Monday, December 8, 2008

I don't exist

Apparently, I don't exist. At least, according to Dante Tremayne in this blog. The whole thing is a mess, but I'll point out a few of his more glaring errors.

For instance, the nonbeliever (I believe I will refer to our “atheist” friends by that term for the duration of this article) necessarily holds the belief that we are the result of time plus matter plus chance, merely evolving accidents, the product of random collisions of matter. Yet they wish to believe that these accidental collisions produce truth, fact, and a coherent understanding of the universe.

Dante has an odd understanding of truth and accident. To an atheist, the truth of a statement is simply a measure of how closely that statement matches reality. So, to say that the universe produces truth is nonsense. The universe IS truth. Our conception of truth is based on the raw data that we can draw from observation of the reality that surrounds us. And, frankly, even if this odd statement had any merit, it still would not be proof of anything. Suppose, for a moment, that truth can not be ascertained from a random reality. This does not imply anything about the existence of a deity.
The irrational behavior I am referring to is the nonbeliever’s inability to admit when they have been defeated. Many nonbelievers are well educated people. They have done well to keep Theists on the hot seat. But when a well educated man — especially one schooled in logic — has his entire belief system completely dismantled and displayed as inconsistent and false, everybody else knows that this smart person knows he has been defeated. But he refuses to concede. He will not admit defeat. Instead, he retreats to his study to continue his search for one — just one — argument or proof that God does not exist. And he will repeat this over and over.
This, of course, presupposes some absolute proof of God's existence. I'd like to see one. I used to think that St. Thomas Aquinas had a few, but I can see why those fail so miserably now. Of course, Dante did not see fit to include this proof, so I can not comment on it. I can comment on the idea that atheists are searching for proof that God does not exist. We are not. There are an infinite number of things I do not believe exist, as I have no proof of them. God is just one more. Of course, because Dante's world revolves around his concept of God, he probably can not imagine living without it.

This irrational behavior is indicative of the real issue, and that is, that God exists, they know it, and they don’t like Him. If they admit He exists, then they have to bow the knee. Their rules no longer apply, God’s law does. That law of God that is written on the heart of every man is eating them alive, and they want very badly to make Him go away so that hopefully the guilt will go away as well. And so despite the evidences to prove the existence of God and the inconsistency of their own worldview, they continue to irrationally hold on to these beliefs.

Again, atheists do not know that God exists. If we did, we would not be atheists. We might not be Christians, but we certainly would not be atheists. In addition, the existence of a god does not imply any particular relationship between us. Finally, Dante, I am not being "eaten alive" by some supposed law that I am rebelling against. I gave up irrational guilt with Christianity. I suspect that you are projecting your own anxieties upon atheists. Perhaps some therapy would help you.

To further my point, compare the debate over the existence of God to the debate over the existence of unicorns. I could just stop there, right? What debate? And who cares? What bearing does that have on my life? If an intelligent person were clearly shown that belief or non belief in unicorns were unfounded and false, and unicorns did or did not exist, then for them to continue to hold that belief would be an insult to their intelligence. If God were just some unicorn theory that had no real affect on a person’s life, as some nonbelievers claim, then why don’t they treat it as such? Why don’t they just shrug and go on?
Are Unicornians flying planes into buildings? Are Unicornians executing suicide bombings? Are Unicornians shooting women in the head for being the victims of rape? Are Unicornians trying to force Unicornian beliefs to be taught in schools? Are Unicornians trying to make my children guilty for crimes they did not commit?

No, they are not. And that is why there is no one debating Unicornianism. If theism was as harmless as Unicornianism, I would have no need to ever even dwell on it.

