Dec 27th, 2008

A new page of complaints from Myspace! If you have comments or opinions on a better way to get though to a 17 year old Christian Myspacer they are very welcome. I’d enjoy further commentary on this page, because recently I find communication with teens on this matter both essential and hopeless.

Myspace Brian Part 2 added today, the 29th. I think I’m done now with him.

22 thoughts on “Dec 27th, 2008

  1. Gordon

    The answer to the question, “Does God exist?” depends entirely on how the word “God” is defined. It is pretty obvious that the Bible’s description of God and His 4,008 year old creation (according to Biblical genealogical records) is quite inaccurate. So it is safe to say that the Christian God does not exist.

    Science has a long way to go, but it is working toward understanding the most basic underlying principles of the physical universe – some have called this the Unified Field. Some respected scientists have expressed the tentative personal belief that this may be an underlying intelligence akin to God. Of course, they do not base a religion and dogma on that possibility. They know that the Big Picture may be so much bigger than the human mind can conceive.

    Did something make the Big Bang go bang? Who knows, and, right now, how much does it matter? Maybe an “entity” did create the Big Bang and, thus, our physical universe and us. Should we assume that that entity wants us to worship it? What if that entity is one of millions of its kind who also question how they were created?

    Speculations are fine, but let’s not kill each other if we happen to lock ourselves into one simple-minded storyline of our creation.

    If I don’t believe any of the popular human definitions of God, does that make me an “atheist?” That depends on the definition of the word. Just because I don’t believe A, B, and C, doesn’t mean I won’t believe D if it is presented with credible evidence.

    By definition, one indisputable characteristic of God is its omnipresence. So God is everywhere and everything. What is there to disagree with in that?

  2. AngryHuman

    I hesitate to get into scientific debates with delusional Christians, mainly because they have virtually no understanding of science to begin with, and arguing with them is absolutely pointless. They’ll believe whatever they’re believing, no matter what proof lies in their way. They’re so deluded that you can’t force them to think logically, no matter what you do. And arguing with them drains my energy, energy I can best use doing other things, like eating. Turkey sandwiches are way better than scientific debates with drooling, idiotic, deluded fundamentalist Christians.

  3. Minako

    Bob,

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been an atheist for more than a decade now, and a fan of your site for a couple of years (and, sadly, too afraid until now to say as much via email). The answers you gave in reply to those questions are answers I’ve struggled for a long time to give. Everything you’ve said in response to your hate mail is everything I’ve felt and thought a thousand times over. Thanks for giving a voice to those who face the same questioning from Christians, Muslims, deists, theists, and have no voice to answer.

    Cheers.

  4. Thom

    This kid actually seems bright and is trying to use reason and logic in his attempt to find out what is true. He hasn’t appealed to faith in his arguments which is good. I was like him when I was young and turned from being a believer into an atheist.

    I think where he’s making a mistake is in thinking that if science has yet to come up with a satisfactory hypothesis on the origin of matter, then religious explanations are right by default. It doesn’t work that way. Religious explanations need to be proven in order to be taken seriously.

    For example, science still doesn’t have a clear and thorough answer for what causes autism. A religious person from tribal Africa might say it is caused by brain demons. He does not win by default because science doesn’t yet have an answer.

    The burden of proof is on the one making the positive assertion. He says god exists. He needs to prove it.

    It’s like this. I may not be able to solve a particular math problem. That does not make any solution you come up with automatically correct. It’s as simple as that.

  5. Thom

    Bob, since you’re going to be moderating this, this is just a private message to you. The way it looks from your argument, the kid put you on the defensive by asking you to defend science. The ball needs to stay in his court. I would stick to attacking his explanations with your excellent parodies and ridicule.

    Science doesn’t need to explain shit. “We don’t know for sure yet” is a better answer. He’s the one saying god did it. “Oh yeah? Based on what? The Bible?!?!”

