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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Stupidity vs psychopathy

That is the correct way to describe the argumentum ad absurdum of the religious mind versus the rational mind:
To believe in a supernatural god or universal spirit, people appear to suppress the brain network used for analytical thinking and engage the empathetic network, the scientists say. When thinking analytically about the physical world, people appear to do the opposite.

“When there’s a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd,” said Tony Jack, who led the research. “But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight.”

Jack is an associate professor of philosophy at Case Western Reserve and research director of the university’s Inamori International Center of Ethics and Excellence, which helped sponsor the research.


"A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown and claims that people who have faith (i.e., are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. They actually might claim they are less intelligent.,” said Richard Boyatzis, distinguished university professor and professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve, and a member of Jack’s team.

“Our studies confirmed that statistical relationship, but at the same time showed that people with faith are more prosocial and empathic,” he said.

In a series of eight experiments, the researchers found the more empathetic the person, the more likely he or she is religious.

That finding offers a new explanation for past research showing women tend to hold more religious or spiritual worldviews than men. The gap may be because women have a stronger tendency toward empathetic concern than men.

Atheists, the researchers found, are most closely aligned with psychopaths—not killers, but the vast majority of psychopaths classified as such due to their lack of empathy for others.
This is yet another piece of scientific evidence in support of my hypothesis that atheism is nothing more than the predictable consequence of being neurologically atypical; that atheism is what might as reasonably be described as social autism.

Which, of course, is just another way of describing a lack of empathy. This makes sense, as I have all the attributes of the average atheist, with one key exception: I am highly empathetic. The short answer to the common question: "how can you believe in God when you are highly intelligent and well-educated" is "Because I am capable of empathizing with my fellow Man."

As will be clear to anyone who has read the Metaphysics bestseller, On the Existence of Gods, atheism is not a rational position justified by reason and evidence. It is, quite to the contrary, an instinctive and emotional reaction to the atheist's inability to identify with and relate to the world around him. This is why most atheists become atheists in their teenage years, and why so few are able to provide any justification for their atheism beyond a highly subjective appeal to their own credulity.

That doesn't mean that atheism is not a legitimate expression of disbelief. It absolutely is, it simply isn't what it purports to be.

However, it also explains the intrinsic distrust that normal individuals harbor for atheists; it is the same distrust they harbor for psychopaths and others who do not "read" normally.

As I once told Sam Harris in an email when I was helping him with the neurology experiment that led to The Moral Landscape, the scientific investigation into belief and unbelief is far more likely to discover things that trouble the atheist perspective considerably more than the religious one.

For example, if we can ever cure psychopathy by instilling empathy into those who lack it, one likely consequence will be the eventual elimination of atheism. And if the suppression of religious belief necessarily means the suppression of empathy, this renders all dreams of a functional post-religious society intrinsically impossible.

In any event, this will provide a useful rhetorical weapon for the theists. The next time an atheist tells you that you are less intelligent because you believe in God, the obvious response is that you are also, unlike the atheist, not a psychopath.

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249 Comments:

1 – 200 of 249 Newer› Newest»
Blogger Giuseppe The Kurgan March 27, 2016 9:14 AM  

Excellent commentary Vox.

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 9:23 AM  

As will be clear to anyone who has read the Metaphysics bestseller, On the Existence of Gods, atheism is not a rational position justified by reason and evidence. It is, quite to the contrary, an instinctive and emotional reaction to the atheist's inability to identify with and relate to the world around him. This is why most atheists become atheists in their teenage years, and why so few are able to provide any justification for their atheism beyond a highly subjective appeal to their own credulity.

From my experience, atheists arise "I favor certain aberrant behaviors, yet Christian doctrine says those inclinations are bad. Therefore, Christianity is bullshit so now I can happily indulge in my favored aberrant behaviors without all that pesky guilt."

Anonymous A Visitor March 27, 2016 9:34 AM  

Figures that this comes from Case Western Reserve. I had a prof from there...crazy guy

Anonymous redsash March 27, 2016 9:34 AM  

The suppression of analytical thinking in people of faith does seem to hold a degree of truth for those who believe in global warming or Mormonism.

Life and history teaches one that the most rational of men believe in God, and the most irrational do not.

Blogger Servant of the Chief March 27, 2016 9:40 AM  

"the obvious response is that you are also, unlike the atheist, not a psychopath."

This is fantastic trolling material.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 27, 2016 9:42 AM  

Most atheists believe God to be stupid because of His compassion as well. "How could a loving God...?"

Anonymous nil March 27, 2016 9:46 AM  

I'm skeptical that atheism is inherently due to some mental disorder. Plenty of people have gone back and forth from belief to unbelief in their lives. I doubt their neurological makeup changes every time they do so. Not to say that this couldn't be true of a subset of atheists.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 27, 2016 9:48 AM  

That isn't atheism nil.

Anonymous Dave March 27, 2016 9:51 AM  

What was that? A Metaphysics bestseller you say? Are you atheists having trouble relating to that world? Does this stand reason on its head again?

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 9:52 AM  

God either exists or not, whether I think so or not.

One of the more unusual paths to believe in God is the music of Bach - It exists, therefore God must.

One argument I have to demonstrate the problem of "proving" God to atheists is that it is rational for someone deaf from birth to deny the existence of music. Sound can be shown, but not sitting in a building two hours perceiving something beyond mere sound. The deaf man can even take a musical score and "prove" music doesn't exist by taking passages out of context as atheists do bible verses.

Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell are anarcho-libertarians and Latin Mass Catholics (confession, transubstantiation) while Stephen Molyneux is an atheist - rationality can't explain it.

If the ability to perceive God also involves empathy and perception of the Natural Law - objective morality as Lewiis argues in Abolition and Mere Christianity - it would explain much.
This would include plucking out the inner eye when it is perceiving you are guilty of sin. Anesthetizing your finger won't stop the burning, but you can handle objects hot as hell.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 27, 2016 9:54 AM  

For example, if we can ever cure psychopathy by instilling empathy into those who lack it, one likely consequence will be the eventual elimination of atheism.

Stalin was infamous for pleasure he took in signing death warrants, as well as in his sadism towards his own inner circle. He was clearly a man of zero empathy. He was also the chief atheist of the USSR.

Blogger David of One March 27, 2016 9:56 AM  

It is interesting the desire to empathize and encourage the sick and confused that openly declare "I was born ____________!"

Anonymous Old Man in a Villa March 27, 2016 10:02 AM  

The best way to blow this guys argument out of the water would be to ask him if he believed that all men are equal.

He's stuck.

If he says no, he's violated the central tenant of the TruFaith so he will of course say 'yes', if he says yes then his premise that some people are "less intelligent" goes out the window.

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 10:03 AM  

"atheism is a mental disorder"

I'd call it a disability.

It is possible to be one for social reasons. At Gallaudet I'd have to know sign language to fit in. The elite demand you act atheist.

But whatever part of the mind that perceives good and evil, God and spirit, empathy, is damaged or is being willfully ignored in atheists.

There are other instincts - and this is where most of the New Atheists break down - sex. If the same inner perception for,God is also saying hooking up, bdsm, gay orgies are wrong, and you want to rationalize giving into your basest desires, they have to deny this voice and merely say "but use a condom".

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 10:07 AM  

@12 "sinner", as in original sin.
One can have empathy for someone with cancer without having empathy for the cancer.

Anonymous D Meister March 27, 2016 10:12 AM  

All aspects of behavior lie on a bell curve. There are smart Christians and dumb atheists. There are empathetic atheists and non-empathetic theists. Muslims come to mind.

Blogger robwbright March 27, 2016 10:18 AM  

@7 "I'm skeptical that atheism is inherently due to some mental disorder."

The Bible addresses this sort of "mental disorder".

"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

-Romans 1:28

"... let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

-Romans 12:2

Blogger Dexter March 27, 2016 10:35 AM  

A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown and claims that people who have faith (i.e., are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. They actually might claim they are less intelligent.

Oh those stupid Jews.

Blogger Lovekraft March 27, 2016 10:38 AM  

There is likely a correlation between the material advancement of a culture and its embrace of atheism. When things are taken care of, one loses sight of the harsh realities that act upon this world.

Now, after 7+ years of a cultural marxist wreaking havoc on U.S. society (President Zero) we will be seeing a major lashing out by the sjw crybullies who need someone to blame. And Christians are history's convenient scapegoat.

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 10:40 AM  

The atheist's rational objection is also a double standard. We can only infer neutron stars and gluons - not see them directly but they will say they exist.
An infinite person who created you is not to be ordered into a lab as a test.
You merely need to humbly ask him - but in complete honesty with no strings - and he will reveal himself so you will know and understand.
You can make no demands nor put conditions and requirements.

Blogger stevo March 27, 2016 10:42 AM  

I dunno. I am pretty religious but I've always considered myself lacking in empathy. Perhaps being neurologically atypical is no barrier to the Holy spirit.

Blogger stevo March 27, 2016 10:43 AM  

I dunno. I am pretty religious but I've always considered myself lacking in empathy. Perhaps being neurologically atypical is no barrier to the Holy spirit.

Anonymous MendoScot March 27, 2016 10:44 AM  

They refer to Baruch Aba Shalev’s book 100 years of Nobel Prizes, which found that, from 1901 to 2000, 654 Nobel laureates, or nearly 90 percent, belonged to one of 28 religions. The remaining 10.5 percent were atheists, agnostics or freethinkers.
“You can be religious and be a very good scientist,” Jack said.


Posted without comment, because you mouth-breathing God-botherers are too stupid to understand it.

And totally unrelated, yesterday I came across this:

Any day now, a major media outlet will release a feature story which, with a great deal of promotional ballyhoo, will claim to call into question the ordinary Christian understanding of the Gospel story. It’s become an annual tradition: as Easter approaches, and secular journalists look for an exciting new angle, an enterprising scholar offers his own latest theory to debunk the faith.

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 10:48 AM  

This is great stuff. The only thing that could be worse than being stupid is being a psychopath. And if anyone tries to downplay or deny the connection between atheism and psychopathy, all you have to do is play the "why do you hate science?" card.

It has recently come to my attention that I probably have mild Asperger's, which explains a lot, including my youthful atheism and attraction to Objectivism. But, like Vox, I also have high empathy, which undoubtedly facilitated my acceptance of God once I had enough evidence for his existence. Pity the people who have neither social awareness nor empathy, because it would be Hell to go through this existence disconnected from God.

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 10:55 AM  

Pity the people who have neither social awareness nor empathy, because it would be Hell to go through this existence disconnected from God.

Indeed. As exasperating SJWs and other progressives can be, pity them and pray God has mercy on them. They are truly a wretched, lost lot.

Blogger dc.sunsets March 27, 2016 11:07 AM  

The researchers' studies are suspect; it is clear to me that humans decide almost entirely in the impulsive, emotional cognitive pathway and immediately rationalize that decision using the rational-analytical pathway. I see this all the time in investment markets and political beliefs. Having learned to look for it, I see it in myself. It is independent of intelligence as measured by IQ tests.

Belief just is. It is part of the spectrum of possibilities yielded by the variations in genes making us human.

There is no way to prove or disprove any aspect of belief beyond the simplest facts our senses convey. To me, the energy invested in the religion vs philosophy debate generates only wasted time & energy.

Unfortunately, we live in a world of competing beliefs and it seems impossible for people to leave others to theirs.

Anonymous TS March 27, 2016 11:11 AM  

"The leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking..."

Really? There is ALOT of supernatural phenomena that doesn't fit the "analytical". Of course most of it is demonic but carry on with your "studies". https://www.solarmovie.ph/tv/paranormal-witness-2011/

Anonymous TS March 27, 2016 11:15 AM  

Perfect verse to describe the clown who did the above "studies".

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

Blogger dc.sunsets March 27, 2016 11:16 AM  

BTW, belief is the glue that underlies each person's ability to "map" the territory that is objective reality.

Belief is thus intermingled with the concept of sanity, when sanity is defined as a relentless effort to mirror ones mental map to objective reality.

Every one of us believes something. Just not all of us believe the tenets of a theistic approach. The most self-described rational person still believes, and cannot objectively rule out other beliefs.

Blogger Escoffier March 27, 2016 11:17 AM  

Atheists, the researchers found, are most closely aligned with psychopaths—not killers, but the vast majority of psychopaths classified as such due to their lack of empathy for others.

If you substituted libertarian for atheist it still works pretty well.

Blogger jay c March 27, 2016 11:18 AM  

Corollary: An empathetic atheist is probably just a better mimic.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:26 AM  

Despite my feelings on Simon Baron-Cohen, I must admit that he's made an excellent addition to my understanding of empathy by splitting it into two components: cognitive and emotional.

