12/12/2006                                                                                       View Comments

How to Be An Apologist For Christianity and For Skepticism

By John W. Loftus.

Since others are getting into the act here, here, and here, let me throw my hat in the ring as well. Let me tell you how to be an apologist for the Christian Faith, as well as how to be one for skepticism. Like theirs, this too is sarcasm.

How to be a Christian Apologist:

1) Hide your head in the sand. Believe that people in the ancient world weighed the evidence for their beliefs with the same rigorous standards that we do today. But the Bible itself tells us otherwise.

2) Demonize the skeptic. Believe he or she is willfully ignorant of the obvious truths that you believe. Believe that the skeptic is just not interested in knowing the truth. Believe that the whole reason he is a skeptic is because he hates God and is in rebellion against him. Believe that he just wants to live an immoral life apart from God.

3) Claim that skeptical objections have been refuted long ago. Claim that Hume’s arguments have already been refuted, as William Lane Craig said to me at a conference. If they've been refuted, then why are they still very potent? In fact, Hume’s arguments against miracles cannot be refuted, strictly speaking, since he’s talking inductively. He argued that a wise person proportions his belief to the evidence. How can that be refuted?

4) Use rhetoric not substance. Do what William Lane Craig did in his debate with Bart Erhman. Claim that Erhman’s argument is “mathematically fallacious.”

5) Mischaracterize what skeptics are actually claiming. We do not claim to know that there is no God. We just think there isn’t enough evidence to believe in one. We do not claim miracles are not possible. We just don’t see enough evidence for them. We do not claim to have more knowledge than God purportedly does with regard to how he could’ve created a better world than this one. We just think that a Being with omniscience would know how to create a better world, especially since we have some knowledge about how a better world could’ve been created (like getting rid of all raced based conflict and slavery by creating all human beings as one race, and with no law of predation in the natural world).

6) Claim that the skeptic is ignorant of recent scholarship. While some skeptics are ignorant of recent scholarship, it isn’t more knowledge that is needed. As Dr. James D. Strauss would repeatedly tell his students in Seminary, “It’s not more knowledge we need. What we need is better interpretative schema.” Control beliefs, after all, control, and each side has them. The rise of modern science in the Occident, and the knowledge of religious diversity on the planet, and the presence of intense suffering around the globe aired nightly on the news have developed the skeptical control beliefs. Furthermore, Christian scholarship itself leads many Christians away from the faith. Me included.

7) Earn your living off what you claim to believe. So long as you are a preacher or a teacher in a seminary, you have a need to squash your doubts. I know of a few Christian professors and preachers who have openly expressed their doubts to me. But they refuse to entertain them for fear of losing their jobs and their livelihood.

8) Don’t ever take the skeptical arguments seriously. Just read them to refute them. You are sure of what you believe, so only read skeptical arguments with a view to refuting them. Never actually think about why that skeptic takes that view. Never try to step inside his mind. Never truly consider his viewpoint. Never think about whether or not his arguments could be true. After all, consider the source. According to #2 above, he doesn't really believe them sincerely either.

9) Deride the skeptical position and the skeptic himself. Talk about Stalin, Lenin and Marx. Talk about Soviet communism, Hitler, or other atrocious dictators as often as you can. Refer to gulags, concentration camps and even the Holocaust itself (although, about these things there is more to the story, especially inside Germany). Talk about Gay radical activists, mass murderers, and gang rapists who do not have “a moral compass.” At the same time explain away the Crusades, Slavery in the American South, Inquisitions and witch hunts. No one has a corner on moral truth…no one. But go ahead and continue to claim that Christians do, despite the evidence to the contrary, and despite the evidence that Christians do not get their morals from the Bible alone. Then simply deride the skeptic as a person as often as you can, in whatever way you can. Find some flaws in his character that will prove his arguments are wrong, then bring them up as often as you can. Doing so will refute all of his arguments.

10) State your arguments over and over until you believe them, and state them as if they are obvious to any intelligent educated person. Any falsehood can be believed if it is stated honestly and sincerely enough by many people over and over. Stay securely inside the Christian community from which you gain your beliefs. They will be reinforced every time you get together. However, if the Christian set of beliefs are truly obvious then anyone who encounters them should believe them. But it’s simply an illusion to think Christianity is a rationally superior faith.

How to be a Skeptical Apologist: [This too is sarcasm, by the way, although not entirely! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. ;-). ].

1) Think evidentially.
2) Think scientifically.
3) Think philosophically.
4) Think psychologically.
5) Think archeologically.
6) Think anthropologically.
7) Think historiographically.
8) Think about religious diversity.
9) Think about the amount of intense suffering in the world.
10) Think about how often the superstitions of the past have been refuted by science.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your skepticism but I think you expect too much of a true believer in Evangelical Christianity. Unless, there is a "need" to question their way of accepting that feeling is a sign that what they believe is true, you'll never even begin to communicate with them. For whatever reason, you felt that need to see through the irrationality of the Christian belief system. They don't. Something else I've noticed among so many Chrisitans is that they read the Bible in awe as if it is some sacred secret message. The fact of just repeating--not studying--the words is enough to convince them that it is truth. You have to penetrate that holy barrier before you'll ever make any sense with Christians. But don't give up. Jesus loves you. He really does. (Just kidding)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"I appreciate your skepticism but I think you expect too much of a true believer in Evangelical Christianity. Unless, there is a "need" to question their way of accepting that feeling is a sign that what they believe is true, you'll never even begin to communicate with them. For whatever reason, you felt that need to see through the irrationality of the Christian belief system."

No I did not. I felt a serious need to find a way to accept the Christian belief system. Not even that desperate need could help me see that accepting the irrationality is the way to go. Try again.

You also said:

"Something else I've noticed among so many Chrisitans is that they read the Bible in awe as if it is some sacred secret message."

Yep, I did that--well, the "secret" part never occurred to me; after all, everyone had a bible and went to church every Sunday, it did not seem like a secret by any stretch of the imagination. I just figured my mom was right and that when I got older I would understand.

I am by now much older than she and the ministers were when they drilled me about the plan of salvation and it still makes no sense.

"The fact of just repeating--not studying--the words is enough to convince them that it is truth. You have to penetrate that holy barrier before you'll ever make any sense with Christians."

How do you suggest one do this? I was born into the church--inside the holy barrier. The plan of salvation made no sense to me since the first time I heard the story as a child. I was inside the "holy barrier" but no one took my questions seriously. Nor would anyone take my refutations seriously. Obviously, there is more to this than "getting inside the holy barrier."

But I know what you mean. In a way, my arguments are stronger now because I am telling them I left because they failed to answer my questions. But I am now outside the "sacred barrier" which also weakens my argument for the reasons you stated.

Anonymous said...

I am a Skeptical Evangelical, of the Evangel (gospel) But the Evangel needs no Apology, But mankind does... Look at its sorry Historical mess... "The Human kind is degenerate" to say the least...

This is How to be a Skeptical Apologist: and this is how I have been all my So-Called "Christian" Skeptical understanding [This too is sarcasm, by the way, although not entirely! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. If I couldn't I wouldn't. what is called in error Christianity is sick to the core. Actually it is in Apostosy meaning full of lies brought into the so called Christian world by a man by the name of Simon (Peter) Magus or Simon the Magican, or the first (Pope)head of the Church of Rome who formulated its hierarchy the call him St Peter. But the real Apostle Peter was never in Rome. It was an imposter by the name of Simon (Peter) Magus

1) Think evidentially. This is what a person should do.
2) Think scientifically. The Holy Scriptures is the most up to date scienticic book in the world.
3) Think philosophically.To much Philosophy gets in the way of truth..
4) Think psychologically. It is to be insane to be a non believer. And the world is insane, If you do not beluieve it read the Paper or whatch the News.
5) Think archeologically. This is the most convincing to the Skeptic. The Holty Scriptures have been proven by archeology in it's discoveries.
6) Think anthropologically. this also a way to prove your thoughts intelliegently, If your intelliegent enough.
7) Think historiographically. Historyn is anothe3rn very good way to find the facts, and now we find the Bible is more accurate that the history books made by humankind.
8) Think about religious diversity. There was muich Rekligioues diversity before the so-called Christian era, actually even before Abraham the father of the Hebrews (Jews)
9) Think about the amount of intense suffering in the world.
10) Think about how often the accepted human superstitions of the past Human recorded History have been refuted by the Holy Scriptures in conjuction with science.

