of god and Jesus.

  10. I truely think that a lot of people are scared about the fact that once we die there is no after life

    You didn’t exist before you were born, either. Does that bother you?

  11. I feel for you, Danny.  Wasn’t an easy transition for me either, had to rip out a lot of wires and circuits and start over in some ways intellectually.  But I’d rather face an uncomfortable truth than turn my back to it.

    I face the door when I sit in restaurants, too.  Same reason.

  12. I’m always annoyed when someone with my name says something stupid. It must come from the (relative) scarcity of people named Kevin. It’s not real rare, but I’ve still only met a few others in my life.

  13. You didn’t exist before you were born, either. Does that bother you?

    Yes.  Well, it makes my head hurt.  Also the death thing is scary because I will cease to exist.  I’m with DoF on this.  Which everway Danny falls, at least he has thought about it. I can accept, sort of, faith with thought.

    KPG- Google and YouTube ‘Kevin Teenager’. Kevin has a specific connotation to Brits.

  14. Did anyone else notice the ad for the Ben Stein movie on the sidebar. The “smart new ideas” referd to are those of our old friend intelligent desicng, the Forest Gump of creationist ideas. We all know it’s retarded, but it stumbles on through life gaining wealth and popularity.

    Sorry to se Ben do a faceplant squarly on the wrong side of the fence.

    Sorry about the tangent. Now back to this weeks episode of True Believers™.

  15. For a review of Ben Stein’s movie, Expelled, which puts uppity Darwinists in their place, see here.  I don’t think it will make it to Austria, but I’ve seen enoungh of it already anyways.

  16. We really shouldn’t be too surprised about Ben Stein, after all, he was Richard Nixon’s speech writer long before he ever got on TV as that boring guy, or you could win his money on Comedy Central.  You don’t get to be the speech writer for Tricky Dick by not being a pretty staunch conservative (and one of the only publicly vocal defenders of old Dick I might add.)

  17. Well I have a lot of things to say in defense of old Dick.  He did a lot of good but is hardly remembered for that.  I cannot find a corresponding amount of good in the record of our current president.

    Conservatism used to mean something worthwhile, and in my mind the worst thing Nixon did was to destroy its reputation so it could be hijacked by the villains who have hold of it now.

  18. Eep!  No offense meant DOF.  I wasn’t necessarily bashing Nixon, though I must admit, I wasn’t around back then, so I only get my info second hand.  My point was that even with classic conservatism, the jump to Christian fundamentalism isn’t really all that big of a jump, and I don’t think that we should be surprised that Ben Stein is jumping on the ID bandwagon.

    Also, I am aware of some of the good that Nixon did, despite my earlier lame ass attempt to back down from what I said even earlier.  The one thing that stands out from what I know about Nixon, besides Watergate is his relations with China.

  19. No offense taken at all – Nixon did a huge amount of damage to our country and is a “fascinating historical character” to say the least.  He was one of our worst presidents until just recently.

  20. Well, I’ve been thinking about this, inspired by a song by Johnathan Coulton called The Presidents, what is the one thing that each administration throughout our history is best known for.  The song basically summarizes each presidency, leaving W’s as a “work in progress” cause the song was written in 2005. 

    He summarized Nixon as a “Sweating, filthy liar”, and Clinton’s was “Clinton gave an intern a cigar.”  The other ones seem a bit spot on as well, but I’d be interested in knowing what is the most common thing people remember about each president.

    Of course, we’re likely to remember things about presidents we were alive to see the term of, and less so be able to summarize those before we were born.  The earliest I remember anything about clearly is Reagan, but I was alive back to the end of the Ford administration.

    And I agree, I can’t find anything good in W’s record.

  21. There are so many things on which one could choose to focus.  If you barely mentioned the constitutional crisis that followed Watergate, you might remember Nixon as an unlikable fellow who nevertheless signed the Environmental Protection Agency into existence, ended the Vietnam War (not as easy as everyone thinks because of the investment that had been made in it) and normalized relations with China, starting that country on its current path toward capitalism and democracy.

    And yes, he was a sweating liar.  Don’t know about his personal hygiene. 

    I remember Clinton for preventing wider genocide in Kosovo, for not preventing it in Rwanda, and for giving us the only balanced budget we had since Eisenhower.  And for making FEMA a top professional organization, pushing for environmental measures, etc.  It’s a blinkered list to be sure but here’s the rub: I just can’t come up with a similar list for GWB no matter how hard I try.

    The lack of core values in the Republican party damages the Democratic party worse than anything Republican strategists could do.

  22. Amen, DoF.  Those were the days: thinking that no President could be worse than Nixon- then comes Reagan.  But who could be worse than Reagan?  One guess.

