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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mailvox: The evidence for God

I really fail to understand why so many Christian apologists have such a difficult time answering such easy questions:
Don't know if you've ever seen this before.  In my opinion this little kid embarrassed Eric Hovind. Eric may even have a valid point he's trying to make but I'm not sure exactly what it is. I know its hard to present a coherent summary of evidence for God very quickly (your debate with Dominic has really given me some food for thought when thinking about evidence for the existence of a deity) but what would you give as a very short, snappy answer to someone who asked "What is your evidence for God?"
I don't know who Hovind is, but I tend to agree.  I stopped watching after Hovind said "without God, you can't know anything."  Even if that is perfectly true, it's an incredibly stupid answer.  One might as reasonably answer "without oxygen, you can't know anything", and to as little effect.

The correct answer concerning the evidence for God is precisely the same as it is for practically everything else in the historical record, which is to say the copious documentary evidence available.  We can no more reasonably doubt the existence of God than we can doubt the existence of Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, or any other human being who existed before the invention of audio and video recording and for whom there are physical artifacts that support the documentary evidence.

Can skeptics produce plausible explanations for why so much false documentary evidence of God exists if He does not?  Sure.  Just as I can plausibly explain that the myth of George Washington was invented in order to provide Americans with founding Romulus-style figure of reverence in order to compensate for their lack of kings and common history.  I mean, there were no cherry trees in Virginia.  And isn't it ludicrous to take literally the myth of Washington's rjection of the proffered crown when the story is a patently a straightforward imitation of the Roman dictator Cincinnatus.

As for the other part of the question, where the boy declares that communication with God is simply a part of one's brain talking to him, I would have asked the kid how he was able to distinguish between one part of my brain talking to me and an alien transmission from Alpha Centauri.  I would have also asked him precisely what part of my brain was doing the talking, and to what, precisely?  I would have pressed him until it became obvious that he knew nothing of neuroscience, was simply parroting something he'd been told, and that his assertion was actually less credible than the God hypothesis.

It's one thing to claim that your brain must be talking to itself when you're the only one who hears it.  It's another when other people hear it too.

Most modern Christian apologists are incompetent because they approach the discourse as a chance to explicate theology rather than understanding that it is a form of intellectual combat where the goal is to discredit the interlocutor.  So, like Hovind, they explicate a little theology that looks like an irrelevant evasion while simultaneously managing to get intellectually discredited by young boys.  Frankly, I'd be surprised and a little disappointed if I didn't have the kid in tears and questioning his faith in science within minutes after asking such a pair of stupid questions.

First things first.  Destroy the interlocutor.  Answer every question directly, on his terms, and then go after the vulnerabilities they reveal with a flamethrower.  Only then, when you are standing upon whatever quivering ashes remain, can you explicate further if you wish.

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421 Comments:

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Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 1:05 PM  

LOL, there's not a shred of evidence anywhere in your post. By this logic the Loch Ness monster exists.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 1:06 PM  

Actually there is more evidence of the Loch Ness monster, namely that one fuzzy picture which may or may not be a picture of ... something, anyway.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 1:10 PM  

Hitchens, did Galileo exist?

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 1:12 PM  

How the hell would I know, I take it on good faith that he did. No one is telling me that if I don't believe in Galileo I'm going to burn in agony forever and ever.

Blogger Alexander November 27, 2012 1:15 PM  

No, that particular punishment for defying an article of faith is global warming.

Anonymous mikeraw November 27, 2012 1:17 PM  

Vox,

Have you considered making a cheat sheet or an FAQ to use against atheists?

Anonymous djm November 27, 2012 1:27 PM  

If I'm not mistaken, Eric Hovind is the son of Kent Hovind, the young-earth creationist who went to prison a few years back for tax-related stuff.

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 1:31 PM  

The correct answer concerning the evidence for God is precisely the same as it is for practically everything else in the historical record, which is to say the copious documentary evidence available. We can no more reasonably doubt the existence of God than we can doubt the existence of Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, or any other human being who existed before the invention of audio and video recording and for whom there are physical artifacts that support the documentary evidence.

I understand the strategy behind this answer Vox, but the fact is that it only works if your interlocutor is arguing in good faith, and we know, from copious experience, that these exchanges are very, very rarely conducted in good faith by both parties.
Even so, Hovind seemed to be replying in good faith, and that has earned him nothing but mockery, earned or not. Your approach is even less concerned with answering in a straight-up manner (though I recognize that you're not being deceitful in it) than with maneuvering your opponent into an indefensible position. Once they realize this, the chances that they (nascent PZ types) will engage honestly or thoughtfully is essentially nil.
In the long game of philosophical and theological debate, I can see how this would work, but I don't see it as a sufficient response to be made in person to a little boy. I think you'd fail just as spectacularly as Hovind.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 1:33 PM  

How the hell would I know, I take it on good faith that he did.

Do you take it on good faith then that God exists, because not all theists believe that atheists burn in hell.

Anonymous Stilicho November 27, 2012 1:33 PM  


Have you considered making a cheat sheet or an FAQ to use against atheists?


There's a powerpoint download available on the right side of this page entitled "Against the New Atheism".

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 1:36 PM  

Do you take it on good faith then that God exists, because not all theists believe that atheists burn in hell.

No, because the consequences of taking God to exist are a lot different than taking Galileo to have existed. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, etc.

Anonymous Curious George November 27, 2012 1:37 PM  

"The correct answer concerning the evidence for God is precisely the same as it is for practically everything else in the historical record, which is to say the copious documentary evidence available."

Ah...and that would be? Without begging the question, of course.

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 1:39 PM  

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

This guy's like an automated facepalm machine.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 1:40 PM  

that these exchanges are very, very rarely conducted in good faith by both parties.

This is the specific reason to embarrass them into silence. You show everyone around them that they are intellectual frauds and dishonest about the subject at hand. It is highly unlikely the interlocutor will change his mind in any circumstance of debate, but you can at least stop the people around him from listening to him on the subject of God.

Anonymous TheVillageIdiotRet November 27, 2012 1:40 PM  

I simply don't have enough faith,
to believe in the existence of a functional universe.
Without the existence of a Creator God.

DannyR

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 1:41 PM  

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, etc.

Please provide your logical proof and/or evidence that this statement is true.

Anonymous Luscinia Hâfez November 27, 2012 1:42 PM  

This is where you can tell Vox is a philosopher, not a scientist.

Blogger Joe A. November 27, 2012 1:44 PM  

Nah. Vox is Gandalf effectively driving Saruman out of the king of Rohan.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 1:47 PM  

Evidence for gods is easy to come by. However, good evidence is not.

The more interesting issue is what purpose does the hardy pursuit of evidence for gods play in the life of those that flail about looking for it and trying to point others to it?

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 1:49 PM  

Evidence for gods is easy to come by. However, good evidence is not.

What's your definition of "good evidence"?

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 1:52 PM  

@jarstar

Well, we could start with photos. DNA Evidence would be good. Copious documentary evidence would be good.

Anonymous Frank November 27, 2012 1:53 PM  

The argument for Christ's existence and miracles from the historical, documentary evidence is overwhelming and can, when elucidated with confidence and skill, convince non-believers. However, I like to take a different approach to answering this question which I think is more likely to lead people to question their own assumptions.

A huge problem with the 'there's no evidence' statement is that the atheists who use it are working with a very limited definition of the term evidence. What the typical atheist means by evidence is 'persuasive evidence' or 'conclusive evidence'. Ask them what they mean and, if you are probing enough and are careful not to offend, they eventually admit that they mean empirical evidence. Probe them further and you will eventually come to realize that they mean empirical evidence interpreted in the fashion of the scientific method.

Now the term 'empirical evidence' is something that even some Christians, perhaps understandably, react to with fear; our culture has conditioned most people with the assumption that empirical evidence somehow argues against God all by itself. What atheists who attempt to use this to their advantage don't understand is that evidence of any type requires interpretation.

The whole world and everything in it is evidence for God. The existence of anything you care to mention can be used as evidence for God. Evidence is usually part of an argument not an argument in itself.

Of course, arguments can be evidence too. I recommend pointing out that the most revered philosophical proofs of the Catholic Church, Aquinas' five ways, all proceed from an empirical premise.

If you do manage to hold an atheist's attention for long enough to even begin a discussion on the five ways then well done you, you're a better man than me. A surer, and often funnier, approach is to point out the philosophical, non-empirical, assumptions of the scientific method itself. You can ask them what empirical basis they have for believing that an evil demon, or something like the animus from Assassin's Creed, didn't place all their scientific knowledge straight into their head for instance.

Blogger Panzerdude November 27, 2012 1:57 PM  

A strategy that is less combative, that has worked for me with young people (meaning about 10 or older) asking questions is the "Causation Argument". Example:

Ask, "Would you agree that you exist?"...yes.

"Where did you come from?"...my parents.

"Are you saying your parents "caused" you; in other words, you exists because of them?"...I guess.

"What caused the universe to come into existence?"...the Big Bang.

"What caused the Big Bang; or how did a Big Bang occur when there was nothing there?"...I don't know (and no one does).

"So you're saying there was nothing there, but then suddenly something exploded, even though there was nothing there, and it became the universe, but you can't explain where the "something" of the universe came from or why the "nothing" would explode?"...uhhhhhh.

"Just as you needed a "cause" to exist, it is logical that the universe needed a cause to exist."...yeah, but what caused God to exist?

"Here's my proof of God. Everything we observe in the universe has a cause, or something that caused it to come into existence. The problem is this. If EVERYTHING requires something else to cause it, what caused the very first thing? The answer must be an "Un-caused Cause" or something that has always existed, without a cause. That Un-caused Cause is God."

The atheist has no logical mechanism for an un-caused cause, hence the need to have multi-verses, but that only moves the problem to another universe, which is conveniently undetectable by any means.

So, while a little longer than a "one-liner" it does usually take less than 1-2 minutes and is a direct answer to the question of "evidence for God".

At that point the person either leaves in disgust (i.e. slight humiliation) or is willing to continue the discussion, which is what I hope for.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 1:58 PM  

Tad, did William Shakespeare exist?

Blogger tz November 27, 2012 1:59 PM  

Amen! Excellent summary - Christian Apologists (usually those with more evangelical zeal than training or maturity) tend to go for the last step in the argument, so seem ignorant. This happens on many sides of many issues. First, answer their questions or objections in their contexts, on their turf. Or point out the error - an assumption taken as a given - in the question - answering a question with a clarifying question often leads down the right path.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 2:00 PM  

How the hell would I know, I take it on good faith that he did. No one is telling me that if I don't believe in Galileo I'm going to burn in agony forever and ever

You don't know enough theology to argue this subject. If you did, you would know that it is not belief in, but worship of and submission to God that saves. For even the demons believe.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 2:02 PM  

Well, we could start with photos. DNA Evidence would be good. Copious documentary evidence would be good.

No wonder these creatures are a recent phenomenon. Most of them died quickly and spectacularly in the days before photography and modern genetic testing.

"What? What alligator? I demand photographic and DNA evidence of the alligator. Until you can provide it, I am going wading and you cannot stop m--"

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:02 PM  

@josh:

All the evidence suggests it's highly likely.


@Panzerdude
What happens when someone tells you, "I don't know what caused the universe to come into existence."

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 2:02 PM  

Well, we could start with photos.

Congratulations, you just eliminated the entire historical record before photography and all historical events of which there are no photos.

DNA Evidence would be good.

DNA evidence of God? What would we compare it to? See the above for what you additionally eliminated from history.

Copious documentary evidence would be good.

What three major, ancient, historical events have "copious documentary evidence" in comparison to the New Testament record of the life and story of Jesus of Nazareth (better records, more witnesses, etc.) which you do accept without photos and DNA?

Anonymous Stilicho November 27, 2012 2:03 PM  

did William Shakespeare exist?

Pics or it didn't happen.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:04 PM  

@loki
"What? What alligator? I demand photographic and DNA evidence of the alligator. Until you can provide it, I am going wading and you cannot stop m--"

The question was "what would be 'good evidence'"

Silly you.

