Sunday, March 12, 2017

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Some Thoughts On The Recent Conversation Between Gervais And Colbert

From Atheist Republic a take by Cory Markum on a recent exchange between an atheist and a theist.

Recently, the British comedian/actor Ricky Gervais appeared as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In their short exchange, Colbert, a Catholic, presses Gervais, an atheist, on several issues pertaining to science, atheism and faith.



In the ensuing commentary, there have been several criticisms launched at Gervais, foremost among them the idea that Gervais’ remarks reflect a type of naivety that is becoming increasingly common among atheists and the like. I’d like to examine this charge and its salience by way of going through four of the debate points that came up between Gervais and Colbert.


1/ Something From Nothing

Colbert begins with that doozy of question, “How can something come from nothing?”. This, understandably, leaves Gervais taken aback (at least initially). For, how indeed can one reasonably argue that something came from nothing!? The problem with this question from Colbert however is that it is a straw man argument, that has been recognized as such and pointed out ad nauseam. The atheist is not beholden in any way to the claim that something came from nothing. Even if I were to grant that the current consensus among scientists is that the universe literally, as apologists are wont to put, ‘popped into being out of nothing,’ (even though this is not the current consensus), this would not be to say that the atheist is thereby saddled with this silly “something came from nothing” claim. Let me say it for the umpteenth time; theism is not scientism, logical positivism, or, for that matter, naturalism, no matter how many times believers suggest otherwise and no matter how many atheists happen to subscribe to these views.

Many atheists, myself included, hold that the existence of nothing is metaphysically possible. That is, there is necessarily a metaphysical first state of something that must always exist at all times. This means that before the big bang, something else existed. Do I know what that something was? Of course not. Does my lack of knowing what this something is prove that a god exists, or that that something was point in fact, the God of Christianity? Of course not. Therefore, when asked the question, “Why is there something, rather than nothing?” I always respond with, “Why should there be nothing as opposed to something?” Maybe, for all we know, it’s just metaphysically necessary for there to be something and this necessity explains why there is something rather than nothing even though nothing would seem a priori simpler on atheism. That this is so or may be the case is in no way a problem for atheists any more than it’s a problem for theists. We all have to terminate the chain of regress somewhere, after all, and it’s just not clear why anyone should prefer terminating this chain of regress with God, as opposed to some initial/fundamental state of the cosmos.


2/ Outside Science and Nature

Gervais claims that atheism is not a belief system. Technically, in so far that by “atheism” we’re talking solely about the belief that God does not exist, I think that this is correct. But in terms of Gervais’ using this point against Colbert so as to say that the burden of proof (in the debate about God’s existence) lies squarely on Colbert’s shoulders, this move is sneaky at best, and dishonest at worse. The problem is that whether or not atheism, strictly defined, is a worldview, Gervais already revealed that he’s a naturalist, and metaphysical naturalism (the view that all that exists is the natural realm) most certainly is a world view. So, in other words, when Gervais and other atheists like him try to claim that they have no burden of proof to meet, and yet simultaneously hold that metaphysical naturalism is true, they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too. Naturalism is a worldview and thus, insofar as someone claims that it’s true, then they have a burden of proof that they must meet.


3/ Agnostic Atheism

Gervais describes himself as an agnostic atheist, which, as anyone fluent in the contemporary debate between atheists and theists knows, is common parlance among nonbelievers. Roughly, the idea here is that when one uses the term “atheist” they’re making reference to their belief, whereas when one uses the term “agnostic,” they’re making reference to their knowledge. In this way, so the argument goes, one can be an atheist in the sense that they don’t believe that God exists (or that they positively believe that God does not exist) but nevertheless be an agnostic in the sense that they don’t know, or claim to know, that God does not exist.

Further, there is an additional distinction that is made between soft (or weak) atheists and hard (or strong) atheists. On the one hand, soft atheists are those who claim only to lack belief in God. On the other hand, hard atheists are those who claim to know or believe that God does not exist.

