Dawkins 7 Point Scale

Richard Dawkins has a seven point scale  to help people describe themselves with regard to their level of conviction about theism and atheism.  Wikipedia describes it as follows:

  1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: “I do not believe, I know.”
  2. De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
  3. Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
  4. Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. “God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”
  5. Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.”
  6. De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
  7. Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”

Wiki also adds: “Dawkins self-identified as a ‘6’, though when interviewed by Bill Maher and later by Anthony Kenny, he suggested ‘6.9’ to be more accurate.”

Jerry Coyne labels himself as 6.9.  If you ask me, 6.9 is a hilarious number.  It’s the very number that would be chosen by an atheist who is closed minded, but does not want to admit to being closed minded.

Me?  I’d give myself a 2.5.  I am, after all, more open-minded about these issues than Coyne or Dawkins.

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81 Responses to Dawkins 7 Point Scale

  1. physphilmusic says:

    I think most theist philosophers of religion would rate their belief no lower than 2.0. Few Christians, even the rashest and boldest apologists, would be ready to defend something close to 1.0 intellectually speaking. There simply is too much uncertainty and doubt, not to mention the lack of a truly knock-down argument for the existence of God. However, I think a good number of genuine Christians, even “intellectually sophisticated ones” (probably including myself) are closer to 1.0 personally speaking – they live their life as if the existence of God were certain, or at least attempt to do so (as manifested by praying daily, reading the Bible, faithfully attending Christian services and gatherings, and confessing and avoiding sin).

  2. eveysolara says:

    I could never be an atheist, god knows I’ve tried, pun intended

  3. Crude says:

    Yeah, there does seem to be a “have his cake and eat it too” angle going on.

    I notice the same thing with the curious defining of atheist as “a lack of belief in God” rather than “a belief that God does not exist”, which (failure though it is) screams insincerity.

  4. chunkdz says:

    physphilmusic, how is belief based upon personal revelation less “intellectually sophisticated”?

  5. physphilmusic says:

    You notice that I put the phrase in scare quotes. It’s certainly possible to make a (Plantingian) argument that personal religious experiences are veridical and sufficient to rationally justify belief in God. Such an argument would also be “intellectually sophisticated”. But I don’t think it’s inaccurate, nor is it an insult, to say that there are Christians who are better-equipped to offer rational grounds and arguments for why they believe in God. Such Christians would be “intellectually more sophisticated”. Sophistication doesn’t necessarily equal better or even more truthful, of course.

  6. chunkdz says:

    I guess I just don’t get your dichotomy between “intellectually speaking” (2.0 rating) and “personally speaking” (1.0 rating).

    Are you suggesting that personal experience occurs outside of one’s intellect?

  7. physphilmusic says:

    Even if both occur “inside” the intellect, they certainly use different parts/functions of it. If I based my belief in God solely on intellectual arguments, the implications would probably be that my faith and spiritual life would wax and wane according to which philosopher I’m currently reading, or every time I find a weakness or point of uncertainty in the argument. The intellectual part of my mind easily doubts. So I chose to go on with my spiritual life by basing it on trust and my personal experiences of God. It may be true that these experiences are delusional, and my trust misplaced. But without doing so, then you would forgo the possibility of having a living, active faith.

    In other words, I view my personal relationship with God as if I’m relating to a living person. Similarly, when relating to family members, it doesn’t seem irrational to harbor a slight suspicion that none of them really love or care about you; it might be that they’re all secretly Machiavellian psychopaths who are just posing due of societal pressure and habit. Although there may be evidence which contradicts that, it’s perfectly possible that someone doesn’t have 1.0 certainty about the proposition “My family genuinely, selflessly and altruistically loves and cares about me.” Yet I choose to go on with my life that that proposition is true. I don’t care that atheists may call this irrational or dangerous. God, and other relationships with human beings, after all, are not mere intellectual propositions.

    There is also a possible “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe” aspect to this – or what is described in James’ The Will to Believe. Rational uncertainty might possibly come only if you put trust first.

  8. chunkdz says:

    “In other words, I view my personal relationship with God as if I’m relating to a living person.”

    “As if”?

    If God were not a living person He should not be much worth worshipping. Why then should a believer feel compelled to act “as if”?

    “If I based my belief in God solely on intellectual arguments, the implications would probably be that my faith and spiritual life would wax and wane according to which philosopher I’m currently reading.”

    This presupposes that spiritual revelation is not intellectual. This is straight out of “The God Delusion”.

    “There is also a possible “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe”

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    It’s a real, tangible thing, faith. Substantial. Evidential. Your attempt to drive a wedge between faith and intellect – as if faith is just some kind of working assumption but intellect is where all the reasonable beliefs happen – is exactly the tactic used by the Gnus to paint believers as irrational and deluded.

  9. physphilmusic says:

    Dear chunkdz,

    If God were not a living person He should not be much worth worshipping. Why then should a believer feel compelled to act “as if”?

    Firstly, I used the term “as if” because I don’t know whether you are a theist or non-theist, Christian or non-Christian. I don’t know how you relate to God, if at all. I use “as if” because that’s how I usually portray the situation to non-believers.

    Secondly, by the term “living person” I meant “living, mortal, tangible sinful, homo sapiens sapiens.” I did not mean to imply that God is dead, or that He does not have a real personality. But while my relationship with God may approach that of an everyday human relationship, there are certain qualities which make it distinctly different. For example, God doesn’t always answer our prayers, questions, and pleadings straight away. Sometimes He chooses to be silent. Sometimes you feel His presence just as real as any physical human being. Also, we cannot literally “see” God with our physical eyes. This doesn’t imply that our relationship with God is inferior to that of a relationship with a human being.

    I hope you retract your statement above after reading my clarification. In the context of my definition(s), saying “if God were not a living person, He should not be much worth worshipping” would mean that you would only worship a God in the form of a human being whom you can always see with your own physical eyes. Surely you don’t believe that. My God is living – He is more alive than any creature in the Universe, but He does not share all the properties of His own creation.

    This presupposes that spiritual revelation is not intellectual. This is straight out of “The God Delusion”.

    Spiritual revelation is indeed not intellectual. But what do you take the word “intellectual” to mean in this context, chunkdz? Have your thoughts been subtly whisked away by those very atheists you seem to decry and abhor? “Intellectual” does not necessarily mean “right”, “better”, or even “more rational”. “Non-intellectual” does not necessarily mean “irrational”, “deluded”, or “wrong”. When I say that spiritual revelation is not intellectual, I mean that it doesn’t necessarily involve formal, explicit logical argumentation in the form of a string of premises strung together to form a conclusion. Which is why spiritual revelation can come to people who haven’t been educated at the most prestigious universities and seminaries int he world. The fact that I do not know what the cosmological argument is does not preclude me from the possibility of receiving spiritual revelation.

    Of course, you may retort by saying that even simply understanding the very basics of the Gospel message involves a bit of intellectual reasoning. Well if you would like to broaden the definition of “intellectual” to encompass almost all activities of a conscious human mind, that’s your own decision.

    Spiritual revelation in my view is related to the witness of the Holy Spirit. Now I’m far from being a theological and philosophical expert, so I will not attempt to give a systematic explanation of how that exactly works. But some things are sure: the witness of the Holy Spirit is not constrained by evidentialism. It is not constrained by the finite capabilities of the human mind. Hence again, it is not “intellectual”. “Intellectual” things are limited in their pleasure and capability to transform a human being. Spiritual revelation is not.

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It’s a real, tangible thing, faith. Substantial. Evidential.

    And what point are you exactly trying to make here? Your quote doesn’t contradict mine at all. Indeed, faith (or rather, the witness of the Holy Spirit, the “sense of God” in us) can be self-authenticating. Although it is strictly speaking, “subjective”, it can certainly be sufficient to justify our status as rational persons, as you should know if you’ve read any Plantinga. But surely this isn’t enough for Dawkins and the rest of his gnu friends. Dawkins doesn’t have the same spiritual experiences and witness of the Holy Spirit as we do. The same goes for most of the rest of the world. It is very rare to find a situation where unbelievers could be persuaded to believe in God simply due to me telling them that I had a spiritual revelation. Even in the event that they do become persuaded, I would not regard that as a purely “intellectual” change of position. And since as I have said, spiritual revelation cannot be adequately expressed by the intellect alone, it therefore cannot be counted as “evidence” in the same way as the Leibnizian cosmological argument is evidence for the proposition “God exists”.

    Therefore when I talk about “intellectual certainty”, or “evidence”, especially when I’m talking about those concepts in in the presence of unbelievers who don’t share my faith nor my experiences, I talk about arguments for the existence of God such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, ontological, and transcendental arguments. These arguments can be used for convincing others and providing a reason for my faith. Do these arguments enrich and support my faith? Certainly. But do I base my faith on them? No, obviously not. I remember having had a relationship with God before I ever picked up a book on philosophy or apologetics. A faith based on intellectual arguments would be dry, dead, inert, and impotent. It is akin to Dawkins’ attempts to console himself that knowing and understanding the mechanism of evolution is enough to fulfill that strong, God-given yearning for the transcendent present in most human beings. Such attempts are ultimately empty and hollow.

    Your attempt to drive a wedge between faith and intellect – as if faith is just some kind of working assumption but intellect is where all the reasonable beliefs happen – is exactly the tactic used by the Gnus to paint believers as irrational and deluded.

    You’re way too worried about the gnus, chunkdz. You’ve fallen into their game, their imposition of scientism and evidentialism on the rest of the world. And your worries have caused you to become easily incensed whenever someone suggests that faith is not merely an intellectual act. The irony is that I suspect you, having quoted Hebrews 11:1, do not believe in evidentialism yourself. I suggest you take an honest look at the heart of your own faith and see what it is ultimately based upon. I’ve tried several times to glimpse into that core, and it seems that for me, the basis of my faith isn’t purely evidential arguments. There are some basic questions and axioms there, but I find that my persistence in praying, reading the Bible, and trust is what sustains it.

    After all, Christianity is a religion. Don’t be fooled into thinking that to be a shameful thing, as the gnus have tried to do.Christianity is not an intellectual position. I do not believe in God in the exact same way that I believe the proposition “F = ma”. Let the gnus delude themselves into thinking that their beliefs are “pure reason” without any chunk of “faith” or “religion”. Let them parade the Emperor’s new clothes, blindly believing in their left-liberal ideological fantasies in conjunction with their godlessness. We don’t need to play their game – we need to show it that it is fundamentally wrong. There is no “wedge” to be driven between “faith” and “intellect” – because those two are not the same things.

  10. physphilmusic says:

    “Christianity is not an intellectual position”

    Let me clarify that to mean that “Christianity is not merely an intellectual position.

  11. chunkdz says:

    “I hope you retract your statement above after reading my clarification.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    You’re way too worried about the gnus, chunkdz. You’ve fallen into their game, their imposition of scientism and evidentialism on the rest of the world.

    They don’t worry me. They’re kind of silly.

    I suggest you take an honest look at the heart of your own faith and see what it is ultimately based upon.

    It’s based upon God’s revelation. I perceive God.

    Spiritual revelation is indeed not intellectual.

    I think you are wrong. The intellect is the detector with which God equipped us to perceive Him.

    There are some basic questions and axioms there, but I find that my persistence in praying, reading the Bible, and trust is what sustains it [faith].

    Faith is the evidence of things not seen. It persists even when I don’t pray, or read the bible. It persists even when I don’t want it to, or when I lose trust in it.

    Faith is like looking at a rose and knowing it is red. I can study botany or physics, but I know that the rose is red without any of those things. I do not need to contemplate the rose to know that it is red. I do not need to persevere in prayer about the rose. I don’t need books about roses.

    I simply perceive with my intellect.

    If you are having to “do” something to keep the rose appearing red, then I invite you to take your own advice about honestly looking at your own faith.

  12. physphilmusic says:

    “Faith is like looking at a rose and knowing it is red. I can study botany or physics, but I know that the rose is red without any of those things. I do not need to contemplate the rose to know that it is red. I do not need to persevere in prayer about the rose. I don’t need books about roses.”

    Knowing that a rose has properties X, Y, Z based on your empirical observation and books on roses is similar to knowing that God also has properties A, B, C after some experience of reading the Bible, praying, having a relationship with Him. However if you don’t constantly keep a real rose in front of you, your “faith in the rose” might grow weaker. It grows “weaker” in several possible ways, such as 1) You might not be fully sure that such a rose exists in the world, and 2) You might not be sure that the existing roses in the world really have all properties X, Y, Z.

    Now the situation with perceiving God is that sometimes our experience of God is as real as having a red rose in front of our very eyes, but at other times, when we get sucked into the mundane realities of life, it becomes much less convincing. Now are you telling me that 100% of the time you are always fully aware of God’s presence? You never doubt, you never question, you always perceive God as real as any other physical object? If that’s all true, then that means you’re very special – because we have evidence that most Christians, don’t experience that kind of 24/7, 365 days/year awareness. This we know from biographies of famous Christians, Christian writings (Oswald Chambers comes into mind), and even in the Psalms themselves. I don’t think my faith is “fake” because I don’t constantly feel God around me. The important thing is that even when God doesn’t feel that instantly perceivable, I persevere in my faith. Faith becomes a dry but persistent act of the mind.

    “I simply perceive with my intellect.”
    And what do you mean by “perceiving by your intellect”? I’m not sure what you mean by “intellect”. Do you perceive in the sense that you are, for example, 100% sure that the universe needed a creator? Or is this perceiving manifest itself in the form of your steadfast, doubtless belief in God?

    “If you are having to “do” something to keep the rose appearing red, then I invite you to take your own advice about honestly looking at your own faith.”
    Are you suggesting to me that were you to stop attending services, stop reading the Bible, stop praying, stop communing with other Christians, stop thinking anything related to religious matters, and focus on worldly matters, that will not diminish your awareness of God one bit? Are you serious? I think you’re the one being controversial here.

    I find that if I focus on worldly pleasures, if I loosen my guard in resisting temptation, over time it becomes easy for me to just forget about God. I become more prone to accepting atheist lines of reasoning.

  13. chunkdz says:

    “Now are you telling me that 100% of the time you are always fully aware of God’s presence? You never doubt, you never question, you always perceive God as real as any other physical object?”

    The original question was not “are you fully aware of God’s presence at all times”. It was “Do you believe in God”.

    To that I answer “Yes, all the time”. I score myself a “1” on the Dawkins belief scale because although I may waver in trusting Him from time to time I can’t seem to ever not believe in God. The rose is always red for me. No, I don’t look at the rose as often as I should but everytime I do it is still red.

    That is faith – it is evidence that reveals God’s unchanging nature by confirming over and over that He does not change.

    “And what do you mean by “perceiving by your intellect”? I’m not sure what you mean by “intellect”. Do you perceive in the sense that you are, for example, 100% sure that the universe needed a creator? Or is this perceiving manifest itself in the form of your steadfast, doubtless belief in God?”

    By intellect I mean my mind’s discernment. When I was saved it was as if a veil were removed from my eyes. My mind’s eye perceives God. Can’t help it.

    “I find that if I focus on worldly pleasures, if I loosen my guard in resisting temptation, over time it becomes easy for me to just forget about God. I become more prone to accepting atheist lines of reasoning.”

    Forgetting about God is not the same as not believing in God. I forget about God on a daily basis. Sometimes I entertain atheist lines of reasoning. But I can’t pretend that I don’t perceive him. I could forget about the rose, or listen to an atheist tell me that I am actually looking at a yellow rose, not a red rose. But then I open my eyes and God still hasn’t changed.

    I appreciate your candor, physphilmusic. Thanks.

  14. The Deuce says:

    Somewhat off-topic, but has anybody else noticed how Gnus tend to conflate plausibility with probability, like Dawkins does here?

  15. How is 6.9 close minded? It’s just demonstrating more certainty that a god doesn’t exist than a simple 6. It’s intellectually honest enough to not claim certainty. I’d say I’m a 6.9 myself. There is absolutely no evidence that any gods exist, but plenty of evidence to disprove the claims made about many gods. If any god does exist, we presently don’t know anything about it, so it is irrelevant to how we live our lives.

  16. Michael says:

    How is 6.9 close minded? It’s just demonstrating more certainty that a god doesn’t exist than a simple 6. It’s intellectually honest enough to not claim certainty. I’d say I’m a 6.9 myself.

    I don’t think the scale works in increments of 0.1. For example, why are you are 6.9 instead of a 6.8? What’s the difference between a 6.7 and 6.6? Unless someone can show how it works in increments of 0.1, a 6.9 is just a 7 that doesn’t want to be perceived as a 7. It’s not intellectual honesty that is behind the score of a 6.9, it’s the desire to be perceived as intellectually honest.

    There is absolutely no evidence that any gods exist,

    My. You state this with such a sense of certainty. People who are as sure as you are about this tend to be psychologically invested in their beliefs.

    Anyway, for your claim to make any sense, it would help if you could cite the hypothetical data that would count as evidence for God’s existence.

  17. What do you mean? Are you the creator of the scale, able to be the arbiter of how it can and cannot be used? Saying I’m a 6.9 is like saying I’m 99% sure as opposed to maybe 90% or 95% sure. It’s just to convey how strongly I feel that a god is unlikely to exist. Any position on this scale is intellectually honest outside of a 1 or 7, because nobody KNOWS if a god exists or not (and that’s not an appeal to solipsism, either). That’s why I’d never go to a full 7.

    It’s funny how you’re so judgmental, especially since it appears you’re a theist. Yes, I state with certainty that there is presently no objective empirical evidence that any gods exist. If there were, people would be trumpeting it everywhere. I’m not saying that we won’t ever find evidence, but don’t make the mistake of advancing the argument from ignorance/god of the gaps fallacy. I’m not “psychologically invested” in my beliefs; in fact, I don’t “believe” things at all, I accept or reject empirical claims based on evidence. I would have no problem accepting that a god existed, given the evidence, the same standard we demand for any other empirical claims. I have no NEED to not want a god to exist, I’ve just arrived at this position based upon the available arguments and (lack of) evidence.

    In addition, we certainly can demonstrate that specific gods don’t exist by taking claims made about them and testing them against the evidence. Just as we know that Zeus isn’t needed to create lightning and isn’t residing on Mt. Olympus, we know that the Abrahamic deity is irreconcilable with our knowledge of history, cosmology, biology, etc. If a god does exist, we presently know nothing about it, and the only honest god-belief position is deism, which is functionally equivalent to atheism since we cannot alter the way we live our lives in any manner based on the existence of a god we know nothing about.

  18. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist, you managed to talk about God and evidence for two whole paragraphs without fulfilling Michael’s request, which was, “cite the hypothetical data that would count as evidence for God’s existence.” You may assume he means the “Abrahamic deity”. So is there anything at all, hypothetically speaking, which would count as evidence for God’s existence?

  19. Kevin says:

    I believe in God and accept the findings of modern science. Guess that makes them compatible.

    Also, please answer Michael’s question about what would count as evidence, and how we would know.

  20. I didn’t ignore his request. I clearly stated that empirical evidence would be required. Same thing every other rational person demands before accepting most any claim, but which theists make special exception for when it comes to their god belief.

    Yes, I assumed he was referring to the Abrahamic deity, but I already know that this god does not exist per the evidence. This god, as described and claimed, is irreconcilable with reality. However, this same standard would apply to any god claim. If you claim to know something, then demonstrate how you arrived at this knowledge. “Personal experience”, intution, anecdotes, argument from ignorance, etc. are not valid to substantiate a claim.

  21. Kevin, I also was a Christian for 30 years, including after earning a degree in molecular biology. I always accepted evolution as well. The problem was that I never bothered to reconcile my beliefs with the evidence. Once I attempted this, the cognitive dissonance came on strong.

    Not all science is incompatible with all god belief. However, claims about certain gods are incompatible with certain scientific evidence.

  22. Kevin says:

    Appreciate the video. I doubt you believe this, but I have certainly given much thought to the very things mentioned in the video, and have come to the polar opposite conclusion, and here’s why.

    Atheism, to me, is simply illogical. It doesn’t work. The more scientists discover about life and the universe, the less tenable atheism as a worldview becomes. Ultimately, atheism requires one of two broad realities – either the universe (or multiverse, if there is one), all matter and energy, somehow came into existence from literally nothing (quantum vacuum is not literally nothing), or matter and energy in some form have simply existed for eternity and have transitioned forms, for example a quantum fluctuation producing a universe. The first is completely ridiculous and I dismiss it right off the bat.

    The second, while a bit trickier because of the theistic equivalent, is still not impressive to me. I simply see no reason at all to accept that matter and energy just happen to exist for no reason whatsoever, let alone that they just happen to have properties that allow spontaneous creative elements and the ability to accidentally create life. The amount of mental gymnastics it would require for me to be able to accept that seriously is tiring just to even consider.

    That’s the ultimate consideration for my beliefs. A creator deity makes far more sense than no creator deity. Even if I thought the lack of biblical literalism was a real threat to Christianity – which I don’t – and even if there weren’t thousands of Christians who have considered the points in the video and have satisfactorily dealt with them (Biologos does nothing but talk about these sorts of things), I would not become an atheist. I would be a deist or a “non-specified” theist, because I don’t need the Bible or Christian doctrine to conclude that atheism is illogical and is not currently worth any further consideration until new evidence, or at the least far better arguments, are presented in its favor.

  23. You doubt I believe this? Huh? Why would I lie to myself and everyone else? Talk about illogical.

    Atheism doesn’t require anything. Atheism is not a stance on how the universe came to exist. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Period. Anything beyond that may be correlated to atheism, but isn’t a necessity or caused by atheism. In fact, if anything, it is evidence that leads to the conclusion of atheism, not atheism that leads us to conclude philosophical naturalism.

    I agree, the universe coming from “nothing” is absurd; it makes no sense. Of course, the same can be said of a god coming from nothing. Now, if you claim a god can be eternal, then so can the universe, lest you appeal to special pleading. The amount of mental gymnastics it takes to not realize that you’re making the same claims about your god as you reject about the universe is quite impressive. If these are your possibilities, then the universe being eternal is the more parsimonious and natural explanation. Besides, if a creator exists, we don’t know anything about it, therefore, it is irrelevant to how we live our lives, and the deistic view is functionally equivalent to the atheistic view.

    Trust me, no Christian apologetics websites have satisfactorily addressed this. Their arguments are rife with fallacies. Besides that, attempting to reconcile the claims about the Abrahamic deity with the evidence demonstrates that it does not exist.

    I’ll restate it: atheism is a lack of belief in gods. You were an atheist at birth; we all were. Nobody is born believing in a god, just as nobody is born believing in Bigfoot. In fact, you’d never even know what Bigfoot is if nobody created this creature.

  24. Michael says:

    What do you mean? Are you the creator of the scale, able to be the arbiter of how it can and cannot be used?

    No. I just don’t see how you can score in increments of 0.1. I asked you, “why are you are 6.9 instead of a 6.8?” No answer.

    I asked you, “What’s the difference between a 6.7 and 6.6?” No answer.

    It would seem to me that you simply are a 7, but want to be perceived as being “open minded,” thus you choose 6.9. I see no evidence that your scoring has anything to do with intellectual honesty.

    I didn’t ignore his request. I clearly stated that empirical evidence would be required.

    Yes you did. We all know that “empirical evidence would be required.” We just have NO idea what you would count as evidence for the existence of God. So I am asking you again-

    What possible hypothetical data would count as evidence for God’s existence?

    Your refusal to answer the question indicates you are not being intellectually honest in that you insist on Hiding the Goalposts.

  25. Kevin says:

    You doubt I believe this? Huh? Why would I lie to myself and everyone else? Talk about illogical.

    I meant that I doubt you would believe that I had carefully considered the points you brought up, since I didn’t wind up with the same conclusion as you.

    Now, if you claim a god can be eternal, then so can the universe, lest you appeal to special pleading.

    The idea of eternity in the past is not all that comprehensible to me regardless of theism or atheism being true. However, one of them does have to be true, far as I can tell, and I have a much easier time accepting that a supernatural creator deity that is not subject to natural law is the exception, rather than the universe. You find the idea of the eternal universe/multiverse parsimonious, I find it silly.

    Trust me, no Christian apologetics websites have satisfactorily addressed this.

    Yes they have. Unless you can explain to me why your standard is the one I should go by, rather than using my own reason?

    Their arguments are rife with fallacies.

    Whose aren’t? Like I said above, atheism doesn’t even approach being a logical worldview for me unless atheists actually come up with some good arguments, which has yet to occur. Now granted, most of the atheists I have read were people like Dawkins, Harris, Coyne, etc, and these men aren’t exactly known for solid arguments. If you know of a heavy hitter in atheistic philosophy that you prefer, let me know and I’ll check him out.

    Besides that, attempting to reconcile the claims about the Abrahamic deity with the evidence demonstrates that it does not exist.

    We disagree.

    I’ll restate it: atheism is a lack of belief in gods. You were an atheist at birth; we all were. Nobody is born believing in a god, just as nobody is born believing in Bigfoot. In fact, you’d never even know what Bigfoot is if nobody created this creature.

    I also didn’t agree with the scientific method at birth, did not believe in mathematics, did not believe that Ronald Reagan was president at the time (1982), did not agree that cheeseburgers were pretty darn good, and did not agree that my name was Kevin. Oh, and I also was not a philosophical naturalist. My position at birth on factual matters and beliefs is not a very good argument to make as to what I should believe as an adult who can reason.

  26. TFBW says:

    So, apparently we can add prototypeatheist to the list of Gnus who have passed up the “specify your evidence” challenge. I’m not sure that he even understands the problem: he seems to think it’s enough to demand evidence without any specifics.

    Just in case you’re still reading, PA, let me illustrate the problem for you with the following hypothetical conversation.

    Atheist: “There’s no evidence for God.”
    Theist: “How about X?”
    Atheist: “That’s not evidence!”
    Theist: “Okay, how about Y?”
    Atheist: “That’s not evidence!”
    Theist: “I think I see a pattern emerging. Is there anything, in principle, which I could show you, and which you would accept as evidence?”
    Atheist: “Yes. Evidence. Any evidence.”
    Theist: “Right, but what I consider to be evidence and what you consider to be evidence are two different things, because I consider X and Y to be evidence. I suspect you’ll keep telling me, ‘that’s not evidence,’ no matter what I show you.”
    Atheist: “That’s because you don’t have any evidence.”
    Theist: “Or because you refuse to accept anything as evidence.”
    Atheist: “Excuses, excuses. Show me evidence, and I’ll accept it.”
    Theist: “Why should I believe that?”
    Atheist: “Are you calling me a liar?”
    Theist: “No, I’m pointing out that you’re asking me to believe without evidence.”
    Atheist: “What do you mean?”
    Theist: “You’re asking me to take your word that there is some set of data that you would accept as evidence, but I’ve seen no evidence to substantiate that claim.”
    Atheist: “That’s because you haven’t presented any evidence. It’s not my fault that you don’t have any.”
    Theist: “Then meet me half way. Tell me something that I could say or do or prove or demonstrate which you would accept as evidence.”
    Atheist: “You could produce some evidence.”
    Theist: “Such as?”
    Atheist: “That’s your problem to solve, not mine.”

    This is known as “hiding the goalposts”. It’s about as intellectually honest as a pair of dice with no spots — the owner says he remembers where they are. The atheist in question is completely invulnerable so long as he never commits to anything.

    So are you going to commit to something, PA, or keep hiding the goalposts?

  27. Why am I using 6,9 instead of 6.8? Why would someone use 99% instead of 98%? It’s an arbitrary number, it’s just a means of expressing certainty.

    What’s the difference between 6.7 and 6.6? Well, it’s a 7 point scale, in increments of 0.1 if we are allowing such, so the difference would be approximately 1.5%.

    Again, the only truly intellectually dishonest positions on this scale are 1 and 7, because nobody really has knowledge either way with absolute certainty. 6,9 is just a way of conveying that I feel more strongly than just 6. No, I’m not a 7, so don’t strawman me or speculate as to my reasons when I’ve already explained them.

    I’m not “hiding the goalposts”, that’s what theists have done for millenia, as they move their undetectable gods from caves and mountaintops to the heavens and now to beyond space and time, appealing to presupposition and solipsism to defend their belief. If a god physically manifested in front of me and several credible witnesses, that would count as evidence. How do we know birds exist? We can see them, touch them, study them. That’s what it would take for a god to be demonstrated to exist. Oddly enough, Christians claim this very thing happened 2,000 years ago, yet not a shred of evidence to back it up.

  28. Kevin, as I mentioned in my video, anyone who claims to be a believer in the Abrahamic god and who also claims to accept scientific evidence for things like evolution, cosmology, etc. either doesn’t fully understand the science or doesn’t fully understand the claims of the Bible. They are simply irreconcilable by any objective standard.

    I don’t “find” an eternal universe more parsimonious, IT SIMPLY IS. Do you know what parsimony is? It means the simplest explanation for something is likely the best one. See, when you claim that the universe can’t be eternal, but your god can be, you’re just using special pleading, as well as introducing an unnecessary extraneous step into the process. Instead of “universe exists”, it’s “Creator exists, then universe exists”. You’re also making another fallacy, argument from incredulity. Just because you can’t fathom the universe being eternal, that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Just because you find something more believable doesn’t mean it’s more likely. Lastly, there’s the fact that even if a creator existed, we don’t know anything about it.

    Christian apologetics cannot satisfy an empirical approach. There’s a reason it’s called “apologetics”; because they have to make excuses to defend their ancient claims against the overwhelming contemporary philosophical arguments and evidence against them. I’ll link to a video I made addressing some of John Lennox’s arguments below.

    Whose arguments aren’t rife with fallacies? Mine. I don’t use fallacious logic. You haven’t demonstrated any. I’ve pointed out several logical fallacies specifically to you. How are Dawkins, Harris, Coyne, et. al. “not known for solid arguments”? They are some of the most well known atheists for a reason – because they are very rational in their approach. You’re just being dismissive because they disagree with you and because the apologists you consume likely denigrate them without actually addressing the arguments in any real manner.

    Your position of atheism at birth is relevant because THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR GOD. Ironically, the other things you mention all have evidence to demonstrate that they exist. Cheeseburgers exist, Reagan existed, and there is evidence for philosophical naturalism. None for your god. What other nonsensical claims do you now believe in? See, you accept all those things as true because of the evidence, but you accept your religion because it was indoctrinated into your mind.

  29. Well, I guess we can add TBFW into the “special pleading” camp, since his god is the only thing he accepts as true without any evidence (well, at least, I hope, otherwise he might think chemtrails exist and that vaccines cause autism).

    I understand the question. There is no “problem”. How do you accept any claim as true? What makes other scientific claims credible to you? Empirical evidence. As you’ll see above, I did reiterate the type of evidence which would be required to accept that your god exists. You know, like Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades during the Bronze Age. That would be pretty good evidence. Your lame example is a sad attempt at shifting the burden of proof.

    But that’s cute, “hiding the goalposts”. I bet that’s a favorite amongst your apologist heroes.

  30. Kevin says:

    Kevin, as I mentioned in my video, anyone who claims to be a believer in the Abrahamic god and who also claims to accept scientific evidence for things like evolution, cosmology, etc. either doesn’t fully understand the science or doesn’t fully understand the claims of the Bible.

    You seem to be conflating your opinion with ironclad fact here. Unless you can demonstrate that your opinion is the standard by which I should judge my own conclusions?

    I don’t “find” an eternal universe more parsimonious, IT SIMPLY IS.

    See above.

    It means the simplest explanation for something is likely the best one.

    This is hardly a law of logic. I will take an idea that makes sense over an idea that does not make sense, which is why I believe in God. You can throw accusations of special pleading all you want, but as I said previously, I can at least imagine that a creator outside of the laws of the universe could be different. With the universe alone, I can’t even begin to do the same. What you seem to be doing here is telling me I should abandon an idea that makes sense in order to accept an idea that does not make sense, simply so Occam’s razor is preserved.

    Just because you can’t fathom the universe being eternal, that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Just because you find something more believable doesn’t mean it’s more likely.

    Absolutely. However, until I have a reason to conclude that atheism makes more sense than theism, I will cast my lot with theism.

    There’s a reason it’s called “apologetics”; because they have to make excuses to defend their ancient claims against the overwhelming contemporary philosophical arguments and evidence against them.

    Apologetics derives from the Greek word apologia, which refers to a systematic defense. Christian apologists are those who defend Christian ideas. It has zero to do with “excuses”, “ancient” is not synonymous with “wrong”, and there is nowhere close to enough good arguments against them to be able to say “overwhelming” with a straight face.

    They are some of the most well known atheists for a reason – because they are very rational in their approach.

    No, they are well known for the same reason that Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton are well known. Their arguments are routinely simplistic and rife with fallacies, but so long as they can manipulate the emotions of like-minded people, they will be heralded as great, wise men. Those of us who disagree with them aren’t nearly so easily impressed by their approach.

    You’re just being dismissive because they disagree with you and because the apologists you consume likely denigrate them without actually addressing the arguments in any real manner.

    I dismissed them because their arguments didn’t even begin to impress me. And here you have accused me of not being able to think for myself, that I get all my opinions from these mystery apologists. I think this accusation says a lot more about you than about me.

    Your position of atheism at birth is relevant because THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR GOD.

    If it was irrelevant, why did you bring it up?

    See, you accept all those things as true because of the evidence, but you accept your religion because it was indoctrinated into your mind.

    Sounds to me like you were indoctrinated by The God Delusion and Letter to a Christian Nation. See how easy accusations are to fling around when you aren’t willing to concede the ability to think to your opponent?

  31. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist said:

    As you’ll see above, I did reiterate the type of evidence which would be required to accept that your god exists. You know, like Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades during the Bronze Age. That would be pretty good evidence. Your lame example is a sad attempt at shifting the burden of proof.

    I’m not trying to shift the burden of proof; I’m just trying to determine exactly what it is that I’m burdened with in your case. We’ve gotten a little closer to determining that, but we’re not quite there yet. For instance, in an earlier post, you say, “if a god physically manifested in front of me and several credible witnesses, that would count as evidence.” That sounds good, although clearly it’s not the kind of evidence that I can provide. A question, though: if someone stood in front of you and claimed to be God (or a god), would you accept their word for it, or would you require further evidence? If further evidence would be required, then we haven’t found the goalposts yet: we need to know what else you want. So long as there is unspecified evidence required, the goalposts are hidden whether you are intending to hide them or not.

    A similar caveat applies to your “Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades” request. As it happens, the vast majority of expert historians agree that he did indeed do so, but you are obviously sceptical regardless. What additional evidence do you require? What’s insufficient about the evidence as it stands?

  32. Michael says:

    Why am I using 6,9 instead of 6.8? Why would someone use 99% instead of 98%? It’s an arbitrary number, it’s just a means of expressing certainty.

    Yes, it would seem you want to express certainty without having to defend your sense of certainty. Let’s face it – you are clearly attracted to the 7. You want to hug it as closely as you can without having to own it. This is the only explanation on the table that explains why you chose a 6.9 instead of a 6.8.

    What’s the difference between 6.7 and 6.6? Well, it’s a 7 point scale, in increments of 0.1 if we are allowing such, so the difference would be approximately 1.5%.

    Your intellectual dishonesty is starting to show. I noted that Dawkins’ scale cannot handle increments of 0.1. Does anyone really believe there are 10 shades of atheism between a 7 and a 6??? What’s the evidence of this? To demonstrate I am right, I ask you to distinguish between a 6.6 and a 6.7. Rather than address the question, you play dumb and pretend it’s a simple math question. You can’t distinguish between a 6.6 and a 6.7 because Dawkins’ scale cannot handle increments of 0.1.

    Again, the only truly intellectually dishonest positions on this scale are 1 and 7, because nobody really has knowledge either way with absolute certainty.

    I don’t agree. I think a 6.9 is just as intellectually dishonest, if not more. For a 6.9 is simply a 7 that is trying to hide itself from being perceived as a 7. That explains why you can’t tell us why you are a 6.9 instead of a 6.8.

    6,9 is just a way of conveying that I feel more strongly than just 6.

    You could have accomplished that with a 6.3 or 6.5. But you want to hug the 7.

    No, I’m not a 7, so don’t strawman me or speculate as to my reasons when I’ve already explained them.

    But your explanation is most unsatisfactory, especially since my questions remain unanswered. Yes, you sure do look like a 7.

  33. Michael says:

    I’m not “hiding the goalposts”, that’s what theists have done for millenia, as they move their undetectable gods from caves and mountaintops to the heavens and now to beyond space and time, appealing to presupposition and solipsism to defend their belief.

    Yes, you were hiding the goalposts. And I agree with TFBW in that the goalposts are still fairly well hidden.

    But at least we have something to work with. When you claim there is no evidence for God, we can translate this to mean that God has not physically manifested himself before you. Apparently, nothing else will do. It’s crucial to note this, as what you require are not mere clues, or data that make more sense in the light of God’s existence, but nothing less than an actual physical manifestation from God.

    Okay, so let’s say that some entity appears before you and claims to be God. Can you explain how an entity that appears before you claiming to be God is actually evidence of the existence of God?

  34. TheMapleKind says:

    You know, like Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades during the Bronze Age.

    Of course Jesus Christ didn’t walk the Earth for 3 decades during the Bronze Age. You’re about 1200 years too early at the least and 3300 years too early at the most. Still got the “Bronze Age god” canard stuck on repeat ?

  35. Michael says:

    Two weeks and still no reply.

  36. No reply to what, Michael? You’re simply repeating the usual apologetics and poor logic espoused by so many Christians. Tell me, what does it take for you to accept something as factual? What type of evidence do you typically required when it comes to empirical claims? If I tell you that I have $1,000 in my pocket, what would convince you this is true? Seeing me take the money out of my pocket. You have no good reason for believing me otherwise. Why you apply a different standard to your belief in a god which is irreconcilable with the evidence is beyond me. Nothing more than special pleading and presupposition.

  37. @TheMapleKind Typically, you focus on semantics rather than the actual discussion at hand. “The Bronze Age” is just shorthand for the period in history during which the Bible was written. Sure, by the time the Jesus story allegedly took place, it was more like the Iron Age in that geographical area. Of course, the Biblical god couldn’t defeat enemies which had iron chariots, so who really knows.

    Your god doesn’t exist, it is irreconcilable with reality. Stop pretending that my shorthand for that period in history when your mythology was recorded renders my arguments invalid.

  38. And Michael, you continue to strawman me. You keep insisting that I’m a 7 on the Dawkins scale, even though I’ve made my position clear as to why I choose to apply 6.9 to myself, and that I consider a 1 or 7 to be disingenuous. And yet you call me the intellectually dishonest one here. Yeah, because I am the one who ignores all the facts in order to cling to archaic myths centering around the Canaanite war god Yahweh.

  39. Kevin, you seem to be missing the point that Abrahamic theology is irreconcilable with our knowledge of history, anthropology, cosmology, evolution, etc. If you cling to belief in these myths, then you either don’t understand all the evidence we have in these fields, don’t understand the implications of the mythology, or both. That’s not opinion, that’s fact. It is also a fact that an explanation which requires fewer steps is more parsimonious, by definition. Therefore, the universe existing on its own is more parsimonious than a god existing on its own, then creating the universe. You seem to not understand this concept as well.

    You will “cast your lot with theism until atheism becomes more likely”? You have it backwards. Atheism isn’t making any claims, it’s a response to theism. Without theism, atheism doesn’t exist. You’re again shifting the burden of proof. Everyone is an atheist by default, nobody is born believing that any gods exist. Nobody should become a theist until there’s good reason to do so. Your thinking is ass backwards.

    By all means, if such well known atheists are only famous because their arguments are full of fallacies and propaganda, then please address some of these. I’d love to hear it.

  40. TFBW says:

    I still have some questions awaiting a response here too, prototypeatheist.

  41. Michael says:

    No reply to what, Michael?

    No reply to this:

    Okay, so let’s say that some entity appears before you and claims to be God. Can you explain how an entity that appears before you claiming to be God is actually evidence of the existence of God?

    You’re simply repeating the usual apologetics and poor logic espoused by so many Christians.

    Then why not just answer my question?

    Tell me, what does it take for you to accept something as factual?

    You expect me to accept the following fact: you are a 6.9 and not a 7.0 on Dawkins’s scale. So what did you offer to back up this claim?

    What type of evidence do you typically required when it comes to empirical claims? If I tell you that I have $1,000 in my pocket, what would convince you this is true? Seeing me take the money out of my pocket. You have no good reason for believing me otherwise.

    I know what $1,000 looks like. So let’s go back to your “evidence” for God? Do you know what God would look like if He appeared before you?

  42. Michael says:

    And Michael, you continue to strawman me. You keep insisting that I’m a 7 on the Dawkins scale, even though I’ve made my position clear as to why I choose to apply 6.9 to myself, and that I consider a 1 or 7 to be disingenuous.

    But your rationalization does not seem to be able to address the questions and points I raised here.

  43. And what are those?

  44. Yes, Michael, if an entity physically manifested in front of me without any natural explanation, and this vision was corroborated by multiple credible witnesses, possibly even captured on film, then this would be proof of a god. It would also help if said god also gave us some sort of information that would be only known to a god, like some not yet understood scientific quandry, or maybe performed some miracles in front of us. Again, you would demand empirical evidence before accepting most any claim…yet you somehow think it’s rational to suspend this requirement when it comes to believing that a god exists.

    Do YOU know what god would look like? I mean, surely he isn’t a gray-bearded old man or a fair-skinned, blue-eyed hippie…yet billions of people around the world have no problem representing their god in this manner. I mean, if it were Jesus Christ, surely there would be physical wounds to substantiate his claim. But, since you claim god exists, then please share with me how you’ve arrived at this conclusion. My conclusion is just a rejection of your spurious claim.

    You’re continued obsession over the exact level of my lack of belief in gods is a common tactic amongst the intellectually dishonest. Ben Stein tried pulling the same schtick in his film “Expelled:No Intelligence Allowed” when he interviewed Dawkins. After being repeatedly told that he wasn’t comfortable putting a number on his certainty that no gods exist, Dawkins finally acquiesced, and then Stein attempted to attack him for not having a justification for the number he gave. It’s a pointless exercise to distract from your lack of evidence.

  45. TFBW says:

    Well, prototypeatheist, it looks like you’ve partly answered some of my questions in that last response: specifically, you want miracles as evidence. I’m sure that Michael will have something to say about that, so I’ll leave him to it.

    The other issue that remains unanswered is this one:

    A similar caveat applies to your “Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades” request. As it happens, the vast majority of expert historians agree that he did indeed do so, but you are obviously sceptical regardless. What additional evidence do you require? What’s insufficient about the evidence as it stands?

    This is still an open question.

  46. Let me guess, Michael is going to claim that miracles happen every day and I just refuse to acknowledge them?

    As to the existence of Jesus Christ, no such thing exists. A man named Yeshua may have existed in that time and place, but if he did, he wasn’t an incarnate version of the creator of the universe (which is actually just a Canaanite war god). Also, we have no reliable way of knowing which claims in the Bible about this man are even accurate, since we know that the Bible has been heavily edited, embellished, and contradicts itself all over the place. Any god which creates skeptical and curious beings, but denies them evidence to satisfy their curiosity and rewards gullibility is bent on schadenfreude.

  47. Kevin says:

    If you cling to belief in these myths, then you either don’t understand all the evidence we have in these fields, don’t understand the implications of the mythology, or both.

    The fourth option is that you’re wrong. Unless you can explain to me why I should trust your reasoning more than mine?

    Therefore, the universe existing on its own is more parsimonious than a god existing on its own, then creating the universe. You seem to not understand this concept as well.

    I fully understand the concept you’re talking about, assuming by “parsimonious” you mean Occam’s Razor. What you don’t seem to understand is that Occam’s Razor is not a law. It is a general rule of thumb, but it should be instantly discarded if the explanation with the fewest factors also happens to be completely illogical, as is the case with atheism.

    Look, even if you were to manage to convince me that your view of the compatibility of Christianity with all the different fields of science was in fact correct, and I abandoned Christianity, I would not be an atheist. You say later that “Atheism isn’t making any claims, it’s a response to theism.”, and while that statement is true so far as it goes, you stop way too early. Atheism necessarily implies a belief that existence without a creator deity is possible, and I have yet to see any naturalistic (or to be fair, any atheistic yet supernatural/transcendent) explanation for existence and the features thereof that even scratches the surface of being credible.

    You can try saying “But see, evolution explains life!”, but naturalism does not explain why matter has the properties that allow evolution to occur. You can talk about quantum mechanics explaining how the universe can emerge from so-called “nothing”, but naturalism does not explain why there is quantum energy that has the properties to allow a universe to emerge that has the properties to allow evolution that has the properties to create rational, thinking beings who contemplate the meaning of existence. The only answer naturalists have is “just because” – a rewording of your parsimonious brute-fact universe, it just IS. Atheism is among the most irrational worldviews I have ever encountered, so when you look at reality through the prism of assumption of a creator god, it looks a lot different than if you can convince yourself somehow that there is no such being.

    Everyone is an atheist by default, nobody is born believing that any gods exist.

    Are you saying atheists have the reasoning capabilities of infants? Because otherwise I really don’t get your point here. Theism makes more sense than atheism, so I am a theist. Even if I abandoned Christianity, I would believe in “the unknown god” referenced by the Apostle Paul. I would still be a theist, because atheism isn’t logical. I don’t need churches or the Bible or “indoctrination” as a child to tell me that.

    Post filled with ridiculous New Atheist quotes incoming.

  48. Kevin says:

    Okay, after looking through source material, I’m going to be overwhelmed if I list every example of idiotic, fallacious statements that amount to nothing more than New Atheist propaganda. So how many examples would you like? I can at least pick the most egregious that way.

  49. Michael says:

    Let me guess, Michael is going to claim that miracles happen every day and I just refuse to acknowledge them?

    Er, no.

    Let’s look at your claim:

    Yes, Michael, if an entity physically manifested in front of me without any natural explanation, and this vision was corroborated by multiple credible witnesses, possibly even captured on film, then this would be proof of a god. It would also help if said god also gave us some sort of information that would be only known to a god, like some not yet understood scientific quandry, or maybe performed some miracles in front of us. Again, you would demand empirical evidence before accepting most any claim…yet you somehow think it’s rational to suspend this requirement when it comes to believing that a god exists.

    So the evidence you demand, the evidence you need, is something “without any natural explanation.”

    Something like “some sort of information that would be only known to a god, like some not yet understood scientific quandry, or maybe performed some miracles in front of us.”

    Things that would have no natural explanation.

    In other words……a gap.

    The evidence you demand, the evidence you need, is some Gap. Your atheism is premised on God of the Gaps reasoning: there are no gaps, therefore there is no evidence for God. There is no evidence for God, therefore He does not exist.

    Yet you speak out both sides of your mouth, as earlier you warned:

    I’m not saying that we won’t ever find evidence, but don’t make the mistake of advancing the argument from ignorance/god of the gaps fallacy.

    So the evidence you demand, the evidence you need, is a fallacy. Since it would be a fallacy, it cannot count if we are to approach this topic in an intellectually honest and consistent manner. Meaning you are left without any answer to the simple question: What possible hypothetical data would count as evidence for God’s existence?

    As someone who is a 6.9/7 on Dawkins scale, I am not surprised that you are struggling so much with this very basic question. Given your extreme sense of certainty about your atheism, you need something Fantastic, Sensational, and Earth-Shattering to force open the closed mind. Thus, you need a Gap. A Huge Gap that Cannot Possibly Be Denied. The need for this Huge Gap is so deep that it completely blinds you to the fact that you had previously declared god of the gaps reasoning as a fallacy.

    You need to start over to be taken seriously – you need to first clarify where you stand on god of the gaps reasoning. Is it a valid argument? Yes or no?

  50. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist, I’m struggling to reconcile your conflicting remarks on Jesus. On the one hand, you posture as if it would be easy to provide you with relevant, convincing evidence, as follows:

    As you’ll see above, I did reiterate the type of evidence which would be required to accept that your god exists. You know, like Jesus Christ walking the Earth for 3 decades during the Bronze Age. That would be pretty good evidence. Your lame example is a sad attempt at shifting the burden of proof.

    Then, when pressed on the matter, you respond thus.

    As to the existence of Jesus Christ, no such thing exists. A man named Yeshua may have existed in that time and place, but if he did, he wasn’t an incarnate version of the creator of the universe (which is actually just a Canaanite war god).

    The first statement makes it sound easy to provide the evidence. The second statement makes it sound impossible. Which is it? Part of the difficulty in answering this question is that you still haven’t answered the question which was actually asked. I asked, “What additional evidence do you require? What’s insufficient about the evidence as it stands?” Clearly you are totally dissatisfied with the evidence as it stands on the subject of Jesus, but you haven’t specified what specific data would satisfy you.

    Based on what you’ve said so far, I incline to the view that there is no possible data that anyone could offer you which would make the existence of Jesus acceptable evidence, and your first statement quoted above amounts to bluffing. Feel free to prove me wrong with specifics.

  51. No, I’m not wrong. The Bible is factually incorrect all over the place, and downright absurd in general. For instance, we know the events in the Bible allegedly took place in a small outpost in the Middle East from about 2000-3500 years ago. Humans have existed for 200,000 years, and were already living on every inhabitable continent at that time. The Earth is 4 billion years old. The universe is 13 billion years old. So, you either don’t understand the evidence which demonstrates these facts, or you don’t understand what the Bible is actually claiming. We also have the fact that genetics proves that Adam & Eve never existed, because the smallest population of humans to ever exist was a few thousand, and evolution explains this. Without Adam & Eve, there’s no sin, and no need for Jesus to die for our sins. There was never a great flood. I could go on, but you get the point.

    Atheism is not illogical. Atheism would not exist without the concept of gods existing. For example, you don’t believe in a 7-headed lobster that lives on Saturn because nobody has even proposed the concept to you. You simply lack belief in such a thing by default, and shouldn’t believe in such a thing unless it was proven to exist with evidence. Atheism is just that, but with respect to god claims. Atheism doesn’t make any claims inherently, it’s just the rejection of the claim that gods exist. Whatever preceded our universe’s existence seems illogical to us, including your assertion that a disembodied mind (which you use special pleading to claim doesn’t need a cause, but which you demand of the universe) created it. Of course, most natural phenomena that we take for granted today were once perplexing to humanity, who then invoked gods as the cause behind them.

    If you rightfully rejected Abrahamic theology, you wouldn’t need to be an atheist. It’s perfectly rational to be a deist, in which you believe that something created the universe, but where you don’t make any unsubstantiated claims about this “higher power”. As indicated by my 6.9 rating on the Dawkins scale, I find this possibility to be infinitesimally small, yet I am not arrogant nor closed-minded to the point of rejecting it entirely. It simply boils down to a matter of personal credulity whether or not you believe a god exists. In any case, since we’d know nothing about the nature, will, or desires of said god, it is wholly irrelevant to us, and deism is functionally equivalent to atheism.

    No, I’m not saying that atheists have the intellect of an infant, but thanks for the condescension and continued strawman of my arguments. What I’m saying is that everyone is born an atheist, and that atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. Since nobody is born believing in gods, atheism is the default position. God belief is taught, typically indoctrinated into children at a young age. Why not wait until children have the ability to think independently and reason before feeding them unsubstantiated myths? Why not teach them about different religions so that they can choose which, if any, seems plausible?

    Lastly, “New Atheists” is just a term used to dismiss the growing population of atheists who refuse to sit down and shut up and let religion run rampant. Religion silenced dissent by force for millenia, and now that information can flow freely and without fear of reprisal (at least in some places), theists are not happy about it. Religion can no longer keep people sealed in their echo chamber of churches and small communities. There’s a reason that religion is dying since the internet became widely available. Knowledge is power.

  52. Michael, I’m not struggling with anything, other than understanding how humans have the ability to use such mental gymnastics in order to cling to their indoctrinated beliefs in ancient superstition without a shred of evidence, and in the fact of overwhelming evidence against it. I do not care if people believe a god exists, I do care when they make unsubstantiated claims about this god they claim exists, and especially when they attempt to control the lives of others based off of what they claim this god wants. Feel free to believe that a disembodied mind created existence if you want, I don’t really care. But don’t claim that the Abrahamic deity exists, because it is irreconcilable with reality. You don’t get to jump from “a universe from nothing is illogical” to “Yahweh and his human avatar Jesus Christ exist”. We can have the discussion about the origins of the universe and the possibility of a creator, but not until you accept that the Biblical god doesn’t exist.

  53. TFBW, there is no evidence as it stands that Jesus Christ exists or existed. You have conflicting, historically inaccurate, embellished claims of a radical rabbi who claimed to be the son of a Canaanite war god as “evidence”. Sorry, that’s not evidence. There’s just as much evidence for Allah or many other gods. There were many self-professed “prophets” during those times and in the same areas. The Jesus myth just was the most successful at propagating, largely because the Roman Empire chose it to spread their power.

    Seriously, any omnipotent deity which desires for its creation to believe in it in order to achieve eternal bliss, but refuses to provide the type of evidence that any critical mind would require, is wholly bent on schadenfreude. Why reward gullibility and punish skepticism, knowing that you designed the human mind to be curious and seek proof? Why an eternal consequence for the very finite “crime” of unbelief? Why allow murderers and rapists into heaven after apologizing, but refuse entry to those who wouldn’t believe fantastical tales which defy the evidence?

    And before you go hunting for some apologetics to answer these questions, instead try to think about them independently and critically and convince yourself that the entire premise isn’t wholly absurd.

  54. TFBW says:

    @prototypeatheist:
    Since you have completely failed to engage with any of the questions asked or points raised by either Michael or me, and chosen instead to just rant, I’m ready to abandon the discussion. I could repeat the questions again, but I’m pretty sure the results would be the same, and that would merely waste time. I don’t like it, but I don’t see any way to get around our catastrophic failure to engage.

  55. I don’t need to answer questions about your mythology, it’s a fruitless effort. I may as well quiz you on the characters in Harry Potter and claim that wizards are real, but claim that you just don’t understand the book. Like I said, believe in a god all you want, and we can discuss the existential questions, but not until you admit that the Abrahamic god is just as fictitious as the 5,000+ other gods humans have created in their imagination. If you find Christianity plausible in the year 2015, then you’re delusional.

  56. Kevin says:

    And there is the New Atheist attitude finally out in the complete open – “if you don’t agree with me, you’re delusional, because I’m super duper rational and I have figured out all the answers that people much smarter and more knowledgeable than I have not been able to, and I know for 100 percent certainty that I’m right and you’re wrong. Oh I’m sorry, I meant 99 percent certain.”

    And you call me condescending lol. If you ever come back and manage to leave all your unjustified arrogance and certainty behind, we can have a conversation. Until then, you seem to be nothing but another typical, narcissistic New Atheist.

  57. Billy Squibs says:

    prototypeatheist – there are so many assertions, and assumptions in your comments that it becomes impossible to reply to them. For example, you write the following:

    For instance, we know the events in the Bible allegedly took place in a small outpost in the Middle East from about 2000-3500 years ago. Humans have existed for 200,000 years, and were already living on every inhabitable continent at that time. The Earth is 4 billion years old. The universe is 13 billion years old. So, you either don’t understand the evidence which demonstrates these facts, or you don’t understand what the Bible is actually claiming. We also have the fact that genetics proves that Adam & Eve never existed, because the smallest population of humans to ever exist was a few thousand, and evolution explains this. Without Adam & Eve, there’s no sin, and no need for Jesus to die for our sins. There was never a great flood. I could go on, but you get the point.

    There is so much packed in that it is difficult to know where to begin. What I would suggest is that if you are actually going to offer a substantive critique against Christianity (or anything for that matter) then you best start with what people believe. Why do you suppose that Christians who have actually considered their faith and understand it aren’t bothered by the age of the universe? What about the range of views on Adam & Eve? Why not argue against the strongest views of your opponents rather than attempt to hit softballs out of the park? Frankly, what you have written above is likely to be of no direct consequence to regular contributes to this blog and therefore I don’t see why you would take the time to write it in the first place. Perhaps it makes you feel better?

    Given the tone of your comments, your gossamer thin critique of simplistic theology and your various repeated unsubstantiated claims (e.g. “here is no evidence as it stands that Jesus Christ exists or existed” (btw, you have just contradicted yourself) or “Canaanite war god” stuff) I’m guessing that there really will be no profit for anyone in pursuing this further.

    I’ll close with this. John Loftus has taught me one thing. It’s that fundamentalist Christians can and do turn into fundamentalist atheists and both of these steam back and forth along the same track apparently without realising it.

  58. And there’s the continued use of the derogatory, meaningless term “New Atheist” in a vain attempt to dismiss my valid arguments because I don’t coddle your ridiculous beliefs as possibly credible.

    I do know that your god doesn’t exist, and have provided you much evidence and logical argument to demonstrate this. Your refusal to accept reality is typically referred to as “delusion”, because you believe things exist when they demonstrably do not.

    But feel free to call me arrogant, but only right after you tell me about your personal relationship with the creator of the universe…

  59. Billy Squibs, the entire premise of this comment thread has been that Christians either don’t fully understand science or don’t understand the implications of their beliefs, and/or have failed to attempt to reconcile their knowledge with their beliefs.

    The fact that Christians create apologist arguments in a vain attempt to justify their beliefs in the fact of evidence which destroys past theology does not mean their beliefs have merit. Tell me, if people who sincerely believed in the Abrahamic god literally believed the Genesis account and literally believed the universe was encapsulated by a “firmament” above the Earth, how does it follow that our scientific discoveries to the contrary can simply be incorporated into the doctrine without completely destroying it?

    I haven’t contradicted myself at all. There is ZERO empirical evidence that Jesus CHRIST exists. Unless you have some you’re withholding? Here you go: Yahweh is a Canaanite war god adopted by the Hebrews to justify and inspire their destruction of other tribes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

  60. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist said:

    I don’t need to answer questions about your mythology, it’s a fruitless effort.

    No wonder you can’t answer my question: you can’t even identify what the question was. Hint: the questions are the sentences that end in a question mark. I never asked you questions about my mythology; I asked questions about your epistemology.

  61. What’s your question? The evidence I would require to believe your fairy tale? What evidence do YOU typically (any other time outside of your special pleading to make an exception for Yahweh/Jesus Christ) require before accepting something? What other things do you use “faith” to believe to be true (and don’t even start with the false equivocation between believing something will happen based on experience and believing in something with zero evidence).

  62. TFBW says:

    Ah, so you did recognise the question. So are you going to answer it with an answer, or evade it by responding with more questions, like you just did?

    As for me, I’d have to say that my reasons for believing that Jesus existed are fairly pedestrian: he’s one of the most discussed and influential people in history, and the only people who doubt his existence seem to be fringe cranks with an entire beehive in their bonnets about denying his existence for ideological reasons. I’m not one to dismiss fringe ideas just because they’re fringe, mind you — I have quite a fondness for them, in fact — but there comes a point where a crank makes so little sense that I just stop paying attention.

    So, your turn. How about you answer the question with an answer this time? Fair’s fair.

  63. I’m not evading anything. I use the same standard of evidence to accept that a god exists as I would to accept any other empirical claim. If you tell me you have $1,000 in your pocket, I won’t believe you unless you show it to me. Even then, it could be some sort of trickery, but at least there’d be good reason to accept it as reality. You can’t even give me even that when it comes to your god, and in fact, the evidence demonstrates otherwise.

    Again, the fact that a historical Yeshua existed is irrelevant. For one, it isn’t an absolute certainty, not as much as other historical figures. I think a man did exist, or that the Jesus in the Bible is a combination of people who existed, but that has no bearing on the extraordinary claims the Bible’s authors make. Basically, even if this man did exist, there’s no evidence that he performed any “miracles”, and no reliable way to know which claims about him are credible, since we know the authorship history of the gospels and we know there are embellishments and attempts to make him fit the OT prophecy. In the end, if this man was the human avatar of the creator of the universe, it makes no sense for him to communicate the most important information in human history via the method he chose. Even if he chose to visit only a small Middle Eastern outpost for 33 years in the Bronze Age and leave behind written instructions, couldn’t he have written his own autobiography? Not rely on secondhand accounts from 4 different authors who plagiarized each other?

    You know another widely discussed and influential person from history? Muhammad. And he existed. So, does that mean that you need to go pick up the sequel to the Bible and believe it?

  64. TFBW says:

    Aaaaand still you haven’t told us what evidence you would require. You just evade with non-committal generalities like, “I use the same standard of evidence to accept that a god exists as I would to accept any other empirical claim.” Basically, you can’t answer the question because there is nothing that would suffice as evidence, but you can’t actually say that explicitly because it would amount to an admission that you aren’t an open-minded empiricist on this issue, but rather a plain old closed-minded atheist.

  65. No, I clearly told you that empirical evidence is required, just like any other empirical claim. I even gave you an example about having $1,000 in your pocket.

    I’m not the closed-minded one here. I was a Christian. I have no NEED nor REASON to be an atheist, it’s simply the result of knowing things to be true and not having the ability to lie to myself to pretend like the god of the Bible exists. I couldn’t believe in Jesus Christ even if I tried at this point, because I know for a fact no such thing exists, at least not according to the demonstrably false and absurd claims of the Bible. How do YOU know that Allah doesn’t exist? Or Thor? Or Zeus? Or any of the other thousands of gods you clearly believe were invented while refusing to accept the same of your god? You’re not so closed-minded as to think none of them exist, are you?

    You, on the other hand, NEED and/or WANT your narrative to be true, because you prefer a more comforting reality to the harsh one that actually exists, and because you don’t want to admit that you were lied to and have been believing nonsense for this long.

  66. Michael says:

    Michael, I’m not struggling with anything,

    Yes you are. You are struggling with the question, “What possible hypothetical data would count as evidence for God’s existence?”

    other than understanding how humans have the ability to use such mental gymnastics in order to cling to their indoctrinated beliefs in ancient superstition without a shred of evidence, and in the fact of overwhelming evidence against it.

    The only one engaged in mental gymnastics is you. You are the one who tells us that god of the gaps reasoning is a fallacy, so we better not make the mistake of trying to advance it. Yet when you try to answer the question you have been struggling with, it turns out the evidence you demand, the evidence you need, is a gap.

    It turns out that all your posturing about theism being “without a shred of evidence” is empty bluster, for the only thing you would accept as “evidence” would be the very thing you would also dismiss as a fallacy.

    I do not care if people believe a god exists, I do care when they make unsubstantiated claims about this god they claim exists,

    Who gets to decide whether a claim is “substantiated?” You? The guy who talks out both sides of his mouth when it comes to evidence for God?

    and especially when they attempt to control the lives of others based off of what they claim this god wants.

    Here you give yourself away. Y’see, I have not attempted to control your life in anyway. Yet you lash out at me as if I have. Me thinks you are lashing out at your Christian past.

    Feel free to believe that a disembodied mind created existence if you want, I don’t really care. But don’t claim that the Abrahamic deity exists, because it is irreconcilable with reality.

    LOL. The authoritarian streak begins to appear, as you are now trying to order me around. I’ll claim the Abrahamic deity exists, especially given your inability to demonstrate God’s existence is “irreconcilable with reality.”

    Your problem here is that you confuse your own perceptions/opinions with truth and reality. To you, it looks like God’s existence is irreconcilable with reality, but not to others. And the world does not revolve around prototypeatheist and his impressions.

    You don’t get to jump from “a universe from nothing is illogical” to “Yahweh and his human avatar Jesus Christ exist”.

    But you get to dismiss god of the gaps reasoning while at the same time building your atheism on god of the gaps reasoning. Physician, heal thyself.

    We can have the discussion about the origins of the universe and the possibility of a creator, but not until you accept that the Biblical god doesn’t exist.

    I have seen no evidence that you are capable of a true discussion that goes beyond you shouting your New Atheist talking points at us.

    Once again, you need to start over to be taken seriously – you need to first clarify where you stand on god of the gaps reasoning. Is it a valid argument? Yes or no?

  67. Michael says:

    And there’s the continued use of the derogatory, meaningless term “New Atheist”

    The term “New Atheist” is neither derogatory nor meaningless, as I recently showed.

    Of course, we can understand why prototypeatheist does not want to be known as a New Atheist – given the embarrassing behavior and claims of New Atheist leaders, more and more atheists want to distance themselves from this label.

    in a vain attempt to dismiss my valid arguments because I don’t coddle your ridiculous beliefs as possibly credible.

    I do know that your god doesn’t exist, and have provided you much evidence and logical argument to demonstrate this. Your refusal to accept reality is typically referred to as “delusion”, because you believe things exist when they demonstrably do not.

    Thank you for providing even more evidence that you are a 7 on Dawkins scale (showing I was right about your intellectually dishonest attempt to pose as a “6.9”). Let’s have a look:

    1. You describe theism as a “ridiculous belief” and you are unwilling to consider theism as something that is possibly credible. In other words, theism is so ridiculous that you cannot treat it as being possibly credible.

    2. You unleash your extreme sense of certainty: I do know that your god doesn’t exist, and have provided you much evidence and logical argument to demonstrate this.

    3. You are so certain in your atheism that you then proceed to portray those who disagree with your position as being mentally ill: Your refusal to accept reality is typically referred to as “delusion

    Your posturing is that of a 7.0, a closed-minded atheist who is certain that God does not exist.

  68. Michael says:

    I’m not evading anything. I use the same standard of evidence to accept that a god exists as I would to accept any other empirical claim. If you tell me you have $1,000 in your pocket, I won’t believe you unless you show it to me.

    Let’s consider the claim “Intelligent life exists on other planets” and create a scale of 1-7 for it, where 7 is absolute denial of ETI and 1 is absolute belief that ETI exists. I take it prototypeatheist is a 6.9 on this scale, almost certain that ETI cannot possibly exist, right? After all, if ETI existed, someone should be able to reach in their pocket, push aside the $1000, and pull out ET.

  69. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist said:

    No, I clearly told you that empirical evidence is required, just like any other empirical claim. I even gave you an example about having $1,000 in your pocket.

    So when I ask what evidence it would take to persuade you that Jesus is real, you helpfully tell me what evidence it would take to persuade you that I have $1000 in my pocket. Repeatedly.

    I couldn’t believe in Jesus Christ even if I tried at this point, because I know for a fact no such thing exists, at least not according to the demonstrably false and absurd claims of the Bible.

    And thus my previous assessment that “there is nothing that would suffice as evidence” is proved true. Congratulations, you are a perfect 7.0 on the Dawkins scale. There’s no need for this coy “6.9” stuff when you know for a fact.

  70. Michael says:

    I’m not the closed-minded one here.

    Compared to me, you are. If we accept your claims on faith, you are a 6.9. If you had bothered to read the blog entry, I am a 2.5. To be as certain in my theism as you are in your atheism, I would have to be a 1.1.

    I was a Christian. I have no NEED nor REASON to be an atheist,

    Really? As one who has abandoned the Christian faith, you come across as one who desperately needs to convince himself that he did the right thing.

    it’s simply the result of knowing things to be true and not having the ability to lie to myself to pretend like the god of the Bible exists.

    There you go again – confusing your perceptions with “knowing.”

    I couldn’t believe in Jesus Christ even if I tried at this point, because I know for a fact no such thing exists, at least not according to the demonstrably false and absurd claims of the Bible.

    Your 7.0-like extreme sense of certainty is noted. Do you derive comfort from your certainty?

    You, on the other hand, NEED and/or WANT your narrative to be true, because you prefer a more comforting reality to the harsh one that actually exists,

    If God did exist, you would be the one existing in a harsh reality, now wouldn’t you? Thus you NEED and/or WANT God to not exist, explaining your chest-thumping sense of certainty.

  71. Crude says:

    It turns out that all your posturing about theism being “without a shred of evidence” is empty bluster, for the only thing you would accept as “evidence” would be the very thing you would also dismiss as a fallacy.

    Pretty much. I also notice that much bluster and internet-rage is being poured out, but this point is being evaded as if it were radioactive.

    And it’s easy to see why. All this screaming of ‘It’s a fact! A FACT!’ about metaphysical, theological and philosophical questions isn’t just hard to maintain – even as rhetoric it crumbles the moment it’s admitted ‘Ouch. Okay, Mike, you made a good point here, I never thought about it that way.’ even the illusion of ‘I know it for a FACT’ drops.

    Really? As one who has abandoned the Christian faith, you come across as one who desperately needs to convince himself that he did the right thing.