True Science and the Holy Scriptures, go hand in hand..

Your friend the TRUE Skeptic

freedy said...

My favorite is #7,..earn your living on your belief system.

Money is what holds the church together,not Christ.(fear of hell too).

Anyone who doubts and speaks up is fired or shunned.Either way you lose money, friends and/or associates.

Pastor's are silenced and controlled by the fear of losing their
"multi-million dollar mega-church money machine".

Rincewind said...

If anyone wants to see a real-life example of what John is talking about here, check out tektonics.org.

Wes said...

>>Think scientifically. The Holy Scriptures is the most up to date scienticic book in the world.
>>

That's got to be the stupidest galldarned thing I've ever read. My fricking eyes are bleeding. Auugh. The scriptures are the antithesis of science! Get real. -Wes.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am mad that I read the transcript of the cited debated between Dr. Craig and Dr. Ehrman. I hope Craig is a flashy charismatic speaker because he comes off as an moron and an asshole in print. He's obviously a poor scholar, and it is embrassing to Dr. Ehrman that anyone would claim they were in the same league.

John Milton said...

"2) Think scientifically. The Holy Scriptures is the most up to date scienticic book in the world."

Are you fucking kidding? Or are you really that goddamn moronic?

Well, I can't really argue with you, cause the scriptures just well may be the most "scienticic" book in the world.

Dano said...

Why is it that my evaluation of the Bible, as being one of the worst pieces of fiction ever written, increases with every line I read by the most intelligent people on the planet?

I already know the answer:
1. Smart people are evil.
2. The devil uses smart people to further his agenda.
3. It says so in the bible.
4. Therefore it is true. God said it, and I believe it, because I don't want to go to hell and fry forever.
Dan (John Edwards for president!)

Anonymous said...

Excellent!!! Bravo!!! This is VERY true. Thanks for sharing this.

John Blatt

why said...

here is my submission for being a christian apologist. 1) why is there pain? so i ask all of you, why?

Anonymous said...

pain in what?

There is no pain outside of one's own nerve sensory messages received only through the spinal colom sent to the living brain.

Warnepiece said...

I'd like to add to WHY the christian apologist's list. 1) Why do we fart?
So I ask you WHY, why?

Spirula said...

why is there pain?

To protect you from harm. Some people are born without pain sensitivity. Most die at a very young age from infection due to injuries they were unaware of. Most end up losing appendages and have severely damaged joints. I have a pictures in a book of a 2 year old who pushed a pencil completely through her cheek. Others showing adolescents missing fingers and hands with disfigured joints.

Why is there pain? Natural selection favored those animals who could react to bodily harm. It is quite simple really.

why said...

anonymous,
then why pain in the nervous system. why are people violent towards each other?

Warnepiece said...

WHY,

I have a feeling you are desparately fishing for a "god or satan did it" type of answer.

Do you REALLY want to know, or are you just being a christian apologetic jackass?

I'm still waiting to hear from you why we fart too.

Spirula said...

then why pain in the nervous system

Ummm...is this for real? I mean, being that the nervous system is the only one that has a SENSORY and CONSCIOUSNESS function. Where the hell else would it be?


why are people violent towards each other?

It is called "interspecies competition". In animals it frequently takes the form of threat behavior and/or violence. Apes use both, and the later is not infrequently lethal in chimpanzees and humans, but rarely in bonobos. Anthropological studies have shown that the propensity of human cultures (i.e. tribes) to violence varied widely. Human violence under civilization (by constrast) is virtually guaranteed, as it is built on a disparity in the distribution of wealth and power, and having a majority of the population making up the underclass. Few cultures under the civilized social structure have remained nonviolent for extended periods of time (e.g. Amish).

why said...

spirula,
thankyou for your response and it does sound like a resonable observation and also very hopeless one. it doesnt seem fair that life would organize itself in such a predatory way and make me simultaneously a victim and an aggressor. cant people just admit this way of living sucks and quit behaving this way? why?
and for the person concerned about farting im not a doctor but im pretty sure the gas is a byproduct of the bacteria that live in our intestines and help us digest the food we eat.

.:webmaster:. said...

cant people just admit this way of living sucks and quit behaving this way? why?

Aggressive behavior is a positive thing when it comes to the struggle for survival in a violent world. Our aggressive tendencies are part of what helped us come out of the violent jungle to eventually become the dominant species on this planet. Let's face it, we've only been out of the caves and using language for very short time compared how long it's been since our kind stood upright and challenged the rest of the animal kingdom.

Obviously you're trying to bring up a sin nature or something as the root problem to our violence. If so, that's silly. My cat will fight with every single cat he comes in contact with. He loves people but hates other cats. Does he have a sin nature? I've had dogs that would fight with other dogs without any provocation whatsoever. They'd never bite me, but they had no problem trying to kill other dogs. Did the dogs have a sin nature?

We are mammals that talk, that's all. We still have the primitive nature of mute mammals and as slow as evolution seems to be, we'll probably retain that harsh nature for a long time to come. What we need to do if we hope to live together in peace and survive as a species is to learn how to channel all that natural violent energy into positive outlets, like exploration of the solar system or something, and not sit around denigrating ourselves as needing a deity to treat our poor broken sinful natures. Denigrating a deeply rooted part of our evolutionary psyche won't help anyone to do anything except feel helpless. Admitting to ourselves that we are mammals and then striving to positively direct our natural aggression will do loads more good than beating ourselves up over something we can't do anything to immediately change.

why said...

it seems only to be positive if you win and i dont know if i can accept that either. at least from my own human point of view when i hurt someone to get ahead i feel like i have also hurt myself. i realize i am an individual but it also seems obvious i am part of a whole.
i am not angling to bring up sin or anything else but i wouldnt want to ignore it either if it held any answers. i think pain and suffering in the world is a serious question and well worth asking any apologist. i see no evidence in nature of evolving out of it and if there is my next logical question would be why would nature be moveing in a direction of peace rather than indulging what it finds natural and becoming even more violent. thankyou for your earlier responses and for any additional you may provide.

Warnepiece said...

WHY,

You are able to figure out the cause of farts, so the point was, apply that same reasoning with your quest for an answer to pain.

But you seem to be actually asking why do human beings behave like, well, human beings, and not “why is there pain”. Even without doctor skills you can see that people are influenced by what they are taught. And when they are taught, many times via religions like christianity and islam, that others are beneath them and unworthy of being treated civilly, the result is what you term “living sucks”. I don’t agree that living sucks, but everyone has a different perspective.

People will stop behaving this way when they are taught NOT to hate and mistreat other human beings. How would you propose getting everyone to “quit behaving this way”?

Fortunately for you, without a certain amount of a predatory and/or aggressive nature, your ancestors would have been eaten long ago, and you wouldn’t be here to ask your rhetorical questions.

I’m curious about why you think you need to hurt someone in order to get ahead. Why do you think that “sin” is an explanation? What makes you, WHY, a “sinner”? Do you just “know” this, in other words, you were born with the knowledge, or did someone teach you this?

Life isn’t fair, and probably never will be, but it is what we have to deal with to the best of our abilities. Believing in fairy tales and fables in a book will not help anyone adapt to this world.

Spirula said...

thankyou for your response and it does sound like a resonable observation and also very hopeless one. it doesnt seem fair that life would organize itself in such a predatory way and make me simultaneously a victim and an aggressor. cant people just admit this way of living sucks and quit behaving this way? why?

Fair is a human invention. It is a concept that seeks to maintain harmony in a group. It is a wonderful idea because it defuses hostility between people, but you can't apply it to the natural world. I mean, if I get sick from some pathogenic bacteria in my intestines, am I supposed to claim those bacteria are being unfair to me? Obviously not. I just need to be more careful in food preparation and hand washing.