Anonymous Soga November 27, 2012 2:06 PM  

It's funny too, because we are neurologically programmed to believe. Belief, in other words, is the default state. Extraordinary evidence? How about the idea that there is no god? That's an extraordinary claim, and requires extraordinary evidence which does not exist.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 2:09 PM  

The question was "what would be 'good evidence'"

So you don't actually demand photographic and DNA evidence in order to acknowledge the existence of deities? Splendid. Point moot, move along.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:11 PM  

I understand the strategy behind this answer Vox, but the fact is that it only works if your interlocutor is arguing in good faith, and we know, from copious experience, that these exchanges are very, very rarely conducted in good faith by both parties.

Wrong. You can destroy and humiliate stupid questioners in perfectly good faith. In fact, it is important to do as St. Paul does, not as professional theologians do. Address, expose, answer. Who cares if the questioner is converted?

Logic and debate is a two-way street. You can just as easily squash an interlocutor whether he comes wanting a real answer or a fight. The squashing is an answer.

The kid should have been left standing in a puddle of urine, his question is so childish. Whoever raised him up to have such idiotic courage is either a monster or at least knew enough to pre-select soft targets.

Bane would have simply beat the brat with a bundle of barbed wire and politely asked him why he was suddenly crying out to God in pain.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:12 PM  

@jarstar

What three major, ancient, historical events have "copious documentary evidence" in comparison to the New Testament record of the life and story of Jesus of Nazareth (better records, more witnesses, etc.) which you do accept without photos and DNA?

The Eruption of Vesuvius. The sudden Mayan exodus. The Battle of Carthage.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:14 PM  

@loki

I acknowledge the existence of deities....in the minds of humans.

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 2:16 PM  

>comparing the questionable historical veracity of George Washington, a mostly mundane and non-extraordinary historical political figure who never claimed to be or do anything supernatural, to that of Jesus of Nazareth, a Hebrew who declared himself the son of Jehova, not only in an age where mankind was prone to believing in hundreds of nonexistent dieties, but at a time when most of the followers of his own Jewish faith didn't even believe him and contributed to his death

lol no

You'd probably should have gone the road of convincing athiests of the possibility of Jesus rising from the dead. You know, with the supposed short amount of time that passed between his death and emergence of the documents that would eventually could to make up the New Testament.

The "copious documentary evidence" only proves the creativity of Hebrews in reconciling their Hebrew existence with the actions of a fabricated god. It's sort of like admiring the talent of a skilled worldbuilding fantasy author.

Besides, anyone who rules out the idea of a god creating the universe just because he's only able to conceptualize that god as the Christian one is retarded.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick November 27, 2012 2:16 PM  

Copious documentary evidence would be good.

What three major, ancient, historical events have "copious documentary evidence" in comparison to the New Testament record of the life and story of Jesus of Nazareth (better records, more witnesses, etc.) which you do accept without photos and DNA?


And the complete destruction of a position award goes to Jartstar today with his complete dismantling of Tard's position.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 2:17 PM  

All the evidence suggests it's highly likely.

Then you must also, by your own logic, belief in God and Jesus Christ.

All the evidence suggests it's highly likely.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:17 PM  

It would take an extraordinary idiot to rely on DNA and photo evidence to engender a belief in history.

But...I've got a Pokemon card signed by Marie Antoinette if you are still interested, Tad.

Anonymous Anonymous November 27, 2012 2:18 PM  

In order to appeal to evidence, the concept of evidence itself (requires truth), the ability to reason, the ability to know things, etc. rest on a whole bunch of presuppositions that do not exist if atheism is true. The unbeliever's reasoning can be challenged in order to show him that he's relying on these presuppositions (that in theory do not exist in his neat little materialistic universe), and to attempt to destroy his imaginary yet smug autonomy. I think that's what Hovind was trying to do, but not very clearly or simply.

TK

Anonymous Porky? November 27, 2012 2:20 PM  

Young man, unfortunately your parents have lied to you. Your mommy and daddy may have told you that you are simply the product of a big bang explosion that made a big hot universe filled with gigantic fireballs with huge balls of molten rock spinning around them and one of these balls of molten rock by some lucky accident produced you. I don't know why your mommy and daddy would tell you a silly fairytale like that and expect you to believe it. Did your daddy also tell you that God is just your brain talking to yourself? I hate to be the one to break it to you but your daddy just made that one up too.

I'm sure your mommy and daddy love you very much. But some parents just aren't very smart and believe in weird things. It doesn't mean they are bad. It just means they are kind of gullible.

But you seem pretty smart. You don't believe that molten rock just accidentally turns into people, right? Good. You are already smarter than your mommy and daddy. Now go ask your mommy and daddy why they think you are a meaningless accident.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:20 PM  

I acknowledge the existence of deities....in the minds of humans.

Wow. So you've got photos and DNA of gods in your brain? Or does your brain not house gods? If not why not?

Please post the photos of your mind. I'm so glad you finally solved this issue with such great tangible evidence.

Anonymous Anonymaus November 27, 2012 2:21 PM  

Vox, you seem to  be arguing for the historicity of Jesus, not the existence of God, that Jesus was God or that he was even a miracle worker.   I think your George Washington Cherry Tree example cuts both ways, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the event occurred, just like there are plenty of reasons to doubt the fantastic claims in the Gospels and Acts. 

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:28 PM  

TK
I think that's what Hovind was trying to do, but not very clearly or simply.

Too tricky and Hovind sucked at it. He should have just gone Edward G. Robinson on the little kid. "You hear voices in your head, kid? That's a big problem, see? Have you been to the hospital? Are the voices telling you to do anything bad? Does the voice sound like your Uncle Ernie? Where's your science messiah, now, oh damaged little boy? Why do your parents hate you? I mean, obviously only a poorly educated kid or a completely brain damaged adult would be so fully unaware of the copious historical material evidence for God and His Word."

My only guess is that, out of compassion, he fought the instinct to lay waste to the child, who was obviously set up by his proud parents.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 2:29 PM  

List the reasons, anonymous

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:30 PM  

Vox, you seem to be arguing for the historicity of Jesus, not the existence of God, that Jesus was God or that he was even a miracle worker. I think your George Washington Cherry Tree example cuts both ways, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the event occurred, just like there are plenty of reasons to doubt the fantastic claims in the Gospels and Acts.

Anonymaus, read it again. He was using the fake cherry tree story as a misleading argument against the existence of a historical Washington.

Anonymous Unwrap November 27, 2012 2:31 PM  

Walk through the quiz at proofthatgodexists.org and report back.

Hovind's conclusion ('without God you can't know anything') is based on the irrefutable presuppositional argument ('the proof that God exists is the impossibility of the contrary'). Only the God of the Bible bridges the gap of the problem of induction. The atheist enjoys assuming uniformity of nature, mathematics, logic, but cannot account for it in his own worldview. (Let's hear the atheists go on and on about their relative moralism too!) Even the atheist has to rely on God to claim God doesn't exist.

Search Youtube for the debates and lectures of Greg Bahnsen (PhD - Philosophy) for more background.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:37 PM  

You don't know enough theology to argue this subject. If you did, you would know that it is not belief in, but worship of and submission to God that saves. For even the demons believe.

Do you even understand what you're saying? You just called my bet and raised it by infinity. If belief is the first sacrifice, obedience and submission is going to be that much more. Which is why extraordinary evidence is needed, who is going to sacrifice everything for nothing?

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:37 PM  

Maybe it needs to be put in a way that these people might understand:

Just because the story about Richard Gere using his colon as a makeshift habitrail system for a gerbil is an urban legend does not mean gerbils and Richard Gere don't exist, no matter how much we all wish both were true.

Or, as Galileo said, as surely as he said, "E pur si muove":

"Gere esiste."

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:40 PM  

@josh it is not belief in, but worship of and submission to God that saves.

Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 2:41 PM  

I acknowledge the existence of deities....in the minds of humans.

So too do I acknowledge the existence of your wit. You cannot demonstrate it, but you are convinced of its existence. I give the proposition exactly as much credence as you do the subject at hand.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:42 PM  

You just called my bet and raised it by infinity.

Yep, kid. He did precisely that. So, what, you folding?

Blogger Markku November 27, 2012 2:42 PM  

"What is your evidence for God?"

Some of you seem to not realize that it isn't even Vox's intent to argue for God. He is simply answering the question "What is your evidence for God?" in a direct and straightforward way. Tactically, the reason is that the answer sounds so outrageous to the atheist that he is almost certain to make preposterous further claims in his sudden burst of emotion. Then you just deal with them and make him look silly.

Anonymous Elmer Fudge (friend of Sexual Chocolate) November 27, 2012 2:44 PM  

The absurdity of this, is that an adult is debating a child on the subject of ontology. I would never put myself in this situation. The child is no more than twelve years old. He is not suitable for this type of discussion.

The age of impressionability is up to twelve years of age. Why I and others were not confirmed in the Lutheran Church until at least age 13. I know of only one person in all human history that was suitably qualified to debate adults at the age of twelve, and no since. No one ever will.

At this age, this kid is only a parrot of some other adult. It would not be fair to use a surrogate as the source of your cruelty lesson. If for whatever reason a kid of that age came to me to interrogate me on such an occasion, I would first fire back, "Who told you to ask that question of me?" I would then demand that he present such source, and I will gladly debate that person in such appropriate adult manner.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:44 PM  

Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?

I do. Plenty. Not the point. You want photos of a historic figure from before the advent of the camera and DNA of a non-terrestrial entity.

I have the feeling that extraordinary is a word whose irony is completely lost on you, poor devil.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:45 PM  

@Daniel Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?

I do. Plenty.


No you don't.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:46 PM  

Yep, kid. He did precisely that. So, what, you folding?

I'm holding on to my cards for now, the game won't be decided until we're dead, if it ever is.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 2:47 PM  

I do. Plenty.

No you don't.


What is your evidence for the non-existence of his evidence?

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:47 PM  

God's got his gerbil up Daniel's ass, he's a true believer.

Anonymous Anonymous November 27, 2012 2:49 PM  

@ Vandelay,

I think you are missing something. the bible is clear on how to approach such arguments, or fools.

Proverbs 26: 4-5.

--4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

--5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

What i got from the first few seconds of the video (his tone of voice) was that kid was not trying to seek understanding, but picking an intellectual fight, which is why i believe Vox is correct.

that kid needed his intellectual @ss kicked, less YOU look like a fool. . .and he be wise in his own conceit.

Christians should be armed to the teeth with knowledge and wisdom. when a Christian is properly equipped, the simplest of statements will stop your attacker.

i have a friend who is a lesbian and is obvious not a believer. she got a [useless] degree in religion. she knows full well that i'm Christian. still friends, though. she argued that the god of the Muslims is the same as the god of the Christians. i said they were not, she said then prove it. i replied did Allah have a son? silence. she attacked again with the various truths argument. . . i replied what Jesus had said about him being the way the truth and the light, and that he was the only way. she said well that's just your truth. i then used [shamed to admit it, but it silenced her] a line out of a rap song by Lecrae that stuck with me. i said if what's true for you is true for you, and what's true for me is true for me. what happens when my truth says that your truth is a lie?. . .is it still true?" silence. my hope is that one day she'll repent.

anyways, you gotta go in armed and recognize the nature of the question.

Vox is right. that kid needed to be crushed. making a roman example out of him would have caused him to crawl back to his internet search engine and look for more complex questions, and those present would have respected you and possibly been won over. the Apostle Paul was very skilled at this.

Jesus was the best example. He showed no mercy when dealing with the scribes, pharisees, and the lawyers. but those who came to him in humility, He dealt with them sincerely.

Both of them, spoke with authority...and they could back it up with scripture or even a worldly anecdote.


frenchy

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 2:51 PM  

The Eruption of Vesuvius. The sudden Mayan exodus. The Battle of Carthage.

Fair enough, you accept that the events took place.

Do you accept the accounts of the first (2 eye witnesses) and the third (one eye witness I believe) as true? The Mayan exodus obviously had none.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 2:51 PM  

...who is going to sacrifice everything for nothing?

Yes, I agree. You should not accept the alleged parachute before being thrust unwilling out of the aeroplane. It probably is just a large pack of kitchen utensils, after all.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:51 PM  

Walk through the quiz at proofthatgodexists.org and report back.

