Atheism is a religion by Joe Cienkowski: A Video Review. Part 2

50 comments on “Atheism is a religion by Joe Cienkowski: A Video Review. Part 2

  1. Your review is amazing. I must say his book is kind of like his crappy arguments on Twitter but written down on paper. I can’t wait for the scientific proof of Gods existance, no doubt your head will be well and truely done in by the time you get to it though. You sir, are a legend and I salute you :-) x

  2. You have a stronger constitution than I. I could feel the irritation rising as you read his wisdom, freeing it from the shackles of mere paper and ink.

    In many cases I gave him the benefit of the doubt with this Twitter argument construction, now I see that he simply cannot compose a sentence using the accepted rules of written English. Maybe he’ll use a human proof reader next time.

  3. 81 seconds in and you already look like you are having trouble breathing!
    By 6 minutes I was having trouble breathing just listening to you get frustrated.
    Dude…you are never going to reason with religion because religion is without reason.
    (I may have inadvertently stolen that line from AronRa)

    When faced with the accusation that the bible is full of contradictions, a top religious historian actually said that they are not really contradictions and played the old “metaphor” card!

    I wouldn’t have the patience to talk to these imbeciles at all, because to me the whole exercise is futile right from the start!

    I’ll watch the rest when I’m chilled cos watching you get frustrated over this just winds me up…hehehehe!
    Have you coped with reading it all yet? If not…BEST OF LUCK!

  4. I spent a lot of time reading books with scientific arguments for a God, as well as reading “Living Buddha Living Christ” to try to find some reasons for why religion simply no longer fulfilled me… and it seems to me that Joe’s book is answering a similar calling. As people get older and find the ol ‘metaphors’ just ain’t the spiritual salve they used to be, they start asking tougher questions, and find the same roadblocks: priests and clergymen who dodge questions, relatives who stand by them despite logic holes and obvious fallacies, and the unrelenting GNAWING feeling that you’re somehow missing something, because religion USED to make perfect sense when you’re a kid… so what did I forget, where now it doesn’t work for me anymore?

    And that’s the problem. When people ask, “What don’t I understand? What did I forget? Who can tell me the answers so it feels allright again?”, they are assuming that the fault lies in their mental acumen. I tend to believe Joe really believes the stuff he writes, so I’m not going to accuse him of falsely leading people — but instead of looking for real answers or real evidence, he gathered together snippets of incoherent, inaccurate ideas, and spat back to the reader what they hear in the pulpit. In short, comfort in repetition. No one gets this book because they’re considering atheism — rather, its for folks who are firmly entrenched in religion, but can’t quite seem to settle that gnawing feeling of uncertainty. Its for people who need to scratch the itch, without asking them to think. Just tell them the same lies that have already been cooked. Don’t want the leftovers to spoil.

    I’d actually love to see you do a clinic on critical thinking skills in writing, Jim. I think a lot of folks have no idea how to spot a strawman argument and get suckered into bad reasoning simply because of wish-thinking and clever prose. I mean, most people think the Bible is the smoking gun of evidence of Christianity and don’t get why others rejet its validity. If it was written down a long time ago, then its true, right? SIGH.

    Looking forward to Part3

  5. You’ve once again very neatly reminded me of something I originally intended to include in the reviews which slipped my mind, Kim. So thanks, again!

    You are spot on, as ever. Joe is symptomatic of a society that holds Madonna in high esteem as a veteran of the music business, while Ozric Tentacles can’t get played on the radio because they don’t make videos. He is the manifestation of the upside down, truth is lies, lies is truth society; this ether world of celebrated ignorance we tacitly tolerate in the hope there are more people like us, who see it for what it is, than there are those who have become the thing they fear the most.

    As to my describing how to develop critical thinking skills in writing, I’d love to think that it were possible to teach such a thing, but rather like Joe fills a much needed gap in the market for books on the inner dialogue best left unsaid, I wouldn’t presume to push my particular ideas on how to be interested in being interested upon anyone else—at least not much further beyond the remit of what I already do. But that isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to make some money from my writing at some point down the line, because nothing would give me greater pleasure. Unfortunately, as we know only too well, professional writing is up there with acting and music in terms of professions you just don’t get into unless you plan on being as penniless as I currently am.

  6. Quick points:

    “[Joe] made a factual mistake on the first lane of [his] preface”

    Okay…but what are the alternatives? You just make an assertion and then move on.

    “The purpose and meaning of life is to live you life. Free of fear.”

    LOL. I thought Dawkins said the meaning of life is to proprogate your selfish genes.

    “How many times do we have to explain that there is nothing random about natural selection.”

    Firstly, does naturally selection explain ‘why we are here’? I believe Joe’s point was ‘if there is no God, we are here by random chance’. Does natural selection explain why we are here?

    Secondly, even if natural selection did completely explain the existance of life, many of the inputs involved in the process ARE random! Are you going to claim that the meteor which supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs clearing the path for mammals was a planned occurance? Of course not. Therefore, natural selection is clearly random at least in part.

    “So they became male or female after they formed the brain!?…You fucking retard”

    “strawman wanker.”

    “You IDIOT!”

    Amazing points there.

    “Richard Dawkins never said there is no God”

    I don’t know but I know he wrote an article by that title:

    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/258

    “It is not a truism of atheism that there is no God”

    A cursory glance proves that that is not true.

    From wiki: “Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities”

    Plus: http://huff.to/VCIbb and http://bit.ly/PDWBV for starters.

    Just because Joe is aiming his arguments at a strong definition of atheism that is different to your weak definition does not mean that he is using an invalid definition. Nor does it make it a strawman argument, since Joes book isn’t titled ‘Jim’s version of atheism is a religion.’

    The redneck, sarah palin idiot stuff….just more ad hominems.

    Overall there wasn’t much discussion of Joe’s arguments there. Hopefully the next video will be better.

  7. OK, there used to be a user named Michael that came here regularly and made cogent points. Honest questions: Are you the same Michael that’s been coming here for a while or a different one? Did you decide before or after you watched the video which parts of it you were going to misconstrue? Is there a secret rule between Christians that no matter what any other Christian says, other Christians must come to their rescue—even if it means defending the indefensible?

  8. How do you misconstrue calling someone a ‘fucking retard’ a ‘wanker’ and repeatedly an ‘idiot’?

    I wrote my responses whilst watching the video, not before or after (although quite how I could have decided before I watched it which parts to comment on is a mystery to me!). Which parts do you feel I was supposed to focus on?

    You made an assertion which you didn’t really support. You contradicted yourself (for instance you claimed first that evolution and atheism are seperate, i.e that Joe can’t attack one by attacking the other…and then later claimed that atheism means believing there is no evidence for God, conveniently forgeting the fact that it is evolution -and it’s associated hypotheses- which provided the basis for that claim to begin with.) You made claims which are easily disproven. More than that though, you were really quite insulting towards the guy. It’s disappointing.

    These reviews have been built up for a couple of weeks now and I don’t think it is incorrect to have expected more than ad hominems and hand waving. I realise you have only done two though and that is why I am hopeful that the next one will be more civil and structured. Perhaps you should read a relevant section of the book, prepare a response, and then make your video.

