Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was ‘confronted by God’

Feb 2, 2015

By Heather Saul

Staunch atheist Stephen Fry left a television host stunned when he explained what he would say if he was “confronted by God”.

The actor and author, who recently married his partner Elliot Spencer, made a series impassioned comments during an interview with Gay Byrne for RTÉ One’s The Meaning of Life.

The weekly show features discussions about the purpose of life, religion, and what happens after death. A clip released ahead of Sunday’s screening saw Fry discussing his views on God from his perspective as an atheist.

“Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the pearly gates, and are confronted by God,” asked Bryne. “What will Stephen Fry say to him, her, or it?”

[cbc_video id=”72034″ volume=”30″ width=”640″ aspect_ratio=”16×9″ autoplay=”0″ controls=”1″]


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

276 comments on “Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was ‘confronted by God’

  • 2
    Light Wave says:

    I’d say …wow this seems so real – not……I’m definitely laying off the dmt

    No I wouldn’t …..Id say “Gay Freakin Byrne I will not fall into your little leprecaunic trap and answer your stupid set up hypothetical question…”



    Report abuse

  • Ah ! Nothing like a good fantasy to cheer us up ! I liked Fry’s point about the Greek gods having carnal lusts and emotions much like the people who created them. Also the point about the eye eating fly. What despicable monster would create that ? It makes Satan a positive pauper in comparison.

    As for the foxy Byrne, as Miserablegit said, I too thought he “was going to implode at one stage.

    Dinner at Milliways for me ! The great prophet Zarquon would make better company than Byrne’s God !



    Report abuse

  • From the Independent article’s comments section_

    well Mr Fry i can Guarantee you will be screaming for mercy when you are shown your other option, that i am absolutely sure of without a doubt. my prayer is that you will be given a glimpse of hell before you die so you can have the opportunity to go on your knees and repent before its too late…Michelle O’Neil

    She was probably rather upset that using the epithet “gay” would not have its usual punch if used this time.



    Report abuse

  • 5
    voiceofarabi says:

    So, why is it that a large number of comedians and artists see that there is no god, and the rest of the plebs can’t quite get there???

    Someone should conduct a study…



    Report abuse

  • @voiceofarabi
    Perhaps artists literally see things more clearly.
    And to understand comedy (perhaps excluding certain kinds like visual/slapstick comedy) requires a knowledge of human nature … that has no place for a deity (or a prophet) that is beyond comedy.

    It’s a point worth asking, how many world class stand up comedians are in fact deeply religious? And how many are atheists, agnostics or at most token members of a club (turn up for weddings, christenings, funerals only)?



    Report abuse

  • 7
    Lorenzo says:

    Stephen Fry is just great.
    And I absolutely agree with his answer -an answer that I’ve been giving with the same passionate participation since I was 12 I think: if there is a god, it’s absolutely monstrous -plus a selection of the things which it did to us that are beyond unspeakable.

    Loved the bit where he wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. Absolutely loved it.



    Report abuse

  • Fry’s God reminds me of my mother. She was abusive. She would say “You have to love me because I am your mother”. And like Fry I would respond. “Not you if you treat me like that.”

    Christians seem to think they are obligated to pretend to love their god, no matter how badly he behaves. It is like humouring Genghis Khan.



    Report abuse

  • The one thing christians can never answer, other than “it’s god’s will” or “part of his plan”. Wouldn’t it have been great if Hitch were around to answer that question, and to see the expression on Bryne’s face then?…………… One can only dream.



    Report abuse

  • For one thing most of the churches think his sexuality condemns him to an eternity of burning. This sort of thing does sharpen the mind somewhat. He also does a lot of charity work in Africa on AIDS which of course he gets to see the sort of suffering that the Catholic Dogma is attempting to inflict there.



    Report abuse

  • 13
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Rationalmind & MadEnglishman (this can make a great band name)

    I really wonder if it is related to levels of intelligence? but if it is, it can’t be IQ, as there are a lot of scientist and mathematicians who think god exists! So, there must be a different kind of intelligence.

    I think @MadEnglishman is on to something here, and artists in general and comedians specifically see life more clearly. Too many comedians will tell you that they have turned into comedy to save themselves from emotional hurt (bullying, beatings, etc)… So, I wonder if emotional damage is what drives people into religion as a “safe place” to be and if you ever discover a tool to deal and relief that pain (like being a comedian), you start to see the world more clearly without any fairies ?



    Report abuse

  • Excellent! I like Stephen Fry very much.
    Can anyone explain to me the comment about fly who eats eyes? Does such an insect exist or I have understood it wrong?



    Report abuse

  • Modesti — two versions of David Attenborough’s statement regarding this:
    1) I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind. And [I ask them], ‘Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy

    2) Andrew Denton: ‘When you see this sort of stuff, do you ever get a sense of God’s pattern?’

    Sir David Attenborough: ‘Well, if you ask…about that, then you see remarkable things like that earwig and you also see all very beautiful things like hummingbirds, orchids, and so on. But you also ought to think of the other, less attractive things. You ought to think of tapeworms.

    ‘You ought to think of … well, think of a parasitic worm that lives only in the eyeballs of human beings, boring its way through them, in West Africa, for example, where it’s common, turning people blind.

    ‘So if you say, “I believe that God designed and created and brought into existence every single species that exists,” then you’ve also got to say, “Well, he, at some stage, decided to bring into existence a worm that’s going to turn people blind.” Now, I find that very difficult to reconcile with notions about a merciful God.

    ‘And I certainly find it difficult to believe that a God — superhuman, supreme power — would actually do that.’



    Report abuse

  • Much as I agree 100% with Uncle Stephen’s points I would add that if I were in that discussion (maybe sitting on his lap) I would have to say congratulations for rabies. not because it’s a nice thing, obviously it isn’t but because an intelligent designer that comes up with the life cycle of that particular virus is some sort of twisted psychotic genius.



    Report abuse

  • It’s like how I can’t understand my baptist friend going to adore and worship a God each week that she believes throws people into an eternal torture and fire, unless they believe in Jesus before they die. She really believes it, AND she really loves Him. One or the other.. but both together I don’t get.



    Report abuse

  • Less than 7% of scientists. I agree, it’s not 0%. But a lot of them will be claiming religion so as to not be fired by their employer (americans, obviously).



    Report abuse

  • @OP The actor and author, who recently married his partner Elliot Spencer, made a series impassioned comments during an interview with Gay Byrne for RTÉ One’s The Meaning of Life.

    Ah! “The Meaning of Life”!
    I see from the TV schedule that a film of that title by the Monty Python crew is showing tonight in the UK!

    I wonder what Byrne makes of that??



    Report abuse

  • 30
    marstal08 says:

    I’m not too satisfied for two reasons:

    This question should not be accepted without an agreement about which of the many gods are meant. I think no one should take the nasty christian bible god for granted as “the god”. If you want a god, people have invented many better ones, and no opportunity should be missed to point that out.

    And in my opinion the best answer should be: How could any god convince me that I’m dead?

    I have seen convincing magical tricks before, and as long as I can hear and think and answer, my brain is working and I’m not dead. So I’d accuse that god of being a fake and playing some stupid game like Candid Camera with me.
    My conduct on earth or his management of the universe can not be discussed before that is settled.

    marstal08





    Report abuse

  • Having read about this Fry interview elsewhere, I wonder why doesn’t cognitive dissonance set in over this amongst the believers: that Hitler and Stalin, who were each responsible for tens of millions of deaths, are being meted out the same punishment as Mr. Fry can expect, when his only crime appears to be non belief (and possibly the gay thing, depending on who you ask).

    In fact, many a pundit seems to take an unholy glee in relishing his predicament: “Ha ha, I believe, you don’t, You may do charity work in Africa, and I’m just a d–k who wouldn’t p–s on his neighbour if he was on fire, but you’re going to hell, and I’m not.“

    Well, if a deity is going to make non-belief a crime punishable on a level with multimillion mass murderers, it’s especially devious of the deity to make it so difficult to believe i.e. absence of any positive evidence, ample self-consistent evidence of alternative explanations etc. Kind of makes you think the deity doesn’t like smart people.



    Report abuse

  • 33
    Marcos says:

    The story goes that when Christ was crucified next to two others, one challenged him whilst the other said — we deserve to be here but this man only did good things….
    Back on Steven Fry, let’s say that he was unlucky in time, was arrested and crucified back then instead… which one of the two would best portrait Fry’s posture?



    Report abuse

  • So, if God does exist (when Stephen Fry is so adamant that he does not), perhaps he might reflect on that error first before lecturing God about morality? If he has got one big thing wrong, perhaps he might have got two big things wrong.



    Report abuse

  • I’ve seen Hitchens give virtually the same answer in debates and public speaking events (celestial North Korea, god’s not great). The parasites do not only effect humans, but have also been found to infect other apes (so his statement is inaccurate). Still, its not an enlightening example either way since one can use any disease that causes human suffering as an argument.

    The question posed by the interviewer is not that interesting (and rather cliché). I wish he would have asked a follow up question to Fry. This question being, where does Fry get his views on the relationship between human suffering and evil and to what extent are the two linked. If his views are just as opinionated and unsubstantiated as the religious views then his answer, while passionate and perhaps even moving to some, is just as problematic.

    His answer was not so much a logical response, but an emotional one. Bringing the suffering of children in (which he did twice) only confuses the issue when it should be a strictly logical debate. Appeal to emotion is always fallacious regardless of who does it (atheist or religious).

    To be fair, if he had been given more time to prepare perhaps he would have given a better answer (although I highly doubt it).

    source on parasite: http://parasite.org.au/para-site/text/onchocerca-text.html



    Report abuse

  • ‘So if you say, “I believe that God designed and created and brought into existence every single species that exists,” then you’ve also got to say, “Well, he, at some stage, decided to bring into existence a worm that’s going to turn people blind.” Now, I find that very difficult to reconcile with notions about a merciful God.

    And with the biblical (i.e. non-Young Earth Creationist) God.



    Report abuse

  • 39
    Jonn Mero says:

    Comedians (good ones) seem to have a better lateral thinking capacity than most, which combined with an ability to see the funny side of things make them . . . good comedians. This can in particular be seen among American comedians where the best ones also are the ones ridiculing the self-important, whereas the rest are toothless sycophants. Our great loss were Robin Williams and George Carlin.



    Report abuse

  • 40
    Jonn Mero says:

    Here in Norway there are those who try to re-introduce the old Norse gods, who on the whole were one helluva lot more interesting than that Abrahamic psycopath. A step on the way might be to watch the Kiwi show The Almighty Johnsons.



    Report abuse

  • 41
    Mariano says:

    Please mates, in segment 1:30 he mentiones a parasite-like insect that devours children’s eyes. Any idea what insect he talked about?



    Report abuse

  • Matt…….you are so right. We Atheists are without a doubt the largest closet group in the USA. If it ever becomes acceptable, we would come out and even elect our own officials to office, become a respectable member of society, and maybe even become “Politically Correct.”



    Report abuse

  • Concurred.

    As the ‘god du jour’ myth is currently acknowledged and partaken, I view all other gods/myths on equal footing.

    I.e., no religions/myths/stories are dormant, esp. if even one person alive takes it to heart. They’re all interesting.



    Report abuse

  • The whole concept of a Supreme Being is ridiculous. I wish Carl Sagan were still with us Here’s his thoughts on this myth.
    As Carl Sagan so aptly put it in his book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, “After being raised from childhood to believe that our ancestor, our “Creator”, is king of the universe, it is most difficult to now accept that we actually come from the lowest forms…mud, slime, and mindless beings too small to be seen with the naked eye.
    This concept of a creator, a very old and comfortable conceit, a safe and politically correct view of our world and its creation, has really been crumbling for centuries. Science has provided the greatest service by awakening us to our true circumstances. There is no longer a need to invoke a god, or to explain our existence through a rebellious angel and the almighty. There is no sign, or proof, of divine guidance. Chaos is being turned into order in this universe through laws of nature that we are now able to grasp; motion, gravity, physics, and chemistry.”



    Report abuse

  • 47
    coastalguy says:

    Sherlock Holmes (tv series) commenting on god (quote) “……a ludicrous fantasy designed to provide a career opportunity for the family idiot” Stand up and take a bow Gay



    Report abuse

  • I’m not sure that an invented quotation given to a fictional character by someone other than its creator can ever be entirely convincing.



    Report abuse

  • 49
    Light Wave says:

    Its one individual ….duh…he looks like one with his snooty little pointy arrogant nose in the air….I’ve many Irish ancestors so answer your own question…



    Report abuse

  • 51
    Lorenzo says:

    Let’s assume that one particular god is moral. So is the live birth of a child affected by Patau syndrome moral? It must be, since god, being god, could have prevented it -indeed one could also say that it actively allowed that child to be born like that.
    Same holds for microcephaly, same holds for the parasitic infection Fry named, and so on… you have a smorgasbord of horrendous things that can happen to a child. Why a child? Because, by christian standards, a child didn’t have time to sin and thus deserve a punishment -as if hell wasn’t enough.

    Perhaps the parents are to blame? So we’d have a behaviour that’s even more devious ad evil: it doesn’t punish the transgressor, but her dears. The most ruthless criminal organizations work that way -and even those have their rules and, generally, don’t harm women and children.

    So, no. Even if Fry is wrong about the existence of the biblical god, he is on extremely firm grounds about its morality. Such a god is the ultimate monster.



    Report abuse

  • 52
    Lorenzo says:

    Nature is utterly awesome and majestic and, yes, that comes across as beautiful to us -at times, because as much as awesome and majestic a mountain can be, it can leave you dead and mangled in many very horrible ways.
    Joy? Where do you find copious and continuous joy out there? Joy is a rare state of mind even in lives without much trouble in them; joy looks a lot like some rare kind of punctuation in the whole of a life…
    And love? Love? I mean, I’m sure lions would love to eat me if I came close but I suppose that’s not the love you have in mind… Sincerely, love that doesn’t involve eating its object is very hard to find in nature.



    Report abuse

  • what amazes me most is how many people here are impressed by the musings of this guy. He spent time in jail for fraud, has serious mental issues, has only had sex with men, has attempted suicide on a number of occasions, is an over the top leftist and almost everyone here believes he has the gospel truth. To me he displays the arrogance of all those who presume to know more than the rest of us. Even Steven Hawking, an atheist, said “I can’t disprove the existence of g_d, hence….”



    Report abuse

  • what amazes me most is how many people here are impressed by the musings of this guy.

    I very much doubt your attempted character assassination will change that.

    To me he displays the arrogance of all those who presume to know more than the rest of us.

    How about you show us how much you know by pointing out where he went wrong in his musings.



    Report abuse

  • He spent time in jail for fraud,

    So what

    has serious mental issues,

    So what

    has only had sex with men,

    So What

    has attempted suicide on a number of occasions,

    So What

    is an over the top leftist

    So What

    and almost everyone here believes he has the gospel truth.

    What have any of your qualifications about Fry’s character got to do with the argument he presents about god. What relevance, apart from your obvious prejudice, do Fry’s antecedents have to do with his argument about god. Are you also saying that no one can ever reform. Or that no terrible prisoner hasn’t got something wise or interesting to say. Sorry. You’ve put on display some of the properties of homo sapiens that will not be useful to a future world.



    Report abuse

  • Rudi Feb 4, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    To me he displays the arrogance of all those who presume to know more than the rest of us.

    He probably does know a lot more than many.

    Even Steven Hawking, an atheist, said “I can’t disprove the existence of g_d, hence….”

    That in support of a god claim, would be the “negative proof fallacy” sometimes called :-
    .Argument from ignorance or argumentum ad ignorantiam in its most formal definition is a logical fallacy that claims the truth of a premise is based on the fact that it has not been proven false, or that a premise is false because it has not been proven true. This is often phrased as “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

    I thought Stephen Fry’s reference to the classical Greek gods was a good point. After all – it is up to believers to produce evidence of their gods and their claimed actions. –
    There is no world-wide recognition of “default” gods whose existence can simply be assumed!



    Report abuse

  • 57
    Lorenzo says:

    I reiterate the chain of “so what”s David already told you. Because, really, what does it all of that has to do with a single thing Stephen Fry said in the video above is a mystery… well, actually a pathology, but let’s move on.

    To me he displays the arrogance of all those who presume to know more than the rest of us.

    You know, failing to respond to a critique and accusing the counterpart of arrogance is recognized by the UN as proof of lack of arguments. Never use it if you hope to be taken seriously.
    And, by the way, would you care to explain me why on earth should I even begin to consider to believe in a god that tortures children? Just to confine the argument to our own species.

    I can’t disprove the existence of g_d, hence…

    What’s that underscore there? Are we speaking about a deity or about Voldemort?
    But, more importantly: can you please disprove the proposition “cabbages speak behind your backs when you can’t listen”? By your own logic, you must believe in it, if you cannot prove it’s wrong… so, I’m expecting the rise of the Church of the Holy Broccoli soon.



    Report abuse

  • 59
    KenMrshlll says:

    Have you noticed that “believers” often want to see non-believers suffer now, on Earth? Almost as if they don’t trust God to do it.



    Report abuse

  • Hi James

    While Mr. Fry may have framed his response as an emotional one, his core argument is entirely logical and follows Epicurus (BC 341-270):

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.

    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.

    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?

    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”



    Report abuse

  • My response to this video: Billy Madison – Ultimate Insult (Academic Decathlon)[Forum Weapon][How T…: http://youtu.be/5hfYJsQAhl0

    I assume you’ve submitted this as your comment on Steven Fry’s video. I gather u disagree with it. My first observation would be that I would value your personal comment on why Fry’s statements are wrong. What’s your opinion Chris. An automaton could have posted your link.

    Secondly, as your proxy speaker gives a Christian blessing at the end, can I assume you are a believer and if so, again, from a believers perspective, can you personally comment of Fry’s argument. Debunk it in your own words.

    Thirdly. What I suspect is that you are a “Hit and Run” poster that will never be heard from again. Courage or coward Chris?



