Was I indoctrinated to Atheism?

Hello skeptics the world over,

Recently, in a discussion with my mother about whether I should be heading to church on Sunday, she made the claim that I was indoctrinated by podcasts such as ‘The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe’ and other science and skeptical podcasts and websites, and said that I am ‘just as brainwashed’ as I claim Christians to be. I will be hoping to respond to this question in-depth tonight.

The first thing I will point out is the contrast of ‘indoctrinations’ between my skepticism and Christianity as a child. When I was indoctrinated to Christianity as a child, I was given the whole nine yards, Genesis creation, the flood and Noah’s Ark, Tower of Babel, Jesus, all the bible had to offer. When I was ‘indoctrinated’ into skepticism and atheism, it was almost the exact opposite. Instead of being given a list of things I had to believe, how to believe them and a book to read it from, when I was indoctrinated by The Skeptic’s Guide, I was only given a list of things which are logical, and most importantly, a list of things which weren’t logical. That’s why I am a champion of skepticism, not atheism. yes I am an atheist, but I am an atheist because of skepticism. Skeptics don’t tell you what to believe, they just give you the package of logic and evidence.

I wasn’t told to become a skeptic and an atheist by ‘the skeptics guide’, I was just told, “Hey, some of what you believe is not very logical and has no evidence to support it, look at what we think, be logical and look at the evidence, and make your decision.” and look at where I am now.

The other main difference between my two ‘indoctrinations’ is choice. When I was indoctrinated into Christianity, I didn’t know about atheism, humanism, naturalism, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, or any other amount of religions. I was just having Christianity handed to me on a silver plate, with a bit of evolution thrown into the mix, as I still had to have some science. But there wasn’t much choice for me. When I was introduced to skepticism, I had heard about all the other religions and world-views, and I chose to go with agnostic atheism, and later onto agnostic anti-theism. That’s also why I am a champion of free-thought, because giving a child the choice is the most important thing they can have. I will talk about free-thought and children in a later post.

I was not indoctrinated into atheism or skepticism like the way children born into christian homes are indoctrinated, I was given a choice and I was not forced into it, and that is the key difference… choice. That’s all for today, I’ll leave you with a quote from an anonymous author/sayer of words, “Trying to close a mind that has not yet had the chance to be opened, is the worst form of child abuse.”

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Moral Relativism – An Overview

Hello skeptics of our local cluster,

Today’s post is going to be about moral relativism, and how it is a secular replacement for the morals of the bible. As an atheist, I am often asked this question or similar “As an atheist, where do you get your morals?”, and I often give a condensed description of moral relativism to them. Religious people often object to atheism because a set of morals are not set out by a deity, and it seems to be without any set of morals, but most atheists are moral (less than 1% of prisoners in the US are atheist), so there must be some morals which we all seem to follow, or something like it. But without a concrete basis for our morals (god), there has to be another way to make moral decisions.

The moral system which I choose to live by are those of moral relativism. At its core, moral relativism is basically just the aim to reduce harm, and this seems to be a logical decision to make. There is no gold standard of morality in moral relativism, as there is in most religions, just a sliding scale of ‘immoral things’ on the far left, over to ‘moral things’ over on the far left. By always just choosing the option which causes the lest harm, you are keeping yourself open to doing anything, so long as it is the right thing to do.

I asked my religion teacher during a lesson about evils, if it is morally right to kill 1 person to save 100 hundred people. I gave the story of a man who had a boy, and worked operating a train draw bridge over a canyon. One day, there was a train which approached, but the man noticed that his son was playing in the large gears of the bridge, there were only two choices the man could make, lower the bridge and save the lives of the hundreds on the train, and kill his son, or keep the bridge up, kill hundreds on the train, and save his son. To my surprise, my teacher said that he would not kill 1 to save 100, and he said that god is the ultimate decider on the right thing to do. This is a circular morality with no clear way to make decisions, because one cannot simply ask god every time a decision has to be made, and even if you could, science is of the opinion that you are hearing your own thoughts reflected back on you, dressed up in gods voice.

Another question asked by champions of absolute morality is “Is it absolutely morally wrong to rape a child and enjoy it?”, and to that I answer “no”. If somebody says to you, with a gun in hand, “Rape this child and enjoy it or I will kill both of you and your families”, you sure as hell will rape that child, and maintain a smile throughout. That’s the great thing about moral relativism, its flexible to all decisions, just make sure to reduce harm. In my above hypothetical, a Christian would run into a wall, as both paths result in some sort of immorality, either raping a child or being responsible for the deaths of at least a dozen people. A moral relativist has an easy decision, because death is of the utmost importance.

Moral relativism is a great moral system, as it never runs into any paradoxical hypotheticals, and it is a good (better) alternative to absolute morality which is championed by so many religions of today.