    I also am amused by the notion that the cogency of my points is in anyway related to how critical they are of your approach.

    As for secret rules. How can I, an agnostic, answer that question? You used to be a Christian didn’t you, so why don’t you tell me?

    Finally, what do you mean by defending the indefensible? Defending Joe? I don’t see how I could as you are yet to present his actual arguments. Defending rational discourse? Perhaps, although a brief comment like the above would surely be insufficient. Defending the possibility that God exists? No that would be pointless wouldn’t it? Any fool realises it is impossible to disprove that notion. I really am at a loss as to what I am supposed to be defending. Is it not enough that I object to the hypocrisy of condeming this man for his non-rational beliefs and belligerent approach…and then ‘refuting’ him by merely asserting he is wrong, and then calling him a retardwankeridiot etc for good measure?

  9. I’ve replied to this at the front of part 3, which is uploading to YouTube as I write. I called Joe an idiot because he is an idiot. If he wanted me to go gentle on him, he wouldn’t have repeatedly stated things he’s already been proven wrong about and generally acted like a wanker in the lead up to his book being delivered. If you want to come to his defence you’re entitled to do so, but you’re going to have a long wait if you think I’m going to make it easy for you, just because you don’t like hearing someone being called what they are to their face. I stopped being the kind of person who does things behind people’s back when I stopped going to church. If he didn’t like being told his views are ignorant and insulting he’d stop saying ignorant and insulting things.

  10. you claimed first that evolution and atheism are seperate, i.e that Joe can’t attack one by attacking the other…and then later claimed that atheism means believing there is no evidence for God, conveniently forgeting the fact that it is evolution -and it’s associated hypotheses- which provided the basis for that claim to begin with

    Michael, you ARE aware that there were atheists long before the theory of evolution gave us a scientific alternative to the Christians’ creation hypothesis, right? The word “atheist” is Greek. That should tip you off. Atheism just means “doesn’t believe in God”, it has NOTHING to do with evolution, except that evolution explains the diversity of life by far better than any particular theistic dogma. I do wish people would stop conflating the two. It’s like people desperately want the universe to be a dichotomy between science and their particular dogma, and it’s indefensible from an agnostic. By the by, an agnostic what? That defines one of the two axes of personal belief, but not the other. Are you an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist? Or a true fence-sitter that refuses to admit that they’re either worshipping or not worshipping a deity, or that tries to in equal parts believe in and disbelieve in said deity?

    I think the tone is perfectly defensible. I might have liked if Jim didn’t just splice together his live first-reactions to the book, and put together a smashmouth takedown, but this feels genuine. I honestly feel as though I might have reacted with the same amount of disdain for Joe’s intellectual incuriosity and utter word-soup.

  11. Jason, you misunderstood me. In the video Jim’s definition of atheist was someone who thinks that there is no evidence for God. The existance of complex life taken without recourse to evolution can certainly be interpreted evidence for God. That is the contradiction. It has nothing to do with whether or not atheists or materialists existed before Darwin, or whether evolution is essential to atheism as it is usually defined.

    The word ‘atheist’ is not a Greek word, you are thinking of ‘atheos’. ‘Atheist’ is based on a french word, which is based on a greek word, but it isn’t a greek word itself.

    There can be no dichotomy unless one or the other is false. Therefore, it is best to keep an open mind.

    By the by I mean agnostic in the spirit of T.H. Huxley ie ‘not known’. There is no need to tag ‘theist’ or ‘atheist’ or anything else at the end.

    The tone maybe acceptable for polemic, but not for any acceptable intellectual discourse, which is what I was expecting from someone who pupports to base their position on reason.

  12. The existance of complex life taken without recourse to evolution can certainly be interpreted evidence for God

    Faulty logic. The existence of complex life without evolution does not imply a Creator, only the possibility creation event among other possible scenarios.

  13. I used the phrase ‘can be interpreted as ‘, and not, as you have chosen in order to rebuke me, the word ‘imply’. Life does not nessecarily ‘imply’ that a Creator was necessary, but it can be interpreted as evidence for one IF you can rule out a natural cause as an option.

    I am interested in the other possible scenarios you mentioned. Given that the source of life is either i. natural (ie abiogenesis, evolution etc), or ii. supernatural (ie a trancendental force is reponsible), what other possible scenarios do you propose? What definition of ‘God’ are you using?

  14. Michael, I fail to see why it must be either Goddidit or evolution. What if there was, say, perfectly natural laws that allowed for spontaneous generation as some scientists believed caused maggots to appear on pieces of meat left out on the table? What if the Norse creation of Midgard (Earth) was caused by the interaction of fire and ice in Ginnungagap, without any god intervening? You’re setting up a false dichotomy so you can claim that scientists are “resorting” to evolution dogmatically, so that you can present God as the only valid supernatural alternative.

    And you haven’t answered my question regarding your ostensible agnosticism. You’re an agnostic WHAT, exactly?

  15. Spontaneous generation of maggots– that was the first instance I learned of how science can SOLVE! Here’s a recap of the experiment from Wiki:
    ” At the time, prevailing wisdom was that maggots formed naturally from rotting meat.

    In one experiment, Redi took six jars, which he divided in two groups of three: in the first jar of each group, he put an unknown object; in the second, a dead fish; in the last, a raw chunk of veal. Redi took the first group of three, and covered the tops with fine gauze so that only air could get into it. He left the other group of jars open. After several days, he saw maggots appear on the objects in the open jars, on which flies had been able to land, but not in the gauze-covered jars.

    He continued his experiments by capturing the maggots and waiting for them to metamorphose, which they did, becoming flies. Also, when dead flies or maggots were put in sealed jars with dead animals or veal, no maggots appeared, but when the same thing was done with living flies, maggots did appear.”

    Amazing! Lamarck’s *FLAWED* Theory of Inheritance is my next favorite example of science doing a good job separating the b.s. from the truth. Yay Darwin!

  16. So Jim, what was it that I neatly reminded you of? I’d like to hear your thoughts on whatever it was. (About scratching the gnawing feeling, perhaps?)

  17. Life does not necessarily ‘imply’ that a Creator was necessary, but it can be interpreted as evidence for one IF you can rule out a natural cause as an option.

    It could also be construed as evidence that life falls through a wormhole to arrive here from elsewhere in the universe. No creator required, though equally as improbable. You’d want someone claiming that to show you the wormhole, though, wouldn’t you?

    What definition of ‘God’ are you using?

    The commonly accepted one, omniscient, omnipotent superbeing. Are we about to start playing the ‘reframe the terms of the debate in an effort to achieve victory’ game?

  18. JASON:

    “And you haven’t answered my question regarding your ostensible agnosticism. You’re an agnostic WHAT, exactly?”

    Read my comment again. Actually here is the relevant section: “By the by I mean agnostic in the spirit of T.H. Huxley ie ‘not known’. There is no need to tag ‘theist’ or ‘atheist’ or anything else at the end.”

    What definition of ‘agnostic’ are you using which requires a suffix?

