SEB Mailbag: Try taking on the Catholics for a change redux.

I didn’t mention it previously, but I did dash off a reply to Mr. William Michael’s email which I posted earlier. Here’s what I said:

William,

That’s some impressively tortured logic you’ve got going there. Doesn’t tend to lend well to your claim that you can answer any argument I might be able to put forth. Atheism is simply the lack of theistic belief. It has no bearing on politics, marriage, or holidays. How you figure those three things imply an “end to human life higher than survival” is beyond me. I bow to your superior, if somewhat spurious, logic.

I do appreciate the email, though. It’s sure to amuse the folks who drop by my blog. Thanks for sending it along!

Les

I figured that would be enough to piss him off and he’d wander back into whatever dark recess he had scurried out from as most of the Catholics I’ve gotten email from tend to do. Usually it’s the Evangelicals that are persistent, but it appears Mr. Michael is of sterner stuff as he replied back:

Les,

As I expected, you suggest that my logic is flawed, but provide no reason for your criticism other than your opinion.  That kind of dumb response is what I meant when I said you should leave the little pond of idiots and put up some real reasons for your views—-which you obviously think are important enough to post on a website.  Your too acustomed to picking on the little girls, like Georgie Porgie…”when the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

Having opinions without demonstrable reasons is called “prejudice” and suggests a lack of proof rather than any real thought.  Every fool has an opinion.  Rhetorically, if you had reasons you were ready to stand behind you’d be able to let them speak for you, rather than suggesting that the support of your blog viewers is proof.  If numbers of supporters is proof, then I think Catholicism would win on a worldwide contest.  Knowing you don’t think that, what are your reasons?

Here are some questions I bet you will struggle to answer in a positive way. 

  1. What is the purpose of human life?  You obviously cannot have an opinion about what a government should do before you can state what the purpose of life even is.  I would love to read your answer to a question like this.  Again, not you picking on other people’s answers, but something of your own for consideration.
  2. What makes a day or event greater than any other?  After all, to set a holiday as a day of rest from other activities, or to recognize one event over another, implies that one is more significant than the other.  What exactly is this system of ranking events in the mind of an atheist?  Also, if holidays are intended to be celebrated in common, what would be the link that bound these groups together?  Or would there be as many holidays as individuals?
  3. What is the starting principle from which you define human rights?  I’d like to understand how an atheist concludes that humans have any “rights”.  The idea of a human right assumes that (a) there is a law higher than that of the individual and (b) that right is evident to humans in general, not in particular.  What exactly do you believe those rights are and what is your justification for them?

Again, refutations are a dime a dozen, demonstrations are the proof of reason and truth.  State your ideas positively, and we’ll know whether you really have anything to say.  Maybe you can post your answers to my questions on your blog and let people offer criticism of them.  After all, you’re a free thinker and no prejudiced or narrow-minded individual, right?

Bill Michael

***

William Michael, Director
Classical Liberal Arts Academy
Phone: (704)764-8641
E-Mail: mail@classicalliberalarts.com

I’ve not replied yet as I thought I’d take some time and consider my answers, but I will get to it eventually. I thought you folks would be interested in seeing his latest missive, though, so here you go.

269 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Try taking on the Catholics for a change redux.

  1. I said awhile back that I would address the three questions Mr. Michael posed to me and so now I will:

    1. What is the purpose of human life?  You obviously cannot have an opinion about what a government should do before you can state what the purpose of life even is.  I would love to read your answer to a question like this.  Again, not you picking on other people’s answers, but something of your own for consideration.

    Human life, like all life, doesn’t have an intrinsic purpose beyond self-propagation. Any purpose to be found in human life is only what we impose on it. 

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that it’s obvious that one cannot have an opinion about what government should do without being able to state what the purpose of life is. Maybe I was sick that day, but I don’t recall any civic lessons wherein they covered that government was created to ensure life’s purpose is fulfilled.

    2. What makes a day or event greater than any other?  After all, to set a holiday as a day of rest from other activities, or to recognize one event over another, implies that one is more significant than the other.  What exactly is this system of ranking events in the mind of an atheist?  Also, if holidays are intended to be celebrated in common, what would be the link that bound these groups together?  Or would there be as many holidays as individuals?

    I should make it clear here that I am in no way speaking for all atheists nor am I necessarily representative of your typical atheist. The only thing you can determine about someone who calls themselves an atheist is that they lack a belief in God(s). There are atheists who believe in ghosts or who don’t agree with the Theory of Evolution so trying to determine the “system of ranking events in the mind of an atheist” from my response will tell you nothing other than how I personally rank things.

    What makes a day or event “greater” than another is entirely a subjective question. Not everyone agrees on what makes a day or event worthy of recognition, but I personally think a good general rule is that events which are significant in terms of the impact it has on our lives are what determine what makes one day greater than another.

    Take for example birthdays. With a few exceptions such as George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln, most birthdays are not national holidays, but that doesn’t mean they are not significant days for the people who are having them. What could be more of an impact on your life than the day you were born? Possibly the day you die, but you’re not around at that point to commemorate the occasion. George Washington’s birthday is significant on a national scale because of the impact he had in getting this country started.

    But again not everyone agrees. Some people don’t celebrate their, or anyone else’s, birthdays and there were multiple attempts made before Congress finally passed a law recognizing the significance of MLK Jr.‘s birthday; a decision many people still disagree with. On a personal scale it’s entirely subjective, on a national scale it’s whatever manages to get passed into law by Congress.

    3. What is the starting principle from which you define human rights?  I’d like to understand how an atheist concludes that humans have any “rights”.  The idea of a human right assumes that (a) there is a law higher than that of the individual and (b) that right is evident to humans in general, not in particular.  What exactly do you believe those rights are and what is your justification for them?

    Human rights is entirely a creation of humanity itself and not something inherent in humanity by its nature. The Bill of Rights wasn’t handed down from on high carved in stone. It was created by men who fought vehemently over what should and shouldn’t be included and exist only as ideals written down on paper that we try to uphold. They can be, and have been, restricted and taken away as history has shown over the years and they only have meaning so long as we strive to maintain them. I hold no illusions that they are anything other than a human institution.

    In the eighteenth century Jeremy Bentham and Edmund Burke argued that the concept of inalienable rights was groundless—“nonsense on stilts”—and that rights arise from the actions of government and/or tradition and are thusly anything but inalienable. There’s also the argument put forth by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in which he stated that the existence of inalienable rights was unnecessary for the creation of a constitution or a set of laws and rights through the use of a social contract. I tend to agree with those viewpoints. I don’t believe rights are inherent in humanity, but I think they’re a good idea worth striving for.

    That said, there are any number of philosophies on natural rights independent of, and with no need for, a supernatural agent (God) that have been put forth over the years. See the writings of Immanuel Kant for rights he believed were derived from reason alone.