    Report abuse

  • Epicurus’s criticism would only appear to be logical. The entire problem of evil is pointless if the definitions of evil, good, and god are not known and/or agreed upon. In fact, the real problem of evil is defining what exactly is evil and justifying the concept sufficiently.

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.

    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.

    Using only Fry’s examples of what is evil:
    If the suffering of children is evil (suffering from natural disasters included), and God has not intervened then he must be (according to Epicurus) either one or both of these two things (or of course non-existent). Unfortunately for Epicurus (and Fry), there is another logical possibility: our definitions of what are evil are unfounded and/or based on opinion. It really doesn’t matter how I or anyone else feels about any given matter, because our feelings do not prove any moral beliefs to be true.

    Is suffering evil or merely unpleasant? Some believe if something is unpleasant then it is evil for that individual (likewise, if it feels good do it). If all that is unpleasant is evil, then if I consider my roommate unpleasant, they must be evil (to me at least) and should rightfully be disposed of. In addition, if it feels right to get rid of them, I might as well do it.

    Suffering alone does not logically show god to be evil or non-existent. The argument from human suffering (or children suffering in this case) can only be effective if it can be demonstrated it is evil. So far this has not be proven logically and my frustration with this fact does not change the reality of it.

    I can respect Fry’s honesty, I just wish he would not speak in absolutes with regards to good and evil (that is why religions and ideologies can be so dangerous).

    (By the way, it may seem arrogant that I would question Epicurus, but he was just a man. If his criticism had been as genius as some think it is, I doubt we would still be having the same debates over a thousand years later).



    Report abuse

  • Personally I agree with the bulk of the video Chris posted with regards to Fry’s answer (harsh yes, but true). My response above gives the details as to why I think so (however my reasons are not religious as Chris’ may be).



    Report abuse

  • A Christian argument might be…
    God’s not responsible for evil because it’s “a fallen world,” everything made imperfect by the sin of the first couple.

    But the story of Eden is pure myth, made nonsensical in the light of evolution and our genetic ties with all life; and it’s even viewed by many Christians as just symbolic. Lacking this basis, the whole story of sin and redemption through JC’s sacrifice becomes nonsense.
    Anyway, the story itself is absurd and immoral. Despite knowing what will happen, God creates humans with free will, sets up forbidden fruit, and allows a tempter’s presence; and then he punishes them for acting freely according to the nature he gave them, as if it were only their fault. God gives free will but demands that people freely choose to be his worshipful slaves.

    After his plans go south (despite his omniscience), he tries to erase his first blunders with a flood and start again; but things still get messy.
    So he comes up with a stupid plan to still save some people from the doom to which he’s condemned the whole species (as punishment for their symbolic ancestors’ trivial disobedience): he impregnates an Israelite’s wife to give himself a human body to be bloodily sacrificed. Then if people believe he sacrificed himself for them, they can be “saved” from continued punishment in hell after death–a further punishment that JC explains will be added for those who still refuse to worship him.

    It’s incredible that anyone at all can believe such ridiculous stories and not see that the god they imagine is egomaniacal, sadistic, and insane.



    Report abuse

  • Life is good, is it not? The world is an extraordinary place. Out there is a Universe full of marvels; at home there is love to be found in abundance.

    Where’s the egomania, sadism and insanity in that?



    Report abuse

  • I agree about the Greek gods. They’re a breath of fresh air compared to the self-righteous hypocrisy of the Abrahamic religions, with their supposedly perfect, good, all-knowing, and all-powerful deity whose holy books teach ignorance, prejudice, and savagery. The Greek gods mirror human nature. Homer wrote sympathetically about both sides in the Trojan War, imagining different gods supporting both sides and Fate overseeing all. How different from the biblical stories of the one “true” god authorizing the slaughter of people worshipping “false” gods so their lands and virgin women could be taken. It’s not hard to see which culture was more humane, and it’s not surprising maybe that democracy arose in Greece rather than Judaea. The Abrahamic god is not really compatible with democratic society.



    Report abuse

  • James. Your not the insurance salesman that knocked on my door last night?

    If all that is unpleasant is evil, then if I consider my roommate unpleasant, they must be evil (to me at least) and should rightfully be disposed of. In addition, if it feels right to get rid of them, I might as well do it.

    No. They’re just unpleasant and you can’t kill them. Around about now, your argument fails.

    If you consider a god created Onchocerca Volvulus, eating out the eye of a child is not a reflection on the evil of god’s mind, then I don’t want to live in your world.

    Respect to Epicurus, but I also refer things like this through the CDF filter. If they pass, I’ll give them the nod. If they fail, I hit the delete button. It’s a bit like Ockham’s razor but works on common every day stuff. Common Dog @#$%

    Fry’s argument survives CDF. I’ll give it the nod.



    Report abuse

  • So is the live birth of a child affected by Patau syndrome moral?

    …a child didn’t have time to sin and thus deserve a punishment

    Perhaps it is not punishment and suffering is not evil. I haven’t seen it proven logically that suffering is anything more than unpleasant and sometimes, as you say, horrendous. While I personally agree that Fry’s examples are upsetting, I can find no convincing logic that proves the suffering of children is necessarily evil. If morality is subjective, then who is to say that the examples Fry gives of evil are true anyway?

    If you wish to reply, you may want to refer to my comments below because they are more in depth with regards to my views and I would rather not type them all again. I’m just looking to see what the thoughts of a non-religious person are on my position (because I can pretty well guess what a religious person would think).



    Report abuse

  • No. They’re just unpleasant and you can’t kill them.

    Explain why they cannot be killed if one operates under the premise that all that is unpleasant is evil. Wouldn’t it be the morally right decision to dispose of evil if one is both willing and able?

    If you consider a god created Onchocerca Volvulus, eating out the eye of a child is not a reflection on the evil of god’s mind, then I don’t want to live in your world.

    I can certainly see why one wouldn’t want to live in a world like that, although I am not sure how you got the idea that I believe in god/s or that it is my world (I am in fact an agnostic). I also happen to agree to a point with moral relativism (which I don’t think is very compatible with many dogmatic religions).

    Fry’s argument survives CDF. I’ll give it the nod.

    If you could explain the process in which Fry’s argument (an argument from emotion) was able to pass though your “filter” perhaps we would have a better understanding of whether your moral code is based on logic or emotion as well.



    Report abuse

  • Alien,

    You can believe both that a god does not exist (on which he is on very firm ground given his previous comments about Russell’s teapot), and believe that if he did in fact exist that he has no morals worth a damn. I’d say Steven is right on both counts.

    It may be that God if he existed some moral reason for inflicting this suffering on people but if he does we certainly don’t seem to be able to understand them. Which leaves you with the dilemma which of the hundreds of thousands of gods do I follow (if any). For all we can know it may be some double bluff God may in fact be Satan and visa versa, perhaps he is weeding out the people who are willing to follow a clearly immoral monster. Can you give a rational reason why this is not likely the case? Given an absence of evidence and evidence of extreme immorality on the part of most deities on offer then my version of Pascals wager would be don’t believe in any evil deities, or even safer don’t believe in any.



    Report abuse

  • James, the only person who is saying that;

    unpleasant is evil.

    is YOU!!

    Unpleasant is the effect (again, only in your terms) the EVIL is; creating a worm that only effects humans and can result in blindness. It is not the problem of curing but of creation. If I willingly invent a product that will have the result of causing suffering then that act is evil. It is frustrating to see your mind caught in a loop that makes no sense my friend.



    Report abuse

  • I do not understand your premise:

    If all that is unpleasant is evil, then … should rightfully be
    disposed of. In addition, if it feels right to get rid of them, I
    might as well do it.

    … why your first impulse is to get rid of them, to kill … why you do not move away from them? The consequence is the same, you will not be subjected to “evil”.

    …there is another logical possibility: our definitions of what are
    evil are unfounded and/or based on opinion.

    Morality deals with good or bad (good and evil) and it is evolutionary “opinion” of humans.
    Seems to me that you have found yourself a god – it is called logic and philosophy. By the way we can also discuss what logic is, and what is not. 😉



    Report abuse

  • James, there are no absolutes in morality, but believers claim that the christian god is the basis for absolute morality. William Lane Craig is a good example.

    Fry presumably spoke in moral absolutes because he was addressing the christian concept of god, I am sure he is well aware that morality is a human invention. Same with Epicurus; his genius was that he was ahead of his time.



    Report abuse

  • @Ellissg…

    I am grieving for you.

    Really.

    I’m so astounded to read, almost in every ‘secular’ / atheist blog, how you people living in America deeply resent the way you are treated by the immense majority of the inhabitants of this country…
    I can’t believe that such a land, by far the owner of the biggest scientific patent registration’s world record ever, is so globally backward when it comes to thinking rationally about abstract concepts…

    I live in Europe, and I can tell you that, wherever you go, from Sweden to France and from Britain to Ukraine — even in ”Opus Dei” ‘s Spain or Vatican-hosting Italy, it is rather when you disclose that you are a fervent believer that you trigger frowns (or, at least, an eyebrow raising) ! !

    Given the accounts I read here and there, Europe seems to be a ‘paradise’ for the average atheist…



    Report abuse

  • 76
    Lorenzo says:

    Perhaps it is not punishment and suffering is not evil.

    If you read my commet carefully, I never actually used the word “evil”: my preference has gone for words like “horrendous” and “monstrous”.
    Leaving those technicalities aside, I read your comments and it seems that the foundation of your argument is that unpleasant doesn’t necessarely mean evil. Let’s talk about that.

    If morality is subjective, then who is to say that the examples Fry gives of evil are true anyway?

    Subjective doesn’t mean arbitrary. I deem highly unlikely to find a moral system where killing and torturing is an acceptable standard practice. That is because the hardware where morality is running is a brain that took hundreds of millions of years to evolve and, each second of that time, having your life dear has been a big advanage.
    While it’s true that each individual holds her own particular system of moral maximae, it’s also true that those are neither defined arbitrarily from scratch nor can be defined arbitrarily.

    Now, what is evil? In the most general acception: hardly anything. Because what might considered evil for a fish it may not work for a turtle, or a human. Or a rock. So, let’s stick to humans in what follows. What’s evil for a human? Even if it’s (rethorically speacking) a pathetic argument, I’d urge you to look at some pictures of what Patau syndrome, or trisomy 13, means. You do get live births, although life expectancy is measured in hours or days.
    If you’re not a psychopath, my bet is that you found those images deeply distrubing and, upon consideration, you’d hold a swift death as a better option than a life in those conditions -however brief that existence may be.
    You have, in that syndrome and alikes, the negation of what “humanity” stands for, from beauty to awareness to intelligence. If someone or something were to willingly do that to you, I’m pretty sure you’d call that entity “evil” -because of what I said in the previous phrase: it’s a negation of the very qualities of human life.

    Concentrate now on the italics: that is the key. Nature does not have willpower, nor a plan. Nature is absolutely indifferent and a-moral: it doesn’t do anything to you. Of course, you can claim that nature is the god in question -a claim that has been made long ago. But, then, what is the point of such a tagging? None: a deity as indifferent and a-moral such as nature is completely irrelevant, to the point that believing in it is trivial.
    But gods tend to be very different in nature: they meddle, they judge and they boss about -and the bibilical god is a master in these arts. They make things happen willingly, and prevent things to happe just as willingly. In such a frame, a god must have spotted the poor child and must have decided not to act, thus allowing horrendous sufference and negation of what we humans hold as dearest. Now is when a natural mutation becomes evil, now is when that god who allowed it to happen becomes immoral and evil.

    To condensate: “evil” is something nature does not do. But as soon as you introduce a god that’s not as indifferent and as a-moral as an acephalous system such as nature, you introduce evil. A god that doesn’t prevent evil when it can, is evil -as defined above.



    Report abuse

  • James Feb 5, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Suffering alone does not logically show god to be evil or non-existent.

    It does however logically refute the Xtian claim that their god is omniscient, loving, and beneficent.

    The argument from human suffering (or children suffering in this case) can only be effective if it can be demonstrated it is evil.

    At this point, the argument degenerates into circular semantic irrelevance, hinging on the absence of a definition of “evil” while ignoring the Xtian claims!

    So far this has not be proven logically

    Negative proofs (fallacies of arguments from ignorance), cannot be proved “logically”, but nevertheless have no validity.

    and my frustration with this fact does not change the reality of it.

    Semantics hiding behind a lack of definition of properties of claimed gods, which are unconnected to reality, have no relevance to reality.
    They are simply “castles in the air”, and in this case very confused ones.

    The onus of proof is on those making god claims.
    It should also be self evident, that refuting one type of god-claim, makes no comment on, and adds no weight to, other unsupported whimsical notions.

    There is no obligation on anyone to believe in leprechauns, fairies, hob-goblins, little green men from Mars, or gods, because of the “negative proof” fallacy!



    Report abuse

  • I don’t do philosophy but I can tell a statement that is a fail through CDF.

    Explain why they cannot be killed if one operates under the premise that all that is unpleasant is evil.

    So in your world, you would be happy to be killed by me, if I found you unpleasant?

    I can certainly see why one wouldn’t want to live in a world like that,..

    It’s not your world. It’s not mine. It’s not Steven Fry’s. It is the christian god’s world. Fry is making his statement as a judgement on the christian god. And in such context, his statement is a powerful demolition of that god. That is why this video has gone viral. You may have noticed the odd christian “Hit and Run” posts in here trying to attack Fry’s position, but they can’t lay a glove on it.

    I really don’t do philosophy so it’s a bit wasted on me.



    Report abuse

  • So is the live birth of a child affected by Patau syndrome moral?

    So we’d have a behaviour that’s even more devious ad evil: it doesn’t punish the transgressor, but her dears.

    Even if Fry is wrong about the existence of the biblical god, he is on
    extremely firm grounds about its morality. Such a god is the ultimate
    monster.

    It are these statements of yours which made me think we were indeed talking about evil as well as monstrosity. Furthermore, morality implies both good and evil (or right and wrong if you want to call it that).

    Subjective doesn’t mean arbitrary.

    I agree, but whether its arbitrary or not doesn’t change its subjectivity. I do not think one can base their moral code on objective evidence effectively. Moral codes come from the interpretation of reality and facts. One example is evolution which you touched on.

    That is because the hardware where morality is running is a brain that took hundreds of millions of years to evolve and, each second of that time, having your life dear has been a big advanage.

    I agree that it is advantageous for the survival of an individual organism, but what is most advantageous is not necessarily right. In some cases, what is advantageous is entirely up for debate. Hypothetically speaking, if the majority of human society came to reason (however heinous it may be) that it was more advantageous for our evolutionary progress (both as individuals and as a species) to kill off a minority demographic of the human population then it could be considered morally good to commit genocide if what is most advantageous for evolutionary progress is the standard of right and wrong. This is why I disagree with extreme forms of Utilitarianism and the idea that evolutionary progress alone is sufficient for moral guidance.

    What’s evil for a human? Even if it’s (rethorically speacking) a pathetic argument, I’d urge you to look at some pictures of what Patau syndrome, or trisomy 13, means.

    If you’re not a psychopath, my bet is that you found those images
    deeply distrubing…

    I do find it disturbing, but not for logical reasons. I feel it is depressing and disgusting, but I can not prove that it is inherently evil.

    You have, in that syndrome and alikes, the negation of what “humanity” stands for, from beauty to awareness to intelligence.

    We may hold these things to be dear to us, but I have not seen it logically demonstrated that their negation is indeed evil.

    If someone or something were to willingly do that to you, I’m pretty sure you’d call that entity “evil”

    I may very well call them evil, but I would not be logically justified in doing so. I would call them evil based on how I felt at the moment.

    In such a frame, a god must have spotted the poor child and must have decided not to act, thus allowing horrendous sufference and negation of what we humans hold as dearest.

    I agree god/s must have allowed the suffering and death to occur if not outright causing it. However, if suffering, death, and the negation of the qualities of humanity can not be demonstrated to be evil in and of themselves, one can only say that god/s is merely not stepping in to stop suffering (not evil).

    To condensate: “evil” is something nature does not do. But as soon as you introduce a god that’s not as indifferent and as a-moral as an acephalous system such as nature, you introduce evil. A god that doesn’t prevent evil when it can, is evil -as defined above.

    Again, because death, suffering, and the negation of humanity (even when caused by a conscious being) can not be logically proven to be evil, all one can really say is that god/s may or may not be evil (misotheism is always a possibility). I wish Fry had said instead that he thinks the suffering of children are evil, not that it is utterly evil and that this is why he finds god repugnant. I can accept that one doesn’t like a particular god or gods (as do I as well), but I would hope they would admit their view is based on their subjective feelings and interpretation of the facts. I agree with moral relativism in that objective morality doesn’t exist (or at least objective morality could be considered the majority opinion that is imposed on the weak).

    Once we begin to speak of our subjective moral views as if they are objective, we edge closer to becoming like the religious.



    Report abuse

  • In response to Olgun:

    James, the only person who is saying that; unpleasant is evil is
    YOU!!

    I don’t necessarily believe this view (that which is unpleasant is evil), it just appears that Fry is implying as much with his examples. I am not convinced (from a strictly logical standpoint) that suffering is evil.

    Unpleasant is the effect (again, only in your terms) the EVIL is; creating a worm that only effects humans and can result in blindness.

    Whether an act is evil or not is entirely dependent on whether the effect is evil. The two are inseparable. If the effect (suffering in the form of blindness) can not be logically proven to be evil, then the act (creating an organism that causes suffering in the form of blindness) can not be logically proven to be evil either.

    In response to David:

    James: Explain why they cannot be killed if one operates under the premise that all that is unpleasant is evil.

    David: So in your world, you would be happy to be killed by me, if I
    found you unpleasant?

    I would not be happy at all (and it is not my personal beliefs on morality anyway), but my happiness is logically irrelevant. Also, I notice you didn’t answer my question above, but just asked another one yourself.

    And in such context, his statement is a powerful demolition of that god. That is why this video has gone viral.

    I don’t think its going viral proves it is a powerful demolition of the christian deity, just that it is a celebrity’s answer to question many people have been asked by Christians.

