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You can’t have them, atheists!

The atheist blog Ungodly News has just released a Periodic Table of Atheists and Antitheists. While I admire its artistry, I deplore its lack of accuracy. At least three of the people listed as atheists or anti-theists were nothing of the sort: Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and (in his final days) Jean-Paul Sartre. I realize that the last name will shock many readers. I’ll say more about Sartre anon.

I’m a great admirer of Einstein (who isn’t?) and a fan of Mark Twain, whose house I visited in December 1994. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sartre’s Les Mains Sales (Dirty Hands) in high school. When he wrote that play in 1948, Sartre was a militant atheist, but as we’ll see, Sartre’s views changed in his final years. These three authors I treasure, so I say to the atheists: you can’t have them!

There are three more people on Ungodly News’ periodic table who, in the interests of historical accuracy, I have to say don’t belong there either: Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley and Bill Gates. All three are (or were) agnostics, not atheists, and as I’ll argue below, while these thinkers all reject the claims of revealed religion, none of them deserves to be called an anti-theist. It is an undeniable historical fact, however, that the ideas disseminated by Darwin and Huxley have caused many people to lose their faith in God.

Atheists love to claim Albert Einstein as one of their own, but he was nothing of the sort.

[This post will remain at the top of the page until 6:00 am EST tomorrow, June 28. For reader convenience, other coverage continues below. - UD News]

It is well-known that Albert Einstein rejected belief in an afterlife, and did not believe in a personal God who answered prayers. Nevertheless, he did believe in a Mind manifesting itself in Nature. That was his God. In an interview published in 1930 in G. S. Viereck’s book Glimpses of the Great, Einstein remarked:

I’m absolutely not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s pantheism, but admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and body as one, and not two separate things. (Frankenberry, Nancy K. 2009. The Faith of Scientists: In Their Own Words. Princeton University Press. p. 153.)

In 1929, Albert Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” (Isaacson, Walter, Einstein: His Life and Universe, pp. 388-389, Simon and Schuster, 2008.)

According to Hubertus, Prince of Lowenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, Einstein said, “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” (Quoted by Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, New York: World Publishing Company, 1971, p. 425.)

For an overview of Einstein’s religious views, I’d recommend this article in Wikipedia.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) certainly wasn’t an atheist either. As he wrote:

To trust the God of the Bible is to trust an irascible, vindictive, fierce and ever fickle and changeful master; to trust the true God is to trust a Being who has uttered no promises, but whose beneficent, exact, and changeless ordering of the machinery of His colossal universe is proof that He is at least steadfast to His purposes; whose unwritten laws, so far as the affect man, being equal and impartial, show that he is just and fair; these things, taken together, suggest that if he shall ordain us to live hereafter, he will be steadfast, just and fair toward us. We shall not need to require anything more.

– Mark Twain, from Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain, a Biography (1912), quoted from Barbara Schmidt, ed, “Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related Resources”.

Was Twain anti-religious? Certainly. But anti-theist? No. Twain loved to make fun of God, but he also believed God was big enough not to be troubled by such mockery:

Blasphemy? No, it is not blasphemy. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if He is as little as that, He is beneath it. (Ibid.)

Twain’s views on the afterlife, like his views on Providence, varied throughout his lifetime, but his daughter Clara said of him: “Sometimes he believed death ended everything, but most of the time he felt sure of a life beyond.” (Phipps, William E., Mark Twain’s Religion, p. 304, 2003 Mercer Univ. Press.)

What about Jean-Paul Sartre? According to his personal secretary Benny Levy (a.k.a. Pierre Victor), an ex-Maoist who became an Orthodox Jew in the late 1970s, Sartre had a drastic change of mind about the existence of God and started gravitating toward Messianic Judaism, in the years before his death. This is Sartre’s before-death profession, according to Pierre Victor: “I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.”

What was Simone de Beauvoir’s reaction, you may be wondering?

“His mistress, Simone de Beauvoir, behaved like a bereaved widow during the funeral. Then she published La ceremonie des adieux in which she turned vicious, attacking Sartre. He resisted Victor’s seduction, she recounts, then he yielded. ‘How should one explain this senile act of a turncoat?’, she asks stupidly. And she adds: ‘All my friends, all the Sartreans, and the editorial team of Les Temps Modernes supported me in my consternation.’

Mme. de Beauvoir’s consternation v. Sartre’s conversion. The balance is infinitely heavier on the side of the blind, yet seeing, old man.”

(National Review, NY, 11 June 1982, p. 677, article by Thomas Molnar, Professor of French and World Literature at Brooklyn College; see also McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart, eds. 1990. Concise Guide to Today’s Religions. Amersham-on-the-Hill, Bucks, England: Scripture Press, p. 477.)

The transformation in Sartre’s political and religious views near the end of his life is revealed in a book of conversations between Sartre and his assistant Benny Levy, conducted shortly before his death, Hope Now: The 1980 Interviews (University of Chicago Press, 1996). The publisher of the book described the changes as follows:

“In March of 1980, just a month before Sartre’s death, Le Nouvel Observateur published a series of interviews, the last ever given, between the blind and debilitated philosopher and his young assistant, Benny Levy.

They seemed to portray a Sartre who had abandoned his leftist convictions and rejected his most intimate friends, including Simone de Beauvoir. This man had cast aside his own fundamental beliefs in the primacy of individual consciousness, the inevitability of violence, and Marxism, embracing instead a messianic Judaism. (…)

Shortly before his death, Sartre confirmed the authenticity of the interviews and their puzzling content. Over the past fifteen years, it has become the task of Sartre scholars to unravel and understand them. Presented in this fresh, meticulous translation, the interviews are framed by two provocative essays by Benny Levy himself, accompanied by a comprehensive introduction from noted Sartre authority Ronald Aronson.

This absorbing volume at last contextualizes and elucidates the final thoughts of a brilliant and influential mind.”

(See Hope Now: The 1980 Interviews, Jean-Paul Sartre and Benny Levy (ed.); translated by Adrian Van den Hoven, with an introduction by Ronald Aronson, University of Chicago Press, 1996).

Curious readers can find out more by having a look at Part II (section 34) of Tihomir Dimitrov’s online book, 50 Nobel Laureates and other great scientists who believed in God.

So, was Jean-Paul Sartre an atheist, or even an anti-theist, at the end of his life? Evidently not.

There are three more names which don’t belong in Ungodly News’ Periodic Table of Atheists and Antitheists:

(1) Charles Darwin. Although his book The Origin of Species undoubtedly caused many readers to lose their religious faith, Darwin himself was not an atheist. As he wrote in a letter to John Fordyce, an author of several works on skepticism, on 7 May 1879: “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist… In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. — I think that generally (and more and more so as I grow older), but not always, — that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.”

Darwin remained close friends with the vicar of Downe, John Innes, and continued to play a leading part in the parish work of the church. (See this article for more information.)

Atheist? Obviously not. Anti-theist? I think not. The man was an agnostic.

(2) Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley was an agnostic (a term he coined himself in 1869), rather than an atheist. Here is his account of how he coined the term:

When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain “gnosis,”–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble.

So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of “agnostic.” It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the “gnostic” of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. To my great satisfaction the term took. (Huxley, Thomas. Collected Essays, pp. 237–239. ISBN 1-85506-922-9.)

In a letter of September 23, 1860, to Charles Kingsley, Huxley touched on the subject of immortality:

I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it.

Pray understand that I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter. Whoso clearly appreciates all that is implied in the falling of a stone can have no difficulty about any doctrine simply on account of its marvellousness.

Or as he put it in another letter to Kingsley, dated May 5, 1863, when discussing the immortality of the soul and the belief in future rewards and punishments:

Give me a scintilla of evidence, and I am ready to jump at them.

According to his Wikipedia biography, Huxley even supported the reading of an edited version of the Bible (shorn of “shortcomings and errors”) in schools. He believed that the Bible’s significant moral teachings and superb use of language were of continuing relevance to English life. As he put it:

“I do not advocate burning your ship to get rid of the cockroaches.”
(THH 1873. Critiques and Addresses, p. 90.)

I submit that while Huxley was certainly a fierce opponent of organized religion, he can hardly be called an anti-theist.

(3) Bill Gates. According to the very link cited by Ungodly News, Bill Gates is an agnostic, not an atheist. In his own words:

In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don’t know if there’s a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.

Does that sound like the utterance of an “anti-theist” to you? No? I didn’t think so either.

Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, Bill Gates – that’s six mistakes altogether. That doesn’t sound like a very accurate periodic table to me. I’d say Ungodly News has got some ‘splainin’ to do!

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109 Responses to You can’t have them, atheists!

  1. Yet both Einstein and Twain correctly noted that Christianity was nothing but primitive superstitions, and definitely not true.

  2. 2
    Elizabeth Liddle

    What is your evidence that Einstein was not an atheist?

    He was, like many who also call themselves atheists, a “pantheist”.

    That’s probably the best word to describe me, BTW.

    Some revealing and lovely quotations from Einstein:

    A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

    I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.

    If this describes a theist, I am a theist.

    But I don’t think you’d count me as a theist :)

  3. 3
    Elizabeth Liddle

    BTW, as is clear from the Huxley quotation, he coined the word “agnostic” not to mean “not sure either way” but “sure the answer is unknowable”.

    It’s an important distinction, I think.

  4. 4
    CannuckianYankee

    Lizzie,

    You seem to be conflating not being an atheist to necessarily being a theist. There are in-betweens that you should consider – such as deism and agnosticism. To call a deist or an agnostic an atheist is simply not correct. There are definite distinctions. Perhaps you’re not an atheist after all?

    I believe Einstein was a deist. Deist’s don’t believe in a personal god, but they do believe in a prime mover.

  5. 5
    Elizabeth Liddle

    I don’t see any evidence that Einstein believed in a prime mover. His stated beliefs fit what is usually described as pantheist.

    I am neither a deist nor an agnostic. I could describe myself as a pantheist. But many pantheists also describe themselves as atheists.

  6. Many theists describe themselves as non-religious.

  7. 7
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Sorry, CY, that sounded a bit abrupt :)

    Wasn’t meant to be.

    Yes, I agree that a deist or agnostic is not an atheist.

    I just don’t think Einstein was either.

    Although, in the end, I don’t think the labels are terribly important.

  8. 8
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung: and some atheists describe themselves as religious!

    I do, I guess.

    Also, Buddhism is a religion, but with no god (well, possibly “gods” but that depends on translation).

  9. ,,,as to this comment ‘Yet both Einstein and Twain correctly noted that Christianity was nothing but primitive superstitions, and definitely not true.’

    Note how quickly Einstein’s theism is brushed aside just so to attack Christianity personally. So Jessejoe since you don’t believe in Christian theism, what particular form of mono-Theism do you believe in??? Muslim, Judaism, etc…???

    furthermore,,,

    Actually Einstein’s work, itself, in relativity, ‘correctly’ adds a large piece of the puzzle to Christianity as being ‘definitely true’, although Einstein’s personal words may have said otherwise of Christianity;

    First it is important to note where Einstein ‘blunders’ were:

    ,,,I find it very interesting that the materialistic belief of the universe being stable, and infinite in duration, was so deeply rooted in scientific thought that Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when he was shown his general relativity equation indicated a universe that was unstable and would ‘draw together’ under its own gravity, added a cosmological constant to his equation to reflect a stable universe rather than entertain the thought that the universe had a beginning.

    Einstein and The Belgian Priest, George Lemaitre – The “Father” Of The Big Bang Theory – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4279662

    of note: This was not the last time Einstein’s base materialistic philosophy had severely misled him. He was also severely misled in the Bohr–Einstein debates in which he was repeatedly proven wrong in challenging the ‘spooky action at a distance’ postulations of the emerging field of quantum mechanics. This following video highlights the Bohr/Einstein debate and the decades long struggle to ‘scientifically’ resolve the ‘non-local realism’ disagreement between them:

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Reductive Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The following is an interesting exchange between Bohr and Einstein:

    ‘God does not play dice with the cosmos.’
    Albert Einstein

    In response Niels Bohr said,
    ‘Do not presume to tell God what to do.’