  2. Matt is correct. For the sake of brevity I added, “age of the earth” as example. I nor anyone can give a concrete date of the age of the Earth. Dating techniques are variable yet they are also less controversial then they are made out to be. Keep in mind that there are many types of dating that are only effective up to a certain age. Carbon 14 is the most well known but their is also potassium argon dating, stratigraphical dating, using the expansion of the universe to date, and even the lowly tree ring dating, etc etc. I can give full lectures on the differences of dating techniques, how far they can measure too, and what is used to calibrate them.
    Quick overview of a few radiometric dating techniques.
    Carbon 14 – Useless for dating age of earth. Only works on carbon based materials which have a short lifespan compared to rock and such. Carbon 14 degrades to quickly to measure the age of the earth but is very useful for most of human history and evolution.
    Potassium Argon- Dates very accurately and has a very long time span, more then 100,000 years. Works on rocks and minerals, normally igneous.
    Both of those are techniques I would normally use to study human society but in the age of the earth we use Lead-lead dating which has an incredibly long half life and is accurate normally to +-.07 of a billion years. Which to a human is very long amount of time. In a universal or even geological scale, it is nothing. Using lead-lead dating the earth has been dated to roughly 4.55 billion years old. Our dating techniques get more and more accurate almost everyday and their are people much more intelligent then I in the field of dating that are constantly testing and calibrating these wonderful machines.  You don’t have to believe in radiation and decay, but by doing so you deny reality.

  3. Yeah this guy is just pissed off beacause none of his Fellow Christians(Catholics) that can teach and arent “Idiots” dont have the balls to stand up to the people that defy what they believe

    I got to go class is over
    i will type more tomorrow

  4. What you are about to read is one person’s opinion (namely mine)- no more, no less.

    1.  What is the purpose of human life?
    I don’t believe there is one answer to this question, as to dictate a purpose for all humans who have, and will inhabit the universe is far beyond my purview (and I believe, beyond the purview of any one person).

    The purpose of my life? I haven’t decided yet – I suspect if I do have a purpose (of which I am uncertain) then it is to experience, learn and develop my sense of “self” which is unique to me.

    2. What makes a day or event greater than any other?
    Celebration days, or events, are made special, or irrelevant by personal choice. Washington’s birthday is irrelevant to me, but my sister’s birthday is special and a cause for celebration. Many widely held celebration days are enjoyed as a tradtion, rather than for their original meaning. For instance I have no need to celebrate the summer and winter solstice, as I don’t belong to an agrarian culture, but they are a cultural tradition, and an excuse to get together with loved ones. By the same token I enjoy both Christmas and Diwalli, despite not subcribing to any organised religion.

    3. What is the starting principle from which you define human rights?
    I belive there is a law higher than the individual, and that is the collective. I would define my starting principal as being this, I don’t believe I deserve to suffer, starve or be subjugated – thus I don’t believe anyone else should either. Personally I much prefer the UN declaration of human rights to the 10 commandments, it is more encompassing. I have yet to learn of an organised religion that has not, at some point in it’s history, been complicit in some breach of what I define as human rights. I’d be thrilled to find one that has been socially responsible.

    Here ends my, unlooked for, opinion on the matter.

  5. As was said before this conversation started; neither side is going to change the opinion of the other side. Reading through this only makes that clear. Having glanced through this thread there are only a couple of things I would address. Neither of these two comments are really part of the main focus of the conversation, but I do not think that anything can really be added in that regard. I just wanted to clarify two pointS:

    a) William: Human beings are about 200,000 years old and the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The Church spends a lot of time talking about how modern society is “relativist,” about how modern society “does not respect truth.” Well, Catholics cannot go around obfuscating scientific facts and then demand that everyone look to Catholicism as a source of truth.

    b) In the original e-mail that started this debate, you called a lot of people a lot of names, including referring to Protestants as “idiots.” If you read Matthew, you will see that Jesus himself stated that one is risking hell when they call their neighbor “raqa” which basically means “idiot.” You cannot claim to be a defender of Jesus’ teachings when you do not follow them.

    b) Patness: I just wanted to point out that the Catholic Church did not prohibit all translations of the Bible that were made prior to the Reformation. The Church did perhaps discourage translations and, as you said, John Wycliffe translated the Bible and this translation was prohibited. But it should not be said that no translations were allowed; if you were considered a heretic your translations would be suppressed, but if you were an orthodox Catholic in the Middle Ages you could translate the Bible into your own language without getting into any trouble. Catholics translated the Bible into English centuries before Wycliffe, for example. If the Church did not have an issue with the translation, translations of the Bible were not prohibited and did exist, though I suppose they may have been somewhat rare. I do not say this to defend Catholic censorship in previous centuries, I just think that this should be pointed out. As for Wycliffe, unless I misread, you made a statement that seemed to imply that Wycliffe was executed by the Catholic Church, which is untrue, he died of natural causes. Perhaps you are thinking of Jan Hus?

  6. Hello all, I’ve got a break to answer the latest post…

    1.  As regards the use of the word “idiots”.  I am surprised that readers of a blog with the F*** word in its subtitle would be so sensitive to a word much more welcome in society.  Anyway, Christ is speaking of angry speech which is a step from murder.  Read the context.  I assure you that I was/am not angry at all, and therefore, contrary to your opinion, in danger of eternal damnation for the use of the word.  he also says to “call no man father”, so I suppose you would have me and my children condemnded for that as well.  Context and intent, guys.

    2.  As for all of your reference to science, I would remind you that we must hang onto our own ideas even in the face of contrary evidence.  So, as a good scientist, I answer, Big deal.  You’re arguing with material evidence subject to interpretation against the existence of an inivisible spirit.  Is that rational?  Perhaps a deaf man could be a “rational a-phonist” because he cannot see any sounds in the world and offer all the research to support his view.

  7. Mr. Michael,

    As for all of your reference to science, I would remind you that we must hang onto our own ideas even in the face of contrary evidence.

    You really don’t get science at all, do you? This is exactly the opposite of what happens in science.

    So, as a good scientist, I answer, Big deal.

    You are not in any way a good scientist. You are, in fact, a non-scientist who clearly has a very poor understanding of science, and it is an insult to good scientists everywhere for you to identify as one.

    You’re arguing with material evidence subject to interpretation against the existence of an inivisible spirit.  Is that rational?

    Yes. If said invisible spirit has any effect on the universe at all, it should be measurable and thus the spirit should be detectable by material means. If the spirit has no measurable effect, it might as well not exist in the first place.

    Perhaps a deaf man could be a “rational a-phonist” because he cannot see any sounds in the world and offer all the research to support his view.

    What’s the analogy here? That atheists lack a sixth “God sense?” Because that’s stupid. It’s also stupid to pretend that a deaf guy couldn’t be shown evidence of the existence of sound even if he couldn’t hear it himself. Sound, after all, does have definite physical effects, regardless of the functionality of one guy’s eardrums. God not so much.

    Also, speaking generally, nobodycan “see” sounds. That’s why we have ears.

    Here is a good post on a similar analogy that uses a blind man instead of a deaf man.

  8. LES –
    1.  If the purpose of human life is self-progataion, then does one who does not self-propagate fail to fulfill the purpose of human life? 

    Of course, you’ll probably respond that one may self-propagate vicariously through the actual reproduction of others, but that wouldn’t be self-propagation, would it? 

    2.  My point about government and politics is that if the government (in America) is simply the expression of society’s wish and you are at peace with that, why have so much negative to say about conservatives, etc?  Why ot just go with the flow.  It seems strange to have so much to complain about, when things are just as you believe they should be…human societies deciding what is right for themselves.  Look at you quote on the front page of your blog: “I still think it’s a mistake to let Lieberman get away with it and it’s a bad sign for how the next four years is going to go if the Democrats can’t grow a pair after all the gains they’ve made.”

