Friday, September 26, 2014

A keen observation

The "selfish theory of human nature," which is a natural conclusion of Darwinism's "survival of the fittest," is an idea that is held up and esteemed by sociobiological theorists like E.O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins. Plainly stated, the idea is: since we're evolved from natural processes with no "supernatural" elements influencing our motivations or behaviors, then it follows that our every impulse and motivation must be entirely selfish (in a natural state), because that is the behavior dictated by Darwinian survival of the fittest.

This contradicts what we all witness in human behavior in real life (examples of altruism), but that doesn't stop some from trying to fit a square philosophical peg into a round reality hole.

The book I'm reading right now lists some of the odd questions that the generation of the last 45 years or so feel compelled to ask, such as [paraphrased by me for brevity]:

"Why didn't all young men flee to Canada during the Vietnam war, instead of just a few thousand?"

"Why shouldn't a woman have as many abortions as she wants?"

"What right does the government have to steal my money and call it 'taxation?' "

"How can the Pope continue to oppose contraception? Doesn't he realize that over-population is ruining the environment?"


The following passage is the astute observation of the author on this matter, with one time-related adjustment due to the book being published twenty years ago. The book was published posthumously in 1995 by the author's daughter Judith:


"The folly which is common to the favorite questions of our time, and to the typical questions of the sociobiologists, lies in a certain presupposition which they have in common. That is, that human life, and indeed all animal life, is best understood by comparing with the model furnished by youngish American adults of the last [forty-five] years. By people, that is, who are, beyond all historic precedent, free, rich, mobile, innocent of the very idea (let alone the reality) of food shortage, under no necessity to work, unburdened by familial, religious, or other loyalties, undistracted by education, curiosity, or any disinterested passion, principally anxious (if male) to preserve a whole skin, and (if female) to preserve her immaternity. They (as the saying is) 'just want to have fun,' and are the first instance in history of an entire generation, as distinct from a tiny minority, being in a position to realize this challenging idea."

--- Darwinian Fairytales by David Stove, p.123


David Stove was an atheist who believed in evolution, so his anti-Darwinist arguments can't be attributed to "creationism" or any other religious agendas.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Darwinist Cognitive Dissonance

Macro-evolution (genetic migration between separate gene pools) is an unproven theory that appeals to those who don't want to include the possibility of an intelligent designer. Darwinists insist that macro and micro evolution describe "fundamentally identical processes on different time scales," but that won't magically produce fossil evidence that doesn't currently exist.

Atheism versus Theism has been around much longer than 1859. It's a disagreement between people who hold different worldviews, not between the informed and the ignorant. The disagreement has been around since earliest recorded history; "modern" man has no special claim to the contention.

Evidence is available for everyone to see and read about. Through the decades since "On the Origin of Species" was published, different information pops up that refutes Darwinian macro-evolution... but, as the "religious" are often accused of doing, the Darwinists keep adjusting their interpretation of the evidence in order to hold the theory together as a scientific "fact," just like the Steady State scientists kept explaining away the mounting evidence of the Big Bang.

Some examples of this phenomenon:

1) The appearance of Haeckel's faked embryonic drawings in textbooks for 140 years, during which time the scientific community was well aware they were not accurate, and deliberately misleading, yet the publishing was allowed to continue.
2) Piltdown Man survived in the public imagination more than 40 years before it was fully exposed as a fraud.
3) The debacles of Java Man (1891), Nebraska Man (1922), and Orce Man (1982) don't prove Darwinian macro-evolution isn't true, but they do a good job demonstrating how much some people would like to believe it is.
4) The Cambrian Explosion caused too much of a problem for the "tree" of Darwinian species development, so Stephen Jay Gould came up with a clever dodge called Punctuated Equilibrium, which "explains" why the fossil record does not reflect what Darwinists expect. Never mind that if Punctuated Equilibrium is true, it goes against the idea of gradual changes over larger periods of time, a cornerstone of evolution by natural selection.
5) The total lack of transitional fossils between phyla have also been a troublesome fact, so another theory was proposed to cover for that problem: small populations that broke from the main population and underwent major physical changes until they became different species, ALL just happened to occur where the climate and geology prevented the creation of fossils.
6) All sorts of interesting cosmological data that don't seem to support current wisdom for the age of the universe.

