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You bet your life

Here at Wizbang, the three of us tend to have a rather laissez-faire relationship with each other. In fact, the only time I can recall all three of us working on something together was last spring's April Fool's prank (which every now and then raises its spectre).

Last week Paul took me to task for my piece lambasting Wal-Mart over a sewage hookup. And when confronted with what he and numerous commenters said, I reluctantly had to admit I had, indeed, been talking out of my ass. I'd built my entire piece on a single fact that had been utterly wrong. I ate so much crow I'm still coughing up feathers.

But nonetheless, I feel the need for a bit of "payback." Earlier, Paul wrote a story about a renowned athiest who had, at the age of 81, renounced his lack of faith and found God in his twilight days. Paul speculated how this guy's conversion would have on other non-believers. I have an answer for him.

I often describe myself a "born-again agnostic." I was raised Methodist, but since reaching adulthood (well, actually, long before that) I've found I simply don't have it in me to have "faith." I simply can't make that leap and "believe" in something with no tangible evidence whatsoever, especially when it's stressed that there can not and never will be any proof.

Likewise, I can't be an athiest in good conscience, either. I can't deny the possibility that there might be a God. To do so would require a leap of faith like the one to believe in a God -- if not even greater. Further, it flies in the face of the logical fallacy of proving a negative -- you can't DISprove the existence of a God any more than you can prove His existence.

So what did Mr. Flew's change of heart do to my beliefs? Absolutely nothing. My beliefs are strictly internal, based on my own thoughts and observations and biases and opinions and experiences. The very factors that keep me from simply taking the word of the Theists also keep me from being led by him or others of his beliefs. So he changed his mind? If it helped him find some comfort in his waning years, more power to him. But it doesn't affect me in the slightest.

I once read that mathematician Blaise Pascal had put forth a simple logical equation where he boiled down Theism to a simple 2 x 2 matrix: That there is or is not a God, and you believe or don't believe in Him when you die.

Believe in God + there is a God: you go to heaven.
Believe in God + there is no God: you cease to exist.
Don't believe in God + there is a God: you go to Hell.
Don't believe in God + there is no god: you cease to exist.

By that reasoning, you might as well believe, because it's the only chance you have for a happy afterlife. If you don't, it's bad either way.

I always despised that line of reasoning. The way I see it, if there is a God, He will know that the person's belief is simply based on self-interest, not true belief, and will Judge accordingly. From every concept of God I've ever read about, one thing is consistent: He doesn't like people who try to "game" the system.

So my own ethics are based upon my agnosticism: I don't know if there is a God or not, and in all likelihood I won't in my lifetime. So I have to muddle through on my own. But, taking a hint from Pascal, I'm going to try to do the right thing, the moral, decent thing whenever I can, to the best of my abilities. I won't always succeed, and often I'll end up choosing the wrong thing, but it'll always be on my mind.

And in the end, if I come face-to-face with my Creator, I can say with a clear conscience that I did the best I could, that I tried to always find the "right" and "decent" and "kind" thing to do. And I'm sorry that I never really believed in You, but I wouldn't feign something so important.


Comments (54)

Although I missed the threa... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Although I missed the thread by Paul to which you refer in this context, about the mention of an 81-year-old accepting that God IS, is not so uncommon: a lot of humans turn away from atheism and agnosticism, even humanism, when confronted with the reality that they are mortal and soon to perish. Not to diminish their significant change but that when faced with harsh mortality, humans tend to recognize their limitations -- while without that reminder, some do not.

Maybe go read about Job -- an interesting story about a man who refused to DENOUNCE or even blame God for his misfortune, never lost faith, continued to thank God for his life, regardless of circumstances.

God says that He believes in us, and I believe Him. The road to faith is a beautiful thing, Jay Tea.

<a href="http://www.saintaq... (Below threshold)
-S-:
Oh, hahaha, I've now read t... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Oh, hahaha, I've now read that earlier-Paul thread and laughed aloud and many times over. What WOULD we do without Paul and SueDonhim? Very enjoyable thread, by the way, Paul. I'm still laughing as I write this...

"I simply can't make that l... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

"I simply can't make that leap and "believe" in something with no tangible evidence whatsoever, especially when it's stressed that there can not and never will be any proof."

I wish you could see the things I see. As a church youth pastor I see the miraculous regularly. But, then again, Jesus railed on people who had to have signs to believe in.

I guess Bono put it best (theology of Bono :-) ) - "We're going to a place none of us has been; a place that has to be BELIEVED, to be SEEN."

I hear you Jay. Raised Cat... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

I hear you Jay. Raised Catholic (as a Hispanic that's almost genetic! ;-)) and also come to call myself a "born again agnostic". I don't have a problem believing there is some greater entity out there I just don't think he gives a damn about us one way or another. Tried various Protestant religions as well and pretty much came to the conclusion that most modern day religions are more about keeping certain flesh and blood humans in power than it is about worshipping a deity.

Like the woman in Brothers Kasparov I lost my "faith" slowly. Step by step. It wasn't a sudden transition. My experiences as well have shaped my belief as have yours Jay.

J-Ho, I understand your position as well. Likewise, if you "could see the things I've seen" your faith would be shaken too. For each lovely example of a miracle I've seen a hundred horrible examples or cruelty, inhumanity and downright sickness.

Spent a good portion of my military career on humantarian missions around the world. You can't look at a pile 10,000 dead women and children and find much to believe in.

Ever had a woman beg you to kill her and her child so they no longer suffer from cholera? I have. I didn't do it, but there isn't a night that goes by that I don't see their eyes looking up at me.

Venture beyond a youth group church into the real world and if your faith can withstand that which you can find then I am happy for you. My faith didn't survive...

I have to agree with C.S. L... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

I have to agree with C.S. Lewis here that Agnostics are the wimpiest of the choices out there. As a matter of fact, its the choice to not make a choice.

Unfortunately, that never works out so good.

Does it matter what Indiana Jones believed as that big rock came rolling towards him? If he didn't believe it, he got squished, if he did believe it, well, we already know what happened he was saved, but what if he refused to make a decision? He gets squished.

The belief matrix of Pascal... (Below threshold)
Beck:

The belief matrix of Pascal's is better known as "Pascal's Gamble."