Now, descriptively speaking, this taxonomy seems to correspond pretty closely to the way that many atheists now days construe their atheism. So, as far as semantics go, this seems correct. However, and I say this as an atheist, in terms of its philosophical rigor, this construal of atheism seems a bit lacking. To demonstrate this, try to imagine an atheist using the distinction between atheism and agnosticism, as well as the distinction between soft and hard atheism, with respect to any other conception of god apart from the standard, Western monotheistic conception. That would be peculiar, would it not? So, the question is why don’t we atheists bother to qualify our rejection of Zeus or Odin with the caveats of agnosticism and a mere lack of belief? And if we don’t need to do this, why, then, must we do this with respect to the god of Christianity?

Well, frankly, I don’t think we need to. The mere fact that I don’t know *for certain* that Zeus doesn’t exist does not mean that I have to be an agnostic with respect to his existence, any more than the fact that I can’t know for certain that I’m not just a brain in a vat means I have to be agnostic about whether or not I’m just a brain in a vat. In other words, the sort of certainty that agnostic atheists point to in order to distinguish between their atheism and their agnosticism is itself based on a rather sophomoric understanding of epistemology that is quickly done away with by the slightest of philosophical inquiry. I may not know for certain that God does not exist, but this is not at all to say that I’m not entirely rational in going ahead and affirming my belief in the nonexistence of God all the same. And I don’t have to call myself an agnostic while doing so.


4/ I believe in one less god than you

You have to admit; this is good rhetoric. It’s simple, easy to understand and recite and at least seems to portray a profound point about belief in God. Yet, when unloaded, this objection to theism amounts to little more than rhetorical flourish.

The problem, as I see it, is twofold: one, strictly speaking, there is no logical inconsistency in denying the existence of all of the 2,999 other gods whilst simultaneously affirming the 3,000th one. Granted, I do think that the theist should consider the odds of them just so happening to find themselves in the particular denomination of the particular religion that got their particular concept of god right, but the mere fact that they, like us, deny the rest, whilst believing in theirs, doesn’t in any way demonstrate that they aren’t nevertheless correct.

And two, there are clear distinctions between say, the gods of Greece, and the god(s) of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These differences are not merely definitional, but conceptual. In particular, the gods of old were considered to be in, and constituents of, the world that we humans inhabited; they were parts of the universe, if you will. In contrast, the Gods that arose from about the 8th to 3rd centuries B.C.E. were not only thought of as existing separate and apart from the world, but seen as the very foundation and grounding of being and existence itself. In this way, the God of Christianity is categorically different from the gods of Greece, irrespective of the fact that we use the word “god” to describe them both.

That said, if nothing else, what this point does do, at least potentially, is de-radicalize the atheist in the eyes of the average believer (“We’re not so different after all you see!”). In a country where people often see the atheist as the big bad wolf, this may me precisely the sort of thing we need. Also, in Gervais’ defense, while there is certainly a time for serious, philosophically nuanced argument, there is also a time for quick, easy-to-understand, rhetorical points. It should go without saying that an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is an example of the latter. Hence, I think we can all forgive Gervais on this particular occasion for not wading too deep into dense, philosophical waters.

49 comments :

DaithiD said...

Eventually, this debate will shift to the non overlapping magisterias realm, where both describe different aspects of existence, but in Gervais defence he has done a whole stand up routine on Religion that was his usual high standard. I would expect a talk show with editing and time constraints is not the best place to discuss the big bang, which even in the critique this author gets wrong : nothing existed before the big bang, what expanded from it was both time and space.You need to get into the maths to grasp it, again, not a talkshow topic.

Niall said...

Nothing before the big bang...that's interesting....where did the matter that lead to the big bang come from then? I don't personally believe that there was never a time when nothing existed for why would anything develop/evolve if there was nothing...we can't actually destroy anything to the point of nothing in this universal realm so why would that not also extend to before the big bang? It simply takes on a new structure. There has always been something...it's the volatile nature of the universe to always be something at some point in time and space and before the universe there was something else..and at some point in the future science will discover it.
Maybe sciences understanding of what nothing is and my ignorance of that is more the question!

