Sunday, May 30, 2010

"It's a free gif. All you have to do is..."

     It seems a lot of christians say that "salvation" is a "free" gift, but then say you have to worship Jesus. If I have to do anything to receive a "gift," it is not free. Since I seem to hear the line "Jesus paid your fine" a lot, I will use that for an analogy. Suppose you face a kangaroo court and are fined $1,000,000,000 for a trumped-up claim. But the judge's brother-in-law offers to pay your fine for you (he actually is a billionaire.) Now, if he pays the fine, it is only 2¢ out of his pocket, and you have to worship him forever. Now, to me, this whole scenario seems rather unfair.
     The situation with Jesus is pretty much the same. The accusation looks fake, the fine as supposedly "paid" it is far less than what would supposedly be applied to me. And it's calling me into worship. Thanks, but no thanks. I think this is a scam.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My thoughts on Stormbringer's recent blog post

     First off, you can find his post here.

     I find it rather interesting that he is telling people to put on their "all-growed-up pants" when he is cowering behind "no comments allowed." Probably every blogger has had to deal with abusive comments. I have had trolls on my blog, too. But I don't need to block all comments. I will remove inappropriate comments after the fact. (And no, disagreeing with me does not render a comment inappropriate. Blue language does.)
     He is making rather sweeping generalizations about atheists. He did admit to exceptions. However, I do not find any reason to believe that his generalizations are representative of atheists. There exist some people of any belief that will fit his stated generalization.
     "Hey, why not call the CARM radio show and debate Matt live on the air?"
     Here's a good reason. Someone attempting that is not likely to get heard. Call-in program serve target audiences. And it is, unfortunately, profitable (in the pecuniary sense) to belittle, shout over, disconnect the sound, and otherwise maltreat dissenters.
     "By the way, why do you troll Christians most of all?"
     I would estimate that it is because christians are the ones who have managed to get their beliefs (to greater and lesser extents) enshrined in the statutes. Christians are seen as a threat because non-christians do not want (for example) legally-enforced, mandatory worship on Sunday's. Anti-gay legislation is apparently supported only by people quoting bible verses.
     "Also, if you were truly intelligent, you would consider evidence and arguments that Christians present, or visit Websites of apologetics, instead of squirming and dodging."
     Well, I have visited the web sites of apologists. And I have seen a remarkable shortage of evidence. They generally use bible quotes in lieu of evidence. I don't already believe the bible. It's not going to convince me. I have also been banned outright by apologist bloggers who said that people might think my replies were convincing and that they didn't want to deal with them. (I have no reason to believe that this is unique to christians. It is not uncommon for people to want to cripple opposing perspectives.)

Update: I see he has a new profile picture. Personally, I think colorizing an image of the original Doctor Who is just wrong. (I doubt Stormbringer colorized the image himself.) I also don't think the image suits him. He seems (to me) more in keeping with the residents of Skaro.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An interesting quote submitted by "carl" at "Atheist Central"

     "Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus 'outside of empirical science' but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways to test it. Ideas either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have obtained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training. The cure seems to us not to be a discarding of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, but more skepticism about many of its tenets..."

     Now, I didn't take carl at his word about the quote. I sought to verify it. The source article from Nature's website is not available without payment. However, talkorigins has verified the quote for me by complaining about a quote mine. (Carl has included the very part they complain is being left out.)
     Now, the sense that I get from this quote is that the "theory of evolution" is (currently) completely untestable but not useless. That could just be confirmation bias on my part as that is my own stance. Talkorigins argues that because Ehrlich and Birch do not advocate scrapping the idea of evolution they must not regard it as untestable. I disagree. It can still be considered useful as a concise representation of prior observation. It can also serve as a signpost of current belief. And, perhaps, at some point a test will be conceived. But I should note that they have produced no context that would indicate "every conceivable observation can be fitted into it" does not mean what it appears to mean on its face. And, indeed, it is the same assertion that I have made on this blog (without knowing of the prior quote.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

A note to fullcircle

     Yes, I deleted a post of yours that contained nothing but insults and foul language. If, at some point, you decide to start behaving like a responsible adult, I will let your comments stay. Unless and until that happens, I will delete your nonsense. We've covered this. Changing your screen name doesn't make a difference. I am not nearly so unobservant as you prefer to imagine.
     If it's any consolation to you. I don't prescreen my comments and I check my own blog rather sporadicly. In all likelihood, there will be several people to witness your infantile rantings before I notice them. But your disruptive actions have attracted my attention. And so you are more likely to be deleted. That doesn't mean you can't argue against my position or that I will delete such arguments. But you haven't done that. Your posts have consisted of name-calling and insults and have had no merit whatsoever. I don't need that on my blog. Ray may like that when you "play atheist" on his blog because he likes to say that is what "atheists" are like. Perhaps you should go back to being his shill.


     I am more interested in giving my blog taste and sanity than in preserving the evidence of your four-letter vocabulary. You may think it makes you a great wit. I am inclined to believe you are half right.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Penn finally got back to me.

It's been quite some time since I asked you that. But recently I've been on Atheist Central and thought of you.

It really makes a difference whether or not one has a desire to resolve a question.

You asked why Christians claim outsiders believe in our God but suppress the truth? Well the simplest answer is that the Bible says all people (not just those outside the Christian religion) suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). From my perspective, the question in your title requires a theological answer. From your perspective, or from others outside my faith, a theological answer may not be expected.

I could explain it like this briefly. We all suppress truth in our minds. That's why we lie, or more obvious, why we often deny our own mistakes or faults. On a larger scale, the evidence is there for us in nature pointing to a supernaturally intelligent Being, but we suppress the knowledge of this Being in our unrighteousness (think denying, lying and taking advantage of others).

That's only the beginning of the theological answer, however. It ends in a message about restoration to righteousness (or uprightness) and peace with our Maker, but not through our own means, rather as a gift from the Creator to the creatures.

I hope you realize I'm only trying to help or at least provide food for thought.


     The bible may indeed make the claim. But it is an incorrect claim. Since the bible is wrong (it makes a claim about my state of mind that I know to be incorrect) its unverifiable claims are suspect.
     There is dispute over whether the natural world constitues evidence of a supernatural being. But, even if there is a supernatural creator of the universe, it needn't be your god. The bible is already incorrect about my beliefs. It is, therefore, a dubious reference to any gods.
     If you are trying to help, you are going about it rather badly. Consider, if I were to insist that you knew your god to be a work of fiction, you would likely pay little heed to anything else I said on the subject. Claiming to know someone else's beliefs pretty much cuts off discussion. (It cuts off discussion with that person, anyway. One might be trying to persuade third parties by demonstrating that stated beliefs are implausible.) If you want to convince me that your god is real and deserving of worship, it is counterproductive to tell me I already believe that but am lying for whatever reason.