Thursday, January 17, 2013

What counts as evidence?

Commentor Hoo:

How do you know that the rights in the US Constitution are indeed God-given? I understand that the framers proclaimed them to be so, but there is no evidence that they received them from God. Do you know otherwise? 
... I would be curious to look at whatever evidence you have.

So much of atheist polemics consists of denying that faith in God is a reasonable belief.

Which raises a very important question that atheists must answer before we can have a coherent discussion of God's existence and His agency in nature:

What counts as evidence for, or against, God's existence? 

70 comments:

  1. There is no evidence that god(s) exist. The 'evidence' you've provided is completely inadequate. I don't deny that belief in god(s) is reasonable. I just deny that there's any adequate evidence.

    I don't need evidence against the existence of god(s) when there's no evidence for the existence of god(s). In the same way that I don't need evidence against the existence of unicorns, despite unicorns, like god(s), being a popular object in mythology and art.

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    1. You misunderstood my question. I didn't ask if there was evidence; I asked 'what kind of evidence would demonstrate His existence'.

      In other words, if He existed, what evidence would you expect to find? Specifically.

      Delete
    2. Well, you have to provide the evidence I'd accept. All the 'evidence' you've provided has been grossly inadequate.

      I'd accept a well documented miracle, impossible to explain except by supernatural means. For example, an amputee growing back a lost limb today, with adequate documentation that it happened. That should be easy for a god to do. Jesus is supposed to have done miracles thousands of years ago in a tiny area of the world, just to prove his divinity. It seems as though God is doing a very good job of hiding, relying on past glories (although I doubt that they actually happened).

      In a previous thread, you linked to an article noting that Pope Paul was just 2 miracles short of becoming a saint (what is it with you Catholics and saints?). In other words, 2 episodes of the placebo effect, or 2 spontaneous regressions of tumors (which do occasionally happen), or 2 false positive diagnoses of malignant tumors, short of becoming a saint.

      Delete
    3. bach:

      There have been millions and millions of claims of miracles.

      As you've asserted, a documented actual miracle would be evidence for God.

      Could you cite me the research that demonstrates that not a single one of them is an actual miracle? Journal, volume, page. In fact, cite me all of the miracle research you know of.

      Delete
    4. No,

      You're the one who has to provide the evidence that at least one miracle is actually true, not explicable by natural means. It's like the unicorn; I don't have to prove that the unicorn doesn't exist. If you want miracles, then you have to prove that at least one is true. Give it your best shot...

      Delete
    5. bach:

      [You're the one who has to provide the evidence that at least one miracle is actually true, not explicable by natural means.]

      You've claimed that there is no evidence for miracles. Millions of people have experienced miracles, and that's obviously evidence, but apparently for your purposes that kind of evidence doesn't count, although that is the kind of evidence that is used in courts worldwide.

      So you seem to mean scientific evidence, which proposes scientific research and analysis. Could you point me to the scientific research and analysis that has been done on miracles?

      Delete
    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 17, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Being married to an attorney for a couple of decades, I can honestly say that eyewitness testimony, particularly from multiple, independent witnesses carries a bit more weight in formal proceedings than physical, circumstantial evidence. As a pathologist, Johann must know this.

      But WTF. We're having fun here. Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that Johann Doe is miraculously healed. An investigation is called to determine the cause of the recovery. Assuming the investigators are methodological naturalists, the best the investigation could ascertain is that the cause for Johann's recovery is unknown. By definition, a methodological naturalist not only cannot, but will not by intention, seek a miraculous (supernatural) cause.

      Moreover, it seems to me that the demand that one establish a supernatural cause for anything using naturalistic methods is, well, illogical in the extreme. If one finds a natural cause, it's not a miracle anymore. And if one does not, more research is required. :-) That's great for grant proposals, but that's about all.

      Our world is replete with mysteries for which no natural cause can be established. A perfect example is life itself.

      However, one can always fall back on Francis Crick's aliens (I call them Crickets). Nobody seems to have figured out where the Crickets came from. Hawking seems to think there was a Primordial Egg, but that begs the question of the Pre-Primordial Chicken.

