Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: why do they choose to make false claims? – next up, DP Monahan

Well, for a blog called “truth and tolerance”, DP doesn’t demonstrate either. I’ve seen this particular Christian around on other blogs.  He tries to be friendly to the atheists he contests with, but when you get him on his own blog, he has no problem in making a lot of false claims about others. It’s rather pathetic.

DP goes after a video where Dr. Michael Shermer is talking about why humans believe in gods and presenting the hypothesis where humans see “intent” in many things that are simply natural. This “offensively stupid thought experiment” is only that because DP presents his strawman version of the actual hypothesis. Nothing in the hypothesis indicates that humans were always running for their lives at the slightest noise. Humans developed to think that there is a cause and effect behind every noise and movement, and then may have attributed to a intelligent being these cause and effects.   It’s amazing on how a Christian evidently needs to lie so badly that he ignores his own supposedly holy book’s words that people should never lie, not even if they think it’s for their god’s benefit (Romans 3).   He also desperately tries to argue that all thought experiments somehow assume “everything” (whatever that means) and that they prove nothing, which is debatable and something a theist must try to claim since what we do know of our remote ancestors doesn’t match with their myths.

DP goes onto thrash his very own strawman and of course ignore the actual hypothesis and what it says. DP also has evidently not seen a antelope run from a cheetah or a zebra from a leopard. They don’t do what DP says : “they will run a few steps and then look back to make sure.” I’ve also personally walked through a woods and scared the crap out of deer, quail, etc. They did pretty much the same to me.

Humans were frequently victimized omnivores, who have offspring that need tending for a very long time. They have no natural weapons, and were at the mercy of predators. DP seems to think that humans always had weapons, which show his complete ignorance of anthropology. Of course, being a creationist, this type of Christian has to ignore reality to keep their religion.   Humans can be predators, but they are not always predators. And just because something travels, explores, and takes risks doesn’t mean it doesn’t attribute natural occurrences to magical beings. It seems we are built to assign meaning to occurrences and, again, expect an intellect behind occurrences.   Humans would not necessarily be afraid of the wind, but they may have assigned that wind to an intelligence source causing it.

DP presents this paper from the NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689871/ and says it shows that they are “naïve skeptics”, but he does not admit that the paper also says that children have no problem in believing in Santa Claus and the reason why is “In fact, much of children’s apparent credulity, we propose, can be accounted for by their receptivity to the testimony of others; in fact, this receptivity may be precisely what makes children seem, to many, to possess a credulity bias.” The paper is actually quite good; it’s a shame that DP never seems to have read it but only assumed it supported him. It’s no surprise that he didn’t look up the original experiment and then tries to claim his presumptions have to be true. That can be found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002209651100035X?via%3Dihub (I’ve not yet found it outside of a paywall)

The idea behind this hypothesis is that religion grew to be a way to make humans behave in a certain way for the benefit of the group e.g. “God will get you if you don’t do *this*”.   DP tries to make the claim that since not all religions have “abstract ethical content” (whatever that might actually mean) and an afterlife, this means that the hypothesis is wrong. He claims that “some traditional religions” make little reference to ethics, but does not indicate which of these do that. We also have him saying that the idea that a god watching one’s every move is a poor motivator for good behavior, “at least for those of us over three”. What he forgets is that is exactly the threat that Christianity makes, and yes, it is a very silly thing for adults to believe. These are a few verses from the bible that contradict what DP wants to have us believe:

20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.” – 1 John 3 (and hmmm that verse does present a problem for Christians who claim that god doesn’t give believers all they ask for)

“For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight.” – Jeremiah 16

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4

We also have DP saying that “no religion is self-evident”. Now, I’ve been told the exact opposite by Christians for years, namely with this bit of nonsense “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.” Romans 1 Indeed, this bit of scripture says exactly what DP says it doesn’t ““Good Principles Self-Evident to All Humans”

DP thinks that if he was a “high brow atheist”, he would believe that humans were fully able think like us from the start, which is a baseless claim dependent on a belief in creationist nonsense. Yes, right now, our brains are quite highly developed, and many of us can recognize complex patterns, are able to anticipate what reality is from observation. We’ve developed language, and we are still the apes that saw effect and may have assumed an intelligent cause e.g. gods. Yep, we are story-tellers too, and that shows that there is no reason to think that stories are reality; humans love to make up stuff.   Religions are no the story of the world, because they all differ. They are an indication that there is no one magical truth, that some certain god is in charge. Religion does show that humans act in certain ways, but they have no evidence that they themselves are true.

All DP wants is to pretend that a “real” atheists would agree with him; and we generally don’t. He wants to claim that there is nothing to replace his religion and implies his religion does no harm, but ignores all of the various philosophies that are out there that don’t need gods at all. He, like many Christians, wants to pretend that all atheist are no more than nihilists or “cold materialists”, and tries that old canard that without his version of his god, all human experience is “ultimately absurd”.   Again, all DP has is his attempts to appeal to fear and to expect ignorance to support his religion.

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148 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: why do they choose to make false claims? – next up, DP Monahan

  1. You have great patience. And this is a brilliant post. The reason why you can’t win with the religious is because they move with the goal posts. Black means white and white means black.

      1. well, I’m at work. It’s either feast or famine for what I have to do here. And I do have to brew this weekend. It’ll finally be cool enough not to send the yeasties into paroxysm.