JayI’m not going t... (Below threshold)
JEW:

Jay

I’m not going to try and convert you; I would guess my intellect would not match yours in debate. So I am curious, you seem to be well read, and as you have said this is an important issue, have you read “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Stroble?

Lee was an atheist, and a reporter who decided to investigate scientific evidence that points toward God.

It sounds to me like you wo... (Below threshold)

It sounds to me like you would welcome some valid reasons to believe. You should look for some of those reasons, because your eternal destiny depends on it.

What is it that makes you balk? Is it the presence of pain and suffering that makes you question the existence of a loving God? Is it the science?

There is plenty of information out there to help answer these questions and others.

A comment on your statement: "I always despised that line of reasoning. The way I see it, if there is a God, He will know that the person's belief is simply based on self-interest, not true belief, and will Judge accordingly."

The Bible teaches a thing called the "depravity of man." Our motives can NEVER be 100 percent pure or unselfish. If that were the case, no one would ever come to God. That is why we must rely on His character, not ours and His grace, not our goodness.

I would be happy to discuss this with you further.

"Pascal's Gamble" has been ... (Below threshold)
jim:

"Pascal's Gamble" has been (ab)used by some to suggest that one is "best" off believing in the religion that has the best heaven or the worst hell.

;-)

-S- wrote:... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

-S- wrote:
What WOULD we do without Paul and SueDonhim?

Live in peace and harmony? ;)

Well said, Jay Tea.<p... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Well said, Jay Tea.

One question I have concerning your agnosticism: does it provide for you more freedom in your daily evaluation of worldly events and in your response to them? I find that it does since one holding such belief will find comfort in respecting both the theists/deists and atheists' points of view without sacrificing ideals. Some would argue (and have already) that it's too tenuous a position to take and should be considered waffling. I would argue that one may be as equally and passionately convinced that one cannot know which side is right and that agnosticism is an entirely respectable and supportable position. Whatever the belief, we cannot know until we die, and there's a question whether we would know even then. One might as well behave as fairly as possible while on the big blue marble as best as one knows how given such uncertainties. That is a great appeal of agnosticism and quite rational.

Regarding the recommendatio... (Below threshold)
Seffman:

Regarding the recommendation by S to read the book of Job. I would recommend he also read it. You mentioned that Job never blamed God but in fact he blamed God for his troubles the whole time. The Bible says that he never charged God with wrong. It is clear throughout the book that Job blamed God for everything that happened to him while his friends blamed Job. In the last chapter God restored all of Job's fortunes. In verse 11 of the last chapter his family came and "consoled him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him." So even in the end they put the blame on God.

Now regarding Baggi's C.S. Lewis quote, some may regard Agnostics as the biggest wimps, but that is a narrow perspective at best. It is the height of arrogance to declare your beliefs to be infalliable in either direction. There is a God, period. Or, there is NO God, period. Neither assertion has the substantial evidence to back it up. Of course once you subscribe to the unquestionable belief in God's existance, you then have to pick the right God to believe in. How are we supposed to figure that one out. You have Hinduism, Islam, Judaism which are pretty straight forward in who they say God is and how to believe. Then there is Chrisitanity which is so fractuous that you can't get the same answer to a single question from any of the different denominations.

Agnostics simply say that the jury is still out on the case. In my opinion, it is the most reasonable position to take since there is so much to be gained or lost by chosing the wrong side.

>Paul speculated how this g... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Paul speculated how this guy's conversion would have on other non-believers.

Sigh

I did not speculate anything. I asked an obvious question.

Antony Flew convinced thousands -perhaps millions- of people to become atheists before he himself converted. (Let's call these people Flewians.)

So after last week's public conversion, what are the Flewians to believe?

If they remain atheists, they are admitting they blindly followed someone who was talking out his hat.

If they too convert, they are admitting that they will just follow this man blindly and are no different than any other religious person; except for the fact they followed a human and most religious people follow a higher being.

Hence the obvious question.

Your "payback" would be far more effective if you like, you know... read what I wrote.

NOTE: It's not about... (Below threshold)
Paul:

NOTE: It's not about religion, it's philosophy and logic. A similar parallel could be drawn when Doctor Spock admitted he was wrong about his child raising ideas. His followers face the same intellectual dilemma.

And lastly since you don't ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And lastly since you don't mention you ever read any of Flew's works, my question does not even apply.

OK I'm done now. ;-)

Jay TeaI accept th... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Jay Tea

I accept these fundamentals:
1. Death is not a punishment.
2. Without pain we would not know, or at least appreciate, pleasure (happiness, joy, etc, not just physical).
3. Eternity is forever, but the present is what we have now on the earth, and in a way, yes, it IS a dress rehearsal.

My question for you is, are you looking for God or rejecting Him?

If you're rejecting Him you'll never find Him even when He's in front of you ("Bidden or unbidden, God is here"). If you're searching for Him, may I suggest checking out The Anchoress http://www.theanchoressonline.com/ and The Purpose Driven Life http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/.

I wish you the joy of knowing the Lord.

Seffman: I paraphrased Job... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Seffman: I paraphrased Job's profound and profoundly faith-filled reactions here such that it could be easier to just...go...read...the original story.

But, yes, Job DID question God (you write, 'blamed' but that's not my take on the passage, however, I can understand how some would draw that conclusion -- my point in saying that "Job never blamed God" was to suggest, as per what I've read about Job, Job never DEMEANED or FAULTED God as the source of the wrongdoing, never LOST FAITH, but looked to himself for the source of his [he concluded] disappointments to God such that God would punish Job, as Job alleged for a while).

The triumph and point of and by Job is that he never lost belief in God's supremacy and that Job used the terrible problems that beset him to examine his own faith and self and never reached a point of decrying God (or, to paraphrase, "blaming God" as in, holding him responsible for the harms as we/he would/might evil itself).

Evil accomplishes these terrors and the best we can do is respond with greater faith in God, not blame to God -- God does not bring the harms upon others, but lack of faith in God does. The lesson is to have faith in God as Supreme Good.

To faith+1....same thing goes. Evil is all around us, always here in this world with us. But to allow evil to take you away from faith and service and belief is to allow all that you've witnessed to secure itself. Which is, again, why I earlier said that learning more about faith is important and so important and why...