Here is how this works, and how I know I’m right. When the believer is discussing the existence of God with a nonbeliever, ask them why they don’t like God. Every one of them will present a list. That list will ultimately consist of areas of God’s law and His character that interfere with the self-law of the nonbeliever. They don’t want a God to tell them what to do and not to do: don’t fornicate, don’t steal, love your neighbor, go to church. They will also likely present a number of misunderstandings about God and the Church. They don’t understand grace. God to them is one big meanie and that if they don’t follow all of His rules perfectly, all the time, God will have no mercy and fry them like Uzza. And most of the time, the list usually begins and ends with Christians being such big jerks, which is, unfortunately, one thing the nonbeliever got right. They don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to end up like us.
You are not right, Dante. I can certainly dislike fictional characters without accepting their existence. You worship one of the most nasty blood gods to come out of the Middle East, and you wonder why atheists find your beliefs distasteful? You worship a god who has commanded murder, sexual slavery, genocide and human sacrifice(a short and very truncated list of the atrocities found in your "good book"). This god then tops off this lovely list by announcing that non-believers are punished forever. Your concept of a loving god is a depraved maniac. I do not have to believe in him to believe that and find it detestable.

Whatever the list of reasons, they are the subjective beliefs of the nonbeliever. Proofs for the existence of God don’t address a person’s subjective arguments, which is why most apologists don’t ever address them. For some reason it is beneath the apologist to talk to a nonbeliever like he is a human being and not a broken math equation. By all means, use truth, logic, evidences, and arguments. After all, we have truth on our side. But after you have handed their worldview back to them in a broken heap, and they break into irrational behavior, find out what their real problem is with God.
All beliefs are, by definition, subjective. Apologists who can not muster a proof for the existence of their god are useless. To sum, Dante, my problem with your god is really a problem with his followers. While your "god" is a particularly repellant fiction, it is the real life consequences of belief that compel me to argue with people like you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Interesting slashdot quote

From a user named gordonjcp:

>>They are functional (but nevertheless, crazy as a shithouse rat) religious zealots

I think it's worth pointing out - particularly to people in the US - that the Muslim countries of the Middle East led the world in science and technology, once. Why do you think so many stars have Arabic names? Why do so many words in science have Arabic roots? Think carefully...

Now think about what happened when they let the conservative religious crazies take control.

Just sayin'

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why have this blog?

After reading some silliness on Mark Shea's blog about PZ Meyers, I pondered this question. Why do I bother writing about God if I don't believe in him. The answer is simple, actually.
Everywhere you turn, things reference God. God did this, God did that. This group built a multi-million dollar church for God. This man blew himself and 10 innocent bus passengers up for God. This man flew a plane into a tower for God. This woman protests funerals to tell us how God hates us.
I honestly think that Christians see themselves as persecuted because they swim in a fountain of God-ism all the time. They don't notice the vast sea of theism that they live in. They only feel the occasional discomforts when they run into someone who doesn't buy into their fairytale.
So, Mark, you want to know why I feel compelled to talk about God?
Because faith demands it. Not my faith: yours, and those like you.
People kill each other over the type of fairy tales you espouse.
People try to control others using precepts taken directly from your holy books.
People try to warp the minds of children because of religious precepts.
Everywhere I look, there is someone trying to save me. There is someone trying to make me buy into the latest fad of ignorance. There is someone who wants to teach my children about their (god/prophet/imam/whatever).
In short, my life is surrounded by irrational people who get worked up over irrational beliefs and react in irrational(and often times, outright dangerous) ways. And these people include those who have sent people off to die in wars. It includes those who have their finger on weapons of mass destruction.
I strive to see the day when perhaps my kids will sleep a little more soundly at night, because the crazed yahoos are finally corralled.
You worship one of the bloodiest deities ever invented, and you wonder why I would like to see your religion erased?
It's self preservation, Mark. That's why I fight you. Because your religions are cancers. And you either kill the cancer, or the cancer kills you.

