ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2017 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The superiority of a conceptual model

John C. Wright answers the question and points to what he styles the more rational model.
“Do you have any suggestions for finding faith? I see the necessity of religion, and Christianity in particular, but aside from history and cultural affinity I don’t have actual belief.”

My suggestion: Pray.

Also, consider that the Christian worldview is more coherent, robust, and rational than any secular worldview.

Our model explains things such as why stars look fair and beautiful to our eyes when it serves no credible Darwinian purpose to do so.

Our model explains the naturalistic fallacy, that is, the gap between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ which secular philosophy cannot explain, and some cannot even address.

Our model explains how free will can exist inside a deterministic universe. A materialist cannot even formulate the question in a rational way.

Our model explains why humans seek beauty. Social-evolutionary explanations for this are less convincing than astrology.

Our model explains how creatures with free will capable of grasping intellectual abstractions can arise in a universe which contains no such thing as intellectual abstractions.

Our model allows investigation of final causes in nature, without which nature cannot properly be understood.

Our model explains the prevalence of so many theists throughout history. The theory that over nine tenths of mankind, including some of the most brilliant thinkers in their age, were raving lunatics who hallucinate about imaginary sky beings is not credible and not supported by evidence.

Our model explains the various miracles and supernatural wonders that are in the older history books, and which, for no scientific reason, were excised from being reported.

Our model explains both why there is a plurality of religions and why there are striking similarities between them.

Our model explains the origin of the universe. By definition, if the universe were all that existed, exists and ever will exist, than a material cause for it is impossible.

Our modern explains the current hegemony of the West and makes clear the meaning and purpose of what otherwise seems like insane and suicidal attempts by the apparently sober and sane men on Left to undermine and destroy it.
There is more there. It's interesting to note that Tara McCarthy observed that for her, a non-believing nationalist, the most compelling evidence for Christianity is the globalists' irrational hatred and fear of it. As I've recommended in the past, look hard at evil. Look as deeply and directly at it as you can bear.

And once you realize that it is real, material, self-aware, and intelligent, if that's not enough to cause you to turn to Jesus Christ in humble repentance and gratitude, well, chances are that you'll learn to fear God in a very different manner.

Labels:

146 Comments:

Blogger Matamoros May 31, 2017 6:20 PM  

And once you realize that [evil] is real, material, self-aware, and intelligent, if that's not enough to cause you to turn to Jesus Christ in humble repentance and gratitude, well, chances are that you'll learn to fear God in a very different manner.

Excellent.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim May 31, 2017 6:22 PM  

C.S. Lewis's highly under-mentioned Space trilogy features a character named Weston (in the second book I believe). He slowly deteriorates into the "un-man" and at a certain point is found meandering along a coastline picking up small frogs and killing them. Destruction and Deconstruction for Evil's sake. It's the end result of the Adversary's wishes on every man.

Anonymous Azimus May 31, 2017 6:25 PM  

I can't say that I've done an exhaustive study of the world's religions, but in my experience the Bible is the only holy text that A) predicts the future and B) says if future predictions don't come true, the message didn't come from God. Oh and C) you should put to death the spreader of lies. So - the Bible kind of lays it out there, you know?

Blogger Factory May 31, 2017 6:26 PM  

To me, the Red Pill is about seeking the truth, however strange, however unpopular. I got into it one day with an atheist who asserted there is no way to know if God exists.


So I typed "How can I know God exists" into Google, and got a verse referring to declaring the end from the beginning. So, I decided to find out what the Bible declares will happen. Down the rabbit hole I went, now I am a Christian.

Anonymous Azimus May 31, 2017 6:27 PM  

@2 - He shows up in Book 1 Out of the Silent Planet, but is one of the main characters in Book 2 Perelandra. Which - Book 2 is probably the finest treatise on the fall of man I've ever read.

Blogger tublecane May 31, 2017 6:32 PM  

"The theory that over nine tenths of mankind, including some of the most brilliant thinkers in their age, were raving lunatics who hallucinate about imaginary sky beings is not credible and not supported by evidence"

I was recently reading David Stove on the book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Stove was an atheist and uncomprehending of religiosity, but sympathetic to the fact that the vast majority
of people throughout human history have not shared his hang-ups. It was a great mystery to him, and he wanted to know where it came from and why.

Religion is not as much as mysterious to me. But that's partly because I don't think of it as being fundamentally all that different from the way people believe in other things. Who knows why people die for democracy as opposed to dying for love of God, for instance? But that's not what I want to get at in this post. Stove talked a lot about the gulf between traditional religion and the modern, Enlightened minds which just plain don't "get" religion. I don't, honestly, though I get ritual, faith, dogma, etc.

What's religiosity feel like for most people, and why do we feel it like that? That's what I want to know, really.

Anonymous Rather, Not May 31, 2017 6:33 PM  

I say this as a formerly-Christian atheist who deliberately chooses to live in a Christian (at least culturally) country: There absolutely is good and evil. It would be far easier for me to believe in a supernatural impetus behind the evil (Satan) than it would be to convince me there is a benevolent God let alone any particular version of that God.

I would like to thank the Christians for fostering such a lovely civilization, even if so many Churchians are trying their darndest to destroy it.

Blogger cluster May 31, 2017 6:35 PM  

"Our model explains the various miracles and supernatural wonders that are in the older history books, and which, for no scientific reason, were excised from being reported."

Hmm not getting this one. Can anyone elaborate?

Blogger tublecane May 31, 2017 6:37 PM  

@2-Undermentioned maybe because the third book doesn't really belong, and isn't that great a book, though Merlin is a great character. That, and the second book is better than the first, at least in my opinion, and maybe isn't read as often as the other two. The first one is slight by comparison.

Perelandra is a masterpiece of the genre. I love how the guy gets tired of arguing with the devil, gives up, and just starts wrestling him.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable May 31, 2017 6:46 PM  

if that's not enough to cause you to turn to Jesus Christ in humble repentance and gratitude, well, chances are that you'll learn to fear God in a very different manner.

This is why I love you. Just sayin'.

Anonymous damntull May 31, 2017 6:51 PM  

As a Catholic who always understood evil as a privation, how do you come to the conclusion that evil is material, self-aware, and intelligent. Sounds like a case of reification to me.

Anonymous User May 31, 2017 6:54 PM  

The devil is as real as any created being. Maybe if you're unfortunate he'll show you. I don't recommend the experience

Anonymous A.B. Prosper May 31, 2017 6:57 PM  

I suspect polytheism is probably a technically superior model, with a myriad of overlapping Gods and spirits that people can and do interact with on a regular basis, some harmful to human needs, some beneficent . This leaves no gaps in broader understanding and far fewer contradictions IMO anyway

This is not however any kind of model for an advanced civilization of the kind we have now.

If we want to keep what we've built for as long as we can and mitigates the extreme dangers of the tools we've made , we had better have a model that supports it. Best I can tell Christianity is the only model that does, period.

Its not even a relevant question if its true or not and even if the world were utterly secular, without the moral breaks of Christianity and its foundation, we are screwed.

Blogger Quilp May 31, 2017 6:57 PM  

"As I've recommended in the past, look hard at evil. Look as deeply and directly at it as you can bear.

And once you realize that it is real, material, self-aware, and intelligent, if that's not enough to cause you to turn to Jesus Christ in humble repentance and gratitude, well, chances are that you'll learn to fear God in a very different manner."

Now that's a keeper. So glad I stumbled upon this blog a year and a half ago.

Anonymous Bad Attitude May 31, 2017 6:59 PM  

My testimony of Christ, as the Son of God, grew dramatically in researching islam. At its core, islam rejects the essential mission of Christ - that He died for our sins - instead teaching that Christ was just one of many prophets. The islamic god Allah is not the Christian got of the Bible, with the attributes of Allah being more like those of Lucifer. The attributes of the church of the devil as described in various parts of the Bible describe islam pretty well.

I encourage people to do their own research and reach their own conclusions.

Anonymous krymneth May 31, 2017 7:00 PM  

cluster wrote:Hmm not getting this one. Can anyone elaborate?

Part (though not all) of the reason materialists claim miracles are impossible is circular; since miracles are impossible, any evidence or claim of a miracle is absolutely false. Then, since there is no remaining evidence or credible claims of a miracle after they are processed through this absolute filter, they turn around and claim that there are no miracles because there is no evidence or credible claims of them.

To be clear, so I am not misrepresenting them, this is not their only argument. And it is not one they generally make dialectically, unless they get quite confused. But is one they make rhetorically, and as befits attempts to rhetorically make use of circular arguments, it is done with as much distance around the circle as possible; often, if not usually, the person making the argument doesn't even realize the circularity involved in their argument because their incoming information stream has been filtered before it even got to them.

Blogger Joe Shmoe May 31, 2017 7:06 PM  

I'd argue that Ayn Rand gave some pretty compelling answers to the questions that atheists supposedly can't answer there, but I increasingly think that Christianity is necessary for the maintenance of civilization.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 31, 2017 7:10 PM  

As a Catholic who always understood evil as a privation

You were poorly catechized. (No offense; so was I).

From the Baltimore Catechism:

45. What is the chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us?

The chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us is by tempting us to sin.

"Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11)

For more details, see the Summa, Question 114. The assaults of the demons.

Blogger The Kurgan May 31, 2017 7:12 PM  

You're no Catholic. Get thee behind me Churchianity.

Blogger cluster May 31, 2017 7:24 PM  

Thanks krymneth and when he refers to "the older history books" containing miracles, specifically which books does he mean?

Blogger OGRE May 31, 2017 7:26 PM  

Wright is absolutely correct to hold forth the Christian belief as a 'world-view,' for we are incapable of processing any information outside of a systematic model of understanding. By this I mean our understanding of things, our ability to ascribe truth values to propositions, is dependent on our believing a host of other propositions first; we can't process information in a vacuum and must rely on our belief in logic, sensory inputs, and prior accepted beliefs in order to accept or reject a given proposition. We all hold a multitude of beliefs that we can't prove completely but that we can't reasonably deny, and only by comparing a given proposition within the context of our entire world view can we determine if the proposition is consistent or not with our other already accepted beliefs.

And when we begin comparing world views the Christian model is--as Mr. Wright so eloquently explained--reliably consistent with itself, whereas most others are not so consistent. In particular, the atheist/strict-materialist/deterministic/neo-Darwinist view of the world when examined fully comes across as overly simplistic; in essence "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist." When they tried to posit this as an over-arching philosophical movement(logical positivism and the verification principle), it was quickly and utterly ravaged. (I find great humor in the 'skeptic community' of today clinging to these beliefs that have been thoroughly discredited decades ago.) Further, this world view fails to account for many aspects of our experiences, such as morality, emotions, free will, aesthetics, and the origin of the material world. How accurate and effective is a world view if it fails to account for a great deal of human experiences?

I'll add an additional criticism of the materialist world view that's been on my mind the last few days. The materialist claims that only the physical world exists because his sensory inputs only experience the physical world; his observations are--at least in his world view--limited to things that exist as matter and energy. The problem is that this world view presupposes that anything that exists must be capable of being observed by a physical being. But if a being lacks the sensory methods required to experience something non-physical, its not proof of non-existence; it simply proves that the being is incapable of experiencing it. As an allegory, it'd be like trying to experience taste without a nose or tongue; the sensory receptors just aren't there to do it. But that wouldn't disprove that taste is a sense that can be experienced by those who do have such sensory receptors. Likewise, being unable to experience anything non-physical only proves that the subject lacks the capabilities to experience the non-physical; it doesn't disprove the existence of all things non-physical. (I'd disagree that we can't experience non-physical things, but just assuming that for the sake of argument here)

Blogger FSL May 31, 2017 7:32 PM  

Seems to me stars look rather like the glint in a healthy person's eyes, and could represent a byproduct of evolution that way. But the sheer improbability of chemistry in terms of the fundamental constants is much more convincing. Our world is finely calibrated. Thank God I've never been forced to look straight into evil's face that I am aware and don't find it necessary to convince me of God's existence because even stronger proofs exist, like something does not causally arise out of nothing, combined with the realization that the material world does not need to exist. Its being is NOT the same as it's essence. I suppose, regarding looking straight at evil, some of the Clintonian monologs definitely apply. And the look on Bill's face being confronted by his rape victims at that debate.

Anonymous badhairday May 31, 2017 7:33 PM  

8. cluster May 31, 2017 6:35 PM

"Our model explains the various miracles and supernatural wonders that are in the older history books, and which, for no scientific reason, were excised from being reported."

Hmm not getting this one. Can anyone elaborate?

Presumably he's trying to say that miraculous and supernatural stuff still happens. Its just not being reported like it used to be.
Or he might be trying to say that he believes that there were ancient books that contained descriptions of that kind of thing. Books that have at some point been edited to remove the supernatural. So how he knows that there was originally supernatural stuff in said books is a mystery to me.

That would be my guess, but Its not exactly worded very clearly.

Blogger Phillip George May 31, 2017 7:34 PM  

if you are going to talk evil you really should have graphic of a Madeleine McCann type and maybe the Podesta's enjoying Pizza in Portugal.