Hovind's conclusion ('without God you can't know anything') is based on the irrefutable presuppositional argument ('the proof that God exists is the impossibility of the contrary'). Only the God of the Bible bridges the gap of the problem of induction. The atheist enjoys assuming uniformity of nature, mathematics, logic, but cannot account for it in his own worldview. (Let's hear the atheists go on and on about their relative moralism too!) Even the atheist has to rely on God to claim God doesn't exist.

Search Youtube for the debates and lectures of Greg Bahnsen (PhD - Philosophy) for more background.


Believers on sites like this are so smarter-than-thou and full of righteous truth. And when you finally get them to come around to presenting their evidence it comes to this. Something on youtube!

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 2:51 PM  

No you don't.

Having firmly established that you are both voliscient and a psychic photographer, it is quite apparent that you've got a few extraordinary claims hanging like skeletons in your own closet, Taddy.

I almost expect a fairy to pop out next.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:54 PM  

Yes, I agree. You should not accept the alleged parachute before being thrust unwilling out of the aeroplane. It probably is just a large pack of kitchen utensils, after all.

Being unwilling is your problem. That problem is asking to be resolved, and you're hoping some magic guy up in the sky is going to solve it for you. There is no parachute, only the promise of one, from other people.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 2:54 PM  

@Daniel

I await your evidence that worship and submission to God saves.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 2:56 PM  

Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?

Historical, documentary, testimonial.

What evidence do you have that it doesn't?

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 2:56 PM  

There is no evidence for immortality, but plenty against it. What kind of universe would bear the immortal existence of creatures like Daniel, or even Vox?

Anonymous VD November 27, 2012 2:57 PM  

LOL, there's not a shred of evidence anywhere in your post. By this logic the Loch Ness monster exists.

You don't know what evidence is, and yet you want to make an argument proven to be illogical concerning an extraordinary version of something you can't correctly identify?

And then atheists get offended when I simply point out they are irrational....

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 2:59 PM  

Tad, what was your evidence that Shakespeare exists?

Anonymous Samson J. November 27, 2012 3:00 PM  

The evidence for Christianity is threefold:

1) Historical evidence. This includes evidence for the reliability of the biblical account, as Vox mentions in the OP. I used to find this the most compelling form of evidence when I was a new Christian, but not anymore.

2) Philosophical evidence: complex philosophical arguments about why God "must" exist, etc. Some of these are convincing, but they can be hard to understand.

3) Behavioural evidence. In short, human beings behave *exactly* the way they should if the Christian God - if sin! - is real. To me this is the most compelling form of evidence for Christianity. No other worldview makes sense of the wickedness and hopelessness of humanity.

Anonymous Josh November 27, 2012 3:00 PM  

And then atheists get offended when I simply point out they are irrational....

Yeah, well, what's your evidence that they're irrational? Who's smart now?

Anonymous Porky? November 27, 2012 3:00 PM  

that kid needed his intellectual @ss kicked

Especially because daddy was in the audience.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 3:01 PM  

You don't know what evidence is

What kind of evidence are you talking about? There is "evidence" of ghosts and psychics, meaning testimonial evidence. There is testimonial evidence that the thigh master works wonders on old women. That doesn't mean I'm going to take it at face value.

Anonymous hitchens! November 27, 2012 3:03 PM  

I mean, we've gone from a standard of evidence - proof, that people once hoped to discover about God to mere testimonial evidence. That in itself tells you something about the likelihood of the truth of the claim.

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 3:03 PM  

Tactically, the reason is that the answer sounds so outrageous to the atheist that he is almost certain to make preposterous further claims in his sudden burst of emotion.


To be successful, that tactic requires intelligent third party observers. I'm not sure it's wise to rely on that kind of gallery, when it's clear that most will find the answer as laughable as the interlocutor.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 3:04 PM  

I: Yes, I agree. You should not accept the alleged parachute before being thrust unwilling out of the aeroplane. It probably is just a large pack of kitchen utensils, after all.

Fungible skeptic: Being unwilling is your problem. That problem is asking to be resolved, and you're hoping some magic guy up in the sky is going to solve it for you. There is no parachute, only the promise of one, from other people.


You have an incredible grasp of metaphor. Clearly, you are well equipped to discuss higher-order concepts. I await breathlessly your next insight.

Anonymous Freddy November 27, 2012 3:05 PM  

Again, Vox allows the interlocuter, the anti-Theist, to assume his autonomy is normative for rational discourse. He will not agree upon said facts.So, given the anti-Theistic worldview regrding epistemic norms, in principle he could know nothing. He's a pathetic epistemic leech, sponging off the Christian worldview what his materialism cannot account for. His story cannot account for counting. His meta story regarding knowing is sound in fury signifying nothing.

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 3:09 PM  

I think you are missing something. the bible is clear on how to approach such arguments, or fools.

Proverbs 26: 4-5.

--4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

--5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

What i got from the first few seconds of the video (his tone of voice) was that kid was not trying to seek understanding, but picking an intellectual fight, which is why i believe Vox is correct.


I think his intent is ambiguous, though I wouldn't be too surprised if he was put up to it by a parent or teacher. But he's still a child, and children, though foolish, are not necessarily the type of fools referred to in the Proverb. If we're talking about engaging in the broader debate, then humiliating children is probably not the most intelligent tactic.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 3:09 PM  

@Josh Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?

Historical, documentary, testimonial.


Where can I find the historical, documentary and testimonial evidence that worship and submission to God saves? And by the way, are we talking about the same thing when we reference "saves". Please explain what you mean.

Anonymous willneverpostagain November 27, 2012 3:10 PM  

Tad,

You say DNA evidence would be good.

Well, we have DNA don't we? Isn't that a good evidence of God?

Do you know the mathematical probability of all those amino acids forming that complex molecule by chance is something like 1 in 10 to the 40000th power?

Life must have a designer. He revealed Himself. His name is "I am that I am".

Anonymous Rip November 27, 2012 3:11 PM  

To those claiming that there is no evidence, you seem to be confusing "evidence" with "proof". Yes, there is evidence of the existence of a creator. Unfortunately, there is no proof. Said evidence consists mostly of humans' interpretations of events throughout the course of human existence. In some cases, those events were passed down through centuries of oral tradition before they were written. In others, they were written and passed along. How much of the original events are recorded correctly? Well, that's where faith comes in. This is why I tend not to get into these types of discussions anymore because, ultimately, neither "side" is going to prove its case and, just as you see on here, both often resort to antagonism and the like.

To paraphrase a quote I read once: "Atheists believe that such a vast, complex and amazingly structured universe ultimately came from nothing. Christians believe a wizard did it."

Blogger Beefy Levinson November 27, 2012 3:12 PM  

Atheist: Beefy, you're smarter than the average bear. How can you believe in Jesus and miracles and all that folderol?

Me: Because there is evidence for them.

Anonymous Rollory November 27, 2012 3:12 PM  

@JartStar (and Vox)
">Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, etc.

Please provide your logical proof and/or evidence that this statement is true."

http://oyhus.no/AbsenceOfEvidence.html

Absence of Evidence
is
Evidence of Absence

A proof done with conditional probability.

Definition 1: A is evidence of B. P(B|A) > P(B|`A)
Definition 2: absence of evidence a = `A
Definition 3: absence b = `B

P(B|A) > P(B|`A)
1-P(`B|A) > 1-P(`B|`A)
P(`B|A) < P(`B|`A)
P(`B|`A) > P(`B|``A)
P(b|a) > P(b|`a)

Q.E.D.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:12 PM  

Freddy, he does it for the same reason one might when firing bottle rockets tied to a cat's tail. It is a form of excitement for everyone involved...but that doesn't mean the cat likes it.

Blogger Markku November 27, 2012 3:14 PM  

To be successful, that tactic requires intelligent third party observers. I'm not sure it's wise to rely on that kind of gallery, when it's clear that most will find the answer as laughable as the interlocutor.

It is really a beginning move. It assumes that the opponent will react in a stupid way, allowing a crushing response. But of course there is a chance that the opponent reacts intelligently, like deadpans "Really? That's interesting. May we hear about this evidence?"

Then you would actually have to do some hard work. But the probability of a moronic response seems to be so big, that it is worth taking. Even a stupid audience will recognize how you dominate the opponent, if he puts himself in a weak position.

Anonymous Rollory November 27, 2012 3:15 PM  

Admittedly, "less evidence" and "extraordinary" aren't quite the same thing. But as a more general rule, we can postulate that common things are more likely than uncommon things, and therefore that the claim that an uncommon thing has occurred is, all other things being equal, less likely to be true than the claim that a common thing has occurred. When one thing is less likely to be true than another, it requires more evidence to support it.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:15 PM  

Rollory, that's not extraordinary. That's ordinary.

Try again.

No one is claiming that absence of evidence requires evidence.

Pardon me, Watson, but I don't think we need to call Sherlock in on that one.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:17 PM  

Correction: No one is claiming that absence of evidence doesn't require evidence to prove it. (Other than maybe Tad. But he thinks he can take polaroids of his own brain and see Vishnu...so...)

Anonymous Proky. November 27, 2012 3:17 PM  

hitchens!: I mean, we've gone from a standard of evidence - proof, that people once hoped to discover about God to mere testimonial evidence. That in itself tells you something about the likelihood of the truth of the claim.

No. It actually doesn't.

Note: even though Vox puts the "Alexander the Great" argument in the original post , the idiots are still not be able to see it.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat November 27, 2012 3:19 PM  

Vox, you seem to be arguing for the historicity of Jesus, not the existence of God, that Jesus was God or that he was even a miracle worker. I think your George Washington Cherry Tree example cuts both ways, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the event occurred, just like there are plenty of reasons to doubt the fantastic claims in the Gospels and Acts.

Why are there plenty of reasons to doubt the Gospels and Acts?

I keep hearing this assertion made naked and bare, as if it sprang perfectly from Zeus' forehead. Doesn't make it any more true.

We can trace the Gospels and Acts back to the late first century AD with little dispute, and there's circumstantial evidence that pushes it back even further (especially if you believe the Q stories).[*]

Moreover, Luke clearly is writing a history. Every time Luke and modern history has disagreed, Luke wins. There is no Pontius Pilate; oops, found him. There's no Lysanias, oops found him too. We are supposed to believe that the most accurate historian of antiquity described cities, titles, and the most minute of historical data accurately, and then made up fantastic details of other events out of the whole cloth.

Talk about an extraordinary claim!

So put up or shut up. Why is the Gospel of Luke and Acts untrustworthy?

[*] If you want to believe that Revelation is about the sacking of Jerusalem, that forces Revelation to be written pre-70. It is the most aggressive of the New Testament at identifying Jesus as God. For Revelation to make any sense, the other Gospels were either written by the time of Revelation, or they are in substantial agreement with what was believed with Revelation was written.

[For the record, I believe that Revelation dates to AD 90ish, but that's just me.

Anonymous Anonymaus November 27, 2012 3:24 PM  

Kentucky Packrat; no one said Luke was the one that made up the fantasic events in his Gospel or in Acts.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:25 PM  

Alexander the Great did not exist, of course, Proky.

After all, if he was a student of Aristotle's how can you conceive that Aristotle's writings never mention him?

See? That's some extraordinary evidence right there, proving the extraordinary claim that Alexander the Great didn't exist!

Or is the extraordinary claim that he did exist? I always get so confused. I need to go find my extraordometer to be sure...

Anonymous Rollory November 27, 2012 3:31 PM  

@Daniel, you're right, what I posted isn't quite applicable to the question. How about this:

Claim: A spaceship fell out of the sky into my back yard.
Evidence: I have this rock, that got thrown out of the impact crater.

Claim: A dog ran through my back yard.
Evidence: I have this rock, that he kicked up as he turned to chase a squirrel.

The evidence in both cases is the same. Is one claim more believable than the other, or are they equally credible? Both are POSSIBLE. In both cases, the evidence presented is completely in line with the claim being made.