    It is the christian god’s world. Fry is making his statement as a judgement on the christian god.

    I agree, his statement is for the most part specific to Christianity, however the debate over what is evil extends far beyond the Christian religion. I am just trying to be as critical of non-religious views on morality as I am to religious ones.



    Report abuse

  • 82
    Lorenzo says:

    James, I’m going to give you a more complete answer later. In the mean while, I’d like you to tackle the following problems:
    Prove logically that a point is a point and it’s right to consider a point a point.
    Prove logically that all humans are equal in rights, and why it’s right to consider them so.



    Report abuse

  • James Feb 5, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Epicurus’s criticism would only appear to be logical. The entire problem of evil is pointless if the definitions of evil, good, and god are not known and/or agreed upon.

    As there are no absolutes, that is why we have codes of conduct and laws which are agreed upon within particular states, cultures, or communities, to further and balance various competing interests and objectives.

    Doctors have medical ethics, and scientists adhere to scientific methodology which promotes honesty and accuracy.

    In fact, the real problem of evil is defining what exactly is evil and justifying the concept sufficiently.

    As all codes and laws are an agreed or enforced consensus. Each group defines its own, although some survival behaviours are inherited instincts.
    Some theist groups pretend their versions are endorsed by god,s to try to add weight to what are often damaging irrational claims, resting only on false “authority”, which have no basis beyond spreading the dogmatic memes.

    There is no absolute “good” or “evil”.
    They can only be defined in terms of effects of actions to the benefit or detriment of living things.

    The criticism of many religious attempts at moral codes, is inconsistency, self contradiction and the mindless inappropriateness of “one size fits everything”, dogma.



    Report abuse

  • James,

    If rain falls and people drown, you can’t call the clouds evil. People have suffered but no evil has taken place because no thought has gone into it. If some mad bastard creates a worm that can only live by eating a child’s eye and he knows this to be the case then the suffering is completely seperate from the evil intent. Is the fly more precious than the child. It seems so to this vicious bastard. There is your evil. Suffering in its self is not evil but intent is. That is the point of Steven Fry. If you ask the same question from an evolution point of view then there is no evil……unless you want to put evolution into the realms of fairies and gods and have it design……..but then you might as well call it God.



    Report abuse

  • The parasites do not only effect humans, but have also been found to infect other apes (so his statement is inaccurate).

    That makes the point no less challenging for Christian apologists. Fry was pointing to something very unpleasant that contradicts the Christian idea of a loving God, hence the need for Christian apologists to find fault with his statements.

    Still, its not an enlightening example either way since one can use any disease that causes human suffering as an argument.

    One can also use any natural disaster (earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami, asteroid impact) as an argument. Fry chose a parasite that causes blindness – what’s your point.

    I wish he would have asked a follow up question to Fry. This question being, where does Fry get his views on the relationship between human suffering and evil and to what extent are the two linked.

    Yes, I’m sure you would. Many Christian apologists use this tactic – you can’t make a clear argument against what he says so you make a minor criticism (it effects other apes also) or you try to steer the discussion towards some pointless philosophical debate about the meaning of evil.

    If his views are just as opinionated and unsubstantiated as the religious views then his answer, while passionate and perhaps even moving to some, is just as problematic.

    Never mind your imaginary discussion of evil – just tell us why you think his points on religion (specifically the Christian God in this case) are unsubstantiated.

    Bringing the suffering of children in (which he did twice) only confuses the issue…….

    Tell us where you were confused and perhaps we can help you out.

    when it should be a strictly logical debate.

    It was a TV interview, not a debate. Seemed perfectly logical to me. If you mean this sort of pointless logical debate, that would certainly be a way to reduce the viewing figures. Judging by the number of views on YouTube (currently over 5 million), the interview has generated a lot of interest and discussion.

    Appeal to emotion is always fallacious regardless of who does it (atheist or religious).

    He is focusing on the tendency of the religious to attribute all that is wondrous and good to their God while either ignoring all the horrific things or even denying their God was in any way responsible. Pointing out how any of those very unpleasant aspects of the natural world effect us humans could always be called an appeal to emotion – that would be a handy way of shutting down debate, if anyone took it seriously



    Report abuse

  • I look forward to reading your answer. I think I will wait to post my answers to your questions after you post your response though, so I can address both in one reply.



    Report abuse

  • Hi James,

    Unfortunately for Epicurus (and Fry), there is another logical possibility: our definitions of what are evil are unfounded and/or based on opinion. It really doesn’t matter how I or anyone else feels about any given matter, because our feelings do not prove any moral beliefs to be true.

    I would suggest that it is only our opinion (or observable facts like a worm eating a child’s eye – that is a fact) and only our feelings about things that matter (It would be better for us humans to not have children’s eye’s eaten by fly larvae). I’m sure we’d both agree that given we are made of matter and when we die will return that matter to the Cosmos in a less ordered (from our perspective) state that what defined us it doesn’t matter on a cosmic level however we suffer, but it matters a great deal to me.

    As it matters a great deal to us, we favour doing things to ensure small children don’t get insect larvae eating out their eyeballs (from the larvae’s perspective such actions would be genocidal ). Hence the word evil is something we use to describe things that are particularly bad for us. Steven is not imposing a sense of morality on us or God, he indicates when you don’t believe in God these matters become clearer, that is, natural selection provides any number of things that are bad for us.

    However he was being asked the hypothetical question of what he would say if God were real. This implies therefore these things were designed knowing it would cause suffering to us. Steven’s challenge is to a Christian god, who claims to be all good, all loving, etc. If that assumption were true (which he does not believe for a second) then he is merely pointing out the contradiction here. That is not speaking in absolutes in relation to good and evil, you’ll notice he does not chastise the Greek Gods due to their lack of conceits about morality.

    I just wish he would not speak in absolutes with regards to good and evil (that is why religions and ideologies can be so dangerous)

    One more point on this statement. If there is no measurable good and evil how have you come to the conclusion that religions and ideologies can be so dangerous – or rather why would it matter?

    I agree with you on questioning Epicurus, I think he would probably have agreed with you on that point, we must always question.



    Report abuse

  • Well, I can see then we both agree that suffering is not evil. I still have objection with this though:

    It is not the problem of curing but of creation. If I willingly invent a product that will have the result of causing suffering then that act is evil.

    Suffering in its self is not evil but intent is.

    While I do agree there can be evil intent behind suffering, I still have some criticisms.
    It seems to me you are saying that the creation of human suffering by another being (human or godlike) is evil. However, I can think of examples in which the creation of suffering could be considered beneficial for some people. For instance, if western society decided to stamp out terrorism (as thoroughly as possible) there would most likely be a degree of suffering experienced (economic hardship and uncertainty, loss of loved ones, stress in politics, etc.) However, some greater good (good according to us of course) may be accomplished through the ordeal (peace and stability in the middle east).

    In addition, how can the creation of suffering (for any reason) be logically shown to be evil? It appears you are giving your own beliefs on the subject without providing any sort of proof or background as to why they should be believed. I am simply trying to discern if Fry’s views and your own are sufficient to be accepted. So far, the evidence is lacking and it appears both views are based primarily on subjective reasons (as are my own stances on morality).



    Report abuse

  • … why your first impulse is to get rid of them, to kill … why you do not move away from them? The consequence is the same, you will not be subjected to “evil”.

    It really doesn’t matter whether it is their first impulse or not, but I understand what you are saying. My point is that if one operates under the assumption that morality is based on the pleasure of the individual then one can justify killing someone (or stealing, or raping, pretty much anything actually) if it would make them feel better (for the record I don’t believe this).

    Seems to me that you have found yourself a god – it is called logic and philosophy

    I would consider logic to be closer to a god if it could tell me what is right or wrong. Unfortunately, I am not convinced it can. I understand the limits of logic. It really can only help me understand a few things, a couple being the certainty of simple truths and the possibility or impossibility of moral codes (religious and non-religious). For the most part, logic has shown me many beliefs seem to be possible, but the truth of them is still uncertain if not unknowable (like the existence of god/s).



    Report abuse

  • I don’t think I can answer all the questions being posed to me at this point (I was hoping I would get some kind of response just not by so many people). I think it would be helpful if I just posted my views to clear things up (they are however contained within my comments above as well):

    I am an agnostic and I do not use religious arguments (as some are trying to insinuate).
    I try my best to only use logic based arguments, and detach my emotions as much as possible.
    I believe good and evil are relative and the world is both morally and philosophically schizophrenic.
    I admit that my own views on morality are for the most part opinion (as are all others I have encountered).

    My criticism of Fry is based on the absurdity of trying to call one moral code (Christianity and their god in this case) evil when good and evil appear to be relative and perhaps even impossible to know.
    I can not afford to trust Fry’s subjective views (or any views, religious and non religious) if he can not substantiate them objectively through logic.
    His argument is an appeal to emotion just like when a Christian accuses people of letting Jesus die in vain if they don’t believe in Christianity.

    I have noticed that even if one doesn’t adhere to a religion, but still criticizes the logic behind the majority opinions of the non-religious community, one is accused of being religious (in other words: you must be religious since you don’t agree with us).
    I grew up in a very religious community (I’m actually from the bible belt in the USA) so I have a lot of experience with recognizing when a philosophical (or theological) position is an opinion. The reason for my hostility is that I refuse to let any philosophies go unquestioned (including non-religious ones).

    Furthermore, I do not have faith in humanity in any way. Human cruelty, cowardice, and apathy never ceases to amaze me. I suppose this is one reason I find the optimism of some secular thinkers laughable. The bulk of the evidence throughout history has shown human beings are for the most part incapable of peace (including extremely secular societies such as the soviet union). I suppose you could call me a pessimist.

    Even if religion is forgotten, we will find other things to kill each other over (which we already do).



    Report abuse

  • I’ll just have one more go James because all I can offer is logic and with that repetition. It is pointless giving me example after example of what man does to create suffering. If we take the question again as it stands, we can go to the very top and ask who is to blame. If God created everything and is all powerful, it means he can do perfect. He has not done perfect. Why? We can’t say that he might have an excuse to being incompedent because that is not how he is portrayed by the faithful. The image of God is that he can play with the universe as he likes and he can, if he wanted to, create a world with no suffering. He didn’t. I can only assume he did it on purpose and can only be seen as evil. The buck stops there!!!



    Report abuse

  • 92
    Lorenzo says:

    Okay, here we go.

    but whether its arbitrary or not doesn’t change its subjectivity.

    No, but it changes the scope. Anyhow, that reminder was there only to say that it might not be a case that you don’t have societies that measure the success of a birthday party by the number of corpses it leaves behind -the more the better.

    but what is most advantageous is not necessarily right.

    No, you didn’t get it. What I was saying is that moral behaviours as we know them have been selected for and are not entirely dependent on the cultural context (see above). Not that “survival of the fittest” is a valid moral principle.
    In other word, we are as moral as we are -and we have a dedicated emotional toolkit for support- not because of wizardry, but because these traits have been selected for.
    In one of Dawkins’ documentaries there is some evidence at least that sexual selection is at work to pull us away from violent behaviour, for example. I wouldn’t find surprising to find that “moral” humans have a greater chance to reproduce, in a society where reproduction isn’t subjugated to religious nuttery.

    We may hold these things to be dear to us, but I have not seen it logically demonstrated that their negation is indeed evil. […]

    Being “these things” the components of humanity. I think you are wrong on that: it is demonstrably -a posteriori- that negating what characterizes us as human beings (aka “what we hold as dearest” ) in others does lead to great evil. Genocides usually have to be conceived by negating the humanity of the victims -otherwise the executioners would not comply to the order received.
    Of course, this argument depends on the evilness of a genocide. I come to that in a minute.

    Moral codes come from the interpretation of reality and facts.

    Partly, But I’d include some biological strategies into the mix -because some moral principles seem to be a lot more widespread than how could be justified by assuming morals is something “made up” and then passed on by teaching.
    As I already said earlier, you have dedicated tools to make it easier for you to be moral: empathy, for example.
    To that was targeted my reference to Patau syndrome: I hoped to turn on your empathy -and I think I succeeded at that.

    I can not prove that it is inherently evil

    Let’s to go back to the italics I wanted you to consider earlier, and clarify further something I think you overlooked: what’s evil and what’s not depends on whether there’s an agent with willpower behind it.
    A trisomy in itself is not evil: nature’s no mind, no plan, no morals, no interest. It’s completely acephalus. Raging against it would be rather pointless -like swearing at a malfunctioning TV set.
    By contrast, if someone or something inflicts the syndrome -or simply lets it happen while it can prevent it-, your hurt empathy should trigger your sense of justice/fairness. I’ve given you a “reason” why this happens above, the negation of “what we hold dearest”, but admittedly it’s not conclusive.
    So, no: it’s not inherently evil. It is evil if willingly inflicted (or willingly let happen), though. Why? Your empathy should “know” why it is so.

    In this comment morality has been likened to aesthetics and I find the paragon very, very pertinent. Moral judgements seem related to aesthetic judgements, insomuch they often are axiom-like: you’re going to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove them and you either get stuck or run around in circles. Nevertheless, they are usually well apparent and clear.



    Report abuse

  • James Feb 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I have noticed that even if one doesn’t adhere to a religion, but still criticizes the logic behind the majority opinions of the non-religious community, one is accused of being religious

    You seem to use the term “logic! rather a lot.
    Logical reasoning is well understood by many here, but while logic is an important deductive process, unless it is based on evidence, its conclusions have no basis in reality even if they are self-consistent.

    Religious claims usually fail on logical inconsistency, self-contradiction, and fallacious thinking, or they fail on lack of supporting evidence or opposing scientific evidence.

    I am an agnostic and I do not use religious arguments (as some are trying to insinuate)

    If you are from the Bible-belt, you are probably only agnostic about an assumed “default” Xtian god.
    It is very difficult to be logical and be agnostic about the thousands of conflicting gods worshipped world-wide and throughout history.

    I think this earlier discussion would be of interest to you, and could clarify your thoughts.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/atheist-or-agnostic-and-does-it-matter/



    Report abuse

  • I am an agnostic and I do not use religious arguments (as some are trying to insinuate).

    I presume you mean you are agnostic re God – you can’t know for certain whether or not a God exists. But are you an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist?

    I said “Many Christian apologists use this tactic – you can’t make a clear argument against what he says so you make a minor criticism (it effects other apes also) or you try to steer the discussion towards some pointless philosophical debate about the meaning of evil.” Your being an agnostic does not prevent you using tactics often used by religious apologists just as it does not prevent you from being a theist.

    My criticism of Fry is based on the absurdity of trying to call one moral code (Christianity and their god in this case) evil when good and evil appear to be relative and perhaps even impossible to know.

    He was asked by a Christian what he would say to God at the pearly gates. He was attacking the morality of the Christian God, not necessarily Christianity – he may have nothing against many Christian beliefs.

    I can not afford to trust Fry’s subjective views (or any views, religious and non religious) if he can not substantiate them objectively through logic.

    What do you think you would be risking? To you, “good and evil appear to be relative and perhaps even impossible to know”. Why do you place such importance on obtaining a logical proof of the validity of subjective views of someone whose reasoning abilities you appear to have little respect for. Especially when the subjective views are regarding good and evil characteristics (that you consider possibly unknowable) of a being who’s existence you also consider unknowable.

    I have noticed that even if one doesn’t adhere to a religion, but still criticizes the logic behind the majority opinions of the non-religious community, one is accused of being religious (in other words: you must be religious since you don’t agree with us).

    I said you used tactics many Christian apologists use, not that you were religious. When you post:

    His argument is an appeal to emotion just like when a Christian accuses people of letting Jesus die in vain if they don’t believe in Christianity.

    are you accusing Fry of being a Christian?



    Report abuse

  • James Feb 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I agree with moral relativism in that objective morality doesn’t exist (or at least objective morality could be considered the majority opinion that is imposed on the weak).

    While there are no absolutes, any community without a moral code and a “pecking order of authority”, will fall apart to the detriment of all who depend on teamwork for survival and quality of life.

    Once we begin to speak of our subjective moral views as if they are objective, we edge closer to becoming like the religious.

    The inability to make collective decisions has no merit, so having a code of conduct like the religious do, has nothing to do with belief in gods.

    Socially cooperative species have codes of behaviour which benefit the community, and MAY benefit individuals, but the main survival beneficiaries are the genes.

    I suggest looking at colonies of social insects, pack animals, and extended families to see where evolved socially co-operative behaviours work.

    If it it not already obvious, people using codes of conduct criticise rival codes of conduct.
    Those who value reason, evidence, scientific methodology, social co–operation, human welfare, and reciprocal altruism, criticise those who make unevidenced and irrational claims which oppose these objectives.

    As I said in an earlier comment, many religions do not value evidenced reasoning, or thinking through consequences of prescribed actions on humans.
    Their followers make a virtue of simply being dogma mind-slaves, who follow directions on “faith” (Belief without evidence or proof) without regard of consequences – abdicating their personal responsibilities to an imaginary god.

    Richard Dawkins has published work on the evolutionary balance between altruistic and selfish individuals in populations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene
    From the gene-centred view follows that the more two individuals are genetically related, the more sense (at the level of the genes) it makes for them to behave selflessly with each other. Therefore the concept is especially good at explaining many forms of altruism. This should not be confused with misuse of the term along the lines of a “selfishness” gene.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan:

    Life is good, is it not? The world is an extraordinary place. Out there is a Universe full of marvels; at home there is love to be found in abundance.

    Oh yes life is good, even the memories of those loved ones who have died. For all that the universe is a remarkably unfriendly place for life as we know it Yes full of “marvels”, but not much sign of love as a super nova blasts its contents into space, albeit providing this part of the universe with the fragments of elements heavier than iron, that ordinary stars such as our sun, could never aspire to make. Indeed without at least one super nova explosion, we wouldn’t be here.

    Where’s the egomania, sadism and insanity in that?

    In the Bible. A purely fictional account of how we all got here Ewan !