Don't just talk "evil" simply open the blinds and look outside.

you know the video that was up of him helping some young chap in the shower.

but Snopes.com investigated on behalf of the MSM and stamped the file "mainly false".

If only Russia hadn't rigged the election. Congress are on to it.

Anonymous Karen May 31, 2017 7:36 PM  

"Tara McCarthy observed that for her, a non-believing nationalist, the most compelling evidence for Christianity is the globalists' irrational hatred and fear of it."



Along those same lines, observing the groups who were (and are) foaming at the mouth with rage, fear, and hatred toward Trump, was what first really piqued my interest in him.

Anonymous Tipsy May 31, 2017 7:39 PM  

I'm a mathematician/physicist/engineer who, at present, is working on the numerical solution of Maxwell's Equation, which governs how light is propagated.

What strikes me is how simple it is. Granted, I had to have absorbed a lot a background material before I was able to make that statement, but nevertheless, it's true. What's more, by thinking logically and carefully about a problem, one can get to a point of working out theory and writing code that simulates experiment extraordinarily well.

The question is: why is the design of the universe so elegant and yet simple enough not to escape our grasp? It seems to me that a loving God would create it just that way as a gift to his creatures.

In Pope Benedict's Regensburg Address, he reminded us that our description of Jesus as Logos "means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason" and "the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love, as Saint Paul says, "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is Logos. Consequently, Christian worship is, again to quote Paul - "λογικη λατρεία", worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1)."

In short, Christianity is reasonable. And, having experienced the forgiveness, love, and peace that comes from Christ, and Him alone, I find myself filled with gratitude and humility for having somehow been lucky enough, through His free gift of Faith, to be a Christian.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim May 31, 2017 7:44 PM  

@9 I can hardly see the fact that a second book is better than the first to be a reason to not talk about the trilogy. I think it has to do with a bit of territorial-ism in the genre and of course modern Pink SF has no place for a WASP.

Anonymous Hezekiah Garrett May 31, 2017 7:50 PM  

Yeah, anybody referencing St Augustine of Hippo's teachings on the nature of Evil could never be Catholic!!! /s

Anonymous Crew May 31, 2017 7:50 PM  

OT: https://www.rt.com/usa/390222-autism-research-suramin-symptoms/

Anonymous krymneth May 31, 2017 7:52 PM  

cluster wrote:Thanks krymneth and when he refers to "the older history books" containing miracles, specifically which books does he mean?

I'll have to defer to him for the specifics of what he meant. For myself I'd point to The Big One, the central miracle of Christianity, the Resurrection, and say that there has been a lot written on that topic, and that I would consider it better attested than many other things taken as historical fact without particular objection. (Though I will concede that there is a difference between claiming a battle took place at a certain place with a certain outcome, and that a man rose from the dead after 3 days.)

It's hard to recommend a best resource because that's probably a very personal thing, but so as to leave with a specific recommendation I thought The Case for Christ was fairly well written.

(But of course, since miracles are impossible, Christ did not rise from the dead and any evidence to the contrary must be some sort of error or mistake, therefore, miracles are impossible.)

In general I find I would recommend that one consult the writings of those who started atheist and were dragged kicking and screaming by the Hound of Heaven to Christ. For myself, I accepted at a very young age, and while I've wrestled with my faith many times since then so that it is no longer the simple faith of a child, I still get the impression that if you are already an adult that the story of one who is closer to your shoes can be more compelling. CS Lewis is another such person. For a somewhat different flavor of such a story, John Wright's testimony is quite compelling, and quite topical.

Anonymous Hezekiah Garrett May 31, 2017 8:05 PM  

Sin is sin precisely because it impairs or severs our relationship with the One who made us to Know, Love, and Serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him in the next.

Demonic angels, especially the Father of Lies, are evil precisely because they have chosen their own pride over the One who made them, depriving them of all that is good. As with many things, it isn't and/or, it really is both/and. It isn't as though Augustine of Hippo denied the existence of the devil, like Novus Ordo priests do today. Evil is the privation of good, and undeniably real in the person of Lucifer and his rebellious band of demons. Good exists in itself without need of contrasting externalities.

Full disclosure, adult convert catechized by SSPX and FSSP clergy here. No kind of theologian, and so the academic question of the nature of Evil doesn't really impact my life. It's hard enough just to avoid Ol' Scratch and the temptation to sin. But 'evil as privation' has a long history of acceptance in the Church. It isn't some new Churhian thing. (Although using St. Augustine to deny the reality of the demonic probably is.)

Anonymous Mr. Rational May 31, 2017 8:13 PM  

Our model explains things such as why stars look fair and beautiful to our eyes when it serves no credible Darwinian purpose to do so.
Oh for pete's sake.  The mosquito-ridden swamp captures sediment from runoff, buffers rains which would otherwise cause floods, harbors all kinds of important wildlife such as fish fry... yet humans still view it as ugly despite that being anti-Darwinian in the large view.

We could be unable to detect any extra-Solar objects in the night sky without instruments and it would scarcely affect the larger human condition.  (It would have majorly delayed the development of physics, though.)  Its beauty is a happy accident, one of many.  The perceived ugliness of other things that should not be seen as such, like swamps, are unhappy accidents.

Our model explains the naturalistic fallacy, that is, the gap between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ which secular philosophy cannot explain, and some cannot even address.
I have read enough of JCW's work to know where some of his scientific blind spots are—and they are literally big enough to hide planets in.  He postulated that it would be difficult to spot an orbit-tilted Earth from the orbit of Saturn, showing that he's totally ignorant of at least the following facts:

1.  Earth is fairly bright in the visible (reflecting an average of about 115 W/m² in the visible and near IR) but is vastly brighter in the thermal IR than celestial objects would be.  This signature stands out brilliantly against the background; the IRAS satellite spotted a lot of comets from their thermal emissions before anyone could see them in visible light.  A serious multi-spectral scan of space around 1 AU would spot Earth as soon as it appeared in the FOV.
2.  Earth is not at all hard to see from Saturn.  It's about 1.8 arc-seconds wide at 1.4 billion km.  We can see cloud bands and such on Saturn from Earth; spotting the far better-lit Earth from Saturn would be a piece of cake, and it would very plainly show a disc.
3.  Earth moves its own diameter every 7 minutes or so.  Nothing of similar brightness is going to be that big or move that fast.  Take two images 10 minutes apart and look to see what moved; if it's blue, voila, Earth.

This is just one of a number of examples I can pull from his books.

John C. Wright is definitely a superb writer, and I've enjoyed plenty of his work (though I've burned out on it).  However, he is manifestly unqualified to make the judgement he's put forth here.  He is far too ignorant to rule against the contrary argument.

The theory that over nine tenths of mankind, including some of the most brilliant thinkers in their age, were raving lunatics who hallucinate about imaginary sky beings is not credible and not supported by evidence.
John hysterically overstates his case here.  The brilliant thinkers of the past did not have the knowledge we have.  Was Aristotle brilliant?  Without a doubt.  But his cosmology was still grossly wrong.  One does not require raving lunacy to go off the rails (as John himself has demonstrated by his own errors); one only needs ignorance of critical facts.

Anonymous krymneth May 31, 2017 8:16 PM  

At the present moment, in our present circumstance, Evil and Satan are very difficult for us to distinguish between; the Prince of the Air is dominating the local airwaves, so to speak. However, Satan has an end date. I'm going out on a limb here, but I suspect it may not be the last time we have an encounter with Evil in our eternal service to the Lord. But this will be the last time it has any power or authority over us.

Blogger Peter Jackson May 31, 2017 8:21 PM  

JCW's ideal society is an authoritarian Catholic theocracy. Saint John the Pius even opposes birth control within marriage. I can't read his blog anymore.

Blogger tz May 31, 2017 8:29 PM  

If there is a common defect - the left, atheists, churchians, it is that they don't believe in evil or the devil.

This sometimes appears in some greek philosophy - if they were only educated... But the intellect is not the will. Lucifer had an intellect exceeding any other creature, and when asked by a perfectly wise and good God, his response was "Non Serviam! Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven".

The superintelligent but supermalevolent is hard to comprehend until you look. Some are ignorant, but too many know exactly the evil they do.

It's why the NAP (or UPB) is futile. Some must be coerced not to destroy, others will still do so even when coerced. Is the 85 IQ criminal problem a cause or effect (bad habits, cheating instead of doing)?

In one of the earliest posts on LRC, I remember Molyneux not really understanding evil exists. Even now he blames it on low-IQ, not a free will that freely choose evil.

The battle is not to try to educate or even boost IQs, though both are corporal works of mercy and righteous acts in themselves.

The battle is between good and evil and originated before the foundation of the universe and will continue until death, hell, and all other bits of evil are thrown into Gehenna.

Good is easy to know but hard to do, and even those who don't hold Christ can know and fight on our side. That is why churchians are triply damned. They reject Christ. They present a false face saying they accept (the real) Christ. And they try to "evangelize" others into this false gospel.

St. Theresa of Calcutta made a wise point. Christ calls us to be faithful, not successful. Too many wish to win, but leave the field of faith to succeed in the world.

Blogger DeploraBard May 31, 2017 8:32 PM  

33. It's not. After the millennial reign, the adversary is let loose and wouldn't you know it, the world goes chasing after him again.

Blogger JACIII May 31, 2017 8:33 PM  

Voxday: the Pied Piper of Asbergers.

Blogger DeploraBard May 31, 2017 8:38 PM  

I'll share one of the main reasons I believe. Not sure if it will help anyone else, but it works for me.
I can't come up with anything original. I am currently totally bound by the physical universe I inhabit.
Invent a new color without describing it using an existing one.
Invent a new insect without describing it using an existing one.
An animal, a shape, a musical note, a fruit, a vegetable, etc

It's shaped like a banana but tastes like an orange, how original
It is a bunny with the tail of a beaver
Looks a lot like a square, but is more circular
Blue with a hint of green so not blue or green and very original

Blogger tz May 31, 2017 8:39 PM  

@34 - you illustrate the problem.
You present zero arguments about ARTIFICIAL contraception within marriage (as opposed to NFP, but marriage is still for children so even NFP is evil when selfish and out of avarice).
There are only two kingdoms. The kingdom of heaven, and that is where JWC and I am, or at least hope we are in the embassy grouds. The kingdom of the world and evil one allows anything and everything, but ends in eternal death.

The opposition to contraception is not some kind of random doctrine. Read Casti Connubis and especiall Humanae Vitae. Contraception destroys the foundations of western civilization.
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html
Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
He didn't mention hypergamy, but that is the mirror - women wanting a one night stand v.s. a reliable protector and provider.
Within marriage, men have the right to sex, but see how it becomes different if exercising that right potentially creates a new life - the right suddenly has a big responsibility.

Blogger DeploraBard May 31, 2017 8:40 PM  

God set the limits to the 3 dimensional universe and our imaginations in it.

Blogger tz May 31, 2017 8:41 PM  

For centuries we had professors that identified with St. Augustine of Hippo.
Today we have professors writing papers on fluidity that identify as a Hippo.

Anonymous TheShrike May 31, 2017 8:43 PM  

The benefits of becoming a Christian are enormous. There is no reason not to repent. It is one decision you will never regret. Granted, I was blessed enough to have a rather extreme conversion experience that I doubt many new converts undergo, however, the enhancement of your life and mindset are worth the brief, tormenting moments of acknowledging your sin and seeking God's forgiveness.
My repentance came through continually seeking a cure for the depression, anger, and evil that had consumed me for all of my teenage and early adult years. I would go, alone, to the National Cathedral, read random prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, and ask God, "If you are real, and are who you say you are, then I need your help." The help came in a more miraculous manner than I could have ever imagined, but it took consistency and a period of coming to terms with my sinful nature. 6 years on, and I am still moved to tears by the beauty of moment when I finally found Home.

I had never really read the Bible, or had but one person preach to me about Jesus, but, man, after reading the Gospels, I found everything about life encapsulated in the simple sayings of His Word.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Jesus keeps his word. This is Truth.

Blogger DeploraBard May 31, 2017 8:43 PM  

41) I just read about that today. Funny.

Anonymous Patron May 31, 2017 8:43 PM  

@32

"I have read enough of JCW's work to know where some of his scientific blind spots are—and they are literally big enough to hide planets in. He postulated that it would be difficult to spot an orbit-tilted Earth from the orbit of Saturn, showing that he's totally ignorant of at least the following facts"

He may indeed have scientific blind spots sufficient to hide a planet in, but your example is entirely irrelevant to his point about deriving "ought" from "is".

Similarly, I find the idea of beauty as a "happy accident" as being somewhat unconvincing. In evo-psych terms, finding a healthy member of the opposite sex attractive makes sense. So does an environment rich in what you consider to be useful resources, be it rich soil or a forest perfect for logging. And I suppose you could say our capacity for spotting patterns might make us find patterns beautiful too, in the case of abstract art or something. But why then is somewhere like Antarctica so often considered beautiful? Why do we sometimes get that kind of numinous, transcendental feeling from being in a church, or something like that? Why, before we ever knew that stars were suns with planets possibly orbiting them (ie, before we might subconsciously consider them as places to expand to and live near), did we find the night sky beautiful?

