Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Pew Study Says Atheits Know Bible Better than Christians.


My Actual Score
(that block thing at the right
is my score, it's off scale) 

 I found this floating around the Google engine again and being bounced about on CARM
so I figured it was time put it back up and get it high in the search engines.

Last week the net was abuzz with talk of a Pew study that said atheists know the Bible better than Christians do. I found about 14 blogs referring to it and it was on message boards all over. The Actual study is available on the Pew site it's called "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey." The press began saying the study shows "atheists know more about religion." what it really says is that atheists know more about religion other than Christianity, than do Christians. That's not so unreasonable given the exclusivity most Christians believe their faith has over others. The media turned it into "atheists know more about religion" us as the Los Angels Times, (Tuesday Oct, 19th)"Atheists, Agnostics most knowledgeable about religion surveys say."

"Religious IQ: Why do Atheist Outscore Christians?" The Week "A significant number of Christians don't know the basics about their own professed faith or other major religions, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, while atheists and agnostics have the highest "Religious IQ,"

The study doesn't say anything about an IQ, but it's plots the answers on a bell curve. The Pew Site offers a short version of half the questions (the original is 32 the short version is 15).  I took the short version (see my score above I'm the only one got every question right and went off scale). The site "debating Christianity and religion"  says "Atheists know more about the Bible" than do Christians.

The point is of the 15 questions11 were not about the Bible or Christianity. So the test was biased in the beginning to screen out Christians. I suggest it was a put up a job, designed to give other than Christians a higher score. Why would Pew want to do this? Pew is a respected polling organization but is ran by an private family that is very Evangelical and the Pew Evangelical trust gives a lot of evangelistic enterprises. They want to do that because they are the tough kind of Christians. They want to shame the chruch into learning more about the bible and about religion in general.

"The United States is a nation of religious illiterates," says Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, whose research on Americans' spiritual ignorance inspired a new study that has religion teachers and ministers aghast,"(from the Week)

 Here's what the study actually says:

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

So it's up front about world religion and the media turns into religion as a whole and atheists sites turn into "know more about the bible." The actual study doesn't say that. The 15 question version 11 questions were about subject not in the Bible and off those about 3 were Christian history. Most the study is about world religion (I got them all right anyway). The study results say and the site reflects with a table and big capital letters that atheists know more about world religion But Mormons and Evangelicals know More about Christianity. That would seem to contradict the whole mocking point upon which most atheists are gleefully claiming that they know about "the Bible" than do Christians. On Bible White Evangelicals score 7.3, Mormons 7.9 whle Atheists score 6.7.

from the Pew study site:

Previous surveys by the Pew Research Center have shown that America is among the most religious of the world’s developed nations. Nearly six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week. But the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey shows that large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own. Many people also think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are stricter than they really are.
religious-knowledge-03 10-09-28More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.
In addition, fewer than half of Americans (47%) know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism. And only about a quarter of all Americans (27%) correctly answer that most people in Indonesia – the country with the world’s largest Muslim
The survey should shame Christians, however, because it shows some shocking ignorance. Catholics have had a tradition of placing Church authority over Bible, but half of these guys don't even know their own church's stand on transubstantiation. Come on that's the one doctrine that is more uniquely Catholic!

There is a crying need for Christians take more of an interest in learning. Its also apparent that we need to branch out from just the bible and learn about religion as a whole.

It is not shocking once you look at the questions why atheists would do better than Christians on those questions where they scored higher. Most of those are world religion questions  such as "which of the following is an Islamic Holiday, 'Ramadan, Duwali or Christmas.' I got this one right too. Most Christians don't learn enough about Hinduism to even know their major holiday. BTW Duwali is the festival of lights. The celebration of rebirth and triumph of good over evil, they celibate with lots of little candles and lanterns and lights, they have parities. I think it should be a point with Christians to learn about festivals of re-birth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great Excuses Hit Parade


 Last time On AW  I talked about propaganda merchants and showed that an atheist who sited an article that said there had been a huge increase in atheism in America was wrong because neither the author nor the atheist bothered to research the source of the data.

Now let's look at the excuses used by atheists to dismiss this observation. See what outrageous things they say to keep from admitting they were wrong about something.

Sylor: post 3

It looks like we've found yet another thing Meta doesn't understand-research. Here's a study from this year (check out page 8 for a chart showing how ridiculously huge the gap in growth is), although more recent numbers show that this is already outdated and nonreligious is growing even faster. Page 46 shows the religion questions and answer breakdowns. It turns out that From 14 to 24% of millennial are atheists and agnostics.

So, are you dishonest, or do you just fail at even the most basic of research methods?

So because I dug to the bottom of the citation circle and found it's origin in an article the author the article sited didn't understand, and it contradicts his point, I don't know about research? Interesting. The chart he links to is the one used as a graphic in my own article form last time on Atheist watch. Apparently if I'm no good at research I'm better at reading pie charts than old Sylor becuase the chart shows the original assertion of atheism risign is wrong.

Sylor again

Oh, and by the way, since Meta found the 2007 pew study, he should have definitely found the ones they've done every single year since then which consistently show atheism is on the rise.
I did show that the 2009 survey is using the 2007 data, and there are not others that update the 2007 on the same scale. Pew does things all the time but they have no done any major landmark religious topography studies like the one in 2007 since that time. The studies that speak of the level of atheism in America go by the same 2007 data. Notice he links to something; that is a Pew study that says "none category is rising." The problem there is he's confusing "none" with atheist. the atheists are only 1.6% of American that's 19% of the 5% in the none category. People in that category believe in God.

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).3
That is the 15% if he had looked at the page he linked us to he would see the whole page is designed like a chart with "15% marked off by the level of gray background demarcating the line. the chart shows none is up 50 20% but what he totally misses is the dark space at the bottom demarcating the line showing the level of atheism they are still back at about 2%.

i know so little about research at least I can read a flipping graph.

I thought this thread was going to be a discussion of the nature of propaganda. Instead, it turned out to be one of Meta's "Someone is wrong on the Internet!" screeds.

Sad face.
something is wrong on the net is about propaganda. He dismisses the falsehood and the propaganda as just internet hi jinx.

Originally Posted by Deist View Post
In other threads, Meta insists popularity of a belief doesn't make those beliefs true. Now, he contends that atheism is a small percentage of the population, and therefore must not be true, since the god believing group is larger.

CHRISTIANITY is what is receding. A belief in insane things like the OT God is no longer being adopted by the younger, more intelligent humans.
trying to turn around the argument by making it an attack on my views as appeal to popularity. It's strait  refutation of their assertion and an insight into the mistaken in their facts. I said noting about popularity or that being popular makes anything right. I didn't say atheism is wrong becuase tehy are a pathetically small group of losers, I mean because they are not popular '-)

Sylar adds one work post: *educated*

I'm so stupid and evacuate to believe in God. how could anything person bleieve in God tha'ts proved because the can lie about statistics. I see how it works now, if you lie about statics and use the wrong fact you all all about research that makes makes you educated. Or is it that being an atheist is so smart it makes everything you say right even when it's a lie? I guess I'm too stupid to figure that one out.

Originally Posted by maybrick View Post
You seem to be saying that the stats that you like are correct and the stats that you dislike are wrong.

It would seem to me that Pew represents a trustworthy source or an untrustworthy source. Either way picking and choosing the data you like is not really going to convince anybody, except perhaps yourself.
this guy can't seem to get it through his head they are same stats.

Originally Posted by MFFJM2 View Post Even more interesting is that the PEW research of church attnedance has it much higher than pastors and ministers admit in their congregations, suggesting that religious types lie about how often they attend church, perhaps out of guilt. According to PEW 37% of American adults state they attend church weekly, but...

This is "muffins" as I call him, a veteran of the hate meta club and one of the major members of the "God haters" club. That's just what I call them, those aren't real groups. He has the champion comment because this s the real honest to goodness tactic of the "read herring." Like the practice of dragging a fish over the track of escaping people to cover the smell so the dogs can't track them. He's trying to divert the reader form the fact that they lied, or at least quoted inadequate statistics in an article that was not well researched.

This is the champion comment because its so classically fallacious. It goes back to the garden. Adam says "O you know the woman, the one YOU GAVE ME" it's really your fault God. I screwed up becuase you gave me the woman. So they are saying hey it's really the fault of Christians that we quote this badly researched Clarice because they lie all the time.

