Dawkins on Religion

Ratings: 8.54/10 from 84 users.


Dawkins on Religion

An interview with the world's most famous atheist, professor Richard Dawkins, on whether religion is good or evil.

Muslims riot and protest against the truly awful film demonizing Islam. Dozens are killed. Christian pastor in Florida tries to burn a copy of the Quran and ignites global pandemonium. Even Buddhists are at it, attacking the Muslim minorities in Western Burma.

And of course the conflicts played in the modern middle east are often blamed on ancient hatred between the children of Abraham. Remember 9/11? Was this religiously inspired terrorism? Thousands died.

Yet, here is the thing, societies without faith haven't fared much better. Communism banned all religions, as Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong systematically slaughtered millions of their own country.

Is science any better? Since Galileo and Darwin scientists have sought to stomp out ignorance and unravel the mysteries of the universe. But science has also poisoned the environment, unleashed killing on an industrial scale, and now threatens our entire planet.

ALSO WATCH: Is The Bible Still Relevant Today?, The Greatest Show on Earth, Faith School Menace?, The Purpose of Purpose, The Blind Watchmaker, The Enemies of Reason, The Root of All Evil?, Nice Guys Finish First, Growing Up in the Universe, The Genius of Charles Darwin, Break the Science Barrier, Why Are We Here?, and The Poetry of Science.

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797 Comments / User Reviews

  1. ZarathustraSpeaks

    Its not a question whether science "is any better". Maybe nothing is "any better" as far as achieving whatever goal we artificially create goes. The question is are there really any questions that matter?

  2. Michael Jon Axl

    I have always felt Richard Dawkins is not the best debater, while he gives great answers he often seems to be holding back. In any case I don't feel like this debate went so well, seemed rather pointless to me. He certainly stumbled on the part about being molested by a priest and being being told about hell.

  3. Kateye70

    Since this was an interview, and not a debate, Richard Dawkin's debating skills aren't in question here. Granted, he does have that speech hesitation, but that is how he speaks. It doesn't mean he isn't perfectly clear on his points.

    I didn't see that he 'stumbled' on the part about being molested--which was one anecdote--he just made the point that the victim's physical abuse was less damaging to her, in the long run, than the psychological abuse of being told, at the age of seven, that her dead best friend was burning and being tortured in hell for eternity for the child's sin of being non-catholic.

    The point of that anecdote was to illustrate that the teachings of many religions can be construed as child abuse when the truly awful things they espouse as 'punishment for sin' are being impressed upon young minds, such as the graphic description this woman was given of her friend's skin being burnt off and then renewed to be burnt off again, over and over for eternity (*shudder* gives me the creeps even as an adult).

    I also thought that his counter-point about weapons was nicely made.

    It is humans who decide to use any invention as a weapon. Any tool has both a positive and negative value in that it can be used to do both good or bad things. If one is not religious, what one does with the invention is up to the individual, and one is accountable for one's choice to one's neighbors and society.

    Religion has a way of allowing both good *and* bad people to do truly horrible things and forgive themselves for it, and to justify themselves to their neighbors and society with the expectation of forgiveness.

    I did like the Al-Jazira presenter. He made his points, he didn't belabor anything, and certainly didn't make a fool of himself by chasing down inadvertencies, as some hosts will do. He also kept thing moving along very nicely.

  4. Egmedio Marcelo

    horse with wings???? how can this guy believe that...

  5. brianrose87

    Human beings all have paradigms. In other words, we all view the world through a lens formed by the crucible of our life experience.

    Religious ideology is no different than communist ideology because they serve as a reference point for any incoming data.

    I will say that both Buddhism and Taoism are useful in the sense that the primary goal is to see the delusional tendencies of our minds. Its ironic that the goal of Buddhism is to step back, see that we are deluded by our paradigms, ideologies, dogmas, etc, and by seeing be freed. Yet go to a Buddhist country, and you will see nothing but ritual, superstition, and other orthopractic distractions.

    You could easily flip this statement around. The symbolism behind Christianity has the same core message. Take the story of Adam and Eve. With the knowledge of Good and Evil we are thrown out of paradise, and can experience anguish and pain.

    Shakespeare said "There is nothing either Good or Bad, but thinking makes it so". I personally think that Shakespeare said it more succinctly, and simply than the Bible, but the same message is there.

    Our emotions are rooted in our concepts of what is right or wrong, good or bad, should be happening, should not be happening, and these concepts are founded in ideology and paradigm.

    Good and bad did not exist until humans decided they did. These concepts exist purely in our minds, not in the universe at large. Eternal peace lies in the understanding that nothing bad ever has, or ever will, happen because both "bad" and "good" are delusions, mere constructs, created within our minds.

    Of course, begin torturing me, or showing me images of genocide, abuse, war, and greed throughout history, and I'll immediately say "Thats all bad! Very, very bad!" I am no enlightened individual to say the least.

  6. oQ

    Part 1,
    It may have been an interview but it had the flavor of a debate because the two participants clearly have different views. I would say Dawkins was pushed in the corner a few times not because of the good he has done in his carreer but because of the words he has used in his approach to do good.
    Part 2,
    to come


  7. iStateOfMind3 iii

    I prefer to think of myself as morally committed rather than religious. Living in harmony with each other and nature is a common theme in all religions, yet these ethics are basically discarded for material wealth and pleasure in today's world.

  8. dufas_duck

    I remember when scientists and sociologists held chimpanzees up to the human race for emulation. The line was something like 'The peaceful existence of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, could teach us much about how to live in a close social structure...'

    This was repeated over and over by talk show hosts, in documentaries, and, sometimes by politicians until it was found that the chimps were marauders. They would occasionally raid other clans of chimpanzees and monkeys of different species, stealing, killing, murdering, even eating their victims.

    The 'experts' have since been silent on the human/chimpanzee connection, but, maybe they were correct after all...

  9. robertallen1

    The religious wars show this up as nonsense. One way or the other, if faced with a choice between living in harmony and material wealth and pleasure, you can always buy the former with the latter.

  10. RickRayFSM

    I was indifferent about religion until my ex-wife decided to tear the family apart by becoming a born again xian. Born agains seem to think all the mistakes and nasty deeds they've done to others will be forgiven once they accept Jesus into their life...that the slate is clean. What garbage and damage that whole concept does to humanity. It's like catholics going to confession and being forgiven so they can do something nasty again. Religion is poison. It's time to come into the 21st century and adapt humanism not myth and the supernatural. That's all folks !

  11. Kateye70

    Part 1,
    Good point, and it speaks well for the interviewer. I thought he did an excellent job of not 'pouncing', and allowing Dawkins time to collect his thoughts and reword when he needed to.

    That they had differing views was clear, and his PoV informed his questions to Dawkins. Again, kudos to the interviewer for not forgetting he was doing just that--interviewing, not attacking. "Pushing" their subjects is what good interviewers *should* do. =)

  12. oQ

    Corporate profit is privileged over peace and the health of our lands and water, i don't see how this is buying harmony.

  13. robertallen1

    I'll take the material wealth every time. That way, I have the power to buy the peace and harmony if I desire them.

  14. iStateOfMind3 iii

    In the absence of religion there is no doubt man would have found a viable substitute to justify their conquests of other peoples lands. History without religion would have been just as bloody no doubt.

  15. robertallen1

    "Other people's lands." Just who or what determines who owns what?

    "History without religion would have been just as bloody no doubt." We'll never know, will we?

  16. iStateOfMind3 iii

    Well depending on how current conflicts go and who writes the history afterwards, students of the future who even show a passing interest in history could reach the conclusion that today's wars are a direct result of religion too. There is a little bit more to it than that though isn't there? How about Monarchy, colonialism and democide?

  17. robertallen1

    We'll still never know.

  18. Paul Gloor

    This is less an interview than a verbal whipping for at least half of it.

    If god poked his head through the clouds for everyone to see, that would be some evidence we could run with... then god would enter the realm of legitimate science and we atheists would be a little more willing to accept the possibility of influence from an omnipotent power !

    Asking the question: "Does my wife love me ?" CAN actually be answered through science. All those things listed as evidence can be scrutinized through psychology and behavioral sciences, and don't forget to mention the neurochemistry that goes on behind the scenes.

    A question I would like to ask anyone out there who is religious....
    Does life actually have to have a meaning to be of any value ?

  19. joe johnson

    At the end of the day there are 2 types of people: Good ones and Bad ones.
    Of that, some believe and some don't. Faith isn't the problem, the problem is the power that the faith give flawed humans, religion itself isn't evil it is the way some use it that can be evil. Just the same of the religion of money, god to the all mighty buck.

  20. Joe

    I wonder what is debate would of been like if Hitchens was on the other side.

  21. Paul Gloor

    Born agains, I feel for you my friend. Have you ever seen one tear into a Buddhist ? Its quite amusing to say the least, completely one sided.
    I think the only reason that religion is poison is because it fuels so much tension and hatred on so many fronts with those that don't share the same views.

  22. oQ

    Part 2,
    My favorite question FROM THE AUDIENCE was the last one as it is something i would have asked.
    I listened many times to see if i could decipher what the interviewer interrupts with, while Dawkins begins to answer the question, but (excuse my French) i can't make his words, can you?

    I don't think we are stuck with religion for ever, but i have no problem imagining that we may be "stuck" with the idea of a godly concept for ever. Even if this godly concept ends up being that WE are god "as a unity" (which in turn would get rid of religion or spiritual control). What i mean by that is...we may come to see that we create the futur by making choices, and in that instance we may choose to create a futur that advantages all of us together simultanously.
    For this to happen, shite has to happen in a big way or a tremendously influencial person has to start a love virus. lol
    Multiverse if accepted (not sure how they could ever prove it) would not take away the possibility that there may be a God concept.
    It was a good debate, i do think it deserves the term even though it was not presented that way. Even to the very last words, God Bless, the interviewer kept the microphone in his control.

  23. robertallen1

    As it flies in the face of the intellect, faith in itself is evil--which means that faith and everything it engenders is the problem

  24. robertallen1

    Religion is poison because it is based on faith which is also poison.

  25. tomregit

    Paul, I agree completely. I don't believe there is a grand design or underlying purpose to life. Nature (god to the misguided) is aloof and cares not about suffering and pain or prosperity and pleasure. The only purpose any life can possibly have is what a living person makes of it.

    I felt Dawkins' real misstep occurred when he got into physics. Though he knows a bit about the subject, it is not his field. His explanations were unclear and the interviewer was allowed to equate the mystery of the big bang and the conjecture of a multiverse with a belief in heaven. Religions espouse as truth the belief in an afterlife and paradise. No scientist would claim to know the origin and makeup of the universe.

  26. tomregit

    The atheists pitbull. ;0) Oh, how he is missed!

  27. robertallen1

    If I remember correctly, Dr. Dawkins did state that he does not claim to know the origin and makeup of the universe, but in essence that religion doesn't either and that science is a far better tool to employ in answering these questions than religion.

    As for the discussion on physics which occurred towards the end, there was so much interruption that it was difficult to make out a coherent thread. What I wish he would have said was that while the multiverse is at present a conjecture, it is grounded on physical evidence which elevates it above the groundless belief in heaven.

  28. tomregit

    You're right, the structure was that of an interview, and there is nothing wrong with respectful antagonistic questioning. I agree that the host acquitted himself very well. The interview was inimical but fair. Now just why are some of the best programs and interviews coming from Al Jazeera. Years ago we in the west were warned by the Bush administration about it's bias. In fact it seems less biased than much of western media.

  29. tomregit

    "What I wish he would have said was that while the multiverse is at present a conjecture, it is ground on physical evidence which elevates it above the groundless belief in heaven."

    Yes, perhaps there was a lack of clarity on my part, but that is what I meant.

  30. avny82

    Hey Mehdi, Maybe Dawkins wasn't clear. So I will wrap it up for you. Yes War is always "Declared for political gain" but the poor always die for the cause while the politician gets his point across. If Osama had balls, he would have been on one of those aircrafts. Instead lets twist this very religious person up to believe what he's doing is honorable. And yes the U.S. does this too...... And yes science can prove there was no winged horse, its called Physics.

  31. robertallen1

    On further thought (and I know this is playing Monday morning quarterback), Dr. Dawkins could also have brought in the Higgs-Boson particle which is grounded in both the physical and the mathematical--after all, in another month or so, we might know for sure. One way or the other, science has religion beat by a mile.

  32. Benjamin

    I like the interviewers wording at 16 min or so. He makes it sound like Dawkin's is simply NOT acknowledging that people do good in the name of God/ Religion/ Etc., but that is not his argument at all, he is simply showing how there is much more evil stemming from religion than good. For instance, when people say "you are going to hell", or "God doesn't want you to do that", it makes me want to yell grow the hell up and state that YOU do not want me to do that, and if you are intelligent enough come up with a sound argument on WHY you do not want me to do that action. All this judgement because people think they know what God's desires are is ludicrous.

  33. robertallen1

    Actually, the argument Dr. Dawkins is making is that people do good and bad in the names of both religion and non-religion. Hence, religion is no determining or causative factor.

  34. Benjamin

    WHOA!, saying that Eugenics came from science is ludicrous just the same, Eugenics came from a man or group of men's (man as in HUman, not gender specific) perverse idea to rid the world of whole groups of people based on race, which is not even defined by a specific gene anyways. I dont know how much more i can take this dogma, this is not to say that I totally agree with dawkins and the interviewer has no point or merit, but seriously be objective.

  35. Dean Edgington

    I think Dawkins is wrong when he doesn’t recognise or give proper weight to the geo-political factors behind terrorism. He's wrong when has says atheism is incidental to the behaviours of some regimes. He's goes too far and makes blanket statements about religion being evil. I'm an atheist and have a real dislike of religion but I see religion as mixed (as is everything), not just evil. Apart from that, he's pretty much spot on.

  36. Benjamin

    the guy asking the questions at approx. 40-42 min, stating the persians in reference to the vikings raping and pillaging villages, etc, whoa whoa, i believe it was the persians who had a wide acceptance religiously for the villages they conquered and allowed those villages to still worship their ideal gods/God or what have them.

  37. Dean Edgington

    Indeed, the multiverse, string theory, dark energy ect weren’t arrived at by interpreting the patters left in bottom of a tea cup or from a talking, burning bush (if you can imagine such a thing), they are based in real science.

  38. gerisboyle

    Look at 43:17 when the host asks for one last question. The blue shirt guy who asks the question is not in that seat. Its a woman with brown hair. Also that white muslim girl(social scientist) is now sitting there.

  39. Kateye70

    I think I'll be listening a bit more to Al Jazeera to see if the rest of its programming is on par with this guy.

  40. Chris Avera

    The world is flat dammit, don't say any different "Religion rules!!" i just said that to keep from being burnt at the stake.

  41. Dean Edgington

    Al Jazeera is generally a very good broadcaster; you will not often be disappointed. Also, I have a lot of time and respect for Mehdi Hassan, I look forward to more Hassan/AJ programmes. I didn't know he is religious though.

  42. DigiWongaDude

    "[the multiverse] is grounded on physical evidence"

    Based on the, yet to be clarified, data backing this up I'm happy to concede we are not part of a fish's eye as I earlier hypothesised, the evidence far more likely points to frog spawn.

  43. indulgent1

    I grew up exposed to many faiths and rebelliously challenged my superiors to seek out the 'right one' amongst them all. I realize now as a man entering my 50's that it was my environment that I grew in that started this crusade in me. But I also grew up in a very interesting time (the last 4 decades) of rapid growth (= evolution) in our world. As more fact proven knowledge has clarified details of our existence, and our new technologies, built on decades and centuries of trial and error / research / curiosity we are a people that will have to come to terms that sooner or later we will have to admit that all those stories told by ancient tribes, then recorded, then reinterpreted, then rationalized and finally inculcated into our societies is all pure hearsay and storytelling. Human curiosity (call it science) will not stop evolving. It has the potential to make our lives better, safer and naturally we will become more enlightened.
    But we are impatient in each of our own little short lives. We have a hard time conceiving that the planet and life took an incredibly long time to evolve and become the sophisticated system it is today. As an example we know why storms and crazy weather patterns happen, and no longer (in ignorance ie: lack of knowledge) fear the angry gods. As our research and knowledge builds upon itself, as it is doing during our lifetime, only those who choose to be ignorant will tenaciously cling to the displaced concepts of god and religion. It will become a ridiculous notion when future generations look back in time, just as we look back at the lack of knowledge of past generations.
    Sadly our knowledge and abilities have also been abusive to life and the planet. But that doesn't discount the brilliance of scientific research.

    The interviewer in this video proved himself to be one of the non-progressive, emotionally steered, thinkers of a soon to be bygone mindset. He also is a very fast-talking, unreasonable, unwilling student. His specialty is to jump from subject to subject, talking in extremes. Polling the audience was an insult to the debate, particularly because he chose when to do that, based on the points he was attempting to make. I admired Dawkins restraint.

    A very young family member of mine, growing up with a faction of my family that still clings to such 'nonsense', took it upon himself to do some research, out of his own curiosity and ambitious thinking and questioning. He told me, just recently, about Dawkins books. It is heart-warming when I see just one young person escape the chains of religion, and all its inherent ignorance, and choose to live a free-thinking, independent existence where he wants to contribute to making a good life with decisions based on reason, research and his own natural love for humanity.

  44. robertallen1

    You're right. Some of his beliefs are pretty idiotic.

  45. oQ

    Can you translate that...or explain what you mean?

  46. Geoffrey Grekin

    WHOA!! Benjamin!!

    Actually Eugenics did come from science, -- although a flawed science that has since been discredited.
    Eugenics originated from the theory of social Darwinism.
    And like any theory eugenics attempted to find evidence to back up this theory; measurement of a skulls, observation, and arguments etc..

    The problem is the type of science; the social or 'Arts' which is different from the natural sciences. Natural sciences are based on mathematics, physics, elements.

    Although they are fundamentally different types of science, they are still science in the general word.

  47. Lee Walker

    'I come to you from the department of physics. believe in all i say or be damned to burn for all eternity in a pit of fire'...

    said no man, ever in the history of mankind.

  48. docoman

    I didn't think that much of this 'debate'. I thought Dawkins was a tad cornered at times and didn't stick to what he'd written as much as he should've. The 'religion is more of a child abuse' then 'priest's sexual abuses' are for example.
    I think the host is quite good at fast talking and misdirection at times, he did his job well and it was a well planned 'argument'/interview/debate, although it left much to be desired in the form of logic and evidence at times. The 'winged horse carrying the Prophet to Heaven' for example.

    I've seen/read better 'debates' here on TDF in my opinion, notwithstanding the celebrities it contained.

    Edit- here in Aus I find the Al Jazeera news to often be the most 'balanced' of the media.

  49. DigiWongaDude

    @oQ here's a quote from physorg . com

    "In the most recent study on pre-Big Bang science posted at arXiv.org, a team of researchers from the UK, Canada, and the US, Stephen M. Feeney, et al, have revealed that they have discovered four statistically unlikely circular patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The researchers think that these marks could be “bruises” that our universe has incurred from being bumped four times by other universes. If they turn out to be correct, it would be the first evidence that universes other than ours do exist." [2010]

    Think of our universe like a big bubble, then think of it all like bubble bath bubbles...or frog spawn...

  50. DigiWongaDude

    The reason science is better than religion is because it not only gets right what religion gets wrong, but it has the ability to show why. Human awareness and understanding has the ability to trump them both.

    Science is like a torch that illuminates the way - it is neither the way nor the guiding force behind the beam. Religion tries to be it all; the guiding force, the way and especially the things the beam can't yet see. Religion would not have had such a hard time if only it had not lied to us - about what the torchlight has subsequently illuminated.

    In our curious addiction to 'know', we should be careful not to substitute one ill-informed drug with another less harmful, yet equally deadly one. Can anyone claim that science will never be a shotgun in the mouth of humanity, that were once the shackles of religious dogma?

    Is it a long dark way ahead? The bright light of the torch is comforting. Perhaps, metaphorically, just as it was in Avatar.

    This has been DigiWongaDude, it's been a blast! ...signing off for the last time.

  51. Bryan

    you should'n't divide the world between religion ( example: Muslim, Catholic, Jews).
    you should divide it like this:

    atheist< agnostic devout > extremist

  52. docoman

    Interesting. You place a belief in a deity more at the center then 'I don't know' - agnostic.
    I disagree. Moderate (your middle ground) is a believer in something that has no proof or quantifiable evidence. Which places it squarely in the camp of 'believers', and therefore not the middle ground actually.

    Atheist - Agnostic - Believer I think is a better, more accurate description, the rest is just arguing degrees either side.

    Edit- nice try though, placing a 'belief' as the 'reasonable' middle ground. As a self confessed Agnostic, I will reserve the middle ground WE occupy for our stance. Stay your side of the fence, your 'beliefs' are NOT the middle ground as you profess. You don't occupy the top of the fence as well. ;)

  53. tariqxl

    Faith is fine, a person who claims to know about God should never be invited to a discussion. Certainty defeats their own Gods request for faith. They are the dangerous people but any religious person who says fine I'll will discuss it but nothing will alter my faith in God are generally the sort of people who do good in the name of their God. I must say Dawkins doesn't hold up in this debate even the audiences questions forced him into futile responses. The interviewer won the day I think. Agnostic if anyone wandered.

  54. RealDeal147

    Can morality be explained by science? Does religion have anything of value to add? To state that our moral system is based on the judaic-christian-islamic religions is absurd. I am disappointed that Dawkins seems to have shied away from the stance that science, rational thinking, can determine the best moral values - ie the moral values that lead to the greatest state of well being experienced by humans (and other concious beings).

    Our moral intuitions far pre-date any religion and can be inferred to exist in humans even from hunter-gatherer societies. It's not a coincidence that if we were to go to deep New Guinea, or Amazonian Brazil, and observe an uncontacted tribe that they too would have prohibitions against stealing, murder and lying.

    These moral positions are not the product of christianity, judaism or islam. They are a much deeper part of the human condition. This moral compass, common to us all, is a function of being a moral agent - having a brain big enough to empathize and to predict the outcome of our actions. The source is natural, we have not learnt this by revelation.

  55. docoman

    I concur with you. The interviewer 'won' the 'debate', but more so on the back of preparation and conversation/topic manipulation then on 'valid points', and certainly not with logic.
    Fast talk more then fact. A common tactic.
    Winged horse... lol.
    Same here mate, Agnostic. :)

  56. Apeiros Sophos

    The opening segment starts with allegations that science is to blame for poisoning the environment, unleashing death on an industrial scale, and has threatened the very fabric of our existence on this planet. Really?

    Ammonia: Household cleaner
    Benzene: Used in making dyes, synthetic rubber
    Butane: Used for gasoline blending
    Cadmium: Used in batteries
    Formaldehyde: Preserves dead specimens
    Methoprene: Insecticide
    Maltitol: Sweetener for diabetics
    Napthalene: Ingredient in mothballs
    Polonium: Was used to warm satellite components

    Alone, the above scientific discoveries go almost disregarded in their respective purposes. Add human intentionality (and some 4,000 ingredients) and you get a cigarette.

    Do we shake our fists angrily in the air and blame nuclear fusion when we neglectfully fall asleep under the sun? Or sentence motor vehicles to be crushed in scrapyards after hit and runs?

    Obviously, science is not to blame for societies degrading environments, perpetual wars, and moral ambiguities.

    Will and intent are to blame.

  57. docoman

    Or in other words, human nature.
    I agree. When all is said and done, ideas and knowledge are just tools at our disposal. How we use them is up to us. Claiming a 'god', or 'no god' causes us to act in particular ways is only part of the story, a 'half truth'.

  58. PeSO821

    I am atheist, but i think Dawkins did make a bit of a mistake here:
    The mono-theistic religions did bring some stability to pagan world. So the religion did make positive difference - then.
    Now days religion is playing both roles: sometimes as pacifier and sometimes as war maker.
    blaming it all on religion really is an oversimplification.
    That said: i do think it is time that grown ups stop believing in ferry tales.
    Not because this would make them better or worse people, but because it is insulting to their intelligence.
    It is not he flying horse or burning bushes that makes people good, it is ethics and morality which work independent of believe system.

  59. Paul Gloor

    The religious viewpoint wouldn't be so bad if they ridiculed science and then did not use it in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately for them, it permeates almost everything they encounter in their productive lives since the discovery of fire. Atheists ridicule religion and do not use it, they simply have no use for it except to fill their vocabulary when thoroughly PO'ed, and that's probably only due to a shortage of acceptably strong words that don't utilize religious figures names in vain or the places they reside as reference.

  60. Apeiros Sophos

    Well, most if not all religions have their own set of moral guidelines (e.g. the ten commandments). Most are actually quite humble and not near as silly as flying horses and burning bushes.

    Theists are at least fortunate enough to already have a doctrine of ethics written out for them to follow. You stated it was ethics and morality which work independent of belief systems that make people good. My question is then, where do the non-believers find their ethics and morality to become, "good"?

    My question is genuine, please do not mistake it for condescension.

  61. robertallen1

    No one set way as in a mindless religious credo. The two main vistas are experience and education.

  62. PeSO821

    one of laws is: "do not do anything to others that you do not wish to be done to yourself"
    there is no divine authority behind this: it is just pure thinking.
    it means that a person is a grown up. it does not do things because he is afraid of some Deity, but because it is simply a right way to do it.

  63. RealDeal147

    Our sense of morality is innate in us. It has a natural explanation, not a supernatural one. Ask yourself this - Do you only do good things becuase that is in accordance with your particular religions prescriptions, or would you do them anyway? or to put it another way - would you act wickedly in the absence of god?

    Our moral sense comes from our shared experience as humans. I know you're like me, mainly. You have a brain that works like mine, genes that are largely the same as mine etc. I know that if I stuck you in an open fire that would be distinctly unpleasant for you. It would be unpleasant for everyone, we are not in disagreement about this. It would be 'BAD'.

    At the heart of moral questions is what we value. Most say that this is relative to the individual, but I disagree. There are certain conditions that we prefer to others, like happiness and fullfillment over unhappiness and distress. To claim otherwise is just a nonsense, like stating a contradiction - I like what I don't like, I want what I don't want. Those statements are the same as saying I preferr suffering to happiness. Noone can rationally hold to this position and we are all united in this point of view, whether you know it or not.

    What makes us happy can vary widely, but when you are happy and I am happy there are very similar things occuring in each of our brains. We prefer that state to the state which is us burning alive in an open fire. We conclude the same about all concsious creatures with a functioning nervous system. This is the (simplified) grounding for 'good' and 'bad' which I don't think is essentially relative.

    Our empathy and cognitive abilities allow us to formulate different strategies to maximize one and minimize the other. There are better and worse ways to do this, people can be wrong about morality - a quick skip through the Torah will convince you of this.

  64. Jeremy Hughes

    THe moderator of this debate is a walking talking fallatical argument box.

    And his whole argument about "religious people are better people" is total BS, sorry, but I was raised in the heart of dedicated religious people, they, their friends, and their families were some of the most evil people I ever met in my life. Let me just give you some examples of thing's they did..

    Child lied, so to teach him a lesson the parents lied to him about dinner time, aka, they called him to the table, he sat down, then they told him "no food for you, we lied, hurts don't it?" He was 3 or 4 btw...

    "If Jesus came and killed everyone that didn't believe in him, the world would be a better place" - My Grandmother

    "Muslims are evil and we need to nuke them" - my brother

    "If atheists don't stop pressing the issue they are gonna start catching bullets!" - Ex Step-Dad, he was 100% serious btw, this guy would fight ANYONE (physical beating here) for challenging his religion, he was also huge and rarely lost. Real winner there.

    "you are impure, and you're going to hell for having sex before marriage!" - My mother when she found out I was not a virgin at the age of 22.

    "You will never be a part of this family again, you are nothing to us, you have left the faith and we want nothing to do with you, you're dead to us." - My family when I left the church

    "I had a lot of issues when I was younger, I was addicted to drugs and got involved in beastiality before I was saved, I'm a totally different person now." - A youth pastor that had a mental breakdown at cross camp once

    "If only God would flood the world again, then people would wake up, we need another flood." - Probably a few hundred random Christians

    I have so many of these compiled in my brain it's not even funny, real "loving" christians told me these things. I don't even want to tell you guys what the 14-16 yr age youth group kids talked about and did while at church. One kid I remember had a sick twisted plan to kidnap his female teacher and keep her locked in a shed so he could sexually molest her. He was 13 when he revealed this plan to me. As a side note, I've never met a group of people with more sexual tension and issues than the religious types.

    That's all, you guys all know where I stand on this rubbish, I just get tired of them pretending they are "chosen angelic beings" helping mankind. They're not helping, they're attempting to take us back 2,000 years into a subservient slave society. Wake up religious people, you ARE hitler's army. That's YOU.

  65. wald0

    Actually Dawkins and most if not all atheists I know do not blame religion for everything, not even close. This is simply a tactic used by believers, such as the angry little man that hosted this debate, to make the atheistic world view seem ridiculous, absolute, closed minded, etc. Most atheists I know are interested in truth above all else, and by truth we mean attempting to define an objective, universal reality, a starting point- if you will, from which we can set out to achieve human flourishing as a species through the use of science. This goal demands we be completely honest with ourselves, that above all else we do not force the data to tell us what we want to hear. Religious ppl seem to think we have a goal, the destruction of religion, and that we bend and manipulate history, empirical data, etc. to this end. This is of course a human tendency so I will not pretend that it doesn't happen but, the vast majority of atheists I know do not think this way. In fact most of us technically are agnostic, not aheist.
    I will say that at times Dawkins as well as Harris go a little over board with their tendency toward absolute, extreme statements . It seems at times that they come up with something shocking to say about religion, something that will grab headlines and inspire passionate debate, then they work backwards to see if they can somehow justify the statement and hopefully use it. Often their justification for saying something seems very contrived, or overly subtle- as if they are splitting hairs in order to justify it- but in the end it is an effective strategy.
    In my opinion this is sort of the nature of the beast, as they say. Anytime we choose to believe in anything we must make some basic assumptions that have been debated for hundreds of years with no real answer in sight. Assumptions about the nature of existence, truth, cause and effect, etc. If any one of these concepts is not correctly defined in our minds then any attempt we make to answer such questions as what does it all mean, why are we here, etc. are doomed- and there are good reasons to think we don't have these simple concepts correctly defined in our minds. Mankind never settled these core. fundamental debates because there simply never seems to be a definite final answer to them. So we abandoned the great philosophical debates of Socrates, Aristotle, etc. for the empirical realism of the enlightenment, which led to industrialism, which led to capitalism, which hastens the end our fragile existence before we can even define what it means.

  66. Jack1952

    I think that you will find the people of deep New Guinea and the Amazon also have religions and superstitions. I think your basic premise is correct, however. The urge for the average person to do the right thing benefits all. In any species that have a social hierarchy, there is a right way to interact and a wrong way. The misfits may find themselves killed or banished (a possible death sentence in the wild). I remember in the book "Never Cry Wolf" an unruly and overly aggressive wolf cub was killed by one of the adult wolves. This cub had been attacking and severely hurting the other cubs at play. At first the author was appalled but upon further thought decided that maybe it was an instinctual method of keeping the social order intact. A rogue wolf is a danger to all in the pact. A lot of our social interactions, good and bad, may have instinctual roots. Our ideas, religions, patriotisms, political beliefs, are just the vehicles that our instinctual tendencies use as a way of expression. The origins of this ideas may reside deeper in our personal make-up than we like to believe. We like to think that we believe our specific ideals because they are correct but maybe we are biologically programmed to behave in the manner we do and subconsciously seek out these ideals to justify our behaviour. Please note that I said maybe. I don't know enough about the human psyche to be an authority on the subject.

  67. Jack1952

    As an atheist myself, I tended to feel that the interviewer, cleverly, turned it into a debate and then won the debate...even though I disagreed with him.

    I can understand following some of the teaching of Jesus and still not believe that he could raise the dead or turn water into wine (a great trick, though). The wisdom of Aesop's fables are not tarnished because he uses a talking lion to demonstrate an idea.

  68. robertallen1

    How do you determine who wins a debate? I certainly have no respect for someone who believes in flying carpets or who to make a point asks for a show of hands.

  69. AllanA

    Excellent doc Al Jazeera!!!! To tell you the truth, I'm quite surprised I'd see something like this doc from you guys. BIG props for putting this together.

    I was surprised at how much I agree and follow the same observations as Richard Dawkins. I very much agree with just about everything he said. I just wish he would have made the equation of, religion = superstition.

  70. linda Robinson

    absolutely totally agree with Richard Dawkins - every point he made and especially about forcing religious views onto innocent children as being abuse of the highest level

  71. Jack1952

    It is the nature of a debate. Two people discuss a topic and part of the process involves deciding who makes the better presentation. It is the art of the debate that I was referring to. Hassan had Dawkins stumbling and hesitating, even though I was quietly encouraging Dawkins to shake it off. Hassan seemed to be more sure of himself than Dawkins and the neutral observer would likely lean towards Hassan based on this discussion. Some people cannot express themselves verbally as well as others. Doesn't make them correct or wrong. It is just an acknowledgement of ones ability to debate even a foolish argument.

    I can respect a person even though I find his ideas a little out there. I lose respect when he insists that I must believe as he does and becomes angry when I don't. That person is a born autocrat and whether right or wrong, has no right to tell anyone what to think or believe. That is at the heart of the right to our freedom. The right to believe anything, no matter how ridiculous, as long as it doesn't impose on the rights of others.

  72. systems1000

    I agree.But how do we get rid of will and intent?

  73. Cyberbard

    This 'interview' annoys me. Dawkins stumbles, fumbles, and mumbles. He allows himself to get pushed into a corner by almost every argument the journalist makes, and instead of taking his time to access that vast library of knowledge he surely keeps 'up there', he makes quick and apologetic responses that almost contradict the arguments he makes in writing. The journalist (I never caught his name) is a very talented speaker, and never doubts in his ability to argue. He brings sources, anecdotes, (some) facts, and most of all confidence to the table, whereas Dawkins almost appears uneducated. This is a shame considering what a fine writer, thinker, and scientist Dawkins really is. But he's never been the greatest speaker. That's why I miss Hitchens so...

  74. robertallen1

    I noticed throughout the discussion/debate that Hassan kept jumping from one topic to another before Dawkins had time to answer fully. This he tried to accomplish through pseudo follow-up questions. While such a tactic can throw someone off balance, I don't wish to use this as an apologia. Dawkins was simply not at his best and some obvious answers which Dawkins could have given, such as with respect to multiverse, were somehow missed in the fray.

    I cannot tell a person what to think, but I can certainly look down upon him and refuse to accord him any respect for believing in things such as flying carpets.

    Have you seen the discussion/debate between Dawkins and Chief Rabbi Sacks?

  75. Kateye70

    "where do the non-believers find their ethics and morality to become, "good"?"

    We don't "become good," we're born that way as social animals.

  76. Rick Kiriakidis

    I personally find Dawkins to be at the opposite spectrum of the religious fanatics. He will not fold in his beliefs for a second.

    I feel I tend to lean towards agnosticism, I DO NOT believe in any religion because religion is man made. BUT at the same time I do not find the premise of the universe being created by (insert what ever here i.e. god, super being, designer(s), etc.) any less valid than the universe came out of nothingness and just is.

    For all we know we may very well be inside the matrix.

  77. robertallen1

    Somehow Dawkins was not as aggressive as he normally is and should have been. Also, he usually presents himself more eloquently than he did on this occasion. I was astounded that he blew one opporunity to turn the tables when Hassan (that's the name of the interviewer) indicated that he believed in flying carpets and then quickly tried to change the subject. Had this been pursued with dogged determination, it could have placed Hassan on the defensive for the remainder of the session. I was also surprised to hear Dawkins admit that he does not know that much about the Koran while on other occasions, he seems to have at least a working knowledge of it.