If human beings tended to make claims about uncommon events no more frequently than the uncommon events actually happen, then it would be reasonable to take those claims at equal face value compared to claims about common events. But we don't. In fact there are lots of reasons why people might (not necessarily do, but might) make claims about uncommon events far out of proportion to their actual rate of occurrence. Without knowing exactly how exaggerated the frequency is, we need some other method of judging reliability. As uncommon events are inherently less likely to happen than common ones, but claims about them are NOT necessarily equally less likely, more extensive evidence is needed to balance out the lower inherent probability.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:32 PM  

I'm beginning to suspect that Vox is actually J. F. Sebastian and the little atheists going through the motions are just his friendly little automatons. Which one of you is the bear and which one has the funny nose and the German helmet?

Walk into a door again. That part always cracks me up.

Anonymous Stilicho November 27, 2012 3:34 PM  

it requires more evidence to support it

You've gone from extraordinary evidence to extraordinary amounts of evidence. Further, you are simply conflating the probability of an event happening with the validity of evidence that it happened.

I have yet to see an atheist argument that doesn't reduce to disputing the quality of the evidence. Much like I have yet to see an abortionist argument that does not reduce to claiming that the quality of life of the mother outweighs the quality of the life of the unborn child.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 3:35 PM  

Rollory,

You are confusing the issue badly.

So-called extraordinary claim:

A spaceship fell out of the sky into my back yard.


Evidence:

Crater, wrecked spaceship, eyewitness reports.

None of the evidence required is magically extraordinary.

It is ordinary evidence.

Ordinary evidence: documentation, witnesses, testimony. That's all any claim ever demands.

The fact that you can present a piece of evidence in favor of two different events does not place special demands on one event that does not exist for the other.

Blogger Markku November 27, 2012 3:38 PM  

Claim: A spaceship fell out of the sky into my back yard.
Evidence: I have this rock, that got thrown out of the impact crater.

Claim: A dog ran through my back yard.
Evidence: I have this rock, that he kicked up as he turned to chase a squirrel.


Both are of the same value as evidence. You simply don't care about claim 2. But let's make it your wife saying "I have this rock, that a dog kicked up as he turned to chase a squirrel, so I couldn't have been at Dick's house, cheating you since I was obviously at our back yard".

Suddenly you'd care, and you'd also notice that the evidence is tremendously weak. But is it an extraordinary claim that your wife hasn't cheated on you?

Anonymous Starbuck November 27, 2012 3:42 PM  

First things first. Destroy the interlocutor. Answer every question directly, on his terms, and then go after the vulnerabilities they reveal with a flamethrower. Only then, when you are standing upon whatever quivering ashes remain, can you explicate further if you wish.-VD

Yeah.. My "debating" skills aren't so good. I always tended to look like a fool when trying to debate someone. EVEN of less intelligence. I do not articulate what is in my head very well. I tend to be far ahead of myself and usually end up stammering away like an idiot when I have to try to reel my train of thought back. I also don't train people at work very well..

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 3:42 PM  

The evidence in both cases is the same. Is one claim more believable than the other, or are they equally credible? Both are POSSIBLE. In both cases, the evidence presented is completely in line with the claim being made.

Of course the latter case is more believeable, but not for anything to do with the evidence presented, just because dogs run through backyards much more often than spaceships crash in them. The evidence is equally admissible, or unadmissible, in both cases.
You're just saying that common things are more common than uncommon things. You aren't making any kind of argument with respect to evidence.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat November 27, 2012 3:43 PM  

Kentucky Packrat; no one said Luke was the one that made up the fantasic events in his Gospel or in Acts.

Luke 1, the Message:

So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.

Much of Acts includes statements of "we", clearly including the author as an eyewitness.

Sorry, no goalpost moving. Luke asserts that what he's writing is true. In every matter of historical verification, Luke has proven accurate to a fault.

You may not want to believe that Luke is evidence, but he is. To argue otherwise is intellectual dishonesty.

Anonymous Kickass November 27, 2012 3:44 PM  

Vox, you did your Voxiversity. Would you be willing to make little Voxbots of us and teach us how to do this? Goodness, it is one thing to have a desire, it is another to learn the skill and hone it with deadly accuracy at the feet of a master.

Your advice goes against everything we are taught about defending the faith and yet, it would work.

Anonymous Rollory November 27, 2012 3:46 PM  

Stilicho says "I have yet to see an atheist argument that doesn't reduce to disputing the quality of the evidence."

but meanwhile Daniel finds my eyewitness testimonial report insufficient ...

I absolutely agree that the crater etc. would be sufficient evidence to convince. The point is that, for whatever reason, you aren't able to examine the crater directly. No more so than I can personally observe the sun going dark at the hour of the resurrection. Seeing the sun going dark myself would be sufficient evidence. Seeing letters from non-Christian Romans across the empire remarking to each other about that really odd occurrence last week or last month would be strongly suggestive evidence. Instead I am expected to believe testimony vetted through a single source (the early Catholic church), without any other supporting evidence.

You're right, I don't expect extraordinary evidence, I just expect sufficient evidence - something just a little bit beyond "because I told you so" - and it's not there.

Anonymous Rollory November 27, 2012 3:47 PM  

"You're just saying that common things are more common than uncommon things. You aren't making any kind of argument with respect to evidence."

Sure I am. In order to believe that a spaceship crashed, you'd want a bit more than just someone saying "Take my word for it".

Blogger JohnG November 27, 2012 3:50 PM  

Bah. I hate it when Christians are put in a position like this - it's very easy to pounce on a person not prepared for an ambush and make them look foolish. Maybe the guy shouldn't have put himself in a position where he could be made look foolish ...some debate prep and committing good points to memory. D'Souza is very good, but he's been at it a while.

As to crushing somebody, a gent in the office was talking politics and suggesting we really couldn't - it was impossible! - deport millions of illegals, to which I said "really? Hitler did it just fine with 1930s rail technology" which reduced him to bluster. Thanks Vox!

Anonymous Athor Pel November 27, 2012 3:56 PM  

For those that seek truth or at least want to see how another atheist fared when he set out to disprove the historical validity of Jesus, please try to read through the following book.

There are various versions of it. I found a downloadable pdf of it. From looking at it, it looks like it was scanned and OCR software used on it; it has lots of OCR misspelling artifacts.

Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict


Here's the Amazon page so you can get a hardcopy.

Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 4:04 PM  

Can skeptics produce plausible explanations for why so much false documentary evidence of God exists if He does not?

Which which body of evidence are you talking about? Evidence for the existence of some gods is evidence against the existence of others.

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 4:07 PM  

Sure I am. In order to believe that a spaceship crashed, you'd want a bit more than just someone saying "Take my word for it".

As I would wrt the dog in the backyard, if there were any stakes attached to that belief. The only reason I might accept that the rock was flung by a dog running through a backyard is because it doesn't matter to me, and neither would any supposed "evidence" that you have to present. But if, as Markku explained above, there was suddenly something at stake in the matter, that would instantly change.

It's not as if shitty evidence is enough to prove a worthless claim and big claims require vast amounts of flawless evidence, it's that once anyone actually cares about a claim, that's when people also start to care about the evidence.

We can, as an exercise, apply the same rules to bad evidence for small claims as we do to bad evidence for big claims, and we'd be equally justified in rejecting the evidence, and possibly also the claim. The same goes for good evidence.

Blogger Markku November 27, 2012 4:08 PM  

Which which body of evidence are you talking about? Evidence for the existence of some gods is evidence against the existence of others.

"Evidence for a god" means, in practice, "evidence for a god, or a being that pretends to be that god". This fits Christianity, and undoubtedly some other religions, but it doesn't fit atheism.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 4:11 PM  

RollorySure I am. In order to believe that a spaceship crashed, you'd want a bit more than just someone saying "Take my word for it".

Of course, but no one is saying that. The evidence is in heaps, and yet you are the one wearing bias on the sleeve. You only want testimony from a narrow band of historic illiterates who didn't happen to write anything regarding issues that did not concern them! (Why else a demand for the diaries of "non-Christian Romans?")

That's horrid history, right there. The level of historical illiteracy among atheist has just got to be through the roof.

True historical study accepts the existing testimonies without pre-determined bias. After all, archaeologists would know almost nothing about thousands of buried ruins if they, like you, disregarded the testimony of people based on their religion alone.

You aren't asking for extraordinary evidence. You are asking for non-existent evidence. After all, the vast majority of evidence of Washington's existence comes from people who cared about what he was doing. Do you really think better evidence would come from those who were apathetic toward him, or, better yet, did not believe in him?

Again, your demands are preposterous on the face of them, and wouldn't make it through basic research training.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus November 27, 2012 4:13 PM  

" No more so than I can personally observe the sun going dark at the hour of the resurrection. Seeing the sun going dark myself would be sufficient evidence. Seeing letters from non-Christian Romans across the empire remarking to each other about that really odd occurrence last week or last month would be strongly suggestive evidence."

You mean like, say Sextus Africanus referencing Thallus and Phlegon taking about a full eclipse of the Sun from the 6th hour through the 9th hour of the day once during the reign of Tiberius...near the time of the Full Moon? (note for astronomically challenged...that should not be possible normally)

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 4:20 PM  

"Evidence for a god" means, in practice, "evidence for a god, or a being that pretends to be that god". This fits Christianity, and undoubtedly some other religions, but it doesn't fit atheism.

The existence of some gods is mutually exclusive with that of others. Evidence for the Muslim god contradicts that for all non Christian/Jewish gods, and vice-versa. So I ask again: which pieces evidence are the theists presenting? You can't present them all.

Anonymous Outlaw X November 27, 2012 4:20 PM  

Why I believe in GOD:

In 50 years of life I have seen enough and with pattern recognition and a physics major, see that the own rules of the universe deny its very existence. Not to mention the miracles I have seen. I am not one to believe that God makes your breakfast you got to do your part.

I also realized that organized churches have their place where people come together and help one another. If you are not in a church where the priest or pasture does not bring people together and will drop everything to help a fellow church goer when they are in need, change your church or your parish.

Blogger James Dixon November 27, 2012 4:21 PM  

> Absence of Evidence ... is ... Evidence of Absence

Uhm, no. That is simply not the case.

If it were, the over 1300 species discovered over the past 20 years wouldn't exist (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2155441/Scientists-unveil-20-new-species--blue-scorpion-tarantula-size-hand-got-knowing.html). After all, there was no evidence for them.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 4:21 PM  

Come on Darth. That's only "strongly suggestive evidence." I'm sure there's just some extraordinary evidence waiting in the wings to debunk the whole affair.

Because, see, that's what atheists really mean when they get pinned to the mat and start whining about "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence."

What they really mean is: That claim is so extraordinary that I'm going to wait until someone more diligent than I can prove it wrong with a magical bullet.

They aren't really asking for any more evidence is there, because they already have enough evidence to hate the truth.

This is the origin of word-mangling (and the inspiration of dictionary wars: ie the person who has his head on straight refers to dictionary definitions, the person who is wrong mocks them for using the dictionary, then changes the definition of dictionary): if atheists simply used defined terms, they'd choke on the obvious, and God would chuckle not a little bit.

Anonymous Stilicho November 27, 2012 4:23 PM  

You're right, I don't expect extraordinary evidence, I just expect sufficient evidence - something just a little bit beyond "because I told you so" - and it's not there.

Hey, at least you admit the existence of the evidence. You are simply not convinced by the evidence you've seen.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 4:28 PM  

Uhm, no. That is simply not the case.

Not to get off on a tangent, James, but you misunderstand the claim. Before the evidence was discovered, its absence was, at base, evidence in favor of such creature's non-existence. For example, it is evidence (weak, at that, but evidence nonetheless) that living unicorns do not exist because a living unicorn has not been recorded or witnessed (to my knowledge) this year. The absence of evidence does support (again, weakly - it obviously needs other evidence to support the claim more adequately) the claim that a living unicorn does not exist.

As soon as a fresh horn is discovered, however, and suddenly, you've got new evidence.

That little formula Rollory brought up is only saying that "until evidence comes forward, the lack of evidence for something leaves the door open that that something doesn't exist."

It has nothing to do, however, with "extraordinary claims" or "extraordinary evidence."

