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Thursday, January 05, 2017

A new hypothesis

Scientists discover a physical manifestation of autism:
A team of scientists has discovered that a particular region of the brain is affected in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They believe that finding the brain region which causes social deficits in those with the condition could point towards new types of therapies. The team included scientists based at ETH Zürich, Trinity College Dublin, Oxford University and Royal Holloway.

They ran MRI brain scans on people with ASD, and on healthy volunteers, in an attempt to track down the brain region linked to some of the behaviours seen in those with ASD and find differences between the two groups.

Dr Joshua Henk Balsters, the team leader, is based at ETH Zürich but performed much of the research at Trinity while working as a postdoctoral research fellow. He described how ASD can disturb normal personal exchanges. “The ability to understand how other people make decisions and what happens to them as a result is key to successful social interaction,” he said. “A big part of social interaction is to try and understand another person’s point of view. You need to understand another person’s perspective and that is very difficult if you have ASD.”

The researchers identified changes in a region called the gyrus of the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain that responds when someone else experiences something surprising. They published their findings in the current edition of the journal Brain.
My new hypothesis is that scientists will eventually discover that people with these changes in the gyrus of the anterior cingulate cortex also happen to possess a statistically significant predilection towards atheism. Remember, there have been two university studies based on my original 2007 hypothesis that there is a correlation between ASD and atheism, and both studies achieved results that tended to support the hypothesis.

Sam Harris had it backwards. Atheists and theists don't think differently due to their beliefs, but atheists have different beliefs due to their abnormal brain structure. It's neither superior reason nor a dedication to logic that tends to produce an atheist, but rather, a lack of ability to grasp the perspective of others. There are other causal factors, of course; this does not explain the "mad at Dad" atheist or the "I will brook no limitations on my sexual behavior" atheist, but it does explain the spergey, socially clumsy sort that bring up their active disbelief at every opportunity.

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183 Comments:

Blogger dvdivx January 05, 2017 3:56 AM  

A lot of atheist are just angry at God. They have hardened hearts. Rather old since there are bible verses on it.

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 3:56 AM  

Why believe in something that hasn't been proved, authenticated or verified; hence atheism.

Anonymous Red January 05, 2017 3:59 AM  

I'm an agnostic with Aspergers. I fundamentally don't have a feel or connection to religion despite being raised in a Christian family. The only reason I'm not an atheist is claiming that no god exists is not provable and any good study of history and human behavior shows that A) religion is necessary for Human civilizations to function and B) Christianity has been a wonderful thing for the western world.


It wouldn't shock me to learn my lack of a religious sense is related to Aspergers.

Blogger VD January 05, 2017 4:04 AM  

Why believe in something that hasn't been proved, authenticated or verified; hence atheism.

Do you believe in love? Do you believe in dark matter?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash January 05, 2017 4:15 AM  

Why believe in something that hasn't been proved, authenticated or verified like atheism.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash January 05, 2017 4:20 AM  

Do you believe in love? Do you believe in dark matter?

Do you believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change?
Do you believe in Evolution?

Anonymous Ivan Throne January 05, 2017 4:21 AM  

One can easily envision a future where the State uses intervention into the anterior cingulate cortex as punishment for heresy or dissent.

Those who do not obey the ruling power, have their experience of God medically severed for them.

Humans will go to great lengths to avoid pain.

The pain of separation from the perception of God would be a significant motivator for any tyrant to capitalize upon in pursuit of ambition.

Perhaps that is how the first global Caesar will enforce dynastic continuance.

Conversely, restoring the perception of the sacred would be a useful "drug" when monopolized by the State.

Might make for an interesting Castalia novel.

Regards,

Ivan

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 4:22 AM  

#5 Atheism isn't a belief.

#4 re dark matter, I don't believe or disbelieve.
re love, emotions are very real.

Blogger AdognamedOp January 05, 2017 4:29 AM  

Sounds like a plea for more funding. It would take a warehouse full of super computers to map out the brain of a fruit fly. Figuring out brain functions of an autistic is leaps beyond. Sadly, the "he a fuking retard" hypothesis seems the simplest

Blogger wreckage January 05, 2017 4:41 AM  

"very real" is a tell. People say it when they're making faith-statements.

You're welcome

- autistic theist.

Blogger Cinco January 05, 2017 4:45 AM  

Atheism isn't a belief

Atheism:
noun
disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

You are not tall enough for this ride. You are not even close...

Anonymous Die Fledermaus January 05, 2017 4:51 AM  

1. Love - for that I must resort to "Define it please". A lot of the commonplace definitions/depictions of love have no connection to observable reality, in fact many of them are in direct contradiction to it. However there are some narrow ways to define it which are testable and demonstrable reliably.

2. Dark Matter - It's a hypothesis. Not a bad one, It seems to have more things going for it than the God hypothesis, for example. But it certainly doesn't warrant "Belief".

3. "Believe in Atheism" - what's next, the ShockofGod question ? Atheism isn't a belief system, a lifestyle or a world view. It's a position - lack of acceptance - on the god hypothesis. I don't need to "believe" in this lack of acceptance more than I need to "Believe" my lack of acceptance of Unicorns. Conversely, I am a Nationalist, Zionist, Israeli Jew. But I am also an atheist. I acknowledge the critical role of religion in shaping society. But being important doesn't make it the truth.

4. Anthropogenic Climate Change - I don't know enough about it for it to warrant any meaningful opinion, much less a belief.

5. Evolution - yep, I "Believe" in evolution, or rather I accept this extremely demonstrable, robust theory.

Anonymous JAG January 05, 2017 5:04 AM  

dvdivx wrote:A lot of atheist are just angry at God. They have hardened hearts. Rather old since there are bible verses on it.

The vast majority of atheists that I have encountered are merely using it as something to act smug and superior to others. Most of them have also been leftists which means it is nothing more than a vehicle for their inherent narcissism. Of course, not all narcissists are like that, just leftist narcissists in my admittedly anecdotal evidence. Your mileage may vary.

Blogger AdognamedOp January 05, 2017 5:09 AM  

12 How did molecules get smart enough to form self replicating bio- forms?

Blogger wreckage January 05, 2017 5:12 AM  

"Atheism isn't a belief system, a lifestyle or a world view."

And yet it is routinely expounded as any or all of them by the leading atheist public intellectuals of our time. Not your fault, of course, but that's how it is, and saying it isn't just makes you look odd.

Anonymous JAG January 05, 2017 5:15 AM  

Die Fledermaus wrote:

4. Anthropogenic Climate Change - I don't know enough about it for it to warrant any meaningful opinion, much less a belief.

5. Evolution - yep, I "Believe" in evolution, or rather I accept this extremely demonstrable, robust theory.



Once again, the final red pill for those that need it - everything coming from the left is a lie. There are no exceptions to this. "Climate Change" or whatever label the left uses about this is bullshit designed to exert more control by control freaks on people who don't want control freaks running their lives, spreading misery, and taking money from the.

Whenever the left pushes something you have to know, and accept that it is all lies.

And evolution is hardly a robust theory as the fossil record destroys it because there are just far too many gaps.

Not only that, but evolution has an origin problem that requires every bit as much faith to believe in as any religion does. I call it the religion of the "Cosmic Accident".

There is also the Boltzman Brain problem. Look into that one some time.

The better theory would be one that recognizes that on at least the genetic level there is a type of intelligence that can make decisions based upon environmental factors. This would explain the eye as well as how orb webs, which show a knowledge of engineering far too advanced to be credibly explained by randomness, came to exist.

Anonymous RabidRatel January 05, 2017 5:22 AM  

dvdivx wrote:A lot of atheist are just angry at God. They have hardened hearts. Rather old since there are bible verses on it.

It seems as if this is evidence of the tampering of their father, the great liar [Satan].
2 Corinthians 4:3-5 [Amplified Bible (AMP)]

3 But even if our gospel is [in some sense] hidden [behind a veil], it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing; 4 among them the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

Blogger A rebel without a General January 05, 2017 5:23 AM  

I have Asperger's though I am not the most active follower I am devout and will die for Christ

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 5:49 AM  

# 10 "very real" is a tell. I guess you haven't heard of emphasis.

#11 What part of "disbelief" of "lack of belief" doesn't match "atheism is not a belief."

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 5:54 AM  

Atheism isn't a belief.

Oh, please PLEASE tell me you didn't type that with a straight face. There are no words ...

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 5:57 AM  

Atheism isn't a belief system, a lifestyle or a world view. It's a position - lack of acceptance - on the god hypothesis.

No, agnosticism is a lack of acceptance on the god hypothesis, and any number of other hypotheses beside. Atheism is the belief God does not exist.

Blogger Akulkis January 05, 2017 5:58 AM  

@8

"#5 Atheism isn't a belief."

Wrongo!

Agnosticism is a lack of belief.

Atheism is a belief that there could not possibly be a God.

I can logically refute the assertion of the non-existance of God, in ONE sentance.

When you discover whatever created the Universe, then you have discovered God.

There is absolutely NO logical way to get around the conclusion.

Anonymous Strange Aeons January 05, 2017 5:58 AM  

This reminds me of other research I read about in which it was discovered that liberals/Democrats had increased gray matter in the anterior cingulate cortex/insula vs conservatives/Republicans, who had more gray matter in the amygdala. Whether it concerns ASD or affecting political inclinations, it looks like brain structure is indeed a major determinant. Interesting stuff...

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052970

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 6:08 AM  

Sorry guys, I just don't get it. I'm as about as alt-right as you can get, and I agree with Vox and the rest of you on just about everything except this anti-evolution stance.

Evolution is a fact (like gravity), and the theory of evolution is simply the current "best guess" explanation of how evolution works (like the General Theory of Relativity is the current best guess explanation of gravity - and yes I realise, (((Einstein)))).

Now, if you claim that widespread popular acceptance of evolution (either the theory or the fact) leads to social decay, you might - might - have a point, however by denying evolution accordingly aren't you then just pushing the same kind of noble lie that the leftoids are when they for example deny HBD?

...and then there's the whole thing of HBD actually depending on evolution to make any sense...

Disclosure: I'm an atheist (surprise) and also although undiagnosed probably somewhere along the Asperger's/autism spectrum (another surprise), nevertheless like Die Fledermaus above I acknowledge the critical role of religion in shaping society, maybe I just lack the religious gene.

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 6:10 AM  

#22 I would submit that the universe has always been. It has just changed over time. Yes, that's a belief, just as your belief in Dios, whatever form she actually has.

Blogger Whisker biscuit January 05, 2017 6:35 AM  

Time created itself? The universe happened to fine tune itself? All planets happen to form themselves into spheres? Did the spherical shape design itself?

Anonymous Luke January 05, 2017 6:36 AM  

Re gaps in the fossil record, as a geologist, I will add only that 1) vertebrates are actually pretty rare as fossils, and 2) only about 1% of rocks that have ever existed on Earth are still around (the rest having been weathered/metamorphosed into other rocks, subducted back into the mantle, etc.)