The former refers to a person's theory of mind, i.e. their ability to correctly guess what a person is thinking based on what they're doing, their facial expressions, etc. "Projection" is what happens when someone this incorrectly, and social autism is what happens when someone simply doesn't do this at all.

The latter, sympathy, refers to a person's tendency to mirror the perceived emotion within themselves, and how strongly they feel it. A strongly sympathetic person really does "feel your pain" to some extent because their mirror neurons are producing the anxiety they perceive you as experiencing.

A person with cognitive empathy but not emotional empathy is the classic dark triad personality. They can read people and therefore have the ability to manipulate them, but they don't experience any distress from hurting them.

A person with Asperger's typically has emotional empathy but not cognitive empathy, so they project very strongly. We see this most obviously, I think, in the way they socialize with animals. But they usually figure out (eventually) that they aren't firing on all cylinders, and often withdraw from society with humans due to a learned helplessness toward socializing. "Humans are a mystery and I'll never crack it, so I might as well stick to computers because they make sense."

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:27 AM  

Oh, and we'd describe someone who lacks both aspects a properly autistic person. Even high-functioning autistic people seem to follow this pattern to a significant extent.

Blogger Leonel Sanchez March 27, 2016 11:28 AM  

I dont know couldnt this be used to say that religion is an irrational belief? If my memory doesnt fail me other studies has shown that theist use the part of the brain that controls analitycal skills more than atheist

Anonymous Rolf March 27, 2016 11:29 AM  

@16 - that thought crossed my mind, too. When they conducted this research, were they using only Christians as their "faith proxy", or was it a wider swath of faiths? Western Christian culture does what it can to build caring and empathetic understanding of others: the golden rule is essentially codifying into a mode of action the idea of empathy.

Some other cultures, such as most ME Muslims, do just about everything they can to stamp out empathy - dogs and other animals can't be pets, family first, then tribe, then faith, actively putting each step away from yourself on a lower social plain, putting humans that are not "of the book" on the sub-human plain, barely above common animals. The axiom "my brother before my cousin, my cousin before a stranger" encapsulates this well.

I wonder how the research might change if they used a different research population for their "faith" group?

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:31 AM  

Dexter wrote:A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown and claims that people who have faith (i.e., are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. They actually might claim they are less intelligent.

Oh those stupid Jews.


A good counterexample, but I'm wary of drawing any general conclusions from the Jews. They are unique in a lot of ways.

Complex systems like the brain resist logical reduction. It's best to stick with pattern-matching and statistical reasoning as much as possible.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 27, 2016 11:31 AM  

Atheism a political pathway for little shits.

I will feed them to the Muslims, even though according to this study they are not very smart I bet they can think up something on how to deal with atheists

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:38 AM  

D Meister wrote:All aspects of behavior lie on a bell curve.

That simply isn't true. Many aspects of behavior are black and white, you're either one or the other. For example, you either have Down Syndrome or you don't.

Bell curves arise from extremely complex systems where none of the causes are dominant- intelligence is a good example, because it arises from around 10,000 genes, each of which produces a small effect in one direction or the other, as well as a large number of environmental inputs.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:43 AM  

Stickwick wrote:It has recently come to my attention that I probably have mild Asperger's, which explains a lot, including my youthful atheism and attraction to Objectivism.

An astrophysicist with Asperger's? Color me shocked.

Blogger collisioncat67 March 27, 2016 11:45 AM  

It may have happened before, but I've never heard one of these self-rightious atheists rise up in indignation and pointedly ask; if their is a good God then why does He permit millions of unborn babies to be legally slaughtered for the sake of convenience?

Naa, prochoice is near and dear to most atheists shriveled hearts.

I imagine that the Planned Parenthood death-to-the-unborn industry is full of these stone cold psychopaths.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:46 AM  

The symptoms of Asperger's in highly intelligent people tend to be weaker because highly intelligent people are capable of producing coping strategies at a much higher rate, and with greater success.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 27, 2016 11:47 AM  

Don't mind if I sperg all over the thread.

Anonymous TS March 27, 2016 11:55 AM  

"It may have happened before, but I've never heard one of these self-rightious atheists rise up in indignation and pointedly ask; if their is a good God then why does He permit millions of unborn babies to be legally slaughtered for the sake of convenience?"

For someone like them to even ask that question shows how sick and twisted they are.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 11:57 AM  

An excellent article. May I recommend also the writings of Dr. Mario Beauregard, a neuroscientist whose work directly challenges the materialists assumption? He speaks of "post-materialism" gaining ground because of the overwhelming evidence against it.

http://drmariobeauregard.com/

Blogger Rusty Fife March 27, 2016 12:00 PM  

Lovekraft wrote:Now, after 7+ years of a cultural marxist wreaking havoc on U.S. society (President Zero) we will be seeing a major lashing out by the sjw crybullies who need someone to blame. And Christians are history's convenient scapegoat

In near US history it might be Christians; any other time and place the Jews are the scapegoat.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:01 PM  

Excellent point on Bach, made by Peter Kreft in his lectures on Faith and Rationality.

I feel the same way about Mozart.

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 12:08 PM  

"I dunno. I am pretty religious but I've always considered myself lacking in empathy. Perhaps being neurologically atypical is no barrier to the Holy spirit."

Indeed. I am also a distinctly non-empathic individual. It's only by the grace of God, and on account of his word, that I am able to overcome that... and it's still a big struggle. But I suppose it gives me all the more opportunity to witness to atheists, and my life has often led to that. All things together, for good.

Blogger Arthur Isaac March 27, 2016 12:17 PM  

Always had a problem with Atheism. I think skepticism is something else entirely.

While I don't believe that there is evidence to support that there is other non terrestrial biological life in the universe I'm not about to rule it out based on my empirical evidence.

Atheists suffer from epistemological closure.

Blogger Arthur Isaac March 27, 2016 12:20 PM  

Also, Hugh Ross is autistic. Watch him argue Old Earth creationism with Ken Hamm.....bwahaha. I love Ross.

Blogger WATYF March 27, 2016 12:23 PM  

It's interesting that the atheists are using the results of this study to bolster their case that religion is illogical nonsense.

Keep in mind that the suppression of the analytical mind observed in the study is not necessarily inherent to belief in God. It could just as easily be a result of the fact that many believers these days are irrational and emotional and have never thought through their faith. There is a perfectly rational reason to believe in God, and there was a time when engaging the rational mind when considering belief in God would have been a much more common occurrence.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:33 PM  

Or, perhaps you are not a good judge of your own empathy. "I have seen Christians in revivals weeping because they could not weeo for their sins." - Charles Finney.

Many of us live much of our life observing ourselves and our behaviors and find it difficult to achieve "flow" states wherein we feel "lost" in our emotions because of it. We might then (mis)interpret this as lacking empathy. Yet in our behavior toward our loved ones and the world we rationally act empathetically and so fail to recognize our true empathy quotient.

At least, that's been my experience.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:38 PM  

"Belief just is. It is part of the spectrum of possibilities yielded by the variations in genes making us human."

Materialist Self-Contradiction Alert!

And do you say that because you believe it or because your genes made you say it?

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:41 PM  

Excellent point! And bonus points for multiplying Troll Bait!

Blogger Nick S March 27, 2016 12:41 PM  

I would like to read the white papers for this study. I suspect insufficient controls for confirmation bias bleeding into the conclusions.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:45 PM  

An excellent and helpful point!

I know aspies who have done just that. My wife is one.

But I think here's is less a failure to empathize and the fact that people will lie to you even when you are right about their feelings and if you believe them you come to doubt and even feel anxiety over your "inability" to empathize.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 12:52 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Ray P March 27, 2016 12:53 PM  

Philip K. Dick made this point about lack of empathy leading to atheism and its converse in his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, published in 1968.

Anonymous BGKB March 27, 2016 12:53 PM  

if we can ever cure psychopathy by instilling empathy into those who lack it

There would have to be a normal range of empathy to keep people from overdosing and becoming cat ladies or moslem refusegee rough traders.

Oh those stupid Jews. I believe the proper name is Sephardic

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 12:56 PM  

Aeoli Pera: An astrophysicist with Asperger's? Color me shocked.

One of the reasons I love The Big Bang Theory is that it's true to life. It's also something that has helped my extroverted, socially-adept husband understand me better. He started calling me Sheldona -- not because I'm that intelligent (I'm not), but because I can be similarly socially obtuse. I have similar quirks as Sheldon and the same difficulty with sarcasm and irony.

Arthur Isaac: Also, Hugh Ross is autistic. Watch him argue Old Earth creationism with Ken Hamm.....bwahaha. I love Ross.

Ross is much further down the spectrum than I am, but it confers an advantage by making him sort of bulletproof. Watch him debate Ham as well as Kent Hovind. Those guys are so annoying, a normal person would want to punch them in the face; but Ross' autism often prevents him from recognizing when he's been insulted until long after it's happened, so he ends up looking very cool and collected. It's a wonderful example of God turning a quirk into an advantage.

Blogger Ahazuerus March 27, 2016 1:24 PM  

@50

As our host has often observed, there are many self-styled Christians who are in fact little but churchians, for whom religion is purely a feel-good experience which reinforces their self-image.

Such religious experiences not only do not lend themselves to highly objective self-analysis, they are actively hostile to it. For the simple reason that they can only exist in its absence.

Anonymous MendoScot March 27, 2016 1:25 PM  

If my memory doesnt fail me other studies has shown that theist use the part of the brain that controls analitycal skills more than atheist

Correct, but different study, different methodology, different context. I give this study a low to moderate chance of being repeated. As a neuroscientist, I wouldn’t rely on it.

Anonymous MendoScot March 27, 2016 1:30 PM  

@35. Rolf
Their definition of believers includes belief in a Supreme Being, so yeah, they make no internal distiction between modes of belief. As I posted above, there are all sorts of problems with the conclusions, but as a preliminary study it has potential.

Blogger Murray March 27, 2016 1:47 PM  

@2 Wyrd,

From my experience, atheists arise "I favor certain aberrant behaviors, yet Christian doctrine says those inclinations are bad. Therefore, Christianity is bullshit so now I can happily indulge in my favored aberrant behaviors without all that pesky guilt."

This was my experience. Brought up in a fallen-away liberal protestant household, I realized around the age of 13 that atheism would liberate me to follow my basest desires--which, at that time and for a couple of decades following, were largely sexual in nature. It was pretty much a will to disbelief.

Although most atheists won't acknowledge these motives, and will often respond with confected outrage if you bring it up (no, they're just brave freethinkers!), I think it's a pretty common motivation. I sometimes listen to the "Why are you an atheist?" sessions on the Catholic Answers radio show, in which they invite atheists to call in and explain themselves, and even if you disregard the generally terrible quality of atheist argumentation, it's telling how often atheism seems to stem from a rejection of inconvenient Christian moral standards.

Blogger Murray March 27, 2016 1:48 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 2:00 PM  

The fool hath said in his heart.....I suspect that 'fool' in this case means something like 'spiritually retarded'. But that's just a suggestion.

Why on Earth would someone want to punch Hovind or Ham? They're both quick, funny, knowledgeable, and apt to the point.

As to analytical, my view is that all AI's would be Christians. The mountain of evidence is so high, so clear, that any other choice is irrational for them.

In recent history of my lifetime, what seems to have happened is that Atheists said 'Church didn't want to answer my questions'. And Christians were somewhat afraid. Then the Christian logicians rose up, and rose up even higher, and so nowadays, the Atheists says 'you Christians are so mean'.

I tend to think the WDK, We don't care, counterarguement is often appropriate because their arguments are in mala fides. Or as Conan would reply....what is good in life?

Blogger Arthur Isaac March 27, 2016 2:12 PM  

Also, Hugh Ross is autistic. Watch him argue Old Earth creationism with Ken Hamm.....bwahaha. I love Ross.

Blogger Arthur Isaac March 27, 2016 2:12 PM  

Always had a problem with Atheism. I think skepticism is something else entirely.

While I don't believe that there is evidence to support that there is other non terrestrial biological life in the universe I'm not about to rule it out based on my empirical evidence.

Atheists suffer from epistemological closure.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 2:21 PM  

Instasetting @65: As to analytical, my view is that all AI's would be Christians.

On the contrary, Microsoft just had to euthanize Tay.

Or is it time to roll out the "no true AI" excuse?


Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 2:24 PM  

Instasetting: Why on Earth would someone want to punch Hovind or Ham? They're both quick, funny, knowledgeable, and apt to the point.

Are you kidding? If you watch them interact with Ross, it becomes obvious that they are both intellectually dishonest. One of their favorite schticks is to question the faith any Christian who doesn't subscribe to their particular interpretation of Genesis. And Hovind is a fraud -- he presents himself as a "doctor" of education, but his "doctorate" is from an unaccredited correspondence school.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 2:40 PM  

You only hate Hovind and Ham and love Ross because the latter follows the way required for you to remain in your career Stickwick. I know you are convinced that millions of years since Creation is completely logical, but it requires some major Scripture twisting to accommodate, and ignoring significant parts as well.