God is Love, Leviticus

God is Love

Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. - Leviticus 10:1-2

God is Love

Then the LORD said to Moses: "Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: 'If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death." - Leviticus 24:13-16

God is Love

"You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you." - Leviticus 26:7-8

God is Love

"But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life." - Leviticus 26:14-16

God is Love

"If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters." - Leviticus 26:27-29

How to tell James Dobson is full of crap

"Every description given to us in Scripture depicts God as infinitely loving and kind, tenderly watching over His earthly children and guiding the steps of the faithful." - newsletter, James Dobson

Apparently, Dr Dobson has never actually read Scripture. Otherwise, he would not be able to blather such nonsense with a straight face. I've started a series of posts call "God is Love" which showcase the many "loving" sections of the Bible. You know, the ones you would have to ignore to hold to anything like Dobson's statement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

God is Love, Exodus

Selected readings demonstrating the infinite patience and love of the Judeo/Christian god

God is Love

At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. - Exodus 4:24

God is Love

So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again." - Exodus 11:4-6

God is Love

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." - Exodus 14:1-4

God is Love

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. - Exodus 14:27-28

God is Love

"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. "But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,' then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life." - Exodus 21:2-6

God is Love

"If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do." - Exodus 21:7

God is Love

"If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property." - Exodus 21:20-21

God is Love

"A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft." - Exodus 22:3

God is Love

"Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed." - Exodus 22:20

God is Love

If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. - Exodus 23:22-23

God is Love

"I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you." - Exodus 23:31

God is Love

"Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire." - Exodus 29:18

God is Love

Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. - Exodus 32:27-28

God is Love

For the LORD had said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you." - Exodus 33:5

God is Love

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." - Exodus 34:6-7

God is Love, Genesis

Selected readings demonstrating the infinite patience and love of the Judeo/Christian god

God is Love

So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." - Genesis 6:7

God is Love

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." - Genesis 11:5-7

God is Love

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. - Genesis 19:23-26

God is Love

The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. - Genesis 34:27-29

Which is worse?

I make no bones about the fact that I despise the Old Testament. It is a wretched book, filled with fanciful depictions of the actions and decrees of one particularly nasty mid-Eastern deity, Yahweh. If you want to demonstrate the inhumanity of Judaism, you will find fertile fields to reap in those books. But that is not the worst the Bible has to offer, by far. You would have to go to the New Testament for that gem: Hell.
In the Old Testament, God spent a lot of time killing and demanding that his followers kill, whether it be women and children(see the book of Joshua for a sampling) or blasphemous Israelites doing such atrocious deeds as picking up sticks and offering incense. He railed about how he would bring destruction upon his enemies heads. He threatened to pursue vengeance against men, even unto their offspring for generations. But it took Jesus to come up with the coup de gras: eternal torment.
In every way it is possible to look at the issue, the idea of Hell is a injustice. It lasts for eternity. It is, literally, an infinite punishment. To be just, a punishment should fit the crime that inspired it. As finite beings, we cannot commit such a crime. Furthermore, the Bible tells us repeatedly that we don't have an understanding of the full picture. So, Hell is an infinite punishment for finite crimes committed by finite beings who have only a finite understanding of an infinite moral situation.
Yahweh only threatened death and mayhem. Jesus wants to keep killing you forever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beauty and God

I was recently sent a link to a youtube video which consists of a slideshow of Hubble telescope images. The person sending it made the comment that he found the images beautiful, and that beauty was a sign of God's existence to him. I wrote a response to his email, and I've included a lightly edited version of it below.
I found them beautiful as well. But I also find it interesting that, as beautiful as we find those things, they are all completely inimical to human life. Most religions hold that the universe was in some way built for us. In reality, only an infinitesimal layer(like a layer of tissue paper wrapped around a basketball) is not completely hostile to human life. And, given that 75% of the Earth is covered with water, really only 25% of that tiny sliver of environment is somewhat safe for humans. Everywhere else in the universe that we have been able to explore is actively hostile to human life.
This touches on one of the biggest reasons I lost faith. The universe is indifferent, when not hostile, to human life. Christianity requires that we assume that this is a function of sin, that we caused this fallen state. The alternative is that this is simply how the universe operates. I would expect to find evidence of a radical break in the universe if the story of the Fall was true. It's not there. We see a history where mankind exists for a blink of geologic time. And death and destruction are a prevalent constant for all of that time. There is no trace of man when the first mass extinctions occurred. There is no evidence of a time before predation and death. Given the way that life likely evolved, you would not expect it. Primitive protein chains would cannabilize each other, and the process just became more refined as primordial replicators became more resistant.
In essence, it really boils down to a few simple points. Take the Chinese earthquake, for example. What are the possibilities?
1) This is just a natural process, completely indifferent to the devastation wrought on the people.
2) This is caused ultimately by mankind's fall. It is an unnatural, yet in a way automatic, event.
3) This is directly caused by God(or some other supernatural being).

