04-05-14 5:25  •  Bill Nye Debates Creationist

Malinda: Bill could use his time in better ways than this pointless debate. He could be using his time to teach people how to show more love towards others.

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is tell people the truth.

Malinda: The Bible says we are to be like little children in our faith. Children know the facts of why love is so important. Children could set him straight on what is really important.

Truth and how we know it is really important.

Malinda: Truth is very good thing to know.

Too bad nothing you claim to know qualifies.

Malinda: Nobody from the BC era knew the truth at all. Before Jesus came all the people were 100% blind.

Case in point.

Malinda: Telling people facts is not loving at all.

You could not be more wrong.

Teaching children the facts of life is one of the most loving acts a parent does. Giving kids facts in school is the loving vocation of a teacher. Getting adults educated in college is a loving, caring act of passing knowledge and information to others who can use it and share it. Many parents and teachers feel a passion for sharing wisdom, and humans would not survive long without the knowledge they pass along to us. Teaching the facts is vitally important for human survival and flourishing.

You are spitting in the face of those who answer that call.

Malinda: Telling people there is no God, no heaven, is big BS too.

Malinda, that is no more than exactly what it looks like. You can keep pretending about fairies and magic villages but there is nothing in this universe which makes it look like your fairy stories are true. Not one thing.

Malinda: Children really want to know there is Creator that loves all us.

Just because you really want something doesn't make it true. Kids love Santa too, but he is pretend, and all the wanting in the world doesn't change it.

There are no magic guys in your life giving you magic love from on high. And what use would it be if there were, if you can't experience it? It's like being married to a poster of a man. You can think about him, but he doesn't actually touch you, or help you, or father children with you, or provide for you, or stroll through the park with you, or walk along the beach at sunset holding your hand, or laugh and cry with you through life's trials. He's of no use whatsoever. So you may as well not bother.

Malinda: Things really just don't pop up and out.

They most certainly do. Studies of sub-atomic particles show that at the tiniest levels, at the Planck scale, particles pop into existence and back out again in a nanosecond all the time. The confluence of these microinteractions produces the amazing effects of macromatter. I'm only sorry you refuse to understand what is really happening.

Malinda: I bet Easter really sucks very bad at his house too. I feel sorry for his friends and family, and all his followers.

Wow, you are so prejudiced it's really kind of sickening. People who don't believe in magic fairies are just as loving with their friends and family as believers. They have just as much fun participating in festive celebrations. They feel the same joy watching their children laugh with delight as they discover hidden treasures. They have the same deep feelings of awe and wonder marking the changing seasons. They are not less human than you.

You should stop insulting people like this. It's mean..

Malinda: I wish Ham talked about Heaven more too.

You wish a lot of things.


Hi there Malinda! It can't be easy to converse with someone who disagrees with everything you say, so thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate it!

Malinda: I am only spitting on man's wisdom.

Even if "God" was real as toast, telling people facts would still be an important, loving act. Please do not disparage it.

Malinda: Without God we are all nothing.

This does not seem to be true.

Malinda: Seeking God first is the answer anyways.

This does not seem to be true. It's certainly not helping you.

Malinda: Bill's wisdom is only a part this world. This wisdom really doesn't have any bearing on my life.

You would not be looking at these words without the wisdom of this world.

Malinda: His findings should lead people to see God.

They don't. Everywhere people look for God they find nothing remotely related to gods.

Malinda: Kinda sad you don't see any magic in this world.

Once again, completely wrong. I see the magic of reality, and it is all the more amazing because it can be shown to be true.

Malinda: My life is full of magic every day. Well, praying, seeing God working in our lives.

Gods do not do anything in your life. Things that happen are the products of nature and human effort. Only cognitive biases make it seem like the work of gods, and only if you don't look too closely. Every attempt to track down "the god part" yields nothing.

Malinda: God is alive, and wants to be apart your life, your children lives also too.

This does not seem to be true.

Malinda: Married to a poster? Kinda sad, putting a relationship with God like that.

It's only sad if you are pretending it's something other than what it is.

Malinda: I guess we can go back to the black hole, and fish turning into people. Is that supposed to make more sense? Well, for some reason this makes sense to some people...I really don't get the theory at all.

I think you know that your lack of understanding is not dispositive.

Malinda: Why would people rather believe this at all?

Because it seems to be true.

Malinda: So people are people, we are the same in some ways? We are born the same way too. What makes one person so much better than others?

Do you mean, what makes one person right and another wrong? The person who is right is presenting a position which can be verified by anyone to be an accurate description of the reality.

