Sunday, April 10, 2011

Show #704: Open Thread

I don't have much of a topic today. May be discussing a bit about a conversation I had recently that included a few things of note:

1. I was told recently that the amazing things in nature couldn't have been produced naturally. I said nature is so amazing--in the things I see it do--I can't really put much past it. Why wouldn't I think nature could do something cool--like produce a tree? The person replied that's the reason they believe a god is involved, precisely because nature is so amazing--so unbelievably, incredibly, mind-blowingly amazing--that only a god could have created.

2. Next I was told (during the same dialog) that I was being "negative." The reason I was being "negative" was that I pointed out they worship a god that commanded genocide, mass infanticide, execution of gays, endorsement of slavery, making raped women marry their rapists, telling people to "take no thought for tomorrow," setting up a human sacrificial plan to deal with the heinous and self-imposed crime of being imperfect and human and exercising freedoms He supposedly gave us. I asked "if this god did what your Bible indicates...why on Earth would you choose to worship it?" I was told that anybody could go through and pick out the "bad" bits...but why focus on the negative--when there are good things in there, too? So, it's "negative" to say we ought not to worship a god who tells us to put the babies of our neighbors to the sword; but it's positive to worship a god who tells his followers to put babies to the sword if you simply ignore that part and focus on "love one another."

It reminds me a bit of the caller who said that the recent Giffords assassination attempt was a miracle. The idea that a woman is severely brain damaged, several people--including a child--are dead, and more are wounded, and that is evidence of god's merciful benevolence, just continues to floor me. When a random shooting that results in hideous loss of life and pain can be evidence of goodness and loving mercy--what isn't evidence of goodness and loving mercy? Honestly?

As the show is an hour these days, I'm not sure how much time there will even be for discussion. But these would be my points for today if we have time or lulls in the calls.


  1. i wish i had your mute and disconnect buttons in real life. "you're done!" *theist goes flying*

  2. 1. I think we know very little about nature, and the universe, and everything; and that is precisely why it is all so amazing, because there is still mo much we can learn, so many ways for nature to impress us, if only we continue to seek it. And to just attribute all of that to a supernatural being whom we can know nothing about... what's so great about that? It just diminishes nature's true beauty.

    2. Saying we can just pick out the bad things in the Bible and focus in the good things is like saying that we should look at a convicted murderer (for example) and just discard all of the bad things he's done and focus on the good things and pretend he's perfect. It's just nonsense.

    Anyway, looking forward to today's show, I love watching you, Tracie :)

  3. 1. Argument from incredulity.
    2. Reminds me of that shirt from T-Shirt Hell: "What about all the GOOD things Hitler did?" As always, the Bible is the Big Book of Multiple Choice.

  4. But Shirly's boyfriend only beat her twice today. Other than that, he then mowed the lawn and washed the dishes and other nice things around the house.

  5. @tracieh, @Delamort:

    Something I've taken to saying when Christians tell me not to focus on the bad bits: "Well then why don't you just take the bad bits out?". Typical response is that of horror that I'd dare suggest they make such changes to their book. Some of them cite the bible verse in revelation that says it's a sin to change the bible. None of the ever cede that, as it's what they're doing anyway, they might as well

  6. @erauqssi

    By saying that, Christians end up contradicting themselves. If they recognize there are bad things in the Bible, and we should focus on the good things... how do you separate good from bad things, if good comes from God, and the Bible is the word of God?

    The only logical response is that good DOESN'T come from God, and that's how you can separate the good and the bad in the Bible.

    But, of course, they'd rather fall into the same circular logic then acknowledge that the Bible is just a book, and we don't need a god to tell us right from wrong.

  7. 1. Wow, way to take all the meaning, enjoyment, and amazement out of life.

    Look at the simple beauty of evolution! Nope, god did it.

    It sounds like a joke, nature is not produced naturally. Really?

    2. When did pointing out the bad become "negative?" Defense shields on full, Mr. Sulu.

    It all makes me think back to a bumper sticker I wanted to print up.
    "Without god, life has MORE meaning"

    Looking forward to the show, as always.

  8. But Tracie, god is so beyond our he is right even when he is wrong.
    Our puny human minds just can't understand his mysterious ways.

  9. @Raymond If you, as a human, can't understand his mysterious ways, why assume he is good at all?

    I suspect you're not really a theist, but it's still something they're inclined to say, so I want to address it.

    If one would see a man standing over a body holding a bloody knife, the first thing to pop in your head isn't: "He must've had a good reason. The victim must've deserved it." And you see him stabbing away, and the thoughts that don't immediately pop in your head are: "We don't know why he's doing it. We shouldn't prejudge him. His ways are mysterious to us. This could be a good thing."

    No, that wouldn't be one's first reaction. Our first reaction would be to call the police and have the stabber arrested.

    And the theist would counter with: 'God is allknowing'. How'd you know God is all-knowing? Did he tell you?

    So the being that is committing the atrocity is telling you that what he's doing is okay. And you believe that. Because he also told you faith in him is a virtue. WHAT?

    This guy's laughing in his fist that these people are so gullible.

    I'm thankful there's no reason to think he actually exists.

  10. Apparently, the chatroom loves Mark. They almost broke the server when someone from the show posted that he was on the line.

  11. Tracie is kicking ass.

  12. This guy is seriously inferior intellectually. He can't even comprehend the questions they are asking him. Is there seriously a church full of people this weak?

  13. I think you are being a far too soft on the caller. I understand that you are trying to reach out but at moments I begged for Jeff Dee to hop on stage. Especially during the hell bits.

  14. So the Brazilian caller (btw Russell the ão sound in São Paulo is the ow sounds, as in ow, turned into a nasal sound) was talking about Chico Xavier. Russell pulled him up on wikipedia but here's the link for reference:

    and in Portuguese:

    I wish we had a Brazilian James Randi, this Chico Xacier idiot was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  15. Mark from the Austin stoned church is a lovable guy in his own way and a true die exciting surprise to get a theist caller like that.

