Richard Dawkins: Actually, I’m not sure that God doesn’t exist

posted at 5:40 pm on February 24, 2012 by Allahpundit

Go on. Laugh it up. Twist the knife in my heart.

Seriously, though, he’s making a banal point here — banal enough that I’ve made it myself repeatedly when arguing with readers in our comment threads. Having one of the world’s most prominent atheists admit he’s not totally sure is catnip for believers, but all he’s doing is being a conscientious skeptic. Every atheist is technically an agnostic; the distinction in the labels is largely the degree of confidence with which one’s concluded that there’s no God. Since there’s no way to conclusively prove that God doesn’t exist, no one can correctly claim absolute confidence. That’s all Dawkins is getting at, per his point that he’s a 6.9 on his own seven-point scale of doubt. I’d guesstimate that most people between, say, four and six call themselves “agnostic” while anyone beyond six self-identifies as “atheist.” Point is, you can never quite get to seven, just as virtually any conscientious believer will admit that they’re not quite at one. Which of course is why they’re called “believers,” not “knowers.”


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I was thinking more along the lines of logical arguments, empirical science, forensics, historical, etc.

But ok, here’s a photo.

joe_doufu on February 27, 2012 at 3:02 AM

Nice photo, but which one is God?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:17 AM

I was thinking more along the lines of logical arguments, empirical science, forensics, historical, etc.

Logical arguments based on empirical evidence are really nice. I like those.

Facts and logic — you could start there. And if you stick it out there, you don’t ever have to end up with the unreality of “the supernatural.”

Nature and logic — don’t leave home without them.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Faith is not what makes us believe in God. It is a logically inescapable conclusion that God exists. It is only reasonable, given the mountain of evidence, to conclude that the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are true. What we have to have faith in is that God will keep his promises, that he wasn’t lying to us. Faith is trust.
joe_doufu on February 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM

I can see the inescapable part. Nothing like a good religion to control and manipulate you. The logical part is the part that makes no sense. Funny how you use “mountain of evidence” yet faith has yet to move a mountain. Logical indeed.

And since the entire bible is true: the ark somehow carried millions animals, the entire human race was populated (twice!) by incest, slavery is ok but cutting your hair and wearing a cotton/polyester blend shirt is not, that women should never ever have authority over a man, god killed millions of people but satan only killed 10 (but satan did so only with gods permission of course), that you should kill anyone with a different religion from the one you believe to be true but god offers no way to truly discern what version of Christianity is the correct one. I could go on but it only gets weirder from here…

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 5:00 AM

This is pure hyperbole, of course. Christians don’t assume the Bible is true, they are Christian (by definition) because they have concluded that it is true. Some inexperienced debaters may appeal to scripture against opponents who don’t recognize it as an authority, but this is not “always” the case.
I saw a great debate between Hitchens and D’Souza in which Hitch actually complained that Dinesh wasn’t quoting scripture (Hitch wanted an easy way to score a point like yours!) but Dinesh was a skilled debater and built all of his arguments on evidence that Hitchens couldn’t impeach. Watch the video (if only in the hopes that it will make you a more competent atheist) and see what you think.
joe_doufu on February 27, 2012 at 1:26 AM

You do conclude it to be true, but on which accounts? The entire bible? Parts of it? Some of the stories are just metaphors? I’ve heard it all from every Christian. Nothing like an all powerful omnipotent being to allow men to write a book that is left up for interpretation of the masses and creates 100s of sects of the same religion.

And I think I saw that debate. I think that’s the one where Dinesh says unicorns don’t exist, even though the bible mentions them, and then he uses logical statements to “prove” something that cannot be tested for exists. As I said before, maybe there is a god or godutilities aliens and maybe there aren’t, but the bible is no different from the Iliad and odyssey. Parts may be historically accurate, but no one believes Zeus makes lightning bolts and that medusa is real, just as no one should believe the Nile was turned in to blood or that people rise from the dead.

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 5:16 AM

Logical arguments based on empirical evidence are really nice. I like those.

Facts and logic — you could start there. And if you stick it out there, you don’t ever have to end up with the unreality of “the supernatural.”

Nature and logic — don’t leave home without them.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:25 AM

I’ve been reading some of what you said in this thread, and I can see that you sure love tooting your own horn! You have a funny habit of aggressively and near-constantly mistaking your opinions and beliefs for factual statements, one example of which is asserting that the supernatural doesn’t exist.

It’s really nice that you like logical arguments based upon empirical evidence! So, where’s the factual proof to back up the claim that the supernatural doesn’t exist – where’s the empirical evidence to back it up? Is it in your lack of personal experience with a supernatural event? Is it in your lack of a personal experience with any empirical evidence of the supernatural? Is it in your lack of imagination for how the supernatural might operate, if it does actually exist? Is it solely in the belief itself, a belief you subscribe to that you base upon your dissatifaction with the arguments which have been presented to you for the reality of the supernatural?

Does you mind contract, or explode, when you when you can’t make a judgement on the truth of a matter based on empirical evidence because no empirical evidence of the matter exists i.e. eyewitness testimony of a lone event – did that tree which fell in the forest, outside of your awareness but not outside of mine, not make a sound when it hit the ground, even though I told you it did, because you weren’t there to hear for yourself it?

People who disparage faith like you do don’t seem to ever stop to think first before they spout off. ‘Gee, if I’d take a moment, I guess I’d realize it is true that everytime someone takes another person’s word for a supposed event, that person is operating on faith. I wonder, is everyone equally worthy of trust, or is it sometimes better to trust certain people over others? Hmmmmm…let me think about this for awhile…is it justifiable, not blind faith to trust your sister who’s never wronged you in 30 years to take your car to get $100 of groceries for the two of you, or is it justifiable, not blind faith to go into the middle of OWS Oakland, hand the dirtiest, smelliest, drunkest, least coherent, most cross-eyed homeless person the keys to your car, $100, and request that the person get you a box of Depends for your incontinent grandmother, for which you say you’ll pay the person $10? Boy, this thinking thing isn’t easy to get the hang of, is it?!?!?!’