    TEACAKE FRENZY:

    “It could also be construed as evidence that life falls through a wormhole to arrive here from elsewhere in the universe. No creator required,”

    A wormhole is an unecessary extra step without evidence. Also, if you suggest a wormhole as an explanation, by what means did life origate ‘elsewhere in the universe’ before it came here through a wormhole.

    “The commonly accepted one, omniscient, omnipotent superbeing. Are we about to start playing the ‘reframe the terms of the debate in an effort to achieve victory’ game”

    That definition is almost acceptable, except you put ‘superbeing’ instead of ‘supernatural being’. I can see why you would alter that as it obscures the dichotomy I sugessted earlier. Are you sure you aren’t the one attempting to reframe the terms? :-)

  19. Sorry missed this:

    “You’re setting up a false dichotomy so you can claim that scientists are “resorting” to evolution dogmatically, so that you can present God as the only valid supernatural alternative.”

    How is it a false dichotomy? It can either be natural, or supernatural can it not? You could argue whether it is a supernatural force, or a supernatural being which is required but then you are simply being drawn into different definitions of the God ‘concept’ aren’t you?

    Could Midgard have originated by the undirected interaction of fire and ice in Ginnungagap? If the process is supernatural and directed, what would you posit as the cause for the existance of Midgard? The Gods? Or something else? If the latter then what?

    I also have nothing to say at all on wether evolution is dogma, infact for the purposes of the discussion I have been drawn into I am ignoring evolution entirely aren’t I? So please do not put words in my mouth! I very much doubt scientists ‘resort’ to evolution. As it is the dominant intellectual paradigm of our age it is fair to assume that it is the very first port of call for a scientist attempting to provide a framework for their hypotheses or conclusions. :-)

  20. How is it a false dichotomy? It can either be natural, or supernatural can it not?

    That’s right. It’s either natural or supernatural, or a mix of the two. However, “evolution/abiogenesis” is not the only possible natural explanation, as I’ve suggested with the spontaneous generation hypothesis. It’s the natural explanation that best fits all available evidence, though.

    Just like the Norse mythology is an alternative to a directed creation by a specific intelligence. There’s no evidence saying the Norse mythology is any better or worse than the Christian creation mythos, so I can’t say which is better. I certainly like Norse mythology better though, except for that whole preordained fate of the gods bit. Even still, at least Ragnarok promises to rebuild the universe to live on without the gods afterward. Revelations promises no such thing.

    From http://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/beginning.html :

    There was nothing in the beginning but seemingly almost endless chasm called the Ginnungagap. Ginnungagap was a void like the Greek Chaos. Ginnungagap was bordered by Niflheim, which is the place of darkness and ice, far to the north; and Muspelheim, a place of fire, far to the south. Out of this chaos the first being came into existence from the drop of water when ice from Niflheim and fire from Muspelheim met.

    This first being was Ymir, a primeval giant. The frost-giants called him Aurgelmir, but everyone else called him Ymir. Ymir became father of a race of frost-giants.

    Wholly undirected in the Norse mythology. If you keep reading, you’ll find out how Ymir had children, among whom was Odin, and Ymir grew evil and had to be slain. His body became Midgard. So the giant was created wholly unbidden, and became the Earth after his children slew him.

    The existance of complex life taken without recourse to evolution can certainly be interpreted evidence for God.

    I very much doubt scientists ‘resort’ to evolution.

    Please reconcile these two statements, so I can accept that I misinterpreted your intentions. I suspect I haven’t, still.

    As for the question of your agnosticism, I press on the matter because gnosticism and theism are separate components to your epistemology. For instance, I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe it is possible to definitively prove or disprove the existence of any particular deity (agnostic), however I do not believe in any deities due to the dearth of evidence for any of them (atheist). I don’t care if you claim you can’t know whether a particular deity exists or not — I care about whether you BELIEVE in one. And which one. And what properties you ascribe to it. Why don’t you tell us about your deity?

  21. Jason,

    You should take the two statements above in context. There is no need to reconcile them if you do. As for misinterpreting my intentions I think you should tell me what you think my intentions were!? If you think I am trying to push religion then I am afraid no. I am unbiased enough to realise that even if the foundational pillars of materialistic atheism are removed from the equation there is still not enough left over to prove the existance of any specific God or God’s.

    No my original intention was exactly as I stated it to begin with, namely to point out that a Christian like Joe, with his theistic presuppositions, could point to complex life, or ‘design’ in ‘creation’ as evidence for his God.. sans a naturalistic/materialistic alternative. Hence there is a contradiction in claiming both that evolution is essentially seperate to atheism, and that atheism is believing there is no evidence for God. Why does the atheist believe there is no evidence for God? Because evolution is seen as a better explanation! Do you understand my point? At this point I am not sure I am putting it across well enough.

    Of course the above is in no way sufficient as a proof for God’s potential existance, but it was sufficient for its original purpose, i.e that a naturalistic explanation life is a necessary prerequisite for a materialistic world view. If that pillar starts to crack, then as you have pointed out with the Norse mythology, a myriad of potential explanations comes flooding through. Therefore evolution is most certainly a pillar of modern atheism as defined in the video.

    Okay, you refer to yourself as an ‘agnostic atheist’, but I am just an agnostic. I believe that a God is possible, but to me none of the religions offer sufficient evidence that they are correct, and neither do the atheists for that matter. Everything I have learned leads me to a choice between deism, the oscillating multiverse, or some sort of intrinsic causation/infinite universe explanation. There are probably even more possibilities. At any rate I don’t feel qualified to choose.

    Therefore, if you absolutely must have a definition for my diety then it is this:

    Michael’s ‘diety’, noun: ‘an event or events which currently reside solely within the sample space of an epistemological probability space.’

    As for ‘spontaneous generation’…..ever heard of Louis Pasteur?

    :-P

  22. Let me get this straight, Michael. You’re an agnostic, who rather likes the idea of theism if there’s evidence, and you suspect that atheism doesn’t present a strong enough positive case. You claim that atheism rests on a “pillar” of naturalism and that a crack in that pillar allows for the supernatural. You believe none of the religions presented by humankind present evidence for any particular deity, so you don’t believe in any. Yet that somehow does not make you an atheist (as defined as, “does not believe in a deity”).

    In my estimation, and this is JUST my opinion so it could be well off, you’re an agnostic atheist that’s pulling hard for the possibility of a supernatural so you fight against monism and naturalism. You believe that the supernatural is possible, that the rules of nature are malleable by someone or something sufficiently powerful. You may not have found that someone or something yet, but you’re holding out hope. And you base that belief on… what, exactly? That’s what I don’t get.

    I believe that a deity is certainly possible outside the scope of the universe, but I also recognize that no specific evidence shows that this is the case. I also recognize that the possibility will never be wholly discounted. That’s where I get my agnosticism. You and I get to that point on our two-axis epistemology via the same route. You and I also get to the atheism point by virtue of not believing in any specific deities. You pull back a little by evidently WANTING there to be one. I go all the way to atheism by saying “I don’t have a stake in there being a supernatural so I don’t particularly WANT it, but if evidence ever takes us there, sure, why not?”