Re the OP and brain structures/function: r/K Theory notes that liberals tend towards smaller, less functional amygdalae. www.anonymousconservative.com has a nice discussion on this.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 6:38 AM  

Evolution is a fact (like gravity)

Boy, we've got them all this morning. I can demonstrate gravity. Can you demonstrate evolution?

Blogger Fenris Wulf January 05, 2017 6:38 AM  

Ivan Throne wrote:One can easily envision a future where the State uses intervention into the anterior cingulate cortex as punishment for heresy or dissent.

Man, that's dark ... like Philip Pullman meets Vernor Vinge.

And I was determined NOT to write a dystopian book for the next one. Ho ho.

Blogger JK January 05, 2017 6:39 AM  

Do these findings tend to support Calvinism?

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 6:39 AM  

@22 Akulkis: What created God?

One possible explanation for the existence of the Universe is that the Universe created itself.

Sound stupid? At the moment of the Big Bang the quantum realm was dominant, and in the quantum realm normal laws of causality break down: for example, nothing "causes" the beta decay of a nucleus (a quantum phenomenon), it just happens.

The Big Bang theory was of course originally advanced by the Belgian Priest Lemaître, and was rejected by many in mainstream science because the idea of a single point of origin of the Universe was considered "too religious".

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 6:39 AM  

Atheists like to claim it is not a belief system or way of life but swarm like flies to any topic tangential to religion to tell everyone else how stupid they are for believing in anything other than "I fucking love Science".

Do they not see that it is a life style and central to the way they define themselves in the world? Similarly it is a belief system and @25 finally admitted after 3 exchanges but still attempts to brush that point off as insignificant.

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 6:42 AM  

5343 Kinds of Deplorable wrote:Evolution is a fact (like gravity)

Boy, we've got them all this morning. I can demonstrate gravity. Can you demonstrate evolution?


This is the classic dodge from their crowd. The response in "Long periods of time make it possible". Evolution boils down to believing that "long periods of time" can do absolutely anything.

Blogger Matt January 05, 2017 6:43 AM  

@2

Like equality? I agree.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 6:44 AM  

Before we talk about evolution being "a fact like gravity", take a few minutes to work your way through this:

http://fredoneverything.org/darwin-unhinged-the-bugs-in-evolution/

Fred Reed is not a Christian and I believe he's agnostic, but he does a great job of exposing the problems with your pet theory.

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 6:51 AM  

#32 I admitted nothing. I put forward a proposition, nothing more.

#26 Good questions. When I have the answers, you may call me God.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 6:53 AM  

@28 5343 Kinds of Deplorable:

As you no doubt know, unlike most animals humans cannot bodily synthesis vitamin C, that's why we have to eat oranges and similar in order not to get scurvy.

In other animals there is a four step process to convert glucose into vitamin C, humans have the mechanics for all of this, however the gene for the enzyme for the last step in the process is broken (the process will proceed on its own but without the enzyme the reaction is far too slow to provide the necessary amounts of vitamin C).

Primates such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans also lack the ability to synthesis vitamin C, because the same gene for the same enzyme is broken in exactly the same place.

The only reasonable explanation for this is that humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans all descended from the same ancestor that had this broken gene.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) January 05, 2017 6:53 AM  

Evolution boils down to believing that "long periods of time" can do absolutely anything.

Even make them attractive to girls...

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 6:57 AM  

Why is part of the alt-right so focused in getting into religion?

I mean... I have been called Islamophobe (which is true), fascist and nazi (which I'm not), xenophobe (which is partially true: I'm xenophobe when "xeno" refers, for example, to Africa, but I'm not when "xeno" refers to countries like UK, Germany, France, or even non European countries like Japan or South Korea).

I value enlightenment, I value European nations and I consider myself strongly nationalist when it comes to western culture, which is an heritage we have the responsibility to love and defend.

And I'm Atheist. I never had problems with Christian people, why should I?, since my core values are indeed very similar. I consider myself to be part of Judeo-Christian culture. Not believing in the supernatural stuff doesn't change the moral principles.

But sorry, I don't want the Islam in Europe AT ALL, but NEITHER I want to go back to a world where the Church is the source of law.

Don't mess with Atheism, Vox. Many people behind the reborn of European Nationalism are Atheists. Christianity as Religion is becoming more and more respected (not followed, not agreed, but respected) by Atheists who value Western Culture. Why mess with it?

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 6:58 AM  

@26 Whisker biscuit:

Gravity is a perfectly sufficient explanation for the sphericity of astronomical bodies such as planets and stars.

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 7:00 AM  

Henry Cybulski wrote:#22 I would submit that the universe has always been. It has just changed over time. Yes, that's a belief, just as your belief in Dios, whatever form she actually has.


Henry Cybulski wrote:#32 I admitted nothing. I put forward a proposition, nothing more.


And we are done. You have demonstrated yourself to be a disingenuous liar.

Anonymous Ivan Throne January 05, 2017 7:03 AM  

@29 - I'm good at dark.

Take it a step further.

Hegemonic AI implants stims at birth in the anterior cingulate cortex, designed to fire upon proximity to AI automation.

You won't want to leave the Matrix if it genuinely feels like God to you.

Even better than branding cattle.

Regards,

Ivan

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 7:05 AM  

# Wow, and you're a quack; I just can't prove it.

Blogger Whisker biscuit January 05, 2017 7:05 AM  

Good grief.

Gravity be magic!

It created itself! Then decided to make floating balls that are mathematically fine tuned !

Atheists would be more tolerable if you didn't speak or write with such a haughty tone of "matter of fact".

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 7:07 AM  

43 Should have started: #41 Wow..., but I repeat myself.

Blogger Whisker biscuit January 05, 2017 7:10 AM  

Don't repeat yourself.

Your first round of mental diarrhea was enough.

Try answering questions and defending positions.

Anonymous Viidad January 05, 2017 7:11 AM  

"Evolution is a fact (like gravity)"

LOL

Yann: "Don't mess with Atheism, Vox."

Too late. Way, way too late.

https://www.amazon.com/Irrational-Atheist-Dissecting-Trinity-Hitchens/dp/1941631622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483618241&sr=8-1&keywords=the+irrational+atheist

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 7:11 AM  

@44 Whisker biscuit: I'm not sure why you have such a problem with gravity making things spherical (not perfectly spherical of course, the Earth is an oblate spheroid), this is pretty basic stuff, if you reject that then you pretty much reject all of classical physics.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 7:12 AM  

The only reasonable explanation for this ...

I think you may mean "The only reasonable explanation I can think of currently based on pretty limited, second-hand knowledge".

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) January 05, 2017 7:12 AM  

Too late. Way, way too late.

That was mean...why do you want Yann to run off to Nevada to become a prostitute?

Blogger Whisker biscuit January 05, 2017 7:13 AM  

Do you want the West of old but can't believe in what built the west, and want to fight an enemy that's beliefs, passion, and purpose are worth dying for to them with atheism?

Blogger Whisker biscuit January 05, 2017 7:16 AM  

I don't reject gravity.

I reject gravity as a self-thinking decision maker.

Gravity did not shit itself into existence.

I don't know why you have a problem with this. I'll pray for you.

Blogger Legion of Logic January 05, 2017 7:17 AM  

So when so many atheist activists and Internet atheists make the claim that there is no god, that isn't atheism? That's what one would have to believe if one touts the "atheism is merely a lack of belief" claim.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 7:24 AM  

That's what one would have to believe if one touts the "atheism is merely a lack of belief" claim.

I don't think of someone who says, "I don't know", or "I can't see a good reason to believe in God" or "I'm not sure what I believe" as atheistic. They just don't have a fully formed opinion (or are pretending they don't). But someone like Dawkins and his gang who not only insists there IS no God but encourages others to reject the possibility of God definitely is acting on a belief system.

Anonymous juggalo January 05, 2017 7:24 AM  

Yeah, but what about MAGNETS??!? How the fuck do THEY work?!?!?

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 7:30 AM  

@49 5343 Kinds of Deplorable: I am very much open to your alternative explanation: hit me.

And yes, I very much realise that scientific knowledge is but just one kind of knowledge, and is by no means the only type of knowledge by which we humans should, or indeed can live by, and anyone who disputes that is an ignorant fool.

If H.sap, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have a common ancestor that existed millions of years ago, that's interesting from a scientific point of view, but otherwise so what?

Humans are moral creatures that live in big societies, we have an understanding of our past and where we want to go in the future, things that are way beyond "what's for dinner and where do I get it" that is the dominant feature of life for most creatures on Earth.

Science and technology can create the GPS that gives you directions to your girlfriend's house, it can't tell you whether you should marry her.

Blogger Michael Maier January 05, 2017 7:30 AM  

Hey.... how DO magnets work?

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 7:33 AM  

I am very much open to your alternative explanation

I don't have one, Steve, but I also don't base my worldview on things for which I currently lack an explanation. The list would be endless.

Anonymous J Curtis January 05, 2017 7:33 AM  

atheism is not a belief

Nonsense. Theism can be defined as the belief in a certain presence, whereas atheism may be defined as the belief that the presence is not there.

You're engaging in sophomoric, bush league, Atheism for Dummies word play at this time.

Blogger 4thPointOfContact January 05, 2017 7:41 AM  

Theism is simply a lack of belief that there is no God.

You can't prove a negative,

I win.

Anonymous Millenium January 05, 2017 7:43 AM  

If it is true that autists are cut off from having faith in God and if this is caused by vaccinations (remember there is a possible vaccine/autism link) then those behind the mass-vaccination push are literally acting in the interests of the devil.

I wish I was joking but after the spirit cooking connection to Hillary, pizza gate etc I do not consider anything too far fetched

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 7:46 AM  

@58 5343 Kinds of Deplorable: That's fine, but you have to start somewhere. You have to go: I stand to be corrected, but I think this is how things work. Science is by no means perfect (even as an atheist I know only God is perfect) but so far it has been the best means of figuring out how things work.

If you just shrug your shoulders and go, look, it's beyond me, I just don't know anything, then you become susceptible to things like astrology... and feminism... you know, like the wimmenz are...

Anonymous Steve January 05, 2017 7:51 AM  

Atheism comes from the same part of the brain that causes people to think fedoras are cool.

Blogger dc.sunsets January 05, 2017 7:56 AM  

@ Red, this whole post is dangerously close to the modern obsession with creating a "diagnosis" for every inconvenient or objectionable behavior.

In-your-face atheism is just a version of every other combative or adversarial behavior.

Lacking faith is not a brain dysfunction.

Blogger wreckage January 05, 2017 8:04 AM  

#61 I dunno, I know a lot of religious autists. We just require a better systematized faith/rationale/theology than most modern churches can be bothered with. The God of I Just Knew cannot exist for us, but the God of say, Feser, certainly can:
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/classical-theism-roundup.html



Blogger wreckage January 05, 2017 8:06 AM  

@64 The Pathologization of Everything, yeah? Still, neurology can help understand broad trends and certain types of predictable behaviour.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 8:07 AM  

@2. To the most strict standards, you can't prove, authenticate or verify anything whatsoever, hence solipsism, and to take it one step farther, things like Bhuddism.