Anonymous Tipsy May 31, 2017 8:51 PM  

Hezekiah Garrett wrote:
... the academic question of the nature of Evil doesn't really impact my life. It's hard enough just to avoid Ol' Scratch and the temptation to sin.

Well said. There's a powerful Russian movie called "The Island" (Остров) about an unusual monk on an isolated monastery on an island. As the monk is dying, a younger monk asks how he should live. The dying monk says: "We are all sinners, live the way you can. Just try not to sin so much." That's all we can do. For the rest we rely on the mercy of God.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 31, 2017 9:01 PM  

Presumably he's trying to say that miraculous and supernatural stuff still happens. Its just not being reported like it used to be.

I don't know if that's what he meant, but I'd say that's true. When things are reported, it's usually with derision: "Hee hee, another rube saw Jesus in bark of an oak tree. Silly bible-bangers." It's not necessarily suppressed -- you can find the information if you look for it -- but it's not reported the way it used to be, or the way you would logically expect if the same events had a natural explanation.

Case in point: in 1917 (the centennial is coming up later this year), the Miracle of the Sun happened at Fatima, Portugal. Tens of thousands of people were present because of the previous reported miracles and the promise that another was coming that day. Hundreds of them later told journalists and other interviewers that the rain stopped, the sun emerged looking strange and dancing in the sky, then some saw it plummet toward the earth, and then suddenly the sky was clear, the sun was normal, and all their clothes were all dry.

There was some critical study of it done at the time, exploring the possibility of mass hallucination, deception, and other explanations, but none really fit. And yet, except among traditional Catholics, it's mostly been forgotten. Scientists don't study it, trying to figure out what the heck happened there, even in a completely naturalist way. There aren't chapters about it in meteorology books. It's that circular logic: miracles don't happen, and this looks like a miracle (a Marian one at that!), therefore it didn't happen, therefore there's nothing to study.

So yes, many things that can't be explained naturally simply aren't talked about now, expecially in textbooks and schools.

Blogger JACIII May 31, 2017 9:02 PM  

Christianity is win/win. Nothing to loose, boys. Everything to gain.

All you risk by choosing to believe is the derision of emotionally adolescent and intellectually stunted asses. If the sole benefit of becoming a christian was undertaking to not give a shit what the emotionally adolescent and intellectually stunted had to say it would be a win.

Anonymous damntull May 31, 2017 9:09 PM  

Cail,

Aquinas understood evil as a privation and believed in demons. So do I. Vox said evil is material. If, by that, he means that there are evil spirits, I have no issue with that.

Kurgan,

Stop slinging "Churchian" at me nitwit. You don't know anything about me.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar May 31, 2017 9:09 PM  

I had a similar problem with acceptance of a higher power until I happened into a very energized group. I can never deny that such power does exist- I have witnessed it firsthand.

I now believe that this power exists and is accessible to all regardless of denomination. In fact I believe now that I would doom myself by denying it.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella May 31, 2017 9:10 PM  

okay, may I add something? Okay, so....atheist and intellectually struggling with faith? Okay, you'd go to a yoga class to improve something, possibly reach enlightenment, but not the first visit, and certainly not guaranteed within a set time, right?
You'll go work out with weights, to end up somewhere fit, but not exactly have an idea of how fit you yourself would be, but put Arnold Schwarzenegger before you as an image to aspire to? Something where if you struggle with the weights you possibly might end up similar?
You are forced to sit through math class and learn addition, trigonometry, geometry,calculus? But, say, your brain is only fit for addition and subtraction, and you need a calculator for even long division? You wouldn't deny that calculus exists, or that it is important, or that there are some people who master it and use it with ease, right? or that you get to use conveniences of every day life based on these far reaches of genius?

Bear with me, please.

First off, you've got the gospels and sermons and parables of Jesus. Nobody expects you to understand them immediately. I don't expect my children to walk on the day of their birth- but I do expect them to live among people who do walk- in the same way, consider attending church.

And, yoga: do the stuff that the gospels command: visit the sick- someone in your office goes to the hospital? Visit them., give water-bottles to the homeless guy you drive past every day, take a casserole, or even a can of soup to someone who you think needs it- someone ill,or sad, or a neighbor.
Say a daily prayer. You don't have to invent one. Catholics have ones that are easy to memorize. The Our Savior who art.... is how Jesus said to pray. The Orthodox have their own greatest hits. CSLewis has advice on the subject. He's starchily Anglican. Martin Luther had opinions about the Hail Mary ( he edited it. I find this hilarious and endearing)

Second: you pay attention Arnold for body. Pay attention to an esteemed soul that you admire (saints, protestant saints, current apologists) Do what they do, model their behavior, figure out what they think about what they do, learn about their life. Practice that. See what happens. Don't expect to be Arnold, don't expect to be CSLewis. But even then, you'll probably be a better version of your own self, with new skills to grow with.

Third off, conveniences. For better or worse, the yearly calendar of seasons- Advent, Mardi Gras, Lent, ordinary time- really do make like easier for people. Instead of being depressed in midwinter, you've got some silly children's pageant with the oriental splendors of paste jewels and polyester satin to either volunteer for, or go see. Cookies at Christmas, calling on people you think might be lonely and alone, singing easy to sing songs, and that's just one holiday. Ordinary time, well, who doesn't like summer outside with a picnic, or really paying attention to your job in the fall?
Plus, say, a catechism. I was raised Baptist, no formal catechism, so I can say as someone who hand-built a crummy little raft, seeing a fully built catechism that I just have to pay attention to, and probably memorize in bits, is like being given a ticket on the Queen Mary luxury liner. So, take your ticket- memorize, question, get into your cabin on the freely offered ship.

None of this requires belief. You can treat belief and faith as if they were enlightenment. Nice, but not required to start. You seek, God finds.

Also, parenthetically, God wants 10% of everything, including rage, fear and anger. So, if you think the requirement is that you have that glazed happy look that so unnerves non-Christians- you don't. You really don't/

Blogger SirHamster May 31, 2017 9:13 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:Presumably he's trying to say that miraculous and supernatural stuff still happens. Its just not being reported like it used to be.

I don't know if that's what he meant, but I'd say that's true. When things are reported, it's usually with derision: "Hee hee, another rube saw Jesus in bark of an oak tree. Silly bible-bangers." It's not necessarily suppressed -- you can find the information if you look for it -- but it's not reported the way it used to be, or the way you would logically expect if the same events had a natural explanation.


I understood it as an assertion that well documented miraculous events in history not being taught in schools, such that graduates of modern education are not even aware that such events exist, let alone what natural causes could possibly explain them away.

I don't remember if I heard this example from Wright or Kratman or some other Catholic, but in the Battle of Lepanto, the Pope of the time learned and spoke of the results of the battle long before any messengers could have reached him.


So not a complaint about modern miracles going unreported, but of past miracles being ignored.

Including the resurrection of a certain crucified man.

Anonymous crushlimbraw May 31, 2017 9:13 PM  

Interesting coincidence? Just tonight, my son, who owns and runs a craft distillery - were discussing another distillery which claims to make 20 year old rum in 6 days.
I brought up the wedding in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine instantly - the best of the night!
As a backdrop - I have read Augustine where he claimed that atheists rely on themselves as the final arbiter of truth - which means that they have as their absolute standard a being no greater than themselves - a bit risky perhaps?
Distilleries are pure chemistry in action - and aging bourbon and other whiskies takes time. How can you speed it up?
How did Jesus speed up the process of fermentation and aging?
What is science? It's a process of discovery - not invention!
Is it possible that that the Son Of God knew the process they had created?
If that doesn't humble us - what will?

Anonymous Mr. Rational May 31, 2017 9:14 PM  

krymneth wrote:Part (though not all) of the reason materialists claim miracles are impossible is circular; since miracles are impossible, any evidence or claim of a miracle is absolutely false. Then, since there is no remaining evidence or credible claims of a miracle after they are processed through this absolute filter, they turn around and claim that there are no miracles because there is no evidence or credible claims of them.
And now you're going off the rails.  If miracles actually occur, then by definition they are possible.  The problem is learning what ACTUALLY occurred, untangling the facts from the interpretations that ignorant and unskilled observers have put on them, and removing whatever growth of tales has occurred in the retelling.

Obviously, at a distance of even one century this is essentially impossible without physical evidence.  Twenty centuries?  Get real.

We have enough examples of ignorant interpretations from the present day to know that this is an endemic problem with human observation.  People are chronically reporting the planet Venus as a UFO because they don't know the sky well enough, and this is despite public education and resources such as the Internet.  What sort of errors in observation and interpretation could you expect from people whose second book, if they owned a bible, would be a bestiary... if they were even literate?  For anything well out of their normal experience, you'd expect them to be (a) massive and (b) aligned with whatever myths they believed.  The errors would compound until the accounts were written down.

The way things have worked thus far is that "miracles" which get confirmed... are tested, their mechanisms understood and become part of science.  If you can't even confirm what happened (or if anything actually happened), you can't tell if you have a miracle or not.

The RCC has a number of "holy relics" which they claim are miraculous.  So far the claims about them do not appear to hold up to detailed examination.  Many appear to be hoaxes, such as the Shroud of Turin.  Lots of people are only too ready to profit from other people's need to believe.  That should make us cautious of ALL such claims.

Anonymous Post Alley Cross-Eyed Mary's Redneck Cousin May 31, 2017 9:23 PM  

"... look hard at evil ..."

I tried that, but then I went cross-eyed and someone had to slap me hard on the back to break me out of it.

But you do what you want. :-)

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella May 31, 2017 9:26 PM  

also, these are doing actions, not feeling right feelz, or thinking high-minded thoughts. Someone handing out water calls it "bum-water." He's still appalled at drug-addled homeless, but he's a lot more aware of the choices they made.
The visiting a person at the hospital doesn't have to be sweet churchian platitudes. Air-headed women's magazine quizzes work just fine with someone on major painkillers. Reading books aloud works, too. Or manuscripts, if that's your talent.
I look forward to every Christmas Eve where they read the gospel story and then my husband leans over and whispers in my ear "They said Ass." The one year he tried to be completely serious was very disappointing. I look forward to that moment of shared Beavis and Buttheadness. It's what we watched when we were young and single and dating.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 31, 2017 9:29 PM  

Aquinas understood evil as a privation and believed in demons. So do I.

Gotcha. Often when people refer to evil only as a privation (the lack of good), they're denying that evil has any existence in itself. To them, evil is just what happens when people aren't good enough, the way darkness is what happens when there is no light, but there are no truly evil forces or individuals.

That's the concept I was responding to; glad to hear you don't hold to it.

Blogger Gunnar Thalweg May 31, 2017 9:37 PM  

"Distilleries are pure chemistry in action - and aging bourbon and other whiskies takes time. How can you speed it up?"

Radiation. You can age scotch in machines commonly found in most high-end hospitals.

Blogger tweell May 31, 2017 9:58 PM  

Miracles occur all the time, even now. Most are small and individual - a change of heart or cure for the body. Sometimes they are larger.
An example of a modern day loaves and fishes is the miracle at Juarez dump, Christmas 1972. Here you had 20 families that banded together to give a Christmas meal to the poorest of the poor - the people who lived in Juarez, Mexico's garbage. They took what they had, shared it with over 200 people and came back with more than they started with.

Believe it or not, the Catholic church takes miracles very seriously. They have a group that investigates them and certifies them as miracles only after exhausting all other possibilities. In this case, it wasn't hard to do. It was physically impossible for the group to feed the number of people they did with what they bought, it was even impossible for them to bring it in the vehicles they had.

This is a proven loaves and fishes miracle that happened in modern days, utterly impossible if God doesn't exist. No, I wasn't there. I have talked to someone who was, though.

Anonymous Mr. Rational May 31, 2017 10:01 PM  

Patron wrote:why then is somewhere like Antarctica so often considered beautiful?
I find desert rocks beautiful, particularly red and banded sandstones.  I've snapped dozens of pics in places like Bryce canyon and Dead Horse Point.  Ice storms destroy trees; I still snap pictures of their aftermath, especially if there is sunlight glinting through the glaze.  The shiny coatings are pretty.

Many others share my aesthetic.  Why do so many humans find these things beautiful?  I don't pretend to know.  But I don't need to know to enjoy it.

I doubt very much that understanding why we find it beautiful would detract from the experience.

Why do we sometimes get that kind of numinous, transcendental feeling from being in a church, or something like that?
I get it when I achieve an understanding of some new principle that ties things together in ways I did not understand before.  I get it from both enlightening non-fiction and good science fiction, that "sensawunda".  I can only speculate why, but it's got nothing to do with religion.

Why, before we ever knew that stars were suns with planets possibly orbiting them (ie, before we might subconsciously consider them as places to expand to and live near), did we find the night sky beautiful?
I don't know, but one cannot infer God from ignorance.  Something that might shed light on the question, though:  have great apes ever been observed stargazing, or watching meteors?

But that's all about the natural world.  Does evil exist?  Yes... but only within people, including one's self.  I think Chris Smither said it memorably:

The devil ain't a legend, the devil's real
In the empty way he touched me, where I hardly feel
In the empty hole inside me, the nothing that'll ride me
Down into my grave, it does not heal
Nothing is as something, it'll suck you dry
As the whisper you can hardly hear that tells you why.