Why We Must Die

Hello there skeptics of the world,

Today’s post is going to be about a few of the reasons why we as humans MUST die, philosophically. Now I don’t often blog about strictly philosophical subjects, so please give me some feed back in the comments section below. There are plenty of scientific reasons why every living thing dies (for now), ageing is pretty much inevitable, and eventually, you get to the grand scheme of things, and with the whole ‘conservation of energy and mass’ and ‘total universal entropy’ thing, the universe will eventually end up as a huge ball of energy, in which you cannot survive.  But I am going to be talking about some philosophical reasons why humanity would severely disbenefit from eternal life on earth.

The first is simply the fact that we are already running out of space on this planet and if nobody ever died, the problem would be much greater. Imagine how many people there would be on earth if nobody from the last century actually died. Our world population would be about double what it is now, my guess. Could the planet actually support that? I doubt it. The is too much difficulty in people living for ever, they take up so much space, need so much food and water, and by the time they reach 70, they’ve done all they can for the world with employment etc., so they are just dead weight.

The second and main reason I want to talk about today is this, would the world still be a productive place if everybody lived for ever. In a world of eternity, there would always be tomorrow. Want to go to university and study law? In the world we live in, you go out and do it today, because your days on the earth are numbered, but in an earth of eternity, there would always be another tomorrow. I know what I would do, “Meh, I’ll just do it tomorrow, I’m living for ever anyway”. I know that whenever I am doing something which really is boring me to death, or which I know is not going to help me in any way now or in the future, I always think to myself, “I could be out learning something useful right now, or I could be writing a blog post, or I could be out earning money in a part time job mowing lawns”. In a world where I couldn’t die tomorrow, or ever, I would not think that, and just wait it out until I can do something useful.
Although I would probably never get around to doing it, because there would always be tomorrow for me to do it.

That’s all for me today, I will leave you with a quote from Pierre Abelard, “The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.”, Pierre Abelard, a French philosopher, theologian and logican.

Science is the Only Way to Test Reality

Hello there skeptics,

Today I am going to be blogging about the wonderfulness of science, and how it is not some abstract way of looking at the universe (as the post-modernists will have you believe), it is actually a fundamental part of the universe, and is THE way to test reality.

Something my mother has told me for a long time since I came out of the closet about being a skeptic and an atheist, is “Science is not the only way of knowing things, there are plenty of other ways.” I’ve never asked her what these other ways might be, but should could be talking about either of two lists of ‘ways of finding out things’ :-
1. The ignorant list – she could be talking about things like logic, philosophy etc., in which she is just being ignorant and does not know that both logic and philosophy stem from science.
2. The post-modernist list – She really means what she says, and thinks the other ways of knowing are things like belief, spiritualism, mysticism etc., in which she is also being ignorant, because these things are either testable by science or not real.

I will start with a distinction, the fact that science is able to test anything is not just some blatant statement, its true. Anything which is real (reality), is testable by science. Now you may say, “Supernatural things are not testable by science”, this is a common misconception, supernatural things like ghosts and spirits are testable by science, but once they are testable by science they are not supernatural. A common misunderstanding is that there are things that science can test, there are supernatural things which cannot be tested, but are real, and there are things which don’t exist. This is wrong. Things are either real, (have some sort of measurable effect on the universe) or they are not real. Ghosts, for example, they could be real, and in which case, they are testable by science, or they could not be real, in which they are not testable by science. If something can be measured, (demon possessions, spirit hauntings, homeopathy, acupuncture etc.) then it is part of the real world and can be tested by science. There is no possibility of something having an effect on the universe around us (curing a patients cancer, making a possessed person’s head spin 360°, create the universe etc.), and not be testable by science.

That is because science is just measuring the world around us, in the purest and simplest form, and this is amazing to me, because it is the only discipline where you know that the same thing will be found over and over again. Think of the greatest three scientists of the last two centuries, Darwin, Tesla, Einstein. If these people were never to have existed, then somebody else would have made their discoveries instead. Somebody else, probably Wallace, would have published the theory of evolution, somebody else would have invented the Tesla coil (albeit with a different name) and AC electricity, and somebody else would have theorized special and general relativity. This is true because the outcomes of science are based on reality.

Science by definition, is the measuring and describing of the world around us, and it is the one and only way to find out things about the reality of the world we live in. I will eave you with a quote from

A Recent Debate with a Creationist – Give Me Your Opinion

Hello there, skeptical fellows,

About a week ago, I became engaged in a debate with a Christian Creationist, about his so-called proof of god, today’s post will be our published discussion, as he requested, I will also ask all of you to leave your opinions at the bottom of the page in the comments section, and on the poll I will put up on this post. I will be leaving my comments on the discussion in bold, and brackets.

The discussion starts with Karl Dimario throwing down the gauntlet with some ad hominem, argument against authoritarian false logic.