      It's all very complicated.

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    7. Adm. G Boggs,

      I think I may have found a documentary explaining the theory of the cosmic egg. It seems the Iron Chicken was responsible.
      See link below.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfsMZKwqw3w

      Delete
    8. Proof of God? Existence.
      As for miracles, I will note a fairly recent one: Fatima, Portugal.
      How does science explain that one away? Short answer: It doesn't. Mass hysteria does not cut it. UFO's do not cut it - and are not an explanation, anyway. There is no logical or naturalistic explanation for that series of events.
      That is only a recent and well documented case.
      As noted by Doctor Egnor, miracle happen all the time. Life itself is one of them.

      Delete
    9. CrusadeRex,

      Fatima? Don't make me laugh. You had a large number of people, wanting to believe, staring directly at the Sun (not recommended for eye health), and seeing different events, both contradictory and impossible physically.

      Eyewitness accounts have to be taken with a grain of salt. They aren't always reliable. People see what they want to see and avoid seeing what is obvious. The book 'the Invisible Gorilla' provides examples. The 'classic' experiment of the students being set the task of watching a basketball game and count the number of times one team has possession of the ball, during which an actor wearing a gorilla suit walks onto the middle of the court, beats her chest for 7 seconds and walks off. About half of the students don't see the gorilla. Even ones who can be shown to have looked directly at the gorilla.

      Michael,

      You still haven't given an example of a miracle for which there is evidence showing that it's TRUE. Someone somewhere somewhen somehow believing that a miracle happened is obviously evidence. It's just pissweak evidence not worth taking seriously without confirmation.

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    10. bach:

      There are thousands of miracles that have been certified by the Catholic Church for the canonization process. The certification panels include scientists and physicians who are experts in their fields.

      Many other miracles have been well documented. Incorruptibility of the bodies of saints is well known, and the bodies are on public display. The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima was witnessed by tens of thousands of people and reported in the press.

      Of course you will contend that each of these meticulously documented and investigated miracles, just like the countless millions of personal miracles ordinary people have experienced in their lives, are delusions, frauds, errors, etc.

      But you have no evidence, just your bias. Which is what you're all about anyway.

      Delete
    11. 'Of course you will contend that each of these meticulously documented and investigated miracles, just like the countless millions of personal miracles ordinary people have experienced in their lives are delusions, frauds, errors, etc'

      Yes.

      People have been reporting UFOs for decades. Many have even reported alien abductions. No one, or at least no one sensible, thinks that UFOs are extraterrestrial intelligence spacecraft. I could be convinced tomorrow that UFOs are ETI spacecraft if one lands on the lawn outside the White House and it's filmed. I could be convinced that God exists if a genuine miracle happens, such as an amputee growing back a lost limb.

      All the so-called miracles so far can easily be explained. God like alien UFOs is doing a very good job of hiding. The conclusion is obvious that he doesn't exist.

      Delete
    12. bach:

      You cite not a shred of evidence that all miracles are explainable by natural mechanisms. You ignore the Catholic Church's investigations of miracles for canonization, which are meticulous, documented, performed by non-clerical scientific and medical experts, and number in the thousands. You offer no explanation for incorruptibility, which includes many bodies of saints on public display for centuries.

      Perhaps all of these are frauds, etc, but now the ball is in your court. The investigations to confirm the miracles have been done, by better scientists and physicians than you, and the conclusion is that they are genuine.

      Your response is to wave your hands and stick to your bias.

      Show us your scientific evidence.

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    13. Michael,

      The first Australian saint, Mary MacKillop, got canonized because two people apparently prayed to her. One had leukemia. The other had lung cancer with brain secondaries. And both survived. Spontaneous regressions of tumors does happen. There's no evidence that praying to a dead person has any real effect.

      It's a circular argument. ETIs exist. People see UFOs for which they don't have an explanation. Therefore UFOs are alien spacecraft, and ETIs exist.

      It's the same argument. God exists. People rarely recover from usually fatal cancers. Therefore miracles occur. And God exists.