    Though many words could be written on the deep underlying philosophical issues of that exchange between Bohr and Einstein, my take on the whole matter is summed up nicely, and simply, in the following verse and video:

    Proverbs 16:33
    The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

    Thus Einstein’s work in general relativity, though he resisted it, gave solid evidence that the universe, was not ‘eternal’, but actually had a beginning,,,

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970

    ,,,Whereas Quantum Mechanics, which Einstein more stubbornly resisted than a created universe, shows that the universe is not self-sustaining,

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck Planck was a devoted Christian from early life to death, was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though, paradoxically, not necessarily a personal one) This deep ‘Christian connection’, of Planck, is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have some kind of a deep Christian connection.)

    Where relativity ties into the validity of Christianity is this,,,

    Theists actually do have evidence for ‘higher dimensions of space and time,,

    The weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. Yet, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light. Whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light, its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

    Moreover time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    ,,,Yet, even though light has this ‘eternal’ attribute in regards to our temporal framework of time, for us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, will still only get us to first base as far as quantum entanglement, or teleportation, is concerned.

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    That is to say, traveling at the speed of light will only get us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimension, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    It is very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in special relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies:

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of; this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. Yet, in quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in our temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information
    teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’ is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned).

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy

  10. I wonder why it all matters.

    If what I believe depends on what some famous person believed, then I don’t really believe anything at all; I am merely following a fad.

  11. continued from post 9

    to note the ‘irreconcilable problem’ that mathematicians have in unifying General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics;

    Quantum Mechanics and Relativity – The Collapse Of Physics? – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6597379/

    ,,,Though the physicists/mathematicians, in the preceding video, feel they are at a dead end in reconciling General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, I would like to put forth the case that Jesus Christ, Himself, as strange as it may sound, is the most parsimonious solution to the number one problem in science today. The problem of the unification of Quantum Mechanics(QM) and General Relativity(GR)into a ‘theory of everything’.
    As noted in the video, the unification of QM and GR, into a ‘theory of everything’, has been a notoriously difficult problem for physicists and mathematicians to solve. In fact, Einstein himself spent many of the last years of his life on earth vainly searching for a solution to the QM-GR split. Moreover, the subsequent years of persistent search, by many leading, brilliant, physicists and mathematicians in the world, have not yielded any plausible solution to the problem that has not involved highly speculative, ‘verification-less’, appeals to string theoretic multiverses, M-Theories, Quantum Gravity etc.. etc.. The problem shows no experimental support of ever abating,,,

    Quantum Mechanics Not In Jeopardy: Physicists Confirm Decades-Old Key Principle Experimentally – July 2010
    Excerpt: the research group led by Prof. Gregor Weihs from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Waterloo has confirmed the accuracy of Born’s law in a triple-slit experiment (as opposed to the double slit experiment). “The existence of third-order interference terms would have tremendous theoretical repercussions – it would shake quantum mechanics to the core,” says Weihs. The impetus for this experiment was the suggestion made by physicists to generalize either quantum mechanics or gravitation – the two pillars of modern physics – to achieve unification, thereby arriving at a one all-encompassing theory. “Our experiment thwarts these efforts once again,” explains Gregor Weihs. (of note: Born’s Law is an axiom that dictates that quantum interference can only occur between pairs of probabilities, not triplet or higher order probabilities. If they would have detected higher order interference patterns this would have
    potentially allowed a reformulation of quantum mechanics that is compatible with, or even incorporates, gravitation.)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142640.htm

    Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law:
    Peter Woit, a PhD. in theoretical physics and a lecturer in mathematics at Columbia, points out—again and again—that string theory, despite its two decades of dominance, is just a hunch aspiring to be a theory. It hasn’t predicted anything, as theories are required to do, and its practitioners have become so desperate, says Woit, that they’re willing to redefine what doing science means in order to justify their labors.
    http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even.....0465092756

    ‘What is referred to as M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.” – Roger Penrose – former close colleague of Stephen Hawking – in critique of Hawking’s new book ‘The Grand Design’ the exact quote in the following video clip:

    Roger Penrose Debunks Stephen Hawking’s New Book ‘The Grand Design’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5278793/

    ,,,The main problem, mathematically, for the split, between GR and QM, seems to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the ‘zero/infinity’ conflict that arises in different places of each framework;,,,

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    ,,,One of the things I find interesting about the preceding zero/infinity mystery, of QM and GR, is that the ‘infinity’ of the 4-Dimensional space-time of General Relativity is related to black holes in the universe. The reason this is interesting for me is because black holes are now verified to be, by far, the largest contributors of ‘entropic decay’ in the universe;,,,,

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Moreover, Black Hole singularities are completely opposite the singularity of the Big Bang in terms of the ordered physics of entropic thermodynamics. In other words, Black Holes are singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order.

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    ,,,Moreover, besides entropy being the primary reason why the universe, without ‘supernatural intervention, is steadfastly heading for ‘entropic heat death’,,,

    The Future of the Universe
    Excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. — Not a happy ending.
    http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/p.....uture.html

    ,,,entropy is also the primary reason why we will all grow old and eventually die,,,

    80 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9wToWdXaQg

    ,,,Thus ‘Death’, itself, of the universe and of us, seems to semi-directly linked to the fact that this ‘inaccessible infinity of destruction’ is found in black holes. At least it seems readily apparent that black holes are forever an ‘inaccessible infinity of destruction’ as far as the endeavors of mortal man are to be concerned. Yet Quantum Mechanic offers its own unique infinity that can, in principle, counterbalance the ‘destructive infinity’ of Black holes (as they tried to accomplish in the video). Yet the problem that QM has in overcoming the entropic decay of the universe, besides the problem mentioned by Michio Kaku in the video of at about the 7:00 minute mark of a ‘repeating infinity’, is, as mentioned previously, this,,,

    “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.”

    ,,,thus it seems readily apparent that QM requires a ‘space’ within the 4-D space-time of General Relativity, separate from the zero point infinity of Black holes, in which to ‘pour its infinity’. That is QM needs this space separate from the Black Holes if the destructive, ‘Death Causing’, entropic infinities of Black Holes were ever to be successfully overcome by Quantum Mechanics. And if physics were ever to be ‘unified’ into a ‘theory of everything’. And indeed, subtle, yet strong, hints that this ‘unification’ is possible are now available,,,,

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    ,,,I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”,,,

    ,,,The following is particularly interesting,,,

    “Most people think that the matter is empty, but for internal self consistency of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, there is required to be the equivalent of 10 to 94 grams of mass energy, each gram being E=MC2 kind of energy. Now, that’s a huge number, but what does it mean practically? Practically, if I can assume that the universe is flat, and more and more astronomical data is showing that it’s pretty darn flat, if I can assume that, then if I take the volume or take the vacuum within a single hydrogen atom, that’s about 10 to the minus 23 cubic centimeters. If I take that amount of vacuum and I take the latent energy in that, there is a trillion times more energy there than in all of the mass of all of the stars and all of the planets out to 20 billion light-years. That’s big, that’s big. And if consciousness allows you to control even a small fraction of that, creating a big bang is no problem.” – Dr. William Tiller – has
    been a professor at Stanford U. in the Department of materials science & Engineering

  12. continued from post 11;

    ,,,The following offers a ‘hint’ as well,,,, though Dr. Dembski, in the following quote, does not directly address the zero/infinity conflict of QM and GR, he does offer interesting insight that, ‘serendipitously’, parallels the problem we find for reconciling QM and GR;

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    ,,,Moreover, unlike Quantum Gravity, String Theory and M-Theory, there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Jesus Christ:,,,

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    ,,,Thus I firmly believe that the evidence we have in hand clearly indicates that God’s crowning achievement for this universe was not when He created this universe, but that God’s crowning achievement for this universe was when He Himself inhabited the human body He had purposely created the whole universe for, to sanctify human beings unto Himself through the death and resurrection of his “Son” Jesus Christ. This is truly something which should fill anyone who reads this with awe. The wonder that science and ‘religion’ would intersect so dramatically is of no small consequence.

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

    Hebrews 2:14-15
    “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and blood – He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    further note:

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D – photographic negative” image on the Shroud of Turin, I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of ‘The Being of Light’ while having a deep NDE have no doubt whatsoever that the ‘The Being of Light’ they were in the presence of is none other than ‘The Lord God Almighty’ of heaven and earth.

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    The Extremely Monitored NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    There are a few more detailed notes, in first part of this following site, on the spiritual/material split between GR and QM and Jesus Christ’s reconciliation of the two frameworks:

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

  13. as a interesting footnote to 12, it is very strange to note that two different ‘eternalities of time’ exist in reality:

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer at the event horizon of a black hole, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop). — also of note to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes; It is interesting to note that entropy, which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes.
    — Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe
    i.e. Black Holes are singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order such as the extreme order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

  14. Hi there BA77, I have a question for you if you don’t mind.

    You seem to be very knowledgeable about Jesus, and the Shroud of Turin. I have uploaded some images of it an would like you to take a look at them.

    If you would be so kind, please take a look at the following image. This is the screencap of the Shroud of Turin image, straight from Wikipedia.

    http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/9483/norm.gif

    Take a look at the part of the image, the right arm of Jesus, in the red circle I drew. Now take a look at the same position on his left arm. What would you say, that that in the red circle looks like? What would be your opinion of what you see? Also notice that I drew 2 lines, A and B, that are supposed to measure Jesus’ left and right arm. Then I transformed line A to A’ and placed it besides line B to compare their length. What’s your opinion of the result I obtained?
    I also made an inverted color image so you would have an easier time judging the image. You can take a look at it here.

    http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/8792/invxi.gif

    And here is the original image from Wikipedia.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi....._Turin.jpg

  15. Perhaps now is a good time for quotes from Paul C. Vitz’ book Faith Of The Fatherless: The Psychology Of Atheism. In it he argues that psychoanalysis is actually a better explanation for denial of God, concluding that the absence of a good father is at the core of militant atheism.

    Rather than make false claims about some individuals who were or are not atheists, perhaps UnGodly News would have time better spent commenting on why some of their atheist heroes have the remarkably similar characteristic of having dysfunctional or nonexistent relationships with their fathers.

  16. skynetx, I’m in contact with two people that would be able to answer your question much better than I, one works at the Turin Shroud center in Colorado and the other is Dr. Petrus Soons who was instrumental in the 3-D holographic work, if you can just drop me your e-mail by clicking on my handle and leaving a comment at the end of my blog with your e-mail in it, no one else will see it, then I can put you in contact with those experts;

  17. According to wikipedia: “Pantheism is the view that the universe (nature) and God are identical.”

    Here’s something I can’t quite figure out: It’s pretty well established that the universe and therefore nature (matter, energy, space, and time) poofed into existence about 10^18 seconds ago.

    Therefore, God must have created himself/herself/itself/noself out of nothing — spontaneous generation of the most remarkable kind!

    This seems illogical and even preposterous to me. But hey, I’m an ID advocate, so by definition I can’t think rationally.

  18. It simply is amazing that Einstein himself is quoted saying “I’m absolutely not an atheist.” and yet atheist still try to say he was. Really some thick headed people from any way you look at this conversation. Why is it so important for them to claim Eisenstein when they have Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers. Oh yeah that’s right there is no evidence that is going to convince them and they have proven that over and over again! lol

  19. Bantay: Rather than make false claims about some individuals who were or are not atheists, perhaps UnGodly News would have time better spent commenting on why some of their atheist heroes have the remarkably similar characteristic of having dysfunctional or nonexistent relationships with their fathers.