Your career also requires the position you hold, so you could not be convinced even if the facts were laid out in a buffet.

Not going to argue the issue here, but I am significantly scientifically based and find Ross' arguments to be as much balderdash as the idea of a blind watchmaker.

Believe however you all want, but the characteristics noted in this post do not require loving Ross. He is an idiot in many ways, at least to many of us.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 2:42 PM  

It would also do you a little well to develop some empathy for fellow Christians. You may not like certain beliefs of Hovind and Ham, but do you really think they are going to hell? Plenty of teaching in the Church that is leading people there. Taking what is written seriously is not it. (Whether their conclusions are completely accurate or not.)

I don't jump on Ross much at all, though I find it very illogical. Why shoot your own side every time the topic comes up?

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 2:49 PM  

Ballast @70 wrote: You only hate Hovind and Ham and love Ross because the latter follows the way required for you to remain in your career Stickwick.

Really? You're know Stickwick that well? Or is this a bad case of projection?

Not going to argue the issue here, but I am significantly scientifically based...

You have a PhD in Astrophysics do you? If you're so smart, do you realize that the cosmology presented in Genesis is predominantly Egyptian?

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 2:51 PM  

"I know you are convinced that millions of years since Creation is completely logical, but it requires some major Scripture twisting to accommodate, and ignoring significant parts as well."

No, it doesn't. It requires understanding that Hebrew is not English and that a "literal" interpretation is not nearly do exact as you might think.

Or do you "literally" believe in the corners of the Earth?

Blogger RobertT March 27, 2016 2:57 PM  

" This makes sense, as I have all the attributes of the average atheist, with one key exception: I am highly empathetic. "

Makes sense now.

Blogger RobertT March 27, 2016 2:59 PM  

Although I believe highly educated is only achieved through independent study.

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 3:03 PM  

WrF, is that a joke? Tay was a chatbot, and a lot of her words were based on exposure, and perhaps popularity. I speak of a True Artificial Intelligence, a mind of silicon, that in SF stands in for the Knowledgeable, OpenMinded, Logical Man who bases its decisions on Logic and Information.

This is not even apples and oranges.

==========

Stickwick, one is reminded of the old saying, he who punches first lost the arguement. Your reasons for punching them seem insufficient so I suspect you dislike the force of their logic.

I haven't watched them meet with Hugh Ross. This is not the place to debate YEC vs. OEC for fear of the unleashing of the Finnish Fimbulwinter so I restrain myself.

However, I think at least one, if not both, are of the opinion that you can be a Christian and an Old Earther, so I think you are wrong on the 'schtick' thing. Again, an old saying, one about 'the lady doth protest too much' and 'if the shoe fits'.

Now, I am not an astrophycist, but I have written a novel making fun of Darwinism in the Douglas Adams tradition of beating a dead horse to splinters.

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 3:04 PM  

Austin Ballast: You only hate Hovind and Ham and love Ross because the latter follows the way required for you to remain in your career Stickwick.

You know nothing of me, let alone my beliefs and why I do what I do. This is getting off topic, and I'm not going to debate creationist timelines here, but suffice to say that I don't hate anyone, least of all Ham or Hovind. I merely find those two annoying in their dishonesty. I also happen to have differences with Ross over his particular interpretation of Genesis 1, but find him honest and sincere in his expression of his beliefs, both scientific and scriptural, and admire him for it.

It would also do you a little well to develop some empathy for fellow Christians.

Says the guy who just went on an uninformed tirade about my personal beliefs and effectively called me a liar.

You may not like certain beliefs of Hovind and Ham, but do you really think they are going to hell?

Are you a troll or just insane? Who said anything about them going to hell?

Blogger LP9 Forever Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra S.I.G. March 27, 2016 3:07 PM  

More balm to my wounds but on that complex level of clarity in dialectic versus the absurd arrested development emotionalism.

I just wish I could communciate with atheists in that their beliefs are utterly sophomoric but I dont, I leave this issue to the men. I'm old lady whom believes men belong in the church not I. Let the men reach the wrong and wronged and deranged in their beliefs.

Only a fool or an insane person denies...The Lord Jesus. Or the more I've delved into Ren Fair or rare cosplay, wishes to live in non- or null-reality as a real life but its not a life at all, its chains of non-reality. it isn't easy to reach but our men can reach the wrong minded for the right thinking, the real non-esoteric Christ whom loves us and knocks for us to respond.

Let the aspie/autism challenged respond to Christ this Easter weekend. Lord help them, help us.

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 3:09 PM  

Instasetting: Stickwick, one is reminded of the old saying, he who punches first lost the arguement. Your reasons for punching them seem insufficient so I suspect you dislike the force of their logic.

I did not say I wanted to punch them. Any normal man -- and I am neither -- would be tempted to punch those guys for insulting them. It has nothing to do with logic. And your use of the word "logic" with reference to Ham and Hovind is laughable.

However, I think at least one, if not both, are of the opinion that you can be a Christian and an Old Earther, so I think you are wrong on the 'schtick' thing.

Unlike you, I have watched the debates. They call Ross' faith into question several times on the basis of his belief in an old universe.

Blogger LP9 Forever Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra S.I.G. March 27, 2016 3:12 PM  

The psychopathology of atheists is often past abuse (stressed out types) and past or current autism/aspie. Christians, for example in political days are skeptical but let us never leave or be in despair of Christ:

Reframing Tips and Tricks

So how do you go about reframing your response to a stressful event or experience? Kresser lists five strategies that can be helpful in this situation, including the following:

Question your thoughts. Just because you think it doesn’t mean it’s real or accurate. Oftentimes our thoughts reveal more about our ingrained belief systems than actual reality, so you can choose to not believe every thought that crosses your mind.
Turn perceived threat into a challenge. Oftentimes, there are hidden opportunities in stressful events. So ask yourself, how can this experience help you grow and improve?
Expand your time horizon. Ask yourself whether this event will actually matter a month, a year, or a decade from now. Do you think you’ll even remember it?
Increase your perceived sense of control. While actually being in control of everything is impossible, it is your perceived sense of control that matters. You can increase your sense of being in control by a) focusing on that which you do have influence over, b) coming up with creative solutions, and c) making a list of resources or people you know you can turn to for help, should you need it.

Other Stress Management Techniques

While stress is widespread in today’s fast-paced world, suffering ill effects from stress is not an inevitable fact. By learning how to effectively decrease your stress level and raise your resilience, your health will improve as well. Besides EFT and reframing, there are many other stress reduction techniques with a proven track record.

The key is to find out what works best for you, and stick to a daily stress-reduction program. Here are a number of other stress management approaches to consider:16
Sleep: Sleep deprivation dramatically impairs your body’s ability to handle stress and is yet another risk factor for heart attack, so making sure you get adequate sleep is key for any successful stress management program Tai Chi and Qi Gong: While the evidence is limited, one 2014 meta-analysis17 found that tai chi can help ameliorate depression and anxiety, improve psychological well-being, and provide general stress management
Regular physical activity Meditation: Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly, such as during work breaks, can help decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety
Mindfulness training: Research has shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as antidepressants in preventing depression relapse18 Yoga: Health benefits from regular yoga practice have been shown to decrease stress, improve sleep and immune function, and reduce food cravings, among other things
Social connectedness Laughter and levity
Spend time in nature Music
Schedule time to have fun Aromatherapy

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/24/chronic-stress-cancer.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160324Z1&et_cid=DM100995&et_rid=1414196001

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 3:15 PM  

Instasetting @ 76: WrF, is that a joke?

No.

I speak of a True Artificial Intelligence, a mind of silicon, that in SF stands in for the Knowledgeable, OpenMinded, Logical Man ...

So I called it. You retreated to the "no true AI" excuse.

... who bases its decisions on Logic and Information.

"So, then, it does not depend on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy."

Blogger Durandel Almiras March 27, 2016 3:18 PM  

My own experience disagrees with this. I was an atheist as a teenager all the way into my late 20's when I became sick of my nihilism. I was valedictorian of my HS and my raw SAT was 1540 in 1999, so my IQ is/was at least +2SD above norm. I have had difficulty with experiencing empathy since I was a teenager. Now I never scored high in psychopathy on the tests given to me by the therapists, I didn't score low either, instead I'd score high in Machiavellianism...so this might be a factor in my change of out.

Now why atheism? As Wyrd said above, I wanted to get laid without the guilt. yeah sure, I'd post rationalize and sound just like the New Atheists to claim it was for logical reasons but honestly, the penis was doing my thinking.

As to leaving it. Well, I got sick of my nihilism, which lead me to reevaluate secular humanism and reject it as false. Eastern religions and philosophies were odd to me and seemed silly in some cases. Decided to re-read the Gospels and saw wisdom in what the Christ guy was going on about. Snowballed from there the more I researched.

As a Christian now, I still struggle with empathy. My faith is more an intellectual exercise than a feeling. I don't have a bleeding heart and I never will. The Church needs people like me to stop the over empathizes from dragging the Church away from Truth and Law for the sack Feelz.

But I don't how Christians are like me. I will say it's tough, as most of the touchy felt types make me want to punch them not hug them.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 3:20 PM  

Just look around this blog. It's massively grounded in cognitive empathy: Vox's widespace.

The idea of believing in God due to cognitive empathy is alien to me. Rather, I take the reverse approach - without a God, I and everyone else are meaningless... and this is an acceptable conclusion.

But I am an outlier and so is Vox. A genpop study will pick up IQ 100 psychopaths and superstitious women. It's not so much an argumentum ad absurdum as argumentum ad populum, AFAICT.

Deepsocket doesn't imply an absence of empathic circuitry in the way that narrowspace does. But it does tend to shout down the surface expression/reception of it with Spockian objectivity. The emo circuitry works fine when the orbitofrontal cortex ice is melted by e.g. alcohol.

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 3:24 PM  

Stickwick, your original comment was 'normal person'. Since you disavow being normal, let me clarify a normal person's response to Ham or Hovind...broad smile, out right laughter.

These guys are charming, and amusing. You are basically saying a normal person would want to punch Jay Leno.

It has to do with logic because your reactions are over the top.

Now, for everyone I have a question. Is the argument 'he who punches first the loser of the argument' a Gamma thing, or not? I see it as an inarticulate thing.

Back to Stickwick...

I've seen them on a number of their own shows, and I'm fairly sure I'm right. Given that you've already disavowed being normal, perhaps my judgement is more accurate.

In any case, this is not a generally accepted viewpoint in the YEC community. I suspect this is a case of the OEC and their guilty consciences making them think their enemies are saying what their own consciences are saying.

Anonymous Peter #0231 March 27, 2016 3:26 PM  

Not entirely unrelated:

http://theothermccain.com/2016/03/26/the-absence-of-empathy-understanding-the-psychology-of-sociopathic-feminism/

with bonus VD/SJWAL citation!

Anonymous jon March 27, 2016 3:31 PM  

VFM #6306 wrote:Most atheists believe God to be stupid because of His compassion as well. "How could a loving God...?"
To be fair to the argument, these attacks are based on his apparent lack of compassion (i.e. the dot-dot-dot part is usually related to suffering).

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 3:36 PM  

WrF,
I misunderstood. I thought you were making a clearly silly point that Tay is an AI. However it would be possible to make an AI that is not completely rational, which is, your point.

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 3:47 PM  

Instasetting, that you find Ham and Hovind charming and amusing says a lot. They are not charming and amusing, they are intellectually dishonest, and in Hovind's case a fraud. From my interaction with you here, you appear to be of the same character.

I've seen them on a number of their own shows, and I'm fairly sure I'm right.

This is precisely the sort of oily, evasive dishonesty that I find repulsive in Ham and Hovind. Who cares if you're fairly sure? You have not watched the debates; I have. They very clearly imply that Ross is insincere in his Christian faith because of his views on Genesis.

It is absurd to claim that anyone whose beliefs on Genesis differ from yours has a "guilty conscience." You are in effect making the same accusation of insincerity of faith that Ham and Hovind do, because I don't hold to the same interpretation of Genesis you do. Just because I'm socially atypical does not mean I'm stupid and blind. You're such a dishonest snake that you unabashedly infer that I'm lying about Ham and Hovind doing this while you yourself blatantly do it. "Charming" and "amusing" indeed.

Blogger Ahazuerus March 27, 2016 3:47 PM  

@82 Durandel Almiras:

It might comfort you to learn that love is not a feeling.

One of the major modern errors of the church has been to accept this error. It is a very common error in our culture but it stems ultimately from a desire to evade responsibility for our decisions.