    Have you seen the debate/discussion between Dawkins and Rabbi Sacks or the one between Dawkins and Cardinal Pell?

  78. Apeiros Sophos


    If I understand you correctly, you believe that through the linear progression of life and the experience of higher education, we will stumble upon our sense of "good"?


    In your reply you state that law has the ability to set forth a series of charters which will decree a moral guide for its citizens. "do not do anything to others that you do not wish to be done to yourself", is in fact what you said. Do you perhaps not feel that by doing this we may have replaced one authority for another? And what moral code was being followed by our authoritative lawmakers before we wrote our "good" constitution?

    Also, Thank you for the link. I am watching the lecture as we speak so I have yet to form an opinion.


    You said, "people can be wrong about morality". Do you mean perhaps that people forget how to be moral? Or get it wrong simply by accident at times? I ask because earlier in your post you explain that morality is an instinctive characteristic intrinsic to us all at birth. Should I conclude that there may be the possibility of waking tomorrow having forgotten to be sexually aroused by the opposite sex? Or possibly through coercion; like that of many theistic religions?

    Your next paragraph you state that our moral sense alternatively comes from shared experiences. I believe this view is also shared by robertallen1. Is this where you may now subsequently stand as well?

  79. SDAR

    We get it. the owner of this site is probably an atheist.

  80. robertallen1

    Upon a sense of "good," yes, although the results might not be the same for all.

  81. robertallen1

    Who's "we" and what difference does it make if the owner of this site is an atheist.

  82. Vlatko

    "Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that shouldn't even exist. No one ever needs identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs." - Sam Harris

  83. Apeiros Sophos

    Are we to extrapolate that there is no moral code; no "good" behavior? Perhaps suggesting only personal perspectives based on experience of our environment. Ones personal "good" code of conduct, if you will? Regardless of what may have spawn?

  84. Apeiros Sophos

    Death? :)

  85. Robert Davies

    I am a believer in god because of the evidence I see of the creations on earth & in the heavens, the bible stories, back me up mentally, for Mr Dawkins to state there is no physical evidence of a god, he needs to open his god given eyes,& not be so pompous , with his Theories, by the way Darwin's stuff is ( theory ) may be he should watch, the beliefs of Ancient Aliens on HISTORY, & see for himself that a prophet ascending up to heaven on a winged horse. is possibly another description, of a space vehicle,

  86. systems1000

    Thats a good one.

  87. robertallen1

    Do you mean some supervening moral code?

  88. docoman

    I guess everyone is entitled to have an 'off' day, even Dr. Dawkins. I just watched the talk between Dawkins and Rabbi Sacks. I think that was a much better 'discussion' then this one, from both parties.

  89. robertallen1

    Now, just where is this physical evidence of god?

    Maybe you should acquire an education before telling Dr. Dawkins what he should do.

  90. docoman

    I hope that our scientists DON'T look for their information from places like Ancient Aliens on History. Or the Bible. Edit- but then if they did, they wouldn't qualify to be called scientists. Hence your obvious change of 'Dr.' to 'Mr.'.
    Do you read your Bible stories literally, or interpret them?
    If literally, then no, your stories don't back you up.
    If interpreted, what makes your interpretation any better or worse then anyone elses? And no, your stories still don't back you up, you've interpreted them to suit your expectations.

  91. Fred Bazzeeda

    sorry robert davies, but your post still proves nothing. you are the one with the extra-ordinary claims, so you bear the burden of providing extra-ordinary proof. nothing less is acceptable.

  92. dewflirt

    Not the greatest fan of Dawkins, he's a little too manicured for my taste. I did like him here though, he seemed quite relaxed, happy to give a bit in the interests of a good conversation. Would I become a believer if a head popped out of the clouds and told me it was god? I'd probably still be suspicious, I've never met a god before so I'd have nothing to measure it against. Could be any old Tom, Dick or Harry ;)

  93. Fred Bazzeeda

    and your point is? please elaborate and expand for us as we would be interested to be enlightened by your views....if they have factual basis.

  94. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

    Your invisible god is just a theory. "Darwin's stuff" is proven fact. Spread your venom elsewhere you troglodyte.

  95. harry

    Another impirical display from the god of proof..... really whats it all about? i bet the undertakers know more about the universe and religion than anyone else!

  96. hellosnackbar

    The backwardness of religion is that we have a streak of madness where reasonably
    intelligent people culturally follow a sacerdotal dickhead masquerading as an intermediary between one's particular man made sky fairy and the believer.
    Faith simply means belief in belief!
    Science functions on empirical evidence.
    The choice is between evidence supported logic and fairy stories.
    The other problem is the notional battle between JC,Allah the imaginary,Odin,Zeus,Baal, etc,etc.
    Time for the thinking world to grow up ! And dump supernatural nonsense.

  97. dewflirt

    Warp speed on a bike might be a bit dangerous anyway :)

  98. Christopher J.Churchill

    "Reverend Martin Luther King!"

  99. oQ

    He skipped a generation backwards.

  100. norlavine

    Yes, he appeared more reasonable in his approach and listened carefully to the questions without 'jumping the gun'. He makes his point so much more clearer when he steps down from his 'altar'. xx

  101. norlavine

    @Robert Davies
    I have always wanted to know who pressed the 'enter' button for our reality to begin - but, sadly no man made religion has ever described adequately enough to match my expectations. I find all religions based on the folly of man - some good, some bad. If man is made in the very image of the 'source of all', then we should perhaps be very very afraid - and disappointed xx

  102. Jack1952

    The statement where I said one could believe what he wants as long as he doesn't impose his beliefs on others was incomplete. I should have added that those beliefs should not put the lives of others at risk. I watched a news clip on Al Jazeera last night about Muslim clerics telling followers that they should not get the polio vaccine because it was a Western plot to kill their children. It was heart breaking to see those unfortunate, crippled children dragging themselves in the dirt because of the ridiculous beliefs of those nuts and how they are responsible for their misery because they use their influence so irresponsibly. This was a debate that I had with someone on another doc and I believe you were involved, about the safety of vaccines. The stance he took could place others at risk and that irks me.

    Believing that the Prophet went to heaven on a winged horse only amuses me. As long as the ideas remain harmless. The wacky ideas sometimes make life a little more interesting. I just can't take those people seriously. I guess that would be the same as lack of respect but maybe not quite as harsh.

    I haven't seen that debate. I may have to check it out later tonight.

  103. Jack1952

    Well, I confused. Do you believe in God or Ancient Aliens? I don't think they're the same thing. Maybe you think that God is in cahoots with those aliens. That would make a great episode on AA.

  104. robertallen1

    And what about the shooting of Malala Yousafazi by the Taliban just because she wanted an education for herself and other girls? Now, that's despicable and disgusting and the perpetrators and those who ordered it should be publicly executed.

    If believing that the prophet went to heaven on a winged horse were merely a crotchet, it might be amusing, but this guy seriously believes it and his position in the news media places him at an advantage to propagate this flagrant nonsense just as Christians try to pass on resurrection, virgin birth and other such garbage. In addition, believing such idiocy merely on the basis of what he considers a "holy book" reflects on his thinking in other areas. Thus, no respect here.

    I look forward to your comments concerning the interview between Dr. Dawkins and Rabbi Sacks. Oh, by the way, I can't remember, have you watched the debate between Dr. Dawkins and Cardinal Pell?

  105. robertallen1

    That's rich. Is god an alien? Well, let's ask the Pope.

    P.S. By AA, do you mean Alcoholics Anonymous?

  106. robertallen1

    I haven't forgotten you, my favorite invalid. Jack1952 expressed an interest in this talk which he indicated he would be watching shortly. So after he has viewed it, I will respond to both of you (and, of course, anyone else) in the same post.

  107. boblaituri

    I notice you capitalize Dawkin's but not god...

  108. iStateOfMind3 iii

    Anyone believe in Mother Nature? Where does such an entity fit into a debate like this, that's what I want to know.

  109. brianrose87

    Kateye70, an emphatic yes!

    I visit sciencedaily. com as often as my e-mail. It manages to have every major scientific breakthrough before its even printed in journals. I'm happy to see that others have the same habit.

    I was commenting before on "The Secret Space Program" and discussing the prospects for life in other star systems. The day after I commented the new Kepler results popped up on sciencedaily. com.

    For those unfamiliar with the Kepler Mission, it searches 150,000 stars, or 0.00000075% of the stars in our galaxy, for planets.

    The latest data revealed that we've found a total of 5 Earthlike, habitable planets around other stars. This is genuinely remarkable.

    Kepler finds planets my measuring the transit of planets across a solar disc. To confirm a planet 3 transits must be viewed. Since Kepler is has only been collecting data for a short time only short-period planets have been confirmed.

    If there were a planet, exactly the size and make-up of Earth, we wouldn't yet know it because Kepler hasn't been around long enough to detect 3 transits.

    So here we are, we sent a mission 3 years ago to find planets observing just 0.00000075% of the galaxy. Within that 0.00000075% of the galaxy that we are observing most planets that exist can't be seen. Kepler requires seeing a planet transit across a star, any planet-star system not in alignment with Earth can never be detected. A vast majority is stars have planets, but Kepler can never detect them.

    With preliminary data, searching but a fraction of a mere 0.00000075% of the galaxy we've already found 5 Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of other stars. With every scientific discovery the picture of life in the universe begins to expand. As I've said before, we are composed of the most common elements in existence (H,C,N,O), and are orbiting a rather common star on a not terribly unusual rock.

    Assuming that chemistry and physics are universal, then so is life. Given long enough time spans life clearly evolves toward complexity. Life on Earth evolved from single cellular to multi-cellular, then 1 tissue layer, 2 tissue layers, and finally 3 tissue layers allowing for entire organ systems.

    The evolution of the brain, and thus intelligence, follows the same morphological trend. The brain stem automatically controls all essential life functions, the mid-brain contains emotions and memories, and the frontal cortex utilizes emotion and memory to discover patterns. We can safely predict by viewing 3.6 billion years of evolution here, that evolution elsewhere will follow a similar trend toward complexity because complex systems are highly efficient.

    Sir Isaac Newton said "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants". This same concept applies to evolutionary progression. Corvids (Jays, Crows, Ravens, Magpies) have been documented inventing highly complex, intelligent techniques to retrieve food.

    Their social complexity is also astonishingly complex. Crows mate for life, and older siblings care for younger siblings while they remain in the family nest. Some flocks will designate a night watch to stay up all night, if a crow is lost that night, the flock will kill the "nightwatch". There is an immense amount of psychology and intelligence wrapped into that experience.

    It took 3.6 billion years of evolution on Earth to create humans, dolphins, Corvids, and elephants, but the Milky Way is 13.8 billion years old.

    However, if intelligent life exists, it does not mean it can travel hundreds of light years for a visit. Space is so incredibly empty and huge that we fail to grasp the magnitude of the challenge of visiting another star.

  110. Apeiros Sophos

    Theism holds true to the belief that morality exists objectively in an external context. If however, we find this approach improbable then morality must be subjective to the individual. That said, a 'good' or 'bad' person can also only be subjective to the individual.

    God exists in the minds and hearts of his followers. They do not see him, nor hear him but many feel his embrace and influence. If morality is not objective and only exist subjectively, then the existence of morality or a 'good' person is no more probable then the existence of God.

    Can the two even exist separately?


    Or I should say, can we justify the existence of one and not the other?

  111. robertallen1

    What does morality have to do with belief in an entity whose existence cannot be proved?

  112. Apeiros Sophos

    Sorry I thought it was clear. Let me try again.

    If morality exists subjectively (only in the mind) and God only exists subjectively (only in the mind) then wouldn't the existence of morality be just as absurd as the existence of God?

  113. over the edge

    Apeiros Sophos
    you asked " where do the non-believers find their ethics and morality to become, "good"?" i cannot answer for anyone other than myself but here goes. my morality comes from the culture i grew up in, my family, teachers,friends,country and so on. on a broader scale it comes from our evolutionary past. a group that works together,looks out for one another and pools resources/skills/knowledge would survive better than a society that didn't. the traits (instincts) that improve fitness would be passed on while disadvantageous traits would not fare as well. right or wrong the source of morality in no way proves god.

    so now for a question (or two) of my own. do you have any proof for this god? of the 28 000 000 gods that have been worshiped what one do you follow ? could it be the same as your family, friends, country has?

  114. Apeiros Sophos

    The acknowledgment that you cannot answer the question of morality for anyone but yourself is well said.

    Although I disagree that pooling resources was initially morally driven, rather it was to increase survivability (e.g. twelve hunters are better than three)

    You are of course right that morality in no way proves the existence of god. Quite to the contrary.

    To answer your questions now.. I have no proof that god exists. Of the 28 000 000 gods that have been worshiped, I reserve the possibility that every single one of them both exists and do not exist, however unlikely it may be. My family are Irish catholic, my friends consists mostly of atheists and agnostic, and my country (more specifically my city) is known to be the most culturally diverse in the world.

  115. branrx

    Wow, this interviewer was awesome! Here's the thing. Dawkins, for all purposes is a peaceful man who doesn't believe in God and is only concerned with truth based on facts back by empirical evidence, that's great. It is. Now, he has a lot of followers, who love him, believe in him. Some peaceful, rational, yet others that could be more full of anger, hatred towards the believers who they see as "evil." Just takes one charismatic leader, to sight and or distort the works of Dawkins, and create a dogmatic organization capable of great attrocities on earth...

    The Al Jazeera reporter was great in citing history on this. Look, I'm a believer in God, but I like Dawkins am a peaceful man, only wanting to know truth and live peacefully through what I believe to be the character of a God that once us to love ourselves, each other and even our enemies. Yet, these core beliefs , can as well be distorted and misused by a bad charismatic leader.

    So the interviewer is right, what does religion have to do with man's attrocities. It seems we all find a way to make something bad which is meant to be good.

  116. over the edge

    Apeiros Sophos
    "Although I disagree that pooling resources was initially morally driven, rather it was to increase survivability " i agree completely. i meant that our morals grew out of this arrangement. if one member was stealing from the group or killing members and so on the survivability of the group would be diminished.

  117. docoman

    What's the worst aspect of, let's say racism.
    Is it that someone might think a thought that has no basis in reality?
    So what if it stays only a thought, or even possibly a belief, the only crime is 'wrong/incorrect thinking' (assuming there is a 'right and wrong', which is a whole other argument. ;)
    Or is it the fact that it often leads to, and is used as an excuse for, some of what you called 'man's attrocities.' That even if it is only a part of the reasons and excuses, that is still a contributing factor. Even though not all people would agree with that (especially racists;), many, if only at least publicly, would.

    I posit that religion has the same properties as racism in those aspects.
    The second it goes beyond a belief, and translates into actions that harm others, it is a 'bad' thing. There are definitely ample cases where religion has, does and you could reasonably predict will continue to do this. Smooth talking or not, Hassan is still incorrect in my opinion.

  118. Mehdi Magharebi

    It is just funny to see someone who is as articulate as Mehdi Hassan hold such nonsense beliefs as flying horses and splitting moons....

    Plus the guy is a complete LIAR. He said that Islam doesn't teach that god created the world in six days... it's in the Quran, and in many verses. He also said that killing apostates is the opinion of some Muslim scholars... that's a lie: that is a HADITH (saying of the prophet) in Sahih Bukhari (the most authentic of all books of hadiths)....

    I think Richard Dawkins was kind to him when he asked "Am I guilty of child abuse?" and he simple answered "no". He should have asked him "DO YOU TEACH YOUR DAUGHTER THAT NON-MUSLIMS WILL BURN ETERNALLY IN HELL AND ONLY BELIEVING MUSLIMS WILL GO TO PARADISE? CUZ MOST BELIEVING MUSLIMS DO SO!!!!!!!"

    I am almost sure that people like Mehdi Hassan are just too smart and educated to really believe in Islam or any other religion. They don't want to be critical of religion because of cultural/family reasons, and in the case of Mehdi Hassan it must be professional (financial) reasons. How much do you think he is paid at this Aljazeera job? Do you think he would have got the job if he expressed doubts about religion???

    Another Mehdi

  119. Bobs

    1:55 "Science also poisoned the environment, unleashed killings on an industrial scale and now threatens our entire planet..." So just deny science and people will live in peace with one another??????

  120. Apeiros Sophos

    A social organism that was better suited to exist in complex social situations would certainly have a better chance of survival. So the idea of a "moral gene" (and I say that very lightly) is logical. However, I still remain skeptical that morality is anything more than our subjective perception of how things 'ought' to be and is completely relative to the individual.

  121. systems1000

    Humans will all away find their rubics cube of choice in their mad pursuit of high living.Be it religion,science,polilics or, I can piss farther then you can to justify murder,pollution and exploitation.I think that Jimmy may have come close to the reason-the answer is blowen in the wind.And thats where it seems will stay (stupid)

  122. docoman

    I found the documentary here on TDF, Human Ape quite interesting. Compared to the chimp for example, it seems from birth humans are 'wired' to co-operate with each other (at least on smaller group/one on one), even for no immediate personal gain. It showed how chimps, if they get no reward, will not keep helping others. But human babies will instinctively help, and then do it again even though they got no personal reward.
    Another experiment showed how human children will follow extra, non-needed examples/instructions, even after they've seen it probably has no real effect on their wanted outcome. Chimps on the other hand, will forgo the 'ritual' to get straight to the treat once they've seen the extra actions were just 'bells and whistles'.

    It seems humans are different in that respect to our closest relatives. We seem to be 'wired' to help, co-operate, conform to the group much more then them, even though both are 'social' animals. I think that possibly, it's this seemingly stronger 'wish to fit in, conform and be part of the group, follow along with the others' that gives us SOME of our initial 'moral drive'. We learn it early on, what gets good reactions from our carers, and what gets bad, unwanted reactions. We learn that it's 'good' to be good. We are by default inclined to help out more so then other primates. Most of us, anyway.
    No religion required.

  123. robertallen1

    Why are you juxtaposing the two?

  124. robertallen1

    Ignorance is also an atrocity, perhaps the worst, and that religion engenders.

  125. robertallen1

    "Your lord is god who created the heavens and the earth IN SIX DAYS." (emphasis added) Verse 54, sura 7.

    From Wikipedia:

    "Within the different Hadith collections, there are references to worldly punishments for committing apostasy in Islam.

    "Within the Sahih al-Bukhari collection, worldly punishments are described in the following Hadith:

    "2171. Narrated 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, "The blood of a Muslim, who confesses that Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh (there is no god but Allâh), cannot be shed except in three cases . . . 3. The one who turns renegade from Islâm (apostate) and leaves the group of Muslims (by innovating heresy, new ideas and new things etc. in the Islâmic religion).

    The Sahih Muslim collection, reiterates and confirms that which is in the Sahih al-Bukhari collection:

    "(4152) 'Abdullah (b. Mas'?d) reported Allah's Messenger as saying: It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony (to the fact) that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, but in one of the three cases: . . . and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.'"

    Coupled with his beliefs in flying carpets, this is enough to color everything that Hassan asks and states.

  126. Rolands

    he is mentally ill :)
    When i was 14 I stopped believing that there are things like Santa Claus, god, vampires, superman etc., but he still does, so must be mentalist :D

  127. Rolands

    bla bla bla, religion is pileofshit and thats the point. If you dont care about truth, then religion is just 4 you.

  128. Mohd Yaseen

    He should meet Dr. Zakir Naik and he will turn into a Faithest from an Atheist....Lolz! This guy's face had the falsehood dripping from it big time...

  129. robertallen1

    There's an article on Dr. Naik on Wikipedia which shows what a despicable piece of garbage he is.

  130. docoman

    From that Wiki article on Dr. Naik;
    "Naik has said that any Muslim is free to convert from Islam if the person so chooses, but added that if a Muslim converts and then speaks against Islam or propagates another religion, it should be considered treason (as in treason to a country). Naik stated that under Islamic law this is punishable by death"

    So you can leave the club, or join a different club, but if you propagate that new one (which they all think is their 'mandate'), it should be 'punishable by death'. A nice bloke, with a nice religion. And he is a MD and surgeon. I'm glad I'm not one of his patients or followers with 'shaky faith'. Each would be a scary prospect.

  131. over the edge

    is your first link what you meant to post? while it is entertaining i am confused by its inclusion.

  132. systems1000

    No,but they sure would,t be able to do that with sticks and stones.

  133. branrx

    I think there are plenty of believers that agree "religion" engenders ignorance.

  134. docoman

    But yet you still say you believe in God?
    You make the distinction of 'core beliefs' earlier. Are you a Christian, and do your core beliefs come from the Bible? If so, what is the difference between a 'core belief' as apposed to an 'outer belief'? And how are you supposed to be able to distinguish which is which, and how strictly you need to follow some versus others? The Bible itself says it is all the word of God, so how do you justify only taking some parts and not all?

  135. Luyang Han

    Well the journalist really does not want to discuss anything. He just want to attack, set traps and distractions and try to make laugh of Dawkins.

  136. docoman

    I have to pause and think about that one too. And look up numinous :) (originally thought he said 'luminous' and had me wondering lol) I think I concur with you, I took him meaning numinous as the 'spiritual quality' more so then deity, and that it's been hijacked (by religion/sects/belief systems) and dragged 'under the umbrella' of the supernatural.
    I thought of deja vu, I've had a couple 'kinda' weird deja vu's, but nothing that I'd consider substantial in any real way. I don't completely agree with his 'methods' he mentions, LSD, solitude ect. I suspect they're as likely to cause a 'false numinous experience/mental illness', but then again I know very little on the matter. :)

  137. Epicurus

    you are right i will change it. the original video is gone, but i will replace it with another one showing Zakir giving the common touted Islamic scientific proofs.

  138. Aaron K' Kalat

    Interesting interview. Dawkins shows a little more restraint here than most of the times I've seen him talk. The questions asked were actually quite good but at times it would seem Hassan interrupts as Dawkins is about to make his point which is a little a little saddening. Definitely worth the watch.

  139. Kateye70

    Hmmm maybe the 'god gene' you mentioned earlier is what gives people those 'numinous' experiences.

    I've had them myself, and not even while on drugs, but definitely while in a highly-charged emotional state of mind. Even while it was happening though, I was perfectly aware I was in a, well, highly-charged emotional state, and observing myself as it were. I never ascribed any supernatural meaning to the experience, though.

  140. Cameron Widen

    I don't think that's true. He asked hard questions and held Dawkins's feet to the fire, which is entirely appropriate and makes for a lively discussion. You can't say that Dawkins wasn't allowed to make his case or finish his thoughts. I say this as a huge fan of Dawkins and his writings. One should be able to have a passionate, serious discussion without being accused of 'attacking' or 'trapping' his opponent.

  141. robertallen1

    Res ipsae liqiuntur. How many times was Dr. Dawkins interrupted before he could finish his thoughts? More important, how many times was Dr. Dawkins interrupted before he could finish his thoughts, not with a follow-up question but with an inquiry on another topic? I stopped counting at three. How many times did the interrogator ask the audience for an opinion as if that somehow decided the issue. I counted twice.

    I too am a fan of Dr. Dawkins, but judging from the number of missed responses and botched opportunities, for some reason, the good doctor was not at his best.

  142. Kees de Boer

    Good stuff , great discussion

  143. Apeiros Sophos

    I'm aware of the study you are referring to. However, it is important to keep in mind that even though chimpanzees exhibit great intelligence, they are extremely xenophobic.

    There was a study done through Duke University regarding Bonobos and their willingness to share resources even with complete strangers just for the opportunity to socially interact with the recipients.

    Is this 'morality'? or perhaps a complex evolutionary survival trait the Bonobos possess used to expand their valuable social networks?

  144. Apeiros Sophos

    Also, assuming morality is subjective and only exists relative to the individual, then we can deduce that the same must be said for the 'good' or 'bad' person. That being said, 'good' and 'bad' people must not exist in our objective reality.

    Like the 'good' or 'bad' person, God is also intangible and only exist in our subjective reality and certainly this short fall discredits his existence. However, it seems that people have a much easier time accepting that there is no God over the acceptance of there being no 'good' or 'bad' people.


  145. Bobs

    Yet I'm 100% sure all those popes & ayatollahs go straight to the evil practitioners of science (AKA physicians) when they got ill instead of trying to "pray the disease."

  146. Bobs

    This guy's just nuts. Communists taught atheism therefore we must deny atheism? Well I'm pretty sure they taught 1 + 1 = 2 too.

  147. systems1000

    Yet i,m 99% sure that most disease comes from so called progress.Polluted air,water and food street drugs,sedentary living,things that our ancestores were never{< overwhelmed <} by. It seems that for every one problem science allegedly solves,three more come popping up to replace it.Wouldn,t it be wiser to live a more healthy life style and let nature do the culling?And yes,if I got sick I would go to a doctor,given the odds that it was probably their high living that got me sick in the first place.

  148. Kateye70

    Well, I think that morality, while subjective, is also objective in that doing 'immoral' things *as an adult* means you have chosen to do them even though you know those things will have negative consequences for other people.

    Young children don't have the capacity (i.e., their empathy skills are not as developed) to do 'immoral' things simply because they don't understand yet the consequences for someone else. Developing empathy (understanding the concept of the 'other') is one the development phases children go through, and of course those phases can be disrupted--it's why child abuse is *truly* immoral; it's consequences can last a lifetime.

    However, assuming one continues to grow and develop and isn't impaired in some serious way, one's ability to comprehend the concept of the 'other' means one can also predict negative consequences for someone else.

    Adults make choices to do immoral / bad things (i.e., defining immoral / bad as actions having negative consequences for someone else). One can become bad, but I do not think people are *born* bad.

    Hence, I do not believe in 'original sin' or the need to have a human sacrifice to 'redeem' anyone.

    I'm truly agnostic on the question of is or isn't there a god or multiple gods, goddesses, whatever. Whatever may or may not be out there, however, I do not see evidence of that/those being(s) intervening in our lives.

  149. Kateye70

    Ah, the good old days, when life was 'nasty, brutish and short.'
    (paraphrased from Thomas Hobbes)

  150. systems1000

    Wake up and look around.Life is still nasty,brutish and short (except for only a small percentage of us) not to mention the two or three billion that well shortly be here,there wouldn,t be any weclome matts out.

  151. Jack1952

    The shooting of Malala Yousafazi was an incredible display of religious fanaticism. She was also a Muslim, however, and many Muslims find the behaviour of the shooters appalling. I tend to think that those shooters have that personalities that would not change no matter what the situation. They would have been great Nazis, helped Stalin with his purges quite willingly, crammed Africans into the holds of slave ships with cruel gusto. This is the situation that they found themselves. There are people who are psychopathic and latch onto any philosophy or political situation to further their own innate hatred. A sad element about Islam's followers is that they can be strangely silent about wrong doing in the name of their religion even when they know that the perpetrators are wrong. They are terrified to say anything that might seem a criticism of their religion. Moderate Muslims should stand up for themselves as strongly as the fanatics, not violently, but in public displays of support for people like Malala Yousafazi.

    I thought that Hassan was a bit embarrassed to admit that he believed the prophet flew a winged horse to heaven. Islam requires that you believe all that is written, the good, bad and ridiculous. Christianity is a great deal more lax about believing the Bible every word. Many Christians feel one should live by the spirit of the Bible rather than a word by word interpretation of it. Once again, though, certain individuals, with malevolent personalities, read it to suit their own nasty tendencies. This is the way those of this personality type operate. There are even atheists who strongly support the idea that religion should be stamped out using any means. An idea that I find scary and quite appalling.

    The discussion between Dr. Dawkins and Rabbi Sacks was a much better effort by Dawkins. I thought he handled himself perfectly and was straightforward, respectful and not as abrasive as he sometimes can be. I thought that the Rabbi hid behind anti-Semitism a few times and this was a cheap tactic to win support. I also found him a little long winded and found myself urging him to get on with it. A much better discussion, nonetheless.

  152. SilverBee

    One of the better interviews/discussions I've seen. I thank Al Jazeera for presenting it. Richard Dawkins, as always, is a gentleman and a scholar who states the case with authority and clarity.

  153. SilverBee

    I think morality is also relative to society and other individuals, which is how moral structure was built. What hurts one's neighbors is "bad" and what helps them is "good." It doesn't take religion to make that clear--and, in fact, it's how the foundation for such laws as the ten commandments was laid down. Not the other way around, don't you think?

  154. docoman

    I think humans have a tendency to be xenophobic sometimes (not contradicting your point, observing we can be too)
    Morality is fairly slippery to exactly define, probably because of it's subjective qualities. What is 'right and wrong', and how do you define it when it can change depending on the situation. I also think there is something in what Kateye70 is saying, and there is some objective qualities as well. It also seems we are born with some basic's already 'hardwired'.
    I think it's interesting to contemplate evolutions role in trying to explain how and why we have morals, especially the ones that seem to be intrinsic to all humans , regardless of culture.
    Can combining competition and co-operation, then adding an ability to reason result with anything other then extinction? Possibly that's one reason (at least at this point in time) we've been more successful then the other hominid species? Our 'ability' to give anonymously, to give without immediate reward, to by default want to help and conform, I would expect make us more resilient in 'harder times'.

  155. docoman

    I've never met or heard of anyone that was completely 'good' or 'bad'. Even Hitler, widely considered one of the most evil people in modern times, wasn't ALL 'bad' I think you could argue (his family, his dogs loved him apparently). I think probably everyone is neither one nor the other, but somewhere in between. So somewhere, relative to our own values and perspectives/experiences, we all make a judgement call on 'good' or 'bad' people, and I'd agree with you that they really only exist in our objective reality.
    I agree with your 'God' conclusion, without further evidence. To your question, I would suspect the answer is to do with how people perceive themselves and their own identity. You can accept there are no 'good' or 'bad' people, that doesn't really apply to yourself, or really force much of a 'belief/values revision' usually. For someone who see's themselves as a religious person, it's hard to accept something that would force a re-evaluation of who you are and why you do things, how you got here and where you're headed. That's not easy to do.

  156. docoman

    I would only add that it's not only Islam that gets 'shifty' on the issue of it's own wrong doings. The Catholic's are in full swing, true to form here in Aus over the upcoming child abuse Inquest.

    I agree with your opinion of the Dawkins/Sacks discussion. I thought the 'antisemitism' charge was ridiculous. Although he may not agree with Dawkins opinion of his 'OT god', it was in no way whatsoever an attack aimed specifically at Jews. That's absurd, and points to the paranoia and hypocrisy of Sacks if anything I thought. A very cheap shot, and if anything belittles 'the holocaust' sufferings by using it as a tactic in that way.
    Dawkins was good in that one I thought, and didn't mind Sacks, although he's a tad tedious at times. A much better discussion then this one I thought too.

  157. SuperRobertLewis

    What religious people seem unable to understand is that the fact that some people have done good inspired by religion does not justify their dogmas or does not make their claims (e.g., Jesus or Mohammed's ascension to the skies) any truer (there are no evidences in either case). The difference between scientific speculations and religious beliefs, e.g., about the origin of the Cosmos, is that the former are hypotheses (thus open to discussion and, ultimately, refutable, as all scientific knowledge constitutes a provisional consensus) and the latter are, well, unfounded and dogmatic (not to be challenged or one will burn in hell as a heretic sinner). I also think that Dawkins fails to emphasize the difference between religion as a narrative and religion as a established institution, when commenting on it being the root of most evil in the world. I don't believe that some human groups, e.g., American indians, ever fought in the name of their gods or based their moral codes on after-death punishment. Civilization would've come up with moral codes in spite of religion. Take, for instance, the Ten Commandments; most of them are pretty obvious--they don't have to be revealed by God to be accepted. If we're to live in society, some rules to live by are necessary, which is not to say these rules are unchangeable...

  158. oQ

    You believed in Santa Claus and Superman until the age of 14? lol

  159. robertallen1

    @Jack 1952 and docoman (and everyone else as well)

    Jewish apologists are just as bad a Christian ones and the rabbi’s admonishment that Dr. Dawkins read the Jewish apologists for a better understanding of the god of the Old Testament is as idiotic as his characterization of Dr. Dawkins’ accurate yet disquieting portrayal of the god of the Old Testament as antisemitic. However, in all fairness, to the rabbi, towards the end of the documentary, he did retract this label as far as Dr. Dawkins, but there was still a bad taste not only socially, but academically.

    But speaking of academically, the rabbi indicated that the biblical account of the Red Sea was true because a recent experiment seemed to demonstrate that the wind could have parted the waters, as contrasted with the story of Adam and Eve which was mere fiction. When Dr. Dawkins asked him how to distinguish between fable and reality in the bible, the rabbi averred naturalism as the touchstone. Fair enough. However, the rabbi failed to mention that Red Sea is a mistranslation of the Hebrew “yam soof” which means something like sea of reeds, a locution the rabbi later used, and that there is neither archaeological evidence for the exodus from Egypt and nor contemporaneous Egyptian accounts (and we have quite a number of Egyptian chronicles from that period). Also using the problematic results of a scientific test conducted in the 21st century to proclaim the truth of an event which occurred over 3,000 years ago calls the rabbi’s credibility and scholarship seriously into question. I’m surprised that Dr. Dawkins did not ask for elucidation concerning the walls of Jericho or Sodom and Gomorrah, the existences of which have yet to be verified.

    The rabbi’s position of tradition for the sake of tradition is no better than the Christian’s or the Muslim’s. Calling for cherry-picking from among the various traditions would at least have been consistent with his professed respect for the intellect and especially science.

    One way or the other, the rabbi seemed a lot nicer and certainly more honest than Cardinal Pell and Dr. Dawkins appeared more relaxed. Perhaps, Dr. Dawkins was expecting an interview with rather than a confrontation from Hassan and this threw him off balance. However, as I stated in an earlier post, had Dr. Dawkins pursued his advantage when Hassan professed his belief in the prophet flying off (ostensibly to heaven) on a winged horse, the course of the discussion/debate might have been turned more in Dr. Dawkins’ favor.

  160. Apeiros Sophos

    Kateye70 you said,

    "Well, I think that morality, while subjective, is also objective in that doing 'immoral' things *as an adult* means you have chosen to do them even though you know those things will have negative consequences for other people."

    If your proposition is to be correct then,

    1) abortion must be 'immoral' in that the causal effect would have a negative consequence on the unborn fetus.

    2) a police officer shooting a crazed gunmen in a shopping center must be 'immoral' due to the negative effects it would have on the gunmen and his mourning family.

    3) driving a combustible vehicle that emits dangerous toxins must also subsequently be 'immoral' in that the driver is wittingly poisoning the oxygen someone else breathes.

    1+1=2 no matter whom you ask. However, If morality is to exist objectively, then certainly it cannot be interpreted differently by different people can it?

  161. Apeiros Sophos

    SilverBee you said,

    "What hurts one's neighbors is "bad" and what helps them is "good."

    This is the golden rule of ethics, otherwise known as the ethic of reciprocity. Although I empathise with the fundamental structure of reciprocal ethics, it comes under fire once we deal with the fact that not all people are alike. For example, what happens when our interests and values are not shared by our neighbor. Perhaps the way we want to be treated, will not be reciprocated.

    What then are we to do?

    As per your question, I completely agree that religious doctrine is in no way a prerequisite to enlightenment on any subject.

  162. Apeiros Sophos

    docoman you said,

    "For someone who see's themselves as a religious person, it's hard to accept something that would force a re-evaluation of who you are and why you do things, how you got here and where you're headed. That's not easy to do."

    I am really glad you brought this to attention because I could not possibly agree with you more. Let us call it the, "label effect". While certainly most objective thinkers here are aware of religious indoctrination, how many ever care to consider their own indoctrination. Could not everything you stated above also be said to an atheist, or agnostic just by the very act of labeling oneself an 'atheist' or 'agnostic'?

    A wise man once said, "Belief is the death of intelligence". I assure you, he was not being specific.