    Report abuse

  • I can’t possibly reply to all of the comments (and keep the resulting conversations going) so I’ll only reply to few points.

    …you try to steer the discussion towards some pointless philosophical debate about the meaning of evil.

    You’ve hit the root of the whole issue. I am extremely frustrated with the vast majority of those who promote any sort of moral beliefs because the vast majority think their beliefs are obvious (or at least should be if you would only hear their side of things). Anyone who is convinced their moral beliefs are true will think the question (the question being: what is evil?) is pointless and a waste of time (why waste time proving something you already know?). The following comments are from alan and marktony

    The onus of proof is on those making god claims.

    Never mind your imaginary discussion of evil – just tell us why you think his points on religion (specifically the Christian God in this case) are unsubstantiated.

    The religious should have to prove their beliefs. No objections there.
    My objection to Fry is not about his views on religion or Christianity. I couldn’t care less. My objection is to how does he justify his views on good and evil. I wouldn’t have cared much if he had said it was his opinion that god was evil, but since he spoke in absolutes I can’t help but be extremely suspicious.

    The discussion isn’t imaginary. It is the whole reason for Fry’s answer and our discussion. The religious believe that what their God does and allows is not evil because their definitions are different than the non-religious! That’s why there is an argument at all! Its about Fry’s morality vs. God’s morality, Russia’s morality vs Ukraine’s morality, the West’s morality vs the Middle East’s morality, and whatever else you can think of. Neither side can convince the other since both are sure of their views. They won’t even consider (or reconsider) that their definitions may be wrong! Meta-narrative vs meta-narrative and which ever crushes the other one wins. No logic, no rationalism, no religion, no emotion, just power. The most powerful decide what is true.

    Perhaps I should have mentioned, I’m also a postmodernist of sorts.

    If you are from the Bible-belt, you are probably only agnostic about an assumed “default” Xtian god.
    It is very difficult to be logical and be agnostic about the thousands of conflicting gods worshipped world-wide and throughout history.

    I am agnostic about all gods including the philosophical concept of god. I am also agnostic about most knowledge (in the sense that we will always have some doubt in most things). The few things we can know with certainty are probably contained only with logic and mathematics. And I would argue it is not difficult to be logical and agnostic. In fact, I believe agnosticism may be one of the more logical positions one can take.

    are you accusing Fry of being a Christian?

    No, I am saying he is being just as illogical though.

    I can already tell we will not agree on many points considering most commenting seem to derive their truth from a more modernist (maybe hard atheist) approach and mine from a postmodern and agnostic one. The two are in many ways incompatible. However, I use logic and believe it is extremely useful, but I also recognize it seems to have its limits.

    If you want a better understanding of my views, read up on some Nietzsche (although I don’t agree with everything he says). I have also included a few links.

    http://www.postmodernpsychology.com/philosophical_systems/overview.htm (this outlines why we will not agree and gives a good comparison not only of modernism and postmodernism but also premodernism or the religious perspective)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_that_I_know_nothing (this sums up my views of knowledge nicely, but specifically the part on certainty)

    I won’t be commenting anymore because it appears it will be an act of futility for both myself and my opponents, I will however read whatever objections anyone has because I am still searching for a sufficient answer to the most fundamental of questions: What is the nature of reality?



    Report abuse

  • Atheists base their conviction that God does not exist not on the absence of evidence but on the presence of accumulated evidence that show all phenomena have natural causes and effects which can be fully “explained” through the scientific method of experiment and mathematical measurement. No explanatory power beyond what is synthesized from the scientific method can inform human understanding about how the physical and the biological, including the neurological, actually work. Propositions about supernatural beings, forces, or planes of being transcending the natural world are referentially vacuous because they rest on the self-confessed premise that they cannot be explained; that the human mind does not have access to the kind of evidence which would count for their being true or false. Simply put, propositions about the supernatural are nonsense and not intelligible as a component of an explanation about our relation to anything, including how we navigate and manipulate the natural world and our socially constructed environments.

    Another response to the interview question could be: I have no reason to suppose that a supernatural being called “God” or a supernatural plane of being called the “afterlife” exist. To the contrary I have access to abundant overwhelming evidence that God does not exist. But that is a conversation for another day. I suspect that you are contriving a fantasy where you can appear as a proxy for an imaginary authority in order to confront me with your own superstitious beliefs.



    Report abuse

  • I don’t really understand this characterisation of God (even if he’s considered a wholly fictional creation.) Don’t the marvels of the Universe – supernovae et al – fill you with a sense of wonder? That’s not an effect one would normally associate with egomania, sadism and insanity.

    As I drag myself out of bed, eat my porridge and get ready for the trip to work (it’s almost the weekend – huzzah!) I don’t get the sense that I’m living in a world created by a monster.



    Report abuse

  • Jesus = the Red Pill. Why there is no “evidence” for God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE7PKRjrid4

    From a non-dogmatic Christian to Matrix-blind atheists and dogmatic Christians: Yes, we DO know something you don’t know. But no one can be told. You have to REALIZE it, balls to bones, on your own. No amount of investigating the Matrix can show you that it’s an illusion because it’s self-referential. You have to WANT to wake up.



    Report abuse

  • As I drag myself out of bed, eat my porridge and get ready for the trip to work (it’s almost the weekend – huzzah!) I don’t get the sense that I’m living in a world created by a monster.

    We smug solipsistic one percenters don’t. We live in a snug little pocket of the world created by smug solipsistic one percenters, with a bed and porridge, a computer with internet connection, a car and a job, insured and healthcared up to the eyeballs. Others have a more revealingly honest aspect.



    Report abuse

  • 102
    BurninMan says:

    Yes, I did see the Stephen Fry footage. Brilliant and cheeky 🙂

    Whenever I am asked that dumb question, here is my usual reply:

    Well, in your hypothetical, I am there at the pearly gates, and as is described, I am there at the feet of God. If, as you say, I am actually at the feet of God, (or talking to Peter on a cloud at what I can imagine are some very nice looking other-worldly gates, and in this hypothetical I’m not on drugs) there to receive some sort of perverted judgment, of course I would then acknowledge it’s existence! I would bow to it and say forgive me, I was wrong! For it is clear and apparent now, I am looking right at him/it.

    I am always amused that any athiest who is presented with a hypothetical in which they are actually at the “feet” of God.
    A) They are forced to wonder why God has feet.
    B) Since you are so into proof, science and logic; once you are face to face with said “God” that would be pretty good evidence that he does in fact exist.
    C) you “think” under those circumstances you would actually turn a cold shoulder and challenge him/it with questions about suffering? And wouldn’t that in itself be redundant since you are in fact at the feet of God?

    Of course the notion is silly, but the question is asked seriously, and a serious reply it may well deserve.
    It is of course a very nice time to interject what you think God is and has been through your eyes, and I don’t blame Mr. Fry for his eloquent and emotional reply. I like Stephen Fry, but cheeky and entertaining as it was however, I find it highly illogical as an answer to the question posed.

    Logic is logic, and it would be illogical to be indignant to a being that has already demonstrated great disdain for those it itself created. I wouldn’t think you’d get to challenge said being, nor in that moment would you want to.



    Report abuse

  • BurninMan Feb 6, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Well, in your hypothetical, I am there at the pearly gates, and as is described, I am there at the feet of God.

    There used to be a brilliant cartoon on atheist memebase, (which I can’t find at present) of a priest, a rabbi, and an imam, approaching God for judgement of their past lives in HIS service, – with Zeus holding court!



    Report abuse

  • I like BurninMan’s take on the question. He reasons his way through the hypothetical, using empirical logic. The dilemma for atheists is that once hypotheticals are entertained and “addressed,” non-believers have implicitly conceded the possibility that God may exist. The intellectual integrity of atheism is compromised leading to agnosticism, scenarios of “confronting” God like an angry father figure with a long beard, getting into a shouting match with him after noticing that his feet stink.

    I agree with BurninMan that Stephen Fry handles the question posed by Gay Byrne with wit and a brilliant command of a devastating example. Theodicy is an indispensable weapon in the atheist arsenal. Another approach is to emphasize that we cannot interact with a non-existent supernatural entity because we have abundant overwhelming evidence that the natural world, the physical universe is all there is and nothing outside of science and reason has accumulated credible explanations of how it works. Stephen Fry cannot confront God. He can only confront another human being who makes a verbal argument. Fry cannot hypothesize what he would say to “God.” He can only respond to vocalizations of the man sitting opposite him in the interview. Namely a man named Gay Byrne subtly advocating his own nonsensical view of a supernatural cosmos.



    Report abuse

  • Surely an absolute monster wouldn’t include these little islands of joy where the lucky few could frolic to their hearts’ content in its Creation?



    Report abuse

  • 106
    Lorenzo says:

    As long as those “lucky few” don’t get too close.
    And, really, even if those islands actually existed… lucky few? It’s a bit of a dick this creator, since it plays dirty tricks onto the vast majority of us.



    Report abuse

  • Surely an absolute monster wouldn’t include these little islands of joy where the lucky few could frolic to their hearts’ content in its Creation?

    You seem to have conceded that this fictitious creator would be a monster, just not the absolute monster who would engineer the worst possible life for everybody. Then again perhaps the overall misery is actually maximised if those in the shit are made aware of those little islands of joy that they will never be able to visit?



    Report abuse

  • 110
    Olgun says:

    Already been done dear heart!

    Refutation of Bishop Berkeley -After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious
    sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in
    the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied
    his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall
    forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot
    with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it —
    “I refute it thus.”



    Report abuse

  • 111
    Lorenzo says:

    Fortunately the joy is universally available and not dependent on personal circumstance.

    Yeah… LSD is relatively cheap, I’m told. And you can go out gathering mushrooms as much as you want, I suppose.



    Report abuse

  • @Ewan 1:38pm

    Sadly the data shows otherwise. Africans always figure amongst the least happy. Making life a little less terrifying brings great rewards.

    I hope you have read the Ts&Cs of your chosen insurance policy, the caveat about the camel and the eye of the needle? Little luxurious lacunae won’t amount to a whole hill of beans for you. I think you need to worry about not worrying and accept that until you are dirt poor to alleviate suffering you dare not be happy with the world.

    The most hateful part of this moral improvement scheme dreamt up for/by your man is the unfocussed nature of it (It neededn’t have been so). The pain and suffering unseen and unexperienced by any other than its hapless victim. The loner dying in a ditch, the sadist’s children dying unseen by the rest of the world and in misery; dying pointlessly alone, quite unable to do their morally edifying bit for the rest of us. Suffering quite outside of all excuses contrived by theodicies.

    No fairness, no consequence, just pain. The only possible excuse is reward in an afterlife. And what a fncking moral disaster that turned out to be. Future fantasy reward to undercut the urgency of fixing things now.



    Report abuse

  • And it’s odd, is it not, that the suffering people you mention tend to turn to God rather than away from God? They don’t seem to sense the hatefulness you refer to.



    Report abuse

  • 117
    Olgun says:

    Surely an absolute monster wouldn’t include these little islands of
    joy where the lucky few could frolic to their hearts’ content in its
    Creation?

    You sound like my drug dealing, junky, alcoholic, gambling brother. He too has a flock that get great joy from his produce and do not acknowledge the rest of the suffering world they leave behind. 🙂



    Report abuse

  • 118
    Olgun says:

    And it’s odd, is it not, that the suffering people you mention tend to
    turn to God rather than away from God? They don’t seem to sense the
    hatefulness you refer to.

    See above!!



    Report abuse

  • No fairness, no consequence, just pain. The only possible excuse is reward in an afterlife.

    Ewan has gone one worse than that. In his world, those children being blinded by parasites or tortured by sadists already have access to all the joy they could want via a relationship with Jesus, despite their personal circumstances.



    Report abuse

  • My faith isn’t an insurance policy, Phil. It’s a relationship.

    And it’s odd, is it not, that the suffering people you mention tend to turn to God rather than away from God? They don’t seem to sense the hatefulness you refer to.

    No mystery at all.

    Its an illusion you help foist on the desperate who will clutch at straws. And you’re unashamed, because it gives you the feelgood that all investors in the bogus seek to achieve, validating your own position by selling the thing on

    Angry, me? You haven’t even begun to guess how much..



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    No selling involved, Phil, just sharing. And in this case, it’s Africa doing the sharing.

    We have come across “sharing love” by certain brands of Christianity from Africa before!

    The British should speak out against UK witch hunts by African Pentecostalists

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/09/the-british-should-speak-out-against-uk-witch-hunts-by-african-pentecostalists/

    In April, Ukpabio was in the UK to promote her witch finding ministry. She desperately wants to connect her witchcraft market with the European religious market. She has attempted to establish branches of her churches in the US. But Ukpabio is not the only African pastor scheming to re-Christianize the West. Other Christian clerics are already part of this reverse missionary process. Early this year, Nigerian homophobic pastor and the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rev Enoch Adeboye toured Australia and New Zealand to inaugurate branches of his church.

    In August, the UK authorities denied entry to another witch hunting pastor David Oyedepo. Oyedepo is the owner of Winners Chapel. He is known to be the richest pastor in Africa, owning several private jets. During a deliverance session in Nigeria he slapped a girl whom he accused of being a witch. In Cameroon a nine year old girl collapsed and died after a pastor at a branch of Winners Chapel accused her of being possessed by numerous demons and started conducting a ritual exorcism.

    Churches that promote these abusive practices have no place in contemporary Britain. Pastors who own these churches should be told clearly that they are not welcome; that their brand of Christianity is unacceptable and particularly so in modern day Britain. We cannot realize a secular country when we allow African Pentecostal pastors to come and spread their gospel of hate and violence. When we turn a blind eye or tolerate the induction of witchcraft narratives into black migrant or diasporic communities we insult the memory of Kristy Bamu, Victoria Climbie and other child victims of witchcraft related abuse.

    Silence also hurts the campaign against witch hunts in Africa if these pastors are given a free pass; when we refuse to speak out against their visit to the UK. Allowing these ‘pastorpreneurs’ to stage their witch and demon finding sessions in the UK gives legitimacy to their mission in Africa. It hampers efforts to eradicate these horrific abuses in all regions. So humanists and secularists speaking out against the visit of African witch hunting pastors to the UK is not only in the interest of UK children it is in the interest of the human rights of children in Africa and around the globe.



    Report abuse

  • my prayer is that you will be given a glimpse of hell before you die so you can have the opportunity to go on your knees and repent before its too late…Michelle O’Neil

    Some “nice” Xtian parents or preachers, must have “educated” her in preparation for a happy life free from fear and threat!!!
    (If the fervent praying is sufficient to satisfy the monster in the head!!!)



    Report abuse

  • 126
    Curtis says:

    James I like your reasoning but I will add a couple things from the religious side of things.

    Adam fell so that men might be. Men are that they may have joy.

    Joy is usually found after suffering, suffering is not evil. Suffering builds character. If this existence was without hardship we would have no progress. All of our great scientific achievements are a result of man’s quest to overcome difficulties.

    So in that context not only is suffering not evil it is good.

    Does anyone think those children that have gone blind wish to end their lives. I don’t think so. Blind people live full productive lives.



    Report abuse

  • 127
    Curtis says:

    The idea that you can’t prove there is no God does not prove that there is one, what it proves is that atheism is a religion that requires faith. The faith in nothing, because you claim to know what can’t be proven.

    If you are truly open minded and seeking truth you would be agnostic. Since this thread is filled with christian bashing I do believe most fall into the religion of anti-christ.



    Report abuse

  • @Curtis

    Suffering builds character…

    Unless your suffering is terminal. Or for the more callous god, unless your suffering is witnessed by and edifying for others.

    Kissed better by a by a heavenly reward? Well that instantly marks out the believer as less of a force for good amongst we heathens. Saintly Mother Teresa, witholding simple pain killers, a fetishising friend of suffering.

    Theodicies may pacify the faithful when they start to glimpse the monster they created, but only at the cost of a more decent behaviour in the real world. More decent Christians don’t have any truck with theodicies. They would rather draw the veil of “mysterious ways” get on and fix the mess.



    Report abuse

  • Sorry.

    Or for the more callous god, unless your suffering is witnessed by and edifying for others.

    should have read-

    Or for the more callous god, so long as your suffering is witnessed by and edifying for others.



    Report abuse

  • Back in the 1960s, we had an expression for the kind of twisted logic you are using. We called it ‘mindfucking.’ You are focusing on the difference between evil and suffering while ignoring the main argument, that a god that lets a child suffer is a cruel god and therefore not worth worshipping.
    Fry, and most people positing his basic argument use the word evil in a sense that we all understand, that is: terrible things done to the innocent. A god who allows the suffering of the innocent is cruel, and when you avoid acknowledging this by introducing a rhetorical argument about the meaning of the word evil, you are….mindfucking.



    Report abuse

  • Hi James. I came late to this party so you may not read this. I’ve scanned the arguments quickly and there’s a chance I may have missed one so I apologise if I’m repeating.

    I think you have made an error tying the word evil to morality – and then claiming morality is subjective and therefore nonsensical.
    I can short cut this logic by pointing out that you can anchor an ethical position to a principle. The ethical principle which all humans have used in some form or other through out history is that things that cause harm are evil and things that alleviate harm are good.

    Adopting this principle is not arbitrary; individually we have a preference for avoiding harm – we don’t like pain and suffering and there’s an obvious evolutionary reason why that would be the case.

    As social animals with strong social bonds it makes evolutionary sense for us to extend this principle of not wanting to cause harm to others strongly at a tribal level and weaker at a species level.

    So from human perspective it makes sense to abhor a being who was indifferent to suffering regardless of whether that being shared our ethical stance. But lets be honest – the Gods of religions are usually portrayed as having the perfect morality, they are depicted as the ultimate source of absolute morality in fact.
    So if you examine the supposed actions and words of a god such as this and point out where they depart from our innate biological ethical preferences for not inflicting suffering then it perfectly reasonable to describe such a being as a monster or tyrant and question why they are revered.