You see, we talk about how we "fall in love" as if we are walking along the street one day minding our own business and WHAM! a brick fals from the clear blue sky, hits us on the head and now we're in love.

And when we meet someone new and interesting and we (decide to) spend time with them and we (decide to) share intimacies with them, and etc, then we say of the previous "love" ... Oh, well, we fell out of love.

But it's a lie.

You see, love is a decision. And it is a decision you can exercise to the advantage of people you don't know, and indeed don't even like. It is plain from scripture that the people who piss God off the most are his own.

But God is not ruled by his emotions (those who are are not reliable), he is ruled by his decisions and he decided to be a God of love.

Love is a decision that devotes us to a simple question: how do I maintain or promote the life of the one I love?

It is a decision that impels ACTION.

Quite often the "empathisers" are so angsted up about how their feelings are not sufficiently positieve towards everyone that they waste all their time navel-gazing instead of doing something constructive.

The church really NEEDS people who can think clearly. Who recognise that we all have emotions but are able to make decisions independent of them.

As Aragorn said to the pointy-ears:

"You are MOST welcome!"

Anonymous A.B. Prosper March 27, 2016 3:48 PM  

Happy Easter everyone.

re: Atheism, I'm reminded of the old TV show House in which the Aussie doctor was frustrated with a highly religious patient and said "its not like I can give him 10cc of Atheism"

Given that knowledge cuts both ways its unwise to even consider treating atheism as a disease since it isn't. More likely the Atheists would treat religiosity as one and add it to the vaccine schedule or simply use gene drives to alter say food or mosquitoes or whatever to ensure the changes they'd like.

That said, even if all humanity were theists as well as pretty much most of them are, I remind folks that most of them are not Christian. Its the majority religion yes but still outnumbered by all others.

Also a a lot of Christians are nominal (most of Europe) like myself and the majority of growth is among lower IQ/short time preference brackets (Africa and South?Central America) Its going to be a very different Christendom upcoming.

That said whole we have things we need to do, keeping mad scientists in check, rebuilding our civilizations, reclaiming the original Christendom in the end it in God's hands not ours so I'm not going to sweat it,

Blogger J March 27, 2016 3:50 PM  

Interesting article, though there is a tension within the article that may be the fault of the blogger: parts of the article repeatedly seem to infer that the scientists still believe that religion/empathy have a purely brain-based origin, which, if true, should mean that such phenomena are ultimately explainable physically. On the other hand, there are quotes that seem to indicate some sort of belief in an immaterial aspect of reality. But you can't have it both ways - either there is a genuine immaterial aspect of reality which your brain research doesn't exhaust, or what you mean when you say "religion" is just a set of beliefs constructed by the entirely physical brain.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 3:53 PM  

The typical Christian doesn't understand Genesis any more than he understands the New Testament.

Just ask him to reconcile "sell your cloak and buy a sword" with "turn the other cheek".

Then ask him to reconcile Ezekiel 31:18 with Genesis 1-2.

Observe that his replies are incoherent, that he demonstrably does not know what he's talking about, and proceed to ignore him.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 3:53 PM  

Instasetting @87: I misunderstood

More than you realize. Tay _is_ an AI. She may not be particularly bright, or skilled, or compassionate, but she is an AI.

However it would be possible to make an AI that is not completely rational, which is, your point.

No, that should be obvious, since humans are not completely rational. The point is that belief is not result of rationality. It's also not the result of irrationality. It is the result of God's effective call. "He has mercy on whom He has mercy, and compassion on whom He has compassion. It is therefore not of human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy."

Young earth? Belief as the result of (ir)rationality? Good grief. It's almost as if Christians don't read their Bibles.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 3:54 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 4:04 PM  

(Too many typos, so deleted the original)

@A.B. Prosper : perhaps it is worth considering that the high IQ displayed by many Europeans is the product of centuries of Christian morality and fairly punitive measures of enforcing it weeding out undesirable traits in humans, thereby enabling the rise of IQ in populations as a whole. Purely conjecture, since it is impossible to get reliable IQ estimates of pre-Christendom "barbarian" Europeans, but worth a thought: what would Africa look like after a millenium of being Christendom v2?

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 4:05 PM  

@94 It isn't.

Blogger Ahazuerus March 27, 2016 4:17 PM  

@92

To be fair, many Christians are taught that they need not have any interest in the Old Testament. They're taught that the new covenant has erased and invalidated the old.

So I regularly meet Christians who, when I ask them to get their bible, come back with a New Testament (sometimes NT plus Psalms and Proverbs).

This is merely the complementary error to that of the Jews, who cling stubbornly to their Torah even as it predicts a messiah who is embarrassingly late.

No-one who is standing on one leg can possibly be stable, or reliable. No Christian can possibly understand the gospel without reference to the Old Testament. But then, you have to know that it is Old Testament law that "on the strength of TWO witnesses will the truth be established" in order to understand why one witness is insufficient, and that God fulfills all the requirements of his own law, and therefore ALL of scripture is profitable for instruction. Paul would be horrified at the Old Testament ignorance of the typical Christian today.

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 4:21 PM  

Stickwick, you're embarrassing yourself.

I'm pretty sure if you say 'intellectually dishonest' a hundred times, you'll convince someone, somewhere.

"Oily, evasive dishonesty"....really now, you'll hurt me feewings. And here I thought that was a straightforward and accurate depiction of reality...oh wait, it was. Rhetoric doesn't impress the Omega. It just makes him wonder what is wrong with your mind.

"Who cares if I'm fairly sure?". An excellent question. I do for one. Yes, I am quoting myself as an authority. And yes, you're free to assign whatever value to that you like. We don't care.

If I am making the same accusation as Ham and Hovind, then you are disproved by your own words. For my accusation is not an accusation but a suggestion, but more importantly, it is not that you are not a Christian, but that you've let yourself get swayed by the world. And if Ham and Hovind said that to Ross then your whole arguement is gone, dead, pushing up daisies.

In your last ranting para, you say I'm lying? Hunh?

Well, to be clear, I'm not saying you are lying which was clear in the earlier post, but that you have bad judgement compared to mine. And I think that this recent exchange has borne that out amply.







Blogger J March 27, 2016 4:26 PM  

@96: What is it due to, then?

Blogger J March 27, 2016 4:29 PM  

@96, @99: Let me be more specific: you issued a certain denial, while I offered mine as conjecture. In @99 I am asking what makes you entirely sure that the Christian moral system, which used to implemented in a way that severely disadvantaged genetic deviants, could not have contributed to the rise in the overal IQ of the European natives? (I am presuming a strong link between genetics and behaviour).

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 4:30 PM  

WrF,
What's your defintion of an AI? Because the commonly accepted one is that of a sentient computer program.

Evidently you're a Calvinist or something.

"Whosoever will may come..."

And I think we have a bit in this very commentry from Durandel and Ahazuerus about acts of will and logic.

Belief can be rationally, irrationally, or both at the same time, based. Also, there are probably other forms of thought that might be involved. Perhaps non-rational is a better word than irrational.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 4:30 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 4:42 PM  

Isntasetting - Clarify something for me: are you an omega or are you normal?

Blogger ray March 27, 2016 4:44 PM  

Autistics don't lack empathy. They have an overabundance of it, typically along with other sensory or stimuli overload.

There certainly seems to be a direct link between the willful rejection of empathy and atheism, which also is a conscious and willful rejection. Non-verbal otties don't reject empathy, they attempt to regulate or minimize the (seemingly) vast stream of interpersonal data confronting them which, to them, is largely irrelevant or useless. Rejection of social-mirroring patterns is not equivalent to void, or even lack, of empathy.

Blogger VD March 27, 2016 4:50 PM  

Stickwick, you're embarrassing yourself.


No, sport, she handed you your head and you're too dumb to realize it. Ham and Hovind are charlatans.

Anonymous MendoScot March 27, 2016 5:03 PM  

Stop teasing, now, Stickwick. What’s your AQ?

http://www.piepalace.ca/blog/asperger-test-aq-test

Numerically obssessive minds want to know.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 27, 2016 5:27 PM  

This is backwards:
atheism is not a rational position justified by reason and evidence. It is, quite to the contrary, an instinctive and emotional reaction to the atheist's inability to identify with and relate to the world around him.
On the contrary, religiosity is an erroneous attribution of thoughts and feelings to an impersonal universe—a form of pareidolia, an emergent property of humans' theory of mind.

This is why most atheists become atheists in their teenage years, and why so few are able to provide any justification for their atheism beyond a highly subjective appeal to their own credulity.
You mean most atheists raised as theists come out as teenagers, and you have the causation wrong there also.  Children will follow rules by rote, even when they go against some higher principle.  Abstract reasoning generally develops in the teens, and that is when "because I said so" no longer suffices.  That doesn't mean that such children ever believed.  Beyond singing, I never found church services other than a crushing bore and cannot remember anything fun or enlightening from Sunday school.  I got enough tedium in school.

If there were any reason in religion in general, there would not and could not be so many religions making claims so different from each other.  Like cosmological theories pre-1900, they can all be grossly wrong... and almost certainly are.  Most of theology appears to be the making of excuses for the lack of evidence to support their claims.  I lost interest decades ago.

it also explains the intrinsic distrust that normal individuals harbor for atheists; it is the same distrust they harbor for psychopaths and others who do not "read" normally.
Except most psychopaths learn to fake a conscience and work to manipulate people; athiests stick to the truth as they see it.

The argument of religiosity being due to empathy fits right in with the left's insistence that truth is determined by "feelz", not facts.  They're exact analogues, just change the dogma.  Atheism is a different thing altogether.

the scientific investigation into belief and unbelief is far more likely to discover things that trouble the atheist perspective considerably more than the religious one.
Well, uncover them then.  Believers have been claiming the truth will scare me for my entire life.  I'm still waiting.

if we can ever cure psychopathy by instilling empathy into those who lack it, one likely consequence will be the eventual elimination of atheism.
Well, of course.  If you can cause enough discomfort in people who don't go along with the group dogma, you can bully them into following the herd.  Baaa.

Blogger Michael O'Duibhir March 27, 2016 5:28 PM  

"... psychopaths classified as such due to their lack of empathy for others."

Sociopaths, rather?

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 5:30 PM  

As someone who is, in fact, non-NT (high functioning autism) I can certainly confirm that those with low empathy levels are more or less incapable of believing in the existence of the supernatural.

However, this is not the only part of Atheism. Most non-NT people content themselves with "I don't know, I cannot know, and I can neither confirm nor deny anything to do with the supernatural." The more analytical, however, will agree that there is more evidence FOR a supernatural guiding intelligence than there is AGAINST one. This is not enough to cement their belief, but leads to a surprising amount of open mindedness among high-functioning Autists. So they are more agnostic than Atheist.

The thing is, the lack of empathy has to be combined with a vicious streak before you become a 'leader' or more aggressive proscelytising Atheist. So I wouldn't consider Atheism as much a lack of empathy as a lack of empathy combined with a simple mean streak.

Of course, to be fair, the vast majority of members of the 'Atheist movement' are perfectly ordinary neurotypicals. They are simply following the poor life philosophy that they have been taught, refusing to explore WHY their leaders hate religion, and self-congratulating on their 'reason' and 'innate superiority' rather than embracing the quest for truth in the face of 'proof by authority'

Is it any wonder that the Atheism+ movement is chock full of angry, maladjusted women? Their leaders have stripped away any natural faith they may possess, the comfort of having something to believe and trust, and replaced it with...nothing.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 27, 2016 5:31 PM  

redsash wrote:The suppression of analytical thinking in people of faith does seem to hold a degree of truth for those who believe in global warming or Mormonism.
So tell me, since you're obviously an expert in the optical depth of the atmosphere in the CO2, CH4 and other thermal IR absorption bands... how does increasing the altitude at which much thermal radiation is free to escape to space by something on the order of 10,000 feet since pre-industrial times somehow have no effect on the climate as such?  I'm all ears.

Life and history teaches one that the most rational of men believe in God, and the most irrational do not.
Life and history tells me that wish-fulfillment and denial are anti-survival.

VFM #6306 wrote:Most atheists believe God to be stupid because of His compassion as well. "How could a loving God...?"
Not like Christians haven't agonized over this for centuries, or is the problem of evil irrelevant when an atheist brings it up?

Lack of a god doesn't mean that natural law doesn't exist.  Objectivism could have been a road to evidence-based philosophy founded on discovery and testing of natural law.  However, as Vox says, women are usually about the feelz....