  2. I’m not “friendly”. I’m a New Englander.
    The thought experiment of Lucy not knowing the difference between wind and predators is stupid on the face of it. If Lucy hears a noise on the plains she would definitely want to know what it was, it might be edible.
    It is possible I missed the point of the article but I think my general point is sound, i.e. children are not stupid.
    Forms of greco-roman religion, Native American religion, and I think Shintoism didn’t really have ethics, at least not in the way we think of it. At most sense of trying to be in harmony with the world? Early Judaism does not seem to have had an idea of the afterlife.
    Any Christian who thinks religion is self evident does not know what the word “faith” means.
    I said “if I were an atheist”, not “real atheists” so stop lying you lying liar who lies.

    1. only your version of the experiement is stupid. And you are terrified of the real hypothesis because it shows you are wrong. You seem to have no idea how hunter gatherers work, which isn’t terribly suprising. Until humans had weapons, they couldn’t fight back very well, so animals were a threat, whether it be from teeth and claws or hooves.

      You tried to lie about a scientific paper, and the idea hat children are not stupid wasn’t your “general point at all. You tried to claim that the hypothesis was wrong and then tried to claim that a paper said that children were “naïve skeptics” to try to support your nonsense about your strawman hypothesis. The paper showed that you were wrong about how children learn.

      Ah there is that word that a Christian uses when they know they are wrong. You now want to claim that these other religions “really” didn’t have ethics, which is the perfect tell that they do. And ethics are ethics, you don’t get to try to change words in order for your false claims to work.

      And as always, DP, good to see one Christian insist that the others are wrong, when he doesn’t have anything to support his claim that his are right.

      No, DP, you said literally “if I were a high brow atheist’, and all you meant by that is indeed if you were a “real” atheist since you tried so very hard to insult atheists by calling “low brow” for finding a hypothesis probable. Christians like you always try to make up a strawman atheist that would behave like you want them to.

      1. To the best of our knowledge predatory behavior drove human evolution, particularly brain development, so if we are talking about human ancestors we are talking about predators.
        Why on earth would I be afraid of humans inferring cause and effect?
        I know children know the difference between make believe and reality. But, like I said, I might be wrong about the case he sites and the paper.
        So are all religions ethical? They aren’t, unless you expand the definition of ethics to ritualism and aesthetics. I don’t get what you are driving at.
        I can’t help it if other Christians don’t know what the word faith means. I am just pointing out something obvious.
        As for straw-men, you are inventing one now. I have no doubt you are a “real atheist”.
        Anyway, you have successfully trolled me by calling me a liar without cause. I hope the dopamine hit was worth it. Ciao!

      2. So who says that predatory behavior drove human evolution, for it seems to be only to the best of *your* knowledge? Again, humans can be predators but often aren’t, so no, we aren’t talking about predators only when we are talking about human evolution. And since you have no idea what evolutionary theory is, considering your inept attacks on it, there is no reason to consider you coherent on the subject. And you are afraid of humans being able to understand cause and effect because that precludes the magical nonsense of your religion.

        You are wrong about the cases he cites and the paper, but you keep on plugging along as if you aren’t. This is the sad willful ignorance of a theist. You tried to false conclusions as facts and I get damned tired of Christians constantly trying to remove my and other people’s ability to make an informed decision by their intentional lies.

        You claimed that some religions didn’t have ethics e.g. “a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values “. You have yet to support that claim and now try to run away from it by moving the goalposts. You tried to claim that Shinto didn’t, but you evidently were too lazy to actually look: http://www.patheos.com/library/shinto/ethics-morality-community And one doesn’t have to look far for moral ideals in various Native American speeches and writings, Chief Black Elk is one.

        It’s always good to see some Christian insist that no others are right. Funny how you can’t show you are right either, and you can’t do the magic that was promised to all baptized people who accept as JC as their savior. Now, why should I believe that you have the only right answer? And yes, DP, all Christians think that they are pointing out “something obvious”.

        DP, I have shown how you have intentionally lied to us by your actions with your need for willful ignorance. If I had not found your post and called you on your false claims and your intentional misrepresentation of what Dr. Shermer said, you would let them stand as supposed facts. This is why I take some time every few days and look at WP posts about atheism. I can’t do much, but I can hold people like you accountable. Even if people like you don’t allow my post to publish, you still know that your false claims are noted.

      3. You have it exactly backwards. I am arguing that the ability to discern cause and effect is an obvious evolutionary advantage and animals do it all the time, your YouTube hero is arguing it is an evolutionary disadvantage. I don’t know how you could miss that, so you must be a lying liar who tells lies upon lies.
        Traditional Roman Religion was ritual based. You could be a bad person and the gods would still favor you if you got the ritual correct. That is religion separated from ethics. I’ve always assumed Shintoism was the same, that there isn’t really a concept of sin as much as ritual impurities, but I’m not Japanese. Same could be said of primitive Judaism. I never said Natives had no ethics, but that their religion wasn’t concerned with ethics.

      4. LOL. You have argued nothing of the sort You have tried to attack your strawman of what Shermer is describing and no, he is not describing the ability to note cause and effect as an evolutionary disadvantage.. He is arguing that if an assumption of cause is misplaced it can have an effect and that effect can be positive or negative. Yes, traditional roman religion was ritual based and they also had ethics built into their religion. Your ignorance again makes you stumble, DP. You do assume a lot, and again present it as the truth, and for all of your attempts to try to link ethics and religion, now you want to claim that they are separate. Oy, it’s a chore to deal with someone like you. 🙂

      5. Just looked up Shintoism and… no rules, no notion of sin but a notion of ritual purification, the importance of harmony with the world. Let’s say a religion of minimalist ethics, not really distinguishable from aesthetics. Not an effective system of control. So what would the purpose be?