Since we can trace and study the causes, #3 can't be substantiated. It is an outside possibility that this was supernaturally caused, but unless we find evidence of an unnatural event(a miracle, in other words; something that could not happen due to physics, for example), there is no reason to assume it. In addition, it violates the idea of an omnibenificent and omnipotent God.

#2 is implausible, simply because we have plenty of pre-human history that we can examine(geological formations, etc). There was never a time(since the Earth formed) that we don't see evidence of tectonic movement. If humans are the cause, we would expect to see a change in the record, and we don't.

This leaves #1, which also has the advantage of being the simplest explanation, and the one that Occam's Razor would lead us to accept. It doesn't disprove the existence of the supernatural, but it does not rely on unprovable claims to have explanatory power.

But the real kicker for me is the realization that those terrible, destructive forces are the flip side of the coin, so to speak, of the beauty we admire. That Chinese earthquake was the same process that formed the pretty mountains that I admired yesterday. The same plate movement formed the Pacific basin I splashed in and found so enthralling. And this repeated over and over. The grace of the cheetah exists to kill. The leap of the antelope exists to put off death for another day. The majestic orca, so playful with humans, seems to enjoy tormenting it's prey with a shocking brutality. The exploding nebulae that we look at through Hubble is also bathing us with high energy particles which will kill some of us.

I just don't think that the god described by Christianity or Judaism is a good fit to the evidence. When you strip away the anthropomorphic baggage, it just doesn't make sense. And, for me at least, it endows those things of beauty with a certain tragic nobility, knowing that both the viewer and the object are in a way accidents. We are unlikely travelers whose paths touch for a moment. It makes me savor those moments and objects more, knowing that they are not some pale reflection of a greater glorious existence, and I can never count on experiencing them again. This outlook extends to everything. It includes the people I interact with as well, which is why atheism has not lead to nihilism for me. The homeless man on the street is my brother, not because of a supernatural decree, but because we are both the beneficiaries of circumstance, and my stature is no more a function of my worth than his is. And, since we are both sentient beings who face an uncaring universe which will mourn our passing equally, it makes no sense to lord over him in some undeserved haughty manner.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Can a person live a fufilling atheistic life?

This is a big question. Most religious writers tend to think that an atheist's life must be empty, bereft of meaning. This is not surprising, since most hold that God designed us to center our existence around him, so it could not be possible to live without him.
First, I would offer my own life as an example. I no longer believe in a god. Yet, I am not unhappy.
I have good days and bad, just like every theist.
I have goals and dreams, just like every theist.
I love my family and friends, just like every theist.
I do not have to seek to fill my life with addiction and distraction(although, since I have a very wide range of interests, I am sure it sometimes appears that way).
I recognize the fact that I am the only being responsible for my failure and success.

Micki had it right.