Faith, hope and charity. God never said we would not suffer, would not see, experience hardship or even horror (evil is horrible, after all, although today it becomes trendy to find it cute and amusing, it just starts out that way but the conclusion is death of the soul, something most never consider until it's too late). God says that He provides us the means to overcome it, and so He has.

Just because you change you... (Below threshold)
JEW:

Just because you change your position, that does not mean you are following someone blindly.

Some will follow Flew and his beliefs because they respect the man or as you say blindly follow.

Some will discover for their selves what they believe using some of Flews’ arguments. However if they don’t dig into it deeper and check out all sides they too are blind followers.

The only way to prove yourself not blind is to be able to support your views having approached the subject from all angles.

I was also reading recently... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I was also reading recently about the suggested "non belief in heroes" quality to and about "today's youth" (explained away within the context of why many Hollywood films are failing) (not that many Hollywood films even have heroes in them, nor that Hollywood would recognize a heroe if they saw one)...but that today's youth is supposedly not interested in "heroes" and so doesn't find stories about them entertaining...blah, blah, blah...

The reasonable aspect to my view about this premise is that many today (1.) think oblivion is, supposedly, a "good thing" and thus, have no fear or difficulty with the notion that they might not exist at some time, and, (2.) consider oblivion superior to eternal life, given that life as a process is held in contempt.

About faith and Christianity, eternal life, God doesn't say that our souls by evil will be made into oblivion, but that we will, by lack of faith and by embracing evil, be eternally damned. As in, eternally tortured. Which is defined by many of faith as a spiritual existence devoid of the presence of God. Without recourse to God. Completely and forever separated from God.

No phoning home. That's what damnation is. No more second chances. Ever.

Jay Tea... come to the dark... (Below threshold)
andy:

Jay Tea... come to the dark side. ;)

You sound more to me like an agnostic atheist (or weak atheist), which would be someone lacking belief in god(s) but also declaring that the truth of the matter is inherently unknowable.

Despite the threats of damnation above (nothing quite like scare tactics to bring people into line), let reason be your guide, wherever it may take you, and you'll be well ahead of most people. I'm reminded of a conversation I had with the vicar in my wife's village, wherein we discussed my atheism, and his reply was that I had clearly thought at length about the matter, which was more than he could say for most in his parish.

P.S. Don't fall for Pascal's Wager. It's horribly flawed on its surface (for the reason you cited, as well as for its binary assumption) and anyone using it should be flogged at dawn.

The key shared characterist... (Below threshold)
-S-:

The key shared characteristic I see about agnostics and atheists everywhere -- andy chimes in, like on schedule -- is that they challenge others to argue them out of their "belief."

The Bible also talks about that, how people condemned pleaded to the living to believe, imploring that 'if (they'd) only known just how terrible a place it was (hell/damnation), (they'd) have taken a second consideraiton of belief while alive'...

If the idea "scares" anyone, that's probably a pretty good indication that you have an epistomalogical doubt about the entire issue of eternity. Reason enough to try to understand other things, is my point.

As to Christianity, no one is clobbering anyone about faith, nor knocking anyone over, nor compelling you to believe, nor threatening you otherwise. Evil does that.

Christ knocks at the door. Evil doesn't knock, it enters.

And, andy, you miss the poi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, andy, you miss the point of what faith is: you believe beyond what you can evidence with your own senses.

Figuring out the Divine by human standards is a nonsensical arguement. It's the basis upon which many are lost, placing assurance upon evidence and not upon faith, faith principles. Best wishes to you.

I don't care much for prose... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I don't care much for proselytizing, but that includes militant atheists as much as Christian holy rollers. Moreso for the same-said atheists, since they always insist that they don't have a belief, but for some reason feel compelled to browbeat others to "convert" them to their supposed non-faith.

I love it when those same people pull out a Voltaire quote, never understanding that Voltaire despised his Mother Church but not theism itself. In fact, Voltaire made the most compelling arguments against atheism that I've read, aside from C.S. Lewis.

And I don't know why, but Catholicism produces almost as many atheists as it does believers. I can only speculate, which I'm not going to do in deference to the devout Catholics who might post here.

The key shared character... (Below threshold)
andy:

The key shared characteristic I see about agnostics and atheists everywhere -- andy chimes in, like on schedule -- is that they challenge others to argue them out of their "belief."

Sorry, I didn't realize my blog-reading/commenting schedule was dictated by your whims.

I don't see where I challenged anyone to do anything. I simply told him to follow reason wherever it may lead him (even if he ends up worshipping Binky the Magic Space Clown) and not to listen to the scary ooga-booga talk of threats and hellfire.

"Believe or go to Hell" sounds about as good a reason as "Believe just to be safe."

Oh ye of little faith.

If the idea "scares" anyone, that's probably a pretty good indication that you have an epistomalogical doubt about the entire issue of eternity. Reason enough to try to understand other things, is my point.

Or a pretty good sign that, at least in our culture, the reality of Hell is beaten into our heads as children and has lingering effects. Try to threaten a lifelong atheist with Hell and he'll probably just smirk and pat you on the head.

As to Christianity, no one is clobbering anyone about faith, nor knocking anyone over, nor compelling you to believe, nor threatening you otherwise. Evil does that.

Errr... since God does the casting into Hell.. and makes the threat about it... does that make him evil? Interesting philosophy. I agree (you know, hypothetically, given his non-existence).

And I don't know why, bu... (Below threshold)
andy:

And I don't know why, but Catholicism produces almost as many atheists as it does believers. I can only speculate, which I'm not going to do in deference to the devout Catholics who might post here.

I've noticed that too. I would think it's at least influenced by a general distaste for the policies of the Church on matters like contraception, divorce, etc, and also that the Church, in its efforts to modernize, has embraced a fair bit of modern science in cosmology and biology, much of which indicates (to me) the universe doesn't need a creator, and seemed to encourage more critical thinking than rote acceptance (which is what I see more of in Protestantism).

<a href="http://www.b... (Below threshold)
-S-:


Read JOB 1 (see links at bottom of page for other chapters, ongoing chapters).

And from Job 1:

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Figuring out the Divine ... (Below threshold)
andy:

Figuring out the Divine by human standards is a nonsensical arguement.

I agree.

It's the basis upon which many are lost, placing assurance upon evidence and not upon faith, faith principles. Best wishes to you.

Perhaps, but I'll continue to follow the evidence rather than what I might wish were otherwise. Best to you as well.