And predation is just a fact of life. Somethings survive by consuming other living things. Can't "turn the clock back" on how various species evolved.

I think the 'webmaster' gave you an excellect response, and you just choose to view the human condition(or life itself) in its most negative light. There is a lot of good out there, and a lot of good people doing wonderful things for others and the planet. But to better understand human behavior you have to understand its evolution. I suggest reading "The Third Chimpanzee" by Jared Diamond as a start.

And to feel better about people and life on the planet, volunteer some time working with the homeless or local conservation groups. It will lift your spirits knowing you have helped, and it will change your perspective.

.:webmaster:. said...

it seems only to be positive if you win and i dont know if i can accept that either.

Well, then the next time you're in the jungle, don't carry a weapon. See how long you last against all those sinful, sharp-fanged, meat-eating predators out there.

And, the next time you get hungry, don't bite into any animal carcasses -- how sinfully violent of you if you do. How barbaric. How callous. Animals are alive you know, and my guess is that none of them are particularly fond of being the main attraction at your Sunday brunch.

Humans are predatory omnivores that eat everything. And here's an icky thing to think about: most of us prefer to eat animals that are good and dead before we chow them down. We're bit like vultures in that respect. But unlike vultures, we don't wait for something to die, we kill it. In fact, we care for animals just so we can later slaughter them for food. If that's not survival through violence, I don't know what is.

And for that matter, plants are alive too. That means no broccoli or asparagus for you! How cruel to snuff the life out of a potato just to fill your depraved stomach.

Christianity teaches that people are not part of nature. Well, quite obviously we are part of nature, and that aggressive nature is what has put us at the top of the food chain. We also have a developed sense of self awareness and a need for community. One savage alone had no way of bringing down a Mastiff during the frozen Ice Age, but a whole gang of filthy cave painters could do it nicely, and thereby feed everyone in the clan.

It pays our kind to work together.

So, today, we have two conflicting survival instincts: Eat or be eaten vs. working together to survive. To oversimplfy a bit, I'd say that's the prime root of many of the problems in human society you are hinting around about. These problems have nothing to do with religion. They have everything to do with nature — with the mindless march of evolution.

why said...

Spirula and webmaster, yes i did choose to focus on the most negative because that was closer to what i was asking in my poorly phrased question. If fair is an invention than we need more fair factories and less hitlers and stalins. If only it was just man trying to find its next hamburger. From my understanding of christianity they teach that they are part of gods creation/of nature and the idea of not being part of nature would make no sense to a christian. As for a mindless march that would require ignoring all of the evidence of it being organized for ex. ignoring that everything that exist is caused into being by something else. I cant think of anything that isnt. Can you?

.:webmaster:. said...

Spir,

If what you are saying is that EVERYTHING that exists has a cause, then you have just identified a contradiction witin Christianity.

Christianity clearly teaches that not everything has a cause. Christianity believes its god is uncreated. Its god just exists. Its god is highly organized, incomprehensibly complex, and smart, too.

See, in Christianity there is at least one thing that is uncaused. Of course, there is no evidence that such this thing, this creature exists. But nonetheless, Christians are sure that it must.

Why are they so sure that this god exists?

Well, simple: Nothing exists that wasn't caused!

Get it? Big contradiction here.

Obviously everyone realizes that things have to exist without being caused. Religious people call it god. Non-religious people call it the universe. We don't completely understand how it works yet, but one day we hope to.

Christians don't teach that people are part of creation. Christians believe people are the purpose of creation. That people are the epitome of creation. That everything was made for people.

That's not being part of nature, that's being the lords of nature -- above -- over -- separate -- unique -- not of this world.

why said...

yes that is exactly right based on the fact of everything that exist has a cause and points to the only logical conclusion that something must exist independent of the system that is not caused. the notion of an infinite chain of causation or a self supporting circle of causation doesnt work.

.:webmaster:. said...

OK, well, if you are admitting that there are things that exist without being caused, then simply accepting that the universe exists without being caused might be a better approach to the subject.

I think we can all agree the universe exists, and that we all have many questions unanswered about the universe. However, inventing a supernatural god that is outside of reality as the answer to those questions seems counterproductive to actually finding any answers to anything.

Here's what I mean:

Student: "Explain the universe, please."

Teacher: "God did it."

Student: "Thanks."

Teacher: "Class dismissed."


Do you see how that doesn't answer any questions?

Let's say there is a god that exists somewhere outside of reality. Now let's say this unreal god made the universe. So, how did this god do it? What materials or forces did he/she/it use? What unknown science is involved in universe creation?

No, when the "God did it" answer is given, there are no more questions. "God did it" is the end of the conversation, and everyone can get back to memorizing assigned Bible verses.

Why did the lightening strike?

God did it !

Why do things fall toward the ground?

God does it!

How can seeds grow into plants?

God does it!

How can humans form in a woman's belly.

God does it!

Why does it get warm when the sun shines?

God does it!

What caused the tornado that destroyed the town?

God did it!


Again, inventing a god and saying "God did it" answers nothing about the universe and potentially leaves us happy to be ignorant about everything.

A better answer to "How did the universe come to be?" would be "I don't know."

"I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer when the answer is unknown. Inventing gods to fill the gaps in our knowledge is unhelpful and just plain silly.

Jim Arvo said...

"why" appealed to "...the fact of everything that exist has a cause..."

Could you elaborate on that just a bit? Are you asserting that this "fact" has been proven scientifically? Or maybe you simply mean that it's intuitively true? Please clarify and/or provide some scientific references if you would. Thanks.

Why Not said...

Why: "...ignoring that everything that exist is caused into being by something else. I cant think of anything that isnt. Can you?"

So, cause and effect, is synonymous with; creation of a larger/smaller/denser/less dense universe in terms of total matter/energy quantity? Yeah, I'd like to see that scientific support myself.

why said...

jim a google search popped up this page www.jimloy.com/physics/cause.htm i am no scientist i meant it in an observable way i ate a sandwich someone grew the wheat i was born because my mother and father had sex the universe began when a ball of mass blew up.

why said...

webmaster i disagree beginning with the universe as not being caused. it isnt consistant with any obsevable data. this is a link for and interview with the scientist who one the nobel prize for finding the residual heat from the big bang http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2000/10/20001016_b_main.asp in the interview he discusses why he gave up science to become an economist. science only has the tools to be able to explain everything up to the mass not before or outside of it. the radio show that interviewed him was part of public radio called the connection out of bostons public radio station it doesnt air any more but still has a large online archive of all their shows. there are interviews with many harvard cambridge yale you name it the best in thier fields if you are into that kind of thing. truth cannot contradict itself. if the chain of causes leads to the only conclusion that there must be a being without cause sobeit.

.:webmaster:. said...

WellIdonthaveanychoice buttoseeityourwaynow.

yourpresentationoffactsisso

overwhelmingthativedecidedtore-

convert.

why said...

convert to what? i think a question i heard recently also illustrates the cause and effect principle well would be "where were you when the universe came into being?". i thought it was thought provoking and also a good question to ask for any apologist.

Jim Arvo said...

I asked "why" to explain his/her comment about "...the fact of everything that exist has a cause...". He/she replied (in part) with...

"...i ate a sandwich someone grew the wheat i was born because my mother and father had sex the universe began when a ball of mass blew up."

I don't think this deserves much of a reply, do you? I'll simply point out how common it is for visiting Christians to posit various "facts" that seem to support their theological position, and then reveal (after a little prodding) that they know almost nothing about which they speak. This happens so frequently that it's very hard to take such comments seriously any longer.

Come on back once you've done some serious study and put some real effort into your reasoning. Take care now.

why-not said...

If God is caused, why is he/she/it invisible?

What is accomplished by saying, God loves you?

Does saying "God loves you.," make you feel like we're supposed to think for a second that you are a representive of this invisible God?

Elmo loves you!