  16. Mark never replies to the question, Why Do You Believe? Of course, we all know the answer: because it is how he was raised.

    Yes, Mark, mommy and daddy lied to you. Mommies and daddies and preachers across the country lie to children about the imaginary father figure in the sky, because they think if everyone pretends He is real, then it is not really a lie. But it is. Deal with it and move on.

  17. I love it when Mark calls though I wish just once he would actually tell us why he believes what he does. Very good show today, Tracie handled Mark very well.

  18. Good for Mark to keep calling back. He seems to be ther self appointed spokeman for the stone church. It would be intersting for their minister to call in. Most certainly, that conversation would take on a different tone. Where Mark seems not undersand that stating his beliefs without evidence is not enough; it is the minisiter's job/intention to instill these 'beliefs' in the congregation. He would surely be handled differently by the AE gfroup. It seems that some of what has been talked about with Mark has made some impact. Maybe, eventually, he will be able to think more clearly for himself and question what he is now being taught to believe. I suspect some of the young people in that church are questioning. Otherwise, why would they be listening to the show. In addition to that, as the parents's view is that the show is some kind of threat to their beliefs, they obviously figure their children are thinking about what they ae hearing. Otherwise, they would not be worried about you are saying.

  19. Mark and the kids are in for a long hard bumpy ride. As a recent convert, the fear of indoctrination is overwhelming when you are starting to realize what you were taught might not be the truth and the thought of questioning that "truth" is eternal punishment. It really is a form of abuse.

  20. Mark thinks that parents would disown their children sooner than watching The Atheist Experience with them. Whether he's correct in that estimation or not, does he really think that this is a reasonable position for any parent to have?

    If he does, shame on him, and shame on any parent who shares that view. It's utterly unacceptable.

  21. I would really like it if the next time Mark calls in (assuming he does), if he's stopped whenever he starts answering a question with "My church believes..."

    I'm not sure if it was in argument from popularity or if its a sign of how much Mark believes what the church tells him to believe, but I'm starting to wonder if he's able to stand up and say "Yes this is what I believe."

  22. Very well done, Tracie. Very well done. Your questions and responses were near identical to what I was thinking during the "in my church...just watch the sermons" call.

  23. I am fascinated with Mark's obsession with hell as an argument and how it stymies him when the idea of hell doesn't inspire the AE crew with the fear & trepidation he expects. I also noted the way he kept repeating "we are a fundamental church" as if it was a mark of authenticity (I think he said something similar in a previous call about 'doing it by the Book'. I seriously doubt that he has ever had his beliefs challenged.

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  25. The first caller presupposes that a "who" created life on Earth, rather than a "what," valuing the mysteriousness of his supposedly correct deity over evolutionary theory, because he was indoctrinated to have faith in the Judeo-Christian God instead of Thor or Zeus.

    Also, I fear anybody that tries to justify a heinous action that occurred in life, causing death or serious injury, as a sign of God's benevolence.

    It's similar to when Christians attempt to justify the behavior of a God that sentences good people to an infinite state of torment, because they don't believe in that specific deity, while there isn't any empirical evidence or valid logical arguments for said deity or deities existing.

  26. I have to wonder. Is god so emotionally fragile that if you disrespect him he'll react by eternally torturing you? Talk about a spoiled brat!

  27. Your take-down of Mark from Stone Church was effing epic! Better than Matt crushing of Matt Slick from CARM, IMO. Tracie and Russell, you both did exceptionally well...

    I usually like the sort of Jeff Dee "drop kick to the crotch" approach, and the Matt D. "I was a fundamentalist Christian for 25+ years, so I know the Bible better than you" move works too. In this case, I think that the Russell "I was never a Christian, why would I believe any of this?" and the Tracie "that's fine, I hear you say X, Y, and Z but none of that means anything to me" worked much better.

    I was happy that you reduced Mark to "my preacher told me that we are required to think you're disgusting people for being atheists, becauyse my preacher says so" and showed pretty conclusively that his whole position is based on hating non-Christians and blindly following his preacher.

  28. I'm still not convinced that Mark's position is genuine.

  29. Yeah it sure seems Mark is just defending his position for the sake of not being wrong (even though he usually is). I hope he'll start thinking for himself!

    Also, I'm glad the kids are thinking for themselves. And my gosh its bad that the parents are just trying to hide them away from critical thinking. I came out as an atheist to my dad (at the time a strong christian) thinking he'd be super upset. But he literally said "hell no" when I told him I thought it could affect our relationship. I feel like any sane parent should (and would) put their love before their base-less faith.

  30. I want the kids from Mark's church, who apparently are watching AE and causing concern among their parents, to call in. Enough of Mark. He has gotten owned twice now.

  31. I sympathize with those children and Mark. THey seem to be in a position where their freedom is greatly limited. I include Mark because unlike the kids he probably has a family which would leave him if he became skeptical. This is not to say the kids do not have equal if not worse consequences for their disbelief.

    This makes me feel lucky because I came out to my parents as an atheist in a church during Christmas in front of a complete stranger (it was in Texas still though).

  32. What, Mark called in again? Hurry up downloading, MP3, I want to hear Tracie destroy him again....!

  33. I was always fascinated by the continual, ongoing prohibitions against eating pigs in the various Abrahamic religions as well. If no one was eating them, why do they need need to be reminded not to do it again and again? Somebody was eating pigs, probably lots of people. If the commandments against eating pigs worked, then why do they need to be restated over periods of thousands of years?

  34. More importantly, if no one was eating pigs, why was there a convenient pig farm for Jesus to send all those demons into?

  35. Hey all my atheist friends! God exists and loves you all! Check out my blog:

  36. Tel Aviv, Sao Paolo, Malaysia...

    Wow. AE is going international!