    Report abuse

  • 133
    Lorenzo says:

    It rarely happens that I find every line of a comment so questionable, Curtis. Congratulations.

    Adam fell so that men might be. Men are that they may have joy.

    It fascinates me the extent of misogyny found in religions. As if a penis would give some sort of additional right. And, as far as I can remember, Adam didn’t fell a bit: Eve took all the initiative there, Adam just followed.

    Joy is usually found after suffering, suffering is not evil.

    Well… no. Suffering might be followed by other suffering, by neutral states of mood or by death. It just depends.
    The particular instance where joy follows suffering is when some personal or collective achievement alleviate that suffering.

    Suffering builds character.

    No. It’s the elaboration of suffering that builds character, it’s how you react to it and what you make of it that builds character. Suffering in itself doesn’t do anything to your character at all.

    If this existence was without hardship we would have no progress. All of our great scientific achievements are a result of man’s quest to overcome difficulties.

    Again, no. That might be true for the practical end of science -although you really should define what kind of hardship you consider: building the pyramids was hard but the solution found, mass employment of slaves and some inclined planes doesn’t really look like a lot of progress.
    But you cannot explain pure research with the need to overcome some kind of practical hardship. Of course the technology employed by pure research trickles down, but it wasn’t developed to the end of alleviating someone’s suffering.

    So in that context not only is suffering not evil it is good.

    This statement is stupid and dangerous.
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came after WW2, thus WW2 was a good thing? I don’t think so. We could have written the Declaration even without 40-50 millions deaths. WW2 remains very evil indeed.

    Perhaps you wanted to say that humans have a way to manufacture good things out of evil situations. But that says more about our stamina and creativity than about any particular god’s qualities. We are able to to grow flowers out of the manure the gods throw at us, so what? That’s us scoring, not them.

    Does anyone think those children that have gone blind wish to end their lives. I don’t think so. Blind people live full productive lives.

    But I’d bet that those children would like to have their eyes back. That was the point: it’s not that a life without sight or hearing is unworthy, it’s that taking a life and willingly deprive it of those traits is evil -and if you postulate the biblical god, that act is very does imply the will of that god and, thus, that god committed evil; for no possible reason: thus that god is evil.



    Report abuse

  • Eve took all the initiative there, Adam just followed.

    That’s a little unfair on eve. Surely God took the initiative? He put a fruit tree in Adam & Eve’s garden that had been spiked. Yes, he warned them not to eat from it. But he also made them in his own image, so he knew damn well that they would eventually succumb. Then he positively encouraged them to disobey by creating a talking snake and placing it in the garden with them!

    No. It’s the elaboration of suffering that builds character, it’s how you react to it and what you make of it that builds character.

    Exactly. Character is “who you are”. And how you react to suffering depends on your character. You may have been taught by your religion that we were created to suffer in this world. Whether or not you accept that, and what your response is, will depend on your character, your education and your life experiences.

    But you cannot explain pure research with the need to overcome some kind of practical hardship.

    Newton and Einstein didn’t develop their theories to overcome suffering, they worked to extend their own and the world’s knowledge. Newton made great progress on developing his theories while Cambridge university was closed due to the Great Plague. If you were Curtis, you might argue from some twisted logic that the Great Plague was necessary for Newton’s achievements. Newton certainly was not working on a cure.

    In a few months time we will hopefully see some images that will bring us joy and we may learn something amazing about Pluto.



    Report abuse

  • 135
    BurninMan says:

    Hehe,
    I’m reminded of the joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf. Jesus keeps trying to hit over the water and keeps dunking his ball, while Moses keeps telling him he’s using the wrong club… Jesus keeps saying, “I’m Jesus, I can do anything,” but with each club he keeps dunking his ball. Finally he gets upset and walks over and across the water, reaches down and retrieves his ball. One of the irritated and weary golfers lagging behind them calls out, ” hey, who does that guy think he is, Jesus Christ? To which Moses replied, “Nope, he thinks he’s Jack Nicklaus!”



    Report abuse

  • 136
    Lorenzo says:

    Marktony,

    That’s a little unfair on eve.

    Why unfair? Eating a fruit from a “tree of knowledge” is the best idea you can have, if you ask me. And you should do it whenever possible and as much as possible.
    Actually, it’s a pity they didn’t kept on eating: they might have left Eden on the Enterprise if they did… 😉

    Newton and Einstein didn’t develop their theories to overcome suffering […]

    Absolutely. I thought I wrote that it was human curiosity and thirst of knowledge the motivation behind such accomplishments but somehow I skipped the line.
    Can’t wait to look at Pluto, by the way.



    Report abuse

  • I’ve decided to post one more (I said that earlier with a post below but it looks like it got lost down there). I’ll respond to this and give my views:

    justinesaracen: A god who allows the suffering of the innocent is cruel, and when you avoid acknowledging this by introducing a rhetorical argument about the meaning of the word evil, you are….mindfucking.

    When I was growing up, I realized there were certain unquestionable “truths” for Christians. The main one being: How do we know God is good or evil? I was told that by definition God is good.

    Now, when I ask fellow skeptics: how do we know the suffering of children (or the innocent) is evil? I am told that the question is invalid because by definition the suffering of children is evil. I suppose I could ask: who are the innocent? and get the answer “anyone who hasn’t done something evil to deserve punishment (suffering)”. Which brings us back around to: What is evil?

    In that regard it is circular, but it are the ones presupposing their definitions are true that are making it circular, not me. I am just trying to get down to the bottom of it all.

    The definition of evil (and good) are the core of the argument. It is not rhetorical, imaginary, or irrational. It is essential that all parties involved attempt to prove their own definitions are accurate (religious and non-religious).

    This is about Fry’s definitions vs the Christian’s definitions (and any other sets of definitions are in the fray as well). If all parties asserting “moral truths” want to avoid my challenge to prove your definitions to be true (and everyone I’ve encountered has decided to avoid it) then it comes down to whoever fools the most people into believing their subjective definitions are “right” or imposes their definitions by force.

    Below I speak a little bit more about my views if you want to see them but this post contains the core of my criticism of all definitions of morality, good, and evil I have encountered so far.



    Report abuse

  • It wasn’t the Tree Of Knowledge generally; it was the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil. I think there is some evil that we are better not to know about.



    Report abuse

  • 139
    Lorenzo says:

    It was the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil.

    Better than nothing, I suppose.
    Although I was positive it was knowledge in general -to the point I didn’t bother checking. That restriction makes the whole fable a lot less worth reading…

    I think there is some evil that we are better not to know about.

    How do you avoid it if you don’t know it’s there?

    ~~~

    James,

    What is evil?

    A direct question like this would have made my answer a lot more direct as well. I consider evil something you wouldn’t want anyone to do to you and (as in the logical connector vel) to third parties.

    I hope you will want to resume our conversation, because I was enjoying it.



    Report abuse

  • I think knowledge about some acts of evil encourages those acts. That’s why most countries have censorship laws of one sort or another.



    Report abuse

  • 141
    Lorenzo says:

    I think knowledge about some acts of evil encourages those acts.

    That’s a curious thought… do you have some example of that?



    Report abuse

  • 143
    Lorenzo says:

    Porn and the Internet comes to mind.

    In what possible way porn and internet would be evil? And evils that it’s better be ignorant of, no less?

    I mean: internet is an instrument -I would even call it an über-instrument. It really depends on how you use it and, actually, some of the human endeavours based on the internet are truly great.

    As for porn… it has been around since humans learned how to draw and portray erotic scenes. I absolutely agree that some declinations of porn are utterly disgusting but… some novels are just as disgusting and, yet, I think you wouldn’t call novels “evil”.



    Report abuse

  • I think a lot of people would consider child pornography to be evil. And while pornography in human society has probably always been around in one form or another, access to it provided by the Internet has allowed knowledge about it and its dissemination to be increased immeasurably.



    Report abuse

  • 145
    Lorenzo says:

    I think a lot of people would consider child pornography to be evil.

    Child pornography is not all pornography, for starters. Furthermore, the moral objection to it is not based on the fact that “it’s porn” but on the horrible psychological scars it leaves on the children. It’s hideous child abuse and as such it must be treated.

    access to it provided by the Internet has allowed knowledge about it and its dissemination to be increased immeasurably.

    1) That doesn’t make internet evil in any way whatsoever.
    2) I might agree with you that access to porn is now easier and cheaper, but you have yet to tell me why on earth should porn be evil -and thus why wide access to it is evil in turn… And I mean porn by itself, not “porn made by abusing others”. That is evil. Again, not because of the porn bit but because of the abuses.
    3) Erotic fantasies are present in the vast majority of humans (religious and not alike!), and so is masturbation. So what really is easily accessible are those fantasies played out… aren’t they?



    Report abuse

  • 147
    Olgun says:

    Good luck with separating pornography from the abuses, and the
    Internet from its dissemination.

    i would love to know a time and place that was more perfect Ewan?



    Report abuse

  • Ewan:

    My faith isn’t an insurance policy, Phil. It’s a relationship.

    How nice for Ewan. Meanwhile elsewhere in the world, some 20,000 odd children died today of poverty related issues. Oh and the ones with the eye eating fly aren’t included, – they just have to go through the “ennobling” experience of “suffering”.

    Isn’t Ewan just such a lucky guy, to have Jesus looking after him ?



    Report abuse

  • In what possible way porn and internet would be evil?

    Porn and the internet (and presumably books) are evil but creating parasites that blind children or bone cancer wouldn’t be evil if a God did it. It’s religion that causes this thinking. Watch this exchange between Lane Craig and Krauss from 1:18:00 where Craig tries to defend the morality of a God killing the Canaanites, including women and children. It’s the same sort of thinking that allows Ewan and James to so easily discount what Fry said.



    Report abuse

  • 150
    Olgun says:

    It does annoy me when people learn nothing from history. The same was said of books and television etc…

    Let’s not think of the Internet as a good thing which is bringing the thoughts of the world together and actually catching pedophiles rather than sweeping them under the carpet as the church has done and many small communities too.



    Report abuse

  • 151
    Lorenzo says:

    Good luck with separating pornography from the abuses, and the Internet from its dissemination.

    That’s just childish now.
    And, as a matter of fact, I became quite skilled at separating porn from abuses. Actually, the whole sector has decided to be skilled at that. It has its moral code: actors are all in legal age, they are required to know what they are doing (and consent to that) and they are tediously checked for diseases. If a violation happens, often the industry is the first to notice and they report it.
    Tagging the whole of it as immoral by definition just ruins it: because it’s immoral by definition, even the user isn’t encouraged to check for moral standards nor quality, thus the evil players are just as successful as the moral ones. This has not to happen. And it usually doesn’t happen.
    Of course, most of it is really ugly. So what? Most of the novel written right now are really ugly. Same goes for paintings and everything other cultural product. A tiny fraction of it, though, is good and it’s been fashioned in a moral way. If you approach the story with your morals firmly on (which you don’t do if you say to yourself “let’s be immoral for one hour”), you’re gonna find it and you’re gonna support it -at the gain of everybody.

    Internet makes available a great quantity and variety of material. Earlier, pictures were scarcer and they were harder to smuggle. Still, adolescents were extremely skilful at finding them and watching them -or drawing them. And, even if they didn’t find a picture or didn’t know how to draw, they reverted to their fervid imagination.
    Really, porn has always been widespread. Once it was more a mind thing than a graphics thing, today is both… or rather: it’s easier to capture in picture one’s own fantasies and share them with a lot other people.

    I must say, I’m quite baffled by the topic you choose. I was expecting some “what about the atomic bomb” or “what about toxic gasses” or that sort of things. But… porn? If we ever needed (jet another) confirmation of christian sexuophobia…

    ~~~

    actually catching pedophiles rather than sweeping them under the carpet as the church has done and many small communities too.

    Olgun, you are so spot on!



    Report abuse

  • I don’t consider suffering to be ennobling, Mr DArcy. But I encourage you to do what you can to alleviate poverty and suffering around the world, MrDArcy, just as my Church does.



    Report abuse

  • 153
    Andrew says:

    Be interested in your definition of intelligence. Also, and equally, your definition of “plebs” and “the real world”. Are you saying that it is only plebs who live there? Where does everybody else reside?

    In fact, not really clear on your point altogether. But I suspect I might wish to disagree, so if you could explain your position a little more I might have something to get my teeth into…



    Report abuse

  • The trouble is that the Internet is responsible for the creation of uncountable numbers of electronic images of child abuse which were created by children being abused. The fact that it is also being used to track down some of abusers involved isn’t necessarily very helpful.



    Report abuse

  • 156
    Olgun says:

    The trouble is that the Internet is responsible for the creation of
    uncountable numbers of electronic images of child abuse

    You have no way of proving that Ewan and it could be argued that more are being caught.



    Report abuse

  • The trouble is that the Internet is responsible for the creation of uncountable numbers of electronic images of child abuse which were created by children being abused.

    No, the people who created those electronic images were responsible. Are cameras evil, are disk drives and CDs evil. Are books evil? Given your view, are you not a little ashamed that you are making use of the evil internet right now?

    The fact that it is also being used to track down some of abusers involved isn’t necessarily very helpful.

    Isn’t it?



    Report abuse

  • Given the scale of child molestation, the miseries inflicted by church-run orphanages, the self-indulgent glorification of poverty by self-styled ‘missionaries’ such as that Albanian Theresa woman, the unwarranted and cynical interference with birth control initiatives in starving and over-populated third world countries (the list goes on …), I think a little less smugness and a lot more self-criticism on your part is called for.



    Report abuse

  • 160
    Lorenzo says:

    The trouble is that the Internet is responsible for the creation of uncountable numbers of electronic images of child abuse which were created by children being abused.

    No. Internet isn’t responsible at all -surely not for the “creation” of images. You can’t make an image with a bunch of cables and protocols. What about cameras? Are they then evil? Should be, to a vastly larger extent… but let’s cut it short: this is stupid.
    There are many paedophiles around -and a sizeable share of them belongs to the christian clergy, I shall add. They would share their stuff even without internet. The problem, as I said, is elsewhere and has nothing to do with internet: paedophilia it’s hideous child abuse. With or without internet. Or cameras.

    I may argue that by removing christian sexuophobia (which is a transliteration of “sessuofobia”, a concept that has no word of its own in English… A close relative is erotophobia, but it has a somewhat different scope. You may do the substitution in your mind, if it’s more comfortable for you) you’d have a lot less paedophiles around… effect that you wouldn’t have by removing the internet.

    The fact that it is also being used to track down some of abusers involved isn’t necessarily very helpful.

    It is helpful. Because, if anything, internet makes it easier to spot paedophiles -something that churches do not do. They transfer them and claim nothing happened.



    Report abuse

  • 162
    James says:

    Well Lorenzo perhaps I was just a little frustrated a while back when I posted my comments. I would like to continue the discussion as well.

    A direct question like this would have made my answer a lot more direct as well. I consider evil something you wouldn’t want anyone to do to you and (as in the logical connector vel) to third parties.

    The “golden rule” as it were. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (which I might add is in my opinion a noble pursuit and not exclusive to the Bible). It is probably found in most religions and philosophies actually. I did a little more digging on Fry’s position and I think this makes his views a little more clear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqibqD4fJZs (he gives many of the same criticism and his views on humanism around the 5 min mark)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2O5iVBltbI (being his most recent reaction just a day ago as of this post)

    I would much rather speak and debate face to face than through a kind of proxy over the internet, because I think we could have gotten to this a little faster. Personally I think Fry is a talented man and I probably would enjoy having a conversation with him. When he speaks of his humanism I assume he means secular humanism. I agree with many points of secular humanism but I think some assumptions are made that are unproven. And (with many views really) I’m sure someone can take the logic of secular humanism and use it (or twist it perhaps) to cause suffering but that’s a whole other debate.

    I suppose my main point is this Lorenzo: we both probably agree on most points when it comes to morality and ethics. All I am saying is that I believe we should be brutally honest with ourselves about where our moral stances come from. I know some religious people have gotten to that point (and most are still are getting to it) in which they say: My beliefs have some evidence (physical, historical, existential, etc.) and the evidence justify my beliefs for me personally but I still can’t prove it without a doubt.

    I have no objections with that kind of honesty (even if I disagree with them), I fear though that the skeptical community may fail sometimes in not being skeptical enough of our own views. I love the golden rule, but I believe it to be right and good for ultimately subjective reasons (even though I do think there is good evidence that it is true and good and also that biology played a part in creating morality). That puts the religious and the irreligious on an even playing field (and at that point I say let survival of the fittest work its “magic” if survival of the fittest can be applied to ideas).

    That’s really all I’m asking: that everyone making moral claims be honest (and I hope civil) about the objective/subjective nature of their claims. I become frustrated when some (and for the record I noticed you never actually did this) avoid answering the question (what is evil?) and tell me the question is stupid or invalid. To me it seems extremely anti-intellectual to do this.



    Report abuse

  • 163
    Curtis says:

    I have not read every comment above so if I repeat something someone else said it is by mistake.

    The problem with steven fry’s comment is that it lacks all reason from the Christian point of view. That is why the host looked like he did. He could not believe. steven fry was so stupid.

    First one of the primary tenants of most Christian faiths is the cconcept of free agency. For freedom to work God can’t just jump in every time someone is going to harm someone else nor can he mitigate the consequences of those actions.

    For example let’s start with a night out drinking with some friends not really what most would call an evil activity right. God is omnipotent however he knows how the night ends so should he in big booming God voice say ” John stay home this ends badly. ” Anyway of course he doesn’t so the night continues. Extreme drunkenness ensues. Is this not really evil to most but it is to some. Should god step in now? Of course not. Then the partiers get into a car. This could be evil although most that have partied have driven themselves home at least once without major incident. Should god step in now? Well we all know the answer to that. It early morning when they hit the road and they run over a child on her way to kindergarten.

    So Atheists where should have God stepped in to end the suffering of this innocent little girl and her family.