  163. systems1000

    You state that Hitler widely considered one of the most evil people of modern times,But yet probably his is considered (secretly) one of the most loved people of modern times as well.Were probably sure that the only person Hitler shot was himself.Thus we must consider the morality and legal prosecution of only words and hear say.We hold free speach as a right.Food for thought.

  164. Apeiros Sophos

    Conspiracy to commit (e.g., Charles Manson)

  165. Schwoggle

    Around 2,000 years ago Hillel's answer to the challenge of a Gentile who asked him to explain the Torah to him while standing on one foot. He answered, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow this is the whole Torah, the rest is the explanation; go and learn"
    Hillel recognized brotherly love as the fundamental principle of Jewish moral law. This is clearly a much safer reply than the often quoted, "Do unto others that which you would have them do unto you." which could open the door to all sorts of doubtful behaviour.
    I would also like to mention the aggressive behaviour of the host of the debate and the overly reticent attitude of Dr. Dawkins who seemed not himself in this debate. Unususal for him and I wondered why.

  166. SilverBee

    My reply to you was in response to your suggestion that what is bad or good is determined by what hurts or helps the individual. I am suggesting that it must include what is good or bad for one's neighbor. This adds another level of complexity to the question of morality and is, I suspect, why there is so much ambiguity.

  167. Kateye70

    Well, morality isn't just objective, it's also subjective, which is what makes it such a difficult thing to pin down.

    In all your examples, the morality ends up being a choice.

    1. Is abortion immoral if the pregnancy causes the mother to lose her own life? Is it immoral if by adding another child to those already in her care, the mother would be unable to care for any of them? Is it immoral if the woman was raped or abused in such a way that her psychological state would have a profound negative impact on the foetus (which, by the way, is incapable of surviving outside the womb) once it is born and requires active care? Is it immoral if the prospective mother is so immature a pregnancy would damage her ability to have future children, or care for the child after it is born?

    2. The policeman has to take into account not just the life of the gunman or his own life, but also the lives of all other people affected by the situation. One gunman and his family? or multiple victims and their families?

    3. Drive a combustible vehicle emiting toxins, or don't drive it and suffer the economic consequences along with all your extended family. It may be that vehicle is the only one that allows the owner(s) to provide a living.

    Not easy to answer, is it? It's all dependent on the circumstances.

    That's why it's always up for discussion, and trying to pin absolutes on it doesn't work. It's the balance between subjective and objective, between lesser and greater good or evil.

  168. robertallen1

    1. A fetus is not a person.

    2. The crazed gunman in a shopping center is endangering others.

  169. wald0

    No the same cannot be said for agnostics. The whole point of agnosticism is to admit you do not know, in fact it is to believe no one can know. The only thing an agnostic believes in is his or her own ignor@nce in such maters. Now if you want to play semantics and say that is also a form of belief then you make your whole point mute, because it was pushing non-belief.
    As far as atheist, I would call'em like I see'em. If a person has been raised to believe a certain way, it is probably indoctrination. If the person came to their own personal conclusions, then it is by definition not indoctrination. So, how many atheist do you know that were raised to be atheist, or pressured by society to be an atheist? Personally, i don't know even one- though I am sure they exist.

  170. terrasodium

    It is interesting how? Dawkins admits the correlation between being exposed to and accepting indoctrinations at a young age does shapes your worldview, is Dawkins held to the same correlation in his first exposure in his place of birth Nairobi Kenya under the naturally selected white mans burden of apartheid. It may explain the "bulldog" tenacity,and overwrite latent familial guilt, perhaps an apartheid apologist manifesto, Just a thought. But he is popular amongst the lounge-chair science demographic,who couldn't bother to read available recorded history to see the blossoming of this elite plant.

  171. terrasodium

    On one side is Richard Dawkins, the celebrated biologist who has made a second career demonstrating his epic disdain for religion. On the other is the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who this year became a shoo-in for? a future Nobel prize.

    " Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind."
    You have to admire a legitimate, logical, intuitive major mind? of superior scientists , no?

  172. Kateye70

    How many people are actively raised atheist or agnostic?

    I'm guessing more now than in the past, but quite frankly, most of us have had to actively decide we were *not* deist, rather than wonder whether we should become deist.

  173. terrasodium

    Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
    According to one expert in evolution and development, Professor Georgy Koentges of Warwick University, the central problem is the impossibility of defining "fitness", whether in organisms, organs, cells, genes or even gene regulatory DNA regions. As a result, he sees both Dawkins and Wilson as "straw men" in this debate.

    "Dawkins has a lot of unnecessary rhetoric in his review," he said this weekend. "He is usually on the spot, but it has to be said that some of his arguments are based on older models of calculating fitness. The difficulty is in assigning what Darwin called 'fitness' to a particular genetic feature. They are trying to set basic fitness conditions which they believe work over very long periods of time.

    "This is a fantasy. There is no such thing as a good or bad gene. It doesn't work that simply. Genes are used and re-used in different contexts, each of which might have a different overall fitness value for a given organism or a group."

    George Robert Price developed a? new interpretation ,Price equation,(a large part of the Dawkins "hypothesis") which has now been accepted as the best interpretation of a formerly enigmatic result.He (G.Price)wrote what is still widely held to be the best mathematical, biological and evolutionary representation of altruism re Fisher's fundamental theory of natural selection. After giving all his(G.Price) possessions to the poor, he committed suicide.

    Dawkins' favored "thinker'" is Thomas H. Huxley ("Darwins bulldog") grandfather of Aldous (writer,brave new world), and brother Julian (evolutionary biologist, eugenicist and internationalist and first Director of UNESCO)Huxley, Julian travelled widely and took part in a variety of activities which were partly scientific and partly? political. In 1931 Huxley visited the? USSR at the invitation of Intourist, where initially he admired the results of social and economic planning on a large scale.

  174. robertallen1

    Just what are you talking about?

  175. robertallen1

    Again, just what are you getting at?

  176. robertallen1

    Again, what are you getting at?

  177. wald0

    "...he is popular amongst the lounge-chair science demographic..."

    First, if you want to seem intelligent by over use of formal verbiage learn proper grammar, its "...among the lounge-chair science demographic..." not "....amongst (which isn't even a word) the lounge-chair..." But putting such admittedly pampas concerns aside I can assure you, as a proud lounge-chair scientist of sorts myself, that Mr. Dawkins is also highly respected and revered within the relevant professional communities as well, hence the respect and reverence of us amateurs. Trying to undermine the intelligence of such a renowned and accomplished scientist and author really underlines the absents of any legitimate argument you might have, and lacks class.

  178. robertallen1

    "Amongst" is a variant form of among. I find it affected, but one way or the other, it is legitimate English, but be that as it may, terrasodium is going to have a tough road to hoe if he thinks he can put Dr. Dawkins down, especially considering the tactic of indirect statement which he has employed in his last three posts and especially considering his nom de plume which most likely he meant to be tetrasodium.

  179. systems1000

    Hands down,this year the Darwin award is yours with out a doubt.And what ever it is you have been smoking,i,d like to get some of it myself.

  180. I AM POP SLAG.

    My problem with atheists is there refusal to accept and tolerate the church of the flying spaghetti monster -however they are welcomed by the church i believe.
    To argue scientifically against or for the existance or non-existance of an imagined entity is frankly totally and utterly, round the bend, men in white coats, little blue pills and no scissors insane.
    Religion should go to hell and take Hawkins with it. -You cant say he isnt trying i suppose.
    although it eats away at him in a way that makes it like hes already in a hell of hos own making trying to disprove the nonexistant.
    Its a shame history didnt remember the reformation and he wouldnt have felt he had to stick his head above the parapet and defend intelligent, critical thinking in a way that cannot be fun.
    the interviewer is a d*ck though- the communism bit could have been approached far better.

  181. oQ

    Do you mean both Hawking and Dawkins?
    I've often wondered if Hawking still owns his brain or if it's been taken over by some powerful hand. Would certainly be easy to do. All he does (in appearance) physically is stare and smile.

    I personnaly have no more problem with atheists than i do with theists but i prefer the ones who don't argue what ever side they are on.

    I have found a middle ground where i can play with my mind and no one can tell me for sure if i am right or wrong, not even myself.

  182. I AM POP SLAG.

    brilliant! 17 min in and finally the comedy! Mr Dawkins is the most underrated comedian of our times- stick him in a room with a looney- instant double act!
    I love the way he treats the whole experience as an amateur psychology experiment...

  183. Apeiros Sophos

    Kateye70 you said,

    "Well, morality isn't just objective, it's also subjective, which is what makes it such a difficult thing to pin down"

    I agree with you. Moreover, I will go a step further and claim that morality likely does not exist objectively at all. Therefore, everything you wrote is correct and makes my point too I believe; that there is no golden rule to follow regarding ethics due to the fact that ethics are subject to interpretation by the individual.

    1) aborting a fetus while it remains unknown if it is a person

    2) Killing a gunmen while non-lethal weapons are available.

    3) Driving a conventional vehicle while electric motors exist.

    One can argue that all of these things are unethical by their moral standard. Whether or not we can methodically pick apart each claim, does not change that many people will interpret them as unethical, and in turn use their own justifications to dissect counter claims.

    Whether or not the above claims are 'right' or 'wrong' is irrelevant to my thesis. Instead, I am more interested in the tangible causalities of something that is objectively immeasurable and entirely subject to ones interpretation.

  184. Apeiros Sophos

    robertallen1 said,

    "1. A fetus is not a person."

    Prove it.

    "2. The crazed gunman in a shopping center is endangering others."

    Of course. Yet irrelevant to my specific argument of ethical interpretations.

  185. Apeiros Sophos

    wald0 said,

    "No the same cannot be said for agnostics."

    You are of course correct in your statement that agnosticism by its fundamental value cannot be included with atheism as defined by my previous claim.

    The point I was trying to come to was that labels in general should be subscribed to with great care (if at all) due to psychological tendencies to attach them to our identities. As such, essentially becoming the label and aggressively defending it against opposing views. 'I am' a republican, a christian, a communist, a feminist, a socialist, a muslim, a marxist, an atheist, so on and so forth.

    Indoctrination wasn't the word I should have used. I plead guilty to melodramatics.

  186. robertallen1

    1. Try biology.

    2. Fine. Endangering others is a subjective standard.

  187. wald0

    I stand corrected, though it isn't in the older versions of Webster I did find it in newer dictionaries. Still sounds awfully odd to throw such an informal variant into such an overly formal dialogue, in my opinion. Regardless my point was that no matter how you dress up such drivel it doesn't amount to anything but drivel. Dawkins obviously is not a racist and does not support apartheid. Its one thing to ask if he is also venerable to such madness, of course he is, to the extent we all are- and he has never implied he wasn't, that I know of. Its quite another to insinuate that he is these things simply because you disagree with his opinions. Then to go on and try to undermine his intelligence, well that just strips all credibility in my opinion. This man is considered, even by those who disagree with him generally, to be one of the most intelligent and creative people in biology after all. Any way I know I am preaching to the choir at this point so, thanks for the feed back (can you believe some of these ppl?)

  188. Apeiros Sophos

    robertallen1 said,

    "1. Try biology."

    Your evidence is inadequate and will not compel anyone to your claim.

  189. robertallen1

    These are the same dolts who tie morality and doing good deeds into a belief in a higher being.

  190. robertallen1

    It's good enough for the law and it enables women to obtain abortions at will and that's good enough for me.

  191. wald0

    I'm guilty of the same many times. Making a point can get us carried away I guess. No harm.
    Yes labels do cripple us if we over do them, but they also are necessary to some degree. When we are navigating everyday space and time we use stereo types and labels constantly, mostly on a sub-conscious level. They actually help us tremendously and allow us to more efficiently process our environment, as long as we don't take them to seriously. They simply suggest a broad, over simplified idea of what a person MAY be like if they dress, act, or look a certain way. Now we tend to say this is bad, but then we turn right around and tell a girl that climbs into a car with three or four ex-cons out drinking that she should have known what might happen. In other words we expect them to apply the labels and stereo types they have been taught in such a way as to not be overly judgmental or closed to further information but just enough to avoid potential trouble and remain safe .

  192. Apeiros Sophos


    I will agree that while identifying our surroundings and situations it could come in handy as a sort of survival reflex. Although, I cannot help but see the fine line we may cross to authentic and harmful prejudice, even if unwittingly.

    How does this 'survival reflex' work when labeling ourselves? Are we just to use caution and hope not to get lost in our ego?

    While very difficult and never successful all of the time, I have found attempting to remain label free to be quite enlightening in my learning process.

  193. Apeiros Sophos

    Well, if the absence of supporting evidence is enough for you, it will have to be enough for me :)

  194. docoman

    Sorry about the time to get back to you.
    I also think that the fact Rabbi Sacks says there was a mistranslation, and in fact it's 'Reed' sea, not 'Red' sea is very interesting. It, by his own admission, sets the precedent that there are 'error's' in his scripture, that can radically change the meaning. This 'wrong' translation was and still is taught, put up as 'indisputable' fact by some. How can that not cast doubt on the rest of his claims, when by his (Sacks) admission some parts have been wrong. Resorting to saying some parts are literal, some are not is just an attempt to ameliorate their faulty logic and story in my opinion.
    I'm still waiting to hear a really good argument as to why there has to be a 'god', let alone one of the current popular versions.

  195. docoman

    I agree, that's the point I was making with Hitler. I'm not aware of anyone that is completely 'good' or 'bad', I think we're all 'shade's of grey' on this issue.

  196. robertallen1

    But the rabbi never admitted to a mistranslation, that's the horrible thing, for if he had, then it would highlight everything you posit and make him look like a fool. And speaking of fools, I believe I've just answered the question posed in your last paragraph.

  197. robertallen1

    It's just that some are greyer than others.

  198. docoman

    You are correct, the Rabbi seamlessly went from saying Red sea to Reed sea, (he mentions a place further up in the Nile delta, where the Red Sea doesn't reach)
    Which although he tried to skip over the point, his doing this implies that it is commonly mistaken as the Red Sea, not Reed. Dawkins asked about the Red Sea, Sacks, without any questions, led it to Reed sea. It's now not only a mistranslation, but a deliberate misdirection.
    Dawkins missed an opportunity to pull up Sacks on this issue, and point out the errors, and subsequent actions of deception, I thought. Although slightly beside the point they were discussing, (a literal reading of the scripture) I think very relevant to the whole issue of the credibility of the scriptures, and those that 'interpret them for us'.

  199. dewflirt

    I thought Terrasodium might be Salt of the Earth?

  200. wald0

    Labeling one's self in order to gain positive benefit is very tricky and subtle. The trick is to not let the label be final or definite I suppose. I have worked as a volunteer drug addiction counselor for several years, and I am an ex-addict myself. This experience has taught me that people who refuse to label themselves, refuse to judge themselves, even in a moderate manner, often also have issues with admitting what they have done and who they have been. (I'm not suggesting this is the case with yourself, only making a point.) This severely cripples their road to recovery. On the other hand I have seen people label themselves in a final way, a complete way, and this also severely crippled their recovery. I would say of the two the ladder is more destructive, but both are very corrosive to an individuals ability to change, to over come, to reinvent themselves. The trick is to be able to use these categories and stereo types to understand who you were for a time, or may still be while at the same time realizing who we are is a function of choices we make, the environment we are in, etc. This way we can be honest with ourselves and efficiently assess who we are, who have been, and who we will be.

  201. robertallen1

    Maybe so, but in that case it should be3 terraesodium.

  202. systems1000

    Well said,well said indeed.

  203. dewflirt

    Genitive? Of the earth. I was terrible at Latin, too much to remember :)

  204. I AM POP SLAG.

    Whole lot of em are all mad but if im picking sides im going with the godless b*stards everytime- science you see? better weapons but less fervent troops (who do as a bonus however, have a much acuter, logical fear of death)- id take that pay off any day.
    Load the Popeblaster x9!
    Religion should be less relevant than metaphysics and should be encompassed as an historic backstory into the more scientifc doctrines of the study of said metaphysics, moral philosophy, sociology etc.and we can all evolve a bit from "believing" in anything.
    Go on Dawkins!- You get em. because they are all - all the moslems and all the jews and all the buddhists and all the hindus and all the m*rons and all the zoroastrians and all the flying spaghettists and all the anglicans and all the catholics and every f*cking pope who has ever been and the bloke who told you there were goblins when you were five and all the santas and all the spiritualists are absolutely, totally, utterly, unarguably, indisputably full of sh*t....
    Fantastical! Magical! too good to be true ,fairies down the bottom of the garden, man in the sky type full of sh"t.
    Are you listening religion and the religious? YOUR LYING TO YOURSELVES AND EVERYONE ELSE AND WE ARE NOT BUYING ANYMORE!
    You are in fact looking at the most respected cleric in all of modern religion as it stands- more converts and births than any other sect clan or belief system- ladies and loonies i give you Atheism and arch comedy wizard Richard Dawkins!
    and hence from hereforth science is now basically god and anyone who doesnt think so is a dinosaur living in an ever shrinking minority tied to the past like it were a chain round an ankle in a rising tide.
    Every year there are more of us and whilst we tolerate the rituals cos they are fun sometimes, nobody actually believes in space wizards anymore and if you do?
    Then im sorry to say you actually require serious, interventionist psychological therapy to unconvince you of your delusional fairy talk.
    Those people you talk to at the church? at the mosque? You dont actually think they believe that sh*t do you?
    seriously? they are only agreeing there is a god to humour you -you mad f*cker!
    face it you are whacked out batshit crazy, believe what your told, drone- brained, uncreative, unimaginative and trapped in an arrested developmental state of passive unquestioning wonder that you will go to your grave with if you dont start appreciating what is true and what is false in this world in which we reside.
    The religious leaders dont fiddle with the kids genitals so much but damn they get deep in their brains dont they? AND still grooming them when theyre 90... and their grandkids ...and THEIR grandkids and so on and so on passing bullsh*t down the centuries to ensure an endless moral reprssion and warrantless authority over the soul of man.
    Whole lot of you are bullsh*tting, full of sh*t pieces of sh*t ,sh*tty sh*t sh*t.
    So mr or mrs religious when you next think to profess your moral platitudes from a postion of delusionally assumed spiritual authority- just shut it will you? and disappear quietly off into the history books where you and all your kind belong.
    Demon religion i cast thee out in the name of sanity and not to hell but to something worse...

  205. Apeiros Sophos

    The English language can be very deterministic. Although it appears to be mostly rhetoric, I have found playing with semantics to be a useful tool to alternatively comprehend the universe and myself in it. General semantics is very interesting in this respect. E-prime has a way to soften the crudeness of the English language by making it less offensive. People can often feel intimidated by a determinant language.

    Also, thank you for sharing your personal experience on the subject.

  206. robertallen1

    Just what is a deterministic language and how do you tell a deterministic from a non-deterministic language? Just what is the crudeness of the English language and how does something as patently idiotic as E-prime (I place it on the level of Esperanto in its intellectual vacuity) soften it?

  207. KsDevil

    A good bit of drama, though it seemed forced. Dawkins seems to have managed to work his way through the confusion and misunderstanding. But really? The presenter actually believes in physical winged horses?

  208. wald0

    I agree, if anything I would say English is somewhat ambiguous- not deterministic. I suppose it is built on a cause and effect, linear model- if that is what Apeiros meant . But, we are off topic at this point so- a debate for another doc I suppose.

  209. robertallen1

    Ambiguous? Probably no more than any other modern language. So in which way?

  210. wald0

    I really think we are off topic but here is a perfect example- the meaning of a sentence can be changed dramatically by a simple pause, nothing more.
    "What is that up in the road ahead?" or "What is that up in the road, a head?"
    Now when written the difference in the two sentences is fairly easy to spot but, when spoken the only difference is a slight pause after the word "road". Yet the two sentences have drastically different meanings. Another issue with English is that the same statement can mean drastically different things dependent on the context in which it is said. Then we have all the crazy slang expressions we use, "I am in a pickle." or "... between a rock and hard place." etc. These are very confusing to people that did not grow up in our culture, for obvious reasons. Not to mention the fact that our language seems to evolve much faster than most others, making it even harder to grasp and more ambiguous. English is not used in medicine for this very reason, because Latin is much less ambiguous and being a dead language no longer evolves. Chemistry also recognized the ambiguity of plain English and devised a nomenclature all its own Utilizing Greek suffixes and prefixes as well as some Latin as well. English is a brilliantly expressive language, but very subtle and ambiguous unless you have grown up in the appropriate, Western cultures. This is why it is widely known to be one of the hardest languages to learn and speak fluently by linguists.

  211. Apeiros Sophos

    robertallen1 said,

    "I place it on the level of Esperanto in its intellectual vacuity"

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, it is unclear to me why you are comparing the two. I clearly have not advocated for the adoption of E-prime into the western vocabulary. I also have not stated an interest in subscribing to it as a final answer. Taking a multivitamin may be beneficial to my health, but I likely will not survive on them alone.

    Quick example, as wald0 is correct that this has become very off topic.

    "The world is flat" - Determined (crude)
    "The world appears flat so far as I can tell" - Undetermined

  212. robertallen1

    Nothing you have mentioned about English is any different than German, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese or Japanese. As far as grammar, the heart of language, English has not evolved (and by that I assume you mean changed) since 1300. Slang in no matter what language is always difficult to grasp as it is generally regional and mercurial.

    An Oxford-education Englishman is not going to have any real problems understanding a hillbilly from the Ozarks even though the two cultures are radically different and neither will a cole miner from Pennsylvania and a sheepherder from Australia.

    It's obvious you've never studied Latin, for if you had, you would realize that in Latin, words completely take their meaning (or significance) from their surroundings much more so than in modern languages which makes the language extremely ambiguous by your definition. Latin's predominance in law harkens back to to Rome and to a time when Latin was considered the language of learning. Thus, it is more custom than anything else. However, few Latin phrases, if any, are found in modern legal documents.

    Greek prefixes and suffixes had been used in medicine and other sciences long before the ascendancy of English, first of all because they combine well and secondly because at one time, all students were required to learn Greek and Latin. The Greek prefixes and suffix used in medicine are understandable to anyone with a knowledge of modern Greek. So once again, being a living or dead language has nothing to do with it. It's again more custom than anything else. Besides, whooping cough rather than pertusis or housemaid's knee rather than prepatellar bursitis can be used in any modern medical article.

    As for English being difficult to learn (and I assume you mean as a second language), it depends on your vantage point. It's easier for a Frenchman or German than for a Japanese. However, English grammar is so simple that I've often heard Europeans say there is none. The two difficulties are spelling and accent which I admit require considerable study and practice; however, being around English-speaking people obviates the latter and concentrated reading the former.

    Thus, I see no validity in any of the points you have made.

  213. robertallen1

    I see nothing crude about a simple declarative statement and I see no improvement in the second sentence. Quite the opposite, it's awkward, overly ornate and for most intents and purposes out of place. Secondly, both sentences could also be rendered in French, German, Italian and Russian, so why pick on English?

    I equate E-prime and Esperanto because they represent attempts to impose unrealistic and gangly impositions on language. You cannot "legislate" the verb "to be" out of the English language, much less out of any modern Indo-European language. It's as ingrained as the typewriter keyboard. So such an idea is silly. Can't you imagine the mince meat E-prime would make out of the sentence, "I wish I were going." Being based completely on Indo-European stems, Esperanto would not be accessible to a good part of the world. Second, there is nothing to prevent people from going off and forming dialects of their own as history has shown. So much for its universality. It too is just another silly notion.

  214. robertallen1

    To repeat my earlier post, "Just what is a deterministic language and how do you tell a deterministic from a non-deterministic language?"

  215. deepak khatri

    The interviewer is narrow minded id**t.

  216. manfruss

    Religion without science will soon break down into mere superstition and dogma. Science without religion eventually breaks down into mere materialism.

  217. robertallen1

    And just what's the matter with mere materialism?

  218. manfruss

    The best thing about watching this... why do people assume to know what my definition of "god" is? Why do people think that, our faulty human interpretation is what what everyone believes? The Old Testament, and the New were written by people. You're not seeing "gods" jealousy, vengeance, and pettiness, you're seeing the authors. A human being. What created this universe? How did everything start? If it was nothing, then nothing could come of it. Therefore "God" is unknowable. There is no way our frail human minds will ever come to an understanding of what created the universe. Certainly not within our life time, for the next several generations. If you believe in a dude sitting in the clouds watching you, you're likely a believe in superstition.

  219. Joel Griggs

    How frustrating that the interviewer can scrutinise every little thing said by Dawkins on different occassions yet when pressed about the flying horse, he patronised Dawkins and avoided seriously answering the question by saying "Let's just pretend I'm wrong" and threw it to a hypothetical.

    No, douchery, you are wrong - no need to pretend. The interview had all the hallmarks of cheap, aggressive journalism and the interviewer made it more than clear that he doesn't have the mental capacity that Dawkins so gracefully gave him credit for.

    And that smarmy "dare I say, God bless" at the end was such a transparent and immature attempt at taking one last dig at Dawkins.

    Oh and did anyone else notice that it seemed like the audience were 90% religious zealots? I thought they were going to let an atheist from the audience ask a question... Where the hell was the atheist?

  220. Dilraj Singh Matharoo

    I think this argument is missing the point! human actions are dictated by individual psychological experiences and external influences, Religion cannot have a direct influence , but can be easily made into a convenient reason for an action ethical or inethical. Religion is ancient ideology and a record of ancient events, science should take the initiative to explain ancient events and miracles rather than some atheist scientist completely dismissing it as 'not interested'. After all Science is a tool of revelation and uncovering the unknown through reason and logic. Where is your scientific sense of inquiry Mr Dawkins!

  221. Kateye70

    I believe 'science' is doing their very best to explain actual events, even ancient ones (those fields of scientific inquiry are called "archaeology," "geology," and a bunch of other "-ologies").

    What they can't explain, by definition, are 'miracles.'

    It's kind of odd you asking Mr. Dawkins about his "scientific sense of inquiry," since he *is* a scientist. Maybe he has other projects, and just isn't interested in this particular one.

    But here's an idea!

    Why don't you ask the same question of the interviewer? It would be very interesting to hear about, if he made, or helped to fund, a 'scientific inquiry' into the feasibility of winged horses, since he says he believes in them and is teaching their existence to his daughter.

    Maybe he could get some prominent Muslims to fund this exciting line of inquiry! After all, there are some pretty wealthy ones in the very place the winged horse was said to have appeared. Best place to start: Arabia, IMHO.

    He could make it a family project:
    --look for fossil records,
    --look for current existence,
    --determine whether they would actually be able to fly at all,
    --if so, whether they would be able to fly carrying the weight of a human being,
    --how their unique bone structure might have evolved, since they would require a six-limbed mammalian ancestor,
    (I haven't heard of any of those in the fossil record, have you?),
    --what their bone density might be,
    --how they might have evolved both feathers and hair. (AFAIK, creatures either have one or the other, but I could be wrong!)

    The list can go on and on, but it kind of has to start with some physical evidence of this marvelous creature. I sure hope he starts this scientific search soon! His daughter would benefit greatly, I'm sure.

  222. robertallen1

    That's right. Let them put their money where their mouth is--and how about getting some private source to fund research into talking serpents, Noah and the ark, virgin birth, the resurrection, Moses and the Red Sea--the possibilities are endless.

  223. terrasodium

    The enormously powerful explanatory might of the new science has little to offer us by way of clarifying some of the really important questions of life. If we want to reduce all human life to the level of mechanical biological explanations, then Dawkins is correct: Darwin's method is the answer to everything. If, like Socrates, we still have questions about justice, morality, traditional concerns about the good life, and so on, we will have to turn elsewhere.

  224. robertallen1

    And just where is that?

  225. Kateye70

    Perhaps he's referring to philosophy.

  226. robertallen1

    If so, philosophy doesn't brew beer.

  227. terrasodium

    Now you have acknowledged the aim of inquiry, you might like to define for yourself a myth from a metaphor,or the principal of cause and effect , perhaps study the mind body duality, or if you enjoy materialism to any practical usefulness ,go help your neighbor fix his leaky roof, and ask your neighbor what the materialistic cost -benefit is to him, and ask his banker what the cost benefit is to his mortgage. Or if your question was intended as a baited rhetorical dysphemism then disregard the preceding, it shouldn't be difficult to ignore for one with proven ability to do so.

  228. robertallen1

    Just what is this gibberish supposed to mean?

  229. wald0

    Look if you don't want to take my word for it don't, after all i have never seen you concede even one point in any argument you have started- its rather obvious you have quite the ego friend. But hey, what do I care. Just go Google- " English, the hardest language to learn." and see what pops up. Or Google- "Ambiguity in the English language", either one will give you article after article, many written by linguists, explaining how the English language is very ambiguous. As far as why Latin is used in medicine and many other sciences, fine believe what you want. Having a degree in chemistry and working as a research chemist at a local college I think i might have some idea of why we use this language. Professor after professor will tell you we use it because it is not ambiguous in the slightest and do not use every day English because it is ambiguous. As far as other languages being ambiguous, I never said they were not now did I? I said English was one of the most ambiguous, and it is. All languages inherently have some ambiguity in them, Latin included. But because it is a dead language it does not evolve- this is another reason it is used in medicine and science. And your point that the English language hasn't changed since the 1300's is ridiculous, of course it has and any linguist will tell you the same. But hey, never fear- you can just throw around a few more insults and hold desperately to the pretense that you know everything- its worked so far for you- right?

  230. terrasodium

    To you ? I could not speculate. Confucius says roughly if a man is thirsty , give him half a glass of water , if he can't drink the first half , don't offer the second. Ask a real question for a change, we may find the discourse useful. If not then there is no issue to fuss with.

  231. robertallen1

    "As far as GRAMMAR, the heart of language, English has not evolved (and by that I assume you mean changed) since 1300." (emphasis added) Now where did I state that the English language has not changed since 1300? You should learn to read before you criticize.

    You're right. Latin is a dead language which is why its vocabulary is constantly being augmented in taxonomy to keep pace with the latest discoveries, so much for its reputed stability due to its being a dead language. On the other hand, Greek is a living language--again, so much for its reputed stability which you attribute to dead languages.

    One way or the other, modern scientific (medical) papers are written in one of the LIVING languages such as English, German, French and Russian with Greek terms thrown in--they are not written in Greek--again so much for the alleged ambiguity of English. acquaintances.

    Having a degree in chemistry merely means that you know about chemistry; it does not mean that you have the faintest idea of the evolution of the terminology.

    Once again, English is no more ambiguous than German, French or Russian--and once again, a lot of the scientific terminology was in place before the emergence of English and was merely carried over into English as it was carried over into French, German, Italian and Russian. So whether you like it or not, the alleged ambiguity of the English language had nothing to do with it. Besides, where is the ambuguity in housemaid's knee, gout, dropsy, etc.? What is more ambiguous about whopping cough than pertussis? What is lmore ambiguous about a bruise than a contusion?

    Once again, any language is hard to learn well and each poses its set of problems. However, it is easier for a German, a Frenchman or an Italian to learn English than it is for someone from China or Japan?

    Remember, the person asserting has the burden of proof. So where is your evidence for English being one of the most ambiguous languages on the face of the earth and in general one of the hardest languages to learn?

  232. robertallen1

    You want some issues to discuss, then try writing in plain English.

  233. terrasodium

    Plain English? Alright. Me thinks he doth protest to much. or, When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain. Yes and Philosophy don't brew beer , in the same way that Architects don't lay bricks.

  234. robertallen1

    I'll make it easier for you.

    If somehow Greek is less ambiguous than English when was the last time you chanced upon a scientific paper written in Greek, as opposed to one written in English, French, German or Russian? Isn't it true that more science papers are written in or translated into English than any other language in the world--and this in an age when scientific precision means everything?

    If Latin is less ambiguous than English, when was the last time you chanced upon a modern legal treatise written in Latin, as opposed to one written in English, French, German or Russian?

    Why is the vocabulary of ballet, cooking and fencing French, the vocabulary of music Italian and the vocabulary of cinema English? I can tell you and it has nothing to do with any perceived ambiguity in any of these languages.

  235. robertallen1

    More gibberish. It's obvious you have no issues to discuss.

  236. terrasodium

    The part of Dawkins's text with which I have the most difficulty (i.e., where I get the most irritated) are those passages where he steps out of his area of expertise and offers us his reflections and ideas about culture, human morality, religion, and other matters quite outside the concerns of his materialistic, value free, reductive scientific methodology.

    This concern of mine is most apparent in Chapter 11, "Memes: the New Replicators." What Dawkins wants to do here, as he says, is to extend Darwinism into the area of culture, because "Darwinism is too big a theory to be confined to the narrow context of the gene." And so we get the Darwinian cultural replicator, the meme.

  237. Vlatko


    Don't be upset. It almost feels like you're building some anti-Dawkins cult or something. Let's be frank here. You have problems with science, not Dawkins. Memes are probably your last concern.

    Now, if you look honestly, critically and even scientifically at the culture and society you can't avoid the fact that many cultural "strings" are passed through generations in various forms. People, even nations die but some bits of cultural information stay. In that sense those tiny bits of info resemble genes.

    And there is no reason to be upset about this. Memes are only Dawkins' wild speculation, but very interesting indeed. I suppose it is very painful when someone is poking your religion with that kind of stick, so to speak.

    The problem with people who are angry at particular scientists is that they think they fight with one or several persons. The truth is that they fight with complex, scientific, international, interdisciplinary network of cross-checked facts which is getting stronger and stronger as minutes pass by.

    Disciplines converge in between themselves with multitude of evidence. The technological and scientific advance is in exponential rise, while philosophical and religious ramblings are in exponential dive. It is enough one to subscribe to the feeds of just several scientific journals just to realize the scientific pace. And when was the last time a philosopher or theologian "deduced" something? A century ago?

    Here is what Neil deGrasse says about philosophy:

    "Up until early 20th century, philosophers had material contributions to make to the physical sciences. So, what happens is the 1920s come in. We learn about the expanding universe in the same decade as we learn about quantum physics, each of which falls so far out of what you can deduce from your armchair that the whole community of philosophers that previously had added materially to the thinking of the physical scientist were rendered essentially obsolete at that point. Philosophy has basically parted ways from the frontier of the physical sciences."

    Of course you can claim that philosophy is still in the game with the morality, religion and other non-materialistic matters but I think even that domain is getting smaller and smaller.

    It is in the human nature to be inquisitive and to desire to know more. You can't stop that. At least not by bad-mouthing a few scientists.

  238. wald0

    I never said anything about all these languages you are bringing up, all i said was that Latin is used in medicine and science because it is a dead language and therefore unambiguous. In Fencing, most cooking, music, etc. people don't die when a word is misunderstood- that is why they don't worry about ambiguity I would imagine. In fact the more expressive and subtle a language is the more ambiguous it will be by its very nature. Subtly and ambiguity come in when we try to express the countless shades of grey that exist between black and white. So really you are working against yourself, if you refuse to admit that English is ambiguous then you must concede it isn't capable of complicated, subtle expression.
    Yes Latin is also ambiguous, not more than English but ambiguous all the same. But its dead, meaning once you learn it, it never changes- period. Besides, its not like we are using it to write papers or converse with friends, we use simple nouns, prefixes, suffixes, etc. to name certain procedures, body parts, medications, etc. so context has nothing to do with its meaning in this system. I have no idea how it worked with actual Latin as I have no need of such knowledge or ability and have never studied it.
    Scientific papers are of course written in every language in which scientists reside and work, they just get translated into English in order to be in English speaking journals, to share the knowledge with English speaking colleagues, etc. English is widely spoken and used not because it is better or less ambiguous/more ambiguous, its used because the US and Britain ruled the world by force and became the strongest most powerful nations on earth, and they just so happened to speak English.

  239. robertallen1

    How do you tell the difference between a subtle and expressive language and a non-subtle and non-expressive one? How do you distinguish between a language that is midly subtle and expressive as opposed to one that is profoundly subtle and profoundly expressive--as a matter of fact, how can a language be non-expressive.

