Who in Hell Makes Science a God?

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Realist1234:
Scientific theories are only good till the next fact that throws doubt onto the theory comes along--and that is precisely why I find it surprising that John Loftus etc rely so much on scientific 'truth' as if the scientific view of reality at any given time really does reflect that reality. I would have thought the history of science would have shown one should exercise caution with such a position. Science is great but lets not, ironically, make it into a god.
When I say believers must denigrate or deny science in one or more areas to believe, Realist1234 is our example of the day. Let's put it this way, if we want to know anything about the nature of the universe, how it behaves, or how it originated then the only way to gain this knowledge is through science. It's not just that science is the best alternative. It's rather that there is no other alternative. Does this make science a god? What could that possibly mean? Scientific minded people don't worship science. They question it, relentlessly, by testing hypotheses under peer-review until there's a scientific consensus on a matter [See the 700+ page book for this]. Has science been wrong? Yes. It can be corrected with subsequent objective evidence and shown wrong by other scientists. Religion however, never shows science wrong. Science always corrects religion because science deals with objective evidence, not faith. Believers who accuse scientific minded people of worshiping science do so because they feel everyone worships something perceived as greater than themselves. That's it. They feel the need to worship something so they think everyone does. But that's just one of the delusions they have. Evolution shows us there is nothing to worship. We just exist. We are alone in the universe. Are there things science doesn't know? Yes! Are there things science can never know? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Science is still in its infancy, so I cannot say. If there are things science cannot know, we'll just have to admit there are unsolvable mysteries. It does no good and advances nothing to substitute one mystery for another, say in a god.

To see what happens to Christianity when critically examined by science click here.

Rampant Crap Theology: another Christian Specialty

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Desperation for purpose in the Cosmos

It’s a pretty good bet that not one in a thousand churchgoers today could pick out Karl Barth in a line-up—or be able to tell you what he did. Yet he was one of the most prolific theologians of the 20th century; he produced a 14-volume work called Church Dogmatics, written between 1932 and 1967. He even made the cover of Time magazine in 1962.

Nor would many churchgoers these days have the patience or stamina to get through some 8,000 pages of Barth’s exposition of the Christian faith. But never mind, academically trained theologians write for other theologians and clergy; for generations to come, Barth’s thought will be the subject of countless books, essays, articles, and doctoral dissertations. So much time will be wasted. Laypeople do not need to be persuaded to stay away from that black hole.

Why Do So Many Christian Apologists Act Like Know-It-Alls?

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No humble people they! Ask them. They'll answer all your questions. They know-it-all about quantum mechanics, able to reject scientists (with a single bound) who have theories opposed to their god concept, while siding with those who support it. Doing this must mean they know as much as the scientists in these fields do! Unlike the wise Socrates who admitted he was not wise, they claim they're wise, thereby making themselves out as fools. Not the fools Paul the Apostle spoke of, who rejected the wisdom of the world, but the kind of fools Peter Boghossian wrote of, who pretend to know that which they don't know. They reject evolution, or the clear implications of evolution, which means they know as much as evolutionary scientists do, and/or theologians! They know as much as biblical scholars do, since they're able to take sides in their disputes (and tell us who wins but not why, except to mindlessly quote--mine from them). They can even read the ancient biblical languages and know which translations are best! They know as much as philosophers who debate god-concepts. They know as much as archaeologists, astronomers, historians, ethicists, cultural anthropologists, geologists, cosmologists, and so on, and so on, because they can tell which scholars are right in every discipline that touches on their faith. And guess what? Surprise! They always judge which of these scholars are correct based on their previously adopted faith with its sectarian interpretation of an ancient pre-scientific book, written mainly by anonymous people! This is either truly amazing or utterly ignorant! It's what you get by pretending to know that which you don't know, rather than practicing the virtue of authenticity. Defending the Christian faith requires special pleading. We already knew that. It's also an exercise lacking the virtue of authenticity, the antonyms of which are found online, with words like, counterfeit, fake, concocted, deceptive, delusory, disingenuous, inauthentic and misleading. "Liars for Jesus" seems to be a phrase that fits. [Hence the tag below].