    This is very interesting. My father is an atheist (not a militant one, just an intellectual, dispassionate one) and the most brilliant scientist I have ever known. He is also the most Godly person I have ever known in terms of his ethics, personal life, and devotion to his wife and children. In many ways my father modeled Christ for me, and this had a great impact on my life.

    Life is full of profound ironies.

  20. Here is a little background information,,,

    In this following video is a description of the work of Bernhard Riemann, the son of a Christian minister, whose work on the math of ‘higher dimensionality’ opened the door for Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    Carl Friedrich Gauss was a devout Christian who supported monarchy and opposed Napoleon, whom he saw as an outgrowth of the revolution.
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss

    Gauss’s work on complex numbers, like the square root of negative one, extend the idea of the one-dimensional number line to the two-dimensional complex plane by using the number line for the real part and adding a vertical axis to plot the imaginary part. In this way the complex numbers contain the ordinary real numbers while extending them in order to solve problems that would be impossible with only real numbers. This ‘higher dimensional number line’, particularly this understanding gained for the ‘higher dimensionality’ of the square root of negative one (i), is essential for understanding quantum mechanics:

    Bernhard Riemann was the son of a Christian minister who, like Gauss, was a devout Christian his entire life and whose work on the geometry of ‘higher dimensionality’ was essential for opening the door for Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity;

    Bernhard Riemann
    Excerpt: For his Habiltationsvortrag Riemann proposed three topics, and against his expectations Gauss chose the one on geometry. Riemann’s lecture, “On the hypotheses that lie at the foundation of geometry” was given on June 10, 1854. This extraordinary work introduced (what is now called) an n-dimensional Riemannian manifold and its curvature tensor. It also, prophetically, discussed the relation of this mathematical space to actual space. Riemann’s vision was realized by Einstein’s general theory of relativity sixty years later.
    http://www.usna.edu/Users/math/meh/riemann.html

    4-Dimensional Space-Time Of General Relativity – Every 3D Place Is Center In This Universe – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/

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

    another piece of “Christian’ trivia;

    Maxwell’s equations
    Excerpt: Einstein dismissed the aether as unnecessary and concluded that Maxwell’s equations predict the existence of a fixed speed of light, independent of the speed of the observer, and as such he used Maxwell’s equations as the starting point for his special theory of relativity (e=mc^2). In doing so, he established the Lorentz transformation as being valid for all matter and not just Maxwell’s equations. Maxwell’s equations played a key role in Einstein’s famous paper on special relativity; for example, in the opening paragraph of the paper, he motivated his theory by noting that a description of a conductor moving with respect to a magnet must generate a consistent set of fields irrespective of whether the force is calculated in the rest frame of the magnet or that of the conductor.[31] General relativity has also had a close relationship with Maxwell’s equations. For example, Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein showed in the 1920s that Maxwell’s equations can be derived by extending general relativity into five dimensions. This strategy of using higher dimensions to unify different forces remains an active area of research in particle physics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_equations

    James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition
    Excerpt: The minister who regularly visited him in his last weeks was astonished at his lucidity and the immense power and scope of his memory, but comments more particularly,[20] … his illness drew out the whole heart and soul and spirit of the man: his firm and undoubting faith in the Incarnation and all its results; in the full sufficiency of the Atonement; in the work of the Holy Spirit. He had gauged and fathomed all the schemes and systems of philosophy, and had found them utterly empty and unsatisfying – “unworkable” was his own word about them – and he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour.
    http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/Maxwell/maxwell.html

  21. The ‘pantheism’ thing is more complicated. Yes, I agree that if a pantheist is merely ‘a materialist who says they’re a pantheist because they feel spiritual, or other equally mindless word-game crap’ I’d agree they’re just atheists engaged in BS. Polishing a… let’s be nice and call it a pile of rust.

    But belief in Brahman, or belief in God as Spinoza envisioned Him, or belief in a transcendent and fundamentally mental reality? Then it becomes less clear that a person is an atheist in a meaningful sense.

    Another way to think about it is this: Identifying God with Nature is not sufficient to establish one is an atheist. The question becomes what one’s metaphysical view of nature is. In fact, it’s not even enough to necessarily establish that one’s God is an impersonal one.

    By the way, having a look at that table of the elements, here’s a few others I’d say don’t belong.

    * Carl Sagan. He was an agnostic who expressly denied atheism, and in fact said: An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid

    * George Carlin. Carlin hated organized religion, but that’s not the same thing as being an atheist (which people seem to forget). The one quote I found of him talking about his beliefs was this quip: “When it comes to God’s existence, I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’m an acrostic. The whole thing puzzles me”

    * Anaxagoras. Seriously? He of the Nous? Yes, I know he denied belief in the gods of his time, but his writings on the Nous alone would probably disqualify him.

    * David Hume. His atheism is disputed, and he never openly declared himself to be such. Arguably a deist.

    * Bill Gates. Is this the periodic table of agnostics who have nice things to say about religion? Or is this the usual game of ‘I bet he’s really an atheist and anti-theist but he just won’t come out and say it’?

    That’s just at a quick glance. I’m surprised Voltaire didn’t make the cut, honestly. Usually he gets grandfathered in by some odd ‘deists are actually atheists’ clause.

  22. GilDodgen…

    You said “This is very interesting. My father is an atheist (not a militant one, just an intellectual, dispassionate one) and the most brilliant scientist I have ever known. He is also the most Godly person I have ever known in terms of his ethics, personal life, and devotion to his wife and children. In many ways my father modeled Christ for me, and this had a great impact on my life.

    Life is full of profound ironies.”

    I also find it interesting. Plz note that neither I or Paul Vitz is claiming that all atheists have dysfunctional or nonexistent relationships with their fathers, only that that hypothesis seems to fit a trend in some of the more notable atheists in recent history….a trend that perhaps UnGodly News should find the backbone to comment on instead of making false claims about people being atheist, when in fact they were or are not.

    And I applaud your father’s good ethics and positive impact on your life. However, this in itself is no surprise, since people can be morally and ethically good and atheist at the same time.

    Being an ex-atheist, I am fully persuaded that there is no such thing as a reasonable intellectual case against God. Rather, it was only after I made a faith decision for Christ that I discovered that God has already provided sufficient evidence that made my faith decision a reasonable one. As such, if I had continued in my atheist faith, it would not have been due to a lack of evidence, but because I loved darkness more than the light.

    Joh 3:19-20

  23. Dawkins formulation of the spectrum of religious belief between 1 strong theist and 7 strong atheist is more useful than a simple yes or no. Note that he does not rate himself a 7.

  24. Being an ex-atheist, I am fully persuaded that there is no such thing as a reasonable intellectual case against God.

    I’m also an ex-atheist, of the dreadful and pathetic Richard Dawkins variety.

    It’s a long story, but ID played a major role in my conversion to Christianity.

  25. 25
    CannuckianYankee

    Lizzie,

    You may be right about Einstein being a pantheist based on his statement: “I believe in Spinoza’s God.”

    However, I have my doubts based on other statements he made if he really bought into everything Spinoza theorized.

    I think the following article best explains my doubts:

    http://www.time.com/time/magaz.....98,00.html

    Particularly this:

    “The religious inclination lies in the dim consciousness that dwells in humans that all nature, including the humans in it, is in no way an accidental game, but a work of lawfulness that there is a fundamental cause of all existence.”

    Of course Spinoza claimed this as well. He used the Ontological argument for the existence of God. But where they seem to differ is that Spinoza’s God could not have made nature any different than it is. For Einstein this seems to be somewhat illogical, given that the fundamental cause would also be responsible for the laws of nature. This sounds to me more like a prime mover as in Deism than a mover that is the same as nature and can’t be any different.

    Einstein is hard to pin down as far as his religious beliefs. He clearly was not an atheist, and he did not take a liking to atheists in general, but he didn’t articulate his beliefs clearly enough for anyone to really get a handle on them. He gave subtle hints, apparently preferring to leave the question open.

  26. 26

    Cannuk:

    “He clearly was not an atheist, and he did not take a liking to atheists…”

    It’s funny how many atheists don’t know this and label him an atheist. Or they do know this and are engaging in typical cunning lawyering.

  27. Elizabeth Liddle,

    Thank you for your posts. You write:

    What is your evidence that Einstein was not an atheist?

    He was, like many who also call themselves atheists, a “pantheist”.

    Where is my evidence? The man’s own words! He himself said, in a passage I cited above:

    I’m absolutely not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.

    There you are. He said right out that he wasn’t an atheist, and he even referred to God as “someone.” You can’t get any more explicit than that. I might be prepared to call him a pantheist of sorts, but there are pantheists and pantheists. Here’s how I explain it.

    An atheist is simply a person who believes that there is no God. A strong atheist is absolutely sure that there is no God. A weak atheist simply says: “There are no good reasons to believe in God, and I’m prepared to bet, on a practical level, that there isn’t one.”

    An agnostic says: “Not enough information! I can’t decide one way or the other.” A dogmatic agnostic says: we can never know.

    “What’s a God?” I hear you ask. At the very least, a God has to possess a mind of some sort. If it’s not intelligent, I don’t know why you’d want to cal it God – after all, you’re smarter than it, so why should you? If it is intelligent, then there are four possibilities: it may be distinct from the cosmos and the cosmos may be independent of it (i.e. a Demiurge), or it may be a Transcendent Creator of the cosmos, or it may not be distinct from the cosmos: maybe it’s simply identical with the cosmos (pantheism) or the cosmos is part of it (panentheism).

    As I read him, Spinoza was a thinker who believed that mind and matter were two sides of the same coin. His God certainly had a Mind, but was not distinct from the cosmos.

    Einstein’s God seems to have had somewhat more freedom than Spinoza’s, perhaps: He may or may not have been constrained to make only this cosmos.

    There are so-called pantheists who don’t believe in a Mind out there – they just get a warm fuzzy feeling when they look at the night sky. I’d consider that to be the same as atheism. I think these people mis-read Einstein and imagine him to have been like them, failing to realize that he believed in a cosmic Mind, and they don’t.

    Buddhists, I admit, don’t fit into my schema very well: they believe in a cosmos governed by moral laws as well as physical ones (e.g. karma), but leave the basis for these laws unexplained. That’s a bit odd.

  28. 28
    CannuckianYankee

    Neil,

    “If what I believe depends on what some famous person believed, then I don’t really believe anything at all; I am merely following a fad.”

    Good point. Only I think most of us believe something that some famous person believes. This is pretty much how ideas are often disseminated. But we don’t believe simply because they’re famous. They’re famous because what they believed intrigued people.

    You do have a very good point though. I don’t think this is related to VJ’s objection to these particular atheists claiming non-atheists as among their own. It’s an issue of truth; since the militant atheists tend to use such information not just for information’s sake, but to trump up atheism as something that is worth believing because some famous person believed it; which is exactly what you seem to object to. You will notice that no-one here is saying that the people who don’t belong on the list are necessarily theists simply because they’re not atheists.

  29. Gil, I’m sorry if this is a presumptuous question. I don’t know what kind of Christian you are, but are you worried about the fate of your father’s soul if he doesn’t believe in Jesus?

  30. “It is well-known that Albert Einstein rejected belief in an afterlife, and did not believe in a personal God who answered prayers.”

    I would rank him as an atheist then. Dawkins was criticized because his arguments didn’t reject all possible gods. He answered that he was only concerned with gods worth caring about and a god who is not personal (that is, doesn’t have a mind) isn’t a god worth caring about.

    Frankly, Einstein’s “answer” sounds more like good PR to me. He knew that the athist label was the kiss of death, PR wise. This way, people know that he doesn’t believe in God (the Jewish/Christian/Muslim Deity) but he’s not saddled with the atheist label.