I point out hte diversionary nature of the comment then Whatshisface says

Originally Posted by Whatsisface View Post
So your not interested in figures all of a sudden?
He's trying to reinforce the diversionary tactic.

their atheist guru weighs in

Originally Posted by HRG View Post
"Truth" is not a synonym for "those propositions that Metacrock wants to be true". Atheists on this board do care about truth; they differ from you about what is true.

 they care so much that when you point out their bad research arhter than owning up to it they make every classic excuse in the book form "you are one too," to "you just don't know how to reserach" but not one of them said "Ok we made a mistake it's not that big a deal." had they said that I would have to agree.

I kept classifying it all "propaganda" which it clearly is, they are trying manipulate info to persuade. A person whose positon I am sure of weahter atheis or something else or Christian i do not know, said this:

Originally Posted by EnochP View Post
"Propaganda" originally meant propagation of an idea, ideology, thought or meme. It did not carry the modern sense of necessarily having the intent to mislead or deceive. However, an evolutionary perspective on communication does carry the sense of intent to influence or control. One of the most ignorant utterances I have ever seen on the subject came from Diane in that rabid, insane CARM SEP forum, to the effect that there is no such thing as right-wing (misleading) propaganda. Martin Bormann is the patron saint of it.

I think a lot of atheists are good people who have good beliefs, such as Hans. I agree with Han's politics. But they don't realize the are feeding into a totalitarianism. they are. modern "new" atheism is one of the chilling totalitarian moments I've ever researched.

As I pointed out already, had they just said "Ok this was a mistake, I took the article at face value when I should have researched it more" I would have said "Ok no big deal and left it in the other thread. They just can't admit they are wrong about anything. Look at the idiotic lengths to which they go just avlid saying "I was wrong" one single time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Atheist Propagadna Merchant: Always Inflating the Numbers

The propaganda merchant doesn't care what's true. the Propagandist cares only what impression he leaves in your head. Oliver North said i best, "there is no reality there is only appearance." The sick cynical findings of an ultra right wing activist are echoes by atheists in the New Atheist mentality.

there are a lot examples but one that pertains to this board is the way the joke about atheism rising is continually rebuffed yet they keep trying tp pass to off as hot news flash. When dig below the surface to see where the figures come form they all come orm the 2007 pew study which found 1.6% of the country is atheist.

here are the results of the digging.


yet despite the fact that I've shown the same stuff on this board a number of times where Jag tell the same story over and over again.

the lie atheism is increasing 19%. It is not at 19%, that's 19% of 5% that 5% is not atheism they are people who don't believe God but don't only 19% of them call themselves atheist. In all the time I've been doing this message board apologetic stuff atheism hasn't gone up a single point.

yet here is Jag still telling people the same old story. I'm not saying he's lying, but he's telling a falsehood which is based on a lie even through he may unwilling to believe it is.

post 19

Originally Posted by NewJagella View Post post no 18
Let's look at the numbers. According to The Huffington Post:

(Emphasis Mine)

I'd say that proves my point.

Where did you get your own data?

Jagella--Former Christian 
It's also not true that percentage of "religious Americans" dropped to 60%. no way. 90% still say they believe in God. Christianity is still in high 70s if not 80s that's from Pew. Same source that his figures ultimately come from.
he says it a second time in the same thread.

Jag post 13 same thread
You may wish to visit my Atheism is growing in America! thread to answer your questions. You may also wish to check out a recent article about the effect rising secularism is having on American culture. I reproduce part of that article here for my emphasis and your convenience.

both sources he names, Huffington and the other one are based upon the same article that ultimately lead back to the Pew study.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Atheists ratinoalizations and blaming the victim


 this started about them taking exception to my findings (from Francis studies) that atheism is correlated with low self esteem. they were saying hwo can tell as though the study isn't as good their mature musings. they moved from taht to how bad I am then to how it's justfied to curch self esteem of victims because they are losers.

Bonoso is saying that I'm so arrogant.

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
people with low self esteem always think those with healthy self esteem are egotistical. they think just the idea of loving yourself is egomaniac.

lol i love the way you keep suggesting i have low self esteem because of the same reasons that you portray yourself. What was it you thought i was again? Arrogant? That a sign of low self esteem isnt it?

hmmm... arrogance and low self esteem dont really go hand in hand do they? You are constantly contradicting yourself and looking like a fool. I genuinely believe that you believe your own BS so its not really your fault as such but, to be a good liar you need to have a good memory and a strong grasp of logic, and you meta are showing no signs of either...

yea they do actually. it's compensation


He was never a "true atheist", just one of those who claimed the mantle of atheism because he thought it made him an intellectual. When he writes about being an atheist, it's quite clear he had no real understanding of what that means, just that he liked the title. Then when things got dire for someone in his family, he turned to the only thing he knew for answers, God. As it turned out he had nothing to worry about, because modern science was on the scene, and his family member recovered. However, out of resentment, fear and self-loathing he discovered that he really wasn't an atheist after all, and had discovered his true-calling...being annoying on multiple websites.
They think they know all about me. they know all my family my problems and all my motivations and stuff. Of cousre I deserved all the problems I had. "He was never a true atheist" that really gets me. We are all born atheists not this guy he was screwed up and had some belief in there.

Meta was just going through his rebellious teen stage where he was mad that God didn't do stuff for him.

Please stop comparing your voluntary participation on a discussion board to being brutalized physically/sexually. It's offensive and creepy.
you don't feel what you feel. We will assign the feelings we accept that you can have.

Originally Posted by MarkUK View Post
It can only reduce a person who has had their hopes built up - telling me I'm not a millionaire doesn't hurt the slightest bit if I don't already think I am one.

I don't see why "you evolved and the universe doesn't care about you" could possibly be a bad thing unless you want or expect the universe (or its boss) to care about you.
what a rationalization. you are actually it's the victim's fault for being criticized.

we have seen proof over and over again of what unconscionable rationalizing blighters atheists are. they have no scrouips and no sense of decency. Those who are willing to stop to ridicule artistry that is. some don't ever do it. But those who do have no qualms about lying, pretense, blame the victim total bullies.

you are literally saying it's your fault if you are bullied, it's your fault if you are criticized you must really deserve it.

 Then go in for some accuzation against people with good self esteem.


Thinking you're loved by an all-powerful being must be such an ego trip.

 good self esteem needs to be punished so it's justified we hurt you becuase you deserve it.

 Darth Moron
 And needing to think you're loved by an all powerful being before being able to accept yourself is certainly a sign of low self esteem.
 If you find your self esteem in Christ that's a sing you are really bad, you severed to be punished because why you have self esteem when they don't? The benefit of self love is turned into a sin becuase they don't have it. It's just a weak psychological need. Real mean bottle up their feelings and hate themselves. But they would still deny having low self esteem. Can't we see how the idea of low self esteem would self love into a sin?

 they try turn their weaknesses into lies of supriroity


 You pulled you out of them. You just believe an unseen imaginary entity did it for you. Belief is the key. All one need do is believe that he or she is healed, out of the dark place, no longer an addict, and it is done. The next steps are up to you. Some need the psychological and imaginary god crutch because they like denying their own powers.

 They are rationalizing their character assassination. They are trying to turn self esteem into a crime and their self hatred into a virtue. No doubt this is fueling their hatred of Chrsitians. they are basically all too little zombies of hate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

atheist lie in action

 Throwup no 20

"I think I remember a quote from Hood where he said Christian apologists try to use his sober work in psychology to promote their magic and mumbo-jumbo. I can't remember the exact phrase, but I do..."

wow this is scary I didn't mean to post this yet. O well, I know for a fact it's not true because I asked Hood.

Monday, November 19, 2012

One of the very frew Chrsitians to have the guts to speak up

Highrigger is just about the first Chrsitain to speak up for me on CARM since the CADRE people left back in 2004. he backs me statments about ECREP.

Highrigger post 20
I am trained in mathmatics and I agre with Bayes Theorem as far as it goes. But it does not go so far as to be applied to spritual issues. How does Mathmatics have anything to do with love or faith, passions of the heart?

Metacrock is right. It is a dumb idea. The Theorem is totally misapplied.