Bizarro No. 1 on February 27, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Quite an intrepid fellow you are Mr. Stoddard, soldiering on in the face of such embarrassment that would give intelligent men pause! ;-)

Mike OMalley on February 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I’d advocate the opposite, viz., pay attention and think it through.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM

.

The Scholastics reasonably maintained that G-d reveals Himself first in the “book of nature” and then in Scripture. The second book, the Bible, being necessary because Original Sin and personal sin impairs our ability to read the first book.
.

So what might one find revealed in the first book? Well among things:

1) G-d is incomprehensibility powerful as in the obvious implication of the expanse of the known Universe,

Mike OMalley on February 26, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Not one of those 10 points can be directly observed in nature, or reasonably inferred from any observations of nature.

You have merely offered some screwball bits of religious hokum.

Steve Stoddard on February 26, 2012 at 10:32 PM

.

So Mr. Steven Stoddard:
.
You say:
“not one”,
“screwball”
“religious hokum”:

.

The known visible Universe is 13.8 billion light years x (times) a red shift factor of almost 11 wide. The Universe contains: matter, energy, dark matter and dark energy.

1 joule is equal to 1×10 to the 7th power of ergs (exactly)

The yottajoule (YJ) is equal to 10 to the 24th power of joules. This is approximately the amount of energy required to heat the entire volume of water on Earth by 1 °Celsius.

.

Tell me Mr. Stoddard how many Yottajoule were present in the known Universe at Planck Time?

Mike OMalley on February 27, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Opps!

The known visible Universe has a radius of 13.8 billion light years x (times) a red shift factor of almost 11.

Mike OMalley on February 27, 2012 at 6:20 AM

And since the entire bible is true…

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 5:00 AM

The Bible is a divinely inspired product of human authorship. It is a vehicle through which revelation breaks into our our world. Dude you need to verify you premises before you waste anymore time.

Mike OMalley on February 27, 2012 at 6:26 AM

@Mike OMalley:

That’s not a standard Christian logical fallacy.

If you beleive that, you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are. I gave you a clear example from apocalypse and you couldn’t even recognize it as a circular argument. Or perhaps you simply didn’t have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge it.

That’s Sola Scriptora, introduced by Martin Luther. You know there where good reasons why Luther was excommunicated in 1521. Sola Scriptora is one of them.

Mike OMalley on February 26, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Irrelevant to the point that it is used by Christians today as a means of “proving” their beliefs, and I gave you a couple of examples.

I notice you are very snarky in your posts. You might want to dial back on the snark and do a bit of reading on logical fallacies.

chumpThreads on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 AM

chumpThreads on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Sarah Palin could hear that foot stamp from her house.

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM

there’s a reason they call it faith

FineasFinn on February 27, 2012 at 10:54 AM

there’s a reason they call it faith

FineasFinn on February 27, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Only one? Can you name it?

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM

He can be any degree of certain that he likes. I don’t care how much he does or doesn’t believe, beyond my natural concern for the eternal soul of any man.

What I care about is the mocking of believers as backwards, unthinking troglodytes, and the portrayal of religion as a blight on civilization that has brought nothing but misery to the people it has affected.

If he is so willing to concede that nothing is an absolute impossibility, why does he spend his time publishing books with an express purpose that is less to further the cause of science than to convince other people (like an evangelist, no less) that the things they believe are no more than a dangerous illusion?

And if the impact on society is of any great concern, then what of the effect that persistent attitudes like his have had in bolstering the arrogance of fellow atheists? What of the endless reddit posts where someone suggests they are an atheist because some uncle molested them on a church retreat – as if that has some logical connection to the existence of God – or mock the intellect of believers by “proving” the Bible false using third-grade logic?

You see a lot of the same behavior right here, with constant references to Zeus, as if mythology and religion are entirely interchangeable, have no discernible differences, and as if thousands of years of apologetics by some of the wisest philosophers of the time were never done. The difference of opinion makes little difference to me, but the condescension borders on the intolerable.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I guess I’d realize it is true that everytime someone takes another person’s word for a supposed event, that person is operating on faith.

However, that is not religious faith which is an entirely different approach to things. For instance, would you really take it on faith if somebody told you he was God?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM

So, where’s the factual proof to back up the claim that the supernatural doesn’t exist – where’s the empirical evidence to back it up? Is it in your lack of personal experience with a supernatural event? Is it in your lack of a personal experience with any empirical evidence of the supernatural?

The lack of empirical evidence is an important clue in the case, but it is not sufficient to dispose of the matter. As one grows up, one could wonder why no supernatural events ever happen, and why there is no evidence that any ever have happened (or even that any ever could) — but then one could remember that people say, “Well, God works in mysterious ways!” Thus, one might think, “Hey, maybe I’m missing something.”

The next step would be to think through what people claim about “the supernatural,” and realize that “the supernatural” amounts to nothing more than a contradiction of reality. Then one could realize (though a lot of people won’t do it) that, “Okay, no wonder I’ve never experienced it — it just isn’t a possibility.”

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The Bible is a divinely inspired product of human authorship.

You wish. But even “yottajoules” can’t make it true.