    This is the first time I’ve seen you floundering a bit. I hate to criticize because you are freakin’ brilliant. Your website keeps me up late at night reading and re-reading your hate mail responses. You thoroughly kick ass.

    If I was a straight and you were a chick I would totally have sex with you.

  6. Hellbound Alleee

    We forgot your initial argument about Ganesh and Buddha (although Buddha is not a god at all, but that’s beside the point).

    If you “have to prove” that God ISN’T real, than he HAS to prove that Vishnu doesn’t have a god in his belly button that made the world.

    He needs to know that fallacies. He’s old enough. He has the burden of proof here. He cannot just say “why not.” He has the wild, wild theory, he has to back it up. People being born from their mothers is not an outlandish claim. A talking snake making a woman eating an apple, therefore causing childbirth, is an outlandish claim.

    If he accepts the laws of the universe, he cannot break them.

    If he says “why not? So many people believe, ” that would be a logical fallacy. Look up “baloney detector” on the internet. It’s a Carl Sagan thing. These are important rules.

    I no longer argue over these things, because it will ultimately lead to one and only one outcome: “It all comes down to belief, therefore we are equal, and I believe mine so there thbbt.” I’m serious. I argue morality. He needs to go to his scripture and defend the rightness of his good book. He hasn’t read it. If they say it’s “good,” either they haven’t read it, or they are depraved. They’ve been thoroughly brainwashed. This is usually not the case by 17.

    If he can’t at least question it now, chances are, it has him already.

    Who made the thing who made god? Who made the thing who made the thing who made god?

    Abiogenesis is the thing that makes ‘em crazy. The only reason it does is because they accept CAUSALITY. But CAUSALITY breaks down in magic. It does, because they say God made the universe out of nothing. Science does not say this. Science says that the “stuff,” all matter/energy already existed. “God” poofed it out of nothing. Can’t work in causality. The religious substitute “God” for “the universe.” The universe which is the thing that always existed. Not God. But we already know the universe exists, not an impossible Superhero (which is a Monster, if you’ve read scripture. An evil monster, whom to anyone with a shred of decency, should be destroyed. But what can you do?)

  7. Green Goddess

    Bob, I always appreciate it when you are patient and generous with the Christian youth. There’s something touching in this exchange that I hope this young man will be able to understand (if not now, then eventually).

    Thom (in the comments above) made a good point about god winning by default. Richard Dawkins (I think in The God Delusion) discusses this tendency of ours to fill the holes in our knowledge with god.

    What Brian needs to understand about science is that it is not a collection of truths. Science is the process of changing “What We Don’t Know” into “What We DO Know”. Where that first SOMETHING came from is still in the category of “What We Don’t Know”. Jumping immediately to “God must have done it!” stops all inquiry and retards learning and growth.

    Keep asking questions, Brian. Just understand that not all questions have answers yet, and the ones that do may not be what you want to hear.

    Thanks for letting me post my 2 cents Bob!

  8. Angus

    Young Brian has a wonderful flash of insight in his last missive when he says “You are basically arguing that you can believe in one fairy tale, but not many.”
    The insight is just pointed in the wrong direction.

    Young Brian believes in the fairy tale of Jesus but not in any of the other dozens of thousands of fairy tales the ignorant and primitive have spun over the millennia to explain the difficult to understand.

    Christians are (arguably) monotheists, and like all monotheists they deny the existence of every god that ever has been or ever will be invented save one.

    By recognizing in the hate mail discussion that you (Bob) reject his fairy tale in addition to all the other fairy tales that he has already rejected, he is just a tiny nudge away from understanding that he is in fact also an atheist… he has only one god left to dismiss in order to go from being a reformed atheist to being a fundamentalist atheist.

  9. Geekwad

    It might help to reframe things. The author is framing science as belief and pseudo-religion. That is misleading.

    Science isn’t about proving things. Math and logic are for proving things. Science is a procedure we use to find the most *useful* explanations for observations. Science is a thing you do.