They told me "You ain't got no problems, you're self-deceived"
These seeming contradictions, well they make believe
It was then that I decided my life was being guided
By a second-rate dependence on first-class thieves
They told me I was breaking through, I was breaking down
By the time I learned the difference they had long left town.

You know that they ain't so malicious, they ain't mean
They're just vaguely well-intentioned with no love I've seen
And it's the emptiness that kills you, cold comfort that'll fill you
With a sense of dread that maybe things are worse than they seem
They don't tell you nothing you don't already know
They just keep holding out the promise but they don't let go
You know they don't let go.

Well, it was hard luck and trouble, bad times too
I know I had 'em coming, but I got through
It was advice that you gave me in a dream that saved me
You said "Get a new life contract that spells out your dues."
Took good will to find it, a clear conscience to sign it
Now I dream about the good times and it all comes true.

Anonymous Mr. Rational May 31, 2017 10:02 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:Case in point: in 1917 (the centennial is coming up later this year), the Miracle of the Sun happened at Fatima, Portugal. Tens of thousands of people were present because of the previous reported miracles and the promise that another was coming that day. Hundreds of them later told journalists and other interviewers that the rain stopped, the sun emerged looking strange and dancing in the sky, then some saw it plummet toward the earth, and then suddenly the sky was clear, the sun was normal, and all their clothes were all dry.
Cameras were fairly common in 1917.  Where is the photographic evidence?  You've given a perfect example of my general principle in @53.

@56  Fascinating!  I'll have to remember that.  I'm sure used dental X-ray machines are fairly cheap, and it's not like Crookes tubes are hard to make.

Blogger SirHamster May 31, 2017 10:24 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Cameras were fairly common in 1917.  Where is the photographic evidence?  You've given a perfect example of my general principle in @53.

If there's no photo of it, it can't have happened and must be ignored without discussion.

The amazing thing is that you can be that stupid without pain.

Blogger Matthew May 31, 2017 10:32 PM  

How to find faith:

Stop fighting. Listen to your conscience. Stop fighting.

Blogger Matthew May 31, 2017 10:33 PM  

And if that doesn't work, you're not one of the elect, so do whatever you want. We don't care.

Blogger Matthew May 31, 2017 10:40 PM  

Peter Jackson wrote:JCW's ideal society is an authoritarian Catholic theocracy. Saint John the Pius even opposes birth control within marriage. I can't read his blog anymore.

Good.

Blogger Wolfman at Large May 31, 2017 10:54 PM  

Once you've met the Devil it's not too hard to believe in the God that must stand in opposition to him.

Blogger Steve Moss May 31, 2017 10:57 PM  

Tipsy @ 26 said "In Pope Benedict's Regensburg Address, he reminded us that our description of Jesus as Logos "means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason" and "the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf."

Well said.

Mr. Rational @ 32 said "The mosquito-ridden swamp captures sediment from runoff, buffers rains which would otherwise cause floods, harbors all kinds of important wildlife such as fish fry... yet humans still view it as ugly despite that being anti-Darwinian in the large view."

Speak for yourself. Frequently, swamps are beautiful. Deadly, dangerous and not for the weak of heart, but that doesn't change the fact they are beautiful.

Tipsy @ 45 said "There's a powerful Russian movie called "The Island" (Остров) about an unusual monk on an isolated monastery on an island. As the monk is dying, a younger monk asks how he should live. The dying monk says: "We are all sinners, live the way you can. Just try not to sin so much." That's all we can do. For the rest we rely on the mercy of God."

Again, we really need a like button.

Blogger Matthew May 31, 2017 11:09 PM  

"yet humans still view it as ugly"

Mr. Rational YET AGAIN revealed as an autist who conceives himself as being above us little humans.

Anonymous Stryker4570 May 31, 2017 11:32 PM  

""Our model explains the various miracles and supernatural wonders that are in the older history books, and which, for no scientific reason, were excised from being reported."

Hmm not getting this one. Can anyone elaborate?"

In variouis ancient texts there are accounts of miracles/supernatural happening and extraordinary incidents. In Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History of the English Speaking People' he recounts numerous supernatural incidents in various locales throughout Britain as Christianity took hold there.

Although not supernatural in nature, I was shocked when reading Herodotus in college. He reports little winged lizards with tails that flit from date palm to date palm in desert oases. I asked my professor about that and he just shrugged.

Blogger Kelly May 31, 2017 11:35 PM  

Also Eugippius recounts the life of St Severinus, who performed miracles on the edge of the Roman Empire during it's collapse in the West

Blogger newanubis May 31, 2017 11:52 PM  

A helping hand up or kick in the rear end would be appreciated to traverse these same chasms that perpetually hamstring my efforts in pursuit:

1. Cannot shake (paraphrased) sentiment about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from God. Doesnt negate the existence of an entity atop the pile of course but concurrently does not bolster such either.
Yes, its an intellectual exercise/hangup because Im unable to contend with things spiritually?

2. Heretofore comfortable with the possibility of genetic manipulation of indigenous (apes) as the flashpoint/origin. We humans surely are dependent upon the bounty of earth though still outside the symbiotic paradigm of literally everything else that grows and lives alongside.

3. Youll have to take my word for this but Im a good man by most any metric youd feel could measure such an abstraction. Accepting this, how is it that others get such convincing calls, interactions, even (seemingly) empirical knowledge of the creator yet I remain twisting in the wind? Perhaps too hard headed. Unworthy for reasons unknown? Even suggested that plight due to past life (soul) trangressions. What is a truthseeker who finds no quarter in 30 years of humble searching to do?

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 01, 2017 12:03 AM  

SirHamster wrote:If there's no photo of it, it can't have happened and must be ignored without discussion.
I'm saying that in 1917, any large gathering in expectation of a major event was likely to attract photographers.  We must and should look skeptically upon any claims which are not supported by evidence that, by everything we know, ought to exist.

The amazing thing is that you can be that stupid without pain.
The amazing thing is that, with your credulity, nobody's stolen everything you have and you still have money for a computer and internet.

Matthew wrote:Mr. Rational YET AGAIN revealed as an autist who conceives himself as being above us little humans.
What a fucking bigot you are.  I don't like swamps, personally.  That does not mean I don't think they have essential functions and want to preserve them.

Blogger tublecane June 01, 2017 12:03 AM  

@27-It's not the fact of the second book being better, but all the things I mentioned together: the second is better and I don't think as many people read it, the third book doesn't belong and isn't that great, the first book is slight compared to first books of other, more commented-upon series of novels, etc.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 01, 2017 12:19 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:One does not require raving lunacy to go off the rails (as John himself has demonstrated by his own errors); one only needs ignorance of critical facts.
You seem to get by with deliberately ignoring, discounting and dismissing critical facts. Never address the argument, you merely dismiss it with an airy wave of the hand, as though your word were so reliable that no one need consult actual evidence.
"You can trust me, because I'm always right and I never lie."

Blogger Neutrinoide June 01, 2017 12:33 AM  

Nice misepresention of other opinion like usual.

Blogger Neutrinoide June 01, 2017 12:41 AM  

Oh and you want a religion that is way more true to reality. May I suggest Crom.

Blogger Doom June 01, 2017 12:53 AM  

Look at evil? Unless that is what you don't know, or deny? If so, find good and do the same. Now, most bright lights aren't goodness. Many are trains coming at you at withering speed. You'll have to get used to taking some hits. Worth it? If all you see is evil, or even secular? Yeah. I am not certain it is wise to seek out evil though. I didn't need to approach it from that direction though. I really don't advise seeking evil. You will find you just a few clicks after it finds you. Praying, I would advise. Just... even if you don't believe, ask, explore, implore. But leave some of your prayer time quiet. I always leave room for reception. Can't say I have gotten it, that way. Though who knows.

Now, something funny? The way horror movies go after the Catholic Church? Yeah, that... got me to look. I, myself, was... and still am to a degree, afraid of the Catholic Church more than I fear darkness... evil. I guess it matters more where you come from, and who and what you are.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft June 01, 2017 1:32 AM  

@53. Mr, "And now you're going off the rails. If miracles actually occur, then by definition they are possible. The problem is learning what ACTUALLY occurred"

You're doing precisely what was predicted, but in the negative sense. Instead of saying "Miracles don't happen therefore any evidence of miracles is invalid." You're saying "Anything that happens isn't a miracle, thus any evidence of a miracle isn't evidence of a miracle." Seriously, this would be incredibly blind of a normal person, but then again, I've read your posts before.

Miracles, are, by definition, things that abrogate the understood laws of the universe. If you say that "Miracles that happen are things that can naturally happen" you're either a moron with no conception of basic definitions, or you're already assuming the existence of God, but as a component of the natural universe (as opposed to creating it). I think we can both agree that your reasoning is not the latter, therefore the former logically applies.

Caution is one thing, but you refuse to allow even the possibility of a miracle in the first place, any evidence whatsoever to the contrary cannot, in your mind, even exist. You seriously need think a lot harder before you post such transparent refuse. Or, you know, just try a bit harder not to lie to yourself so vigorously.

Blogger Benjamin Kraft June 01, 2017 1:37 AM  

TL;DR: Your logic: A does not exist, therefore A is not A.

Grow a brain.

Blogger Tom Terrific June 01, 2017 2:05 AM  

I can't tell you, Vox, how often I wish you had a comment section with a few extra features. I'm not talking about disqus, but many times I read a comment and wish I could hit "Like" or better yet, reply directly under that comment (which I believe I can do on my phone but I don't usually surf here on my phone).

"Liking" a comment is like thanking a host for a nice evening. Replying to a great comment is like complimenting a chef for a wonderful meal. Both actions complete one's enjoyment of each. The Pentecostal pastor and teacher, Judson Cornwall, pointed out in his book, "Let Us Praise", "We are compelled to praise. Praise is health made audible and celebrated. Praise is as necessary for the praiser as it is enjoyable for the praisee."

I wish I could offer direct praise to some of the great commenters here.

Blogger Resident Moron™ June 01, 2017 2:33 AM  

"You can trust me, because I'm always right and I never lie."

Well, he's the Rational one, after all.

He's very funny tho. A man who evangelises for hundreds of millions of years of just so stories, but claims it's impossible to know what actually happened even a century ago.

Quite so, sir. Quite so.

Blogger tublecane June 01, 2017 2:36 AM  

@79-You can do all you mention (and more!) by @-ing other people's posts, like I'm doing to yours right now.

It won't be direct praise, I guess, but it is the next best thing: indirect.

Blogger Sam June 01, 2017 2:59 AM  

@77
"
Miracles, are, by definition, things that abrogate the understood laws of the universe. If you say that "Miracles that happen are things that can naturally happen" you're either a moron with no conception of basic definitions, or you're already assuming the existence of God, but as a component of the natural universe (as opposed to creating it). I think we can both agree that your reasoning is not the latter, therefore the former logically applies."

Creating the natural universe doesn't mean something isn't a component of the natural universe. Universe has two definitions- everything that exists and everything that exists in the specific one we appear to be in.

So the point is if it violates the laws of the latter, that just means there are higher laws in the former it obeys. It is turtles all the way down.

Blogger Resident Moron™ June 01, 2017 3:20 AM  

"As I've recommended in the past, look hard at evil. Look as deeply and directly at it as you can bear."

Nothing in this recommendation says you should go looking for evil. Apart from the fact that evil reliably finds all of us whether we would or no, Vox is not stupid.

Blogger Beau June 01, 2017 3:29 AM  

Anyone need some encouragement to complete the quest?

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:13,14a

He who finds God finds life.

Anonymous Bz June 01, 2017 5:30 AM  

Regarding science, the current philosophical approach appears to be 'naturalism', which excludes supernatural causes and basically believes mathematical modelling is all we need.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/

This is of course a leap of faith too, though into the void. Obviously you don't need this assumption to do science. Just do science, dear fellow.

Anonymous Bz June 01, 2017 5:38 AM  

Down with swamp bigots!

Blogger Roger Hill June 01, 2017 7:02 AM  

This is perhaps the best post I have ever read on a 'blog'. No accounting for taste I suppose, but loved every thought conveyed.

I am no genius, but genius is not required to understand the internal coherence of a Christian worldview over and above other options. Wright's suggestion to pray (a perfectly beautiful answer to the question)is followed up with a superb list, and Vox caps it all off with a couple perfect observations. These are not complex beyond any common man's comprehension. 'He who has eyes to see' might well be the same as 'he who has a mind to think'.

I first read Chesterton's book Orthodoxy many years ago. I hated it the first time through. Yet, I found myself even more curious about its fame and so I decided to 'suffer' through it again. That second read hit me like a revelation. It was suddenly a joy, not a chore. I have read it many times since. It had the strange effect of placing me solidly within the Christian worldview without reservation. I could quote line after line in which Chesterton says essentially the same things Wright points out and Vox observes.

I have atheist friends who I have recommended the book to. Only one took me up on the challenge. He hates the book. He can give me no reason or counter arguments. The two or three times I have asked his thoughts on it, he makes an ugly face, like a candy spoiled child repulsed by healthy vegetables.