  37. Let rippster4christ's post set the precedent for his/her blog. I'm sure it's prattaculous.

  38. Yerp:

    There are numerous evidences for God's existence. In this brief article, we'll consider five: the cosmos, the conditions for life, the complexity of life, the canon of Scripture, and Christ.

  39. I'd be interested in exactly how the rest of the church feels about Mark calling in as he does - was he elected to represent them as a caller, or is he doing this entirely on his own?

    From the exaspiration in his voice whenever he calls in, it seems like he realizes how poorly he represents his case, so I'm curious why he keeps coming back.

  40. Has anyone else listened to the Hell sermon Mark mentioned? I just finished it, and to Mark's credit, he did a good job summing up the sermon in a few sentences. Still wasn't convincing (no surprise there) even with the 'charismatic' preacher delivering the message.

    The whole Parents<Supreme Court<God analogy is still laughable. The Supreme Court doesn't dole out greater punishments than parents because it has greater authority; it does so because the crimes it judges are greater. If a ten-year-old kid was sent to the Supreme Court because he lied about who broke the neighbor's window, the Justices would be more concerned about how this case got to them in the first place than how many years in a federal prison to give the kid.

    So unless their god is judging someone for infinite crimes, it doesn't have an excuse for infinitely cruel, infinitely unusual, eternal torment.

  41. I think Mark fears some kind of retribution of the church. He keeps referring back to the fundamentalist nature of his church, how members of this church who are parents don't like the AE because their children watch it and how their god will punish them if they even consider the possibility that he doesn't exist.

    He's not interested in debating, or proving, or even considering anything. He's begging the Atheist Experience to go away before anyone gets offended and there are negative consequences to either their community or even the atheist community.

    Our lack of belief offends them, so Mark asks us to not be so vocal about it.

    He's basically asking us to censor ourselves because they hate the prospect of their bubble being burst by the the simple question of "Why do you believe?" which Mark has yet to answer.

  42. It was weird hearing a fundamentalist actually refer to himself as a fundamentalist.

    I guess the guy is real, but it's astonishing that a grown adult keeps calling and warning the AE about hellfire and damnation. It's like a 7-year-old repeatedly saying, "My dad can beat up your dad, so you better do what I say!"

  43. If the elders of Mark's church were so concerned about saving their children they should all be calling in to TAE.And if their god was the powerful being they claim, they( the elders) with god's guidance could easily make Matt or any TAE host look as silly as Ray Comfort looked a few weeks ago. That alone should make them wonder about a god who can't stand up to a Matt D. Hmmmm.. maybe Matt is the dev..... Naw.

  44. I tried to post a polite point-by-point on "Ripper's" blog, but his comment size limits made that impossible.

    I do wonder if the religious ever get curious as to why their prominent pastors, apologists, evangelists, etc. constantly quote-mine and misrepresent science in order to make their points. At some point, wouldn't you look around and think "gosh, if our case is so weak that we have to lie in order to evangelize, then what are we doing??"

    I know, I'm an optimist.

  45. I don't think the people of faith would misrepresent science or misquote scientists. That would be counter evidence. Men and women of God are to have integrity and to glorify our Creator. People do make mistakes. Although, if we humble ourselves and stop worshiping "science" as our god, we come to see who the true God is! Everybody worships something. Science isn't bad, but there is a lot our there claiming to be "science" that isn't at all!
       /ˈsaɪəns/ Show Spelled[sahy-uhns] Show IPA
    a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    systematized knowledge in general.
    knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    a particular branch of knowledge.
    skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

  46. Just as atheists demand evidence for God, we need actually evidence for non-scientific theories (Evolution). Check out:

  47. Although, if we humble ourselves and stop worshiping "science" as our god, we come to see who the true God is!

    1) We don't. We use science because it demonstrably works. If I'm trying to build a house, I use the hammer because it's effective, not because I worship hammers.

    2) God is not the default answer. You actually have to demonstrate he/she/it exists.

  48. Just as atheists demand evidence for God, we need actually evidence for non-scientific theories (Evolution).

    Can you justify the claim that evolution isn't science?

  49. Comment disclaimer: I have not read the other comments and I am not even a full 10 minutes into the show, but I'd just like to state that it's just awesome to have Mark on again. Please invite him to have a regular spot on the show. :)

  50. I'm not a geneticist but I've studied some genetics, and I wonder why you don't point out that most mutations are neutral. They are what give us our individuality and the diversity in the gene pool that's necessary for evolution, but they aren't individually beneficial or detrimental.

    For example, I have a mutation that caused me to develop a couple of moles on my throat. My nephew has a string of about 8 moles in the same place. Would these moles be enough to deter a potential mate and thus end our genetic line? No. Would moles covering our entire bodies deter mates? Most definitely. They wouldn't end the life of the individual, though (unless they were ostracized by their society or burned as a witch)

    We're all full of all kinds of "mutations" but only a few of them will matter in the big evolutionary picture. Even "beneficial" ones are only beneficial in the context of the environment. The peppered moth is the perfect example:

  51. rippster4christ: Everybody worships something.

    Nope. Sorry.

    Science — by those who actually understand it, respect it, and are interested in knowing whether what they choose to believe is actually true — is a method by which we obtain knowledge about the natural world through observation and experimentation. It's a method that works. What we have not heard from people like you is a different method that works better. Instead you simply want to draw a false equivalence between the worship of your imaginary God, and the "worship" of science, which no one here, and no actual working scientist, actually practices. In other words, it's a straw man fallacy and it's not serving you well.

    Just as atheists demand evidence for God, we need actually evidence for non-scientific theories (Evolution).

    There are these amazing places called "universities," which teach a wide variety of subjects such as biology, which ought to offer all the evidence you seek. Failing that, you could read an actual science book, and not one filled with disinformation by creationists, who, contrary to what you might think, do in fact lie about and misrepresent what science actually has to say on the subject of evolutionary biology. Try the TalkOrigins archive and Phylointelligence for some online primers. Then move up to Ken Miller's Only a Theory, Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth and Coyne's Why Evolution Is True to get some facts in your head.