Refusing to believe in God has nothing to do with lack of evidence, and everything to do with the atheist being unwilling to accept what evidence is available as sufficient.

@3. I'd +1 for intellectual honesty if I could.

@6. Nope, sheer arrogance to think we have that kind of power. As for the second, depends on your definition of evolution, I find that people tend to clump every possible definition together and then assume that proof of one is proof of all, a very foolish stance indeed.

@7. You don't even need fiction to check that feeling out, take a gander at Mother Theresa's writings, she apparently suffered from psychological nigredo (the dark night of the soul) for nearly 50 years continuously, where she could not hear or feel anything from God whatsoever and was almost in despair. Fairly rare condition though.

@8. A-theism, literally "no-god" is the belief that there is/are no god/gods. I don't care that atheists love to try to redefine the term to encompass agnostics, they are still wrong and still liars.

@12. Funny, dark matter would seem to have an identical amount of evidence as God, seeing as they both are generally assumed by their apparent effects on other things.

No, atheism is very much in the statement "there is no god". You either do believe, or don't believe, or believe that you don't know. If you believe you don't know, you're agnostic, end of story (again, I give zero fucks about attempted redefinitions of atheism, still lies), thus atheists hold active belief at some threshold that there is no god.

As to evolution, beware, it's not demonstrable at all in the way you think it is. You can demonstrate adaptation, but there neither is nor has ever been a proven example of mutations or adaptations actually creating new information. Beware, copied information that is maladaptive does in no way qualify as new information.

@16. Gaps in the fossil record? It's almost as if you're implying the whole thing isn't a giant black hole of zero transitory forms.

@19. He's not wrong about the "very real" thing, considering that from an atheistic perspective, emotions are nothing more than mechanistic/energetic signals within the brain. If you don't believe in any god, you really have no basis for belief in any validity within emotions either.

@24. You need to brush up on your scientific method. A "fact" is currently defined as a piece of information that can be tested/disproven if it is false, hence "falsifiability" and why science tends to edge away from things that cannot be tested. A fact may be either true or false and still be a fact.

By a fair definition, Evolution (as you are using the term) actually contains far, far too many contradictions to observed evidence to even be held as a theory. Now if you were to separate into micro/macro evolution as some have attempted, you'd at least have a somewhat intellectually honest stance, although it would be more ingenuous still to utilize the terms "adaptation", "speciation", etc. Evolution (by your apparent definition) is a hypothesis at best.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 8:07 AM  

@25. Entropy? Good luck with your eternal universe hypothesis. If you're working off an "oscillating big bang" type framework, you'll be happy to know that the observable universe's expansion is actually accelerating thus observable evidence points to no possible future "big crunch" either. Have fun with that.

@37. Good job, now explain why the basic proteins that allow all of those creatures to synthesize/metabolize ATP are totally different from ours, and even nonsensical compared to each others'. Semi-solid evidence, meet yet more solid refutation.

@39. Bad news, the Church is STILL the source of all valid law in the west. You don't realize this, because you were raised in an environment among human beings, some of whom were Christian, and to whose standards you and those who raised you were conformed (to an extent) in the interests of survival. There is no valid law outside of religion. There really isn't.

Emotion has no truth, and intellect provides no motivation. Intellect itself has no truth either, but may only tell you what is clearly false, for as long as it may remain un-corrupted by emotion.

Simply, your statement that not believing in the supernatural does not change the moral principles is demonstrably false, since all moral principles are derived directly from the supernatural and no other source. Go ahead, tell me why murder is bad, and I'll show you why in the absence of God your morality is based on nothing beyond your meaningless emotions (according to atheistic logic).

@42. Unless a real deity provides that stimulus in the absence of the AI, thus leading you out of the Matrix. It would require a miracle, quite literally, lol.

@43. Conversely, we already proved that you are a quack.

Anonymous Steve January 05, 2017 8:07 AM  

I dunno, I know a lot of religious autists.

They prefer to be known as Calvinists, bigot.

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 8:10 AM  

Nonsense. Theism can be defined as the belief in a certain presence, whereas atheism may be defined as the belief that the presence is not there.

Not necessarily. You can state that you believe there is a presence, let's say a person called Lucille Gautier, right now in the top of the Eiffel Tower. Why? Just because.

From an Atheist point of view, such statement makes no sense. A belief requires a minimum level of evidence. I you just made up a name, I don't say "I don't believe there's such a presence". I say "hey, you just made up a name".

You don't have evidence enough to proof, but you have to have enough to believe. For example, if a friend of yours with that name would have said that she planned to visit the Eiffel Tower today, you could believe that she's there, though you can't proof it. I can't believe that she's not there because, for example, it's raining, so she likely cancelled. Here we're having a debate about beliefs, but based in some minimum information.

Since there's no evidence about the existence of a God, like, something supernatural or anything like that, there's no minimum required evidence to even have a belief.

I mean... if something supernatural happened, you could believe that it's because there's a God, I could believe that it's not. But since nothing like that happened, there's nothing to start with.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:13 AM  

Dawkins is much vilified in these parts as a militant atheist, but he is a self-described "cultural Christian" and very much opposed to Islam, which is pretty good.

Bear in mind religion (specifically, Christianity) is quite a different beast in the UK than it is in the US.

In the US it is more of a fire and brimstone, you'll burn in Hell if you don't believe vigorous religion, in the UK, as the state religion it's more of a nudge, nudge, wink, wink, mild mannered vicar at afternoon tea, let's all go just go along with it because it's for the best kind of thing that's a bit more tolerant of, shall we say, eccentricity, as long as the boat isn't rocked too much (sorry for the long sentence).

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 8:19 AM  

If you just shrug your shoulders and go, look, it's beyond me, I just don't know anything, then you become susceptible to things like astrology... and feminism... you know, like the wimmenz are...

I don't see any virtue in throwing up my hands and saying "it's beyond me". There are plenty of things I'm happy to confidently affirm -- like gravity, since it has come up. Or down, rather.

Equally, I do not see the merit of saying, "I reject the idea of creation because I currently lack an explanation for one particular biological phenomenon." One or more logical explanations may yet be found. In the meantime, I have no problem with saying "I don't know" when I genuinely don't know.

Read Fred Reed's "Darwin Unhinged", which I linked to in comment 35. The list of problems with evolutionary theory he lays out is a lot more extensive than the difficulty for creationists posed by the similarity of a single gene in humans and apes.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 8:24 AM  

I dunno, I know a lot of religious autists.

They prefer to be known as Calvinists, bigot.


Ding ding ding! Aaaaaaand ... we have a winner, folks!

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:24 AM  

@68 Benjamin Kraft: Not sure what you're getting at; eukaryotic cell metabolism is all pretty much the same... it's the cell walls the make the difference... thermolysis of yeast or beef cells yields pretty much the same stuff.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:32 AM  

@72 5343 Kinds of Deplorable: I do appreciate you taking the time to respond to my comments, and for me it's really getting late (yeah I know, cop out), but you and others seem to be ignoring my main point: "belief" (if you want to call it that) in evolution and other scientific theories does not preclude moral beliefs and atitudes; it's a different thing altogether.

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 8:35 AM  

Bad news, the Church is STILL the source of all valid law in the west.

Not really. In the West, or in the non-germanic one at least, the source of the law are Roman laws, Napoleon laws (quite unknown, that Napoleon was not only one of the biggest strategists ever, but the greatest influence in the Law since the Roman Empire) and of course, the Church, as a legacy.

But the Church taking the leading voice again, just NO.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:42 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:44 AM  

@67 Benjamin Kraft: DNA ≠ information. DNA is just a molecule. To say that it is information is presupposing a teleological attribute to it.

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 8:45 AM  

Simply, your statement that not believing in the supernatural does not change the moral principles is demonstrably false, since all moral principles are derived directly from the supernatural and no other source. Go ahead, tell me why murder is bad, and I'll show you why in the absence of God your morality is based on nothing beyond your meaningless emotions (according to atheistic logic).

Murder is bad because as a society we accept it as a fundamental moral principle. Is it meaningless? well, maybe, but it is what we have accepted as a moral principle.

Of course, you can tell me that supernatural makes a difference. But there's a little problem called Islam: there, God says that murder is right, as long as you kill infidels. So, different societies can have different rules and you call it meaningless, and probably you're right. But the thing is: in different societies, supernatural stablishes different rules too. God says murder is wrong, Allah says it is right. It doesn't seem that supernatural makes a difference.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 8:49 AM  

@70. Yann. 3 Possible options for your belief with regard to deity.

A: I believe in God/gods.
B: I believe in no god.
C: I don't know.

You cannot honestly take up any stance that does not fall into these, even if you would like to say "but I'm 50% not sure and 50% think there's no god" that still puts you as believing more in no god than in a God/gods, thus you on the whole believe there is no god.

If you believe C, you're at least operating on a basis of concrete proof. You know that you have proven/had proved to you neither that there is a God/gods, nor that there is no god, thus you say you do not know and are Agnostic. However to go further again, since you cannot prove yourself (your own existence) concretely, and yet you operate as if and (likely)believe that you exist, your behaviour contradicts your stated beliefs, as you do not consistently adhere to your posited standards of proof.

Simply put, (if Agnostic) you have found it painful to operate as if you did not exist, so you operate as if you do, because you find meaning in pleasure and pain, even though from pure logic there is no meaning to them.

You have not yet found it painful to operate as if God does not exist, although if you find morality based on religion to be necessary and beneficial, you logically ought to find it painful to operate as if said religion were invalid. You do not find such operation painful because your perspective is still occluded by time, you cannot see some ways that slight pleasure now will cost great pain later.

Set of Sapient Humans: Agnostic, Theistic, Atheistic.
(Or posit another member of the set if you can?)
Agnostic != Atheist. Agnostic != Theist. Atheist != Theist.

A != Theistic.
A != Agnostic.
A = Sapient Human.
Therefore A = Atheistic.

Blogger slarrow January 05, 2017 8:56 AM  

A little precision here: there is a weak form and a strong form of atheism. The weak form is the statement that you lack a belief in God. If you say that and believe it, it is true, but all it does is tell others about what's in your head. It's this form that the research Vox cites might illuminate.

The strong form is the proposition "God does not exist". That's a statement about the world and must be defended; it is NOT the default assumption about the world that stands if opposing arguments (i.e., that God exists in some form) happen to fail.

Gliding between the two is a logical fallacy. The most recent term for it is the "motte and bailey" argument, which as far as I can tell is a particular formulation of the fallacy of equivocation.

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 8:57 AM  

Yann wrote:

I mean... if something supernatural happened, you could believe that it's because there's a God, I could believe that it's not. But since nothing like that happened, there's nothing to start with.


This is where your argument breaks down. There are numerous accounts both recent and distant past of supernatural events occurring. Eye-witness testimony is evidence, but you don't have to believe it or believe it is accurate. The fundamental problem is that you personally were not there so you personally cannot test what others said was a super natural occurrence.