Malinda: It is better to build relationships than just study numbers and figures.

They are not mutually exclusive. Relationships are important and facts are also important. It's not one or the other.

Malinda: That's better than using your time trying to figure out if Noah's flood actually took place.

Trying to figure out the truth is very important. The more accurate our understanding, the more we can do with it.

Malinda: Our God is relational God. He is on our side, not against us anyways.

This does not seem to be true.

Malinda: We are all children of God.

This does not seem to be true.

Malinda: Church is just getting together to worship and thank God for all he gives us. He even gave us his son so we are saved from sin too.

This does not seem to be true.

Malinda: Why don't you see the magic in this world?

I do, every day. My emotions soar to view a rainbow...even though I understand that it is caused by the refraction of light through water droplets. My heart melts to cuddle a newborn, even though I understand that she is the product of genetic material. My senses reel to smell a daffodil, even though I understand that it is an insect landing pad which offers a treat in exchange for pollination. My eyes fill with tears to hear a Mozart sonata, even though I understand it is vibrations moving the air which impact on my eardrum and send electrochemical signals to my brain. This is the magic of reality and understanding how it works only deepens the wonder.

"Isn't it enough to see that the garden is beautiful, without having to pretend there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Malinda: We need to work together, not against each other.

I agree, but this process will be thwarted until people get on the same page with reality.

Malinda: What part of [Bill Nye's] studies can other humans use in their lives?

Bill Nye is not actually a scientist; he is more of a publicist for science. But you could start with a critical examination of his position in the debate and find out why it seems to be true. You don't have to walk around bewildered about how fish could turn into people. You can find out exactly how it happened and how we know it happened that way.

Understanding how something specific works gives you insight into how things generally work. This is extremely useful in life.

Malinda: I can see it's very important to him to prove there is no God Creator.

Not exactly. It is important to understand how the universe really works, and how life works and came to be like it is. It is important to understand that what we are experiencing does not involve supernatural creators.

Malinda: You said that nothing I claim is true. Some truths I share with you. We both just want to have a good life, and for our family to have good lives. I think it's important not loving money more than people too. I really need to treat others how I wanted to be treated.

I can agree with that.

Malinda: Those lessons are from the bible. What is wrong with them?

Nothing, but those are not claims about supernatural creators.

Christianity does not appear to be true, but that doesn't mean every word in the bible is false, any more than the presence of a few historical facts means that every word in the bible is true. Each claim has to be weighed on its own merits.

Malinda: Wisdom comes from God. We don't have wisdom because we don't ask God.

Back to completely wrong. The wisdom we possess did not come from a supernatural creator. We figured it out ourselves, mostly by trial and error.

Asking "god" is just asking yourself.

Malinda: Bill has worldly wisdom. He could have wisdom from God if he just asked. Seeking wisdom from our own Creator is the best way everyday too.

No. That is just you talking to yourself in your head. No information has ever been provided to a human by a god. Not ever.

Malinda: The bible says....

The bible is not important.

Malinda: God wants us to be happy, be loved too.

No, that is what you want. The sooner you figure this out, the better, because then you can understand that your happiness and love come from you.

03-30-14 5:25  •  Unseen

Sue: I don't understand why it is impossible to believe in things unseen.

Lots of known things are "unseen," but we know about them anyway, because they have effects that can be observed and predictably demonstrated by anyone. We can't see air, or x-rays, or atoms, but we don't need to have faith or "believe" they exist. Their existence and effects can be shown.

Nothing about any supernatural beings, gods or otherwise, can be shown. They are indistinguishable from imaginary beings. And, since it is known that humans are very prone to invent imaginary beings, there is no reason to think that any particular Supernatural Being A is more than imaginary.

Sue: I am familiar with the teachings of the Bible.

In particular, there is zero reason to think the bible contains any actual information about gods.

Sue: I do not expect to understand or even believe every single thing written or taught to me by any man regarding anything, and certainly not something other worldly.

There is no reason to believe any other person's descriptions of gods. They do not know anything more than you do.

Sue: I still believe in God ... I do not understand why details matter.

Human claims about gods do not seem to be true. The truth matters.

Sue: I also do not understand a staunch disbelief in God. Certainly not a disbelief based on unexplainable details such as creation, heaven, worldly strife, human behavior.

The main reason to not accept another person's claims about gods is that there is no reason to think they actually know anything about gods.

Sue: So why discredit something as potentially powerful as God based on the lack of an explanation for unexplainable things?

It does not seem to be true.