Frankly, I don't know why he brought it up unless he was confused or trying to distract from the playground level of idiocy behind the "ex claims/ex evidence" wishful thinking of the blind atheist.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat November 27, 2012 4:30 PM  

"X should have been documented! There should be a lot of people writing about this."

Modern people are spoiled by an overabundance of paper. If I had a time machine, I could take a pallet of cheap printer paper back to Rome and make enough silver and gold to retire a king here and now.

A lot of people didn't write; writing was a specialist skill (look at Paul's comment about his large, poor handwriting in one letter). Most writing that occurred was on cloth scraps or leftover scraps. Parchment or papyrus was expensive, and often recycled. A published book was the arena of the very rich and very powerful, and even then we probably have 0.001% or less of the published material of the Roman era.

Jesus was a poor Jew in the "back country" of the back country. He was country trash's country trash. It's mostly chance that we have Josephus (Antiquities is the ultimate resume pad for Titus). Without Josephus, the Bible would be the only record of Roman Temple-era Judea we would have.

It shouldn't be surprising that our best evidence of Christian history are the Christians themselves; they were the only ones investing the resources to care. The miracle is that we have any evidence pointing out the existence of Christianity in the first and second century AD, much less the relative wealth of information we do have.

Blogger Markku November 27, 2012 4:30 PM  

The existence of some gods is mutually exclusive with that of others.

As I just said, it is usually evidence for a god, or a being that pretends to be that god. Let's say a Muslim sees a vision of Allah, and the vision also leaves some concrete impact behind. Like markings on the Muslim's body. Not a problem for Christianity - it was actually a demon. The Bible already says that demons often go in disguise. But it is a problem for atheism, because it doesn't have any being that could have left that impact.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 27, 2012 4:36 PM  

Well, we have DNA don't we? Isn't that a good evidence of God?

Do you know the mathematical probability of all those amino acids forming that complex molecule by chance is something like 1 in 10 to the 40000th power?


Anyone? Is anyone rooting for Vox going to come in and correct this embarrassing whopper of a stupid argument so it doesn't get repeated? Or is there just going to be more mutual high-fiving and vicious strawmanning of the opposition?

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 4:40 PM  

Anyone? Is anyone rooting for Vox going to come in and correct this embarrassing whopper of a stupid argument so it doesn't get repeated? Or is there just going to be more mutual high-fiving and vicious strawmanning of the opposition?

Why don't you?
It seems like the average common sense-based Intelligent Design argument. Is the math wrong? Is there a glaring fallacy that I'm missing, or a basic misunderstanding of biology?
Those are honest questions by the way.

Anonymous Move Zig November 27, 2012 4:43 PM  

I have had this experience with atheist on various political forums and was told after I stated that you can not prove there isn't one either, that you can not prove a negative. Wasn't sure to go from there until a couple weeks later when the thread was so old that it would take me hours to find the thread. But I thought t myself..What does that mean, anyway...can't prove a negative.
Aren't negative numbers proven all the time in math?
Anyways, I think it is a bit disingenuous for an atheist to say there is not enough or not any evidence(empirically speaking) for God when they fight tooth and nail against research for intelligent design.
Frankly I think they may be afraid of what they will discover.

Anonymous Outlaw X November 27, 2012 4:45 PM  

it was actually a demon. The Bible already says that demons often go in disguise. But it is a problem for atheism, because it doesn't have any being that could have left that impact.

The pagans who always end up in the sacrifice of children and virgins, see a snake eat its own tail. As Chesterton said it can never expand but the cross can go on forever in the vertical and horizontal. Most deniers of God look at the pagans and tell us of their miscreant behavior. Just another part of pattern recondition.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 4:46 PM  

Anyone? Is anyone rooting for Vox going to come in and correct this embarrassing whopper of a stupid argument so it doesn't get repeated?

And as he does this, perhaps he might also juggle fish while riding a unicycle and singing an aria for us. If we are going to make demands, do let's angle for the moon.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 4:49 PM  

As I just said, it is usually evidence for a god, or a being that pretends to be that god. Let's say a Muslim sees a vision of Allah, and the vision also leaves some concrete impact behind. Like markings on the Muslim's body. Not a problem for Christianity - it was actually a demon. The Bible already says that demons often go in disguise. But it is a problem for atheism, because it doesn't have any being that could have left that impact.

It's a problem for Hinduism, because evidence for Islam is evidence against Hinduism. Likewise, accounts of Pagan gods support the hypothesis that the Muslim god doesn't exist. The point is that the entirety of the evidence for god is self-contradictory. SOME of the evidence MUST be false. You can't just say "the historical record", you have reject some of it. For the third time: which evidence are you presenting, and which are you omitting?

Blogger vandelay November 27, 2012 4:57 PM  

"As I just said, it is usually evidence for a god, or a being that pretends to be that god."

This is a good point to toss out there when atheists bring up their predictable "One More God" mantra. From personal experience, it usually takes at least 4-5 minutes for them to even wrap their heads around it.
Though some of that might have to do with me, as an agnostic, arguing for the existence of god.
And to be fair, it usually confuses, if not enrages, Christians as well.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli November 27, 2012 4:58 PM  

All this talk about evidence, testimony, and historical documentation, and not one mention of penis enlargement pills. Shame on all of you.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 4:58 PM  

Hey, at least you admit the existence of the evidence. You are simply not convinced by the evidence you've seen.

It's nearly always an atheist evidence dance as others have pointed out which typically goes from "no evidence" to "needing extraordinary evidence" to "not enough good evidence". Sometimes you will end up with them agreeing the historical evidence can't be easily refuted and then here come the Cosmic Monkey requests that God should gratuitously perform miracles for their pleasure and others. And even if he sees miracles...

As has said Dostoevsky: "A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith."

Since the goal posts can always be moved the best course of action is to make their intellectual dishonesty be apparent for all to see.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 5:01 PM  

All this talk about evidence, testimony, and historical documentation, and not one mention of penis enlargement pills.

This is a topic of interest to you, I take it?

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 5:03 PM  

"Jesus was a poor Jew in the "back country" of the back country. He was country trash's country trash. It's mostly chance that we have Josephus (Antiquities is the ultimate resume pad for Titus). Without Josephus, the Bible would be the only record of Roman Temple-era Judea we would have. "

It's perplexing to me why God would choose for the setting of the most important sacrifice in the history of all of mankind to be in some " "back country" of the back country" where hardly anyone's literate, when he, with all of his capacity to see into the future, knew that there'd be a time in the future where more people could not only be able to write and read, but take HD photos with devices barely larger than their hands...hell, if he'd decided to have the messiah crucified in Germany in the 40's, then there would have been no reason for atheists and agnostics to doubt his existence.

I mean, it's perplexing unless you assert that God purposely wanted to make this all obscure and hard to believe in for the purpose of admitting people in heaven based on how willing they were to rely on the "eyewitness" facts of a bunch of dead scholars, given how mendacious and deceitful and prone to worshiping blatantly nonexistence gods humans are. Add to that the fact that we are also very aware of our own gullibility, and it confuses even more why God didn't choose a less clear method in not only sacrificing his son, but conveying a bunch of other ideas that are still hotly debated between different Christian sects to this day. You know, Jesus didn't really have to speak in a bunch of metaphors and allegories.


But...oh wait, inb4 "god's rule he does what he wants who r u to say wat god should have done".

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli November 27, 2012 5:05 PM  

@Loki
This is a topic of interest to you, I take it?

But there's so much testimonial evidence! You can add up to 4 inches, Ron Jeremy said so.

Ron. Effing. Jeremy.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 5:06 PM  

But...oh wait, inb4 "god's rule he does what he wants who r u to say wat god should have done".

There's nothing wrong with that. The actions of a hypothetical omnipotent super-being don't have to make much sense from a human perspective.

Blogger Bob November 27, 2012 5:08 PM  

The whole world and everything in it is evidence for God. The existence of anything you care to mention can be used as evidence for God.

Really? Perhaps to you. But you can only claim that on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty, so it's just your opinion.

It is equally possible for the whole world and everything in it to exist without needing any sort of God to create it.

That's an opinion also.

I've listened to this debate for over 70 years and have not inched a millimeter closer to certainty either way.

My conclusion is that there are only two possibliities when I drop dead:

-1) There will be nothing.
-2) There will be something.

If it's 1, then what could all this have possibily mattered? Only that those thieves and crooks who lived the good life on the backs of others enjoyed their single moment of existance more than I, and will never pay the piper... ever.

If it's 2, then I'll know. But there is no human on Earth that can say what that something will be.

So why constantly argue about it?





Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum November 27, 2012 5:09 PM  

In this post, VD has not provided any evidence for The Almighty. As a matter of fact, he has done a very poor job in that regard.

He has presented a very good case for the existence of a man by the name of Jesus walking about during the first third of the first century AD in the land area which is currently occupied by the modern state of Israel, a man who made the claim to be God, and was executed by the Roman state.

Whether or not that man actually IS a God, let alone the one and only God, is another matter entirely.

From a Devil's Advocate position VD has not presented a good argument for the existence of some All-Powerful deity. Just by stating "there is evidence..." doesn't make it true. In a court of law, VD would be laughed out by the judge.

I personally don't hold any animosity towards atheists. I used to be one of them. The evidence for the non-existence of God is very compelling, and the arguments that they bring to the table are interesting, moreso than what I've seen VD ever present.

For me, I admit very readily and freely that I take it on faith. I do not know what happens after I will die. I have read and heard about the experiences of others, but can I be 100% certain? Nope.

I believe that Jesus was who he said he was, God Almighty. If I am wrong, then I won't know it. I'll be worm-meat, rotting away in some wooden box six-feet deep. If I'm right, I'll know it. I've thrown my lot in with Jesus and his Church.

No matter what is said between believers and non-believers, sooner or later we'll find out the answer.

Anonymous Good Will November 27, 2012 5:10 PM  

Tad November 27, 2012 2:40 PM

@josh it is not belief in, but worship of and submission to God that saves.

Do you have any evidence that worship and submission to God saves?


The Bible (believed by many) and the Book of Mormon (believed by few) serve as "evidence" that "worship and submission to God saves" in the world to come.

But there is copious evidence that said "worship and submission to God saves" in this world, as well -- everywhere said worship and submission are demonstrated: From the preservation of physical life (due to adherence to divine laws and prohibitions) to scientific advancements, cultural, and political contributions made by those who follow God (and receive revelation and divine assistance from Him).

Surely God has "kept and preserved us (U.S.) a (Christian) nation" in times passed. HOwever, few of us now have any similar hope for the present (godless) generation.

I wager you'll will have sufficient corroborating evidence soon enough -- to lump together with all you have heretofore ignored and dismissed -- confirming that disbelief and refusal to submit to God's will certainly doesn't "save", in either the material or spiritual sense.

Anonymous Outlaw X November 27, 2012 5:13 PM  

It's perplexing to me why God would choose for the setting of the most important sacrifice in the history of all of mankind to be in some " "back country" of the back country" where hardly anyone's literate

And the Pharisees that crucified him. Were you waiting for a king to sit on the throne of a world he rejected in the temptation? Do some reading.

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 5:15 PM  

@Antonym

I would agree with you if it wasn't for the tragic fact that Christians only say that when presented with a scenario that can't be logically explained by their convoluted doctrine, which itself is an attempt to decorate the events of the Bible with rationalism.

God doesn't make sense and "acts in mysterious ways" only when an argument that points out the all too human fallacies in Christianity is brought up.

"Why did God only reveal himself to a group of illiterate desert sheep herders in the Bronze Age and ignore the rest of the world?"

"Uh, he's omnipotent and can do what he wants. He works mysteriously, and not all of his actions must be explained!"

"Why did God sacrifice himself in the form of his son in human form to appease himself?"

"Because Adam and Eve sinned and so all mankind are guilty and God got angry and needed a sacrifice blah blah blah...." There's at least a semblance of rationality in this response, as opposed to the one above it, because here, Christians can easily rationalize God's supposed actions with sweet-sounding theological conjecture.