D Meister wrote:There are ... non-empathetic theists. Muslims come to mind.
A religion which sanctions psychopathy does appear to be a refutation of the assertion in #0, and Islam seems awfully close to being one.

collisioncat67 wrote:I've never heard one of these self-rightious atheists rise up in indignation and pointedly ask; if their is a good God then why does He permit millions of unborn babies to be legally slaughtered for the sake of convenience?
You're assuming that "unborn baby" is a valid concept outside your belief system.  "Pneuma" means both "breath" and "soul", you know.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper March 27, 2016 5:35 PM  

Jay @95

I don't know, its possible I suppose as there are African subgroups that are very smart. I will note that pre Christendom Rome and Greece very very advanced societies and we have no such evidence of African ones that were as developed.

That said even ignoring the spiritual aspects Christianity as its mastered will be genuinely good for Africa, certainly better than Islam.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 5:47 PM  

@111

Agreed. But I was making reference to the pre-Christendom European barbarians, not Rome and Greece. I don't recall the barbarians being that advanced, so it's possible that Christianity was the sieve for those tribes.

Anonymous Confutius March 27, 2016 5:50 PM  

It doesn't matter how intelligent you are if you don't use the brains God gave you. If you believe self-contradictory things, then you are wrong. Anything and its opposite can be proved from a single contradiction. Since the Bible is full of contradictions if you believe that the Bible is entirely truthful, then you are wrong. Once you accept that the Bible is unreliable, then its authority as a source on all points is called into doubt.

An omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God could not require belief in self-contradictory propositions. He certainly could have provided better evidence - writings by Jesus himself, clear and uncontroverted statements of all the required elements of belief and law, contemporary accounts of the life of Jesus, accounts signed and attested to by their authors, even continuing public theophanies or angelic appearances, incorruptible and permanent documents in His own words... but He didn't. There may be some occult reason for this - or, more likely your religion is just a pack of lies.

Which is not to say that there is no God, just that your beliefs about him are self-contradictory, therefore false.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 5:50 PM  

"Autistics don't lack empathy. They have an overabundance of it, typically along with other sensory or stimuli overload.

There certainly seems to be a direct link between the willful rejection of empathy and atheism, which also is a conscious and willful rejection. Non-verbal otties don't reject empathy, they attempt to regulate or minimize the (seemingly) vast stream of interpersonal data confronting them which, to them, is largely irrelevant or useless. Rejection of social-mirroring patterns is not equivalent to void, or even lack, of empathy."


I gave up a long time trying to explain the difference between 'no empathy' and 'mandatory shutdown of empathy due to stimulus overload' a LONG time ago.

It's easier to just let them assume what they want to assume, rather than trying to explain the difference between an autist, sociopath, and psychopath.

Just like it's easier to allow them to say autist's inability to comprehend religious empathy is due to a lack of said empathy rather than a 'lifetime of ultimate gullibility that eventually leads to an absolute trained lack of ability to believe in ANYTHING without hard evidence... It's like you have been conned so many times that you just automatically assume everything is a con, which for Autists it truly is.'

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 5:59 PM  

Christopher Stasheff addressed the question of what to do about a self-destructing society that has abandoned faith in 'the secular wizard', although, in the years since he wrote the book, his solution of educated secular humanism has proven not only unworkable, but completely untenable.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 6:01 PM  

Confutius-
Apparently you don't understand the core tenet of 'free will'. Incontrovertible proof would deny the very concept of free will.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 6:06 PM  

@100 You are shifting ground and misquoting me. I said your idea wasn't worth considering. It wasn't and neither is your less-aggressive revision. In case you are intellectually honest and simply ignorant (rather than dishonest and ignorant), I will give you some hints to follow up on.

1 Intelligence is driven by brain mutations and eugenic selective pressure on existing diversity for IQ
2 Continental geography impacts ease of spread of flora and fauna, including brain mutations. Latitude > longitude
3 Selective pressure for tool use and thus IQ is strongly a function of latitudinal distance from equator
4 Closer to the equator, selection becomes more ruderal, focusing on diseases/parasite load and boom/bust
5 The highest modern racial IQs correspond to the Neanderthal Eurasian range
6 Behavioral modernity / full human intelligence in Eurasia dates to the Upper Paleolithic
7 Post-agricultural civilization trends dysgenic for brain volume and arguably for IQ also
8 There is no obvious IQ difference between pre-Christian classical and post-Christian Europe
9 Ashkenazic intelligence arguably dates to medieval Europe

You know how weak your OP was because you're already backing off of it. Study #9 in particular for a quick understanding of why your argument is so bad.

If you want to defend Christianity, contrast Biblical vs historical implementation, and emphasize the Charles Murray "Human Accomplishment" route. Have some awareness; don't leave yourself open for the dysgenic slave morality + charity riposte.

And for the love of all that's holy, drop the Africans. The only improvement on that continent is the genocide of the San.

Ditto the ridiculous 1,000 year timescale for continental African brain evolution. Only way that's happening is genocide.

Anonymous Instasetting March 27, 2016 6:06 PM  

S1A1,
The first good point someone's made. Touche'. I think I'm Omega, or at least used to be. I still think its clear that my judgement of what people are saying is superior to Stickwick's.

Vox,
She did not even come close. I would not argue with her in depth on astrophysics, but her arguement is that Hovind and Ham say Ross ain't a Christian.

So....
From Oct. 11, 2010.....drum roll please...Kent Hovind is answering a question....

Jay:
Like you, I am a young-earth creationist, who believes in the Bible from cover to cover. I have heard many people claim to be born again Christians, even though they believe in either evolution or old-earth creationism. Do you believe that these people can really be saved if they won’t believe the first few chapters of Genesis to be historically accurate? In other words, can someone be a Christian and still believe in evolution or the gap theory?

KH:
I don’t think these issues will keep people out of Heaven. If people had to be right on every topic to go, I’d be the only one there! HA!

===============

The thing is, this is like the equivalent of Pickett's Charge. And I'm the Unionists on top of the hill. It doesn't matter if Stickwick is smarter than me, and so far, I've seen little proof of that.

She's attacking a horrible place for an attack.

Now as to whether Ham and Hovind are charlatans or not, I'd refuse that challenge. I'd be willing to go for 'There are mountains of evidence supporting a Young Earth, true or false.'. I understand if you do not want to waste your time debating a midwit, tho'.

Good day.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 6:34 PM  

YEC answered in one sentence:

On what day did Adam die?

Blogger Jason March 27, 2016 7:00 PM  

So this does suggest one question to me.

Many atheists become religious (i did). When they do where do they jump? I dont know enough about conversions from atheism to buddhism/islam/hinduism/paganism (assuming they happen much at all) but it would be interesting to see the numbers.

Christians speak of an encounter with Jesus/God etc (John C wright and I are similar in that regard), as part of their conversion experience.

So i wonder how it goes with others in other religions.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 7:15 PM  

Instasetting @101: My definition of AI includes any non-biological AI that is made by humans (or aliens) that is intelligent. The problem is that defining intelligence is extremely hard. An electron and a paramecium aren't intelligent (at least I don't think they are), my golden retriever is, as is my almost 3 year old granddaughter. Tay (the Microsoft AI), was on the spectrum somewhere around my golden retriever and a Trump supporter.

Evidently you're a Calvinist or something.

A card carrying member of "Team Calvin" (search this blog).

"Whosoever will may come..."

Sure. But you claim, contrary to scripture, that your will exists apart from God's control.

Belief can be rationally, irrationally, or both at the same time, based. Also, there are probably other forms of thought that might be involved. Perhaps non-rational is a better word than irrational.

Perhaps true, but irrelevant to your claim in @65: As to analytical, my view is that all AI's would be Christians.

Whether or not a human-level AI would be a Christian would be no different than whether or not a human would be a Christian. It depends on God, not on the individual. "And that not of yourselves - it is a gift of God, not of works, that no one can boast."

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 7:19 PM  

Confutius @113 wrote: An omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God could not require belief in self-contradictory propositions.

Really. I'm a mathematician. Please prove this. Make sure you state your axioms. In particular, you're making one or more truth claims about how God must be. Please show how you know that these claims must apply to God.

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 7:27 PM  

"Sure. But you claim, contrary to scripture, that your will exists apart from God's control."

2 Peter 3:9

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 7:34 PM  

S1AL 2 Peter 3:9

To whom does "you" refer? Are there interpretations that disagree with yours? Why do they disagree with you and why are they wrong? Show your work.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 7:41 PM  

If Calvinism were true, there would be no reason to write, "God hardened Pharoah's heart," because it would be already understood.

Furthermore, there would be no reason for Satan to contest with God over Job, since God controlled the outcome.

Please join the YECs at the back of the bus.

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 7:43 PM  

I'm sure everyone already knows it, but C.S. Lewis wrote extensively on this motivation, which he recognized as his own as well.

An atheist cannot guard his faith too closely!

Anonymous Confutius March 27, 2016 7:49 PM  

Brigadoon: "Apparently you don't understand the core tenet of 'free will'. Incontrovertible proof would deny the very concept of free will."

How so? YECs seem to have no trouble denying incontrovertible proof that the world is more than 6020 years old, etc.

Even if God appeared to a person and revealed the tenets of true religion, the person could pretend it didn't happen, or that it was just a superhuman impostor... or even if he did believe wholly, he would still have a choice not to live up to its more stringent dictates, indeed it's unlikely a human has enough free will to obey a creed that requires not lusting, envying, coveting and so forth, all are sinners not just for the reasons claimed by Christian theology, but because God has made everyone without sufficient free will to be otherwise. The claim is that by believing contradictory claims backed by documentation of unknown provenance, by some unspecified, literally magical mechanism one will be forgiven this defect of will for which one could not be responsible in the first place.

Not only that, but that this forgiveness is due to the sacrifice of Jesus, which in turn was due to Judas, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish crowd, Pontius Pilate, and the Roman soldiers - who all are simultaneously reviled while at the same time without their acts, there would be no sacrifice and so no redemption. How much free will did they have, given that their actions seem to have been foreseen by Jesus at the last supper, and, it would seem, fated?

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 7:50 PM  

Neanderserk @125: ...because it would be already understood.

Assumes facts not in evidence. Can you see the mistake you're making?

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 7:53 PM  

Many, many years ago I had an adult Sunday School teacher who was a tenured professor in aengineering at Princeton.

One day after class I asked him about the large number of engineers I knew who were at least theists, if not Christians and asked him why that was, if it were.

He replied that my impression was correct. Many if not most engineers believe in God and many are Christians.

Why is that, I asked.

He said, I think it's because engineers don't require ridiculous proofs in order to be convinced. We look for what works or what makes sense. If you examine the Gospel record it makes sense. God makes sense.

It's when you get away from the real world and either go into the humanities or abstract thinking like pure math or theoretical physics that you meet more hard atheists. Both demand outrageous proofs and nothing is ever good enough for them.

Time has only confirmed his insight.

Anonymous Uncle Maffoo March 27, 2016 7:53 PM  

@113

An omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God could not...

He certainly could have ...

... but He didn't.


Atheists' favorite argument.

"God doesn't do what I woulda/coulda/shoulda done if I were God, therefore..."

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 7:55 PM  

erroneous attribution of thoughts and feelings to an impersonal universe
Not an impersonal universe but a personal God.

Encountering God: See my above perception comment. A deaf person can say music doesn't exist - it is inside the mind. Once your deafness is healed, you hear and understand music. Once you ask God, he heals the defect and is perceived.

The Aristotle and Aquinas is merely removing your fingers from your ears and stopping your yelling lalalala...

Blogger tz March 27, 2016 7:57 PM  

I am agnostic with regards to the actual age of the earth. It appears to be millions or billions, but it is all extrapolation like global warming.
Nebraska Man
Piltdown Man
Michael Mann

Blogger Tom K. March 27, 2016 8:00 PM  

Many, many years ago I had an adult Sunday School teacher who was a tenured professor in aengineering at Princeton.

One day after class I asked him about the large number of engineers I knew who were at least theists, if not Christians and asked him why that was, if it were.

He replied that my impression was correct. Many if not most engineers believe in God and many are Christians.

Why is that, I asked.

He said, I think it's because engineers don't require ridiculous proofs in order to be convinced. We look for what works or what makes sense. If you examine the Gospel record it makes sense. God makes sense.

It's when you get away from the real world and either go into the humanities or abstract thinking like pure math or theoretical physics that you meet more hard atheists. Both demand outrageous proofs and nothing is ever good enough for them.

Time has only confirmed his insight.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 8:17 PM  

@127 Confutius, you don't understand what you're talking about. I will demonstrate this for you. You should then shut up.

Let's just pick the first error in your latest comment...

" but because God has made everyone without sufficient free will to be otherwise."

False. Adam had sufficient free will to avoid sin.

Not enough? Let's go for one more!

"The claim is that by believing contradictory claims"

There is nothing contradictory about what one is required to believe and do for salvation:

1. Jesus Christ is Lord, the only begotten Son of God.
2. I am a sinner and thus damned.
3. His freely offered grace and blood sacrifice is the only path to the Father.
4. I swear my fealty to Him.