      You've asked what evidence I'd accept for God existing. And I gave it; a genuine miracle capable of being investigated for which there is no possible natural explanation. Regrowth of a lost limb would do it. Remission of a cancer doesn't.

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    14. bach:

      Which of the approximately 800 miracles studied and confirmed in the canonization processes carried out under JPII's pontificate have you found to be scientifically invalid?

      Let's see what you've got.

      Delete
    15. Michael,

      Mary MacKillop. Read my previous comment. Spontaneous regressions of cancers do occur, even in atheists. They don't prove anything.

      If God exists, I want him to prove it with a miracle I can't dismiss. Regrowth of a lost limb in an amputee would do it. A one tonne platinum plate made out of 100% platinum-190 (the rarest of the platinum isotopes) with an inscription stating that he exists in all known languages would do it too.

      You reckon God can do anything. So why doesn't he do it, and remove all doubt?

      John Paul II was a saint addict.

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    16. bach:

      800 miracles documented by experts.

      And what is your evidence to the contrary, bach the Science Guy?

      Delete
    17. Michael,

      Right. I'm not claiming that spontaneous regressions of cancers don't occur. To put it another way, there's about 1 billion Catholics in the world. About 20% will die of cancer, so that's about 200 million. Spontaneous regressions of cancer do occur. If it's 1 in a 100,000 (and it might be higher - for disseminated renal cell carcinoma, it's around 1 in a 1,000), then that would mean there's at least 2,000 remissions of cancer, perhaps up to 200,000.

      Obviously, that's not each year, but the required 'miracles' for sainthood don't have to be within a certain timeframe. Mary MacKillop's two occurred in the '60s and '90s. How many of the 2,000 prayed to a saint or wannabe-saint? And how many of the 199 million or so who didn't get a cancer remission prayed to a saint or wannabe-saint, but failed because they didn't pray hard enough? Or weren't worthy enough?

      Getting from a spontaneous remission to it being a miracle because someone prayed to a saint or wannabe-saint, and therefore God, is the part that's impossible to justify.

      How would you prove it?

      I'm still asking you for a 'miracle' for which there is absolutely no natural explanation. You still refuse to do so.

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    18. [I'm still asking you for a 'miracle' for which there is absolutely no natural explanation. You still refuse to do so.]

      Creation ex-nihilo of the universe. What's the natural explanation for that?

      The genetic code. The origin of life. The human mind.

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    19. Michael,

      I was asking for 'miracles', such as the ones that qualify for sainthood, not incompletely understood scientific questions.

      The genetic code isn't arbitrary. The triplets of nucleotides preferentially, by physicochemical reasons, bind to the corresponding amino acid (see Nick Lane's 'Life Ascending', chapter 2 for the details. Origin of life? See ibid, chapter 1. The mind - is a product of the brain, and is a model of the outside world as reflected by imperfect senses, and the individuals place within the model, so as to give the individual the illusion of making conscious decisions and having free will. Origin of the Universe - we may never know what happened in the first 10^-43 secs, before inflation and then the Big Bang. I'm not a cosmologist. Are you?

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    20. What's the natural explanation for any spontaneous remission of cancer, whether or not it is considered a 'miracle'?

      Delete
    21. Michael,

      If we knew the answer to that question, we'd have the cure to cancer. Presumably, it has something to do with the immune system. In the same way that the immune system can reject a graft, it can also acquire the ability to reject a tumor. We certainly have a better, albeit imperfect, understanding of spontaneous remission of cancer than you do with your prayer induced cures of cancer - what's the mechanism of that?

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    22. We understand neither spontaneous remissions nor miracles.

      So your assertion that spontaneous remissions are "natural" events, unlike miracles, is based on no evidence whatsoever.

      You are simply imposing your atheist presuppositions on reality. You have no "science" to back up your claim that miracles do not occur.