God claims cannot be substantiated. They do not correspond to observable reality. There is no evidence of any supernatural beings. Many of the things we used to explain as the work of gods now have natural explanations. Gods are not necessary.

Sue: I feel God.

Lots of people experience deep and profound spiritual feelings. Even atheists. Even Buddhists, whose religion doesn't even HAVE a god. Most people seem to have feelings like this regardless of what they "believe."

The feelings have even been studied. They appear to be generated by neural activity, and there are very logical explanations as to why humans would have feelings like this. There is no evidence that the feelings are caused by or experiences of actual supernatural beings.

Sue: I think, even if I had never been exposed to any teachings, I think I would believe in a higher power even if I could not name him.

However if you had been raised as a Shinto or a Native American, you would probably feel that it was the spirits of your ancestors. If you were a Dabo tribesman, you would undoubtedly feel it was your personal totem spirit. If you were a Buddhist, you might not even think it was supernatural - you might consider it a state of higher consciousness or a feeling of oneness with everything.

The reason most people in our culture call those feelings "God" is because someone told them that when they were small.

Sue: I don't trouble with the details of this religion versus that religion, because religion was made by man.

No supernatural claims of any religion seem any truer than any other. However in Christianity (and other religions) it is required to insist that the supernatural claims are true. Even if they contradict the claims of another.

Since there is no way to check to see which claims have merit, the result is unresolvable conflict. That is a big problem.

Sue: There is a vast difference in believing in religion and believing in God.

It is not necessary to believe in gods, or in anything unsubstantiated, to be spiritual and to practice religion. Religions do not have to be about gods.

Sue: I just believe there is more to me, to us, than what can be seen and proven and explained.

Undoubtedly there is. But gods are among the less interesting possibilities. They have nothing to do with anything. They reek of ancient ignorance.

It is far more interesting to look at the frontier of discovery and find out what is being seen and proven and explained. Because that is where you find actual truth.

Sue: The point of my post is nothing really except perhaps to offer a different point of view.

I appreciate your thoughtful words. I hope you will consider mine as well, I would be interested in discussing,

03-26-14 11:01  •  Is That a Fact

Nell: Your opinion is just that, an opinion. It doesn't make it a fact just because you believe it is. It only means your opinions differ.

It's possible for opinions to be facts, if they match the reality.

Nell: Reality is subjective, as is an opinion. Facts are not.

Facts are accurate descriptions of reality.

Nell: No, that would be your opinion of your reality.

Accurate descriptions of reality can be confirmed by anyone.

Nell: Reality is, it's a cloudy day. Cold cloudy day, warm cloudy day, dark day, bright day...all opinions formed from singular realities. I can see a blue sky, you may see it as purple.

Yet it is possible to accurately measure the temperature.

"What color is the sky?" may be a matter of opinion. "It is now 30°F here" would be a fact if it was an accurate description which could be confirmed by anyone.

Accurate descriptions of reality exist. If your opinion matches an accurate description of the reality which anyone can confirm, it is also a fact.

Heather: People's perception of reality is subjective.

That is why we invented checking.

Heather: lol. That went way over my head. . .

It is possible to overcome the "subjectivity" of perception to get accurate descriptions of reality. We can use measuring tools which produce consistent results, and we can compare our descriptions of reality with others and work to discover why there are discrepancies. As the discrepancies are addressed, more accurate descriptions can be crafted until everyone can agree the descriptions match the reality well enough to work.

In other words, if we want to know if a description of reality is accurate, we can check.

03-25-14 10:01  •  Raise Minimum Wage!

Anna: Have you heard? Obama is going to use an executive order to raise the minimum wage! Yeah, and meanwhile the costs of everything else will go up to make up for it!

The quadrillionaires could have a few less yachts and that would pay for it.

Anna: But why should the people who have worked their ass off to have that much money have to live less lavishly?

Several reasons.

1) Because they are keeping money for themselves that they should be using to pay their employees who are actually working their asses off.

If you can't run a business that pays employees a living wage, your business model is faulty.

2) There is no reason to think quadrillionaires have "worked their asses off" for their money. Most come from money and have had every advantage their whole lives. Most have become very much richer over the last eight years because of the restructuring of the economy. Most of their vast wealth comes from financial transactions, not work. Making a call to your broker once a month is not working your ass off.

3) Living slightly less lavishly, to preserve the economy and fairly compensate workers, would present zero hardship to them. No suffering.

Anna: They donate money to the poor and they do have charity events among other things.