    I can tell you what most Christians would say. He stepped in long before that night. He gave us the law to live by that states drunkenness is a sin. Second most faithful Christians will tell you of a time when they were about to do something stupid that was likely to end badly and God told don’t go out tonight it will end badly. Not in a powerful God voice that woul oveovercome the deafness of an atheist but in a subtle warning in their heart. This something an atheist will never feel or if they did they would not know what it meant.

    God does not require you to believe you are completely free to choose if you weren’t this forum of God haters wouldn’t exist. What god does do however is help those that believe cope with the suffering of this world.

    Without the comfort I was granted as I held my dying 7 day old daughter I don’t know how I would have handled it.

    As to the parasite that causes blindness. God is eternal and so are we the small suffering in this life is trivial when contrasted with eternity.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 4:51 am

    The problem with steven fry’s comment is that it lacks all reason from the Christian point of view. That is why the host looked like he did. He could not believe. steven fry was so stupid.

    I think you have missed the point that Fry does not accept the contorted Xtian thinking. “Reasoning”:- from a Xtian point of view on analysis, – invariable turns our to be circular, starting with a (Xtian) god-did-it-by-mysterious-magic, and then trying to sound credible.

    First one of the primary tenants of most Christian faiths is the cconcept of free agency. For freedom to work God can’t just jump in every time someone is going to harm someone else nor can he mitigate the consequences of those actions.

    “Free agency” is also an atheist concept. – a universe which operates free of any interventions by gods.

    That is why the myths about a “caring god” require contorted obfustcation, in attempts to make then sound credible.

    For example let’s start with a night out drinking with some friends not really what most would call an evil activity right. God is omnipotent however he knows how the night ends so should he in big booming God voice say ” John stay home this ends badly. ” Anyway of course he doesn’t so the night continues.

    . . . . . .Demonstrating that this (or any other) allegedly benevolent, omnipotent, god, is uncaring, irrelevant, or non-existent.

    God does not require you to believe you are completely free to choose if you weren’t this forum of God haters wouldn’t exist.

    There is a strange notion that atheists are “god haters”. by which thinking they must also be leprechaun haters, dragon haters, fairy haters and hob-goblin haters!

    “Hating” entities imagined by other people, is indeed a strange concept! Do you HATE all the thousands of other gods you don’t believe exist? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Lists_of_deities

    As to the parasite that causes blindness. God is eternal and so are we the small suffering in this life is trivial when contrasted with eternity.

    That is the real damage done by god-delusions.
    In exchange for some comforting thoughts, and an imaginary afterlife, believers dismiss real problems of suffering in the real world, while they are over awed by their illusionary gods in their brains.
    Many have thought so little about the issues that they simply assume the indoctrinated god of their childhood is a default-god, so atheists must be “in denial” of this particular one, when in reality atheists simply recognise that none of the world’s gods (past or present), are likely to exist.



    Report abuse

  • What god does do however is help those that believe cope with the suffering of this world.

    Without the comfort I was granted as I held my dying 7 day old daughter I don’t know how I would have handled it.

    Well. so long as your OK, thats all OK then. (Look. I’m really sorry for your loss. I understand this particularly. But, really…)

    As to the parasite that causes blindness. God is eternal and so are we the small suffering in this life is trivial when contrasted with eternity.

    I find so many religious taking this trivialising view thoroughly sub-equipped as moral agents in the world. I find increasingly few Christians (particularly in the US) reach the moral competency of Quakers, say, who have little time for such pacifying and disabling excuses.



    Report abuse

  • 166
    Olgun says:

    The same way a believer finds comfort when a loved one dies, I find comfort in knowing the same rules apply to everyone and everything in the universe. My arms are there and if I believed in God, he would only be in my heart, helping me, a selfish thought, whilst I hoped that he would help the dying the suffering. Whilst the pope sits in his castle demanding prayer for a god unable or unwilling to help, scientists are finding cures and remedies that DO help. If we take the energy and billions of dollars spent on prayer and direct them to science then more people would suffer less. What was that line about God helping those who helps themselves……



    Report abuse

  • It early morning when they hit the road and they run over a child on her way to kindergarten. So Atheists where should have God stepped in to end the suffering of this innocent little girl and her family.

    So if your God made the car swerve just enough to miss the child, would you see that as a bad decision by God? Do you think in this situation God should have stuck to the rules you have imagined for him (to avoid intervening in free will) or swerved the car?

    As to the children Fry refers to. Do the parasites have free will? Does God have the power to stop the parasites from infecting the children? Has he decided he does not want to undo his creation of parasites but he also does not want to intervene in the free will of either the parasites to infect the children or the children to play near the river?



    Report abuse

  • I can tell you what most Christians would say. He stepped in long before that night. He gave us the law to live by that states drunkenness is a sin.

    Isn’t declaring drunkenness sinful still intervening in the free will of people to get drunk?

    Second most faithful Christians will tell you of a time when they were about to do something stupid that was likely to end badly and God told don’t go out tonight it will end badly. Not in a powerful God voice that woul oveovercome the deafness of an atheist but in a subtle warning in their heart.

    Ah, so He could have said “John stay home this ends badly. ”, but not in a “big booming God voice”? So he can break his own rules so long as he is quiet about it, so to everybody else it looks as if there had been no intervention at all – how convenient for you apologists.

    Do you think God created Atheists with poorer hearing then Christians? Is He not warning the Atheists as a punishment for them not believing in him?



    Report abuse

  • I think its some sort of natural selection process, perhaps- the eternal survival of the most compliant.

    Atheists with poorer hearing

    I think many Christians have it that we atheists know really, but we are too busy enjoying gay sex with our neighbour’s ox to want to hear.



    Report abuse

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of poor hearing or Atheists. It’s more a matter of not wanting to hear what God is saying because what he says tends to be a bit challenging. And Christians, like non-believers, tend to prefer a comfortable life.



    Report abuse

  • 172
    Curtis says:

    I didn’t miss the point. The answer was to a hypothetical question. His emotional delivery and his past mental problems tell us that even though he professes to be an atheist he is in reality either a God hater or a hater of the concept of God because the idea is in conflict with his chosen lifestyle. If he was indeed a true atheist his response would have been as emotionless as my response about dragons or some other mythological beast.

    Your second comment only makes sense if you’re responding to the small portion that you quoted instead of the whole statement.

    As far atheist being leprechaun haters that is absurd but judging by the number of posts about Christianity and the big rounds of back patting whenever one of you make a point that somehow makes Christians seem stupid based on narro . understanding of Christianity. I have yet to see a post of an atheist bad mouthing leprechauns.

    Your last comment is the most inaccurate of all. The people of America are the most charitable of any country and the conservative Christians are by far the most charitable in the us. Just the LDS faith alone gives far more aid than most secular charity’s if you don’t believe me look it up.

    How much do you give to charity? I am lower middle class and I give over ten percent. I would say I care and I don’t just talk about it.

    You see it is our belief that God relieves suffering through the efforts of the faithful. If all were faithful there would be little to no suffering.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 8:26 am

    As far atheist being leprechaun haters that is absurd

    You didn’t comment on your view on the existence/non-existence of other gods.

    There is a well known saying, that atheists just believe in one less god than most religious people.

    I have yet to see a post of an atheist bad mouthing leprechauns.

    I don’t believe in the existence of gods or leprechauns – but leprechauns don’t have followers with dogmas causing problems for other people, and religious wars across the world and across history.

    but judging by the number of posts about Christianity and the big rounds of back patting whenever one of you make a point that somehow makes Christians seem stupid

    Your mistake is in trying to lump all Xtians together.
    There are some Xtian denominations which try to be tolerant, respectful of science, and good neighbours to others.
    There are other denominations and cults, which are assertively incompetent, in denial of science, of history and of reason, and particularly in the case of YECs, – exceedingly stupid.
    There are thousands of version of Xtianity.

    based on narro . understanding of Christianity.

    I think you will find that many people who post here have a much deeper understanding of Xtianity, its history, the origins of the Old and New testaments (and testaments other than the 4 NT ones), and its origins in Roman politics, than most practising Xtians.
    Some were themselves Xtians of various sorts, before they matured mentally into atheists.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 8:05 am

    I don’t think it’s a matter of poor hearing or Atheists. It’s more a matter of not wanting to hear what God is saying because what he says tends to be a bit challenging.

    Which god? There are thousands of them!
    Is it surprising that other people cannot hear the one in your head?

    Source: – University of Montreal

    A new study at the Université de Montréal has concluded that there is no single God spot in the brain. In other words, mystical experiences are mediated by several brain regions and systems normally implicated in a variety of functions (self-consciousness, emotion, body representation).
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060830075718.htm



    Report abuse

  • 176
    Curtis says:

    olgun
    I agree with the last part of your statement and will add faith without works is dead. I don’t believe works to be prayer and fasting though some of that is useful works as I interpret it are going out and making it happen.

    You see I think the biggest problem with the science vs religion situation is that a lot on both sides are mutually exclusive. Most of the Christians I know are not. The search for truth should be all encompassing. The problem I have with atheist is that they know everything pertaining to God and that is there is none period. There is no question of the potential nature of the being ancients called god. You use the terms magical being but can you really point to any miracle that isn’t scientifically feasible.



    Report abuse

  • 177
    BurninMan says:

    I’m sorry but I had to chuckle at Curtis and the following:

    For example let’s start with a night out drinking with some friends not really what most would call an evil activity right. God is omnipotent however he knows how the night ends so should he in big booming God voice say ” John stay home this ends badly. ” Anyway of course he doesn’t so the night continues. Extreme drunkenness ensues. Is this not really evil to most but it is to some. Should god step in now? Of course not. Then the partiers get into a car. This could be evil although most that have partied have driven themselves home at least once without major incident. Should god step in now? Well we all know the answer to that. It early morning when they hit the road and they run over a child on her way to kindergarten.

    I am forced to ask the following: which “God” are you referring to? I assume it is Jesus, right? You are on an atheists BB so it’d be nice to point that out, since only 2 of the 7 billion of earth’s inhabitants are chritians. Jesus seems to have a communication problem with much of the world.
    Also, you have clearly demonstrated through your example that praying is useless, right? Because remember, God already knows the outcome and does not intervene, and since it’s all about free will, and the outcome is already determined, praying would be superfluous wouldn’t it? So why do you pray? Think he might change things up just for you? Which also begs the questions, why all the warnings from God? Like to Adam for example. Why would God tell Adam to not do something he already knew he would do, and so on? Seems pretty illogical doesn’t it?
    And by the way, where is the free will in the child? The child doesn’t know the sublties and nuances of God, does it? So the child exercises it’s free will to get hit by a car, or to get a worm that makes it blind. That is what is commonly referred to as indifference. Where is the free will in a child born with a terminal decease? God works in mysterious ways, right? He/it just has a hard time with explanations.

    So, you give to charity right? And that makes you feel real good inside and you can call yourself a good Christian, I presume. As an atheist of 45 years I’d be willing to share with you that I do in fact give a lot to charity. But I choose those charities very carefully, and I find the ones that don’t waste most of it with “administrative” fees, etc. I also do volunteer work and give of my time. Yes, believe it or not, atheists do in fact volunteer for various causes. And none involve myth or fairy tales. And I certainly do not give to churches who’s real motivation is to spread their word, over and above their ” charity.”

    You see the problem with hypotheticals?



    Report abuse

  • 178
    Curtis says:

    If there are no consequences to our actions then we aren’t truly free. If you decide to shoot someone in the head and God turns the bullet every time then obviously you have no choice.

    True freedom is not freedom from consequence but being responsible for your self.



    Report abuse

  • 179
    Curtis says:

    Phil
    Gay sex with an ox. A little over the top don’t you think.

    There were several posts above noting the absence of religious response implying we had no response.
    I would say the real reason is that
    civility is in short supply.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 9:48 am

    You use the terms magical being but can you really point to any miracle that isn’t scientifically feasible.

    You could start with the imaginary claims about the formation and history of the Earth in Genesis.
    NO supernatural claims are scientifically feasible.
    If they work by science, they are misinterpretations of the natural, by superstitious believers.
    If they can’t work by laws of science, they are refuted by science.

    There is a good collection of magical supernatural claims said to be performed to qualify RCC “saints”.



    Report abuse

  • 182
    Curtis says:

    Does your study explain pre cognition and I don’t mean the feeling that you have seen something or someplace before I mean real precognition where you have seen the events told others then those events happened. I bet it doesn’t.
    I have had this happen on several occasions. I don’t expect any of you to believe me I wouldn’t if I were you but unlike you I would not dismiss it out of hand just because it didn’t happen to me. That is the problem with Atheist and some fundamental religious types.

    Yes I just compared you to the most nutty of the religious because your inability to leave the door open to other possibilities has left you ignorant.



    Report abuse

  • Should we presume that your volunteering, giving of your time and careful choosing of charities allows you to call yourself a good Atheist?



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Does your study explain pre cognition and I don’t mean the feeling that you have seen something or someplace before I mean real precognition where you have seen the events told others then those events happened. I bet it doesn’t.

    These usually turn out to co-incidences, or tricks of the memory with details being filled into vague notions retrospectively.
    In some religious and political ideological documents, they are simply fraudulent re-writing of history at a later time.

    However predictions are possible as understanding of scientific laws a theories show. http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.co.uk/longest-day/equinox-solstice-2010-2019.htm



    Report abuse

  • If there are no consequences to our actions then we aren’t truly free. If you decide to shoot someone in the head and God turns the bullet every time then obviously you have no choice.

    But you have already said:

    “Second most faithful Christians will tell you of a time when they were about to do something stupid that was likely to end badly and God told don’t go out tonight it will end badly.”

    So, He will prevent you, a faithful Christian, from having a bad night out . But he will not prevent me, an atheist, from shooting someone in the head? Would it make any difference if the person I was about to shoot was a Christian?

    True freedom is not freedom from consequence but being responsible for your self.

    And how can Christians have true freedom when their God keeps intervening with “a subtle warning in their heart.”? Can’t they make up their own minds that it is wrong to shoot someone?



    Report abuse

  • 186
    BurninMan says:

    No, it just illustrates the point that you don’t have to be religious in the slightest to be a giving, caring person. And you don’t need religion to have morals and values. Get it?
    I was responding to this part of Curtis’ missive:

    Your last comment is the most inaccurate of all. The people of America are the most charitable of any country and the conservative Christians are by far the most charitable in the us. Just the LDS faith alone gives far more aid than most secular charity’s if you don’t believe me look it up.

    Can you please site what specific study that shows “conservative Christians” give more than anyone in the US? And speaking of the LDS, do you believe in their version of the bible? Are you Curtis a Mormon, because that’s a whole different set of arguments.
    And BTW, since we’re on the topic, the USA has roughly 1/5 the worlds population yet owns roughly 35% of the worlds wealth. So it is nice to know, that in just the last three years, we finally got to number one!
    Also, it is fair to point out that children are starving every day, right here in the good ole USA!



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Should we presume that your volunteering, giving of your time and careful choosing of charities allows you to call yourself a good Atheist?

    No. Atheism is not a philosophy.

    Possibly a good Humanist, or simply a good human being with empathy.

    Atheists do not need tribal badges to credit organisations with their good works for humanity.

    “Good for goodness sake – Not “goodness to promote some god or religious recruitment policy” –
    hence the checking that the charity is working effectively for human benefit, rather than using a substantial part of its resources to promote some religious dogma, quackery, or to pay lucrative salaries to executive directors.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2011/06/07/the-five-richest-pastors-in-nigeria/



    Report abuse

  • 188
    Curtis says:

    I would have chuckled too if I like you I had the world figured out so well that no opinion or experience has any value unless it’s the same as mine. If I spent my time commenting on a site made up hundreds of people that believe the exact same thing as I do.

    Unlike you I don’t know everything that is why as a Christian I read posts and make comments on a atheist site. That is also as a Christian I read the Koran. That is also as a Christian I watch and read about scientific discories and theories. That is also why I investigate ancient paganism. That is also why I investigate information on UFOs and the paranormal. There is far more in this universe that we don’t understand then we can fathom. Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Before the Geiger counter we couldn’t measure radiation that didn’t stop people from dying from it.

    Im glad you also are charitable the world would be better if there were more people that approached charity in the same fashion.

    However I don’t do it cause it makes me feel good I do
    it becbecause it is the right thing to do and no I’m not a good Christian I am far from what I should be. I only mentioned charity because of the outright lie of the post I was responding to. That being that Christians view suffering as trivial so don’t work to do anything about it.



    Report abuse

  • 189
    Curtis says:

    What do you think steven fry would say if this was asked this instead?

    You are standing at pearly gates at God’s feet and before you could say anything God says to Steven ” Son you did well for your self you brought others joy through laughter. I gave you a few hard times some you handled well but you could have done better with others. I didn’t appreciate the jabs you took at me but I am not petty as some would portray me. I apologize for allowing some of those hard times but it was necessary for your education. Welcome I have a spot for you here. Steven what now do you say to God.

    This is the Jesus of the new testament. This is the God I believe in.



    Report abuse

  • 191
    Curtis says:

    I have never seen a starving kid in the USA some may be hungry occasionally but not starving. All I see is fat kids with smart phones.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 11:24 am

    No matter what the circumstances, when we’re confronted by God then it’s probably better to listen rather than to talk.

    Or seek psychiatric help or stop taking the psychedelics!

    Messages from “gods” vary according to the heads which generate them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church

    Disasters which are attributed to the wrath of assorted gods are well known to be symptoms of delusional people and their followers.



    Report abuse

  • 194
    Curtis says:

    Citing the very worst of a population ” Westboro” is not very scientific shouldn’t you throw out the top and bottom values to get a truer representation.



    Report abuse

  • I would have chuckled too if I like you I had the world figured out so well that no opinion or experience has any value unless it’s the same as mine.

    And did you come to that conclusion about BurninMan because he does not agree with you?

    If I spent my time commenting on a site made up hundreds of people that believe the exact same thing as I do.

    Well you are probably correct that a lot of people here are non-believers and so you could stretch it to say that on regarding this issue we believe exactly the same. But, as this post proves, not all commenters here are atheists. Are there not Christian web sites where most of the commenters believe in God?