DaithiD said...

Niall, the concept is space time, so in effect you are asking what occured before time itself.Most people suppose the big bang was akin to an explosion into a vacum, again, its an incorrect analogy.When you grasp that time itself began at the big bang, the 'what occurred before it?" question should seem redundant. You are free to agree or disagree,but there is sound logic and verified measurments (red shift etc) that back it up.

Niall said...

Daithi,
Perhaps it is the biological constraints of our imagination or our perceptions which are subject to the limitations imposed by space and time and any rational attempt to look for cause and effect outside of these two measures becomes impossible for us to comprehend, in general. For obviously, there is a body of people who have come to accept that there was nothing, irrespective of what rationale foundation their acceptance is based on.
I find it hard to grasp that there was nothing, and as I say, this is quite possibly to do with our limitations imposed by our understanding of universal time and space. Hundreds of years ago it was incomprehensible for us to accept that the earth was round and that the earth revolved around the sun yet these are so acceptable today that to express otherwise would only invite ridicule. Small minds have small thoughts!
But then again, what is space and time expanding in to? The conundrum continues!

AM said...

we might hope that at some point science will master the problem and find answers. Nothing else will. Hans Kung, the Catholic theologian and evolutionist, tries to tackle the issue of the big bang and thinks it was created but he provides no compelling answers. He thinks there had to be something before it if only for a nano second and poses the question raised in the above piece: why is there something instead of nothing?

DaithiD said...

AM/Niall,As soon as you put maths into language you lose the dynamics of the system, so it will be impossible to grasp, and the reservations you have are entirely reasonable. If i had to guess I would think we get an AI computer to crunch the numbers for it to find we are part of a simulation run on computers of the future, and then the AI computer thinks itself a manifestion of God, and then goes on to make all the same mistakes man did.

Niall said...

That is the question. Are we presently too intelligently limited to comprehend that there really is nothing before the Bang or are we just basing it on the general belief of immortality after death and hoping for something. Even though there is a consensus within science that scientific theory does point to the answer as being nothing......
What is odd about our scientific knowledge is how we can predict such about such a vast expanse made up of so much matter and yet we have only made it to the moon and back

AM said...

Niall,

Scientific knowledge is limited but far in advance of anything else. Science makes sense in a way that religion doesn't. I suppose that is why only a minority of scientists believe in god.

Henry JoY said...

Daithi,

thought provoking and humorous scenario.

Niall & AM,

can humans learn to live with ambiguity and uncertainty?
And can they do that without attributing 'divinity' to the gaps in their understanding?
Isn't it possible there are some phenomena where explanations may forever remain limited and never be fully proven?

Finally, will any of this affect the price of turnips?

AM said...

Henry Joy,

ambiguity and uncertainty is part of the human condition. Beware those who seek to perfect and value those who seek to improve.

Gods of the gap reveal a lack of understanding rather than knowledge.

Religious freedom should be defended. People must have the right to practice their religion on themselves and on no one else.

Turnips - can they be turned into melons by a few utterances of mumbo jumbo?

DaithiD said...

HJ, I know, I said it frivolously but the more I think about it : a super computer determining we are a part of some simulation (much like scientists today cultivate equally oblivious bacteria) in the future realising its made in the creators image, and realising its made in the creators image to a greater degree than the other simulations, with a greater knowledge of the creator than the other simulations etc, how could it not end the same as when humans experienced it? The actual hypothesis of being in a simulation isn’t some Holllywood trope, there is nothing the human brain can do in theory that couldn’t be done with a computer of equal power ( Nick Bostrom writes on this).

Henry JoY said...

Yep, improved outcomes rather than perfect ones ... and learn to be content to be discontent occasionally. If one fails continuously at that we're unlikely to ever develop any depth of resilience and if we fail to develop resilience we're unlikely to ever become comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.

(I doubt if turnips can be transubstantiated, though I can allow for those who wish to believe that, as long as they don't forcefully impose their idolised idealisations on others).

AM said...