    I would translate, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” as “I believe the universe is lawful and nothing like the Christian God exists.

    “Agnostic” and “atheist” are not mutually exclusive words. I consider myself both in that I don’t believe there is a God, but I certainly can’t prove the non-existence of anything whose properties include being completely undetectable when it desires to be.

  31. xkcd has a strip that’s appropriate here:

    http://xkcd.com/900/

  32. 32
    Elizabeth Liddle

    OK, vjtorley, that’s interesting, I didn’t know that passage.

    But in that case, many atheists aren’t atheists either (including Richard Dawkins IIRC) because many have said they “believe in Einstein’s God”.

    And I’m still not sure that Einstein believed in a Cosmic Mind.

    Perhaps he did.

    I don’t :)

    Or rather, I am awed by a universe that brought forth Mind, and, even more, Love, but I don’t ascribe to it a mind or love independently of that bringing-forth.

  33. 33
    Elizabeth Liddle

    PS: It’s interesting you state as a criteria for God that “God has to have a mind of some sort”.

    That may be the best touchstone for those labels.

    With that criterion, I am an atheist, not an agnostic. I think it’s knowable that there is no God-with-a-mind, because I see no possibility of a mind without something brain-like, and the universe isn’t brain like, apart from the brains we know it contains.

    And perhaps my pantheism is no more than warm-fuzzies-when-I-look-at-the-night-sky, but I don’t think so. I call myself a pantheist because of that passage from Einstein I quoted above:

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.

    in other words because I think our sense that we are something apart from each other and the universe is indeed, an illusion. The universe (multiverses included!) is one, and we are part of it, and we know that a property of that universe is mind and love.

    That’s where I get not only my warm fuzzies, but everything I used to get from my more conventional notion of God.

  34. I think it’s knowable that there is no God-with-a-mind, because I see no possibility of a mind without something brain-like, and the universe isn’t brain like, apart from the brains we know it contains.

    Yes, if you’re a materialist, then you’re a materialist. Of course, that still leaves room for a plethora of gods, from the Mormon conception to Zeus to otherwise.

    But in that case, many atheists aren’t atheists either (including Richard Dawkins IIRC) because many have said they “believe in Einstein’s God”.

    If someone says they believe in X’s God, if they show no knowledge of what X believed, it’s safe to write off what they’re saying.

    That’s where I get not only my warm fuzzies, but everything I used to get from my more conventional notion of God.

    That’s good. Because that’s exactly what religion, and certainly God, is all about: Warm fuzzies, and getting what you want.

    If something doesn’t give you warm fuzzies, it’s bad.

    If it gives you warm fuzzies, it’s good.

    If you get what you want out of it, it’s good.

    If you don’t get what you want out of it, it’s bad.

    That is, pretty much, the popular atheist religion.

    (Putting aside that there’s no ‘true value’ for consistent materialists. There’s just… ‘warm fuzzies’. And whatever gives them.)

  35. #26 vj

    he even referred to God as “someone.”

    I assume you are referring to the hilighted sentence above: The child knows someone must have written those books.

    But this is not referring to God.  It is referring to whoever wrote the books in the analogy.  It does not follow that Einstein wants to extend that analogy to include “someone” or a “mind” when referring to the universe.  He may simply have been saying it was analogous in the sense that there was something behind the apparent order.  After all Einstein also wrote:

    The sense of the religious, which is released through the experience of potentially nearing a logical grasp of these deep-lying world relations, is a feeling of awe and reverence for the manifest Reason which appears in reality. It does not lead to the assumption of a divine personality—a person who makes demands of us and takes an interest in our individual being. In this there is no Will, nor Aim, nor an Ought, but only Being.

    This doesn’t sound much like a mind to me.

  36. Did you know that Simone De Bauvoir was promoting pedophilia in France? The leftish establishement went pretty far in France and it’s not surprising that some of them, like Sartre, might have had some second though on their death bed.

  37. 37
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Nullasalus, I think you are confusing morality with belief.

    I didn’t say I thought things that gave me “warm fuzzies” were good and other things bad.

    But if you are interested, my thoughts on morality are on the thread here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....n-for-evil

    And I only used the Fuzzy word in echo of vjtorley. Yes, I draw inspiration from the awesomeness of the world.

    But I do not draw my morality from it.

  38. I didn’t say I thought things that gave me “warm fuzzies” were good and other things bad.

    You said: That’s where I get not only my warm fuzzies, but everything I used to get from my more conventional notion of God.

    As I said: Yep, I bet. I mean, that’s what really matters, right? Embracing warm fuzzies, avoiding – I don’t know, cold fuzzies – and getting what you want out of something. You’re the one who stated it proudly – that I’m illustrating it’s not much to be proud of.. well, if that gives you cold fuzzies, goodness, that’s that.

    Yes, I draw inspiration from the awesomeness of the world.

    But I do not draw my morality from it.

    I suppose not. I mean, you’re a materialist, right? So there’s no morality in the world for you to draw from it. Of course, there’s also nothing else for you to draw it from either. Just those warm fuzzies and what-you-likes, dressed up a bit nicer for people who won’t notice how wacky the metaphors are.

    Let me put it to you this way. You said you can have (certain, apparently) knowledge God doesn’t exist. I think that’s nonsense, but I suppose I can offer back – I can have knowledge that someone’s pantheism is pretty much a joke. Metaphors adding up to nothing much. But if it helps, just remember that jokes are a property of the universe. ;)

  39. 39
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Oh, dear, we really do have a language problem here, Nullasalus! Neither your fault nor mine, I think, it always happens on this topic.

    Partly it’s because we can only use metaphors when talking of God (cf Aquinas), and metaphors are tricksy things.

    Let’s try to drill down to where we differ – you say:

    I suppose not. I mean, you’re a materialist, right? So there’s no morality in the world for you to draw from it.

    No, I think there is lots of morality in the world, even though I regard the world as material (in a very broad sense – I do not think that everything that can be said to exist is material, just that everything that can be said to exist has causes intrinsic to the world)

    So why do we disagree?

    Possibly because we mean different things by morality.

    I am using it in the sense of: the concept that there are things we should do, as opposed to things we want to do.

    Is this how you are using the it? If not, could you clarify how you are using it?

    Thanks :)

  40. Elizabeth (#32):

    Thank you for your post. You write:

    I think it’s knowable that there is no God-with-a-mind, because I see no possibility of a mind without something brain-like, and the universe isn’t brain like, apart from the brains we know it contains.

    Why does a mind require something brain-like? Presumably because only a brain is sufficiently integrated and inter-connected. I can see why you would think that way. But then you state:

    … I think our sense that we are something apart from each other and the universe is indeed, an illusion. The universe (multiverses included!) is one, and we are part of it, and we know that a property of that universe is mind and love.

    But if the universe is one in the way you describe, then everything is integrated and inter-connected at some level anyway – in which case, there IS a Mind, isn’t there?

    Also, what is the difference between saying mind is a property of the universe and affirming the existence of a cosmic Mind?

  41. markf (#34)

    You didn’t provide a reference for your Einstein quote which ended as follows:

    In this there is no Will, nor Aim, nor an Ought, but only Being.

    I had a look on the Web, and I found a reference (see http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/personal.html ) to Goldman, p. 33. Looking further (see http://www.einsteinandreligion.....l#einstgod ), I found the following bibliographic reference:

    Goldman, Robert N., Einstein’s God—Albert Einstein’s Quest as a Scientist and as a Jew to Replace a Forsaken God (Joyce Aronson Inc.; Northvale, New Jersy; 1997). There are many quotations from Einstein in this work. Unfortunately Goldman almost never gives a reference for Einstein’s words.

    I’m going to treat this quote as spurious until it is properly documented.

  42. markf and dmullenix

    Thank you for your comments. I think we need to distinguish two senses of personal: (i) possessing a mind of some sort; and (ii) possessing a mind which enters into relationships with other minds. It is logically consistent to believe in a God who possesses a mind in sense (i) but not sense (ii). I think that’s what Einstein believed.

  43. Dear BA77, I was not looking for the best and most precise explanation and I’m not up for long e-mail conversations that take too long. I was simply interested in your opinion. Its fine if you have no opinion on this particular matter at hand.

  44. 44
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Excellent questions vjtorley!

    And ones that I have considered in some depth (though no doubt there are further depths to be plumbed!)

    Why does a mind require something brain-like? Presumably because only a brain is sufficiently integrated and inter-connected. I can see why you would think that way.

    Not just integrated and interconnected, though that is probably a prerequisite, but integrated and interconnected in a manner that allows intention to constrain and select action. But, essentially, yes :)

    But if the universe is one in the way you describe, then everything is integrated and inter-connected at some level anyway – in which case, there IS a Mind, isn’t there?

    Well, not necessarily, though it’s an interesting thought :)

    For a start, we know the entire universe is not “integrated and interconnected” – it can’t be, because (as I understand it – IANATheoretical Physicist!) the entire universe is larger than is possible for information to travel across (which is why our information about any part beyond our small observable subset is impossible to obtain).

    For a second, things can be coherent and interconnected and not have a mind – well I would argue that anyway. A human heart, kept alive for a transplant, is coherent and interconnected, but does not have a mind, and nor, I would say, do plants.

    On the other hand, there is a sense in which a crowd has a mind (often a much less intelligent mind than the individual minds that make it up). And a sense in which the whole of humanity has a mind, which has access to the wisdom of long dead human beings as well as to the wisdom of people in widely separated parts. In many ways the internet represents the evolution (oops, not in the Darwinian sense!) of a supra-individual mind.

    So I would say that in a real sense, a universal-mind is emerging, one that transcends the individuals – but at the moment is confined to our corner of the universe, as we are not in contact with any other minds (in the sense I am using the term), though I guess that may come :)

    But our minds are of course a component of the universe, and connected to at least a portion of the rest of it (and perhaps to all of it, in a causal sense).

    More importantly (as I see it) we have this extraordinary capacity which I refer to as Love – the ability to see, and sense, the world from Points of View (literally, as well as metaphorically) other than our own, and including the points of view of other sentient creatures (including our fellow human beings), and thus to de-prioritise the self in selecting our actions.

    We do it imperfectly of course, and sometimes scarcely at all, but we also have the capacity to reify it as Good (or even, as my son would have it, as Go_d) – an orientation, if you like to aspire to, to contemplate, even to worship, and from which to receive what (in my old theistic language) would call Grace.

    An Ideal Mind, if you will – which may not exist, in the sense that a chair exists, or a rabbit, or even you, but which does exist, in the sense that Justice, or, indeed Love exists.

    That’s why I’ve said a couple of times that my God does not require faith- it’s not a belief system, but an orientation system :)

    And it’s based in the observable reality of the material world.

  45. vjt at 41: I think that’s a false distinction. A mind is a mind, whether it enters into relationships with other minds or not. Robinson Caruso’s mind didn’t enter into any relationships with any other minds from the day he was shipwrecked until he met Friday, but he still had a mind.

    In 39, you ask, “Why does a mind require something brain-like? Presumably because only a brain is sufficiently integrated and inter-connected.”

    I would ignore brains and say instead that any mind needs billions of bits of carefully organized information to exist because a mind is, essentially, huge amounts of information interacting with each other. That’s what thoughts are – information acting on other information.

    Think of it this way: Does God know your name? Just “vjtorley” is about 56 bits, although it could probably be compressed to half that. But just to give every one of the six billion plus people alive today a unique identifying code would take over 32 bits per person or several hundred billion bits of info total.

    Or think of language in general: If He can understand English, He will need millions of bits of information just to cover the words, let alone how to put them together and do all the other processing that’s associated with understanding a language and that information needs to be “on line”.