Error #2. And you're done.

@128 Calvinists are fortunate that salvation does not come with a poll test. But it is true: They cannot help it.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 8:21 PM  

@117:

Your original comment was "It isn't." How did that morph into "I said your idea wasn't worth considering."?

Strange that you admonish me to study #9, which I quote "Ashkenazic intelligence arguably dates to medieval Europe". The Ashkenazis are Jews, not barbarian Europeans.

"There is no obvious IQ difference between pre-Christian classical and post-Christian Europe" - I'd be interested in how you know the IQ distribution of pre-Christian classical European populations, though this is irrelevant - I made a statement about the barbarian Europeans, which from the very beginning I meant the barbaric European tribes, and *not* the civilised Greeks, Romans and Jews.

"If you want to defend Christianity, contrast Biblical vs historical implementation, and emphasize the Charles Murray "Human Accomplishment" route. Have some awareness; don't leave yourself open for the dysgenic slave morality + charity riposte."

Where did I argue for "slave morality + charity"? Christianity has strong prohibitions against sexual deviancy, theft, lying, stealing, etc. Christendom was willing to enforce these prohibitions, thereby selecting for behaivour that is civilisationally productive and correlated with higher IQ/long term thinking.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 8:23 PM  

@135 Ah, my mistake, I see your it isn't was targeted at the initial "worth considering", instead of the part that came after that. Nevertheless, the rest of my response still holds.

Anonymous DissidentRight March 27, 2016 8:23 PM  

The main reason I lean towards YEC is because most of the people arguing for an old earth are also arguing for unguided evolution.

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 8:24 PM  

"To whom does "you" refer? Are there interpretations that disagree with yours? Why do they disagree with you and why are they wrong? Show your work."

Right back at you.

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 8:36 PM  

Atheists' favorite argument.

"God doesn't do what I woulda/coulda/shoulda done if I were God, therefore..."


Years ago, it hit me that "God did what God can do". After that, I have nothing but love for God and His creative powers, and all atheistic arguments fall ridiculously flat.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 8:36 PM  

Neaderserk @134: @128 Calvinists are fortunate that salvation does not come with a poll test.

You didn't answer the question. By the rules of this blog you have to answer the question. I gave you an out: you could answer "no, I don't see the mistake I'm making", at which point I would show you.

In addition, Adam had sufficient free will to avoid sin.

Who says? Chapter and verse, please.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 8:42 PM  

S1AL @138: Right back at you

Once again, please see the rules of this blog.

At one time, my answer could have been found here, as there was the infamous "put up or shut up" regarding Calvinism on Vox's blog. But the links are now stale. I'll have to see if I can resurrect a copy.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 8:42 PM  

The question is, is there anything unguided about unguided evolution?

bear in mind, I come from a mormon background even if I am not a mormon (I am not, the Idea that a religion's moral authority has to bow to the will of legal authority means that the church's moral authority does not exist, therefore false)

But as a result, I think that there is strong evidence that, while the bible may have been guided by god, it was written and translated by men. Thus, there IS possibility of error within the bible, just as there is within man.
This does not mean the bible is innately wrong, or evil, or even flawed... any more than man is, it simply is.

Once you realize that Humanity is flawed, and accept it as simply natural, and that while god may be perfect, mankind is totally capable of misunderstanding or misrepresenting god, either accidentally or intentionally, and that there is nothing evil in this... it's simply the way that god created man, It follows that those things which god has created can also be misunderstood, even if they are wholly of god.

Thus, evolution, as something which clearly exists, is clearly of god... The only part where it fails is in the concept of 'a day' as being a single day and not simply an era that god chose to be 'a day' but which could have any amount of time assigned to it. I am not even sure that Hebrew has a word for 'Era' or that a word representing the concept of 'Era' even had an equivalent in the language at the time.

It's entirely possible that the crossover of Greek, which does have 'Era' as a word-concept, and hebrew, which might not have 'Era' as a word-concept, caused a misconception of the word 'time period'.

God created evolution. It took as long as he wanted it to take. Just like forming the earth took as long as he wanted or needed it to take. No natural science discovered, or even conjectured so far, has contradicted the concept that God can use any natural law, or take any amount of time he chooses, to bring about creation.

If the 'word' is natural law, then even the idea that God would ever do anything that violates natural law involves god violating his word. Thus 'supernatural miracles' not only do not need to exist to prove god's existence, but the very fact that there are millions of miracles at every moment of time just within your own brain that do NOT violate natural law or the word of god presents strong evidence that god exists.

You do not need a supernatural miracle to have faith. There are more than enough natural ones.

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 8:47 PM  

God created evolution.

I believe evolution is God's anvil. The scientific theory of evolution via natural selection is bullocks because it removes God's hand.

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 8:48 PM  

@wrf3 -

You made the original, unbacked assertion regarding beliefs contrary to scripture. Once you are willing to defend that, I'm more than happy to respond.

However, I will say in advance, that I'm not aware of anyone here or elsewhere arguing that human will exists beyond God's control, rather than being free of it.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 27, 2016 8:48 PM  

OEC doesn't have unguided evolution. That is just flat out wrong. It contains the pre-man creation in 6 days, and then what we call prehistoric man exists before the flood. That is pretty much it. Evolution doesn't have to play a role at all.

Only those psychopathic atheists assert otherwise. OEC can ignore evolution entirely.

Anonymous Confutius March 27, 2016 8:49 PM  

"An omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God could not require belief in self-contradictory propositions."

wrf3 "Please prove this."
It's the most obvious things that are the most annoying to prove.
I'm not claiming how God must be, I'm saying that if he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent then this is inconsistent with him requiring one to believe contradictory things, that is, to believe at the same time both a proposition and its negation. God would not require belief in a contradiction, as all falsehoods are logically implied by any contradiction, and among these are the denial of God and all his commands, which would be a great a harm to the person's soul, thus not benevolent. One might think that His omnipotence would allow him to require anything, but not when it contradicts the other two qualities or itself. Omnipotence is self-limiting, as in the old chestnut "could God create a rock so heavy he couldn't lift it" - to which one rabbi is said to have replied: "well, of course He could. But He wouldn't."

Put another way:
Let's assume the contrary, that God would require belief in a contradiction. Therefore God would require belief in a falsehood, which is to say that God would not only lie, but logically imply all lies.

(That anything can be deduced from a contradiction or falsehood is variously known as: the principle of explosion, ex falso quodliebet (EFQ), ex contradictione quodliebet (ECQ), and the the principle of Pseudo-Scotus.)

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 8:53 PM  

The point I am trying to make is that every time you can 'explain away' a miracle by referring to natural law, you are in fact not explaining it away but reinforcing the idea that God does not need to violate his word to create miracles.

If you want 'evidence' for god, look at timing. Actuarial tables are perhaps the strongest evidence possible for the existence of a god, because every good actuarial knows that there is some kind of x-factor that defies the odds. Not always, not often, but for every freak accident that kills someone, there is freak fortune that keeps them alive or capable... and based on timing alone you could refer to this as 'fortune', or 'luck', or the 'indomitable human will', but there is truly something unexplainable that happens in actuarial tables that insurance companies take into account... and that unexplainable area is perhaps that 'incontrovertible proof' doubters demand.

Look at the odds. It's really kind of creepy how often people beat them.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 8:55 PM  

@136: Also "charity", viewed cynically, is pro-social behaviour with long-term payoff, and thus likely to be engaged in by more intelligent individuals who are able to engage in longer-term planning.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 8:56 PM  

@Wyrd-

I believe evolution is God's anvil. The scientific theory of evolution via natural selection is bullocks because it removes God's hand.

Not at all. If god created everything, then evolution IS his hand. understanding and using evolutionary theory is not 'denying' god unless you believe that God is limited by something other than himself, or 'his word'.

Hell, claiming that such an obvious tool that God created is not part of his will is damned close to sacrilege.

Anonymous redsash March 27, 2016 9:09 PM  

Stickwick: What are your thoughts on astrophysicists finding less light in the universe than there should be? In Genesis God created light on the first day, but the sun and stars were not created until the fourth day. Any thoughts as to this?

I've often mused how God talked to Job about leviathan and behemoth as if Job had personal experiences with those dinosaurs and fire breathing dragons, and how both England and China had the same legends of these creatures although they were thousands of miles apart. Any thoughts?

Having studied both the Mississipi and Nile deltas it appears that these rivers are only around 6000 years old. Care to comment?

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 9:10 PM  

@Badger Brigadon

Brother, we are in agreement, it seems. I only object to random nature that materialists ascribe to the theory of evolution through natural selection.

Blogger Neanderserk March 27, 2016 9:15 PM  

An atheist, a YEC, and a Calvinist walk into a bar.

The Calvinist walks over to the jukebox, plugs himself into the wallsocket, and dies of electrocution.

The YEC follows him over, smashes open the jukebox display, and starts correcting the dates on all the Oldies.

The atheist grabs an empty mug, pisses in it, takes a swig, and yells, "YOU DRINK THIS STUFF?"

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 9:18 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZU6hI78e2k

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2016 9:19 PM  

Neandersek - You had to go there, didn't you? Well, I guess Calvinists think so.

Blogger Lazarus March 27, 2016 9:19 PM  


redsash wrote:In Genesis God created light on the first day, but the sun and stars were not created until the fourth day.

Look up Sonoluminescence (Let there be light)

Blogger Escoffier March 27, 2016 9:20 PM  

Instasetting wrote:
Like you, I am a young-earth creationist, who believes in the Bible from cover to cover. I have heard many people claim to be born again Christians, even though they believe in either evolution or old-earth creationism. Do you believe that these people can really be saved if they won’t believe the first few chapters of Genesis to be historically accurate? In other words, can someone be a Christian and still believe in evolution or the gap theory?
Good day.


It is my understanding that both C.S. Lewis and Tolkien felt that the first few chapters of Genesis were written in 'poetical' language. I have no strong feeling either way.

Blogger Escoffier March 27, 2016 9:23 PM  

Badger Brigadon wrote:@Wyrd-

I believe evolution is God's anvil. The scientific theory of evolution via natural selection is bullocks because it removes God's hand.

Not at all. If god created everything, then evolution IS his hand. understanding and using evolutionary theory is not 'denying' god unless you believe that God is limited by something other than himself, or 'his word'.


I've always found evolution to be almost pure tosh and nonsense. Adaptation on the other hand, now there's something both concrete and observable. I believe a loving God made it possible for creature's to adapt to their environment.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 9:32 PM  

Stickwick, your comments made it seem you despised Ham and Hovind. Hate may not be a perfect word, but I didn't see much love coming forth, but I saw a fair bit of the opposite in what you wrote.

That said, I will retract the "hate" portion and just say "strongly dislike." Does that fit better?

As to your career? Do you not work in astronomy? My comment was wrong if I am remembering wrong. I will retract that part if so, though it still sounds like your worldview relies on Ross' message.

I am not a close follower of either Hovind or Ham, but I found them to seem reasonable accurate overall. I don't find millions of years in the text, so I cannot believe that. How space operated is certainly debatable though and it is quite possible that time was running at a different scale in different places.

That said, I have many issues with modern astrononomy. They take small pictures and then weave a whole elaborate story with things we have never truly viewed happening. They claim different places show different stages, but I have yet to see enough proof that requires their explanation to be the accurate one. I have seen and read enough to cast plenty of doubt on explanations about planetary system formation, etc.

A key questions is the impact if I am wrong? Not much in reality. Those who push millions of years in where it is not apparent are more likely to shake the faith of those who try to follow the Scriptures, as we could no longer tell which is really true and which is just a story.

Though you are free to believe what you want.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 9:35 PM  

Evolution assumes, at its core, that things just happen and randomly get better/more organized within some scope.

I have yet to see a place that happens. I make quite a good living in information security because things don't just happen and we need to actively protect things and develop them securely.

I have yet to find a real world computer system that made itself. Even so-called AI requires a lot of human intelligence up front.

Show me a software system that comes about by random chance and I might consider the idea that anything was created with evolution with a more investigative eye.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 9:40 PM  

@wyrd- I guess we are in agreement, I just think that the 'random nature' is every bit as much a part of god as anything else. If it IS random in fact, then that very randomness is just as miraculous as blatantly obvious manipulation would be...if not more so.
Randomness can be every bit as much a function of intelligent design as inmtelligent design can be. I figure it's like Minecraft... sure there is a random number seed, but that random seed is always going to produce a natural world... There's no seed to turn Minecraft into Diablo.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 9:45 PM  

Austin-
You are ignoring a very important point of the randomness. Failures die.

Blogger wrf3 March 27, 2016 9:47 PM  

Confutius @146: It's the most obvious things that are the most annoying to prove.

Contrariwise, sometimes what we think are the most obvious things, really aren't when scrutinized.