Karl Dimario: Dawkins is a fraud ,he refuses to debate any well known Christian philosophers.William Lane Craig has endlessly challenged him time and time again without success.What is he afraid of if he is so correct in his assumptions. The skeptical teenager could learn a great deal by purchasing the book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith by Douglas Groothuis ,study it and then if you have answers that can back Dawkins up I mean real answers then you can start sprouting off about your opinions on a public site.At this moment your just another ignorant laymen with no real knowledge about the subject your discussing.
(he ad hominem attacks me and Dawkins, calling Dawkins a fraud, and me an ignorant layman)

Me:  You know what, If I am a so called layman, I’m sure you would be rather eager to debate me, I would be glad to have you tell me your arguments and then me destroy them. Give me your best piece of evidence for god or creation, and I will be happy to hear it.
I would love to debate you on some topics.
Richard Dawkins has never considered himself a debater, that has always been the job of Christopher Hitchens and Kenneth Miller.
(I happily accept his offer to debate him, despite this, he later on makes the claim that atheists, and me, never debate Creationists)

Karl Dimario: okay fine ,The first step towards the proof that God exists is to determine whether you actually believe that laws of logic exist. Logical proof would be irrelevant to someone who denies that laws of logic exist. An example of a law of logic is the law of non-contradiction. This law states, for instance, that it cannot both be true that my car is in the parking lot and that it is not in the parking lot at the same time, and in the same way.What do you believe?Do laws of logic exist or not?
(he wastes a lot of time asking me questions he could find the answer to by actually reading my blog)

Me: Yes, they exist, except in the quantum mechanics world, where things can exist and not exist at the same time, but that’s beside the point. I do believe in laws of logic and evidence, I also believe that one should not use logical fallacies in their arguments.

Karl Dimario:  Okay good .The laws of mathmatics now.The basic operations of arithmetic are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Laws of mathematics then, are basically descriptions of what happens within these operations (and more complex ones as well) . For example, with the law of addition we know that if you take 4 things and add them to 3 things, you end up with 7 things.

What do you believe? Laws of mathmatics,do they exist or not?
(He continues to waste time on questions)

Me: Yes, I do believe that the laws of mathematics exist.

Karl Dimario: Great.Laws of science now.Laws of science are basically descriptions of what matter does based on repeated observations, and are usually expressed in mathematical equations. An example of a law of science is the law of gravity. Using the law of gravity, we can predict how fast a heavier than air object will fall to the ground given all the factors for the equation.Do the laws of science exist ?
(More boring questions)

Me:  Well, actually, gravity is just a theory, but yes, I agree with the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, quantum mechanics, astrology etc.

The laws of science also need NATURAL explanations, not supernatural explanations.
Could you please just get to your point, its getting tiring.
(I hint that he cannot prove god with science)

Karl Dimario:  The next question is whether you believe they are universal or up to the individual. Does 2 + 2 = 4 only where you are, and only because you say it does, or is this a universal law?IF You have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, , that they are not made of matter, and that they are universal. The next question is whether you believe they are changing or unchanging.Tiring you write on a number of subjects that are tiring ,answer my questions first before I make my point.
(I see where he is getting at, I’ve answered his line of argument before, this should be easy, I think to myself. He also makes another ad hominem, calling my blog discussions boring)

Me: Yes, I believe that the laws of physics are constant, and that maths and logic is an intrinsic part of the universe, because of the stability of the laws of physics. I don’t think it is changing.

If you find some of my blog topics tiring, you don’t have to read them, but I have to hear you out on these questions.

Karl Dimario:  you have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Next we will examine what you believe about these laws. Are these laws material, or are they immaterial? In other words, are they made of matter, or are they ‘abstract’ entities? – are they physical or non-physical things?(He creates a false dicotomy, by saying that the laws of science and logic must be either material or abstract, and not a allowing what they actually are, a representation of the fundamentals of our universe.)By the way you pushed me for the discussion,so have here me out. (He blames me for the discussion, despite him actually confronting me first)

In your matter only world then how can the immaterial be in existense?you had to acknowledge that immaterial, universal, unchanging laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are necessary for rational thinking to be possible. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws cannot be accounted for if the universe was random or only material in nature. (He makes an assumption about what my answer will be, without hearing my answer, and his reasoning is false.) 

The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of God’s existence and those who suppress the truth of God’s existence. The options of ‘seeking’ God, or not believing in God are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God as it declares that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in Him. (He uses the bible to prove god, what a logical masterpiece! He makes yet another false dicotomy, which he assumes from the Bible? Yet another ‘Checkmate Atheists!)

Romans 1 vs. 18 – 21 says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (A bible quote that proves the bible, seems legit!)

The God of Christianity is the necessary starting point to make sense of universal, abstract, invariant laws by the impossibility of the contrary. These laws are necessary to prove ANYTHING. Therefore…God exists
(He says that god is the only way that logic and maths and science could exist, without recognizing other possible explanations, like all of my posts, and other posts.)