    And on the subject of ambiguity, just because like so many languages, English takes its meaning from its surroundings and Latin even more so (and considering that by your own admission you have never studied Latin, you have no business making the assertion that it is on a par with English in this respect) does not mean that it is especially or inherently ambiguous and this juxtaposition of description of countless shades of grey with some perceived and pervasive ambiguity is to say the least puzzling. As a matter of fact, when applied to language, subtle, expressive and ambiguous are meaningless.

    In fencing, cooking, music, etc. there is no worry about ambiguity because the terms used have come to mean something specific, the same with the Greek and Latin terms employed in science. This exists irrespective of the so-called ambiguity or lack thereof (arm can be just as specific as brachia) of the language from which the terms are derived or whether it's living or dead. Once again, Greek is still very much with us. Once again, the Latin vocabulary has to be constantly expanded to keep up with new discoveries, especially in toxonomy.

    For whatever reason English is used so predominantly in scientific papers, it certainly has proved an effective tool for meeting the needs of exactness required by modern science, as has French, German and Russian.

    "English is widely spoken and used not because it is better or less ambiguous/more ambiguous." That's been my whole point.

  240. I AM POP SLAG.

    Thats the best thing about him!
    He's a very keen amateur sociologist and psychology student he is also eminently qualified to stray into this field as his genetics work provides biological and empirical examples that lead to fresh insight into to both disciplines.
    Two disciplines that sometimes lack a lot of truly scientific methodology- Dawkins brings this to the table magnificently if a little brutally on occasion.
    Cultural evolution and how to go about it is possibly one of the biggest long term questions facing mankind *(the others being "when wil that big volcano go off?", "how close is that space rock?" and "Is it me or is it getting a bit nippy?").
    If we cant evolve our ideas, lifestyles and our very perceptions of just what the f*ck it is that we think we are doing then we will fail to realise that we actually behave like a swarm of toxic, fiery locusts eating ourselves to death in an orgy of hubris and crude oil.
    Dawkins is one in a long line of thinkers to call religion out as "evil distraction" usually by its own definitions oi such things it thats absurd- its hardly difficult to ridicule fantasy now is it?
    But to some the delusion is so fixed and concrete and hence the more science learns the easier this is shown to the poor acolytes of bullsh*t-
    We pretty much have scientific proof of
    A.the fact the pope talks sh*t
    B.the methodo;ogy employed to get you to believe this sh*t
    That is why Dawkins was created in the earky fifteies in a secret atheist lab to really try to work out how to stop half the world from being scientifically and medically insane and delusional.
    The psychological studies of cults, charismatic leaders, group behaviour etc coupled with the genetic ,pheromonal and biological triggers dawkins can help identify are the informational tools to do this with even greater effect.
    Before damning his theory on ,memetic response can i refer you to the studies of the psychological effect of a no smoking sign?
    It turns out it actually makes you WANT a cigarette...
    So a societal consensus response to a perceived ill that at one point most certainly was logical -as smoking became socially unacceptable in various places and a means was needed to convey the message of this culturally evolutionary meme.
    Fast forward to Now and smoking is pretty much banished from certain places but still the signs persist and it turns out they have the exact opposite of their original intent which was to protect people from smoking and influence more of the behaviour they were designed to stop.
    This is cultural evolution in action via a meme- in this form two words and an associated symbol that cause an action or prevent one the consequences being neither definite or uniform much like a biological response- plain as day proof that dawkins isnt just making this stuff up-
    The memes he talks of are immensely powerful(just askl an advertiser ffs) he has evidence, as would you if you were to actually look for it.

  241. wald0

    "How do you tell the difference between a subtle and expressive language and a non-subtle and non-expressive one?"

    Come on man, your not that thick. I know you know the difference because I have seen you debate on this site too many times- you are smarter than this. But i'll try to explain any way. Have you not ever tried to describe a feeling you had and found there just doesn't seem to be the words to truly express what you really meant? I just wrecked my truck yesterday, nine staples in my head, two broke ribs, yadda, yadda, yadda, no one wants to hear a sob story. But when I was spinning out of control and entering the on coming lane of traffic I can't really describe to you what that felt like. There are no words that truly capture the "deer in the head-lights" sheer terror that washed over me. Though the English language would probably do the best job, because it is very expressive and has many many words that cover all the shades of grey in between just being anxious and being mortally terrified- it even allows us, by use of metaphor in this case, to step past sheer terror to an even deeper level. Now granted I am no writer and I am sure many people could give you a much better example but, surely you get the point.

    "...how can a language be non-expressive."

    It simply lacks the words to express what you want to express, its that simple. Generally all languages will have words for most things, places, people, verbs, etc. but many lack the myriad of adjectives and adverbs necessary to make subtle distinctions.Linguist say these languages are "inexpressive" because they do not allow the true artist to express him or her self completely. They simply facilitate communication on a more basic, more utilitarian level.

    "... Once again, Greek is still very much with us. Once again, the Latin vocabulary has to be constantly expanded to keep up with new discoveries, especially in toxonomy."

    Yeah, and once again you are talking out your a55. I never said Greek wasn't with us and I explained to you already Einstein that we simply use isolated words from the Latin language, we're not writing prose so your point about Latin is completely mute.
    Look, its obvious you are one of these conceded Americans that is convinced English is somehow superior to all other languages and you obviously put on your grouchy panties when you crawled out of bed this morning cause really I never insulted English in the first place. I have already explained to you that the more ambiguous a language is the more subtle and expressive it is. English is considered one of the most expressive and subtle languages in the world and as a result it is very ambiguous and very hard to master. If you are unable to grasp that then well, I don't know maybe you should read more, go take a few English Lit. classes, something like that. Or hey, just go to Google and give it a whirl. Linguists from all over the world will tell you what have already told you, just read their work.
    The truth is you could do that, you may have already, but really you just want to keep arguing with someone and attempting to seem intelligent in the process. So, whatever man- believe what you will. Its not like I will lose sleep over your opinion. That's right, say that slowly with me- o-p-i-n-i-o-n, very good Robert I knew you could do it. Now look that word up and try to understand what it means, later Junior.

  242. over the edge

    i hope you are okay and it is nothing too serious. heal well

  243. wald0

    Thanks, it hurts like crazy but as far as know I'll be alright. It was an unbelievably close call, so i am more shook up than I guess i may realize. But someone is here to check my eyes every so often and make sure I know my name and all that stuff, they said head wounds like this have to be monitored for at least five days. So every two hours they come in here and poke and prod on me, ask me a few questions, and tell me i should stop smoking so much weed cause the room stinks. I can't help it, i am still freakin out and its all that seems to help. Thanks for your concern again, got to get some rest. Time to burn another one.

  244. Peter Ho

    @ 27:13 the golden rule "treat others like you would wish to be treated yourself" (the more accurate term is "don't treat others the way you don't wanted to be treated) was originated in China and the first person who have said this is Confucius.

    FYI Confucius is a BIG atheist. He condemns those people who tries to understand death and heaven before understanding how to be a descent human being first.

    That golden rule DEFINITELY did not derive from religion.

  245. I AM POP SLAG.

    Waldo and allen- your endless perpetual discourse on semantics is wearing thin- especially after youve been banging on about expressive language now for about 100 posts and not once mentioned intonation.
    Its never been what you say- its how you say it.
    As far as deciding what are and arent definite concepts in an indefinite subject and how many semantic angles can dance on a pin..well to be frank- nobody cares and it isnt helpful nor even remotely interesting.
    Its like trying to use trigonometry to explain the beauty of a sunset...

  246. docoman

    Look up 'the Silver Rule' and 'the Golden Rule'.

    From Wikipedia;
    "It is generally thought that Confucius was born in 551 BCE"
    Also from Wiki;
    "An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you."
    It would seem that Confucius was not the first to have talked about the idea. Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks all did before Confucius by the looks of it.

  247. Achems_Razor

    I suggest y'all go to a doc about the English language here on TDF, if you want to talk about such.

    "The Adventure of English" 6 hours 44 min.

  248. robertallen1

    "English is considered one of the most expressive and subtle languages in the world and as a result it is very ambiguous and very hard to master." By whom? Sources? Remember, the person who makes the cllaim must provide the evidence. What you've said about English applies to other languages as well and equally. So you've hardly said anything profound.

    You are the one who stated that dead languages were used for scientific terminology because somehow their being dead insured greater stability. Well, Greek is a living language and the Latin vocabulary has to be constantly augmented to meet the growing needs, especially in toxonomy, so that idea is garbage, especially in light of one of your few correct statements, namely that we use isolated words. Once again, whether a scientific paper is written in English, French, German or Russian, the main ideas in it manage to come across UNAMBIGUOUSLY! Now, why is that if English is one of the most ambiguous languages around.

    Where did I say or imply that English was somehow superior to other languages (and by the way the word is conceited)? No one language is superior to another. Certain things can be expressed better in one language than another (e.g. French is terrible for cinema, but this does not imply that French is somehow inferior. This is about the third time you've tried to credit me with thoughts that I never expressed and, quite frankly, it's dishonest and despicable.

    Hence, the terms ambiguous, subtle and expressive and hard to learn are meaningless when describing a language.

    You might know a lot about chemistry, but not about language, mo*on.

  249. robertallen1

    You're right. That's why the terms ambiguous, subtle, expressive and hard to learn are meaningless when describing a language.

    Also, as the dicussion seems to be focused on writing, intonation, while important and vital, has not been mentioned.

    P.S. If you find our discourse on semantics wearing thin, skip the posts. Remember, this is a public site and you're not the only one on it.

  250. Kateye70

    Maybe I can divert the topic a little...what does this mean?

    "philosophy doesn't brew beer" (your reply to one of my posts)...I am truly stumped by the possible implications of this. Even google (usually my friend) didn't help out. =(

  251. robertallen1

    I saw it about a year ago. It was a fine encapsulation of the history of the English language. I do not recall a treatment of its nature.

    Quite frankly, using terms such as ambiguous, expressive and hard to learn to describe a language is idiotic.

  252. robertallen1

    My parody of "philosophy doesn't bake bread."

  253. Kateye70

    ahhh..."philosophy doesn't do anything useful". got it.
    (duuuuh on me!)

  254. robertallen1

    Perhaps this is better: philosophy crosses the i's and dots the t's.

  255. wald0

    If you don't like the debate don't read it pal. That said we are off topic and are moving, if anyone's is interested.

  256. wald0

    Of course, all those linguistic professionals over the years such as Tolkien and Chomsky were just id10ts huh? Thanks, I knew if let you go you would eventually destroy your own credibility, most arrogant ppl do. If you want to continue this, why you would i can't imagine, but we'll have to do it on the other thread. Don't try to sneak in an insult knowing we have been warned to move, cheap shot Junior.

  257. robertallen1

    How about some direct citations from Tolkien and Chomsky standing for the proposition that English is particularly ambiguous, expressive, subtle and hard to learn.

    P.S. Your inability to describe your experiences the way you would like to might reflect more on your literary skill rather than the language in which you write--and don't take this as an insult. We all have different abilities and talents.

  258. wald0

    Continued on other thread.

  259. I AM POP SLAG.

    just seemed like you were both chasing your own tails...

  260. I AM POP SLAG.

    was more of a bun fight than a debate,,,

  261. I AM POP SLAG.

    ...except that it allows you to express the thought that all philosopy is useless and proving and disproving the cat in the box simultaneously.

  262. robertallen1

    No, that's not philosophy. That's language.

  263. terrasodium

    Philosophy did not die because its problems completely disappeared, however. On the contrary, the analysis of language revealed the extent to which thought is channeled and confused by language and the difficulty of escape. "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language," and its mission is "to shew the fly the way out of the fly-bottle." [Philosophical Investigations, §§109, 309.] On this program, philosophy cannot end until a triumph of human ingenuity or self-deception occurs; we're still waiting.

  264. robertallen1

    Just what are you talking about?

  265. terrasodium

    I have not been persuaded by the analytic program to wake up from the nightmare of language or to obtain philosophical knowledge from its analysis; nor have I been persuaded by the non-analytic diagnosis that philosophy became repetitive or self-deceptive after Nietzsche. Why have I not been persuaded? Partly for good philosophical reasons; I think these conclusions are hasty, fed in part by ignorance of the history of philosophy, lack of creativity in imagining the options open to us, and fad thinking.

  266. robertallen1

    More gibberish. You're not fooling anyone. To hell with your philosophical reasons.

  267. AntiTheist666


    I believe he’s talking about Wittgenstein. In his first book the Tractatus he described his atomistic picture theory of the world and declared all problems of philosophy solved. Quite some years later In Philosophical Investigations he declared he was wrong and gave us his Language Games Theory. Quite apt of @terrasodium to mention this in the light of all your exchanges with @Wald0.

    The Crucifed One

  268. robertallen1

    One way or another, philosophy doesn't brew beer and hence is useless. I fail to see what this has to do with my exchanges with Waldo re language and English in particular.

  269. AntiTheist666

    Pwah! Spare me your pathetic platitudes. And if you don’t think Wittgenstein is relevant to language and logic I really feel sorry for you.

  270. robertallen1

    We don't need philosophers period. Once again, they don't brew beer and hence are useless.

  271. kissmyasp

    A very interesting interview - Professor Dawkins was clear, spoke politely and logically....
    To paraphrase, he made it clear that he believes dogmatic faith, most commonly spawned by religion, is dangerous. Religion is not based on evidential fact and therefore has no more credibility as an authority than do fairies, leprechauns and santa.

    I felt annoyed by the interviewer who frequently cut the Professor off mid-sentence and who was obviously biased by his own beliefs.

  272. Kateye70

    There's so much we do that isn't useful. Just because philosophy doesn't 'brew beer' doesn't mean it has no place. Art and music don't 'brew beer' either, but I do enjoy them.

    It was nice of @Antitheist666 to identify @terrasodium's post as I had absolutely no clue it was a copy-pasta quote from someone I've never heard of. (I have a feeling that's why so many of @terra's posts leave me going 'wtf was that all about???')

  273. robertallen1

    The painter produces a painting, the composer a piece of music, the author a literary work. So art does "brew beer." Philosophy produces nothing--and there is nothing worse than when philosophy wraps its tentacles around art.

  274. Kateye70

    From Wikipedia:
    "Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.

    "Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument."

    I don't understand your negative valuation.

  275. robertallen1

    Because it produces nothing except more philosophy (i.e., unproven and unprovable speculation).

    And if your second paragraph is true , why is religion so often linked to philosophy?

  276. AntiTheist666


    “I mean this as a compliment when I say Philosophers are the kind of people who don’t take common sense for an answer.”

    Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion.

  277. Kateye70

    Well, I'm not a philosopher (other than armchair variety), so I have no answer for that.

    I do know that in my creative work, I need a fair amount of 'thinking' time before I can come up with concepts and work them into whatever I'm doing. Projects have to make sense to me before I can actually work on them. I'm years into a project right now, and still just thinking about it. After I've put all my puzzle pieces together mentally, then I'll start the actual work, because if the concept is wrong from the beginning, the result wouldn't be worth the effort.

    It seems that by associating philosophy with religion (and in a negative way), we throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak.

    Just because it can be misapplied doesn't mean it's wrong, and if one does apply the second part of the definition, it seems like it supports scientific inquiry rather than superstition.

  278. Kateye70

    =) I do like Richard Dawkins.

    In reading just that sentence (which is out of context so I'm not sure how he meant it), I could interpret it to mean that philosophers creatively think 'outside the box.'

  279. robertallen1

    Good planning and philosophy are two different things.

  280. robertallen1

    Just what is "outside the box?" And how do you tell if someone is thinking "outside the box" or "inside the box?"

  281. terrasodium

    There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
    Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

  282. Achems_Razor

    Without prejudice:

    "Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it"

    Albert Camus.

  283. AntiTheist666


    Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion. Chapter 3 - Arguments for god’s existence.

    After giving Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs a swift rebuttal he goes onto the ontological argument and treats it like the infantile word game it is. He then gives details of Bertrand Russell’s difficulty with the argument and how he would have looked at it differently. He states he is a scientist not a philosopher. He cites the atheist philosopher J.L. Mackie and then comes the quote I left. Hume and Kant’s considerations follow. I hope that gives you a bit more context. Creative thinking outside the box is a fair interpretation.

  284. robertallen1

    No philosopher can prove or disprove the existence of a supreme being. Science is the only tool and success is hardly guaranteed.

    Also, who cares whether someone is thinking "inside" or "outside" the alleged box? All that counts is the validity of the thought.

  285. systems1000

    I think that the difference between true religion and false religion is that true religion teaches us to look for our own defects and provides us with a viable technique to rout them out.False religion theaches us to blame others for our own defects and then go back to the comfort of sleep.

  286. robertallen1

    Religion implies belief in a higher being which has nothing to do with seeking out one's defects.

  287. Kateye70

    It's just creative thinking exercises to generate multiple solutions to a problem.

    How do you tell if it's working? If you have to ask, it isn't! =)

  288. systems1000

    Ok,lets forget about religion.How about-making the world a better place begins with our selves?

  289. robertallen1

    I didn't ask how you tell if it's working. That answer is obvious.

  290. Kateye70

    ok, how's this: You'll know it when you see it. =D

  291. robertallen1

    No, the question was "Just what is 'outside the box?' And how do you tell if someone is thinking 'outside the box' or 'inside the box?'" Not that it really matters, for all that counts is if it works.

  292. Apeiros Sophos

    robertallen1 said,

    "The painter produces a painting, the composer a piece of music, the author a literary work. So art does "brew beer." Philosophy produces nothing--and there is nothing worse than when philosophy wraps its tentacles around art."

    You claim Philosophy is useless because it cannot 'brew beer'. A ballet dancer cannot 'brew beer'. Does art now not 'brew beer'? Or is ballet now not art? I am confused.

    You're making bold statements, but not being very clear.

  293. robertallen1

    Wrong. A performer brews beer just as much as the creator of the work being performed. Philosophy brews nothing.

  294. terrasodium

    Facts are statements that can be verified or proven to be true or false. Factual statements from reliable sources can be accepted and used in drawing conclusions, building arguments, and supporting ideas.

    Opinions are statements that express feelings, attitudes, or beliefs . Opinions must be considered as one person's point of view that you are free to accept or reject.

  295. Samuel Morrissey

    Facts are merely the observed result, of a process, a test, an experiment, etc. Facts are immutable by definition. Facts make no case on their own. Gravity is a fact, but that tells you nothing more about gravity than its result.

    To explain facts you need to link them together - into a Theory.

    Opinions are as you say. A point of view, and malleable.

    [edit] post replied to was edited beyond recognition, so my reply has done likewise.

  296. Samuel Morrissey

    Is your tag a play on 'salt of the earth' ? pride comes before the fall.

  297. terrasodium

    “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” (Abraham Lincoln)

  298. Samuel Morrissey

    Good discussion doc by the way. Bit irritating how many times Dawkins was interrupted, but genuinely felt that both parties respected each other, even if as Dawkins pointed out believing in flying horses or whatever is obviously ludicrous for a modern man.


  299. Samuel Morrissey

    Bottom, fish, bananas, in Peking. (Rik Mayall)

  300. terrasodium

    The proverb "pride goes before a fall" (from the biblical Book of Proverbs, 16:18) is thought to summate the modern use of hubris.Hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow.

  301. terrasodium

    looking up Mayall, guessing he's the finance minister?

  302. Apeiros Sophos


    How does a performing artist 'produce' something? If in fact it is 'producing' anything, what is it'?

  303. Samuel Morrissey

    In your own words, of either secular thought or religious belief, which then is the more hubristic?

    The religious idea that humans alone in the vastness of time and space are somehow special in the eyes of an imagined overarching omnipotent, omnipresent deity seems very hubristic to me.

    The secular idea that essentially humans are little more than dust mites flitting around in their brevity on a thin green scum that aggregated a surface layer on the planet earth certainly implies more humility than the former, no?

    nice copy pasta though, yum yum!

  304. Samuel Morrissey


    As Roger Irrelevant would say, 'Wibble! fnerk fnerk...'

  305. Samuel Morrissey

    No he's a British comedian. Partnered with Adrian Edmondson in the comedy series 'Bottom'

  306. Apeiros Sophos

    Samuel Morrissey,

    So, the performing artist produces performance? Which is a value held only to the observer?

  307. Samuel Morrissey

    Hmmm. The performing artist produces THE performance which displays the value of the work to those who observe. One performance is not equal to another performance, even of the same work. Each performance is its own product.

    Those who observe are not exclusively observers, they may be also co performing or not performing performers, creators, the creator, the performer etc. If the performance is not observed by a particular individual, that performance has no intrinsic value to that individual. It may have exterior value I.E. the owner of the venue may see the money from ticket sales as a value of the performance, but this is not connected to the value of the performance itself.

    I do not share RobertAllens view that philosophy is useless, but I do think its usefulness has yet to be adequately defined. Personally I think philosophy is what religion should be, and religion as it stands is something we could and should do without (as in my experience the value of it has long since dropped into the negative range). Yes there are positive elements to some religions and some religious peoples thoughts and actions, but these are outweighed heavily by such dangerous and insidious ideas like the suspension of rational thought and blind faith being something to aspire to.


  308. Apeiros Sophos

    Philosophy gets misconstrued with religion because they often deal with the subjective. Philosophy to me is the process of obtaining knowledge through reason and logic. Of course, this is the staple definition of philosophy, and rightfully so as it holds true.

    The questions which cannot bare measured answers should not be disregarded. The value of ethics for example cannot be objectively measured but still pose a very real and important question.

    The exponential growth of technology should not be the driving force behind abandoning philosophical thinking. Quite the contrary, philosophy will be more important than ever. Cloning human beings, genetically engineering a fetus, the rights of an artificial intelligence; all questions that need to be examined through a process of deductive reasoning.

    Such a process of thinking should not be viewed useless or irrelevant.

  309. systems1000

    Why don,t the three of you just get a room and make up for lost time.

  310. Samuel Morrissey

    I agree with you for the most part, however I think maybe RobertAllens point is that until philosophy has a tangible physical material effect on reality (I.e. a manifest code of AI rights for robots, or a series of protocols and laws that govern genetic manipulation, or even more pertinent a universal code of human and animal rights) then its usefulness is limited to speculation and thus has no extant benefit. It strikes me that philosophy rather than science should be in conflict with religion, as religion rhetorically aspires to the same goals but refutes the true means to get there - your logic and deductive reason. Unfortunately, religion has got the grasp on transforming thought into action, and thus has had a very profound effect on a very large amount of people.

    Thought without action is inconsequential, and action without thought may well be dangerous. Happily neither are mutually exclusive. Only one has an effect on reality however, and it is only that effect that can be judged or measured for its 'usefulness'. Recorded knowledge would be a desirable effect, but what knowledge has philosophy actually gained and recorded?

    For me, philosophy has potential value, but whether it is great or small is unknowable. Currently I think some philosophers have had some effect on some readers. The effect though maybe profound for a few is minimal or even nothing for the great majority. So for me contemporary philosophy albeit interesting is mostly useless (not completely). I do not think that people should stop doing it, but I do think there should be a branch into material reality at some point in the not so far future. Time to put your thoughts in to action, so to speak.


  311. Samuel Morrissey

    Well now, we wouldn't want you to feel left out.

  312. Kateye70

    You sure are doing a lot of deconstructing here of a term that applies to a creative thinking exercise.

  313. oQ

    Let's say there is a box and one puts inside of it, all that was said and done about a subject, thinking outside of the box would be to creatively imagine what else could fit inside that box and be accepted as fitting with the rest.
    At least that's how i would explain it to a child.

  314. Apeiros Sophos

    Well, if philosophy is a tool used to obtain knowledge through inquiry and debate, then process that information through a method of deductive reasoning, then philosophy is a format for critical thinking. Critical thinking, is what we apply when we need to evaluate information before we make a decision. Those decisions we make can have very real and tangible consequences on the physically material world in which we inhabit.


  315. oQ

    A performer uses all existing art (he/she has been in contact with) and expresses a personal rendition of what it inspired him/her to perform while a philosopher uses all existing thoughts (on a subject) and expresses his/her rendition of what it inspired him/her to think.
    It is all creative and eventually if valuable, put into action.

  316. Apeiros Sophos

    Side note-

    This topic is relevant to Dawkins on Religion, in that if one has not learned how to properly deduce information and think critically, one becomes more susceptible to manipulation by organized religions. However, this does raise a question. How do we explain the modern and very well educated individuals that still believe in organized religion?

  317. Apeiros Sophos

    So, both the performer and the philosopher have something to offer or 'produce'?

    Also, that was well said. Could not have articulated it better myself.

  318. oQ

    The expression philosophy doesn't bake bread may be right because science is the oven, but without a baker an oven is useless. Philosophy is the baker while the bread is the idea, and yes without an oven, one is left with a lump of dough you can't eat.

  319. robertallen1

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking Glass."

  320. robertallen1

    A performance, of course.

  321. Kateye70


    I myself would say, the 'box' is accepted knowledge or thinking on a given subject.

    To think outside it, one would put away the 'box' and consider the subject as if one had no prior knowledge (and therefore no pre-conceptions) of it.

    I'm not sure I agree with the part about 'fitting with the rest' since sometimes the new viewpoint is so radically different from what's 'inside the box' it explodes, so to speak, and a whole new box is created.

  322. robertallen1

    It's had several thousand years for its usefulness to be adquately defined and so far, nothing.

  323. robertallen1

    And just what type of knowledge has been obtained by philosophy so far? Answer, absolutely nothing except for one philosopher either agreeing or disagreeing with another. And what has philosophy accomplished, absolutely nothing. Ambrose Bierce was right when he defined philosophy as "a route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing." Pardon the quote from authority if such it be.

  324. Kateye70

    Not to sound cynical, but I would explain them as having some motivation beyond the mystical. I.e., social or economic reasons.

    Or possibly, as Orwell put it so nicely in "1984" they are masters of "double-think".

    (For those that haven't read the book, doublethink is "the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.")

  325. robertallen1

    You're first paragraph is correct. The very nature of philosophy militates against its being of any use except to philosophers.

  326. robertallen1

    You still haven't answered the question.

  327. robertallen1

    But we're adults and your description has no practical value.

  328. robertallen1

    And just what knowledge has been obtained through philosophy?

  329. Kateye70

    Actually I have, but you asked two.

    1. Q: "No, the question was "Just what is 'outside the box?'
    A: the 'box' is accepted knowledge or thinking on a given subject.

    2. Q: "And how do you tell if someone is thinking 'outside the box' or 'inside the box?'" "
    A: If you have to ask, the answer doesn't matter, because you're still inside the box.

  330. robertallen1

    Complete nonsense. The baker is the creator (the doer), the oven his tool and a product comes forth. As it is incapable of baking, the only product from philosophy is the amorphous lump of dough.

  331. robertallen1

    1. Your first paragraph applies to all cranks.

    2. Who would seriously ask such a question? Who would seriously care? Why bother to create and then make such a distinction when the end result is all that counts, not the means by which it was obtained?

  332. AntiTheist666


    “To make a delicious apple pie one needs first to create a universe” - Carl Sagan

    The quote is from memory and I might have it wrong. Being wrong ...a bad thing? When you recognise your error it’s a Good thing. It’s a marker that real learning is taking place. This is how I feel when trying to explain my enthusiasm for philosophy.

    So we’re in this box. Not on our own are we, the box is so full of trees we can’t see the wood never mind outside the box. In between the trees there are roaming herds of white elephants kicking up so much dust as to block out the sun. The skyline is dominated by huge idols, some are ugly and hollow and some are made of gold. And some are so beautiful, bright and shiny that those that worship just stand there blinking, blinded for eternity...deep deep eternity.

    The Crucified One

  333. oQ

    i agree with it all.

  334. oQ

    If we consider philosophy as meaning; conception, outlook, reasoning, thinking, viewpoint....then philosophy is needed for anything to go forward using what is behind.
    If we consider philosophy as meaning; beliefs, ideology, dogma, morality then we use what is behind and refuse to go forward.
    Good day to all, i am going to bake bread.

  335. Apeiros Sophos

    While beer and bread are certainly colorful analogies, I must dissent.

    The bread likely could not have even been conceived of without philosophy. Without philosophy, we likely would not even have the dough.

    Philosophy produces in a person a way of thinking. Thus manifesting its self through our interaction with all facets in reality, e.g., this ridiculous metaphorical bread.

  336. Kateye70

    1. It applies to the everyday 'shorthand' thinking we all do.

    You, for instance, appear to have decided that anything to do with philosophy is rubbish. Therefore, there's no reason to think outside that little box you've mentally put philosophy into. Are you a crank?

    What would happen if you cleared your mind of that preconception and reconsidered what the uses of philosophy might be? Surprise us with your insight!

    2. Seriously?

    You've made a qualitative assumption that the end result is all that counts, therefore one need not consider the tools one uses to achieve the end result.

    I understand that no matter how well I know a subject I can still be surprised by it. This particular tool is one I like to keep sharp.

  337. robertallen1

    Just call it good planning and be done with it.

  338. Apeiros Sophos

    robertallen1 said,

    "And just what knowledge has been obtained through philosophy?"

    Before we had modern science, we had natural philosophy.

  339. robertallen1

    Are you stating that the arts and sciences could not have been conceived without philosophy. Complete nonsense. Philosophy is merely the tin can on the tail of the dog.

  340. robertallen1

    Once again, forethought is necessary; philosophy is not. Forethought has produced masterpieces; philosophy has produced nothing.

    P.S. Having read enough philosophy, this is no pre-conception.

  341. robertallen1

    That's merely what it was called.

  342. Kateye70

    Ok, so you are not an 'outside the box' thinker.

  343. robertallen1

    I keep telling you the distinction is a ridiculous one. All that matters is the end result, not its provenance.

  344. Apeiros Sophos

    Does not appear to be ;)

  345. Samuel Morrissey

    I wrote a long reply, then my internet died. I saved it as a txt file but it is off topic for here, being a monologue on modern philosophy. If you have a website I would be happy to post it there. For here, I condense it now to the most important question; what do you define as knowledge?

  346. robertallen1

    I, too, would like to read your monologue

  347. AntiTheist666


    “Philosophy is merely the tin can on the tail of the dog.”

    Good one, I really did laugh out loud. Tins cans are useful.

  348. over the edge

    i support thinking outside the box. but only when "creative thinking" can provide a demonstrable solution. the thought process might be 'outside the box' but once the solution can be demonstrated to be a viable and fact based answer. then it is placed "inside the box". many people today seem to think that the solution is viable even if it has no proof/evidence and remains 'outside the box' . it is a catchphrase that has lost the original meaning and used to support ideas that have little or no evidence. at that point my support dissolves

  349. Kateye70

    And I keep telling you that 'thinking outside the box' is a creative thinking tool.

    While end results matter, the process that creates the result does have value.

    You assert that that there is no value in philosophy, because you have chosen to define it in a negative way. Others choose to define it as a critical thinking process. As @Apeiros said below,

    "Well, if philosophy is a tool used to obtain knowledge through inquiry and debate, then process that information through a method of deductive reasoning, then philosophy is a format for critical thinking.

    "Critical thinking, is what we apply when we need to evaluate information before we make a decision.

    "Those decisions we make can have very real and tangible consequences on the physically material world in which we inhabit."

    Also, you have sidestepped performing the exercise I suggested.

    CHALLENGE: What would happen if, no matter how knowledgeable you feel you are on this subject, you stepped outside the mental box you have put philosophy into, and--no matter how painful it may be for you!--came up with at least one way in which philosophy would be valuable.

    You MUST put away EVERYTHING you already know about philosophy and approach it as if you know nothing and are learning about it for the first time.

    Can you do it? =)

  350. Apeiros Sophos

    Samuel Morrissey,

    The sum of my entire experience. The useful, the useless, and everything in between. All mashed together in a smorgasbord of information awaiting to be sorted into a framework for me to make conscious and rational decisions with.

    At least I try to.

  351. AntiTheist666

    @Samuel Morrisey

    “For here, I condense it now to the most important question; what do you define as knowledge?”

    Asking this of someone who goes by the name of infinite wisdom? It may take an eternity.

  352. Samuel Morrissey

    Well I will post it, if no one minds so much about the size or loose association to the topic. Mods can delete it later if they like.

  353. Apeiros Sophos


    wald0 appears to have been correct in assessing your inability to, "concede even one point in any argument you have started"

    I enjoy a good debate, but you appear unwavering in your beliefs and consideration of opposing propositions. Instead, you refute with baseless rhetoric.

  354. robertallen1

    Not on the tail of the dog.

  355. robertallen1

    Exactly. That's why the whole concept is bogus.

  356. Samuel Morrissey

    Can knowledge come from pure thought...

    While I suppose it might in that I may not know the answer to a simple math question, but may acquire it through thought alone, many paths of thought have insurmountable gaps if thought is the only engine. Most require practical experience, and/or experimental trial and error, then a good deal more thought as well if they are to transit those gaps. Even reading requires the training and experience of the language, alphabet, grammar and other subtleties, though it may be beyond memory for some.

    The many branches of philosophy to me are a bit like the old parable of the 3 blind men and an elephant, each arguing with the other about their knowledge of the unseen creature, each simultaneously right and wrong in their own assertions.

    I can accept parts but not all from each. Idealism is right in that our personal reality is a pure creation of our brains function, built upon not only its sensory input but its experience and memory also. This is supported by the research on brains and their function. I think it possible that knowledge of absolute reality itself may well be unattainable due to this, but I am not at all convinced that absolute reality is likewise an illusion, or parody - there is a worrying infinite regression here - illusion of an illusion of etc. Pragmatism correctly highlights the need to incorporate modern scientific methods and discoveries into the pursuit of knowledge.

    The trouble with all this is, what do you define as knowledge? this could have great bearing on whether you can acquire it or not in any particular way.

    For me, facts are like tiny pieces of Boolean knowledge, truth or 1(non zero quantity) and negative truth(false) which are 0(no quantity). Theories combine many facts to describe systems and processes and thus contain the knowledge of a much broader sort, though firmly founded on facts which are Boolean, so they are in essence like a math equation where each symbol is a fact. Facts on their own are not much good unless you're on a general knowledge quiz show, but without them there can be no Theories. How do we come by facts?

    For me pure thought is not enough to be sure of a fact, the semi-idealist in me demands that I account for the possible distance between mine and absolute reality. My mind can be tricked, in short. Being aware of this however helps avoid most (but not all) of its downfalls. My aim is to be as close to absolute reality as I can. Pure thought problems like simple math questions can indeed have absolute answers (2+2=4 100% sure) but these are not reality, they are idealised models of reality. In absolute reality, 2+2 apples might be 3, if one is somehow mysteriously consumed during the addition. I like apples.

    Ultimately, doubt is the most valuable feature of our existence, it allows us to be as accurate as we possibly can about a fact while allowing always that it may change at any point in view of new evidence. It is this that allows us to function correctly through the illusion of our personal reality. I retain doubt in all things, the sun will rise tomorrow, 99.9% sure, I will die 99.9% sure, there is a god 0.01% sure, I will be rich 0.01% sure etc... The only absolute fact I am 100% sure of is that I doubt.


  357. robertallen1

    And I keep telling you "thinking outside the box" is bogus and meaningless.

    If philosophy merely meant critical thinking, I would have no problem with it, for it's something we do (or should do) every day, but the reality is it doesn't.

    As for your challenge. Why should I put aside my knowledge on this subject to come up with something based on ignorance?

  358. robertallen1

    I don't have to concede anything if I don't feel the need to.

    Now, how about listing one positive accomplishment of philosophy--and don't mention critical thinking. Mankind has been doing that in one form or other with varying rates of success before philosophy was even heard of?

  359. Kateye70

    I don't know...a tin can clattering at the end of a vicious dog's tail would warn of it's approach, which would be useful for anyone wanting to avoid it...kind of like 'belling the cat.'