There's a lot more controversy out there, but I don't have the time (or more honestly, the interest) to lay it all out for atheists who don't want to scrutinize the hard questions anyway. The information is out there; it's not my job to spoon feed anyone.

There will always be convenient answers for evidential conflicts from the Darwinist side, because they operate from the assumption that Darwinist evolution between species must be true. Even the prominent mathematicians at the 1966 Wistar Symposium ended up sharing their statistical calculations with deaf ears (of the evolutionary biologists); the biologists told the mathematicians that evolution was true, so the calculations had to be wrong. Somewhat like the initial resistance to Copernicus before Kepler brought home the bacon with the help of Galileo.

Even though this kind of foregone-conclusion theory-formulation is exactly what Darwinists accuse Intelligent Design theorists of doing, it doesn't seem to register that their own behavior is no different, as the original theory keeps being appended and adjusted for conflicting evidence.

And for the umpteenth time, Intelligent Design and Creationism are not the same thing. Each derives its conclusions from completely different sources. Unless you ask an atheist; to them, even Christians and suicide-bombing Muslims are the same.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Calm down, atheists

This is the entire text of a post I just made to a YouTube page called "Holy Hallucinations 36".

Behold the Atheist Mantra: "If you want to change my mind, you need to give me physical evidence."

Indeed! And that's what atheists are never going to receive. Any believer who understands the value of faith will also realize that it's useless to argue with atheists about this, because the absence of empirical proof is deliberate.

Atheists: some of you spend way too much time arguing about something that you claim doesn't exist in the first place. Why don't you do yourselves a favor and back up your personal beliefs with action by simply ignoring the believers, having a good laugh, and doing your own thing? Adopting a live-and-let-live policy would certainly do no harm to either side. Unless of course, your desire is not to live and let live, but instead to convince others, and mostly yourselves, that what you believe is correct. Spare us all the hysterics regarding believers' intentions to destroy science and send us back to the dark ages; that singularity hasn't been realized in the past, and won't be in the future. As it has always done, technological progress will continue to forge ahead regardless of political agendas.

I find it interesting that many atheists think Christian believers are required by their faith to force God down everyone's throats; that is not the case at all, despite the actions of some. The gospel is the "Good News" for a reason. Anyone who decides to reject it has every right to do so, and should not be criticized, admonished, or threatened with hell.

Believers: those of you who wish to evangelize should remember that your duty is simply to tell others about God, not waste time arguing with people who demand proof of His existence. Remember the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). For persons who refuse to believe, even raising someone from the dead will not convince them. Just "shake off the dust of your feet" (Matthew 10:14) as you walk away.

Also, don't expect atheists to greet your appeals with interest or courteous reception. Remember what happens when you share biblical wisdom with those who are of a contentious and aggressive constitution; they will trample that wisdom, and then turn and tear you apart (Matthew 7:6), as "TheLivingDinosaur" so clearly demonstrates with his acrid articulation.

And remember the very next two verses (Matthew 7:7-8), which guarantee that any person who sincerely looks for God will find what he or she seeks. This is why you may remain confident that, when an atheist claims his or her mind will be changed by "proof," the atheist is being disingenuous. If the intention of the atheist was a true desire to seek God without qualification, he or she would already be on that path, and would not require persuasion to begin the journey. The promise extends both ways: the atheist expects a universe without God, so that is exactly what he or she finds.

So, atheists, calm down. Go your own way, continue on your path, enjoy your lives and simply ignore the believers. In the end, we'll all get what's coming to us anyway.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A perfect metaphor


I recently looked up my favorite scene from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder) on YouTube.

See it here:
So shines a good deed in a weary world...

After watching it, and getting a little choked up as I did during my first viewing in 1971, I was struck with a surprising observation.