    The point is, I got to atheism without the naturalistic explanation of this world. Yes, the naturalistic explanation (note I don’t say “materialistic” as that’s a creationist trope to conflate naturalism with the “sin” of selfishness) does serve me well in explaining the universe I see. However, I have no stake in what that naturalistic explanation is. It didn’t NEED to be abiogenesis/evolution, which was the point of my bringing up spontaneous generation. If Pasteur had discovered that spontaneous generation actually was the valid and correct origin of life (by, let’s say, life self-arranging from the various proteins available in the environment), then we’d be arguing about how the pillar of naturalism as defined by the scientifically understood process of spontaneous generation has cracks in it leading to the possibility of the supernatural. It’s the evidence that led us to evolution, not that we’re interpreting evidence in light of the collectively-agreed-upon hypothesis of evolution. Because the evidence is so damn good, we can assume it’s a mostly settled matter and move on, but revisit the rough edges to smooth them out where evidence shows something slightly different than we expect.

    You are setting up the dichotomy of naturalism vs supernaturalism without accounting for the possibility of a mix of the two. Say there’s a deity that set up the rules of the universe like punching in an equation on a graphics calculator, then pressed start, and let the universe self-arrange with all its emergent properties like life as an unintended but happy side-effect of the particular equation it used. In this case, everything about nature is exactly as science understands it (or is going to understand it one day, given enough time and data), but “before the big bang” is not only a gap wherein God fits, but IS were God IS. Is that not a mix between the two, destroying your dichotomy?

    How about Buddhists, who are atheist but do not necessarily accept anything science says about the origin of the universe?

    How about the Pirahãs, who are decidedly atheist but refuse to think about science or, really, any history outside of living memory?

    How is naturalism a NECESSARY component of not believing in any deities, when there are alternatives, like not thinking about naturalism at all? Or like believing in some false form of naturalism that isn’t borne out by evidence? What about pantheism, which is believing that the universe and its natural laws form the body of an unconscious and non-personal God that requires no worship?

  23. Due to the length of your post I will have to change the format of my reply.

    “Let me get this straight, Michael. You’re an agnostic, who rather likes the idea of theism if there’s evidence, and you suspect that atheism doesn’t present a strong enough positive case. You claim that atheism rests on a “pillar” of naturalism and that a crack in that pillar allows for the supernatural. You believe none of the religions presented by humankind present evidence for any particular deity, so you don’t believe in any. Yet that somehow does not make you an atheist (as defined as, “does not believe in a deity”).”

    This is a simple point: If agnostic means essentially that the question of God is ‘not known’, and atheist means, using your definition, “does not believe”, then how are we to meaningfully conflate the two? I say ‘I do not know’. You say ‘I do not know but I do not believe.’ If that is the case I believe I have the more succinct position here. I might even suggest you think about removing the word ‘agnostic’ from your label, as you have stepped beyond it.

    “In my estimation, and this is JUST my opinion so it could be well off, you’re an agnostic atheist that’s pulling hard for the possibility of a supernatural so you fight against monism and naturalism. You believe that the supernatural is possible, that the rules of nature are malleable by someone or something sufficiently powerful. You may not have found that someone or something yet, but you’re holding out hope. And you base that belief on… what, exactly? That’s what I don’t get.”

    How am I pulling hard for it? I constructed a framework to make a point, you are conducting a pseudo-psychological analysis based on a construct.

    “I believe that a deity is certainly possible outside the scope of the universe, but I also recognize that no specific evidence shows that this is the case. I also recognize that the possibility will never be wholly discounted. That’s where I get my agnosticism. You and I get to that point on our two-axis epistemology via the same route. You and I also get to the atheism point by virtue of not believing in any specific deities. You pull back a little by evidently WANTING there to be one. I go all the way to atheism by saying “I don’t have a stake in there being a supernatural so I don’t particularly WANT it, but if evidence ever takes us there, sure, why not?””

    Funnily enough, if you believe a diety is possible but that it must exist ‘outside’ of the universe, then you are actually on a path leading towards the Abrahamic religions are you not? LOL seriously though, what you characterise as me ‘pulling back’ I could just as easily characterise as you ‘charging forwards’. There is no need to move beyond agnosticism.

    “The point is, I got to atheism without the naturalistic explanation of this world. Yes, the naturalistic explanation (note I don’t say “materialistic” as that’s a creationist trope to conflate naturalism with the “sin” of selfishness) does serve me well in explaining the universe I see. However, I have no stake in what that naturalistic explanation is. It didn’t NEED to be abiogenesis/evolution, which was the point of my bringing up spontaneous generation. If Pasteur had discovered that spontaneous generation actually was the valid and correct origin of life (by, let’s say, life self-arranging from the various proteins available in the environment), then we’d be arguing about how the pillar of naturalism as defined by the scientifically understood process of spontaneous generation has cracks in it leading to the possibility of the supernatural. It’s the evidence that led us to evolution, not that we’re interpreting evidence in light of the collectively-agreed-upon hypothesis of evolution. Because the evidence is so damn good, we can assume it’s a mostly settled matter and move on, but revisit the rough edges to smooth them out where evidence shows something slightly different than we expect.”

    Your distinction between naturalism and materialism in this context (science) is almost totally arbitary. That said can you please explain how materialism can possibly have anything to do with sin? I do not share your prior experiences so I am serious confused how you bridge that gap! Determinism perhaps? Also, you should remember that evolution was dismissed hypothetically to make my original point, I am not and have not discussed whether or not that pillar actually has cracks in it.

    “You are setting up the dichotomy of naturalism vs supernaturalism without accounting for the possibility of a mix of the two. Say there’s a deity that set up the rules of the universe like punching in an equation on a graphics calculator, then pressed start, and let the universe self-arrange with all its emergent properties like life as an unintended but happy side-effect of the particular equation it used. In this case, everything about nature is exactly as science understands it (or is going to understand it one day, given enough time and data), but “before the big bang” is not only a gap wherein God fits, but IS were God IS. Is that not a mix between the two, destroying your dichotomy?”

    Deism does not destroy the dichotomy. It is a supernatural cause by definition.

    “How about Buddhists, who are atheist but do not necessarily accept anything science says about the origin of the universe?

    How about the Pirahãs, who are decidedly atheist but refuse to think about science or, really, any history outside of living memory?”

    How about them? How are they relevant to this discussion if they give no thought to causation?

    “How is naturalism a NECESSARY component of not believing in any deities, when there are alternatives, like not thinking about naturalism at all? Or like believing in some false form of naturalism that isn’t borne out by evidence? What about pantheism, which is believing that the universe and its natural laws form the body of an unconscious and non-personal God that requires no worship?”

    How is not thinking about it, or thinking about it in the wrong way, a viable alternative? The only possible alternative to a natural explanation is a supernatural one, isn’t it? Of course that does not ‘necessarily’ lead to belief in a God as I have now stated repeatedly, but it does ‘open the gates of possibility’ and allow someone like Joe space to stake a claim does it not. Yes Pantheism is one competing version of the ‘God concept’ I mentioned before.