1) Wealthy people donate to operas, art museums and university sports programs far more than they donate to charities for people in need.

2) Obviously whatever they are donating is not enough.

People who work a 40 hour week deserve enough money in return to live for that week. Any other scenario is exploitation.

Davida: I am so tired of seeing people defending an increase in the minimum wage. Increases have to come from somewhere, and everything related to the increase, everything we use, will go up in price.

They could take it out of their insane profits instead. American businesses are sitting on literally trillions of dollars in profits they refuse to spend.

Davida: Increases do not make life more affordable. In fact, they make it less affordable for those of us who make either at or slightly more than the increase.

The increase would stimulate the economy enormously. That causes upward pressure on all wages. Minimum wage earners spend almost everything they make. So it goes right back into the pockets of businesses.

Davida: Those people don't get any sort of increase, have found a way to make do with what they are making, and then everything around them goes up so that what they used to be able to afford is no longer affordable at all.

That is happening right now anyway, just to give the quadrillionaires more yachts. Is that more fair than giving a living wage to people who work?

Davida: I just feel like it's better to make jobs more readily available and extra training and education to unskilled people more available.

That should go without saying. Those things are also not funded because of quadrillionaire hoarding.

Cindy: Why have Congress if he is just going to sign an executive order?

Congress is bought. Someone has to do something which will help people besides bajillionaires. Who else can?

This guy happens to be the President, so he has a little bit of actual power. We elected him to do something about the economy. If it is the one thing he could do to reshape the entire country for the better, he should do it.

Cindy: Our voice has been lost.

Your voice has been lost to billions of dollars in political spending by narrow private interests.

For example, it is they who disseminate the misinformation that raising the minimum wage hurts people. Actually, raising the minimum wage can be consistently shown to help everyone in the economy in many different ways.

03-24-14 9:00am  •  Born Atheist?

Froma: I read somewhere that every one is born an Atheist.

Do you agree or disagree?

I moderate a discussion called Crossroads of Religion on another forum. You wouldn't believe how often the theists there suggest that atheism is a birth defect.

Froma: My goodness. I can't imagine that line of thinking.

It's not hard to imagine. Haven't you personally said that you know "God" is real because you can "feel" Him?

Theists often suggest that atheists are born without the ability to "feel" this. I've seen it compared to color blindness.

Froma: That makes a little more sense to me, the way you have described it here.

Glad to help. Now, allow me to explain why that theory appears to be completely wrong.

1) Color blindess is a thing which actually exists and can be shown to. There is no debate among the color blind about whether the rest of us are "really" seeing more or not. It is extremely simple to show that full-sighted people are seeing something real. That is not analagous with theists, who cannot provide any evidence that they are actually getting something "extra."

2) This theory doesn't contend with the fact that people are able to freely switch from theist to non-theist (and vice versa) throughout their lives.

3) There is no reason to think that theists actually "feel" something that non-theists don't feel. When brain activity is examined with an MRI, the readings of Buddhist monks in meditation are the same as those of Catholic nuns in prayer, even though the nuns are reportedly in communication with a deity and the monks are not.

Every normal person appears to be capable of those "feelings." The difference is whether you choose to assign "God" as the source of the feeling or not, and that is a personal choice. That choice does not appear to be something you are born with.

The conceit of the theist - that God is real and they can tell but you can't - is repugnant. In the absence of evidence, there is no reason to assign a "defect" in the sense abilities of those who disagree about what certain sensations mean - particularly in the absence of any kind of pathology. This conceit is unwarranted by the facts.

Froma: Perhaps there is something within some people that prevents them from knowing God. I have no answer.

The answer is that there is no reason to think that is the case.

Froma: Ahhh Raver, you see, there in indeed evidence.

What is it?

Froma: My children. My existence. My very life.

I'm sorry, what are you saying these are evidence of?

Froma: It's a shame I am asked to prove it time and again when it has been obvious for quite a while that no proof is good enough.

Exactly what "proof" has been offered, and of exactly what?

03-12-14 6:20  •  Atheists Have A "Hole"

Joleen: God said in his holy writings that he created us with the desire to find him, with the curiosity to seek him.

Some people who wrote holy writings said that He said that. However people who write holy writings can write anything.

Joleen: There is an emptiness inside of us that cannot be filled until you find him, believe in him, and accept him as real.

Like many of your assertions, this is a completely unsupported assertion.

If this was actually true it would be very easy to demonstrate. There would be evidence showing that Christians are happier and healthier. However Christians and theists have no demonstratable corner on mental health or life satisfaction. They do not appear to be any less troubled...for example, Christians divorce, murder and commit suicide at the same or greater rates than people in other faith categories.