Thomas Paine: On Religious Revolution, Pretending, and Hearsay Testimonies

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Thomas Paine is our intellectual hero, not only for calling America to declare independence from Britain in 1776, but also calling for a revolution of religion eighteen years later in a brilliant classic work, The Age of Reason, which is still in print and still changing the minds of believers today. I'm going to provide excerpts of the final edition of his work in several posts. Enjoy the first one. It's powerful, as much so as anything you'll find in David Hume, David Friedrich Strauss, Robert Ingersoll or Bertrand Russell. In it you'll find he stole something from Peter Boghossian, who defined faith as "Pretending to know things you don't know." ;-) Confound the ancients, they've stolen all of our ideas! Look for the many quotable quotes that can be found in Paine's writings.
TO MY FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I PUT the following work under your protection. It contains my opinions upon Religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. --THOMAS PAINE

Victor Reppert Just Cannot Ignore the Force of the Outsider Test for Faith

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Dr. Reppert keeps trying to chip away at my argument in The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), and there's a reason why. There's a force to it he cannot ignore. Inside his head one side says there's got to be something wrong with it. The other side comes up with something, anything, to deflect the force of it so he can continue believing. You would think if he's demolished it there would be noting left to say, right? But his other side keeps thinking about it, wondering if there's something to it, and subsequently false about his faith. In Vic's post, titled "The Outsider Test for Human Rights, or OTHR" he said,
We might ask what evidence there is that rights exist. You have a feeling that everyone ought to be treated equally. Isn't that just your social conditioning? If you grew up in India, and were raised to believe that people occupy different positions in the caste system based on the Law of Karma, wouldn't you think that the idea that everyone was created (or evolved?) equal was slightly ridiculous? LINK.
In the comments I wrote,
As the person who has named and argued for the OTF, let me say that an OTHR is merely asking for a justifying reason for embracing this or that human right. Since no religion passes the OTF this means the justification for human rights must be found in secular reasons based on whatever evidence is available. The OTHR does not automatically entail people will agree, but it does offer a standard that reasonable people should embrace.

If nothing else, since people without religion are demanding to live under secular democracies, a secular democracy is probably the best way to eventually achieve a consensus about human rights, even though it's far from perfect.
I answered this type of objection previously. Just substitute "Human Rights" in place of "Moral/political views" in what I wrote here. Until next time...

On Women, Science and Democracy in the Bible.

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The tenth commandment alone, all by itself, shows Christians to be indoctrinated to the point of blindness not to see that women were regarded just a bit below a man's property, yet higher than his slaves. If not, paying a dowry to a father for his daughter's hand in marriage, as if she was a commodity, all but proves this. [For more on Christianity and women see Annie Laurie Gaylor's chapter in Christianity is Not Great].

It's like claiming Christianity was responsible for science, even though the Bible depicts a 10,000+ year old flat earth, while stressing the virtue of faith over objective empirical evidence. [For more on the flat earth depicted in the Bible see Edward Babinski's chapter in The Christian Delusion, and for more on the origins of science see Richard Carrier's chapter in The Christian Delusion.

It's like claiming Christianity is responsible for the rise of democracy, even though the biblical god is pictured as a king who sets up kings and kingdoms on earth, and who condemns free speech from people who live different lives, even to the point of death if they fail to comply. [For more on the origins of democracy see Richard Carrier's chapter in Christianity is Not Great].

Can't believers deflect the atheist argument that they were raised to believe, by throwing it back on them?

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Q. Can't believers deflect the atheist argument that they were raised to believe, by throwing it back on them? Logic would mean that atheists need to agree that they are atheists because of when and where they were born. You can't have it only one way.

A. Most atheists were raised as believers, so this doesn't equally apply. But no, we can't have it only one way. You're right. What the accidents of birth entail is that we cannot trust what we were taught by our Moms and Pops in our different religious cultures. That's actually quite shocking to most people, but it's easily recognized when pointed out. So this news requires that upon becoming adults every boy and girl should doubt the religion taught to them, just as if they were born as outsiders to it. They should require objective evidence for the faith they were raised to believe.