I think I must have discovered some kind of atheist liturgy or something. They are acting like I murdered someone. It's  a major sin to say ECREE is not true. On my boards atheist oppent (but a friend) Quantum Troll actually takes me side on this one. He's a scientist. He's a Ph.D. candidate in nuero biology at a major university in Europe.

e: Bayes' Theorem

Postby QuantumTroll on Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:08 am
I'm going to start by taking Metacrock's side here, for once. As a working numerical scientist, I feel like I have a bit of weight to throw around on this subject, too ;)

I think Metacrock is right in that the claim "ECREE" with regards to the existence of God has little or nothing to do with Bayes' Theorem. The reason for this is actually clear when you look at the examples in this thread, cocaine use and cancer. If you give a random US citizen a cocaine test, the low incidence of cocaine use means that you'll get a lot of false positives. Cocaine use is an extraordinary claim, and you need a very accurate test (or several tests) in order to convincingly show cocaine use. If you go to a crackhouse, you'll probably be able to tell pretty reliably who is high at the moment without any drug test. Similarly, any particular cancer diagnosis is a rare and extraordinary claim, and the tests have limited power. But if one test is positive, you're in a cancer crackhouse, and more testing will be much more reliable. Bottom line: You need to know the prior odds of an outcome to know the reliability of a test.

We don't know the prior odds of the existence of God. We cannot apply Bayes' Theorem on this question, because we don't have any data about the existence of God, period. I think this is the heart of Metacrock's point, and in this he is correct.

A caveat: I think the existence of God is an extraordinary claim, and my intuition says that such claims require extra convincing evidence. I agree with ECREE with regards to the existence of God, but will not use Bayes' Theorem as support for this opinion.

Finally, there's the whole miracles issue, too. Here, we do know the prior odds of spontaneous recovery from various illnesses, or we can at least calculate a reliable estimate. Therefore, when someone prays and is healed, we can apply Bayes' Theorem and we do have a mathematical basis for ECREE in this context. Every argument for miracles (at Lourdes or elsewhere) that I've seen has failed to address this fundamental problem. Can Metacrock dig up a counterexample?
my response:

Re: Bayes' Theorem

Postby Metacrock on Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:33 am
I appreciate your comments a great deal man. That's super and actually talking my side, wow, mark n the wall! :D

I agree with what you say. The only thing I would add is that many atheists, not you of cousre, or Fleet, but those who are less well immersed in scinece make it seem as though belief in god is extraordinary in the sense of being cray, way out, they leave the impression that "extraordinary" means "freaky and silly and way out."

Obviously it doesn't mean that. It means different the average. soemthing like that. yet the average in terms of belief for humans is to believe in some form of deity or God.

Extraordianrily Narrow Minded Attitudes Require Extraorinary Baiting

Animal Farm

More evidence of the narrow minded refusal to think that atheist display. it's a typical day on carm so there are about a hundred examples to choose from. In this one I got a thing about whether or not ECREE is an exact rendition of the Bayes's theorem. I keep saying the thrum i sfine it's the idea that ECREE is exactly derived from it that I'm protesting. they keep saying "that's so backward no to accept Bayes. or "what do you have Bayes?"

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
It['ECREE']'s a dumb idea. It's not logical and it's just an excuse to raise the bar for religious ideas.
'ECREE' is merely an English statement of Bayes's Theorem. A claim with a low prior probability needs a higher likelihood than a claim with a high prior in order to have the same posterior. You are not only wrong, but incompetently wrong. That's it; that's ALL 'ECREE' is saying. This is a mathematical fact. You can even see a very simple proof here.

And, contrary to what Meta claims, it is use all the fracking time. For example, let's look at drug tests. Last year, an estimated 0.5% of the general US population used cocaine. Let's assume that we have a 99% accurate test for cocaine. People like Meta will try to tell you that this means that anyone who tests positive on a random drug test has a 99% chance of having actually done cocaine. The reality, however, is that if we plug the numbers into Bayes's Theorem, we see that there's nearly a 66% chance of it being a false positive.

'ECREE' is why we never do just one test for cancer. Extraordinary claims do in fact require extraordinary evidence; this is mathematical fact.

I'm not allowed to use the image tags, but here is a good cartoon about 'ECREE':
I said:


you know you are taking what I said out of context. you are doing this on purpose becuase you can't stand the fact I just beat your previous little fortress of facts.

you have no facts. atheism is not a fact. It's junk it's a house of cards. I just blew the house apart.

You are taking it out of context because you said Bayes is a fact. I said its not a fact that it apply to all god arguments. that's nto a fact. I proved it's not a fact. you are saying the theorem is a fact, I didn't dispute that. I said it doesn't apply to everything. It doesn't it as a very limited application. I dont' know that it applies to any god arguments.
what I originally said

post 37

It's not a fact that your mathematical fact has application to my God augments. nothing in Bayes theory says "all God arguments are subject tot his argument."

that's just an example of the fortress of facts fallacy.*

*Yes I coined the term it's not an official fallacy but it is a real one.
Most of my God arguemnts are not probabilistic. that only apply to indicative arguments. most of mine are not. Doesn't apply at all to any kind of phenomenology or existentialism of deductive reasoning. .
so in other words it doesn't apply because the theory is only about probability.

But they can't stop and read the truth. They have to keep up the mockery. It's clear from the things they say they are not even reading my answers. The incredilby illogcial assertion he's making that ECREE is Bayse's theorum just put into English, therefore, since Bayse's theorem is a fact then ECREE is a fact.

It is a mathematical fact (see the proof linked in the OP) that claims with low priors need higher likelihoods than those with high priors to have the same posterior. That is ALL 'ECREE' is. It's merely a fashionable expression of Bayes's Theorem. Extraordinary claims (i.e., unlikely claims) require extraordinary evidence (i.e. greater than normal amount/quality of evidence).

The only goalposts that have been moved are by those who want to deny mathematical fact so that they can believe in magic.

No ECREE is a proven fact. By Bayes theorem Pr(H|E) = Pr(E|H) * Pr(H) / Pr(E). Therefore; Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H) / Pr(E)

If someone means anything other than Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H) / Pr(E) when they talk about ECREE, then sure maybe it's a vague subjective slogan. But this is certainly true and obviously very clear.

Let's suppose that some evidence E makes hypothesis H more likely than not. Thus;

0.5 < Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H) / Pr(E)
0.5 < Pr(H) / Pr(E)
Pr(H) > 0.5 * Pr(E)

They are reading it as ECREE = Bayes when in fact it's only derived from it. Bayes saying nothing about extraordinary claims for example. I question the possibly of "translating" math into english as though math is the kind of language English is. I've always been by friends in the sciences that it can't be more than rough approximation. when it is their little ideology they want to think it's 1x1, right on the money exact. I know form translating Greek and French there's no such thing as a "literal translation." All translations are approximate or interpretive or derivative. The Genius Sylor says "it's mathematically precise" meaning ECREE is periscope. that's just not possible even translating form English to French. ECREE is not mathematics. It's only partially derived from a mathematical formula. Lance is extolling the praises of the mathematical formula that doesn't prove the linguistic derivative shares the exactitude of the formula.

Then they try arguing that probability applies to miracles and can rule them out.

 Darth Pringle View Post
And I still can't see how mathematical probability doesn't apply to miracles (eg, the resurrection). If the number of people not coming back from death by miraculous means exceeds those who do then the prior probability of a "back from death miracle" claim actually having a natural cause (and thus, being mistaken) is going to be high ... even without knowing the exact numbers.

 take off the blinders and think for a change? your assumption is that it has to be automatic. Yes you are assuring so. Otherwise probability would have nothing to do with it. you have to assume that it works like a drug or medicine you get the prayer you have to be healing doesn't' work.Let's say hypothetically God does hate amputees. that's a reason why he doesn't work automatically on command to heal them. So now if you say "that means 0 probability of being healed by God for amputation tha'ts true, but that doesn't' meant that he can't do it. what he does in one case? you can't rule out that case as a miracle merely because you had a probability.

Probability doesn't' apply to certainty. going case by case we find many examples of miracles. but they have o probability. because taking it case by case there's no expectation.

you dogmatically refuse to read anything I write. read this one thing you will learn a lot.
See my essay on Doxa "Causality in Miracle hunting.Originally Posted by Lance View Post

Originally Posted by Lance View Post
The argument for Jesus' resurrection is a probabilistic argument.
no it's not. that's impossible because you can't deal with it as though it were something that has to happen on a regular basis. No reason to look for other resurrections, there though there have been some., bit's supposed to be imposable that is what a miracle is. there' only one incarnate logos who died on cross who is going to raise form the dead. Never going to happen again so there's nothing to establish a probability by.

you can't establish a probability with a one time thing.