On the other hand, atheists in particular are seriously under represented in prison poulations and even have a slightly lower divorce rate. As a group they show no symptoms of general "emptiness." And, notably, the one religion which is actually shown to improve happiness is Buddhism, which has no deity.

Link: Buddhists Really are Happier

Joleen: Until you do this, you continue to have this emptiness that you cannot explain.

I don't have that.

Joleen: That is why you have so many questions and doubt and I do not.

I have many questions because that is my discussion style. Life is an endless series of questions. Life should have questions. What bugs me is made-up answers.

Doubt is healthy. Without it you have no way to prevent delusion.

Joleen: To me and to many others- it is NOT made up, make believe fake stuff. It's very real.

It doesn't appear to be.

Joleen: Repeat after me....to believers...God and his commandments are R-E-A-L.


Believers don't get to decide what is real. What is actually known to be real can be verified by anyone.

Joleen: Please have some respect and recognize that just because you choose not to believe, it doesn't make it any less real to us that do.

You do not get to decide what is real. It is what it is.

Joleen: Actually, in my life, I do get to decide what is real.

You get to decide what you like. However, real is not a personal decision. It exists outside of you.

Millions of children believe that Santa is real but that doesn't mean there actually is a jolly old elf making toys at the north pole. The kids believe it, but they are wrong.

If you think something is real and it isn't, it doesn't become partly real or "real in some way" just because you think so. You would simply be incorrect.

Joleen: I am not going out trying to force you to believe.

Relax, nobody is worried that you are.

Joleen: Why do you do this? I have never once mocked you, for having a hole in your life which you refuse to fill.

I am not concerned that you are "mocking me" for having a hole in my life. I am concerned that you are wrong. I do not have a hole in my life.

Joleen: Your entire argument is mocking me and other believers for believing in something made up.

Where did I mock you? I said, it appears to be made up. Well, it does appear to be made up. It is not supported with the tiniest shred of evidence. It is not fundamentally different from a dozen other mythologies which also appear to be made up.

Are you saying it's out of line to mention this around believers?

Joleen: In every single one of your replies you speak of believers like we are stupid for believing is something fairytale.

I certainly did not use language like "stupid." I attempt to be straightforward.

People do what they want in their own heads, of course. But since you have exactly no facts to support your position, you are asking too much if you expect people to just act like you are right to avoid offending you.

If you think this discussion makes you look "stupid," maybe you should ask yourself why your ideas look that way.

Joleen: I think you sound closed-minded since you have yet to prove anything otherwise.

I am not attempting to prove "otherwise." I am saying that I don't know, and neither do you.

Joleen: You keep trying to prove nothing.

How Zen. :-)

However the difference is that I am not making declarative statements that can't be supported with evidence.

Joleen: You just continue to try to make yourself feel better about not believing in anything...

That is not necessary. In case you haven't noticed, I already feel great about it. My positions are extremely well supported by evidence. I don't mind when people challenge them - I love it! It gives me a chance to show off how well they withstand scrutiny.

And if someone managed to make my claims look stupid, I would immediately start examining them to find out where they don't hold up. I care about having a position that makes sense and can be supported.

Joleen: ....and the only way to do that is to discredit my belief.

I would say that Christianity has not earned much credibility and exposing it should not be off limits in a debate forum.

Joleen: Maybe you should ask yourself why my belief and the believe of billions of other people bothers you so much.

Because it appears to be a Big Lie. Those bother me.

And, because it requires that believers give up all intellectual inquiry and surrender themselves utterly to the dogma, with no chance at re-examination.

Joleen: You are in doubt. I am not.


Joleen: If what is real can be verified by anyone, than that means nothing is real.

Some things seem real enough. You are reading this on something. Your screen wouldn't work at all if we could not verify that some things are pretty solid and work in ways that we can understand. Our knowledge about gravity is not perfect, but it worked well enough to navigate Voyager 1 through our solar system.

Joleen: What can really be known? There is still debate on whether the earth is flat or round, whether gravity exists....

Not among people with evidence.

Joleen: ...if the gov't planned 9/1/1, if our gov't assassinated JFK...

There is also "I don't know" as a possible answer if evidence is not conclusive.

The fact that not everything in the universe is known for certain doesn't mean that nothing in the universe can be known at all.

Ishaqa: It is, indeed, what it is. To each one of us.