Now you can try to deflect this requirement if you want, but it's incumbent on everyone because of what we were raised to believe due to the accidents of birth. But if children are raised to know how to think, rather than what to think, and if they are taught to think for themselves and follow the objective evidence wherever it leads, then those children usually end up as non-believers, precisely because of the accidents of their births! Sorry about that, but thems the facts. It could turn out otherwise, but it doesn't. For lots of evidence showing the Christian faith wrong there's a pretty good book I recommend. It's called, Christianity in the Light of Science: Critically Examining the World's Largest Religion.

Those Sinful Atheists

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A common criticism of atheism is that we atheists “just want to sin.” Dinesh D’Souza, for example, said that “the perennial appeal of atheism” is that it “liberates us for the pleasures of sin and depravity,” while Lee Strobel claimed that prior to becoming a Christian, he had a strong motivation for remaining an atheist — namely, a “self-serving and immoral lifestyle” that he would have to give up if he ever became a follower of Jesus.

Neil Carter's Fantastic Explanation For Why It's So Hard Convincing Believers They're Wrong

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A Mash-Up of Cult Babble and Hallmark Moments

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Neatly packaged in one Bible chapter

It’s a shame that the apostle Paul didn’t live long enough to collect royalties on his feel-good aphorisms. They have been featured on greeting cards, embroidery, stained glass panels, e.g., “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer,” “Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good,” “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.”

It’s also a shame that Paul didn’t live long enough to find out that he had been wrong—dead wrong—about the centerpiece of his theology. He predicted, he promised, he preached passionately that Jesus would soon descend through the clouds to welcome his faithful remnant. He insisted that all Christians gear their lives to this eagerly anticipated event—he was really serious about this: “I, mean, brothers, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none…” (I Cor. 7:29).

The Bad Jesus Podcast: Part II

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The Mindshift podcast on The Bad Jesus: Part II is now available (free). This interview with Dr. Clint Heacock goes into greater depth on the question: “Did Jesus ever do anything wrong?” 
The episode also explains how the refusal or reluctance to admit that Jesus had any moral flaws still reflects a view of Jesus as divine, and not as the human being who should be the subject of historical inquiry within modern biblical scholarship.



I'm to Appear in a Full-Length Christian Documentary Film

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I was interviewed on Tuesday at our house by a Christian doing a full length documentary about medical miracles. Other skeptics who have been interviewed were James Randi, Michael Shermer and Michael Ruse. I gave them the contact info for Dr. Hector Avalos, who should also be interviewed, so let's hope that happens.

On the Christian side (eh, conservative evangelical side???) William Lane Craig, JP Moreland and Craig Keener have been interviewed. This should be interesting. I think I did well. Below is what I wrote in preparation for it. It didn't exactly follow the questions proposed, as it was a conversation. I did get many of these points in, and I thank everyone on Facebook for suggesting how to answer these questions.

Breaking Down Nothing

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Examining empirically defensible "nothings"

The question, "why is there something instead of nothing?" is popping up again here at Debunking Christianity. Let's explore what "nothing" might really mean...

The Mindshift Interview about The Bad Jesus

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I invite DC readers to check-out the Mindshift Podcast hosted by Dr. Clint Heacock, who completed his doctorate in biblical studies at the University of Chester (United Kingdom).
In this episode, Dr. Heacock interviews me about the Second Wave of the New Atheism, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics (2015), and biblical literacy.  Dr. Heacock also speaks about his journey away from Fundamentalism.






Fox News Perpetrates a Dangerous Myth About Atheists That Should be Vehemently Opposed by All Reasonable People

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People wonder why I debunk Christianity and think Christians are ignorant to believe without objective evidence. It's because as believers they lack the ability to be reasonable about many other life questions. If they live their whole lives without objective evidence then they'll believe a lot of other things without it.

The two women co-hosts in this video are stupid. And they are perpetrating a myth about atheists that is both false and dangerous.

Dumb Things Christians Say

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Nobody is exempt from dumb…but why is it a Christian specialty?
“Near the core of religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.” So said Carl Sagan in his 1986 essay, “A Sunday Sermon” (Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science). I guess it just comes naturally to religious folks to dig their heels in when cherished beliefs wilt under rational inquiry. And thousands of apologists, posing as parish pastors and credentialed Bible scholars, have risen to the challenge of coming up with slick excuses to protect the faith—and help the folks in the pews feel better. This combination of intense emotion and intellectual craftiness has combined to create a perfect storm of pervasive dumbness in the Christian ranks.