Right there with you Jay, w... (Below threshold)

Right there with you Jay, well, almost. I consider myself an atheist. I also acknowledge that there is really no way of knowing if God doesn't exist, but you make the logical fallacy of saying that there would be no way to prove that God did exist.
If God did exist, would there not be some evidence that he/she/it did? The thousands of years the human race has existed, and still, not a single tangible piece of evidence indicating it to be true!
Further, if there were a God, I would see this God to be inherently evil to allow everything that happens on this Earth.

Also, the fact that almost every civilization in the history of man has created their own God, or Gods, to explain their existence and life, tells you that everyone has just been making it up to give themselves a reason for why they are alive. Of course, all of them could just be wrong, and the real God could be something that no civilization has described correctly. Given the other things I have said, that seems like a fantasy.

Atheism is about not believing. As an atheist, you don't believe that there is no God, you just don't believe at all. If you describe yourself as an atheist who "believes" in something, you are not an atheist.

andy...I never wrote that y... (Below threshold)
-S-:

andy...I never wrote that your blogging/commenting was subject to my whims.

Christians have as much access to commenting as atheists do. 'Case you haven't noticed.

SueDohnim: The significant thing there is that anyone who writes about Christianity is assumed to be prosetylatizing, while atheists are assumed to be opining, err, "blogging and commenting" and such.

Catholics also produce a lot of people who wear red shirts, drive Fords, build houses...

Since Catholicism has many parochial schools, a lot of humans attend them and fancy themselves "Catholic" by either affiliation but mostly by family. It does not make individual event by family surname or affiliation, is my point, nor attendance nor familiarity either.

It's similar to the issue of ten people in a pew. One of them is a person of faith, seven are people of routine church attendance and the other two go irregularly and only because someone makes them or it's a family tradition, or, some other humanistic affiliation.

The issue of faith is individual to the soul and although the manual routines and affiliations can be and often are inspiring (and can lead to a great outcomes), simply filling a pew and/or attending a school and/or having parents or another family member who is religious in the Catholic definition of Christianity does not define an individual of faith. The thing about Catholicism is that it is sometimes culturally assigned and has little to do with an individual's belief -- and that produces some people who then, inaccurately, assign to themselves the "I used to be a Catholic" line of woes.

Hope you have a good tomorrow, andy.

Jay, I blogged abou... (Below threshold)

Jay,
I blogged about Pascal's Wager back in June. It's an odd problem, because even if you choose to believe in God, there are conflicting religions, all that tell you you're going to hell if you believe in the other one. That, coupled with our agreement that believing in God as result of self-interested chance isn't really having faith, points to Pascal's Wager being a crock.

I'm in the same boat you are, as an agnostic who's default position must be withholding belief, but who is open to the idea of God's existence, should sufficiently strong evidence arise. But I have to think that if there is a God, and I show up at the pearly gates saying "I chose to believe because the consequences of guessing wrong were too high", it's not going to get me in...

Good points all, -S-.... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Good points all, -S-.

I'm ducking out before it gets heated up in here. I enjoy arguing too much and I'll never get any work done if I don't get moving.

Have a splendid day, everyone!

If God did exist, would ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

If God did exist, would there not be some evidence that he/she/it did? The thousands of years the human race has existed, and still, not a single tangible piece of evidence indicating it to be true!

And what tangible evidence would you have God provide? A large sign saying "We apologize for any inconvenience"? What we have been provided are witnesses, people who claim to have had personal experiences with God. Either you believe their testimony or you don't, but your disbelief does not indicate a lack of evidence. We convict people all the time on witness testimony alone.

Further, if there were a God, I would see this God to be inherently evil to allow everything that happens on this Earth.

Then you are also evil since you don't attempt to stop every evil act. There are people in the Darfur region who are dying right now! Go there and save them or you are evil!

Also, the fact that almost every civilization in the history of man has created their own God, or Gods, to explain their existence and life, tells you that everyone has just been making it up to give themselves a reason for why they are alive.

Every civilization has also tried to explain illness. The Greeks believed in humors which had to be kept in balance. Eighteenth century Europeans believed in "bad blood" causing all illness. Some believed in demons. Louis Pasteur believed that small, unseeable creatures caused illness. Since every culture has created their own causes for illness, then there really is no cause for illness and we should all be well!

Atheism is about not believing. As an atheist, you don't believe that there is no God, you just don't believe at all. If you describe yourself as an atheist who "believes" in something, you are not an atheist.

Huh? What is the difference between these two statements?
1) I do not believe there is a God.
2) I do believe there is no God.

The only difference is where I put the negation, the meaning does not change. Neil Peart of Rush said it best (in "Free Will"), "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." Atheism literally means "godless". One who does not believe one way or the other is agnostic, meaning "without knowledge".

The agnostic, it seems to m... (Below threshold)
robert:

The agnostic, it seems to me, acknowledges the difference between the knowable and the stuff taken on faith. Even the knowable (the Earth is flat) is subject to change.

Those of faith, who frequently express absolute confidence in their God(s), do so with the enthusiasm once expressed about Zeus, or about the other hundreds of religions that abound on the planet.

If one listens to Coast to Coast, you can hear from someone who believes in interplanetary aliens – just as strongly as some believe in their Gods(s). It is very easy for most of us to find the “flaws” in this. It is also somewhat easy for most to find “flaws” in all the other religions.

It is an evolving mix: The sacrifice of virgins is just as out of favor these days as the burning of witches. A thousand years from now, who knows, the practice of drinking animal blood may have been set aside and women of the Taliban may be featured in Playboy. Things change.

So the question I have is: How are you so sure that yours – one of hundreds – is the “right” one?

kbiel -Your take o... (Below threshold)
andy:

kbiel -

Your take on the problem of evil would hold if George were declared to be omnibenevolent, but he is not (to my knowledge). God, on the other hand, usually is.

It makes perfect sense for a fallible human to say "I should do more, but don't." It makes no sense for an all-powerful and all-good god to do the same.

P.S. Atheism only implies the absence of theism, that is, the absence of belief in god(s). It's entirely different from knowledge which is encompassed in agonosticism. One can be an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist.