You could suppose that they all made it up or mis-attributed a natural event, but you have no solid evidence yourself to support that belief. As for the argument around the terminology. If you are going to espouse that you have no opinion about whether God exists because there is not enough evidence in either direction then you are not an Atheist you are an Agnostic.

If you are going to say definitely that God does not exist you are operating on belief and not evidence and are an Atheist.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 8:59 AM  

@80 Benjamin Kraft: Please forgive me, I have only skimmed your posts because it's *really* getting late for me etc...

For me, three possibilities:

1) God exists

2) God doesn't exist

3) God doesn't exist, however a belief in God confers various personal and social benefits that help perpetuate said belief in God

Given everything I've learnt about, well, everything, option 3 seems to me to be the most likely.

Blogger The Kurgan January 05, 2017 9:00 AM  

Die,
Hey idiot, you can't both be a Jew AND atheist.
Damn, it's like they are getting stupider as we get closer to the end times?

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 9:11 AM  

Possible options for your belief with regard to deity.

A: I believe in God/gods.
B: I believe in no god.
C: I don't know.


Nope, it's not that simple. Think that when you talk about probability, there's two layers: the first layer is how much likely you think that something is true. The second layer is how much likely you think you prediction is right. This second layer is the Bayesian probability and it's about the information you have.

You can tell me that if you don't have information, the logical choice is to say "I don't know". But what if I asked you if you believe that every Chinese in China is singing "Hakuna Matata" right now? You have zero information, and however you would likely say "no".

Very often, we dismiss this second layer because it's implied.

I'm gonna make an example of this. Imagine in a conversation, somebody in a party suddenly asks you "Do you believe your wife is a nasty whore?". Probably you would smash his face right there, wouldn't you?

Why? because by making the question he's implying that there's some evidence that could make you believe that. When somebody says "I believe that", "I don't believe that", that there's some information pointing it is something implied.

So, an Atheist is not gonna say "I don't believe in God" because that implies that there is some evidence that can suggest that God exists. For the same reason that you wouldn't answer to that guy in a party "No, I don't believe my wife is a nasty whore" instead of smashing his face, because that answer would imply that you admit that there's at least minimum evidence required to raise the issue.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:12 AM  

@79. Yann, why do you care what society thinks? Because society can punish you? So really you only care about your feelings pain/pleasure.

Even if you sympathize with members of society, sympathy/empathy are still your feelings, which are the only things you actually care about.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 9:17 AM  

@12 Die Fledermaus:

4. Anthropogenic Climate Change - I don't know enough about it for it to warrant any meaningful opinion, much less a belief.

Anthropogenic Climate Change, as the climate alarmists would have us believe, is complete and utter bollocks. "They" say that human created carbon dioxide is on the verge of triggering a runaway greenhouse effect that will cook the Earth.

Look in to it. There have been periods in the Earth's past when there was nearly twenty times as much CO2 in the atmosphere as today, and yet here we are now in the middle of an Ice Age, with no sign of runaway greenhouse effect...

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:23 AM  

@85. I included percentages as an allusion to probability. I've said this three times in different ways now. If you find it sufficiently probable (by your own standards) that there is a god, you believe it and are theist. If you find it insufficiently probably, you are either agnostic, or if you find it sufficiently improbable, atheist.

If you require absolute certainty, you will, if honest, be agnostic, barring visions or miraculous occurrences.

I would not smash the party-goer's face for just words, as the words do not tell me his intent in this scenario, however if he sneers, the body language tells me that his intent is to harm me, whether or not his words are true, and THAT is what I react to.

Similarly, saying "I don't believe in God." is a statement of fact. Either he does or does not believe that, and absolutely nothing is implied, unless by tone or body language apart from the words, which may imply that he is lying or doubtful.

On top of that, Atheists can and DO say "There is no God." thus being either dishonest or purely faithful in that statement, because they do not know it to be true, but merely believe it.

Both your analogy and your example are utterly wrong, and in fact, show that you think more emotionally than you do rationally or logically. You don't care about truth as much as about your feelings.

Blogger Earl January 05, 2017 9:29 AM  

Theism is not a belief, it's just a lack of belief in atheism.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:29 AM  

TL;DR: Yann, as soon as you attempt to treat the existence of God/gods as a probability problem, you are implying that you are Agnostic, as Atheistic and Theistic both require statements of certainty (statements of faith).

If you claim you aren't saying that, you're lying somewhere. Sorry, but logically that is the only possibility.

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 9:30 AM  

Yann, why do you care what society thinks? Because society can punish you? So really you only care about your feelings pain/pleasure.

If I would care about pain, pleasure and what society thinks I would join the politically correct side.

I accept that moral principles because this is the way I was raised. Even if my country is Catholic, my family looked like a Calvinist one.

Now raise a kid in a Muslim house and tell him that infidels are pigs. Those will be likely his moral principles for his whole life. Do you think I'm wrong?

Anonymous Millenium January 05, 2017 9:30 AM  

@84 I am not sure who you are even talking to but if they mean a person is ethnically jewish but does not believe in any higher power they can be both a jew AND an atheist. There are a lot of examples of atheist jews such as Ayn Rand.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:31 AM  

@89. Wrong, Earl, Theism is the expressed belief that God or gods exist.

Agnosticism is a lack of belief.

Wait, did I just hear a sarcastic whoosh?

Blogger Rabbi B January 05, 2017 9:34 AM  

It's neither superior reason nor a dedication to logic that tends to produce an atheist, ...

Of this, there can be no doubt.

Atheism is as old as the fool, the withered man, who says in his heart, "There is no G-d." Atheism always rears its ugly head when human beings have regressed to a state of mental as well as moral degeneration. The atheist's mind and intellect are withered and, consequently, he is not able to properly engage his intellect.

G-d desires to educate mankind, and waits for man to come to his senses. Through his G-d-given, rational, reasoning intellect men can and should recognize G-d. When the Scriptures ask us to recognize Him, the appeal is not to faith, as much as it is to reason. We simply need to make a proper use of our reasoning faculties. The mind that is truly free of emotional bias will not only seek G-d, but find Him.

But most (as many Scriptures testify) have fallen prey to their sensuality. People deny the existence of G-d, not merely because He is not perceived by our senses, but because He is discovered by reasoning, and man's reason no longer finds G-d because, if he is really honest, his intellect makes no real effort to do so.

Admit it, the human mind is not all that anxious to find Someone Who proves to be quite inconvenient to our desires. As one rabbi put it: If it were as uncomfortable for the human mind to accept the existence of certain forces and laws of nature as it is for him to accept such concepts as "G-d" and "G-d's moral law," then the principles of science would be denied just as emphatically as is G-d in this world of physical desire.

Men are generally keen to suppress the truth and they have an inherent affinity for the darkness. What's desperately needed is a renewal, specifically a renewal of the mind in order that they learn to think properly and honestly about the most important questions being put to them in this world, no matter how uncomfortable they may make him feel. The study of the heavens and the earth alone may not provide man with the answer as to why G-d is deserving of praise or why we should recognize Him as the Master of the universe, or what one should do with his freedom of will in this world, but he has to start somewhere; and starting with the 'premise' that "There is no G-d" ... well, nothing could be more absurd or intellectually dishonest than to assert that one does not know Him when G-d has clearly proclaimed otherwise:

The wrath of G-d is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about G-d is plain to them, because G-d has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world G-d’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew G-d, they neither glorified him as G-d nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.(cf. Romans 1)

Blogger dvdivx January 05, 2017 9:35 AM  

As for Evolution, I believe that micro scale evolution is a fact such as birds adopting to a new food source. Macro evolution such as the existence of birds is where the theory falls apart.

Anonymous Yann January 05, 2017 9:36 AM  

Yann, as soon as you attempt to treat the existence of God/gods as a probability problem, you are implying that you are Agnostic, as Atheistic and Theistic both require statements of certainty (statements of faith).

Nope, I'm not Agnostic.

One example. There's some theories about how the world is really a simulation and we are just AI agents in the simulation. Could it be true? Who knows. But my position is the same than I have regarding to the existence of God: until I see some minimum evidence, I don't think it's something to even take into consideration.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 9:46 AM  

@47 Viidad:
"Evolution is a fact (like gravity)"

LOL

Uh, yeah, it is. Why do you have a problem with that?

Personally I think it's amazing that I'm genetically related to every living thing that exists, or has existed, on Earth - including dinosaurs!

I'm part Tyrannosaurus Rex! Well at least on some genetic level... if not at the nightclub...

Blogger John Williams January 05, 2017 9:47 AM  

Evolution is a fact (like gravity), and the theory of evolution is simply the current "best guess"
The Law of Gravity is predictive. New planets have been found due to their gravitational effects on known planets who's paths were tracked.

Theory of Evolution is useless as a predictive tool. In fact it's edited every time science shows it's false.

One is predictive and therefore useful to advancing science & Civilization. The Law of Gravity pushes forward. The Theory of Evolution is hacked apart & reassembled, as needed, to the point where it's proponents admit it's just a "best guess."

Conflating the two is a category error.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:49 AM  

@83. You're saying essentially the same thing I said, that as an atheist or agnostic, you see belief in God to be beneficial, whether or not God exists.

There is, however:

4) God exists, and lack of belief in God confers negative effects, such as eternal damnation.

another possibility (actually three others, but the other two are pointless here) in your matrix.

Along with that, it has long, long been known that desires lead to thoughts, thoughts lead to words, and words lead to actions. As a thought, lack of belief in God will necessarily lead to actions (however small) in accordance with that lack of belief, thus forfeiting some (if not all) of the benefits of belief.

Actually, a believer would say that you forfeit all of the truly important benefits.

@91. So you're saying that you were susceptible to pleasure and pain when you were young, but are less so now. So what? Still based on feelings.

Both you and the muslim can change. You have vainglory, so it will be difficult for you to change. Effectively, you're saying that you have some affinity with how you were raised, be it that you liked your family, that you like to think of yourself as a "good person", etc. If you had no affinity you would have no wish to remain static such.

"I believe in morals because society, no wait, really because of how I was raised, because I was raised Christian." You literally just said that your morality comes directly from Christianity and no other source. If you were raised in an Islamic society, yes, you would have that morality, because you are nothing but conformed to your surroundings, be they your current surroundings or those in the past. Pride helps you resist the present in favor of the past.

It's precisely as I said, outside of religion, there is no basis for any morality, you proved (anecdotally) it for me.

Anonymous Not Bob Just January 05, 2017 9:50 AM  

@Vox Not too bad of a hypothesis:

- however, the linked article is on the functioning/activity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) (which does not necessarily mean a "physical manifestation"/"structural difference"). Such a manifestation may occur but is it the chicken or the egg?

-PTSD is associated with alterations in the connectivity of the ACC and function

- for example - apathy & depression also involve alterations in the activity of the ACC (perhaps training yourself or conditions (poor nutrition/sleep) that predispose contribute to the changes in activity)-

- another study showed an increase in N-acetylaspartate/choline ratios in the anterior cingulate cortex of Aspberger's

- which brings up an interesting point - can empathy training "exercise" the ACC (and increase its functioning like a muscle)

- perhaps the Spergs that you mention were brought up in daycare, never had really close friends (because it is more difficult to make new friends) and never learned a non-solipsistic view. I would think it would be hard to fathom the gift of salvation when you don't think of others.