“Human authorship” is something real. “Divine inspiration” is a figment of the imagination.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM

You are addicted to pornography

apocalypse on February 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The lack of empirical evidence is an important clue in the case, but it is not sufficient to dispose of the matter. As one grows up, one could wonder why no supernatural events ever happen, and why there is no evidence that any ever have happened (or even that any ever could) — but then one could remember that people say, “Well, God works in mysterious ways!” Thus, one might think, “Hey, maybe I’m missing something.”

The next step would be to think through what people claim about “the supernatural,” and realize that “the supernatural” amounts to nothing more than a contradiction of reality. Then one could realize (though a lot of people won’t do it) that, “Okay, no wonder I’ve never experienced it — it just isn’t a possibility.”

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM

There is evidence that supernatural events have happened – you just don’t like the non-empirical nature of the evidence i.e. eyewitness testimony about supernatural events is unacceptable to you, not because everyone in history who’s claimed to have had a supernatural experience is/was a completely unreliable witness, but because you don’t want to deal with possibility that you’ve been wrong about the supernatural. Challenging out favorite beliefs can be tough, can’t it?

Here’s your basic argument: supernatural events don’t happen because they can’t happen; eyewitness testimony to these events therefore should be discarded without any attempt to vet the credibility of these eyewitnesses. When someone asks you in what sense is it reasonable to claim that these eyewitnesses aren’t credible with your certitude if you don’t ever bother to make a serious effort to see if they are credible, you reply by saying there’s no reason to check out the credibility of their claims because the supernatural doesn’t exist. Can you say, “circular argument”?

Another easy way to show how much of a phony you are is to point out the inconsistency you have about eyewitness testimony – sometimes you accept it as truth (it’s just not possible to function in society without doing so) but you never do when it comes to topics like the supernatural, which proves you that you are not a fair-minded person; you have an agenda, not an open mind, which is one reason you are a worse debater and logician than you perceive yourself to be.

Learn to separate your ego from your arguments – if you do learn to that, it will make the world a better place, because we won’t have to see your obnoxious arrogance as clearly as we do now.

Bizarro No. 1 on February 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Logical arguments based on empirical evidence are really nice. I like those.
Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Premise: There is something, rather than nothing.
Premise: All effects have causes.
Conclusion: There has to be a first (uncaused) cause.

or

Premise: There is something, rather than nothing.
Alternative Conclusion: Some effects don’t have causes.

Either way, the fact that the universe exists proves “pure” cause-effect determinism must be violated by some uncaused cause somewhere. Something “supernatural” (i.e. something that is outside of the “laws of nature”) is implicated in the creation of the universe. I hope that the universe qualifies as empirical evidence.

Now that we’ve proven God exists, the next question is: what can we infer, from nature, about who or what He is? I thought you might like the total solar eclipse thing, but I guess it’s a discussion for another day. Pearls before swine and all that. Check out the book or the documentary Privileged Planet if you’re curious.

The third question you’ll want to ask is whether there is anything we can learn about God from the (alleged) revelations of the many religions. There’s no shortage of books on the topic in your local library.

joe_doufu on February 27, 2012 at 2:02 PM

There is evidence that supernatural events have happened – you just don’t like the NON-EMPIRICAL nature of the evidence i.e. EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY about supernatural events is unacceptable to you,…

Naturally, “eyewitness testimony about the supernatural” is unacceptable, since logically and empirically such “testimony” is utterly unreliable and bogus. Accepting it would be like accepting
eyewitness testimony to having seen a square circle.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

supernatural events don’t happen because they can’t happen; eyewitness testimony to these events therefore should be discarded without any attempt to vet the credibility of these eyewitnesses.

Correct.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Naturally, “eyewitness testimony about the supernatural” is unacceptable, since logically and empirically such “testimony” is utterly unreliable and bogus.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

So the supernatural does not exist because no one can say they observed it happened, and if someone claimed they observed it happening, that is automatically false because the supernatural does not exist?

Does that not sound even the slightest bit circular to you?

Is it equally logical to say no one had ever seen a bumblebee in flight until modern scientists were able to ascertain how its wings are able to sustain flight?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM

When someone asks you in what sense is it reasonable to claim that these eyewitnesses aren’t credible with your certitude if you don’t ever bother to make a serious effort to see if they are credible, you reply by saying there’s no reason to check out the credibility of their claims because the supernatural doesn’t exist.

You worded the point differently, but it is still essentially correct.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM

So the supernatural does not exist because no one can say they observed it

No, that is putting is backwards.

No observing something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But nonexistence does preclude observation.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:23 PM

if someone claimed they observed it[the supernatural] happening, that is automatically false because the supernatural does not exist?

Correct.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

you have an agenda, not an open mind

Also correct.

My “agenda” here is to offer some debunking of some religious nonsense.

And I don’t consider an “open mind” to be a virtue. People who claim they will believe anything just because somebody says it are not being sufficiently wise about what they are willing to put into their minds. I have rational standards, not “open admission.”

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

The Bible is a divinely inspired product of human authorship. It is a vehicle through which revelation breaks into our our world. Dude you need to verify you premises before you waste anymore time.

Mike OMalley on February 27, 2012 at 6:26 AM

that’s fine if it’s divinely inspired. that just means the divinity is ok with slavery and incest and misogyny and death. sounds like a great god to worship.

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM

eyewitness testimony – sometimes you accept it as truth (it’s just not possible to function in society without doing so) but you never do when it comes to topics like the supernatural, which proves you that you are not a fair-minded person;

Actually, that shows that I am fair-minded, rather than “open-minded.”

Eyewitness testimony has its uses, and I agree that it is impossible to live without some reliance on it. If I don’t see my daughter in one ballet classroom, and somebody tells me they saw her in room X, then I will take that very seriously, and go look in X.