DaithiD,

could such a computer empathize or merely simulate empathy?

Why bother conjuring such imaginary things into being when all we know at this point in our evolution is that humanity is the highest form of life?

DaithiD said...

AM, do we empathize or simulate it as humans that can inflict war? Its not my specialist field but from what Ive read there is no function of the brain that wouldnt be replicable, although they dont know what stage a consciousness would be instantiated. Who knows what realms an AI mind would delve into, I would just marvel at the irony if my pithy comment played out in the future.

AM said...

DaithiD,

we can do both, empathize and callously disregard.

A computer can win a chess game but there isn't the slightest evidence to suggest it can savour its win. Consciousness, as Diderot suggested many moons ago, is the property of matter in motion.

DaithiD said...

Ok so empathy is one iportant measure, it might also evolve such convoluted ethics we could never determine whether such an expression was bad or good from our perspective , we struggle with such issues today against lesser foes, scarily I cant see how we could argue so against such an adversary.If the AI returned from its routine and told us its all a simulation it will show us how, how could we determine whether it was telling the truth? Maybe when it passes a wicker basket around for cash to buy into the next level of experience?

AM said...

DaithiD,

that sounds like gobbledegook.

Steve R said...

As an Angry Atheist (TM) my answers would be...


1/ Something From Nothing.

What the f*ck has cosmology and physics got to do with Atheism?

2/ Outside Science and Nature

Your 'God' exists outside all known physical parameters why, because it decided to? F*ck off!

3/ Agnostic Atheism

Get the F*ck off the fence!

4/ I believe in one less god than you

Are we back in Kindergarten? F*cking childish statement right there!

DaithiD said...

AM, the abortion debate on here revolved around the rights of 1 or 2 people (depending on ones perspective) and it was still intractable. Im saying that along with empathy considerations, any AI may present us with ethics it claims that are optimum for all life present and all life to come. I know you people that happily ride the science first train like to hop off when science unbiasedly teaches you something you didnt want to know (take racial differences in average IQ for example), but it will be hard when presented by an opponent with God like qualities. I didnt think any of it was gobbledegook, but saying it doesnt make me want to explain this any further.Ah well, back to threads where people scream at eachother for things they didnt say.

DaithiD said...

Steve, before about x 10^-42 s/Planck Time the approaching singularity of the big bangs origin behaves outside of all physical laws,again, all the laws of physics dont hold past this point.Does this make the big bang impossible by your estimation,careful now.Im not arguing a religous point, but uninformed people berating misguided people for not believing something seems a frivolity of the modern age.
PS AM,a nano second is x 10^-9 s, a relative eternity for something to have existed pre-big bang. Yes im being bitchy now.

Henry JoY said...

Daithi

and we'd still have to take a leap of faith even if we choose to put contributions into the basket!
The god stuff survives and will survive because it has useful functional value for so many people ... it has social function in serving as glue for collective identity, anti-anxiety function insofar as the believer believes oneself special, protected, valued and even cherished. Moral law reinforces civil law too. Its a superb buffer against existential threats, even death itself. No wonder it is for so many literally an opiate.
And like all over-practised mood altering behaviour it inevitably becomes a cocoon that must be defended at all costs. Its not surprising it has a shadow side.

If an A1 super computer is ever to be built it will of course need to be programmed for understanding and prediction of emotional influencers and yet have to be hardwired to avoid becoming enmeshed in the emotional.
As most of us can agree, human interactions are rarely and solely between rational actors. Therefore, I'd contend, creating accurate simulations of diverse, irrational and fluid permutations of thought and behaviour are unlikely to be achieved.

AM said...

DaithiD,

a billionth of a second is not my idea of eternity. Relative eternity has no meaning.

I didn't make the point that what you said was right or wrong but it seemed incomprehensible to me and for that reason I used a term to describe the incomprehensible.

What people are you talking about? I am happy to abide by the discoveries of science in respect of race and everything else. I don't buy into the Nazi eugenics theory or anything like that. But there are many scientific findings that we don't like but that doesn't equate with being fair weather scientists. Science is the best knowledge producing system of thought that we have. Religions looks foolish beside it.