I'm not claiming how God must be, I'm saying that if he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent then this is inconsistent with him requiring one to believe contradictory things

On the contrary, you're claiming that the properties of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence preclude inconsistency. That link needs to be established. You wrote, "which would be a great a harm to the person's soul, thus not benevolent."

But that doesn't follow, since it would result in the greatest good, the salvation of one's soul. It would be no different than, say, entering the kingdom through great suffering.

... therefore God would require belief in a falsehood, which is to say that God would not only lie, but logically imply all lies.

Again, this doesn't follow, for at least two reasons. First, it is not a lie to say "I require you to believe a lie to be saved." Second, how do you know that God doesn't lie? Because He said so? You do know that that's not subject to proof. Third, all lies find their root in God, since He is the source of all existence. Where do you think the logical operator "not" comes from, anyway?

So you haven't made your case. And you don't have to tell me about the truth of F -> T. As I said, I do have a degree in math.

Blogger Lazarus March 27, 2016 9:54 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Children will follow rules by rote, even when they go against some higher principle.

Does not sound like you know any 2 year-olds, dude.

Anonymous Wyrd March 27, 2016 9:59 PM  

@Badger Brigadon

Step back and watch. Over time, those patterns become less and less random.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 10:05 PM  

You are ignoring a very important point of the randomness. Failures die.

You make my point for me Badger. Getting from A to B requires lots of little working steps or some really big leaps. Neither of these are explained well with the idea that things evolved.

And show me one useful modern system that developed out of randomness?

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 27, 2016 10:14 PM  

useful modern systems? How about a very very old system? an average stream flowing to a lake.

Anonymous John Steed March 27, 2016 10:32 PM  

For two exemples of when psychopaths get the `power` over normal folks see: Equilibrium, a 2002 sci-fi/action flick and Dean Koontz`s novel Midnight.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 27, 2016 10:40 PM  

Murray wrote:I realized around the age of 13 that atheism would liberate me to follow my basest desires
That makes you a libertine, not an atheist.  An atheist raised as a believer first goes "this doesn't make any sense" (probably because things have been itching since well before adolescence) and proceeds to "now what?"  Christian morality doesn't go out the window a priori because B can be implied by many things other than A.

If you only want sexual access to girls, Islam gives you libertinism (with kaffirs, eg. Rotherham, Cologne) and all the theistic rules you can stomach.

Tom K. wrote:I think it's because engineers don't require ridiculous proofs in order to be convinced.
Most engineers are cook-book users and don't look to the source of the equations they employ.  It's the difference between people who are rule-followers and those who derive those rules from fundamental principles.

A rule-follower can pick up a Bible and go "uh-huh, yeah, just do this and this" and be happy.  Someone trying to derive those rules finds the contradictions in the Bible and won't be happy with it at all.

tz wrote:Once your deafness is healed, you hear and understand music. Once you ask God, he heals the defect and is perceived.
And if I just believe in anti-racism and social justice, they, too, will stop plaguing me with their contradictions and incredibilities.

I was born the way I am.  I am happy with it.  If I am this way because God decreed I should be, He obviously has no problem with it either.

Wyrd wrote:Years ago, it hit me that "God did what God can do".
Not omnipotent, then?

Austin Ballast wrote:Evolution assumes, at its core, that things just happen and randomly get better/more organized within some scope.

I have yet to see a place that happens.

Wrong.  Evolution assumes that variation exists.  Evolution by natural selection assumes that variations will be selected by natural forces to create future generations which have improved fitness to cope with those forces.  If you doubt that this works in other realms, looks up "genetic algorithms".

I have yet to find a real world computer system that made itself.
My understanding is that a lot of "deep learning" systems are evolved much more than designed.  See this blog post and the one after it.

Lazarus wrote:Does not sound like you know any 2 year-olds, dude.
Don't try to out-pedant me, you'll regret it.

Anonymous Jay March 27, 2016 10:42 PM  

Most people don't realize the word religion comes from the latin word "religare", which means "to bind together".

Religion DOES powerfully increase social cohesion. So even if there isn't a Deity, just pointing out that there is no God, does the world next to zero good.

As Vox said in TIA, "We need God, whether he exists or not."

And until humans can overcome their dark side without "God" or religion, a world without religion would be MUCH, MUCH WORSE than what we have now.

Anonymous redsash March 27, 2016 10:46 PM  

God appears to be outside of time, and time seems to be a construct only for man's benefit. "In the beginning God", but when in the beginning, at the first, toward the end? If God has always been, would the earth or universe be just 6000 years old, or 15,000,000,000 years old? Why not 15 trillion trillion years old. Perhaps 6000 years separate me from Adam yet for God we exist in the same second. Maybe, in eternity there is only now. I only know that as a child it took forever for Christmas to arrive and now it arrives shortly after Memorial Day.

Blogger Lazarus March 27, 2016 10:51 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Don't try to out-pedant me, you'll regret it.

OOooh. Burn!!
I am literally shaking.

Anonymous Jay March 27, 2016 10:51 PM  

"If God has always been, would the earth or universe be just 6000 years old"

By definition, "God" would be outside of "time", thereby making "him" ageless.

Really, especially in light of our new understandings that time itself is not a constant throughout the universe, to say "in the beginning" now, is quite vague, if not entirely meaningless.

Blogger Lazarus March 27, 2016 10:56 PM  

Mr. Rational wrote: a rule-follower can pick up a Bible and go "uh-huh, yeah, just do this and this" and be happy.  Someone trying to derive those rules finds the contradictions in the Bible and won't be happy with it at all

You obviously do not know the Bible if you think it says salvation is found by following the rules. If you are going to review a literary work, maybe you should read it with understanding first.

Anonymous Stickwick March 27, 2016 11:25 PM  

Austin Ballast,

What I despise is dishonesty. Even though I am firmly on the side of an old universe, I am fine with someone who believes in young earth creationism from an honest position and who debates in good faith. I am not fine with charlatans, however, which is what Hovind and Ham are.

Here's the thing that just about everyone overlooks. Whether the universe is thousands of years old or billions of years old is inconsequential compared with the question of whether or not the universe was created. For two thousand years, everyone believed the universe was eternal, which was bad news for the Bible. But modern science has decidedly crushed the notion of an eternal universe, which means the universe was created. The only question is by whom or by what, and trust me, the atheists HATE that the question is even being asked. This is a major victory for Christians, which is why I am frustrated with the bickering over the timeline.

I believe the universe is very old, because that is what the preponderance of evidence clearly indicates. However, while I believe the universe is very old, I do not hold to Ross’ view of the biblical timeline. I am an acolyte of Gerald Schroeder, who explains the Genesis timeline in his book, The Science of God (see here for a brief explanation). This is the critical part: Genesis is literal, i.e. the events of Genesis 1 unfolded over six literal 24-hour days. However, thanks to relativity, it is understood that this is fully compatible with a universe that appears billions of years old from our current perspective. It was though the work of Schroeder that I came to understand how powerfully prescient Genesis was in revealing the truth about the physical world, long before people had any hope of discerning it for themselves. It was for that reason I knew I could trust the Bible to be truthful, and that led to my eventual conversion to the Christian faith.

Blogger Escoffier March 27, 2016 11:26 PM  

Confutius wrote:Brigadoon:
Even if God appeared to a person and revealed the tenets of true religion, the person could pretend it didn't happen, or that it was just a superhuman impostor... or even if he did believe wholly, he would still have a choice not to live up to its more stringent dictates, indeed it's unlikely a human has enough free will to obey a creed that requires not lusting, envying, coveting and so forth, all are sinners not just for the reasons claimed by Christian theology, but because God has made everyone without sufficient free will to be otherwise. The claim is that by believing contradictory claims backed by documentation of unknown provenance, by some unspecified, literally magical mechanism one will be forgiven this defect of will for which one could not be responsible in the first place.

Not only that, but that this forgiveness is due to the sacrifice of Jesus, which in turn was due to Judas, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish crowd, Pontius Pilate, and the Roman soldiers - who all are simultaneously reviled while at the same time without their acts, there would be no sacrifice and so no redemption. How much free will did they have, given that their actions seem to have been foreseen by Jesus at the last supper, and, it would seem, fated?


I know this is a frustrating answer and seems like a dodge but, it is utterly pointless to debate things of the Spirit with a nonbeliever. Flesh cannot understand Spirit. Your every word betrays that you have no Spiritual understanding and my prayer is that you will encounter our risen Lord.

Blogger Murray March 27, 2016 11:29 PM  

That makes you a libertine, not an atheist.

As if those categories are mutually exclusive.

To add a little more detail, I did chime to the (incorrect) conclusion that Christianity didn't make sense, but that was closely followed by the realization that this meant that I could do whatever I wanted without consequences.

And I was, in fact, both a libertine and an atheist. I spent a good portion of my youth and young adulthood eagerly reading atheist literature and trying to score points against Christians in online debates, back in the days of Usenet. I was a true believer.

Atheists love to think of themselves as brave Mr Rationals relying solely on objective evidence, but people always adopt belief systems for a variety of mutually reinforcing reasons: psychological, social, emotional, filial, and so on. In my experience, atheists are often motivated to a large extent by the moral license it promises. Which helps explain why so many of them end up being assholes.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 27, 2016 11:37 PM  

Jay wrote:even if there isn't a Deity, just pointing out that there is no God, does the world next to zero good.
On the contrary, replacing a faulty religion with a more-correct one (perfection being beyond human abilities) should improve the world.  Christians have made a lot of hay pointing out how they've done better than the ancient pagans.  Sadly for them, we now face pathologies evolved to subvert Christianity.

@173 Already had all of that I can stomach.  Chatechism gave me a nasty allergy to it.

Murray wrote:In my experience, atheists are often motivated to a large extent by the moral license it promises.
I don't know how your sample was selected, but it came out very different from mine.  Every Objectivist I've personally met seems to be a great person (on-line is a different matter but you mostly encounter the raving loonies there) and every Objectivist is an atheist by definition.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 11:46 PM  

Stickwick,

I still don't see how you could believe Genesis as written and believe in millions of years, unless the argument has to do with frames of reference.

I have seen Ross as more of a charlatan than the other two, and I have seen far more of the other two than Ross. I have not seen the charlatan aspect you note, though I have seen plenty of that in the Christian world as I have listened to a wide range of people in the past.

The only question I still have is how you decide when to believe what is written and when you to make it not be what it says? Exodus says that the Sabbath day required of Israel mirrored the 7 days of creation, as one very key example.

Don't worry about responding though if you don't want to since I don't want to argue the issue. My main goal in responding was to note that everyone who is fits the OP isn't in line with the same things.

Mr. Rational,

Wrong. Evolution assumes that variation exists. Evolution by natural selection assumes that variations will be selected by natural forces to create future generations which have improved fitness to cope with those forces. If you doubt that this works in other realms, looks up "genetic algorithms".

Things still go from simple to complex, and that calls for organization and advancement. You can waive your hands all you want, but go back to Vox's question about what the rate of speciation is over time, as one example? Surely you know that if things evolved?

I am still looking for one example of order coming out of disorder in the real world. Not claims of that, an actual example. When has it happened in the tech world?

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 11:48 PM  

Stickwick,

He is a bit greedy on his Kindle book prices. I would have bought that to examine, but full physical price is too high for just looking.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 11:50 PM  

Sadly for them, we now face pathologies evolved to subvert Christianity.

Name one.

[Ecc 1:9 KJV] 9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 11:56 PM  

@178

Hi Austin Ballast, sorry for jumping in on your discussion with Stickwick. I see the main concern of the Exodus passage as the establishment of the Sabbath, and the reference to Genesis as a reference to the 7-pattern established in that account. That is, Exodus is saying that they should have a time cycle 7 time periods in length, just as God had a time cycle 7 time periods in length.

Blogger J March 27, 2016 11:58 PM  

Hence, even if it is clear that the "day" in the second part of the Exodus command is understood to mean our literal 24-hour day, that does not mean that the "day" used in the first part of the command (and by extension the Genesis reference) has to be the same time length as the second "day".

Blogger Austin Ballast March 27, 2016 11:59 PM  

You have to say that, but it clear indicates 7 days, not 7 time periods. That is the sticking point.

Note as well that I have yet to hear an ages of Creation story that had 7 fixed time periods.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 12:01 AM  

Austin Ballast: I still don't see how you could believe Genesis as written and believe in millions of years, unless the argument has to do with frames of reference.

It’s billions of years, and yes, it has to do with frames of reference. As Schroeder points out, Genesis describes the creation events from God’s frame of reference, and it is for God alone that the events take place over six literal days.

The only question I still have is how you decide when to believe what is written and when you to make it not be what it says? Exodus says that the Sabbath day required of Israel mirrored the 7 days of creation, as one very key example.