      Delete
    23. Bach,

      I had expected a more reasonable response from you than that. I am glad you had a laugh, it is good for the soul. But, I am afraid you could not be more wrong. Your comparison of sports enthusiasts engrossed in a game with a religious revelation experienced (even by sceptics) by literally tens of thousands, is just a non starter.
      Maybe you're not familiar with the event?
      You should look it up. I am sure you would find it fascinating.

      I don't know why you felt the need to rant on about the origin and existence of UFOs. As I said in my original comment, citing that phenomenon (as many materialists do in the case of the Fatima) is no explanation anyway.
      Perhaps to distance yourself from that crowd?
      Fair enough. I am not an adherent of the new age 'alien' theories either.
      What of it?

      Delete
    24. Michael,

      We do understand spontaneous remission s of cancers better than miraculous cures of cancers. For a start, we know that they do occur.

      We don't know that miraculous cures of cancers do occur.

      To give an analogy (I know CrusadeRex will object because he doesn't like analogies), someone buys a lottery ticket, prays to a saint or wannabe saint and wins first prize. Not a miracle, even if there are a million lottery tickets, because someone has to win the lottery.

      Someone comes down with a fatal cancer, prays to a saint or wannabe saint and goes into a remission. A miracle? Well, we do know that people rarely do have remissions from cancer. Not often, perhaps 1 in a 1000 for renal cell carcinoma.

      How would you determine that praying to a saint was the cause of the remission? I suppose you could do a retrospective study, and ask survivors of cancer whether they'd prayed to a saint (although finding a control population to determine the background frequency of praying would be difficult). Or perhaps you could do a prospective double/blind trial, dividing cancer patients into groups; one is told to not pray, another group is told to pray to a 'real' saint and the third is told to pray to a bogus fictional saint, and trying to determine whether survival is better in the saint prayer group than in the two control groups (survival would include at least some spontaneous remission s or miraculous cures).

      I don't think that it's practicable.

      Whatever the case, spontaneous remission s of cancers are rare. Miraculous cures of cancers (if they occur) are extremely rare. One billion Catholics with 200 million cancer deaths and perhaps thousands of rare cancer cures isn't evidence of the power of prayer and the existence of God.

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    25. CrusadeRex,

      You're an idiot. You don't understand when an analogy is being used. You don't understand that 'the Invisible Gorilla' was testing people's selective interpretation of events, and that eyewitness accounts aren't reliable, not sports enthusiasts.

      I've never heard of anyone using UFOs as a cause of Fatima. I was using UFOs as a phenomenon for which there are eyewitness accounts, including alien abductions. All bogus and explicable by natural explanations. The analogy of UFOs was with that of miracles, generally. Misinterpretations, motivated reasoning, etc.

      Delete
    26. Bach,

      You have never heard of a lot of things, but you're an expert on everything, apparently.
      If you have never heard of the UFO crap surrounding Fatima, you have never researched the event.
      That much is glaringly obvious. That's like saying you have researched 9/11 and never heard of 'truthers'.

      As for the reality of UFO's (Unidentified Flying Objects - as opposed to 'flying saucers' from Zeta Reticuli) I would simply point out you are more familiar with stool samples than you are with radar returns and gun camera footage.

      There are dozens of recorded events in the public domain that indicate there are many things in the sky that still require an explanation. Many objects are tracked, captured by video and imaging systems, and photographed.
      Most do get explained and a public version of that explanation is disseminated. Many do not, or are not deemed safe for public consumption. You are typical of the frightened infantile public that requires us to hold back on what we do know.

      So, go play with your shit and bits, you facile ego maniacal quack.

      I am an idiot?
      Perhaps I am. At least when it comes to certain things...
      I do keep trying to dialogue with you, after all.
      Who but an idiot would bother with that?



      Delete
    27. CrusadeRex,

      OK. I did find the Wikipedia article on Fatima/UFOs. UFOs aren't mentioned in the main article on Fatima (or in all the other accounts of Fatima I've read). I don't accept alien spacecraft as an explanation of UFOs, because there's no credible evidence for them, and almost all can be explained otherwise. The few that can't is just due to paucity of evidence.