I'm not sure if the original writer of the book or the director of the movie intended this, but the scene is a perfect spiritual metaphor. I'm not speaking about the rest of the movie, but just the scene in question, viewed perhaps out of context. Nevertheless, here is my take on it:

Willy Wonka = God.

Mr. Slugworth (Mr. Wilkinson) = Satan.

Grandpa Joe = human adults who have little or non-existent faith.

Charlie = human adults who maintain a childlike faith in God.

Lifetime supply of chocolate = Heaven.

The contract (rules) = the tacit understanding between God and human beings, as related in print by the Bible.

The Chocolate Factory tour = life on Earth as we know and live it.

Charlie's "good deed in a weary world" = turning the other cheek, or doing the right thing despite adverse circumstance.


So many details fit the metaphor:

Grandpa Joe asking about the "lifetime supply of chocolate":
Human beings often still expect help and rewards from God, even when they have no genuine interest in obeying Him.

Willy Wonka being "extraordinarily busy":
While I have no clue about the realm of God, I'd say all the things He is credited with and responsible for would probably make Him very busy.

Grandpa Joe claiming ignorance of the "rules":
Indignation is often a response to the very idea that God could have rules we are meant to live by. In practical, real-life terms, human beings don't need the Bible or any other holy book to understand the universal concept that there are consequences for actions, and to possess the natural instinct that there is more to life than is perceived by the five senses.

Grandpa Joe calling Wonka several inaccurate names (crook, cheat, swindler, inhuman monster):
These are just a few of the things God is accused of daily by people who are angry at Him for whatever reason they believe is justified, probably for as long as humans have lived on Earth.

Willy Wonka's anger when Grandpa Joe questions his moral character:
The righteous anger of a God who has given much and is tired of constant disappointment by His most beloved creations, human beings. The legal gibberish that Wonka spouts from the contract is a good analogy of how so many humans view the contents of the Bible as arcane and unintelligible. The truth (as witnessed by people who deliberately take the time to consider the biblical texts) is that it's only gibberish if you haven't expended the effort to understand it. Also notice that while Wonka is yelling, he directs virtually all of it at Grandpa Joe, not Charlie, even though Grandpa Joe attempts to include Charlie in his doubt by saying, "We didn't see any rules, did we Charlie?"

Wonka repeating the phrase "good day" despite being very angry:
During Wonka's tirade, he never once resorts to name calling or accusations regarding the character of Grandpa Joe or Charlie; he simply states the facts about how they broke the rules. My perception of God, correct or not, is that He doesn't make arbitrary decisions, but has a logical reason for all of them. The Bible states that God is aware of even minute details like how many hairs we have on our heads, and that not even a sparrow falls to the ground with His knowing about it. So God's anger is probably not based on whimsy or bad moods, but is prompted by the direct and constant disobedience of human beings for millennia.

The natural inclination of Grandpa Joe to figuratively say "screw you" to Wonka by selling the gobstopper to Slugworth:
Human beings often rebel against God for a variety of reasons, due to experiences or ideas that have led them to believe trusting God is the activity of a fool. That's the easy, wide path; it is written that "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

Charlie not rebelling against Wonka, despite subversive influence from a respected figure:
A demonstration of genuine faith in God, which is often venomously characterized as being a ridiculous fantasy of persons emotionally unstable and intellectually challenged.

Wonka's unbridled glee at Charlie's "good deed in a weary world":
God's happiness when human beings do the right thing is well documented in the Bible. Wonka lovingly refers to Charlie as "my boy;" it might as well have been "my child," or "good and faithful servant." The Bible indicates that God wants us to succeed, and implies that the whole realm of existence is somehow set up to give us the opportunity to do so. Wonka exclaims, "You did it! You did it! I knew you would! I just knew you would!" This is the behavior of someone who wants someone to succeed, not of someone who would rather be angry or vindictive. Wonka even asks Charlie for forgiveness for "putting [Charlie] through this." Wonka also says, "I had to test you Charlie; and you passed the test!" I'm not the first person who has perceived all of existence as an elaborate stage by which God can vet the character of beings with free will.