    We can see that offspring are different from their parents. We can also see that beneficial differences tend to accumulate over time and negative differences tend to be self-limiting. The question arises, why do genetic lines tend to change to better suit their environment over time? When we use science to compare two explainations (call them “God did it” and “natural selection”).

    Science has a set of criteria that can be used to evaluate an explanation. For example, one of the things that science likes about an explanation is whether or not it can be used to make predictions. We might wonder, what happens if the environment changes suddenly and radically? If it’s all “God did it,” we don’t have any further insight. God might decide to do anything. But “natural selection” lets us guess that after a sudden change, many organisms will find themselves genetically unsuited, and will die or fail to produce as many offspring. It would lead us to expect that the genetic make up of offspring will diverge from their ancestors more rapidly for generations after a sudden change in the environment as compared to a stable environment.

    Science also likes it when predictions can be meaningfully tested. If something cannot be tested in any way, then logically it can be of no consequence, and so the explanation that leads to it is not useful.

    The problem with the God hypothesis is that it is useless. It may be true, but true or false it doesn’t help us. Natural selection may also be true or false, but experience tells us that the predictions it leads to usually turn out to be true, and so it is a useful idea. It does not explain everything on the subject — lots of other things might affect how genetic lines get selected — but it’s better than nothing, which is where God leaves us.

    Of course, you have tried to explain this, but perhaps it needs to be broken down a bit finer. Science is not truth, science is a way to find truth. Religion claims to have the ultimate truth, so someone who is trying to cast science as religion is bound to run into confusion.

  10. Geekwad

    PS: Please lay off the kids! It makes you look bad. Age is a very poor predictor of maturity, general knowledge or intelligence. Especially in a post-Internet world — and the kids are a lot more “post-” than you and I.

  11. Reverend Doktor Jim B. Warnke, FSD (AKA Uncle Satan)

    Myspace Brian would do well to quit framing his question in the form of how the first atom got “created.” Asking it in such a manner implies a creator from the get-go. Better he should ask how the first atom came to be. And if the universe is cyclical, as many scientists believe, then nothing came to be. Everything always was.

    As to Brian’s personal belief in an all-powerul God whose son Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, I’m afraid the simplest of logic falsifies that quaint notion. To wit: If an all-powerful being WANTS to forgive you, you are forgiven. Just like like. No sacrifice required. If such a being does NOT want to forgive you, an infinite number of his sons dying for you can make it happen.

  12. zooloo

    Even if evolution is wrong that doesn’t make Christianity right.

    Before worrying about science Brian would be better off first verifying if there is a creator and then which creator is the genuine one – one should lead to the other.

  13. James

    Hey Bob, watch urself if i see you not only will i stare you down, but you might get claped at for ur B.S.. Jesus Rocks and atheists are going to have the chance to quit their shit or face the bullet, soldier dont allow this kind of crap. The history of our world proves that without a doubt alot of things in the bible happened out side of Christian texts, so when the word has reached all four corners the goats will be seperated from the sheep, and then well see the devil and there followers go to hell and the blessed of the father go to heaven. I will be puttin an end to sacrilige and extreme blaspheme in this year, many like you will have much to fear, this B.S. that athiest have gotten away with is going to be severly punished. so dont take this lightly..The humble will be Exalted, and the Exalted will be humbled! you are in my prayers!

  14. Steven Bentley

    Why does our existance need to be credited to a (g-o-d)?
    Is that the best a human being can conjure up in their mind? One primatively thinks, surely a (god) must have created the universe, what else could it have been? A big powerful strongman being called a god and of course later on we’ll certainly be introduced to his holy offspring son to help his father forgive peoples’s wicked sinful souls,
    Since this all powerful god can only keep up with so many wicked souls.

    The human fallacy from fearful ignorance is to think that an all powerful superhuman and his sacred begotten son is controling the universe and keeping track of everyone’s wicked souls.