Blogger Roger Hill June 01, 2017 7:25 AM  

I wanted to add to my previous post. The Christian worldview not only offers internal coherence, but also comports with basic human experience. The two go hand in hand.

In the words of Chesterton, "Christianity was the answer to a riddle; not the last truism offered after a long talk."

Blogger William Meisheid June 01, 2017 7:50 AM  

"And once you realize that it is real, material, self-aware, and intelligent, if that's not enough to cause you to turn to Jesus Christ in humble repentance and gratitude, well, chances are that you'll learn to fear God in a very different manner."

Hints of fire and brimstone there...touching a truth that when given due consideration produces true dread.

Blogger cassius dio June 01, 2017 8:30 AM  

damntull wrote:As a Catholic who always understood evil as a privation, how do you come to the conclusion that evil is material, self-aware, and intelligent. Sounds like a case of reification to me.

Yes, as a former "churchian" catholic, I would have said the same thing. But then you have chosen to ignore the gospels, you have lived in a society that suppressed evil well with regular, weekly prayer at many churches and daily recitation of prayer. That "protection" is gone, churches either close, or people stop praying...

Look at the Ariana Grande concert...why should eight year olds be saying the words "wrist icicle" or "ride dick bicycle'? Scandalizing(corrupting) children is a horrifically evil act, I dare say worse than blowing them up...

Want to look at other, more obvious evil? look at what was done to girls, as young as 8, by the Soviet Army in 1945 Poland and Germany. While the women soviet soldiers watched and laughed...

Blogger cassius dio June 01, 2017 8:34 AM  

damntull wrote:As a Catholic who always understood evil as a privation, how do you come to the conclusion that evil is material, self-aware, and intelligent. Sounds like a case of reification to me.

nominalism....

Oh, and read Richard Weaver and John Senior and see how you have been duped by Newchurch churchianism in Christianity.

Blogger slarrow June 01, 2017 10:42 AM  

@84 I love me a Beau sighting.

As for Mr. Rational, whoever told you that sneering made you look smart was in error.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 01, 2017 11:52 AM  

Benjamin Kraft wrote:You're saying "Anything that happens isn't a miracle, thus any evidence of a miracle isn't evidence of a miracle."
You are setting new records for density (AND putting words in my mouth—see "Rules of the blog").  I'm saying we can't KNOW something is a miracle unless we have (a) evidence that something actually happened, and (b) enough evidence to rule out natural causes.  "POIDH" when pictures would be expected is a valid criticism of a claim of a miracle.  We know people are often bad observers and sometimes confabulate accounts to fill in what they missed.  We know people sometimes hallucinate.  We know people lie.  Those possibilities have to be ruled out.

And then you go off and re-state the exact criteria I'm using, which proves that you're not even disputing the matter at hand.  What a bleeding idiot you are.

Resident Moron™ wrote:He's very funny tho. A man who evangelises for hundreds of millions of years of just so stories, but claims it's impossible to know what actually happened even a century ago.
You're funny.  You claim unsupported tales as unquestionable truth, while denying literally mountains of physical evidence of the past (and the extant traces of that past in the genes of everything alive today).

But I'm not laughing.  People like you are why I left Christianity.  In power, people like you are dangerous.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 01, 2017 11:59 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:In power, people like you are dangerous.
History demonstrates that people like us are not nearly as dogmatic, irrational and dangerous as people like you.

Blogger cassius dio June 01, 2017 12:17 PM  


Mr. Rational wrote:I'm saying we can't KNOW something is a miracle unless we have (a) evidence that something actually happened, and (b) enough evidence to rule out natural causes.  "POIDH" when pictures would be expected is a valid criticism of a claim of a miracle.  We know people are often bad observers and sometimes confabulate accounts to fill in what they missed.  We know people sometimes hallucinate.  We know people lie.  Those possibilities have to be ruled out.



All "evidence" must be interpreted by a person. Testimony is evidence.

Blogger Mish in Utah June 01, 2017 12:27 PM  

I agree, pray. Also, read the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then re-read them and pray as you go. The feeling of the spirit, its like a flashlight has been turned on, inside of you. God bless you.

Blogger cassius dio June 01, 2017 12:40 PM  

Physical evidence, even if real, requires a person to confirm that said evidence is, in fact, real.

I can not verify all I have learned, but I am aware that I rely on trusting others to tell the unbiased "truth", whether in science or theology.

Blogger cassius dio June 01, 2017 12:48 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Benjamin Kraft wrote:You're saying "Anything that happens isn't a miracle, thus any evidence of a miracle isn't evidence of a miracle."

You are setting new records for density (AND putting words in my mouth—see "Rules of the blog").  I'm saying we can't KNOW something is a miracle unless we have (a) evidence that something actually happened, and (b) enough evidence to rule out natural causes.  "POIDH" when pictures would be expected is a valid criticism of a claim of a miracle.  We know people are often bad observers and sometimes confabulate accounts to fill in what they missed.  We know people sometimes hallucinate.  We know people lie.  Those possibilities have to be ruled out.

And then you go off and re-state the exact criteria I'm using, which proves that you're not even disputing the matter at hand.  What a bleeding idiot you are.

Resident Moron™ wrote:He's very funny tho. A man who evangelises for hundreds of millions of years of just so stories, but claims it's impossible to know what actually happened even a century ago.

You're funny.  You claim unsupported tales as unquestionable truth, while denying literally mountains of physical evidence of the past (and the extant traces of that past in the genes of everything alive today).

But I'm not laughing.  People like you are why I left Christianity.  In power, people like you are dangerous.



Even Thomas, who had healed people with the authority of Christ, had to put his finger in the wounds...

Blogger James Dixon June 01, 2017 1:02 PM  

> I got into it one day with an atheist who asserted there is no way to know if God exists.

BS. There may be no way to prove to another person that God exists. But that says nothing about your ability to know if he does or not.

> ...how do you come to the conclusion that evil is material, self-aware, and intelligent. Sounds like a case of reification to me.

Do you deny the existence of Satan?

> The islamic god Allah is not the Christian got of the Bible, with the attributes of Allah being more like those of Lucifer.

There's probably a reason for that.

> So how he knows that there was originally supernatural stuff in said books is a mystery to me.

Most likely because he's read them.

> If there is a common defect - the left, atheists, churchians, it is that they don't believe in evil or the devil.

Oh, some of them most assuredly do. And act on it.

> Cameras were fairly common in 1917. Where is the photographic evidence?

So without photographic evidence, you're going to call all of those witnesses liars.

> I don't like swamps, personally.

Some folks do. Some folks even consider them beautiful.

> I'm saying we can't KNOW something is a miracle unless we have (a) evidence that something actually happened,

You have evidence. You have recorded eyewitness testimony. But no, that's not good enough for you. Talk about blind spots.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 01, 2017 1:32 PM  

That's why SpaceBunny's first response to the standard Atheist "There is no evidence of God" assertion is to ask them to define evidence. Which they uniformly refuse to do.
It's quite funny.

Anonymous Athor Pel June 01, 2017 1:48 PM  

"92. Anonymous Mr. Rational June 01, 2017 11:52 AM
...
People like you are why I left Christianity.
...
"



You left Christ because His word didn't condone you having sex with who you wanted in the way you wanted whenever you wanted.

Short version: you're a perv that didn't want to stop being a perv.

For us to believe otherwise will require evidence that refutes it and your testimony is invalid because people lie.

Blogger VD June 01, 2017 2:25 PM  

Those possibilities have to be ruled out.

No, they don't. Your interpretations defy statistical probability. We know how often people are crazy. We have a pretty good idea of how often they hallucinate.

Your "refutations" defy observed reality. You are not presenting rational arguments, you are attempting to pass off spurious illogic as reason. It is no such thing.

Your arguments are fatally flawed.

Blogger VD June 01, 2017 2:26 PM  

But I'm not laughing. People like you are why I left Christianity. In power, people like you are dangerous.

You are either lying or historically ignorant. The easily verified historical fact is that atheists like you are dangerous in power. VASTLY more dangerous than Christians.

The fact that you so readily resort to illogic and lies does not bode well for your case or your credibility.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 01, 2017 2:38 PM  

VD wrote:You are either lying or historically ignorant.
No Vox, he's pleading his feelings. He's afraid of Christians, therefore they are dangerous. All those dangerous people who killed people by their myriads and tens of myriads, they are No True Atheists. They are not like him.

Mr. "Rational" is one of the most emotion-bound irrational commenters here.

Blogger SirHamster June 01, 2017 3:01 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:I'm saying that in 1917, any large gathering in expectation of a major event was likely to attract photographers.  We must and should look skeptically upon any claims which are not supported by evidence that, by everything we know, ought to exist.

Your arbitrary standard requiring photographs is only to dismiss evidence pointing to things you don't like. This is emotional rationalization, not rational processing of evidence.

Wrongly dismissing evidence is as much an error as over extrapolation from the evidence.

You are too stupid to realize that false positives AND false negatives are errors to avoid. You see that your arbitrary standard protects you from false positives and you pat yourself on the back for being Mr. Rational unlike everyone else you see as irrational ... when all you have done is flip the polarity of the type of error you are against.

Mr. Rational wrote:The amazing thing is that, with your credulity, nobody's stolen everything you have and you still have money for a computer and internet.

You binary thinker, criticism of your handling of evidence is not belief on my part.

I'm not Catholic, I don't know what happened there - but I don't dismiss it because muh photography. I am willing to leave events in a "I don't know" category, unlike your binary mind, which can only handle "True/False" and will incorrectly bin evidence on feelz.

Blogger Robert What? June 01, 2017 3:45 PM  

I'm curious as to others opinions as to why the globalists hate and fear Christianity? (As is pointed out in the article)

My opinion is that it is because Christianity declares that there is a higher authority than the princes of Earth. That they cannot abide by.

Blogger SirHamster June 01, 2017 3:52 PM  

Robert What? wrote:I'm curious as to others opinions as to why the globalists hate and fear Christianity? (As is pointed out in the article)

My opinion is that it is because Christianity declares that there is a higher authority than the princes of Earth. That they cannot abide by.


Because they work for the devil, who holds this world in his grip. That's why you get "unlikely" allies like feminists, multi-cultists, and Islamists.

Despite outward appearances, they're on the same team, and have declared war on God and God's own.

Blogger James Dixon June 01, 2017 4:07 PM  

> I'm curious as to others opinions as to why the globalists hate and fear Christianity?

As SirHamster notes, because their master hates and fears Christianity. Some of them are knowing servants, some unknowing, but they all recognize their enemy.

Blogger James Dixon June 01, 2017 4:11 PM  

> You are too stupid to realize that false positives AND false negatives are errors to avoid.

No, he's not too stupid. He's just too irrational on this specific subject.

Anonymous Tipsy June 01, 2017 5:14 PM  

Mr. Rational: When I was an agnostic/atheist, it seems to me that there were two questions concerning God before me, namely whether I was able to believe or whether I desired to believe. At the time, my thinking was along the lines of "I cannot believe". Looking back, though, I recognize my attitude as being "I will not believe".

I understand the role of skepticism, because belief in a lie is not virtuous. However, a obstinate skepticism can become, in effect, an inoculation against having to believe no matter how true, which is also not virtuous.

I'm rambling, but if I may be so bold as to off my advice, it would be this: to continue to seek the truth, and to examine your motives to make sure that's indeed what you're doing. If you get that right, everything else will work out.

PS: Actually, what pushed me off the fence was investigating miracles, and coming to the conclusion that I could no longer deny their reality. The evidence for some, I think, is very solid (e.g., the miraculous cure of Fr. John Houle, S.J., who was dying of late stage terminal pulmonary fibrosis when he was cured.)

Blogger SirHamster June 01, 2017 5:34 PM  

@108
Stupid is as stupid does. Virtual stupidity is real stupidity.

Anonymous c matt June 01, 2017 6:04 PM  

I'm saying we can't KNOW something is a miracle unless we have (a) evidence that something actually happened, and (b) enough evidence to rule out natural causes.

Using Fatima as an example, the very same evidence you seem to "pooh-pooh" (i.e., eyewitness accounts) is used every day in courts of law to sentence people to fines, imprisonment and death. Most rational people (atheists and theists alike) accept that. Although cameras may have existed in 1917, it does not mean they were ubiquitous at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Perhaps if a "Fatima" were to be claimed in NYC on April 10, 2017, with the proliferation of mobile phones and the like, you might have a stronger argument, on the assumption that such a thing could be recorded. Would inducing a mass hallucination in the "mind's eye" of all present be less of a miracle? Perhaps less of one, but still a pretty impressive occurrence - to be able to induce a mass identical hallucination is no small feat. You are seeking, I suppose, evidence in the form of laboratory results for something that did not occur in a laboratory, although, I suppose even that might not impress you (http://dowym.com/voices/5-incredible-eucharistic-miracles-from-the-last-25-years/).

Anonymous c matt June 01, 2017 6:05 PM  

Another well known miracle - the parting of the Red Sea - has also been "explained" as a natural cause of tidal forces or some such thing. True, perhaps there is a natural phenomena involved, but that still does not seem to explain the rather supernatural timing. Pretty convenient, eh, to have that tide kick in just as Pharaoh's army is chasing you down?