    Why should others be subject to your wishes?

    3.  My point about holidays is that I don’t know of any National Holidays celebrated for an atheist or the principles of atheists:  moral relativism, etc.  Why don’t free Americans honor atheist principles if they are so objective and obvious?  Would you suggest that the masses are more sensitive to the intellect (faith & reason) than the senses (observation)?  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

    4.  It seems that you would have the line between human rights and civil rights to be removed, since they are one and the same, no?  After all, if rights are determined by civil society (not anything intrinsically human), why then maintain the division? Should we remove it?

  9. There are no “atheist principles.” Some atheists are moral relativists. Some reject the idea of morality, period. Some are secular humanists. Some, like Ayn Randian Objectivists, believe strongly in objective morality.

    The only “principle” of atheism, and this has been said before, but you fail to notice so you can keep pounding on that straw man, is that there is no God. That’s it.

    Atheists who celebrate holidays do it because they are human, you intolerable, arrogant jackass. They put personal, subjective value into that day and thus see it as a worthy time of celebration. And guess what? That’s what theists do, too.

  10. So in other words “If they can do it, it is ok for me to do it too.” This is neither logical nor Christian. Jesus said what he said, if you call your neighbor an idiot you will risk going to hell. I understand that Jesus often spoke in hyperbole, but I do not see that his comment taken in its context is any less binding. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I do not think that my fellow Catholics would take too kindly to Protestants calling them names. I know for a fact that they generally would not.

    As for the science part; your comments sound like relativism to me. Truth is a “big deal,” and no amount of obfuscation can make a fact less relevant or important.

  11. Jesus also called people names…so obviously Christian morality isn’t as simple and prudish as you would pretend.  “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”  I guess that would be hypcrisy in your view of Christian morals.  Can you be a little more serious? 

    Even if I was the greatest Christian hypocrite in the history of the world, would that prove Christian principles (or theistic principles) wrong?  Quit wasting your time on the “ad hominem” and address the topics of the conversation.

  12. AKUSAI:

    “There are no atheist principles.” would have to be an atheist principle, no?  So, there is at least one.  There are others as well, just read the posts.

    This should be the atheist motto—it would be pretty funny.

  13. “There are no atheist principles” is not a principle. It’s a statement of observed fact based on the sheer diversity of the atheist “community” and the fact that there’s nothing required of being an atheist except the lack of a god-belief. There are conservative atheists, liberal atheists, anarchist atheists, fascist atheists, atheists who support PETA, atheists who eat meat, atheists who beat their kids, atheists who believe America should be destroyed, and so on and so forth. A lack of god-belief has no necessary tie to any other opinions a person may hold.

    That some individual atheists have personal principles does not make them blanket “atheist principles.” Surely you recognize this and are merely being facetious. You can’t be that dumb.

  14. AKUSAI:

    “Atheists that beat their children.”  Where did that come from?  I’d hate to belong to that class.

    Anyway, to say that “There are no Atheist principles.” is not a principle is .  If it is a generalized truth that can serve as a basis for further reasoning, it is a principle.  So, that’s a principle.  “Akusai is an atheist.” would not be a principle…but when you say “All atheists have no principles.”, that’s a principle.  If you say…“Some atheists say they have principles, but they can’t.”…the universe is going implode.  You’d have to then provide principles by which professing atheists can be tested, which would mean atheists do have principles.

    I guess I am that dumb.  You guys are fun.

  15. I think I am being quite serious. I think that if one believes in Christianity they believe that Jesus is God, and that Jesus is in a position of judgment; not us. For the rest of us, it is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Which is why ad hominem remarks against Protestants and others, calling people “idiots” and “fools,” is not appropriate for someone claiming to represent Christianity. There is much more to Christianity than theology or philosophy. Jesus taught that we should live by example. He said that nothing good could come from a bad tree, and that hypocrites who talked about principles but did not live by them were not following God’s will, which is why he spoke out against the Pharisees.

    If you are suggesting that talking about principles is more important than living them, then I question your understanding of Christianity. Being uncharitable towards other human beings does not make someone a good representative of Christianity, regardless of how many years they spent studying theology in college.

  16. First off, no one is keeping score as to whether or not anyone manages to propagate.  Failure is nature’s way of maintaining survival of the fittest.  You don’t have the drive to spread your seed, your seed doesn’t need to spread.  Wolves, lions, etc.  Alpha male makes babies.  The rest keep trying.  (we’ve actually passed the point where this has anything to do with us, and i think it’s a shame.  There should be something higher than us on the food chain to keep us from regressing).

    2. Your point about politics is pointless.  Being a human, he gets to express his preferences for his society. He doesn’t have to leave it up to others.  Unless your argument is that since he’s atheist he’s not a part of human society.  He can argue with those that disagree with him, and they can to do the same.  That’s what government is.  It has nothing to do with belief systems, except for how those belief systems influence members of the society.

    I’ll finish with your question repeated to you.  Why should others be subject to your wishes?

    3.  There are many holidays that are not-religious in nature.  I’d say those, being secular, in the least do not conflict with atheist beliefs. 

    As for the less secular holidays, there are plenty of secular aspects to their celebration for us to enjoy.  In other words i can give gifts to my niece and nephew on krismas because i enjoy seeing them smile when they get something cool.  I don’t have to believe a magic baby saved me from a sin my great great great great great great great great grandmother committed in my name. It’s actually fairly easy to separate the two elements.

    Also, atheists tend to be less prone to forcing our beliefs on others.  There’s never been an atheist inquisition.  I don’t need you to take a day off in honor of John Galt.

    Another thing… belief has nothing to do with intellect (or reason for that matter).

    4.  It’s a matter of semantics.  Call them what you will.  Their only difference is the jurisdiction.

  17. Z:

    How does Abortion fit in to your theory about propagation?  Wouldn’t your reasoning lead us to believe that those who chose to prevent themselves from giving birth would be “the weak”?  After all, the progeny would cease to be.

    Also, what about homosexuals?  Aren’t they necessarily “weak” in the grand scheme of things since they can’t reproduce?  After all, you would probably argue that homosexuality has is natural and not willful. 

    I look forward to your response to that one.

  18. William –

    I think you failed to read ALL of Les’ reply to your questions.  The second part to question one was:

    Any purpose to be found in human life is only what we impose on it.

    The first part was a general purpose that is shared among all mammals.  If an animal fails to propagate its species, it has not failed at existence.  If all mammals fail to propagate, THEN you have a problem—extinction. 
    So, the meaning of life is—you make your own meaning.

    How does Abortion fit in to your theory about propagation?  Wouldn’t your reasoning lead us to believe that those who chose to prevent themselves from giving birth would be “the weak”?  After all, the progeny would cease to be.

    This easily fits within my above statement.  Abortion does not threaten our species.  There is no reason to think that in the future all humans will have an abortion. 

    Also, what about homosexuals? Aren’t they necessarily “weak” in the grand scheme of things since they can’t reproduce?