AM said...

DaithiD,

my reading of the abortion debate was not that it was intractable but that it was one way traffic. The case against was very weak. Yet there was still things learned from it.

DaithiD said...

HJ, much like the Islamicophilic quote if one killed an innnocent it is as though he killed all of mankind, Marx's opuim quote rears its head. In both cases I prefer the lines before an after. PS ive tried religion and opium, and the latter is much much better. And AI (Artificial Intelligence) wont be programmed by humans for the large part, enough to instantiate some conciousness maybe, then it self teaches at a rate computers do, it could cycle through a 100bn equivalent evolutionary paths in day compared to the single one humans are forced by normal evolution to embark on over the past millenia.
AM, there you go confounding my assumptions of you, I felt sure you would hop off the science train much before eugenics, which I myself hop off at too.
Im not anti-science, I just despair at the defference some show it, sure some are athiest.If they specialise in bouncing electrons off the surfaces of meta materials, I dont see how this gives them an exceptional insight into the divine, claiming different turns science into an ideology , which it isnt.

Steve R said...

DaithiD,

"before about x 10^-42 s/Planck Time the approaching singularity of the big bangs origin behaves outside of all physical laws,again, all the laws of physics dont hold past this point.Does this make the big bang impossible by your estimation,careful now."

No, because that is still in the hypothetical. The 'Big Bang' is a misnomer, think of it more as a rapid expansion of gases. But this 'singularity' is space/time may have been utterly massive by our understanding and may have taken up a considerable physical presence in which the parameters we observe in the physical realm DID already apply. Man does love to break things down to irreducible simplicity but that in itself may not be enough to answer the genesis question. Think about when they started to measure the distance of stars. They had to throw the rule book out the window when they discovered that rather than slowing down they were actually 'speeding' away. To our feeble brains forever hardwired in the 'cause-effect' paradigm we thought the Universe was very 'old' when it actual fact, in relative terms the 'Big Bang' could have been yesterday.

"PS AM,a nano second is x 10^-9 s, a relative eternity for something to have existed pre-big bang. Yes im being bitchy now."

Meeeoooow! (but see above)

Niall said...

I see AI has taken a step forward. Google has developed AI that can now in a previous unheard off manner, recall what it has previously learned....to some degree! Computers currently cannot achieve this - they perform one function at a time but don't have the ability to recall it as having been done before - now Google has developed AI to a certain point where it can have memory recall....very scary stuff....Stephen Hawkings' must be feeling very uncomfortable after his warnings about AI.....odd that too since it was developments in AI that allows him to communicate...is Hawkings playing God??????

AM said...

DaithiD,

unthinking deference to authority is never something to be recommended. That applies to scientific authority. And it should apply even more so given that science is the knowledge system that allows us to progress exponentially but which can destroy at an alarming rate. How can anyone be anti-science? As Hans Kung said it is like trying to answer the question "are you for or against France?"

Science has no insight whatsoever into the Divine because it has never found the Divine. Your observation seems a non sequitur. Religion claims an exceptional insight into the Divine without ever having found it. Intelligent Design pretending to be a science but in fact a religion, claimed to have found it in some bacterial flagellum. So god was hiding out in the bacteria that causes E Coli!!! It is laughable.

Science has many limitations but if you can offer me an alternative system of knowledge production that comes remotely close to science I'll certainly consider it.

DaithiD said...

AM,I respect science, where it is limited, In most cases (save the Big Bang for example) it also contains the building blocks from and pointers towards extending these limits to knowledge. While we need to be clear where the limitations are, that doesnt mean it opens a gap for God to inhabit.

AM said...

DaithiD,

which makes a god of the gaps a tenuous proposition.

DaithiD said...

AM, Id be interested if you put the condemning genocide in the OT to others, and what their answers were. When we get to non overlapping magesteria, and we debate the ethics that the Bible claims to embue,this is where you can effect believers. Why debate in scientifiv terms, those who have essentially rejected it. The ethics of condemning genocide, or the torture of Job by god seems a really key area.