      What was seen at Fatima can be explained without UFOs. Bringing UFOs into an explanation is just crazy.

      I'd love there to be ETIs visiting us in their alien spacecraft UFOs. But alas, the evidence is lacking.

      What is your opinion on UFOs?

      Delete
  2. Dr. Egnor,

    If you read my question, cited in your opening post, carefully then you will see that it has nothing to do with the existence of God.

    In fact, I grant, for the sake of the argument, that God exist. What is the evidence that the rights enumerated in the Constitution were given by God? Could it be that the founding fathers did not, in fact, hear directly from God and merely mentioned him for rhetorical flourish?

    Hoo

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    1. Hoo:

      Answer my question. What would count as evidence for God's existence?

      Delete
    2. Dr. Egnor,

      This is irrelevant to my question. I will therefore not chase your rabbit trails.

      Hoo

      Delete
    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 17, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      It seems to me that you asked three, basically unrelated, questions. The first was about Egnor's belief about the provenance of the rights, and the second was about the framers' sources.

      Obviously, the answer to the first question is not necessarily contingent on the answer to the second.

      For example, I may "proclaim" that Einstein was the original source for X, or Mozart was the original source for Y, but my "proclamation" is not contingent on personal communication by either individual.

      As to the third question, "do you know otherwise?", it seems tangential at best. Are you asking whether Egnor somehow "knows" (via a séance, perhaps?) whether the framers were directly inspired by God? Or whether he has found a historical reference making that claim?

      I may have misunderstood the questions. If so, could you rephrase in a way that makes more sense?

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    4. Adm. Boggs,

      I think you are trying too hard to read between the lines. My questions are simple and unequivocal.

      I do not think your analogy with Einstein and Mozart works all that well. Although I have not corresponded with Einstein directly, I have seen his scientific papers published in a scientific journal.

      There is no difficulty with attributing, say, the equation E = mc^2 to anyone but Einstein. He introduced the notion of mass-energy equivalence in this paper: A. Einstein, "Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig?", Annalen der Physik 18, 639 (1905). doi:10.1002/andp.19053231314.

      Hoo

      Delete
    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 17, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      When you now say "questions", as opposed to your earlier use of the word "question", I take that as agreement with the main thrust of my comment.

      However, I fear it is you hoo is reading between the lines. Nowhere did I say your questions were complex and/or ambiguous. Nor do I believe they are.

      And, to be frank, I'm not overly concerned about your view of the analogy. As it happens, I'm aware of Einstein's scientific papers (in translation) and I've seen handwritten musical scores by Mozart in Salzburg. Of course, either or both may have been clever forgeries. Nevertheless, I accept their authenticity.

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    6. @Hoo:

      [In fact, I grant, for the sake of the argument, that God exist. What is the evidence that the rights enumerated in the Constitution were given by God?]

      We have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because we are created by God in His image,and we share that aspect of His dignity and freedom.

      It's a venerable argument. I'm surprised that you're not acquainted with it.

      Delete
    7. Dr. Egnor,

      You can make an argument that we deserve a right to life etc. because we are made in God's image. That does not establish such rights as given by God. Inferred by humans, yes. Given by God, no.

      Hoo

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    8. Existence is given by God, with certain logical entailments. Rights are one of the entailments.

      That view is the consequence of 3000 years of theology and philosophy. You can disagree. But asking for "evidence" is like asking for "evidence" that good should be done and evil avoided.

      What evidence would you accept? A registered letter from the Almighty?

      Delete
    9. Dr. Egnor,

      This reminds me a lot of the constitutional penumbra: the rights not explicitly stated by the founding fathers but later inferred by judges and lawyers. The right to privacy comes to mind. Your mentioning of 3000 years of philosophy and theology makes the parallel quite apt.

      Hoo

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    10. Hoo:

      The assertion that the leftist invocation of the right to abortion is analogous to the Christian invocation of God-given rights is only tenable if you admit that both Leftism and Christianity are religions.

      That's a defensible point. But the reality is that the "emanation from a penumbra" of the right to abortion is an act of raw judicial power, as Justice White observed.