Eyewitness testimony about things that are likely, or even just plausible and possible, can be very useful. But “eyewitness testimony” about things that are impossible, e.g., square circles, miracles, or supernatural Gods, is never reliable.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

There is evidence that supernatural events have happened – you just don’t like the non-empirical nature of the evidence i.e. eyewitness testimony about supernatural events is unacceptable to you, not because everyone in history who’s claimed to have had a supernatural experience is/was a completely unreliable witness, but because you don’t want to deal with possibility that you’ve been wrong about the supernatural. Challenging out favorite beliefs can be tough, can’t it?
Bizarro No. 1 on February 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

there is evidence of supernatural events? i must have missed that headline. would you be so kind as to post a link to the peer-reviewed report and the video that captured the event(s)?

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

“When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.” -Peter O’Toole

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:42 PM

there is evidence of supernatural events? i must have missed that headline. would you be so kind as to post a link to the peer-reviewed report and the video that captured the event(s)?

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Nothing valid ever occured before peer review and video.

What a strange world you ‘reason’ bound people live in!

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

that’s fine if it’s divinely inspired. that just means the divinity is ok with slavery and incest and misogyny and death. sounds like a great god to worship.

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM

He also gave His only begotten Son so that you may live, and not perish in your sin.

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

My “agenda” here is to offer some debunking of some religious nonsense.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Welp, you failed. :/

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Nothing valid ever occured before peer review and video.

What a strange world you ‘reason’ bound people live in!

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

he said there was evidence. all i did was ask for it. yeah, reason is such a horrible thing. such a strange world you “blind-faith” bound people live in.

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM

“Reason-bound” people live in the real world, and know how to deal with it.

“Faith-bound” people wish they lived in an unreal world, and try to avoid dealing with the real world (where they actually do live) to the extent that they prefer faith.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 5:12 PM

There is evidence that supernatural events have happened

Actually, there isn’t.

You can make all the claims your heart desires, but nobody has ever produced a whiff of such evidence. Certainly you have not produced any evidence for supernatural events.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 5:16 PM

He also gave His only begotten Son so that you may live, and not perish in your sin.

tom daschle concerned on February 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

or maybe he sent himself to die for himself because he felt guilty for all the slavery and incest and misogyny and murder he committed.

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 5:16 PM

No observing something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But nonexistence does preclude observation.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 4:23 PM

That presupposes non-existence, a state which even Dawkins, who is effectively what I refer to as an “evangelical atheist”, has the good sense not to do. It also erases the distinction between that which is not quantifiable in three-dimensional space under current methods of observation, and that which absolutely does not exist.

That to me does not square with the existence of things like quantum particles or dark matter, which I accept as very probable despite the fact that we do not observe some things directly, but only measure the effect they have on matter around them. Or the potential for multiple other dimensions, despite their existence beyond this physical plane. Or even the existence of other universes, even though my understanding of cosmology is that no two universes can intersect in any way, and therefore can never be clinically observed one by the other. Science asks me to consider all kinds of possibilities that defy what we currently know with some measure of quantifiable certainty, and I’m content to trust the findings of people who do this stuff for a living.

If a person concluded that the Bible was a True Document, and because of this it must be the One Source of All Truth, he might therefore conclude that, because giraffes are not mentioned in the Bible, that they must not exist. The existence of giraffes, however, has been observed by other sources, and as such, if he considers one source of information to the exclusion of all others, I would say he is being unreasonable. You, however, seem content to acknowledge only those things which Science tells you, a similarly narrow view which you sugarcoat with the guise of “rational standards”. But even leaving religion out of the equation, even eschewing all sense of the supernatural and metaphysical, science is only one discipline of human study, only one class which a student attends in a day filled with seven or eight different subjects. Clearly there are other sources of truth in the world apart from science, no less legitimate for the fact that they cannot be reproduced in a lab.

The genius of Star Trek was this: while Spock was raised in a culture of pure logic and cold science, his purpose on the show was to document the human condition by presenting it as a mystery to an uninformed outsider, someone whose particular experience obscured from him a crucial portion of the human experience, and understanding of why some things work even though, logically, they should not. We have studies of the effect of humor on the human psyche but we do not have a scientific formula for humor. We have mathematical constructs of the form and structure of music from across the centuries, but we don’t have an equation that tells us why one person prefers the soft country stylings of Reba, while another seeks out the endless posthumous releases from Tupac Shakur. There is more truth in our lives than only science can tell us, and there is more depth to the human experience than we can pour into a beaker. There’s nothing irrational about accepting something that we live and breathe every day of our lives; the only hangup here seems to be the fact that this Metaphysical Other purports to have a consciousness, and tells us that not everything that we desire is necessarily good and right.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM

would you be so kind as to post a link to the peer-reviewed report and the video that captured the event(s)?

kastor on February 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Gladly. Right after you post a link to the videos that documented the Civil War, or the burning of Rome.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

His only begotten Son

Is that to distinguish between that one and the misbegotten Son?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

the only hangup here seems to be the fact that this Metaphysical Other purports to have a consciousness, and tells us that not everything that we desire is necessarily good and right.

I’m telling you that wishing to believe in the supernatural is not “good and right,” but that does not make me a “Metaphysical Other.” I am not God. Nobody is God.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I’m telling you that wishing to believe in the supernatural is not “good and right,” but that does not make me a “Metaphysical Other.” I am not God. Nobody is God.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I never referred to you as a Metaphysical Other. Your response makes no sense.

In addition to which, it is a tautology that nobody is God. That is the entire point of His supernatural existence: that there is no natural equivalent.

In addition, the fact that you place yourself alongside me rather than above me deprives you of the moral authority to tell me that belief in the supernatural is neither good nor right. Therefore, such a declaration holds no significance either in my philosophy or in your own.