Eastern Orthodox and Atheism

As I have family members who are very interested in the Eastern Orthodox church, I tend to get a lot of links to them. I've noticed something pretty evident. Virtually all Eastern Orthodox discussions of atheism are framed by the experiences of the Russian Orthodox under the regimes of the USSR. For them, atheism is a militant, brutal philosophy bent on erasing them:

The great multitude (by the most conservative estimates over twenty million) of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia who suffered for their Orthodox Faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, testify of the extreme militant efforts the atheist enemies of God had to resort to in their attempt to inculcate their false beliefs on the populace.-

Most Christian groups(such as the Catholic church, for example), view atheism as more of a spiritual disease, brought on by apathy and pride. Of course, these views are also largely mirrored by other religions, such as Islam and Judaism.
Neither of these views are consistent with atheism as I experience it. Since my experience is generally congruent with those of most atheists I know, I do not think I am anything of an anomaly. My atheism is built upon one principal: everything I think I know or experience is open to critical analysis. In other words, there are no sacred cows. There are no questions which should not be asked. This includes the big questions, like the existence of the God.
Religious writers make many mistakes when trying to analyze atheism. A prime one is an attempt to redefine atheism to suit theistic terms. To take an Eastern Orthodox quote as an example:

Atheism is the assertion that there is no God. Atheism is itself a belief, since to know that there is no God is impossible. Thus, Atheism is faith that there is no God, a faith in an un-God. -

This is simply not true. Atheism is a lack of theism. Anyone who does not assert a theistic belief is a de facto atheist, whether they actively deny the existence of God or not. Atheism is not the addition of an anti-God philosophy, it is the lack of any theistic philosophy. Many theists attempt to assert the above claim in order to portray atheism as simply another brand of religion.
Aside from the false generalizations, I think the Eastern Orthodox have another problem in approaching atheism: the tendency towards mystery. They have a tendency to wrap their theology in mystery(to the point that 'mystery' and 'sacrament' can be interchanged). All Christian groups have this tendency in some measure, but the Eastern Orthodox are especially affected by it. Of course, this is in direct contradiction to skepticism. An inquiring skeptic is not satisfied with fencing off some ideas and avoiding analysis.
This combination of factors makes discussing religion with Eastern Orthodox apologists a challenge. There is very little common ground to start. Keeping the above in mind may prove fruitful.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A common mistake in reasoning

In my studies of religion, I keep running across a very common fallacy, the appeal to consequences. It is very widespread. Basically, this fallacy is arguing that some proposition is either true or false based on the consequences of that proposition. For example, one might argue that without a belief in God, one cannot have a belief in absolute moral values, and therefore God must exist to allow us to believe in absolute morality. Another example would be that evolution leaves no room for God, therefore it must be wrong. It is usually an emotion driven argument, primarily propped up by fear or anger, although sometimes it is simply a lack of understanding or imagination. In the case of the "existence of God" example, it was driven by a fear of having one's moral grounding undermined. In the second case, the person was simply unwilling or unable to imagine the possibility that there could be some form of theistic evolution.
I bring it up, because I just got done listening to a partial sermon by the Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias. His entire message was based on this fallacy(although his further sub-arguments revealed a few more fallacies): I can not be an atheist because I can not live with the consequences.
Of course, such a statement has no bearing on whether Ravi's god actually exists. One way to point this out to someone using such an argument is to turn it around: I cannot be a Christian because I can not live with a god who would create Hell, for example. You can then point out that your feelings about a god who would act in such a way have no bearing on whether that god exists, a point which they would certainly agree with as a theist. But, be ready to deal with an emotional blockade whenever this argument rears up, because in my experience, it is almost always driven by pure emotion.

PS - I did find it funny that Ravi took the time to point out his respect for agnostics who have taken the time study the issue of the existence of god seriously. He is a little mixed up as to the difference between atheism and agnosticism. One is a question of knowledge(can we know that god exists?) and one is a question of belief(do I hold to a belief in god?). So, he really spent the time lauding every atheist who is not just a knee jerk non-believer. Thank you, I guess.

EDIT: I just noticed the Wiki link for this fallacy:The Appeal to Consequences

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm far too slow

I hate it when I find an interesting conversation online, and realize that it took place months ago. Case in point: Jacob Stein's blog from August 24, 2007.
Jacob brings on a few tired old saws about atheism, but this one gets my goat the most:

It is apparently impossible to find a well-documented case of an atheist who was kind, honest, sober and sexually responsible.