I had to Infogalactic who Sam Harris is- I think he may be correct on one point - that believers may think/interpret differently. That would be discernment (whether that involves some structural realignment on a quantum scale to "receive" those signals- I don't know).

Oh, a friend scored me 37 on the AQ test.
I scored myself much closer to the norm :)

Do you like numbers?
Strongly disagree - too pretentious of a show for me

Are you fascinated with dates?
Strongly disagree - unless I'm constipated



Blogger William Meisheid January 05, 2017 9:55 AM  

8. Henry Cybulski
#5 Atheism isn't a belief.

One of the processes used in deconstructing a position or argument is to unlayer the suppositions until you get to the fundamental a priori under-girding the position. For me, over the years of debating "atheists" and unlayering the arguments, we routinely arrived at what I term the "God - not God" a priori, the root assumption upon which all else is built. Both of these positions, are positions of faith, albeit faith with supportive assertions and to some degree purported evidence, but faith in its classic definition. Therefore both positions are religious by definition.

Blogger tweell January 05, 2017 9:57 AM  

I know that miracles happen. A miracle, by definition, requires intervention, it is contrary to the laws of our universe. Therefore I know that God exists. Atheists and agnostics deny this at best, and at worst demand that God perform for them personally.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:01 AM  

@96. Yann. You're Agnostic, you're just refusing to admit it at this point.

At the very least, you've seen others who believe in God, and that in itself is evidence, even if only minimal evidence. When you say "minimum evidence" what you actually mean is "up to the arbitrary standard of what I will accept as evidence".

Your arbitrary standard for evidence is higher than that evidence which you already see. An interesting question is, is your standard higher because you value certainty, (after all you behave as if you ought to continue living with no certainty beyond pain) or because it is currently comfortable for you to reject God based on your current standards?

Exhibit A: You continue living because you like pleasure and fear pain, and that is enough for you.

Exhibit B: You state that Christianity is overall beneficial to believe in (again based on your pleasure/pain metric set [or so you say] from your childhood).

Exhibit C: You believe that to believe in God is ultimately beneficial from a pleasure/pain perspective, yet you do not believe in God, even though you continue living from the same perspective of pleasure/pain.

Analysis D: You think you've got a long life ahead of you still, and believing that there is no God is currently comfortable for you.

Analysis E: Is this wise? No human being knows what will happen in the next femtosecond, let alone the next year, you might die suddenly of an unforseeable accident.

Blogger Duane Sheets January 05, 2017 10:09 AM  

The universe cannot have always been. That's been proved for nearly a century by atheist scientists.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 10:15 AM  

@98 John Williams

You're drawing a very long bow there. There is a more substantial basis for the theory of evolution than there is for the theory of gravity.

Those planets were discovered using Newtonian physics, which have since been found to be an asymptotic approximation to the General Theory.

Predictive ability of a theory is nice but it's not a deal-breaker, especially when when you're dealing with chaotic systems that theory predicts are unpredictable. Meteorology cannot accurately predict the weather more than about 7 days into the future, that does not mean however that meteorology is complete bunkum

Blogger John Williams January 05, 2017 10:15 AM  

@Steven715
DNA is just a molecule. To say that it is information is presupposing a teleological attribute to it.
Science does not attribute information to molecular structures as a philosophical attempt, it recognizes that in the scope of scientific methodology that there is information in the DNA molecule.

If you doubt this, go look up the definition of information. That you attempted to define 'information' as 'not information' strongly suggests you are a SJW playing definition reindeer games.

Blogger Cail Corishev January 05, 2017 10:15 AM  

I've been known to sperg a bit at times (I'm getting better), and I was functionally a church-going agnostic most of my life. I still can't say I've ever "felt" God's presence in the way so many people describe it, as an overwhelming emotional experience. So I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's a switch in the brain controlling that tendency.

I became a believing Christian when I started studying the facts -- the history of the Church, the reliability of prophecy, the evidence of miracles, the arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas, and so on. Through the grace of God, I learned to know it is true.

However, religious scholarship is completely out of vogue now. It's okay to study it after you're a believer, but belief is something that you're just supposed to "experience"; it's supposed to just come along and smack you in the head. Many Christians would even say my way of getting there is suspect or invalid, that it's not good enough to know the truth in your mind; you have to feel it in your heart.

It makes me wonder how many of today's atheists and agnostics would be religious if it had ever been presented to them as a valid field of intellectual study, rather than something that is separate from reason and all about the feels, as it's been presented almost everywhere since the 1960s.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:18 AM  

@104. Here's another fun thought: Non-uniform distribution of matter/energy.

Any function which theoretically could have produced a Big Bang would have produced a uniform (or at least extremely symmetrical) distribution of matter, and yet somehow all that matter/energy collected via gravity into galaxies/stars/planets/etc. How?

Logically if matter/energy had an even distribution, they would never accrete at any loci, and the universe would be one huge crystalline-pattern cloud of gas and radiation.

In other words, even if there WAS a Big Bang, some outside entity had to have "jacked with it" under our current understanding of nature.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:24 AM  

@105. We need you to define, very specifically and precisely, what you mean by "Evolution" RIGHT NOW.

We've said it over, and over, and over again in this thread, people CONSISTENTLY say "Evolution is proven (or has excellent evidence)" when really only adaptation is reasonably proven. They point to a single part and claim all of their different imaginings have "excellent proof."

Bullshit.

Even for a single facet of what you call evolution....

BULLSHIT.

Gravity has much better evidence. You're currently accelerating against whatever is supporting you. Are you currently (observably by yourself) turning into a god? Did you just stop being an ape?

William's "long bow" is apparently well within his strength to draw, as his logic is immaculate.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 05, 2017 10:26 AM  

Meanwhile, back on the topic of Autism...

Another report: "Autism Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy

"The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, discovered that pregnant women who had low vitamin D levels when they were 20 weeks pregnant were more likely to have a child who displayed autistic traits by the age of 6. For the study, researchers analyzed approximately 4,200 blood samples from pregnant women and their children in the Netherlands."

Blogger slarrow January 05, 2017 10:30 AM  

@94 Beautifully put, Rabbi B.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:33 AM  

@110. Well played, I hold myself in contempt of topic.

So potentially pregnant women need to... get more sunlight. That continual predilection for remaining indoors has to stop for a bit when you're having a baby, to be on the safe side.

That being said, I really need to sleep, I can see my reason starting to leave me, and a rather uncomfortably wide associative horizon is rapidly taking its place. Later.

Blogger Ingot9455 January 05, 2017 10:34 AM  

I like the bit about how humans and apes both have the same broken gene that keeps them from synthesizing their own Vitamin C.

Here's an alternate explanation:

Adam and Eve were created genetically perfect. That's why Adam is listed as living 930 years. His descendants in that area are similarly long-lived, going down to Noah, at 950. Lifespans decay rapidly after that, after the flood, following what we know as a biological decay curve. As mutations add up over the generations, they knock out genes and result in worse outcomes.

In this hypothesis, the apes are suffering the same biological decay from their perfection in Edenic times as humans are; and the same genetic damage. The Vitamin C gene may well be particularly easy to damage for us.

Blogger John Williams January 05, 2017 10:37 AM  

Those planets were discovered using Newtonian physics
Yes, and the forces derived in the calculations were drawn from what measurable Law?

For large scale mechanics at speeds <<c Newtonian Physics work very well. In fact many systems today are still engineered based on Newtonian Physics.

A child can demonstrate gravity. It takes a field of archeologists a career to imagine a missing link based on a jawbone fragment.

I think you've tangled yourself in a stray bowstring and hit your head when you tripped.

Anonymous qua Absurdum January 05, 2017 10:42 AM  

Brain scanner research is always crap. No mention of the size of the study, the size of the differences in the ACG compared to variations in the control group -- or even if there was a control group. No mention of the rate of agnosticism in experimental or control group, no mention of the definition of atheism given to the participants, or even if the term was defined at all, so most likely some subjects meant "agnostic".

One of the researchers said: "A big part of social interaction is to try and understand another person’s point of view." Ironic, since there the researchers have less understanding of the autistics' points of view than many autistics have of normal people; the supposed "mind reading" skills are mostly just projection of the normal viewer's unconfirmed imaginings onto the other person. That same projection of one's own imaginings onto fictional characters is also quite normal, people will even argue over what they imagine imaginary characters felt about imaginary events. You might as well claim this study proves the objective existence of those imaginary feelings of imaginary people. Actually that's exactly what you're doing, pretending that the projection of sectarians' feelings onto the characters in their 3rd-rate off-brand myths means that those characters must have existed and felt whatever the worshipers imagine. Feelings today don't make old fictions true.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 05, 2017 10:44 AM  

Benjamin Kraft @112: "So potentially pregnant women need to... get more sunlight. That continual predilection for remaining indoors has to stop for a bit when you're having a baby, to be on the safe side."

Or increase the amount of Vitamin D in prenatal supplements.

I also find it interesting that a previous study from 2009 on Somali immigrants in Sweden and Minnesota had similar findings.

And what do both Sweden and Minnesota lack that Somalia has? Copious amounts of sunlight.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 10:47 AM  

@106 John Williams

I can absolutely, utterly assure you that I am not an SJW; I won't take offense though because you don't know me and I don't know you. I don't know what reindeer games are so I'll have to look that up.

We are communicating with each other via the Internet, which I have been led to believe is a series of tubes (or possibly not, I may be being sarcastic. Or ironic. I'm never quite sure of the difference).

At various points in those tubes there are electrical charges going through wires and quite possibly photons going through optical fibres. All that stuff is information because I want to give you this patronising lecture on electronics, and you want to tell me I'm an asshole but you're too polite.

As I have already stated however DNA is just. a. molecule. It's not trying to tell anybody anything. It does not care if its existence results in a genius, an athlete, a beautiful woman,or a fetus that dies in the womb due to genetic deformities.

Yes, sure, there are people who are trying to use DNA to make computers, but they are using DNA for a specific purpose: mathematics (essentially). Mathematics is something that we humans created, and they want to use DNA to do mathematics. That does not mean that DNA carries information any more than the polycarbonate plastic that CDs are made of carries information.

Anonymous To Mock a Killingbird January 05, 2017 10:48 AM  

Sam Harris has a lot of things backwards- and inside out, inverted, incomplete.

Blogger kurt9 January 05, 2017 10:54 AM  

Its the mercury compounds used in vaccines.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 05, 2017 10:54 AM  

qua Absurdum @115: "No mention of the rate of agnosticism in experimental or control group, no mention of the definition of atheism given to the participants, or even if the term was defined at all, so most likely some subjects meant "agnostic"."

Ummm....there's no mention of either of those things because the referenced study had nothing to do with atheism at all.