AM said...

DaithiD,

I think Stephen Jay Gould coined the NOLM to push religion out of the way of science rather than have to endlessly argue over it. Why debate in scientific terms? For the same reason that we tell people medicine will cure them rather than prayer; that planes fly and witches don't. Even where we accept the non overlapping, we do so in the sense that we might accept fact and fiction as such. Magisterium is a grand word much like the Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK. If the religious magisterium wants to discuss angels, fine. But it can't claim any authority over the affairs of people. When it insists on denying condoms as a means to prevent AIDs, it should come up with a scientific reason for doing so rather than the lying rubbish that Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo came up with.

When I ask about the genocide of the OT, I usually get what I got from yourself. A complete reluctance to engage.

DaithiD said...

AM, I had modfied much of my then faith too, I didnt think that God created the world/universe in a literal sense. I reduced the OT to a set of depictions, and focused on the specifics of the NT.It seemed to make sense to me as for were God to have spoken in physics terms before humans had calculus for example, it would of been lost on his audience. I liked the depictions on how to love, and thought as a set of beliefs the ethics it promoted were not worse than many others. So I could of condemned genocide in general, but with the caveat that its allowed in the OT, I would of been no less ridiculous than those hihab wearing Swedish ministers, who one week defend the hijab as a symbol of female empowerment, and literally the next have it forced on them when they meet Iranian diplomats. I could of sought the correct Catholic interpretation to soothe my reservations, but the truth is still that ethics imbued from Bible reading are not just different but generally equivalent, they are inferior. Its a pain to think I didnt admit it at the time, I was embaressed to be in such a position publically. But its a clever way to debate Christians in general, who dont go to church to learn the origins of the universe.

AM said...

DaithiD,

your god didn't have to speak in physics but it is a bit odd that he spoke to a group of Hillbilly types in a dimly populated part of the world when he had so many other options. You did not want to reject the OT genocide because basically your opposition was more against Islamic textual justification for genocide than you were Christian justification.

It is also strange that your god in his imparting of ethics never thought it wrong to rule out slavery. The bible was written by men not supermen called gods. There is nothing in the bible to show that it could only have been written by a mind external to that of humans beings and everything in it to suggest it was the product of the minds of men.

Of course there are some great ethics in Christian teaching but the same can be said of Jewish and Islamic teaching.

I don't think it should be seen as embarrassment in public - it is only the comment section of a blog FFS, where what is said is not regarded as sworn testimony for which the author must be condemned or held to forever and a day.

Henry JoY said...

Daithi

meaning is one of the unavoidable fundamental concerns that humans face. We're hard-wired, it seems, to search for and attribute meaning in a meaningless universe.

T'is hardly surprising that we occasionally become enmeshed in dogma or ideology. We're all vulnerable in this regard.

The best I believe we can do is to attribute restricted, subjective and sympathetic meaning to our observations, practices and ideas ... whilst framed within codes which are contextually functional and preferably wholesome.
Paradoxically the idea 'that its all empty and meaningless' is empty and meaningless too !!!!!!

Dichotomous distinctions along right/wrong, good/bad and other suchlike axes ought be a call to inquiry rather than a rush to judgement.

(AI has a different meaning in rural communities). (^_^)

DaithiD said...

AM, I am the public forums of today will the site of futuristic 'archeological digs', my 180 may amuse people of the future. Infact this ties into HJ too, often chastised for his transition from O Bradaigh to Hume. But I never thought it a boast to be exposed to so much information and take nothing from it than that which you already brought to it.As long as we dont coerce others into following the transition, I dont see why changing ones mind is a bad thing.Especially when coercion is usually employed in the in gestation stage of adulthood to follow certain tradtions, and after if we are kept on this trajectory through intellectual laziness.

DaithiD said...

Sorry to double post that first line should read: I imagine the public forums of today will be the site of futuristic 'archeological digs .

AM said...