I challenged Lance to read my article on ECREE, in two parts.

All he says is;

Bayes Theorem entails Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H) / Pr(E). There is nothing you can do about this. When we say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, we mean that Pr(H|E) ≤ Pr(H) / Pr(E).
So he's not the least big willing to read the article.

notice friends, this is his way of saying I refuse to read the essay. So he's admitting yes he is too narrow minded to consider ideas off template he atheist template is the only thing he can think he doesn't' dare think ideas nt on it. that's just what ideology is.

Didn't take long for him to fail that test.
then he tries to argue it out:

Originally Posted by Lance View Post
Of course I can tell you what it means. It means that the probability of hypothesis H on evidence E is at most the prior probability of H divided by the prior probability of E.
An extraordinary claim or evidence is one which has a very low prior probability. If H is very unlikely then E is going to have to be very unlikely too, to balance it out. A small value divided by a big value is a very small value.
ahahahaha that's recursive! that's circular reasoning. think about it:

BelieverWhat is extraordinary?

Atheistit's one which has a low probability

Believer:how do we know it it has a low probability?

Atheistbecause it's extraordinary!
The whole point of saying extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof is predated on knowing what's extraordinary. that has to be known in advance it can't just be hacked in by opinion. If calculating probability for an argument is impossible ten obviously the theorem can't apply.

Originally Posted by Lntz View Post
"Atheist watch - Watching Atheist Hate Group" - this is the reason i'm not responding to the essay.

The title website shows that this is going to be a horribly biased piece of work, written for people who actually want to read nonsense about Atheists being Hateful.

Atheism = not believing in God

Being hateful is something else, and is not reliant on your belief in God.

Try presenting a more neutral piece of work, and i'm sure you'll get a better response.

so the logic ECREE is proved right because you don't like atheist watch. you still wont me to think you are not an ideologue?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In their hearts our enemies know we are right!

 Photobucket pie chart shows atheism only 3% of world Population.
Don't forget the 16% non religious, 8% believe in God (still non religious). Of the
remaining 8% half of them are agnostic.

This is he cry of the side that knows it's losing. On CARM atheist poster Lance proclaims that all men know atheism is true:

Originally Posted by Lance View Post
We don't need to, the errors in the bible speak for themselves and the proofs of atheism are obvious. All men know that God doesn't exist, some are just afraid to accept the truth and thus hide in man made myths.
This is so typical of those who argue form incredulity. "all men know that God doesn't' exist." that's the atheist version of the Christian conceit that people really know in thier hearts that Christianity is true. Everyone says it. Even Presidential Candi-ate Barry Goldwater in 1964 had a slogan "In your heart you know he's right."

so many people knew he was right that they lost by a major landslide (to LBJ).

The thing is when your cases rests upon assuming your enemies all know your right they wont admit it, they make up 90% of world population and your side makes up 3% it's pretty laughable.

On the other side of the balance sheet we need to remember that what is increasing, not atheism, it's been 3% for decades despite the big push in 2004 by the new atheists and all their best propaganda, but what is expanding is the level of dissatisfaction with organized reilgion..

I remember other posters on carm confidently asserting that Christianity was coming to an end and atheism was wining:

 CARM (02/28/2008)

a thread called

"Good News--New Study supports rising tide of non belief!"

The Study in Question is the Pew Forum on Religion and public Life study


U.S. Religious Land Scape June 28, 2008.

Great news--new study supports the rising tide of Nonbelief

The Pew Center for Religion and the Public Life just came out with a new large poll on religious affiliations in the U.S. Tally up the numbers, and you'll see that Christians make up about 76.8 percent of the U.S. population, and those with no affiliation (atheists, agnostics, don't identify with any religious group but may consider themselves vaguely "spiritual") was 16.1 percent. Another .8 percent said the don't know or refused to answer--since that is not what any God-fearing religious person would say, I would add it to the "No Affilation" side of the ledger. Rounding, we have Christians as 77% and the non-religious at 17%. All other religions are in the low single digits.

The study overall found that people move around quite a bit religiously and a large percentage don't have the same religion as their parents. However, the "no affiliation" group was clearly growing and were losing far few people than they were gaining. The non-belief crowd is like a slow rising flood--there was a time we would have been in the low single digits, but now we are up to 17% overall and are an even higher percentage of the young. With each passing generation, more and more people are considering themselves as non-religious.

In my lifetime, I expect to see this number get up to 25% or more overall, and my kids could see a USA where the majority of Americans are finally secular rather than religious in their world view. Hallelujah!

Despite the positively stated title and the exultation in the closing line, some atheists actually said "no claim has been made."

he's trying to claim atheism at 17% this is such folly. They are assuming affiliation is synonymous with belief in God! So clearly foolish and when one examines the study the breakdown of unaffiliated the actual number given to atheist population in America is 1.6%! they are counting anyone not a Christian as an atheist!

(for the first page of the study).

This study actually shows atheism shrinking as the research I have done previously indicated it was at 3% of US pop. they have at 1.6%.

I find atheists doing this all the time. I've seen them count all of Buddhism as atheism so they can say they are a major world religion. IF they really believe they are right, why aren't they just content to be right? why do they take such solace in bogus inflation of numbers? Gallop shows more people in Japan are Christian than ever before.

The category of "non affiliated" leaves room for religious belief. but to be fair, he wasn't just ignorant of what decimal points do. The whole category happened to be 16% and the atheists 1.6% so he was going by the category, not taking out the decimal.

still, he should have known.

* = 4% U.S. Pop is Ahtiest shows Atheists at 0.4% of U.S. Population.

Atheist 1990 adult pop: 902,000 2004= 1,272,986 Percentrage of Pop = 0.4%

a note on this statistical table says:

*Gallup polls show 6% U.S. Pop with 3% error

Gallup organization

finds 6% atheist in U.S. 2008, within 3% margin of error this agrees with the other polls.

May 9-11, 2008.

Which of the following statements comes closest to your belief about God -- you believe in God, you don't believe in God, but you do believe in a universal spirit or higher power, or you don't believe in either? (findings: 6% say Neither, 78% believe in God, 15% beleive in universal spirit, 1% no opinion).

*Pew Study at top = 1.6% U.S. Pop

2004 total population numbers were calculated by multiplying each group's percent of the total adult 2001 population (207,882,353) by the 2004 total population (using the June 1, 2004 U.S. Census Bureau extrapolated estimate of 293,382,953 total Americans). The U.S. Census Bureau total U.S. population estimate for 2000, based on the actual 2000 Census, was: 281,421,906. The U.S. Census Bureau total U.S. population estimate for July 1, 2001 was: 293,655,404. The adult (ages 18 and over) population estimate for July 1, 2001 was: 220,377,406. The total adult population for 2001 used in the 2001 ARIS study (apparently counting only adults aged 21 and over) was: 207,882,353. For 2001 figures, see: 293655404 This method of extrapolating the 2004 total population of each religious group from the 2001 adult population of each group does not factor in differences in the average number of children per adult for each religious group.

While stats on Christian population have been underrated! New study finds more Christians in Japan than previous thought.

More People Claim Christian Faith in Japan

Audrey Barrick
Sun, Mar. 19 2006 10:24 AM ET

The latest Gallup poll revealed a much higher percentage of Christians in Japan compared to previous surveys, including a surprising high number of teens who claimed the Christian faith.

More People Claim Christian Faith in Japan

Japanese people walk along Omotesando, a fashionable street in Tokyo, March 8, 2006. The latest Gallup poll revealed a much higher percentage of Christians in Japan compared to previous surveys, including a surprising high number of teens who claimed the

In a country where only one percent is Christian among those who claim a faith, findings from one of the most extensive surveys of the country ever taken showed a Christian population of six percent. Meanwhile, the most popular and traditional religions – Buddhism and Shintoism – suffered declines.

Of the 30 percent of adults who claimed to have a religion, 75 percent considered themselves Buddhists, 19 percent Shintoists and 12 percent Christians, according to the Gallup Organization. Japanese youth revealed even more alarming statistics. Of the 20 percent who professed to have a religion, 60 percent called themselves Buddhists, 36 percent Christians and Shintoists.

"These projections mean that seven percent of the total teenage population say they are Christians," said George Gallup Jr. who called the numbers "stunning."

The study - the single largest study ever attempted, according to the social scientists in Japan - examined preteens, teens, young adults, adults and seniors.