There is no reason to think that reality consists of what "each one of us" chooses. It appears to have an independent existence outside of us.

Ishaqa: I could very well state that those who do not believe, those who did and yet have decided against it, are indeed missing something in their life.

There is no evidence that this is true.

Ishaqa: While I cannot make any one believe what I feel to be true, I do, at times, feel sad for those who have either turned away from Christ or those who have never held a believe.

Well, you can save yourself some unnessary grief. There is no evidence that you have something they don't.

Ishaqa: I do know. You think I don't know, but I do.

Prove it.

Ishaqa: You can't seem to let it go and let live.

I didn't come to a debate forum to live and let live.

Ishaqa: There is proof on those grounds that history shows the holy writings are accurate.

In any holy writings there are some accuracies and some inaccuracies and a lot of speculation.

Ishaqa: You want so badly to prove me wrong when you can't.

You are the one making claims of "knowing" something. Back it up.

Ishaqa: You say, your positions are "extremely well supported by evidence." What evidence?

Well, for example, I am of the position that objects in earth's gravity well fall at precisely 32.2'/sec² - minus drag. This is supported by literally millions of separate measurements over the last century which show that it works exactly like this.

You are free to attempt to demonstrate otherwise, of course. That would be interesting.

Ishaqa: You tell me to back it up? You back it up.

What, specifically? I am not making any claims.

Ishaqa: What evidence will you use to prove that the holy books are completely inaccurate and made up?

I never claimed that they were completely inaccurate.

However, various claims, such as, the deity did this, the diety wants this, the good afterlife is like this, this is what you must do to get there, etc. are not supported by evidence. They seem to be completely made up, and no more likely to be true than unsupported claims from completely different religions.

Ishaqa: I have a belief that is so certain within me that it cannot be disproved by anyone.

How convenient.

Ishaqa: Prove to me that I am wrong about my belief in God.

I'm not sure which belief, exactly, you are referring to.

Specifically, if I remember correctly, you claimed that there is an "emptiness inside" everyone which can only be filled by believing in God. I pointed out that this claim is unsupported. There is no evidence that people who don't believe in God are more prone to "emptiness" or any kind of pathology. So, you appear to be wrong in your belief about that.

Then, you made this claim:

"I do know. You think I don't know, but I do."

If you are going to claim that you "know" something, the burden of proof is on you to show that you do. If there is no way this can be confirmed, there is no reason to agree that it is likely to be correct.

If there is another specific claim you want me to address you might have to point it out.

Ishaqa: How can you prove that the holy writings are inaccurate?

I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there were not two fully-formed first humans and one of them was made from the other's rib. There is no evidence to show that there was a world-wide flood and all the surviving species had been grouped together on a boat. Clearly, some of it is just stories.

Since there is no way to confirm any claim the "holy writings" make about what God is, what God wants, what the afterlife is like, etc., there is no reason to presume that the claims are not just stories also.

Ishaqa: You say I am wrong about the emptiness? Well, maybe you are the one who is wrong.

About whether non-theists experience more "emptiness" than theists? Possibly, but the evidence suggests that it is your assertion which is wrong. That's the great thing about evidence, because it provides a way to settle such questions. Of course if you have evidence to the contrary just present it.

Ishaqa: You want me to prove something? How would you like for me to show you?

Demonstrate that you actually "know" something others don't.

Ishaqa: Seeing as though you keep asking for "proof" makes me think you just might of been created by a rock. *snicker*

For example, if your hope was to show that believers gain some benefit in life over non-believers, you are not being a case in point. If "believing in Him and accepting Him" has adequately "filled" your "emptiness," then why the need to resort to ad hominem attacks?

Ishaqa: Fine. They are all made up stories.

That might be overstating it a tad, but I'm glad you get the jist.

Ishaqa: I think they are made up for a reason and I believe in their purpose.

I don't think anyone would suggest that they were not made up for a reason.

Ishaqa: I know one thing. I know that after this life, I have the promise to live with my family with no sickness or death. My daughter will play with no sign of danger. We will suffer no pain and forever we will be happy.

Sorry, you don't "know" this. You just think it. That is different from knowing. There is no evidence that any of this is actually true. I can see that you really, really want this to be true but that doesn't mean it actually is. For all you really know, it could be an entirely made up fantasy.

For all we are able to discern, the reality could be completely different - perhaps the truth is that most of us will wander eternity on the wrong side of the River Styx because we were not buried with coins to pay the Ferryman.

I really don't see how you can contend that your afterlife scenario is any more likely than the River Styx one.