  24. Oh dear. So you think agnosticism means “I don’t know”, not “is not knowable”. Therein lies the problem. You’ve taken the common misconception of the word “agnostic” to mean a viable third path, the fence-walking one where you don’t have to choose whether you’re a believer or not.

    In reality, the word “gnosticism” means “having knowledge of the spiritual realm”, and being gnostic, as relates to the deity question, means you believe that the presence or absence of a deity can be determined with 100% certainty. Most theists are gnostic, especially if they believe their deity has had prophets and has made changes to the physical world and has revealed themselves to their followers unequivocally (e.g. via a burning bush, or by physically transporting them to heaven by whirlwind, or by destroying whole cities in pillars of fire).

    Knowing the actual word’s provenance, then, being agnostic means you believe that the presence or absence of any deity is not 100% knowable. This does not preclude you from discounting specific deities due to evidence against them, but it does preclude you from, say, discounting deism entirely. Most atheists are agnostic to the 99% certitude level, myself included. Since every other mystery has always turned out to be “not God”, I suspect all the gaps in our knowledge, the origin of the universe included, will follow the 100% track record for “not God” so far. This is, if anything, my only conceit — that I can project with any kind of certainty that a natural explanation is at hand for every question if only we collect enough data.

    It’s also a fundamentally non-falsifiable conceit, much like the conceit that there is a personal deity named God that made everything six thousand years ago for our benefit and that we have to do rain dances sacrifice animals have faith that the Bible is inerrant and factual and that every shred of evidence to the contrary is deceit placed by Satan and the evil scientists that just want to destroy God. The difference between my conceit, that everything is knowable given enough time and data and the proper application of the scientific method, and the religious dogmatic conceits, is that my track record is 100% so far — everything that we have discovered and come to understand, we have indeed discovered and come to understand through the collection of data and application of science.

    My sidebar about the word “materialism” is that there is no difference between the word you’re using and the concept of naturalism — that everything follows discoverable natural laws. If you say someone is materialistic, however, people often think that means the person puts property and money over their fellow man. It’s a word already associated with sin, so is co-opted to describe people that believe there’s only one kind of “stuff” in the universe — matter — and that there is no ethereal soul, or supernatural non-matter. There’s already a word for that, it’s called monism.

    But look, I’m not a linguistic prescriptivist. If you want to use the word materialism for that, I’m okay with it, but understand that the word was chosen by the religious for its sinful connotations.

  25. A wormhole is an necessary extra step without evidence. Also, if you suggest a wormhole as an explanation, by what means did life originate ‘elsewhere in the universe’ before it came here through a wormhole.

    You proposed an equally unnecessary step without evidence, a giant hand popping down, shouting ‘SHAZAM’ and suddenly there are talking serpents everywhere. That’s my original point, in the absence of any compelling evidence, each silly theory becomes as possible as another. The existence of life is only proof that something happened, not what that something was, thus validating none of the theories.

    Also, on the other side of the wormhole is a giant, bell shaped, immortal, fleshy, purple object that launches white creative protoplasm into the wormholes entrance when rhythmically stroked by five enormous tendrils. I’ve got this big book that proves it. No, that’s not my handwriting. Why are you looking at me like that?

    ( Getting the point now? )

    That definition is almost acceptable, except you put ‘superbeing’ instead of ‘supernatural being’. I can see why you would alter that as it obscures the dichotomy I suggested earlier. Are you sure you aren’t the one attempting to re-frame the terms? :-)

    I call your ‘Annoying Pedant’ card and raise you a ‘Grammar Nazi’ : I’m sick of correcting your spelling, get a spell checker for your browser.

    Michael’s ‘deity’, noun: ‘an event or events which currently reside solely within the sample space of an epistemological probability space.’

    *poof* The infinite improbability drive pops into existence.

  26. Jason,

    a- “not” + gnostos “(to be) known”

    Can’t be any clearer than that.

    Teacake,

    Re: Natural V Supernatural: I did not propose an unnessercary step. I said that if you can rule out a natural cause for ‘life the universe and everything’ a supernatural one becomes necessary, and that one such cause could be a God. You disagreed with me but have yet to suggest a non-natural, non-supernatural cause for anything.

    Re: my spelling. Its a blog, get over it. Like you can talk any way, Mr ‘I Need My Browser To Correct Spelling So Everything Ends Up Capitalised’. By the way, your attempted ‘reframe’ was a lexical change, not a grammatical one.

  27. No gods or talking snakes, no black holes or worm holes, no big bangs or creations, no mysterious forces quantum or otherwise.
    The universe has always been here, it always will be here, its infinitely huge and we are not likely to get anywhere near proving all this in the next 50 years but this is what I believe after studying astronomy and particle physics for the past 41 years.
    I find religion embarrassingly childish and utterly unbelievable due to the hundreds of contradictions and general gobbledegook throughout. How anyone can seriously end up believing all that rubbish after reading a bible I find quite alarming, indeed scary!
    There are many errors in the standard scientific model especially the cosmological one but these errors pale into insignificance when compared to religious doctrine.

    If God is any of the things which the bible says he is then we should see evidence of this be it omnipotence or omniscience or any of the other supernatural qualities the guy possesses, but we don’t, none, zilch, zero, no’thing!

    Joe’s problem is that he is gullible, easily lead, impressionable, this prevents him from thinking rationally because every time he tries he finds he has to get rid of one set of values and learn a completely new set, which most of us have no problem with but to Joe, this is a hurdle his mind can’t cope with, hence he rivets himself firmly to his belief system and refuses to budge. I would usually say let the man believe whatever he wants to, so live and let live, but in this day and age we can no longer afford to be so unaffected, with actual suicide bombings and behind the scenes rumblings of a future Armageddon.
    Now I don’t fear a future war or death but I do think it would be a terrible waste of potential to take the most advanced civilisation ever to walk mother earth and destroy it on the simple pretext of God wanted things that way! If God is what Christians and Creationists say he is then why the heck would he want to destroy almost all that he’d created? Sounds like the act of a paranoid schizophrenic to me not an all powerful super entity! If he is/was omniscient then he would see the folly of his own plans, therefore, if there is Armageddon I don’t think it will be Gods fault but man’s unceasing desire to kill his fellow men.

    I’m climbing down off my horse….I’m walking away….I’m getting fainter….and fainter………*pop*

  28. Michael:
    Yes, “gnosis” means knowledge. Yes, the original Greek roots mean something different than I’m using it for right now. But it’s not like I INVENTED these meanings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism

    Huxley coined the word but it does not mean what he intended it to mean any more. It once meant “I dunno” as an answer to “do you believe in God”, but now it describes your answer to the question “is the existence of God knowable”. If you’re agnostic, your answer to that question is “no”. If you’re gnostic, your answer to that question is “yes”. Agnostic no longer means “I dunno”, it means “you can’t know”.

    So stop shrugging your shoulders and answer the question: do you believe in a god or gods, or not? Answer with a yes or a no, and understand that your answer is contingent on your level of belief, not the actual existence of said god or gods. I’m afraid that if you don’t know what you believe, then you have no real place in this conversation until you figure it out for yourself.