      But I do like your comparison between abortion and religion. It's like a sacrifice to Moloch.

      Delete
    11. Like it or not, Dr. Egnor, but the parallel is quite clear. There is no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Bible. Humans are creative enough to infer it after philosophizing for a thousand of years.

      Hoo

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    12. Hoo:

      [Like it or not, Dr. Egnor, but the parallel is quite clear.]

      It is. Both are exegesis. One exegesis is logical and correct (human rights as biblically based), the other is illogical and incorrect (abortion right in the Constitution).

      Aside from the fact that one is logical and the other is illogical, they are analogous.

      Delete
    13. Dr. Egnor,

      Since both interpretations are human constructions, reasonable people can disagree about their validity.

      Hoo

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    14. People can disagree. Whether the disagreeing people are reasonable or not depends on the viewpoint.

      The viewpoint that human rights are God-given is reasonable.

      The viewpoint that the Constitution grants a right to abortion is unreasonable.

      Delete
    15. So, Dr. Egnor, here we are—two reasonable people—who disagree about these issues. Such is life.

      Hoo

      P.S. I would not say that the rights to contraception and abortion can be found in the Constitution, even with intent looking. These are modern rights, which could not be had back then when women could not even vote and the state of medicine was entirely different.

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    16. @Hoo:

      [So, Dr. Egnor, here we are—two reasonable people—who disagree about these issues. Such is life.]

      After 50 million aborted children based on a lie about the Constitution, your synopsis is "such is life".

      Pick a better aphorism.

      Delete
    17. Dr. Egnor,

      An notional appeal does not constitute a good argument.

      Hoo

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    18. Notional should be emotional.

      Hoo

      Delete
    19. [An emotional appeal does not constitute a good argument.]

      It was an insult, not an argument, Mr. Spock.

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    20. Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong. - Jean Jacques Rousseau.

      Hoo

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    21. Dr. Egnor,

      You look like an idiot spitting out profanities and unable to make an ounce of sense,

      Hoo

      Delete
    22. "A**hole" isn't a profanity, because of the **.

      Delete
    23. Dr. Egnor,

      As even your own fans acknowledge, this is a pretty pathetic attempt at deflection. As you cannot muster anything resembling a coherent argument, I will not bother to comment on this issue any more.

      Hoo

      Delete
  3. Why would any sane person want to base their rights on the Bible and the Christian God? The morality of the bible is incredibly flawed. There are numerous examples, but one that comes to mind is the punishment of children, and of children’s children, for the crimes of the parents. No civilized country or society would think it just to punish the great grandchild of a long dead criminal, yet this is the main theme of the Bible, and the reason we all need salvation (because someone ate an apple they weren’t supposed to!). Society has moved beyond the flawed morality of the bible. To base our rights and laws on the bible would be a giant step backwards.

    The Bible is silly, childish, morally flawed, completely lacking in imagination, wrong in many details, and self contradicting. There is no good reason to believe any of it.

    -KW

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    1. Project much, KW?

      "...is silly, childish, morally flawed, completely lacking in imagination, wrong in many details, and self contradicting"

      A great description of your own arguments on this page.

      Delete
  4. If the world had ended after the cessation of Mayan human sacrifices I would take that as evidence for the existence of Huitzilopochtli. Of course I would not follow such a God as his requirement for human sacrifice runs counter to human dignity.

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    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      I don't normally respond to drive-by trolls. But I'll make an exception in your case because I'm curious how you think you might take anything for evidence after the end of the world.

      Delete
    2. Anon,
      Huitzilopochtli is a Toltec/Mexica sun god.
      The god the vast majority of sacrifices the Mayans made was the rain/crop god known as 'Chac' or 'Chac Xib'. They were ritually drowned in 'sacred' lakes.
      Plenty of Mayan's were sacrificed TO Huitzilopochtli as captives and tribute.
      Nor did they think the 'world would end' if they did not sacrifice. They thought they would lose a war, have failed crops, or somehow be punished for their disloyalty.
      Just FYI.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  5. M.Egnor: "What counts as evidence for, or against, God's existence?"