"When they saw the design of the questionnaire, Japanese experts argued that the Japanese would never answer the socially delicate and/or the highly personal questions," said Bill McKay, project research director. "However, it was our professional hunch that the Japanese were ready to talk and when they did they told us more than we had asked for. The data is the most revealing look behind the face of Japan and shatters many WWII myths of the Japanese culture."

McKay is also one of the producers of a documentary that is slated for release later this year. The poll was conducted in association with American Trademark Research and MJM Group in 2001 for use in the documentary.

"In my 50 years of polling, there has been no study that I would consider as important as this one, because it provides insight into a fascinating culture," said Gallup.

Delving into more specific attitudes, the poll also found a note of hopelessness in the responses to questions related to morality, spirituality and general views about life.

"And there is little evidence of eternal hope, although a considerable number do believe in some form of life afterlife," noted Gallup. And "there is little belief in 'absolutes,' and this is true across the all-generational groups."

In comparison to teens in the United States, Japanese teens showed a pessimistic outlook on life. Previous studies found that 85 percent of teens in Japan wondered why they existed while 22 percent of U.S. teens had the same thought. Additionally, 13 percent of Japanese teens always see a reason for their being on Earth compared to 76 percent of teens in the U.S, and 11 percent of Japanese teens wished they had never been born while 3 percent of U.S. teens wished the same.

Within an estimated population of 127.4 million in Japan, academics estimate that 20 to 30 percent of adults actively practice a particular faith, but the Agency for Cultural Affairs reported in 2003 that 213,826,700 citizens claimed a religion, according to the U.S. Department of State's latest International Religious Freedom Report.

 Then there's also the God part of the brain stuff. Something all people are supposed to know but wont admit and yet we are born with the coutner concept?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Totalitarian atheism strikes agani.

 NoctampulantJoycean says:

Originally Posted by NoctambulantJoycean View Post
You're again committing basic errors in philosophy of mind and psychology. I clearly corrected those in my responses on this thread: Please stop making them.
 here's what the link goes to.

 Originally Posted by NoctambulantJoycean View Post

"And if you're really suggesting that love cannot be instantiated with God existing, then your position is far gone non-sense. So you're really suggesting that when a person loves their spouse, that necessarily implies the existence of God? That no mind can possibly love another without God existing? Ha! And you spout another standard line about "God is love." Really?! God is not love; God can have the attribute of being loving, but God is not love. I don't know why some theists like you make a mistake this basic. It's like saying your dog is hunger, as opposed to saying your dog has the attribute of being hungry or more simply, your dog is hungry. You're confusing adjectives with nouns! And even if we go with the noun, it still makes no sense. If God was love, then since love is not a mind (it's an attribute a mind can express, but that's not the same thing as it being a mind), God is not a mind. And then we go back to what I've told you over and over and over and...: once you forfeit the claim that God is a mind, there go any claims of God being aware anything (including people's prayers), having knowledge, beliefs, thoughts, hearing prayers, etc. Also, you'd be in the position of saying that everytime I loved someone, I brought God into existence or exemplified God since I instantiated the property "love." That's absurd. And last I checked, mental attributes like love don't go around creating universes, communicating to people, or doing the other stuff people attribute to God. So saying "God is love" is just an absurd abuse of language meant to let you have your cake and eat it, too...

Under the standard terminology used for natural properties in meta-ethics/moral philosophy, love is a natural property, just as is pain, suffering, pleasure, preferences, and other such mental properties, unless those mental properties are had by a supernatural being. That's why, for example, utilitarians who ground moral properties in mental states such as happiness and suffering (or more precisely, in dispositions for certain states) still count as moral naturalists. For more elaboration on this, see section 6 of and section 2 of"

he says; "So stop acting as if love can only exist if your God exists."

that's supposed to prove that it's an error because he says stop doing it. Notice how he says "you have been corrected." Like it's not my opinion it's the truth. you are not allowed to say things that aren't tru (ie that violate my opinion).

Here's my answer. Notice

The assertions you make in this drivel are quite foolish anyone who actually put in five minutes thinking about the issues can see how foolish.

Until you show me a scientific reason why we have to love I will assert that it is entirely possible that the very existence of love is a gift of God in special creation. That being the case then examples of love exhibited by individuals are the product of the ability of exhibit a concept that ordinates with God's character.

until you show me a scientific reason why that's the case that we are forced to love then I will assert you have none. you are merely begging the question.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Atheist Rationailizations: Can't Let God Be God


An atheits on CARM, Vladimir, brings up another obvious point that he can't get past. In so doing demonstrates The ratoinailzation of the atheist mind.

Gen. 3:16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."

Taking the straight forward reading of Genesis 3:16 we find that God himself causes pain in women during the childbirth.

Often, Christians say that sin the corruption of God's perfect order in nature caused disorder and suffering and death, yet, Gen. 3:16 clearly says that it is God who is authoring the suffering.
Notice, God does not say that either personal sin or the sin of Adam and Eve are the case of blindness or other ailments. We are clearly told that God, or the LORD is the case or the maker of all of this.

So, why do Christians keep saying that sin is the cause of all suffering?
That's like saying the law causes people to go to jail. It's not the crime they did it's the evil stupid law that makes them go that's to blame. Reduce the crime rate, make it all legal.

 To this is added

Mark UK: 

 Because a god that causes suffering wouldn't be omnibenevolent, and that just won't do.

I think you might be surprised at how many Christians will readily acknowledge that YHWH does, in fact, cause suffering (but there's always the "greater good" trump card).
 Big Thinker:

And if God is the creator of everything, doesn't that include sin and the conditions/environment in which sin exists?
Christianity is irrational.

 Originally Posted by rossum View Post
rossum: Neither. Selfish desire causes suffering. Just ask any Buddhist about the second Noble Truth.

yes according to that slacker Buddha! He could have been doing what Sam Harris is doing but NoooOOOOooo he had to sit under his little bo tree and be enlightened.


 It's certainly true that sin did not magically entered creation outside of God thinking it and allowing it. And it's also certainly true that man did not magically enter creation outside of God thinking and allowing it. He spoke it all into existence. And, He from the very beginning called man to Himself but man from the very beginning chose not to draw near to Him. Even so, while we were (and still are) great sinners with evil intentions constantly in our hearts, He saves man and still calls the likes of us to Himself, bearing man's crushing sin onto His Son. So my understanding is that it is not sin that is the cause of suffering, nor is it the Lord, but it is man himself, it's our nature. This is why Jesus told nicodemus that unless man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, not simply just remove sin.
blaming your parents for your mistakes. "Hey I didn't ask to be born."
 (EJM Is a believer I'm just adding my 2 cents)

 Vladimir comes out with this gem:

Sounds like God is not following his own standard.

It's wrong for humans to kill others for merely working on a Saturday, but not for God.
It's wrong for humans to torture other humans, but not for God.

Why the double standard?

 He and all the atheists above want God to through away his standards. They want him to say "O sin is unimportant. Just do you whatever you feel like doing."  Making rules and laws is crazy irrational. Now he wants to honor what he says when it helps him. H and every other atheist have been whining through this whole thread about how God is so stupid to stick to his standards. now He want him to keep them because it helps him. Vladimir and his comrades are totally inconsistent. They just want you want. you don't about truth or what's improtant or is effected by your little sin.

God decides what is sinful, since sin is disobeying God's laws, and He makes His laws at His whim. God created Hell, and decides who goes there based on sin. God is responsible for everything that happens, the evil and the good. God is therefore responsible for all sin.
 God is not a man. God killing people and us killing are two totally different things. The danger is when people decide their the hand of God and they kill thinking they are bringing about God's will. If God does something that is not man doing it. God is God and he has a right to act. God is consistent wit himself because he's not man. These fools who just want their wa at all cost are willing to hurt anyone in any sense just to get what they want then their diseased minds seek to judge the very creator of the universe.

This guy wants to lead the revolution against God:

God is a dictator in every sense of the word.

We're all quick to condemn human dictators, but people "put up" with God.

I for one, did not vote God in the cosmic elections.

 That says it all, they refuse to let God be God. They insist upon dragging God down to the level of a man. that's on ef the major reasons for the big man in the sky mentality. they just see God as magnified humanity. If a human being tired to userp that kind of ultimate power over people I'm betting this guy would accept him if he thought it would get him the things he wants. But he wont accept the only true and rightful power in the universe.