    Otherwise, if you insist on continuing to call evolution a "non-scientific" theory here, then all you're doing is revealing the depth of your ignorance, and you should prepare to be schooled rather harshly.

    I'm afraid what you'll find is that it's the Discovery Institute that is "non-scientific" in the extreme. Their list of "dissenters" from Darwin's theory, of which we've been aware for a long time, features around 700 names, many of whom are not even experts in the relevant fields. In contrast, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has over 10,000 members, the American Society for Cell Biology has over 11,000, The American Society for Microbiology has over 42,000, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences represents over 250,000. Those aren't even all the professional associations out there. The dissenters list comes to less than 1% of AIBS's membership.

    They're the ones you ought to be listening to, not the cranks at the DI. Just sayin'.

  52. You guys handled everything exceptionally well. Matt-Level Patience going on :) Great show!

  53. Out of morbid curiosity I listened to that sermon about hell as well. It's pretty much the fire and brimstone tripe you'd expect, but I must say that I got a very uneasy cult-leader vibe from that preacher Matt Carter. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be with that sort of fundamentalist church. Still, I can't help but feel sorry for the congregation. These people live in a dark place.

    The preacher made the point that being tortured forever in hell is just dandy, because we dirty humans offended an infinite authority so the punishment should be infinite as well. All I could think of at the moment was if we deal with infinite character attributes of a deity why not throw mercy in the mix. Can't he just, well, forgive us? What's so bad about showing a little mercy? God can have mercy, right? But I guess that namby-pamby version of God ain't what the the Austin Stone Church stands for. Black and White. You either spend the afterlife in eternal bliss or eternal torture. And most likely it's torture for you. A dark place indeed.

  54. All I could think of at the moment was if we deal with infinite character attributes of a deity why not throw mercy in the mix. Can't he just, well, forgive us?

    I'm sure they'd say that God's infinite mercy is why he allows some people to have infinite bliss in Heaven, assuming the praise The Boy.

  55. Rippster,

    You say you don't think people of faith should misrepresent scientists. I agree. Then why, for example, do you keep sending people to "", when it is *DOCUMENTED* that the list was generated fraudulently?


    This is not "up for debate." It is well-documented that scientists have attempted to remove their names from the Discovery Institute's list and the DI has refused to do so.

    By your own admission, you should stop relying on these bald-faced liars.

  56. Some people seem hard-wired to need to worship. They are the ones who tend to find or remain religious, because religion fulfills their need to worship. Most atheists have no need to worship anyone, although I guess the caller that worships Matt is an exception.

    But I wish someone would explain what theists mean when they say "glorify god." Christians claim they want to worship AND glorify god. I un derstand what worship means, but what do they mean by glorify. Sounds kinda psycho-sexual sicko to me.

  57. Tracie was spectacular (as usual) with her responses to Mark this episode, a real joy to watch.

  58. @ripper4christ Dude, no-one's worshipping science. Science is a tool in gathering true beliefs about reality.

    And even if evolution wasn't the foundation of modern biology and medicine it still wouldn't mean creationism is the best alternative option or even the default position to revert back to. No. It is not. The default position remains atheism, a lack of belief, because no matter what you may falsely believe, atheism and evolution are not necessarily linked.

    If hypothetically evolution was debunked tomorrow there'd still be no reason to believe in creation, god or specifically your god without actual evidence.

    Nor would if we actually found demonstrable evidence for a god mean that evolution is false.

    The only reason why you would claim evolution is false is because you know that it contradicts your holy scripture. However, common ancestry and change over time as facts would not necessarily mean there is no god. It would only mean your god isn't real.

    And because there's no doubt evolution is a fact, it must suck to be you.

    Gullibility is neither a virtue or evidence, no matter how hard your religion would try to rebrand it in order to save face.

  59. Thank you for your comments! I just want to say that I do believe in evolution! Micro-evolution. I don't disagree that this happens. But Macro-evolution is false and being promoted as fact! Question: "If we evolved over a period of millions of years, where is all the archeological evidence for TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS? Half animal, half humans,et. If Macro-evolution is fact, there should be amazing evidence for that! Instead you have stuff like "lucy" or ape-man theories.
    My main intention isn't pride or the awesome feeling of winning an argument with you all! But I want you all to know God and that He does indeed exist!

    Also, to glorify God means: To give Him all credit and honor and respect. To acknowledge that He created us and we for Him, enjoy Him forever! (May not be appealing to you, if you don't know

  60. I'm not on here to win argruements or to display my great "knowledge"! I'm here to compel you to come to know God and that He has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ! If you want evidence of God...look to the life of Jesus Christ! He is God! And He loves and cares about Atheists!!!!

  61. Oh...and Science is awesome!!! As long as it remains science...and there are no agenda's to promote theories that are unscientific. I believe that science can show us the depth and intricacies of His creation which should cause us to give God (our Creator) all the praise that He deserves. Instead of man trying to take the credit for His God-give abilities and mental capacity. Man naturally hates God and will try anything to suppress or reject His existence. And Why? Because of our sin nature! Sin is what separates us from God and causes us to be blind to His existence.

  62. If you deny that "sin" exists, then look at the grave yard! Everyone dies, and that is a result of the curse of sin, something which God never intended. But because He created us Not to be robots and give us choice, we choose to disobey. What Creator want his people to be "forced" to love Him?

  63. If he were "not" a loving God, He would have not put the tree in the garden and so "not" giving us the choice. But by putting the tree in the garden, and telling man: "Don't touch it", He gives man a choice, and choice to love and obey God instead of the serpent. And we see the evidence of Adam's choice today: We all disobey God and naturally hate Him!!!

  64. Rippster,

    No. You don't get to do this. Before you move on to your generic laundry list of Christian apologetics, it would be common courtesy to respond to the points I very politely (and painstakingly) made for you.