  360. robertallen1

    And this is an eloquent exposition on why we don't need philosophy.

  361. robertallen1

    Except that putting tin cans on the tails of dogs was simply a schoolboy's idea of a joke--no practical application other than doubtful humor.

    Even if we accept this practice as a type of toxin, then philosophy is no more than a warning that something vicious is in store for us.

  362. Kateye70

    I've not used it in the 'catchphrase' sense. I've used it in the creative thinking tookit sense.

    I disagree that there has to be a demonstrable solution for the process to have value. Just doing the exercise may reconfirm that all the possible solutions are inside the box already (at least for the time being), or set up a path to possible solutions when looking at a different 'box' altogether.

    That's what creative thinking is all about. One never knows when the solution will appear, or how many 'boxes' one has to examine to get to it.

  363. Kateye70

    Well, if the dog, instead of being vicious, is pulling a wagon full of goodies, then having the tin can on its tail might announce something delicious is in store for us. =)

  364. Kateye70

    *sigh* nvm.

  365. robertallen1

    In that case, why would someone place a tin can on the dog's tail in the first place unless he were selling the goodies?

    One way or the other, the original concept describes philosophy to a tee.

  366. over the edge

    i am going to split some hairs here as i do not think we are very far apart in thinking.

    " I've used it in the creative thinking tookit sense. " then it can be useful. based on past interactions i am not making any accusations that you have a flawed thought process. only that many do and this term/process is misused and misunderstood by many.

    "I disagree that there has to be a demonstrable solution for the process to have value" i believe that the process can have value regardless of the solution. but the solution itself does require proof to have value.

    again maybe i am splitting hairs or just jaded. but the most common use of the "outside the box" phrase i encounter is used by pseudo sciences as some kind of validation for a baseless claim. the argument can be made that Darwin, Dawkins (selfish gene), Galileo and many others thought outside the box and i applaud their brilliance and creativity. but again i feel that the argument is most commonly used to support claims that have no other means of support.

  367. robertallen1

    Exactly. Which is why the whole concept is meaningless and irrelevant. Only the validity of the end result matters.

  368. Kateye70

    From Wiki:

    "Thinking outside the box...is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective.

    "This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking.

    "The term is thought to derive from management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s challenging their clients to solve the "nine dots" puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking.

    "...To think outside the box is to look further and to try not thinking of the obvious things, but to try thinking beyond them."

    Whatever the phrase has come to mean to those unfamiliar with the process, I thought I was being clear that I was using it in its original sense as a creative exercise.

    I first came across it, I believe, in a book on creativity written by one of the ad industry leaders, who used it in his creativity retreats along with other creative thinking techniques. (It's been years, I think the book is in a box in my garage somewhere.) There are many exercises beyond the 'nine-dots' one referenced as the phrase's origin, but the phrase does describe the process of 'forgetting' preconceptions for a fresh approach.

    So, yes, we are very close, just a couple of decades apart! =)

    Edit: oooh ooh! Anyone who tries to use the argument "I'm just thinking outside the box" or the accusation "You need to think outside the box" to support a claim is just dumb. It's a means to an end, and ends ALWAYS require a hell of a lot of hard work! Which is what you are saying.

  369. Kateye70

    lol, you got me there!

  370. over the edge

    touche. and by "we are very close, just a couple of decades apart! =)" are you calling me old ;) ?

  371. Kateye70


    I meant the meanings we each assigned to the phrase were a couple of decades apart.

    Sadly, that makes me the old one, since I learned that concept way back when...Thanks for making me say that!

  372. Apeiros Sophos

    Samuel Morrissey,

    I mostly agree with you, especially your final paragraph. I adopt the view that nothing can be proven, only shown to be more plausible above the existing formula. Works well for me.

    You said,

    "I am not at all convinced that absolute reality is likewise an illusion"

    Well, when we use the analogy of the three blind men, we concede that 'reality' at times can very much appear to be an illusion. I am not going to ask you, "what is reality", because it feels incredibly cliche right now. Although, the question does keep staring at us right in the face.

    Occasionally, I indulge myself with reading papers on simulation theory, just because I enjoy the lunacy of it. Also, when I am feeling obnoxious, I tell my girlfriend that she is simply a figment of my imagination, and proceed to ignore her. Alternatively, when she is mad at me, I tell her I am a figment of HER imagination, and that it is ridiculous to be arguing with her self.

    Life is not certain. Possibilities are endless. If a monkey can write Shakespeare, then who knows...

  373. robertallen1

    Is the Pythagorean theorem a mere plausibility?

    Is the biological relationship between manatee and the elephant a mere plausibility?

    Is the earth revolving around the sun a mere plausibility?

    Is the derivation of the name Jerome from Heironymous a mere plausibility?

  374. Apeiros Sophos

    I may personally reserve any infinite possibility no matter how unlikely or improbable it may appear in this particular universe.

  375. robertallen1

    And I don't confuse possibility with probability.

  376. Apeiros Sophos

    Thats cool :) later jeeves.

  377. Samuel Morrissey

    I differentiate between personal and absolute reality so - absolute reality is that universe which is the same for us all. Personal reality is our individual most similar illusion(to the absolute). To elaborate quickly, when you watch a film you are watching the personal reality, the actors you see are merely a flat scaled down representation of the absolute reality of the actual actors on the film set. Personal reality is the reason 2 people can observe the same event each coming to a different conclusion - maybe one has a colour set and one has black & white. Personal reality is the entirety of what we experience directly, our only hope is to strive to align the illusion with the absolute. The absolute can be indirectly experienced thankfully, otherwise we'd have no chance. Consider -

    The earth still seems flat to our eyes at the surface. A ship rising over the ocean horizon gives the illusion that it is sinking in reverse, first you see the mast head, then the funnels, finally the decks and hull. Indirectly we can then deduce that the surface is not at all flat but curved, which explains the illusion. We might remain unsure about the absolute certainty of that fact until complete circumnavigation is achieved (verification), at which point we can tick off that fact as 100% true, and firmly based in absolute reality. But to watch it, it will always look like it is sinking in reverse. (in actual fact, there are less strenuous ways to verify this particular example, and many scientists or natural philosophers were absolutely certain of it a long time before circumnavigation.)

    So I must contend, as RobertAllen has already, that at least some absolute facts about reality can indeed be and are known, my only stipulation about this is that these facts are invariably unattainable and completely unverifiable by thought alone. Curved earth was verified by early astronomy, by taking measurements of celestial objects at different locations. At differing locations, the zenith points to differing lesser circles of the sky, with a difference in angle proportional to the distance between the locations. This can only be true on a curved surface. It also provided the means for these early scientists to roughly estimate (surprisingly accurately) the actual size of the Earth, by deducing the actual proportion between the change in position and the change in angle.

    Of course, as I can only experience my own personal reality directly, I must retain at least a fraction of doubt, for all I know the universe could still be a complete hoax, with me wired up to some matrix or other. When making decisions, I go only with the very high probabilities because as far as I can tell these are the closest to absolute reality, so no god bothering, no worrying about the sun not rising or the sky falling on my head tomorrow, etc.

    P.S Be nice to your girlfriend!


  378. robertallen1

    You've eloquently described the conflict between empiricism and deduction. The problem is that deduction works only if the operating system is well-defined such as mathematics--and its underlying axioms are a fine example of this (yes, it has its breakdowns--I've read some Goeddel--but all in all, it sure seems to work). Yet, the strength of the marriage between science with its emphasis on empiricism and mathematics with its emphasis on deduction (with some induction thrown in) never ceases to amaze me.

    I'm with you on probability--which is why I have no truck with quackery (or as some would say in an unthinking moment, thinking "outside the box"). Every once in a while someone like Cantor, Jenner, Schimmelweiss or Wegener comes along, but the overwhelming odds are with the mainstream--and, by the way, I consider heroes such as Einstein and Salk a part of the mainstream, past and present.

    P.S. In your opening on cinema, I'm surprised you didn't allude to special effects.

  379. Dan Nuttall

    The interviewer is a d*ck. He's delivering his questions like daggers, getting dawkins' back up so he can't think as fluently as possible, in turn degrading the quality of his returns. It's a low tactic from the interviewer: seeing this opportunity as a way to get ahead by making dawkins look bad, he doesn't care about the content of the talk. Knob head.

  380. Kateye70

    You know, robert, I'm beginning to think you haven't actually read what I wrote about the phrase 'thinking outside the box.' You've now equated it with 'quackery' which has a totally different meaning. There's nothing 'quacky' about out-of-box thinking; it's what people do when they gain new insights by thinking about problems from non-traditional angles.

    I'm still waiting for your new insight into some problem, doesn't even have to be philosophy.

  381. Achems_Razor

    @Apeiros Sophos:

    The only reason for that term (natural philosophy) is the term science/scientist had not been invented yet!

  382. robertallen1

    And as I've stated before, the entire concept is irrelevant and ridiculous--that's my new insight--if it is new and if it is an insight.

  383. Achems_Razor

    Au Contraire! tin cans on a dogs tail would prompt me to get in touch with the SPCA and report animal cruelty. Lock the b@stards up!

  384. robertallen1

    Grabbe's devil indeed advocated its study for Little Gottlieb, along with a number of other ridiculous things, to which Little Gottlieb's father inquired, "What kind of crazy conditions are these?" Also, it is treated as part of the devil's pact.

    As for the quote from Russell, it only stresses how philosophy has never provided the answers to anything, is incapable of providing answers to anything and really amounts to no more than wild speculation. It does not bake bread, brew beer, paint a picture, sculpt a statue, erect a building, come up with a scientific breakthrough, solve a mathematical problem, compose a symphony, write a novel, perform a concerto. In short, all it can do is nothing.

  385. robertallen1

    Correct. The same with alchemist being used for chemist, the same with philosopher being used for mathematician.

  386. robertallen1

    I would do the same.

  387. Samuel Morrissey

    Well thank you Robert, you are evidently much better read than I. Apeiros Sophos asked me indirectly what is reality, so I decribed my experience of it as best as I could. I have been meandering through wiki pages on modern philosophy today as a result of this discussion, and it is reassuring at least to learn my thoughts are not original - it seems to imply my reality is hopefully not too far from the absolute.

    I avoided using special effects for analogy as it is more difficult to describe the absolute reality that creates them.

    You are absolutely right about deduction and the underlying axioms, which is exactly why it is impossible for any sufficiently abstracted knowledge to be gained by pure thought. The axioms must first be learned and accepted - without elementary math, 2+2=? is an unintelligible question.

    I am reminded me of Kaspar Hauser, a Bavarian medieval John Doe who had apparently been locked in a chicken shed for the first 15 or so years of his life. He was a rare example (or benchmark) of a mind that had been isolated from almost every aspect of human experience or sensory input from birth until well into adulthood. If you don't know the story it is well worth looking up.


  388. Kateye70

    If you don't want philosophy, choose another subject. =)

    Since, as you said, you 'stated before,' your comment is neither new nor insightful. sorry =(

  389. robertallen1

    The reason I mentioned special effects was because they highlight the concept of perspective which you treated twice in your last post, in terms of both cinema and the illusion of a flat earth. It's simply one "reality" engendering another.

    And speaking of addition, notice how subtraction and multiplication are deduced from it, how division is deduced from multiplication (up to a point). By extension, notice how the rational numbers are deduced from the integers (the countables), the real numbers from the rationals and the complex plain from the reals (see Dedekind cuts)--and all engendered by the acceptance of a counting system, together with a definition of addition.

    Kaspar Hauser was determined to be a pathological liar who claimed to have spent the first sixteen years of his life in solitary confinement. Why do you mention him? And, by the way, he was not medieval (1812?-1833).

  390. robertallen1

    I meant think "outside" or "inside" the box.

  391. oQ

    Your last phrase makes absolutely no sense. Without provenance we wouldn't have the immense joy of reading you. lol

  392. Samuel Morrissey

    Yes you are correct, he was not medieval my mistake. I do not trust the determination of the authorities who judged him as certain facts about the case do not quite add up. He had a very limited vocabulary and had to be taught almost everything as though he were a very young child including dressing, eating at a table, etc. I accept that he may well have become a pathological liar however his original story is completely plausible, and his disdain for religion hints to me at a possible friction between him and his surrogate community. He died from a stab wound that though he could have inflicted upon himself, could certainly have been an attacker. If it were a con, he could easily have robbed several families and fled - why did he stay? especially since the rather vindictive sounding notes accusing him of lying assert he was of such high intelligence. The very first accusations came from someone who sounded very like my father when I was a child - 'I can tell when you're lying! tell the truth!' well you evidently can't tell when I'm telling the truth because when I do you accuse me again of lying. Wish I'd had the vocabulary to say that then, not one of my best memories.

    I suggest the techniques of his carers were too primitive or otherwise not adequate to properly rehabilitate and question one in such a condition, and in slow frustration they turned against their charge. Not to mention the possibility of sabotage by other members of the community, kids screwing with the weirdo, perhaps?

    I mentioned him only as an example of an empty mind, or if you believe the liar pathology, then his fiction is the example. Someone like him does not have the mental construct based on experience or sensory input, in effect their personal experience of reality is less removed or distorted from the absolute.

    Other than that I guess maybe a baby waking up to consciousness for the first time is as close to absolute reality as it is possible for a human to be.

    One might ask them if knowledge can come from pure thought.

    I am thinking now philosophy is ultimately boring, probably useless and not worth another post from me. It was mildly interesting while it lasted, thanks all.


  393. Kateye70

    So you're just not up to the challenge, then. (Dismissing a perfectly sound technique as "irrelevent and rediculous"...tsk tsk tsk, thought better of you, robert.)

  394. Apeiros Sophos


    I know. I used it not for its title, but for its relevancy. Natural philosophy is still a philosophy, and an early ancestor to modern science. I do not claim natural philosophy is the origin to modern science, but rather a likely early precursor.

    There appears to be a recurring view that there is an intrinsic duality between science, art, and philosophy. While there certainly are differences, there are also shared commonalities--a co-operation of the disciplines, if you will. I find this 'co-operation' non-contradictory in my views, and rather enriching.

    For me, reality is an abstract puzzle that never forms the same picture twice. The very absurdity in that statement, is why I find with great difficulty taking life too seriously. This cup of tea may not be for everyone, but I can respect their views with candor. My goal, is only to gain new insights.

  395. Apeiros Sophos

    Samuel Morrissey,

    I truly enjoyed reading your depiction of reality. What is more, your process of rational deduction to conclude your analysis was absorbing. However, I notice perhaps a conflict I wish to draw your attention to-

    "absolute reality is that universe which is the same for us all. Personal reality is our individual most similar illusion(to the absolute)"

    I am curious, how are we to conclude any value to an absolute reality when our corporeal instruments used to obtain the absolute information, must pass through ones personal sensory inputs, then be dissected and analyzed subjectively based upon ones unique experiences?

    There appears to be a conflict between the absolute, and the less absolute, (objective and subjective) in your opening paragraph. Although, you seem to overcome this contradiction in your conclusion. It is the base for which it is concluded that I find most curious.

  396. AntiTheist666


    “Philosophy bakes no bread”

    Good, that leaves it free to do what it does best. Bakers bake bread. Philosophers philosophize.

    “Philosophy brews no beer.”

    Is an illogical and unphilosophic statement. It is a misunderstanding of philosophy.

    A philosophy dependant on bread baking, providing an income or any other type of material gain would be poorer for it. Subject to much affectation, bias, time constraints etc.

    “Philosophy bakes no bread.”

    Philosophy was never meant to be a means to an end. Philosophy is an end in itself. Philosophy simply means love of wisdom. What conditions do you give to what you love? Are they logical, rational, and scientific? Or is your love unconditional and instinctive?

    Philosophy is a useful tool to help us understand ourselves and this crazy world we live in. A Hammer is my favourite metaphor.

    The Crucified One

  397. robertallen1

    My point is that there is nothing inherently sound about thinking either "inside" or "outside" the box and that the whole concept is a faud and deception.

  398. robertallen1

    Art which is also an end in itself might not provide an income or material gain, but it does brew beer, bake bread, etc.

    A word's etymology often says nothing about the current meaning of the word, and the etymology of" philosophy" is no exception.

    "Philosophy is a useful tool to help us understand ourselves and this crazy world we live in." Unlike art, it has not done a very good job and unlike art, it certainly has not proved useful.

  399. Samuel Morrissey

    Apeiros Sophos,

    I am glad you enjoyed it.

    I understand the contradiction you mention. The important thing is that whatever barrier may currently exist between any individual reality and what I term the absolute, all must play along with their own illusion as if it were in fact real. If this is not done, no decision or action can be taken, because the determining values (this way good, that way OK, stay here very bad) become erroneous, permanently suspected of unknowable and possibly infinite error. Every probability of authenticity becomes a flat 50/50. Without decision, the outcome defaults - in my over simplified example to 'stay here very bad'

    This is why it is important to align with the absolute, to the best of our ability. I think success in this endeavor is measurable by using an anchor fact that we know is absolutely real - such as the curved Earth, where we still experience the illusion and yet can deduce that it is indeed illusory. To know the illusion for what it is, enables the minds eye to see past it. I also think success can be measured in the negative, in that the further away from the absolute we let our reality slide, the more danger we pose to ourselves and those around us. People actually believing in a martyrs heaven could easily decide to do truly abhorrent things for instance, and crucially they could believe they were acting correctly.

    So for me, striving to align with absolute reality is an essential responsibility we all share toward each other, even though we may never experience it directly. But this is in fact what the pursuit of knowledge is all about. We do not assume in arrogance (or at least we shouldn't) that our knowledge is complete nor that it will ever be. If it was, we would know absolute reality in all its glory.

    Now I am reminded of a film from the '70s, called Dark Star. It is a sci-fi comedy, but it deals with this exact issue at the end. An AI is convinced by a human (for life saving reason) that it cannot ultimately rely on any of its sensory data, with extreme unintended consequence. It is well worth a watch.

    I am going to leave this discussion now as I have said all I can on this matter and am already out of my depth, but as I said it was interesting, thank you.


  400. Kateye70

    What is "unsound" about it? There's nothing fraudulent or deceptive, it's just an exercise. People do them all the time.

  401. terrasodium

    The rule of law is a legal maxim whereby governmental decisions are made by applying known legal principles. The phrase can be traced back to the 17th century, and it was popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The concept was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote "Law should govern".[3] Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law, for example by divine right.
    Does this bake any bread ?

  402. robertallen1

    As I've stated many times before, all that counts is the validity of an idea not whether it is "inside" or "outside" some so-called box. Hence, one again, such a determination is meaningless--except perhaps as an exercise.

  403. robertallen1

    And your point is?

  404. Vlatko


    Precisely, people think "out of the box" all the time. Every new poem, every new painting, every new peace of computer code, every new sentence, every new rule, every new theory, even every new thought is already "out of the box."

    Therefore as @robert is implying there is no so-called "out of the box", it is meaningless. Thinking out of the box is nothing more than ordinary thinking.

  405. robertallen1

    Exactly and the same with every old poem, every old painting, every old piece of computer code, every old sentence, every old rule, every old theory and every old thought. In other words such a "distinction" simply makes a virtue out of the humdrum which works only for Anthony Trollope.

  406. Kateye70

    All I asked was for robert to do a simple mental exercise. =) However, he won't play =(

    People do get stuck 'inside' their mental boxes. The whole point of doing the exercise is to get those creative thoughts (which I'll take exception to your characterizations as 'ordinary') accessible again.

    Not a world-shaking process, I'm sure. Still, like working out in the gym or going for a run, it helps to exercise the grey cells once in a while.

  407. Kateye70

    "...except perhaps as an exercise."

    Hello, robert!

  408. Apeiros Sophos

    Thinking outside the box is a metaphorical method pertaining to the process in which one may transcend consensus, adjust our comfort in homeostatic reasoning, and arrive to unconventional formats.

    It is a metaphor, not kryptonite.

  409. robertallen1

    What is a metaphorical method as opposed to a non-metaphorical one? What is homeostatic reasoning? What does a metaphor have to do with kyrptonite? Your whole post makes no sense.

  410. oQ

    It's like what does brewing beer have to do with philosophy? That was one example where you thought outside of your proper english box.

  411. anamcara2013

    "god" is physics

  412. over the edge

    care to elaborate?

  413. Apeiros Sophos


    Maybe try one of Kateye70's psilocybin exercises?

  414. robertallen1

    Maybe you should try writing intelligible English.

  415. GRUMPY25608

    Dawkins showed more "christian values" as in the respect he displayed to his detractors than they appeared to show him.

    Flying horses please!!!!

    How can any person with a sane mind and who is capable of rational/logical thought believe such rubbish.

    Black Caviar is the fast horse racing at this present time and I was told that she flew past her rivials, I have had the previledge to see this champion race horse race now and I agree with "slang term" of flying in that aspect.
    However at no stage did wing appear on this horse.

    For any man to say and believe that some bloke jumped on the back of a winged horse and fly to a moon they just split into two half, must either be gullible or not of sound mind. As no proof of that can be found unless you read one of the versions of the greatest fairytale ever written.

  416. ursheep

    How inaccurate and mistaken, not to mention arrogant. Without "Philosophy" you'd still be spilling blood to get the crops to grow.

  417. ursheep

    Dawkins on religion? What can Dawkins say about religion? Why don't you go ask a mechanic about brain surgery?

    People like Dawkins are smart enough to see the miraculous all around them, they just choose to attribute their causes to devised concepts rather than a God concept. They still function by belief. You take the word of scientists as to our distance from or the size of, oh, Sirius, and you have faith in the instuments used even when you have no idea how they work, or worked on that day of measurement.

    Philosophy remains the love of wisdom in whatever form it comes. A philosopher will recognize early in his travels that regardless of the insignificance some are wont to attribute to man in this big bad universe, the fact remains that all evidence gathered thus far proves man to be the only intelligent creature in the universe. Regardless of what Dawkins, or Sagan would want to tell you, the correct mathematical probability of man, or species higher than man, in the universe today is 1 in several billion, or however many planets "able to sustain life" (LOL) there are determined to be today.

    Science is today a pragmatic enterprise not concerned with finding out the truth so much as getting closer to the truth. If you can't calculate the creation (which is, after all the idea behind the product) necessary to produce the diveristy of species, types of people, the intrinsic order of the universe, the magical cohesion of the melodies or the songs of the birds and so on and on, which necessitates therefore, by logical law, a Creator, then you are really seeing through blinders.

    The reason this is a large issue, as reflected by the replies to this video while among dozens of other better, more informative ones, is that by pushing for atheism people push for the justification of their grievance. Look at it this way. Dawkins knows what his father has done, namely, created him. Should he decide to disobey his father, the only way he can avoid punishment, in his eyes, is to avoid him and, in fact, even deny him.

    But I understand Dawkins, I was once like him, and for pretty much the same reason, namely the belief that religion is false and causes more problems than it is worth. And today I agree that religion in and of itself is still too often hypocritical, elitist, and money hungry, and the causes of small fights and big wars. But this doesn't mean there is no God, nor that someone cannot be religious.

    You just can't expect a sheep to tell you what chicken tastes like.

  418. ursheep

    Actually I would say the greatest fairy tale still believed is written in 2 chapters: The Big Bang Chapter, and the Evolution Chapter

  419. oQ

    according to your link, philosophy is the bread dough that rises the highest...lol
    It's left to the science mind to bake it.
    It's rare that Robert won't answer a comment, i guess he is still chewing on that one.

  420. Samuel Morrissey

    And you would be absolutely wrong in your assertion, especially regarding evolution. But obviously you have a better idea, care to share?

  421. robertallen1

    Nonsense. The only people who count are the doers, not the after-the-fact expostulators.

  422. Samuel Morrissey

    I think folks here need to differentiate between modern philosophy which is currently very greatly abstracted from any sort of practical reality , and ancient Greek or Chinese philosophy which were the practical sciences of their time.


  423. robertallen1

    Scientists know the size or Sirius and its distance from earth because they know about the instruments used to measure it. Contrary to your ignorance, belief and faith have nothing to do with it.

    " . . . the fact remains that all evidence gathered thus far proves man to be the only intelligent creature in the universe." And just what is this evidence?

    " . . . the correct mathematical probability of man, or species higher than man, in the universe today is 1 in several billion." And just how is this computed? I know about Dawkins' and Sagan's credentials. What about yours? From what you have written so far, you seem to have none.

    "If you can't calculate the creation (which is, after all the idea behind the product) necessary to produce the diveristy of species, types of people, the intrinsic order of the universe, the magical cohesion of the melodies or the songs of the birds and so on and on, which necessitates therefore, by logical law, a Creator, then you are really seeing through blinders." And just what is this "logical law," this "intrinsic order of the universe" and "this magical cohension of the melodies or the songs of the birds?" And once you have described or defined them, how about proving that they exist. Then once you have done that, how about trying to express this paragraph in intelligible English.

    " . . . by pushing for atheism people push for the justification of their grievance. Look at it this way. Dawkins knows what his father has done, namely, created him. Should he decide to disobey his father, the only way he can avoid punishment, in his eyes, is to avoid him and, in fact, even deny him." Is this supposed to be an example of cohesion and logic.

    If you're alleging the existence of a supreme being, you'd better be in a position to prove it, not just philosophize it into existence and while you're at it, you can spare us the personal anecdotes.

  424. robertallen1

    At least they're based on evidence, not ignorance (read faith). Considering your lack of education and qualifications, what you would say is worthless.

  425. oQ

    These folks here, which folks? Are you talking about 666's link?
    Did you look at it?

  426. Samuel Morrissey

    I mean everyone commenting on this thread regarding philosophy. 'folks' is informal, neutral and non gender specific. My point is, the two bear almost nothing in common bar the name, whose etymology has changed significantly since ancient times.

    I have not yet looked at AntiTheists link. That's one for tomorrow.


  427. GRUMPY25608

    Smart man your "GOD". As a tradesman in the metal industry it can take years to complete some major projects with hundreds of people involved yet "he created both "heaven" and earth in six day by himself. He must of had the unions on side...lol.
    No logical thinking person can not believe that, surely.

  428. docoman

    "You just can't expect a sheep to tell you what chicken tastes like."

    So why do you advocate asking religion science questions? Even worse, accepting their answers.
    You suggest that a pedofile in a dress can tell us more about science than a scientist with some instruments.
    That's absurd, like the rest of your beliefs about 'God'.

  429. AntiTheist666


    Ewe caaaan’t be serious? Oh God be still my bleating heart...I do love a good fairy story especially when it’s told well. Please continue and pretty please with sugar on top no homophobic stuff!

    The Crucified One

  430. docoman

    You're a baaaaad man 6's. :) Ewe gave him the chop, rammed it home, looks like he cud be ruminating, stewing over how to roast a seasoned thinker, based on his absence. Maybe he'll be back, although that's rare, to shank you later. Well done mate ;)

  431. Yamaan Farhat

    And why not? He is your God and our God surely, He is the One God and the Master of the Day of Judgement.

  432. robertallen1

    And just how do you know this?

  433. Yamaan Farhat

    It is not for the unwise to unravel the mysteries of the universe. I see the existence of God through the creation of the heavens and the universe, through the trees and the animals, and through the human body which has a soul unlike any other creature to choose to do good or evil in its life. Truly it is the truth for all to see, and yet the blind man cannot see the sun and yet he knows it is there, it is a similar scenario. It doesn't take a genius to see intelligent design in the universe, but it takes courage and wisdom to admit it.

  434. robertallen1

    What you see doesn't count. It's what you can scientifically prove and scientific proof does not consist of superstitious statements such as " . . . the human body which has a soul like any other creature to choose to do good or evil in its life."

    "It doesn't take a genius to see intelligent design in the universe, but it takes courage and wisdom to admit it." No, it merely takes ignorance masquerading as knowledge of which you are a prime example.

  435. docoman

    lol. Have you heard the one about the three little pigs....

    "Truly it is the truth for all to see, and yet the blind man cannot see the sun and yet he knows it is there, it is a similar scenario. It doesn't take a genius to see intelligent design in the universe, but it takes courage and wisdom to admit it."

    Typical BS preaching.

    No, they're not similar at all. A blind man has tangible evidence, he can feel the warmth of the sun and the cool of the night. And not just in his imagination, as your theory requires.
    To believe the fairy tale you call scripture it doesn't take courage and wisdom, it takes weakness and ignorance, a willingness to dismiss real evidence in favor of being told what to think and believe by dishonest power brokers.

  436. GRUMPY25608

    "HE is my God", BS as I don't believe that there is a God.

  437. Yamaan Farhat

    Robert I wonder if you might be good enough to take a gas jeep, and bring back my grand children?

  438. Yamaan Farhat

    It is not in the light of the world that a soul can perceive its doom, rather it is in the darkness of ashes.

  439. Yamaan Farhat

    Nay, it is not for you to believe in the only supreme Creator of our universe, it is for you to dissect that which you have torn apart, and indeed there will be recompense for what ye do.

  440. robertallen1

    Non-responsive, but it's no more than can be expected from someone of your level of intelligence.

  441. robertallen1

    How do you know this or is it ignorance trying to pass for knowledge?

  442. robertallen1

    Again, how do you know this. Assertion is not proof.

  443. GRUMPY25608

    Please show me proven evidence of a "supreme Creator of our universe".
    I implore you to ensure that factual evidence is supplied and not just your own personal opinions and beliefs as they are not facts

  444. Yamaan Farhat

    Robert you keep on repeating this question. Do you REALLY wish to know, and you are very curious to find out? Or is it that you already know that no matter what I say you will have to find something to say against me? If you're not looking for truth Robert, our conversation here is done.

  445. Yamaan Farhat

    Mr. Grumpy, i respect your beliefs of no creator, but it really follows no logic. You might say the same of me, therefore we will not get anywhere further in this conversation. For instance, i say the natural world is more than enough proof for a creator, however you say that the natural world came through the process of evolution, and i also disagree. You might say the "Creator" story is a fairy tale, i would also say "evolution" is a fairy tale. Therefore Mr. Grumpy, I will not pursue this conversation further unless you have some other question about God, and not "if he exists".

  446. GRUMPY25608

    Would that be because you have no evidence to back your claims and belief.
    My thought on evolution is based on facts unlike your story which is based on fiction.

  447. Yamaan Farhat

    I'm sorry to hear that Mr. Grumpy, but your evolution theory is also based on fiction. It takes a huge leap of faith to believe in Macro-evolution.

  448. AntiTheist666

    Lol. There’s no chance of him pulling the wool over our eyes.

  449. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    you stated "It takes a huge leap of faith to believe in Macro-evolution" i disagree. please give me your definition of "macro evolution" (i hate that term as it is all evolution the only difference is time) and i will try to supply you with some of the evidence. there is no need for faith when you have evidence.

  450. Yamaan Farhat

    You are truly over the edge. I already know what you will say. I have read it online so there is no need for your "evidence".

  451. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    so you have no interest in an exchange of evidence and possibly learning something new?

  452. Yamaan Farhat

    Please, if you have something to say, please say it. But it will not deter me from believing in a Creator.

  453. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    and that is the root of the problem. you readily admit that you will believe in your creator regardless of any evidence presented to you. but i will try again please give me your definition of "macro evolution" and i will try to give you some evidence or maybe explain where your definition is not what evolutionary theory states. or maybe i cannot do either and you might prove me wrong. but none of these things can happen until i get the definition.

  454. Samuel Morrissey

    What fiction is that pray tell?

  455. GRUMPY25608

    Yamaan Farhat

    Evolution is not my therory, it is a proven sciectific fact.

    Creationists are appropriating scientific terminology which has specific and limited meaning, but they are using it in a broader and incorrect manner. This is a serious but unsurprising error — Simply put, evolution is the result of changes in genetic code. The genes encode the basic characteristics a life form will have, and there is no known mechanism that would prevent small changes (microevolution) from ultimately resulting in macroevolution. creationists misuse scientific terminology on a regular basis.

    While genes can vary significantly between different life forms, the basic mechanisms of operation and change in all genes are the same. If you find a creationist arguing that microevolution can occur but macroevolution cannot, simply ask them what biological or logical barriers prevent the former from becoming the latter — and listen to the silence.

  456. Yamaan Farhat

    Regardless of whether it may happen or not, i could argue then as someone who believes in Intelligent Design, (I'm sure you know what that is) and then we are back at the root of the problem, the lack of your belief.

  457. Samuel Morrissey

    No, the root of the problem is your lack of evidence for your belief. If it is so self evident or obvious, you would be able to explain why, or how.

    I invite you to have a go, what piece of evidence is there that could not possibly be without your ID?

  458. Yamaan Farhat

    Mr. Samuel it is quite simple, I accepted through logic and reason the existence of a Creator through seeing the natural world (let us say through Intelligent Design), my next step was to see if he had sent us a message telling us more about Him. Naturally, i started with the Abrahamic Religions because they are the most obvious. Turns out they are all the same thing, the main point being belief in One God emphasized greatly in the Qu'ran, which also claims that the Bible and Torah were also sent down by the same God and yet the texts were altered. The Qu'ran tells us that God had to intervene and protect his last message to mankind (the Quran), thereby halting the messengers sent to us. Muhammad was simply the last messenger, before him came Jesus and Moses, Noah and so on. Therefore of course through reading it and recognizing truth and purpose, i believed Islam was the path for me to follow and so I did. It's a wonderful thing recognizing your purpose of life and realizing that it wasn't "chance" that brought you here oblivious of what you do or think or believe. I hope you can find the same truth i did :)

  459. robertallen1

    I would really like to know because so far you have done nothing more than claim knowledge which apparently you do not have.

  460. robertallen1

    You don't get it. It's not what you say. It's what you can prove and evolution has certainly met this criterion whereas religion, especially the type which seem to espouse, hasn't. This makes you intellectually inferior.

  461. robertallen1

    Your post is written out of complete ignorance of evolution rendering you intellectually inferior.

  462. robertallen1

    If you've read about evolution, why are you so ignorant of it? Is it because your reading has been confined to creationist websites as opposed to scientific ones?

  463. robertallen1

    Believe what you want, but before commenting on a topic such as evolution, you should know something about it--and I don't mean from a creationist website.

  464. robertallen1

    Or more simply, you can ask them where microevolution ends and macroevolution begins and then when they answer with the biblical term "kinds," you've got them.

  465. robertallen1

    It has nothing to do with lack of belief on Grumpy's part, but rather with your wilful ignorance.

  466. robertallen1

    And just what type of logic and reason did you use to prove the existence of the creator--and while you're at it, please include the hard, scientific evidence; otherwise this is just another moronic and ignorant post written by someone who claims knowledge that he not have.

  467. Yamaan Farhat

    Can i like your comment?

  468. Yamaan Farhat

    Mr. Robert Grant wants "hard scientific evidence". Mr. Robert, you are not a sailor, you are not a military man, you are a blacksmith, its not the time for rash actions.

  469. Yamaan Farhat

    How narrow minded you are to need to see something directly to believe in it. Mr. Robert give me hard scientific evidence that God doesn't exist.

  470. Samuel Morrissey

    What logic? What reason? There is none - you are right it is simple, in the extreme. You have not elaborated any single fact that supports your ID.

    You have neither found nor shown truth I am afraid. Your evidence is a mistranslated and manipulative, nay, downright sinister book written and re written by power hungry Jewish priests in a dark age of little enlightenment, is that seriously what you consider evidence?

    The only real evidence we have for Jesus is that he was a man executed at the order of Pilate for leading a failed minor rebellion, watched upon with joy by the Jews who believed he was a trouble maker. Of what is in the bible, was written more than 200 years after his death by people who never once met him or heard him speak. The truth is no one actually knows a single word the man spoke.

    Your Muhammed and Qu'ran I know little (but plenty enough thank you very much) about and it would be unfair of me to comment further than to say the treatment of homosexuals and women in that work is evil. If you believe any of that then you are evil, but worse, because you believe that this evil is good! The Bible suffers the exact same inhumane misogyny and homophobia - and these are not the worst of deceptions contained therein.