Random: Ishaqa, you say you know about the afterlife, but, this still doesn't PROVE anything. It is merely your speculation on what MIGHT happen.

I agree. Of course it is.

What I don't understand is why some people find it necessary to conflate "believe" and "know" as if they are the same.

The vast majority of theists I have met in my life are intellectually honest about this. They say, "Well, I don't know this for a fact, but this is what I believe."

That certainly seems reasonable. And it's certainly less arguable. Why would a theist reject such a reasonable statement and instead insist that they "know" what in reality nobody knows?

Ishaqa: You said Christianity was a Big Lie! How can you know it is a lie?

I don't know that it is. I wouldn't make that kind of claim.

However, if we are talking specifically about the Abrahamic faiths here, I said, it appears to be a Big Lie. Because, I have examined them very closely, and compared them very carefully with actual reality, and they don't hold up.

Most of the claims are nothing that could ever be verified. They claim special knowledge about what is unknown, like "the afterlife." There is no way to verify or confirm any of those claims.

It appears to consist entirely of people talking.

I am not an atheist. I make no claim to know what kind of God does or does not exist, what kind of afterlife may or may not await, etc. I have no knowledge of those things.

But, I have examined the Abrahamic faiths and there is just no reason to think they have any knowledge of it either. They do not appear to have any more of a touch on real answers to these questions than anybody else does. It appears to be another set of tales, like many other sets of tales human cultures have created.

Ishaqa: How do you expect me to "re-examine?"

By questioning.

Ishaqa: So I have a belief in God, so what? If I die, and nothing happens, that's fine. No harm done.

If you live your life thinking that the only thing that matters is how it turns out after you die, then that would, at the very least, be a shame. As far as I can tell the real show is here.

Ishaqa: You say, you have examined the holy books closely and they don't hold up. Why don't they hold up? Hold up to what?

Verification against reality. I provided two examples from the Abrahamic faiths earlier - Adam & Eve, Noah's Ark. etc. Claims that God wants people to act a certain way, to have certain days off, that God is "jealous," or God is "loving," that a man was born of a virgin, that there is more than one afterlife, that believing in Jesus is required to get the good afterlife, that homosexuality offends God, that a particular part of the earth is a "holy land," that killing an infidel will net you 96 virgins, etc.

None of these claims can be verified. They sound like something somebody made up.

Ishaqa: Why do you think it should be verified?

So we can find out of there is anything to it, or if it was just somebody talking out his ass.

Ishaqa: They are talking about the reason for our existence. You cannot VERIFY that.

Maybe not. But, they are batting zero zero zero on all those other "answers". Why should I think the AFs have more of a line on "reason for existence" than anyone else?

I don't know if there is a reason for existence. That doesn't frighten me. Even if it did, I would never allow fear to stand between me and understanding as much as I can about how things really, actually are, and accepting "I don't know" when it's the truth.

Ishaqa: You don't pull your self out of the box and realize that you cannot make science out of something that is obviously greater than us.

I never said there was nothing obviously greater than us. I said, the Abrahamic Faiths don't appear to have a line on it.

Ishaqa: You don't see the truth about the afterlife because you don't want to.

Wrong. No human has knowledge of the afterlife and if you claim to you are lying or deluded.

Ishaqa: Because, you are a hypocrite. You ask me to re-examine, but you won't.

I'm always willing to re-examine. Present something real and I will consider it.

Ishaqa: I cannot imagine dismissing all of these beliefs and settling with, "I don't know."

First of all, if you maintain that there is an afterlife, you are dismissing all the beliefs of millions of Hindus and settling with "there is an afterlife."

Second of all, would you really advise people to turn away from "I don't know" when it is the truth?

Like, would you want a brain surgeon to operate on you without a diagnosis, just because he can't figure out what to do but won't settle for "I don't know"?

If "I don't know" is the truth then pretending to know is a lie.

Ishaqa: When did I tell you, "This is a fact"?

When you said, "But I do know. You don't think I do, but I do."

Ishaqa: It only bothers you because when I tell you this is a fact, it is challenging your lack of belief.

You claiming that it is a fact has no affect whatsoever. I have no reason to think you are correct about this.

However you could easily challenge my "lack of belief" in anything with evidence of it.

Ishaqa: The fact that you are so adamant to get me to prove my belief leads me to believe that I have challenged your lack of belief...

With what?

Ishaqa: ... or you would of left this debate alone and dismissed me as crazy and carried on confident with your lack of belief.

I may yet do that, who knows? :-)

But, for now I am grateful for the opportunity to expound on this subject.