      6. I did look up Shintoism and I posted a link to it. Evidently you managed not to look at that. Here it is again: You tried to claim that Shinto didn’t, but you evidently were too lazy to actually look: ” http://www.patheos.com/library/shinto/ethics-morality-community .” Damn, DP, but you are incompetent. And again, you want to ignore the definition of ethics, so you can pretend you are not wrong and somehow your religion is extra special. It’s always such a good tell when you use the term “really” to try to avoid accepting reality.

    2. The thought experiment of Lucy not knowing the difference between wind and predators is stupid on the face of it.

      No it’s not. It explains precisely how we, as a species, are predisposed to the wrong, but cheaper answers… predisposed to superstition, which is as Bacan put it: “The General root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other.”

      A breeze bending blades of grass could easily be attributed (albeit in this instance incorrectly) to a stalking lioness and all the dangers that it implied. Danger is bad, and to get ahead of it we, as a species, played it safe and erred on the side of caution. We learnt to jump before (possible) peril arrived. The causal associations made between the unpredictable movement of grasses and the presence of danger (to use this example) was a good thing, a promotable skill, a biologically useful adaption that was slowly but surely etched into our genome. To put it simply, our evolutionary path rewarded the lesser of two evils whereby the cost of paranoia was deemed lower than the cost of scepticism which, if wrong, extracts a painfully high price: namely death. The sceptical hominid might see the bending grass but take a moment to then survey surrounding trees and see if they too were bending. If they were then the probability of wind causing the movement of the grass increased but did not necessarily rule out the presence of a hungry lioness. Wrongly attributing the bending grass to an approaching lioness ninety-nine times out of a hundred was, it appears, far less costly than being wrong once. The paranoid lived on to practice (or fend off) increasingly bad pick-up lines whereas the brazen sceptic tired of jumping at the slightest rustle met a less than pleasant demise.

      In a sentence, nature beatified the neurotic, and that neurosis is the heart of our superstitions.

      A tendency to make quick albeit mostly false associations was deemed more evolutionarily beneficial than more reliable but equally more time-consuming rational scepticism.

      1. Mammals don’t bolt? Really?

        Bending blades of grass are observed, synaptic nerve endings fire and the observation is linked to past events where the pattern of bending grass is followed by a blinding flash of sandy blonde fur and hazardously huge feline paws. What happens next is entirely involuntary. Up top there is a not-so mild biochemical explosion and norepinephrine floods the brain; the neurological equivalent of someone yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre. Adrenal glands go off like solid rocket fuel motors and adrenalin saturates the sympathetic nervous system. Neurons in the visual cortex spark off at triple normal speed and time appears to slow. Faster than thought the liver dumps its store of glucose into the blood. The heart and lungs snap into overdrive flooding muscles with oxygen, and with that the body is near-instantly prepared for Flight or Fight: a survival mechanism that has changed little, if at all, through the last 830,000 generations.

        But of course, you know better.

      2. That’s the first instinct of all the animals that live here in my property..to a tee. Run like hell, ask questions later. Deer, elk, coyotes, and especially horses. Moose are a little more lazy but really get pissy quick! Watch out!

      3. I never figured out how that is fun or a sport. Out of necessity I can sympathize with it, but, he’s got his commandment to have dominion and subdue. Maybe he thinks he’s nimrod.

      4. Yes, I know better because I actually watch animals. When a rabbit or deer hears or smells something he isn’t sure about, he tenses up, sniffs the air and swivels his ears. He is attempting to identify the cause. If he doesn’t pick up anything dangerous, he goes back to eating, if he does sense danger he will sit and wait for it to pass, or creep away. He’ll usually only run if the threat moves in his direction.
        Running at every noise is evolutionarily stupid, they would never eat.
        Animals also learn what real threats are. They can learn for example that humans are generally not a threat but that dogs are.

      5. A rabbit has 494,200,000 neurons. A human being has 100,000,000,000.

        And are you honestly trying to say a rabbit, or a rat, or a springbok, or a cat would not leap away if you leapt out in front of it… Or threw a stone that landed 2 meters from it?

        Really, you want to try and claim that?

      6. No, the thought experiment is blades of grass suddenly moving. And as I said, wrongly attributing the bending grass to an approaching lioness ninety-nine times out of a hundred was far less costly than being wrong once. The paranoid lived on to practice (or fend off) increasingly bad pick-up lines whereas the brazen sceptic tired of jumping at the slightest rustle met a less than pleasant demise.

      7. OK, so you believe if you threw a stone that landed in a clump of high grass 2 meters from a springbok it would just stand there and do nothing.

        You’re a stable genius, DP.

      8. This is what Dr. Shermer has said “Did humans evolve to be religious and believe in God? In the most general sense, yes we did. Here’s what happened.

        Long long ago, in an environment far far away from the modern world, humans evolved to find meaningful causal patterns in nature to make sense of the world, and infuse many of those patterns with intentional agency, some of which became animistic spirits and powerful gods. And as a social primate species we also evolved social organizations designed to promote group cohesiveness and enforce moral rules.