    This is the single biggest weakness in ID – ID in practice treats the existence of God as a given when in fact any thinking being at all, even a human-quality thinking being, requires so many gigabits of precisely ordered information that the unlikelyhood of that being “just existing” totally overshadows the relatively small information requirements (probably only a few hundred bits) of first life. And once you have first life, evolution can account for all the rest. Just ask Rabbi M. Averick.

  46. BA77, I do not mean to offend you, but I have a question for you: what exactly are you trying to accomplish by posting link after link to things that are barely related to the topic, if they are related at all? Because what you are succeeding at doing is getting people to skip your posts. i guarantee that no one on this website reads your posts in their entirety, because they don’t add much of anything to the discussion. By all rights, you should have been reprimanded for spamming long ago, but your viewpoints accord with those of the people running this site, so they haven’t done so (yet). Just a word to the wise.

  47. Jessejoe, well I happen to know that some people do read my posts since I have received e-mails of appreciation from them. (as well as e-mails of vehement hatred from militant atheists that just as soon wish, like you, that I would not post at all),,, But I am still intrigued as to why you would bypass Einstein’s theism to attack Christianity. Do you are do you not adopt Einstein’s theism??? And if not why do you feel it is now appropriate for you to attack Christianity using his opinion as your premise???

  48. Moreover Jessejoe, why do Einstein’s ‘blunders’, for a beginning for the universe, and for ‘spooky action at a distance’ in quantum mechanics,,, blunders brought about by his base materialistic philosophy, not count against his brand of theism??? Does his opinion only count when you can use it to attack Christianity with and not at other times when he is shown to be wrong on his fundamental grasp of reality???

  49. I don’t wish you wouldn’t post. I just wish you would post thought that are original to you and that are actually on topic.

    As for your second question: I was pointing out that Einstein was only a theist in the loosest sense of the word. His “god” was a metaphor for the mystery of the universe. I was pointing out that neither Einstein nor Twain would be friends to the ID movement, and it is curious that the authors of this site– all of them driven by motives that relate entirely to their desire to spread Christianity )and this is true regardless of their dissembling)– would want to “claim” Einstein and Twain, when both men pointedly repudiated Christianity as silly superstition. That was my point.

  50. Jessejoe, thus my long post, for which you personally did not feel inclined to read, that showed Einstein, in so far as his actual work was concerned, supports the Christian contention of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

  51. Why don’t Einstein’s scientific errors count against his theism? A strange question. Because when he was making said errors, he was doing so scientifically, not theologically. And his “theism”– which can’t much be called theism at all– is so lose and metaphorical that it has little if any relation to scientific errors. Your suggestion, of course, is that these errors count against the “thesis of materialism,” and– using the classic Either-Or fallacy creationists love to employ in the evolution/ID “debate”– must therefore be evidence for your brand of anthropomorphic religion. Sorry, your logic is all wet.

  52. Moreover Jessejoe, though you will probably not read this, from Einstein’s work in General Relativity, there is a very strong case to be for God being ‘personal’ to each one of us!!!

    ,,, First I noticed that the earth demonstrates centrality in the universe in this video Dr. Dembski posted a while back;

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – a very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    ,,, for a while I tried to see if the 4-D space-time of General Relativity was sufficient to explain centrality we witness for the earth in the universe,,,

    4-Dimensional Space-Time Of General Relativity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/

    ,,, yet I kept running into the same problem for establishing the sufficiency of General Relativity to explain our centrality in this universe, in that every time I would perform a ‘mental experiment’ of trying radically different points of observation in the universe, General Relativity would fail to maintain centrality for the radically different point of observation in the universe. The primary reason for this failure of General Relativity to maintain centrality, for different points of observation in the universe, is due to the fact that there are limited (10^80) material particles to work with. Though this failure of General Relativity was obvious to me, I needed more proof so as to establish it more rigorously, so i dug around a bit and found this;

    The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity – Igor Rodnianski
    Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity – While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity.
    http://www.icm2006.org/proceed.....l_3_22.pdf

    and also ‘serendipitously’ found this,,,

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: Gödel’s personal God is under no obligation to behave in a predictable orderly fashion, and Gödel produced what may be the most damaging critique of general relativity. In a Festschrift, (a book honoring Einstein), for Einstein’s seventieth birthday in 1949, Gödel demonstrated the possibility of a special case in which, as Palle Yourgrau described the result, “the large-scale geometry of the world is so warped that there exist space-time curves that bend back on themselves so far that they close; that is, they return to their starting point.” This means that “a highly accelerated spaceship journey along such a closed path, or world line, could only be described as time travel.” In fact, “Gödel worked out the length and time for the journey, as well as the exact speed and fuel requirements.” Gödel, of course, did not actually believe in time travel, but he understood his paper to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    But if General Relativity is insufficient to explain the centrality we witness for ourselves in the universe, what else is? Universal Quantum wave collapse to each unique point of observation! To prove this point I dug around a bit and found this experiment,,,

    This following experiment extended the double slit experiment to show that the ‘spooky actions’, for instantaneous quantum wave collapse, happen regardless of any considerations for time or distance i.e. The following experiment shows that quantum actions are ‘universal and instantaneous’:

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment
    was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    ,, and to make universal quantum Wave collapse much more ‘personal’ I found this,,,

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
    http://eugene-wigner.co.tv/

    Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or
    anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

  53. I don’t know Jessejoe, you can shrug off the fact that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe, but as for myself,,,

    Mysto & Pizzi – Somebody’s Watching Me – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkf95onRgcc

  54. Hey Jessejoe,

    You write:

    -”authors of this site[...]would want to “claim” Einstein and Twain, when both men pointedly repudiated Christianity as silly superstition.”

    I don’t think they’re “claiming” either to be Christian. They’re trying to correct a false assumption that the two didn’t believe in a higher power – it appears that both did. The problem comes when people try to claim that either was pure atheist or anti-theist because of their lack of interest in Christianity – which for both appears not to be the case.

    - Sonfaro

  55. Okay, BA77, I went back and slogged through your link farm. I failed to see how the links you posted offered proof of Christianity. It was as I said– they only tangentially related to the issues under discussion. Moreover, I’ve noticed that you continuously post the same links and the same verbiage. You copy and paste from your older posts or from some crib sheet you have. It’s like you say, “Ohhh, a topic that tenuously relates to quantum theory! I will post link sheet A!”

    Here’s your thing, though. All this stuff about quantum physics doesn’t legitimately convince you or anyone else. It doesn’t convince anyone else, because it is factually wrong. It doesn’t convince you because it’s all a rationalization. You converted to Xtianity for other reasons, and now you are trying to look for evidence that could be stretched and construed to support your conclusion. But you didn’t come to that conclusion because of the evidence you found, and neither will anyone else. So all you’re doing is making people scroll in order to get to the posts that have substance.

  56. VJT:

    Well done, as usual, and Dr Liddle’s questions are a refreshingly different take from the sadly usual fare of objections at UD.

    Dr Liddle, pardon for such a negative first look, you have raised significant thoughts.

    My own comment is just that we need to be aware that here is a wide spectrum of worldviews out there. Snipping a course summarising from remarks by Evans that give a cross-section in a nutshell:

    C. Stephen Evans provides a useful summary[1]:

    Polytheism: there is a plurality of personal gods, as with the Greeks and Egyptians.

    Monotheism: there is but one God, the personal being who created all things from nothing, and is supreme in power, knowledge and moral worth. (Sometimes simply called “theism” for short.)

    Animism: tends to see a High (often, a sky) God, but there is an intermediary chain of sky- and/or earth- bound spirit beings, with whom one must deal in day to day life. Sometimes it is argued that polytheism and monotheism evolved from animism.

    Agnosticism: the truth about “God” is not, or even cannot be, known; people should suspend judgement on the question.

    Atheism: Goes beyond this: “God” does not exist, save as an imaginary figure.

    Henotheism: There is a plurality of gods, but one serves a particular god, either because s/he is superior, or because that is the god of one’s community.

    Dualism: there are two gods, in mutual opposition – often one is viewed as “good,” the other as “evil.”

    Pantheism: rejects the concept of God as personal, and identifies God with the cosmos as a whole

    Panentheism: A variant on pantheism in which God is more than, but includes the universe.

    Deism: Agrees with theism that there is one God, but holds that God [currently] does not interact with creation. In effect, God made and wound up the clock then lets it run on its own.

    Absolute monism: God is an absolute unity which is somehow manifest in a less-than-fully-real world of apparent plurality.

    Naturalism: instead of focusing on the explicit rejection of God, this version of atheism asserts that the natural order we see around us exists on its own; often using materialistic evolutionary theories to try to explain its evolution “from hydrogen to humans.”

    Trinitarian monotheism: The specifically Christian contention that God is manifest through unity of being (there is but One God) and diversity in person (God is manifest as Father, Son and Spirit). Thus, it holds that the unity of the Godhead is complex rather than simple.

    Of these, the “live” broad philosophical alternatives seem to be (a) theism, (b) pantheism/ panentheism/ monism and (c) agnosticism/atheism. (In practice, people often blend aspects of the major views – even when this involves logical contradictions; and it is particularly common for animist survivals or fragments to be embedded in other views.)
    __________

    [1] Philosophy of Religion, p. 31 ff, with a few additional notes on animism.

    People are going to be all over the place; I add that the human mind is the only known place that contradictions can happily reside in.

    GEM of TKI

  57. So Jessejoe, what are you REALLY trying to say??? No evidence , no matter what it says, will ever convince you of the reality of God, nor of the resurrection of Christ??? Thought so, thanks for clearing that up!!!

  58. I didn’t say that. Good evidence might. You just haven’t ever provided anything remotely resembling good evidence.

    And as for the rest of what I’m trying to say, I feel I was fairly clear about that, no?

  59. Jessejoe, and what makes you arbiter of ‘good’ evidence??? something tells me that you believe in evolution, despite the sheer lack of evidence, and that you disbelieve God despite the abundance of evidence!!! Perhaps you scales are a bit skewered???

  60. BA77, here is one measure of whether evidence is good or not: if it is convincing to an impartial observer. The thing about all the evidence that you give is that you already have to believe in Xtianity to be convinced by it. Now doesn’t that strike you as fishy?

  61. Well JesseJoe, lets let the scientific method itself be an ‘impartial observer’ and see how your atheistic materialism fairs???

    the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.....thod.shtml

    For a quick overview, here are a few:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    6. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9)-

    7. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    8. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    9. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. -

    10. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    11. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    12. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    13. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. -

    14. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    15. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    references:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & the Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355

    ,,,for a far more detailed list of failed predictions of neo-Darwinism see Dr. Hunter’s site here:

    Darwin’s Predictions
    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

  62. Is that a joke? I’ve seen you post that before numerous times. It really is silly. Where can I begin to criticize it, since it is so faulty? How about this: you act as if “materialism” and “theism” are monolithic entities, but in fact, that’s just not true. Both “materialism” and “theism” made all sorts of predictions, both for and against what modern materialist science has determined to be true (which by rights you should note that if materialism made the predictions you claim, materialism, and not theism, corrected them and discovered the truth).

    Secondly, if the “theism” you’re talking about is Christianity, then only in the most vague, poetic sense could Christianity be said to have “predicted” any of this, and it’s predictions certainly weren’t scientific. Your claim that you used the “scientific method” in the post above is simply wrong.

    There, so I barely scratched the surface of what is wrong with that silliness you always post.

  63. Jessejoe, you are conflating ‘science’ with materialism, and much like Einstein and Twain, you CAN”T have it!!!

  64. Let me elaborate on my second point above so you understand me. You said:

    “Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. ”

    So do you mean that someone read the Bible and said, “we should expect wave/particle duality”? No? You mean they just said something like “god is infinitely powerful and transcendent.” That certainly, by any objective measure, is not a statement that quantum physics has proven true. Your points are just vague generalities.