    Specifically, you (1) repeatedly cited and relied upon, while (2) insisting that "real Christians" would not lie about science.

    I pointed out that the Discovery Institute list AT THAT WEBSITE was generated fraudulently. That it is, through and through, a LIE designed to trick people like you and that you have been (indirectly and innocently, so far) propagating that lie.

    Specifically, the evidence I sent to you pointed out that the list:

    (a) Was generated fraudulently, and includes non-biologists and even non-*scientists* such as "park rangers" in order to pad out its numbers;

    (b) Fraudulently includes people who have REPEATEDLY ASKED TO BE REMOVED from the list, such as Fred Sigworth, Daniel Kuebler, and Carl Koval, and yet the DI has REFUSED TO DO SO;

    (c) Deceptively lists the signees by the most famous institution with which they were ever associated and not where they currently teach; i.e., David DeWitt is listed as "Case Western Reserve University" (where he received one of his degrees) and not "Liberty University" (where he's been employed for the last decade); and, most damningly,

    (d) Misrepresents the beliefs of the actual signatories, such that 88% -- EIGHTY-EIGHT PERCENT -- of the remaining names on the "Dissent From Darwin" list actually ACCEPT the theory of evolution and specifically accept that all living things have evolved from a single last universal common ancestor.

    In other words, I showed you that your primary source was not just mistaken, not just incidentally wrong, but a deliberate fraud. So I'll ask you again: do you concede that site is run by frauds and you shouldn't rely upon what they have to say?

  65. @rippster4christ:

    I saw from your blog that the "complexity of life" is held up as a "proof" of the existence of a god. Why is this concept so consistently flaunted by theists? For me, the complexity of life completely UNDERMINES the idea of a god.

    Gods do things by magic. They do whatever they want, on any whim, and they have no concerns for what is complex or difficult, and they don't bow to any laws or conditions. Like the laws of physics, for example. If a god so desired, he could breathe life into dust and clay, and animate it into a man (this is, in fact, the creation myth). This creature would be one of SIMPLICITY, NOT complexity. He would walk around, breathing and speaking, made of nothing more than dirt. His very life would baffle scientists and astound the world. He would require no further explanation than that a god animated him. He would not need energy from food or sunlight, he would not need water for hydration, he would have no use for the processes of digestion, metabolism, a circulatory system, an endocrine system. DNA would not be necessary, nor neurochemistry in his brain. What use of ANY of this would GODS have? They could do the job with NONE of it.

    Complexity is NOT a sign of the handiwork of gods, it is a sign of NATURE struggling to piece together a functioning lifeform, one with infinitely more moving parts than a hybrid engine. Simplicity would be how we could identify gods, not complexity. Simplicity so astounding that it defies explanation. Complexity is taking the LONG way to get there. It would be beneath the gods to work so hard, when they can simply snap their fingers to have what they want.

  66. "If we evolved over a period of millions of years, where is all the archeological evidence for TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS? Half animal, half humans,et. If Macro-evolution is fact, there should be amazing evidence for that! Instead you have stuff like "lucy" or ape-man theories.

    It's amazing how much wrong can be crammed into one chunk of text.

    1) We have more transitional fossils that you can shake a stick at. Here's a good place to start.

    2) We are animals. We're also mammals, and primates. It's like asking "Where's the half Oak Tree / half plant fossil?"

    3) There is no "micro" or "macro" evolution. There's just evolution - one mechanic that operates on all scales.

    4) There is amazing evidence for it. You can find it in the fossil record and genetics. Sir Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, and evangelical Christian admits that even without the fossil record, the evidence found in genetics alone is more than enough to confirm common ancenstry. You can begin digging into the evidence here.

    5) You don't know what a theory is in science. It's the cumulative model of all the data and knowledge gathered about a particular phenomenon. Theories are not structures as "I have a theory that this light will turn on when I flip this switch" - that's a hypothesis. Theories are structured more like "Here's everything we've discovered through investigating the light, switch and wiring about the topic of light switches.". Ironically, the existence of a valid scientific theory actually tends to imply that the original phenomenon (such as evolution) is in fact real, otherwise the theory wouldn't exist.

    6) "Lucy", and a whole host of other forms discovered, which you can look at here, confirm humanity's evolutionary change, along additional debunking of this claim here..

  67. I'm not on here to win argruements or to display my great "knowledge"! I'm here to compel you to come to know God and that He has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ! If you want evidence of God...look to the life of Jesus Christ! He is God! And He loves and cares about Atheists!!!!

    1) Demonstrate Jesus existed.
    2) After (1), demonstrate that Jesus was the son of God
    3) Demonstrate God exists.
    4) Demonstrate that Christianity is the correct interpretation of that god.

    You simply keep asserting this god exists without providing any not-previously-refuted-a-thousand-times barrels of logical fallacy.

  68. If you deny that "sin" exists, then look at the grave yard!

    Non-sequitur. What does people dying have to do with "sin" that can be distinguished from life forms simply dying naturally? When a bacterium dies, is that because it sinned?

    Everyone dies, and that is a result of the curse of sin,

    Prove it. Yet another baseless, unjustified assertion.

    We all disobey God and naturally hate Him!!!

    Please stop lying about us. I don't hate your god any more than I hate The Joker. I don't believe he exists. Unlike some people, I'm not having difficulties distinguishing fictional fantasy from reality.

    .and there are no agenda's to promote theories that are unscientific

    You haven't addressed my question about your asinine statement that the theory of evolution isn't scientific, by the way.

  69. I have been "told the good news" and "informed" and "let me know" about this supposed invisible, magical, non-manifesting, undetectable, non-demonstrable entity floating around the sky on many occasions now.

    I do not need to be told that "God exists." and "God loves you.", again and again and again.

    I Do Not Care until the assertions have been demonstrated to the point of passing the rigors of science, the single most demonstrably accurate and effective means humanity has ever derived for discovering how the universe works, as well as what's real, and what is not.