    Again, I’m not a linguistic prescriptivist. If you want “agnostic” to mean “I dunno”, fine. Just understand that I am (and I suspect many other people reading/commenting here are) using the terms as I’ve described them.

  29. Russ: can you provide a better explanation for red shift and the cosmic background radiation, if not the big bang? You’re probably the first steady-stater I’ve ever met, so I’m interested.

  30. Short answer Jason cos I’m off to get ma tea and relax!

    I’ll go with tired light for red shift.

    Universal expansion is ludicrously silly as is inflation theory and the big bang! Fairy tales worthy of a bible preface! The big bang theory was proposed by a 19th century ex-catholic priest…now come on!

    Cosmic background is just plain silly. Even NASA state that the temperature is incredibly even and smooth across the visible universe, yet the entire universe is extremely lumpy and in no way homogenous, contradiction? You bet!
    Galactic hydrogen halo giving off Planck spectrum of 3K fill in the blanks!

    We don’t know what the red spot on Jupiter is yet we can state with absolute certainty what the fate of the universe is, how it began and how it evolved….wow aren’t we just the coolest beings ever?

    Keeping it simple, keeping it real!

    Its no mystery to me how they get the public to fund Apollo, The Shuttle, Hubble, ISS, LHC etc. The same way the church get their billions!!!

  31. Russ. In a strong field, that is perhaps one of the most ignorant and arrogant non-thinking things I’ve ever read. Go back to school. Tired light? Are you taking the piss?

  32. Re: Natural V Supernatural: I did not propose an unnecessary step. I said that if you can rule out a natural cause for ‘life the universe and everything’ a supernatural one becomes necessary, and that one such cause could be a God. You disagreed with me but have yet to suggest a non-natural, non-supernatural cause for anything.

    Here’s what you actually said (poor spelling included):

    Life does not nessecarily ‘imply’ that a Creator was necessary, but it can be interpreted as evidence for one IF you can rule out a natural cause as an option.

    See, I knew we’d be playing this game. Supernatural cause does not automatically equal our hand that likes to go ‘SHAZAM!’ and defecate buckets of talking snakes, or anything similar. Jason pointed this out above.

    Besides, with us having burnt all the evidence for abiogenesis and evolution, how can you show me that life had a point of origin and has not simply existed in perpetuity in it’s current state?

    Re: my spelling. Its a blog, get over it. Like you can talk any way, Mr ‘I Need My Browser To Correct Spelling So Everything Ends Up Capitalised’.

    That’s not my spell checker, it’s the tag. Also, where did I say that I was a man?

  33. Jim, I know this is rapidly turning into a hi-jack but at least it keeps people on their toes when trying to follow it!
    I used ‘Tired Light’ because that is the term most lay people can relate to. Its also one of the most rubbished and attacked theories, why, because if it is proven to have any merit whatsoever then it tugs hard on the rug under the Standard Model. When something is proven to be wrong, then it has to be accepted, but the Cosmic Redshift has been neither proven nor disproven.
    Lets get one thing straight, the Standard Cosmological Model has been set in stone but its all still theoretical. Most of the theory has been found to make sense mathematically but does this mean that mathematicians are infallible? If you can only test something mathematically but not physically, you can draw conclusions and reinforce a theory but you cannot prove the theory. Math’s is very helpful but whole areas of study have been accepted before for decades until some bright spark comes along and with a swift slash of a chalk stick completely smashes a theoretical model which was thought to be perfect. Its happening all the time in the quantum world. Its a virtual battlefield of theoretical mathematicians all trying to out gun each other for the ultimate prize…the theory of everything!
    Statements are made about how everything is proven and factual yet almost every single day cosmologists are baffled by new findings. Planets, Comets, Galaxies, Moons, Asteroids, they all come under constant scrutiny showing up fatal flaws in our understanding.
    An example is Io one of Jupiter’s moons. It is still said by Wikipedia (censored encyclopaedia of the masses) that Io has volcano’s. Volcano’s that move around? Volcano’s which can temporarily hit temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun? Astronomers are completely baffled as to the source of this temperature anomaly because the standard model doesn’t predict it, neither does volcanology.
    Years ago astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope found globular clusters of stars in halo’s around distant galaxies, the spectrum of which told them that the stars were too old to have been where they were found. This is my strongest argument, the time-scale has to be wrong, even if there was a Big Bang, the time-scale needs drastically changing to fit observations.
    Getting back to Redshift, we are never told about Einstein’s doubting of his own theory, which, after many years of checking knew that it was wrong and documents prove that he thought this, I’m talking about Relativity! The Big Bang, Black Holes, Quasars, Worm Holes, Quantum Entanglement….they all need Relativity….and it all fits into the cosmic bedtime stories we are fed to keep it all above the heads of the people, so we can be told anything, no matter how preposterous, and we will absorb it all and ask for seconds!
    Did you know that in the autumn of 2008 NASA using two solar monitoring satellites found an electromagnetic ribbon, as wide as the earth and connecting the earth to the sun. Every 8 minutes this ribbon connected (magnetic reconnection), and dumped hundreds of tons of charged particles into the earth’s upper atmosphere, then it disconnects and the process is repeated. Before this find scientists said that magnetic reconnection events were impossible and were absolutely gobsmacked when they saw this was happening on our own doorstep and not only that but regular as a heartbeat, every 8 minutes!

    Going back to school would be a waste of time Jim because I came from a working class family and had a diabolical education. I have been learning as much as possible ever since, on a cosmic quest to know the answers to all the questions I hold in my head. You see, I have learned to never accept anything I’m told until I have researched it thoroughly and have proven beyond any doubt that it must be relatively true. I have uncovered so much censoring and altering of information that it makes me feel sick in my stomach that in 2010 this still goes on (book burning?). The purpose is $$. Whenever you see a story and find yourself stimulated into asking, “why”, then I can virtually guarantee that there is some greedy barstool behind the scenes ripping the taxpayer off. The large hadron collider is looking for a mysterious particle, one that doesn’t exist by the way, but I guarantee that they will find something and tell everyone its the Higg’s. Already they are changing the goalposts by stating that the Higg’s may exist as 8 different particles or in 8 different phases which is going to make it more difficult to track it down. It doesn’t bloody well exist, only in someone’s head, its a theory and nothing more, (do I sound like a creationist?). How long do we have to watch this eternal struggle (waste of money and resources), to find the answers to why apples are green by studying cherry trees? We will never find the answer to our questions because we are looking for the wrong things and in the wrong places. But everything revolves around the standard model ($$), it has to to keep the pennies rolling in. How else would you get $36 million out of the taxpayer for a special telescope which will allow us to see even more stars than we can already? Tell them it will answer age old questions such as, ‘where did the universe come from’ and ‘how it evolved’ and ‘will the Earth get swallowed up by a Black Hole next Tuesday’?

    Its the modern equivalent of the bible Jim. Science is the new religion, or at least that is the way its being used to scare the public, from scary Black Holes to the Sun’s eventual death to the universe eventually ending to climate catastrophe and everything in-between.
    I love science because it explains so much and answers so many of my questions but we have a long way to go and it won’t get any better until the scientists and politicians stop lying to us and wasting our money pretending to search for GOD particles and Creationist style Big Bangs!!