"It makes perfect sense for... (Below threshold)
Swede:

"It makes perfect sense for a fallible human to say "I should do more, but don't." It makes no sense for an all-powerful and all-good god to do the same. "

What some of you are leaving out of the debate about "how could a good and loving God not stop evil in the world", is, what would the nature of a truly loving and good God be?

There is something that I refer to as the "free will doctrine" which says that a truly good and loving God would create us in the most loving way possible. He would create us in his image, with the ability to love him in return. But to do this He would have to give us free will. Without free will, how can there truly be love?

But along with that free will, man has been given the ability to make his own choices for good, or for evil. Many times, the choice is made for evil - thus all of the evil you see in the world.

To blame God for man's own choices/free will and say that he doesn't exist because of that seems to me to be a bit of a strange argument. God never promised that man wouldn't suffer, or that there would never be evil in this world..

RE: Swede's post (August 11... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Swede's post (August 11, 2005 12:58 PM)

To blame God for man's own choices/free will and say that he doesn't exist because of that seems to me to be a bit of a strange argument. God never promised that man wouldn't suffer, or that there would never be evil in this world.

Just curious. What are your thoughts on those who never experience the choice of free will yet who fall victim to the evils of other men? What would be their destiny under a "benevolent God"? I don't really want to elaborate more with specifics since self-determined "free will" can mean different things to different people, but I do want to pose the question. In the absence of choice whether by ignorance, lack of opportunity, or bad timing, is it damnation or salvation? Or neither? In view of this conundrum, if it is one, does the "free will doctrine" hold?

This is possibly the most p... (Below threshold)
Oh, FTLOG:

This is possibly the most productive, intellectual discussion I've come across since I've been visiting blogs.

I'm not sure in what category I fall. Like Jay, I have a hard time making "the leap" without physical evidence. I admire those who can. I guess that's why they call it "faith". I do, however, have my own kind of faith....faith that there is a higher power at work. I'm just not sure what to call him/her/it.

Having been brought up Catholic, I just can't bring myself to say that I'm not Christian. Perhaps I'm afraid of that smiting thing. lol

Like Jay, I try to live a good life. I try to be kind, caring, considerate and loving. In other words, I try to live a Christian life. Not for some reward later but because it's just the right thing to do. Most importantly (to me), I don't do it to impress others. I call those people "bible-thumpers".

I guess I am christian after all. That's christian.... with a little 'c'.

Your take on the problem... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Your take on the problem of evil would hold if George were declared to be omnibenevolent, but he is not (to my knowledge). God, on the other hand, usually is.

Uh no, the logical extension of George's argument stands. He is saying that an omnipotent God would have to be evil because evil things are allowed to happen in this world. Scale that down to the non-omnipotent man and he must be evil if he knowingly allows an evil act to occur without acting to stop it. I then pointed to an item of evil of which most of us are aware and yet we, George included, are not personally doing something to prevent. Therefore, by George's logic (and yours, I assume) he is evil for knowingly allowing evil to happen.

It makes perfect sense for a fallible human to say "I should do more, but don't." It makes no sense for an all-powerful and all-good god to do the same.

Unless that God allows his creations to have free will. By your argument, any government that allows poverty to happen is bad since it has the power, through taxing and welfare, to prevent it. Therefore all governments should be socialist/communist if they are to be good.

P.S. Atheism only implies the absence of theism, that is, the absence of belief in god(s). It's entirely different from knowledge which is encompassed in agonosticism. One can be an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist.

Huh? Did you read the definition of atheism? Again, the atheist says, "There is no god," and the agnostic says, "I don't know." One can not be both an atheist and an agnostic.

George proves this point very well. His post goes like this:
1) I am an atheist.
2) God does not exist for reasons x, y and z.
3) An atheist does not deny God, they just don't believe in any thing.

Um, the statement in 3 does not quite agree with statements 1 and 2.

Uh no, the logical exten... (Below threshold)
andy:

Uh no, the logical extension of George's argument stands. He is saying that an omnipotent God would have to be evil because evil things are allowed to happen in this world.

If you are only supposing ominpotence and not omnibenevolence, then I would concur with your statement. Hence my inclusion of omnibenevolence, which I believe is a trait most Christians would attribute to their God.

Unless that God allows his creations to have free will. By your argument, any government that allows poverty to happen is bad since it has the power, through taxing and welfare, to prevent it. Therefore all governments should be socialist/communist if they are to be good.

Except that it doesn't take much to know that socialism/communism are incapable of eliminating poverty (from what I have seen). Further, government do not claim to be omnibenevolent, and I'd hardly say that any government is all good.

Again, it hinges on omnibenevolence. Further, the free will aspect becomes immaterial when we discuss people dying needlessly in natural disasters. Unless you want to blame tsunami victims for not choosing to be better swimmers perhaps...

Huh? Did you read the definition of atheism? Again, the atheist says, "There is no god," and the agnostic says, "I don't know." One can not be both an atheist and an agnostic.

Yes, one can. Atheism and theism deal with belief about an objective reality. Agnosticism deals with the capability of having knowledge of that objective reality. Belief and knowledge are not the same thing (I'm no philosopher, but that's right out of PH101).

This is also why you will see distinctions of strong atheism, weak atheism, weak theism, and strong theism.

Just curious. What are y... (Below threshold)
Swede:

Just curious. What are your thoughts on those who never experience the choice of free will yet who fall victim to the evils of other men? What would be their destiny under a "benevolent God"? I don't really want to elaborate more with specifics since self-determined "free will" can mean different things to different people, but I do want to pose the question. In the absence of choice whether by ignorance, lack of opportunity, or bad timing, is it damnation or salvation? Or neither? In view of this conundrum, if it is one, does the "free will doctrine" hold?

I believe that all men have 'free will', and can make choices of what to do with their lives. Some may not be allowed to act on their free will in some cases because of other people excercising their own free will. But they do still have free will, no matter how limited..

I also believe though that all men have a choice at one point or another to choose to follow God, or not - no matter whether they are hindered by other men's acting out of their free will.. I believe God is evident in all of his creation, in the finitely ordered universe.. I believe that all men are given the chance by God to accept him in one way or another - and barring that choice by them, they choose their own damnation. Because he loves them, God wants everyone to choose him - and heaven, but because of free will - not everyone will.

andy wrote:<i... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

andy wrote:
Except that it doesn't take much to know that socialism/communism are incapable of eliminating poverty (from what I have seen). Further, government do not claim to be omnibenevolent, and I'd hardly say that any government is all good.