    Who says that a gay or lesbian cannot reproduce? There are several instances of such a thing occurring.  I am sure if our species were under threat of extinction, we could find some gays and lesbians to reproduce in order to propagate the species.  As that is not the case, there is no need.  They can live there life as they were born—happily within their own biological imperative.

    – Matt

  19. Positive:

    No.  Jesus is not guilty of doing what He criticizes in others.  He criticizes the Jews saying that “they bind heavy burdens for others to carry but do not lift a finger to carry them themselves”.  Also St. Peter, taught that Jesus “left us an example that we may follow in His steps.”

    What Jesus did was what He commanded His followers to do.  He said to them, “Go and do likewise”.  It is no surprise that we find St. Paul in Acts 23:3 calling names, “God strike you, you white-washed wall!”. 

    Your interpretation would only work if Jesus was a hypocritical judge who sets standards for His subjects that He doesn’t keep Himself.  When we see Jesus calling names, He is not breaking His own rules.  His behavior provides the standard by which we interpret and understand precisely what He meant in His teaching.  Otherwise, as in your scheme, He sets a double standard like some sort of weak tyrant. 

    It is easily proven untenable in light of a more careful reading of Scripture.  My Christianity is derived from Scripture, not my own opinion.  Doing what YOU think is Christianity does not make you right.  If you studied MORE Theology you would also have a more sound understanding of Christian morality and be a better Christian, or should I say, “Imitator of God” as St. Paul says.

  20. Wow, you are that dumb, and apparently proud of it. Here’s some for the cheap seats:

    A principle is assumed a priori. A principle is held regardless of results or evidence to the contrary. “It is wrong in principle to kill anyone ever” is a principle. It ignores the results of killing or the evidence that sometimes killing might be useful or even morally justified.

    “There are no atheist principles” is an a posteriori observation. It could easily be overturned if all atheists banded together and agreed on some a priori principles, because it is only a summary statement of observed evidence.

    Atheism is not a system of belief. It is not a worldview. It is a lack of god-belief. Period. Full stop. You are not nearly as clever as you think. Your reasoning in this instance is equivalent to Pee Wee Herman’s “I’m rubber, you’re glue! Haha!”

  21. MATT:

    You seem much calmer than the other day.

    I did read Les’ reply, and understand your clarification (or at least your adjustment of Les’ statement).

    You may say that “abortion doesn’t threaten our species”, but it certainly does threaten groups within our species.  For example, it does not threaten conservative Catholics, who are not only not having abortions, but have large families.  (Between four families, our friends have 30 children).  That would seem to imply that there is something “strong” about this group.  DO you see my point?

    Another example, African-Americans make up only 13% of the US population, yet are responsible for 34% of the abortions.  Your reasoning would suggest that this was a sign of a racial “weakness” from an evolutionary standpoint.

    What are your thoughts there?

  22. 3.  My point about holidays is that I don’t know of any National Holidays celebrated for an atheist or the principles of atheists:  moral relativism, etc.  Why don’t free Americans honor atheist principles if they are so objective and obvious?  Would you suggest that the masses are more sensitive to the intellect (faith & reason) than the senses (observation)?  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

    So, rephrased:  If atheism is so great, why aren’t there more atheists?  Is that the round-about question you’re really trying to get to?

    My answer:  People are superstitious. Knocking on wood and praying make them feel good about uncontrollable situations.  They fear death so much they want to believe stories over the cold hard truth.  I’m sure you were raised to believe what you do.  If you had been born 4000 years ago in Africa, you would have believed, just as fervently, something considerably different.  You would have probably died for it when put to the test.  You would raise your children to believe it.  You’d hate anyone that tried to tell you differently.  Oh, and you’d still be just as wrong as you are today. 
    Unfortunately, it seems quite natural for humans to think they can bring control to chaos through superstition.  It will take a long, long time to overcome such foolishness.  But hey, let’s cross our fingers and hope we can.

    Oh, and I noticed you tried to sneak ‘faith’ in under the umbrella of Intellect.  Nice try.
    – Matt

  23. AKUSAI:

    I am not as dumb as you suppose.  As a logic teacher (see my Academy website) I know the difference between reasoning a priori and a posterior, and am glad to see you do as well.

    So, here’s another one for the cheap seats:

    I am not convinced that stating “No atheists have principles.”  is “a posteriori” when your statement is not coming from observed fact, but from a conviction maintained contrary to evidence.

    I said above that other posters on this blog DO express atheist principles and they have…that would be evidence contrary to your statement that they don’t.  If you maintain your premise that “No atheists have principles”, then it must be a priori and NOT a posteriori.

    Do you agree with that much?  Your definitions confirm what I said.

  24. You seem much calmer than the other day.

    If I seemed anything but calm the other day, it is simply my writing style.  I’m usually quite calm no matter the words, or how you read them.

    As to groups like Catholics, African-Americans, Atheists, etc. and abortion— do you see them as a separate species? We’re propagated just fine no matter if it were all Asians, African Americans, or Caucasians.  There is no difference.  This is the part where ‘Survival of the fittest’ is distorted.  There are some people who see races as superior over others, forgetting we are one species.  Survival of the Fittest means Homosapien as a whole, not Latino-Homosapiens, or even more broken down: Catholic-Homosapiens.

    – Matt

  25. MATT:

    You need to re-think one part of your argument. 

    “People are superstitious. Knocking on wood and praying make them feel good about uncontrollable situations.  They fear death so much they want to believe stories over the cold hard truth.”

    This would be true only if religious belief led one to fear death, but quite the opposite is true.  Martyrs have embraced, sometimes even sought out death, because of their “superstition”.  Soldiers have volunteered for suicide missions, assured they would be rewarded in accordance with their religious beliefs. 

    Fear is not a pre-requisite of religion.  I hope you’ll admit that and re-work your last argument.

  26. MATT:

    Good question on “species”.

    I certainly don’t think of different human groups as species.  However, behaviors such as abortion, when linked so clearly to racial groups or social groups do seem to determine exactly what the “human race” is, or at least what it will be.

    What do you think about that?

  27. AKUSAI:

    I SET YOU UP FOR THIS ONE, KNOWING HOW YOU ALL TO ASSOCIATE YOURSELVES WITH “SCIENCE” AS THOUGH IT IS CONTRARY TO CHRISTIAN BELIEFS.  You said:

    “You are not in any way a good scientist. You are, in fact, a non-scientist who clearly has a very poor understanding of science, and it is an insult to good scientists everywhere for you to identify as one.”

    the words I wrote that “we must hang onto our own ideas even in the face of contrary evidence.” were not mine.

    They were part of an article “How Science Works” by Dr. David Goodstein, Vice Provost and Professor of Physics at Caltech, one of the world’s greatest research institutions. 

    WOULD YOU INCLUDE HIM IN YOUR LIST OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND SCIENCE?

    His exact words were:

    “Because science is an adversary process in which each idea deserves the most vigorous possible defense, it is useful for the successful progress of science that scientists tenaciously hang onto their own ideas, even in the face of contrary evidence.”

    PEOPLE WHO LET SCIENCE RULE THEIR IDEAS ARE NOT SCIENTISTS AT ALL AND DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD TO THE FIELD.

    Consider the words of Einstein (another pretty good scientist):

    “A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is – in my opinion – the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.” 