    Try talking to top physicists and see how often you can get them to say, “well…we don’t really know the answer to that yet” or “that’s not really my area of study”!

    Any road up…what’s so unbelievable about light losing energy or increasing in wavelength after travelling 10 billion light years? Is the expansion of the entire universe somehow more easily believed? Don’t mention the word ‘consensus’ cos I may jump off a tall building if you do!!

  34. Seriously, that’s all you have, Russ? The current consensus (heh) of the standard cosmological model is, rather than the best theory that currently fits all our evidence, a big conspiracy to suppress information for money? And that Einstein was wrong about border cases, therefore the whole theory of general relativity is wrong?

    How do you account for the following criticisms, ripped shamelessly from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tired_light ?

    Any “tired light” mechanism must solve some basic problems, in that the observed redshift must:

    * admit the same measurement in any wavelength-band
    * not exhibit blurring
    * follow the detailed Hubble-relation observed with Supernova data (see accelerating universe)
    * explain associated time dilation of cosmologically distant events.[12]

    As part of a broader alternative cosmology, other observations that need explanation include:

    * the detail observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation
    * the abundance of light elements
    * large-scale structure statistics

    To date, no established mechanism to produce such a drop in energy has been proposed that reproduces all the observations associated with the redshift-distance relation. Scattering by known mechanisms from gas or dust does not reproduce the observations. For example, scattering by any mechanism would blur an object more than observed. In general, cosmologists consider classical tired light models to have too many problems to be worth serious consideration.[13] Tired light alone does not provide a full cosmological explanation and so cannot reproduce all the successes of the standard big bang cosmology. No tired light theory is known that by itself correctly accounts for the observed time dilation of distant supernovae light curves,[14] the black body spectrum or anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background, and the observed change in the morphology, number count, and surface brightness of high redshift galaxies and quasars. Furthermore, the fact that the age of the oldest stars is roughly equal to the inverse of the Hubble constant emerges naturally from a Big Bang cosmology, but is an unexplained coincidence with most tired light models.

    In 2008, Blondin et al. showed that even processes that take macroscopic amounts of time such as various elapsed times are slowed down by the same redshift factor as the light frequency at high redshift.[15]

    In 2010, D.L.Mamas presented a theoretical model which satisfies the above basic criteria, and which stresses the importance of not neglecting the effects of cosmic dust when sampling and interpreting the light characteristics of objects at high redshift.[16]

  35. TEACAKE:

    “See, I knew we’d be playing this game. Supernatural cause does not automatically equal our hand that likes to go ‘SHAZAM!’ and defecate buckets of talking snakes, or anything similar. Jason pointed this out above.”

    So did I, numerous times, which you would be well aware of if you had bothered to follow my actual argument rather than quibbling over my spelling.

    “how can you show me that life had a point of origin and has not simply existed in perpetuity in it’s current state?”[sic]

    Okay, if you want to play this game, choose one of the following statements:

    1. Life had a cause.
    2. Life did not have a cause.

    If you choose 1, then finally tell me what the alternative is to a natural or supernatural cause for life.
    If you choose 2, then demonstrate that life is necessary, and not contingent.

    “Also, where did I say that I was a man”

    You didn’t. When did I say a supernatural cause automatically equals a ‘hand that likes to go ‘SHAZAM!’ and defecate buckets of talking snakes’?

    I find it hard to worry about unintentionally misrepresenting your sex when you are intentionally misrepresenting my entire position.

    RUSS: You would be interested in the work of Halton Arp. I strongly suggest you look him up. Intrinsic redshift is far more compelling and well documented than tired light. In my opinion.

  36. Pingback: A few blogospherics before bed « Lousy Canuck

  37. Self Quote:
    “It is still said by Wikipedia (censored encyclopaedia of the masses)”

    Did you miss that bit Jason?
    Wiki is a proven misinformation site where certain known individuals edit specific science pages deliberately twisting the truth, mainly to discredit people with alternative theories. Not heresy, not tin foil hat brigade, these people are known and are using the system to “censor” information which will harm their cause.
    Wiki ignore any correspondence on the matter.

    Quote:
    “Is that all you have”

    Nope! I could type from now till 2015 and not cover half of my take on things. I gave you a trimmed down version of a super-edit just to show what colour flag I’m waving!

    You also seem to have read my post so quickly that you missed the bits about NASA’s amazement at some of the latest findings in cosmology! You seem to put more trust in Wiki than you do NASA, though I wouldn’t put 100% trust in either of them! Do you honestly believe that the only people who can lie are politicians, priests and used car salesmen?
    If it means the possibility of losing millions of dollars in funding then the scientists can be the very best of liars!

    There is much suppression of alternative theories in the university’s too…you do it our way or hit the highway!
    Some people won’t even enter into discussion about anything which deviates from the truth, the way, the light of the world, the lamb of god, the…….oops! Went all religious there for a moment!

  38. Self Quote:
    “It is still said by Wikipedia (censored encyclopaedia of the masses)”

    Did you miss that bit Jason?
    Wiki is a proven misinformation site where certain known individuals edit specific science pages deliberately twisting the truth, mainly to discredit people with alternative theories. Not heresy, not tin foil hat brigade, these people are known and are using the system to “censor” information which will harm their cause.
    Wiki ignore any correspondence on the matter.

    Quote:
    “Is that all you have”

    Nope! I could type from now till 2015 and not cover half of my take on things. I gave you a trimmed down version of a super-edit just to show what colour flag I’m waving!

    You also seem to have read my post so quickly that you missed the bits about NASA’s amazement at some of the latest findings in cosmology! You seem to put more trust in Wiki than you do NASA, though I wouldn’t put 100% trust in either of them! Do you honestly believe that the only people who can lie are politicians, priests and used car salesmen?
    If it means the possibility of losing millions of dollars in funding then the scientists can be the very best of liars!

    There is much suppression of alternative theories in the university’s too…you do it our way or hit the highway!
    Some people won’t even enter into discussion about anything which deviates from the truth, the way, the light of the world, the lamb of god, the…….oops! Went all religious there for a moment!

    Michael yes I know Halton’s work.
    The tired light term was more of a metaphor for the whole alternative theory side of things just to show which side I butter my bread…so to speak!

  39. So did I, numerous times, which you would be well aware of if you had bothered to follow my actual argument

    *sigh* Did you assume I was reading the entirety of yours and Jason’s posts in detail? Nope, that volume of material was only subjected to a brief scan in an attempt to gather a synopsis, so I missed that small statement. I offer apologies for not doing so, but I tend to try and avoid interfering in the debates of others ( unless there’s a big sticker saying ‘TROLL HERE’ ).

    You still keep assuming this is the logic of an XOR gate. I admit I expressed my argument for absence of cause badly. It’s an assumption, exactly why I made that comment about you assuming I was male ( I may or may not be :) ). I had a ruminate on this and my brain produced : ‘There is no proof cause precedes and is required for effect in supernatural events’.