  23. As the Bush presidency winds down I’m forced to extend that question one step further.

    Back in 1952 it was Eisenhower vs. Stevenson – an agonizing decision between two candidates of whom either would be an excellent choice.  Man, that would be a nice problem to have.

  24. thinking that no President could be worse than Nixon

    Apart from the corruption in trying to stay in 1600, was he so bad?  Didn’t Agnew make major inroads into poor housing?

    It’s a truism that JFK won the TV debate, but Nixon won the Radio debate- the start of the slippery slope into today’s ‘pretty boy’ politics. (not just looks, it’s all theatre now).

    (PS I was born ‘69)

  25. …the Forest Gump of creationist ideas. We all know it’s retarded, but it stumbles on through life gaining wealth and popularity.

    Thanks you for the out-loud laugh.  The only quibble that I have with that is that all the people I’ve ever known who would be classified as “mentally retarded” are decent souls who take you as you come.  IDers on the other hand, are the angry misfit clique from high school who aren’t happy unless they can feel misunderstood and persecuted.  Basically, Dembski, Behe, O’Leary and the lot seem to operate at the same emotional level as a fifteen-year-old from a dysfunctional family.

    I’ll see zilch’s “Amen, DOF” and raise it with a “Hallelujah!  Preach it, Brother!”.  wink  Very good points, all.

    Actually, I can only think of two things that I can say in favor of GW Bush.  The first was his address to the nation on 9/11 in which he stressed that the attacks were not an excuse for anti-Islamic bigotry/violence (although that didn’t stop some poor guy from being murdered by mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers couldn’t tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh).  The second was when he drew fire from the religious right for pointing out that Christians, Jews and Muslims all really worship the same God.  For a guy who credits his “born again” Christianity with saving him from alcoholism (which I normally consider merely trading one addiction for another), that’s actually pretty impressive to my mind.

  26. Personally the only candidate that’s remotely excited me is Biden.

    I’m astounded that the plaguarism rap from the 80s hasn’t resurfaced, though.  Then again, I’m also floored that the “Keating 5” isn’t back to haunt McCain.  Oh, but wait—those scandals didn’t involve sex.  Whatever was I thinking?

  27. I’m astounded that the plagiarism rap from the 80s hasn’t resurfaced, though.

    Probably because the speech plagiarism rap is pretty easy to understand given that he forgot to give credit just once out of many times he made the exact same speech and it’s documented; and the paper plagiarism issue got an independent wave off by the state law board.

    Biden’s been a Senator for decades and he’s never lived in Washington, preferring to commute by public transportation so he could raise his kids as a single father after his wife died in a car crash. He refuses to own stock because he claims it could lead to conflicts of interest. Even his finances are pretty amazingly clean for a guy so long involved in politics, I understand he had to sell his house to afford to send his son to college.

    As far as his principles go I’d rank him up there with Dennis Kucinich, without the “unelectable because he’s sort of weaselly looking” tag Dennis tends to attract. Biden’s a Catholic, but he supports women’s rights. Why? Because apparently he simply thinks that the rule of law trumps his personal feelings. That’s awesome.

    Biden’s a Democrat that looks like he’s ready to leap over the desk and grab someone by the balls sometimes, and that’s another good reason I think he’s a great candidate. He’s a more competent and confidant candidate than Edwards or Obama. I think Hillary might be able to hold her own in a verbal exchange with Biden, but I think Biden’s senate record explains itself better even in the questionable votes once you start looking at the amendments and such he added. Hillary’s senate record is less about doing the right thing and more about getting her face on tv at the right moment so people never forgot that she’d be running for President.

  28. Didn’t mean to imply that I look down on Biden, Mr. Mook.  I’m just surprised, that’s all—and not a little disgusted at a populace that’s more easily scandalized by extramarital sex than by epidemic corruption and the wholesale vandalism of the Constitution. 

    In any election, the least pecadillo will be pounced-upon and flogged to death, and the Rethugs still somehow manage to convince a whole lotta hayseeds (urban and rural) that they’re the trustworthy ones.  That was the main drift of my comment.  McCain was still up past the eyeballs in the S&L;scandals.  But who cares if the American taxpayer saved that bacon to the tune of millions?  McCain didn’t blow anybody in a men’s room, and we all know that’s far better proof of his “morality”, riiiight?  [extra-sarcastic eyeroll]

  29. When I was six, my father took me along on his door-to-door campaigning for Stevenson.  As far as I recall, my dad regarded Eisenhower as a threat to Democracy.  Would that the Republicans fielded someone like Ike again- he is looking better and better as time goes on.  What Republican of today would warn us about the military-industrial complex?

  30. I wasn’t considering anyone being specifically “down on Biden,” just taking the opportunity to promote the man’s good qualities. 😀

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