    Some of the posters on the site don’t even know who Francis Bacon is, yet they think they understand science.  They are (if they are scientists) “mere specialists” and not “real seekers after truth”.  Are you sure you know which group you belong to?  It seems to me the tail wags the dog among Atheists.

  28. Jesus, to Christians, is God. If you believe in God you believe that he is in a position of judgment over all mankind. Ask any of our Atheist friends, they can go on and on about the subject of the judgmental Christian God much longer than I can. So, if Jesus called a group of Pharisees “snakes” that is not him being a hypocrite, because Jesus-if he is God- is in a position of judgment, he knows what is going on in everyone’s hearts and minds, while we as sinful humans do not and are not in a position of judgment. Jesus, to the contrary, told us not to judge others, not to call others names, but to treat others as we would like to be treated. He told us that the measure by which we measure will be measured out to us. It is all there for anyone to see.  It is not for us sinful human beings, then, to decide who is or is not a “snake,” we believe it is for God to decide. We do not call others names, but believe in charity and kindness.

    I think my knowledge of Catholic theology is adequate; adequate enough that I do not have to advertise it to everyone. And what I know is that if we talk about our religion but do not live moral lives then we are hypocrites, like the Pharisees who Jesus addressed. I know that I as a Catholic would not be pleased to hear a Protestant call me an idiot simply because I am Catholic, and so I know enough not to call a Protestant names.

  29. This would be true only if religious belief led one to fear death, but quite the opposite is true.  Martyrs have embraced, sometimes even sought out death, because of their “superstition”.  Soldiers have volunteered for suicide missions, assured they would be rewarded in accordance with their religious beliefs.

    I’m not really sure how you came to that conclusion. 
    I realize that there is no reason for the religious to fear death (yet they do).  After all, that leads to heaven, perfect happiness, and everlasting life, correct? (which really sounds like the kind of thing you would tell a child the first time they asked about dying and you didn’t want to scare the crap out of them)
    Fear exists and carefully crafted superstitions can be made to bring imaginary control over that fear.  Fear of death? Invent a heaven—now you never really die. You have cancer? Pray—but god might call you “home” for some special reason.  You are worried about your future? See a fortune teller.  Superstition can, and has, overcome some of the fear.  I say some, because Christians obviously fight for life, even knowing what is waiting for them in their new afterlife.  Human nature? An admission that they don’t REALLY know what is waiting for them? 

    Superstition can lead to death, even as it fights fear: Native Americans would bless wood and animal-skin shields to stop bullets from American Troops.  Can you imagine the outcome?  Yet, I imagine they would die by the dozens and come up with reasons why many of their people died to bullets.  Not strong enough in their faith? The blessing was done wrong? There were probably hundreds of reasons.  And, I imagine, they went to their deaths imagining they would be rewarded according to their beliefs.

    Fear isn’t just a prerequisite for religion, it is THE reason for religion.  It is the ultimate answer to something we can only wish we had a definitive answer to:  Life after death. 
    It’s the “God of the Gaps” all over again, and the one place a god or gods can hide from science.  For some reason people just don’t like having their heaven taken from them. 

    – Matt

  30. Positive:

    Did you read my statement about St. Paul?  It’s not only Jesus, so your “Jesus is in a position of judgment” argument does not work.

    As for my moral integrity, I will let another speak for me—a Protestant by the way—so you can be assured of my good relations with them and that when I call them “idiots” it’s in good humor not murderous threats:

    “Bill Michael…[is] a man of outstanding moral integrity, he’s culturally relevant and in-tuned…and he seems to know something about everything. He may be the most brilliant man I have ever met.”   
    Upper School Theology Teacher
    Charlotte NC

    So if my moral integrity is in question, you can ease up now.  That’s from the feedback page on my Academy website.

  31. William writes…

    LES –
    1.  If the purpose of human life is self-progataion, then does one who does not self-propagate fail to fulfill the purpose of human life?

    Yes. In as much as the only literal purpose to life is propagation of life then, yes, that would be a true statement. Not every animal manages to reproduce successfully. This is as true for man as it is any other animal.

    Of course, you’ll probably respond that one may self-propagate vicariously through the actual reproduction of others, but that wouldn’t be self-propagation, would it?

    Why would I respond with such a silly and stupid argument?

    2.  My point about government and politics is that if the government (in America) is simply the expression of society’s wish and you are at peace with that, why have so much negative to say about conservatives, etc?  Why ot just go with the flow.

    I never said that government is “simply the expression of society’s wish.” You have this habit of putting your words in other people’s mouths instead of arguing against what was actually said. You’ve managed to jump from “you obviously cannot have an opinion about what a government should do before you can state what the purpose of life even is” to “government (in America) is simply the expression of society’s wish” in one massive leap of logic.

    It seems strange to have so much to complain about, when things are just as you believe they should be…human societies deciding what is right for themselves.

    Why would that be strange? I am a part of society and thus a participant in society and as such have an interest in contributing to the decisions made. When those decisions are opposed to what I think they should be then I would have plenty to complain about. The suggestion that I shouldn’t is silly. That would only be true if I were apathetic towards society and I am anything but apathetic.

    Look at you quote on the front page of your blog: “I still think it’s a mistake to let Lieberman get away with it and it’s a bad sign for how the next four years is going to go if the Democrats can’t grow a pair after all the gains they’ve made.“

    What about it?

    Why should others be subject to your wishes?

    For the same reason I am subject to theirs.

    3.  My point about holidays is that I don’t know of any National Holidays celebrated for an atheist or the principles of atheists:  moral relativism, etc.  Why don’t free Americans honor atheist principles if they are so objective and obvious?

    We’ve already been over this: There’s no such thing as “atheist principles.” There are principles that a lot of atheists hold, perhaps even a majority, but those principles have less to do with atheism than the individuals themselves.

    Would you suggest that the masses are more sensitive to the intellect (faith & reason) than the senses (observation)?  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

    You thought wrong. Humanity has a built-in propensity towards belief. Any of a number of studies over the years has shown this to be true. Irrationality comes naturally to humans.

    I am amused that you would lump faith under intellect along with reason. Classically reason and faith are opposed to one another.

    4.  It seems that you would have the line between human rights and civil rights to be removed, since they are one and the same, no?  After all, if rights are determined by civil society (not anything intrinsically human), why then maintain the division? Should we remove it?

    I think it’s pointless to draw a distinction, but it makes some folks feel better to do so.

  32. How does Abortion fit in to your theory about propagation?  Wouldn’t your reasoning lead us to believe that those who chose to prevent themselves from giving birth would be “the weak”?  After all, the progeny would cease to be.

    Also, what about homosexuals?  Aren’t they necessarily “weak” in the grand scheme of things since they can’t reproduce?  After all, you would probably argue that homosexuality has is natural and not willful. 

    Two birds, one stone: more people, less need for reproduction. In families (humans and otherwise) – increase in homosexuality with population increase. Not just absolutely, but relative to the population.

    It’s been hypothesized that, in tribal groupings, non-reproducers help bring the bacon home for the tribal heads and chiefs, without adding to the burden (non-alpha progeny).

    If this hypothesis is right, there’s your regulator. Evolution in action without “strength” or “weakness”.