Me: The laws of physics and math are abstract representations of physical things, what they represent are real things, like the law of conservation of mass, that’s just the rules.

When you give me an argumnet from the bible, it sounds like somebody arguing for the existence of ogres from Shrek.

On your point that god is neccassary to explain the laws of physics, I will direct you to my blog bost https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/my-superturtle/, in which I disect this argument and say how it is an illogical and non-occams razor following argument.
I will also ask you to continue our discussion by email, at the above address, if you wish to continue this argument.

(At this point, Karl finally listened to something I said, and emailed me his response, I will continue from there.)

Karl Dimario: 

TO the skeptic

Unlike the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics are abstract; they are not “attached” to any specific part of the universe. It is possible to imagine a universe where the laws of physics are different, but it is difficult to imagine a (consistent) universe where the laws of mathematics are different. (He makes this claim despite me rebutting it last post)
The laws of mathematics are an example of a “transcendent truth.” They must be true regardless of what kind of universe God created. This may be because God’s nature is logical and mathematical; thus, any universe He chose to create would necessarily be mathematical in nature. The secular naturalist cannot account for the laws of mathematics. Certainly he would believe in mathematics and would use mathematics, but he is unable to account for the existence of mathematics within a naturalistic framework since mathematics is not a part of the physical universe. (That’s just false, I have provided, and will soon provide, a reason why maths must exist) However, the Christian understands that there is a God beyond the universe and that mathematics reflects the thoughts of the Lord. Understanding math is, in a sense, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”(though in a limited, finite way, of course).
We have seen that the laws of nature depend on other laws of nature, which ultimately depend on God’s will. (You might see that, I just see a blithering idiot pretending to think logically) Thus, God created the laws of physics in just the right way so that the laws of chemistry would be correct, so that life can exist. It is doubtful that any human would have been able to solve such a complex puzzle. Yet, the Lord has done so. The atheist cannot account for these laws of nature (even though he agrees that they must exist), for such laws are inconsistent with naturalism. Yet, they are perfectly consistent with the Bible. We expect the universe to be organized in a logical, orderly fashion and to obey uniform laws because the universe was created by the power of God. (Atheism has accounted for the laws of nature, and shown that they must exist, time and time again)

Christians account for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws as they reflect the very nature of God.
The Bible accounts for immaterial entities as in John 4 vs. 24 it states: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (More bible quotes)
In Malachi 3 vs. 6 God says “I the Lord do not change.” accounting for His unchanging nature. (More bible quotes)
Psalm 90 vs. 2 states: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” (bible quote) and Psalm 139 vs. 7 – 10 states: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” accounting for God’s universality. (Yet another bible quote)
The laws of logic, mathematics, science, and morality, reflect the thinking and character of God and what He has created in order to accomplish His purposes.
In Jeremiah 33 vs. 25 God speaks of how He has ‘fixed the laws of heaven and earth.’ These universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are the basis for all knowledge and are rooted in God’s word. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Colossians: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Chapter 2 vs. 2 – 3) (More bible quotes) 
Of course everyone uses universal, immaterial, unchanging laws, but many do so denying their only possible source. Christianity proclaims the source which can be summarized with Christ’s
declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (More bible quotes) 
God Bless Karl 

declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (bible quote)

Me: Ok. The laws of mathematics, again, are not abstract really. They are numerical representations of our universe. All of mathematics flows from 1 + 1 = 2. This is a mathematical representation of 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. Mathematics must exist because a universe without maths could not exist, maths, and the physical laws that use math, are necessary in a working, life bearing universe.

I must again ask you a question, did you actually read the blog post I linked you too, because I answered your next question in that. If my one little inch long equation Theory of Everything (TOE) needs an explanation, then your omnibenelovent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent (omnipotent and omniscient are logically impossible, as I blog about in https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/can-god-be-all-powerful-and-all-knowing/), needs a lot more explaining than my simple laws.

Obviously, we all need to draw the line somewhere, because otherwise the whole ‘infinite regression’ thing comes into play with gods god, and gods gods god, and gods gods gods god, so-on and so-on. In the post I linked to, I showed that it is clearly more logical to say that just one, inch long mathematical sum, the theory of everything, which physics is trying to achieve, is a much better place to draw your line in the sand than such an amazingly powerful, knowledgeable god.

I propose that before the start of the universe, there was one TOE which from there, everything flows.
You propose that an amazing god who knows everything, sees everything,and can change anything, was there at the start of the universe.
We have scientific evidence of the laws of physics, we have no scientific evidence of god.
Case Closed.
(Served!)

Karl Dimario: Your toe does not promise eternal life ,my God does ,and with 100percent certainty no questions asked the REAL born again Christian will inherit this. (There we go, Pascals wager, one of my specialities, I think to myself “Oh goodie, he brought that up!”) 