    Don't get me wrong, I think you are deceived and I know (or hope) you believe you are doing good but if you do bad, you are bad, whether you believe it is good or not -

    Be aware and beware, that whatever you believe in as an adult - it is you who is responsible for what you do and say, not god, not lucifer, not evil priests, not saintly friends, but you, and you alone. Whether or not you believe in God, Zeus, Kali, Thor, whatever. We have real earthly judges and punishments should you decide to 'sin' and your faith will be no defense.

  471. Samuel Morrissey

    You totally misunderstand reason and logic, in fact you have it backwards. If you make a claim, have an idea, or belief, in order to find evidence, it is you who must try to prove it wrong, or right. That is your responsibility. We make no such claim, and as such we shall wait patiently for you to fulfill your responsibility, or change your position.

    It is called 'the burden of proof' and it rests exclusively with the claim maker.

  472. robertallen1

    Completely unresponsive, but that's to be expected.

  473. robertallen1

    If you assert that god exists, it is up to you to provide the proof.

    And I'll remain narrow-minded as opposed to ignorant, superstitious and pathetic.

  474. robertallen1

    Well done.

  475. Yamaan Farhat

    No my faith doesn't protect me from sin, although the justice system of many countries is corrupt and many people get away with rape, murder, and theft. God will judge all of these people including me and you on the Day of Judgement.

  476. Yamaan Farhat

    I have shown you the proof of the natural world, it is more than enough, the great scientist Isaac Newton says: "In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."

  477. robertallen1

    "God will judge all of these people including me and you on the Day of Judgement." How do you know this? As a matter of fact, so far you have offered no scientific proof of the existence of a god, except through assertion.

  478. robertallen1

    The only proof you have offered is assertion and now a quote from authority--which is to say no proof at all. Before posting further, I suggest that you obtain something amounting to an education.

  479. Giacomo della Svezia

    Your faith clearly protects you from the ability to think critically.

  480. dewflirt

    He died about 300 years ago, things have moved on a bit since then ;)

  481. Yamaan Farhat

    Don't lie Robert, the natural world is proof. You however don't see it that way.

  482. Yamaan Farhat

    Robert I implore you to read something of the Qu'ran, as that is the miracle of the Muslims. Otherwise i have nothing more to say to you.

  483. robertallen1

    Merely claiming that the natural world is proof is no proof at all and the ignorance embodied in such a claim is commensurate with the ignorance embodied in you.

  484. robertallen1

    I have read the Qu'ran and it's just as worthless as the bible and just as worthless as you.

  485. Samuel Morrissey

    I can see the natural world, you know what it proves? - it proves the natural world.

    Exactly how would a thumb be proof of gods existence?

    Is my left foot proof of fairies?

    Can you prove that santa does not exist?

    Can you prove that a polka dot porpoise with 17 arms and no teeth isn't swimming around backwards in a pool of orange juice at the center of the Earth?

    Can you see how ridiculous your (lack of) argument is now?

  486. Samuel Morrissey

    You really have a nerve, to accuse him of lying.

    All of your arguments are lies. Believing them to be true, is the biggest lie of all, because it is the one you tell yourself.

    Where on earth is your doubt?

  487. Yamaan Farhat

    No matter how many ways I try, I can't get over the fact that we're living in a time where? the most profane-mouthed, beast-minded, wicked, evil liars, who don't recognize themselves as what they really are, can walk around, call themselves knowledgeable and look down on the people who are preserving Real Morality. I'll never get over it until this injustice is solved and avenged. As surely as the Sun is not just a ball of gas, and an Apple fits perfectly in the hands of a Human, THIS WILL BE DONE.

  488. robertallen1

    So now you're preserving "Real Morality" and seek revenge. Talk about an evil liar. Tell it to your camels!

  489. GRUMPY25608

    Thank you for your advise and i'll guarantee I will gleeful take on it on board, however I must admit Ihave been enjoying doing my research to ensure I don't mislead anyone with half truths or incorrect information or what I read in my short time on this site being absalute utter crap.

    I enjoy reading your post as I find them both entertaining and extremely informative.

  490. robertallen1

    With information more available than it's ever been and virtually free, there is no excuse for wilful ignoramuses such as Yamaan Farhat.

  491. GRUMPY25608

    I could not disagree with that statement in anyway, shape or form.

  492. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    exactly what "Real Morality" is being preserved by whom?

    again do you have any actual evidence to back up your claims? so far all i see are misinterpretations of scientific theories, an argument from authority (Newton was also an alchemist should his achievements in other areas also lend weight to this), a blatant refusal to change your mind regardless of evidence (and even sadder i think you believe that is a good thing) and finally the closest thing to proof you provide is an apple? did you get that from Ray Comfort?

  493. docoman

    " I'll never get over it until this injustice is solved and avenged. As surely as the Sun is not just a ball of gas, and an Apple fits perfectly in the hands of a Human, THIS WILL BE DONE."
    You forgot to add, Death to the Infidels.

    How dare you.
    You call someone a liar because they don't agree, then go on to threaten people with vengeance.
    You and your religions true colours are shining through. Your words show you up to be the dangerous, hypocritical mongrel you and your religion truly are.
    And that's 'Real Morality' according to you.
    That's morally repugnant, regardless of your ignorant assertions.

  494. docoman

    I've lived in a Muslin country for 2 years. I found most of the people very friendly, warm people in most ways, the same as the majority of the different peoples I've had the pleasure of meeting in my life so far. UNTILL religion comes into it. Then your mob turns 'bat-sh1t crazy', and are not good people anymore. Don't think I'm singling out Islam, pretty much all religions make promises and threats, and are equally capable of becoming the opposite to what they claim.
    You all are a curse on our species, a cancer in morality, and not the answer/solution at all.

  495. Yamaan Farhat

    That's only your opinion, and your opinion doesn't change the truth.

  496. Yamaan Farhat

    First of all, i called Robert a liar because he said i only asserted that a creator exists, which is a lie, i said maybe 10 times the natural world is proof but he doesn't agree which is his opinion. Second, how dare you, not believe in an All-mighty Creator who's design and work is so clear and astounding through natural events like the change of day and night that synchronize so well with our sleeping times. As atheists, lying and saying that God doesn't exist is one of the biggest crimes you can ever commit. So yes, justice will be served. And no, we don't kill infidels.

  497. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    i am an atheist and i do not remember myself "lying and saying that God doesn't exist ". i will state that i do not believe in a god and as of yet i have not been presented with sufficient proof to take the god claims of others seriously. as for the other posters here how many have stated they are atheist? how many stated that no god exists?
    p.s keep your veiled threats of "justice will be served." to yourself as they are not appreciated and will not be tolerated (see comment policy)

  498. robertallen1

    You're too ignorant to know what the truth is and too despicable to appreciate it.

  499. Kateye70

    Maybe our bodies evolved to synchronize sleep with the day/night cycle of our planet's revolution around our star. Seems legit. Doesn't need a supernatural explanation.

    The natural world's existence is not proof, in and of itself, of anything other than itself.

    Which god are you giving credit to? There are several million of them that have been or are being worshipped, last I heard. You clearly have a preference, but are all the worshippers of all the other gods therefore liars? Seems harsh.

  500. robertallen1

    As Samuel Morrisey said, the natural world is only the natural world and if you claim that it is proof of the existence of a supreme being and intelligent design, you must scientifically prove so--and empty claims such as "clear and astounding" don't even begin to toe the mark. The truth is that you are unable to provide any proof to support your claims and therefore in its stead you proffer up such pathetically ignorant examples as the apple and now sleep--how about for those who work graveyard? How about for nocturnal animals such as owls? Did you know that 150-200 years ago the sleeping habits in certain parts of the world were entirely different than they are now?

    Your previous post crying for revenge against those who do not support your lack of education and knowledge coupled with your suppositions and superstitions is no more than the raving of a wilfully ignorant camel jockey.

  501. Yamaan Farhat

    Now about the "million" gods claim, you are actually quite mistaken. The Abrahamic religions all identify the same One God, although Christianity claims God has a son, Jesus, which is erroneous. Now, in Hinduism and other religions yes there are thousands if not millions of gods. However in religions in like Hinduism, they claim that the main gods are the trinity of Shiva, Visnhu and Brahma. However then the Hindus go on to say that this is the same One God, but these are different personalities and traits attributed to Him. Buddhism is not associated with an omnipotent creator, yet there are some exceptions. Other religions may have many gods, and almost ALL of them have One Supreme God above all the others who has created everything. This is the One Same God in the Abrahamic faiths, although we may call him different names, He is One and the only One to be worshiped. So much verses of the Qu'ran are dedicated to the Oneness of God, although we call him "Allah" in Arabic, He is still the same One. Hope this clarifies.

  502. robertallen1

    "He is One and the only One to be worshiped." How do you know this or is this contention merely part and parcel of your unsubstantiated assertion that the natural world is proof of a creator (read supreme being)?

    All your post clarifies is the existence of your claims of knowledge which you don't have, supported by your basic lack of education and your below rudimentary intelligence so well evidenced by your veiled threats several posts back.

  503. Yamaan Farhat

    So stop replying to me Robert, if I am so intellectually inferior.

  504. robertallen1

    Remember, you're not the only one who reads these posts. So every time you post your nonsense, rest assured that I will reply.

  505. Yamaan Farhat

    While we are on the subject of the owl did you know some species of the owl has asymmetrical ears, which means that one is higher than the other. Amazingly, this auditory system which appears to be flawed is actually the reason the owl has so much success hunting at night. These species have a very pronounced facial disc, which acts like a "radar dish", guiding sounds into the ear openings. The shape of the disc can be altered at will, using special facial muscles. Also, an Owl's bill is pointed downward, increasing the surface area over which the sound waves are collected by the facial disc. Combine this with the silent flight of the owl whereas with a normal bird in flight, air rushes over the surface of the wing, creating turbulence, which makes a gushing noise. With an Owl's wing, the comb-like feather edge breaks down the turbulence into little groups called micro-turbulences. This effectively muffles the sound of the air rushing over the wing surface and allows the Owl to fly silently. These spectacular designs of the owl which you claim "evolved" by chance, or natural processes, or whatever you want to call it is a load of rubbish and it is clear your education hasn't helped you to see the Truth at all. All animals have some unique feature which is obviously designed. It is up to you to see it, and admit it, or ignore it.

  506. robertallen1

    Like all modern birds, owls evolved from Theropod dinosaurs. You don't know the first thing about biology and don't want to know. One way or the other, here's a snippet from Wikipedia written by those who actually do know.

    "There are some 220 to 225 extant species of owls, subdivided into two families: typical owls (Strigidae) and barn-owls (Tytonidae). Some entirely extinct families have also been erected based on fossil remains; these differ much from modern owls in being less specialized or specialized in a very different way (such as the terrestrial Sophiornithidae). The Paleocene genera Berruornis and Ogygoptynx show that owls were already present as a distinct lineage some 60–57 mya (million years ago), and, hence, possibly also some 5 million years earlier, at the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. This makes them one of the oldest known groups of non-Galloanserae landbirds. The supposed "Cretaceous owls" Bradycneme and Heptasteornis are apparently non-avialan maniraptors.

    "During the Paleogene, the Strigiformes radiated into ecological niches now mostly filled by other groups of birds. The owls as we know them today, on the other hand, evolved their characteristic morphology and adaptations during that time, too. By the early Neogene, the other lineages had been displaced by other bird orders, leaving only barn-owls and typical owls. The latter at that time were usually a fairly generic type of (probably earless) owl similar to today's North American Spotted Owl or the European Tawny Owl; the diversity in size and ecology found in typical owls today developed only subsequently.

    "Around the Paleogene-Neogene boundary (some 25 mya), barn-owls were the dominant group of owls in southern Europe and adjacent Asia at least; the distribution of fossil and present-day owl lineages indicates that their decline is contemporary with the evolution of the different major lineages of typical owls, which for the most part seems to have taken place in Eurasia. In the Americas, there was rather an expansion of immigrant lineages of ancestral typical owls."

    Now if you don't think owls evolved just like all other creatures, you prove it scientifically--and I don't mean with such pathetically empty-headed assertions as "these spectacular designs of the owl which you claim 'evolved' by chance, or natural processes, or whatever you want to call it is a load of rubbish . . . ," coupled with unsubstantiated claims such as "All animals have some unique feature which is obviously designed."

    Not only are you wilfully ignorant, but in your promotion of your wilful ignorance coupled with your veiled threats, you're despicable, disgusting and of sub-human intelligence.

  507. over the edge

    Yamaan Farhat
    who claimed the owl (or any other animal for that matter) "evolved" by chance"? that is nothing but more creationist misrepresentation of evolutionary theory

  508. robertallen1

    He did add "or natural processes, or whatever you want to call it is a load of rubbish" which increases the ignorance embodied in his statement at least fifteen fold. Of course, he lacks the inclination to state why he "thinks" it is a load of rubbish in all probability because he lacks anything approaching even a rudimentary knowledge of biology. It turns the stomach to think that the world is filled with people like him.

  509. over the edge

    i agree, as for natural processes i have made multiple offers to try to explain if he/she can provide a definition for claims made to no avail. i know it is an argument from authority of sorts but one of the most true quotes i have ever heard is

    "The trouble with the world is that the s*upid are c*cksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." ~Bertrand Russell

  510. robertallen1

    The very paradigm of wilful ignorance.

  511. Yamaan Farhat

    "We will show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that This (Quran) is the truth". (41:53)

    Robert, as surely as the sun that shines in the sky, death will come upon you and me. And then we will both know who was right, and who was wrong. Wait with me Robert, and we shall see.

  512. docoman

    How dare I not believe in your delusion?
    As you said, "That's only your opinion, and your opinion doesn't change the truth."
    Truth is, you have not one iota of evidence that PROVES a creator, let alone your personal, hate filled version.
    Winged horses, split the moon in half. Sure mate, sure. Where in the natural world is your evidence? You have none, that's the fact.

    You are an example of the worst that religion has to offer. First you claim to have 'Real Morals'.
    Then you want to threaten people repeatedly, and hide it behind your beliefs. Which in themselves show amazing ignorance.
    Bugger you mate. Your threats do not intimidate me at all, and I will always defend myself and my family from the likes of you and your so called 'truths', whatever the version may be.

    No, your religion doesn't ONLY kill infidels, you kill your own as well. I've seen first hand what your religion can do to a group of previously decent people. Shame on your threatening, ridiculous, ignorant unsubstantiated rantings and threats. Your religion is the perversion.

  513. Yamaan Farhat

    An expected response from an ignorant Australian like yourself. Clearly, you have no knowledge of Islam whatsoever.

  514. docoman

    Your rantings and threats speak for themselves. You are the one claiming to represent the Islamic ideals.

  515. Yamaan Farhat

    Only a fool would look at Muslims to judge Islam. You would have to read the Qu'ran yourself. Many Muslims misrepresent Islam (even me).

  516. GRUMPY25608

    It is very apparent you are nothing less than blight on both your religion and humanity as a whole, and as an ex serving member of the Australian Defence Force (ARMY) I find your comments not only ill informed and extremely hostile.

    It is not your religion I dispise although I dont believe it to be true, Ihave no problem looking at people like you through the cross hair of a Parker Hale 7.62. as its not your religion that make you evil, your just hiding behind it.

    You people threatern the freedom of all of the human race not just non believers and in my opinion if you had any idea the hatered poeple like you create toward your fellow man and you deserves to be condemed.

  517. docoman

    Only an ignorant fool would look at others religions, as you did earlier, and then say they're all talking about your God.

  518. docoman

    That is also quite an amusing thought process. You say you shouldn't look at Muslims to judge Islam, when you looked at an owl, to judge evolution. Which you failed dismally at by the way.
    You want to have your cake and eat it too.

  519. Yamaan Farhat

    I find a death threat in this post which is more evil than anything i have ever spoken. In fact, I have only asked you to believe in your Creator and after being insulted like 50 times by Robert i presumed to tell him and others that justice will be served (after death), as it is a crime not to believe in the One God. I don't threaten the freedom of anyone. I will never shoot someone for not believing in God, nor will I hurt him, or prosecute him, nor will i impose on him the laws of Islam. But I will tell him to believe, tell him its in his best interests, and give him a copy of the Qu'ran.

  520. docoman

    And in the Qu'ran he'll find things like;

    Quran (5:33) - "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

    Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

    You are correct, in that the Qu'ran speaks for itself upon reading. To judge the religion, you should read it's scriptures. To judge what it does to people, look at the people's actions, in the name of the religion.

  521. docoman

    And what part was a death threat of GRUMPY's post? He didn't threaten you, he said he didn't have a problem with, what I assume he's done.

    You say you fully believe what your scriptures say. It's threats are pretty self evident, see my last post. Your earlier posts/threats call on these scriptures, so you're just hiding behind your book.

  522. docoman

    " I have only asked you to believe in your Creator..."

    That's not correct. You have demanded that everyone believes in YOUR supposed creator. Your scriptures say that, you support your scriptures.

  523. GRUMPY25608

    i didnt theaten you I just gave you my personal opinion on how easily people will go from tolarent to intolarent with the moment when unreasonable people make statement that threatern our freedoms.

  524. Kateye70

    I didn't specify "abrahamic religion', I was including all of humanity in my statement. I'm an equal-opportunity nonbeliever.

    BTW, I don't need clarification from you, I am well aware of the various belief systems around the world. I am also including the previous belief systems that have been overrun by the 'big 3' that monopolize so much of the world stage with their internecine warfare.

  525. dewflirt

    Is that part of the Assassins Creed ?

  526. robertallen1

    Spare us your silly quotes from an equally silly book.

  527. robertallen1

    And clearly you have no knowledge period.

  528. robertallen1

    As you have so well demonstrated, Islam is just as silly as other religions

  529. robertallen1

    " . . . as it is a crime not to believe in the One God." In other words, unless someone believes in an entity whose existence he cannot prove and whom he knows nothing about and can know nothing about, he has a criminal. You're no more than a cheap proselytizer.

  530. robertallen1

    It's obvious that you've taken his advice. He probably won't like or agree with the results.

    Hope you're feeling better.

  531. GabrielSam

    Dear docoman

    first of all you clearly missed what Yamaan said... because your too busy pretending to show intelligence, where you clearly shouldn't.

    Yamaan never made a death threat.... he was stating that LIFE comes to an end ( death to you and me) ... Biggest fail on your part my dear docoman. and then to bash him on his beliefs you are a coward sitting behind a machine nothing more...

    (hiding behind your book) REALLY and Christians/Catholics/Buddhists don't have scriptures they re-quote REALLY... Grow up. theres more to life than your foolish and mistaken thoughts..

  532. GabrielSam

    HAHAHAHAHA you seriously use Wiki to State a Fact.. maybe you need to read a proper journal instead of read half the wiki s*it... But thanks for trying... Bless you..

  533. docoman

    G'day mate, I've been ok lately, thanks.
    After Yamaan tried to make his point earlier, about the Qu'ran being the latest, 'protected' scripture from his god, those quotes of mine show exactly what his 'god' is supposedly like.
    He is correct in one thing, the god of the 'abrahamic religions' is consistently not a 'nice guy'.
    And to claim that Islam is somehow the protector of 'Real Morals', exposes his beliefs to be the nonsense they are, and how twisted his views on morals are because of his religion.

  534. docoman

    Hello. LOL.
    Please quote from my posts where I stated Yamaan made a death threat.
    If you wish to test your theory on my being a coward because I'm on the internet, give me a place and time around Brisbane, and I'll gladly meet you face to face for a more intimate discussion if you wish.

    IF you actually read and understood, you'd have seen my post where I said to Yamaan;
    " Don't think I'm singling out Islam, pretty much all religions make promises and threats, and are equally capable of becoming the opposite to what they claim."

    So what book exactly do you propose I'm hiding behind?

    Get your facts right before accusing me, you twit.

  535. over the edge

    what is wrong with wiki? the particular article that was used was sourced to proper journals.

    while you are on the subject what is your take on the conversation and since you prefer proper journals please provide some to back your position. or are you only here to try to stir the pot?

  536. Achems_Razor

    "Read a proper journal"? what? are you referring to a creationist journal maybe?

    No blessing allowed! Funny religee's!

  537. GRUMPY25608

    Brisbane!!! can I get an invite too PLEASE

  538. docoman

    GabrielSam will have to make more sense to make any conversation worth any time, let alone any travel. He's 0 from 2 so far, it's not looking hopeful.
    If I want to just listen to silly dribble and false conclusions, there is a church not far from me. ;) There is even a 'Secret Brethren' hall up the road. I asked what they were on about, apparently it's a secret. :) GabrielSam may well like the sound of that though. I wonder if he'll get back to me.

    I would buy an ex-digger a beer though mate, anytime.

  539. GRUMPY25608

    The position I held in the Army also had a creed, words to the effect of one shot, one kill!!! and that with all of our other training kept me and the member of my section coming home safely.

    I will always protect my country and its people to the death.
    and for that reason I'm a firm believer in free speach, as long as it does not intice violence in anyway. If it does that when people like myself and other will display force to those unrulely persons to prevent there act against our fellow man.

  540. GRUMPY25608

    Cheers mate, but I'm a true Aussie as I drink Bundy. normally by the litres...lol.

    If I could arrange something without breaking the rule of this site, I would take great pleasure in meeting a fellow Aussie who is not afraid of expressing his honest opinion.

    PS. the little bubbles of nothing are quite enjoyable as well if you get my drift.

  541. GRUMPY25608

    Can you send me a copy to as i've just finish my last novel and I very much enjoy reading ficton stories.

  542. dewflirt

    Morning GRUMPY, I'm all for freedom of speech as long as it includes my freedom to reply as I see fit. I don't dislike many people whatever they might say that I don't agree with but I do hate religion. Can't stand the way it blinkers people and muffles their thinking. Seems so cloying. I understand we need soldiers, I just wish they'd raise the age for joining, too many kids sign up without really understanding what they're in for. Breaks my heart to see them coming home hurt. I think most parents must feel the same, you spend their childhoods doing your best to keep them safe and then they go and put themselves in danger, little buggers! ;)

  543. Yamaan Farhat

    It was not my intention to offend anybody in this conversation or to cause unnecessary anger; I was just simply conveying a message. May peace be upon all you.

  544. GRUMPY25608

    I understand your point about the age of enlistment, however the amount of young diggers(soldiers) that Iserved with would have joined up no matter the age requirement. On a whole I'd say 50% join for a career without thinking about what the defence forces job really is or entails. The other 49.99% join because they what to give something back to their country. 0.01% join for reasons like myself.
    I joined for a $100 bet (that I won). the ADF does not allow soldiers under the voting to serve in a combat zone until they reach voting age.

    I now have a 4yr old and the last thing I want is for him to join the Defence force, however if he decides to apply when his of age I will not hold him back as he is free to make decisions for himself.
    All I can do is give him my advise and guidence base on what I know about the military. I'm luckier than most as I've seen the best and worst of military service during my career.

    Protecting our children is paramount, but we can't wrap them up in cotton wool forever, and we have to let them make their own decisions. As long as we give them all the information available to us so they make informed decision.

    The biggest problem with becoming a parent is know what best for your child and what we want for them and they may not be the same.

  545. docoman

    That's the thing mate, the message you convey is pretty much 'believe this or suffer the consequences'. An example from what you wrote;
    "I can't get over the fact that we're living in a time where? the most profane-mouthed, beast-minded, wicked, evil liars, who don't recognize themselves as what they really are, can walk around, call themselves knowledgeable and look down on the people who are preserving Real Morality. I'll never get over it until this injustice is solved and avenged"
    'Real Morality preservers' you pointed out were Muslims. The implications of your words are very clear.

    Religion uses the carrot and the stick approach. To someone who doesn't believe, it just comes across as a 'stick'. Not just Islam, pretty much all religions have a similar approach.
    You may not mean to offend with your message, but that's what that message does. Quran 8:12 is a good example. It is unambiguously a threat to non believers, as well as an order to believers to commit crimes against others that don't believe.
    In my country, Christians are the majority religion. It gets annoying and insulting being threatened because you don't believe the same as they do.

  546. docoman

    Rum works too. :) Being an Aussie of Scottish and German heritage, I'm sometimes an organised, scotch drinking, argumentative sports lover. :)
    There are quite a few people on here I'm sure I'd enjoy meeting face to face, having a drink and BBQ with.
    That's one good thing the internet gives us, I'd probably have never 'met' any of you people otherwise.

  547. Kateye70

    I agree with docoman here. You may not realize just how threatening and negative you sounded.

    Also, for all the muslims I've heard claim that Islam is a peaceful religion, I've not heard of any other religion where a cleric would issue a death threat against an individual who is not even of their faith. Not only that, have the death threat actually carried out in the name of that religion.

    There was even one issued against Jerry Falwell, a christian, who expressed his personal opinion. I'm no fan of Jerry Falwell (what an id*ot!) but a death threat?? Women are no exception; speak out about the abuse of your own by your own, and see what happens.

    This kind of intolerance is what people hear about. Quite frankly, I'll suggest that that type of intolerance and fear-mongering is propagated specifically by your religious leaders for the sole purpose of retaining their power.

    The strictures about members of the islamic faith becoming nonbelievers is also hypocritical, in my view. If someone no longer believes, but is forced to say they do, does that somehow make them a believer? or just a liar? and worse, a liar due to fear of reprisal?

    Again, as a nonmuslim, that makes me wonder about just how peaceful your religion really is, and also just how many of 'professed' muslims are actually muslim at all.

    Understand, I'm not saying any other religion, including christianity, has any better of a track record in terms of hypocrisy and violence, but Islam definitely seems to be leading the pack in this regard.

  548. francisco sa

    I'm afraid this interview well represents the near inquisitive future. Stronger religion beliefs fast spreading around the world, trying to discredit men of science and knowledge here represented by Dawkins.

  549. AntiTheist666

    Nice one but he evidently didn't get it LOL

  550. GRUMPY25608

    A BBQ would be fun to attend, and if required I could run the security free of charge as I know a lot of people that can lift concrete but can't spell it....LOL

  551. GRUMPY25608

    Cheers, mate.

    I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, however I'm sure I would have picked up that I was taking the p**s out of both him and the subject.

  552. docoman

    You mention another point, women's rights. I lived in Egypt for 2 years. While I was there, our maid (as a 'rich' person in that country, we had a maid to help out), had an interesting discussion with my sister (who I was living with at the time)
    The maid said that her daughter was of the age she had to have 'female circumcision' done. If she didn't have it done to her daughter, when she got married the new husband had the right to go murder the mother for not doing her duty. (I don't know the legal aspects, but our maid seemed very honest and disturbed by her forced decision regarding her daughter)
    I personally can't imagine much worse (other then killing them) then mutilating your child, based on scripture and male insecurities.
    To me, any scriptures or 'god' that demands that sort of action, is not worthy of any respect.

  553. systems1000

    Ok,lets forget about religion.But is not the the miracle of life and all of its complexities proof enough that something beyond our intellectual limitations may really exist?Or do we really believe that the sun,moon,earth,flowers,insects,animals,our families and children are nothing more then some bizarre accident or hallucination totally with out significance,distine for eternal oblivion.Food for reflection.

  554. robertallen1

    Not without good, solid, scientific evidence.

  555. GRUMPY25608

    The begining of you statement appears to be the only part that is worthy of response "let forget about religion" the rest of your statement is answered by robertallen1 perfectly, need I say more...

  556. Kateye70

    Wow, that is just barbaric. I read the wiki article on female genital mutilation (or cutting) and it is terrifying--and not at all analagous to male circumcision. In fairness to Islam, it seems to be more a regional cultural practice centered in Egypt and the Somali Peninsula and predating Mohammed; the article said females mummies have been found with it. Convincing people, whose cultural identities are wrapped up in a practice like that, to stop doing it is very difficult, sadly.

  557. robertallen1

    I'll bet if he had his way, Ray Comfort would adopt and adapt the practice for use by Christians. I'm sure he could find an appropriate biblical quotation and if not, there's always Kirk Cameron, his little faun, to help him.

  558. dewflirt

    It's rare that FGM is carried out in the UK, though it does happen at 'cutting parties'. Women are flown in from other countries to do the job. Seems that it being illegal isn't enough stop the practice. Perhaps from the parents standpoint, prosecution is preferable to an unmarriageable daughter. Its estimated that as many 2000 girls are flown out of the country each year to suffer the procedure. It usually happens during the summer holidays (6weeks) so that they have time to heal before returning to school. Even though this is also illegal, no parent has yet been prosecuted.

  559. Kateye70

    I think the laws are similar here in the US; it's supposed to be illegal to transport a girl for that purpose, but as the wiki article said, its done so secretly no one knows about it. What was scary to me was the more extreme versions, and that it is often done with anesthesia or with sterile instruments.

  560. Kateye70

    The good news about knowledge is that it's a genie that can't be put back in the bottle. Religions rely on faithful ignorance.

  561. docoman

    In the conversation between our maid and my sister, the maid said that for about 100 Egyptian Pounds she could get the 'local woman' to come around, and 4 of them had to hold down the daughter while 'it's done'. For around 600 EP's, she could have it done in a hospital with proper pain killers and antibiotics. The maid was quite emotional about it, my sister believed what she was telling her was the truth. Also apparently, if a woman had a baby, and it wasn't quite 'completely done' they'd just 'automatically' finish it. Understandably my sister chose to come back to Australia to have her children.

    At the time, the average Egyptian wage was about 150 EP's per week, our maid earned 200 p/w with us, and she had 2 other cleaning jobs I believe, so she was comparatively well off. She made more money then her husband did. Many Egyptian woman brought and wore gold bracelets, instead of 'risking' it in a bank. One day she arrived for work, with a swollen face. She said her husband had married a 2nd wife, the new wife had complained that our maid had more bracelets (which she'd brought herself). She didn't want to hand her's over, so she copped a beating and had them taken from her.

    I'm glad I had the good fortune to be born in Australia, and not a female in Egypt. And not for any racial reasons.

  562. Kateye70

    For anyone that isn't clear on the process, the Wikipedia page on this procedure is very detailed on the various types of female genital mutilation (or "cutting" as some prefer).

    I was truly horrified when I read about the Type III version (Types I and II are bad enough)...and from the sounds of it, it's no fun for the husbands, either. Your maid was right--it is often done with no anesthetic and in very unsterile conditions with the most primitive of instruments--including fingernails (*shudder*).

    I believe it is now illegal in Egypt, but as with abortion, that only drives the practice back underground, makes it more unsafe than ever, and does nothing to stop it.

  563. robertallen1

    Hopefully more women undergo legal abortion than illegal genital mutilation.

  564. docoman

    I debated with myself if I should post that last one, it felt pretty 'graphic' at times. But that was accurate to the best of my recollection, it was 23 yeas ago that happened. Pre 9/11 :)
    I also saw some pretty nasty things done to animals while I was there. I asked an Egyptian friend once why do they beat especially the donkeys so much, and he said something about they had the 'devil' in them. There could have been something lost in the translation with me, or he maybe just came up with something. (they were funny, friendly people. If you stopped and asked for directions looking for a particular place for e.g, even if they didn't know where you wanted to go, they'd give you a suggestion to try out. They'd like to argue fairly loudly together, but hardly ever come to blows. Much less so then here in Aus )
    Wow, I had no idea there were different 'types' (hadn't thought about it that much, not pleasant to think about) . I had the impression it was type I, but that was only my assumption.

    Don't get me wrong, I found the Egyptians to be a very warm and friendly people, apart from those couple things. I'm pretty sure it was for religious reasons the FC, but I would put the animal cruelty in part to culture as much as anything. (not all of them hurt their animals, they never hurt the horses! but it was more widespread then I've seen anywhere else)

  565. Eval Razza

    Dawkins got owned.

  566. robertallen1


  567. GRUMPY25608

    I"ve waited for over 9 hours to let the more intellectual member of this forum to explain to you your errors in that short but absurd and unfounded statement, however they are showing you the contempt you obviously deserve.

    I'm not that polite. Mate if you believe that please show your evidence to back that statement, and if you dont have any I would advise you to go back to watch Sesame Street with the people of your own interlect.. The problem with people like you is that you think multitasking is breathing and any other single action your carrying out at the same time.

    If your finding the above statement to hard to understand, putting it bluntly I think your an absolute F**K WIT, as per the urban dictonary..
    A f*ck-wit is a individual with absolute no wits or intelligence and tries to come off smart when really they are just a f*ck wit or A person who is not only lacking in clue but is apparently unable or unwilling to acquire clue even when handed it on a plate in generous portions.

    Take your pick as I'm of the opinion that both diffinitions apply to you.

  568. Amaan Bandara

    “The religion of the future should transcend a personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both natural and spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description… If ever there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be BUDDHISM.” – Einstein.

  569. robertallen1

    Einstein was a physicist and mathematician. So why are you quoting his views on the religion of the future? In short, a quote from authority proves nothing.

  570. Amaan Bandara

    By modern scientific needs he means a religion that at least has SOME kind of evidence for its existence other than some scrap paper written decades of centuries ago. There is as much evidence of god as there is of leprechauns i.e: nil.

    He was not just a mathematician and physician. He won da freakin Nobel Prize and is one of the greatest minds in the history of civilization.

    A quote from authority is of the utmost importance mate as it is bound to contain logical and rational reasoning (at least from a scientific standpoint).

  571. robertallen1

    Einstein's Nobel Prize was in physics, not theology, not religion and as such his opinion on the latter two topics is just as good as anyone else's. So quoting him on these subjects does not lend any authority to his statements--i.e., Buddahism is somehow better than other religions. Newton was also one of the greatest minds in the history of civilization and he espoused his form of Christianity--as a matter of fact, most of his writings were religious in nature. So who's right?

    Now how about reading up on the fallacy of appeal to authority.

    But you're right one thing, there's as much evidence of god as there is for leprechauns, absolutely none.

  572. docoman

    I'd bet Einstein doesn't care anymore. Even if he did, he doesn't get a vote now. :)

  573. mycial

    Very informative I agree that religion is evil.

  574. fender24

    Do u think all religion is evil? and what is evil about it? They blame religion for our own evil intentions. there are people from all ages who have interpreted it for they're own political or personal gain.

  575. fender24

    Remember A skeptic or atheist is governed by two main principles: 1) all beliefs must be supported by observational evidence, and 2) beliefs that contradict observational evidence cannot be tolerated.

    People think today just because there is no scientific proof, God doesn't exist even though they will never be able escape the bounds of our universe to even look for it.
    Those who are "strong atheists" have just violated one of the main rules of atheism - that all beliefs are based upon observational evidence. So, any atheist who denies the possible existence of God violates his own worldview.

    Although science cannot directly detect God, it can examine His creation :D.

  576. Eval Razza

    Call me what you want.
    It still doesn't change the fact that Dawkins got his ass handed to him.

  577. fender24

    Why is Religion evil?

  578. fender24

    Yea after i watched it i so agree with u ;D

  579. GRUMPY25608

    Mate, both yor statement have no substance;

    "Dawkins got owned" and "It still doesn't change the fact that Dawkins got his ass handed to him.''

    Could you expand on those two statement, so I may have a better undersanding on your meaning of both your statement prior to explaining my response to you as with your statement as they are I could be here rebuking those statement for ever.

  580. GRUMPY25608

    Where in the statement your responding to did I say that religion is evil??

    The only time I've put religion and evil in the same paragraph is in a very early remark to Yamaan Farhat.

    I said
    ''It is not your religion I dispise although I dont believe it to be true, I have no problem looking at people like you through the cross hair of a Parker Hale 7.62. as its not your religion that make you evil, your just hiding behind it.''

  581. GRUMPY25608


  582. fender24

    Hey, I am asking a question. I am not refering to any spesific message but i assumed that u had watched this doc okay.

    Why is religion evil?. What is evil? just curious about what u think.