    The good news is, that we now know from the invention of the microscope that diseases are caused by bacteria, germs, microbes and parasites and not caused by demons, evil spirits and witch spells and are curable with scientific medicines and not cured through prayer and wishful thinking.

    Also we now know that the (heart) is not the center of all thought and emotion and that the heart does not have ears, get heavy, cry or weep, nor can anyone speak to a god throught their heart.

    We also now know that the earth is not flat and that the earth is not at the center of the universe, we also know there exist over 125 billion galaxies similar to our own with a high probability of human life out there too, and I’m sure with their own ignorant beliefs also.

    Isn’t it about time we abolish 2000 year old thinking?

  15. Mandii

    Damn I am so fucking lucky I was raised atheist, I can’t imagine how it would feel to act like such a dumb fuck until I’m in my thirties. (No offense Bob)

  16. Narin_the_Squtz

    I may be a little late to this party, but I felt I had to comment here.

    I’ve had this discussion recently with a JW at my door. The problem is that these people equate atheism to just another belief system, when in fact the opposite is true. They assume that you have your own set of beliefs, and because you cannot answer the same questions they’re asking in their own heads, that your beliefs are are just as valid or invalid as their own. It’s apples and oranges, but they’re just seeing apples.

    The answer I gave that shut down the argument was ‘I don’t know. Nobody actually knows for sure, and nobody is saying that they do either. We’re just monkeys really, and may never know that answer – and that’s OK. The Big Bang theory really is just a theory, but it’s not the definitive answer – we’re still working on it. But at least we’re still asking questions. It’s possible that the Big Bang theory will be viewed in the same light as a flat earth in 100 years, but that will only be because we never stopped questioning it. That is far different from the arrogance of assuming you, as a lowly carbon life form on a speck of dust in the universe have the actual answer. I believe only in looking for the answer, not that I already have it.’

    Religion is an arrogant, lazy way to give up the essence of life, which is to live and grow and make the world a better place. Why try to make things better when God already took care of it? By believing ‘God did it’, you are skipping the best part of life; the journey.

    FYI, the JW at the door gave up after w little while and decided to leave (I had invited him in). I wish we had more holy rollers at the door, they’re fun!

  17. Chris Colbert

    Wow!

    I just discovered this site today (linked to it from Jhuber), and have been having a blast. I’m on your side, believe me, but I think the kid might actually have won that one.(if he’s really a kid)

    A lot of people in this thread seem to be unfamiliar with the scientific method: Observe, present an explaination for the observation, then try to prove the explanation WRONG. If proven wrong, modify the explanation and try to prove it wrong again.

    I know that’s not the best explanation (I’m no scientist), but my point is, science never has attempted to prove anything RIGHT. Only wrong. Check into this and you’ll see I’m right. Just don’t expect me to prove it.

  18. Glenn Floyd

    I find it very interesting that Brian keeps asking: How did this atom that started it all get created? He keeps asking this as though it were some major unanswerable question. Brian acts as though this question can only be answered by saying: God did it. You should have referred him to a book by physicist Victor J. Stenger. God the Failed Hypothesis, here he has a small section dedicated to explaining how matter can be created. Or you should have referred him to http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html

    It goes like this:
    The first law of thermodynamics says matter/energy cannot come from nothing. Therefore, the universe itself could not have formed naturally.

    The response:
    Formation of the universe from nothing need not violate conservation of energy. The gravitational potential energy of a gravitational field is a negative energy. When all the gravitational potential energy is added to all the other energy in the universe, it might sum to zero (Guth 1997, 9-12,271-276; Tryon 1973).

    By the way according to Einstein’s equation e=mc^2 matter and energy are interchangeable. Matter can come from energy and visa versa.

    Just a little science lesson for you.

  19. EricZombie

    Here’s the catch. No matter how far back you go, the christian will always ask, “Well then, Mr Smartypants, what created THAT?”

    How about this.
    Beginning of life? Abiogenesis.
    Beginning of matter? Higher dimensional branes.
    Beginning of religion? Primitive nature worship.

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