    Until then, the nuanced discussions of the doctrines and ad hoc rationalizations about these imaginary best friends is entirely 100% unambiguously moot.

    Any irritation I may have is entirely due to the annoyativity of the followers of religion, and entirely not due to their insane beliefs.

  70. , and entirely not due to their insane beliefs.

    Strike that. It's entirely not due to their imaginary beings.

  71. This whole "dissenters from Darwin" nonsense is refuted wholesale here:

    "Most of the signators to the DI's list (about 80%) are not biologists; some are not even scientists. Generally speaking, mathematicians, electrical engineers, philosophers, and so forth are only marginally more qualified to comment on the validity of evolution than the average person on the street."

    The DI is a pack of liars. What does that say about religion when it has to be defended by frauds like them?

  72. The retorts to Mark's blather were effective, but if this clown calls in again you guys really need to cut to the chase.

    Is he advocating that the AE stop airing the show? If so, he needs to be asked point blank why his church is opposed to freedom of speech.

    Is he aware that the "abrahamic" religions are the only ones in the world that rely on threats? And why does he believe that threatening law-abiding, peaceful citizens is an admirable moral code?

  73. I don't think the people of faith would misrepresent science or misquote scientists
    Aww! That's downright adorable.

    Everybody worships something
    Not unless you redefine the hell out of the word. Of course, doing so would be a misrepresentation.

    "If we evolved over a period of millions of years, where is all the archeological evidence for TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS? Half animal, half humans,et. If Macro-evolution is fact, there should be amazing evidence for that! Instead you have stuff like "lucy" or ape-man theories.

    Now that you've demonstrated your complete lack of knowledge about evolution, I hope you will be content to shut the fuck up until you've corrected this problem. You could start by looking at some of the sources that other people have already provided you with.

    I also have to point out the silliness of you asking for "half animal, half human" fossils and then complaining that scientists only have "ape-man" fossils. I mean.. seriously, dude!

    If you want evidence of God...look to the life of Jesus Christ!
    And how would I do that? By reading the ancient scribblings of anonymous authors, who only agreed in the cases where one plagiarized another? The bible is not a reliable source for much of anything, especially not on a subject as important as the existence of a god.

    If you deny that "sin" exists, then look at the grave yard! Everyone dies, and that is a result of the curse of sin
    Do you understand that this argument presupposes the existence of a god? Do you understand that to make this argument to a group of atheists is completely foolish?

  74. "What Creator want his people to be "forced" to love Him?"

    Maybe a creator who punishes people with eternal torture for not loving him?

  75. JT,
    What is this: "GAP: Ideally, of course, we want an entire skeleton from the middle Late Devonian, not just limb fragments. Nobody's found one yet." or "GAP: Once again, the first traces are so fragmentary that the actual ancestor can't be identified. " or "GAP: Note that these first, very very old traces of shark-like animals are so fragmentary that we can't get much detailed information. So, we don't know which jawless fish was the actual ancestor of early sharks.
    This is direct quotes from the website giving supposed "evidence" for Transitional fossils.
    It's like saying: Frog+kiss=prince; Frog+time=prince! Again, time is used to justify everything with macro-evolution! There should be millions of full-fossilized examples!

  76. Obviously science is Atheists "religion" so to speak! To worship somethings mean to "add worth" to it! I have no problem with science! And the Bible has stated scientific facts before modern science even took off:
    Here you go! Give glory to the God of the Bible:

    Even though the Bible was completed 2,000 years ago, long before the invention of the microscope, the telescope, satellites, etc. it does not contain any scientific errors. This might be considered a miracle in itself. Why? Without exception, every ancient religious writing has certain unscientific views of astronomy, medicine, hygiene, and so on. The Qur’an says in Surah 18:86 that the Sun sets in a muddy spring. Qur’an 18:86 says "when he reached the setting-place of the Sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring.”

    Not only is the Bible free from scientific errors, it miraculously makes known numerous, accurate scientific facts about the universe thousands of years before modern scientists caught up. There are lots of them. For time’s sake I will give you a few quick examples.

    A. The Sun

    In contrast to the Qur’an, the Bible teaches that the Sun is actually on a circuit through space. Writing of the Sun in Psalm 19:6, David said, “Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end.” For many years critics scoffed at this verse, claiming that it taught that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Scientists at that time thought the Sun was stationary. However, it has been discovered in recent years that the Sun is in fact on a circuit through space, just like the Bible says.

    B. The Shape of the Earth

    When the rest of the world believed the Earth was flat, Isaiah declared that the world was round. Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is He [God] who sits above the circle of the Earth." When did Isaiah write these words? Between 740 and 680 B.C. That was at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested in his book On the Heavens, that the Earth might be a sphere. More than 2,000 years later some people still believed that Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was going to sail off the edge of a flat planet in 1492! Another verse that speaks of the shape of the Earth is Job 26:10, where it teaches that God has “inscribed” a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. This boundary between light and darkness is where evening and morning occur. The boundary is a circle since the Earth is round.

  77. C. The Suspension of the Earth

    Before Isaac Newton discovered gravity Hindus believed that the Earth rested on the back of an elephant who stood on the back of a turtle that was swimming in a great endless sea. The Greeks believed that the mythical god Atlas carried the Earth on his shoulders. What did the Bible say? In one of the oldest books in the Bible, Job said in Job 26:7, “He [God] hangs the Earth on nothing.” Scientists did not discover that the Earth hangs on nothing until 1650.