This guy's post says it all. They raving against the father figure against authroity and against government and all the rationalizations they can make they are all really aimed at escaping duty to God and seeking their own way. That is the definition of sin. It's not about some intellectual exorcize where they seek to liberate humanity form superstition and oppression. It's about hanging on to sin.

They don't want the rational God. When I try to read them with liberal ideas about God as a principle or God as Being itslf. that's stupid. that' s inane. God can only be a big man in the sky. The big man in the sky has to be an evil dictator that they want to overthrow. If he were a totally harmless little pussycat of a grand father god who made no demands on anyone they would ignore him completely. They have to be locked in a struggle against the super ego figure.They can't accept that God could have ratioanl standards. they would rather have the big bogey man of their teenage rebellion to fight against.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Anti-Intellectual Tendencies of New Atheism.

 Von Harnack, 1851-1930
Major liberal Bible scholar

This is a statement by a troll on a Message board:

In reply to this post by jimbo
Last edited by Metacrock : Today at 03:06 PM .

Fact is, "exegesis" was developed and honed just to thwart such attacks as mine. They are just specious explanations that ARE NOT BIBLICAL! THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SAYS, FOLKS! It is what it says and not just when it is convenient for your position! I don't fall for that "commentary" BS! I now well how to read and interpret things for myself, including the Bible! What we have here is the phenonenon described in the book WHEN PROPHCY FAILS. Read it!

I realize that this guy does not represent all atheists. But I have seen many other atheists reflect this same idea. In fact the whole concept of the "Courtier's reply"

Atheists are always coming up with little gimmicks. Anytime you trump them with real knowledge they get up set and find a gimmick. The Jesus myth theory was such a gimmick. Jesus was such a compelling figure and there is some decent evidence he rose from the dead, so to counter that they just pretend he never existed, and give it a little name and make up some pseudo intelligent sounding crap pertaining to it. The "default" and the "extraordinary evidence credo" these are all gimmicks atheists made up and they are passed off as pseudo official sounding quasi logical tactics that in actuality mean nothing.

Such as the Courtier's reply. This is it:

I recently referred to the "Courtier's Reply", a term invented by PZ Myers to rebut the claims of believers who insist that their superstitious beliefs are ever so much more sophisticated than the simple version that Dawkins attacks.

PZ's response deserves much more publicity because it goes to the heart of the debate between rationalism and supersition. I'm going to post his original Courtier's Reply below (without permission, but I'm sure he'll understand) but before doing so I need to remind everyone about the original fairy tale [The Emperor's New Clothes]

This is a statement by a reductionist scientism king. Larry Moran is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He's on a blog called Sand Walk.

So What this courtier's reply is saying is that if the skeptic says stupid things about theology and demonstrates that he knows nothing about it and the theist says "O your criticism is invalid because you don't understand what you are criticizing" then all the atheist has to do is say "that's the courtiers reply" and the theist is supposed to go "O my God, I've violated a law of logic!" and give up and stop believing in God. But in realty it's into a log of logic, I never heard it in a logic class.It's not in a logic text book, and the meaning of it is silly. I'ts just saying 'You can't point out my ignorance of theology because I will not allow theology to have any kind of validity or importance and religious people may not not any sort of human dignity." That's all it's saying. It's nothing more than anti-intellectual stupidity.

Sanders lauds PZ Myers's version of the tactic,Here is Myers statement about it:

The Courtier's Reply
by PZ Myers

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

In other words, knowledge of theological subjects is just plain bull shit and it doesn't matter if Dawkins doesn't understand it because it's not worth understanding. So it's not valid criticism of him to say that. Except the problem is, if he understood theology he would see that his criticisms are wrong. The criticisms he makes are almost always about fundamentalists views. Since he refuses to accept that there are other non fundamentalist types of theology, when you point it out he just says O that's ridiculous because all theology is crap so it doesn't matter--but if he knew that he might not make the criticisms becasue they don't apply. But it's not worthing knowing that. he's just reasoning in a cirlce.

Here's his logic:

Him: religion is evil superstiion because fundies believe X

Liberal: we don't beileve x

him: that doesn't matter becasue religion is all crap no matter what. so even if you don't believe the thing I say is crap you still your own crap that must be stupid because you are religious. I know it's stupid because religion is stupid. Of course that's based on the stuff that you don't believe but that doesn't matter.

Narrow minded anti-intellectual brinkman ship in a most unsophisticated manner.

A very emotionally immature atheist tried this on me recently. Here's how it went.

Brent: All religious people believe in big man in the sky.

Me: process theology doesn't believe in big man in the sky

Brent: that's nonsesne all religous people do so they mustt.

Me; you clearly don't know enoguh about theology to say that

Brent: Courteiers reply! Courtiers' replay!

Like some magic king'x X that's suppossed to mean something. Clearly it's stupid because they are only trying to dodge the fact that their criticisms are based upon things they don't understand and that don't apply. Its' an attempt to hide their ignorance. They are committing an informal fallacy with the use of this gimmick. It's called "ipsie dixit." It means "truth by stipulation." They are saying in effect "I simply stipulate that I will not allow you to have knowledge. AT this point on your knowledge is now void becasue I declare to be so, since it's religion and religion is stupid."

Again their reasoning is quite circular since the reasons they would give for reducing religion to superstition don't' apply to modern sophisticated theology, but the fact that it can be labeled "theology" and they don't even know what that means, they stipulate that it must be stupid. So even though their reasons don't apply they just demand that they must do so any way.

Again they are merely stipulating truth and insisting they are right without any just reasons. It's idiotic to try and criticize a whole field you know nothing about. To make up for appalling ignorance they imply a third rate gimmick that is actually made up of two informal fallacies: ipsie dixit and circular reasoning.

This anti-intellectual tendency is not confined to this one tactic. The new tactick, which I have noticed for a few years now, is to deny any sort of discipline of scholarship that has developed within the theological community. So any self defense that a believer could make is automatically suspect and wrong merely becasue it is theological. But then one wonders how the skeptics knowledge that theology is all bull shit could ever have developed in the first place? When we consider the history of Biblical scholarship it becomes clear that the atheists are merely arguing in a circle.

The history of scholarship shows us that it was not invented in answer to pressing atheist attacks on the bible. There was no body of talented intelligent atheists pressing for a logical reading of the bible in the days before modern Biblical scholarship. Modern scholarship grew out of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in answer to the re-birth of classical learning and the advancement of scientific knowledge. One of the first modern textual critics was Erasmus. Erasmus, who live din Rotterdam in the Northern Renaissance, never had a body of atheists to contend with. The major scholars who created modern Biblical scholarship in the 19th century were arch liberals and practically skeptics themselves, such as Von Harnack. So clearly scholarship is a trick to protect the bible from the "brilliant, Penetrating analysis" of these arrogant know nothing who are too lazy to read a couple of books.

This tendency in atheism, the revenge of the trolls shows the true intellectual bankruptcy of Dawkamentalism. They are actually spitting on their own roots when they say since, since modern skepticism and modern Biblical scholarship both grew out of Renaissance humanism. Clearly so when they don't even know that just ten years ago their predecessors on atheist boards (secular web for example) lauded liberal Bible scholars such as John Dominick Crosson. They will quote the Jesus seminary guys without even know these are Bible scholars, this is the product of Biblical scholarship.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dawkins Argument against the existence of God from "The God Delusion"


 Someone brought up a post from another blog about Dawkins arguments against Christianity so I thought it would be good to re visit this post

Several atheist scientific types make the claim that science disproves God. Here I’ll look at three of the major writers who make such claims: Dawkins, Stenger, and Krauss. In dealing with this topic the first thing to keep in mind is that all three illustrate the use of reductionism and its ideological assumptions in their work. In fact their arguments are only possible given their reductionist assumptions because they are only dealing with a concept of God that reduced God to the level of a great biological organism in the sky. Of course they have to do this because if they did not they would have no business even thinking about God. They must assume God posses the qualities of such an organism for him to even be amiable to their domain. Science has no business discussing God since God is the basis of reality and not a thing in creation. God is not given in sense data, thus can’t be subject to scientific proof or disproof. In fact the arguments I will examine here really amount to a bait and switch. They claim to disprove something that can’t be dealt with as part of their domain. In trying to drag God down to the level of the scientific domain they are merely creating a straw man, or “straw God” argument.