I have an essay based on my book "Unapologetic" in the current issue of Free Inquiry

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Quote of the Day On Emulating god, By Doubting Thomas

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If reality is a good indication of god's nature and, being good, we would like to emulate god's nature:

-God does nothing as people starve to death, therefore we shouldn't be charitable.

-God does nothing as people die of diseases, therefore we should get rid of medicine.

-God does nothing as crimes are committed, therefore we should abolish the police.

-God does nothing as houses burn, therefore we should abolish the fire department.

If god's nature is something we should strive to copy, it seems apathy is our best bet.

Is Everything Permitted? Atheism vs. the Divine Command Theory

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It’s a common claim that if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. In particular, those who accept some form of the Divine Command Theory (DCT) tend to say this. It’s not true, of course — but given what their theory implies, it is rather ironic that proponents of DCT claim such a thing.

Is Atheism a Religion Which Has No Evidence For it?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-) [Once again, why not?]

Q. My Christian faith will never succumb to the religion of atheism. Why can't you see there is just no evidence for it?

A. Your big mistake is in thinking the alternative to your sect-specific Christian faith is atheism, and that atheism is just as religious as your faith. This is most emphatically not the case. Atheists do not believe in supernatural beings or forces, so it's a denial of religion. If one can be religious yet deny the supernatural, the word "religious" loses any significant meaning. To say atheism is a religion is to assert by fiat, without evidence, that everyone is religious regardless of what they claim. We might as well return the favor and say everyone is an atheist, if that's the language game you wish to play.

More to the point, there are many alternatives to your faith, such as other Christianities, other non-Christian religious faiths, and the many other tribal religious faiths in different geographical locations.

That there are so many diverse religious faiths held by intelligent, and educated people, who cannot convince other religious people, leads some of us to back out of the whole religious scene by doubting them all. We are called atheists. We merely try to convince religious believers they should doubt religion as a whole like we've done, precisely because we've learned religion itself is a cultural by-product of an ancient primitive era that lingers on in our own era.

What About the Origins Of Suffering?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. Why don't you discuss the origins of suffering in the world that created situations like we saw with the Las Vegas massacre?

A. I do indeed do that. But as a caring parent would you ever seek to justify why your children were hurt because of someone else's actions? I very much doubt you would seek to do this, ever.

How Do I Know God Doesn't Intervene to Save Lives Every Day?

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. Just because my god finds a reason not to intervene to save lives doesn't mean he doesn't do so. How do you know my god does not intervene to save lives every day? Yet when he chooses not to intervene, why do you blame him?

A. Has your god prevented any tragedies? One would reasonably suspect that if a perfectly caring all-powerful god exists, who wants reasonable belief unto salvation, s/he would prevent the most horrific tragedies from occurring. Since so many horrible tragedies occur every hour, including the horrible kill-or-be-killed law of predation in the natural world, you have no basis for saying your god prevented anything from happening. Yours is a faith statement meant to deflect the fact that you will say anything to continue believing.

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For more on the problem of suffering see my book How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist. I devote one third of it to the problem of suffering, where I destroy any attempt Christian apologists use to deflect this problem. Don't just take my word for it, see the blurbs written about it by two important believing scholars:

Atheists Are More Likely Than Theists To Consider the Evidence for Miracles

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Q & A from Loftus the magnificent. ;-)

Q. You say theism doesn't raise the probability that Jesus was raised from the dead. Why not? At least with theism believers hold to a miracle working god even if they disagree over which god exists.

A. Every atheist I know of, or have heard from, says they are open to the evidence that a miracle took place. In fact, I think atheists are more willing to consider the evidence of a miracle than theists who reject a different theist's miracle claim. Let's take the resurrection as our example. I'm not that open to the evidence because I've spent a lifetime looking for it and finding none exists (that is, nothing that counts as objective evidence). But I'm more open to it than Muslims and Jews. The reason is because of what faith does to the minds of believers. Faith deludes them into believing their faith is certain. Being certain their faith is correct, they are less likely to consider any evidence that Jesus arose from the dead, whereas atheists are at least willing to consider it (some more than others, of course).