  583. docoman

    I know you have asked Grumpy, no doubt he'll answer you, but while you wait, I have something to add to the discussion and your question 'Why is religion evil?'
    Because people actually believe everything religion says, and religions use primarily their scriptures, which say things like;

    From the Bible:
    -Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    - "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

    There are many more, but they are enough to see what sort of God that 'one' is like.

    From the Qu'ran:

    -5.33. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter

    - 5.38. As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.
    -5.39. But if the thief repents after his crime, and amends his conduct, Allah turneth to him in forgiveness; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    Wow, after your hand is cut off, if you admit you stole whatever it was, that 'God' will forgive you. Hmm, what about yr hand? That is merciful?

    And there are many more from there.
    And that doesn't even start to address the in-fighting in the same religions, let alone the division and problems it has done to our species between religions.
    The little good religion has done is far outweighed by the harm. Religion preaches and causes division, with absolutely nothing to prove itself actually real other then it's own, hollow words from it's 'sacred writings'.
    That's some of why Religion is 'evil'.

  584. docoman

    And I'd also like to see your answer to Grumpy's question of how? Meaning how did Dawkins have 'his ass handed to him' on this one. Did you watch it?

  585. over the edge

    you ask "Why is religion evil?" i get the feeling i am being set up but here are just a few of the reasons
    - it convinces parents to turn on their kids because of something as irrelevant as who they choose to be with
    - causes divides in a world that is divided enough
    - used to convince otherwise rational people to do irrational things
    - has consciously gone out of its way to hinder progress be it scientific or otherwise by both the leadership and its members
    - forced female circumcision
    - the christian churches and its flock seem to prefer protecting pedophiles over children
    - the book(s) themselves command/condone the most evil of acts
    - causes many to deny facts and reality
    - stands in the way of equality and basic human rights
    all this for something that has absolutely no demonstrable proof. should i go on?

  586. GRUMPY25608

    You assumed correct, as I have watched this Dawkin doco as well as most of his other work.

    Religion it self is not evil or good by it's self it appears neutral.
    It takes religion to make otherwise good and intelligent people to do evil things and make r*tarded decisions.

    How can you argue with Richard Dawkins statement;
    Excuse me if I don't get this 100% correct.

    The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misgyinistic, homophobic, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

  587. systems1000

    Belief in the supernatural can only be positive if worn on the heart,not on the sleeve.

  588. docoman

    Supernatural definition; Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."

    Supernatural is another term for BS, as it has not once been shown to have any basis in reality, by definition.
    So it can only really be positive when? When truth, reality, and critical thinking are not. lol.

  589. docoman

    Your question was answered, now answer yours. How did Dawkins 'have his ass handed to him" ?

  590. GRUMPY25608

    Can you explain your statement a little further as before I respond, I would like to ensure that I understand your statement correctly.

  591. $18360950

    don't be ridiculous

    natural forces did not cause the universe

    why do you think science cannot determine the origin of the universe?

    don't presume to know it all

    we know nothing

  592. robertallen1

    You must first prove that god exists and that this creation is his.

  593. robertallen1

    Among other things, because it encourages ignorance and superstition.

  594. systems1000

    i din,t mean that one needs to believe in the supernatural to be positive.But just believing in the supernatural/or even not to,are two diffrent things from actually experiencing it.Ones experience with the supernatural is of little help to one who hasen,t or to one who just merely believes in it.Its a one on one deal.

  595. Nothing_Is_Real

    It is amazing that the great god forgot to install the information about itself at creation. To leave to mankind is really funny.

  596. fender24

    "It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 9:5)

    Okay, how "wicked" could those people have been? How about killing their own sons and daughters by burning them in sacrifices to their gods:

    "You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:31)

    The wickedness of these people is confirmed in other verses of the Bible. So we see that these people are not quite as innocent as the atheists would like you to believe.

    Did God kill any innocent people along with the evil ones? When God was about to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asked God if He would destroy the cities if there were 50 righteous people in them. God said no. Then Abraham asked the same question if there were 45 righteous people. Every time he dropped the number and got the same answer. The fact is that God would not have destroyed those cities if there were any righteous people in them. The few righteous who were in those cities He warned ahead of time to get out. So, God does not destroy the righteous along with the evil. A CRUEL God would do that.

  597. docoman

    "natural forces did not cause the universe"
    So it follows that 'unnatural forces' did create the universe. Please show evidence to prove you assertion. Good luck with that ;)

  598. docoman

    "i din,t mean that one needs to believe in the supernatural to be positive.But just believing in the supernatural/or even not to,are two diffrent things from actually experiencing it.Ones experience with the supernatural is of little help to one who hasen,t or to one who just merely believes in it.Its a one on one deal."

    So you're saying that 'supernatural' experiences are a 'one on one' deal, and therefore can't be proven.

    Mental illness is a 'one on one' deal, and their grandiose delusions cannot be proven, so by your logic, they're sill real?

  599. docoman

    "why do you think science cannot determine the origin of the universe?"

    I didn't say that, you did.
    Biopoiesis, or the beginnings or life, no one has explained satisfactorily. especially your scriptures.
    You presume to know it all when you profess belief in any 'scriptures' that claim to 'know it all'.

    Religion is BS, pure and simple. lol

  600. docoman

    Ok, so you're arguing that 'god' only kills those that 'deserve it.

    Have a look at the Crusades, and the Inquisition, then try and argue that your 'God' is good. lol

  601. docoman

    lol, for every 'nice' Bible quote, I can supply an 'evil' one do you really wish to play that game. The fact is, your 'god' is clearly not the 'good guy' as is claimed.

  602. docoman

    God has never killed anyone, as your 'God' is just a fantasy, which is not applicable in the 'real world'. People have killed other people because of their 'belief' in God, not the other way around.

  603. docoman

    Don't be ridiculous, unnatural forces did not 'cause' the universe.

    LOL, what did cause the universe, and what evidence do you have to supply?
    'Old writing's' don't cut it.

  604. docoman

    It's less then a 'one on one' deal, it's more accurately described as a 'personal delusion' deal....

  605. fender24

    Have u read the old testament? i asked about you're personal thoughts and u quote dawkins??, who have his own interpretations. Can u be more spesific about what is so cruel about this unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misgyinistic, homophobic, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully?

    What atheists or Dawkins' ignores in they're description of God is His mercy. People tend to think of the God of the Old Testament as cruel and unforgiving, whereas the God of the New Testament is seen as the God of mercy, who sent Jesus to atone for the sins of the world. The Old Testament prophets were always warning the people about the wrath of God should they stray from the path of righteousness. However, what is usually ignored is God's mercy for those who DID repent of doing evil, like The story of Jonah the prophet, and everyone who knows it knows that God spared those who repent from doing evil but sometimes whishes HE didn't. Yes, God judged many people groups, but not before warning them!. Like in Sodom and Gomorrah God sent two angels to warn the four righteous people in Sodom to flee before He destroyed the city.

    It is quite convenient that such details are usually left out of atheistic sites or dawkins complains about the "evil" perpetrated by God. There are many examples here about people quoting verses about gods cruelty but forgets the full picture.
    Although God ordered the extermination of entire cities, He did so in righteous judgment on a people whose corruption had led to extreme wickedness, including child sacrifice. I have seen not one evidence in the bible that this "cruel" God has killed righteous people.

    Evil is just an absence of Good.

  606. over the edge

    you are the second person recently to use " Sodom and Gomorrah God sent two angels to warn the four righteous people in Sodom to flee before He destroyed the city." who were these four righteous people? Lot who offered up his daughters for gang rape? his wife who was turned into a pillar of salt (see killed) for looking back? or his daughters who decided to get their father drunk so they could rape him and have his incestuous babies? your god has a twisted sense of righteous.

  607. mycial

    I'm confused, about the question. What are you asking me? I get replies from this site more than YouTube for some reason people just won't leave me alone. We are among your human hybrid race look just like you but you don't believe we exist. Religion is great for your species, you can't research any area of it in terms of keeping sheeple asleep. Please I hope I didn't scare you off I'm trying to cope with your earth planet. The chemtrails in the sky are making my species sick, & yours we need to come together & introduce our selves to you. Food for thought. Research the STAR GATE program we look just like you.
    'Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electrically control the brain. Some day armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain.’ - U.S. government mind manipulator, Dr. Jose Delgado, Congressional Record, No. 262E, Vol. 118, 1974.

  608. robertallen1

    "Although God ordered the extermination of entire cities, He did so in righteous judgment on a people whose corruption had led to extreme wickedness, including child sacrifice. I have seen not one evidence in the bible that this 'cruel' God has killed righteous people." One way or the other, it's still genocide and by the way, just what are "righteous people?"

    "Evil is just an absence of good." Got any more platitudes?

  609. Kateye70

    You do understand the whole 'righteous' vs. 'wicked' shtick is a way to justify invading and occupying another tribe's land, right?

  610. robertallen1

    Indeed it is. Anyone who thinks Saddam was overthrown or Ben Laden assasinated on idealistic grounds is a fool--and then there's Viet Nam.

  611. Kateye70

    Personally, I see the old testament as a compilation of myths, societal rules and half-remembered oral history, written down by a newly-literate middle-eastern tribe. As I understand it, the Jews continue to re-interpret their old scriptures to allow for changing times, and none of them take the stories literally (I could be wrong here, not Jewish, myself).

    I see the new testament as a cynical political move by Constantine to shore up the failing Roman empire. The power passed from the roman emperors to the roman catholic church, along with a lot of gold and jewels, so he was successful in at least passing along the power and money.

  612. robertallen1

    Indeed, it was a political move; religious idealism had nothing to do with it.

    I really can't say whether Jews take the Old Testament literally, as I don't recall having asked the question while growing up. After I reached 13, I no longer cared, as I had thrown off this mantle.

  613. I AM POP SLAG.

    im not the only one on it? no that would be you filling up the comments section on every video like you own the place...

  614. robertallen1

    If you have a problem with that, complain to a moderator.

  615. Achems_Razor

    This is a public site, and anyone is free to voice their opinions on the subject matter.

  616. I AM POP SLAG.

    no im complaining to you- because its you with case of the textual diarrhea. wind your neck in - make succint and fact of matter points and stop arguing with mad people-

  617. robertallen1

    As Achem, one of the moderators, informed you this is a public site. You don't like my posts. You don't have to read them. One way or the other, don't you dare tell me what to do.

  618. JCL2468

    Religion is not without value, however it must be understood that while religion can bring one closer to ones culture and heritage it does so at the expense of true closeness to God. Ironically the people closest to God are not theologians or the religious, but rather it is those who reject religion in favour of science, for it is only possible to be truly close to God when we strip away the layers of mythology, ritual and cultural presumptions which rely on blind faith, because when faith is blind, the blindness makes it impossible to see the true nature and glory of God's creation and by extension, God himself.

  619. robertallen1

    First god must be proven to exist and as no one has been able to do this, religion is completely without value.

  620. JCL2468

    Perhaps I should clarify that;
    -God and religion are two quite seperate things
    -Religion is a social construct consisting of five specific points
    -A creation myth
    -An afterlife myth
    -A greater sense of community
    -These five commonalities of all religions serve a deep rooted psychological need held by many people, and helps to define the cultural heritage of many people and societies.
    -I used the word 'God' as a term describing those forces of the universe which resulted in existance, one could just as easily substitute the term 'God' with the term 'Nature' or 'Universe'.
    -The idea that God is a supernatural intelligence with a plan and a personal interest in anyone is a religious view based on fear of the universe and much of what's in it and amounts to a 'Fairy Story on Steroids' (which I don't subscribe to).

  621. robertallen1

    Thanks for the clarification. However, to the five specific points, a sixth should be added: religious xenophobia. The problem with the psychological need is that those who have it feel that others should as well and woe to them if they don't.

  622. JCL2468

    Xenophobia is an occasional undesirable side effect of the sense of community, it exists amongst almost all animal species which live in a communal / terratorial mode and is one of the driving forces of evolution, it is not specific to religion, even if it can thrive in a religious environment.

  623. robertallen1

    I never said it was specific to religion which is which I employed the adjective religious--but religion certainly engenders it in spades.

  624. JCL2468

    The five commonalities are present in all religions, which of course is why I list them as commonalities, they define the nature of religion, with respect Xenophobia is at best (or perhaps worst) merly optional.

  625. docoman

    Yes, I agree. Also, now most if not all of the conversations are 'chopped' up, with the result being meaning has been lost because some things were said in context, but are now somewhere different. I can't follow the conversations I was in the same as yesterday. I hope it doesn't keep doing that.

  626. docoman

    Yeah mate, done that. Old dog here... :) If you look at the 'why I am no longer a Christian', you'll see a good example of how that conversation is chopped up. I rofl at that last night, it's not the same now :(
    Edit- it is kind of looking again, just not same order mostly now. I'll keep at it, get the hang of it. :)

    I'll get used to it, I hope. :)

    spotted a 'glitch' if you click on a person and look at their post count, then on community, their comments number is different.

  627. JCL2468

    In the end I simply conclude that although religion is devoid of any ultimate truths, as a social phenomenon that has it's roots in prehistory and actually does act on some level as an adhesive both within society today and our cultural and actual ancestors, thereby in some measure linking the past with the present and future, it holds great power as a psychological and ethical tool and yes, like all tools it can do great harm if misused. The trick is not to allow religion to be used as an excuse, as has often been done in the past, to justify any number of vile acts and actions. This may be difficult but is not impossible, it just requires the right political will to prevail. For example the desire to limit the potential for religion to do harm is what motivated the founding fathers of the United States to 'Seperate the Church and State' in the American Constitution. To place political limits on religion is reasonable, to attempt to abolish it would fail and would result in causing more problems than it would solve.

  628. robertallen1

    I fail to see what problems would be caused by its elimination except for forcing people to think for themselves.

  629. Neil Phillip Melly

    you wont find true happiness in
    all instant gratification
    its all types of technology
    sex booze drugs gambling and money
    this is a world of temptation
    that offers many ways to sin
    all pleasure is temporary
    what you touch taste smell hear and see
    you never will be satisfied
    even when you are gratified
    with pride wrath sloth also envy
    plus lust and greed and gluttony
    it will just leave you wanting more
    the rich the middle class the poor
    at least the ones that have a hole
    that cant find GOD deep in their soul

  630. robertallen1

    Spare us the doggrel.

  631. philpilgrim

    Highly recommended viewing - a very entertaining, informative and thought provoking encounter between an educated, but naïve and gullible believer in miracles interviewer, who reveals the famous scientist Richard Dawkins to be the dogmatic religious fundamentalist that he is.
    I've watched Dawkins in dozens of other videoed encounters and am beginning to think his mission to enlighten the public is backfiring badly, and much of it is due to one word - "nothing".
    During this encounter Dawkins attempts to insist that something popping out of nothing (as in the Big Bang theory of how the Universe began) is more believable than the Islamic belief that Muhammad, after his death, flew up to the sky on a winged horse. I'm not religious myself - in fact, antireligious - but when being equanimous, as a substantial percentage of the general public is, which of those two propositions is more plausible ?
    I think using the term "nothing" in the context of the Big Bang theory is problematic, and symptomatic of science's hubris and arrogance. Whatever the exact meaning of the word, whether taken in the Aristotelian sense, or by Lawrence Krauss's definition, or whoever's
    definition, the general public has an understanding of this word that renders the Big Bang theory unintelligible nonsense, and, to try and tell BB non-believers that they do not understand what "nothing" means, as some in the scientific community do, just compounds an already bad situation and further alienates the deniers and doubters.
    Use of this word "nothing" to describe the source of the Universe is inappropriate. Why wasn't the phrase "quantum flux" or "the unknown" used, or even better, a completely new word/phrase invented for the BB theory ?.
    To use the term "nothing" only attracts discredit to science generally and makes Dawkins look like the would-be Pope of the Science religion.

  632. Prion Indigo

    And you've not quoted any sources for your belief either. It is ostensible, almost like grey evidence in the propaganda machine.

  633. robertallen1

    Just which belief are you talking about?

  634. petr adamec

    What is the big idea ? Dawkins just wanted to stir up emotions and sell books for money :) The Bible is no. 1 top seller and he sensed his chance on the market :))))

  635. panthera f

    Yes, Religion is the most evil force in the world.
    You can see it all around you. :-(

  636. william

    This was great and straight to the point. I def enjoyed it. Thanks for posting.

  637. Nicola Nasrin Thompson

    Patience is all that is needed with UnGodly People such as this man, this world is fleeting and each soul shall taste Death....And just as is so-called fame here on earth, He will be as Famously Shamed on the Day he is Put Before his LORD....when his Soul is being Plucked at the Time of Death, he shall see the error of his own way's..........his belief in science will leave him in the Lurch, Plain and Simple.....for he did not think to seek who has Perfected the Science's, in The First....

  638. robertallen1

    And just where does all your "knowledge" come from?

  639. docoman

    Blah blah blah, that's all your preaching amounts to.
    If it's god's job alone to judge, what makes you think you have any knowledge on what will or won't happen to anyone, even yourself? Winged horse, lol. Sure mate, sure.

    Using Capital Letters In The Wrong Places Like That Doesn't Emphasise Your Meaning, Just Your Ignorance.

  640. robertallen1

    I guess Buddy Davis, the crooning creationist, is an acquired taste. The problem is when you acquire it, you lose your reason.

  641. eastvandamn

    hey, man...real nice angle. I'm going to bust this one out ASAP. thanks

  642. AS1024

    Funny, cause the Quran does say the punishment for apostasty is death. In the Quran 4:89 - "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing: But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of God (From what is forbidden). But if they (apostates) turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them" Many ex-Muslims will tell you that only ex-muslims should argue with muslims.

  643. Matthew Nowicki

    Faith is not poison..

  644. robertallen1

    Brilliant refutation. As faith is based on nothing and requires abrogation of critical thinking, it is despicable, disgusting and the very opposite of intelligence. .

  645. Michael

    I think dawkins was afraid that he might get killed like everyone else who questions Islam, hence his reservation when speaking to the reporter.

  646. Katie Katherina Fabik

    you know, your comments only show you have no knowledge whatsoever, whatever your (dis)belief is.... be it Quran, the science, human communication, you name it.... I mean you cannot blame the evil on any religion, you better cast the blame on your own selves cause seriously the history has proven that it is not religion, or political system or anything.... it's people..... and apparently knowing our own history doesn't do a thing because we keep repeating the same mistakes..... shame on all of you... just reading the comments makes me feel embarrassed for being a human....

  647. robertallen1

    How about trying to write in intelligible English?

  648. fender24

    So what argument do u have that God does not exist then?

  649. robertallen1

    That is not what Mr. Morrissey is saying.
    If you assert that god exists, the burden of proof rests with you.

  650. fender24

    Atheists are the ones who got all the answers??. No

    You believe in a Delusion as well the delusion called naturalism. That the beautiful gift like life, you're beatin heart, the mystery of the brain, the beginning of the universe, all that u are just came out of nowhere, that's how u look on you're self, and it is ok to think so little of youreself. Virtually all atheists say that the cause of universe was some natural
    phenomenon. It is also possible that the cause of the universe was a
    supernatural intelligence.. It is ok to allow you're self to be open minded.

    Does everything have a natural cause?

    u believe all
    phenomena have naturalistic causes. Just because cause and effect
    overwhelmingly operate in our universe, does this mean that supernatural
    events never occur?:D

    A naturalistic cause for the
    origin of the universe cannot be confirmed observationally.
    Therefore, atheists believe the tenet that all phenomena have a
    naturalistic cause based solely upon faith in naturalism :D. Still Skeptics take pride in their intellectual ability and
    like to think that they have no "beliefs." even modern science has shown
    us that everyone has beliefs, this is how our brains work.

  651. robertallen1

    Ignorant statement no. 1: atheism and naturalism have nothing to do with each other.

    Ignorant statement no. 2: "A naturalistic cause for the
    origin of the universe cannot be confirmed observationally." Ever heard of the Big Bang which is based completely on observation.

    If you're claiming the existence of the supernatural, let's see your proof; otherwise, it's not worth considering.

    Now, how about trying to couch the remainder of your post in intelligible English.

  652. fender24

    Atheism and naturalism have nothing to do with eachother? considering they're naturalistic approach to life, yea they do...

    The Bible makes these claims, 1. That God has always existed, 2. God created time, along with the entire universe, being described as an expanding universe.

    Wouldn't we expect to see evidence for this claims in the cosmology?
    Stephen Hawking along with others who extended the equations for general relativity to include space and time, the results showed that time
    has a beginning - at the moment of creation (i.e., the Big Bang) Such assertions support the Bible's
    claim number 2. That God created time.
    Since the universe and time began to exist a finite ~13.7 billion years ago time is not eternal but had a beginning. This leads us to the Bible's claim number 1. A God who exists outside the time constraints of the universe is not subject to cause and effect. God has always existed and is not caused. The evidence for God's existence comes primarily from the design of the universe. We can indirectly detect God through his design.

    If we use Occam's razor, which states that one should
    use the simplest logical explanation for any phenomenon, we would eliminate the super
    universe/multi-universe explanation in favor of the simpler God-designed universe

  653. Kateye70

    Using occam's razor, the simplest logical explanation is that the universe came into being via non-supernatural processes, since we have plenty of evidence for natural processes and no evidence for supernatural processes.

  654. robertallen1

    "The evidence for God's existence comes primarily from the design of the universe. We can indirectly detect God through his design." Where is your proof

    Occam's razor stands for the proposition not that the simplest logical explanation should be accepted, but rather one which makes the fewest assumptions until a better one comes along--and this leaves your god out! One way or the other philosophy of no proof of anything.
    You're as ignorant of Occam's razor as you are of the Big Bang and Stephen Hawking.

  655. oQ

    Could it be because we only use our natural visible and tangible features to understand the cosmos that surrounds us.

  656. robertallen1

    And just what else is there?

  657. Achems_Razor

    Are you a supernatural girl? you seem real enough, I think? it seems you have supernatural on the brain. lol

  658. Kateye70

    Very likely so, and as robert points out, that's what we have to go on.

    I'd like to believe the dragons and such I fight in my fantasy game have their real existence in some alternate universe, but I have no evidence to back that desire up. =)

  659. oQ

    A lot we don't know...and that includes the, for now, impossible.

  660. oQ

    If the supernatural is to be found, any one who knows me will know i was a supporter, not a pusher.

  661. oQ

    What if it has absolutely nothing to do with dragons and fairy tales....more with conciousness and openess.

  662. robertallen1

    That's not saying anything.

  663. Pysmythe

    Back to the mysteries of consciousness/receptivity and whatever its precise relations to matter, etc., might be, eh? You know I hate to say it, but it seems like that's edging a little too close to Chopra territory to make very much sense. Using things like meditation to increase self-awareness, relaxation, or empathy with others, etc., is one thing, and a good thing, it sure seems to me, but that such things could ever be a substitute or corollary for the scientific method (if I understand you correctly), well...

    Things like that seem entirely too subjective.

  664. fender24

    That time has a finite beginning, not only space. ;D

    "The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed
    forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big
    Bang, about 15 billion years ago." Stephen Hawking

    The Beginning of Time.

    Penrose, R. 1966. An analysis of the structure of
    space-time. Adams Prize Essay, Cambridge University.

    Hawking, S.W. 1966. Singularities and the Geometry of space-time. Adams
    Prize Essay, Cambridge University.

  665. Achems_Razor

    Where is your math? or the math in general when you said, "extended the equations for general relativity to include space and time," I want to see how you came about your prognosis. Don't reply to me with stuff I already know.

    "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going"
    "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing"
    "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist"

    Stephen Hawking...from his book "The Grand Design"

  666. fender24

    It is extraordinary the lengths an atheist like Hawking will go to avoid the obvious: God exists.
    Neither gravity nor any other law of physics
    provides a mechanism by which universe can be spontaneously created. Physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe.
    Laws themselves do not create anything..., they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions. What Hawking appears to have done is to confuse law with agency. WHy does the physical laws exist, and who created them? well since

    "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going" the question must be: where did this blue touch paper come from? And who lit it, if not God?

    Some agency must have been involved, Is it not more likely
    that a super-intelligent, powerful Being invented the laws of physics that
    produced the universe? There are evidence for intelligent design in the cosmology. Believing in multiple universes is not science, it's science fiction and lacks observational evidence.

    His call on us to choose between God and physics is a bit like someone
    demanding that we choose between aeronautical engineer Sir Frank Whittle
    and the laws of physics to explain the jet engine.

    Cosmic Clowning: Stephen Hawking's "new" theory of everything is the same old
    CRAP by John Horgan (Scientific American).

  667. robertallen1

    "It is extraordinary the lengths an atheist like Hawking will go to avoid the obvious: God exists." What is so obvious about that?

    "Neither gravity nor any other law of physics
    provides a mechanism by which universe can be spontaneously created." Can it be assumed that you have a considerable background in physics similar to Dr. Hawking's to back this statement up?

    "Some agency must have been involved." Where is your justification for this conclusion?

    "WHy does [sic] the physical laws exist, and who created them?" Why does there need to be a why? What makes you think they were created? Ever heard of natural processes?

    Is it not more likely that a super-intelligent, powerful Being invented the laws of physics that produced the universe? What makes this more likely than Tinkerbell starting the whole thing offf?

    All you're doing is invoking a god of the gaps topped with a meaningless quote from authority which places this post on the same level of idiocy and ignorance as all your others.

  668. Achems_Razor

    First of, you have made numerous claims, I merely am relaying info.

    Claim 1. you say there is a god.

    claim 2. gravity nor physical laws can prove spontaneous creation.

    claim 3. evidence for ID in the cosmos.

    claim 4. that a super intelligent powerful "being"? created the laws of physics.

    claim 5. believing in M theory which encompasses string theory is not science?? lacks observation?
    (where is the observation in believing your sky fairies?)

    Since you have made all these claims without any proof, the onus is on you to show proof of your claims. Otherwise it is a waste of time for me for further discourse.

  669. Samuel Morrissey

    'the obvious: God exists'

    If that were truly obvious there would be no debate, as everyone would agree. Since the rest of your argument relies on the assumption that god exists, you need to prove it first. Otherwise, as the premise itself is unreliable, nothing else you say here is relevant.

    I would start by rewording the above statement like so: 'It appears likely to me that god exists.' and give your reasons.

    All you have done is attack physics and physicians unnecessarily, because you don't/can't/won't understand it, doesn't mean they are wrong. Of course it doesn't mean they're right either, but I would bet my life they are a great deal more informed about these matters than you. The point you should worry about, however is; even if they are totally wrong, that in no way supports the idea that god exists.

    Quite simply, the question about whether god(S) exist or not is idle speculation as there is no evidence, which is not evidence of absence, so there is nothing to work with. You simply decide one way or the other, or if you are honest you admit that you simply cannot know, no matter how invested you are in one possibility.

    Now String Theory (or M or Brane Theory)- is certainly not idle. There are several heavy papers filled with heavy mathematics, being pored over and analysed endlessly by large numbers of theoretical physicists. It is anything BUT idle, none the less it is only speculation, and should be regarded carefully as such.

  670. bumpercrop

    Religion denies pain. We live in a physical world, and that world is
    painful. All the religious talk about illusion and construct sounds good, but as you say in the end, enlightenment does not change the fact that if I stub my toe, it hurts.

  671. bumpercrop

    Perhaps we could think of existence this way: The question is not: Does God exist? But rather, if higher consciousness does
    exist, what makes humans think "it" would care about what we
    have created and are creating? Therein lies the arrogance and delusion of religion.

  672. bumpercrop

    Perhaps endless unanswered prayers. Perhaps the idea that petitioning "heaven" for a particular outcome might counteract another person's petition for the opposite outcome. Perhaps the fact that there is gross unfairness on our planet. Perhaps the fact that very good people suffer unnecessarily while the corrupt prosper. All of these facts make a very compelling argument that God does not exist. Please spare scriptural excuses for the benefits of suffering. The bible was written by men thousands of years ago. Humans evolved a larger frontal brain cortex as they moved ahead of the food chain. Newton was pre-Darwinian understanding.

  673. bumpercrop

    Richard Dawkins, representing intelligent discourse of thought, is interviewed by a Muslim, representing the mental and emotional blockage of religion. Science has most definitely been misused, but science can be proved. Religion has most definitely been misused but can not be proved.

  674. Samuel Morrissey

    I have never claimed to know either way.

  675. Samuel Morrissey

    You are putting words in my mouth. I never claimed anything came from nowhere and being open minded does not mean accepting ideas without good reason.

    Without circular arguments about first causes, I can demonstrate why I think that whatever god you believe in is extremely unlikely, consider;

    If there exists a deity who has an effect upon natural reality that differs from natural processes, then these effects would leave physical evidence. Since there is neither evidence of supernatural effects upon reality nor the bending or breaking of the laws of physics at least at the local scale, that only leaves room for deities who don't have any effect on natural reality, or at least none that are distinguishable from natural processes. In terms of whatever god you assume to be real, this means -

    Your god may or may not care but hasn't the power to change things,
    your god may or may not have power but doesn't care to change things.

    Now if you suggest a deity whose effect on natural reality occurs at the scale of the superstructure of the observable universe or bigger, or a deity who simply set the universe in motion without forethought or further action, then it is not so easy to assign a value to the question of their existence, however since no one worships gods like these or claims them as real, their speculation poses no real question.

  676. fender24

    What is painful about the world?

  677. robertallen1

    Let's start off with subbing one's toe, just as bumpercrop suggests.

  678. fender24

    Claim 5. Physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe.
    Laws themselves do not create anything...
    Do such a nebulous set of theories that predict everything and anything and are not testable through observational data really fall within
    the realm of science? :D

    Even if Hawking's hypothesis were true, there would still be no escaping the need for a creator-God. Heinz Pagels explains: "This unthinkable void converts itself into the plenum of existence -- a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into that void? What "tells" the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? it would seem that even void is subject to law, a logic that exists prior to space and time"

    I believe in God not "sky fairies" which u call it, A comparison between the existence of God (a non-contingent being) and the existence of fairies (contingent beings) fails on many levels, not the least of which is that their fundamental natures (non-physical vs. physical) are vastly different.

    claim 3. evidence for ID in the cosmos?.
    hehe the evidence was clear enough for Anthony Flew, a lifelong proponent of atheism became a deist on the basis of evidence for design. In subsequent interviews, Flew stated that he "had to go where the evidence leads." Like our dna. evidence for divine design can be found in our own species.

    There is also the powerful evidence that God revealed himself to mankind
    through Jesus Christ two millennia ago. This is well-documented not just in the scriptures and other testimony but also in a wealth of archaeological findings.

    The Bible says God created the entire
    universe, including time itself,
    which did not exist prior to God creating it
    What does the science indicate? Stephen
    Hawking along with Roger Penrose showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implied space and time have a beginning in the Big Bang. The Big bang theory seems to support the Bible story.
    I could go on.....

    The idea that there is no evidence to support the existence of God is clearly false.

  679. robertallen1

    "There is also the powerful evidence that God revealed himself to mankind through Jesus Christ two millennia ago. This is well-documented not just in the scriptures and other testimony but also in a wealth of archaeological findings." And just what is this testimony you're citing and which archaeological findings are you referring to? And while you're at it, just which Bible story does the Big Ban support and how does it support it?

    In short, to hell with your beliefs, your bible and your ignorance of science in general and physics in particular, your quotes from authority notwithstanding. Let's see your evidence to support the existence of god (that is, your god). And by the way, what is the difference between a contingent beings and non-contingent beings)?

    Another ignorant post for you.

  680. fender24

    And?? is stubbing one's toe really a BAD/evil thing?? In fact, physical pain is absolutely vital to our survival. If we
    felt no pain, we would do things to ourselves that could be very destructive. For example, if we didn't feel pain when we touched a hot object, we would not
    react until we saw our flesh smoking. This is obviously not a good thing to do.
    Pain tells us we need to react to a situation before serious damage occurs. Evil and suffering can
    lead to a greater good.

  681. robertallen1

    What does pain have to do with evil and suffing leading to a greater good--which they don't unless you're Mother Theresa.

  682. fender24

    What unanswered prayers do u mean?? There is scientific evidence for answered prayers.

    "All of these facts make a very compelling argument that God does not exist." How? The evil and suffering u are talking about is mostly caused by other people. Those facts say something about us, that we are responsible for our own actions. God doesn't tell u what to do:D If u wanna be good or corrupt, it's you're choice. ALL people will suffer at least some because of bad choices others make, "bad luck" or chance.

  683. robertallen1

    And just what is the scientific evidence for answered prayers?

  684. bumpercrop

    Religion prevents believers from taking full responsibility for this life. The religious place emphasis on the afterlife.
    For example, end-times self-fulfilling prophecy, suicide bombers getting tickets into paradise, and hoping for a better life through reincarnation. Focusing on the world to come prevents societies from working to solve our planet's serious problems. That is why I think religion is evil.

  685. robertallen1

    Notice how this ties into the situation in Boston. The remaining perpetrator deserves not only the death penalty, but its being carried out a la Timothy McVey.

  686. bumpercrop

    That being said, it is important to understand the history of Christian racism and murder of Muslims. The Muslims were recruited by Eastern Europeans to resist control from Russia. It is also important to understand Arab nationalism which was a response to the west taking their oil for tremendous profit.

  687. fender24

    - Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer
    in a Coronary Care Unit Population
    By Randolph C Byrd.

    - O'Connor P.J., N.P. Pronk, A. Tan, and R.P.
    Whitebird. 2005. Characteristics of adults who use prayer as an alternative therapy.
    Am. J. Health Promot. 19:369-375.

    A study of prayer use by patients showed that 47% of study subjects prayed for their health, and 90% of these believed prayer improved their health. Those who prayed had significantly less smoking and alcohol use and more preventive care visits, influenza immunizations, vegetable intake, satisfaction with care, and social support, and were more likely
    to have a regular primary care provider.

    The study concluded that those who pray had more favorable health-related behaviors, preventive service use, and satisfaction with care.

    - Palmer, R. F., D. Katerndahl, and J. Morgan-Kidd. 2004. A Randomized Trial of the Effects of Remote Intercessory Prayer: Interactions with Personal Beliefs on Problem-Specific Outcomes and Functional Status. J. Alt. Compl. Med. 10: 438-448.

    A randomized clinical trial found a
    significant reduction in the amount of pain in the intercessory prayer group compared to controls. In addition, the amount of concern for baseline problems at follow-up was significantly lower in the prayer group when the subject initially believed that the problem could be resolved. Those who did not
    believe that their problem could be resolved did not differ from controls. Better physical functioning was observed in the prayer group for those with a higher belief in prayer. However, better mental health scores were observed in the control group with lower belief in prayer scores.

    - Pressman, P., Lyons, J.S., Larson, D.B., and Strain, J.J. 1990. Religious belief, depression, and ambulation status in elderly women with broken hips. American Journal of Psychiatry 147: 758-759.

    Reported that among 33 elderly women hospitalized with hip fracture, greater religiousness was associated with less depression and longer walking distances at the time of hospital discharge.

    - Chu, C.C., & Klein, H.E. 1985. Psychosocial and environmental variables in outcome of black schizophrenics. Journal of the National Medical
    Association. 77:793-796.

    Studying 128 Black schizophrenics and their families, investigators reported that Black urban patients were less likely to be re-hospitalized if their families encouraged them to continue religious worship while they were in thebhospital (p<.001).

    - Does Private Religious Activity Prolong Survival?
    A Six-Year Follow-up Study of 3,851 Older Adults.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical
    Sciences 55: M400-M405.

    A six year study of 3,851 elderly persons revealed that those who reported having rarely to never participating in private religious activity had an increased relative hazard of dying over those who
    participated more frequently in religious activity. Whereas most previous studies showed a positive effect for organized religious activities, this study showed that personal religious activity was also
    effective at reducing mortality.

  688. fender24

    google Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique.