The reference to a link between autism and atheism is Vox's own hypothesis, as mentioned in the OP.

Blogger tz January 05, 2017 10:55 AM  

One analogy I've used is how do you convince someone deaf from birth that music exists. Not sound which can be demonstrated, but why do people sit for hours in concert halls?
Spirits may be a damaged perception organ.

Blogger Stevenp715 January 05, 2017 10:56 AM  

113 Ingot9455:
The Vitamin C gene may well be particularly easy to damage for us.


You'll have to show evidence for that. DNA is just a sequence of CGAT nucleotides in various combinations; the strength of those molecular bonds do not depend on what gene they happen to be in (that's ridiculous; a molecular bond cannot know, oh I'm in a vitamin C gene, I'd better be weaker)

Anonymous Michael Maier January 05, 2017 11:07 AM  

112. Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:33 AM
@110. Well played, I hold myself in contempt of topic.

So potentially pregnant women need to... get more sunlight. That continual predilection for remaining indoors has to stop for a bit when you're having a baby, to be on the safe side.


Sunshine is awesome. Women sunbathing nude... for the children. We need to make this a movement ASAP.

Fewer spergy asshole atheists would be just a great side-benefit too.

Anonymous To Mock a Killingbird January 05, 2017 11:09 AM  

@105

"You're drawing a very long bow there. There is a more substantial basis for the theory of evolution than there is for the theory of gravity."

Gravity, principally observed as the attraction between objects, especially massive ones is not a theory, it is a fact. We observe the dv/dt of gravity as ~ 9.8m/s2 at sea level each and every time we observe and measure it.

There were a myriad of theories about the OPERATIVE MECHANISM that produced gravity, but the one that seems to provide the best explanation is the interaction of mass on space-time. Scientists have been busily attempting to disprove it for over a century, but unable to disprove it, one experiment to observe the predicted torsion of space-time lasted decades, concluding after the death of one of the experimenters.

Show me a single OBSERVED instance of a species successfully bifurcating into a new viable one. It may very well be what happens, but the indignant certitude of its proponents is no more justifiable than that of "cryptozoologists" who assert that there is a Sasquatch, or a Nessie, but fail to produce a carcass for examination.

Anonymous Michael Maier January 05, 2017 11:17 AM  

tweell:
I know that miracles happen. A miracle, by definition, requires intervention, it is contrary to the laws of our universe. Therefore I know that God exists. Atheists and agnostics deny this at best, and at worst demand that God perform for them personally.


Yup. Had at least three things happen to me that cannot be explained by science. But "That's not evidence. That's just flawed testimony caused by delusional wishful thinking on your part."

Nothing is ever evidence for them. Pearls before swine.

Blogger Kenneth J Doyle January 05, 2017 11:21 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Stickwick January 05, 2017 11:32 AM  

Like Cail, I became a believing Christian when I started studying the facts.

I may be one of those people who tended toward atheism because of my ASD. However, like our Kurgan, I believe that my Aspergers is a sort of superpower, and not a malfunction. It does confer certain advantages that I would be hesitant to give up just to have an easier time socially. And it’s not unthinkable that God designed certain brains to function differently for a reason.

The difference between me and militant atheists, however, is humility and empathy. I am always open to the possibility that I'm wrong, and am persuaded by sufficient evidence and reason. I also have a strong emotional connection to other people, even if I struggle to understand what they're thinking.

Anonymous Stickwick January 05, 2017 11:40 AM  

Henry Cybulski: I would submit that the universe has always been. It has just changed over time. Yes, that's a belief...

No, that's blind faith. Such a claim is contrary to all scientific evidence in favor of a universe that's finite in time.

Stevenp715: One possible explanation for the existence of the Universe is that the Universe created itself.

Sound stupid? At the moment of the Big Bang the quantum realm was dominant, and in the quantum realm normal laws of causality break down: for example, nothing "causes" the beta decay of a nucleus (a quantum phenomenon), it just happens.


No. You can’t just invoke the seeming randomness of quantum mechanics and say “voila, the universe could have created itself.” Quantum mechanics, as unintuitive as it seems compared with the macro world, still operates according to rules, including cause and effect. The products of beta decay didn’t cause themselves, they were caused by the existence of the nucleus, the weak nuclear force, and the laws of quantum mechanics. There may or may not be randomness involved in the timing of the decay, depending on how well we currently understand the quantum realm, but the causes are not in question.

tweell: I know that miracles happen. A miracle, by definition, requires intervention, it is contrary to the laws of our universe. Therefore I know that God exists.

Not all miracles are contrary to the laws of our universe. Would you believe that, in principle, the laws of quantum mechanics allow you to walk through walls? Well, it’s true. But if you ever saw someone do it, you’d be convinced you just witnessed a miracle, and you’d be right.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 05, 2017 11:41 AM  

Michael Maier @123: " Women sunbathing nude... for the children. We need to make this a movement ASAP."

Careful what you wish for, lest British Steve provide photographic.... samples.... of those whom you would prefer not to see.

Anonymous Clay January 05, 2017 11:43 AM  

So God made people with a tendency to end up in hell through no fault of their own. Predestination to damnation.

Anonymous Bob Just January 05, 2017 11:47 AM  

@121 Tz Good question:

I have a hard time convincing some folks that can hear that some of the stuff I listen to (Psykosonik excluded) is Music

Anonymous WaterBoy January 05, 2017 11:50 AM  

kurt9 @119: "Its the mercury compounds used in vaccines."

It doesn't have to be either/or. There can be multiple risk factors involved.

Anonymous patrick kelly January 05, 2017 11:58 AM  

I usually avoid threads that devolve into aspergiest rants, but I found this one to be rather entertaining.

I luv this blog.

Blogger B.J. January 05, 2017 12:01 PM  

We know humans require socialization to develop because of the existence of Feral Children. If children do not receive social contact, they don't quite become human. Of course controlled experiments on the subject are rare because they would be unconscionable.

It seems to me that autists are partly feral. Like they didn't get enough socialization, and that part of the brain never developed. You muffle one sense, other senses compensate. They delve into technology or obsessive hobbies (Bronies). It also seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A friend of mine took his kid to the doctor but his usual doctor was on vacation. The lady doctor who was there took one look at his kid and pronounced him autistic. She started talking about all this stuff he was going to have to do to take care of his "special needs child." My friend told the doctor to fuck right off. He kept raising the kid as normal, and he's a normal, social kid.

This can't be the only case of that happening. What if my friend had taken the doctor's advice, pulled the kid out of classes, avoiding social situations, told him he was retarded, and treated him like he was disabled? He would end up with a socially awkward, tech-savvy, My Little Pony-watching weirdo.

Autism is created, not born.

Anonymous fop January 05, 2017 12:08 PM  

the strength of those molecular bonds do not depend on what gene they happen to be in (that's ridiculous; a molecular bond cannot know, oh I'm in a vitamin C gene, I'd better be weaker)

It's called a mutational hot spot. Mutation frequency varies in different locations of the genome.

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 12:46 PM  

Clay wrote:So God made people with a tendency to end up in hell through no fault of their own. Predestination to damnation.

Except it's not really unless the Sperg chooses it to be so. All people innately have flaws that would prevent them from attaining salvation. Is it possible that the point is God wants people to choose salvation and work towards it rather than just innately have it?

Blogger RobertT January 05, 2017 12:48 PM  

For this particular subset of scientists and reporters, this may be news. But I just watched a video last night that discussed the physical similarities in the brains of autistic people and geniuses like Einstein, whose brain was preserved, and their deviation from standard issue normal people. Genius and ASD people are markedly similar.

Big Brain on youtube

Blogger VD January 05, 2017 1:00 PM  

Evolution is a fact

Change is a fact. The Theorum of Evolution by (mostly) Natural Selection in Addition to a Panoply of Less Famous Evolutionary Mechanisms is not a fact.

Don't play that game here. This is possibly the worst place to try to parrot Dawkins. Trust me, I know his work much, much better than you do.

Mindlessly repeating your mantra isn't going to convince anyone, especially not those who know the actual science involved much better than you.

And what does this have to do with the Alt-Right? I'll welcome anyone who is willing to stand and fight for Western civilization, be they atheists, evolutionists, gays, or even Packer fans.

Blogger VD January 05, 2017 1:02 PM  

I would submit that the universe has always been. It has just changed over time. Yes, that's a belief...

(laughs)

It's not every single time. But it's pretty reliable. They don't even know the science they revere.

Blogger Red Bane January 05, 2017 1:50 PM  

Twitter does not allow links from this blog. Considers it spam I just found out

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor January 05, 2017 1:51 PM  

Soon they'll find the brain abnormality that turns people into journalists.

Blogger Cail Corishev January 05, 2017 1:55 PM  

So God made people with a tendency to end up in hell through no fault of their own. Predestination to damnation.

Read my comment and Stickwick's. You can come to knowledge of God's existence through reason alone. The Catholic Church, among others, has always taught that. But in the last 50 years, people have been taught that faith is non-reasoning, that it's pure "experience," so it's no surprise that hyper-logical people would reject it out of hand.

Perhaps in more Scholastic times, hyper-emotional people had the same problem, not "feeling" an interest in God because faith was presented as a dry, intellectual exercise. I don't know. Regardless, in either case, that it may be harder for some than others doesn't mean it's impossible for anyone.

I guess my takeaway would be this: If you're a Christian with a son who's kinda spergy, don't just take him to a Sunday School where they sing "Jesus Loves Me" and make macaroni pictures. That's a good way to end up with a 14-year-old atheist, and there's not much that's more annoying than that. Show him that the history of Christendom is dotted with many great minds, some of whom devoted their lives to trying to know God to the best of their intellectual ability. If you can get him interested in someone accessible like Chesterton, he could be drawn right in.

Blogger Henry Cybulski January 05, 2017 1:55 PM  

@138 How about an NHL fan.

@139 You don't even know the God you revere.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable January 05, 2017 2:05 PM  

I'll welcome anyone who is willing to stand and fight for Western civilization, be they atheists, evolutionists, gays, or even Packer fans.

Come on, we've got to draw the line SOMEWHERE, Vox.

Blogger Ingot9455 January 05, 2017 2:18 PM  

@122 First, this is a hypothesis, not a theory. To make it a theory I'd need some better proof past the biblical about the ages of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. (I should write a story on genetic testing in the Cave of the Patriarchs.)

Second, surely you are aware that DNA strands are bent and folded in various ways. A five second Google search gives me https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19508739 that tells me that a sequence of as few as 4-6 A-pairs in a row causes distinct and meaningful bending in the DNA strand. This action would weaken some chemical effects and strengthen others. Plenty of genes have 4-6 A-pairs in a row, not to mention the non-gene areas. All part of the magic by which DNA loops and bends and folds and unwinds for transcription and then re-coalesces.

As fop said earlier, mutational hot spots.

Anonymous Ivan Throne January 05, 2017 2:22 PM  

@67 - The Mother Theresa example is an excellent one. Testimony to her character.

@68 - Superb. I am smiling. Now that would be a good story...