Slugworth being painted publicly as a dastardly enemy of Wonka, but turning out to be an employee of Wonka instead:
Satan does the work of God in the Old Testament by tempting humans, then in the New Testament he seems to have gone rogue. There's not enough information to correctly solve that apparent transformation at present. Regardless, the Bible indicates Satan is created by God, and as such is not equal to Him. Our perception of their true relationship is ignorant at best.


Monday, March 24, 2014

It's about worldview, not facts

The following is a reproduction of a post I recently made to YouTube, as part of an ongoing dialogue between an atheist and me. The format we've been using is to present a portion of the other person's previous post in quotation marks, and then our own response immediately after. For the sake of clarity in this re-post, I have placed the atheist's quotations in italics.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You're not overwhelming me, but after reading your last post I'm even more convinced that our conversation is the same one that has been going on between believers and atheists since the concepts could even be talked about. Atheism is not a new idea; I would guess that seeing the universe in that fashion has existed nearly as long as seeing it as a form of deliberate creation. Science has given more fuel to the fire of atheism, if one is inclined to view the universe that way.

To explain what I mean, I will take your paragraph about love. I said I can't really prove I love my wife to a scientist's satisfaction, and you responded:

"Actually, we can prove love. Studies with MRI machines show heightened levels of serotonin and oxytocin when people experience what they call love. Yes, we can't touch love. It isn't physical, because love is an emotion. We understand emotions are brain states. We can study them. Since you're comparing love and God, are you saying that belief in a god is an emotion too? Because then I would agree with you. BTW, by your logic, we can't prove hate either, or any other emotion. Why focus on love?"

The issue here is the same issue in nearly every atheistic objection. Because:

1) Monitored brain activity during specific periods or moments of emotional states is real, yes. But we choose whether or not we interpret this activity as the cause or the effect. There is no foregone conclusion, as much as some materialist neuroscientists would love to decree it so.

2) You state that "We understand emotions are brain states." But that sounds like a fact, when actually it is a conjecture that is still up for debate. Yes, when people think certain things, see certain things, have emotions about certain things, their brains register activity that can be monitored accurately by mechanical apparatus. That the activity occurs is not in question, of course it does, because we can see it and record it. What remains in question, whether some like this or not, is how the two events are related. One interpretation is to point at the activity and say, "See! There's proof that emotions are merely chemical processes, not mystical, intangible things that occur by an alleged spirit who inhabits a corporeal body." But what we have seen is that when emotions are experienced mentally, the body simultaneously reacts with physical processes. To assume that the emotions don't exist without the chemicals is one assumption; I don't agree.

3) Just like Ham pointed out in his debate with Nye, atheists and believers alike share the same evidence. How that evidence is interpreted is why there is a debate in the first place.

This becomes the real issue. You and I (and many, many others) will continue to disagree about these issues because we have both made a choice at some point to interpret the shared evidence with a particular worldview. This is not just an easy answer or cop out, it is the real issue, in my opinion.

Often, these discussions/debates/arguments/whatever become long, exhausting examples of apologetic, because one party will insist that the other party prove his or her beliefs, or at least explain the beliefs in a manner that will finally be acceptable to the opposition. But this won't happen, because the arguments and evidence are secondary to the *reasons* why people choose their worldviews.

You are still correct; I don't know enough about you to declare any of my guesses or opinions about you as fact. But the reason you and I decide to interpret evidence differently is because we both have agendas that we think make more sense. To assume that because scientists say something, or because a laboratory provides particular results from particular experiments, that those statements or test results are the final word on any matter is of course not a reasonable assumption. This is because the history of science is full of mistakes that are only fully recognized in hindsight.

The metaphysical must still remain shrouded in mystery because we still lack the instrumentation (and may never engineer it) that can conclusively prove or disprove God's existence. I don't usually throw in the "you can't disprove God's existence" thing because not being able to disprove is not the same as proving. But, galling as it may be, it is still conceptually true that God can't be disproved.