Now, I fully do not expect to convince anyone who does not want to be convinced. There is always the possibility of the hold-out juror who, no matter how reasonable the evidence, will simply refuse to accept it, and find some way to rationalize his decision, and admittedly, there is probably just enough there to probably allow him to rationalize. There were a hundred witnesses who saw the resurrected Christ, but thousands more people in first century Jerusalem who didn't. Why didn't the resurrected Christ simply show up at Caiaphas' house and bop him on the nose? Why doesn't God just bop us over the head with it and make it undisputable? Don't know. My guess is free will - to love God perfectly (and being perfect, that is what He would want, nothing less) that love would have to be given freely. To just "bop you on the head" with His being would be like the super model or billionaire overwhelming you with their looks or money. Do you really love them for their person, or is it because of their looks/bucks?

Anyway, no way of knowing for certain, one way or the other, much like science itself seems to be less certain than it claims at any given moment (the eternity of the universe one day, then believing it had a start the next; the constant speed of light, but then some find it doesn't hold at certain points; Newton's laws - only not laws at quantum level; global cooling, global warming, global whatever; coffee is bad for you, then coffee is good for you; and who knows what tomorrow brings).

The problem for science types is the materialist assumption most of them make - that is, only material things exist, and therefore anything that cannot be observed through the senses is not "real." This is hard for science types to get beyond because material things do exist and are - relatively - easier to manipulate and observe. Non-material things - philosophy basically - are more difficult because it deals with metaphysics - that which is beyond physical observation, and its final end point of philosophy, which is theology. If you want certainty, and are unable (or unwilling) to accept the type of evidence available through witnesses, then a thorough, complete and accurate grounding in metaphysics is your only option (absent a "road to Damascus" moment, I suppose). I personally find the argument from contingency the most compelling. But again, whether or not I find it compelling on a personal level, is irrelevant - it is simply true. That is hard for some to accept (pride is a difficult thing). As are the consequences of recognizing God exists - that means you have obligations to God: To find out about His nature, and what He demand of you. As Dostoevsky says, without God, all things are permissible. Lots of people like it that way.

Anonymous Charlie Baud June 01, 2017 10:39 PM  

@13

"I suspect polytheism is probably a technically superior model, with a myriad of overlapping Gods and spirits that people can and do interact with on a regular basis, some harmful to human needs, some beneficent . This leaves no gaps in broader understanding and far fewer contradictions IMO anyway "

How does a mishmash of overlapping gods provide fewer contradictions than one transcendent God? If polytheism is technically superior, why is it found predominately among lesser peoples?

I'm getting tired of your half-witted sophistry.

Anonymous Charlie Baud June 01, 2017 10:41 PM  

Re: Fatima

We not only have eye-witness testimony, but hostile testimony as well. The local communist newspaper admitted to the happenings of the miracle.

Anonymous Charlie Baud June 01, 2017 10:45 PM  

If anyone wants to read a good book about a scientifically verified miracle, I suggest "Test The Shroud" by Mark Antonacci.

I have yet to see a plausible, naturalistic explanation for the shroud that doesn't rely on near-miraculous circumstances ("An Earthquake released neutrinos at just the right angle!")

Blogger John Wright June 02, 2017 2:54 AM  

@8
Forgive me for being unclear:

History books at one time routinely reported supernatural events, such as Brutus seeing the ghost of Caesar before the battle of Phillipi, or Pheidippides seeing the god Pan by the roadside when he returned to Athens.

Medieval Chroniclers reported miracles with the same pen that they marked down battles and dated the deaths of kings. Moderns take their word for the battles, but not the miracles. In some case, these form the sole historical record.

I read this sentence in Chapter LVI of Machiavelli’s DISCOURSES, where he speaks of the omens that foretell the dooms of kings and the downfall of the great:

“It may be, however, as certain philosophers maintain, that the air is peopled with spirits who by their superior intelligence foresee future events and out of pity for mankind warn them by such signs so that they may prepare against the coming evils.”

This is after he lists example after example of such reports, which he apparently credits.

I suspect Edward Gibbon is the first who excised all mention of supernatural events, omens, ghost sightings and such from his accounts of history. But I am not sure.

Thucydides and Herodotus reported on various oracles and wonders (including the meeting with Pan, mentioned above) as does Livy in his History of Rome (albeit with some skepticism.)

My point is that the removal of such material from history books was a matter of fashion, not because historical evidence said such events never happened.

I propose that the modern explanation of this historical evidence -- that none of it ever happened and all historians are liars or gullible -- is not a tenable theory.

If the theory were true, we would not rely on these selfsame historians as our sole source for the accounts of the death of Julius Caesar, the fate of Croesus, or the conduct of the Peloponnesian War.

Blogger John Wright June 02, 2017 3:03 AM  

@23
"Or he might be trying to say that he believes that there were ancient books that contained descriptions of that kind of thing. Books that have at some point been edited to remove the supernatural"

Forgive me for being unclear, but that is not quite what I said.

I was referring to Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Plutarch, Josephus, Bede, Froissart, Machiavelli, and a few others whose names escape me.

I was referring to Historians, to writers who write history books.

I would have been more clear if I had known some readers would not catch the reference.

Blogger John Wright June 02, 2017 3:22 AM  

@30
"For a somewhat different flavor of such a story, John Wright's testimony is quite compelling, and quite topical."

I thank you for the compliment, but I beg to differ. I was not convinced to become Christian due to the superior rationality of its worldview over my previous philosophy (Stoicism). I was like one struck over the head by the scepter of God and thrown facefirst through the plate glass window of love by impossible supernatural occurrences.

Indeed, when I first became a Christian, because all atheists and a (sadly) large number of Christians told me that Christianity was irrational, I was prepared to foreswear reason. This is quite an admission for a would-be Vulcan like myself. Reason was my whole life.

However, I soon began to notice that all the claims about Christianity, one after another after another, were either circular arguments, or matters of moving the goalposts.

By moving the goalpost, I mean a man who would never demand perfect certainty when decided the issue, for example, of whether capital punishment was ethical, would tell me that my belief in God cannot be accepted if any other explanation, no matter what the state of evidence, no matter how far fetched, is not ruled out first. I remember so called skeptics telling me I had been exposed to hallucinatory gasses, or that I suffered a brain aneurysm undetected by my doctors.

The sheer silliness of the make believe I encountered from people who did not even trouble themselves to acquaint themselves with the facts of the case made a deep impression on me.

Particularly since my memory immediately condemned me, I who am so proud of my intellectual integrity, by reminding me of times in my atheist past I made arguments as weak as that, and accusations as silly.

I do not think any honest atheist can even begin to imagine how few of his fellows are honest. Nearly none of them are freethinkers or skeptics in the ordinary understanding of those terms. Gullible and weakminded describes all but a small part of athiest thought.

So the claims of Christian irrationality were being made by people whose worldview was less coherent and less robust than the Christian.

"No one knows" and "It just happened" and "Darwin magic!" are not satisfactory theories.

"Darwin magic!" is not a theory at all, since it is not disprovable.

I will accept a Newtonian who mocks my belief in the mystery of the Trinity, and asks how three can be one; but I will not accept such mockery from a Quantum Mechanicist, who spins tales of wave/particle duality, effects preceding causes, observation moving states of reality from potential to actual, indeterminism, and other concepts more mysterious than mere trinitarianism.

Anonymous Bukulu June 02, 2017 3:32 AM  

Surely you're joking, Mr. tubalcane (@ 2)! That Hideous Strength is the best, and most important, of the three: it addresses us where we are.


Tom Terrific @ 78,

No, no! Nested comments would destroy this comment section just like it has all the others that use it. We don't want the comment section to devolve into a bunch of little side conversations, and we do want to be able to see new comments via the simple expedient of going to the bottom.

Blogger John Wright June 02, 2017 3:43 AM  

@119
"That Hideous Strength is the best, and most important, of the three: it addresses us where we are."

Hear, hear!

The third book was my least favorite of the three when I first read it as a child. Now it is my favorite. The whole things is about sex, romance and marriage, political correctness, totalitarianism, fake news and thought control.

Anyone familiar with the NICE recognizes its unique thumbprint in every news headline these days.

Just read it to my kids. They all got what that story was about.

Blogger John Wright June 02, 2017 5:32 AM  

@32
"He postulated that it would be difficult to spot an orbit-tilted Earth from the orbit of Saturn, showing that he's totally ignorant of at least the following facts..."

It is bad form to argue with a customer, but I hold it to be allowable in a case where the customer is making a misstatement of fact.

I hope my insubordination can be excused. I fear that if I say nothing, on this blog, some will take that as a sign that the accusation has merit.

I has no merit. I did not postulate that Earth was hard for an astronomer to spot from Saturn.

My guess is that this is referring to the opening chapter of ARCHITECT OF AEONS, where a superhuman power has moved the Earth into a new orbit, so that Earth is moving at right angles to the plane of the ecliptic, in what is called a ball-of-twine orbit.

In the chapter, two characters in a Hohmann transfer orbit from Jupiter wake from years in suspended animation at the spot on Earth's orbit where they expect Earth to be found, do not find it where expected.

They then look for the missing planet, and, when their instruments are turned to the right section of the sky, they see it.

That is what is described in the text.

What assumption the reader here is making which leads him to conclude that I claim Earth is hard to see from Saturn, I fear I cannot guess. Perhaps he has a different passage in mind.

Nothing in the text says anything about Saturn. It is not one of the planets in the chapter.

In fact, the text is clear that the observers are the same distance from the sun as the Earth, which means Earth is 2AU away or closer.

I hope no one thinks any educated man would make the gaff of saying a planet larger and closer than Mars during conjunction is not a naked eye object.

If the claim is being made that the motion of the Earth against the distant stars would take days, rather than months, to compare the motion; or that IR would discover the body instantly; or that the Earth has a high albedo; my answer is that no detection method works if one is not looking in the right spot.

Now, there was a line where Montrose says he will look for a body occluding the stars. Here, a reader might legitimately thing this is a mistake, since Earth is a high albedo planet, not a dark body.

But keep in mind, as he says in a previous paragraph, Montrose assumes an enemy has destroyed the planet.

The text does not say explicitly, but at most the implication here is that Montrose assumes the enemy has done something (a disaster akin to carpet atom-bombing or a Chicxulub impactor, or coating the globe with black nanomachinery) to lower Earth's albedo.

In any case, it is not unreasonable for the character to assume that something has darkened the body, because he is not seeing it where he expects to see it.

The explanation the the orbit changed by 90 degrees is not the first thing he thinks of.

But, even so, at most it would mean that the character here is making an untoward assumption, not that the author is making a gaffe about astronomy.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 02, 2017 2:53 PM  

cassius dio wrote:All "evidence" must be interpreted by a person. Testimony is evidence.
"Eyewitness" testimony is the LEAST reliable evidence available; people observe poorly, misremember, misinterpret and lie all the time.  So-called "circumstantial" evidence cannot forget, and can be examined in multiple ways and re-examined to test different interpretations and detect fraud.

Which would you trust:  eyewitness testimony of a hundred followers of a charismatic cult leader, or one video of the same event?  I rest my case.

James Dixon wrote:So without photographic evidence, you're going to call all of those witnesses liars.
They are (probably) no more liars than the people who look at Venus and think they're seeing a UFO.  One does not have to be lying to be wrong; ignorance is more than adequate, and with the variety of rare (yet known and natural) atmospheric and other phenomena it's entirely possible that they witnessed something they could not explain any other way.

That's the problem.  At that time and place, it's almost certain that their only conceptual framework was "miracle".  This is why the lack of photographs is so concerning.  Without them all you do is confirm the prejudices of the people involved.  Then you have another group of people who are emotionally and religiously invested in the claim that miracles happen.

As it happens, I've stood in a rainstorm and been dry seconds after it passed.  This was in Death Valley, where such conditions are common.  I admit the possibility that they may also occur naturally even where they qualify as freaks.  The merely unusual is not miraculous.

Athor Pel wrote:You left Christ because His word didn't condone you having sex with who you wanted in the way you wanted whenever you wanted.
You are asserting that you know my personal experience and sex life better than I do.  Your leap to this conclusion is literal fucking idiocy.

Rule 2.  Provide evidence or retract that statement.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 02, 2017 2:57 PM  

SirHamster wrote:Wrongly dismissing evidence is as much an error as over extrapolation from the evidence.
You ignore that there is no actual evidence.  There is nothing for us to examine ourselves.

I am willing to leave events in a "I don't know" category
Whereas the existence of a "no evidence which would confirm the event AND allow us to rule out natural causes" category seems to be incomprehensible to you.

VD wrote:No, they don't. Your interpretations defy statistical probability.
A miracle is not merely an improbability.  A miracle is something that defies natural law.

We know how often people are crazy. We have a pretty good idea of how often they hallucinate.
Yet you ignore the massive evidence for people being carried along with the particular beliefs of their groups, after writing an entire book on social justice warriors.

I know this is one of your particular blind spots.  You've been consistent for something like 2 decades now.  Neither of us are going to argue the other to their position.