Lastly, I note that you ignore an entire post stating that it is not irrational to embrace things beyond raw science, and address only the clincher at the end to do nothing more than restate what you’ve already said a dozen times in this thread today alone.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 7:57 PM

That is the entire point of His supernatural existence: that there is no natural equivalent.

Also, the point of “God being supernatural” is to excuse the fact that there is also no evidence of God in nature, i.e., in the real world. God is unreal. What more do you want? Why can’t you be satisfied with the unreality, and quietly, peacefully live out your life accordingly?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Lastly, I note that you ignore an entire post

Yeah, your theories on Spock and Reba are more than I know how to handle.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:15 PM

it is not irrational to embrace things beyond raw science,

Like cooked science?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Also, the point of “God being supernatural” is to excuse the fact that there is also no evidence of God in nature, i.e., in the real world. God is unreal. What more do you want? Why can’t you be satisfied with the unreality, and quietly, peacefully live out your life accordingly?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM

There is evidence of God in nature, there is just not a way to quantify something that exists apart from the thing it affects, much in the same way you can not quantify an architect by studying the house he built.

I am also curious about your admonition to live my convictions quietly and peacefully immediately after following Dawkins’ example and actively working to disassociate people from their faith.

Yeah, your theories on Spock and Reba are more than I know how to handle.

Why is that? No scientific formula that can dissect an analogy? When indicating the numerous ways we explore and define our existence apart from science, you have no better response than to be dismissively glib?

I’m not sure how to process that kind of treatment from the person claiming the atheist is the lone rational voice in the room.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

There is evidence of God in nature,

No, there isn’t. You are totally blowing smoke to make such a claim.

And isn’t it letting the cat out of the bag to admit you cannot “quantify” (show or explain) that alleged evidence?

I guess it amounts to unreal evidence for an unreal God.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:46 PM

When indicating the numerous ways we explore and define our existence apart from science, you have no better response than to be dismissively glib?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

You were being “dismissively glib” about science, so I figured turnabout is fair play. But maybe that didn’t make the point clear enough, so: I think you are wrong to believe that there is a better approach to understanding life and the world than the rational (i.e., scientific) approach. Just because you might think it is necessary to believe in God in order to like music or stories, I am not going to buy it.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:54 PM

No, there isn’t. You are totally blowing smoke to make such a claim.

And isn’t it letting the cat out of the bag to admit you cannot “quantify” (show or explain) that alleged evidence?

I guess it amounts to unreal evidence for an unreal God.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I am not blowing smoke. You have previously, openly admitted to dismissing any evidence of anything whose non-existence you PRE-SUPPOSE, and so while I have more than enough to satisfy the questions I have raised, there is nothing I can say that would ever satisfy your expressly stated narrow-mindedness, which strangely contradicts science’s own position on the various phenomena I listed above (and which, again, you have conveniently neglected to address).

You have also changed around the wording of what I said in order to create a misunderstanding, and I am running out of reasons to give you benefit of the doubt that obstinance is not deliberate. What I said is that GOD could not be quantified in a strict naturalist sense, the reason being that He is not constrained BY the system in which you limit your perspective. I provided an analogy to clarify this point and I am having trouble understanding why you still decided to go this route.

I also see that you say nothing to defend or justify your hypocrisy about people of faith just “living and letting live”, and nothing to defend or justify your ongoing condescension of others, which does nothing to persuade that there is anything about your philosophy that would improve my life or the lives of those around me for adopting it.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:01 PM

I think I mentioned earlier that one of my favorite pieces of music is L’enfance du Christ — and I am not a Christian or even a theist of any sort. Liking the music hasn’t made me a believer, and not being a believer has not prevented my from liking the music.

Your view of the range of human capabilities looks to be way too narrow. Broaden your outlook.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:06 PM

You were being “dismissively glib” about science

I have never done any such thing, and you cannot produce one line of text to demonstrate that I have.

I think you are wrong to believe that there is a better approach to understanding life and the world than the rational (i.e., scientific) approach.

This is not what I said at all.

Just because you might think it is necessary to believe in God in order to like music or stories

This is also nothing like what I said.

If you have any interest at all in achieving any real understanding, I will be more than happy to help. If you intend to continue just picking apart my posts for deliberate misunderstandings, you and I have nothing more to talk about, because so far I have yet to see you display any of the fair-mindedness you proclaim.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Liking the music hasn’t made me a believer, and not being a believer has not prevented my from liking the music.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Again, this is nothing like what I have said.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:09 PM

actively working to disassociate people from their faith.

I suppose it does look superficially like I’m doing that, but I’m really not. I have no hope for die-hard religionists.

I just remember when I was a teenager (long ago) and would have really appreciated hearing some adult opposition to things I considered as not making enough sense. So, I’m just offering a more sensible outlook in case there are any young questioners out there who might read some of this internet stuff and appreciate getting more than just the same old religious mumbo-jumbo.

As long as you don’t want to take my property, my liberty, or my life, I don’t care what you do to you own mind. But young questioners deserve to be offered better possibilities.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM

As long as you don’t want to take my property, my liberty, or my life, I don’t care what you do to you own mind. But young questioners deserve to be offered better possibilities.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Detente, then. You offer people your Better Way, and I will offer people my Better Way.

Unlike you, however, I will not condescend to them and insult their intelligence and call them irrational for not acquiescing to my way of thinking.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM

I am not blowing smoke.

Okay, so you are waving your arms and blowing intellectual fog. Basically the same effect.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM

What I said is that GOD could not be quantified in a strict naturalist sense, the reason being that He is not constrained BY the system

Well, that just another way of saying that God does not really exist. Kind of the foggy/smoky way of saying it, but that’s all it amounts to.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Okay, so you are waving your arms and blowing intellectual fog. Basically the same effect.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Again, a glib response that cut out the part of the response that explained my position and just concentrated on marginalizing my intellect.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Well, that just another way of saying that God does not really exist. Kind of the foggy/smoky way of saying it, but that’s all it amounts to.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM

There are scientific theories that, according to your definition, are foggy/smoky unrealities that do not really exist, and cannot exist no matter what observations are made to demonstrate their existence.