Some say the burden is on the believer to prove the existence of God. But what is the justification for this demand? The believer's own belief in the metaphysical automatically eliminates the possibility, as most accept that God is of an incorporeal nature, and as it has been well established (and you have stated your own experience also supports) that there is no physical proof of God that "modern" human beings can present as evidence, the demand is pointless. What about miracles, you may ask? Pointless, because any miracle that happened in the here and now would be immediately explained away as anomalous natural phenomena, or clever trickery.

Unless of course, an atheist has the intention of either "enlightening" someone or debunking someone's beliefs. These endeavors must always end in frustration, because both parties will always walk away knowing the other person just can't seem to see it their way.

And this lands us back to what I said in the beginning of this response. I can tell you my thoughts about why the actions in the Old Testament took place, but they will seem like rationalizations, whether they are or not. Why? Because I choose to trust God and have faith in His intentions. Many atheists (and if you are not of this ilk, that's fine) choose to believe that God is improbable, unlikely, and mostly objectionable if He does exist. They're not interested in guesses about why God sanctioned or committed the acts that are perceived as objectionable. Ask any effective litigator to produce a viable "defense" of these seemingly objectionable actions, and certainly more than one could be suggested. We choose to think the worst; we don't know for sure that a negative take on the matter is 100% correct.

A problem humans face is that we are not in a position to judge our own Maker. We can try to the best of our abilities to reason our way into conclusions that make the most sense, and we do. We can take all the parameters of our physical, intellectual, and emotional existence, add in our experiences, our acquired knowledge, our earned wisdom, and once we've mixed all that together, we make judgments based on the sum total of those elements. However, if God exists, clearly just a glimpse at his astoundingly original, complex and brilliant technologies (nature, matter, life, etc.) would lead us to the understanding that it's not only possible, but quite probable, that despite our being created in His image, we are still merely faint shadows of Him, and stand meager and impotent next to His abilities and accomplishments.

The whole business of calling God to the carpet because we may think portions of the scriptures to be barbaric is not really very open-minded. We don't have the whole picture; we don't know what happens after death. We don't know exactly what we are, if God does exist. We know what we see in the mirror, we know what we experience every day. But our ignorance of the whole of existence (including the realm of God) is so great, that to use our human reasoning and accuse God of barbarism or sadism, or what have you, is about as presumptuous as we can possibly get.

If God exists, whether some like it or not, we are the clay, not the potter. Yes, we have been given minds to think. Yes, we should use those minds to try our utmost to do the "right" thing every day, to understand our universe as much as is practical for our type of biological existence. But questioning God is a foolish waste of time, because we don't have anywhere near the power of God, and our ignorance of the big picture makes us automatically unqualified to make better judgments than the One who created everything we know.

"How do you know that God prefers what we consider good? How do you know that he doesn't prefer what we consider bad? How did you determine that your god is a good god that wants the best for us?"

This is what I'm talking about; the atheist and the believer choose to view the same evidence differently. When it comes to the universe we inhabit, I see only good that God provides. The only bad I see is when human beings let their sinful natures dictate deeds that produce harm in myriad ways.

"I could make the same argument, except stating that God continues to be bad."

It's still the glass half-full and half-empty effect. You and I see the evidence differently.

"This question is a little off topic, but if God is a perfect being, why did he create anything? Perfection means without error, so why would something that is perfect need to create something? Creating something for a purpose means he was lacking something, which is contradictory to his perfection."

Creating something for a purpose means he was lacking something? That conclusion is completely arbitrary. It's one possibility, but I doubt that's the reason. Why did God create? Who knows? Why does a poet write or a musician compose?

"I have not read Gerald Schroeder's work, and maybe you can help me out in this discussion, but this is patently false."

You are incorrect to declare it patently false. Your interpretation certainly dictates the conjecture is false, but there is an explanation you haven't considered, which is in Schroeder's text. Vegetation did appear before the sun and moon appeared, but the Earth's atmosphere needed oxygen to become more transparent. Photosynthesis does require sunlight, but the nature of the vegetation, other than that it was grass, herb yielding seed and fruit trees, is not fully described or explained. So, although it seems counter-intuitive that some vegetation came just before the light of the sun and moon, we are not in a position to understand why this is so. Modern geologists or botanists can't possibly guarantee that such an order of development couldn't possibly be feasible under any contingency of conditions, as they weren't present to examine them. The rest of the events described are still in correct order, and are baffling, in terms of how they could get the order correct that long ago.