Your "refutations" defy observed reality.
Let me relate to you my recollection of the tale told by Sean Prophet, one-time heir apparent to the leadership of the Church United and Triumphant (a cult) and now an atheist as a result of a conversion much like mine.  The CUT's leaders claimed that an alien invasion would devastate the Earth and prepared a survival bunker in Montana.  I recall Sean relating that the CUT reacted to the declaration that the invasion was on by, among other things, waving aluminum swords to repel the invaders.  (This is absent from this video he made on the subject, so you can take that with a grain of salt... or ask him yourself.)

A whole bunch of people experienced something that defies observed reality.  Their leadership got them to buy into a collective delusion.  It is literally unbelievable that it was the only time such a thing has happened.

"Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" has been touted often on this blog (I have been unable to determine if you have touted it yourself).  I take it seriously.  Why don't you?

You are not presenting rational arguments, you are attempting to pass off spurious illogic as reason. It is no such thing.

Your arguments are fatally flawed.

You yourself claim that the world is fallen, but now you're claiming that human observations aren't fallible despite massive evidence to the contrary?  Please.  Just give it up already.

You are either lying or historically ignorant. The easily verified historical fact is that atheists like you are dangerous in power. VASTLY more dangerous than Christians.
Atheists like me don't seek power.  The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ was anything but atheist.  918 people died under Jim Jones' spell anyway.  How much of the population of Germany died during the Thirty Years War?  Half?  How much of the population of India during the Mogul invasions?  A similar number?  Where were the atheists?

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 02, 2017 3:02 PM  

Widely Headgash wrote:He's afraid of Christians, therefore they are dangerous.
I'm afraid of cultists and theocrats.  Would you say I'm wrong to be afraid of the Nation of Islam, given that I'm in the target demographic of the perps of the Zebra murders?  Justify your answer.

All those dangerous people who killed people by their myriads and tens of myriads, they are No True Atheists. They are not like him.
People who build cults are not like me, period.  This is true whether the dogma of the cult is religious or otherwise.

Tipsy wrote:I may be so bold as to off my advice, it would be this: to continue to seek the truth, and to examine your motives to make sure that's indeed what you're doing. If you get that right, everything else will work out.
I'd like to believe that's what I've been doing all along.  I do not and cannot deny that "to err is human", but as you can see I have had to incorporate that principle into the reliability I can give to third-party accounts of events.

You can call me autistic (and it's probably true), but remember... it was the autistes of 4chan who dug into the available evidence of the Berkeley Antifa attacks and brought about the arrrest of Eric Clanton.  They dug up the location of Shia LaBoeuf's flag not just once but multiple times.  We are truth-seekers above all else.  Yes, more so than you.

c matt wrote:The problem for science types is the materialist assumption most of them make - that is, only material things exist, and therefore anything that cannot be observed through the senses is not "real."
Define "real".  Was Ptolemy's cosmology "real"?  Both no and yes, depending how you define it.  His model was nothing like the actual cosmos, but the model definitely existed and influenced many people's thoughts and actions.  (This influence was increasingly for the worse over time as its flaws were proven by measurement, yet authority figures insisted it be taken as dogma.)

We can't observe neutrinos directly, but we can measure the energy and momentum they carry away and detect their rare interactions with matter.  The supernatural could, in principle, be proven to exist if a pattern of interaction with the natural (including humans) could be demonstrated and shown not to be due to other causes.

As are the consequences of recognizing God exists - that means you have obligations to God: To find out about His nature, and what He demand of you.
A certain arab of the 7th century recognized that something which came to him in a cave existed, whether or not it actually did.  What he came up with looks like a mish-mash of megalomania with other ravings mixed in.  We're living with the consequences of his and others' acceptance of his nonsense to this day.

A society which goes by the principle "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" would have done the healthy thing and rejected Islam.  It might not have accepted Christianity either.  I'm okay with that.

@114  Very interesting.  Did the paper have its own observers, or were they re-interpreting the accounts of others?  Do you have any contemporary sources for this?

@115  Radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin showed it to date from the Middle Ages.  Analysis of the painting on it shows that it was of contemporary artistic style, not an image of a human being (not to mention being too tall to match NT accounts).  It's a fake.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 02, 2017 3:07 PM  

John Wright wrote:In the chapter, two characters in a Hohmann transfer orbit from Jupiter wake from years in suspended animation at the spot on Earth's orbit where they expect Earth to be found, do not find it where expected.
I do not have the book in hand, and I accept that memory is flawed.  But seriously... the ship was years in transit, and had no archived images from its astrogation cameras?!  The anomalies would have triggered some kind of review, especially the destination planet not being there before the trip began.

Earth at 2 AU is about 15 arc-minutes wide.  A 15-megapixel camera with a FOV of 15° by 25° has pixels each resolving 0.3 arc-minutes.  A sphere covers, what, about 41k square degrees?  Figuring 10% overlap and 10 images per second, your 15 MP camera would cover the entire visible sphere in 13.6 seconds.  "Where is Earth?" should have been answered as soon as, if not before, it was asked.

Super-genius characters making such basic mistakes is the sort of thing that makes me want to throw a book across the room.  When the author then lords his personal beliefs over the science behind even modern consumer technology which made his dramatic sequence into comedy material, it is not an endorsement of the former.  To properly criticize something for its flaws, you have to actually know it.  I was being pushed toward YEC and book-burning when I took my intellectual exit.  Yeah, I knew its flaws all right.

At least they weren't trying to beat the demons out of skeptical teenagers.  They were too mainstream to go down that rabbit hole.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 02, 2017 3:16 PM  

Again, proof that it is entirely emotional.

Blogger Archaeopteryx June 02, 2017 5:20 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin showed it to date from the Middle Ages.  Analysis of the painting on it shows that it was of contemporary artistic style, not an image of a human being (not to mention being too tall to match NT accounts).  It's a fake.

Your information is out of date. That sample came from a patch that had been repaired in the middle ages. Carbon dating from a different part of the shroud, plus analysis of pollen embedded in it, confirms it's from 1st century Israel.

And the image isn't a painting. It was burned into the cloth. With light.

As well, there are bloodstains that have been confirmed to have come from a first century Semitic man. Furthermore, that blood has been DNA matched to the blood and heart tissue samples from all the recent confirmed Eucharistic miracles.

Blogger SirHamster June 02, 2017 6:02 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:SirHamster wrote:Wrongly dismissing evidence is as much an error as over extrapolation from the evidence.

You ignore that there is no actual evidence.  There is nothing for us to examine ourselves.


Wrong. A large number of people saying something happened is evidence.

Those people may be mistaken about what it is they saw and what conclusion to draw, but it is an objective documented fact that there was an event and that observers and 3rd parties wrote about it.

You can examine those writings, interpret what it is they saw, and draw conclusions about what actually happened. That is evidence, and is in fact the only method to know human history.

That you are incapable of recognizing evidence as evidence is the poverty of your intellect and philosophy.

I am willing to leave events in a "I don't know" category

Whereas the existence of a "no evidence which would confirm the event AND allow us to rule out natural causes" category seems to be incomprehensible to you.


That is not a valid category of response when faced with a truth assertion. Your options are agreement (It's true), disagreement (It's false), and neutrality (I don't know/insufficient evidence).

You are placing events in the False category using faulty standards. "This did not happen in 1917 because no photographs" is an arbitrary standard you made up to avoid dealing with the actual evidence.

This use of arbitrary standards to protect your mind from even handling the evidence guarantees you will have false negatives. The obvious flaw in your mental framework reflects the fragility of the mind it was built for.

What are you afraid of?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 02, 2017 6:32 PM  

SirHamster wrote:What are you afraid of?
His parents

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 02, 2017 6:32 PM  

SirHamster wrote:What are you afraid of?
His parents might be right.

Anonymous Tipsy June 02, 2017 10:03 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:
Tipsy wrote:I may be so bold as to offer my advice, it would be this: to continue to seek the truth, and to examine your motives to make sure that's indeed what you're doing. If you get that right, everything else will work out.

I'd like to believe that's what I've been doing all along.  I do not and cannot deny that "to err is human", but as you can see I have had to incorporate that principle into the reliability I can give to third-party accounts of events.

You can call me autistic ...

Just to be clear, I didn't call you autistic. I am not really qualified to make that kind of judgement based on online comments. I preach Christ because 1) I believe the truth of historical claims of the church, and 2) I'm convinced it is the way to true happiness here, and 3) to the unending joy of eternal life.

It sounds corny, but nevertheless, I'm hoping that one day we meet in Paradise. All the best to you!

Blogger tweell June 03, 2017 8:08 PM  

Interesting. I point out a modern miracle and Mr. Rational ignores it. Lie to yourself as you will, sir. Move those goalposts as you may, plug your ears and yell loudly. You're not fooling us, and you certainly aren't fooling Him.

Anonymous Avalanche June 03, 2017 8:43 PM  

@47 "Christianity is win/win. Nothing to loose, boys. Everything to gain.
All you risk by choosing to believe..."

But here's my stumbling block about that: if you CHOOSE to believe, then how is it anything other than a choice you made? And can you not then also CHOOSE to not believe? Are you not, then, talking yourself into "belief"?

I guess I envy, a bit, those of who who have had "an experience" that leads to belief and faith. I don't have any of those three. And so I can't make the leap of "if you believe, then you believe." (Tautology: fail.)

I know evil exists: I've felt its malevolent glare (at what was essentially a new-age-style exorcism) when the ... whatever ... that was being driven out of a stupid girl who'd played with a ouija board "looked" around the room for a new host. Having researched many 'avenues' to belief (and, at the time being semi-seriously "wiccan/pagan" (of some version), rather than making the sign of the cross, I made the sign of the pentagram, and 'refused' it access to me). (Worked. Whew.)

BUT, that was not proof of Christianity; merely proof of evil. What's the path -- how does one go from "I know evil exists and is tangible and real," to "Here's the fix"? (Without "the experience" that leads to belief and faith.)

Anonymous Avalanche June 03, 2017 9:43 PM  

@61 "If there's no photo of it, it can't have happened and must be ignored without discussion."

And yet, since literally some-billion-plus humans now have phones and tablets with mega-pixel cameras -- the number of ACTUAL 'alien space ships' and 'not-so-alien' Sasquatches caught on "film" has barely gone up.

Is that "proof" they don't exist? Can you say that it CAN have happened, but must be dropped from discussion? The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Anonymous Avalanche June 03, 2017 9:51 PM  

@70 " knowledge of the creator yet I remain twisting in the wind?"

Yes. this.

Blogger SirHamster June 04, 2017 2:08 AM  

Avalanche wrote:And yet, since literally some-billion-plus humans now have phones and tablets with mega-pixel cameras -- the number of ACTUAL 'alien space ships' and 'not-so-alien' Sasquatches caught on "film" has barely gone up.

Is that "proof" they don't exist? Can you say that it CAN have happened, but must be dropped from discussion? The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


Aliens and sasquatches do not justify his dismissal of the evidence with prejudice. Use your brain.

Anonymous Charlie Baud June 04, 2017 4:05 PM  

@125

Here's a good place to start with regards to Fatima.

https://www.markmallett.com/blog/2010/09/09/debunking-the-sun-miracle-skeptics/

Blogger James Dixon June 04, 2017 8:40 PM  

> "Eyewitness" testimony is the LEAST reliable evidence available;

And yet it is evidence and accepted as such. So why do you reject it? In any case, I would argue that "expert witnesses" are even more unreliable.

> Which would you trust: eyewitness testimony of a hundred followers of a charismatic cult leader, or one video of the same event?

And how are we supposed to have video of any event before it's invention. Are you actually willing to say that nothing before that time can be proven? Because that's what you're effectively arguing.

In any case, what charismatic leader was involved with Fatima?

> One does not have to be lying to be wrong;

The fact that this is true is the only reason I continue to read your comments. I assume that is also the case for you.

Yes, the observers at Fatima could have been wrong. But they saw something that is not explainable within our understanding of natural law (I've seen sun devils, what they saw is so far beyond that it can't even be classified in the same category).

> Whereas the existence of a "no evidence which would confirm the event AND allow us to rule out natural causes" category seems to be incomprehensible to you.

Whereas the fact that that category is fully contained within "I don't know" seems incomprehensible to you.

> And yet, since literally some-billion-plus humans now have phones and tablets with mega-pixel cameras -- the number of ACTUAL 'alien space ships' and 'not-so-alien' Sasquatches caught on "film" has barely gone up.

Does that justify rejecting the pictures which do show up out of hand without examining them?

Blogger John Wright June 05, 2017 1:51 AM  

@126

I understand that it is bad form to continue arguing with a heckler after his argument has been punctured, but, just for the sake of the record, I do not wish the falsehood to stand unchallenged.

"I do not have the book in hand, and I accept that memory is flawed."

So, the error you accused me of, which is that I said Earth cannot be seen from the orbit of Saturn, is one you retract? Because your graceless admission did not really sound like a retraction.

Indeed, even your claim that memory is flawed seems not to identify of whose memory we speak.

"When the author then lords his personal beliefs over the science behind even modern consumer technology which made his dramatic sequence into comedy material, it is not an endorsement of the former."