Again, it hinges on omnibenevolence. Further, the free will aspect becomes immaterial when we discuss people dying needlessly in natural disasters. Unless you want to blame tsunami victims for not choosing to be better swimmers perhaps...

This is a telling juxtaposition, especially given that you follow one position immediately after its contradiction.

In the first sentence above, you show that you understand that benevolence does not mean "getting everything you want."

A government that tries to be omnibenevolent almost immediately becomes tyrannical.

Yet in the next sentence, when talking about God, you suddenly forget this and essentially state that God should never let any harm come to anyone.

In essence, this sacrifices the freedom of humanity as a whole for the safety of each human. You know, the same sort of thing that happened in that "I, Robot" movie, with VIKI playing the role of a higher power.

And if you enslave humanity, you basically stop its progress. This is what your erroneous concept of omnibenevolence would do. It turns out that it is actually more benevolent for the entirety of humanity if bad things are allowed to happen than it is for every individual to be cushioned from every tragedy.

If you are only supposin... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

If you are only supposing ominpotence and not omnibenevolence, then I would concur with your statement. Hence my inclusion of omnibenevolence,

I had to look up this word, omnibenevolence, which does not seem to reside in a dictionary. Google came up with some interesting references, but the two that I read, Wikipedia and About.com, do not seem to support your claim that evil exists therefore God does not. Wikipedia had a link to another article which describes the same point but does not quite support the logic.

which I believe is a trait most Christians would attribute to their God.

Omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, yes. None of which inherently argues for an activist God. Omnibenevolence, as you define it, does not appear anywhere in Christian theology. As defined at Wikipedia (God is perfectly good), Christians would agree that God is omnibenevolent. Perfectly good does not mean, though, that evil may not happen around you, it just means your actions must not be evil.

Except that it doesn't take much to know that socialism/communism are incapable of eliminating poverty (from what I have seen).

No, but for a government to be good, following the argument that one must prevent evil to be good, then a government must attempt to eliminate poverty using all power at its disposal. Hence, for a government to be good by this bit of logic, it must tax and redistribute in an attempt to eliminate poverty or that government is evil. Effectiveness was never part of the argument.

Further, the free will aspect becomes immaterial when we discuss people dying needlessly in natural disasters. Unless you want to blame tsunami victims for not choosing to be better swimmers perhaps...

What?!? Free will does not disappear in the face of outside forces, unless you're arguing that a god or gods cause natural disasters.

Yes, one can. Atheism and theism deal with belief about an objective reality. Agnosticism deals with the capability of having knowledge of that objective reality. Belief and knowledge are not the same thing (I'm no philosopher, but that's right out of PH101).

We are all philosophers, if we choose to be. I'm fairly certain that Socrates never took philosophy 101. He didn't need a class, only logic and reason. You don't need a doctorate in philosophy or theology to understand the definitions of atheism and agnosticism. Again, atheism means "godless". An atheist by definition denies God. One may be a theist, believing in a god or gods; an agnostic, neither accepting nor denying the existence of a god or gods; or an atheist, denying the existence of a god or gods. These definitions are accepted and used by an overwhelming majority of English speakers. Belief and knowledge are most certainly intertwined. You would have to be insane to know that God exists and yet believe that he does not. You would have to be equally irrational to know that God does not exist and yet believe that he may. One who says "I do not know God to exist, but he may" is, by definition, an agnostic.

Sue, you're comparing imper... (Below threshold)
andy:

Sue, you're comparing imperfect governments of limited power and human nature as it currently stands with an all-powerful god who could have made us have lives of pure joy? Errr... ok.

Given that, I also don't buy into the "it's better to have suffering" argument. One need not be kicked in the nuts to know an orgasm feels good; if we could only do good, it would still be good, despite the lack of evil.

Perfectly good does not ... (Below threshold)
andy:

Perfectly good does not mean, though, that evil may not happen around you, it just means your actions must not be evil.

If god is all powerful but not all good, then evil can exist. If god is all good but not all powerful, then evil can exist. If god is all good and all powerful, meaning he can make evil cease to exist with absolutely no effort on his part, then to do otherwise is best defined as evil.

If I see a man drowning and only wave to him as he goes under, knowing full well I could save him, is my lack of action good? I think most would say it was quite an evil thing to do.

Well, look, there's the supposedly all-powerful, all-good God waving at you as you gulp down the lake.

As for the belief vs knowledge, yes they are related, but not the same. One can believe there is no god (or believe there is a god) for no good reason; that's not knowledge, it's a prejudice.

I think if you Google around, you'll see agnostic atheism (weak atheism) discussed at length. I promise (honest to God, even!) that I'm not making it up.

That matrix is commonly ref... (Below threshold)

That matrix is commonly referred to as Pascal's Wager.

As someone else pointed out... (Below threshold)
Joe:

As someone else pointed out, the matrix is not so much known as Pascal's "Gamble" as it is Pascal's "Wager". Nonetheless, the blatant flaw of Pascal's Wager is that is ASSUMES (a bad thing for a philosophical argument) what the nature of God is: I.e., it has a premise that God cares whether or not you believe in him, her, or it. It ASSUMES the Wiccan god and goddess are not the creators, who are non jealous and don't care if you believe in them or not, and your 'salvation' is based on hoe good a person you are. it assumes a specific characteristic of God before you even begin. This is typical of theists when they make theistic arguements.

But I do like how Jay says he takes a 'hint' from Pascal’s Wager, and while recognizing Pascal's reasoning is flawed, still sees a value in treating other's well, and doing good deeds.

Indeed, if there are any number of god or goddesses that have control over our ‘souls’ if we even have a soul, it is a nice thing for most people to assume said god, goddess, or thing wants us to do good deeds. While this idea can’t be based on statistics like Pascal wrongly thinks his can, it still is a good idea to be ethical to one another because that is how most of us like to be treated. The bonus is that if there is a god or goddess or thing that cares how we acted when we die, and said god, goddess, or thing likes it when we are good, then we get a favor or something from said god, goddess, or thing. Now, put that way, it’s not as clear cut as Pascal would have had you believe, eh?