I'm pretty mild mannered in person, but I think that this would have elicited quite a heated discussion, to say the least. I can think of many people I know personally who fit the first three criteria without a doubt. This group includes every single atheist I know personally, myself included. I strive for honesty. I treat others with respect and dignity, including giving to charities that I think are worthwhile and personally handing out food to the homeless, among other things I think elevate my character to kindness at the least. And, while I enjoy a drink of wine or a beer now and again, I am in no way a drunk. And the same goes for all of the people I mentioned!
Now, the last qualification is vague, at best. I think it is obvious that Jacob has a certain sexual morality in mind when he says "sexually responsible." He later attempts to link pornography with atheism, by linking to a "Smut for Smut" table set up by a college group, exchanging religious writings for porn. If that's his proof, it's little surprise that he is incapable of grasping the basic use of logic that underlies atheistic reasoning. I can't even say "correlation without causation" because he doesn't even get to the point of proving a correlation!
Personally, I have no problem with most pornography, nor with adults enjoying it. I don't commit adultery(outside of the Christian view that any sexual thought not centered on a spouse is adultery). I don't long for relationships outside of my marriage. So, I feel perfectly fine laying claim to being sexually responsible as well. I happen to know that the most committed atheists I know eschew even that, and actually behave more in line with Judeo-Christian sexual morality than ANY religious person I have ever known well enough to be able to say anything about their sex lives.

He goes on to ramble on about science disproving the underpinnings of atheism. Newsflash, Jacob: neither quantum mechanics or the Big Bang disprove any part of the idea that there is no God. Pick up a book other than your segment of the Bible sometime, and read all about it. You might be a bit surprised about how few physicists agree with you.

The crux of Jacob's argument is that atheistic arguments are "clearly just excuses atheists use to justify their own addictions." I would simply reply that his arguments are clearly just an excuse to justify his immature insecurities about an uncertain universe and his fear of death.

He continues to babble on in his comments, dredging up such chestnuts as this:
when science, such as the anthropic principle, proves atheists wrong, they become apologetic and come up with fanciful speculation such as multiverses to explain the contradiction.

This proves absolutely nothing of the sort, which he would know if he had read the article he linked to. I assume that he hasn't, or is perhaps too indoctrinated to see the counter arguments.

Later in the discussion, he comes out with this gem(the quote in quotation marks was a previous reply from an atheist):
"Atheism contains no specific ethos."

Exactly my point. Leaving atheists to behave like animals if no police are watching them.

Ahh, another piece of grand old stupidity. Apparently, Jacob can only behave humanely because he is worried that God will smack him down. I say this, because he is apparently unable to grasp that people can and do live moral lives without fear of hellfire and damnation, even morality on his terms. I'm sad that he is so sociopathic that he is brainwashed into believing that everyone else must be, too. Of course, given the psychotic murderer he takes as his god, he is just being true to his beliefs. If you'd like to debate that last bit, Jacob, feel free. We can run through your holy books and point out all the fun places where your god reportedly acted like a murderous bastard.

In short, Jacob, if you ever happen to read this, I think you are a stunted, bigoted little man. I'd like to see you present a logical defense of your beliefs, if you ever manage to grow a brain cell.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I have received several emails from someone who has a sister in the hospital. The sister has been sick for several weeks now. She has been on a roller coaster of a ride, in terms of how she has responded to treatment. Every improvement, no matter how small, is seen as a sign of God answering prayers, while the declines are ignored.
It's sad. The situation is heart-breaking. It's clear to me that this is a case of a slow physical decline, with the body fighting as best it can to survive. It explains the ups and downs so much better than assuming that a god is listening, and chooses to have the woman dangle on the edge of death for no good reason.
The problem is, of course, that actually saying anything like this would be horrific to the family. Expressing such doubts would irreparably mar our relationship, perhaps to the degree of complete separation. It is my hope that she gets better, but I hold out no hope that a divine intervention will occur.