  65. Actually Jessejoe, if you were not so quick to dismiss God, you would find evidence for everything;

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    As Professor Henry pointed out, it has been known since the discovery of quantum mechanics itself, early last century, that the universe is indeed ‘Mental’, as is illustrated by this quote from Max Planck.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck Planck was a devoted Christian from early life to death, was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though, paradoxically, not necessarily a personal one) This deep ‘Christian connection’, of Planck, is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have some kind of a deep Christian connection.)
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Max_Planck

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    ,,, infinite ‘specified’ information is necessary for the photon to exist!!!

    etc… etc…

  66. I feel like I am beating my head against a wall here. I tell you why what you are doing is ineffective. Your response is not to consider what I have written or even to reply to it, but rather to do more off it, as if a larger quantity of bad, irrelevant information will somehow impress me.

    But let me take one more stab at it. You say, “Actually Jessejoe, if you were not so quick to dismiss God, you would find evidence for everything.” This is exactly my point. You first believed in god and then you looked around and found evidence that you were correct. That is called rationalizing. Reasoning means looking at the evidence and drawing a conclusion from it. No impartial thinker would reason from the evidence you provide to the conclusion that Christianity or theism is true, unless they already believe it. So you need to change your tactics if you want to convince anyone.

  67. JeeseJoe, you come off as someone eager to be a one-way skeptic, rather than an “impartial observer.”

  68. Specifically, then, Berceuse, what have I said that I’ve been wrong about?

  69. JesseJoe, this is a fairly blatant ‘wrong’;

    (which by rights you should note that if materialism made the predictions you claim, materialism, and not theism, corrected them and discovered the truth).

  70. i.e. materialism is a philosophy Joe!!!

  71. Moreover Joe, materialism cannot ‘discover the truth’ since, if a materialist is being consistent in his worldview, absolute transcendent truth does not exist.

  72. I was speaking according to your characterization of “materialism.” As I’ve noted, materialism is not a monolith and contains all sorts of systems and schools of thought under that heading. But you will admit that theism didn’t discover those things, right?

    And thanks for responding directly to something I said.

  73. JesseJoe, as much of a horrid shock as it will be for you, without Theism ‘science’ would not even be possible!!! Thus, Theism did in fact enable the discovery of those things!!!

    notes

    HE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video remix
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig On Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

  74. for a even more horrid shock for you Jessejoe,,,

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    In this short video, Dr. Stephen Meyer notes that the early scientists were Christians whose faith motivated them to learn more about their Creator…

    Dr. Meyer on the Christian History of Science – video
    http://www.thetruthproject.org.....000287.cfm

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov
    http://www.scigod.com/index.ph.....File/18/18

    The Origin of Science
    Excerpt: Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper By Nancy Pearcey
    http://www.pearceyreport.com/a.....post_4.php

  75. Yawn. Here we go again. I think I actually will find a wall and bang my head against it. It might be more productive.

  76. JJ:

    Your line of issues is a bit off topic for UD, but I suggest you start here and here. (It may repay you to read both pages in full, too; especially on the subject of selective hyperskepticism.)

    GEM of TKI

  77. PS: Let’s update on your latest, as in the discussion here by Greenleaf, a founding father of the theory of evidence; read the linked then read on from Ch 1. Let’s start with what sort of evidence counts as what degree of warrant in what context, from a classic work. (This on warrant, self-evidence, first principles of right reason and worldviews may be helpful too.)

  78. See, JesseJoe? I’m not the only one who noticed.
    And it’s not even an issue of right or wrong statements. One could be arguing for one side and technically not say anything false (which you haven’t done, anyway). The issue is you not behaving as the impartial thinker you claim to be.

    To say, “No impartial thinker would reason from the evidence [BA provides] to the conclusion that Christianity or theism is true” is a bold, sweeping statement. It may not result in a clear cut argument for Christianity or theism, but it may be enough to get someone to think twice about materialism/Darwinism, which, for some, will lead them down that path. It certainly isn’t an issue of confirming what they “already believe,” (just ask Gil) but the fact that you claim it as such is more a projection of yourself.

  79. KF, what I have done does not meet your definition of hyperskepticism in the least. I have pointed out that BA77 has made a poor argument that relies on shoddy evidence, or evidence that really doesn’t prove what he claims it does. That is simple skepticism. Do you think his argument is a good one? Would you espouse it?

    Berceuse, I stand by my statement. And the argument BA77 gives would not get someone to think twice about materialism/Darwinism, unless they were already doubting it for other, probably social reasons. So I am correct.

  80. JJ:

    You have managed to dodge addressing the actual issues of evidence and warrant, as well as a fairly substantial set of linked discussions, to carry on complaining about BA 77.

    That tells us a lot.

    BA has raised issues, and I have raised issues through links.

    You have yet to seriously respond on the merits.

    As for evolutionary materialism, the already linked will suffice to show that it is self-referentially absurd, both on its inescapable amorality, and on its implications for the credibility of the human mind as a knowing, reasoning entity.

    So, if someone does not doubt Evo Mat seriously, that says more about that person than it does about BA 77.

    GEM of TKI

  81. 81
    Elizabeth Liddle

    “Evolutionary materialism” whatever that is, is not “amoral” except in the sense that all science is “amoral” – it’s about what is, not about what should be.

    And people who do not believe in God, or consider “God” merely to be a metaphor for the mysterious order of the universe, not a personal God or someone who will judge us at our deaths, are not “inescapably amoral”.

    Many of us are deeply moral – we consider very carefully the ethics of our actions and try to leave the world a better place, or at least no worse, then when we arrived in it. For us, that is our immortality. We ask no more.

  82. Dr Liddle,

    Pardon, but this is a second disappointment in a row.

    Evolutionary materialism is a description of a worldview that envisions the cosmos forming from hydrogen to humans on chance plus necessity through cosmological, solar system, chemical, biological and socio-cultural evolution. It is materialistic because it either explicitly or by the backdoor route of implications of so-called methodological naturalism, will only accept matter, energy, space and time interacting under forces that are reducible to chance and necessity as constituting reality.

    A classic statement is of course Lewontin’s a priori materialism remark in NYRB 1997, which the linked context will immediately show is backed up all the way to levels like the US NAS and the US NSTA as typical of institutionalised materialism presented as “science.”

    Perhaps you dispute the inherent amorality of such a worldview [whether or not it wears the lab coat], Therefore let us clip a classic statement of this from the same era, by William Provine of Cornell U, at the U Tennessee — it seems, his native state — Darwin Day address, 1998:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . . Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. [[NB: As C. S Lewis warned, in the end, this means: reprogramming through new conditioning determined by the power groups controlling the society and its prisons.] We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled . . . .

    How can we have meaning in life? When we die we are really dead; nothing of us survives.

    Natural selection is a process leading every species almost certainly to extinction . . . Nothing could be more uncaring than the entire process of organic evolution. Life has been on earth for about 3.6 billion years. In less that one billion more years our sun will turn into a red giant. All life on earth will be burnt to a crisp. Other cosmic processes absolutely guarantee the extinction of all life anywhere in the universe. When all life is extinguished, no memory whatsoever will be left that life ever existed.

    Yet our lives are filled with meaning. Proximate meaning is more important than ultimate. Even if we die, we can have deeply [[subjectively and culturally] meaningful lives . . . .

    [[Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]

    This is of course simply a riff on Hume’s point hat the is deoes not ground the ought, as modified withthe proviso that the exception is Creation-anchored theism, where the inherent goodness in the Creator-God is expressed in creation, especially that aspect which has the power of choice thus to love and be virtuous.

    Only such a God is sufficient to ground OUGHT as a foundational IS.

    Evo mat, by contrast has no such is and is inherently amoral, so it reduces oughtness to tastes, views and feelings backed up by community power. As a descendant of slaves, I am instantly wary of such radical relativism, for excellent reason for it immediately means that the reformer, for instance is automatically “immoral,” save when he succeed. “If it succeed, none dare call it treason.”

    Plato long since pointed out the terrible dangers inherent in an inextricably bound up in such evolutionary materialism — yes, it is an ancient view. This, from The Laws, Bk X:

    _______________

    >> [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . >>
    _______________

    Sorry, but he objectors who think they can brush aside the issues by suddenly challenging the descriptive term, evolutionary materialism as a term not in common usage [it is simply making he particular variety of materialism in view specific], are in grave error, as usual.

    And, amorality alone is more than enough reason to conclude that evo mat is an absurd and dangerous view, indeed on my considered opinion [per the cutting edge of the Categorical Imperative], an IM-moral and destructive one, for those who know full well where it points and the consequences of that.

    A much simpler conclusion is to accept that morality is an objective reality — what Hitler did or rapists do is REALLY wrong, and loving one’s neighbour as oneself is REALLY right — and that it then is evidence pointing to the grounding reality of our cosmos: The Good, Loving Creator God.

    GEM of TKI

  83. To piggyback on kf’s well informed comment;

    Atheism Cannot Justify Morality – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5LhbR5-Euo

  84. PS: It is also worth reading CY here.

    PPS: I draw particular attention to Provine’s 3rd point as a consequence of naturalistic evolution.

  85. BA: Excellent, thanks. G

  86. 86
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Well, obviously I’m sorry you’re disappointed, kairosfocus, but I can only say what I think.

    And I think we’ve got our wires crossed on the other thread, because you were actually saying the same as me a few posts up!

    You write:

    Evolutionary materialism is a description of a worldview that envisions the cosmos forming from hydrogen to humans on chance plus necessity through cosmological, solar system, chemical, biological and socio-cultural evolution.

    Well, most people would only call the second last part “evolution” but I would agree that that is a fairly good “material” description of events from Big Bang to now (if rather short!)

    It is materialistic because it either explicitly or by the backdoor route of implications of so-called methodological naturalism, will only accept matter, energy, space and time interacting under forces that are reducible to chance and necessity as constituting reality.

    No. It’s materialistic because it is a materialistic description, which is the only kind of description that scientific methodology can provide. It has nothing to do with a “worldview”, and a great many people, including Einstein according to the OP, regard the materialistic description as inadequate to convey the mystery of existence itself.

    Actually, and me. But it doesn’t make the materialistic description any less good as a materialistic description.

    I hope that helps to make my position a little clearer.

  87. Dr Liddle:

    Pardon.

    You are begging the question, again, despite many, many corrections.

    A scientific description can provide an empirically warranted conclusion, and it routinely infers across necessity, chance and choice.

    As long as science is concerned to seek the truth about our world — a “correct” description [even Lewontin concedes this goal] — in light of empirical evidence, and as long as there are reliable signs of necessity, chance and choice, then one may scientifically infer to necessity, chance and/or choice.

    To a priori rule out possibilities when inconvenient for an evo mat worldview — what the recent radical attempted redefinitions of science do — is a major exercise in question-begging, censorship and frankly propagandistic indoctrination.

    This is yet another point of disappointment, for this has been pointed out enough times that it should be clear enough, and its grounds should be just as clear.

    But, my main point in my comment above was that this remark in 81:

    “Evolutionary materialism” whatever that is, is not “amoral” except in the sense that all science is “amoral” – it’s about what is, not about what should be.

    . . . should not be on the table now, not after so much discussion and explanation. What evo mat is about should be in no significant dispute. (And each of the varieties of evolution I listed in cascade, is in the relevant literature spoken of as just such an evolution. I have used the descriptive term to speak to all of them in the context of the underlying materialistic worldview.)

    In addition, science as praxis is most definitely not — had better not — be amoral. mateiralism is an amoral worldview, but the people who cling to it canot excape the inevitability of morality.

    Some even mange to do fairly well by comparison with otehr human beings. But if one thinks oneself to be “moral” in any really commendable sense of that term, one is in a state of sad self-delusion and complacency.