Richard Dawkins made one of his major media splashes and scored a big hit for the cause by publishing The God Delusion.(1) The lynch pin of the book is the argument against the existence of God, which turns upon reversing the design argument. The role of science in this argument is really a deception because they actually have no data that demonstrates the lack of God. All he really does is present evidence for a materialist explanation (featuring evolution) then assumes that evolution rules out God by making him unnecessary. This is not actually a disproof and it depends upon Dawkin’s notion of “necessary.” What he means by God is not necessary for his purposes.

This assertion about God is shrouded in the mystique of science as the only knowledge. It becomes encoded in the fortress of facts mentality and then is looked upon as “official scientific proof,” by the faithful. Dawkins never actually says what concepts of God he’s dealing with, yet the only one he ever does deal with is a crass version of “Bible god’ that is sort of chick comic books special “big man in the sky.”(2) We have a major Hint in that he doesn’t deal with any other concept.

To be fair Dawkins does deal with poly theism. That creates the illusion that he’s dealing with other models of God, but he’s not because the polytheism with which he deals is based upon separate versions of the one comic book noting, the big man in the sky. Instead of one sky father we have several. It’s the same thing. From pages 29 to 37 the entire section designated “polytheism” he avoids mentioning anything about polytheistic views after the first program.(3) From 37 to 46 all he does is talk about what he doesn’t like about the God of the bible.(4) In fact he admits that he means to deal mostly with Christianity and tires to actually remove other religions such as Hinduism form the category of religions!

I shall have Christianity mostly in mind, but only because it is the version with which I happen to be most familiar. For my purposes the differences matter less than the similarities. And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism. Indeed, there is something to be said for treating these not as {38} religions at all but as ethical systems or philosophies of life.(5)

I’m sure the followers of Hinduism would be shocked to learn they don’t believe in God. This is clearly a bait and switch. He’s replacing legitimate theological and philosophical concepts with a straw god argument that’s easy to beat. He knows he can’t disprove any actual theological notions so he has to reduce God belief to the big man in the sky so he can make it subject to his dictates as a purveyor of scientifically based ideology. That way he doesn’t have to take on the great thinkers of Christian theology. He can dismiss Aquinas and Whitehead and so on the basis that “these are just those liberal guys that one listens to.” In effect he’s making his own atheist straw man (straw God) argument. Straw man is when you make an argument that is a mock version of what your opponent says it is tailored to your own level of refutation so you can beat it easily, then you claim you beat the opponent’s argument. So the major and most sophisticated God concepts, the one’s that bring belief into the modern era, he just ignores. He makes a thing of beating up on pre scientific concepts of the big sky father which is an anthropomorphism that no educated theist in the modern world worries about. He doesn’t actually disprove it. He has no smoking gun, no God DNA to disprove, no black God finder box that shows there’s no God. All he really has is an argument that the antiquated sky father doesn’t fit with evolution. To him this is “disproof” of God.

The lynch pin of his argument is found in a chapter entitled “why there almost certainly is no God.”(6) As we have seen it really has nothing do with most concepts of God that educated thinkers in the modern world care about. It really should be called “why there almost certainly is no old man in the sky.” His arguments basically amounts to reversing the design argument by reducing God to the level of biological organism and then applying concepts of biology and probability to make it seem God would be more complex and that’s less probable.(7) He calls this argument the “ultimate Boeing 747 gambit.” (8) It’s based upon reversing the idea used to defend the conventional design argument that evolution is like expecting a 747 to assemble form hurricane in a junk yard.
It was actually atheist Scientist Fred Holye who made this analogy. Dawkins takes this to be the creationists favorite argument.

Some observed phenomenon — often a living creature or one of its more complex organs, but it could be anything from a molecule up to the universe itself — is correctly extolled as statistically improbable. Sometimes the language of information theory is used: the Darwinian is challenged to explain the source of all the information {114} in living matter, in the technical sense of information content as a measure of improbability or ‘surprise value’. Or the argument may invoke the economist's hackneyed motto: there's no such thing as a free lunch — and Darwinism is accused of trying to get something for nothing. In fact, as I shall show in this chapter, Darwinian natural selection is the only known solution to the otherwise unanswerable riddle of where the information comes from. It turns out to be the God Hypothesis that tries to get something for nothing. God tries to have his free lunch and be it too. However statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by invoking a designer, the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable. God is the Ultimate Boeing 747.(9)

The crux of the issue is this, most people think that coming about random chance is chance in the absence of design and that makes it less probable that it could happen (like the chances of junk blowing around to form 747. The fact is, according to Dawkins, Darwin’s concept of natural selection actually explains the changes better and provides the mechanism that replaces the need for a designer. Dawkins argues that before Darwin thinkers such as Hume understood that design is not eh only alternative to chance, they had no mechanism for the alternative and that’s what Darwin offered them, graded transitions through natural selection. That is it. No secret mathematical formula, no astronomical observations, no data form the dreaded black box, no peering into the microscope to see a label saying “nature by chance.” The whole argument is just that we don’t need big man in sky to explain word because we have random change, and that is made more rational and covers for seeming design features by natural selection.

Dawkins spends a lot of time dealing with the issue of complexity. Complexity is not only important in terms of design vs chance (the more complex the less chance of coming about randomly) the irreducible complexity concept seems to be one of the major things the ID people have going for them. The irreducible complexity is all or nothing. An eye badly formed wouldn’t make it. How could such a complex mechanism just spring up one day? It only works in its entirety so a gradual slow progression makes no evolution. They would not pass on the trait for a half formed eye because it’s not enabling survival. Dawkins answers this by discussion of Darwin’s concept of “decent with modifications.”(10) Dawkins points out that creationists love to site Darwins passage about the problems of the eye. The joke is on them since he was only using this as a rhetorical device to draw them in and “lower the boom” so to speak. His answer is basically that the assumption of all or nothing is fallacy. There is value to half an eye or half a wing. For example cataract patients may not be ale to see well but they could see well enough not to walk off the cliff. Half a wing will not enable the bird to fly south for the winter but it might lessen the fall from the nest.(11) He spends most of the chapter beating the ID movements dead horses and gloating about how much smarter he is than religious people. ”One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.” (12) This is coming form the guy who says “we don’t’ need to read theology because we know it’s stupid.” For the record, I am not an ID guy or a creations, I'm a Darwinian and what has been said in this paragraph is why. How that effects his theory of "religion breeds ignorance," the reader can decide.

He’s so carried away with admiration for his superiority he can’t resist going after Dietrich Bonhoeffer (major theologian of 20th century) as an example of one who teaches us to be content with no understanding and who worships the gaps. He asserts that Bonhoeffer loved the gaps but laments their closing.” What worries thoughtful theologians such as Bonhoeffer is that gaps shrink as science advances, and God is threatened with eventually having nothing to do and nowhere to hide.” (13) Unfortunately, despite his great superiority Dawkins just doesn’t read far enough in Bonhoeffer to see that what he’s really saying is that this is an warning to Christians not to make God of the gaps arguments. He’s merely telling them what any good logician would tell them, if you base your view of God on the gaps, they are likely to be filled. That means we should base our knowledge of God upon what can be deduced logically rather than upon gaps in science. Which is exactly what Dawkins would support were it not advice about making good God arguments. So the uber mensch just forgets to follow his own advice and not be content to not understand. Had he known this he might have read more Bonhoeffer. Uber Menschen are like that. While we are on the subject of Bonehoeffer there’s no reason to think that he is a favorite of creationist or that he was one himself. The existence of God was a done deal for Bonehoeffer. Like most liberals he didn’t care much about arguments on that score because he didn’t have any trouble believing and he didn’t see belief as necessitated upon proving something.

From pages 125 to 143 Dawkins is trashing creationists. He gives it to Behe and others. Its’ not until 142 or so in the chapter entitled, “The Anthropic Principle Cosmological Version,” that he settles down to business and makes the 747 argument in full. I skip over the content of this merely because it’s important to my views. I am not a creationist, I have no problem with Dawrin per se, I’ve already indicated the major thrust of my position that he’s just running a straw God argument; he can disprove all old men in the sky he cares to that doesn’t effect the Christian God. Dawkins discusses the anthropic fine turning argument. Of course he asserts that there is a multiverse and we just happen to live in one of the space/times that worked out for life. Because there are a whole bunch of choices, maybe infinitely, there are opportunities for the problems and dead end universe to be played out but we just happen to get in the one of the ones that works. The problem with this is it’s just another version of assuming the reason to believe in God is about explaining things. We don’t need God as an explanation so there must not be a God. That’s not proof of anything accept that maybe there’s another reason to believe besides explaining the physical universe.