Good luck with the toe.
God bless Karl

Corinthians 2:14?

‘Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged’ (2:14).” (Another bible quote) 

Me: So you are saying to me that it is better to believe in a god so you get eternal life. This is a very bad argument for a few reasons. This argument does not say anything about whether god exists or not. Just because something promises something good, does not make it real, unicorns supposedly can give you eternal life, but that doesn’t make unicorns real. I will also direct you to another post of mine, in which I deal with your ‘argument’. https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/agnostic-atheist-wager/
(I will also link here to a post in which I tackle the afterlife itself, and how heaven might not be that great, Why is heaven not that appealing to me?)

This is not an argument from Occams razor, because the notion of an after life is not a scientific question, except for the fact that you are the meat in your heads, meaning that there is no soul to exist in the afterlife.

Karl Dimario: When God finds you and instills his holy spirit,then it is not a question of belief ,it`s a certainty of his existence.The choice is not your`s it`s his. (He tells me that he has seen god, and to that I say, “gooooooood for you.” or “Yeah, Right!” or “You had a seizure”) For the question of existence thru proof that`s for the non believer not the believer .(He says that the burden of proof is on the Atheists? Learn the basics of science, please.) I would love to see you purchase the book by Douglas Groothuis (Eugh, Douglas Groothuis, he has nothing) (Christian Apologetic s ,A comprehensive case for biblical faith)or listen to some of his podcast there free.When you have done this get back to me and we can nut out some of the arguments by email then .

Thanks Karl

Me: I’ve read his book, its ridiculous.

If you are going to say that your only proof for belief in a god is that he told you to, I have to leave you alone, because there is going to be nothing I can do to convince you, and I will also say that a religious experience is nothing new to science, its called a seizure. (Another serve) 

You have fallen into a trap of circular reasoning. (As do all closed minded Christians) 

I am going to tell you that when I came into this discussion with you, I was expecting some at least descent arguments put forward from you, but it sounds like you have been reduced to “I experienced god, (probably a seizure) so god exists. I am disappointed, to say the least.

Thank you for giving up your time to allow me to sharpen my atheist and skeptical tools, and sure my faith that the IS NO PROOF that any sort of god exists.

Karl Dimario: Sounds like to me that the young Atheists should put you forward to debate Lane Craig on your own recommendation(Seeing you are SO SURE OF YOURSELF),because not one of them can put up a significant argument against him.I`m afraid for what I have read of your work, you to would also be blown away.

Regards Karl
(Nobody has put forward a significant argument against William Lane Craig? HA! Lane Craig could be nutted out by a 6 year old with handy logic skills.) 

Me: I do not wish to engage in a debate with lane craig, his arguments are often very personal, an ad hominem, (Karl decides to take after Lane Craig in his next few posts, with ad hominem attacks) and are not worth the time, I have read his major arguments, and none of them are worth the effort of debating. He is not a philosopher, he is a christian apologetic, I am not interested in contacting Craig on this matter.

If somebody from my side of the argument recommends me to argue him, I might consider, but seeing that no self-respecting logical person thinks highly enough of craig to even consider some of his arguments.
However, I would be happy enough if you were to present some of his arguments to me, so I can hear your spin on them…

Karl Dimario: What have you done with our discussion ??

Me:  Well, I’ll tell you whats happened. You have shown no scientific evidence for a god, nor any logical evidence. I have explained how people can have religious experiences, and I have shown that the creationist standpoint is very weak.

Your arguments have been so bad and cliche, that you haven’t even inspired me to write a blog post about it.
I never said HE was really evil, but some of the people he lets into heaven would make it a rather evil place to live. (Referring to my post about the terribleness of heaven) 

Karl Dimario: I will tell you what happened ,you where shown up for the fraud you are (Were the hell did this occur?) ,this is why Dawkins only debates certain people and rejects others,so he can look good as yourself .Have some balls and repost the comments including the one `s by email. (Ok, just did) Let the auidence of so few see the incompetent self confessed genius you are not. (Ad hominem attack, throwing a punch at my small viewer size) 
It seems to me all you have is the critique of an individuals position.Give me your scientific explantion of creation . (If you read my blog, you wouldn’t be asking that question) Let me critque your position on a public site like this one .And don`t remove the posts when I expose you Thanks (I won’t do that, because I am an honest skeptic, and I’m not worried about you exposing me) 

Me: I don’t see one word to suggest that I was shown to be a fraud? I have never passed up the opportunity to debate somebody. Dawkins is not a fraud, the only reason Dawkins has not engaged in a debate with Lane Craig is because “It would look very good on his resume, and very bad on my resume, even if I beat him hands down.” (That’s why all Atheists refuse to debate Lane Craig) 

Craig is not worth the argument.