    Not one 'atheist' will ever answer such a question, any more that 'Hoo' will ever actually look at the evidence that certain human rights are God-given.

    'Atheists' will constantly chant "there is no evidence for God" ... while studiously ignoring any and all evidence presented: for example

    'Atheists' will *also* studiously ignore the logical implication of their silly assertion that "there is no evidence for God" ... that to assert that is simultaneously to assert that "I know what would count as evidence".

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  6. M.Egnor: ""A**hole" isn't a profanity, because of the **."

    Oh, come on! There is absolutely no difference between 'asshole' and 'a**hole'.

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    1. 'Hoo' is a fool, he's a liar -- and just like his father, he will accuse you of anything if he thinks it will distract you or trip you up.

      If you think you shouldn't say or write 'asshole', then you shouldn't write 'a**hole'.

      But regardless of whether you are willing to use the word 'asshole' (which happens o be a very good and fitting word in the correct context), don't allow yourself to make yourself intellectually dishonest so as to evade 'Hoo's' pointless (and hypocritical) accusations.

      Delete
    2. 'Hoo' is a fool, he's a liar

      Has he been copying your posts?

      Delete
  7. Last night at about 8pm my oldest friend passed away.
    He was the young kid in our 'pack' as lads, but he and I remained close friends our entire lives. We snook into Bond and Trek movies together, camped as boys, travelled the country, and so much more. I have a lifetime of memories with him.
    He was like a little brother to me, and an 'uncle' to my first son. He loved dearly by my family. His mother was my Grandmother's best friend for years.
    He was a guest of honour (and the drunk) at my wedding and helped me carry my father's coffin.
    We had many, many good times - and were always there for each other in the bad times.

    For the vast majority of his life he was a confirmed Atheist, of the old school. We never agreed on cosmology and theology, but we always respected each other's position and often spoke about it.
    He was the type of Atheist that bought Christmas presents for his friends and family - and knew the difference between good and evil.
    Nor did he deny super nature, or any of the complexities of life. He despised the New Atheist movement and believed them akin to religious fanatics.

    In the last couple of years, he declared himself an agnostic and often spoke with me about theology and ancient religions. He confided with me he was fascinated with the the Old Testament, and was increasing interested in the 'Abrahamic faiths'. He was a lifelong student of history and philosophy. A lover of the classics. Just last year we bought him a hard cover antique copy of Tacitus Histories for his birthday.

    He was a man who never feared his own death, and had been struggling with a terrible illness for over a decade. He was one of the few people I could really talk to about anything.
    He passed away after massive cerebral damage due to stroke and 'watershed' of the brain as a result of a blood pressure and kidney failure while in care. He was asleep and well medicated when he went... it was at least peaceful in the end. He was just 41 years old.
    I will forever miss him in this life, as will his family and mine.
    I am sure we will be meet again.

    So today, I salute a fallen brother so long of 'the other side'.
    A good and decent soul who lived by the one commandment that trumps all others: LOVE.
    His death is heaven's gain, and the world's loss.
    RIP Paul.
    May God keep you till we meet again.
    REX

    "I may not believe in his divinity, but anyone who would deny the historical reality and good works of the man known as 'Jesus the Christ' is not only a fool, but is also one undermines our civilization's moral codes."
    From an email debate between us circa Easter 2008, and while still and ardent Atheist.

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    1. Dear crusadeREX,

      I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your best friend. He died so young. This is heart-wrenching for you and his family.

      May you find strength to deal with it.

      Hoo

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    2. Thanks, Hoo. :)
      I appreciate the words.
      It is a heartfelt loss to all who knew him.
      I will find the strength, as I have much to live and work for. It is his parents and big sister that concern me. We will be keeping a close eye on them and helping them through their grief. For my own part I will focus on all the good times...so many.
      Again, thank you.

      "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;"


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    3. crus:

      My condolences on the loss of your friend. I pray that he is with the Lord.

      Mike

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    4. Thanks, Mike.
      I am sure he is.

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