  33. MATT:

    1.  “I realize that there is no reason for the religious to fear death (yet they do).  After all, that leads to heaven, perfect happiness, and everlasting life, correct?”

    YES…BUT THAT DOESN’T SUGGEST THAT THEY STILL FEAR DEATH.  I DON’T DENY MENN FEAR DEATH AND THAT MAY LEAD TO A SEARCH FOR A COMFORT, BUT THAT ISN’T EXACTLY WHAT CATHOLICISM IS ABOUT.  I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THERE ARE CATHOLICS I HAVE SEEN DIE WHO WERE NOT AT ALL AFRAID OF DEATH.

    2. (which really sounds like the kind of thing you would tell a child the first time they asked about dying and you didn’t want to scare the crap out of them)

    DON’T CONFUSE SHALLOW RELIGIOUS PLATITUDES WITH ACTUAL CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS ON DEATH.  MUCH OF THE STUFF SPOKEN BY CHRISTIANS IS FROM HALLMARK AND NOT THE CATECHISM.

    3.  “Fear isn’t just a prerequisite for religion, it is THE reason for religion.  It is the ultimate answer to something we can only wish we had a definitive answer to:  Life after death.” 

    AGAIN, YOUR ABSOLUTE 100% CERTAINTY THAT THERE IS NO LIFE AFTER DEATH IS BASED ON A DISBELIEF OF THE TESTIMONY OF OTHERS THAT THERE IS.  I’M NOT NAIVE ENOUGH TO THINK YOU WILL LOVE THIS ARGUMENT, BUT IF MULTIPLE EYEWITNESS TESTIFY IN WRITING TO HAVING SEEN CHRIST RISE FROM THE DEAD AND 2000 YEARS LATER YOU READ THAT AND SAY, “NO HE DIDN’T…IT’S A LIE”…WHAT CAN YOU SAY BUT THAT YOUR CONFIDENCE IS FOUNDED UPON ASSUMPTIONS THAT SUCH TESTIMONIES ARE, IN FACT, LIES? 

    “SCIENTIFICALLY”, YOU CAN SAY NOTHING…BECAUSE YOU DON’T OBSERVE A PERSON DIE AND COME TO LIFE ONLY PROVES THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE BY WHATEVER MEANS YOU HAVE AT YOUR DISPOSAL. 

    CAN YOU AT LEAST UNDERSTAND WHY, TO THE CHRISTIAN MIND, YOUR ARGUMENT SEEMS UNJUSTIFIABLY SUSPICIOUS AND UNWILLING TO ACCEPT A TESTIMONY YOU CAN’T PROVE TO BE FALSE?  IT SEEMS TO ME TO BE NO LESS ASSUMPTION-BASED THAN MINE, EXCEPT THAT I BELIEVE THEIR TESTIMONY AND YOU DON’T.  IF THEY WERE TELLING THE TRUTH, YOU ARE SIMPLY WRONG. 

    YET YOU GIVE OTHER SOURCES OF TESTIMONY CREDENCE…WITH NO MORE PROOF.

  34. PATNESS:

    1.  I obviously can’t accept assertions with no numbers, come on.  Am I supposed to research everything you say?  The burden is on you to back up your statements out of courtesy to your reader.

    2. Okay, a hypothesis. Is that supposed to satisfy me?  Isn’t the hypothesis the beginning of the scientific method?

    I don’t understand why you posted that…a conditional based on a hypothesis.

  35. The burden is on you to back up your statements out of courtesy to your reader.

    Well, actually, in all fairness, it isn’t just a courtesy. It’s a responsibility – in an even-handed debate.

    But this isn’t even-handed discussion of any sort, as long as you continue to demand what you can’t provide. It’s partisan hackery.

    At this point, I’m only here to encourage you to think. God only knows why. But I am. There are lots of ways to look at things.

    But if you want me to be serious, you have to give me a reason to take you seriously.

  36. Yes, I intended to address the part about Paul. I would simply say that to Christians Paul is a saint, and as a saint he perhaps did not fear being judged by the standards with which he judged others. Jesus mentioned that you should remove the beam from your eye before removing the splinter from your brothers eye, and perhaps Paul had done this. Or perhaps Paul made a mistake; it was a spur of the moment thing, and he took the comment back when he realized he was speaking to the High Priest.

    I did not really see humor in the e-mail, and I wonder how Protestants would have reacted, but if you feel comfortable with it then there is nothing else to say.

    As for your argument about Jesus’ resurrection; you could just as well say, then, that Muhammad was telling the truth and that the Qur’an is therefore fact. I do not see that that is a valid argument, that we should assume that everything that is written is fact. We can believe it, but it is belief, not knowledge. The Trojan War did not happen the way the Iliad says it did, and if it did then we would have to accept the existence of the Greek gods. And if greater reproduction means that one group is stronger than another, then I suppose Muslims are apparently stronger than Catholics as they apparently have more children.

    I don’t think that you have to be a non-Catholic to see that these are not good arguments.

  37. PATNESS:

    My point is why bother offering unsubstantiated hypotheses?  They don’t make me think at all.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the whole “why should I take you seriously?” thing. 

    Let’s see some concrete criteria that proves that you think and I don’t.  There have been a dozen posts on this blog that played the “intellectual superiority” card and I am not at all impressed. 

    What is the ground for your self-confidence?  That’s all I’d like to know because I think its all smoke and mirrors…grad student talk that has no hands or feet.

  38. Positive:

    After lecturing me about judging others, you’re now chiming in on Paul’s motives.  Come on. 

    As for the Quran, if I were discussing the life of Muhammad with a Muslim I WOULD give their sacred writings the benefit of the doubt so long as I had no reason to deny the author’s honesty. 

    I would most likely object to conclusions drawn in their religion or assumptions on which it is based. 

    What upsets me is that critics of Christianity doubt simple testimonies of events with no justification for doing so.  It is not a denial of this assumption or that principles.  It is a denial of the truthfulness of something someone said happened. 

    Lastly, Logic and Rhetoric are two separate worlds.  Sound arguments may not persuade, persusasive arguments may not be true.  If the premises are true and conclusions are valid, I am satisified regardless of what others say.  I have honest questons about the premises posted and they go on and on without a shred of proof. 

    I’ve been called dumb, primitive, stupid, etc.., but I still have yet to hear on what evidencde the denial of the truth of the apostles’ written testimony is based.

  39. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the whole “why should I take you seriously?“ thing.

    Buy? It’s no gambit. You demand evidence that you don’t provide. There’s no incentive.

    And there’s nothing to question about that statement. I don’t understand why it’s difficult to comprehend.

    Look, I can win a debate if all I have to do is criticise flaws in other people. I get to hide all my weaknesses in the shadow of someone else’s. I learned that lesson very young-like.

    You want to win a debate and respect, you influence minds. Change the way someone sees the world. You want to win a debate and alienation, attack them non-stop. Generally speaking, I belong to the former. Generally speaking. I have days when I’m frustrated and I tend more towards using people as target dummies.

    There was a guy a couple years ago that I got into a very protracted debate with, and it devolved into a pissing match which terminated with a very literal discussion of “how long can you piss?”. Prime example of this.