1) The Big Bang occurs (universe created from nothing), and light is separated from dark.
2) The disk of the Milky Way forms.
3) Earth cools and liquid water appears, setting the stage for bacteria and photosynthetic algae.
4) Once sun becomes visible, photosynthesis increases greatly, creating oxygen-rich atmosphere.
5) Waters swarm with life, having the same basic body plans of all future animals.
6) Land animals, mammals, humans.

"I would also like to point out to you how you are basing your idea of creation off of the Big Bang theory, giving credence to science, but then a sentence later degrade science by calling them "experts" in quotations."

I give credence to science, because it deserves credence for what it can do. The Big Bang was originally rejected by the Steady State scientists (the prevailing explanation of the universe at that time), and the main objection was that it had "religious" implications. I wasn't degrading scientists, I was being ironic and implying that what an expert knows one hundred years ago is different than today, and most likely different in another hundred years.

"So do they know what they're talking about or not?"

Of course they know what they're talking about, when they stick to the facts of their scientific method, and refrain from implying that theories are facts.

"You say you can't prove God scientifically or with facts and yet that's exactly what you're trying to do."

This is not true. I'm not trying to prove God scientifically or with facts. I'm simply answering your questions to the best of my ability. It is actually *you* who are expecting *me* to prove something with my answers that I've already said will not be proven. I can't prove the existence of God, and I'm not going to try, most especially because God doesn't need my assistance to qualify His existence.

"Outside of Genesis in the Bible, when "yom" is used with a number or "morning" or "evening", it is meant to be literal. If we're going to be consistent, we must treat the instances of "yom" in Genesis the same way."

So God is subject to human opinion about how to properly refer to time? I don't think so. I read the article you posted a link to, and again, Schroeder (a nuclear physicist) has proffered an excellent, well-thought-out, backed-by-math explanation to reconcile the six days of Genesis and the currently considered age of the universe. Is Schroeder absolutely correct? I don't know for sure, how could I? But the explanation is there, and I choose to give it credence, as Schroeder is a legitimate scientist. His arguments are alleged to have contributed to the conversion of Antony Flew from atheist to deist, which is no small accomplishment with someone as famously devoted to atheism as Flew was.

"There is much evidence in comparative mythology that the creation myth in Genesis is based off of the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian creation myth that was written hundreds of years before Genesis."

That evidence is suspect, because scholars can't agree on whether or not it came from 1800 BCE, 1750 BCE, or 1100 BCE. All these dates are *after* the genealogically verifiable date of the Bible's Flood, which occurred in approximately 2348 BCE. A person may well object and say, hey, wait a minute, the Hebrew texts were written *long* after that time. This would be correct, as Moses was born well after the Flood. But again, the Bible's level of veracity is a matter of faith. If Moses wrote the original texts, and those texts were inspired by God, then the Babylonian flood myth was based on a real event, and the Babylonians merely told their own version, along with many other civilizations who had their own versions.

"We know there was no global flood. The fossil record does not match up with it."

That is not true, we know nothing of the kind, we only assume. The fossil record actually does back it up, as sea creature fossils have been found in elevations way above sea level.

"The distribution of the animals on the Earth after the flood could not have happened. How did the penguins get down to Antarctica?"

This assumes that continental drift has always occurred at the rate it occurs now.

"Everything about the global flood contradicts what we know about geography, biology, and history."

That is a sweeping generalization, not a statement of fact.

"The flood story was copied about four or five times between different belief systems and tribes before it came to the Israelities."
"A notable flood myth that came before the Genesis account is the Epic of Gilgamesh. Whoever wrote the flood myth in Genesis used these previous stories and created their own myth."


Not facts, but more assumptions, similar to your previous one, based on what particular scholars have said that you choose to believe, regarding dates and natural dissemination of information.