    D. The Stars

    Before the telescope was invented, man was able to number the stars. The Greek astronomer and mathematician Hipparchus (190-120 B.C.) said there were exactly 1,026 stars. The astronomer, and mathematician Ptolemy said there were 1,056 stars. The German astronomer, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), counted 1,006. The whole thought of the stars being uncountable was contrary to modern science until the invention of the telescope. When Galileo first pointed his telescope to the heavens in 1608, we discovered there were a lot more stars than anybody had ever imagined, just as Jeremiah had said:

    Jeremiah 33:22 “The host of heaven [a reference to the stars] cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured.” Today, with the help of powerful telescopes and modern satellite photographs, scientists estimate the universe contains approximately 100 billion galaxies containing approximately 200 billion stars each. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), the world famous astronomer, said, “The total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the planet Earth.” (Cosmos, p. 196). That is enough stars for every person alive on planet Earth to personally own approximately 2 trillion stars each. Dr. Mark Eastman says, “Counting at a rate of ten stars per second it would take over 100 trillion years. Surely the host of heaven cannot be numbered!”

    How did the authors of the Bible know that the stars were uncountable, that the Earth was round and hangs on nothing? Were they taking lucky guesses? I don't think so. Their flawless accuracy rules that out. The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:21 that "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” God, who knows all there is to know about the universe He created, superintended the writing of the Bible to make sure that what He wanted written, was written.

  78. JT,
    Regarding Jesus Christ, here you go:

  79. Please show one scientific error in the Bible!

  80. rippster4christ said...

    Please show one scientific error in the Bible!

    I reply...

    Show me one cud chewing rabbit.

  81. After finishing the audio, I would just like to commend both Tracie and Russell on a great show. Tracie as usual manages to cut through so much of the religious fluff and state plainly what it is that Mark is actually advocating. Here's hoping that Mark and the people at his church begin to wake up.

    @rippster4christ - A bat is not a bird, and the moon is not a light. Both of these statements are made in the Bible.

    In order for you to equate science to a religion, you end up redefining the word religion. You're certainly not using it in the same way you would speak of your religion. And if you wish to use the definition of "worship" that you've provided - are you seriously saying that's the context you're using when referring to you worshiping your god? You just "add worth" to him? You think he's a little better than other things? Don't be ridiculous.

    Once again theists have to redefine words and twist around their contexts in order to make their supposed point.

  82. "Please show one scientific error in the Bible! "

    Joshua 10:13 - The sun stands still for a day.
    1 Chronicles 16:30 - The Earth, which is rotating, circling our sun, and traveling with our galaxy at around million of miles an hour through the universe, is "firmly established" and "cannot be moved."
    Deuteronomy 14:7 - Rabbits chew cud.

  83. "Please show one scientific error in the Bible!"

    1. The moon is described as a light source in Genesis. The moon in actual fact only reflects the sun's light.

    That's the one error you asked for. I could go on if you'd like.

  84. For those of you following the saga with Rippster -- after cross-posting the above comment to his blog, and after Lukas showed that his quotations from Charles Darwin were deceptively out of context (yes, including the eye seeming absurd one!) -- our brother in Christ Rippster decided to delete all comments that demonstrate that his sources are lying liars.

    Rippster, if you're still reading: think about what this *says* about you that you have to use fraudulent sources and then conceal evidence of their fraud.

    Think about what it means that you now KNOW that the Discovery Institute, that the creationist sources you love to parrot are full of people who DELIBERATELY LIE to people like you.

    Why would they do that? What does that say about Christianity? Have you thought about that?

    I'm angry, because I was seriously patient and polite with you, Rippster, and it turns out that you DON'T CARE. You're here to regurgitate apologetic talking points. You don't care about what I actually have to say. You don't care if your talking points are true or not. You don't care if your trusted apologetic sources are liars. And that's just... sad.

  85. Does not the moon provide light during the night time? Yes it's reflecting off the sun, but nonetheless, it provides light!
    Cows chew cud..what is cud? Is it not digested plants/food. Don't rabbits eat food and chew cud?
    I don't see anything unscientific here.
    The sun stand still. Cannot God do that? The nonscientific language is unscientific, its prescientific. It was written in ancient times using ancient standards.

  86. correction: the nonscientific language isn't unscientific.

    I was given the dissentfromdarwin web address and took his word for it. I've know of many respectable scientists who have denied evolution and believes in a Creator. I'm sorry I've offended you. I erased all the comments (including mine) because of space.

    I'm done discussing on this site. I realize most of you do not want to let a divine foothold in the door, as your great leader: Richard Dawkins has said. But I will pray that you all find the truth someday and realize that we are all accountable to our Creator!

  87. Rippster, the passage I provided specifically talks about creating two great lights. Not one great light and a moon to act as a reflector.

    I've never seen anything that says rabbits chew cud aside from the bible. As far as I'm aware, rabbits are herbivores and once their food is down, it stays down. They don't do bring it back up to chew it further. (I hope this clarifies it. I think you misinterpreted cud to mean cud was any non-digested plant matter)

    If you'd like to twist the words, interpretations and definitions so that you can't be wrong than fine, but you realize that a muslim person could probably justify why the koran verses you posted are right when you interpret them the "right way". In fact a lot of muslims insist that the koran doesn't translate well and if you read the English version, it doesn't really do it justice. Maybe that's why your koran passages have problems, they are just in the wrong language!

    If your god is real and as perfect as you think he is, why does the bible have to be interpreted the right way? Can't he be more clear with his meanings in the first place? Its not that clear of a message when over half the world doesn't see it at flawless and right.

    I find it convenient and amusing that you ran out of space at the same time that you are running away from our conversation here. If you'd like to save face and pretend its not because you don't know how to respond to the points that were made to you, I"m sure some of us will play along.

  88. A circle is not a sphere, ripper4christ. You do know that right?

    You're so eager to quote Isaiah but ignore the various other verses in the Bible books before it that speak of the 'four corners of the Earth', the 'pillars of the Earth', the 'ends of the Earth', a place above the circle where you can see all kingdoms of the Earth at the same time --something that is impossible with an oblate spheroid Earth.

    If the Bible is really as scientifically accurate as you claim, why would the Church put Galileo on trial for even suggesting the Earth moved? Why would they burn Giordano Bruno for daring to suggest the Earth goes round the sun if the Bible already told this to be the case?