    You’re welcome to think it’s all smoke and mirrors: I’m not grad, I don’t fit in formal educational environments. I’ve done college twice and, according to conventional standards, failed or dropped out. I have what are known as overexcitabilities: particularly, emotional and intellectual. Things that bug me really bug me, and I need a deep, profound sense of understanding to feel rewarded from my work.

    I can’t be spoonfed. Also why I’m not so brief in writing or speaking. In person, I lecture more than discuss. I rely on people willing to interrupt me to discuss tangents.

    I’m done school because I’d rather feel rewarded for what I do than get the grades. I need time to draw the line in the sand. I have strong creative drives that aren’t being nurtured, and without that I do get very depressed.

    But do I feel bad about any of this? No. When it can be understood, it can be forgiven. I move on.

    My ground for self confidence? Because, like it or not, I AM that good. Nobody except me has ever doubted that. I have intimidated my professors. The downside is, when you’re exceptional, you don’t conform.

    Schools, jobs, life – they’re games. Conformity machines. Find the optimal strategy – and the game is shaped by its best players in a way that brings greater contrasts to the abilities that made those players great in the first place. The pool becomes more homogeneous, specialized. People get excluded. Chess going from a game with elements of chance, to chess as a game that focuses almost exclusively on memory coherence and rapid recall.

    There’s a theory of personality called the Theory of Positive Disintegration. I don’t agree with calling it “theory” – I have far more respect for physical theories than that, and frankly, I think TPD is dodgy in a number of respects. However, it has been very successfully (and controversially) adapted to the minds of the profoundly gifted, who tend to show these overexcitabilities more often and more distinctly than most people.

    And, in all honesty, years of working with specialists of every variety, trying to figure how I had such a hard time with school… I made more progress with that “theory” in a half-year than with all prior work.

    Smoke and mirrors? Maybe. But I have a far more developed sense of self and community context than most people. I don’t always like myself, and there are always new mysteries, so I don’t always know myself either. Sometimes, it’s like my whole life is in question.

    But I’m cool with that. I’m clear it’s just part of the process that I call my life. The hardest time to deal with it is when you’re totally submerged in it – as I tend to be with everything I engage.

    You understand where I’m coming from?

  40. I find I dislike referring to you by your real name, and so in this post I’m going to pretend your name is “Humpty Dumpty,” because you are clearly broken and no amount of effort from any number of men or horses could fix that.

    So, Mr. Dumpty (ahh, taht feels better), you said (in all caps, for some reason):

    I SET YOU UP FOR THIS ONE, KNOWING HOW YOU ALL TO ASSOCIATE YOURSELVES WITH “SCIENCE” AS THOUGH IT IS CONTRARY TO CHRISTIAN BELIEFS.

    Oooooh snap! Oh shit! Oh no! I been ambushed! Motherfucker done set me up! He gonna show me! Oh shit!

    Or not.

    A quote mine from an unattributed quote which doesn’t even say what you used it to say? Examine your chunk of the quote:

    …we must hang onto our own ideas even in the face of contrary evidence.

    In a vacuum, this is clearly wrong. It is stubborn and ignorant to cling steadfastly to your own ideas in the face of contrary evidence. This is not arguable. The whole quote gives context to what the man really meant (if indeed he actually said this; I cannot find that quote anywhere):

    “Because science is an adversary process in which each idea deserves the most vigorous possible defense, it is useful for the successful progress of science that scientists tenaciously hang onto their own ideas, even in the face of contrary evidence.“

    To a non-moron what he is saying is clear, and not at all what you were saying. You were advocating a dogmatic obsession with one’s own ideas even when evidence has shown them to be false. The good doctor here is saying that when a scientist’s science is challenged, it is good for science for him to fight back, because then the best idea can win out. If the challenged scientist simply caved at the first sign of contrary evidence, we would never know which evidence was stronger and science would be in a constant state of one-upmanship and concession.

    But let’s pretend he meant what you want him to mean. Let’s pretend that he means that anyone with an idea should cling to that idea unto their demise no matter how much contrary evidence arises.

    Then I would say that, yes, he does have a poor understanding of science. I don’t care about the letters after his name. I don’t care where he works. If someone calling themselves a scientist advocated such strict dogmatism, then I would call them a poor scientist. I am not tied to the words of everyone who considers themselves an authority.

    See, you’re the one who believes in universal authority and follows the supposedly infallible dictates of an old guy in a funny hat. Not me. I have no need or desire to take as gospel the words of anyone, no matter how famous or how educated. The same goes for Einstein. Einstein also didn’t believe in quantum mechanics. Should anyone who commits to a scientific worldview therefore dogmatically follow his lead?

    Just in case there’s confusion, the answer is “no.” Science is not driven by personal authority. Einstein was brilliant, but that doesn’t mean we should all line up in lockstep behind him.

    Or, as Aristotle is reported to have said of Plato’s theory of Forms, “Plato was our friend, but he was wrong, and the truth is more important.”

    Science is not a religion. It does not rely on revealed knowledge to extra-special pious authorities who then disseminate the knowledge to us plebeians.

    Your lame quote-mine-cum-appeal-to-authority is useless, and your “Gotcha!” moment was pathetic.

    In fact, I think it can be safely said that you, Mr. Dumpty, haven’t made a single actual argument since you so rudely thrust your ignorant arrogance upon the SEB community. You’ve done nothing but foist snideness upon us, filling post after double-post with perceived cleverness while offering not a single word of substance yourself. You claim to want equal debate without engaging in it from your side. You claim to want courtesy while treating everyone else with sniveling contempt. You purposely twist the words of anyone who disagrees with you, you have repeatedly shown a lack of respect for the rules of evidence, and you display a tenuous grasp of critical thinking at best.

    In short, I think I have fair grounds for judging you little more than yet another pathetic Christian troll, more interested in annoying people with trivia and nonsense than engaging in a real exchange of ideas. As it is my personal principle (but by no means any kind of atheist principle) not to feed trolls, I will no longer be replying to your self-important drivel.

    Fuck off, Mr. Dumpty.

  41. PATNESS:

    I still am not buying the “I’m too good to conform” line.  TV has trained all Americans to think they are Bill Gates and need not prove themselves before proclaiming themselves geniuses.  “Johnny’s smart, he just can’t answer questions in school.”  Unfortunately, Johnny’s inability to overcome the challenges of school foreshadow his inability to overcome the challenges of life and business.

    Atheism is ultimately rooted in an inflated self-confidence that believes that an individual is the ultimate judge of what is true, good, right, etc..  The entire philosophy is a circular argument.  You might say, “The same is true of Christianity.” But it isn’t there is external proof that Christianity is true. It makes claims and fulfills them.

    Failures in our own judgment of day to day matters should cause us to doubt our ability to answer the greatest questions of life through human raason and observation alone, yet atheists go right on choosing the assumptions that seem good to them based on….what seems good to them.

    What happens is they lost among the trees and can no longer see the forest.  Everything becomes jumbled together in a massive irrelevant mess.  This is what atheist interpretations in science does. 

    If atheism was true, hen atheists would be the happiest, most fulfilled and admirable people on earth.  They would be free from whatever shackles punish the superstitious masses of foools clinging to am imaginary hope that doesn’t exist.  But this isn’t the case at all.

    Good Christians hold that title, without question.  Of course there are miserable people who claim to be Christians, but the sources of their troubles are usually easy to understand. 