"How do you reconcile the Tower of Babel? We know how languages evolved and the Tower of Babel does not match."

We know nothing of the kind, in terms of how languages evolved. We can trace geographical routes of comparatively similar and different languages, we can form conjecture regarding ancient documents with specific dating methods... but these methodologies do not absolutely rule out the possibility of a sudden change in core language. Especially since from a space alien's point of view, our languages would all seem like different dialects of the same language, as all the same structural elements remain in all languages, just repositioned.

"We know Israelities were not slaves in Egypt. We know there was no Exodus."

We don't know these things for sure. We have conjecture and interpretation, not facts.

"We know the Sun did not stop in the sky (or more accurately, the Earth stopped spinning). Cosmology refutes that this is possible."

Cosmology may refute this, and even common sense, but all things are possible with God.

"So is science just wrong about these alternate explanations and the Bible is right?"

There is another contingency: science may not have enough information to report the facts as they actually are.

What we care about is what defines us, because ultimately we commit actions that underscore our values. I see science as a tool, nothing more, nothing less. It can bring joy in the form of technological convenience and freedom from disease, for two examples. It can do things that humans of times past would have been floored by, in amazement. It can provide answers to many questions.

But it will never, ever, disprove the existence of God. That is solely the task of philosophy; and a great deal of effort has been committed to that goal for many, many years. The modern atheist is the recipient of a large store of argument based on doubt; there are many tools at his or her disposal. But though those tools are collectively named "reason," they are not exclusive to the atheist, and as long as there are believers also capable of reason, the debate will continue. This is because one side's worldview does not satisfy the other, and I don't expect it ever will while the Earth continues in its present state.

My new questions for you are:

If you were God, what are some key things you would have done differently?

How do you account for the great minds (currently and from history) who believe in God? Despite their accomplishments, are they all missing some important capacity for reason in their minds that you and other atheists possess?




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Evidence for the existence of God

I recently went a few rounds with an atheist (via YouTube) who was of the variety that insists on physical proof of God's existence, and bases his (or her, I don't really know) opinion on the fact that physical proof of God is not possible in modern day laboratories.

I fielded all the usual attacks on my “logic,” replete with the stereotypically named formalisms thrown in for effect (ad hominem, ad populum, and strawman fallacies, etc.).

I also was treated to meandering falsehoods drawn from incorrect assumptions, such as:

“No, I don't know that a god can't be physically manifested. You don't believe that your god and aspects of him can be physically manifested? So prayer doesn't work? Bread and wine can't turn into body and blood? Miracles don't occur? God wasn't manifested in Jesus? God has never appeared to anyone? You are a joke.”

This back-and-forth went on for a bit, then he or she pulled out what was assumed as a trump card (when “reasonable minds” are watching):

“Also, notice how your demeanor gets more and more aggressive with every post that you write. That should tell you something shouldn't it??”

When all else fails, project onto the opposition. I was going head-to-head, matching his/her sarcasm in kind, but of course he/she seemed oblivious to his/her own contributions.

At any rate, I decided to finally give “evidence” of the existence of God, based on Ken Ham's astute observation that both believers and non-believers have the same evidence, but interpret it in different ways. While I had previously stated that proof of God's existence did not exist, the truth is that whether or not proof exists is purely a matter of worldview.

Here is my so-called evidence, reproduced for your amusement:

Evidence: water.

Creationist interpretation: a miraculous life-sustaining substance engineered to possess a remarkably large list of convenient properties.

Atheist interpretation: two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, occurring by mindless fiat via universal random chance, that accidentally provide a collection of features which offer no proof at all of design or purpose.


It was no surprise that the opposition didn't seem to appreciate the difference between the two interpretations and why it exists.

Oh well.









Friday, January 17, 2014

A not-so-secret secret to happiness

I could have just as easily named this essay “The secret to happiness,” but I’m not quite that presumptuous. However, I should point out that the so-called secret I’m going to share is, in my estimation, the single greatest reason why my life is relatively free of strife and depressing burden.

Are you ready for this life-altering mindset? Pay attention, because it will go by so quickly, you might miss it.