Finally, the list of books suggested by theists to ‘help the atheist’ is long, and many of them (all I have read) are so blatantly logically flawed, horribly articulated, and disgustingly use unverifiable sources. They are merely written for the theists, those who already believe. These books are written from a stand point that the author knows they can enjoy an audience who gushes to believe what they say, will trip over themselves to buy the books, and will refuse to attempt to verify any of the author’s claims or sources, who will regurgitate what they read on the books anyway, and who refer them to atheists as if they have any sound basis of logic or intellectual satiation. All these books do is prove to the atheists who read them that the theist suggesting such books is easily hood winked and gullible when it comes to their religion.

Joe

If god is all powerful b... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

If god is all powerful but not all good, then evil can exist. If god is all good but not all powerful, then evil can exist. If god is all good and all powerful, meaning he can make evil cease to exist with absolutely no effort on his part, then to do otherwise is best defined as evil.

To remove evil is to remove free will. People choose to do evil. The only way to stop people from choosing to do evil acts is to remove their free will.

If I see a man drowning and only wave to him as he goes under, knowing full well I could save him, is my lack of action good? I think most would say it was quite an evil thing to do.

OK, lets extend your analogy. Perhaps you throw the man a life ring on a rope. If the man refuses to grab the life ring and drowns because of his choice to refuse your help, does that make you evil?

Well, look, there's the supposedly all-powerful, all-good God waving at you as you gulp down the lake.

Perhaps you just need to grab the life ring.

As for the belief vs knowledge, yes they are related, but not the same. One can believe there is no god (or believe there is a god) for no good reason; that's not knowledge, it's a prejudice.

Actually, that's called idiocy. Knowledge informs belief. Belief without knowledge is irrational. To have knowledge without belief is to ignore the facts and escape into fantasy. To be without knowledge or belief is agnosticism.

I think if you Google around, you'll see agnostic atheism (weak atheism) discussed at length. I promise (honest to God, even!) that I'm not making it up.

OK, you're not making it up, but someone is. When one has to redefine terms, it usually indicates that they are unsure of their arguments.

To remove evil is to rem... (Below threshold)
andy:

To remove evil is to remove free will. People choose to do evil. The only way to stop people from choosing to do evil acts is to remove their free will.

Not necessarily. There are plenty of things I cannot do even if I choose to do them. I cannot flap my arms and fly. I cannot shoot lasers out of my eyes. Denying me the ability to do those things doesn't impact my ability to choose to try it - I would just look silly trying it, although my free will is still intact.

OK, lets extend your analogy. Perhaps you throw the man a life ring on a rope. If the man refuses to grab the life ring and drowns because of his choice to refuse your help, does that make you evil?

As I gather you're trying to change the metaphor into something like "God sending Jesus as the life ring," I think we'd have to say something like:

"You tell the guy in the water that you read in a holy book that if he just believes hard enough, a life ring will materialize. Trust me on this one."

So, I'd say, yes, that makes your action evil and - honestly - quite nutty.

Actually, that's called idiocy. Knowledge informs belief.

Actually, that's backwards: belief informs knowledge, as knowledge is "justified true belief."

Belief without knowledge is irrational.

Perhaps, but you just described every religion in the world. I concur.

OK, you're not making it up, but someone is. When one has to redefine terms, it usually indicates that they are unsure of their arguments.

No one's redefining anything; it's a refining of the definition into gradations. It allows one to separate the atheist who says "there is no God" from the one who says "I don't believe in God, but also think to know if he exists is impossible."

Those are two totally different statements, one claiming knowledge and the other claiming belief while stating that said knowledge is impossible.

Not necessarily. There a... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Not necessarily. There are plenty of things I cannot do even if I choose to do them. I cannot flap my arms and fly. I cannot shoot lasers out of my eyes. Denying me the ability to do those things doesn't impact my ability to choose to try it - I would just look silly trying it, although my free will is still intact.

Oh that's rich. You're having me on, right? How do you propose that you be prevented from murdering someone? Should a god or gods send angels or Mercury down to stay your hand? Should the laws of physics be changed to prevent the manufacture of any projectile weapon? Should bamboo and shovels be banned from the Earth to prevent the building of punji traps?

As I gather you're trying to change the metaphor into something like "God sending Jesus as the life ring," I think we'd have to say something like:

"You tell the guy in the water that you read in a holy book that if he just believes hard enough, a life ring will materialize. Trust me on this one."

So, I'd say, yes, that makes your action evil and - honestly - quite nutty.

I said nothing of the sort, I was pointing out that the drowning man's free will affects your ability to be good if you can only be good by saving him. Let's imagine that you swim out to the man and attempt to save him, but he thrashes about and refuses to let you haul him into shore? Are you evil then because he chooses not to be saved? What if you are strong enough to overpower him and drag him to shore against his will, but then he jumps back into the water to try and drown himself again? Are you now evil for not preventing from jumping back into the water? When will it end? Shall you strong-arm the man into eternity to keep him from drowning so that you are not perceived as being evil or will you allow him his free will? On the other hand, you could lobotomize him and remove his ability to choose to kill himself. Would you then be considered good?

Actually, that's backwards: belief informs knowledge, as knowledge is "justified true belief."

Huh? Knowledge requires evidence and facts. What you believe has no impact on knowledge. You may believe the sky to be a lovely shade of lavender, but that won't change the fact that it is blue.

Perhaps, but you just described every religion in the world. I concur.

You just told me that belief informs knowledge but now you agree that "belief without knowledge is irrational"? As to whether that describes every religion, would you care to produce evidence? What knowledge do you have that proves every religion to be irrational? Or is that simple belief on your part?

Oh that's rich. You're h... (Below threshold)
andy:

Oh that's rich. You're having me on, right? How do you propose that you be prevented from murdering someone?

For all your examples, I would defer to the power of this supposed deity. Interesting how God is always considered so powerful until it no longer fits the theists needs.

I said nothing of the sort...

Then I'm not sure what you're getting at, as the discussion is whether God's failure to prevent evil is evil in itself. Unless the drowning man is being used metaphorically, as I suggested, it has little application to this argument.

Huh? Knowledge requires evidence and facts.

Never said it didn't. Not sure what you're on about there.

You just told me that belief informs knowledge but now you agree that "belief without knowledge is irrational"?

In other words, believing something when there is a lack of evidence (or despite said lack) is irrational. It cannot be claimed as knowledge, but merely belief.