If anyone wants to convert to mental sanity and rational thinking and common sense, I can give you my email!

why said...

im reposting the my comments that you are reffering so others can follow our conversation. it seems my posthas disappeared. the logic is solid i provided a link to two scientist and examples from everydayexperiece. you need only answer the question "can you think of one thing that exist that is not caused?" you need only answer it to make me look foolish but when you realize you cannot you are forced to face the possibility that there is a God who loves you. that usually is a moment that takes a lot of courage to face. if anyone is thinking of converting i can give my email.

why said...

God became visible in Jesus Christ. an advent/event we are celebrating now as we are still in the Christmas season. He has ascended into heaven and sent us His Spirit to be with us guide us until He comes back. the old testament points out that the people would die if they were to look upon the Glory of God because it is so great. in a few circumstances they were allowed to and many of them were surprised they were still alive. Not seeing Him is an act of mercy. You come to God the Father through Jesus the same God the Son.

why said...

He was to be called Emmanuel which means God with us. God has come to earth so that we could know Him. I and millions of others have been given the privledge of being His ambassador so yes I can say that He has done it all for you.

Warnepiece said...

WHY, you don’t seem to be a very quick learner. I have read and re-read your posts, along with the replies others have made to your posts. All you do is parrot the same things over and over again. Your objective appears to be if you just keep repeating them, they will somehow come true. (They won’t, but we’ll keep humoring you because you prove our point again and again without even trying.)

WHY, have you prayed to your god to convert everyone reading your messages, or to have this site disappear from the Web? Why do you suppose it has not happened? I’m quite certain you have now pulled out your list of excuses that explain why god hasn’t done diddley:
a) It’s not his will
b) God is using this website for his own purposes
c) It just hasn’t happened…yet!
d) WHY didn’t pray hard enough
e) WHY didn’t pray the right prayer
f) God is ignoring WHY
g) Whatever WHY thinks up on the spur of the moment

Every one of your posts only needs a minor correction to be “true”, and that is the addition of “I believe…” to your statements.

Remember WHY, Elmo DOES love you!

Anonymous said...

To the Jesus ambassador Why,

Lets see if we can get this straight about what you said.

The invisible God created the whole material universe in just six days and then after some four thousand years later he decided to reveal himself to be seen visible to people.

So this invisible God masturbated into a cup, and gave his sperm to an Angel(Gabriel)and transported it through the universe on down through the atmosphere avoiding heated friction build-up and the Angel inserted the God sperm up into Mary's ovaries and planted it with her egg and the baby was formed into a wicked person that God had regretted in making in the first place Gen 6:6, because their hearts were continuely wicked, although he could have just destroyed all evil right then, but he chose not to, very smart wouldn't you say?

Except Mary was Holy and pure, of course God could have just made Jesus out of clay, just like he did Adam, but who would ever believe such nonsense?....lol

If Jesus was God, why did no one speak for up this man, at his trial? If God be for us, who can be against us?

If Jesus was God, why did it take 3 days to resurrect?

If Jesus was God, why did Jesus say on the cross, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?"

Jim Arvo said...

To WHY:

The link you provided with regard to "cause and effect" is at the level of high school physics. It's a fine tutorial for introductory classical physics, but it's about as compelling as citing a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon with respect to your initial assertion.

You said that the "logic" you provided is "solid". Perhaps I missed it, but I don't recall seeing anything resembling a logical argument from you regarding everything having a cause. You cited one very elementary physics page, and you muttered something about a sandwich you ate. Can you please spell out what your "logic" is regarding this? I'll even try to help you out a little. Maybe you are saying "My claim that everything has a cause is proven by the fact that I have never seen something that was not caused." Or maybe "Nobody has refuted my claim, so it must be true." Or perhaps "It's intuitively clear to me that everything has a cause." Does that help? Does your argument go something like one of those? If you intend something else entirely, then please do spell it out in a way I and others can follow it.

Now, you asked if I could provide a counter example. I'll be happy to share my thoughts with you once you've spelled out exactly what your argument is. After all, you made the initial claim, and I'm sure your "logic" is not in the least contingent upon my personal opinion, right? That being so, it should be able to stand (or fall) all on it's own, with no help from me.

May we hear your argument now please?

P.S. If you are considering de-converting, feel free to contact me via email: arvo at uci dot edu.

why said...

jim, Right now you are dependent on other things for your existance. Lets say there are seven such things. If these seven things didnt exist neither would you. Now suppose these seven things depend right now on other things for their existance. Without them they would not exist and neither would you. Imagine the universe only consist of you and the seven things sustaining you. If there is nothing besides that universe of changing, dependent things, then the universe and you with it cannot be. That argument is proposed by a boston college proffesor, Peter Kreeft. It is simple because its fundamental if you can show how its not true than you can also show that any further argument built on it is also untrue. Goodluck.

Warnepiece said...

WHY’s logic, in 3 easy steps…by showing how we are dependent on other things for existence.

Hocus Pocus, Abracadabra, Alakazam…magic is real…because…

Houdini said…Hocus Pocus, Abracadabra, Alakazam…magic is real…because…

Merlin said…Hocus Pocus, Abracadabra, Alakazam…magic is real!

See how logical it is? How could anyone miss it?

why said...

In Isaiah chap 7 king ahaz was told by God he could have any sign he wanted but wouldnt ask so God decided that a virgin would give birth to a child if it were anything humanly possible noone would believe it. If He ressurected in 6 days we would say why not 3 if He did it in an hour noone would have time to bury Him and everyone would say He passed out im sure theres a better explanation but im using this one. As for Mary she was consumed by the Holy Spirit it didnt involve sex. Yes we all abandoned Him the only ones who testified about Him lied yet thier lies didnt add up and noone could accuse Him of doing anything wrong. He ended up being murdered essentially. He had the power to stop it and to destroy us but didnt. 1John4:10 says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Peter abandoned Him asked for and recieved forgiveness.

why said...

If I repeat it alot its because I didnt know who God for 32 years and said and did alot of things i shouldnt but He had mercy and forgave me and is changing my life I merely want to share life wih Him with others. wouldnt you. I share what I know from my relationship with Him to anyone who ask. Its a simple story God loves you and there is a new life in Him ands its free and freeing ask Him for it you will recieve. If you want to know what this new life looks like it consists of ever deepening life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Even though we killed Him out of His great love for us He gives it away. If your disappointed He wants to save us instead of destroy us what can i say but take the deal.

Warnepiece said...

WHY,

You wrote “I merely want to share life wih Him with others. wouldnt you. I share what I know from my relationship with Him to anyone who ask.”

We didn’t ask.

WE DIDN’T ASK!

Let me write this one more time, WHY, because you are a slow learner…WE DIDN’T ASK!!!

Have you read the website disclaimer?

why said...

Warnepiece how interesting for you of all people to make that comment when you were the first one to ask. Let me help you remember.
Warnepiece wrote:
I'd like to add to WHY the christian apologist's list. 1) Why do we fart?
So I ask you WHY, why?
posted: 12/14/2006 2:08 PM EST

Jim Arvo said...

To WHY:

Lest I sound like a broken record, I'll explain that I'm trying something new here. I'm trying to stick to one specific argument until we make some headway. Toward that end, I'm trying to get you to articulate your argument first. In your last post you got a little closer. I can see you made an effort. However, as it stands, there is at least one difficulty with your argument. Let's see if we can patch that up before moving on. Okay?

Your point was that my existence "depends" on some number of other things; for illustration, you chose the number seven (we could clearly substitute any finite number here). These other things, in turn, "depend" on still other things. Given your initial claim that everything has a cause, I'll assume the word "depend" here implies causality. So, you are asserting that I was caused by some number of things which, in turn, were caused by still other things. Is that an acceptable paraphrasing so far?

You then assert the need for further dependence by imagining that the causal chain is cut off at some point; in which case, you observe that nothing would exist. This is another way of asserting that the existence of those things implies yet another level of causation. So, what you have is something like a "proof" by induction; that is, the existence of a chain of length N implies the existence of a chain of length N+1. The N=0 case (the so-called "base case") can be any observable thing--for example, me. Still okay?