Dodging Bullets from the Guns of the Las Vegas Massacre Shooter

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My heart goes out to the victims and families of the Las Vegas massacre, those who were not able to dodge the shooter's bullets, and those traumatized by the thought it could have been them. My younger brother lives in Vegas and his favorite musician is Jason Aldean. He didn't go to the concert. *Whew* It was good news to learn he dodged that bullet! No, I do not think god saved him. No, I do not think his life has some special purpose because he didn't go. Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes good happens.

But what would have been so wrong for a good all-powerful god to end the shooter's life with a heart attack just before shooting his first bullet? Then everyone would have dodged their bullets. This, my friends, is the problem of suffering that most believers are blithely unaware and unconcerned about.

Believers are now praying for the families of the victims and others affected. But if their god did nothing to help anyone beforehand it makes no sense to think their god will help them afterward! That's what deluded people do because of the need to believe against all evidence to the contrary. If it's possible for them to ever see that faith causes them to ignore objective evidence to the contrary, this is their best chance.

Science, Feelings, Evidence, Oh My!

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To be open-minded means being open to any objective evidence that could change your mind. Being open-minded means being open to the consensus of scientists who agree evolution is a fact, along with all that it implies. Being open-minded means thinking like a scientist, by seeking to disconfirm your feelings and intuitions by objective evidence to the contrary.

I cannot agree to disagree if it means allowing feelings and intuitions to determine what we think is true. They are notoriously wrong, yet they deceive nearly every person on the planet.

To anyone who disagrees I have a feeling you are dead wrong. Try to dispute my feeling without using any objective evidence. Then you will see how utterly unreliable subjective feelings can be when it comes to knowing anything objective about the universe we live in, how it operates, and where it came from. You'll clearly see that subjective feelings and intuitions immunize the brain from knowing the truth about the universe we live in.

Believers will ask, "Is objective evidence the grand arbiter of truth? Do you you have any objective evidence to support this claim or is it just a feeling??" The answer is simple and easy. There is overwhelming objective evidence that requiring objective evidence is the best and probably only way to know anything about the nature of nature, its workings and origins.

When I say believers cannot be reasoned with, this is what I mean!

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I get the kinds of comments you will read below, every single day. Note how easily it is for me to point out the delusion, and how easily sound logic based on solid evidence is dismissed by the believer. Truly a sight to behold!

Christian believers who say these stupidities outnumber by far, into the millions, Christian intellectuals who are more sophisticated due to being more obfuscationist. They claim I should deal with how THEY reason, rather than rank and file believers. I indeed do that, but this is how THEY would reason without the obfuscationism. Christian intellectuals--that is, Christian obfucationists--do exactly what Orthodox Jewish obfucationists and Muslim obfucationists do. They obfuscate to make what they believe more palatable. But deep down, the real reasons they believe can be seen by paying attention to what rank and file believers say, for after all, they were once part of the rank and file, that is, before they learned how to twist logic on behalf of faith.

Quote of the Day by Chuck Johnson

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"God only exists as a fictional character. He is a dummy, and religionists put words into his mouth. Therefore, it is easy to show that God created evolution or anything else. All you have to do is say so and it magically becomes true."

Theism and the Odds Jesus was Raised From the Dead

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Theism does not increase the odds that Jesus was raised from the dead, since one can be a theist and still think the evidence is insufficient to believe. Jews and Muslims reject the resurrection hypothesis just as surely as atheists and agnostics do.

“In God We Trust” Is Hot Air…and It Got Us Into this Mess

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The advance of the anti-science, anti-democracy barbarians

My shift to atheism got a boost when I was in seminary. Classes in theology especially stirred up doubts—the last thing that was supposed to happen. The Ecclesiastical-Academic Complex (as Hector Avalos puts it) exists to manufacture clergy, those legions of preacher-apologists who can help folks in the pews outmaneuver their doubts.

But in my coursework I discovered that theology was longwinded on what God was like, but short of breath on epistemology: where can we find reliable, verifiable data about God? Well, that was asking too much: “We rely on prayer, revelation, intuition, the holy spirit speaking to us.” Really? You expect to get away with that forever?

Quote of the Day By koseighty

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The Bible is the CLAIM, not evidence.