As to whether that describes every religion, would you care to produce evidence? What knowledge do you have that proves every religion to be irrational? Or is that simple belief on your part?

I'll qualify it with "every religion to which I have been exposed." Perhaps there is a non-faith based religion out there, but they're keeping pretty quiet on the proof for their deity.

In Repspone to Kbiel:... (Below threshold)
Joe:

In Repspone to Kbiel:

>>If god is all powerful but not all good, then evil can exist. If god is all good but not all
>>powerful, then evil can exist. If god is all good and all powerful, meaning he can make evil
>>cease to exist with absolutely no effort on his part, then to do otherwise is best defined as
>>evil.

>To remove evil is to remove free will. People choose to do evil. The only way to stop people
>from choosing to do evil acts is to remove their free will.


(sigh). I told myself along time ago that if I heard this argument one more time, I would refuse to try and have a rational discussion with a theist from then on. Well, I’ve heard this tired argument a hundred times since then, and here I still sit. I suppose I still hold out for a glimmer of logic to pierce the ‘desire to believe’ the theist holds so dear. After all, I was once a YEC Fundamentalist born again Christian, so there is hope.
Let me try to put this as succinct as possible: If a god creates a humanity with free will that necessarily will result in evil, that god has performed an evil act. In other words, your answer above is what God would have already known before he created the universe (assuming he is omnipotent and omniscient). Now, you just grasped the error of your argument, but almost undoubtedly, you will make up a non-sequitur response or site a canned response that is also a non-sequitur. At least this is the response from theists I have received 99% of other times trying to get this across. The other 1% of the rare theists in that statistic are the one’s who gave it thought and said “Hm… not really sure about that”.

>>If I see a man drowning and only wave to him as he goes under, knowing full well I could
>>save him, is my lack of action good? I think most would say it was quite an evil thing to do.

>OK, lets extend your analogy. Perhaps you throw the man a life ring on a rope. If the man
>refuses to grab the life ring and drowns because of his choice to refuse your help, does that
>make you evil?

Your analogy requires the flawed premise that the promise of salvation is as obvious as a life ring when one is drowning. The better analogy is for you to be driving to work and someone rushing up to you and saying “if you keep driving, given your current route, a boulder is going to magically fall from the sky and crush your car down the road.” If you ignore this advice and get crushed by some fantastical event that is unexplained, you are hardly to blame. Second, imagine you heeded the man’s advice (took a different longer route) the first day, then the second, but after a while it became tedious.. again, if you eventually went down the road and got crushed, you could hardly be faulted for REALISTICALLY and RATIONALLY deciding to ignore the advice of the impending unlikely doom. The typical theist has a twisted sense of ‘just desserts’ and rarely assess the reasonableness of a supposed claim of doom. We are surrounded by cookoo claims of doom from other cultish religions to supposed cancer preventing diets. Ignoring them is appropriate because they lack the scientific basis to be heeded. Tens of thousands of claims of doom and gloom have been tossed aside in the past appropriately. It’s the few that happen to be correct (by accident, or by true knowledge) that humans like to point to sand say “A Ha! See??? The foolish man ignored the advice”. Humans, who like to count hits more than misses, ignore the countless times gloom was ignored and appropriately so. So even now, if a claim has no scientific basis, and in fact has a consistent amount of logical errors in it, it is appropriate to set it aside. For the theist to pretend the deliverance from said doom and gloom is as obvious as a life ring is absurd and fanciful. As well, for the theist to propose a Pascalian wager (you should believe it incase you are wrong!) is equally as absurd and fanciful for a multitude of reasons I mentioned in an earlier post.

>>As for the belief vs knowledge, yes they are related, but not the same. One can believe
>>there is no god (or believe there is a god) for no good reason; that's not knowledge, it's a
>>prejudice.

>Actually, that's called idiocy. Knowledge informs belief. Belief without knowledge is
>irrational. To have knowledge without belief is to ignore the facts and escape into fantasy. To
>be without knowledge or belief is agnosticism.

We first have to define knowledge to be either “TRUTH” or “TRUTH and FALSEHOODS”. In other words, if you saw a bank robbery and you KNOW the robber had a mustache, but later a video of the robbery shows a clean shaven man (this has happened several times before in crime investigations with eye witnesses), was it still ‘knowledge’ when you really believed 100% that you saw a mustache on the guy? We’ll go with that definition as being Knowledge, whether it is true or false. Please don’t attempt to dissect that bad analogy, because given a few more minutes, I could come up with another one (illusions, false teachings, etc).

So, with that definition, KNOWLEDGE is informed by belief AND is gained neutrally. For a neutral example: You don’t CHOOSE to believe a guy next to you is wearing a green shirt, you by default KNOW he is because you perceive it directly. Then by belief: You grandfather told you he hitchhiked on a train car across the country to settle where he is now. In this example, you didn’t perceive it, and he could be lying to you, but you believe your grandfather because he isn’t one to make up mundane stuff like that. It seems reasonable to believe he is telling you the truth. So your knowledge that your grandfather hitchhiked on a train to get to his current location is based on belief.
Nonetheless, if a theist says “god exists”, he’s pretty safe because you can’t PROVE he doesn’t. But when a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) says “evolutionary theory is a sham” and “ID is science”, you can prove neither statement is true, yet, the YEC still makes these false statement to people on their webs sites and in news sound bytes that ‘evolutionary theory is a sham’ and “ID is science” and the amazing phenomenon of an actual empirical (knowable) process is ignored by these people all because of the simple WILL of a certain type of people who want to further their agenda and ignore the facts that are available right in front of them. The ID movement is proof positive that if someone wants to believe something in spite of the evidence, they will, and look you right in the eye while doing it. So I have lost a lot of hope that most theists will be able to see the evidence in front of their faces, and do exactly what IDists do which is make up stuff and point to ridiculous items that they call ‘evidence’ when it is nothing of the sort.

Well, andy, I was going to ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Well, andy, I was going to respond, but I think your nonresponses and illogic need no further illumination from me.

kbiel -A non-respo... (Below threshold)
andy:

kbiel -

A non-response is called for when the other party begins dragging in concepts that have absolutely nothing to do with the debate at hand. I see you're as familiar with logical fallacies as you are basic philosophy.

Have a nice day.





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