This was addressed earlier, but since the parts of my posts that actually explained things were all truncated, it’s probably too far up the page for you to bother.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:28 PM

I will offer people my Better Way.

Nobody should rely on somebody else’s “Way” to live their lives. Relying on God, or somebody who claims to be speaking for God, to tell you how to live is a very irrational way to try to live your life.

But if one doesn’t want to be self-reliant, then it doesn’t matter all that much whether one chooses to follow theists, atheists, socialists, capitalists, or whatever. Giving up one’s mind doesn’t make for a great life.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Nobody should rely on somebody else’s “Way” to live their lives.

Says the guy who just said that he was acting on a compulsion to… offer people his way to live their lives.

But given the long (and growing) record of misunderstandings you are compiling, it is little wonder that you would make a claim to taking a certain action, and then turn around and promptly criticize me for suggesting that I take the same action as you and we call it even.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM

no matter what observations are made to demonstrate their existence.

Not a single observation has ever been offered that demonstrated the existence of God. Why pretend otherwise (or try to divert the subject to “foggy science”, or “cooked science”, which certainly does exist — see AGW, for instance)?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM

we call it even.

Theism and atheism are not even. Theism is wrong — thus atheism is right. That’s not “even.”

Note also that atheism is in no way a “way of life.” It is nothing more than not making the mistake of believing in the supernatural. Atheism has no stand on absolutely anything else. But God carries a lot of baggage that you can avoid getting dumped on you if you avoid the scam of theism and keep an active mind instead.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Not a single observation has ever been offered that demonstrated the existence of God. Why pretend otherwise (or try to divert the subject to “foggy science”, or “cooked science”, which certainly does exist — see AGW, for instance)?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM

I am forced to stop at this point and ask if you are truly reading the posts that I write. Genuinely reading them and trying to understand my point of view.

Your response is completely unrelated to my statement, and the part of the post that you cut out talks about something entirely different.

I’m having a very difficult time understanding why you are behaving in this fashion.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:47 PM

I will not condescend to them and insult their intelligence and call them irrational for not acquiescing to my way of thinking.

I would call them irrational for acquiescing to your “way of thinking.” No sense in trying to soft-pedal it.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Theism and atheism are not even. Theism is wrong — thus atheism is right. That’s not “even.”

Atheism is wrong – thus theism is right. That’s not even.

However, since I am being fair-minded in giving your perspective its due consideration, I proposed that we each offer our perspectives and let people decide for themselves what to believe.

By contrast, you are refusing to give any legitimacy to any way of thinking other than your own, and as such, you are not offering people “better” possibilities, you are evangelizing the “only” possibility. The logical conclusion from that is that any rational person MUST conform to your way of thinking, meaning that you are the one advocating that people “give up their minds” and I am the one imploring them to “have an active mind”.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:52 PM

I would call them irrational for acquiescing to your “way of thinking.” No sense in trying to soft-pedal it.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:51 PM

And yet you have ignored all the ways that a rational person can give consideration to such issues, despite admitting that you add to your own existence in ways that defy scientific formulation.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Your response is completely unrelated to my statement, and the part of the post that you cut out talks about something entirely different.

You keep trying to make diversions, and I keep trying to get back on subject.

(Note: I’m not trying to misquote you, but only to quote a bit to indicate which post I am responding to; the rest of it is already there in black and white — or gray and black — for everybody to see. No sense in cluttering up the forum with long repeats of posts already on the same page or thread.)

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:57 PM

you have ignored all the ways that a rational person can give consideration to such issues,

The point at issue is that religion is not any part of a rational approach to life. Religion is, root and branch, irrational: it is faith-based, not reasonable.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM

You keep trying to make diversions, and I keep trying to get back on subject.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 9:57 PM

I have not made any diversions in this thread at all. NONE. I have explained, in detail, why the mere acceptance of the existence – or at least the potential – for a supernatural plane of existence does not automatically relegate someone to being a person with poor intellect or with no capacity for rational thought. That has been my only point from the beginning, and I have yet to see any effort from you to even understand this concept or the reasons I gave for it.

You say you are quoting bits to save space, but that does not explain why you quote only the bits you can rip apart by removing them from the context of the parts that had real significance. For example, you made no mention of the part of my initial thesis that explained various radical scientific ideas that I accept as being entire possible, if not highly probable, and then proceeded to marginalize my view by accusing me of being dismissive and glib towards science. When challenged on this point, you offered no support for your accusation. I would be more accepting of this explanation if your citations didn’t conveniently serve your own agenda so well, and do so little to promote any real understanding between us.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM

The logical conclusion from that is that any rational person MUST conform to your way of thinking,

How in the world can you argue to support that outlandish charge? Conformity (specifically in the form of following the “Word of God”) is what I am arguing against, not for.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:09 PM

The point at issue is that religion is not any part of a rational approach to life. Religion is, root and branch, irrational: it is faith-based, not reasonable.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Right, and yet again, that has been the point I have been arguing from the very beginning. If there have been any diversions here, it is because you have tried to pick apart the pieces without even attempting to understand the whole.