    Unlike you I don’t know everything that is why as a Christian I read posts and make comments on a atheist site.

    If you think BurninMan knows everything, then surely you should always seek his advise?

    That is also as a Christian I read the Koran.

    And what have you read in the Koran that has corrected any of your previous Christian beliefs?

    That is also why I investigate ancient paganism. That is also why I investigate information on UFOs and the paranormal.

    From these investigations, what is the most important thing you have learned about UFOs and the paranormal?

    There is far more in this universe that we don’t understand then we can fathom. Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Before the Geiger counter we couldn’t measure radiation that didn’t stop people from dying from it.

    When do you think science will come up with a supernatural or God detector?



    Report abuse

  • Hi Curtis,

    You’re talking to a lot of people (for which kudos to you by the way) so I’ll try to keep this brief.

    You said:

    The search for truth should be all encompassing.

    That’s an interesting thought. What do you mean by “all encompassing”?

    You also said:

    The problem I have with atheist is that they know everything pertaining to God and that is there is none period.

    This is very confusing because all the atheists I know say the reason they’re atheists is because they know nothing of a god or gods. But this is a minor point – if you have met such people, then they exist. I’m much more interested in the all encompassing thing.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I only mentioned charity because of the outright lie of the post I was responding to. That being that Christians view suffering as trivial so don’t work to do anything about it.

    That was merely a quote from your earlier post, so if it is a lie, it is your lie!

    I would have chuckled too if I like you I had the world figured out so well that no opinion or experience has any value unless it’s the same as mine. If I spent my time commenting on a site made up hundreds of people that believe the exact same thing as I do.

    Do you read none of the other discussions on this site where people disagree, but try to use scientific evidence to establish reliable information?
    All opinions are not equal! Some are expert opinions based on multiply confirmed evidence, others are just poorly informed and wrong!
    That is why scientists and engineers can land rovers on Mars, run nuclear power-plants, and operate satellite communication systems while some others are still claiming the Earth is 6,000 years old and god-did-it!

    If I spent my time commenting on a site made up hundreds of people that believe the exact same thing as I do.

    I note you have made no attempt to explain how religious beliefs (including Xtian ones) have such a diversity to claims and beliefs – often while claiming they are derived from the same biblical sources!

    Unlike you I don’t know everything that is why as a Christian I read posts and make comments on a atheist site.

    I don’t think anyone here claims to know everything, but that does not mean we pass the gullibility test and know nothing and will swallow any made-up story.

    That is also as a Christian I read the Koran. That is also as a Christian I watch and read about scientific discories and theories. That is also why I investigate ancient paganism. That is also why I investigate information on UFOs and the paranormal.

    You are unlikely to gain knowledge of the universe from the ages of geocentricism and flat-Earthism, or from paranormal quack or UFO conspiacy theorists, but some ancient texts give insight into human social structures and psychology.

    There is far more in this universe that we don’t understand then we can fathom. Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    There is, but discoveries are made by scientific methodology (experimental repeat testing and criticisms from expert “peers” in specialist subjects), not but subjective navel gazing, or circular thinking based on assumptions of “faith” (faith- belief without evidence or proof).

    Scientific research has provided humans with the most reliable sources of information we have. “Faith” has produced a multitude of conflicting beliefs, which at best do no better than random chance on test, generally consistently fail in their attempts at objectively testable predictions.



    Report abuse

  • Science is fine so long as it limits itself to matters which can be objectively tested and the knowledge that follows. But it’s a bit rubbish in helping me decide whether or not I should share a juicy bit of gossip with my fellow workers tomorrow.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Citing the very worst of a population ” Westboro” is not very scientific shouldn’t you throw out the top and bottom values to get a truer representation.

    Quoting specific practical examples is entirely scientific!

    Science is a methodology, not a badge to be stuck on to assertions.

    Westbro is an example of a person or people who have their god talking to them in their heads.
    It illustrates the unreliability of this as a source of information which is consistent with physical reality.

    Here is another example.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4606912,00.html
    When a powerful tsunami smashed into Banda Aceh, Indonesia ten years ago, the only structures left standing in many neighborhoods were mosques. For the hundreds who found refuge within their walls, the buildings’ lifesaving role has not been forgotten – and for many, that experience strengthened their faith.

    Architectural experts say the mosques in Banda Aceh survived because they were sturdily built and had stronger foundations than surrounding structures, many of which were likely constructed of shoddier materials.

    So there you have the usual “god-did-it” explanations versus the scientists and engineers.

    Many residents of Aceh, the most dominantly Muslim province in all of Indonesia, viewed the disaster as punishment for their lack of devotion to God. The tsunami has actually made many more devout, said Faisal Ali, a prominent cleric.

    “It encouraged Acehnese to renew their dedication to their faith,” Ali said.



    Report abuse

  • So is Westboro the “top” or the “bottom”?
    In any case, how does throwing out certain evidence make a statement or claim more (not less) “scientific” (and thereby “truer”)?



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Science is fine so long as it limits itself to matters which can be objectively tested and the knowledge that follows. But it’s a bit rubbish in helping me decide whether or not I should share a juicy bit of gossip with my fellow workers tomorrow.

    It is unlikely science will help you unless you have enough data to make reliable predictions. (You may be able to predict certain reactions based on past history).
    If you have insufficient data, neither science, nor any other method, will help you anticipate the future.

    That in no way detracts from scientific methods of collecting data or processing it.



    Report abuse

  • What makes you think Fry would have changed his statement? Did Gods little speech anticipate and answer Fry’s criticisms – I don’t think so. Was Fry complaining about the hardships he has suffered? No.

    This is the Jesus of the new testament. This is the God I believe in.

    Has the God of the old testament retired and handed over the job to Jesus? Is that why you reject Fry’s criticisms? Gotta give the new boss a chance.



    Report abuse

  • It’s just an indication that science (and the scientific method) is great, but limited. It has nothing much to offer when it comes to many of the important things in our lives.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    It’s just an indication that science (and the scientific method) is great, but limited. It has nothing much to offer when it comes to many of the important things in our lives.

    Apart from;

    buildings to live in,
    transport systems,
    food supplies,
    communication systems,
    medical services,
    access to information,
    electricity,
    gas,
    clean water supplies,
    heating and ventilation systems,
    weather forecasts, and storm warnings,
    music and entertainment,
    internet discussions,
    knowledge of the Earth, the Solar System, the galaxies and the universe,
    archaeology and methods of confirming or refuting historical claims,
    .. . . and probably a few I have missed!!



    Report abuse

  • Curtis makes the point that US Christians give more money to charities than other groups such as atheists. Whether or not Curtis’ claim is true, I don’t know.

    But why does Curtis’ all powerful God allow a world to exist which even requires charities to operate ?

    Oh silly me, of course the “free will” to live in abject poverty, and have your eyes eaten by parasitic flies.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Nope, none of that seems to be helping me with my juicy gossip dilemma.

    If you consider the gossip a matter of importance, you could use the communication devices to seek advice from some colleagues on possible reactions.
    This would give you more data to work on.



    Report abuse

  • Gay sex with an ox. A little over the top don’t you think.

    Yep.

    I am surprised by how angry this appeal to theodicy makes me. And I am not known for great anger here.

    I’ll leave you in calmer hands.

    Apologies



    Report abuse

  • All I see is fat kids with smart phones.

    Ah the “free will” to eat junk food, and still God does nothing. Evidently He wants them to have the free will of suffering from diabetes and heart disease ?



    Report abuse

  • 214
    Olgun says:

    My ‘soul’ feels cleaner for doing it because I want to and not to appease a vengeful God or ensure my selfish entry into ‘paradise’ or to show how pious I am to my fellow worshippers.



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion Feb 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Yes I just compared you to the most nutty of the religious because your inability to leave the door open to other possibilities has left you ignorant.

    We are all ignorant of many things.

    Those who use reason and science, seek to remedy their ignorance by adding to their reliably tested evidence based knowledge. A scientific open mind is not like a slop-bucket with no lid, – into which any rubbish can be poured!

    Others just cling to their ignorance and persistently assert it, regardless of evidence to the contrary or refutations.

    Gods of gaps have been hidden in gaps in human knowledge for centuries.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps
    The god of the gaps” is a bit of theological reasoning which invokes divine intervention as a way to understand natural phenomena that science is presently unable to explain; since we don’t know how x happens, it is assumed that Goddidit. Of course, scientists and most rationalists would argue that naturalistic explanations for still-mysterious phenomena are always possible.[1]

    The god of the gaps is one way for intelligent and scientifically literate theists to deal with the cognitive dissonance of believing in a transcendent god.

    Of course, very often the “gap in knowledge” chosen is merely a gap in the theist’s personal knowledge of where the boundaries of scientific knowledge are, so they often pick on something which science has already explained.

    Historically “Gapology” has been refuted many times over the centuries of history, as scientific boundaries of knowledge have advanced, while theology has tried to resolve the refutations of the supernatural by science. (Bearded old fellers sitting on clouds above a flat Earth, don’t hold much credibility these days!)



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t think I’d say anything; I think I’d listen. I would learn more that way.

    Neither they, nor their priests seem to me like the sorts of characters who would accept a refusal to answer!



    Report abuse

  • 224
    Olgun says:

    Yes yes Ewan. Used to play silly word games as a child too. Shame you have to resort to them at such an important time……

    How about giving me the examples I asked for further up.



    Report abuse

  • 226
    BurninMan says:

    I would have chuckled too if I like you I had the world figured out so well that no opinion or experience has any value unless it’s the same as mine. If I spent my time commenting on a site made up hundreds of people that believe the exact same thing as I do.

    First of all Curtis, I wasn’t disagreeing with everyone’s opinions or experiences, I was commenting on yours. And yours by the way, which I quoted, was a hypothetical (and goofy) story about what God would or would not do about some fellows out drinking on the town. When and if he would interject and stop them only to arrive at a kid being hit by a car the next morning. It made me chuckle because it was ridiculous. Im sorry, it is my opinion.
    No, I don’t pretend to know everything and if you had started by reading this entire thread, you would have seen a very interesting post from me about Mr. Fry that might actually surprise you. But you opened your message up by saying, “I have not read every comment above so if I repeat something someone else said it is by mistake.” Now there’s a surprise. You’ve made some pretty lofty claims for someone who has not thoroughly read the thread.
    And no, I don’t come here to read only about people that think the same thing as I do. You are a gleaming example of that. But just like if I were on a religious BB I would expect the population to be in majority agreement. And that is base logic, not super intellectual speak. You may well have noticed a variety of differing opinions with respect to this topic, eh?
    Also, I asked you some very pointed questions in my reply, but you ignored them and went straight to the idea that I’m a know-it-all and became very defensive. I wonder if you’d care to answer some of the questions I asked? They were important in understanding the logic in your overall point.

    Unlike you I don’t know everything that is why as a Christian I read posts and make comments on a atheist site. That is also as a Christian I read the Koran. That is also as a Christian I watch and read about scientific discories and theories. That is also why I investigate ancient paganism. That is also why I investigate information on UFOs and the paranormal. There is far more in this universe that we don’t understand then we can fathom. Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Before the Geiger counter we couldn’t measure radiation that didn’t stop people from dying from it.

    What a coincidence, we have something in common. I too spend quite a lot of time trying to learn things of many differing topics as well. I have studied theology extensively. I have studied not just one religion, but the religions of the world. I have studied so many things that you may well find me elsewhere, like an anthropology bb or baseball bb, etc. And in doing so, I have indeed learned a great deal. Does that qualify or disqualify me from answering your post?
    In your “investigations” of UFOS and the Paranormal have you learned something? I was very into those kinds of esoteric subjects when I was younger. I now find them frivolous and silly but they were important to my overall understanding about myths. And myth can be a very powerful thing, wouldn’t you say?

    I have never seen a starving kid in the USA some may be hungry occasionally but not starving. All I see is fat kids with smart phones.

    This comment shows, not only a disturbing lack of basic human empathy, but a complete lack of information and ignorance. And ignorance is not the same as stupidity. But this borders on stupidity. If you have enough time for investigating paranormal activity and UFOS, than there’s no excuse for not knowing that there are in fact thousands of homeless and starving children right here in the USA. And I don’t need to quote specific data, because this fact is so ubiquitous that it need not be explained. If you aren’t seeing it, you are living in a bubble or just don’t care. And that is what passes for the average “Christian.”



    Report abuse

  • 227
    BurninMan says:

    Preist: one notch above hobo.

    BTW, thanks for the breakdown on that answer to my earlier posy alan4discussion. I couldn’t have worded it better!



    Report abuse

  • 228
    Richard says:

    Mr. Fry: Thank you…thank you…thank you! Your Preaching to the Choir here. Sorry…my bad! I’ve been saying exactly the same thing you have in this video for as long as I can remember, when people start pontificating the Greatness of their Almighty God! Why inflict Cancer on innocent children, who are Innocent, Pure, free from Sin and have never harmed anyone in their Lives, but yet, are allowed to suffer! What kind of God does that? Why does he let people come into this World who are evil? Why couldn’t God just snap his fingers and not allow the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Hussein never to be born? And when God was telling Noah to build his Ark, gather two of everything and bring them aboard, don’t you think he could have left the pair of Mosquitoes with no boarding passes?



    Report abuse

  • Yes I just compared you to the most nutty of the religious because your inability to leave the door open to other possibilities has left you ignorant.

    The regulars in here have this argument constantly tossed at them. “If you only had an open mind…. You too could believe”. We’re just the same as the “nutty religious”. “door open to other possibilities.”

    Lets dispose of this. Our door is always open to rational evidence based data. If its not rational and evidence based, then how can a rational human being believe it. If the evidence contradicts the assertion, what’s the point in saying “This is truly ruly true.” when blind Freddy can see that there is evidence to say that it is false. What’s the point. This is belief via faith, which is religion deconstructed.

    As to a comparison with “nutty of the religious” I agree with that statement. It is by definition “nutty” to believe something without evidence or contrary to the evidence. I can also recall the odd “nutty” professor who makes some nutty claims, but the sledge hammer of the scientific method disposes of these people that fail the rational evidence test. How many religious people in the world, all “nutty” by definition. Now how many in the scientific community and what percentage are proven “nutty”. Billions of religious. A couple hundred over history of nutty professors. Even Curtis can answer this question. It’s a no brainer.

    So don’t compare rational evidence based people with “nutty” religious. Don’t implore an open mind to irrational thought.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    If they asked me a question, naturally I’d answer politely. I know my manners…

    That really does not answer the question as to the content of what you would say!

    Both you and Curtis have had a lot to say about Stephen Fry’s and other’s answers, so I was wondering how you would cope with a similar situation!



    Report abuse

  • Haven’t I already explained? If I were confronted by God, I’d be more inclined to listen than to talk. And if I were asked particular questions then I’d answer them, just as truthfully as I could manage.



    Report abuse

  • Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Haven’t I already explained? If I were confronted by God, I’d be more inclined to listen than to talk. And if I were asked particular questions then I’d answer them, just as truthfully as I could manage.

    So how many prisoners have you captured for human sacrifice, and if not, why have you failed in your duty to honour these gods?
    They seem to need regular supplies of blood and skin!



    Report abuse

  • 236
    Olgun says:

    Ewan Feb 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm Haven’t I already explained? If I were
    confronted by God, I’d be more inclined to listen than to talk. And if
    I were asked particular questions then I’d answer them, just as
    truthfully as I could manage.

    But not honest enough to answer my question further above for some examples.



    Report abuse

  • 238
    Olgun says:

    I am struggling to see the ‘good points’ Samuel????

    Despite being a man of means, and certainly of intellectual capacity
    and able to attract a lot of media attention, Stephen Fry seems to
    take a rather passive approach when it comes to fighting injustice,
    except when it comes to defending the rights of homosexuals.

    Go up the page and watch the video I posted.

    For Stephen Fry, as for the rest of us, when looking upon the horrors
    of this world, be it the increasing despotism, inequality, and human
    suffering, instead of blaming God and choosing to sulk every time a
    news programme unleashes a festival of apocalyptic images, we would do
    better to roll up our sleeves and see the fight against injustice as
    falling well within the realm of personal and collective duty.

    We do not blame god….he does not exist! If asked a hypothetical question on gods existence then we answer thus; If he did exist then I would have even less reason to pray to him because if I am to thank him for all the good he does then he needs to answer for all the bad as well. If you have the power to stop the bad then why don’t you. Do you get pleasure from watching us roll up our sleeves and clear up all your shit?

    For there is no purpose in life more fulfilling than courageous
    altruism; and there is no fight worth fighting more than the fight
    against injustice; and there is none more fit to be made an enemy than
    the oppressor.

    If he WERE real then a bigger oppressor you would not find.



    Report abuse

  • 239
    Curtis says:

    First my comment was meant to be light hearted. A joke perhaps not a good one.

    The Westboro people are not of God. How I know this you may ask? God said the way you will know his church is by their works if they do mostly good then they are his. Westboro spew nothing but hate. If they are receiving inspiration it is from a different source.



    Report abuse

  • 240
    Curtis says:

    Repeating the same lines over and over again that someone other than you came up with doesn’t make you look smart or witty or relevant.

    Education is most affective if it is challenging.

    Charity helps those that receive it also benefits those that give. That is why government welfare is destructive to society, those that receive are not thankful they feel entitled and the need for personal charity is reduced.



    Report abuse

  • 241
    Curtis says:

    Are you sure quetzlquaotl ‘I know I spelled it wrong don’t care’ is not the same god just with a different name.
    Human sacrifice was done to appease other gods namely the God of the underworld. The same god that speaks to the Westboro freaks.



    Report abuse

  • That is why government welfare is destructive to society, those that receive are not thankful they feel entitled and the need for personal charity is reduced.

    Very christian of you Curtis. Straight out of the Tea Party play book. Talk about repeating stuff over and over again.



    Report abuse

  • 243
    Curtis says:

    First I’m not a catholic I don’t subscribe to any of there contradictory nonsense.