I will put our discussion into a post, and I will have a poll on it, and, if I have taught my viewers correctly, they will all see that you are making logical fallacies left and right, and my logic sails.

You calling me and Richard Dawkins frauds is a huge ad hominem, and untrue at that. It is logically unsound.

Also, it should be remembered that I haven’t made a dime from my skeptical work, so I can’t be a fraud, by definition. (Taking a stab at my own success) 
Roy Williams position is taken up by quite a lot of people I know, and others I have seen on the internet.

I must say that asking for a ‘scientific explanation of creation’ shows your ignorance of the subject, science and creationism are incompatible, because creation invokes a supernatural creator, and science requires natural occurrances. .

Karl Dimario:  These famous scientists of the past have had faith in God,Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,, Newton, Mendel and many others .(That doesn’t make god true) Where they all deluded?How you can even justify using logic is beyond me ,In your matter only world how can the immaterial of the laws of logic exist. (I spent a long time explaining to you how they are material and must exist, and you have the nerve to ask me the smae question again?) You have not answered the question at all in any of your blogs.I will contact Mr Groothius and refer him to your blog and how you think his book is load of nonsense. (Haven’t had any contact with him yet) 

The joke Mr Pell was anembarrasment to all real Christians everywhere, how about you start critiquing some Christians with a bit of knowledge like Craig or Groothius instead of going for easy targets like Pell. (Pell was on national television, that’s why I discussed him) 

Free will does not mean mankind can do anything he wants.(YOU KNOW THIS)Our choices are limted to what is in keeping with our nature.An example is a man may choose to walk across a bridgeor not walk across it,what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge ,his nature prevents him from flying.Free will is limted by his nature.This limitation does not mitigate us our accountabilty .We have the ability to choose wisely or un wisely .It`s only through the grace of God and power of God that free will truly becomes free in the sense of being able to choose salvation. (What?)
Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist (and self-proclaimed Marxist), is a renowned champion of neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment . It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts support it:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. (This comment is probably forged, but even if this is his opinion, it is not the scientific opinion, or the way in which science works. Science does not rule out supernatural causes by rule, they measure reality, which is nature. If it is part of reality, then it is natural, so if god created the universe, and the proof points against god, then god must by either outside of reality, meaning he doesn’t exist, or god didn’t create the universe, meaning that he isn’t god.) 

Science is not so concrete as you think it is(and you know it) (He has no right to tell me what I am thinking) 

Me: “In a material world, how can the immaterial laws of logic exist?” The laws of logic are an abstract representation of the world around us which all flows from 1 + 1 = 2. We know that 1 + 1 = 2 because 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. We live in a material world, which means that the laws of logic, which describe the material world, must exist. Logic must exist in a material world.

I was blogging about Pell for a few reasons, 1. He was on national television, so he already had the countries attention, 2. he had enough sway with some of the audience, 3. His views of the world are held by quite a lot of people, so it was worth tackling his arguments.

You did not understand any of my blog post if you are able to say something like that.

In my blog post I wrote that we have NO CHOICE. Lets take your bridge metaphor.
One can choose to go over the bridge or not, but this is gods decision, not yours OR you choose to not listen to god, but then you are choosing eternal hell,that is an interference with infinite coercion, which is free will.
In Christianity, you do it gods way or you don’t, and your decision is influenced by the coercion of eternal suffering or eternal life, and infinite coercion = free will.
God does not allow us free will, you have completely missed that point of my post.
Did you even read it?

I would like to see a reference to that quote, because it does sound a bit, made up, but I’ll continue anyway.

If science cannot explain it, it is outside the realm of reality. If it happens, that science can test it, science does not explicitly not allow supernatural explanations, it only PREFERS natural explanations over supernatural ones. So science, you could say, works like this:-
We have two hypotheses, 1. god created the world, 2. the world came about through natural causes.
Now, we have almost unbounded proof of natural things like genetics, geology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics.
We have no proof of a supernatural, all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, deity.

We will choose to go with the natural explanation, because we have PROOF of that, and it makes more logical sense.

Science is the only way by which we can justifiably test reality.

At this point the conversation ended, and a week later, here I am, putting this up for the world to see, without any fear that I will be shown to be wrong, so I release it to the world. I will follow up now with a post with a poll attached, I will allow you to decide who put up the most logical argument, and you can express that opinion on the poll and in the comments bellow.

Karl Dimario, if you are wanting to reply to me, please do not do so on the comment thread, do so on e-mail, and I will keep this page updated with our discussion.