Blogger Duke of Earl November 27, 2012 5:16 PM  

It's a problem for Hinduism, because evidence for Islam is evidence against Hinduism. Likewise, accounts of Pagan gods support the hypothesis that the Muslim god doesn't exist. The point is that the entirety of the evidence for god is self-contradictory. SOME of the evidence MUST be false. You can't just say "the historical record", you have reject some of it. For the third time: which evidence are you presenting, and which are you omitting?

You do realise that Hinduism could easily accommodate Jesus, or Allah? They have so many gods that a couple more wouldn't change much.

Likewise the Muslim accepts the existence of YHWH, although they call him Allah (actually Arab Christians also call God Allah, so it gets confusing when they're talking). They would even accept that the pagan gods were demons of a sort (there are a lot of jinns and demons in Islam).

Moreover, even the Bible talks about God judging the gods, so unless you're stuck on hard monotheism there is room for lesser created deities in Christianity.

The argument is between atheism (there is no god) and theism (there is a god) and any evidence for a god is evidence against atheism. It doesn't matter where the evidence comes from.

It's fairly obvious you don't know what you're talking about. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 5:18 PM  

You do realise that Hinduism could easily accommodate Jesus, or Allah? They have so many gods that a couple more wouldn't change much.

How many other gods can Allah accomodate?

Blogger Duke of Earl November 27, 2012 5:20 PM  

Those who claim that God should have sent Jesus to twentieth century America seem to forget that without Christianity there would not be a twentieth century America.

Blogger Duke of Earl November 27, 2012 5:21 PM  

How many other gods can Allah accomodate?

Ignorant, and poor reading comprehension. A dangerous combination.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 5:23 PM  

In a court of law, VD would be laughed out by the judge.

Nonsense. He gave as much evidence for the existence of God as he did for the existence of George Washington or Alexander the Great.

He wasn't making a case for God. He was making a case for what Hovind should have done with such an immature and scripted bit of idiocy from a child with terrible parents.

Tad's theories of brain-god photography are on trial, if anything, not the well documented millenia of evidence for God.

But honestly, the real question Tad brings up that we are all avoiding is "Did God give Himself DNA at the creation, or was it co-eternal as one of his naturally occurring traits?"

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 5:24 PM  

God doesn't make sense and "acts in mysterious ways" only when an argument that points out the all too human fallacies in Christianity is brought up.

Give your top three; the ones that you've found no Christian able to deal with in a satisfactory matter. Skip the rhetoric, insults, and go for structured objections.

Anonymous Susan November 27, 2012 5:24 PM  

Have a kid in tears? After all Vox, you are the reigning AWCA. Oh yes, you are.

Anonymous Other Josh November 27, 2012 5:27 PM  

The fool says in his heart "there is no God". - Psalm 14:1

Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.
- Proverbs 23:9

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. - Proverbs 26:4

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions. - Proverbs 18:2

Hitchens!. You, and your fellow atheists, are fools. Anyone who can look at the absolute beauty, wonder, and complexities of this universe and say "There is no God" is an absolute, unmitigated fool.

Even a child who finds a wrist watch on a beach isn't stupid enough to think "no one made this watch, it just came to be by happenstance". No, they understand someone created that watch first in their mind and then created it with their hands.

You look at the universe and think "No one made this, it just came to be". You're a fool, more ignorant than a child.

It's not my job, or anyone else's job to prove to you there is a God. You're a fool, so you don't listen to wisdom anyways.

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 5:29 PM  

"Those who claim that God should have sent Jesus to twentieth century America seem to forget that without Christianity there would not be a twentieth century America."

I like how you so blithely and idiotically (also a dangerous combination) sidestepped my point.

While I am only partially sure that the butterfly effect at play in the form of the absence of Jesus would not preclude the development of a civilization as advanced as ours, I know that it's pretty obvious that what I meant was that God did not have to have the messiah crucified in the the middle of nowhere where only a few people witnessed it in an age of little to no mass communication.

I'm sure that without Jesus, white people would have found some other exotic religion to appropriate and adapt to their own culture. They still would have conquered half of the world and developed advanced technology regardless of Jesus's existence...but that's all beside the point.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 5:33 PM  

How many other gods can Allah accomodate?

Since Islam accepts the notion of demons (jinn) and certainly one could convince a group of people to worship it as a god. I'm not a Muslim, but I'd venture to say they would classify the worship of many pagan gods as worship demons like Christians and Jews would.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 5:33 PM  

"Why did God only reveal himself to a group of illiterate desert sheep herders in the Bronze Age and ignore the rest of the world?"

Terrible question. One that God Himself has answered countless times (short answer from Him: Because I have a heart for the lost and forgotten, a trait in me that the atheist and elitist despises.)

Better question:

"How did the planet's dominant religion grow from 12 executed illiterate prisoners, when all other major religions were developed by members of their respective culture's dominant class?"

"Why did God sacrifice himself in the form of his son in human form to appease himself?"

Answer: He didn't.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 5:35 PM  

They would even accept that the pagan gods were demons of a sort (there are a lot of jinns and demons in Islam).

If you do that, you're effectively rejecting the Pagan evidence. A god is not the same thing as a demon or a spirit. And if you accept the Pagan accounts, you are effectively rejecting the Muslim ones, since their god claims to be the only one.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 5:37 PM  

A god is not the same thing as a demon or a spirit.

How would you know the difference if you encountered one?

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 5:40 PM  

But there's so much testimonial evidence! You can add up to 4 inches, Ron Jeremy said so.

This would bring you out of negative territory, then?

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 5:41 PM  

Sorry, Jarth, you are going to have to bare the insults. If your lord was nailed to a cross after being flagellated for hours, then I'm sure you can withstand a little snark, right? Especially when most of my posts aren't even close to being filled to the brim with it as you insinuate.

Here are three, though they are not my "top three", since it's oh so hard to choose from the surfeit of issues I have with the Bible.

1. The suspicious circumstances of God presenting himself to a secluded group of technologically inferior human beings.

2. God sacrificing himself/his son to himself to atone for the sins of mankind.

3. God, being omniscient and all, knowing full well how capable of "evil" humans would be, putting a forbidden tree right in the middle of the Garden of Eden and warning them not to eat of it.

And no matter how you answer them, the point still stands that many Christians use "God works mysteriously" in a way similar to how they'd also reply "I don't know" to another question, but with less serious implications.

Anonymous Strange Aeons November 27, 2012 5:45 PM  

Taylor K - I'd like to second vandelays request regarding clarification of the suggested error in referencing the calculated improbability of random formation of amino acids...particularly if the error of fact or logic is also applicable to referencing the calculated improbability behind the 'fine tuned universe' argument.
This is also an earnest request.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 5:45 PM  

How would you know the difference if you encountered one?

A god is presumably more powerful than a spirit, although the distinction wouldn't necessarily be obvious to me if I met one. I probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart.

You could certainly use the entirety of the historical accounts to argue for the existence of spirits, there would be no contradictions between the various pieces of evidence if they were used that way. But if you want to argue for the existence of God(or Gods) specifically, you have to discount some of it for reasons I have already explained.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 5:52 PM  

1. The suspicious circumstances of God presenting himself to a secluded group of technologically inferior human beings.

Precisely. The Middle East has never been the cradle nor the crossroads of Midgard's civilization, people never ignore inconvenient truths, and the lack of iPods makes the entirety of human history invalid.

Truly, you are wise and educated beyond your limited years.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 5:52 PM  

If you do that, you're effectively rejecting the Pagan evidence. A god is not the same thing as a demon or a spirit. And if you accept the Pagan accounts, you are effectively rejecting the Muslim ones, since their god claims to be the only one.

Preposterous. Allah allows for djinn. Pagans worship djinn and call them gods. Pagans (in general) make no claims, for example, that Odin is the only god, or that Allah does not exist. They'd find Allah irrelevant. Allah-worshippers would find pagans to be (at best) horribly misguided demon-worshippers.

But the existence of an Allah spirit in no way invalidates the existence of pagan spirits. The practice of their worship might come into conflict, as might different men's definition of those spirit's status.

But Allah exists does not equal pagan gods do not. Not even by the standards of (most) imams.

Your distinctions are phony.

Anonymous Move Zig November 27, 2012 5:52 PM  

The reason that God chose to manifest himself as a man to be tortured, ridiculed and finally murdered for our sins is...sit down now this might make you faint...God's reason was to show the world the depths of his love for humanity. LOVE!
People say they love others but how far will they carry their cross for them? God showed us the ultimate perfection for his creation.

Anonymous Paradisum November 27, 2012 6:05 PM  


The Vegan Mary: "It's perplexing to me why God would choose for the setting of the most important sacrifice in the history of all of mankind to be in some " "back country" of the back country" where hardly anyone's literate, when he, with all of his capacity to see into the future, knew that there'd be a time in the future where more people could not only be able..."

Speaking from a Christian theological perspective, in your scenario there would be no need for faith. In the Christian architecture, faith is required.  Thus, God's choice to manifest in an age before recording devices, among other reasons. You may disagree with this answer but it's logically sound nonetheless.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 6:07 PM  

But the existence of an Allah spirit in no way invalidates the existence of pagan spirits. The practice of their worship might come into conflict, as might different men's definition of those spirit's status.

But Allah exists does not equal pagan gods do not. Not even by the standards of (most) imams.


Maybe I should have been clearer - evidence that Allah exists is not evidence that (say) Zeus does not exist. But it is evidence that Zeus and his friends aren't really gods. So if you accept Islam's strict monotheism you may no longer use accounts of Zeus or Vishnu or whoever as evidence of the existence of gods. Those accounts are now evidence for the existence of demons/spirits, not for gods.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 6:10 PM  

@daniel Tad's theories of brain-god photography are on trial, if anything, not the well documented millenia of evidence for God

I waiting for someone to offer up evidence of a God that goes beyond, "hey isn't this world complex and beautiful" or "Hey there is documentary evidence that a many named Jesus lived in the first century."

This isn't evidence. This is wonder combined with a few, mostly second hand accounts that neither provide any evidence for the Christian God, let alone offer any proof.

It's pretty clear: Reliance on the idea of a Christian god to answer the simplest moral questions is a question of nothing but bold cowardliness on the part of believers.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 6:12 PM  

Speaking from a Christian theological perspective, in your scenario there would be no need for faith. In the Christian architecture, faith is required. Thus, God's choice to manifest in an age before recording devices, among other reasons. You may disagree with this answer but it's logically sound nonetheless

There is another more reasonable and logical explanation to account for why god revealed himself ages ago and never since: It didn't happen in the first place.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli November 27, 2012 6:13 PM  

@Loki
This would bring you out of negative territory, then?

You're right, it would be too big for your mom at that point. I should stop going into such negative territory regardless, pills or no. Ron Jeremy be praised.

Amen.

Blogger Crude November 27, 2012 6:22 PM  

It's perplexing to me why God would choose for the setting of the most important sacrifice in the history of all of mankind to be in some " "back country" of the back country" where hardly anyone's literate, when he, with all of his capacity to see into the future, knew that there'd be a time in the future where more people could not only be able to write and read, but take HD photos with devices barely larger than their hands...hell, if he'd decided to have the messiah crucified in Germany in the 40's, then there would have been no reason for atheists and agnostics to doubt his existence.

This is a very common claim, but honest to God (ha ha), you're not thinking this through. Part of the problem is you're positing putting God's existence in living memory, and then comparing it to God's supposed acts 2000 years ago. Consider a few things.

* Christ's existence and death in the time and place it actually came to pass was not, for an extremely long time, a barrier to belief in Him. In fact, by all measures the faith was overwhelmingly successful with a tremendous amount of sincere converts. So I don't think it works to try and play off skepticism as some inevitability given the situation - those are more recent trends, and frankly, they have far more to do with things other than the basic question of time and place of the recorded acts.

* You talk about everyone having cameras and devices on hand, and argue that no one would have the ability to doubt that God exists given that. First off, you don't have to go far to find atheists who will claim that any - ANY - act that is inexplicable would be attributed to something other than God if it were to come to pass. Michael Shermer (not a totally obscure name among atheists) says outright he'd attribute it to aliens or misunderstandings. PZ Myers, same deal. Part of the problem expressly with your example is that you talk about HD cameras being available all over - but you don't consider that there's also 3D modeling software, video and photo editing, and more. It's a weaker case, but consider: would a photo of Stalin walking without Person X standing next to him, be indisputable evidence that Person X was never standing beside Stalin?