    At out best, we struggle to consistently do the right, which is why the Apostle Paul targets PERSISTENCE in — thus penitence towards and a determination to keep getting up and move in the right direction — the path of the good and true in Rom 2, as what God rewards.

    At our best, we struggle, and by God’s grace we sometimes make some progress. (Indeed, the greatest “saints” speak of this, consistently.)

    GEM of TKI

  88. Berceuse: Gil, I’m sorry if this is a presumptuous question. I don’t know what kind of Christian you are, but are you worried about the fate of your father’s soul if he doesn’t believe in Jesus?

    I’m a born-again evangelical Christian (after 43 years of devout, militant atheism up until the age of 43 in 1994) who attends a semi-charismatic church. I play piano in the praise band and am involved in Christian apologetics. Our pastor is an extraordinarily brilliant fellow with a Ph.D. who has been a part-time professor at Vanguard University for many years. Every few weeks we get together for morning coffee and conversation at Starbucks.

    Our conversation includes my interest in ID, science and technology, ethics, historical Christianity and Christian theism, contemporary society, and the like. He always recommends a book or other resource for me to investigate. (Of course, he is familiar with ID and the vicious war being waged in academia against anyone who challenges Darwinian orthodoxy.) Last week he recommended That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, which I had not yet read.

    My parents are both lifelong atheists, but seem to have softened under my influence. My mother was run over by a drunk driver a few years ago while walking her dog. The dog, her precious pet, was killed instantly. At age 86 my mother was thrown down the street by the impact, head over heels on the pavement. She was life-flighted by helicopter and miraculously survived with no broken bones but severe injuries that someone half her age should not have survived.

    Of course, when I heard the news from my dad, I immediately contacted all my Christian friends and the prayer group at our church to pray for her. Since then she has asked me and my Christian friends to pray for her on multiple occasions.

    My father has also softened under my Christian influence and testimony.

    But here’s the bottom line: I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, even in this life. If I’m wrong, and I’m just a bunch of chemistry that came about by chance and natural selection, I’ll lose nothing when I die because my life will have been ultimately completely pointless and meaningless.

    And even if I’m just a bunch of chemistry that came about by chance and natural selection, my Christian faith and my association with such people as my pastor will have enriched my temporal life at least for a time — an enrichment that I would never have had the opportunity to experience as an atheist.

  89. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t your parents have a lot to lose if they’re wrong? Does that worry you?

  90. KF at 84: “PS: It is also worth reading CY here.”

    It is also worth continuing down to 78 for my reply to CY.

  91. DM:

    Pardon my frankness, but you are a proved racist and antichristian bigot who refuses any and all correction.

    Your comments are therefore of zero credibility.

    GEM of TKI

  92. F/N: And, my point would still sand if DM were of African ancestry, as, the point of racism is to think and act based on closed-minded racial stereotypes. DM has some serious explaining and an apology or two to carry out.

  93. Elizabeth Liddle:

    I could describe myself as a pantheist. But many pantheists also describe themselves as atheists.

    Hi Lizzie,

    How long have you been a pantheist?

    Would yo say you’ve been one from the very beginning?

  94. 94
    Elizabeth Liddle

    No, I wasn’t. I spent half a century as a relatively conventional theist :)

    As far as my religious history goes, I was christened an Anglican, went to Quaker boarding school, became a Quaker, was later confirmed as an Anglican, then joined the Roman Catholic Church (early 20s).

    All that time I was a theist, and remained so until I was about 54 IIRC (I can look up the date).

    I even wrote a book about God once :)

    http://www.amazon.com/Pip-Edge.....0802852572

    (A very little book)

  95. But if you’re a pantheist, weren’t you part of it all, from the very beginning? ;)

  96. 96

    “Pip and the Edge of Heaven” by Elizabeth Liddle.

    Wow, good on you Lizzie! It looks like just the sort of book my 4 year old daughter will enjoy (and my 2 year old daughter for that matter!) so I’ve ordered it from Abebooks.

    At the very least, it will confuse their mother, my partner (an atheist by the way who has now stopped believing in evolution – must be something I said!).

    “What’s this book you’ve bought?”
    “Lizzie wrote it”
    “Who’s Lizzie?”
    “One of the people I debate with online”
    “And she wrote a kid’s book?”
    “Yes”
    “I don’t get it. You spend too much time arguing with people on the internet!”

  97. 97

    Atheist here.

    This sort of post irritates me slightly, as it feels very much like you believe you are personally attacking me.

    Here is my input. I don’t care what you believe. I don’t care what the scientific minds I look upto believe. I look to myself and form my own opinions based on the evidence presented before me. I am not out to hurt you, and I am not out to take away your rights to believe in what you believe in.

    However, I feel justified in defending my position. These people are people I do, indeed, look upto, but not for religious beliefs. I look upto them because they had great ideas, or great drive. Religious standing has no effect on my opinion of someone. That is, unless it is forced upon me.

    Please understand, I am not trying to downplay your beliefs in any way, but I am asking you to allow other people what you yourselves desire; the ability to stand by your beliefs (or lack thereof) without discrimination.

    Simply put; don’t antagonise atheists, and they will likely not antagonise you.

    You are free to believe what you choose, but please allow people to be able to choose themselves. Teach about God and religiously-derived theories in a theology class, not in a science classroom. Do not force people to speak of their allegiance to a god they do not believe in. Reversed, this would be like forcing a Christian to renounce God, just to fit in with other people who would exile them otherwise.

    Nobody wants to be discriminated against. Everybody just wants to live a life of their own choosing.

    Please take this to heed, and try not to openly attack others beliefs. I don’t.

    Have a nice day.

  98. Hi Lizzie, according to Panda’sThumb you were Christian theist in Jan 2007. Just in case you don’t know when you switched, lol.

  99. No, I think there is lots of morality in the world, even though I regard the world as material (in a very broad sense – I do not think that everything that can be said to exist is material, just that everything that can be said to exist has causes intrinsic to the world)

    So why do we disagree?

    Possibly because we mean different things by morality.

    I have no doubt that we mean different things by morality. In fact, it seems that in every conversation, we mean different things by every word in question. Inevitably I ask what these things could possibly mean to a materialist, and I get responses in metaphors. I ask for the metaphors to be cashed out in materialist terms, and when that happens, I point out that there is no (morality, free will, decision making, etc) to speak of. Just blind mechanism – unless those things are taken to be real and irreducible, in which case it’s not materialism. At that point, the metaphors immediately come back in full force, and so the cycle repeats. A similar pattern pops up when talk of emergence rears its head. Emergence functioning either as a more poetic term for ‘blind, purposeless mechanistic causation, but labeled for convenience’ or ‘magic for the modern philosopher and scientist’.

    While I know that you are always frantically looking for ways to get everyone agreeing, let me repeat something I’ve said in the past: Sometimes disagreement is present because there is, in fact, a disagreement. Not mere miscommunication. In fact, it’s even possible for someone to profess that they do in fact believe in morality, but when you ask them to explain what morality can possibly be on their world view, you find that they’re just pointing at either some ultimately arbitrary rules, personal feelings or cultural leanings grounded in whim which is grounded in close to nothing, and calling it ‘morality’.

    I am using it in the sense of: the concept that there are things we should do, as opposed to things we want to do.

    And I’d like to hear what this means under a materialist worldview. Someone can say ‘I should not eat this wedding cake, even though I want to.’ on the grounds that ‘Because I want to get thin.’ Sure, you can play that off as ‘Doing what we should, rather than what we want.’ But it adds up to a word game – the ‘should’ is borne out of another ‘want’. I think calling that morality would be a joke.

    Likewise, I’m not doubting that someone can come up with some rules like Monopoly. ‘Do not pass Go’, or ‘You should not pass Go, even if you want to’. No doubt, within the context of Monopoly, there is a ‘should’ that trumps ‘want’. So long as you agree to the Monopoly rules, etc. Of course, that’s back to ‘want’ anyway.

    Long story short, I don’t doubt that materialist can think they shouldn’t eat whole wedding cakes, or that they should not pass Go. If that’s the morality in question, it does a marvelous job of looking like ‘no morality at all’.

  100. kairosfocus at 91 and 92:

    “DM:
    Pardon my frankness, but you are a proved racist and antichristian bigot who refuses any and all correction.
    Your comments are therefore of zero credibility

    F/N: And, my point would still sand if DM were of African ancestry, as, the point of racism is to think and act based on closed-minded racial stereotypes. DM has some serious explaining and an apology or two to carry out.”

    You can generally tell when kairosfocus is losing a debate: he automatically starts slandering his opponents. For examples, click on “Search” at the top of the page and enter oil of ad into the box and see for yourself.

    If you want to see where these particularly disgusting slanderous charges of racism and bigotry came from, go to the “PZ open cut quote mines” thread.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ote-mines/

    First, he hijacks the thread from quote mining to the foundations of morality in # 33.

    In that post, he casually slanders non-theists by saying that for us, “terms like evil and good etc become simply tools for cynical emotional manipulation and programming of populations and individuals”, that “For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible.”, that we either have to change our arguments or we are racist, that we say “that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality]” and winds up with this gem:

    “If you do not hear in this the anticipation of Alinsky’s cynical polarisation tactics, and jack-boots marching in torchlight parades and the secret police knock on your door at 4 am, it is because you are not listening closely enough.

    I do not exaggerate when I say our civilisation is in mortal danger.”

    Pretty every day stuff for kairosfocus, actually, and it all rests on the assumption that theists (Christian theists, to be specific) have a better grounding for their morality than non-theists, which I regard as a false belief.

    I replied with, “What you want to watch out for is basing your philosophy on religion. For instance, as a black man in the Caribbean, you must be well aware of the disasterous consequences of verses like:

    LEVITICUS 25:44 ‘As for your male and female slaves whom you may have – you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.

    That must have provided a lot of comfort to the pius and enterprising Christian slavers who purchased your ancestors and transported them across the Atlantic, to die in the cane fields without ever seeing their loved ones again.

    The African tribes who used to raid rival tribes for slaves to sell to the Christians undoubtedly got their morals from their religions too. As did the Muslims who ran an equally large slaver operation in their sphere of influence.

    Of course, here in the US, the slave states quickly became the Bible Belt when they discovered that the Bible explicitely authorized and approved of the chattel slavery they were practicing.

    It wasn’t just the American South that felt that way, of course. A mob of Christians chased the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison through the streets of Boston and he narrowly escaped lynching at their hands.” (Sorry for the misspellings.)

    All of this is demonstrably true. The Bible does explicitly allow the type of chattel slavery that plagued the US and the Caribbean nations. KF, of course, had no comeback for this because it’s true and I provide plenty of quotes later in the thread to support my position, although I by no means exhausted the supply. But never fear, I mentioned that KF is black and you can see the results, both in the PZ thread and here.

    Sorry KF, but:

    1: It’s not racist to mention your race or your heritage or the Bible’s part in the kidnapping and the conversion into property of your ancestors.

    2: Saying that someone should be concerned with the fate of their ancestors and wish to prevent a similar fate from overtaking other people is not thinking or acting on “closed-minded racial stereotypes.” Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a statement that only carries weight if you’re an intelligent person with the capability of thinking for himself and acting to prevent future harm.

    3. I am not an antiChristian bigot or any other kind of bigot. Dictionary.com defines “bigot” as “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” Well, my mother, my late father, my sister and about 90% of the rest of my family are or were Christians. Maybe half of my best friends are Christians. I tolerate them all pretty well, even though I think they’re mistaken about their religion.

    I also send my nephew $100 a month to finance his missionary activity. (I do this mainly to get my niece and nephew to China while they’re at the age where they can pick up Chinese effortlessly. I might still finance my nephew if he was childless because he’s a good man with useful skills to teach and his wife is a registered nurse and I think they’ll do more good than harm in China despite being missionaries.)