    Either the Bible does hold this information except it fails at communicating these messages clearly, resulting in 30,000 denominations of Christianity following different beliefs, which proves your god must be an imperfect god and in no way omnipotent, or it does not hold this information and therefore your claims are incorrect and the Bible holds only as much information as the humans who wrote it at the time knew or believed to be accurate. No divine inspiration or intervention.

    1631 Father Melchior Inchofer, of the Jesuits, "The opinion of the earth's motion is of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the most scandalous; the immovability of the earth is thrice sacred; argument against the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and the incarnation, should be tolerated sooner than an argument to prove that the earth moves."

    They managed to reconcile these beliefs while having fully read the Bible front to cover, even managing to reconcile Jesus's supposed 'loving' message with brutal acts of slaughter, torture and murder.

    Frankly, you can keep that barbaric archaic book of superstition and hopefully put it in the historical fiction section of the library, right next to fantasy books, where it belongs.

  89. I'm done discussing on this site. I realize most of you do not want to let a divine foothold in the door, as your great leader: Richard Dawkins has said. But I will pray that you all find the truth someday and realize that we are all accountable to our Creator!

    Alright, my troll detector seems to be ticking.

  90. I never really know what people mean by "troll" any more (if I ever did). But, unfortunately, I think he is all too earnest and honest in this unsophisticated and backwards looking worldview. It seems tantamount to walking through life facing about 2000 yrs backwards and complaining that others don't see things the same way.

  91. Obviously science is Atheists "religion" so to speak! To worship somethings mean to "add worth" to it!

    As I said, you can only defend your statement if you redefine the hell out of the word "worship", which you now have. Going by your definition, then yes, I worship science. I also worship salted peanuts and a good cup of tea. I'm not sure what your point is.

    Rippster, you are have so far redefined words to suit your purposes, copy-pasted other people's materials without attribution (compare this with rippster's posts), done extensive quote-mining and then deleted comments when called on it (on his own blog), and generally made it clear that you are dishonest and untrustworthy.

    Tell me, does the bible have anything to say on the subject of lying?

  92. This comment has been removed by the author.

  93. Rippster sez:

    I was given the dissentfromdarwin web address and took his word for it. I've know of many respectable scientists who have denied evolution and believes in a Creator. I'm sorry I've offended you. I erased all the comments (including mine) because of space.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but that's the stupidest f*cking thing I've ever heard. What is this, 1985? Blogspot doesn't "run out of space" when you reach the mighty sum of 11 whole comments on your entire blog (seriously -- it was 11 comments, sitewide).

    You claim that you "took his word for it" -- referring to whomever sent you to Well, are you pissed off at the lying jerk who told you to rely on the disinformation put out by the Discovery Institute? If not, why not?

    Anyway, I think it's pretty obvious to all of us what you did here and why you're now running away. I just pray (ha! see what I did there?) that maybe someday you might think back on this little exchange and wonder why you have to cover up for liars and frauds in order to try and witness for Christ.

  94. Listen Andrew! I didn't want all those comments shown and taking up the whole blog. I erased them. Get over it! I'm a sinner, I make mistakes. My bad! you happy?

  95. "I didn't want all those comments shown and taking up the whole blog. I erased them."

    You know that the comments are only visable when someone clicks on the "11 comments" part, right? It doesn't actually show all the comments unless the reader WANTS to read them. I'm also suprised you erased them when they could have been very helpful to your cause. Your blog says you are trying to "encourage people to come to know Jesus Christ", I would think that it would be helpful to leave the comments there to show the reader how effortlessly you are able to respond to the atheists that try to point flaws in your argument. I mean if an atheist posts something you think is wrong, you can comment right back and tell them. That's how we learn things; by sharing ideas (or reading ideas shared by others). If you take them down, it looks like you were having trouble doing so (and since you haven't managed to back your claims up yet, I suspect that's not exactly why you deleted them).

    Also, its intresting that you are worried about "taking up space" when some of the posts I saw on your blog when I glanced at it were pretty long on their own.

  96. "The sun stand still. Cannot God do that?"

    Not in any way that fits with what science has discovered about either the Earth or the sun, and you were asking for scientific errors in the bible. Suggesting that a god can just sidestep anything that looks like an error because it's a magical critter doesn't mean that the error isn't there.

  97. Listen Andrew! I didn't want all those comments shown and taking up the whole blog. I erased them. Get over it! I'm a sinner, I make mistakes. My bad! you happy?

    Did you just admit (in a particularly skeazy way) that you don't want any opposing opinions? Why not just come out and say you're not interested in what anyone else has to say unless it agrees with you? To paraphrase Matt D "Why the fuck did you come here, then?". And if you're going to apologize, or explain and want people to drop it, then do so. Why act like you're being persecuted?

  98. Listening to the conversation with Mark right now. I have to keep pausing it because I keep getting embarrassed for the poor mook. Seriously...he's just getting annihilated and he doesn't know how to react. I think he thought it might be easier if he didn't have to deal with Matt or Jeff; unfortunately for his sense of self-worth, all the AETV hosts are more capable at reasoned thought than him.

    I really don't know how people this intellectually weak make it through life.

  99. I didn't want all those comments shown and taking up the whole blog.

    Why not? Most bloggers would be delighted to have an active comment thread. Shows that people are actually reading your blog and caring enough to respond.

    What was wrong with "those comments" ?

  100. " I just wanted to add that the inconsistencies in the bible are LEGION"

    I see what you did there. Nice. Very nice.

  101. I am surprised that so many people think that mark is a legit caller.

  102. Another good source of bible inconsistencies:

    It also covers the Quran and the Book of Mormon.

  103. I think Mark is a legitimate caller and is in big trouble with the church. I think his initial call was an experiment to prove the evil atheists were wrong. He got more than he bargained for and now is trying to save face. His last call almost seemed to be pleading for TAE to let him off the hook

  104. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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