To repeat something I said at the very beginning, and which you never addressed, science is only one discipline of human study, only one facet of the human experience. I don’t see what is “rational” about saying that only the things that can be quantified within that single discipline can have any presence in the rational mind. For my part, it doesn’t make sense with respect to the nature of the soul. For your part, it seems to strongly contradict the pleasure you take in music. That’s to say nothing of philosophy or even of recreational games, much less to more concrete topics like mathematics or history.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM

you made no mention of the part of my initial thesis that explained various radical scientific ideas that I accept as being entirely possible, if not highly probable,

Because none of that is relevant to the subject of the “supernatural”.

If you were trying to say that science can prove the existence of God, that would be another matter. But I thought you rejected that notion.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

How in the world can you argue to support that outlandish charge? Conformity (specifically in the form of following the “Word of God”) is what I am arguing against, not for.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:09 PM

In this entire discussion, I have yet to see you show any respect for the intellect or capacity for rational thought from a person who happens to believe in the existence of anything beyond the natural realm (leaving aside the ongoing and unaddressed issue of scientific ideas that contradict this line of thinking). More to the point, you have taken a measure of glee in finding clever ways to be derisive on the issue, and when confronted directly about it, you offer no apology for this behavior nor see any reason to.

Quite simply, if you don’t respect my intellect when I don’t agree with you, then you don’t really respect it when I do agree with you. The only thing you truly respect is the agreement. That’s conformity.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Because none of that is relevant to the subject of the “supernatural”.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Honestly? You think there is zero relevance in the notion that something exists outside of our known, physical universe? That to you is in no way connected to my belief in something outside of our known, physical universe?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I have explained, in detail, why the mere acceptance of the existence – or at least the potential – for a supernatural plane of existence does not automatically relegate someone to being a person with poor intellect or with no capacity for rational thought.

You seem to be taking this as a personal attack somehow, but it is nothing of the sort.

I am not saying anything like “only a person of poor intellect can believe in God.” That’s nonsense. Obviously, a great many people of good or even outstanding intellect have believed in God.

All I’m saying is that if you believe in God, you are intellectually mistaken (because you are trying to “transcend reality”). I’m not saying you are “stupid” or “with no capacity for rational thought.” My goodness, you are reading a lot into it that isn’t there.

If you believe in the supernatural, you are logically wrong, since there is not only no evidence to support such a belief, but the notion is contradiction of reality as such.

But you don’t have to be stupid to make a mistake. All you have to be is human for mistakes to be a possibility.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

various radical scientific ideas that I accept as being entirely possible, if not highly probable,

How in the world does that translate to

the notion that something exists outside of our known, physical universe?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM

So are you now switching to claiming that science does or can prove the existence of God?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM

I have yet to see you show any respect for the intellect or capacity for rational thought from a person who happens to believe in the existence of anything beyond the natural realm

Well, of course not — on that specific issue. It is not an exercise in “rational thought” to believe in the supernatural. But that does not say anything about whether or not you have any (perhaps even a very large) “capacity for rational” thought on some other subject or subjects.

And the supernatural (the “existence of God”) just happens to be THE subject of this thread.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM

various radical scientific ideas that I accept as being entirely possible, if not highly probable,

How in the world does that translate to

the notion that something exists outside of our known, physical universe?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM

If you had read my initial post in earnest, you would understand. If you have been dealing with me honestly and still do not understand, I can explain it to you, but I promise you, it’s not nearly so obtuse as you make it out to be.

All I’m saying is that if you believe in God, you are intellectually mistaken (because you are trying to “transcend reality”). I’m not saying you are “stupid” or “with no capacity for rational thought.” My goodness, you are reading a lot into it that isn’t there.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

I am reading into it what is there exactly. Would you like me to recount the times on this page alone that you have said such a person IS IRRATIONAL (as opposed to having made one irrational conclusion), or that they refuse to accept the real world by drawing meaning from such?

You may be saying it now but it sharply contradicts your behavior as I’ve observed it to this point, and certainly contradicts the lack of effort you’ve put into understanding my point of view.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM

More to the point, you have taken a measure of glee in finding clever ways to be derisive on the issue, and when confronted directly about it, you offer no apology for this behavior nor see any reason to.

Guilty on that particular charge. So what? How is that supposed to affect the logic of the case?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM

So are you now switching to claiming that science does or can prove the existence of God?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Really? You can’t just answer a simple question? You just turn it around, remove ALL the text, and then ask a question that has nothing to do with what I said?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I can explain it to you, but I promise you, it’s not nearly so obtuse as you make it out to be.

That must be SOME explanation. It would be interesting to hear (that is, read) it. I’d appreciate it.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Guilty on that particular charge. So what? How is that supposed to affect the logic of the case?

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I notice that you break out this post into two different responses, don’t include the bottom line in either one that points to why yours is the evangelism that discourages free thought, and then – after asking me to explain my position – went completely away from the subject.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

That must be SOME explanation. It would be interesting to hear (that is, read) it. I’d appreciate it.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I mentioned in a general sense the various scientific hypotheses surrounding the idea of multiple universes.

Would you agree or disagree that the existence of another universe would be something apart from the existence of our own universe?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Would you like me to recount the times on this page alone that you have said such a person IS IRRATIONAL (as opposed to having made one irrational conclusion),

You shouldn’t take things so globally, when the subject is so very narrow.

Now it is surely true that a theist could be a very irrational person overall, but that is far from necessarily the case. And it is also possible for an atheist to be irrational in general (Lenin is a gross example) — but don’t take that as some sort of confession of global irrationality on my part.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM

You shouldn’t take things so globally, when the subject is so very narrow.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM

I take things as you say them. That you do not say what you mean is not my fault, and it certainly doesn’t explain your references to people living in a dream world of sorts.

By contrast, I have tried to say exactly what I mean but I have yet to see you take anything I’ve said at anything resembling face value.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

I mentioned in a general sense the various scientific hypotheses surrounding the idea of multiple universes.