Ishaqa: What if the other side of the moon provides life to another world with life? What if they have another God? What if one day we will remember this debate and laugh because we will then know all of the answers?

That would be interesting.

Ishaqa: I can totally tell you are a moderator, you hardly broke once and showed me yourself and your thoughts.

I am this. These are my thoughts. Isn't it exciting!?


Ishaqa: You are right. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around how someone could live without a belief of why we are here and where we are going.

I don't have beliefs about those things. But, I do care about those things. I have studied them deeply, from many different perspectives, and I am prepared to say that I know a number of facts about those things. I also have a few ideas about those things. Beyond that, I still have a large number of questions about those things. That seems like about what you'd reasonably expect, and a pretty healthy place to be.

Ishaqa: I promise from now on to always consider that maybe not all people need religion in their life as much as I do. *Shrug* If you honestly feel no need to seek God and you feel no emptiness inside of you, then I have to believe that that is how it is.

Well, that's nice of you to say. You are a very gracious lady. This conversation has been deeply meaningful from the get-go, and I thank you.

02-25-14 11:57  •  Disgusting Socialist Song

BrerRabbit: What do you think of the song Imagine by John Lennon?

I think it's a disgusting socialist song! I personally hate it. Wanting all of us to be freakin' drones!

I have been studying enlightenment for many years, and I would say that the lyrics to Imagine qualify John Lennon as an enlightened person, in the same manner that the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at Deer Park qualify Jesus Christ and The Buddha as enlightened beings. This song is as elegant a description of enlightened and Enlightenment values as can be found anywhere in human history.

You may say he's a dreamer...but he's not the only one.

BrerRabbit: Like, what is up with the line, "Nothing to kill or die for"? A life with nothing to kill or die for is not a life - it means there is nothing important to you. I'd kill/die for my family that's for darn sure, I'd kill/die for my family's freedom.

How many have you killed? If none, why not?


Olive: "Imagine nothing to die for." I don't want to live in a world where there is so little important to me that I wouldn't die for them.

The line is, "Nothing to kill or die for" and it means, No War.

I have no idea where you got the idea that it means "nothing is important to you." That is ridiculous. It means that the lives of our people are so important to us that we will not waste them in needless death. It means, that "their" lives are just as important to us as "our" lives. It means caring so much for everything that we will not destroy it with violent conflict. It means, caring enough to do the extra work of finding a peaceful resolution to our differences.

War is a horror show of pure suffering. If you really cannot think of a better way you are suffering from a serious lack of imagination.

Olive: What a boring world, if everyone were to think the same. That is what it would take for there to be no war.

Why, do you go around killing people who don't think the same as you?

Republicans and Democrats are not killing each other. They sure don't think the same, but somehow they manage to work together in a system without killing. We have lots of nations who are our allies, too - we don't think the same as them but we do try to avoid killing them. If we could just extend our "not killing" policies to a few more nations, we wouldn't be killing anybody in war.

It can be done. We do it with most. We should do it with all.

The opposite of war isn't "no differences." It is "working out our differences without killing."

Olive: I think Americans are willing to work out their differences with other Nations.

Most other nations. We need to extend it a couple of nations further.

Olive: I just don't have faith that these other Nations are willing to do the same.

No nation has attacked us since Pearl Harbor. Obviously other nations, and almost everybody else except the total crazies, have been willing to do it for awhile now. Maybe we can keep it going.

It's worth a try, and it beats pretending that we have to keep warring because the alternative is too boring.

Olive: "A couple nations further?" Which Nations?

Iraq and Afganistan. They didn't attack us. No one has ever successfully occupied them. We need to quit messing with them and just get out.

Olive: I don't trust most Mid Eastern nations intentions.

They don't trust ours either.

But, we are now allies with other former enemies. If we did it before I'm sure we can do it again.

Olive: My boring comment stems from my belief that in order for there to be no war, everyone would have to agree ( and if everyone thinks the same that is boring).

Obviously that is not the case. We don't all think alike in this country and yet we are not at war with each other. It is possible for people who do not think alike to be at peace (or at least, not engaged in physical violence.)

Olive: Man is flawed. Inevitably a disagreement would turn into a war.

We haven't warred over our disagreements in this country since the end of slavery. People who are working together can find ways to avoid it most of the time.

Olive: No war is the Ideal, but I think unattainable.

That doesn't make it a bad ideal. No ideal is ever attainable. Does that mean we should abandon them?

What is there to hate about imagining a better world, and singing a song about it?

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