The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of the Creation-Abiogensis/Big Bang ‘Debate’

Hello there, all my moral, just, secular people,

Today’s post was inspired by a television show which aired on the ABC (Australia) entitled Q&A, which every week presents a handful of politicians, public figures, theologians and atheists, for an open discussion and Questions from the live and internet audiences, hence the name Q&A. This weeks program was a special program, because it put forward only two panelists, along with the host, and these where the Atheist Richard Dawkins, and Catholic priest George Pell. Richard Dawkins has made appearances on the show before, but this was the first time he went ‘head-to-head’ with only a Christian joining him on the panel. The show has made quite and impact in the media, with a lot of discussion about it going on even on the radio the next morning. The show can be viewed in full right here at this link here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1EDDuMksw. I will surely be making my comments on the show over the next few days, but here is today’s rant.

During the show, this oft quoted argument was brought up by George Pell, he said (not an exact quote) “Science can tell us a lot about the ‘how’, with evolution and the big bang, but it doesn’t tell us a lot about they ‘why.'” This argument is talked about by Roy Williams in his book I am reading at the moment, and I have heard it from others too. This whole argument is both a red-herring and a non-sequiter, and Richard Dawkins summarized it very well, “That’s just not a valid question.” The whole question of ‘why’ does the universe exist, is not relevant, its like asking why unicorns aren’t very good at snooker. In that way it is a non-sequiter.

Even if you do grant that ‘why’ is a valid question, it is not a question for the science, nor is it a question which could change the fact that the big bang or abiogenesis happened. The question is for philosophers and humanists.

The ‘Why’ question, “Why are we here.” Is also a good example of the unstated major premace fallacy, the question just assumes that there must be some meaning for our existence, when it is quite plausible that we could have no purpose to exist.

This question is also a red herring because it side-steps the real question of the ‘how’. This is the whole problem with Roy Williams’ book, at the start he asks the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ question, and he says, “Science knows the how, but not the why, I’ll write a book about the why.” In this way he can write a whole book without having to address a single question about ‘how’.
It is a really annoying question, because to people who are not aware of the fact that ‘why’ is not a logical question, the argument can have some weight. Most people like to have a purpose for their life, and this is where they get all caught up. The miss the point that Atheism has a point too, “We only live for 80 or so years, and we have no afterlife to look forward too, so lets just make the world as good as possible in this short time.”

I will leave you with my favourite quote from the entire evening where George Pell accidentally walks all over his own argument to try to just contradict Richard Dawkins on everything,
“Dawkins: the only thing that might convince me that Christianity is true is if a 700 ft Jesus walked into the room and said ‘I exist’, and I’m not even sure if that would convince me.
Pell: I’d say ‘you are hallucinating’.”

The Holy Trinity and Mary

Hello there,

I had an Ethics and Faith lesson today. We were circling around the theme of Easter, seeing it was our last lesson before Easter holidays, and we were set the task of finding specific bible passages and how they relate to the time after Jesus’ birth, death and Resurrection.
We were then told to write a mock interview of a new testament character and write it up in a newspaper article for ‘Jerusalem Today’. The first question I was asked by my skeptical friend was, “Who’s your daddy?”, and I thought it would be a good idea to try to sum up some of the holy trinity there. Today’s post will be a transcript of my answer to that question.

*deep breath*

You are asking me about me and my father. Well, I was conceived through Mary and god, so he is my father. The Holy Trinity also states that I am God, so I am also my own father. But that means that I am my own father and God is his own father, as well as us being our own sons. We are also each others and our own grandsons and grandfathers. But then the holy spirit comes into play.

*breathe*

He is also God, and he is also me, and we are both him, and together we are one. So the Holy Spirit conceived me, and he conceived god, and he conceived himself, but he also conceived me, and I conceived my father, so both him and me conceived our own fathers, and each other. God conceived the holy spirit and me, which makes us brothers. This means that god, the son of Jesus, and god the son of the holy spirit, are cousins, so god is his own cousin, which means we are all our own cousins. We were conceived through our cousins. which is a bit weird, to have a baby with your cousin, and the baby turns out to be yourself, and your cousin, and your cousin turns out to be you too, which makes the family tree very complicated.

*breathe*

But Mary my mother is also considered holy, and is my mum. That means that she is also my father’s mother, which means that Mary impregnated her son, through his father, who also impregnated another son, the holy spirit, who impregnated his own father. Mary is the husband of her own son, and conceived her son through her son, as well as giving birth to her husband through her sons brother and her son, and his father, and his cousins, grandparents and grandsons.

*breathe*

God is god, and god is Jesus, and god is the holy spirit, except when god is not Jesus, or the holy spirit, then he is just god. Jesus is Jesus, and Jesus is god, and Jesus is the holy spirit, except when he is neither god or the holy spirit. The holy spirit is the holy spirit, the holy spirit is god, the holy spirit is Jesus, except when he is not god or Jesus, then he is just the holy spirit.
*breathe*
Makes sense?

To which my friend replied, “You have to put that on your blog tonight.” So I did, here it is. That’s it. I will leave you with a quote from Voltaire, “As long as we believe in absurdities we shall continue to commit atrocities.” Voltaire, a French writer and Philosopher of some note.