Would you agree or disagree that the existence of another universe would be something apart from the existence of our own universe?

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

My idea of the universe is: everything that exists. To me it makes sense that there can only be 1 set of everything. The notion of “multiple sets of everything” makes for a nice simple contradiction of the natural world.

So, in my mind, “another universe” = “the supernatural” (i.e., something impossible).

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM

it certainly doesn’t explain your references to people living in a dream world of sorts.

A “supernatural realm” is a dream world not someplace real.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

My idea of the universe is: everything that exists.

So after spending the entire evening trying to dictate to me what is and is not relevant to the topic (and amazingly so, considering how little you’ve understood of what I’ve said), you now propose to tell me that I should discard what science considers our universe and accept your definition over that of science.

And yet, I’m the one being dismissive of science (still an unsupported charge).

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

A “supernatural realm” is a dream world not someplace real.

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

You have chosen to define reality through a single prism, and you have yet to acknowledge any other field of human study to have any validity whatsoever. By that definition, your enjoyment of music constitutes you living in a dream world, denying your own reality.

The Schaef on February 27, 2012 at 11:49 PM

I have yet to see you take anything I’ve said at anything resembling face value.

I’ve been taking you for a theist. Is that not the case? I thought that was the “face value.”

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM

I’ve been taking you for a theist. Is that not the case? I thought that was the “face value.”

Steve Stoddard on February 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM

So when you said I was being “dismissively glib about science”, even though you still have not shown anywhere that I have behaved in such a way, you were taking me at face value?

When you changed my wording about quantifying God – the complete being – within just this universe, into quantification of ANY SINGLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE (talk about taking the meaning of things globally…), you were taking me at face value?

When you said I believe there is a better way to approach the world than being rational, you were taking me at face value?

When you said appreciation for music requires one first to believe in God, you were taking me at face value?

When you presumed I was making a claim that science could definitively prove God, you were taking me at face value?

When it took you no fewer than four attempts to acknowledge the scientific ideas (NOT MINE, but those of SCIENCE) about multiple universes, only to just dismiss it with no real discussion, you were taking me at face value?

Frankly, I’m having a hard time finding one thing to which you’ve shown real comprehension and given a straight answer.

The Schaef on February 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM

you now propose to tell me that I should discard what science considers our universe

I think science is great, in principle, but I don’t believe that scientists are gods, or somehow infallible. They can make some real whoppers in the mistake category.

The “big bang as origin of the universe” is one of them. (“Creationism” in a secular disguise.) “Multiple universes” is another. “Man-made global warming catastrophe” is yet another. The notorious “Uncertainty Principle” is one of the really big whoppers.

Remember how “science” used to ridicule plate tectonics, and it turned out to be correct?

Steve Stoddard on February 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM

I think science is great, in principle, but I don’t believe that scientists are gods, or somehow infallible. They can make some real whoppers in the mistake category.

Between that and plate tectonics, you just completely undermined your assertion that it would be rational for me to define 100% of my reality around science, to the exclusion of everything else mankind has learned about the world or his own nature.

The Schaef on February 28, 2012 at 12:10 AM

when you said I was being “dismissively glib about science”, even though you still have not shown anywhere that I have behaved in such a way, you were taking me at face value?

Well, I sure thought I was. Was I mistaken? I thought you were a supernaturalist trying to enlist science on the side of God. I think that is an attitude that is highly dismissive of science, in any reasonable sense. I thought you were trying to argue that since science can discover things that are very strange (at least to some people), then any rational scientist (or person in general) would logically have to accept the possibility of the supernatural.

Maybe I was mistaken. I think there’s a song that says it: I’ve been wrong before.

Steve Stoddard on February 28, 2012 at 12:17 AM

I think that is an attitude that is highly dismissive of science, in any reasonable sense.

So essentially, you discarded the things I said DIRECTLY about scientific theories, substituted your own prejudices about what I do and do not dismiss, and you consider that to be taking me at face value.

I thought you were trying to argue that since science can discover things that are very strange… then any rational scientist… would logically have to accept the possibility of the supernatural.

Which only demonstrates what I have been saying the entire evening about your misunderstanding. There is nowhere in any of my posts here that I have EVER supposed that a person – rational or otherwise – MUST accept a certain possibility, NOR have I EVER supposed that someone who does not is doing so because they are IRrational.

For you to suppose something that was never stated in anything I’ve written is the definition of not taking things at face value.

After six hours of trying to tell me what I believe, instead of listening and trying to achieve understanding, now you suppose you MIGHT have gotten me wrong? All the times I told you directly didn’t give you a hint? And you only concede so remote a possibility on one issue out of several listed off the top of my head? Or is this another post where you’re going to reply to me five times for five different questions and not address the big issue that ties them all together?

The Schaef on February 28, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Between that and plate tectonics, you just completely undermined your assertion that it would be rational for me to define 100% of my reality around science,

Wow, you have wildly misunderstood what I have been saying all along.

You seem to have taken me to have been advocating the substitution of scientists for God, and giving them a presumption of infallibility and inerrancy!

I actually didn’t realize you were that far off base. So maybe I have developed an exaggerated sense of how goofy you seemed. Sorry.

You need to make a clear distinction between the fundamentals of SCIENCE, i.e., the scientific method of observation, logic, experimentation, etc., on the one hand, and particular scientists who may or may not be good and rigorous about applying it, on the other hand. Surely, even in the field of religion, you must have some people who can be better at the practice of it than others? Do you take your religion to be “100% of what everybody who claims to be religious says”?

Steve Stoddard on February 28, 2012 at 12:41 AM

So essentially, you discarded the things I said DIRECTLY about scientific theories,

Because it was off the subject.

Steve Stoddard on February 28, 2012 at 12:43 AM

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