At this point (146-147) he introduces the concept of probability based upon complexity. That’s really curx of the whole argument. His whole book really rests on this point. This in itself is the reason he says “there almost certainly Is not God.

It is tempting to think (and many have succumbed) that to postulate a plethora of universes is a profligate luxury which should not be allowed. If we are going to permit the extravagance of a multiverse, so the argument runs, we might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and allow a God. Aren't they both equally unparsimonious ad hoc hypotheses, and equally unsatisfactory? People who think that have not had their consciousness raised by natural selection. The key difference between the genuinely {147} extravagant God hypothesis and the apparently extravagant multiverse hypothesis is one of statistical improbability. The multiverse, for all that it is extravagant, is simple. God, or any intelligent, decision-taking, calculating agent, would have to be highly improbable in the very same statistical sense as the entities he is supposed to explain. The multiverse may seem extravagant in sheer number of universes. But if each one of those universes is simple in us fundamental laws, we are still not postulating anything highly improbable. The very opposite has to be said of any kind of intelligence. (14)

Of course we must observe once again, he’s dealing with the big man in the sky. He sees God as thinking. Why would God need to think? He sees God as “an agent” who is calculating. God knows all, why would he need to ratiocinate? God could be considered an agent in some senses but why in the sense of pondering and considering? Dawkins needs him to do this so his argument can work. The argument being that God has to be more complex than the universe in order to create it. If he’s more complex then he’s more improbable. There are several things wrong with this idea.

I have already dismissed all such suggestions as raising bigger problems than they solve. But what attempts have theists made to reply? How do they cope with the argument that any God capable of designing a universe, carefully and foresightfully tuned to lead to our evolution, must be a supremely complex and improbable entity who needs an even bigger explanation than the one he is supposed to provide?(15)

He takes on Richard Swinburne and his attempt at answering the problem. Swinburne essentially sees the world of atomic and subatomic particles as chaotic and complex and brings God in as a stabilizing force because God is simple compared the structure of this tiny world. Dawkins sees this as absurd. Form him the world of atomic and subatomic forces is beautifully simple. It’s just one idea that no matter the fact that there are many of the same kind of tiny thing. That is simple. “But how can Swinburne possibly maintain that this hypothesis of God simultaneously keeping a gazillion fingers on wayward electrons is a simple hypothesis?”(16) Swinburne is arguing that God is only a single substance (no parts) Dawkins sees this as a trick. He argues hat Swinburne is asserting this “without justification.” Of course that’s mere ignorance. There is a long tradition in thinking that spirit is one substance not made up of parts or of tiny particles. In trying to carry off this argument Dawkins really tips his hand. He quotes the following passage from Swinburne:

Theism claims that every other object which exists is caused to exist and kept in existence by just one substance, God. And it claims that every property which every substance has is due to God causing or permitting it to exist. It is a hallmark of a simple explanation to postulate few causes. There could in this respect be no simpler explanation than one which postulated only one cause. Theism is simpler than polytheism. And theism postulates for its one cause, a person [with] infinite power (God can do anything logically possible), infinite knowledge (God knows everything logically possible to know), and infinite freedom.(17)

This quotation gives the idea that God is simple as an explanation not as a “force” or “entity.” Theism posits one cause to which all phenomena can be taken back, causes everything. Now Dawkins is going to trade on the distinction between the simplicity of explanation and simplicity, for want of a better term, “nature.” He observes that Swinburne says God can’t do logically impossible things. Dawkins finds nothing more to interject in response to this point than incredulity. God’s power, aside form logically necessity/impossibly is endless and Dawkins to resents it. AT this point he evokes the concept of God’s complexity of nature than answer the idea above about simplicity as exploitation. So he’s actually talking at cross purposes. He says a God who could keep up with the individual status of every particle would have to be immensely complex. That is in terms of his own nature not the place occupies logically an expiation which is not in the sense above. They talk at cross purposes. Swinburne says God is simple as an explanation, Dawkins says God is complex as an "entity."

Dawkins also bring in Keith Ward, Dividity professor at Oxford. Again the same thing. Ward is talking about God as hypothesis being elegant:

As a matter of fact, the theist would claim that God is a very elegant, economical and fruitful explanation for the {150} existence of the universe. It is economical because it attributes the existence and nature of absolutely everything in the universe to just one being, an ultimate cause which assigns a reason for the existence of everything, including itself. It is elegant because from one key idea — the idea of the most perfect possible being — the whole nature of God and the existence of the universe can be intelligibly explicated.(18)

Yet Dawkins is talking about how complex God would be as an “entity” as though he has to have lots of parts. Dawkins seems to know something is wrong by tries to cover by making out as though it’s Ward’s fault: “Like Swinburne, Ward mistakes what it means to explain something, and he also seems not to understand what it means to say of something that it is simple. I am not clear whether Ward really thinks God is simple, or whether the above passage represented a temporary ‘for the sake of argument’ exercise..” He’s saying Ward doesn’t know what simple means when in fact he doesn’t get that he’s making a parsimony claim. He’s saying all the different problems aspects of origin are summed up in this one answer, the use of the term “elegant” is a dead giveaway that it’s parsimony. By the same Token Swinburne is making the same sort of patrimony claim. Dawkins’s answer doesn’t even apply to make it seem that it’s their fault something is wrong, he as makes as they don’t get his argument right when in fact they wrote first he’s bring them to make a straw man argument. Like most straw man arguments he has to stretch to get it to fit.

Dawkins entire argument turns upon the reduction of God from the level of ground of being or something beyond or understanding, some basis of reality, that of a giant biological organism. Dawkins straw God doesn’t know, he has to monitor and keep track, he has to be complex enough to keep track of all the sub atomic particles and so on. As the ground of being God would be intimately connected to everything, Dawkins’s straw God would have to keep watch on each and ever particle. Dawkins actually does make this point (see fn on his answer to Ward). Since God is not a big man in the sky or a big biological organism what would be the consequences of his being complex? The reason complexity comes into it is because Dawkins wants that to be the guide to probability. Now to measure the probably of something it must be quantifiable and it must be observable. Thus to even consider God as a subject of the concept of probability he has to be observable. So that sort of skews the whole business right there. Moreover, how can one fix a “probability” for the basis of reality? That’s like trying to time a speedometer with the speedometer itself. Or trying to weigh a scale with the scale being weighed. The whole issue is, like the consciousness issue, more reductionism bait and switch.

If God was complex I don’t see how it could be reasoned as less probable by the standards of ordinary probably nor would it be a problem for God. Surely an infinite God could handle the demands of complexity since it would not be the sort of complexity we know in the physical world. God is not made up of parts. It’s not as though God is a Rube Goldberg machine. God’s complexity would surely be of a totally different ilk than anything of which we know. What would it mean to say God is complex? If God is not made of atoms and has no moving parts, not produced by a brain then what exactly is complex? If it’s his understanding that’s complex I don’t see how that would render him less probable since it’s the complexity of parts that determines probability. The basis of knowledge would not be proportional to any biological brain chemistry or anything of that nature in thinking of God. The whole argument is just a trick of reductionism. It’s a straw God argument that might work on the comic book God of fundamentalism who is a big man in the sky but it doesn’t work on more sophisticated concepts such as process theology or Tillich’s notion of God as being itself. If we think of God as a universal mind, the super-essential Godhead of Dionysus the Areiopagite, the whole concept of complexity as we understand it in relation to the physical is just a passing fancy I mind we can’t understand.

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. Boston, New York: The Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. All quotes from this source will be from online copy of the text URL: all page numbers apply to free ebook.
find chick
(1) Dawkins, ibid, 29-37.
(2) Ibid, 37-46
(3) ibid, 37
(4) ibid, 113
(5) ibid
(6) ibid.
(7) ibid. 114
(8) ibid. 115-122
(9) ibid. 123-124.
(10) ibid 125 “the worship of gaps”
(11) ibid.
(12) ibid, 146-147
(13) ibid 147
(14) ibid
(15) Swinburne quoted by Dawkins, ibid 148-149
(16) Ward, quoted by Dawkins ibid 149-150
(17) ibid 150
(18) Ward quoted by Dawkins 149