  689. robertallen1

    From Wikipedia, "Studies on Intercessory Prayer." (Sources in article)

    Byrd and Harris

    A 1988 study by Randolph C. Byrd used 393 patients at the San Francisco General Hospital coronary care unit (CCU). Measuring 29 health outcomes using three-level (good, intermediate, or bad) scoring, the prayer group suffered fewer newly diagnosed ailments on only six of them. Byrd concluded that "Based on these data there seemed to be an effect, and that effect was presumed to be beneficial", and that "intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU." The reaction from the scientific community concerning this study was mixed. Several reviewers considered Byrd’s study to be well-designed and well-executed, while others remained skeptical. A criticism of Byrd's study, which also applies to most other studies, is based on the fact that he did not limit prayers by the friends and family of patients, hence it is unclear which prayers may have been measured, if any.

    The Byrd study had an inconsistent pattern of only six positive outcomes amongst 26 specific problem conditions. A systematic review suggested this indicates possible Type I errors.

    A 1999 follow-up by William S Harris et al. attempted to replicate Byrd's findings under stricter experimental conditions, noting that the original research was not completely blinded and was limited to only "prayer-receptive" individuals (57 of the 450 patients invited to participate in the study refused to give consent "for personal reasons or religious convictions"). Using a different, continuous weighted scoring system – which admittedly was, like Byrd's scoring, "an unvalidated measure of CCU outcomes" – Harris et al. concluded that "supplementary, remote, blinded, intercessory prayer produced a measurable improvement in the medical outcomes of critically ill patients", and suggested that "prayer be an effective adjunct to standard medical care." However, when they applied Byrd’s scores to their data, they could not document an effect of prayer using his scoring method. Critics have suggested that both Byrd's and Harris's results can be explained by chance. Psychiatrist Richard P. Sloan compared the Byrd and Harris studies with the sharpshooter fallacy, "searching through the data until a significant effect is found, then drawing the bull's-eye."


    In 1998 Fred Sicher et al. performed a small scale double-blind randomized study of 40 patients with advanced AIDS. The patients were in category C-3 with CD4 cell counts below 200 and each had at least one case of AIDS-defining illness. The patients were randomly assigned to receive distant intercessory healing or none at all. The intercession took place by people in different parts of the United States who never had any contact with the patients. Both patients and physicians were blind to who received or did not receive intercession. Six months later the prayer group had significantly fewer AIDS illnesses, less frequent doctor visits and days in the hospital. However, CD4 counts and scores on other physiological tests had no significant variation between the two groups of patients.

    Mayo clinic

    A 2001 double-blind study at the Mayo Clinic randomized 799 discharged coronary surgery patients into a control group and an intercessory prayer group, which received prayers at least once a week from 5 intercessors per patient. Analyzing "primary end points" (death, cardiac arrest, rehospitalization, etc.) after 26 weeks, the researchers concluded "intercessory prayer had no significant effect on medical outcomes after hospitalization in a coronary care unit."

    The IVF-ET prayer scandal

    In 2001 the Journal of Reproductive Medicine published an experimental study by three Columbia University researchers which claimed that prayer for women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) resulted in a double success rate (50%) of pregnancy compared to that of women who did not receive prayer. Columbia University issued a news release claiming that the study was carefully designed to eliminate bias. The most important skeptic was Bruce Flamm, a clinical professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of California at Irvine, who not only found the experimental procedures flawed, but also discovered that some of the authors themselves were frauds. The first-named author Kwang Y. Cha never responded to any inquiries. Daniel Wirth, a.k.a. John Wayne Truelove, is not an M.D. but an M.S. in parapsychology who has since been indicted on felony charges for mail fraud and theft, committed apparently at the time the study was claimed to be conducted, and he pled guilty. On November 22, 2004, Wirth was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release (parole). In December 2001 an investigation of Columbia University by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) revealed that the study’s lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, first learned of the study six to twelve months after the study was completed, and he subsequently denied having anything to do with the study’s design or conduct and claimed to have provided only editorial assistance. The name of Columbia University and Lobo were retracted.

    Retroactive intercessory prayer

    A 2001 study by Leonard Leibovici used records of 3393 patients who developed blood infections at the Rabin Medical Center from 1990-1996 to study retroactive intercessory prayer. To compound the alleged miraculous power of prayer itself, the prayers were performed after the patients had already left the hospital. All 3393 patients were those in the hospital between 1990 and 1996, and the prayers were conducted in 2000. Two of the outcomes, length of stay in the hospital and duration of fever, were found to be significantly improved in the intervention group, implying that prayer can even change events in the past. However, the "mortality rate was lower in the intervention group, but the difference between the groups was not significant." Leibovici concluded that "Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer was associated with a shorter stay in hospital and a shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream infection." Leibovici goes on to note that in the past, people knew the way to prevent diseases (he cites scurvy) without understanding why it worked. In saying so, he suggests that if prayer truly does have a positive effect on patients in hospital, then there may be a naturalist explanation for it that we do not yet understand. After many scientists and scholars criticized this retroactive study,[24] Leibovici later stated that it was "intended lightheartedly to illustrate the importance of asking research questions that fit with scientific models."

    The MANTRA study

    A 2005 MANTRA (Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings) II study conducted a three year clinical trial led by Duke University comparing intercessory prayer and MIT (Music, Imagery, and Touch) therapies for 748 cardiology patients. The study is regarded as the first time rigorous scientific protocols are applied on a large scale to assess the feasibility of intercessory prayer and other healing practices. It produced null results and the authors concluded, "Neither masked prayer nor MIT therapy significantly improved clinical outcome after elective catheterization or percutaneous coronary intervention." Neither study specified if photographs were used, or if belief levels were measured in the agents or those performing the prayers.

    The STEP project

    A 2006 "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP)" led by Harvard professor Herbert Benson was by far the most comprehensive and rigorous investigation of third-party prayer to date. The STEP, commonly called the "Templeton Foundation prayer study or "Great Prayer Experiment", used 1,802 coronary artery bypass surgery patients at six hospitals. Using double-blind protocols, patients were randomized into three random groups, but without measuring individual prayer receptiveness. The experimental and control Groups 1 and 2 were informed they may or may not receive prayers, and only Group 1 received them. Group 3, which tested for possible psychosomatic effects, was informed they would receive prayers and subsequently did. Unlike some other studies, STEP attempted to standardize the prayer method. Only first names and last initial for patients were provided and no photographs were supplied. The congregations of three Christian churches who prayed for the patients "were allowed to pray in their own manner, but they were instructed to include the following phrase in their prayers: 'for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications'. Some participants complained that this mechanical way they were told to pray as part of the experiment was unusual for them. Major complications and thirty-day mortality occurred in 52 percent of those who received prayer (Group 1), 51 percent of those who did not receive it (Group 2), and 59 percent of patients who knew they would receive prayers (Group 3). Some prayed-for patients fared worse than those who did not receive prayers.

    Literature reviews

    A meta-analysis of several studies related to distant intercessory healing was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2000. The authors analyzed 23 trials of 2774 patients. Five of the trials were for prayer as the distant healing method, 11 were with noncontact touch, and 7 were other forms. Of these trials, 13 showed statistically significant beneficial treatment results, 9 showed no effect, and 1 showed a negative result. The authors concluded that it is difficult to draw conclusions regarding distant healing and suggested further studies.

    A 2003 levels of evidence review found "some" evidence for the hypothesis that "Being prayed for improves physical recovery from acute illness". It concluded that although "a number of studies" have tested this hypothesis, "only three have sufficient rigor for review here" (Byrd 1988, Harris et al. 1999, and Sicher et al. 1998). In all three, "the strongest findings were for the variables that were evaluated most subjectively. This raises concerns about the possible inadvertent unmasking of the outcomes assessors. Moreover, the absence of a clearly plausible biological mechanism by which such a treatment could influence hard medical outcome results in the inclination to be skeptical of results." This 2003 review was performed before the 2005 MANTRA study and the 2006 STEP project, neither of which were conclusive in establishing the efficacy of prayer.

    Various, broader meta-studies of the literature in the field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect.. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that "There is no scientifically discernable effect for intercessory prayer as assessed in controlled studies". However, a 2007 systemic review of 17 intercessory prayer studies found "small, but significant, effect sizes for the use of intercessory prayer" in 7 studies, but "prayer was unassociated with positive improvement in the condition of client" in the other 10, concluding that based upon the American Psychology Association's Division 12 (clinical psychology) criteria for evidence-based practice, intercessory prayer "must be classified as an experimental intervention." The review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.
    End of Wikipedia article and so much for the "power" of intercessory prayer.

    "A six year study of 3,851 elderly persons revealed that those who reported having rarely to never participating in private religious activity had an increased relative hazard of dying over those who
    participated more frequently in religious activity. Whereas most previous studies showed a positive effect for organized religious activities, this study showed that personal religious activity was also
    effective at reducing mortality." Source please or is it as fraudulent as everything else you've posted?

  690. robertallen1

    From The Skeptic's Dictionary.

    "Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, conducted a study of the healing power of what she calls 'proximal intercessory prayer' or PIP. The study was funded by the Templeton Foundation (as part of the so-called Flame of Love Project) and was published in the peer-reviewed Southern Medical Journal. I've reviewed the agenda of the Templeton folks before here. The Southern Medical Journal published the infamous Byrd study in 1988, which claimed to have found “Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population.” This lame attempt at bringing science and religion together has, unsurprisingly, never been replicated,though it has been imitated by other desperate souls. (See my two-part essay on Healing Prayer (HP) & Distant Healing.) Gunther Brown's study is worse than Byrd's, however, as it used no control group and was not double-blinded. Her sample was small, as well (24 subjects). Gunther Brown calls her work a "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique." She claims to have measured significant improvements in vision and hearing in poor people who were prayed for up close and personal.

    In short, another of your frauds.

  691. robertallen1

    Over the Edge and Achems Razor:

    Thanks again for your help yesterday. It was much appreciated.

    Just wanted to inform you that I now have a copy of "The Counter-Creationism Handbook" by Mark Isaak which is even more comprehensive than Talk Origins. Are you familiar with the work?

  692. robertallen1

    I knew about this. These people deserve the death penalty.
    If you need me to look up anything for you in the "Anti-Creationist Handbook," please let me know.

  693. over the edge


  694. docoman

    I concur and 3rd that motion. Fraud is fraud, and is criminal.

  695. robertallen1

    It's more than just fraud.
    P.S. My offer to Over_the_Edge extends to you as well.

  696. brianrose87

    It seems everyone here is correct, but discussing different types of pain. Mental anguish can be absolved through understanding. Physical anguish is much more difficult.

    Watch a Buddhist monk immolate himself without expression of physical pain. Then it can be seen that even physical pain originates in the mind, and with proper concentration and habituation the sensation of physical pain can be altered.

    With diligent effort one can train themselves to be in control of the mind, instead of the mind being in control of them.

  697. Guest

    The byrd's study.

    "is based on the fact that he did not limit prayers by the friends and
    family of patients, hence it is unclear which prayers may have been
    measured, if any.

  698. robertallen1

    So what?
    All studies on the alleged power of intercessory prayer have proven either inconclusive or downright fraudulent.

  699. fender24

    The studies i have posted show a positive response to prayer. Some studies don't

    God answer prayer according to Hodge "A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature on Intercessory Prayer"

  700. fender24

    The papers i have posted show positive effects of praying through scientific studies, and praying have positive impact on my life so that's my evidence, and didn't say u had to agree.

  701. robertallen1

    No, Hodge did not say this. He said, "Although some positive results were seen the strength of intercessory prayer is not as effective as cognitive behavior therapy. CBT is the sort of therapy that deals with the role of thinking in the way a person feels and acts." You are a liar!

  702. robertallen1

    Using yourself as evidence shows the extent of your evidence. Your distortions and omissions of critical facts contained in a number of your posts make of you a liar.

  703. fender24

    LOL Where in that post did i quote Hodge?? You're accusation is clearly fraudulent.

  704. robertallen1

    "God answer [sic] prayer according to Hodge." That qualifies as an indirect quote. What makes you a liar is that Hodge said no such thing.

  705. anna miller

    Valid points. But Richard Dawkins is a flawed human as we all are.
    Dawkins must be given credit for having the courage to take on the
    aggressive dominance of religion on our world's cultures. The truth is that none of us know what happens when we die. But in this physical world, horses don't fly and gravity is real.

  706. philpilgrim

    My comment has nothing to do with Dawkins' personality and everything to do with the negative consequences resulting from he and others using the word "nothing" to describe the source of the universe.

    Using this word causes unnecessary confusion and attracts discredit to the theory, and science generally. This confusion could have been completely avoided by creating a new word - surely appropriate given such a monumental discovery (assuming it proves to be true).
    Using "nothing" creates an unnecessary, significant and possibly fatal Achilles heal for the Big Bang theory..

    Finally, I was not suggesting horses fly or that gravity isn't real which you will realise once you comprehend my comment.

  707. fender24

    "Have a look at the Crusades, and the Inquisition, then try and argue that your 'God' is good". What has this anything to do with God being evil? Because there are so much evil in the world, God should just turn the evil of now? Is God responsible for creating evil?

    Just because we Kill in the name of God, doesn't make God responsible for OUR actions -.-

  708. robertallen1

    And I thought your god was omnipotent.

  709. fender24

    "You must first prove that god exists and that this creation is his."

    The Bible was the first written work to describe the expanding universe model
    for the universe (indicated by verses stating that God spreads out the heavens,),
    Overall, the Bible presents God as the Creator of the entire universe (matter, energy, space, and time). which is consistent with the Big Bang model.

    These bible claims are confirmed by modern science. The evidence for God is so strong that long-time promoter of atheism, Antony
    Flew announced in 2004 that he had become a deist because he "had to go
    where the evidence leads." :D Just like Einstein couldn't ignore the evidence either.

  710. fender24

    Yes God is almighty. But evil is not a
    physically created thing at all and, therefore, does not fall within the realm
    of something created by God.

  711. robertallen1

    From the Akkadian "Poem of the Righteous Sufferer" (2300-2100 A.D.) "Wherever the earth is laid, and the heavens are stretched out." Reading into this a confirmation of the Big Bang, the very concept of which was
    unknown at the time, is patently deceptive if not downright idiotic.

    "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends
    which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle
    can (for me) change this. — Albert Einstein, letter to Eric Gutkind, January 3
    1954 [two years before his death].

    Both of these quotes make you a liar.
    Now which biblical claims are you talking about? (And don't reiterate the Big Bang for your contention in that respect is fraudulent.) And where is your hard evidence for the existence of god (presumably yours)? Quotes from authority are meaningless.

    these quotes make you a liar.

  712. robertallen1

    Therefore your god is not as almighty as you make this entity out to be.

  713. docoman

    Hmm, that's not what it says in your scriptures.

    God created evil - Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
    "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

    God himself commits murder - Exodus 12:29 (KJV)
    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle."

    God orders others to be killed - 1 Samuel 15:3 (KJV)
    "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

  714. robertallen1

    Also, the bible also has a bit to say about baby bashing and general and special mutilation One way or the other, don't quote scripture to a religee, it's always the "wrong" passages.

  715. fender24

    I see u love the KJV translation much, one would think that you're still back in medieval England :D. Use of this translation is problematic these days, since it uses an archaic version of modern English, which doesn't necessarily mean the same things
    today as when it was translated over 400 years ago. In addition, the KJV was produced using a limited number of medieval manuscripts that did not represent the earliest Alexandrian set of manuscripts.

    Isaiah 45:7 contrasts opposites. Darkness is the opposite of light. However, "evil" is not the opposite of peace.

    What does modern translation say?
    The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and
    creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. (Isaiah 45:7,

    I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create
    disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7, NIV)
    The Hebrew word translated "evil" in the KJV often refers to
    adversity or calamity. Obviously, "calamity" is a better antonym of "peace"
    than "evil."

    "God himself commits murder - Exodus 12:29" No. God does not kill without cause, a murderer does that's two different things. Why do u think God did this? If you had read the whole text, you'd realize why God ordered that.

    God orders others to be killed - 1 Samuel 15:3 (KJV) No. Samuel ordered saul to do this. Again you're pick and choice of bible quotes have no meaning when u do not understand it. then why comment it??

  716. robertallen1

    What I realize is that as usual, you don't know what you are talking about, As an example, "God does not kill without cause." So what? Hitler did not kill without cause either and neither did Jeffrey Dahmer. Once again, you claim to know so much about a being whose existence you cannot prove and which by nature you can know nothing about.
    Another of your many ignorant posts.
    P.S. The KJV is not medieval.

  717. fender24

    The main problem with you're argument is a lack of understanding of the reason for the
    creation of the universe. God created the
    universe as a temporary testing site for creatures to choose to love Him or reject Him.
    God is good, but He has allowed His creatures free-will to do whatever they want within
    their limited dimensionality.

    The purpose of the universe is to allow God's creatures the choice to love Him.
    Love is not possible without free-will. Therefore God chooses to allow His creatures the
    ability to do evil for the purpose of permitting them also to love. If evil didn't exist we would not be able to choose between good and evil. If God controlled
    everything we did, we could not demonstrate love, since we would be pre-programmed to
    respond. A computer cannot love, but free-will beings can.

    Atheists say that since only God can create, therefore He Must have created evil.
    However, at this point the atheist has redefined the meaning of create. Evil was not
    created. Evil is manifested (committed) by free-will beings.

  718. robertallen1

    1. How can you claim to know so much about a being which you cannot even prove exists?
    2. How do you know why the universe was created, assuming that it was created and that there was a reason for its creation?
    3. Why would an atheist claim that only God can create?
    4. How do you know that evil was not created, but rather is manifested by "free-will beings?"
    In short, yet another in a long line of your ignorant posts.

  719. docoman

    No, I don't love any of the versions of that absurd book.

    So it's the versions translation now is it? lol.

    NASB uses calamity, ASV evil, CEB doom, CEV sorrow, ESV calamity, NIV disaster etc etc.

    The point of that text being 'God' created everything, which by definition includes evil, or whatever name you wish to call 'bad things'. Your definition or translation games does not change the meaning.

    Murder isn't murder if there's a reason? Murderers kill without a cause? No, you're wrong again. Name one murder that has happened without a motive? I do know the exodus story. God supposedly killed the first born, not 'ordered it'. Can you at least get your own story correct please.

    And yes, Samuel ordered Saul to do that killing, and who ordered Samuel supposedly? Read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 15. It's the word of the Lord, apparently. Sam was only a middle man, the 'Lords' orders were being passed on.

    You're the one trying to twist and manipulate the meanings of the words, changing context and interpretations.
    Your god is not loving and kind as you profess. Your version is a nasty piece of work, that's for sure.

  720. robertallen1

    However, even Richard Dawkins (see "The Four Horsemen") agrees that the bible just doesn't sound right in any translation other than the KJV which is really for the most part the work of William Tyndale who was executed by strangulation--for, of all things, heresy, another of the wonderous works of Fender's god, that is his Old Testament god, the one he has to apologize for so often as opposed to his New Testament god for whom he does not need to apologize at all, for this god's perfect. . .

  721. Dean Edgington

    yeah, he has some pretty wacky ideas when it comes to religion but politicaly, he's quite well known here in the UK and I've always had quite a bit of respect for him. It was a sad revelation for me to learn (from this video) that he is a believer. Given his politics I never expected him to spout such nonesense. He's an example of how the mind (even a decent mind) can be much devided. A lesson to us all...check yer head.

  722. fender24

    What about the evil done by atheists?? In modern times the evil done by atheists extends the evil done by religion. Humans is the most evil force in the world, we are the problem.

  723. over the edge

    there have definitely been some atheists who have done evil no argument. but please show me one that used atheism as a justification for the evil? also show me how they convinced the public to assist in carrying out these evil acts with their atheistic writings?

  724. robertallen1

    What do you mean by modern times?

  725. fender24

    "nothing" is not a creative force, The naturalistic explanation requires the presence of a
    complicated, unproved super universe that randomly spew out an infinite number of universes with different laws of physics. How does this hypothetical
    super universe know how to do this? Why would it even want to do this? Ultimately, why
    should there be any universe at all? By chance our universe could have consisted of just energy. None of these questions are logically
    explained by naturalism. Only an intelligent Being would be motivated and expected
    to produce any kind of universe such as what we see. Our universe is designed and fine tuned for life to exist, the evidence towards a creator comes primarily from how the universe came to be, space and time have a beginning According to Stephen Hawking.

    Well the Bible was making the claim before him
    God has always existed
    and that God created time, along with the
    entire universe, being described as an
    expanding universe.

  726. fender24

    What u call bulls*it has changed many minds of science who believe in God because they "had to go where the evidence leads" :D U can start with Einstein.

  727. robertallen1

    "The naturalistic explanation requires the presence of a complicated, unproved super universe that randomly spew out an infinite number of universes with different laws of physics. How does this hypothetical super universe know how to do this? Why would it even want to do this? Ultimately, why should there be any universe at all?" Just what makes you think so? Just what makes you ask such questions--or did you read this on some creationist website, felt that it had a scientific ring and cribbed it without in the least understanding it or recognizing its absurdity and downright ignorance? Superuniverses (and I think you "mean" the multiverse) do not spew out little universes like women on fertility drugs. Unlike fetuses and infants, universes don’t "know" anything; universes don’t "want" anything and the question of why there should be any universes (or universe) at all is irrelevant. It/they exist and that’s that.

    "None of these questions are logically explained by naturalism." None of which questions? The ones you have blindly copied without comprehension or the phony issues you’ve raised?

    "Only an intelligent Being [sic] would be motivated and expected to produce any kind of universe such as what we see." So now you expect this figment to be motivated to earn its keep. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?

    "Our universe is designed and fine tuned for life to exist." Really? Only a minuscule portion of the universe is capable of sustaining life as we know it. Only a small percent of the planet is habitable by man–and it took billions of years for it to get to that point. Need I go on?

    "The evidence towards a creator comes primarily from how the universe came to be, space and time have a beginning According [sic] to Stephen Hawking." So Dr. Hawking believes in a creator (ostensibly your figment)? Where does he state this or are you trying put forth in your ignorant way that everything that has a beginning must have a creator? Let’s see you prove this without insulting the intelligence by reinterpreting your bible to conform to the discoveries modern science.

    Once again, it is stunningly apparent that you do not even half-comprehend the Big Bang, much less the basics of cosmology, and have merely copped your "observations" from what you have read on creationist websites, making this yet another of your ignorant posts and you another ignorant religee. .

  728. robertallen1

    He was playing with himself and decided to take a break.

  729. robertallen1

    Thanks for proving me right.
    As one good turn deserves another, for pure nausea and with deference to your background in biology, I suggest the radio debate between Kent Hovind and Eugenia Scott on You Tube.

  730. docoman

    I can be honest, I don't know how our universe came to be. I've never claimed to. I do know your 'story' of religion or scriptures, or whatever name you wish to call your fairy tale version, makes claims it can't back up, makes mistakes it shouldn't if it was accurate, and is full of logic holes and therefore nothing more then man made BS is the only sensible conclusion.
    Something from nothing you claim the BB theory is. OK, so how does your 'god' exist under the exact same logic, something from nothing? At least there is the observable universe to show something like the BB happened, unlike your claims that have what evidence? Some old human writings. lol.

  731. docoman

    The same old BS argument about Einstein being 'religious'. I cbf doing it with you, go find and read them yourself, it's been beaten to death on multiple threads now where others have tried to make that claim.

    I'd suggest many more minds have been freed of the intellectual bond that religion has been, largely due to the knowledge gained though science. The figures of atheism rising back that up.

    Give religion it's way, (as it's had in the past) and any science/knowledge that doesn't agree with them will be stopped, hidden and punished. (again)

    What I call BS is people like you making up things to try to defend something that's obviously incorrect and detrimental to our species acquiring knowledge that can go, as you called it, "where the evidence leads", not only places dictated to by religion.

  732. robertallen1

    Look at it this way. Have you ever seen a nothing? Do you think fender24 has? Do you think you would know a nothing if you "saw" it? Do you think fender24 would? If no one knows what a nothing is, it's just as absurd to claim something can't come from it as something can. So much for the claim, fender24 and the creation story.

  733. robertallen1

    "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." (Albert Einstein, 1954) This makes you a liar in addition to an ignoramus.

  734. docoman

    Yes, you're right. Even 'empty space' has Zero Point Energy. I've never seen a 'nothing' that I could be aware of, as far as I know. :)

  735. DawkinsSympathier

    Poor Dawkins, it must be a terrible life spending all your time speaking about something you hate. My sympathies.

  736. AnnieJG

    It's frustrating that it's assumed that he supports tyranny and atheist dictators just because of the shared disbelief of religion whereas he does not assume that every Muslim is a suicide bomber. Having no belief does not mean you have no morality but means you can be moral without being God fearing, which I personally think is a more sincere morality in comparison to being moral because you were told to by a powerful man.

  737. fender24

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly
    harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and
    actions of human beings."

    What are u on about who said anything about him being religious? Einstein became a Deist, he didn't believe in a personal god because, like so many on this site, he didn't understand why evil must exist! Check you're facts before u make you're empty accusations so that makes u the only liar here. Einstein clearly stated he wasn't an atheist.

  738. fender24

    Never said Einstein was religious. i said Einstein believe in God, now that being a naturalistic God i have not made up anything, so why don't u think before u comment.

  739. robertallen1

    In addition to Einstein's quote from 1954, we have "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." The awe before the wonders of the universe does not translate into deism. You have clearly and inexcusably lied.

  740. robertallen1

    You sure did on "Dawkins on Religion" where you wrote, " Einstein became a theist." This makes you a liar.

  741. fender24

    Religious people believe in a Personal God, Einstein clearly stated that he didn't.

    "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not
    believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly."


    Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman (eds) (1981).
    Albert Einstein, The Human Side. Princeton University Press. p. 43.

    Tanks for proving YOU are the liar here :D
    You can make up all the accusations u want, i do not care because you are making a fool out of yourself.

  742. fender24

    I wrote Einstein became a deist, i think 3 people should check they're eyes :P

  743. robertallen1

    It's you who like those of youf clade trying to make a theist out of Einstein which he wasn't through dishonestly equating his awe of the universe with theism. This is, dishonest, despicable and complete lie.

  744. robertallen1

    Just who were these "many minds of science" whose opinions were changed?

  745. robertallen1

    One way or the other, it's still a lie, as he never BECAME a deist. So much for your response to Docoman and so much for your attempt at knowledge.

  746. fender24

    lol U are the one who did. U are the one bringing up theist.

  747. fender24

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly
    harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and
    actions of human beings." Hence why Einstein became a deist, my empathies. But take you're trolling elsewhere, Just because u do not agree does not give u the right to make up these lies.

    It's no denying the fact that One of the greatest minds of our time could not ignore the evidence either, proving my point from begin with.

  748. robertallen1

    Deism happens to be a form of theism, which only adds to the wilful mendacity of your statement.

  749. robertallen1

    Why don't you read up on Spinoza's god before keyboarding any further ignorance. And once again, Einstein did not BECOME a deist. Like a typical religee, not only do you not know what you are talking about, but despite all the quotes presented, you continue to distort Einstein's statements to make him a diest or theist which he clearly was not. I suggest that you re-read the quote from 1954, the year before his death.

  750. docoman

    Don't be dishonest fender24.
    A quick re-cap of the conversation, as you don't seem to be able to follow along properly, or assume others can't.
    I said religion is BS, to which you replied;
    "What u call bulls*it has changed many minds of science who believe in God because they "had to go where the evidence leads" :D U can start
    with Einstein."

    Clearly you have implied that Einstein changed his mind and believed in God.
    You tried to make an appeal to authority, trying to ride Einstein's reputation to gain some credibility. You're not the first to incorrectly try this.

    If you're not saying Einstein was religious why bring him into a topic about religion then? You're the one that brought up a dead physicist, why? Why say religion changed his mind because he had to go where the evidence leads?

    You've already been caught plagiarizing in this thread, now you're being dishonest again.

  751. fender24

    You obviously try to make my words into something that it's not. You are the one being dishonest or just blind :P because it doesn't make Einstein religious just because i say what u call bs has changed many minds of science, U never asked what religion!. so think before u comment next time please

    Religion = God either a personal God or not and God have put the evidence in the cosmology for us to see.

    The evidence for a creator seems to be so overwhelming that even Einstein could not ignore it even how much he tried to explain away a creator. If Religion is BS there would be no evidence for Einstein or another 2 billion or more to find. u can't say there isn't, and u do not have to agree.

    Why bring him into a topic about religion, why not??? Deism is a natural religion. (A term often used by deists.)

  752. fender24

    It's two different things..

  753. robertallen1

    Just what is a natural religion as opposed to an unnatural one?

    "If Religion is BS there would be no evidence for Einstein or another 2 billion or more to find." 2 billion or more of what?
    But let's get to the crux of the matter:

    "The evidence for a creator seems to be so overwhelming that even Einstein could not ignore it even how much he tried to explain away a creator." Really now, and just where did you come up with this and while you're at it, what about the following physicsts of Einstein's stature who are/were atheists: Phillip Anderson, John Stewart Bell, Hans Beth, Niels Bohr, Brian Cox, Laurence Krauss, Robert Oppenheimer--I could go on, but this is probably enough to expose the ignorance of your post. .

  754. robertallen1

    The only difference is that one is passive while the other is active. Again, more ignorance.

  755. docoman

    lol, nice oxymoron that post is. Firstly you say Einstein isn't religious, but he was a deist.... then you end with Deism is a natural religion.

    Which is what you've been told, stop putting words into Einstein's mouth or pretend he was religious. Stop trying to pretend there is evidence where there is none.
    I don't say you can't be right, I say you can't know. Look up agnostic. Regardless of what fallacies you wish to employ, you don't have evidence.

  756. docoman

    I also note you quote 2 billion people find evidence. Would I be correct to infer that you mean the 2 billion Christians in the world? What about all the rest, let alone the different versions of 'christianity'? Which version is right, which is wrong? Do any have any evidence? How does that fit with your 'Deisim' argument? Or Christian quotes and sources?

  757. fender24

    U can believe in God and not be religious that is deism. It doesn't make Einstein religious when i say "what u call bs has changed many minds of science" I have never specified any person being religious! so end of discussion. Obviously u assumed stuff without any reason and make up lies.

    The natural God of spinoza changed the mind of Einstein. When hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding and had a beginning at some point in the past. the same beginning Einstein tried to get rid of. He went from agnostic to deist a believer in an impersonal creator God:

    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony
    of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions
    of human beings."

    -Cable reply to Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein's (Institutional Synagogue
    in New York) question to Einstein, "Do you believe in God?".

  758. robertallen1

    "The natural God of spinoza changed the mind of Einstein. When hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding and had a beginning at some point in the past. the same beginning Einstein tried to get rid of. He went from agnostic to deist a believer in an impersonal creator God." Care to provide a source for the piece of blantant nonsense? Why don't you read up on Einstein's cosmological constant before keyboarding any further ignorance?

  759. docoman

    Arrr, face palm. :( Are you really that dumb, or just attempting to be outright dishonest?

    I said religion is BS. You said what I call BS (religion), has changed the minds of many.... start with Einstein.

    It's there for all to read mate.

    I'm not interested in attempting to talk with you anymore fender24, you're a liar or really thick, probably both I think. I've asked you questions you can't even get to because of your first paragraph. I cbf wasting time with your BS anymore mate.

  760. fender24

    Atheist's also convince people to assist in carrying out they're evil acts and they sure got writings to back it up to!

    No other species on earth are capable of doing the amount of evil done by humans, atheist's or religious. It is a human error, evil is something we obviously have created not God. I guess it's more easier to blame everything on a higher being, who should just stop every evil act we do, right?... Like a loving god would have stopped what happened on 9.11? it is also possible we can end this evil ourselves if we wanted to... its easy, its something called free will. What many people do not think about is what God may have done to limit the amount of evil committed on 9.11?

    Some people make it sound like Religion is the only root of evil, that's what buggs me. Like there are no other real life issues in our society? like nationalism: politics, power, mental health,. The love for money, also called greed, corrupt leaders that take away our liberties? these can not be blamed on just Faith.

  761. robertallen1

    And just what are these evil acts that atheists in particular have convinced people to carry out? It's easy to enumerate the wholesale slaughters and genocidal events committed in the name of religion, but can you name one committed in the name of atheism?

    Can you prove that this god you keep drooling about from post to post even exists and to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, that this entity stepped in to limit the amount of evil committed on 9/11? Did it deflect the plane headed toward the White House? Did it put a cap on the number of hijackers involved? Did it take steps to ensure that only the two buildings comprising the World Trade Center were destroyed? One way or the other, just how are we to employ free will in ending all this "evil?"

    Before you keyboard further, I suggest you bone up on your English.

  762. robertallen1

    Have you seen Dark Matter's new video on Rick "The Prick" Perry. In response, I have written to Dark Matter suggesting a video on abortion.

    I was wondering if you'd take a look at a video on You Tube entitled "Anti-Gay Christian Man Brings His Kids" and give me your impression of this so-called "Anti-Gay Christian Man"

  763. over the edge

    i have already watched the darkmatter video and it is scary that at one time he led the republicans for nominee. but the fact that enough Texans agree with him that he was elected there doesn't surprise me. but the video is funny.

    as for the other suggestion. he makes the same old arguments but even though i disagree with him he seemed reasonable and sincerely trying to understand. i think we missed what could have been a good conversation because that woman kept interrupting the conversation. if she cannot have a reasonable conversation with this man there is no hope with dealing with any of the representatives of the other side. as not all would be this willing to listen

  764. robertallen1

    Exactly--and notice the reason he gave for bringing his sons.

  765. robertallen1

    Great minds think alike. I wish TDF had him as a poster.

  766. fender24

    Just Religion makes good people do bad things?

    ... or does it just give bad people an excuse?

    Atheists do not use atheism to justify they're evil act, but they use other reasons to justify it... To point the finger is as old as Adam and Eve, Adam blames Eve, Eve
    blames the serpent, It is just our own failure to recognize our own
    responsibility for evil.

    I do not agree with that quote because:
    We live in a society were individuals make individual choices for all kinds of reasons! Either u are religious or not. The love for money, also called greed, can make good people do evil things.
    Much suffering happen because of religion, much suffering happen because of nationalism to. Does it make either evil? No, still it's humans that is carrying out the evil not God, the roots for all the suffering on the planet comes mostly from our sins.

  767. robertallen1

    "Atheists do not use atheism to justify they're [SIC] evil act, but they use other reasons to justify it." What is this evil act and how do you know that it's just atheists committing it?

    "No, still it's humans that is carrying out the evil not God . . . " You still have not proved that god (your god) exists and that you know anything about this entity which by definition is unknowable. Thus, more twaddle.
    " . . . the roots for all the suffering on the planet comes mostly from our sins." So 911 was caused mostly by of our sins. Do you realize how disgustingly much like Jerry Falwell you sound?

  768. robertallen1

    Why not also post a link to "If God Were a Car?"

  769. Dennis Weglehner

    Multiverse? What a ridiculous notion! There is only one planet we have evidence for and that is earth! Oh yeah, then we figured out there are many planets in our own solar system.

    But there is only one Sun and solar system! Only there are billions of stars and planetary systems and they form our galaxy.

    But surely there is only one galaxy! Well besides the fact we know that our galaxy is part of the Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies. But it ends there right?

    Well only if you ignore the fact we now know there are billions of clusters of galaxies which make our universe. Anyone see a pattern forming here?

    The rational behind a multiverse seems intuitive based on the evidence of the ever increasing size and complexity of our known universe.

    To compare the notion of a Multiverse to a god flying into heaven on a winged horse is to purposely have your head buried in the sand.

  770. fender24

    Einstein changed his mind yes, that's is what it says, Religion itself does not make someone religious that's what u do not understand. So you do not make any sense.

  771. robertallen1

    And just where to you get the idea that Einstein changed his mind about the existence of a supreme being? None of your quotes bears this out.