    I’m happy to say I don’t have the struggles you do, and I do not believe it is coincidental. 
    The Scriptures teach that God blesses those who walk in His ways and curses those who oppose them, and I believe that when all is said and done, this is the ultimate argument for Christianity.

    I strive, I mean strive, to live a humble, faith-filled life, and I am richly blessed:  loving wife, beautiful children, wonderful friends, peaceful home, healthy body and a heart that is at peace.  This is precisely what the Scriptures say will happen and I am not an isolated example.

    “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.”

    Despite all the cocky talk and pseudo-intellectualism, I would wager than NO atheists can say they enjoy such a life.

    Let that be my final answer.

  42. Why should we believe the “eye-witness accounts” in the Bible? Do you believe the “eye-witness accounts” in all novels? Fiction is fiction. Period. And, please look up the “reliability” of eye-witness accounts even in court. Only a skilled lawyer can convince a jury of the truthfulness of any accounts, all circumstantial evidence to the contrary. Now, that YOU believe those accounts is purely up to you and you can live your life with that belief up to the point where you MAKE me believe the same. Some fundamental muslims believe the U.S. is evil. That’s fine up to the point where you try to kill all of us, thank you.

  43. TV has trained all Americans to think they are Bill Gates and need not prove themselves before proclaiming themselves geniuses

    You can look up the work of Michael Piechowski on this one – he’s considered the foremost expert on the application of this theory to the field of Gifted Education, and there’s little research in the field that doesn’t cite his work as a primary source.

    Whether you believe it or not, it does happen. It is also related to why, as I have said previously, there is a higher incidence of neurosis’ in so-called gifted individuals. Additionally, there are several entirely valid and concrete explanations for the psychology behind why such individuals can, and do, go on to underachieve in their life, all neurosis aside. The issue, as has often been said of ADD, is to find these people an environment that accommodates this.

    Superman is the same way: he acts like a freak (he likes to jump over tall things), he can’t shake a hand, or walk by a bathroom, or stare at you too long, and god forbid he ever get hit by a car: you’ll need the jaws of life to get the driver out. The solution is not to bind him, blind him, and tell him to shut up.

    Try going to a crisis centre sometime and talking to the people who work there: I’d bet money a disproportionate amount of the clients are people of highly unusual skills and talents – because these very traits lead them to the eccentric behaviors that get them into trouble in the first place.

    Atheism is ultimately rooted in an inflated self-confidence that believes that an individual is the ultimate judge of what is true, good, right, etc.

    No, mine is firmly rooted in that me understanding that I DO matter in the world, and that I do bear effects on the world around me that I AM responsible for, is the root of my atheism.

    My inspirations for leaving Catholicism, were people like you. Again; you can stand in a blizzard naked and pray for mercy, or you can bundle up. We both would. In principle, I don’t know whether a god exists. In practice, I don’t care. In practice, we both do the same thing. I just happen to be the only one being honest with themselves about it. My sense of integrity means more to me than my desire to live in a world of feel-good fantasy.

    If atheism was true, hen atheists would be the happiest, most fulfilled and admirable people on earth.

    Well, you know – if pompous people didn’t come knocking on our door, degrading us for not sharing their silly fantasies, threatening us for disagreeing, and condemning us with the pseudo-sympathy that goes with “I’ll pray for you”. It’s all nice if you share their views. If you don’t, as you have proven, then these people can act like real dicks just to appease their insecurities and sense of self.

    You accused me of being smoke and mirrors, sir, but I think you protest too much.

    I strive, I mean strive, to live a humble, faith-filled life, and I am richly blessed

    You’ve never been to a jail, have you? Confirmation bias: take a look at all the believers who don’t have nearly as much as you. Yes, you can say Mother Theresa was all that and more – she ended up with almost nothing. So I wouldn’t relate your faith filled life and your faux-humility to your family. God didn’t bang your wife; you’re not that special.

    Despite all the cocky talk and pseudo-intellectualism, I would wager than NO atheists can say they enjoy such a life.

    No doubt you would, if only because you’ve dismissed criticism beforehand, except to deal it yourself. You only came here to soothe your ego, and again, it’s you that’s in denial of that.

    I have no problem being egotistical: but again, at least I’m being honest with myself.

  44. AKUSAI:

    Sad.  Now I’m pretending to quote scientists because you can’t find the reference and if YOU can’t verify it…it must be fabricated.  Try page 12 of the article the first “Fact”. The article in on his own page at Caltech, not buried in some secret Vatican archive as you probably have suspected.

    Your rationalizing of his words seems to miss the fact that the “contrary evidence” may be APPARENTLY contrary evidence..for centuries.  Scientific knowledge is constantly changing…what confidence do you have that you even know what the “consensus” (sic) will be in 200 years? As much as revolutions have come and gone, they will continue to come and go.  People who boast of the support of science are fools, pretending they don’t see the instability and constant changing of scientific knowledge.  To pretend that different intrpretations of available evidence are all impossible and that only yours is right is ignorance of the nature of the information you’re dealing with.

    The bottom line is this:  Atheists are miserable human beings.  (Prove me wrong.) Why?  It is impossible for an atheist to enjoy the blessings of life:  peace of mind, love, joy, friendship, steadfastness, consolation, hope, security, etc.. Why?  Because God is the sole source of all these things.  You simply can’t get them but from Him.

    You can hope in science, or government and tell yourself the day will come when God’s blessings will be handed out by the state, but you will never see it happen.  Food? Maybe.  Clothing? Okay?  Happiness?  Never.

    This is the ultimate test of God’s existence:  His ability to miraculously and perpetually fulfill all that He has promised.  For over 4,000 years the earth has been filled with men and women able to testify of God’s care and provision for them.  You deny this, and cut off your own life supply.

  45. LEGURU:

    Fiction normally intends to be known as fiction.  When someone writes (as St. John did), “These things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  the author is not offering up a novel for entertainment.

    When an author says (as St. Luke did), “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.”

    If you would actually read the Bible before you dismiss it all at the recommendation of your atheist gurus, you would see the impossibility of your lazy arguments.

    There is no hint anywhere that the gospels are fiction or intended to be fiction.  There purposes are explicit and deny your suspicion.

  46. There is no hint anywhere that the gospels are [FACT] or intended to be [FACT].  Their [FABLES] are [ALLEGORICAL] and [WHOLELY CONFIRM] your suspicion.

    Fix’d.

  47. AKUSAI:

    You pretend all is wrapped with your great scientific genius and superior reasoning skills and finish with childishness.

    Where is all the atheist reason?  The great evidence that contradicts the Christain faith?  It’s in your head, that’s where, and only there.

    You all boasted of your answers to everything a “True Believer” could say, and in the end your calling names with not a response. 

    From the self-congratulatory ramblings of Patness, to your cursing, what does anyone have to say?

    As I expected, the science quote embarrassed you because you thought you and your imaginary “science posse” could gang up on a Christian whose views are perfectly harmonious with all true science.

    I’ve answered every post and have hardly had a response other than personal attacks, assumptions, ungrounded claims, and imaginary data.  I’ve answer questions of Bible contradictions, history, extra-biblical evidence to the life of Christ..and have got nothing back but arrogant assertions.

    Rational community?  Let the posts be the judge.

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