DaithiD,

if we keep too close an eye on the future we will never venture an opinion. I always think it admirable when somebody has a change of opinion and admits it. As John Maynard Keynes said: "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?"

Have you given up on faith?

DaithiD said...

Have you given up on faith?

In a word yes, im not at your level of disdain for faith though.I was never the best example of a Catholic anyway.I will still love sitting in pretty churches on a Sunday, I will still love Shubert's Ave Maria. Other criticisms like AIDS/Condoms or priest abuse seemed problems with the structures around faith, not the faith itself. But when confronted with the evidence the ethics that inform its believers are not just different, but massively inferior and not just in practice but in theory too, there is nothing left for me. I still dont think there is an equivalence with Islam, given the civilisation designs inherent in it. But hey, Im must make myself open for persuasion at least, even if others dont reciprocate.

AM said...

My disdain for faith is less people having it but the seeming need of many of them to inflict it on everybody else. If they want to abide by their own religious tenets, fine, so long as they don't insist on me having to abide by them as well. They seem incapable of understanding that people who don't subscribe to these views have every right not to have them inflicted on them.

DaithiD said...

AM, I considered myself secular too even with faith. But if my faith prevents you condemning genocide or torture in every instance then I am no different to the people I love to ridicule , like the SWP who claim to promote female empowerment, but when faced with an accusation of rape by a senior member (Comrade Delta), hold their own extra-legal process where the victim is slandered before her peers.That whole thread this intially occured on reads like a car crash, and I rightly came across disingenuous in it. Maybe some effective methods of engaging people of faith are in there though, so im glad its there still for others to learn. I remember trying to conduct the rest of the arguement in the privacy of emails with you too, you rightly fucked that option off!

Niall said...

You know what just reading down through these comments and in the bible the only writings that God purportedly wrote himself were the 10 commandments....nothing else....and what happened, the first set of tablets the clumsy fucker dropped them and had to go back up the mountain again and fucking explain what happened...the second lot...well man read them and then decided to ignore every fucking one of them for here ever after...

larry hughes said...

Nial

Could you 'clarify' that lol let us know how you really feel...

Henry JoY said...

Niall,

joking aside, did all men ignore them forever after?
Isn't there some upside to religion?

DaithiD said...

Niall, I will have a guess at what didnt happen when the 10 commandments were brought down : no feminists argued they were too male centric and want their prohibitions included in them too.

Niall said...

Larry....lol,
Henry Joy,
Name one who didn't?

Steve R said...

Niall,

Never wondered why Moses took frigging AGES up the mountain? Here's a hint- he wasn't playing marbles with himself. Those stone tablets are not going to chisel themselves!

As Ten rules go they are mixture of narcissism and stating the obvious. Don't thieve, murder or backstab anyone, I somehow doubt they hadn't worked those out for themselves. And the first three are their 'god' saying "ME ME ME". I mean, here supposedly is the guidelines for people to live by and the first 3 are entirely self serving. How about changing just one of these to ..

"Don't be complete bastards to other people"?

or

" Treat women as equals not property"?

As it is, it's just another example how the whole enchilada is a product of Man and nowt else!

sszorin said...

A ridiculous article and a waste of time, when I see all those comments in which people try to reason out various points of article. People have been arguing about the subject for millennia and a consensus is 'at infinity'. Why do you pretend that little all of you are going to solve the question ? What is remarkable is intellectual thickness and naivete of the atheists by not seeing that their position of having a certain coherent mental picture of the Cosmos, which makes sense to them, also amounts to a belief. Until they realise this the silly argumenting and posturing will continue. Why don't they try to do what a small boy at a seashore told St. Augustine he is doing ?

sszorin said...

@Steve R - Going away from the subject of God and atheism - why didn't you also ask this question - when will women treat men as equals ?

Steve R said...

sszorin,

Because I was referring to the time that allegedly Moses brought down his top ten best efforts to his bunch of illiterate sheep herding nomads, when they did treat females like property.

I am not a feminist either. Feminism has f*cked up woman's happiness in all the wrong ways and for a very poor trade off. Men and women should compliment each other not compete against each other.