So, the key step of your argument is the so-called "induction step"; that is, the observation that allows you to move from N to N+1. In effect, you assert that cutting the causal chain at any point dooms the entire chain to oblivion. As you put it, "then the universe and you with it cannot be". Am I still on track here? I hope so.

Now, I'd like to point out two things. First, as it stands, your argument is compatible with the conclusion that there is an infinite causal chain. Theologians have been at pains for centuries to show that this leads to absurdity, so that a "first cause" may be deduced. (Of course, the theologian will then wish to identify this "first god" with their particular god, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.) So, you need to deal with that loophole if you wish to postulate a "first cause". (Of course, this is not strictly necessary if all you wish to show is that everything has a cause. I'm merely anticipating where you wish to go with this argument.)

But there is a far more serious difficulty. Please observe the relationship between your conclusion (that all things have a cause), and your inductive rule (that all things "depend" on some number of other things). They are essentially equivalent. Therefore, you have assumed exactly what you claim to show. Can you re-phrase your inductive step so as to escape the jaws of circularity?

You closed by wishing me "luck--presumably in denying your argument. As I said before, I will gladly share my opinion on the matter (which involves non-classical physics), but I want to first explore whether you can articulate a fallacy-free argument. Again, I'll assume that your argument is independent of my opinion, so that should pose no obstacle to you. Good luck.

Warnepiece said...

WHY,

And how interesting that you think you can play shell games here and get away with it!

Your original question, was “why is there pain?” which you posted on 12/14/06 at 1:52 PM

…NOT… “Can I witness to everyone on this website?”

When I wrote “WE DIDN’T ASK”, it was in response to your statement that you want to “share what I know from my relationship with Him (Jesus) to anyone who ask.”

Notice in that statement, you didn’t ask “why is there pain?” you said you wanted to share your Christian belief with us, even though we hadn’t asked you to.

I trust you can tell the difference, just like you can tell the difference between what causes pain and what causes farts!

But now I am much more interested in your response to Jim Arvo's challenge.

Wes said...

"I'd like to add to WHY the christian apologist's list. 1) Why do we fart?
So I ask you WHY, why?"

It was a valid question, WHY, so why haven't you answered it? BTW: I used to enjoy cracking one out in church and blaming the holy spirit for moving within me! -Wes.

why said...

wes, i did answer it above. please try and keep up but i will be kind enough to copy and paste the response here
and for the person concerned about farting im not a doctor but im pretty sure the gas is a byproduct of the bacteria that live in our intestines and help us digest the food we eat.
posted: 12/15/2006 7:21 AM EST

why said...

Jim, as for paragraph 1 thankyou and agreed. As for paragragh 2 agreed, paragraphs 3 & 4 agreed. Paragraph 5 disagree here is the shortest reason i disagree. Premise 1: Lets define an absolutly first cause something that causes other things but itself isnt caused. If there is a God he is that cause. A creator is by definition is a creator of everything but himself. Either there is a first cause or there is not. If there is no first cause then there are no second causes either because second causes operate only if there are first causes whether there is one or a finite number or an infinite number. Premise 2: there are second causes this is observable. The universe is a giant series of second causes. So to put both premises together. If no first cause no second causes. There are second causes so there must be a first.

why said...

bentley, i forgot to address your question of if Jesus was God why did he cry out My God My God why have You forsaken Me. the deepest answers to your question are mysteries to me but i do know this much. Jesus is quoting from psalm 22. if you get chance read the whole psalm its short and is written as if it were Jesus crying out Himself. i would also point out that He was truly forsaken by God in our place taking our punishment so we wouldnt have to and gives us His relationship with God in exchange.

why-not said...

why, you keep using the word *cause* for a substitute for reason.

Nothing has to exist for a reason, but according to you, it does.

If we knew the reason that the universe exists, then we would know 100% how it was created.

Do you honestly believe that the universe was created just so some perverted god could be worshipped by silly humans on one lonely planet?

Cause may have an effect, but cause does not incite reason, which is totally obvious by your answers.

You're trying to attach a god to the word cause, to endorse your silly beliefs.

A god does not exist, the beginning of the universe is unknowable to humans, because truth and we, are too far away from it's beginning for us to know.

A god, is Earth-man's answers, this answer called God, is a pseudo answer, in which you have been convinced by other human beings and a book written by men also, that a god created the Heavens and the Earth.

People do not have a way of proving that a god exists, neither do they have a right to say that a god does in fact exist, without showing proof.

They can say "I think a God exists, or I believe a God exists." but no one can say for 100% certain that a God exists, without an expected reply of "Prove it!"

So far, you haven't proved that a God exists.

Why not? Because you can't.

Jim Arvo said...

To WHY:

Well, we seem to have made some progress. Good. I trust you will address the circularity problem in a future post, so I will simply critique your argument for a first cause.

WHY: "If there is a God he is that [first] cause."

Not necessarily. Why is it impossible that the entity who created the universe (presumably, that's what you equate with the Christian god) was created by another entity?

WHY: "A creator is by definition is a creator of everything but himself."

You can define "creator" that way. But then you are left with another hole to plug. If the universe was created by some entity, how do you know that this entity is responsible for everything, including other universes and other "realms"? In other words, "creator of the universe that we see" is not necessarily the same as "creator of everything". If you assert that there must be a "first creator", then your entire argument is isomorphic to (has the same form as) the original. You have made no progress.

WHY: "If there is no first cause then there are no second causes either because second causes..."

Sure. By definition, a "second cause" would be something that is caused by a "first cause". If the latter does not exist, then neither does the former. Check.

WHY: "...there are second causes this is observable. The universe is a giant series of second causes."

Come again? How did you reach that conclusion? Please offer some objective evidence for any "second cause", and how you know it to be a "second cause". This is again circular. You cannot establish an N'th cause by simply asserting the existence of a K'th cause (where N != K).

Kent said...

If the universe is billions of years old, then the Bible god has only recently been discovered, not from the result of any proof, but by man's willingness to invent a god to forgive him from his own stupidity.

why said...

To why-not. I am not substituting cause for reason. They are not the same. As you very well point out in your 5th pargraph. I am offering no reason. the classic argument of "causality" does not address why only that there must be. There is a reason that Christians believe. It is taught that God is in perfect relation with Himself and Has no needs. In a plan of sheer goodness freely created us to share in His own blessed life. Think of a sunset or aurora or maybe a song you liked and heard when you were alone. I bet you thought of someone else that you wished you could have shared that sight or sound with. Its only natural. God doesnt have to wish He created us to share in His bueaty. Worship is our enjoyment it is how we express ourselves because of His bueaty.
i realize from the comments many have posted that they have been to some pretty bad churches. its a shame noone should have experience of worship as some kind of slavery.

why said...

Jim: Why is it impossible that the entity who created the universe (presumably, that's what you equate with the Christian god) was created by another entity?
Then that entity would be the absolute first cause. This line of reasoning is not designed to prove that God is the Christian God only that there must be a Creator God.

why said...

Jim: If the universe was created by some entity, how do you know that this entity is responsible for everything, including other universes and other "realms"?
I am making no conjectures about the number or order of beings outside of creation only that they must be and must be outside of creation and i am considering the universe as including all that is; all dimensions, galaxies, laws governing quantum physics, astro physics what we know now and will learn. Everything from the bang. If beings worked together to make it fine. If there happened to be 3 that were also in some humanly unknowable way at the same time 1. Now that would be interesting. I guess to know for sure that God or Gods would have to someway tell us. As an aside Socrates from all that the universe revealed to his reasoning thought there was one and worshiped Him as the unknown God even though the culture around him worshiped
many gods. They eventually killed
him.

why said...

Jim: Come again? How did you reach that conclusion? Please offer some objective evidence for any "second cause", and how you know it to be a "second cause".
Maybe that would have been better phrased the universe is a second cause. As for objective evidence i offer the big bang as i learned it from science class and that steven hawking movie that came out years ago and the nobel prize winner interview i provided in a link in a post above. They all seem to be in agreement it was a second cause. I offer yours and my existance and everything around us as traceble back to that bang from which all matter laws governering matter and etc. came. That it had a beginning and something must have caused it. A creates b creates c creates a is absurd. Since ancient times everyone has known only nothing comes from nothing.

why said...

Lastly, I also realize you didnt suggest that something does come from nothing and definitly not a crear b creat c creares a, its extra for whoever else might be reading. It does lead me back to my earlier question is there anything in the universe that isnt caused?
there i go back in a circle again. well we are working with better information now than before. thats worth something :-)

why said...

kent, some good observations. cs lewis, author of the chronicles of narnia that was recently made a movie, has some interesting thoughts on that topic that ill try to share monday.

boomSLANG said...

Aaaack! We're being over-run with circular, presuppostional, "lookist", illogical, subjective religio-babble. Troll alert!.....defcon 5! lol

why said...

its circular in the sense that it keeps coming back to the what i believe is a make or break question. can anyone provide any example in creation that is not a second cause? any valid answer ends the argument till then we can keep exploring for possible proofs against or accept it as a good foundation and see if we can build on it. its not so much circular as part of the process.
i think everyone is close to agreement that there isnt an example and maybe its time to start building on this fundamental truth.

boomSLANG said...

Check it---the process of something being "caused" is temporal. The implication is that a cause must precede it's effect. Fair enough. So, logically, time must already exist before anything can be "caused", yes? Right, so the assertion of a "Creator" existing before a temporal universe is utterly ridiculous, if time did not exist. Hmmm..."God" was "pointless" before "God" arbitrarily "willed" a universe into existance?(Rhetorical)


Moreover, the presuppostion is that a "Divine Creator" somehow existed "outside" of time, who, by implication, either willed itself into existance, or has always existed, which contradicts the "cause-effect" theory that's being tossed around by Theists. Of course, this God-hypothesis is based on a man-made definition/concept---an attempt to "fill the gap" in knowledge--while having not one shred of evidence to support said concept. Don't know?..."wull golly....it MUST be God".

Prove it.

.:webmaster:. said...

Why,

I'm going to give you your point. Everything appears to have a cause, so at some point in the past it would be reasonable to assume that there was a first cause. It would be reasonable to guess that the first cause is a deity.

OK.

Now, that does nothing to answer how the universe began. Saying a god did it, is like saying it poofed magically into existence for reasons we can never fathom.

The real answer is to how the universe began is "We don't know."

Not knowing something is perfectly acceptable. Making up magical deities that are only imagined in the mind of religous believers is completely unhelpful to understanding how the universe began.

The point of understanding science is to understand how things work, not to just say "We can never understand it!"

That's what you say when you say your deity did it. You say that no one will ever understand how the universe began, so just go to church and chill out.

It's stupid.

If there is some super being that created the universe, show us the deity.

All you are doing is showing a hole of ignorance in our science and then filling it with you imagination. You are stating there is a god and then proving it by finding a hole in our knowledge of the universe and saying, "SEE, GOD EXISTS!"

That's retarded. Again, the only honest answer as to where the universe came from is "We don't know."

I admit. I don't know.

Now, you say that you DO KNOW. Prove it. Show me your god. Don't just show me unanswered questions in science as evidence for your god. Show me real evidence for your god.

Do you know that for thousands of years, people proved the power of their gods by what the lightning and thunder did? They believed gods were speaking through volcanoes and strong weather. They were ignorant. Now we know there is no god making tornadoes or thunder storms. It's called nature.

However, you, like the primatives before you, are pointing at parts of nature we haven't mastered and saying, "See! GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD.

It's monontonous and indicates a real lack of intelligence on your part.

Jim Arvo said...

WHY: "I am making no conjectures about the number or order of beings outside of creation..."

But you went on to say that this being created EVERYTHING, presumably even alternate bubble universes if they exist (which is one possible scenario being considered by cosmologists today). Please share your information about that. I have no idea how you can make such a fantastic assertion, even if we grant you the nearly-as-fantastic assertion that the known universe has a creator. As for the Jesus story, yes, we've all heard that one. If you cannot clearly state a valid argument (i.e. one free of fallacies) regarding cause and effect, then there is little point in discussing the subtleties of your theology and the scholarship that undermines it. That's why I'm trying to confine our discussion to one clearly-defined topic.

WHY: "As for objective evidence i offer the big bang as i learned it from science class..."

But it's a non sequitur to speak of the "cause" of the Big Bang; informally speaking, causes must precede effects, and there was no "before" the Big Bang. If that seems absurd to you, then ask yourself why. The reason is that it violates your intuition. Then ask where that intuition came from, and how you know it is universally valid.

WHY: "Since ancient times everyone has known only nothing comes from nothing."

But that is just another version of the assertion I've been asking you to support! What can you offer in support of that statement? The fact that people have always thought that it is true (which is NOT the case, by the way)? The fact that you have personally never seen something come from nothing? What?! Please tell me.

WHY: "It does lead me back to my earlier question is there anything in the universe that isnt caused?"

The answer to that question is a resounding YES, but I refuse to get derailed into that discussion before you state how you arrived at your conclusion that "everything has a cause", or "nothing comes from nothing". So far you are caught in a circle.

Jim Arvo said...

WHY: I'm going to try to help this discussion along a little. Do you see that the assertions "nothing can come from nothing" and "every effect has a cause" are empirical? Do you see that you cannot hope to address them by consulting your imagination? I'm simply trying to get you to see that there is no a priori reason to preclude these things--the world could logically allow them. This is why you are having such difficulty formulating a valid argument--you are attempting to treat them as though they were analytic truths when they are in fact empirical, to use Kant's classification. (There is also the little wrinkle that they are not true, but we'll get to that later.)

why said...

Jim : informally speaking, causes must precede effects, and there was no "before" the Big Bang. If that seems absurd to you, then ask yourself why. The reason is that it violates your intuition. Then ask where that intuition came from, and how you know it is universally valid?
Our minds are the only means by which we can know reality. We have no other access. If we agree that something that cannot exist in thought, we cannot go ahead and say that it exist in reality. Because then we would be thinking what we claim cannot be thought. Arno Penzias won the nobel prize for discovering proof for the big bang. This discovery is Almost universally accepted by every physicist Hawking to name one and who has alot to say about it. I recommend his book or movie "a brief history of time." Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its being. The universe began to exist. Therfore the universe has a cause for its being.

.:webmaster:. said...

Why wrote: "Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its being. The universe began to exist. Therfore the universe has a cause for its being."

You infer this based on your own experience, and have decided to believe it. Fine. It is still a long way from this armchair inference to concluding that Jesus is God. Now that you have your belief, you must present evidence supporting your belief that because you cannot comprehend the beginning of the universe, that logically concludes that Jesus is God.

The fact is, you cannot give evidence to support this belief. If I say that I believe there are 1,000 gods who worked in tandem to create the universe, my belief will have equal evidence to yours, which is to say, none.

The honest answer any of us can give as to how or when the universe began, or if it even began at all, is "I don't know."

You don't know. Neither does anyone else.

Praise be to Allah, the creator of the universe!

It's not Allah? Prove me wrong.

why said...

Jim:Do you see that the assertions "nothing can come from nothing" and "every effect has a cause" are empirical? Do you see that you cannot hope to address them by consulting your imagination? I'm simply trying to get you to see that there is no a priori reason to preclude these things--the world could logically allow them.
Another nobel prize winner leon lederman wrote- "In the very beginning, there was a void, a curious form of vacuum, a nothingness containing no space, no time, no matter, no light, no sound. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential." If that is true than observable laws of nature should apply. I have trouble understanding if this statement is true how the universe/second cause could come into being from no cause/nothing rather than absolute first cause/God. Truth is truth and cannot contradict itself no matter what realm it abides whether natural logical philosophical or theological.

why said...

webmaster you are correct it very well could be allah. this argument cannot tell you who the absolute first cause is only that it is. scientifically we have gone over to death it is almost unanimous that the big bang happened so it began. also philosphically if the universe never began, then it always was. if it always was then it is infinitely old. if it is infinitely old then a infinite amount of time would have to have elapsed before today. and so an infinite number of time being added to what went before-in order for the present day to arrive. if the present day has been reached, then the actually infinite sequence of history has reached this present point for at any present point the whole past must already have happened. but an infinite sequence of steps could never have reached this present point or any point before it. so either the present day has not been reached or the process of reaching it was not infinite. obviosly the present day has been reached so the universe began to exist and there is a creator God. these arent my arguments im not this smart but i know people who are. by the way the "whatever begins to exist etc." statement i believe is refered to as the "kalam argument" in university circles and is considered solid.

freeman said...

why,
Before the Great Expansion of matter, it was preceeded by the Great Contraction which was preceeded by the Great Expansion. This has been going on forever, therefor no beginning and no end. This is the creator, per se. This is the best guess with what evidence that is available. I much rather believe this, which is to me the most plausible, than some invisible diety creating something out of nothing to test man, which he knows will fail, just to screw up the creation because of sin. It is extremely illogical, your god that is and his pathetic ways!

why said...

jim:If that seems absurd to you, then ask yourself why. The reason is that it violates your intuition. Then ask where that intuition came from, and how you know it is universally valid?
if you think its ok if i change intuition to conciousness and that it would not alter the intent of your question i will try to answer.

freeman said...

why,
The "kalam argument" is nothing more than the "first clause" argument! It is not solid as you suggest.

Therefor, by your logic, god exists and so it must have had a beginning and so there must have been a creator of your god!

Jim Arvo said...

WHY: I do not claim your statement is "absurd" by consulting my gut. I REJECT it because 1) you have demonstrated no basis for it, and 2) it presupposes a naive assertion that has been shown to be FALSE by modern physics.

You have yet to show one iota of appreciateion for EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE; i.e. either understanding what it is, or why it is needed. Thus we are getting nowhere. I repeat, this is very tiresome. I've got better things to do than repeat myself over and over.

Warnepiece said...

In WHY’s response to Jim Arvo posted at 5:12 PM, he ended by quoting Physics Nobel Prize winner Dr. Leon M. Lederman with a comment about “Truth is truth” regarding an absolute first cause, which WHY calls “god”. He left off the following paragraph by Dr. Lederman, “But this story is about the universe, and unfortunately there are no data for the Very Beginning. None, zero. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second—that is, some very short time after creation in the Big Bang. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe, someone is making it up. We are in the realm of philosophy. Only God knows what happened at the Very Beginning (and so far She hasn't let on).

“Only God knows what happened at the Very Beginning and so far she hasn’t let on” certainly doesn’t sound like he is referring to the Christian god. It sounds like he has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

If WHY is trying to assert that Dr. Lederman is endorsing the idea of a god, particularly the christian god, I think that is rather arrogant on his part to cram words sideways into the Doctor’s mouth.

It’s even more troubling because WHY wrote in a previous post that he is here to “share what I know from my relationship with Him [jesus/god] to anyone who ask", as though we have asked. And he’s been able to slip by the Site Disclaimer and get everyone sidetracked answering his rhetorical questions when he just wants to proselytize.

Jim Arvo said...

WHY: I just realized that I misunderstood your post. I'm sorry--I thought you were attempting to use my own words to refute me. (My only excuse is that I'm a bit sleep-deprived at the moment.)

I am skeptical of replacing "intuition" with "consciousness", as I suspect our views of the latter will diverge greatly. But if that's what it takes to get you to answer the question, then go ahead. We can quibble about the word change later.

why said...

warnepiece and jim, i did share that i believe in the Christian God in response to "why-not" asking me what i honestly believed. i aknowledge this argument will not prove that God is Jesus. I am merely trying to establish there is a God and at least rule out no God. Empirical evidence has been provided by Arno Penzias the residual heat from the occurance of the big bang. they gave him sciences highest prize for it. Scientist dont give prizes to philosophers only to those who work in empirical evidence if you need a definition check wikipedia. Warnepiece correctly brings up the rest of the lederman quote and in the part i left out he readily accepts the universe began in this bang. This is why i introduced the kalam argument and and warnepeace has provided why it is supported empiricaly. Both the causation argument and kalam argument are arguments from logic supported by science. I will publicly admit i have spoken falsely if my question can be answered. Can you think of one thing in all of the universe that has not been caused? i am saying every empirical piece of matter and all the science that testifies to its coming into being is my proof. Everything, no exclusions. Is that enough empirical evidence? I will recap empiricaly and logically from everything that has been said so far in both arguments in the next posts. I am aware of the theory of the expanding and collapsing universe i can provide a link to an interview with the scientist who proposed it from the pbs show "the connection" if you are interested its not well accepted and requires ignoring the evidence of the leftover heat from the exploding mass to propose. its also very weak for a number of philosophical reasons.

why said...

additionally none of the scientists i am using for support nether penzias hawkings or lederman are Christians although hawkings wife im told is.

why said...

jim, if you are wanting scientific evidence for the existance of God it cant be done. arno penzias provides a good reason for why if i have time i will transcibe that portion. i can only provide reasonable scientific evidence in support of the philosophical/logic argument of causation which in turn provides the only reasonable conclussion of an absolute first cause If there is no first cause then there are no second causes either because second causes operate only if there are first causes whether there is one or a finite number or an infinite number. Premise 2: there are second causes this is observable. So to put both premises together. If no first cause no second causes. There are second causes so there must be a first.

Why Knot said...

Why: "If you are wanting scientific evidence for the existance of God it cant be done. arno penzias provides a good reason for why if i have time i will transcibe that portion."

If god is infinite and perfect (whatever that is), then god must necessarily escape and transcend the sinful and imperfect reality we live within. Christianity establishes humanities' imperfections and sinful natures.

In order to keep the two separate, Christianity in general, accepts that god is transcendent and beyond understanding - else, god become more finite and less perfect.

Christianity in effect, fights any method, framework, etc., that can be used to round-up, tie-down, pin-down, define, etc., etc. The professional Christian writes books, debates, and engages in any activity that keeps god from being scrutinized. In affect, it's the religious culture to push science aside as a means to prove -or- disprove the existence of god.

It's not the lack of aggression of humanity to seek to "know" of god, its the aggression of Christianity to continue to fight those who would attempt to "know". A few thousand years ago, it was considered blasphemy, to say one even "knew" of god. There are religions still today, where the "written" word "God" is considered blasphemy.

Science can't find god, because god has been continuously pushed away from humanity by religious dogma and rhetoric. Religious leaders, during the Crusades, dark ages, etc., have pushed the Christian concept of god so far out, that it has become an empty littany of paradoxes.

1-The natural human, knowing and having a relationship with a supernatural god.

2-A transcendent god, known by humans.

3-Finite Christian humans, knowing an infinite god.

...and the list could continue as long as there is a debate between those who want to seek god, and those who want to push the god beyond human understanding. Science is in the business of searching... religion is in the business of playing hide and seek with a rhetorical device (god) hidden in a paradoxical statement.

Why: "i can only provide reasonable scientific evidence in support of the philosophical/logic argument of causation which in turn provides the only reasonable conclusion of an absolute first cause If there is no first cause then there are no second causes either because second causes operate only if there are first causes whether there is one or a finite number or an infinite number. Premise 2: there are second causes this is observable. So to put both premises together. If no first cause no second causes. There are second causes so there must be a first."

An absolute? You would have to be god and omniscient to know of a universal absolute - of course that goes against Christian theology.

Talking of causation, and the paradox of Christianity. How do you intend to show a natural effect, based on a supernatural cause? If you find an answer, you bridge humanity with god, and that makes him imperfect or humanity perfect - meaning, you no longer accept the foundations of Christianity based on theology.

Solve a paradox (not really possible), and dissolve a religion. "Why", some just don't accept your religion and god because it has been built in such a way as to never allow someone to really "know" anything with any certainty - meaning, its an empty relationship between the person and some imaginative object.

Many religionists fall in love with, the fact that the paradox can not be solved... it just takes "faith". The "faith" to believe in what "others" have told them - which leads to another paradox.

Humanity is sinful and errorful... but yet, errorful humanity must have "faith" in other errorful humans to present them with the words of a supernaturally perfect god.

Over time, the unsolvable paradoxes breed a form of nihilism in the believer, where nothing can really be known or understood - meaning becomes lost in this reality.

Those who attack science, do so to remove it as a way to remove the paradox... others do it so well, that they remove the meaning of the nature that surrounds them, as is described with science.

Hey "Why", how far are you willing to remove the value of this life, in order to keep your precious paradox alive?

Why Knot said...

To the Christian, a paradoxical question...

"If God were omnipotent, could he make a God more powerful than himself?"

Perhaps, the Christian would like to speak for "why" god would or would not ever create a more powerful god than himself... but then that would make the Christian the equal to their god.

We live in a world surrounded by paradoxes; it's enough to spend time on natural paradoxes that can be satisfied with sophisticated thought over time. Enough time for some, to forego the necessity to entertain the empty paradoxes that are ironically self-defeating.

When a Christian can answer their own paradoxical belief statements, with enough clarity that I can truly understand... then I can entertain the sincerity of the religious theology itself.

Jim Arvo said...

WHY: "I am merely trying to establish there is a God and at least rule out no God."

Merely? Am I misreading you, or are you claiming somebody has already done this, or possibly that it's a short step from what is already known? If so, I think you have grossly underestimated the magnitude of your assertion.

WHY: "Empirical evidence has been provided by Arno Penzias the residual heat from the occurance of the big bang."

Yes, that's right. Both the red shift of distant galaxies and the uniform three-degrees-Kelvin background radiation constituted powerful empirical evidence for the Big Bang. The scientific consensus today is that the Big Bang did indeed happen, and it is consistent with the estimated age of the universe derived by other means (i.e. in the ballpark of 12 billion years). So, even though there are still legitimate questions about the Big Bang, and a few nascent ideas that may ultimately cause a paradigm shift, let us suppose for the sake of argument that it is a fact. What do you infer from this fact?

WHY: "Both the causation argument and kalam argument are arguments from logic supported by science."

No, what you just stated is not true at all. While the Kalam argument appeals to a few scientific facts, that does not mean conclusion is itself supported by science. For example, I could appeal to the Bohr model of the atom (which is now know to be pure fiction, by the way) and argue that because atoms look like little solar systems, there must be little people living in them. Clearly, such a statement is not supported by science. The Kalam argument also attempts to draw a profound meta-physical conclusion from scientific facts, but is similarly over-stretched.

WHY: "I will publicly admit i have spoken falsely if my question can be answered. Can you think of one thing in all of the universe that has not been caused?"

Yes, of course I can, as can anyone who is somewhat conversant with 20'th century physics. Quantum mechanics posits many uncaused effects, such as radioactive decay and vacuum fluctuations. The latter is also an example of "something coming from nothing"; that is, matter coming into being out of a pure vacuum. Lest you think that events such as radioactive decay actually do have a cause, but one we are ignorant of, this was rejected back in the early 20'th century. So called hidden variable theory posited just that; however, it's a testable theory, and the evidence strongly suggests that it simply isn't so. Please look into it yourself--I don't expect you to take my word for it. But do educate yourself on topics such as zero-point energy or vacuum energy (aka vacuum fluctuations), and you will see that modern physics very strongly points to the fact that empty space can be quite prolific in its production of "something. In fact NASA has been looking into the possibility of harnessing vacuum fluctuations as a means of propultion on inter-stellar missions. As for uncaused effects, that is quite firmly established.

Now, this is a lot to absorb, and if you open your mind to it, it will have a huge impact on the way you view physical reality. Therefore, it cannot happen over night. But if you spend even an hour looking at the sites I've directed you to, I think it would be appropriate for you to at least admit that the issue is far more complex than you had imagined, and that perhaps you had been a bit hasty in asserting that every event has a cause, or that nothing can come from nothing. With some research, I trust you will eventually come to see that such "common-sense" assertions actually rest on nothing but naive intuition, which has also given us notions such as "absolute time", which we know today is a complete fiction.

WHY: "...i am saying every empirical piece of matter and all the science that testifies to its coming into being is my proof. Everything, no exclusions. Is that enough empirical evidence?"

Once you read some of the above links, and do your own research, I hope you will agree that your statement above is far from true.

WHY: "I am aware of the theory of the expanding and collapsing universe i can provide a link to an interview with the scientist who proposed it from the pbs show "the connection" if you are interested its not well accepted and requires ignoring the evidence of the leftover heat from the exploding mass to propose. its also very weak for a number of philosophical reasons."

But the hypothesis of an oscillating universe is an empirical question. Philosophy is a totally useless tool for cosmology, except where it helps us to examine our presuppositions and critique our methods of gathering data, weighing evidence, and assessing theories. Specifically, one cannot hope to reason one's way out of such tangled knots as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox by consulting our imaginations or making philosophical arguments. It too is an empirical question, so we must simply frame the questions and be humble enough to accept the answers that nature provides, regardless of how many pet ideas we must abandon to do so.

Jim Arvo said...

One more point I want to respond to:

WHY: "jim, if you are wanting scientific evidence for the existance of God it cant be done."

This is what believers often say, and I suspect it betrays a deep misunderstanding (if not a distrust) of science. Science is a search for answers that are as free from prejudice and presupposition as possible; it's an activity that we engage in when we seek to understand how things really are, as opposed to how we wish them to be. That said, if you still wish to avoid the word "science", as you perceive it to somehow limit your ability to perceive what is really so, then here is my answer: Go ahead and present whatever argument you wish,in whatever form suits you. However, if you give me no way to distinguish your claims from those of anybody else with regard to how well they reflect reality, then I have no more reason to believe you than anybody else.So, the ball is in your court concerning the existence of supernatural entities.

Dano said...

If either of you guys ever figure out what and where God is, I hope you post it real quick here on Ex Christian, and especially, if he takes prayer requests, cause I have a real long list and not a lot of time!

Thanking ya'll in advance.
Dan (Quantum agnostic)

Why Knot said...

Dano, the term "make believe" seems to ring true here...

The entire religious belief system, with all of its rituals, is a highly ornate "make believe" play... Someone a few thousand years ago, said, "let’s play make believe", and then over time, Christians turned it into, "let’s make people believe" our "make believe"...

Why Knot said...

Oh, and Dan, if you ever get an answer for the "make believe" fairy/god, give me the address, I have a few questions I want to ask also :-)

Dano said...

Why Knot wrote:
"Oh, and Dan, if you ever get an answer for the "make believe" fairy/god, give me the address, I have a few questions I want to ask also :-) "

Dan to Y knot!... The problem is he get so many requests from Christians, who for the most part are the most unchristian people on earth, he probably routs most of his e mail right int the Spam folder.

I think the only chance we might have to get through to him is to title an e mail: " From one of your creations,who is not a member of any organized religion, cult, or a believer in any of the sorry ass things they generally attribute to you)"

Dan ( universalinternetistist)

Jim Arvo said...

In this very thread, back on 1/13/2007 "Why" wrote "I will publicly admit i have spoken falsely if my question can be answered. Can you think of one thing in all of the universe that has not been caused?"

On 1/14/2007 I gave "Why" an answer to his question, pointing out that 20'th century science has uncovered very clear examples of uncaused events and matter appearing out of nothing. I provided a few links, and Google will uncover thousands more in less than a second if that does not suffice. There are detailed description on the web of the both the theory and the confirming experiments, so there is NO opportunity for "Why" to simply dismiss this as some oddball idea. It is solid science, with solid confirmation.

I urged "Why" to simply acknowledge that the issue was more complex than he had imagined, and to admit that his judgment was perhaps bit hasty; yet, he has done neither. Are you still out there "Why"? Have you anything to add to the discussion?