Investigating Agnosticism

Hello there!

Recently, during my internet browsing, I have been finding a few articles critical of agnosticism. They talk about how agnosticism is self-defeating by definition and is a silly, fence-sitting, worthless position to take on the stance of religion. I am going to contend that view in today’s post. It is worth pointing out that these attacks on agnosticism or in fact, staw-men logical fallacies, which will be covered at a later date. I will start by drawing out a few lines in the sand. I am going to define the four main different types of agnosticism.

The first, and weakest agnosticism is the view that there has never been and will never be any proof for god, for evolution, for creation, or anything historical or theological, also known as forever an historical agnostic, or FHA. When talking about this sort agnosticism, I agree that it is a very weak position, and there is no science to back it up. There is nothing going for this agnosticism, and it is just making a bad name for agnostics as a whole. It is more often a made up position by Christians trying to attack some secular position than one taken by seculars themselves.

The second stage of agnosticism is a weak one, and is on about level pegging with the third stage of agnosticism, but I rank this one lower because it is easier for a creationist to attack that level three. This agnosticism states that there is never any way in which science could prove or disprove a god, because supernatural things are outside the realm of science, also known as forever a theistic agnostic, or FTA. This is also a very weak view on religions, because obviously, there is a way in which a god could be proved. You simply observe a true miracle, which has no possible other mechanisms of action, something truly amazing. This would be some interesting evidence for a supernatural deity, but more than one account would be required.

The third stage of agnosticism is still a very weak position that I do not agree with, and it takes the view that there is currently no evidence for god, or a supernatural deity, and that at some day there may come to bear some proof either way on the subject, or currently agnostic, CA. This is a position that I will agree with, but that I do not take up myself. It is a correct view to a sense, and I take up some of the ideas of this agnosticism. But the bits I do agree with from it are better fit into the final stage of agnosticism.

This fourth stage is probably how I would best describe myself. It is a much stronger view on deities, and I think that most of the world’s atheists will technically fall into this group. This agnosticism is of the view that there is currently no proof for a god or deity, (no proof = current disproof in science) and that a god is almost impossible, because of some fundamental boundaries. However, if it comes to pass that there is some proof of a god, then this view will change to suit that observation, otherwise known as agnostic atheism, or AA. This is my world view.
There is almost certain proof against an all-powerful or all-knowing god in today’s world, but if it is proved that there is a god, then I will happily bow down and worship him, once proper evidence comes to bare.

That’s all for agnosticism today, I will leave you with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, ” Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” Kurt Vonnegut, an American Writer of some note.

Are dark matter and dark energy the gods of physics?

Hello to everybody out there with access to a computer,

After telling a fellow free-thinker that god was essentially a “Hey! What’s that? I guess god did it” fill in for what we don’t know he replied to me with what is a very good question, “Then aren’t dark energy and dark matter just the gods of astrophysics?” and I had to think about this one, but I did find one key difference between the two.

First of all, what is dark matter? Well, nobody knows for sure, but we do know about its properties, and it has been observed. It is a type of matter which only interacts with other matter through the fundamental force which is gravity, it does not interact through any of the other three forces.  It was first hypothesized in 1932 to account for the large difference between the spin of galaxies predicted by physics and what was actually being observed. At the speed that galaxies where spinning, stars should be flung from the galaxy willy-nilly, but they weren’t, so it was theorized that there was more matter in these galaxies than what we could see. The other line for the theory of dark matter is that the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) shows that there should just be more stuff that what we could see. Dark matter is that extra stuff.

Dark energy is the same. It is an explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe, and is thought to be the opposite energy to gravity, it makes up about 73% of the stuff in the universe. A lot less is known about dark energy than about dark matter but it explains a heap of the observations we have made about the universe.

Now, to the difference between god and dark matter and dark energy. The main difference, I think, is the intent of the label. When a christian or philosopher says something to the effect of ‘goddidit.’ (its one word now) then that is the end of their investigations, they look no more into the matter, because it is rude to intrude upon god’s mind and creation.
When the scientific community decided upon the two labels of dark matter and dark energy, they had already looked as deeply as the could have at the time into the subject, and after genuinely not being able to come to any other conclusion they decided that there was more stuff there, but that wasn’t the end of their endeavors. Labeling what they found was not the end for them, the label ‘we don’t know what this is’ was not the end of the road, when new technology or ideas come along they investigated the dark matter and dark energy with those new ideas, and we are starting to get a better understanding of these two things now. If when scientists were baffled by how galaxies stayed together they just said “Well, I guess god is holding them all together then, isn’t he?” Then we would know nothing about it.

That’s it for today’s post, I will leave you with a quote from Linus Pauling, “Facts are the air of scientists. Without them you can never fly.” Linus Pauling, Chemist, Biochemist, peace activist, author and educator of some note.