* On the flipside, remember that the Bible doesn't say 'Christ performed these miracles and rose from the dead - and everyone indisputably know He was God and all the pharisees apologized and baked him a cake.' You had responses along the lines of 'He's just a good magician, he has some power behind him, but God? I think not.' post-resurrection, to say nothing about said power during His actual ministry.

* Another problem: you're comparing an act in recent living memory to an act from 2000 years ago. Try this: imagine Christ is crucified in 40s Germany... and then imagine the discussion taking place in 4012. After two thousand years of technological advancement, who knows what shifts in philosophy and science and metaphysics, and more. I argue, it's very likely that you'd be experiencing the same exact problem that you're pointing at right now, including straight up denialism.

So no, I don't think your criticism works here. I think it's a very common one, and it's easy to - at a glance - expect someone to think that way. But it falls apart on inspection, and ultimately melts down into something closer to 'if this came to pass, I would believe, and I think others should too.' But that gets into subjective judgment call territory, and everything becomes a whole lot murkier.

Anonymous Paradisum November 27, 2012 6:22 PM  

The Vegan Mary: "...what I meant was that God did not have to have the messiah crucified in the the middle of nowhere where only a few people witnessed it in an age of little to no mass communication..."

And yet, here we are talking - and arguing - about it ~2,000 years after the Resurrection (I limit the scope presently to the New Testament). I find the fact that the Gospel spread so quickly over such distances in so short a period of time in a culture that had not discovered Maxwell's equations or the Bernoulli effect to be compelling evidence in itself. Not bad for a world that lacked mass communication. Especially when the conversation is still engaging a world that does.

Blogger Crude November 27, 2012 6:27 PM  

As for evidence for God's existence... there's an abundance out there. Cosmological arguments (Kalam, Leibniz, etc), Aquinas' Five Ways, Argument from Morality, Argument from Beauty, Design arguments (primarily cosmos level, rather than ID level), testimonial evidence, argument from religious experience, argument from reason (Lewis version, Plantinga's EAAN version), PSR-style arguments and more. They vary in strength and scope, but there's really no shortage of these things.

Really, I think the most effective and polite way to have answered the kid's question would have been to ask him, 'What would constitute evidence for God in your view?' and go from there.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 6:29 PM  

Maybe I should have been clearer - evidence that Allah exists is not evidence that (say) Zeus does not exist. But it is evidence that Zeus and his friends aren't really gods.

I get what you are saying, but it still isn't accurate. I can see no reason why a race of djinn (from the Allah-true position) could not have established Greece, or at the very least accepted worship there. The one-God and Mo-his-prophet relationship, after all, is a historic event (whether true or false) that occurs long after the end of significant Zeus worship.

More importantly, your inaccuracy doesn't support the point that, given enough evidence in favor of [insert seemingly contradictory god X] that [seemingly contradictory god Y] can't be a god.

The fact that much of your case rests on the distinction of spirits, demons, gods, etc. however, could be a point of confusion.

As you well know, just as a criminal in one culture (Josey Wales to the Union) is a hero in another (Josey Wales to the resistance), gods in one culture may very well be demons in another.

Of course, except for spirits with true dual natures, only one of them at heart, can be really True (just as Josey Wales, at heart, is a hero through and through, regardless of what the "wrong" culture thinks).

However, that puts the cart before the horse. If gods exist, many gods can exist, and those gods may hold various statuses and ranks, and be worshipped in some cultures and reviled in others.

So the better point is to stick to proving/disproving gods in general.

Proving Allah exists, after all, is very different than proving that Allah isn't lying about itself.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 27, 2012 6:30 PM  

Why don't you?
It seems like the average common sense-based Intelligent Design argument. Is the math wrong? Is there a glaring fallacy that I'm missing, or a basic misunderstanding of biology?
Those are honest questions by the way.


With gusto:
First, DNA is not made of amino acids. It is made of nucleotides.
Second, arguments of this form are usually agnostic as to the actual thermodynamics and kinetics involved. They basically answer the question: "What is the probability that a string of N characters chosen randomly from the alphabet {A, G, C, T}, with equal probability, will equal [insert very long DNA sequence here]?" (An analogous argument is made for proteins, with an alphabet {A, R, N, D, ...} and some insanely long peptide sequence.) With a DNA sequence of, say, 100 characters, the odds are about 1 in 4^100 = 4^10^10 = 2^20^10 = (2^10)^2^10 ~= (10^3)^20 = 10^60. (Forgive me for having to do the calculation on paper.) This is, to a first approximation, never gonna happen.

However, such calculations are irrelevant. To pretend they are is to be flagrantly ignorant of the facts that a) the relevant target sequence should be _any_ sequence satisfying some function, not a single sequence satisfying that function (this alone makes the end result many orders of magnitude higher), and b) no scientist seriously thinks that long peptide or DNA sequences formed fully at random, with no precursors; instead, they were somehow based on co-opting smaller units that had a higher prior probability.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 6:32 PM  

'What would constitute evidence for God in your view?'

Uh-huh. And then he'd say something dumb like "I don't know. Maybe photographs or DNA?"

And everyone would laugh and Hovind could have patted his head and given him a lollipop.

Anonymous DaveD November 27, 2012 6:33 PM  

antonym,
You seem to be missing or ignoring the key point. ANY evidence of some greater entity that is God, claims to be a god, or even is just lying about being a god is A. Evidence AGAINST atheism and B. Evidence of something greater than man who, in some way, truthfully or not, lays claim to being a god. The fact that Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or Odinites disagree on details of theology is irrelevant; the underlying point remains.

Vegan Mary, The answers to your three questions are:

1. The suspicious circumstances of God presenting himself to a secluded group of technologically inferior human beings. At what point do we stop being "technologically inferior human beings"? After all, to Romans we might appear like gods with all of our ipads etc. yet someone from 2300 would seem like gods to us. So where do we draw the tech line? Secondly, Jesus was pretty clear that not everybody was going to be "saved" or even were wanted to be saved. He said he spoke in riddles and metaphors etc precisely to keep some people from believing.

2. God sacrificing himself/his son to himself to atone for the sins of mankind. - Because he was the only one who could do it. Its hard for the sinful to be sinless.

3. God, being omniscient and all, knowing full well how capable of "evil" humans would be, putting a forbidden tree right in the middle of the Garden of Eden and warning them not to eat of it. - That's a bait and switch I hear alot. Since God HAS the power to do X, he therefore MUST do X. In this case, stop Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil by any means needed. Its a false argument.

"the point still stands that many Christians use "God works mysteriously" in a way similar to how they'd also reply "I don't know" to another question, but with less serious implications."

True but ignorance of a good answer and the nonexistence of that answer are not synonymous. Just because I don't know how a potato produces electricity doesn't mean that it doesn't...as millions of middle school science students know.

DD

Blogger Good Will November 27, 2012 6:33 PM  

Do we have any DNA evidence of God?

Of course we do!

Christians and atheists alike routinely disbelieve the most compelling evidence we have of God's existence.

Christians will say "Could you exist without your parents?" And the atheist will admit "No."

So the Christian will argue: "You MUST have parents! There can't be a 'creation' without a 'creator'."

Thus Christians will walk right up to...and practically bump into...the greatest evidence for God. They'll stumble all over it and even speak its name! But they'll never believe it.

Why? Because they've been taught to believe otherwise. Even though their Bibles proclaim it as it was, even In The Beginning.

"Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."

As Paul explained: "We are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29).

The Gods are our Immortal Parents. They begat us (our ancestors, actually) in the Garden of Eden. We have Their DNA within us, even now.

No wonder atheists don't believe in God our Father.

Neither do most Christians!

Even though the evidence is as plain as the nose on our face!

John wrote: "now are we the sons of God...when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

He is like us.

He is neither unincarnate nor unknowable.

Anonymous Paradisum November 27, 2012 6:37 PM  

Tad: "There is another more reasonable and logical explanation to account for why god revealed himself ages ago and never since: It didn't happen in the first place"

I'd completely agree if there were no evidence to the contrary. I don't think a recitation of the various lines of documentary, testimonial, archeological, philosophical, moral, etc., evidence is necessary here since it appears we all have the capability of clicking on a hyperlink. Suffice to say that I think there's reasonably persuasive evidence that God does exist and that He manifested Himself as a human. And within the Christian framework this entails faith, which would hardly be necessary if I held an HD photo in my hand. So, I don't think it is more reasonable to assume He didn't if there is reasonable evidence that He did.

Anonymous Daniel November 27, 2012 6:37 PM  

Taylor, that was a lot of gusto for not answering the questions asked.

Other than relatively trifling distinction between nucleotides and amino acids (for the purposes of the original question), you didn't address a thing that was raised.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 6:42 PM  

@daniel Uh-huh. And then he'd say something dumb like "I don't know. Maybe photographs or DNA?"

The things is, the good evidence doesn't exist. Only the shoddy evidence. The best evidence for God is the claim, "I don't know the answer, so it must be god".

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 6:44 PM  

@paradisum
Suffice to say that I think there's reasonably persuasive evidence that God does exist and that He manifested Himself as a human

And what exactly is the evidence that Jesus was a manifestation of God and divine?

Blogger Crude November 27, 2012 6:46 PM  

The things is, the good evidence doesn't exist. Only the shoddy evidence. The best evidence for God is the claim, "I don't know the answer, so it must be god".

Alright, let's try it here. What would constitute evidence for God's existence in your view?

Anonymous Loki of Asgard November 27, 2012 6:49 PM  

You're right, it would be too big for your mom at that point.

Well, if you know who she is, do be a friend and point her out to me. I have a small matter of leaving me to die in a forsaken frozen temple to discuss with her.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 6:49 PM  

@crude

A well documented demonstration of God's claimed powers, that could not be explained by something not supernatural. And please, let's not try to demonstrate the existence of God by proving that Jesus existed. Let's prove that Jesus was divine. The bible and the shreds of documentary evidence that some of its tales are true are shreds of evidence that some of it's tales are true, not that Jesus was divine.

Blogger JD Curtis November 27, 2012 6:55 PM  

I would have asked the kid how he was able to distinguish between one part of my brain talking to me and an alien transmission from Alpha Centauri


No Vox, it's actually Zeta Reticuli. Zeta Reticuli

Blogger Crude November 27, 2012 6:56 PM  

A well documented demonstration of God's claimed powers, that could not be explained by something not supernatural.

Congratulations - you've set a standard such that no evidence is possible even in principle. I again refer to Michael Shermer and PZ Myers: both men state outright that any event that takes place would be viewed by them as natural, precisely because 'something not supernatural' could always, in principle, be the explanation. The wildest miracle you could imagine would always be possible to 'explain by something not supernatural*': powerful aliens. Conspiracy. Matrix. Brain damage.

So, you're going to have to try again. While you're at it, could you define what 'supernatural' is? Please don't tell me "that which isn't natural".

Blogger Good Will November 27, 2012 6:56 PM  

The Vegan Mary: "It's perplexing to me why God would choose for the setting of the most important sacrifice in the history of all of mankind to be in some " "back country" [when people couldn't] take HD photos [so people wouldn't] doubt his existence.

I mean, it's perplexing unless you assert that God purposely wanted to make this all obscure and hard to believe in for the purpose of admitting people in heaven based on how willing they were to rely on the "eyewitness" facts of a bunch of dead scholars, given how mendacious and deceitful and prone to worshiping blatantly nonexistence gods humans are."


Actually, He came in such a time as He did because His "sheep" hear His "voice". They don't require "worldly" evidence to believe. They have received Him already, in the form (and ministration) of His Spirit. And they believe in Him because He lives! (This is all well-explained in John, Chapters 14, 15 and 16.)

His Spirit provides evidence enough for those who have spiritual ears with which to hear and spiritual eyes to see.

For those not so spiritually equipped or inclined, no amount of material evidence will suffice to allow them to believe (until it's too late).

Thus when someone is born is not nearly so important as that they are born again.

Anonymous Azimus November 27, 2012 6:59 PM  

JartStar November 27, 2012 1:41 PM Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, etc.

Please provide your logical proof and/or evidence that this statement is true.


Yeah the extraordinary claim of "no God" is never really supported with extraordinary evidence, is it. "But, but, but, what about the dinosaurs?" Oh lookey at them tasty dinosaur bones... NOT THE MAMA!

Sigh. The inability of atheist trolls to use their "logic" on their own arguments is almost unpallatable. Almost.

Anonymous Azimus November 27, 2012 7:08 PM  

Tad November 27, 2012 6:44 PM
And what exactly is the evidence that Jesus was a manifestation of God and divine?


I'll take a stab at that - the same text that makes the claim that he is a manifestation of the divine, also documentably predicts future events that come to pass - Fall of Jerusalem in AD70, Antiochus Epiphanes, Alexander the great, the siege and fall of Tyre, etc. Natural mortals cannot predict the future, ergo the book's source is "super" natural. Or, as you put it, divine. The text that makes the claim, validates itself with proofs. Just like Christ rising from the dead instead of just dying on the cross - proofs. I suppose he could've waited around for 2000yrs to do a DNA test for your benefit, but He thinks He made his case sufficiently already...

Anonymous Azimus November 27, 2012 7:11 PM  

Also, Tad, I'm sure VD has made the point already, but the fact that you categorically reject documentary evidence as evidence is completely irrelevent to whethre or not it is evidence.

Blogger Good Will November 27, 2012 7:21 PM  

The Vegan Mary: "Why did God sacrifice himself in the form of his son in human form to appease himself?

This is not difficult to explain.

God in heaven who made the worlds came to earth and kept the law that He had given so that He could appease the demands of justice meted out for violation of that law -- a necessary act -- much as I must allow my children to break things, disobey, and ruin much of my stuff...in order that they may grow, learn by their (sometimes wayward) experience, hopefully choose good over evil, and become worthwhile adults.

Motivated by perfect, unselfish love for all of us, Christ (the mortal Jehovah) died so that man might live: Not by some inscrutable, cosmotic equation, but tit for tat. An infinite atonement (He being God incarnate, the Creator of all things, having "unfairly" subjected us to misery and death by the exercise of His creation), then setting all things right again by His blood, lifting ALL mankind up again from Death and delivering us ALL (eventually) from Hell (when we so choose).

And we all will so choose -- eventually. "Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

We were placed on this earth in impossible circumstances, with impossible demands: to live without violating eternal laws that are impossible for mere mortals to perfectly keep.

But He (being God) perfectly lived (and kept) those laws Himself -- thus satisfying the demands of eternal justice on our behalf -- allowing mercy then to lay claim on all those who would embrace mercy and repent of their sins, as well as to raise up from Death ALL mankind, believer and unbeliever alike. "For as in Adam ALL die, in Christ ALL shall be made alive."

Christ thus enabled the setting right of every wrong, of wiping away every tear and of healing every hurt.

With Him, all (good) things are (still) possible to them that believe.

Anonymous Move Zig November 27, 2012 7:23 PM  

Some people are not happy with the time zone people chose because there was no "mass communication". (Somebody has been listening to JC Superstar-great album.)
If you are not happy with the time period God chose, you cannot deny that it worked, as far as getting the message out.
Perhaps you need God to come and tap you on the shoulder and says "Here I am" ...then maybe he does a couple of card tricks...I mean really really good card tricks, and then he says..OK? Now you can believe in me. Big deal, eh. Now for you, faith is so diluted because for you to say that you have faith in God is like saying you have faith that the sun will rise.
Big deal. The sun rises every morning and there is no logical reason to believe it will not rise again.

Anonymous antonym November 27, 2012 7:29 PM  

Daniel - I'm busy right now, I'll respond to your post tomorrow.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 7:38 PM  

@Azimus Natural mortals cannot predict the future, ergo the book's source is "super" natural.

Of course they can. I predicted the outcomes of the last 3 out of 4 presidential elections well prior to them occurring. Furthermore, the bible offers predictions that have not come true and is contradictory in a number of ways. So, does this make me immortal?

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 7:40 PM  

@Azimus Also, Tad, I'm sure VD has made the point already, but the fact that you categorically reject documentary evidence as evidence is completely irrelevent to whethre or not it is evidence.

I don't reject documentary evidence. However I recognize that some documentary evidence can be scant, inconclusive and just down right poor. Yet, I'll admit, it's evidence of a sort.

Anonymous Paradisum November 27, 2012 7:44 PM  

Tad: "And what exactly is the evidence that Jesus was a manifestation of God and divine?"

Is this a rhetorical question? I suspect so but I'll humor you anyway.

The evidence is in part the Bible, extrabiblical accounts, the persistence of the Church, etc. I think it's safe to say you don't hold this evidence in high regard by your testimony here but it's evidence regardless. It's also safe to say that you don't deny the existence of Plato or Pythagoras despite the source. So, I'm inclined to believe you maintain a philosophical inconsistency. It's been pointed out that to be consistent you would also have to deny all historical evidence before the invention of film or the discovery of ones and zeroes. So there it is.

Anonymous Tad November 27, 2012 8:07 PM  

The evidence is in part the Bible, extrabiblical accounts, the persistence of the Church, etc

Please point me to that part of the bible the offers evidence the Jesus was divine. Then explain why I should believe this account. And also, what is the time frame for an institution existing that qualifies it to be evidence of the existence of the supernatural?

Anonymous willneverpostagain November 27, 2012 8:08 PM  

Mr. (Mrs.) Kessinger--I may have gotten some terms mixed up in my post. However from reading Sir Fred Hoyle is where I remember the odds of DNA forming from its base ingredients, or whatever name you choose to call it, to be so astronomical as to be rendered impossible. While this may not be an argument for God's existence, then to what being do you owe yours?

I'm guessing you think aliens created life on earth.

Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 8:15 PM  

@Crude (because you are the only one who's responded to me without making me snicker)

No, don't go congratulate and pat yourself on the back just yet.

Your first point rests on the assumption that I believe that my skepticism was shared by a substantial amount of people after Jesus' death, which it doesn't. I know how fast Christianity sped. I know who Paul was, and what work he undertook to market his own unique brand of Religion. You also think, or imply that because millions of people before us believed in the resurrection, we are somehow wrong or more inclined to be wrong for engaging in skepticism. That coupled with the earlier aforementioned misconception of me seemed to have created a gross distortion of my arguments.

Although I loathe the sense of superiority possessed by many secularists who have a condescending view of those who were unfortunate to have been born millenia before them during times when our knowledge of the universe was much more flawed than it is today, I have to say that the number of rapidly won-over converts to Christianity during its infantile years does nothing to my feelings regarding the level of seclusion and location of the events surrounding Jesus' life.

Put simply, we know much more than we did. Popular skepticism and nu atheism are both relatively young. So what? Useful steam engines were created in the early 19th century, and they exhibit a profundity of knowledge of scientific knowledge unmatched by anything that came before them. Civil rights are also somewhat modern, but their age does not preclude their veracity.

When I say that Jesus being executed in the middle of nowhere deters me and a few others contributes to deterring me from belief, I am obviously not talking about those born without having the capacity to put this into perspective and who lacked context. No one there knew of Amerindians or that much of the south eastern Asians and how utterly left out they were from God's plan, so no, obviously this did not stop the early Christians from believing.

And lol, of course there are atheists who'd attribute the evidence for God you guys give them to anything but God. Stop pretending that it's unfair. It's the rational thing to do, at least it is now, since there's a noticeable paucity of any overwhelming proof of God that requires no faith at all. (Funny how it's repeatedly written in the Bible that faith is required to reach Heaven with the insinuation that there's no way to know for sure, and yet, Christians argue for the existence of their god as if there's this mountain of evidence for him, in complete contradiction of their own text...) It's very similar to how Dinesh D'Souza said that he'd believe in God no matter what, even if presented with damning evidence that disproves his existence.


Anonymous The Vegan Mary November 27, 2012 8:15 PM  

If you leave a cookie in your room while checking the mail, and returned to find it gone, would you a. Assume your dog ate it? or b. Assume that an ogre came out of the toilet and ate it? Unless you've lived a life where ogres have been physically proven to exist, I'll guess that you'd choose a.

See? This is the same logic atheists like Michael Shermer use. Assuming his body really was gone, there are other unlikely, but more realistic explanations for its disappearance that have nothing to do with a supernatural world. ....And then when you realize how nearly every single human culture in existence has conceptualized a mythological supernatural world, this methodology seems to make much more sense.


About the HD camera and 40's Germany thing: go to Youtube and look at 9/11 videos to see how shots from multiple amateur cameramen obviate the chance of the malignant use of 3D modelling and video editing software.

But hey, you missed my point, which was not that it would be cool if Jesus lived in the 21st century, but that there are a multitude of ways for God to make Jesus's resurrection more palpable to us. Placing him in a time where we have better technology is just one of a million other ways.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger November 27, 2012 8:21 PM  

Daniel: Taylor, that was a lot of gusto for not answering the questions asked.

Other than relatively trifling distinction between nucleotides and amino acids (for the purposes of the original question), you didn't address a thing that was raised.


I don't know what to tell you, man. Work on your reading comprehension. vandelay asked if there was some problem with the math, if the argument was fallacious, or if there was some misunderstanding of biology involved. I showed that the math might be right, but that it had nothing to do with the origin of life; the leap from "a particular protein of 100 amino acids could not form from random amino acids" to "a naturalistic origin of life is impossible" is therefore unjustified.

willneverpostagain: Mr. (Mrs.) Kessinger--I may have gotten some terms mixed up in my post. However from reading Sir Fred Hoyle is where I remember the odds of DNA forming from its base ingredients, or whatever name you choose to call it, to be so astronomical as to be rendered impossible. While this may not be an argument for God's existence, then to what being do you owe yours?

Mr., incidentally. The gender-ambiguous name makes these things difficult sometimes. The point of my analysis was to show that Hoyle's calculations (or, at least, the form they must have taken) are irrelevant. More properly, the only thing they allow one to conclude is that the basic enzymes required for life did not form by random assorting of amino acids. This says nothing about, e.g., whether proteins could have been cobbled together from functional subunits that evolved for some other purpose, or whether a different set of enzymes, or even the same enzymes coded differently, could sustain life. In other words, the target space is a much bigger portion of the state space than Hoyle accounted for, and the search method in the state space is not necessarily a blind random search.

I don't know how life on Earth originated, but I don't think either aliens or God are necessary (or particularly useful) hypotheses.

Anonymous willneverpostagain November 27, 2012 8:23 PM  

Don't worry, Vegan Mary. Jesus will indeed make Himself known to you face to face. However, this is the last way you would want to meet Him. Embrace Him now, while there is still time.

Blogger James Dixon November 27, 2012 8:28 PM  

> A well documented demonstration of God's claimed powers,

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of documented miracles. A quick Google search will turn up plenty of them. But you won't accept them.

> Let's prove that Jesus was divine.

If the resurrection happened, Jesus is divine. If it didn't, he wasn't.

Anonymous JartStar November 27, 2012 8:30 PM  

See? This is the same logic atheists like Michael Shermer use. Assuming his body really was gone, there are other unlikely, but more realistic explanations for its disappearance that have nothing to do with a supernatural world. ....

If the supernatural is real then the Resurrection would certainly be realistic. Are you arguing in a circle? It isn't "realistic because the supernatural isn't real".

Anonymous willneverpostagain November 27, 2012 8:31 PM  

Mr. (thanks for the clarification)Kessinger, I just have a question: we do know now what the DNA molecule is, how complicated it is, and many scientists have come to the conclusion that it could not be random. Do you really think DNA evolved from something else? If so, how does this square with the entropy principle? Who did the "cobbling"? Does this not speak to a Designer? I am trying to understand whether you believe it was designed or happened by chance.

Blogger James Dixon November 27, 2012 8:36 PM  

> ... if there's this mountain of evidence for him,

There is a mountain of evidence. There is no proof. Evidence and proof aren't the same thing.

> ... but that there are a multitude of ways for God to make Jesus's resurrection more palpable to us.

Of course there are. But has it ever occurred to you that if he exists he may not care what you think?

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