...imagine writing the scene where the AI realizes the nature of the "interference" that was taking place....

Regards,

Ivan

OpenID basementhomebrewer January 05, 2017 2:30 PM  

Henry Cybulski wrote:@138 How about an NHL fan.

@139 You don't even know the God you revere.


We've already established that you are disingenuous. Now you are just hurling retarded arguments.

Vox has professed a belief. You are arguing that your conclusion is based on "facts and science". The onus is on you to prove factually that God does not exist.

Anonymous genericviews January 05, 2017 2:49 PM  

Reminds me of something I read here back on 5 July, Bonfire of Science. Wherein the author notes that the use of brain imagery MRIs produce inconsistent results and thus any hypothesis based on them is unrealistic.

Anonymous Peter #0231 January 05, 2017 2:57 PM  

The obvious conclusion, then, is that the Brain Is Fine.

Anonymous Tipsy January 05, 2017 3:01 PM  

One of the best descriptions of the thoughts of the atheist is found in the 2nd book of Wisdom. It anticipates the atheist's argument that we're here merely by chance, and it lists the consequences of the atheist's denial of the existence of God (hedonism, indifference to the suffering of others, irreverence, persecution of believers, spiritual envy). It ends by diagnosing the atheist's error:

21 These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them,

22 And they did not know the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense for holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.

23 For God formed us to be imperishable;the image of his own nature he made us.

24 But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it.

To the atheist out there I'd say search with an open heart for evidence of God. You'll find it. And once set upon the path of righteousness, you'll know the recompense the verse talks of: an indescribable peace and freedom of the soul that cannot be found anywhere else but with God.

Anonymous One Deplorable DT January 05, 2017 3:39 PM  

@97 - "Evolution is a fact (like gravity)"
LOL
Uh, yeah, it is. Why do you have a problem with that?


Marcel E. Golay put the odds of abiogenesis at 1 in 10^450. This is an impossibility given the size and age of our universe. (And yes, for the sake of this point I'm going with scientific billions of years, not YEC 6-10,000 years.)

Indeed, if our universe was a simulation with true random inputs and you ran that simulation 10^100 you would not expect to see first life in any run. If you observed first life it would be court admissible evidence that someone tampered with your simulation.

Golay also put the odds of evolution to the complexity of a modern mammal at 1 in 10^3,000,000. If our universe was infinite in space and/or time, you would expect to see first life. But you would never see evolution to the level of a mammal because no habitable zone could exist long enough. And that is a limit imposed by the laws of physics so there's no possible escape via "my eons of time."

Michael Denton (among others) has calculated similar odds which put atheistic evolution completely outside the realm of what is possible for our universe and planet.

And IMHO both of them have computed odds which are far too favorable to atheistic evolution. You can read how they came to their conclusions, and then easily find a paper detailing some complexity they failed to account for which would kick the odds out another dozen or so orders of magnitude.

In the past few years I have become very short with those who wish to tell me that "evolution is fact." If you have investigated the mathematics required by the theory of evolution then you have abandoned atheistic evolution. Because the math demands intervention by a being or beings not of our universe.

And if you have not investigated the math, then you are speaking nonsense.

Anonymous fop January 05, 2017 3:58 PM  

You don't even know the God you revere.

Did science tell you that?

Blogger szopen January 05, 2017 4:07 PM  

Tipsy wrote:it lists the consequences of the atheist's denial of the existence of God (hedonism, indifference to the suffering of others, irreverence, persecution of believers, spiritual envy).
He is right from the purely logical point of view, but this is irrevelant, because humans are not logical. I am atheist, but I am hardwired in a manner which makes it impossible for me to be indifferent, immoral and so on.


To the atheist out there I'd say search with an open heart for evidence of God. .

There is none, unless you already believe.

Incidentally, it is interesting what VD have right. If my atheism is a result of abnormality of my brain, then it mean I had no choice in this matter and no free will. Meaning I was created that way by God. Meaning God wanted me, for some reason, to be an atheist.

As for relation between autism and atheism, well, there is also relation between autism and high intelligence. And relation between atheism and high intelligence.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnins.2016.00300/full

Ah, f*, and I have promised myself not to comment anything this month.

Blogger William Meisheid January 05, 2017 4:09 PM  

130. Clay
So God made people with a tendency to end up in hell through no fault of their own. Predestination to damnation.

So many errors, where to start? I guess with the only one that matters, "through no fault of their own."

That premise is false from the onset and I believe you know it as well and are just bomb throwing to get a reaction, but since it is the linchpin of your statement it should be easy to deal with.

Consignment to hell is due to sin, which by definition is breaking of the law of God, which has not been forgiven and atoned for. Hell could be said to be the effect of sin which is the cause. You sin, you do not repent and atone for that sin, you go to hell. Pretty simple, pretty straightforward. Very logical and eminently just. There you go; it is their fault.

One bit about your inclusion of "tendency." Let me be explicit and emphatic, God did not make anyone with a tendency to sin, and therefore end up in hell. Neither Adam, nor Eve had a tendency to sin. They were made and chose to sin, exercising their free will to do so. All the rest of us were born and yes, we arrive with a tendency to sin because we inherit that proclivity from our father. Brokenness passes brokenness on. A good way to understand this is it is spiritual genetics. Adam broke the free will gene and ended up passing on to his progeny the tendency to sin. Blame him; he is the one who started all this.

There is only one solution, which Jesus explained in John 3:16 - "You must be born again." You need a new start with new spiritual genetics from a new Father, God himself. Some argue this is our choice and we only have to do what I started with, repent and ask for forgiveness and God will give it to us and hell is averted. Others counter with predestination to salvation that God chooses whom to save for his own purposes.

Whatever the argument, one thing overrides everything, everyone born of Adam, which is all of us, arrive broken and with a tendency to sin and end up in hell, which we all would inevitably do. God did not make us that way, Adam did. God has made a way to save us from the problem, to fix the brokenness. Accept the offer or reject it but don’t blame God for it, blame your choices for or against the solution to the problem Adam created.

Have a good day and be smart and make the right choice.

Blogger szopen January 05, 2017 4:11 PM  

@153 s/"have right"/have written/

Blogger William Meisheid January 05, 2017 4:18 PM  

153. szopen
See my argument to Clay. Same problem, same solution.

Blogger szopen January 05, 2017 4:26 PM  

William Meisheid wrote:153. szopen

See my argument to Clay. Same problem, same solution.

It's not. I am not claiming I will be condemned to death. Moreover, I have not claimed that necesserily God created atheists. I merely pointed, that IF VD has written that " atheists have different beliefs due to their abnormal brain structure.", then it may be understood as "atheism is a result of abnormal brain structure". As autism is hereditary, so this abnormal brain structure would not be result of post-natal brain damage, but rather would be effect of genes - in which case I was created as atheist by God, I had no free choice in this matter. _if_ it is an effect of environmental impact, it still means I had no choice in this matter.

I simply do not believe. And, believe me, sometimes I wish I could believe - if you go consequently with atheism, the logical conclusions are pretty much awful. But I do not believe. I do not believe "fake it until make it" when related to "belief in God", as it seems.. disgusting somehow.

Blogger szopen January 05, 2017 4:27 PM  

tfu, tfu, condemned to "hell", not to "death". I surely wish comments would have edit option, available for first 30 seconds or so after posting (to allow correction of typos, but not allowing later changing of the posts)

Blogger William Meisheid January 05, 2017 4:48 PM  

157. szopen
I do not believe "fake it until make it"

Fair and honest statement. What changed everything for me was reading, of all things, Hal Lindsay's "The Late Great Planet Earth" back in 1976, since the TV in my motel room was broken and it was one of the few books available in the store I could walk to.

Everything else he said aside, he did say one thing to me that changed everything for me as he talked about his conversion. He stated that it was a choice. That all I had to do was choose to accept the offer that Jesus made, to accept his sacrifice as the solution to my sin and brokenness. It DID NOT DEPEND on how I felt, but what I chose. So I chose to accept his offer (both Lindsay's and Christ's). The important point in relation to your concern is that there is not "fake it till I make it" because the make it is my choice.

All I can say is I made the honest choice, with a commitment to stick to it and everything changed and has been changing ever since.

Your choice. No fake it until I make in that. Just an honest choice you intend to keep. It changed me forever. It may do the same thing for you.

Anonymous Tipsy January 05, 2017 4:50 PM  

szopen wrote:
There is none, unless you already believe.


That's not the case for me. I left the Catholic church at 20 years of age, and lived as an atheist for 5-6 years. I was coaxed back to the church by a parish in which the faith was explained, but didn't really commit until the physical evidence of miracles was too overwhelming to deny.

Also, all the traits that they speak of in the 2nd book of wisdom (hedonism, indifference to the suffering of others, irreverence, persecution of believers, spiritual envy) aren't a foregone conclusion, but from my experience as an atheist, there was no countervailing force to keep me from drifting there, and I would definitely say a certain hardness of heart had developed that has taken me years to overcome (with God's grace).

I hope you understand I don't condemn you or seek to belittle you, but rather, I think of you, in a sense, as a brother with whom I've shared a certain set of common experiences. Though you might find this flippant or silly, I pray for you that God might show himself more clearly to you.

Blogger szopen January 05, 2017 5:05 PM  

Tipsy wrote:szopen wrote:

There is none, unless you already believe.


I hope you understand I don't condemn you or seek to belittle you, but rather, I think of you, in a sense, as a brother with whom I've shared a certain set of common experiences. Though you might find this flippant or silly, I pray for you that God might show himself more clearly to you.


I have learned to accept such things as a token of good will, so thank you. At the same time I hope you won't take me wrong when I will say that the chances I will abandon atheism are pretty low and close to zero.

HOWEVER

When I married my wife I had to promise that I won't influence the religious upbringing of my children (because my wife wanted to get a church marriage, so we compromised and had both "concordate" church marriage and civil marriage, and the condition by the church was I will help with catholic upbringing, but they compromised on that I won't disturb it). Initially I kept the oath because, well, it was an oath, but I considered that the oath would cease once they will be grown-up adults. Today, however, I intend never-ever get into arguments with them. I do not think they will gain anything from being atheist, and there would be no gain from me, while they, I think, would be happier. And protected from some dangers of the modern life.

And, consequently, if I would ever have any impact on government, I would promote religion from purely practical point of view.

Aw, last comment from me. I really need to limit participation in internet discussion, so please do not be offended when I won't respond - I really should not even start this discussion and right now I feel bad about it.

Anonymous Tipsy January 05, 2017 5:19 PM  

szopen wrote:
I have learned to accept such things as a token of good will, so thank you. At the same time I hope you won't take me wrong when I will say that the chances I will abandon atheism are pretty low and close to zero.
...
Aw, last comment from me. I really need to limit participation in internet discussion, so please do not be offended when I won't respond - I really should not even start this discussion and right now I feel bad about it.


I understand completely and thank you for your kind reply. I hope for the best for you and your family. You sound like a good person, and I'm sure we'd get on well if we were to one day meet.