That does not sound like a retraction. Or is it your contention that the flaw still exists, even though it does not?

Apparently so, for now you raise a second allegation:

"But seriously... the ship was years in transit, and had no archived images from its astrogation cameras?!"

Asked and answered. No equipment can find what it seeks when being pointed in the wrong direction.

No one expects a world, of her own accord, to hike up her skirts and depart entirely from the plane of the ecliptic, because the thing is freakishly impossible.

You make a baseless assumption about "astrogation cameras." The text never says the ship has any such thing.

What the text actually says is that the character were in suspended animation during the voyage, and woke, and had to juryrig their mylar lightpressure sail to act as their telescope.

Obviously they would not have had to do that had they had telescopic camera equipment mounted on the hull.

I assume you are getting your ideas from television shows, where spaceships look like jetplanes or ocean liners. The spaceship described in the text would have no more need of portholes or wing cameras than a submarine.

In any case, I described the ship in excruciating detail, more than my editor would have liked. If your mental picture of the ship does not match the text, the fault is in your memory, and not in the writing.

Certainly the fault is not what you claimed, an error in astronomy literally large enough to hide a planet in.

I am not writing STAR TREK, where the bridge has 'sensors' they can point in every direction at once, operate on all wavelengths, and detect life forms from orbit.

I wrote a scene where the characters use the real procedure real astronomers use to do their work, which is painstaking and not the matter of a few minutes you seem to prefer.

If that spoils the story for you, go your ways, find some other book that pleases you, and godspeed.

But I do not think your attempt to refute my argument by casting doubt on my craftsmanship as a writer is likely to be any success. That would have failed even if you had found a real error, because it was irrelevant.

You sought to impeach my statement that the Christian philosophy more adequately than any atheist worldview addresses the naturalistic fallacy by saying that since you imagine a gaffe might exist in a space opera I wrote, my statement was untrustworthy.

In effect, your argument is that since I erred once on page 43 of a rocketship story, my comments about Thomism is wrong, ergo Thomas Aquinas is also wrong.

Please. Such antics are contemptible. I honor and respect you as a reader and a patron, but as the opposing counsel in a philosophical debate, surely you can do better.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 07, 2017 1:50 AM  

Sorry this is going to be long, but I've only had time off-and-on over a number of days and just now got finished.

Archaeopteryx wrote:Your information is out of date. That sample came from a patch that had been repaired in the middle ages.
This does not pass the laugh test.  The shroud was known to have been damaged and repaired.  Nobody would submit a test sample of material known not to be original... unless they were trying to mess up the test results.  True believers would not do that, and actual scientists would not have accepted such material for testing.

This is either (a) a post-hoc rationalization from people who cannot believe it's a fraud, or (b) the fallback explanation that was always going to be used to justify an original verdict of "bogus" and deliberately set up by cynical clerics trying to protect the value of their asset.

Carbon dating from a different part of the shroud, plus analysis of pollen embedded in it, confirms it's from 1st century Israel.
The attempt to fudge the first carbon-dating verdict throws any claim of pollen evidence into disrepute.  Besides, pollen could be added any time.  There isn't enough mass of pollen to date it by existing methods, so no way to guarantee its authenticity.

And the image isn't a painting. It was burned into the cloth. With light.
The image is a painting of red ochre and vermillion in collagen tempera.  You wish it was burned into the cloth.  And SJWs wish that Black dysfunction was caused by White racism.  You are both wrong.

SirHamster wrote:A large number of people saying something happened is evidence.
But of what?  Mass delusions are not just known, but commonplace.  The mass delusion of liberals that Blacks are the victims of Badwhite racism is epidemic in the West.

it is an objective documented fact that there was an event and that observers and 3rd parties wrote about it.
This does not prove (a) what actually happened, or (b) whether it was natural or not.

That you are incapable of recognizing evidence as evidence is the poverty of your intellect and philosophy.
That you insist that the interpretation settled upon by a mass of people predisposed to certain conclusions is transferable to the conclusion of SJWs regarding the causes of Black dysfunction.  In other words, both are absolutely worthless and contemptible, and all of you should be ashamed.

Whereas the existence of a "no evidence which would confirm the event AND allow us to rule out natural causes" category seems to be incomprehensible to you.

That is not a valid category of response when faced with a truth assertion. Your options are agreement (It's true), disagreement (It's false), and neutrality (I don't know/insufficient evidence).

That category IS "insufficient evidence", you idiot.  Proving that it IS incomprehensible to you.

Widely Headgash wrote:What are you afraid of?

His parents

I quit attending services while my parents were very much alive.  I never feared them.  They've both been dead for over a decade now.  You think I fear them?  You're insane.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 07, 2017 1:54 AM  

Widely Headgash wrote:What are you afraid of?

His parents

I quit attending services while my parents were very much alive.  I never feared them.  They've both been dead for over a decade now.  You think I fear them?  You're insane.

Tipsy wrote:Just to be clear, I didn't call you autistic. I am not really qualified to make that kind of judgement based on online comments. I preach Christ because 1) I believe the truth of historical claims of the church, and 2) I'm convinced it is the way to true happiness here, and 3) to the unending joy of eternal life.

It sounds corny, but nevertheless, I'm hoping that one day we meet in Paradise. All the best to you!

To be honest, the despicable conduct of "His" servants in the sect in which I was raised forced me to conclude that they were on the opposite side of truth.  Nothing I've seen since has led me to reconsider that conclusion (and I've reconsidered a number of them, believe me).  If I should be wrong, I'll pay that price.  Here I stand, I can do no other.

tweell wrote:Interesting. I point out a modern miracle and Mr. Rational ignores it.
I know nothing about what did or did not happen in Juarez in 1972.  People claim miracles all the time.  Unless there's sufficient circumstantial evidence in favor I consider them unproven and not worthy of my attention, because too many people believe that it's to their advantage or "the greater glory of God" to get others to believe in such things.

JACIII wrote:Christianity is win/win. Nothing to loose, boys. Everything to gain.
Unless Islam is right.  In that case, I'm much better off swearing the Shahada and suicide-bombing a locker-room full of women's college volleyball players.  Because they'd be my slaves (sex and otherwise) in the afterlife, along with 72 other virgins.  I'd get none of that if I was a Christian.

Aren't you glad I take Islam as even less credible (more contemptible) than Christianity?

@135  Precisely.

@138  The author immediately loses it when he refuses to allow the known phenomenon of atmospheric refraction.  The sun can shimmer, shake and take colors... for CERTAIN observers in the right place... while appearing unchanged to others, because of atmospheric effects.  Mirages (refracted light from the sky coming to the viewer from the direction of the ground) are just the most common of such phenomena.  Failing to account for such possibiliies and prove they were not responsible for the observations invalidates the claim.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 07, 2017 1:56 AM  

James Dixon wrote:> "Eyewitness" testimony is the LEAST reliable evidence available;

And yet it is evidence and accepted as such.

And properly taken as unreliable, and considered debunked if other sources contradict it.

So why do you reject it?
BECAUSE it is unreliable.  It can corroborate, but not prove anything.

In any case, I would argue that "expert witnesses" are even more unreliable.
That depends on the witness and what evidence they have.  The most unreliable expert witnesses turn out to be... non-Asian minorties.  Quelle surprise.

how are we supposed to have video of any event before it's invention.
What part of "photography" didn't you understand?

the observers at Fatima could have been wrong. But they saw something that is not explainable within our understanding of natural law
How do we know what they saw if there are no photographs of it?  GET A BRAIN!

the fact that that category is fully contained within "I don't know" seems incomprehensible to you.
The fact that "demonstrated miracles" have to be OUTSIDE the category of "I don't know" seems incomprehensible to you.  It's not enough that the people on the scene have no natural explanation for the event; PROVING that the event was not natural is a much higher bar to clear, and non-evidence is proof of nothing.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 07, 2017 1:59 AM  

John Wright wrote:the error you accused me of, which is that I said Earth cannot be seen from the orbit of Saturn, is one you retract?
Completely different.  When Montrose's ship set off from Jupiter, Earth should have been plainly visible.  The semi-major axis of a Jupiter-Earth Hohmann transfer orbit being 3.1 AU, it would have a period of 5.4 years and Earth should have been plainly visible and slightly ahead of conjunction at the beginning.

your graceless admission did not really sound like a retraction.
I'm not retracting anything.  I've done all the math to prove that the period of Newtonian orbits is proportional to 3/2 the semi-major axis.  I KNOW that you failed to do so.  You have written your plot lines without regard to physical reality, in Hohmann orbits as in relativistic flight times and red/blue shifts which you repeatedly got backwards.

Supposedly it's 33,900 LY to M3.  At 0.999c, a ship launched at speed would arrive just 33.9 years behind a radio message sent at the same time.  If a braking laser/maser started firing immediately upon receipt, it would have maybe 68 years (twice the at-speed lead time) to bring the ship to a stop.  Didn't your timeline assume hundreds of years to prepare?

Do you want to know HOW many times I rolled my eyes reading those sequences?  I'll be happy to list them in detail if you'll give me adequate compensation by Bitcoin for each one, but as someone who won't pay for copy-editing services I rather doubt you would.

No equipment can find what it seeks when being pointed in the wrong direction.
Not seeing the destination when it's supposed to be in plain view should have set off an alarm at the outset.  Supergenius humans would have programmed such alarms.  Seeing large objects (many arc-seconds) where nothing is supposed to be should also have set off alarms.  It could be a small object nearby (an impact threat), but even if not... something unknown and requiring attention to classify.

This is why I would have thrown "Card's" (actually Johnston's) book "Earth Unaware" across the room if I'd been stupid enough to buy it instead of borrowing it.  Johnston's concepts of intra-system space travel are ignorant beyond belief.  You are not much better.  The SF authors of the 40's through the 60's actually put relevant work into their writings.  You failed to.

No one expects a world, of her own accord, to hike up her skirts and depart entirely from the plane of the ecliptic, because the thing is freakishly impossible.
But your plot is based on it being done.

You make a baseless assumption about "astrogation cameras." The text never says the ship has any such thing.
Wait... the ship doesn't look at where it's going or any hazards in the way?!  It assumes there are no unknown comets or related bodies, no chaotic or redirected asteroids, or any other thing that wasn't on the charts when the two passengers put their ship to bed?  The two passengers spend some of their leisure time scanning the heavens; OBVIOUSLY there are cameras!  AND THESE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SUPER-GENUISES?!

The Deep Space One craft had a malfunction in its star sensor and instead used its main camera for astrogation.  Its mission ended in 2001.  You'd think that super-genuises in the 800th century or so would be many times as clever and resourceful.

I should have thrown your book across the room even though it wasn't mine.

Blogger The Kurgan June 08, 2017 7:17 AM  

You can join the liars too.
Evil is a well known real presence in Catholicism and always has been. Boy the Churchianity trolls really are in force today.

Blogger SirHamster June 08, 2017 11:42 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:SirHamster wrote:A large number of people saying something happened is evidence.

But of what?  Mass delusions are not just known, but commonplace.  The mass delusion of liberals that Blacks are the victims of Badwhite racism is epidemic in the West.

it is an objective documented fact that there was an event and that observers and 3rd parties wrote about it.

This does not prove (a) what actually happened, or (b) whether it was natural or not.


There is an easily observable pattern to the majority of Internet atheists, and that is a complete lack of intellectual integrity. They move goalposts.

First it is, "There is no evidence!"

When you show them the evidence, they immediately change the, "that evidence doesn't prove it!"

That they made a factually wrong assertion about a lack of evidence is tossed into the memory hole.

Mr. Rational could have started by discussing and dismissing the evidence for the claimed miracle, but he didn't do that - he started by making the nonsensical claim there is no evidence.

What rational person uses an obviously wrong argument as his opener? An emotional person does this because of Feelz. It Feelz great to treat everyone else as idiots who act and believe without evidence.


That you are incapable of recognizing evidence as evidence is the poverty of your intellect and philosophy.

That you insist that the interpretation settled upon by a mass of people predisposed to certain conclusions is transferable to the conclusion of SJWs regarding the causes of Black dysfunction.  In other words, both are absolutely worthless and contemptible, and all of you should be ashamed.


Dominated by his Feelz and binary thinking, the Internet atheist makes yet another factually wrong assertion about his opponent. He assumes that criticism of his argument and intellect is full acceptance of the claim he disputes.


Whereas the existence of a "no evidence which would confirm the event AND allow us to rule out natural causes" category seems to be incomprehensible to you.

That is not a valid category of response when faced with a truth assertion. Your options are agreement (It's true), disagreement (It's false), and neutrality (I don't know/insufficient evidence).


That category IS "insufficient evidence", you idiot.  Proving that it IS incomprehensible to you.


If there is insufficient evidence, then you don't know what happened.

But you are acting like it did not happen, even as you toss out contradictory claims of "no evidence!" and "mass delusion explains away testimonial evidence!"

You are trying to occupy two mutually exclusive positions. You want the certainty and comfort of "not a miracle!", while using the standard of evidence for "I don't know".

If you don't know, humility is in order. But you are Internet atheist, brimming with ignorant pride.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts