Dawkins Admits Nothing Can Persuade Him God Exists

We have seen that the central claim of modern day atheism – “There is no evidence for God” – is equivalent to saying “There are no Gaps.” That is, the evidence that the atheist demands is a Gap – something that cannot be explained by natural laws. Yet the same atheist will insist that the God of the Gaps approach is not a valid way of determining whether God exists. Heads I win, tails you lose.

Of course, don’t make the mistake of thinking that if only you could find a big enough Gap, the atheist would have to embrace that as evidence for God. After all, that’s not how it would work with Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist alive. Dawkins made this clear some time ago in an interview with atheist Peter Boghossian. You can see the demonstration for yourself in the video below. It starts at 12:30 and goes to 15:30. I’ll post a transcript below the fold.

Here is the transcript (with the relevant claims):

Boghossian: What would it take for you to believe in God?

Dawkins: I used to say it would be very simple. It would be the Second Coming of Jesus or a great, big, deep, booming, bass voice saying “I am God.” But I was persuaded, mostly by Steve Zara, who is a regular contributor to my website. He more or less persuaded me that even if there was this booming voice in the Second Coming with clouds of glory, the probable explanation is that it is a hallucination or a conjuring trick by David Copperfield. He made the point that a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent. It doesn’t add up to an explanation for anything. A non-supernatural Second Coming could be aliens from outer space.

[Peter Boghossian begins to speak and is in full agreement with Dawkins, arguing, for example, that if the stars spelled out a message from God, we would first have to rule out alternative explanations, like an alien trickster culture.]

Dawkins then agrees with Boghossian.

Boghossian then asks him: So that [stars aligned into a message] couldn’t be enough. So what would persuade you?

Dawkins: Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.

As Dawkins says, even if the Second Coming of Christ were to actually occur, Dawkins would not consider even that evidence for God. In his mind, it would be more likely that aliens would be playing a trick. Dawkins has painted himself into a corner with his extreme skepticism. In his mind, God = the supernatural and natural explanations, no matter how vague or incomplete, are always better than explanations that invoke the supernatural. Thus, it is not surprising he effectively admits nothing would persuade him to believe in God. In fact, he even makes a Freudian slip in acknowledging that all along, he has merely been paying “lip service” to the view that “a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.” It’s all been an illusion.

As atheist activist PZ Myers once wrote, ” There is no valid god hypothesis, so there can be no god evidence, so let’s stop pretending the believers have a shot at persuading us.”

It is indeed time atheists stop pretending they can be persuaded with Gaps.

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109 Responses to Dawkins Admits Nothing Can Persuade Him God Exists

  1. unclesporkums says:

    Silly Dick. When the Second Coming DOES occur, you won’t have much of a choice, but to “Bow your Knee and Confess that Christ is Lord.”

  2. Stardusty Psyche says:

    Dawkins, and most atheists, are at a cultural disadvantage of having been raised with, and so deeply saturated with, the notion of the hidden god that even a deeply conversant atheist like Dawkins is still at a loss as to what could convince him god is real.

    Actually, it is very simple.

    All god has to do is stop hiding. Make himself as obvious as the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans we all accept as real (Cartesian radical skepticism notwithstanding).

    God, being omnipotent and all, could easily make himself a visible, measurable, conversational part of our lives.

    People kind of know this intuitively as they think of the fantasy of dying and going to heaven and meeting god, upon which time it would be obvious, what with all the harps and clouds and ambrosia and floating about and shared knowledge of everything that there you are in heaven, so it turns out death is pretty great after all.

    Well, god could just do all that right now. True, a few skeptics out there doubt the reality of everything, so maybe they would still doubt, but god, being omnipotent and all, could put an end to that.

    Even simpler still, just leave it up to god. God is the omnipotent omniscient one, so why should some dumb little human have to figure this out.? If god wants us to know he is real I am sure the big guy could make his reality undeniable.

    But the opposite is the case, god hides and creates a world that by all apparent signs has functioned for billions of years just fine without him, so of course there are almost no theistic cosmologists or young earth creationist scientists, the holy books look like crackpot nonsense compared to science, and with god in deep hiding it sure looks like there is no such thing.

  3. jim- says:

    Still waiting…clearly that was to be imminent.looks like you’ve been suckered.

  4. jim- says:

    There is evidence I would except. But it has to be truth. You know, that thing that would be true to believer and non believer alike? It will never come by faith, which is all you have for your own proof. That same faith that is the lamest level of religious economy. Faith, being the pinnacle of the religious experience that has humanity at a standstill.

  5. Ilíon says:

    And just like clockwork, ‘jim’ show up to illustrate and demonstrate the thesis of the post.

  6. TFBW says:

    I’m sure I would disagree with jim if I could figure out what that tangled mess of words was supposed to mean.

  7. nsr says:

    What is the evidence you would accept, jim?

    Old Dawko can’t have long left on this Earth. I wonder if his views will change as his own mortality becomes ever more apparent.

  8. Dhay says:

    jim- > There is evidence I would accept. But it has to be truth. You know, that thing that would be true to believer and non believer alike?

    This is redolent of Sam Harris’ meme, “NOTHING IS MORE SACRED THAN THE FACTS“, so I’ll link you to the first of my (currently) seven long responses criticising Harris’ “FACTS” — and by extension your “truth” too — in the “Sam Harris Promotes Sam Harris Memes” thread.

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/sam-harris-promotes-sam-harris-memes/#comment-26848

    We only have to take a look at your current latest blog post entitled “Where the evidence leads” to discover what you yourself consider evidence you would accept, what you yourself would proclaim as truth — you know, that thing that would be true to believer and non believer alike:

    If we draw conclusions by simply following evidence that developed naturally from the vast variety of sources (not just our select cultural few) maybe there is something rather than nothing. Let me give you an example.

    Is the entire world crazy, or is it reasonable to accept that billions of humans have spiritual needs, unique perceptions, meditations, visions, dreams, and complex neurologies? Then, add the possibility of the data stream, akashic record, or 3D computer simulation, to those skilled in the meditative arts, or the paranormal tendencies of certain neurologies, the worldwide congruent teachings and vision quests of the shaman, the voodoo acolytes, those historically rich in the metaphysical oneness of reality and non-ordinary reality (non ordinary today) they do not even remotely resemble the god of Abraham or any form of omnipotence. Nor does it even remotely resemble Jesus, unless you want to discount every other human experience by creating your own evidence and forcing a lesser way through power.

    https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/where-the-evidence-leads/

    Frankly, I’m very glad there are not even remote resemblances, I wouldn’t be Christian if there were.

    All would agree on that as evidence they could accept, would they; all would agree on that as something that would be true to believer and non believer alike? In yer dreams!

    I’ll be surprised indeed if you are not implicitly positioning yourself as a non-believer in contrast to believing Christians. Although, like TFBW, I have difficulty parsing your weird and wonderful declarations into meaningful English, it’s plain to me that rather than you being on the non-believer side of your believer/non-believer divide you are yourself firmly a believer, someone who might derogatively be termed a “faith-head” — albeit a believer in New Age woo expressed in gibberish.

  9. Michael says:

    Actually, it is very simple.
    All god has to do is stop hiding. Make himself as obvious as the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans we all accept as real (Cartesian radical skepticism notwithstanding).

    Cartesian radical skepticism notwithstanding? As if that is a trivial point. Yes, the existence of the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans is not “obvious” in the light of hyper-skepticism, which is exactly the place atheists always retreat to. Dawkins is a perfect example of this. When God makes Himself as obvious as the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans (in the Second Coming), Dawkins retreats into hyper-skepticism. It could be aliens. Or he could be a brain in a vat that is being fed this imagery via a computer. Etc. Nothing could ever convince him.

    It’s no different with you. You can’t think of anything that would convince you. You are stumped. Your brain freezes up and comes up with blanks.

    So you punt.

    It’s the very pattern of a person who is hopelessly closed-minded yet struggles to come up with a way to posture as if he is open-minded. The problem for you is that there is plenty of evidence you are closed-minded about this issue, but none that you are open-minded.

    One more thing. When God makes Himself “as obvious as the sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans,” so too will be your/our sin. You don’t seem to realize your example is built on a false analogy. The sun and the moon and the mountains and the oceans are all morally neutral. You can observe them and they don’t observe back. With God, with His obviousness comes His judgment. And I seem to recall you are not willing to repent of your sins.

    Actually, two more things. Do you agree with your fellow atheist, militantatheistrising, that “Christians should be tortured,” “Christians should be put in concentration death camps,” and “Christians should be wiped off the face of the earth?”

  10. Mel Wild says:

    As C.S. Lewis said, “to some God is discoverable everywhere, to others nowhere.” If one were actually honestly looking, they would see that they continue to exist and, ultimately, there’s no coherent explanation for that in nature.

    No, asking for evidence is a time-wasting shell game played by people who don’t want to believe, as you pointed out here with Dawkins. It’s not a head issue, it’s a heart issue. And they aren’t even honest with themselves about that.

  11. TFBW says:

    Stardusty has raised the exact same argument elsewhere, and we’re still awaiting a response to the answers given there. Apparently he’d rather repeat it as a talking point rather than engage in discussion about it.

  12. Kevin says:

    It will never come by faith, which is all you have for your own proof.

    One, that’s not true. Apologists routinely and throughout the existence of Christianity have pointed to history, biology, astronomy, physics, archaeology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, logic, eye-witness accounts, and more as evidence. That you disagree with the interpretation of the evidence simply proves one of Michael’s most common themes – evidence doesn’t just exist, it must be interpreted. And all that evidence cannot be simply dismissed and swept under the rug of “faith”.

    Two, faith means “trust”. You seem to be using Peter Boghossian’s moronic definition of faith as a “way of knowing”. If I tell you that I trust you to change the oil in my car, that isn’t saying that I know you will replace the oil and filter. It’s saying, based on what I do know – your having never failed me in the past, testimony from other people satisfied with your work, etc – that I am willing to place my faith in you to correctly service my engine.

    Blind faith is what you seem to be referencing. This doesn’t apply to the vast majority of believers.

  13. nsr says:

    But it probably does apply to the 10-11 year old kid who grew up seeing God as an omni-benevolent wish-fulfilment genie but whose prayers for a sick relative to recover weren’t answered with a miraculous healing and who then, driven by deep emotional anguish and hatred for the God who didn’t come running when needed, turned to militant atheism.

  14. John Branyan says:

    “There is evidence I would except. But it has to be truth…It will never come by faith…”

    LOL!
    If it would make any difference I’d explain the joke to you.
    But since your mind is made-up, I’ll just laugh at you.

  15. jim- says:

    And then “llion” you demonstrate the standstill. The herd is a powerful thing when groups such as this deny their own integrity to fit in. What is llion, anyway, code for yawn?

  16. jim- says:

    But since your mind is made-up, I’ll just laugh at you. It hard to laugh with you because you’re funny in an odd way.

  17. jim- says:

    Nice gibberish. I merely present ideas. I believe nothing, but discussion is good. Panpsychism is certainly more realistic and authentic than Christianity (the artificial and not naturally occurring religion) and it never requires swordplay to prove its truth.

  18. jim- says:

    It takes a lot of hairsplitting and circuitous volumes to finally put Christianity into a framework you can be comfortable with and accept. Either that or blind faith. Why does your religion need so many explainers? Because it is senseless.

  19. “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.”

    which isn’t what Michael claims he said.

    there is no evidence for Michael’s version of the Christian god. There is no evidence for the Christian god as described in the bible. No evidence of any of the essential event.

    So the Christian god is as “real” as any other god with no evidence. Michael does need to start worshiping other gods just to be sure he has the right one.

  20. Dhay says:

    clubschadenfreude > “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.”

    which isn’t what Michael claims he said

    I’ve just cut-and-pasted that into a table, side-by-side with what Michael’s OP “claims he [Richard Dawkins] said”, and your version and Michael’s version are identical. Your “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming” is exactly what Michael claims he said.

  21. jim- says:

    I asked Militant to tone down the hatred a while back. Since he was raped by your clergy members as a young Indian Cherokee boy he is pretty angry still that you all handwave that as “not true Christians”.
    One of the reasons I wrote the post on evidence I would accept is because there is evidence I would accept.
    Imagine if Christianity had “gone out into the world” and found uncontacted tribes of people, who over the millennia had developed a universal truth that was obvious across cultures and oceans. That would really be something. But, Yahweh was nowhere to seen or even a shadow of him in those realms. Weird. But through a near universal utility, the shaman of the entire world has many things in common, developed independently over thousands of years. Core shamanism is pretty good evidence for panpsychism, but zero evidence for the artificial religion of Christianity, that outside a narrow strip of land, nobody had ever heard of it til it was forced upon them. That’s pretty good evidence your religion is made up by men seeking power, and that’s where it has stayed

  22. Kevin says:

    It takes a lot of hairsplitting and circuitous volumes to finally put Christianity into a framework you can be comfortable with and accept. Either that or blind faith. Why does your religion need so many explainers? Because it is senseless.

    Wonder why everything else that takes so many explainers – every field of science, economics, political perspectives on every topic, philosophy, hobbies, history, cooking, and on and on – don’t make you feel the same way? Not applying a standard evenly means it isn’t actually a standard.

    I asked Militant to tone down the hatred a while back. Since he was raped by your clergy members as a young Indian Cherokee boy he is pretty angry still that you all handwave that as “not true Christians”.

    His opening salvo was not in response to “not true Christians”. Here was the first post:

    “Millions of us have been raped by those who call themselves Christians, especially? Christian priests and pastors. And then? You got your leaders who cover up and protect these pedo scum and then? You scum Christians attack the victims while defending the pedophile. So I think you should sthu on your false assertions and suppositions. Cause I know of no atheist who stands up and defends pedophiles….LIKE YOU CHRISTIANS DO ON A DAILY BASIS.”

    No one on this blog defended a pedophile. No one on this blog attacked the victims. And right up there in importance to Militant was his outrage at the assertion that most people who defend pedophilia are atheists.

    Nothing that happened to him warrants calling for the deaths of tens of millions of Christians who have absolutely nothing to do with what happened to him and who would be equally horrified. Every Christian I have ever spoken with supports, at a minimum, the castration of pedophiles. That’s not “defending” them.

    While I’m sympathetic to the bad things that can happen in people’s lives that lead to long-term bitterness, nothing is justification for the deranged vitriol he spewed at all of us simply for believing in God. And because I’ve played this game before, no, I’m not saying getting ranted at online by a psycho is comparable to getting raped, but I am saying that no one on this blog had anything to do with what happened to him, nor would anyone on this blog defend a pedophile, so if Militant is so enraged that he can’t discern the guilty from the innocent, then maybe he is dangerous to people around him and should seek help before he hurts someone.

    They aren’t “our” clergy members any more than inner city violence justifies racism.

  23. Kevin says:

    That’s pretty good evidence your religion is made up by men seeking power, and that’s where it has stayed

    If I was going to make up a religion for power, I would do it in a way that didn’t get me cast out from a position of power, hated by most of my own people, beaten, imprisoned, and executed without ever having seen a shred of this power, all the while denouncing those who attempted to exalt me. That’s what the Apostle Paul did, and no one can say he was an idiot. Nor were the other apostles and disciples, who experienced similar things from their own people.

    Now, you could argue that the religion was co-opted by others in power to increase their power further, but the ones who “made it up”? True believers according to all evidence.

  24. Kevin says:

    Whoops, my post at 4:01 should not be italicized starting with “His opening salvo”.

  25. Ilíon says:

    Kevin:Blind faith is what you seem to be referencing. This doesn’t apply to the vast majority of believers.

    Moreover, “blind faith” has always been, at best, disreputable within Christianity … and verging on the heretical.

  26. jim- says:

    Nothing will change when he’s old and dying. Atheism is simply an awakening that faith is a charade. Making faith the pinnacle of religious experience was a masterful ploy that has humanity at a standstill for 2000 years, and none of you will fight back. Freaking masterful

  27. Ilíon says:

    Dhay:I’ve just cut-and-pasted that into a table, side-by-side with what Michael’s OP “claims he [Richard Dawkins] said”, and your version and Michael’s version are identical.

    It’s the old, “You’re Right … Which Just Proves How Wrong (Or Dishonest) You Are” game; very belovéd of God-deniers, and leftists, and Freudians, and Darwinists.

  28. jim- says:

    So, what kind of evidence would you accept to reject Christianity? Do we have to explain every John and title of the universe? If I were to do that sufficiently you would still believe in Jesus? Well, nearly everything that used to be attributed to God has now been explained quite well except one. And we’re not too far off from figuring that out as well. Then would you have the integrity to admit you are wrong?

  29. jim- says:

    And thanks for the Sam Harris tip. I’ve never read any of his stuff or any other expert opinions. If I can come up with the same thing as Sam Harris without any influence, I would say that’s evidence. Wow Christianity has no such thing

  30. Brian says:

    So what’s the answer? How is the God explanation distinguished from aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation, etc?

  31. jim- says:

    Has a scientific principle or fact ever been supplanted by a biblical verse? Funny how it always goes the other way.

  32. Kevin says:

    Atheism is simply an awakening that faith is a charade.

    Atheists come to believe that trust is a sham? Seems like a very sad community.
    Also, assuming the atheist is a former believer, they go from thinking they are right to thinking they are right. That’s not an awakening by any good measure, just a change in opinion.

    Making faith the pinnacle of religious experience

    Trust is an experience?

    was a masterful ploy

    By whom and to what end? Who nefariously benefits from my belief in God? This is nothing but a conspiracy theory.

    has humanity at a standstill for 2000 years

    It took hundreds of thousands of years to reach Christ, at which point we had developed the wheel and swords. In the 2000 years since then, we have reached the moon, studied distant galaxies, mapped the genome, split the atom, developed almost instant communication nearly anywhere on the planet, vaccinated lethal diseases out of existence, built supercomputers and automated vehicles, interfaced machines with the human brain, and on and on.

    Your assertion that we have been at a standstill the last 2000 years because of Christianity is hilarious. And those fathers of modern science? Yup. Christians.

    Without quotes, it’s hard to tell whom you are responding to, so if any more of that was to me feel free to point it out and I will respond. But I’d like to help you out with your Sam Harris comment:

    I’ve never read any of his stuff or any other expert opinions.

    If you have read nothing but Sam Harris, you still haven’t read any expert opinions.

  33. jim- says:

    You guys are the first to cry and fake outrage of persecution as the vast majority. For the longest time it was a capital crime. Why on earth would beliefs need to be protected by law. They’re simply thought convictions in your imaginations that can’t stand on their own merits.

  34. jim- says:

    Most advances are against the will of Christianity. You guys are mostly end users of every technological advance. Even your faith is someone else’s idea.

  35. Kevin says:

    You guys are the first to cry and fake outrage of persecution as the vast majority. For the longest time it was a capital crime. Why on earth would beliefs need to be protected by law. They’re simply thought convictions in your imaginations that can’t stand on their own merits.

    Who and what is this responding to? Quotes are really helpful.

    Most advances are against the will of Christianity.

    No they aren’t.

    You guys are mostly end users of every technological advance.

    So are you guys.

    Even your faith is someone else’s idea.

    And what original ideas have you come up with?

  36. TFBW says:

    Is there really any point in engaging with incoherent ranting?

  37. Dhay says:

    jim- > But through a near universal utility, the shaman of the entire world has many things in common, developed independently over thousands of years. Core shamanism is pretty good evidence for panpsychism…

    Lets see, panpsychism is true because “core shamanism” is spread world-wide (or was.)

    Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism

    There’s only so many ways to reach altered states of consciousness, whether in Asia, Africa, India, the Americas, Australasia, anywhere: the obvious ones that everyone knows of include hallucinogenic drugs, trance dancing and drumming, and there’s probably a few more — all of which are available everywhere. That similar methods lead to similar results, wherever you are, or that similar methods are used in order to reach similar objectives, wherever you are, is about as earth-shakingly profound as ships and boats being found worldwide, or that shelters of varying degrees of permanence and complexity are found worldwide. I find your argument from ubiquity spurious.

    Anyway, just how profound are the messages from the spirit world? In his “Drugs and the Meaning of Life”, Footnote 5, Sam Harris tells us of the shamanic drug DMT:

    Many users of DMT report being thrust under its influence into an adjacent reality where they are met by alien beings who appear intent upon sharing information and demonstrating the use of inscrutable technologies. The convergence of hundreds of such reports, many from first-time users of the drug who have not been told what to expect, is certainly interesting. It is also worth noting these accounts are almost entirely free of religious imagery. One appears far more likely to meet extraterrestrials or elves on DMT than traditional saints or angels. As I have not tried DMT, and have not had an experience of the sort that its users describe, I don’t know what to make of any of this.

    Or in other words aliens (or elves) share their wisdom and technologies with the DMT user — who evidently forgets it all, those alien technologies don’t get publicised, don’t get used.

    Or as regards LSD:

    That reminds me of a story that I may have told before. When I was in college, a friend and I were—as was the custom in the Sixties—spending an evening under the influence of psychedelic substances. Suddenly I had a brilliant insight into the nature of the universe. Knowing I’d forget it, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. After a while I went to bed, and when I awoke the next day I remembered the paper and reached eagerly into my pocket for it. On it was scrawled my eternal truth, which turned out to be this: “The walls are fucking BROWN.” Many who grew up in the Sixties have a story like this.

    I don’t deny that taking drugs can be a valuable way of expanding one’s consciousness. It was for me, for it reinforced my view that each of us is simply a small atom of animate matter in a very large universe …

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/more-woo-and-anti-science-rants-at-tedx/

    Somewhere Harris comments that mystics coming out of their mystical experiences each interpret the experience in terms of their religion – I cynically doubt that Harris is the sole mystic who doesn’t do that, the sole mystic to get it bang-on objectively right, it will apply to him, too, and it will apply also and equally to each and every shaman; that applies also to Jerry Coyne, who interprets his drug-induced mystical experiences to support his atheist-reductionist (and vehemently anti-panpsychist, read his recent diatribes against Philip Goff) view “that each of us is simply a small atom of animate matter in a very large universe.”

    The universality of consciousness-altered “core shamanism” proves nothing beyond the universality of the conviction that altered states of consciousness somehow reveal important “truths” (such as the walls being fucking BROWN.) I’d call that very poor evidence for panpsychism — if it is evidence for panpsychism at all, you haven’t explained how it could be evidence for panpsychism, just insinuated that it is.

  38. Dhay says:

    jim- > You guys are mostly end users of every technological advance.

    Shamanism resulted in just how much technological advance in the societies which practiced it? Hardly any, compared to the massive advances since. And what actualised benefits, technological or otherwise, has panpsychism produced?

  39. TFBW says:

    And what actualised benefits, technological or otherwise, has panpsychism produced?

    Dawkins said that Darwinism made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. I’d say that Panpsychism makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled materialist, for sufficiently broad values of “intellectually fulfilled”.

  40. Michael says:

    I asked Militant to tone down the hatred a while back.

    So you say.

    Since he was raped by your clergy members as a young Indian Cherokee boy he is pretty angry still that you all handwave that as “not true Christians”.

    I’m not surprised you would try to justify his hateful, murderous thoughts. Do you agree with your fellow atheist, militantatheistrising, that “Christians should be tortured,” “Christians should be put in concentration death camps,” and “Christians should be wiped off the face of the earth?” If not, can you provide evidence of your disagreement? Since you think evidence is so important, we’ll be happy to consider it.

    Look, up to this point, you come across as a “toned-down” version of militantatheistrisiing. Same hate, same accusations, same complaints. Just “toned down.”

  41. Michael says:

    clubschadenfreude: “which isn’t what Michael claims he said.”

    Yes it was.

    there is no evidence for Michael’s version of the Christian god.

    So you say. But since we (and you) have no idea as to what you would count as evidence for God, your opinion is vacuous.

    BTW, do you agree with your fellow atheist, militantatheistrising, that “Christians should be tortured,” “Christians should be put in concentration death camps,” and “Christians should be wiped off the face of the earth?” I noticed you remained silent when he was expressing his murderous thoughts against Christians.

  42. jim- says:

    So I say. I’ve had
    https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/where-all-the-bad-people-are/#comment-25200
    I don’t lie Michael. He has an interesting perspective and a MDIV. But I’m afraid he has stared too long into the abyss. He toned it down for a while but I’m not sure he can stay there. Everyone has something to say, I’m hoping he can find some healing after he vents. I support no violence nor do I hate anyone. I disagree with you and the concept/outcomes of faith, but I think you generally mean well and are pleasant. Why is it your commenters rarely address me directly, but ridicule and talk about me like I’m not even a person?

  43. TFBW says:

    @jim: I’ve been talking about you and not to you because I find that your comments lack coherence, and I don’t want to fill in the gaps with guesses about what you actually mean. Most other commenters here are addressing you directly: Kevin and Dhay, for example, have written lengthy comments in an attempt to engage with your points. It seems that you would rather complain about me than engage with them, however. In light of that, I’m glad I haven’t wasted my time constructing thoughtful responses to your ramblings.

  44. grodrigues says:

    “Well, nearly everything that used to be attributed to God has now been explained quite well except one.”

    This is false, as a simple matter of the history of ideas. For Heaven’s sake, just take a gander at what are the historically important arguments for the existence of God and there is not a single one, I repeat not a single one, that Science has made futile, or that could even be made futile by Science, because the question of God’s existence is not, and never was in orthodox Christianity, from the very beginning to its own influencing forefathers (Judaism, the Platonic-Aristotelean intellectual tradition, etc.). The reduction of God’s existence to a question that can, or could, be handled by the modern empirical sciences is a modern artifact more due to complete and utter ignorance of what is at stake than anything else.

    And even if we accepted the implicit premise, it is simply false that “everything that used to be attributed to God has now been explained quite well except one”. There is not a good scientific explanation for any of: the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of consciousness and lots more. To claim otherwise is simply to display a complete and utter ignorance of the state of human knowledge. It is also curious that someone would take the putative existence of these explanations as counting *against* the existence of God; curious because it just is the reverse of a gap argument , and thus logically, it is not better than one. But we all know how atheists treat Gap arguments.

  45. I do love when Michael lies.

    What Michael said “Dawkins Admits Nothing Can Persuade Him God Exists”

    what Dawkins actually said “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.”

    I guess Michael can’t see the word “starting”. He has to intentionally lie to make Dawkins say what he claims. I do enjoy when Chrisitans intentionally ignore their bible when convenient.

    I do know what I would accept as evidence for your god, Michael. You’ve chosen to lie again. I want to see Christians do what the bible promises they will be able to do (Mark 16 and James 5). I

    Nope, I don’t agree that Christians should be tortured or put into death camps or wiped off the face of the earth. That’s a Christian thing with your sad little fantasies of hell and the end times.

    I don’t read everyone’s posts. I don’t care what another atheist says since we vary widely in worldview and opinion. Sorry, dear, we aren’t one monolith block that you can lie about.

  46. Ilíon says:

    TFBW:Is there really any point in engaging with incoherent ranting?

    *All* atheistic (and agnostic) argumentation is ultimately incoherent ranting. For if atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, then any-and-all arguments that anyone presents are just so much meaningless noise deterministically caused by antecedent states, rather than the freely-made deliberate-and-rational attempts of rational agents to persuade other rational agents to modify their (immaterial) opinions by the means of the immaterial logical content and meaning of the argumentation.

  47. Ilíon says:

    Someone who truly believed in “panpsychism” would do his best to eradicate all biological entities; or, failing that, at least eliminate the biological entity which is himself.

    The *reason* that the sincere panpsychotic would oppose the continued existence of any-and-all biological entities is that living things live-and-exist only by means of enslaving (allegedly) sapient atoms and molecules.

  48. pennywit says:

    I think Dawkins is a bit unimaginative here. If he does hear a booming voice from the heavens, a burning bush, or so forth, then yes, he might be hallucinating. But he can also get tests to see if he is hallucinating. And if he is not … then, well, he has a decision to make.

  49. Dhay says:

    ‘Verbose Stoic’ is good on the subject of panpsychism (and Jerry Coyne’s cluelessness about it), and is planning to write more in the near future — he’s reading Philip Goff’s book:

    https://verbosestoic.wordpress.com/?s=panpsychism

  50. TFBW says:

    @pennywit:

    Dawkins is simply applying the principle on which his core argument in The God Delusion is based; his “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument. In a nutshell, that principle is, “any natural explanation is better than any supernatural explanation.” The justification for this is that any mechanism postulated in an explanation is itself subject to explanation, so you need to explain complex things in terms of simpler things in order to gain ground. Dawkins asserts that God is the most complex thing possible, so any explanation involving God is the worst possible explanation. The only time you would accept such an explanation is if no other explanation is even possible.

    The argument is bunk in important ways: for instance, it is based on undeclared naturalistic assumptions, and is therefore invalid in as much as it pretends to be a rational basis for naturalism, as that would be a question-begging fallacy (a fallacy which Dawkins enthusiastically embraces, given how keen he is to call theists “delusional”). As it relates to your comment, though, if a booming voice or a burning bush turned out to be real (rather than hallucinations), then “unknown alien technology” would still be a better explanation than “God” based on Dawkins’ criteria, so the “decision” of which you speak has a foregone conclusion.

    What we see in Dawkins’ “starting to think nothing would” persuade him, is the slow-dawning realisation of these implications. He may not have figured it out yet, but I spelled it out at the end of the first paragraph of this comment. His principle means that nothing could persuade him that God exists unless no other explanation is possible. The only question remaining is whether any possible arrangement of matter can, in principle, only have God as a cause. If the laws of physics allow “a universe from nothing” (as Krauss puts it), then surely the answer to that has to be “no”. If the entire universe can be accommodated by the explanation, “physics plus chance”, how can there be any phenomenon which is a subset of that universe which requires “God” as an explanation?

    In the end, though, God could exist and be an effective cause despite all Dawkins’ assertions about the quality of various explanations. I don’t expect Dawkins to live long enough that he’ll realise this fundamental error, though. It’s taken him long enough to almost-realise that his principles rule out the possibility of evidence for God; imagine how long it will take him to realise that this means his principles are unfit to act as support for atheism.

  51. jim- says:

    It’s amusing that you can’t follow a simple line of thought outside your own beliefs, but think you’re smart enough to know Christianity’s conundrums are the true gospel of god. Maybe try reading a little slower?

  52. jim- says:

    It’s amusing that you can’t follow a simple line of thought outside your own beliefs, but think you’re smart enough to know Christianity’s conundrums are the true gospel of god. Maybe try reading a little slower?

  53. pennywit says:

    It’s amusing that you can’t follow a simple line of thought outside your own beliefs, but think you’re smart enough to know Christianity’s conundrums are the true gospel of god. Maybe try reading a little slower?

    Don’t know if you’re talking to me. But if you think I’m Christian, then you’ve got anther thing coming.

  54. pennywit says:

    Dawkins is simply applying the principle on which his core argument in The God Delusion is based; his “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument. In a nutshell, that principle is, “any natural explanation is better than any supernatural explanation.” The justification for this is that any mechanism postulated in an explanation is itself subject to explanation, so you need to explain complex things in terms of simpler things in order to gain ground. Dawkins asserts that God is the most complex thing possible, so any explanation involving God is the worst possible explanation. The only time you would accept such an explanation is if no other explanation is even possible.

    You got more out of God Delusion than I did. I came away with “Sure there are a few interesting things in here, but Dawkins is a prick who lacks Christopher Hitchens’ style.” I also had to shoo away an atheist who wanted to relate to me while I was reading it in public.

  55. Michael says:

    club: I do love when Michael lies.
    What Michael said “Dawkins Admits Nothing Can Persuade Him God Exists”
    what Dawkins actually said “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which, in a way, goes against the grain, because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.”
    I guess Michael can’t see the word “starting”. He has to intentionally lie to make Dawkins say what he claims. I do enjoy when Chrisitans intentionally ignore their bible when convenient.

    You are quite the One Trick Pony. But as usual, you accuse me of telling lies when I do not.

    I think the title of my blog posting accurately sums up Dawkins position in that interview. When asked, “What would it take for you to believe in God?,” he has no answer. He cites how he might have answered this question earlier, but is now persuaded a “supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent.” When asked again, “So what would persuade you?”, Dawkins replies: “Well, I’m starting to think nothing would.”
    If he is starting to think this (in 2013), he has begun to think that. And if he has begun to think X, he thinks X.

    There is a simple way to show that I am right. If I am wrong, my views are easily falsified. Just tell us what would persuade Dawkins that God exists. After all, he did that interview 7 years ago.

  56. Michael says:

    Jim: So I say. I’ve had
    https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/where-all-the-bad-people-are/#comment-25200
    I don’t lie Michael.

    Thank you for the evidence. To your credit, you did more than try to get him to tone it down. But alas, I think he is a lost cause.

  57. Kevin says:

    Jim, do you realize how overwhelmingly helpful it would be to quote what you are responding to? I don’t think any of us knows who you were addressing with your last post.

  58. jim- says:

    I’ve never had anyone quite like him visit my blog. It’s only been the last 4-5 days or so. I don’t think he can maintain that intensity for too long, but is his story is true at all, maybe a place to vent and interact with some fairly reasonable people can turn him back to civility. He’s become the very thing he’s accusing others of being.
    Have a good night sir—all the best.

  59. pennywit says:

    Just tell us what would persuade Dawkins that God exists.

    Room 101?

  60. Dhay says:

    pennywit > I think Dawkins is a bit unimaginative here. If he does hear a booming voice from the heavens, a burning bush, or so forth, then yes, he might be hallucinating. But he can also get tests to see if he is hallucinating.

    Except if [God of the Gaps example(s) of atheist’s choice] is believed to be such a major hallucination in the first place, the next step is to conclude that those tests, the testers and the results are believably hallucinations too.

    I suspect an atheist skeptic discovering everyone else also reports they heard or saw the same booming voice, burning bush, Second Coming, etc, will conclude it’s as good as certain it’s but a prolonged hallucination. (Or seemingly long, like those subjectively very long and complicated dreams which end with the fire alarm going off — then you realise it all started a second or two ago when the alarm clock started to ring.)

  61. Dhay says:

    jim- > …but i[f] his story is true at all…

    I think it is true.

    I had a look at his story, here and on some of the other blogs he has shit-splattered in recent months — at first sight his internet presence is very limited, spanning less than a year, contrary to his claim to have been online exposing Christian pedophiles for fifteen years or so, and a Facebook page he recently claimed he has (not had) doesn’t exist, and he claims:

    I went and got myself a long time ago? A Masters degree in biblical studies and comparative religion and got my Ministers certificate.

    January 30, 2020 at 3:36 am
    https://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/talking-to-atheists-2/

    Highly educated? That seemed unlikely in someone with a tic of putting gratuitously question marks randomly in the middle of sentences then gratuitously initial-capitalising the following word; and unlikely in someone whose shit and style of delivering it is the epitome of the ignorant and uneducated internet troll.

    But I found clues for where to search further, found an internet history of pedophile denunciation going back as far as he says, a complaint that Facebook regularly blocks him, and no obvious contradictions or variations in his story.

    In short, I went from disbelieving his story on the balance of the evidence to believing it on the balance of the evidence.

  62. nsr says:

    Dawkins’ problem is his insistence that everything in the natural world must follow a Darwinian paradigm, meaning everything that exists must have an explanation or a cause that is simpler than itself, presumably all going back to a state where nothing existed at all. There is simply no way to fit a beginningless all-powerful intelligent creator into that paradigm.

    Essentially he seems to think he can explain everything in terms of the one thing he happens to have expertise in: evolutionary biology. That probably says more about his own ego that anything else.

  63. Ilíon says:

    For some reason, I highly doubt that I would be given the dispensation to similarly rage against Teh Holy Ghey were I to assert (*) that a college roommate had somehow drugged me and sexually assaulted me during my freshman year. Hell! I wouldn’t even given the dispensation to use the word ‘fag’, even though we all know that Teh Gheys call each other and themselves that all the time.

    For some other reason, I highly doubt that I would be given the dispensation to advocate the murders of Canadians were I to assert (*) that a friend of my parents — a Canadian — had come very close to molesting me when I was 10 years old, and that fifteen yeas later, when I was visiting my mother shortly before her death, this Canadian had explicitly tried to (for lack of a better term) seduce me.

    Further Hell! were I to assert (*) either of the above hypotheticals, I am certain that at least one of the persons who regularly post here would use my alleged and hypothetical psychic injuries as a means to mock me.

    Isn’t it odd how calling for the murders of whole classes of human beings is permissible only when those classes have been declared “The Enemy” by the leftists. Why, it becomes practically mandatory.

    (*) The astute reader will notice the careful wording I habitually employ.

  64. Ilíon says:

    nsr:Dawkins’ problem is his insistence that everything in the natural world must follow a Darwinian paradigm, meaning everything that exists must have an [equally “natural”] explanation or a cause that is simpler than itself, presumably all going back to a state where nothing existed at all [ — coupled with the self-serving assertion that God is among those “
    [c]omplex, statistically improbable things, [which allegedly] by definition, don’t just happen
    ” ]. There is simply no way to fit a beginningless all-powerful intelligent creator[, who is the cause of “nature” and not an effect of “nature”,] into that paradigm.”

    Dawkins’ problem is that he is utterly untellectually dishonest.

    To begin, he assumes naturalism … and on the basis of naturalism, “conculdes” that naturalism is the truth about the nature of reality — i.e. that God is not.

    Continuing, he ignores that for 3000+ years Biblical metaphysics has held that God is not complex (i.e. composed of parts), but rather simple (not composed of parts). What do you think “God does not change” means?

  65. Ilíon says:

    … continuing with the theme of Dawkins being intellectually dishonest —

    I’ve seen video of Dawkins arguing that God is not a good/rational explanation for What Is because — he asserts —
    1) to explain an effect, the cause of the effect must be more complex than the effect to be explained;
    2) God is maximally complex … and thus requires an even more complex explanation for his existence; but this is a contradiction: therefore, God is not.

  66. grodrigues says:

    “You got more out of God Delusion than I did. I came away with “Sure there are a few interesting things in here, but Dawkins is a prick who lacks Christopher Hitchens’ style.” I also had to shoo away an atheist who wanted to relate to me while I was reading it in public.”

    Excuse my exasperation, but is this to be a mistaken as a serious response to the *argument* that TBFW put forward?

  67. TFBW says:

    @grodrigues: pennywit doesn’t really do “serious responses”. Take it for what it is: a throw-away remark professing mild but detached interest, not to be confused with serious engagement.

    @pennywit: I analysed The God Delusion (among other things) in some detail as part of authoring a critical public response to Dawkins when he visited Australia in 2012. When I’m criticising someone’s views like that, I make an effort to ensure that I have properly understood the case they are making, to avoid attacking a strawman. Mind you, most of what Dawkins writes is so philosophically slipshod that you have to fill in obvious holes with charitable assumptions about what he meant, but you risk accusations of misrepresentation by doing so.

  68. Brian says:

    Quoting myself: “So what’s the answer? How is the God explanation distinguished from aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation, etc?”

    If nobody has an answer to this question, as appears to be the case, then I really don’t see the basis for the criticism. It’s like having a number which is divisible by 5 while the exact value of the number is unknown. Well it could be 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 or etc. If the number is by nature underdetermined in this way—if we’ll never get more information than divisibility by 5—then nothing should persuade us that it is, say, 15. Yet someone comes along and says, “Aha! You admit it! Nothing can persuade you that it’s 15,” as if this is some kind of character flaw of being closed-mindedness about 15 or having an anti-15 bias.

  69. Ilíon says:

    Brian,
    Most of the people who comment here have been around the block at least once. Perhaps “nobody has an answer to this question” because we all recognize anti-serious “questions”, and all coincidentally chose not to waste our time responding to selective hyper-skepticism.

  70. Michael says:

    Ilion, I’ll give it a shot.

    Brian writes:

    Quoting myself: “So what’s the answer? How is the God explanation distinguished from aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation, etc?”
    If nobody has an answer to this question, as appears to be the case, then I really don’t see the basis for the criticism.

    If you ask me, once someone retreats into the realm of hyper-skepticism, there is no escape from that hall of mirrors. But Dawkins’ hyper-skepticism is even more extreme. He’s not merely arguing that a God explanation can’t be distinguished from the other explanations. He is arguing we must prefer the other explanations because they are naturalistic and don’t involve a supernatural cause. In other words, if God did exist, Dawkins has adopted an approach that compels him to deny it. Closed-mindedness on steroids. And with an exclamation point.

    But there are two serious problems that drain Dawkins’ intellectual credibility.

    First, his public face presentation of atheism becomes intellectually dishonest. He has long been out there claiming something like this: “I’d be a theist, even a Christian, if only there was evidence. But alas, no one has ever been able to present any evidence for God. Since there is no such evidence, the most reasonable position is that of atheism.”

    But if hyper-skepticism is at the root of his atheism, that public presentation has been a lie. He should have been saying something like this: “Look, there is nothing that could ever count as evidence for God and nothing that would ever persuade me that God exists. A supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent.”

    Or, as PZ Myers admitted, “There is no valid god hypothesis, so there can be no god evidence, so let’s stop pretending the believers have a shot at persuading us.”

    Of course, the problem is that while the second presentation is more honest, it also becomes obvious to observers that his atheism is anchored in closed-mindedness.

    The second serious problem for Dawkins is his highly selective use of hyper-skepticism. Oddly enough, it is restricted to the God question and used only to prop up his atheism. But why not extend it elsewhere? For example, how do I know you are real? You, after all, could be “aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation, etc.”

    So when you think about Dawkins’ position, it is intellectually dishonest and ad hoc. Those features indicate his position is that of a propagandist, not a scholar.

  71. Ilíon says:

    ^ Further, the only article of “evidence” for any single one of “aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation” (*) as a potential explanation for reality is that they appear to offer the selective hyper-skeptical God-denier an easy dodge of the question of the reality of God.

    On the other hand — and has been explored multiple times on this blog — that we *are* rational beings, that we *are* actual persons/agents/selves, who can entertain actual thoughts, not only cannot be explained under the assumption that atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, but is in fact contrary to that assumption.

    (*) but, I’ll not that the “we-are-sims-in-a-simulation” is self-absurd. For, if we are sims, then we are not actual persons/agents/selves, who can entertain actual thoughts.

  72. pennywit says:

    Except if [God of the Gaps example(s) of atheist’s choice] is believed to be such a major hallucination in the first place, the next step is to conclude that those tests, the testers and the results are believably hallucinations too.

    And now I’m thinking of both Inception and The Matrix. I dunno. If I suspected I was in a hallucination, and everybody and everything else around me was in a hallucination, and there’s no way to prove otherwise … then my next question is whether the hallucination is pleasant enough to survive in. And maybe if the voice from the clouds is a hallucination, then maybe I’ll just act as if the voice from the clouds is real.

    But if Morpheus shows up with the red pill, I’m gonna run.

  73. pennywit says:

    I analysed The God Delusion (among other things) in some detail as part of authoring a critical public response to Dawkins when he visited Australia in 2012. When I’m criticising someone’s views like that, I make an effort to ensure that I have properly understood the case they are making, to avoid attacking a strawman. Mind you, most of what Dawkins writes is so philosophically slipshod that you have to fill in obvious holes with charitable assumptions about what he meant, but you risk accusations of misrepresentation by doing so.

    OK, this time, without the snark.

    I found that Dawkins had the occasional interesting idea. But at the end of the day, he mostly floated the same arguments, both of the halfway decent variety and of the claptrap variety, that atheists have been floating for the last couple hundred years. I considered The God Delusion a provocative title, but his book introduced little, if nothing new to the conversation. I also found his arrogance off-putting.

    Where I easily internalized and can now recall the lessons of works like Animal Farm, Brave New World, NIneteen Eighty-Four and even The Little Engine That Could, Dawkins’ The God Delusion has left no lasting impression on me nearly fifteen years after I read it. If I wanted to engage specifically with Dawkins’ ideas, I would have to reopen that book and subject myself to it again.

    I choose not to do so.

    That said, I think that Dawkins’ book was not truly about testing God as a hypothesis. Rather, I think that Dawkins wanted to show atheists worldwide that they were not alone and that it was possible to be a good, rational person and not believe in God. It was a personal affirmation of cultural identity and (non)religious belief, not an attempt to seriously grapple with theism.

    I think Dawkins’ book (as well as similar works by Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hichens) found purchase and cultural prominence because of when they were published. In the wake of the World Trade Center attack, I think people around the world were more willing to question Islam in particular and religion in general. The so-called “Four Horseman” of atheism enabled, validated, and supported that cultural movement.

    But I also think that outside of the community of capital-A atheists and the people who live to dispute with them, the world has largely moved on.

  74. TFBW says:

    jim said, “Maybe try reading a little slower?”

    Incoherent rambling is incoherent rambling no matter how slowly and carefully you read it.

  75. pennywit says:

    More generally, I find the entire argument that we might be in a simulation somewhat ridiculous for a couple reasons:
    A) If we are in a simulation, then we, ourselves are part of that simulation. That means the “simulation” is real enough to us. If somebody throws a rock at me, it’s going to hurt whether I think this is a simulation or not.
    B) If we are in a simulation, then (by corollary) there is somebody running that simulation. If an entity is running our simulation, that entity is functionally God.

  76. And more lies from Michael. I am so happy to see you doubling down on your failure on comprehension and trying to bear false witness by misrepresenting what someone said for your own benefit.
    NO one cares what you think, Michael since you are a liar. The title of your post is not true, and is not what Dawkins said as an answer. So you fail again with your claims of now trying to say where was no answer at all. Tsk.

    If one starts to think one doesn’t already think, Michael. If I said I was starting to consider something, I haven’t reached a conclusion yet. A pity you can’t figure that out.
    Dawkins hasn’t decided what would persuade him that some version of some god exists. Oh darn, Michael, you are wrong again. One of the many things you don’t understand is disbelief is standard point. You don’t believe in other gods because of a lack of evidence for them, right? So, you depend on the claimant to provide evidence. Since you claim your version of your god exists, we are all waiting on you to present evidence that supports you. You can’t, so we remain at the point of doubt for your god just like you are for every other god, even the versions made up by other Christians.

    One of the better answers to Christian nonsense is that I don’t need ot say what would convince me of a god. This supposedly omnipotent, omniscient being that so many Christians claim desperately wants me to believe in it would know and show me this evidence. I wouldn’t be able to deny it per the qualities of this god that Christians like you claim.

    But that evidence never shows up. We are to believe that your god has apologists like you, utterly incompetent. Which doesn’t speak well for this god.

    Now, Michael, define God. Tell me what I should look for to know that it exists.

  77. Dhay says:

    jim- > Why is it your commenters rarely address me directly, but ridicule and talk about me like I’m not even a person?

    I must be one of those “your commenters” who ridicule you, I’d be surprised if you think I haven’t. My observations are:-

    * Much of what you say consists of derogatory assertions about Christians and Christianity, so you come across as an anti-Christian bigot, someone prejudiced pig-ignorant and ill-informed. I wouldn’t know how to start rectifying that. I don’t engage with those assertions and accusations myself, leaving it to others who have more inclination and patience.

    * You initially claimed to be an atheist, not a believer like Christians; and you claimed above, “I merely present ideas. I believe nothing.” I do not apologise for informing others here – rather than addressing you directly, you know it already unless you are in ‘Doesn’t Even kNow It’s A Lie’ denial – that you are a fake; that you are indeed a believer; that you are a believer in what very much appears to be New Age woo, woo such as, but not limited to, the Akashic Records and spiritual adepts who access them. (I might possibly be wrong about it being woo, by all means convince me otherwise; but, echoing back your own words above, “There is evidence I would accept. But it has to be truth. You know, that thing that would be true to believer and non believer alike?”) I most certainly have addressed you directly on that.

    * Back in the “Atheist Swingers” thread you made claims about morality, backed up with bogus claims about scientific studies of feral children, including of “bears that have adopted pre verbal humans”. Yeah, yeah, so I challenged you on it, you doubled down on it, I challenged you for the evidence, you provided none.

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/atheist-swingers/#comment-33362

    I’ve addressed you directly several times to challenge you over your pseudo-scientific bollocks, and you have not once backed up your claims nor have you retracted them. When you get ridiculed for your “science” you’ve earned that ridicule.

    *

    jim- > It’s amusing that you can’t follow a simple line of thought outside your own beliefs… Maybe try reading a little slower?

    Like TFBW, I have difficulties in understanding some of what you say here – I said as much earlier in this thread. In my response linked above I criticised you for the incomprehensibility of what you wrote (which is quoted there), and asked for clarification – which was not forthcoming, no doubt even you could not make sense of it. It’s amusing that you can’t follow a simple line of thought inside your own beliefs… Maybe try writing a little slower?

  78. Ilíon says:

    Maybe try writing a little slower?

    And that is generally a good practice for anyone.

  79. Ilíon says:

    a whinging God-denier:… and talk about me like I’m not even a person?

    But, you’re not a person! By you own denial of the reality of the personhood of the cause of “the world, the universe, and everything” you deny your own personhood.

    This has been explained to you, and still you persist in denying the reality of Creator, who is a Who and not a What.

  80. Ilíon says:

    My kingdom for an edit!

    Clearly, that was supposed to be “life, the universe, and everything”

  81. Ilíon says:

    And another thing, which is too often overlooked —

    Why is it your commenters rarely address me directly, but ridicule and talk about me like I’m not even a person?

    This could be any garden variety God-denier whinging about not being give the respect he imagines he is due. BUT NOTICE: the complaint makes absolutely no sense unless there is a an actual moral obligation, incumbent upon all, irrespective of time and place — that is, a moral obligation which is universal and transcendent — to treat others with some certain level of respect (whatever that level is).

    But, if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then there is no such thing as morality, and the concepts ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are empty/void.

  82. Brian says:

    Michael, if the only thing we can know about a number is that it’s divisible by 5, then I think we shouldn’t be convinced that the number is 15. Do you call that “hyper-skepticism”? (It could be 5 or 10 or 20 or 25 etc.) This applies to any underdetermined situation. If we have no way of distinguishing God from aliens, hallucinations, etc., then we shouldn’t be convinced it’s God.

    The position of natural explanations being more probable than supernatural ones is a separate issue, but that seems to be an eminently reasonable position. Take the very recent case of the “miracle” of the Bible that oozed oil. Before the guy was identified as the purchaser of gallons of mineral oil, and before chemical testing matched the “miraculous” oil to the oil he bought, would it have been “hyper-skepticism” to say that a natural explanation for the oil is more probable than a supernatural one?

  83. Ilíon says:

    Brian, if the one of the things we can know about a world-view is that it categorically rules out the possibility that we human beings can (non-exhaustively) —
    * know any truths;
    * reason from knows truths to (currently) unknown truths … and *know* that we have reasoned correctly and have learned an actual truth;
    * freely initiate novel chains of cause-and-effect;
    * freely chose among the options that as existing chain of cause-and-effect presents us;

    then, obviously, we know that that world-view is false, we know that it cannot be true.

    Brian:The position of natural explanations being more probable than supernatural ones is a separate issue, but that seems to be an eminently reasonable position.

    Clearly, Brian is a denier of ‘Science!‘ For, as the late Carl Sagan informed us:

    Consider this claim: as I walk along, time – as measured by my wristwatch or my ageing process – slows down. Also, I shrink in the direction of motion. Also, I get more massive. Who has ever witnessed such a thing? It’s easy to dismiss it out of hand. Here’s another: matter and antimatter are all the time, throughout the universe, being created from nothing. Here’s a third: once in a very great while, your car will spontaneously ooze through the brick wall of your garage and be found the next morning on the street. They’re all absurd! But the first is a statement of special relativity, and the other two are consequences of quantum mechanics (vacuum fluctuations and barrier tunnelling, they’re called). Like it or not, that’s the way the world is. If you insist it’s ridiculous, you’ll be forever closed to some of the major findings on the rules that govern the Universe.

    [this space intentionally left blank to allow room for Brian to totally miss the point]

  84. Isaac says:

    Let’s recap.

    First Stardusty Psyche said,
    “God, being omnipotent and all, could easily make himself a visible, measurable, conversational part of our lives…”

    which is just dishonest patter that makes no argument, because it doesn’t address Christianity (or any popular form of theism.) In Christian/Biblical theology, God is not trying, but failing, to convince us that He is real. He is as evident as he wants to be and is not frustrated by your lack of belief. Instead He is DELIBERATELY obscured from the willfully obtuse. He is just deniable enough that those who would rather revel in their sin can do as they please without fear for the duration of their lives. Whether or not you accept this as true, this is the Christian position, and thus, the position that you must address in order to refute a Christian.

    Then Jim claimed that the Second Coming was clearly meant to be imminent, which is just a direct lie.

    Then Jim posted again to claim that “faith” is the only evidence theists appeal to, which is also a massive lie that would never be made in any academic setting because it would not be taken seriously.

    Then clubschadenfreude said,
    “There is no evidence for Michael’s version of the Christian god. There is no evidence for the Christian god as described in the bible. No evidence of any of the essential event.”

    Which is false, to the point of delusion.

    Then Jim came back to say,
    “Imagine if Christianity had “gone out into the world” and found uncontacted tribes of people, who over the millennia had developed a universal truth that was obvious across cultures and oceans. That would really be something. But, Yahweh was nowhere to seen or even a shadow of him in those realms. Weird…”

    which should be a bit embarrassing for him because, in fact, most uncontacted tribes and cultures in fact DID have a concept of a single, Creator God, typically male, who predated their exploitative occult and polytheistic practices, and who approximates Yahweh as described in the Bible. In fact this is a major reason why missionaries were often accepted quickly by religious and tribal leaders eager to be reconciled to their Creator, who in their folklore was often described as having abandoned or rejected them long ago. The problem is, Jim is completely ignorant of all of this, to the point that I don’t know whether it would even be worthwhile to point him in any specific direction on a journey of curiosity he has no interest in taking.

    Then Jim had to add,

    “Most advances are against the will of Christianity. You guys are mostly end users of every technological advance.”

    Which is also a lie, unless he doesn’t think that the Scientific Method, computers, modern chemistry, oceanography, the printing press, or the modern hospital (to name just a few off the top of my head) were major advances.

    Then after insulting everyone in the room (including falsely assuming that pennywit must be a believer because he mildly critiqued Richard Dawkins,) he then asked why everyone here is so mean and impersonal to him.

    Then clubschadenfreude returned to call Michael a liar 1,000 more times, because of some hairsplitting about whether Dawkins was saying he couldn’t accept any potential evidence for God, or whether he was “starting to think” that he couldn’t, which would somehow be materially different. He also repeated, in multiple ways, the same nonsensical claim that Christians haven’t produced any evidence for what they believe.

    And Brian was also there in the mix claiming that, since artificial reality or aliens might be made to be indistinguishable from God, this justifies a hard atheist position, in spite of any existing or potential evidence that might arise (which after all, would just be part of the alien or simulation conspiracy.)

    What a pathetic display all around.
    Guys, you could easily do better. You want to refute Christianity. You shouldn’t have to lie.
    Engage with what Christians actually say and believe. It’s not hard.
    When you just shout the most crass and easily refuted talking points (crusades! child abusers! faith is the opposite of logic! there is no evidence for God!) you sound insecure and afraid, as if you are only saying these things to convince yourselves that you must be right. No one who actually wrestles with the question of faith is moved by these emo teenager talking points.

  85. Isaac says:

    In all fairness, Brian’s question about a simulation is worthy of a good, intelligent discussion.

    In grownup conversations about origins and the universe, many smart people do come to believe that we might be in a simulation, or that aliens, perhaps supernatural, might have seeded us into an ecosystem that appears to be designed. The only reason such a hypothesis is taken seriously by so many people is because, frankly, the universe really DOES have the appearance of something planned, right down to our seeming emotional and mental desire for a deeper meaning and purpose, and our apparent biological “hardwiring” for belief in God.

    The universe LOOKS designed, and if it were not the product of a mind, its existence would be so unlikely as to be a mathematical impossibility. But this makes the very old notion of a God the most likely explanation. God is, stripped down, a single entity that creates without being created, outside of the universe but responsible for it, who is both powerful and intelligent enough to have designed the universe, and also invested enough in it to be responsible for the level of detail seen in nature.

    If we are in a simulation, then just replace “universe” with “simulation” in the preceding paragraph, and nothing changes, including the need for a God to have created it.

    If beings from WITHIN the universe, aliens, are responsible for life on Earth, and perhaps are manipulating us in some Matrix-like way, then those beings themselves would be part of this universe and not the creators of it, and God would be required to explain their existence along with that of the rest of the universe.

    Another possibility is a multiverse, which means infinite parallel universes, among which ours is one of the lucky few both fine-tuned for life, and fortunate enough to have had life evolve on at least one planet. A multiverse solves the statistical problem of how a universe like ours could exist, but it creates more problems than it solves. For one thing, an infinity of anything doesn’t really exist in nature, and even if you had a different universe for every atom’s worth of space in the known cosmos, you wouldn’t have enough universes to expect even one to produce life, and so you’re back to requiring a supernatural origin. But with, there’s more! Whatever apparatus or person is capable of spitting out infinite universes is, logically, at least as complex and intelligent as a being who creates one single universe. Therefore, the same type of godlike being (supernatural, able to create the universe, and uncaused) is required to explain either.

    All of these explanations are inferior. Occam’s razor leaves us with an actual, single God as the best and most obvious explanation for what we see and know in the universe. The benefit of the other explanations is simply that they avoid one having to mix religion and theology with science, or at least, they remove the science a step or two away from directly dealing with religion and God. If we add the unnecessary step of a simulation to explain our existence, then we can muse about what unknown entity is manipulating us, rather than, say, praying, or considering which religion might be true (in a simulation, of course, none of them are true. They’re all just part of the simulation!)

  86. Ilíon says:

    Isaac:And Brian was also there in the mix claiming that, since artificial reality or aliens might be made to be indistinguishable from God, this justifies a hard atheist position, in spite of any existing or potential evidence that might arise (which after all, would just be part of the alien or simulation conspiracy.)

    Or, to put it another way: “Since we refuse to understand the term ‘God’ except in terms of Zeus — that is, as a contingent-and-accidental effect of “the universe”, rather than its noncontingent-and-intentional cause — therefore we have refuted ‘God’ as the noncontingent-and-intentional cause (i.e. the Creator) of “the universe”. ”

    Isaac:In grownup conversations about origins and the universe, many smart people do come to believe that …

    Ah, but the intellectually honest ones come to admit that these various attempts to dodge God all fail, and indeed refute themselves.

    * IF we are Sims executing in a computer Simulation, THEN we are not rational minds, we are not free-and-moral agents, we are not selves; that is, we are not real persons, but are rather mechanistically determinated entities, no different in principle from a clod of mud … and “the universe”, including the Simulators (who *are* personal), still requires God (who *is* personal) as Creator.

    * IF we are Beings trapped-and-deceived in a Matrix-like Elaborate Hoax, THEN we *are* rational minds, we *are* free-and-moral agents, we *are* selves; that is, we *are* real persons … and “the universe”, including the Hoaxers (who *are* personal), still requires God (who *is* personal) as Creator.

    * IF we are Beings who are for some cause suffering a Mass-and-Persistent Hallucination, THEN we *are* rational minds, we *are* free-and-moral agents, we *are* selves; that is, we *are* real persons … and “the universe”, including ourselves (who *are* personal), still requires God (who *is* personal) as Creator — *and* the cause-and-maintenance of our mass hallucination also requires an explanation.

    Brian:So what’s the answer? How is the God explanation distinguished from aliens, hallucination, elaborate hoax, we-are-sims-in-a-simulation, etc?

    ‘The God Explanation’ is distinguished from *any* ad hoc dodge you care to dream up in that it actually addresses the issues: how is it that there is ‘something’, rather than ‘nothing’?; and how is it that there are persons in “the universe”?; that is, how is it that is a world of mechanistic determinate cause-and-effect there are entities which are *not* mechanistically determinate.

    YOU are the proof that God is … and the only (somewhat/temporarily) successful way to deny the reality of God is to deny the reality of your own self.

  87. Michael says:

    Brian: Michael, if the only thing we can know about a number is that it’s divisible by 5, then I think we shouldn’t be convinced that the number is 15. Do you call that “hyper-skepticism”? (It could be 5 or 10 or 20 or 25 etc.) This applies to any underdetermined situation. If we have no way of distinguishing God from aliens, hallucinations, etc., then we shouldn’t be convinced it’s God.

    Sound like you have found a limit to human reason. That is, if God did indeed exist, “we have no way of distinguishing God from aliens, hallucinations, etc.”

    The position of natural explanations being more probable than supernatural ones is a separate issue, but that seems to be an eminently reasonable position.

    Wait? It’s a separate issue? You do have a way of distinguishing God from aliens, hallucinations, etc. after all. Natural explanations are to be preferred. Of course, if God did indeed exist, this approach is guaranteed to generate a false negative. Appealing to atheists, but not to those interested in truth.

    Look, you never addressed thevtwo serious problems that drain Dawkins’ intellectual credibility.

  88. Brian says:

    To use another math analogy, it’s as if the title of the post says “Dawkins admits x = 3” even while the blogger and commenters concede that x + 4 = 7. Wouldn’t that be odd? (No pun intended.) People hold a common premise yet they criticize someone for pointing out a direct implication of that premise.

    The same is happening here. If we have no way of determining whether it’s A or B or C, then we shouldn’t be convinced it’s B. “Aha! So you admit nothing will convince you that it’s B!” But if it’s forever ambiguous with no way of deciding between A or B or C, then there’s nothing there to convince you either, and you shouldn’t be convinced.

    Nobody really addresses that the central, titular issue has been defeated from a premise that that everyone holds, while there is voluminous discussion about every little incidental thing. It’s like, “Yes it’s been defeated, but let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about Dawkins’ credibility [undermine the person so we needn’t address the argument] or the simulation hypothesis [utterly tangential], anything else please!”

    I’m not even into this “nothing can convince” stuff, but framed in this way—with a “wondrous sign” like “a great big, deep, booming bass, Paul Robeson voice saying, ‘I am God and I created…'”—there seems to be no way out except to challenge the framing. Accepting the premise but rejecting its direct implication is not the way to go.

  89. TFBW says:

    … the central, titular issue has been defeated from a premise that that everyone holds …

    Citation required.

  90. Kevin says:

    But if it’s forever ambiguous with no way of deciding between A or B or C, then there’s nothing there to convince you either, and you shouldn’t be convinced.

    Except Dawkins not only finds A and C more likely than B due to his worldview, but he could also conceive of evidence that would convince him of A and C. It is a noteworthy weakness in his worldview that he can’t fathom evidence for B, if the three are indeed equivalent.

  91. Brian says:

    It still remains that there is nothing to convince you that it’s B, and you shouldn’t be convinced that it’s B—neither you nor Dawkins nor anyone else. So the whole idea of being critical of someone for pointing that out is defeated.

  92. Michael says:

    Brian:

    To use another math analogy, it’s as if the title of the post says “Dawkins admits x = 3” even while the blogger and commenters concede that x + 4 = 7. Wouldn’t that be odd? (No pun intended.) People hold a common premise yet they criticize someone for pointing out a direct implication of that premise.
    The same is happening here. If we have no way of determining whether it’s A or B or C, then we shouldn’t be convinced it’s B. “Aha! So you admit nothing will convince you that it’s B!” But if it’s forever ambiguous with no way of deciding between A or B or C, then there’s nothing there to convince you either, and you shouldn’t be convinced.

    My goodness, you jump around a bit. You begin with math analogies and then leap to the notion of being “convinced” when there is “no way of determining whether it’s A or B or C.” I’m concerned that your math analogies are making you think “convinced” is the same as “know” and “determining” is the same as “proven.” And I’m not sure where “forever ambiguous” came from.

    Let’s stick to what Dawkins is claiming (the topic of the blog entry). He is asked, “What would it take for you to believe in God?” and “So what would persuade you?” He’s not asked how he would know God exists or what would prove the existence of God.

    His answer is that nothing would persuade him. And he even explains why – he agrees that “a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent.” and “It doesn’t add up to an explanation for anything.” So nothing can count as evidence for God because a supernatural explanation is never to be favored over a naturalistic explanation.

    I explained this in the blog entry:

    As Dawkins says, even if the Second Coming of Christ were to actually occur, Dawkins would not consider even that evidence for God. In his mind, it would be more likely that aliens would be playing a trick. Dawkins has painted himself into a corner with his extreme skepticism. In his mind, God = the supernatural and natural explanations, no matter how vague or incomplete, are always better than explanations that invoke the supernatural. Thus, it is not surprising he effectively admits nothing would persuade him to believe in God. In fact, he even makes a Freudian slip in acknowledging that all along, he has merely been paying “lip service” to the view that “a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.” It’s all been an illusion.

    Now, as I have noted, this is an approach that guarantees a false negative. It is an approach that is incapable of determining whether God exists.

  93. Brian says:

    “What would persuade you?” is at 15:08. The very first Google result of “define persuade” is the Oxford dictionary, http://english.oxforddictionaries.com/persuade

    “Cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort; convince.”

    Your objection is that I used “convince” instead of “persuade”, yet Oxford says that persuade means convince.

    Then you say that I think “convince” is the same as “know”, when in fact I do not think that (and neither does Oxford). Likewise, “determining” is not the same as “proven”.

    Nonetheless because these wording changes do not affect the point, I fully accept your copy-editing critique and rewrite my comment accordingly. I’ll use “rule out” (14:06) instead of “determining”. If nobody has a way of ruling out aliens, hallucination, etc., then the point remains unchanged.

    To use another math analogy, it’s as if the title of the post says “Dawkins admits x = 3” even while the blogger and commenters concede that x + 4 = 7. Wouldn’t that be odd? (No pun intended.) People hold a common premise yet they criticize someone for pointing out a direct implication of that premise.

    The same is happening here. For options A, B, and C, if we have no way of ruling out A or C, then we shouldn’t be persuaded it’s B. “Aha! So you admit nothing will persuade you that it’s B!” But if we have no way of ruling out A or C, then there’s nothing there to persuade you either, and you shouldn’t be persuaded.

    Nobody really addresses that the central, titular issue has been defeated from a premise that everyone holds (i.e., we have no way of ruling out aliens, hallucination, etc.), while there is voluminous discussion about every little incidental thing. It’s like, “Yes it’s been defeated, but let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about Dawkins’ credibility [undermine the person so we needn’t address the argument] or the simulation hypothesis [utterly tangential] or the difference between ‘convince’ and ‘persuade’ [inconsequential], anything else please!”

    I’m not even into this “nothing can persuade” stuff, but framed in this way—with a “wondrous sign” like “a great big, deep, booming bass, Paul Robeson voice saying, ‘I am God and I created…'”—there seems to be no way out except to challenge the framing. Accepting the premise but rejecting its direct implication is not the way to go.

  94. Michael says:

    Brian: The same is happening here. For options A, B, and C, if we have no way of ruling out A or C, then we shouldn’t be persuaded it’s B. “Aha! So you admit nothing will persuade you that it’s B!” But if we have no way of ruling out A or C, then there’s nothing there to persuade you either, and you shouldn’t be persuaded.

    Aha! That’s not Dawkins’ point. Dawkins is not arguing for some form of agnosticism rooted in the limitations of human reason. He is arguing the opposite – there IS a way to rule out a God explanation -> simply note it is a supernatural explanation. “He more or less persuaded me…..that a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent. It doesn’t add up to an explanation for anything.” That’s why nothing would count as evidence for God. As I have explained, Dawkins is relying on an approach that generates false negatives and is incapable of determinming whether God exists.

    Let’s not forget Dawkins let something slip: “I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming.”

    Care to define “lip service?”

  95. Brian says:

    Unless you can offer a way of ruling out A or C, it still remains that there is nothing to persuade you that it’s B, and you shouldn’t be persuaded that it’s B—neither you nor Dawkins nor anyone else.

  96. Ilíon says:

    ^ Your problem, Brian, is that you refuse to attend to the reason that has been offered.

  97. Kevin says:

    Unless you can offer a way of ruling out A or C, it still remains that there is nothing to persuade you that it’s B, and you shouldn’t be persuaded that it’s B—neither you nor Dawkins nor anyone else.

    Dawkins can’t be persuaded of B regardless of whether there are things to persuade him, because he has intellectually shut his eyes, covered his ears, and started chanting “LA LA LA LA LA LA”. So your point is absolutely irrelevant to Michael’s, which is that B is automatically disqualified from consideration in Dawkins’ mind. It’s not about the ability to distinguish B from A or C, it’s about Dawkins being intellectually dishonest when he talks about needing evidence for B when he won’t allow B as an option.

  98. Ilíon says:

    My normal practice, based on years of experience, is to do my best to ignore anything said by a God-denier. Failing that, I employ the horrible practice, recently identified on this very blog, of “talking about [them] in the third person.

    But, just this once, I’m going to make an exception ad address Brian directly —

    Brian:Unless you can offer a way of ruling out A or C, it still remains that there is nothing to persuade you that it’s B, and you shouldn’t be persuaded that it’s B—neither you nor Dawkins nor anyone else.

    Brian, you are making a set of moral assumptions and moral assertions. But, if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then there is no such thing as morality, this is no such thing as “the way things ought to be“. If atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then there are no actual moral obligations nor legitimate moral expectations (nor, for that matter, any legitimate expectations, moral or not).

  99. Brian says:

    As long as y’all acknowledge that there’s nothing to persuade you and that you shouldn’t be persuaded either, “Dawkins admits nothing can persuade him” is critically undermined.

    The only difference is that Dawkins says that natural explanations are more probable than supernatural ones. I addressed that earlier but there was no answer. You can’t just say that’s bad because it leads to a result that you don’t like. You have to explain why it’s bad.

    I pointed to the recent case of the Bible that oozed oil. Before the guy was identified as the purchaser of gallons of mineral oil, and before chemical testing matched the “miraculous” oil to the oil he bought, what exactly would be wrong with saying that a natural explanation for the oil is more probable than a supernatural one?

  100. Kevin says:

    As long as y’all acknowledge that there’s nothing to persuade you and that you shouldn’t be persuaded either, “Dawkins admits nothing can persuade him” is critically undermined.

    Don’t like actually addressing what people say, do you?

    Do you believe there are other people who share an objective reality with you (A), or do you believe you are in an advanced simulation in which you are the only actual entity and the rest of us are programmed non-entities (B)? Can you explain to us how you would tell the difference between A and B?

    And if you can’t explain how you would tell the difference between A and B, does that mean you shouldn’t be persuaded of A over B?

    And if someone had a worldview in which A was automatically disqualified from consideration, would you believe they were still reasonable so long as they didn’t commit to B?

  101. Brian says:

    Don’t like actually addressing what people say, do you?

    This after my question about the oily Bible goes ignored again. There’s nothing to do until someone finally explains why it’s bad to say that a natural explanation for a Bible oozing oil is more probable than a supernatural explanation, even before it came to light that the guy bought gallons of oil that chemically matched the “miraculous” oil.

  102. Kevin says:

    This after my question about the oily Bible goes ignored again.

    Because it’s irrelevant to the topic of the blog post.

    The topic of the post is that Dawkins claims that he “merely lacks belief” and is merely waiting on evidence for God’s existence, at which point he would change his mind. This is shown to be false later when he admits that his worldview and his preferred framework for analyzing evidence disqualifies God from consideration before he even begins the analysis. Essentially, nothing can possibly count as evidence for God in Dawkins’ mind, so he is dishonest all those times he asks for evidence. No matter what is presented, it is rejected before its presentation.

    You are attempting to change the topic to whether God would be distinguishable from an alien or simulation, or whether a natural explanation is to be generally preferred over a supernatural. Those are different topics that ignore the intellectual dishonesty and close-mindedness of one Richard Dawkins. Whether God can be distinguished from other explanations does not justify eliminating God as a possibility. Whether a natural explanation is more likely for a given phenomenon or event does not justify eliminating God as a possible explanation for all phenomena and events.

  103. Brian says:

    You haven’t offered a way to distinguish God from aliens, hallucination, etc. You haven’t criticized the position that natural explanations are more probable than supernatural ones. You won’t challenge the argument at all, having settled with designating the conclusion as bad.

    so he is dishonest all those times he asks for evidence

    But quoted right there in the blog post is Dawkins talking about how he changed his mind, having been persuaded by Steve Zara. If here were still saying “just show evidence” then that would be dishonest, but, as far as I know, he doesn’t say that anymore.

  104. Kevin says:

    You haven’t offered a way to distinguish God from aliens, hallucination, etc. You haven’t criticized the position that natural explanations are more probable than supernatural ones.

    Correct. But you read more into my lack of inclination than is warranted. It’s off topic, and I’m not fond of chasing squirrels.

    I suspect Dawkins didn’t change his mind so much as have his prior beliefs revealed from underneath his rationalizations, but to the extent he did actually change his mind rather than become honest, you would be correct on that matter.

  105. Michael says:

    Brian: As long as y’all acknowledge that there’s nothing to persuade you and that you shouldn’t be persuaded either, “Dawkins admits nothing can persuade him” is critically undermined.

    I don’t acknowledge that. I am persuaded that God exists by the convergence of multiple lines of evidence. But that’s not all that relevant here. I am noting that Dawkins, after insisting for so many years that there is no evidence for God, now admits that nothing can count as evidence for God’s existence. Dawkins, and his allies, have used the “no evidence” assertion about reality to paint Christians as delusional and/or stupid. For only delusional and/or stupid people would believe in something for which there is “no evidence.”

    Of course, if nothing can count as evidence for God, the “no evidence” claim is meaningless. Any mind that has conditioned itself such that not a single thing could ever possibly count as evidence for God is of course going to believe there is “no evidence” for God.

    The only difference is that Dawkins says that natural explanations are more probable than supernatural ones.

    He, and many atheists, go further than that. He argues “a supernatural explanation for anything is incoherent. It doesn’t add up to an explanation for anything.” In other words, the problem with supernatural explanations is not that they are less probable. The problem is that they are supernatural explanations.

    I addressed that earlier but there was no answer. You can’t just say that’s bad because it leads to a result that you don’t like. You have to explain why it’s bad.

    I told you twice what the problem is. Dawkins advocates an approach that is prone to generate false negatives. If God existed, Dawkins’ approach would tell us otherwise. His approach is incapable of detecting God’s existence. So why in the world would I use an approach that has been rigged to spit out atheism?

  106. Michael says:

    Brian: You haven’t offered a way to distinguish God from aliens, hallucination, etc.

    Come to think of it, has anyone offered a way to distinguish Brian from an alien? Has anyone ruled out that Brian is not an alien intelligence? And if Brian is an alien intelligence disguised as human, it means he is fundamentally dishonest and sneaky. So it would seem to be of the utmost importance that Brian persuade us he is a fellow human being.

  107. Ilíon says:

    Brian:You haven’t offered a way to distinguish God from aliens, hallucination, etc.

    Michael:Come to think of it, has anyone offered a way to distinguish Brian from an alien?

    I sometimes wonder whether the typical ‘atheist’ may not be an NPC that God has inserted into the Sim to interact with the real persons. I mean, they certainly *act* like an NPC — they have a script, they never *learn* from having their script pulled out from under them, and they always revert to the script.

    Michael:… if Brian is an alien intelligence disguised as human, it means he is fundamentally dishonest and sneaky.

    As witness his false claim that no one has “offered a way to distinguish God from aliens, hallucination, etc”.

  108. Ilíon says:

    The only difference is that Dawkins says that natural explanations are more probable than supernatural ones.

    *Even IF* that were all that Dawkins and his ilk were saying, how was that “probability” determined or established. It wasn’t, of course: it’s just question-begging.

  109. Ilíon says:

    Michael:In other words, the problem with supernatural explanations is not that they are less probable. The problem is that they are supernatural explanations.

    Exactly —

    Carl Sagan:Consider this claim: as I walk along, time – as measured by my wristwatch or my ageing process – slows down. Also, I shrink in the direction of motion. Also, I get more massive. Who has ever witnessed such a thing? It’s easy to dismiss it out of hand. Here’s another: matter and antimatter are all the time, throughout the universe, being created from nothing. Here’s a third: once in a very great while, your car will spontaneously ooze through the brick wall of your garage and be found the next morning on the street. They’re all absurd! But the first is a statement of special relativity, and the other two are consequences of quantum mechanics (vacuum fluctuations and barrier tunnelling, they’re called). Like it or not, that’s the way the world is. If you insist it’s ridiculous, you’ll be forever closed to some of the major findings on the rules that govern the Universe.

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