Blogger Steve Trueblue January 05, 2017 5:45 PM  

Can I suggest feminists and SJWs may suffer the opposite -- far too much empathy for others and thus completely lack a practical level of self esteem and are forever focussed on imaginary groups being offended thus trying to shame everybody else into obedience?
Cause of this? Might be Hormone disrupters in the food chain preventing brain maturation and/or too many vaccines too early.

Blogger JimR January 05, 2017 5:53 PM  

@124 To Mock a Killingbird asked.

"Show me a single OBSERVED instance of a species successfully bifurcating into a new viable one."

"As their populations expanded, the species interacted, often producing sterile hybrids. But by the 1950s, scientists realized that there were two new variations of goatsbeard growing. While they looked like hybrids, they weren't sterile. They were perfectly capable of reproducing with their own kind but not with any of the original three species - the classic definition of a new species."

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/

Blogger Happy LP9 January 05, 2017 6:28 PM  

I am noting alot of new found self harm and self death via omnicide? It's very new, disastrous and foreign. Then again the NEA churns out Atheists whom are most damaged by Vaxxing thus Autism appears - I hope I am wrong.

146 agreed

Blogger SirHamster January 05, 2017 6:37 PM  

szopen wrote:I simply do not believe. And, believe me, sometimes I wish I could believe - if you go consequently with atheism, the logical conclusions are pretty much awful. But I do not believe. I do not believe "fake it until make it" when related to "belief in God", as it seems.. disgusting somehow.

You mean "atheism" as lack of belief?

I do not understand inability to believe God. Do you have an inability to believe truth? To react to truth?

God created the universe as we know it. There are no reasonable alternatives. God has authority over his creation and we owe him fealty as child follows parent or servant obeys master.

As you are a child to parents and a parent to children, you are equipped to behave towards God as you ought.

What more do you expect of belief?

Blogger Akulkis January 05, 2017 6:50 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Akulkis January 05, 2017 7:07 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 9:36 PM  

@164. Are you serious? Did you actually READ the article?

There were three "species", and they naturally produced hybrids?

What I see here is not evidence of speciation, I see evidence that the "scientists" involved in this study were completely dishonest, because if they truly had different species of plants, it would not be possible for them to naturally produce fecund hybrids.

"I'm going to call a plant species three different species, then when it has hybridized and adapted so that some cannot reproduce successfully with others, but only with themselves, I'll say it's become two new species on that basis."

Idiocy. That's maladaptivity in action, as each hybrid has lost the ability to cross-pollinate, and thus utilize the genetic information that is now locked away permanently in the other hybrid, something that all three "species" had the potential for before hand.

They got three different maladaptive strains of the SAME species that had serious trouble interbreeding, then when they DID successfully interbreed the maladaptation was so reinforced that they became completely unable to interbreed. Genetic information is lost here, not gained.

Anonymous Mr. Rational January 05, 2017 9:58 PM  

Sam Harris had it backwards. Atheists and theists don't think differently due to their beliefs, but atheists have different beliefs due to their abnormal brain structure.
Vox fails to note that intuitive brain structures are notoriously error-prone; there's a reason that "pareidolia" is a word.

In this case, theism arises from the triggering of intention- and emotion-intuiting structures on their own.  It's an emergent property of the human brain, but...

(irony of ironies)

religion is all about the feelz!

It explains why there are so many different religions, and how some people jump from one to another without any apparent difficulty shifting their "fundamental" beliefs.  There is no reason involved; it's all about what gives the "right" feeling in that one part of the brain.

Theology is all post-hoc rationalization of what feels right to theologians.

I look forward to the MRI and genome studies which look at Arabs, Dravidians and Tibetans to see if there are particular heritable brain differences which make people more amenable to Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.  If found, this would have the further ironic effect of declaring the SJWs correct:  Islamophobia is racism!

Which is reason for us all to be islamophobic.  Racism is natural and good.

Anonymous Avalanche January 05, 2017 10:31 PM  

@68 "here is no valid law outside of religion. There really isn't."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meiU6TxysCg

What's their "religion"?

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:38 PM  

@171. That shows me that monkeys have envy. Nothing more.

Now, if you could find an experiment in which the monkey getting grapes felt guilty and shared its grapes through the cage bars (while still hungry for grapes itself) that would be more meaningful.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft January 05, 2017 10:39 PM  

It will also never happen outside of people training them to do it.

Blogger Tim Schaeffer January 05, 2017 11:38 PM  

It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as
Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks
Intelligence. It is not so. They are not distinguished from other men by any
unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her...It is not excess of
thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their
heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that
makes them seem so.

--- C. S. Lewis, "The Abolition of Man"

Blogger Snidely Whiplash January 06, 2017 4:04 AM  

The reason i brought up evolution was because of our first Atheist commenter's cri de coeur,"Why believe in something that hasn't been proved, authenticated or verified; hence atheism."
Like anthropogenic global warming, love and dark matter, evolution has never been proven, authenticated or verified, yet 99% or more of Atheists believe in it. In fact, like love in far too many cases, every time it is disproven, it is redefined, reasserted, and welcomed back.


As far as evidence for God, I have learned to take Spacebunny's approach. When an Atheist asserts there is no evidence for the existence of God, ask him to define evidence, to specify what type of evidence he will accept. They uniformly refuse. To actually state publicly that there is no reasonable form of evidence they will accept threatens their fragile and carefully built false self image of rationality and intelligence. Hi, Mr Rational. To specify reasonable forms of evidence they will accept invites an actual debate on the merit of the evidence, which most are intellectually unprepared to handle.

What they want is for you to provide evidence which they can dismiss out of hand, while sneering or questioning the source.

So, any Atheist who claims there is no evidence for God;
define evidence.

Anonymous buybuydandavis January 06, 2017 8:34 AM  

"but it does explain the spergey, socially clumsy sort that bring up their active disbelief at every opportunity"

Probably explains the equivalent believer as well.

I'm an atheist.

I've always found that *serious* Christians are pretty much the same people as atheists. (We gravitate toward each other.) When you look through the ranks of activist atheists, you'll often find former hard core believers. They are socially clumsy because they care more about what is true than what makes them popular with others.

In the US, I'd expect you would have once gotten a very clear correlation of aspy and atheist, because only someone who cared less about the opinions of others would be an atheist. You'd have to be fairly immune to social pressure.

With so much social approval for SJ as a religion these days, many of them self reporting as atheists, and self selecting for that trait, I expect much of the correlation to go away.

Similarly getting a correlation would be an increasing problem in Europe, where there are a lot more atheists, and the social sanction on it is lessened, and even in some quarters reversed to be social sanction on believers.

There probably is some brain correlate beyond susceptibility to social pressure. As some have commented, a more assertive agent detector. Also, propensity for "spiritual experience".

Different brains lead to different beliefs. I'd expect there to be strong correlation too. But societal context would matter, particularly if you're proposing an aspy correlation, which so strongly effects social behavior.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey January 06, 2017 10:01 AM  

@The Kurgan
Religious belief is not one of the essential criteria for tribal membership.

Blogger William Meisheid January 06, 2017 3:08 PM  

The problem every atheist has to deal with is how they came to be since evolution is a house of cards that is mathematically and statistically impossible, using only one discipline to disprove it.

If you want to read something that takes evolution apart in a way that it cannot be put back together read this by Fred Reed. http://www.fredoneverything.net/EvolutionMonster.shtml

Anonymous To Mock a Killingbird January 06, 2017 4:00 PM  

@164

Interesting, but not what I asked for:

"Show me a single OBSERVED instance of a species successfully bifurcating into a new viable one."

I asked for one species give rise to another, not a third emerging from two pre-existing ones. This is a plausible explanation for some or all speciation, but not the classical random mutations gradually resulting in a new species from an existing ONE. The discourse into killer whales is also interesting, but not example of the huge architectural changes that made fish into amphibians or amphibians into reptiles.

In spite of the swipe at evolution skeptics, what the article describes is something other than what is routinely proposed as evolution.

So many things once taught as fact have been deposed in my lifetime (Neanderthals were an ancestor of modern humans, and no person alive has Neaderthal DNA) that one would be somewhat reserved in proposing explanations with certitude; certainly avoiding the certitude that allows one to question the mental or moral fitness of a skeptic).





Blogger Y. January 07, 2017 4:54 PM  

Good news.

There are advantages to being religious, but I probably have insufficient capacity for doublethink, which means I'd have to fake belief and go through the motions of appearing to have faith..

This would make getting faith way easier.


Anonymous Mr. Rational January 07, 2017 5:40 PM  

Widely Headgash wrote:Like anthropogenic global warming, love and dark matter, evolution has never been proven, authenticated or verified
Speciation has been observed many times, even under laboratory conditions which make documentation far easier.

Now you are going to say something like "but they're still all fruit flies" or "they're still all Brassica", which is utterly beside the point:  once two populations stop reproducing with each other, they are free to diverge without limit.

Then you will say something like "show me a worm evolving into a bird", ignoring that the bird came from a dinosaur which came from something like a lizard which was quite a few speciations removed from something like a lungfish which came from a bony fish which were many speciations removed from worms, which divergence began at the point where one variety of worm evolved a notochord and the advantage of that innovation sparked a massive adaptive radiation into new ecological niches.

The above is based on my layman's knowledge of paleontology and should not be taken for anything authoritative.

Your declarations can be taken as authoritative statements of shibboleths of your tribe, maintaining your membership in good standing as one of You rather than Other.  They have no other meaning, especially not factual or scientific.

When an Atheist asserts there is no evidence for the existence of God, ask him to define evidence, to specify what type of evidence he will accept. They uniformly refuse.
Because you have the burden of proof backwards.  You've asserted a positive, and implicitly stated there's evidence for the existence of YOUR god.  It's up to you to support that claim.

If the Hindus claim there's evidence for the existence of Vishnu and a multi-trillion-YO universe, you don't have the burden of supporting it; they do.

To actually state publicly that there is no reasonable form of evidence they will accept threatens their fragile and carefully built false self image of rationality and intelligence.
To publicly evade the requirements of dialectic over and over again destroys any claim you have to be arguing in good faith, or from any position except one where your authority is implicitly supreme.

buybuydandavis wrote:I've always found that *serious* Christians are pretty much the same people as atheists. (We gravitate toward each other.) When you look through the ranks of activist atheists, you'll often find former hard core believers. They are socially clumsy because they care more about what is true than what makes them popular with others.
Can verify; care about truth, fitting in with the likes of Widely be damned.  (Literally.)

Anonymous James Deplorable January 07, 2017 5:42 PM  

William Meisheid wrote:The problem every atheist has to deal with is how they came to be since evolution is a house of cards that is mathematically and statistically impossible, using only one discipline to disprove it.
Every time the "because STATISTICS!" claim comes up, it proves that creatonuts are innumerate.  One of my favorites was a proof that a putatively "impossible" bacterial mutation would occur several times per hour (or was it per minute?) in the population of bacteria in a single cubic meter of soil.

Blogger Jatnika Athar January 12, 2017 1:38 AM  

great post....

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