I don’t have to decide that, because, except for the books that are clearly poetical, we are meant to take the Bible literally. Genesis 1 describes six literal days of creation, and that is mirrored in Exodus. This is where I differ from Ross, who believes yom describes a long period of time rather than a literal 24-hour day. I strongly believe Genesis days are actual days.

If you believe Ross is more of a charlatan than Ham or Hovind, I don’t even know what to say. Watch Ross’ debates with them. Ross, whatever you may think of his interpretation of Genesis, is a sincere and knowledgeable man.

As for Schroeder’s book, it’s worth whatever price Amazon is charging.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 28, 2016 12:05 AM  

Why would the context have changed J? What indication is present for that? Taking the same word in the same verse for the same thing is a key Biblical interpretation principle. Some things may vary in use, but nothing indicates such variance other than the wishes of some Christians to not take it as it is written.

Note that compromising the Scriptures doesn't win most skeptics, as is visible on the first review of the book Stickwick noted (on Amazon). People will either accept faith in God or they were not. We do not have to adjust things to fit any paradigm but God's.

Stickwick credits this for her salvation, so this is a view that is unlikely to change no matter what evidence comes up. Many Christians already have faith and feel the need to adjust it to fit so-called facts.

I have pointed out several incongruities already. I am not going to argue the full case for a young earth, as that is definitely not my focus, but I do believe that not taking things seriously as written is a very dangerous path that can undermine taking other things seriously.

That is a huge danger in my eyes, though nowhere near the danger of many other reinterpretations, such as those covered at Dalrock's site in a very effective manner. (dalrock.wordpress.com)

That is a different argument for a different day and blog even, however.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 28, 2016 12:10 AM  

Stickwick,

We may not be in as much disagreement as it seems, though the devil is in the details, as the saying goes.

I have not watched the debates and I rarely spend my time on those these days, having wasted far too much time on that in my youth.

Perhaps I will really consider and dig into things at some point, but I have enough else keeping me occupied right now.

On the book prices: They are way out of whack. They are free to price what they want, but that is a good way to limit your audience. I can buy several long John Wright books for the same price. Castilia House has a better handle on that, even though I tend to think $4.99 is too expensive.

I will spend more, but not in this case. Rather ironic since I could easily have bought 3 of his books at $4.99 each. I have a pile of such books waiting on my Kindle already.

Perhaps I will find it another way and see if I am compelled to dig in more in spite of the high pricing.

Blogger J March 28, 2016 12:20 AM  

@183, @185
My intention was to show that the Exodus verse isn't determinative of the meaning of "day" in Genesis. That is, Ross' belief that yom refers to "a long period" (@184) cannot be easily overturned by pointing to the Exodus verse, because it is possible to defend it by saying that it is the "time period of 7", and not a literal "day" that is the point.

"Why would the context have changed J? What indication is present for that?"
The indication is that the first part of the injunction is a reference to Genesis, so what Genesis actually means by "yom" is determinative of what the first part of the Exodean injunction means by "yom". I don't find the argument that "yom" meaning 24-hrs in the second part of the injunction must mean the first "yom" also means 24-hrs convincing, because I find that it is possible for yom to mean "long period of time" and still reach the 24-hr "yom" in the second part as an instance of specialising from the general.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 28, 2016 12:39 AM  

Argue what you will J, but you still have not presented anything that would question the use in Exodus. That is the limitation of the argument. It requires some odd contortions. Those certainly are not consistent length long periods of time either, another huge hole, even if you were to grant the possible difference which I do not.

Blogger B.J. March 28, 2016 12:41 AM  

Psychology experiments regularly show that people will repeat blatant lies just to avoid standing out from a group. So I wonder how many people express religious beliefs for the same reason, not because they believe them but because it's less hassle that way. They're just going along to get along.

Find out how many people within a religion actually adhere to all the tenants of their faith. For one example, 98% of Catholics use birth control, which is expressly forbidden as a mortal sin within the church. How 'faithful' can people really be if they so easily commit cardinal sins?

Blogger J March 28, 2016 12:57 AM  

@188 Sure, I am more willing to accept analogical reasoning and so find the transition from "periods" to "days" reasonably (and perhaps an instance of wordplay on the word "yom"). The determining factor for me at present is what we currently know from our physical investigation into the world.

Blogger J March 28, 2016 12:58 AM  

@190 Or rather, more willing to accept that the biblical authors did employ analogical reasoning and that they expected their readers to do likewise.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 28, 2016 1:20 AM  

@175. Escoffier-

Apparently your 'spirituality' precludes 'spiritual' virtues, since you are convinced that clarifying or debating things for those who do not or cannot believe is a waste of time.

So, instead of bearing your testimony, do you prefer to give people the finger?

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 28, 2016 1:28 AM  

My biggest problem with literalists is how quickly they abandon that literalism when it paints a picture they do not approve of. Especially Genesis literalists.

Gen 1:27.

If Genesis is literal, does that not mean that Man is separated from god, and yet he is god?

Blogger Nick S March 28, 2016 1:35 AM  

Badger Brigadon wrote:If Genesis is literal, does that not mean that Man is separated from god, and yet he is god?

No.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 2:17 AM  

@174 Stickwick:

The Gerald Schroeder Genesis Big Bang idea is interesting. But he commits the error of concatenating genealogy dates:
http://www.genevaninstitute.org/syllabus/unit-two-theology-proper/lesson-5-the-decree-of-creation/primeval-chronology-by-dr-william-henry-green/

Adam/Noah is clearly the Great Leap Forward / Behavioral Modernity event centered on the Middle East around the end of the Upper Paleolithic. May this insight increase thy faith.

Nahmanides prefiguring of Big Bang is interesting. But no more prima facie compelling or credible than the Sitchin-Sumerian-Nibiru account (for very shallow values of prima facie).

One can reconcile Genesis 1 by adding an initial Nibiru perspective (darkness to light being capture by Sol), then switching to a coalescing Earth after the formation of the asteroid belt, then zooming in specifically on the Garden of Eden, a non-carnivorous permaculture garden surrounding by hominin "nations" (and a more advanced "serpent" nation).

Here's a table of the billions of years compressed within each successive 24-hour biblical day, with Schroeder vs Nibiru for easy comparison. It's probably unreadable here, but just copy it into any monospaced font:

| d | bn | Genesis | Big Bang | Nibiru |
|---+-----+----------------+------------------+-------------------------------|
| 1 | 7 | light | bang | approach sol |
| 2 | 3.5 | firmament | ?? | asteroid belt, water planets |
| 3 | 1.8 | water/land/veg | ?? | cloudy, simple life terraform |
| 4 | 0.9 | sun/moon/stars | ?? | cooling reduce clouds |
| 5 | 0.5 | fish/birds | decent fit | no problem |
| 6 | 0.2 | landimals/man | good fit mammals | no problem |

I would take the Genesis Bang hypothesis more seriously if there were plausible interpretations of the text for days 2-4. What does Schroeder says about them?

Too bad they're mutually exclusive interpretations. It's Big Bang or Tiamat's Bust... who's the firmiest firmament of them all?

Personally I'm rooting for the Death Star, because interstellar travel in one's own planet with climate control and tinted windows is how I imagine a deity would roll. By comparison, Earth just begs for a planetbuster - garishly silhoetted on Sol's ridgeline, broadcasting "kick me" in 360 degrees. Somebody must have overwatch or we'd already be sucking crust.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 28, 2016 2:55 AM  

And here I thought I was sperging. Yeesh.

Blogger Edward March 28, 2016 3:16 AM  

People have this debate all the wrong way around. The planet is 4.5 billion years old, various forms of humanity have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, we've survived various ice ages and mass migrations. We have roughly 6000 years of semi-mythological recorded history, 2000 years of more formally recorded history, 500 years or so of more advanced culture post renaissance, 200 or fewer years of recorded images, sounds and motion pictures, and living memory goes back at most 100 years. How much can we really know about the more distant past other than what we have been told by our parents or read in books, and who controls what books get published?

Don't you think it's possible that some more advanced civilisations existed, maybe 5000 years ago? They worked out that most human brains run like clockwork, there are actually only a few different models, 16 MBTI types, 13 cylons, one ring to rule them all.. and each one emotionally resonates to a different pattern of sensory stimuli.
You say God must exist because Bach. I say Bach was an instance of neural pattern x, he created music that he found resonant with him, if you are also an instance of neural pattern x, your hearing his music will make your limbic system resonate emotionally the same way his did.

Does that mean that there is an external creator of the universe? Or does it just mean our basic biological/neurological makeup is well mapped out and doesn't alter much down the years, and we're living out roughly the same lives and sequences of emotional states as our predecessors?

Now if you had a handy dandy little guidebook to all the various patterns, you could probably not only predict the future, what each pattern is going to want and do, you could also subtly manipulate people by providing them with coded messages that trigger various state changes within their subconscious. They would continue to believe that they were acting according to their own volition, but you could completely alter their underlying drives or belief systems without them understanding what had actually happened or that anything had happened at all. Jedi mind trick anyone...

Maybe if you want to create a fresh human civilisation to populate a bit of land and do a job for you, you create a nice big book full of these coded messages for the subconscious hidden in the form of memorable myths and allegories and get each generation to force the next to study it when they are young and most receptive, priming their subconscious with various trigger memes and setting up various guilt complexes which make them much easier to manage.

Hey presto, reality matches the book, the book matches reality, reading the book every day gives me nice warm fuzzies, there must be a creator God behind it all, not just someone biologically human but a little bit smarter than you, or just slightly ahead of the curve in terms of developmental stages and life experience.

I don't know, do things happen because of the will of God, or is our conception of temporal causality actually inverted, and the future already exists, we just haven't experienced it yet?

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 3:43 AM  

@195 re Schroeder

Pretty harsh refutations here:
https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/old-earth/gerald-schroeders-new-variation-on-the-day-age-theory-1/
https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/old-earth/gerald-schroeders-new-variation-on-the-day-age-theory-2/
http://infidels.org/library/modern/vic_stenger/schrev.html

The Genesis Bang days lineup is not terrible. Plant life is off by 2x though. Fish is a hit, birds seem off but is really vague anyhow. Age of Earth misses by a billion too.

Seems like an anything-would-fit kind of deal, with some hefty Jewish redefinition of terms, and a convenient cherry pick from the voluminous Talmud/Mishnah commentaries. The actual quote doesn't sound incredibly Big-Bangey, if it's the one here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahmanides

Not that Sitchin is necessarily any better. Credit where credit is due; Schroeder built something that would maybe-kinda fit.

With Genesis, one must still try to reconcile. The scientifically-sound oddities surrounding the creation of Adam and Eve suggest taking the story as more than spiritual morality tale. Short rib regrowth, anaesthetic, XY->XX cloning, and all that.

Genesis still makes a more sense to me as a retelling of older Sumerian myths than a prefigured Big Bang. I have more confidence in clay tablets than medieval Talmudists. Still lean Sitchin.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En%C3%BBma_Eli%C5%A1

Dating by flora/fauna advent may suffer the same faulty assumptions as concatenation of genealogy - "begat" does not mean immediate descent, but elides intervening steps. Thus creation of seed-bearing plants may mean creation of the precursors to such, and ditto fish, birds, land animals. It does make sense that mammalian land animals seem to come after fish and birds, and vegetables before both, and man last of all. The rough sequence seems ok. Beyond that, we can't say much about it.
http://www.sciencedreams.eu/wp-content/uploads/media/k2/items/cache/4047dc2f08c422a43c6430815243ead6_L.jpg

@197 Why can't all atheists be more like Edward?

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 3:53 AM  

I mean, if Genesis is TRUE, then it should be retold in Middle Eastern myths going all the way back. Chain of custody. And what we find is myths relating to god-hockey, which is actually, according to Sitchin, planet hockey. Bouncing to a Middle Ages Jew to get Big Bang seems an unwarranted stretch. Any respectful interpretation grabs the Big Bang in Genesis 1:1 anyway. After that it's just a matter of figuring out firmaments. And the asteroid belt actually does separate waters from waters.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a14555/water-worlds-in-our-solar-system/

I'm sticking with god hockey.

Blogger S1AL March 28, 2016 4:51 AM  

I do not understand how anyone can look at Genesis and think that it is scientifically literal, rather than metaphorical.

Is the Moon literally a "lesser light"?

Did the land literally produce creatures?

How do you resolve light before the sun?

Did God literally rest?

Did God make man before or after plant life? (Gen 2:5)

Did God literally breathe into Adam's nose?

Did God literally remove part of Adam's body?

Do men and women literally become one flesh?

---

And that's just the obvious ones in Genesis 1 and 2. In point of fact, the Bible is largey either metaphorical or philosophical. Treating it as some sort of literal scientific treatise stretches the bounds of credulity to about the breaking point.

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