        People believe in God because we are pattern-seeking primates. We connect A to B to C, and often A really is connected to B, and B really is connected to C. This is called association learning. But we do not have a false-pattern-detection device in our brains to help us discriminate between true and false patterns, and so we make errors in our thinking: a Type I error is believing a pattern is real when it is not (a false positive) and a Type II error is not believing a pattern is real when it is (a false negative). Imagine that you are a hominid on the planes of Africa and you hear a rustle in the grass. Is it a dangerous predator or just the wind? If you assume it is a dangerous predator and it is just the wind, you have made a Type I error, but to no harm. But if you believe the rustle in the grass is just the wind when it is a dangerous predator, there’s a good chance you’ll be lunch and thereby removed from your species’ gene pool. Thus, there would have been a natural selection for those hominids who tended to believe that all patterns are real and potentially dangerous. I call this process patternicity (the tendency to find meaningful patterns in random noise) and agenticity (the tendency to believe that the world is controlled by invisible intentional agents who may mean us harm). This, I believe, is the basis for the belief in souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers, government conspiracists, and all manner of invisible agents intending to harm us or help us.” The rest is here.

      9. again, DP turns back to his strawman. Some prey animals will indeed freeze, not “tenses up” and they don’t move. DP misrepresents what animals do. My parents’ farm has a vast over abundance of white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. If there is a sudden rustles, as the actual hypothesis states, they run, white tails in the air or wings beating frantically (and yes, wild turkeys can fly as opposed to most domestics which, as WKRP indicated, “hit the ground like bags of wet cement”). Animals do learn what real threats are and a sudden movement in the grass is a threat until otherwise determined. So,DP’s claim that somehow animals would be running at any possible thing and starving to death is evidently an intentional misrepresentation of the thought experiment.

      10. If you only see their white tails it is because you are not sneaky enough.
        If animals are able to learn it is because they able to engage in risk assessment ie, discern causation. It is almost as if there is an evolutionary advantage to knowing causes… hmmm.

      1. Faith means going beyond the verifiable. One might have inconclusive-but-rational arguments and motives for belief but in the end it is a choice. I think that is taught by all the major Christian traditions.
        When I say “no escaping being human” I think some people try to build up defenses against having to acknowledge that their belief system is contingent and ultimately a choice.

      2. It’s hard to put into words, but here are 2 ideas: 1) growing up around good, attractive people, some working class, some intellectuals, some artists, who took their faith very seriously, I wanted to be like them. 2) Faith makes sense of my experience of the goodness of the natural world and my aesthetic reactions.

      3. It’s true, Spinoza did say existence is positive, but is it? Is existence positive? Upon what grounds is such an assertion made? What can you point to to support this idea?

        To the honest eye, this world was never good. It was never peaceful, and never without suffering. At no time was there neutrality. In no era did there exist an armistice between all living and not-so living entities. Things have not gone terribly wrong, as Lewis was wont to believe, rather things were never right. Violence has always lorded over the All, and obscene levels of suffering, fear, anxiety, competition, sickness, destitution, scarcity, decay, ruin and deplorably protracted death have always saturated existence. It is immediate, it is inescapable, and it is everywhere. As Dawkins correctly observed:

        “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease.”

        To the honest eye, it is, in no uncertain terms, an inexcusable moralistic fallacy to believe that what is good is found in nature. This world is not, as Paley declared, a happy world teeming with delighted existence. For most living things existence has never been a stream of abundances, sweet distinctions, and trusted pleasures. Predation, disease, parasitism, thirst, starvation, intraspecific aggression, ostracism, and sexual frustration are endemic in what are called healthy ecosystems.

        So, again, please be specific: What can you point to to support this idea that existence is positive?

      4. Yes, the inability to experience the world as good is common among atheists.
        It is good for me because it sustains me, and gives me life.
        However, this is only possible because of larger cycles of growth, death, and rebirth, so even if evil befalls individuals, it is for the good of the whole, which is good.

      5. Inbuilt predation, disease, parasitism, thirst, starvation, intraspecific aggression, ostracism, sexual frustration, fear, anxiety, competition, sickness, destitution, scarcity, decay, ruin and deplorably protracted death is good, huh?

        Keep talking. You’re making a terrific case for why existence is positive.

      6. Some day I’ll die and worms and bacteria will thrive. That will be a good thing, I will have had my run. Material beings are limited, tending to fall apart, and that what makes the material world dynamic.
        Seems like you are the one who has a problem with corporeality, not me.

      7. Yes, I understood you the first time: Your position rests not only on a wholesale rejection of reality, but a complete rejection of history. In other words, you have a pantomime that you clearly know is so weak and so ludicrous that you cannot allow it to even touch reality.

        Persuasive stuff.

      8. No, I accept it for all it is. I have not led a sheltered life.
        And you also think the world is a good place, deep down. If you believed half your own rhetoric you would have killed yourself years ago.

      9. If you accept it as it is, and claim it is all good, then you are saying predation, disease, parasitism, thirst, starvation, intraspecific aggression, ostracism, sexual frustration, fear, anxiety, competition, sickness, destitution, scarcity, decay, and protracted death are good.

        I understand your position.

      10. So long as the distinction between the results of human choice (moral evil) and the results of natural process (material evil) is maintained, yes.
        The fact that material things fall apart does not make them bad, just limited. Their falling apart also allows for new things.
        What is good for the shark is not good for the seal, but world as a system is better for having both sharks and seals in it.

      11. Yes, I heard you: Suffering is “good.” Pain is “good.” Scarcity is “good.” A world built around predation where every creature is contracted by birth to STEAL from other living things the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting is “good.”

        Your argument is airtight.

      12. You are trying way too hard to sound dramatic. You don’t really think life is so unbearable. In fact I suspect you manage to enjoy it, even as your body falls apart.

      13. you do realize that we can enjoy things because we don’t have much to worry about, unlike most of the world. You know, the most of the world that you have no problem in being in misery as long as it works out for you.

        “However, this is only possible because of larger cycles of growth, death, and rebirth, so even if evil befalls individuals, it is for the good of the whole, which is good.”

      14. Ad hominem: of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

        now where is the ad hominem in what I’ve said. I’ve quoted you and you have literally said that you do not care about what happens in the world as long as it results in what you consider good.

        as for the religiousity of the third world, I understand why people who suffer would be easy targets for false claims by theists, that they would get presents when they died as long as they believe. However, there is no help being offered now by this god. I feel sorry for them and help as I can through charitable organizations like Heifer international. I feel even sorrier for them because we have sects of Christianity telling them that the others aren’t really Christians and they should follow their religion instead. Everyone desperate for that external validation that they need by convincing themselves that the more believers, the more true their religion is.

      15. and the reason the world has sharks and seals in it is because there is no god around to make this magical.

        Now, that even Christians can’t agree on moral evil, how are we to draw this distinction you claim? And if you wish to claim that natural processes are just peachy keen, why does your god say it’ll protect you from them? The fact that it fails is another story.

      16. wow, so as long as you are happy, screw everyone else. And nice try with the lies about atheists being nihilists again. Sheesh, you’d think you’d get over that one. I do wonder, if you didn’t live in a first world country, how great the world would be if you were constantly hungry, thirsty and people would attack you with machetes?

      17. You know nothing about my life experiences.
        I am sure those starving people are dying to know that they are a cosmic accident and their pain means absolutely nothing.

      18. and here we go with yet another strawman. How good of you, DP. People aren’t a “cosmic accident” and their pain doesn’t mean “nothing”. It means a great deal to humane humans. And the laws of physics seem to guarantee we would come about eventually.

        Your words up to now have indicated that you don’t care about anyone else’s pain, as long as you think you benefit. In this god’s inaction, it appears that this god doesn’t care either, if it can indeed do the miracles claimed by the bible. Now, you will probably try to claim “free will” but that doesn’t work with a god that supposedly continually interferes with reality consider the claims of miracle Christians make.

      19. Ummm… yes, if we live in purely material universe that excludes final causes then we are all cosmic accidents and our pain is meaningless. The whole purpose of evolutionary theory is to exclude final causation from organisms. Per materialism and neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, biological life is literally pointless.
        Sheesh.

      20. And why is this supposedly the case because we live in a materialistic universe? What cause that makes this effect? It seems you are desperate to find a purpose to have a god and therefore have to ignore us humans. You also need to explain what you mean by “final causation” and what it has to do with evolutionary theory. And where does it say in materialism and “neo Darwinian” theory that live is “literally pointless”? Considering you are so terribly ignorant on what things really say, I do want quotes.

        Let me ask you, DP, if there is a god, then what makes our pain “meaningful”?

        John Z has a excellent answer in his book. You should read “The Owner of All Infernal Names”.

      21. The final cause is the purpose for which something exists. Modern science does not ask that question, but it was always creeping back up in biology, since biology is full of organs (tools) and organisms (collections of tools arranged for the survival of the whole). Evolution as it is commonly expounded is an attempt to exclude final causes from questions of how biological life developed. It assumes that life has no final cause, that it is the result of randomness, has no purpose or point.

      22. So, what purpose do we serve for your magical being, DP? And why do we need a purpose? and no, organs aren’t tools, and we aren’t a collection of tools. You certainly try so very hard to completely ignore the definitions of words to make up your bullshit built on a presupposition that we need to have a purpose. I know you are trying this definition “a means to an end” but again, you are presupposing we need a purpose to exist.

      23. Organ comes from the Greek word organon, meaning “tool”.
        You did not ask me why we needed a purpose, but why materialism and the dominant theory of evolution implies that life is purposeless.

      24. Wow, DP. Here is what I asked you “So, what purpose do we serve for your magical being, DP?” So do you really want to falsely claim I didn’t ask you why we needed a purpose? I’ve also asked “and why do we need a purpose?” and I’ve asked you “And why is this supposedly the case because we live in a materialistic universe? What cause that makes this effect?” “this” indicating your baseless claim that some how human suffering becomes meaningless. I’ve also asked you “And where does it say in materialism and “neo Darwinian” theory that live is “literally pointless”?” and “Let me ask you, DP, if there is a god, then what makes our pain “meaningful”?”

        andyep, organ may have come from the greek word. That doesn’t make an organ a tool. Is that all you have?

      25. “So do you really want to falsely claim I didn’t ask you why we needed a purpose?”
        – You didn’t start asking that until after. It struck me as moving the goalposts.
        “And where does it say in materialism and “neo Darwinian” theory that live is “literally pointless”?”
        – I’ve already explained that. Twice.
        “organ may have come from the greek word. That doesn’t make an organ a tool.”
        – LOL

      26. you have not explained where materialism and Neo-Darwinism says that life is “literally pointless”. You have said what you think it says, but I’m looking for where in the scholarship about these idea have said life is literally pointless.

        and you may laugh all you want. Organs aren’t tools, no matter how much you want to claim that they are. Your presuppositions are quite amusing too. Shall we laugh at them since you depend on them to call organs tools for the organism. I wonder, how can I use my liver as a tool?

      27. and now we have DP running away and being unable to actually discuss what he claims. It’s not surprising that he cannot show where neodarwinism and materialism say that life is “literally pointless” because they don’t. He is caught in a lie.

      28. yep, and you have yet to explain how a liver is a tool. You try to act like you know and I’m just not getting it, but since you refuse to explain what you mean, it’s rather obvious you have painted yourself into a corner. You have no idea what nonsense you’ve tried to spout. Your deepities have failed.

      29. you seem desperate to avoid my questions, DP. So, I’ll ask you now since you are hung up on it: Why do we need a purpose? And how can you show that I don’t have a purpose? And you can answer the other questions too.

        Yep, organ comes from “Middle English, partly from Old English organa, from Latin organum, from Greek organon, literally, tool, instrument; partly from Anglo-French organe, from Latin organum; akin to Greek ergon work — more at work ” It means “a differentiated structure (such as a heart, kidney, leaf, or stem) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism b : bodily parts performing a function or cooperating in an activity
        //the eyes and related structures that make up the visual organ” in this context. It does not mean tool, not even this definition of tool: means to an end

      30. Why do we need a purpose?
        Logically: if you think things need a final cause, then there must be a purpose. If you don’t think things need a final cause, then it is possible that there isn’t one.
        Existentially: people need a purpose to life.
        As to whether or not you think you have a purpose, that is none of my business.
        As for your attempt at philology: lol.

      31. Sorry, DP but you make no sense. You said this “The final cause is the purpose for which something exists” and now you try to claim that they are different “if you think things need a final cause, then there must be a purpose. If you don’t think things need a final cause, then it is possible that there isn’t one.” You are trapping your self in vague handwaving.

        You make another baseless claim “people need a purpose to life”. Really, how do you know? Christians keep trying to claim that atheists have no purpose since they have no believe in god. So which is it, do we need a purpose or not?

        as my attempt at philology: nice laughter but funny how you can’t show me I’m wrong and you are right. Still waiting for you to support your claims.

      32. From Aristotle up until the Scottish Enlightenment everyone thought you needed 4 causes to explain something: efficient, material, formal and final.
        Modern science focuses on the efficient cause and ignores the final cause.
        So whether a “purpose is necessary” depends on your philosophy.
        As for people needing a purpose: it is an uncontroversial truism.
        I am still laughing that you still can’t figure out why organs are called organs.

      33. only you wish to claim is an uncontroversial truism. You make a baseless assumption and no surprise you want to claim something as truth with no evidence at all. The term organ comes from the word for tool. However, you have yet to show that an organ is a tool. Just because something came from a word only shows that at one tiem, people believed a certain thing, and used a word to explain it. So please to tell me how my liver is a tool.

        Is the “final cause” the “purpose” or is it something else, as you also said? And no one cares what people thought centuries ago, DP. Is that all you have? You have yet to show that a purpose is needed or that we can’t give our selves a purpose, or that we need your god to have a purpose.

        It’s no surprise that you refuse to answer my questions about what our purpose is if your god exists among many other questions.

      34. that’s not what you said. we have this “The final cause is the purpose for which something exists”

        and then we have this:

        “if you think things need a final cause, then there must be a purpose. If you don’t think things need a final cause, then it is possible that there isn’t one.”

      35. and again that is not what you said. Let’s look at what you claimed:

        “The final cause is the purpose for which something exists”

        Here you are claiming final cause and purpose are the same thing.

        “if you think things need a final cause, then there must be a purpose. If you don’t think things need a final cause, then it is possible that there isn’t one.”

        Here you are claiming that final cause is not a purpose. If they meat the same thing, this would be a nonsensical pair of statements:

        ““if you think things need a purpose, then there must be a purpose. If you don’t think things need a purpose, then it is possible that there isn’t a purpose.”

      36. It assumes that life has no final cause, that it is the result of randomness, has no purpose or point.

        80% of all mutations are harmful to an organism’s fitness. Does that speak to competent guidence, or randomness?

      37. That doesn’t address the question. So, again: If Yhwh is competent, how do you account for 80% of all mutations being harmful to an organism’s fitness? Does 80% speak to guidance, or randomness?

        And two additional questions:

        1. Are human beings the “intended” (desired) final product of your designer, Yhwh?

        2. Have humans stopped evolving?

      38. If God makes a material thing, it will have elements of randomness which will eventually make it fall apart because that is the nature of matter, there is no other kind.
        1. I don’t know.
        2. I don’t know.

      39. why does it have randomness if this god creates it? Your bible claims that there is indeed other matter, because we are to believe that Adam and Eve and the Garden were “incorruptible” until the fall.

        for someone who claims to know so much about his god, and how the universe works, when you are asked a direct question, we get the good ol’ “I don’t know” aka “god works in mysterious ways” nonsense. It’s always amazing on what a theists will say that they know when that is no more able to be known than the stuff he claims ignorance of.

      40. Unfortunately for you, the bible does claim that there are types of matter. We had whatever was around for the creation, and then things had to change into something else for the “fall” to manifest.

        and matter doesn’t have to be random? Indeed, if your god creates something, how is it random? This god supposedly created things with intent. How is this random?

        as for you knowing anything, well, you certainly claim to know all about this god and what it wants and what it does, except when you can’t come up with a good answer. Have humans stopped evolving, DP? Did they ever evolve at all? what do you want to claim that this god wants and is doing? You have no problem making claims you know otherwise.