    4. As a white man who doesn’t subscribe to Biblical morality, I think slavery is an offense against humanity, one small step below murder and torture. If I was a black man, I would feel the same way with the added knowledge that I would have been in danger of being enslaved myself because of my skin color barely a century and a half ago. And if I was a black man descended from slaves, I would feel all that and I’d also feel the horror of knowing that this Biblically approved sin had actually struck my ancestors and devastated their lives.

    Your problem is that the Bible has too many downright evil verses in it to make it a suitable foundation for any system of morality and you can’t formulate an effective argument to the contrary.

    Moderators: I’ve been lurking on Uncommon Descent since its beginning and I’ve seen many people unceremoniously kicked off the blog for trifling offenses that are nothing compared to KF. Why do you accept this kind of repetitive slander and slagging from kairosfocus? I’m sure it hurts your blog. I suspect that many regulars here wish KF would grow up and stop the slander and I don’t doubt that many ID sympathetic people come here, read his posts, and never return. I’ve seen you discipline a few ID regulars for insults that pale in comparison to KF’s everyday output. Why do you allow him to get away with it?

  101. Hey DM,
    I’m not sure I agree on some of your points, and I’ve tried to spell out why below. Note: I just got back from work and I’m a little tired, so if something looks wrong I’ll try to explain it when I wake up later…

    My first issue starts here:

    -“First, he hijacks the thread from quote mining to the foundations of morality in # 33.”

    Wasn’t he responding to your defense of Dawkins… in a thread about PZ no less?

    And technically speaking I think the mod ‘Hijacked’ the thread, and that was only in passing response to NR, ne? You ran with the mod, then KF ran with you.

    Skipping ahead…

    -“LEVITICUS 25:44 ‘As for your male and female slaves whom you may have – you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.”

    That must have provided a lot of comfort to the pius and enterprising Christian slavers who purchased your ancestors and transported them across the Atlantic, to die in the cane fields without ever seeing their loved ones again.”

    This was an allowance from God to the specific nation of Israel at a time when slaves were still considered human. It’s not for us. That the Portuguese/Spanish/French/English/Whatever would miss that is a human error, not a biblical one.

    Also, I’m fairly certain that not all the slavers were Christian (Though there were undoubtedly many). In fact, I’m POSITIVE not all slavers were Christian. Why do you feel the need to generalize an entire faith with a few misguided men anyway?

    This is the kind of thing that would make KF think you’re being intolerant.

    -“The African tribes who used to raid rival tribes for slaves to sell to the Christians undoubtedly got their morals from their religions too. As did the Muslims who ran an equally large slaver operation in their sphere of influence.”

    The African tribes who raided their rivals did so out of greed, not any sort of moral obligation. Can’t speak for the Muslims, but I’d wager it’s the same with them (is Alan[that muslim ID poster guy] here? Maybe you can clarify buddy…)

    -“Of course, here in the US, the slave states quickly became the Bible Belt when they discovered that the Bible [explicitly] authorized and approved of the chattel slavery they were practicing.”

    The Bible does not authorize the kidnapping of people for slavery. It condemned kidnapping period. In fact, you were supposed to be put to death for stealing and selling someone. And as most of the slave trade involved kidnapping how can one say the bible authorized the African Slave Trade? It’s nuked from the outset. The bible was okay with indentured servants, criminals, and prisoners of war working as slaves. It was not okay with the kidnapped.

    -“It wasn’t just the American South that felt that way, of course. A mob of Christians chased the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison through the streets of Boston and he narrowly escaped lynching at their hands.” (Sorry for the misspellings.)”

    And? WLG was a Christian himself wasn’t he? Most of the abolitionists during the time were (gotta love ‘em Quakers). It’s not like ALL the Christians of America were promoting slavery, the church(es) was(were) getting torn apart by the issue. This is another instance where one might interpret you as being bigoted, as the picture you seem to be trying to paint is “Christians and ONLY Christians started and ran the slave trade, so black folks shouldn’t be Christian.”

    -“All of this is demonstrably true. The Bible does explicitly allow the type of chattel slavery that plagued the US and the Caribbean nations.”

    I’m not sure this is true at all. It goes against “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “love your neighbor as yourself”, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” etc… In fact, it goes against most of what is taught in the New Testament. If we were regulated to only the laws and rules for the specific Jewish Theocracy at a time when slavery was part of a social hierarchy, then sure, this may be the case. But we don’t have just one testament. And we aren’t subject to those rules anymore (at least Christians aren’t. Is there a jewish poster here who can clarify the current jewish position?)

    -“[…]I mentioned that KF is black and you can see the results, both in the PZ thread and here.”

    It’s not just that you mentioned it. You basically questioned why a black man would be a Christian period, which is an awkward and frankly ill-conceived thing to ask for numerous reasons.

    “1: It’s not racist to mention your race or your heritage or the Bible’s part in the kidnapping and the conversion into property of your ancestors.”

    No, but it is sort of ignorant of what was going on at the time. As I’ve already said, Kidnapping for slavery was a huge no-no for the jewish people, and if we’re supposed to match up their slavery to ours it should still have been a no-no. The pro-slavery christians used the bible to try and justify what they were already doing, they didn’t do because it was in the bible. It’s not like they read it and went, “Hey, look, it says we can steal negros from their homes… let’s do it!” The slave trade was going strong before the more religious slave owners started cherry picking verses and what not.

    Kinda how the Nazi’s used Darwin to establish their master race thing (note: I AM NOT EQUATING NAZI’S AND EVOLUTION -_-). Hitler hated the jews (and everybody else) long before he got hold of Darwin. He just used it to his advantage.

    -“2: Saying that someone should be concerned with the fate of their ancestors and wish to prevent a similar fate from overtaking other people is not thinking or acting on “closed-minded racial stereotypes.” Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a statement that only carries weight if you’re an intelligent person with the capability of thinking for himself and acting to prevent future harm.”

    It has to be asked: what’s with the high horse dude?

    -“3. I am not an antiChristian bigot or any other kind of bigot. Dictionary.com defines “bigot” as “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” Well, my mother, my late father, my sister and about 90% of the rest of my family are or were Christians. Maybe half of my best friends are Christians. I tolerate them all pretty well, even though I think they’re mistaken about their religion.

    I also send my nephew $100 a month to finance his missionary activity. (I do this mainly to get my niece and nephew to China while they’re at the age where they can pick up Chinese effortlessly. I might still finance my nephew if he was childless because he’s a good man with useful skills to teach and his wife is a registered nurse and I think they’ll do more good than harm in China despite being missionaries.)”

    That’s all well and good I guess…

    -“4. As a white man who doesn’t subscribe to Biblical morality, I think slavery is an offense against humanity, one small step below murder and torture. If I was a black man, I would feel the same way with the added knowledge that I would have been in danger of being enslaved myself because of my skin color barely a century and a half ago. And if I was a black man descended from slaves, I would feel all that and I’d also feel the horror of knowing that this Biblically approved sin had actually struck my ancestors and devastated their lives.”

    But you’re not a black man. You’re a white man trying to get in the mind of the black man and failing miserably. You’re ranting about a bunch of Old Testament verses and throwing race out for no reason all the while avoiding the new testament which is the side of the book Christians actually use, and ignoring all the good the book and the faith itself has done for black people. Not just Caribbean but around the world. Heck you’re ignoring the good it’s doing African nations now. This is the kind of thing KF is talking about when he throws the racist label at you.

    Now I don’t think you’re racist… I just think you’re ignorant. And a little too smug for your own good. I hope I’m wrong though.

    Take care.

    - Sonfaro

  102. kf

    is this
    “Pardon my frankness, but you are a proved racist and antichristian bigot”
    really the way you want to handle conversations? I mean, your track record to call arguments thrown at you “ad hominem oiled in ignited strawmen”* will be even funnier when you post stuff like this, but I am not sure if this is really in your best interest!?

    *Checked the correct phrase with Google: “…strawmen, duly soaked in oil of ad hominem, which are then ignited …”. Of course there is some variation in the 31 hits, so I am not sure about the “official” version.

  103. Inedium:

    The sad facts are there to back up my corrective remarks above. Period.

    In addition, it seems that some evolutionary materialism anti design theory advocates are now resorting to plain cyber-stalking.

    Are you SURE this is the sort of company you want to keep?

    GEM of TKI

  104. Sonfaro:

    Thank you.

    I would add that it is racist beyond belief to presume how someone should think because of his racial background, ESPECIALLY when that is sustained in the teeth of correction that points out exactly why Jamaica is a — sadly now apostate — Covenant, Christian nation.

    And, this gets very, very personal when one of he martyred Christian heroes of Jamaica is per family tradition my grandmother’s Great Uncle.

    The patent insensitivity to what was done — and this was not the only ad hominem circumstantial used — is itself utterly revealing.

    Sorry, but the behaviour of DM was and continues to be bigoted, village atheist level anti-christian, and outright racist. That, sustained in the face of correction and warning from several sources. (If it was mere innocent ignorance,the summary of Jamaica’s relevant history SHOULD have been adequate corrective. Tha tit plainly was not is all too revealing of underlying attitudes that cannot stand the light of day.)

    That we now see the addition of cyber-stalking in the wider context of what is being discussed in and around UD tells us a lot about the level of what we are dealing with.

    We better wake up now.

    Before it is too late.

    GEM of TKI

  105. F/N: It is now plainly a habitual, standard tactic used by radical secularist advocates [of the sort Alinsky seems to have been trying to create], to drag a distractive red herring across the track of a serious but inconvenient issue, drag it away to a strawman caricature soaked in ad hominems and to ignite with incendiary polarising rhetoric.

    Now, it seems that to point this out when it happens is regarded by them as offensive.

    Sorry, if you play by those rules, it is entirely in order to point it out and correct it, for that is a way to the utter breakdown of civil discourse.

    Here at UD, observe the interaction with Dr Liddle over many weeks now.

    She has not resorted to those uncivil tactics and there is actually a blog thread in which I have publicly commended her for her different spirit.

    You will search in vain for anywhere that I have accused her of playing the trifecta fallacy. So, in fact what is going on is a slanderous ad hominem that distorts WHY it is that I have had to point out the poisonous, polarising tactics at work, to the point of actually having had to put up a thread on that topic.

    I suggest that an unfortunately wide cross section of secularist advocates need to take a leaf or two from her book.

  106. F/N 2: The specific type of ad hominem is the turnabout, false or misleading accusation; a compounding form of the original attack that boils down to trying to drag the target of the ad hominem down into an immoral equivalency, via the old blame the victim trick.

  107. F/N 3: By way of illustration of the rhetorical tactics I am correcting, kindly observe, how this blog began at the OP with the theme:

    The atheist blog Ungodly News has just released a Periodic Table of Atheists and Antitheists. While I admire its artistry, I deplore its lack of accuracy. At least three of the people listed as atheists or anti-theists were nothing of the sort: Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and (in his final days) Jean-Paul Sartre. I realize that the last name will shock many readers. I’ll say more about Sartre anon.

    How, then did it get dragged away form that into a point where I have had to spend a fair piece of time defending myself from personally loaded attacks?

    Simple, scroll up: red herrings –> strawmen –> ad hominems.

    QED.

    Let’s do better, next time.

    GEM of TKI

  108. PS: And, on track record of what happened when I tried to refocus the PZM accusations against Jonathan Wells thread on the original post, if I were to seriously try to return this thread to its proper focus, I would be accused of hijacking the thread. See the turnabout accusation tactic?

  109. Sonfaro, thank your for your thoughtful replies. I put my answer on the “PZ open cut quote mines” thread to avoid another threadjacking. I’ts # 153.

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