    Thomas Nagel: “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.””

  72. The only gap here is your ignorance and inability to understand the burden of proof. You have zero evidence to support your claims that a Canaanite war god named Yahweh exists, created the universe, and later arrived using a human avatar in the Middle East; knowing this, you attempt to evade your responsibility to support this claim and attempt to shift the burden of proof onto me. If you had ACTUAL empirical evidence, you’d be presenting it, but you don’t, so you make weak attempts to claim that I’d never accept anything to prove that your mythology is true.

    What would it take for you to believe that Zeus exists? Thor? Allah? Vishnu? Don’t tell me that these gods don’t exist and that people can’t believe in them on faith, otherwise you’re creating a hypocritical double standard.

    Your god IS irreconcilable with reality, but reality isn’t exactly your strong suit.

  73. TFBW says:

    prototypeatheist said:

    The only gap here is your ignorance and inability to understand the burden of proof.

    You’ve already told us that you know for a fact that no such thing as Jesus Christ exists. There’s no evidence that can overturn that. What do you want — an admission of defeat? Personally, I’m only too happy to concede: I readily admit that I can not provide evidence that would persuade you.

  74. Yes, I do know for a fact that the human avatar of a Canaanite war god doesn’t exist. You’ll no more convince me that Jesus Christ exists than you will that Allah or Thor or any other demonstrably false god exists. There will be no evidence forthcoming of Jesus Christ existing, unless Jesus Christ exists outside of what is claimed in the Bible, because those are the claims that I can reject using the evidence. If Jesus Christ exists, it isn’t as described.

    Only profound ignorance could make one HAPPY to admit that you have no evidence to provide me. If you had evidence, you’d be presenting it, and I’d be addressing its credibility. But you don’t, because you have none, and you will not have any, because your deity is a myth.

  75. Billy Squibs says:

    If you are certain that God does not exist then it all this “show me your evidence” stuff is dishinest rhetorical posturing. It is tautological to the point of foolishness to say that a non-existent god doesn’t exist.

    That TFBW says that he has no evidence to present to you that Jesus existed and
    still exists (and your comments are really confusing on this distinction) should firstly be understood in light of your closed-mindedness to the possible existence of God. Is this not obvious by now?

  76. A guy who thinks a Canaanite war god created the universe is asking me about the obvious? And accusing me of being closed-minded? The irony is thick.

    How is it foolish to factually state that a non-existent thing doesn’t exist? Typically, you’re playing silly philosophical games rather than just accepting the reality before you. If you claim a god exists, then you obviously have evidence which supports this claim. If you don’t, then you have no valid reason to believe this, and even less to assert it as truth. You should be able to readily admit that your god’s existence is just as (un)likely as the existence of any other gods. You use special pleading to believe that your god exists when you don’t use this methodology in believing anything else.

  77. Michael says:

    The only gap here is your ignorance and inability to understand the burden of proof.

    Of course you would think this. You don’t seem to recognize you are the one with the burden of proof. You are the one who brought up evidence. Not me. You are the one who insists, with great certainty, that there is NO evidence for God, as if you have some privileged insight into reality. And you expect me to agree with you.

    Your problem is that you confuse your own perceptions with reality and your own opinions with truth. Yes, I can see that prototypeatheist does not think there is any evidence for God. If prototypeatheist expects me to see the world as he does, he will need more than chest-thumping and sneering. I am not impressed or convinced by such tactics. If I’m supposed to think as prototypeatheist does, it is his burden to explain why and show how.

    You have zero evidence to support your claims that a Canaanite war god named Yahweh exists, created the universe, and later arrived using a human avatar in the Middle East;

    We’ve been through this already. You think I have “zero evidence” simply because God has not appeared before you (and your credible friends) to perform an amazing miracle that could not possibly have a naturalistic explanation. I’m supposed to be an atheist because you have not witnessed your miracle. But as I have explained, the evidence you need, the evidence you want, is a Gap. Your notion of “evidence” would be a Gap. Yet if someone tried to offer you a Gap, you would dismiss the Gap as a fallacy. Put simply, you are playing the dishonest game of “Heads I win, tails you lose.”

    knowing this, you attempt to evade your responsibility to support this claim and attempt to shift the burden of proof onto me.

    Wrong. By expecting me to think as you do, the burden is yours. You demand I supply you evidence because you want to posture as judge and jury. But if you are to play judge and jury, I need to know what you want. I need to know that you can come to this issue with an open- and fair-mind. Yet all I see is a closed-minded new atheist activist who hides the goalposts and thumps his chest in order to score debate points.

    If you had ACTUAL empirical evidence, you’d be presenting it,

    Why waste my time? The only thing you want is a Gap. That way, you can turn around and dismiss it as a fallacy. Besides, I don’t have the power to make God perform tricks for you.

    but you don’t, so you make weak attempts to claim that I’d never accept anything to prove that your mythology is true.

    My “weak claim” appears to be the truth – when you write “evidence,” this translates as “Huge Gap.” Which you will also translate as “Fallacy.”

    It’s pretty clear NOTHING could ever count as evidence for the existence of God. Which, BTW, is the position of some of your leaders like PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. As Myers himself has said, “there can be no god evidence, so let’s stop pretending the believers have a shot at persuading us.” At least he is being honest about all this.

  78. Of course there’s no evidence for any gods, if there were, you’d be giving it to me to substantiate your claim. I’m not saying there can’t EVER be evidence, I’m saying there’s no evidence right now, and furthermore, all the evidence we DO have demonstrates the claims about your god to be false. Yahweh, the Canaanite war god, did not use a human avatar to visit the Hebrews 2,000 years ago. If you find that plausible, you must also find it plausible that at least SOME of the 5,000+ other gods worshipped by humans exist on the same types of claims.

    Yes, I know your god doesn’t exist. Whether or not you’re willing to understand or accept the evidence to demonstrate that is beyond my control. However, in the end, my position is simply the rejection of YOUR positive claim. Atheism is the default position, just like lacking belief in fairies or Bigfoot is the default position. You claim your god exists. Prove it. You can’t, because you simply have “faith”, which you do not use in any other area, ever.

    You’re a typical intellectually dishonest theist, making fallacious arguments and using apologetics in a vain attempt to flip your obligations onto me. And, also typically, as I predicted in your Sam Harris article (which I just responded to), you’re claiming that PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins are my “leaders” simply because they are well-known atheists.

    Feel free to revel in your delusions while the rest of us process with our lives free of ancient superstition. You won’t even admit that Yahweh was a Canaanite war god alongside Baal and Asherah.

  79. Michael says:

    Yes, I know your god doesn’t exist.

    Yes, you sure do come across as one who thinks he knows. Not surprising, since closed-minded New Atheists (7/6.9 on the scale) usually confuse their opinions with knowledge.

    Whether or not you’re willing to understand or accept the evidence to demonstrate that is beyond my control.

    LOL. Thus says the one who comes to the table with his atheism built on the sands of god of the gaps reasoning. I know, if only I could understand that no gaps means no evidence means no God, I too could be as smart as you.

    However, in the end, my position is simply the rejection of YOUR positive claim.

    Keep telling yourself that. You didn’t come withholding a belief; you came expressing a belief – our reality has NO evidence for God. How do you know this? Because God did not personally appear before you and perform a Big Miracle that could not possibly be explained by science (a Gap).

    Atheism is the default position, just like lacking belief in fairies or Bigfoot is the default position.

    Time to retreat into “default status.” You are wrong. The only true default here is “I don’t know.” You claim to know there is no evidence for God. You claim the world contains no evidence for God. Those are beliefs about the world. I’m supposed to agree with you and you intend on purchasing this agreement with nothing more that taunts and mocking.

    You claim your god exists. Prove it.

    So you are demanding a Gap again, eh? So you can dismiss it as fallacy? Look, you have insulated your closed mind with your “heads I win, tails you lose” position. Why should I played the game you have carefully rigged to satisfy your confirmation bias?

    You can’t, because you simply have “faith”, which you do not use in any other area, ever.

    Let me guess – you are using Boghossian’s twisted definition.

    You’re a typical intellectually dishonest theist,

    I think you feel that way because I have exposed the intellectually dishonest essence of your “heads I win, tails you lose” atheism.

    making fallacious arguments and using apologetics in a vain attempt to flip your obligations onto me.

    What apologetics? All I did was ask some questions to flush out your reliance on god of the gaps reasoning. Sheesh.

    And, also typically, as I predicted in your Sam Harris article (which I just responded to), you’re claiming that PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins are my “leaders” simply because they are well-known atheists.

    Dawkins told his followers to “Go out and mock and ridicule the Christians.” And you obeyed.

    Here’s the bottom line. Your response makes no effort to engage the points I raised in my last comment. Instead, you simply repeat your tired Gnu memes that, I’m guessing, are supposed to offend and upset me. But it’s dime-a-dozen stuff. It would seem you have nothing else to offer.

    Worse yet is that you posted your response to my last comment a full 9 minutes afterward. Nine minutes. Substract the time it took you to type up your memes and its quite clear you had no interest in reading my comment and engaging the points I raised or addressing the problems I have highlighted. Add to that all the questions you have ignored throughout the thread, including a two-time request to have you clarify your position on god-of-the-gaps reasons.

    Obvious conclusion? Clearly, you are not interested in what i have to say, meaning that I am wasting my time with you. You will respond to any point I make by a) ignoring it and b) using it as an opportunity to preach your Gnu memes. I may as well argue with a wall.

    So it’s time to reciprocate. I’m not interested in hearing you preach anymore. It’s like a re-run of some old, bad TV sitcom.

    Good bye.

  80. Kevin says:

    New Atheists are absolutely certain in their own powers of reasoning. They can’t even begin to understand that many of us have honestly considered the evidence and come to a different conclusion than they have. I would counter “prove it” with “already been done”, because I’m convinced. That means a lot more to me than being able to convince a New Atheist of anything.

  81. Anjelus says:

    Read this in 2016. This was an EPIC comment thread, wow!

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