Stop thinking the grass is greener elsewhere.

Huh?

This is the realm of philosophy, but I’ve long believed that if Satan actually existed, envy would be one of his most effective tools to keep humans from being able to maximize the enjoyment of their lives.

“Ignorance is bliss.”
“What the eye does not see, the heart does not bleed for.”
“What you don’t know won’t hurt you.”

These platitudes are what you usually hear when the green-grass concept is brought up in conversation. But modern humans, chock full of information and endless bombardment from commercial and social media, are hard pressed to remain ignorant.

And who wants to be thought of as ignorant?

What I’m really talking about here is a slightly different perspective on the concept: the life you live is unique, and no one, no matter how rich, powerful, smart, beautiful, etc., will ever be able to live it.

This means that your greatest joys, harshest sorrows,most memorable moments and proudest achievements are not for anyone else to experience but you. That's no meager consolation prize; it's the truth that marketing departments hope you’ll never fully embrace.

One might respond, “Yeah, that’s great and all, but my life can’t possibly be as fun or fulfilling as say, a rock star, a sports star, a movie star or a CEO.”

Now that’s what I would call a vitally mistaken assumption if ever there were one.

Put the lives of the famous entities just listed under a microscope, and for all the material wealth and attention they garner, are they happier than you to an amount commensurate with the comparative disparity in status?

Of course not. They’re human beings, and regardless of their stations in life, they must get up every day and face the same emotional and physical challenges that adversity heaps upon all of us. Yes, they have Lamborghinis and you have a Saturn or a Toyota. Yes, they have servants and you have to do your own dishes. Yes, they live within a lot more square footage, and you must make do with whatever apartment or modest house you can afford.

If you’re being objective and not influenced by hype and envy, do you truly believe that the existence of these material accoutrements automatically brighten one’s view of one’s self, one’s life, and the world around us?

Look at it from another angle. Consider the comparatively superior aspects of your lives:

1) Privacy and Freedom. Depending on how much attention you seek online, you have the luxury of doing what you wish, and moving about in the world, without being bothered. As much as some of you desperately dream of stardom, I would offer that you’re really not thinking it through to an honest conclusion.

2) Safety. The wealthy and famous are always potential targets for all sorts of nefarious activity, ranging from harassment to theft to kidnapping to assault to murder. As a “common” person who (hopefully) tries to stay out of trouble, you stand a much greater chance to live a life relatively free of those kinds of unsettling circumstances.

3) Much less to lose. Few things are as devastating to someone who was once on top of the world as when the status eventually dissipates or the money is gone.

4) Sleeping more soundly. Being human beings, those who are hugely successful are often haunted by guilt, due to the excessive nature of their “rewards.” It’s the whole children-are-starving-somewhere-and-I’m-living-in-a-mansion thing. It’s difficult to honestly reconcile unless you’re a sociopath; and that carries with it a whole different set of consequences.

5) Honesty in love relationships. Let’s face it; humans behaving as they do, it’s difficult enough to find sincerity with one other person, without having to add the impossible-to-ignore status that dishonest people are drawn to. And it gets worse: e.g., a rich man who marries a trophy wife. Neither can ever be 100% sure that the love the other person professes would exist if the outward bait were non-existent. A relationship where both people truly do love each other would never be able to completely shed that suspicion. Many of them don’t even bother; they prefer to both live a lie because they tell themselves what they gain from the arrangement is worth it.

6) Honesty in friendships. As the old saying goes, everyone loves a rich man. Normal people want to be loved for who they are inside, appreciated for what they have to offer that is genuine. Again, when you’re rich or famous, you can never be sure your friends are true. That’s why so many famous people hang out with each other; there is less chance that the other person’s reasons are disingenuous.

7) Self-esteem. Believe it or not, you’ll stand a better chance of possessing healthy self-esteem if the world isn’t insisting that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Michael Jackson is one of many sad cautionary tales in this regard.

So there you have it.

If you want to be happier, try looking at your life as the best possible one you could be living, instead of as one that’s filled with failures and disappointments generated by your inflated expectations.