      41. when the bible says that there was perfection and then when there wasn’t by this god’s action for the fallen world.

        and hmmm, how does a god have random genetic mutations? Why is it limited? Does it need random mutations or can’t it do anything about the, this omnipotent perfect being? And again, have humans ever evolved? Since you are a creationist, you should have some answer to this.

      42. no, I use the bible as evidence for showing how screwed up Chrisitanity is. If we are to take it as truth, then *you*, my dear Christian, are stuck with it. You want it to be true, except for the bits you realize totally fail.

        I’ve made up my mind: the bible is unadulterated bullshit. You try to claim parts of it are true and parts of it are false, dependent on your personal beliefs, and by the magic decoder ring each Christian claims to have. Funny how Christians don’t agree on what parts to believe and what parts to claim as metaphor or as simply human added and wrong.

      43. “Falling apart,” as you put it, got us the opposable thumb, the Hox and ParaHox gene clusters, and many other fairly useful things. So, no. Your word game doesn’t work, so let’s stick to the facts without the song and dance evasion routine, OK:

        If Yhwh is competent, how do you account for 80% of all mutations being harmful to an organisms fitness? Does 80% speak to guidance, or randomness?

        And if you don’t know, then you cannot speak of final causes and hope to be taken seriously.

      44. I fail to understand how your observation about genetic mutations disproves my “word game”.
        Once again, the same thing can be subject to both randomness and organizing principles.
        You seem to suppose that God can’t make something that is subject to decay, imperfection or in this case random mutation. That is false. Anything made out of matter is ipso facto prone to decay.
        An analogy: an artist can sculpt in marble, wood or sand. That a sand sculpture only lasts a day does not make it or the artist bad. It is still good art within the limits of the medium.

        RE final causes: if you see someone driving you don’t have to know where he is going to assume he has a destination.

      45. Only in the sense that he cannot preform a self contradictory action. For example, God cannot cease to exist, make a square triangle, or create incorruptible matter, because matter is corruptible by nature.

      46. that’s quite a circular argument that you’ve made. Now, we have the bible promising that humans will be made anew and into an incorruptible body and we have the city of heaven on earth. IT seems that yet again you have no idea what is written in your bible.

      47. An incorruptible body would have to be the result of reproducing of cells without the usual degradation that causes aging, as sort of constant miracle. It is simply not possible to have a body that is incorruptible by nature.

      48. and that is only because you have tried to make up a definition for matter that agrees with your baseless belief. Again, Adam and Eve in your bible were never going to die. Death was the threat that came after this god found out that they ignored him because they had no idea what good and evil meant.

      49. DP: Are human beings an entirely unintended product of an entirely unguided process, where mutations (and the environment in general) are random, meaning they are not adaptively directed, not goal-oriented?

      50. OK, so how do your Creationist beliefs explain 80% of all mutations being harmful to an organism’s fitness? Does 80% speak to competent guidance, or randomness?

      51. so, nothing more than any other believer of any other religion. You believed what your culture believes, and evidently you need pretty people to be believers, which is rather odd.

        now as for “goodness” of the natural world, what do you think about bot flies feeding on childen? how about guinea worms? the argument from “oooh it’s pretty” is rather silly and is used by other believers of other gods.

      52. so was this a lie “It’s hard to put into words, but here are 2 ideas: 1) growing up around good, attractive people, some working class, some intellectuals, some artists, who took their faith very seriously, I wanted to be like them.”?

      53. yes, and do you consider them your culture? I grew up with nice people who believed in Christianity. I would like to be like them. They were nice people, a characteristic not dependent upon their religion. But it was easy to think it was when I was young. So I accepted that they didn’t lie to me. They did, but most probably didn’t realize it or mean it badly. We all grow up to want to be those who we like when we are young.

      54. I’m talking about what motivates the choice: what sort of person I want to be, and how it makes sense of my experiences. I suppose there are unconscious motives too.

      55. well, per your bible, DP, faith isn’t a choice at all. Paul says that only those chosen by his god are able to accept this god. And Calvinists are all about predestination. So, again your apparent ignorance works against you.

      56. Basic Christian doctrine: God’s grace inspires good human actions while respecting human freedom to reject that inspiration.
        I don’t know or care if Calvin rejects this or not.

      57. Grace fails in a totally different way though. It creates an attitude of deferred accountability. God will save me if I just believe. Most Christians reject works, as in the book of James. Grace doesn’t produce what Christians tout, and is a doctrine of failure.

      58. That is a caricature of Protestants, who don’t really believe that good action is irrelevant, and who don’t represent “most Christians” even if they did believe that.

      59. Doesn’t matter. The outcome of the doctrine is self evident and it bleeds over into the use and overuse of resources as well. Someone (jesus) is going to fix things one day, so why concern ourselves? Christians are overusing the grace clause to be careless and sinful. “I’m not perfect, but I’m forgiven” is a cop-out and societally destructive licensing. Another set of unintended consequences what faith actually produces.

      60. What is self evident is a 2000 year tradition of Christian charity and millions of people who have dedicated their lives to serving others motivated by their faith.
        The only reason we have the word “charity” in English is because of Christian belief and practice.
        What is self-evident is a 2000 year tradition of Christian belief and practice concerning the importance of virtue and the imitation of Jesus.
        And while I am sure you are eager to point out examples of Christian hypocrisy they do not negate the millions upon millions of lives well lived because of faith.