    Just install the spell checker. Please.

  40. Ahahaha, no Russ, I didn’t miss it. The part I deliberately cut-and-pasted even says that in 2010 D. L. Mamas came up with a working model for tired light that answers most if not all the criticism. And if you actually read that article, it makes tired light seem pretty plausible, rather than disinformation by the global conspiracy illuminati or whatever.

    That was the point of my very selective cut-and-paste. You skipped over it because it was Wikipedia, not because it was wrong. You skipped over it because it was critical of your dogmatically held beliefs, not because the evidence against them was insufficient.

    Tired light could very well turn out to be correct. The evidence isn’t really leaning in that direction, though, but I’m not going to count it out unless some very strong evidence shows that the speed of light is not an immutable constant. However, the second you bring a vast conspiracy to hide knowledge and suppress other ways of thinking into it, the second you excoriate universities for promoting what-to-think rather than how-to-think, the second you compare the body of knowledge collected by the scientific method to a dogmatic religion, you prove yourself to be a crank of the highest order. Which you are. Sadly. I thought we might have a discussion on it but you’re all “global conspiracy” and “I’m smarter than Einstein”. Sigh, too bad.

  41. TEACAKE:

    “You still keep assuming this is the logic of an XOR gate.”

    It is in this particular context, isn’t it? Maybe I am wrong, can you propose a synthesis which is also an alternative?…

    “There is no proof cause precedes and is required for effect in supernatural events”

    That is quite true. In fact the potential lack of a causal requirement in the supernatural is what makes it a compelling possible antecedent to the natural, assuming the contingency of the natural of course.

    “Just install the spell checker. Please.”

    I have switched to Chrome, which will help.

    RUSS:

    If you know Arp’s work can I ask why you subscribe to Tired Light?
    Do you find merit in Intrinsic Redshift? If so isn’t Tired Light superfluous?

    I must say I have an interest in what you have to say. It’s very rare to come across someone who has gone any further than Hubble on this topic.

  42. It is in this particular context, isn’t it? Maybe I am wrong, can you propose a synthesis which is also an alternative?…

    Michael, didn’t I do exactly that by showing a supernatural “first cause of the universe” with a totally natural “origin of life”?

  43. Jason, I had it proven to me by a professor of astrophysics that Wiki suppress information in their pages, but you are still willing to call me (and he) liars, now that’s sad.
    Also, anyone starts any silly mind game forum shit I just walk away. I left all that bullshit behind when I moved on from junior school thanks.
    I’m not posting here to have a petty argument with someone who gets a kick out of trying to outsmart people.
    No I didn’t read the Wiki article because I don’t trust anything on their site period. There are far more reliable places where I can get trusted science news. Wiki isn’t even at the bottom of my list, its off the scale!

    What’s with the ad hominem attack already? My dogmatic beliefs? Crank of the highest order? Wind your neck in you ignorant fool. The only reason you won’t be having a debate with me is because I refuse to have discourse with an infantile jerk like you! Go badger someone else!
    I’ll tell you what is rather sad, when someone labels you as a global conspiracy nutjob just because you refuse to believe the same theory they do, but then that’s my fault for posting on public forums where some of the posters live under slimy rocks and only come out to shout insults at passers by, the kind of thing I expect from 8 year old scumbags down our street!

    Michael, I haven’t actually stated which theories I believe are the correct ones? I don’t subscribe to tired light…it was a metaphor rather than using the term ‘alternative theories’ which would have been a bit vague.
    Tired light sits on a shelf in my head along with dozens of other theories. I don’t subscribe to any particular one but I do know that the standard model is seriously flawed so I don’t believe it, and the same reason I don’t believe the bible.
    The standard model is full of impossibilities and contradictions, just like the bible. Some body of knowledge huh! Now Jason (the one who likes flawed knowledge), doesn’t like me saying that but the fact is, that it is. Jason’s unwillingness to accept that the standard model is flawed is what I call dogmatic belief. Most of the standard model theory is unprovable, there you go, dogma!

    I think Jason must be a creationist at heart!
    Big Bang = Creation = Big Bang = Creation there you go!

    Anyway, you lot have a wonderful argue with one another and enjoy yourselves..it was fun..byee!

  44. Oh and Jason, I’m not self educated in particle physics. All I said was that my initial education was terrible then you filled in the dots with your own warped interpretation of the years after that. Idiot!

  45. Russ, I wasn’t criticizing you I was trying to see where you are on the topic. Personally, I DO subscribe to intrinsic redshift. Even one markarian-type interaction is enough to falsify the “redshift=distance” hypothesis, and Arp documented scores of them.

    I totally agree with you about the standard model. Have you heard of plasma cosmology?

  46. Wow. You want to talk about mischaracterizing people’s beliefs, Russ, you just did it in a huge way about me. Not only my beliefs, but my claims. Show me where I said the standard model is perfect and unassailable. Show me where I said Wikipedia can’t possibly be altered by vested interests (especially since the wise scholar uses Wikipedia as a starting point, and not as a primary source, referring to the referenced URLs or books on every article!). And show me where I said tired light, intrinsic redshift, or any other alternative theory is impossible. And show me where I said I believed in any of these, or even where I said I believed in the standard model.

    I apologize that I extrapolated that your 41 years of education were self-education over at my blog. That is the only error that I, in my estimation, made in any of my comments. That WAS overreaching.

    However, forgive me if I have my doubts that YOU are going to be the one to completely disprove general relativity. And forgive me if I recognize the real provenance of Einstein’s famous “doubt” quote:

    A scientific person will never understand why he should believe opinions only because they are written in a certain book. Furthermore, he will never believe that the results of his own attempts are final.

    That’s what he said when he was expressing doubts that his theories were “final”. He understood, as I understand, that science is a self-correcting endeavour that will change its vector based on the evidence, throwing out and excising those parts that are incorrect.

    If you think Einstein is incorrect, fine. Is he more correct than Newtonian mechanics? Yes. The math bears Einstein out in a lot of cases where Newtonian mechanics fail. Is Einstein *completely wrong?* No. If anything, the border cases of the quantum level, black holes, etc., are better understood by Hawking, or string theorists like Polchinski, than by Einstein in his time. But this is to be expected. As more data is collected, theories can be refined and updated and sometimes, whole theories get thrown out. But your theories that you’re presenting here don’t actually supercede the standard model, just by virtue of you asserting them. If you think you can get me to believe your pet beliefs just by accusing me of holding my own dogmatically, you’re wrong. My assertion has nothing to do with me disbelieving the theories. It has to do with your style of argumentation.

    Either put up (with evidence), or shut up, in other words.

  47. Michael

    It is in this particular context, isn’t it? Maybe I am wrong, can you propose a synthesis which is also an alternative?…

    The situation is not reverse computable without absolute knowledge of the system. With absolute knowledge of the system, you would understand the influence of any proposed supernatural input on said system, thus it is rendered a natural, understood part of it. I see this closer to Schrödinger’s cat.

  48. Good man Montana! Nicely dissected and presented. I’ll continue to pray for @JoeCienkowski that he may see the light!

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