      61. Visit the Sisters of Hawthorn who care for dying cancer patients and try explaining to them that their motives have nothing to do with their faith. Their faith has everything to do with their choices.
        And realize that there are tens of thousands of men and women in the world just like them with the same motives.

      62. No problem in doing that at all. They might not agree, but that doesn’t mean I would be wrong. Since most people of any faith and none would care for a dying cancer patient, faith doesn’t make them to it; it’s just being human. It’s a shame that some Christians are so greedy and arrogant that they want to try to claim that only they are benevolent.

      63. Again, I never said only Christians do good deeds, but that Christians do good deeds because of their faith, and gave an example.
        You are arguing the Sisters of Hawthorn and people like them do not understand their own motives.

      64. Not at all. I am saying that humans will care for others and religion doesn’t matter since we *all* do it (except for the mentally ill). I’ll ask you this straight up, DP: are you arguing that only belief in your god makes people do good, because your presentation of the Sisters of Hawthorn is that argument, that they only do it because they are Christians?

        If other people do good deeds without your religion, then why do they do them? What is your answer? Or will you claim that they really aren’t “good deeds” at all?

      65. I suspect your boredom is the typical excuse offered by those who find out they aren’t succeeding and are still unable to answer questions asked of them. Doing research and supporting your claims would keep you quite occupied. but you seem to choose remaining ignorant, making claims about things you have admitted knowing little to nothing about.

        oh well. 🙂

      66. here are some of the questions DP did his best to ignore and no, DP this isn’t for you, since you’ve already had a chance. I prefer to demonstrate how discussion have went at the end. .

        “Now, that even Christians can’t agree on moral evil, how are we to draw this distinction you claim? And if you wish to claim that natural processes are just peachy keen, why does your god say it’ll protect you from them? The fact that it fails is another story.”

        “Let me ask you, DP, if there is a god, then what makes our pain “meaningful”? ”

        DP still has yet to show where materialism and neodarwinian anthhing has literally said “life is pointless.” he doesn’t seem to quite get what literally means.

        Still no explanation of his silly claim that human organs are tools.

        He makes another baseless claim “people need a purpose to life”. “Really, how do you know? Christians keep trying to claim that atheists have no purpose since they have no believe in god. So which is it, do we need a purpose or not?”

        this is a great one from John Z “1. Are human beings the “intended” (desired) final product of your designer, Yhwh? to which DP claims to believe his bible but says “I don’t know”.

        “now as for “goodness” of the natural world, what do you think about bot flies feeding on childen? how about guinea worms? the argument from “oooh it’s pretty” is rather silly and is used by other believers of other gods.”

      67. it’s pathetic when a Christian wants to pretend that no one does any good unless they are a Christian. And as for the roots of the word “charity: “Middle English charite, from Anglo-French charité, from Late Latin caritat-, caritas Christian love, from Latin, dearness, from carus dear; akin to Old Irish carae friend, Sanskrit kāma love”. So I guess we have the ancient Indians to thank.

        Now, since Christians never agree that all people who call themselves a Christian really are, there aren’t “millions and millions” of people that you can count, DP. And since there really are millions and millions of humans of all beliefs and none that live good lives, you can’t assign that ability to only your version of one religion.

      68. I said Christians do good because of their faith. I did not say that only Christians do good.
        The Greek found itself into English because of its use in the New Testament and Christian theology.

      69. wow, you certainly are a greedy one. Charity did not find it into English because of Chrisitanity. You seem to be forgetting that philanthropy has existed for thousands of years and not limited to your religion and yes, you have tried to claim that only Christians do good things “As a high-brow atheist I might dislike aspects of various religions but would not see any reason to argue against religion per-se, seeing how there is nothing out there to replace it other than a cold materialism that renders all human experience ultimately absurd no matter how much I tried to dress it up.”

        and you are quite sure that anyone who disagrees with you isn’t a true Christian, so yes, you to think that only Christiansn who agree with you are the only ones who do good.

        and we have this ” God’s grace inspires good human actions while respecting human freedom to reject that inspiration.
        I don’t know or care if Calvin rejects this or not.”

        It’s always fun to watch a Christian say he doesn’t care about other Christians and their different “truths” compared to his “truths”. And to ignore his very own bible when it doesn’t say anything about free will to ignore this god at all but the exact opposite (see Romans 9 and what this god did to the pharaoh and the Egyptian people).
        You may not want to admit that since you’ve been shown that you are pathetically wrong, but you did. You have claimed that only the Christian faith causes people to do good.

        now, we have had philanthropy without this religion, and long before it existed. This is a nice source for information on that: http://science.jrank.org/pages/10645/Philanthropy-Ancient-Mediterranean-Examples.html

        You’ve ignored a lot of my questions, DP. That doesn’t surprise me. You can’t support your accusations against me. You are showing yourself to be quite a Christian.

        what purpose does having a god give people? show this.

      70. so, you do agree with me that your statement about Calvinists is true and what you claimed is false, eh? And if grace causes good deeds, then what JC said about deeds being what he judges is false? How interesting, since people have no choice to do good deeds or not, making them nothing special per the claims of these predestinationalists. now, we again have the problem that we cannot trust any Christians because they constantly disagree and that none of you can do what is promised by your bible. From an external observer, you are all liars, if we are to take the bible as some kind of truth.

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