    I am glad you brought up biblical creation. You see I have read the biblical account of creation many times it a very profound story if you read it with an open mind but there is not enough information to draw any conclusion
    as to how it was done. I can agree with evolution to a point. For one the order of creation vs evolution is very similar.
    There are problems with evolution though one being the beginning of life the odds are astronomical. First you have to have all the ingredients to make life then you have somehow cause this primordial soup to live. Which we have never been able to do in a lab. Then this has to happen an astonishing number of times before this life survives for any length of time. Then this life survival as to happen another mind boggling number times before this life becomes self replicating why or how this is beyond anything we know. Then the self replicating version of life has to survive also so how many times did thewwhole process have to have happened before there was one that survived long enough to move to the next stage.
    We can’t even replicate the first stage. I’m not saying it could not happen but has the earth been around long enough to actually to have gotten us to this point.?

    Before any of you start on the 6000 year old earth nonsense I don’t believe the earth is only that old.



    Report abuse

  • 244
    Curtis says:

    The search for truth should be all encompassing.
    Most scientists are not searching for truth they are trying to prove there version of truth.
    Most religious people are not searching for truth they trying to justify there version of the truth.

    There is truth in every religion there is truth in most scientific theories the key to understanding the universe in my opinion is finding the truth in all the knowledge available. As long as we sit here and scoff at what seems to us as fantasies or insane rambling we progress slowly.

    I was reading the Koran the other day and there was one passage that stood out to me I will have to paraphrase. It went something like this. We placed the stars in the sky to hide our presence from man. On the surface this statement is nutty but in the context of radio telescopes searching for evidence of intelligent life and the electromagnetic interference created by stars not so nutty.

    My understanding of agnostic is they know nothing of God or Gods so for them they neither deny nor confirm the existence of God or gods. Atheists however deny the existence of God or gods.
    Is this definition wrong?



    Report abuse

  • 245
    Curtis says:

    Just because I was warned doesn’t mean I can’t continue down the path. My freedom would be obstructed if I was physically restrained. I think most 5 year olds can grasp that consept.



    Report abuse

  • 246
    Curtis says:

    No really I have never seen a starving child in the USA if I had I would give them food. I have seen some that have missed a couple of meals this was the case for me as a child. I will admit however that I don’t travel much I am of limited means. That being said in my community there are billboards illustrating the hunger of local children. There are no starving children in my town
    . If there is they are living in a whole somewhere because if they were seen on the street they would be fed. Those. billboard make me question the validity of the starving children in other parts of the country.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis. Welcome. Keep posting and reading the responses. It may improve the quality of your life.

    If you did your research, you would find evidence to refute the statement you’ve made. Consider this one.

    We can’t even replicate the first stage. (Life)

    Right here. Right above you in this very web page. Click on News. Read this article, “Tiny volcanic cracks ‘incubated’ ancient DNA”. Click on the underlying source article to expand to the whole story. You can replicate the first stage. The universe is teeming with all of the chemicals required. A self replicating molecule only has to occur once, just once in 13.8 billions years, and the sledge hammer of evolution takes over, favouring the more successful offspring over the less. Roll on 3.8 billions years and your sitting here typing that it’s impossible.

    We can make the polio virus from scratch in a test tube in the lab, using mail order DNA parts sent to you in the post. Life is just self replicating chemistry.

    a very profound story if you read it with an open mind.

    I’ve disposed of this one in a post somewhere above (maybe below). An open mind can only be open if the information it receives is supported by evidence. If you believe something, in the absence of evidence, or contrary to the evidence, it’s called faith, and you descend into religion. By definition, your mind cannot be open if you reject evidence. Closed to the evidence. If the evidence says this, and you say no, then your mind is closed.

    For one the order of creation vs evolution is very similar.

    No. Creation story has everything occurring at the flick of the deity’s fingers. Evolution takes billions of years of tiny incremental change. They are opposites. If you had an open mind to the evidence, you would see that evolution is the only game in town. God’s not required anymore. God serves no useful purpose anymore. God adds unnecessary complications to simple solutions. Here’s a test for your open mind. Research Ockham’s Razor, developed by a Catholic monk, and see if god survives.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    The question was:-

    “What in an analogy to Stephen Fry’s position, would you say to this god if you discovered he was real and interviewing you?”

    Both you and Ewan, seem to be stuck for a response, and are evading the answer.
    You seem to be struck as dumb as Gay Byrne was on hearing Stephen’s answer.

    Do you find it impossible to see, or understand, the point of view of other believers, who believed just as fervently in different gods?



    Report abuse

  • 253
    Curtis says:

    Steven fry has obviously put a lot of thought and emotion in to his answer which implies believe and hatred. You can’t hate something that you think doesn’t exist.

    I have never thought about what I would say because I don’t believe in those gods you mentioned. Nor does it invoke any emotions.

    Perhaps I would say.
    If I did wrong it is because I was never told what you expect of me. Really what can you say to a being you know nothing about.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 9, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Steven fry has obviously put a lot of thought and emotion in to his answer which implies believe and hatred.

    He may have been prepared, but the video suggests the question and answer were a surprise to both to him and to Gay Byrne.

    You can’t hate something that you think doesn’t exist.

    These two parts of your answer don’t make sense.
    In the first you attribute “hatred” to Stephen Fry, and then in the second quoted part, you say, “you can’t hate something that you think doesn’t exist”!

    Atheists don’t think ANY gods exist, so why pretend “hatred”?

    Atheists do dislike the destructive actions of the followers of gods, so would condemn the behaviour of Aztec priests and rulers in raiding their neighbours to take prisoners for brutal sacrifices, but that is a moral issue of abuse of human beings, which has nothing to do with atheists’ lack of belief in Aztec gods.

    Atheists similarly condemn the rapes and genocides in the bible.

    I hope these examples are giving you a clearer view of atheism.

    Atheism is an understanding of the lack of evidence for, and lack of existence of, gods (plural).
    It is not a specific denial of any individual’s pet version of god in their heads.

    Really what can you say to a being you know nothing about.

    The links should have given you some details.



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 9, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Do you feel oppressed because if God is real your oppression would be exacting as it is now

    The answers are hypothetical, but if Olgun is oppressed, it is probably due to his proximity to Islamic culture.



    Report abuse

  • 259
    Olgun says:

    Not sure what that means either Alan?

    I am excluded in many fields. I don’t mix as much with muslim communities, in a religious sense, apart from my family. I exclude myself from religious ceremonies. Is that oppression? I have the same problem with Christianity because I live in the UK. Even relatively mild Christians see me as an outsider whenever the need arises. But then I have the same from Jewish friends and Hindu friends. That is the problem with religion as a whole. I fit in none of them. If God DID exist then I would be right at the bottom of the list as an atheist because, I presume, he would view it like all the religious, better to have A god than none at all. My point was that oppression comes in degrees and at the top, if he existed, would be the all powerful, leader of the pack, God. The biggest oppressor of all. Of course, because he does not exist, then the oppressor is the person who believes he exists, of which I am free.



    Report abuse

  • 260
    BurninMan says:

    There are no starving children in my town
    . If there is they are living in a whole somewhere because if they were seen on the street they would be fed. Those. billboard make me question the validity of the starving children in other parts of the country.

    Yet another example of abject ignorance.
    You haven’t seen them because you are not looking, or you live in a very affluent area. You say you are of limited means, so I assume you don’t live in an affluent area. Well then, you obviously don’t read real news. Let me guess, you’re an avid Fox Noise (err news as they call it) viewer? Finding and reading credible news sources would require too much effort. Easier to watch “investigations” about UFOS and paranormal activity, isn’t it? And I’m sure that is why you came in the middle of this thread, being too lazy to read the “whole” (proper use of the word ‘whole’) thread. And you think that a child only need to be seen hungry to be fed? They’re all living in HOLES are they? Wow, too bad they don’t know that.
    And you think people raise billboards about poverty and starvation just for shits and giggles? Or perhaps they are steeling money that is meant for starving people and just pocket it, all the while never being exposed, even though it’s a billboard. You know, like a dubious religious charity. Perhaps that requires an investigation. Ah, screw it, Youre just gonna watch Ancient Aliens. Because you like learning!
    I wonder Curtis, if there’s a homeless shelter or drug rehab center in the utopian town you live in? If so, perhaps you should volunteer your time there. As a true Christian I’m sure that would be a fine suggestion for you, eh? If you do that you will actually meet homeless and starving people there. Imagine that, going to where they actually are, and finding them there with all those objectionable smells and images.

    And once again, you have ignored most of the questions posed to you by me and others on this board. You want to make blanket statements about the real world by denying the real problems that exist in it. Saying that there is no poverty and starvation because you haven’t seen it is so very Christian. And burying your head in the sand is as well. Do as I say, not as I do, right?
    Do you believe that people die in a car accident every minute of the day? Well, because you haven’t seen it, it must not be true, right? Have you ever seen a child who was brutally raped and beaten to death? How about a classroom full of children slaughtered en masse with a bushmaster rifle, like right there in Newtown, CT. You probably haven’t, but I have, and can tell you that everyone like you should have to. It should be required for those who just pass suffering and inhumanity off as a witless comment.
    Also, based on what you have said here in your numerous posts, especially the part where you are of limited means but give ten percent of your income, is most probably a lie. I don’t believe you. I think it would but into your cable/satellite or Internet budget. Your words certainly don’t portray a loving, caring, insightful person.
    But you don’t need to convince me, just keep talking. And make sure to ignore all the real questions while you do.



    Report abuse

  • 261
    BurninMan says:

    Does your study explain pre cognition and I don’t mean the feeling that you have seen something or someplace before I mean real precognition where you have seen the events told others then those events happened. I bet it doesn’t.
    I have had this happen on several occasions. I don’t expect any of you to believe me I wouldn’t if I were you but unlike you I would not dismiss it out of hand just because it didn’t happen to me. That is the problem with Atheist and some fundamental religious types.

    I feel I must reply to this bullshit because once again, it is ignorant uninformed claptrap.
    Curtis, there is a man named James Randi. He has a check for you for a million dollars. It might be more these days, I’m not sure. But, if you contact him, tell him you have “precognition.” And can prove it. I assume you can based on the above crap you just stated, right? Well, it might please you to know that the test is actually quite simple and if you truly have precognition, or any other form of “ESP,” the money is yours.
    You should know however, the offer has stood for decades and no one has been able to pass the simple tests. Not even close. Not even the finest mentalists and magicians. I wonder why?
    He used to be on the news and talk shows quite a lot. Oh right, you wouldn’t have seen him, it was the news.
    Now we know you think ESP is real, and aliens and ghosts might exist, but WE are the ones suspending our beliefs! Bahahahahahahahahaha.



    Report abuse

  • 262
    BurninMan says:

    Yes, and you don’t have to go back too long to know I’d normally be put to death for having made that statement. Oh those tolerant and giving Christians. 🙂



    Report abuse

  • 263
    BurninMan says:

    And Curtis, you also said this:

    First I’m not a catholic I don’t subscribe to any of there contradictory nonsense.

    Really? You think the catholic religion is “contradictory nonsense?” I wonder where you got that notion, and how far is it from yours?
    Think about it real hard and you just might see the same “contradiction” in yourself. Especially the rest of what followed that comment, about evolution and creation. Chock full of contradictions! But only if it’s “others” beliefs, right?



    Report abuse

  • 265
    BurninMan says:

    Repeating the same lines over and over again that someone other than you came up with doesn’t make you look smart or witty or relevant.

    Really? Like, “Our father who art in heaven?”
    Isn’t that the same prayer used by those nonsensical Catholics as well?

    I’d respond to the rest of your nonsense about government welfare but I think I already have in your earlier post about there being no starving people where you live.. See above reply.

    Keep digging Curtis. Your extraordinary insight is getting better all the time.



    Report abuse

  • 266
    bonnie says:

    what amazes me most…

    Everything is relative, as we all draw different lines in the sand. I love and miss John Denver’s environmental pleas, even taking into account his very dubious personal life. Was bulldozing cd’s during Dixie Chick-gate over reacting?

    Your points have been considered – but for me personally, his concern for wildlife trumps all (I dismissed your irrelevant, personal attack on homosexuality).

    I like Fry’s good-hearted reaction > rare parrot 😀



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Charity helps those that receive it also benefits those that give. That is why government welfare is destructive to society, those that receive are not thankful they feel entitled and the need for personal charity is reduced.

    While some may like the feeling of gratitude from the desperate who have been made dependent on charity, National Insurance Schemes to which everyone contributes and (like any insurance scheme) all where all can claim when they have a need which qualifies.

    Opposing government welfare or universal medical services, in order to create a demand for charity, is not a charitable action.
    Nor is it an altruistic community building of mutual support.
    It is a divisive fulfilling a personal need for “gratitude”, while looking down on others, where the “haves” throw crumbs from the rich-man’s table, to those they have deliberately politically arranged to be “have-nots”!



    Report abuse

  • We do not blame god….he does not exist! If asked a hypothetical question on gods existence then we answer thus

    For many religious people that just does not compute – they cannot believe that there are people who don’t believe there is a God. That’s why you will so often hear them accuse us of blaming God or hating God.

    @Samuel

    See this link for info on Stephen Fry’s charitable work:

    Stephen Fry Charity Work, Events and Causes



    Report abuse

  • Curtis Feb 8, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I am glad you brought up biblical creation. You see I have read the biblical account of creation many times it a very profound story if you read it with an open mind but there is not enough information to draw any conclusion
    as to how it was done.

    If you read it in conjunction with cosmology and the physics of star and planetary formation, the sequence of events is all wrong, and it is just smoke-and-mirrors magic! Only an “open mind” with all knowledge of physics, geology, and astronomy surgically removed, would consider it credible.

    I can agree with evolution to a point. For one the order of creation vs evolution is very similar.

    Nope!

    There are problems with evolution though one being the beginning of life

    That would be abiogenesis. Evolution is about the follow-on process which develops complex life. Not about its initial origins.

    the odds are astronomical. First you have to have all the ingredients to make life then you have somehow cause this primordial soup to live.

    The galaxies and the time scales are also “astronomical”. There is plenty of spectroscopic evidence of organic compounds throughout billions of light-years of nebulae and space in addition to that found in the Solar-System.

    Which we have never been able to do in a lab.

    That is only partially true. Various parts of the processes have been demonstrated in genetics labs. It is probably only a matter of time.

    Then this has to happen an astonishing number of times before this life survives for any length of time.

    On Earth, there was a whole planet and millions of years of chemical reactions.

    Then this life survival as to happen another mind boggling number times before this life becomes self replicating why or how this is beyond anything we know. Then the self replicating version of life has to survive also so how many times did thewwhole process have to have happened before there was one that survived long enough to move to the next stage.

    You seem confused. Replication is the first stage, and that has already been demonstrated by a Nobel Prize winning geneticist.

    The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Dr. Jack Szostak – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

    We can’t even replicate the first stage.

    See the video above. The complexity builds, as inexact copies are selected by survival and competition, as it still happens in evolution today.
    When talking about single cells, there are millions of them in a single litre of seawater.

    I’m not saying it could not happen but has the earth been around long enough to actually to have gotten us to this point.?

    The Earth has been around for four and a half billion years. The universe a lot longer than that:- In physical cosmology, the age of the Universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang. The current measurement of the age of the universe is 13.798±0.037 billion years.

    Evolution has been observed and mapped throughout the whole of biology for over 150 years.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Curtis,

    How exciting! I got a response. Thank you.

    Most scientists are not searching for truth they are trying to prove there version of truth.

    To the best of my knowledge all science begins with an observation or two, and a question. For example: Herschel discovered infra-red light by observing that prisms appear to ‘break up’ white light and wondered if the heat energy is equally split among the different colours (wavelengths). When he put a thermometer beyond the visible red end he found a lot of heat energy being invisibly ‘broken out’ of the input, white, beam.

    Herschel was not unusual, this is how scientists proceed most of the time. They may start with a guess (there may be invisible light beyond red), but they have to then prove that their guess is right (e.g. by looking for evidence, like heat energy). But it doesn’t stop there. For us to remember Herschel’s name today, he had to be proved right and, for that to happen, other scientists had to be able to repeat his observations. Then, the discovery of invisible forms of light (like infra-red) had to be useful like making a prediction. Johann Ritter, the very next year, predicted that at the other end of the rainbow, beyond visible violet, there might be invisible light too. He discovered ultra-violet light using a semi-photographic technique – exposing silver chloride to coloured light from prisms, then also the dark (no visible light) area beyond violet and measuring the rates of reaction.

    I’m sorry if that was a bit long-winded, but I felt the need to give a simple example. From the above we see what most of us, most of the time, mean by truth:

    Evidence; facts that are indisputable (visible light, prisms, heat and colour changes due to light exposure, etc.)
    Verification; the ability to make the same observations (e.g. in London, Vienna and Paris)
    Peer, expert, agreement
    Openness; which comes in two flavours, open to changing one’s mind and open to criticism of how we obtained our observations, defined our theories (e.g. of invisible light), judged the evidence, and so on.

    Most religious people are not searching for truth …

    That certainly seems to be true, based on the evidence.

    Most religious people are … trying to justify their version of the truth.

    I was confused by this comment; Religious people don’t look for truth but, according to this sentence, they still find truth (!) – they must do because now they’re justifying it.

    I suggest to you that religious people feel the need to justify their beliefs as if they were true.

    I further suggest to you that you were almost right first time: Religious people do look for truth. The problems are that they don’t start with the facts, or don’t look for verification, or don’t listen to experts (or fail to judge other people’s honesty, integrity and ability to weigh evidence) and are not open – in particular, not open to change. End result: They fail to find truth, claim something else is truth and pretend (or are fooled into believing) that what they think they know is true.

    There is truth in every religion …

    How? If, as we agree, most religious people are not seeking truth (sometimes unwittingly, but the result is the same) then, unlike a broken clock, they’re not even right by accident.

    … there is truth in most scientific theories the key to understanding the universe in my opinion is finding the truth in all the knowledge available.

    I agree, I just can’t see a place for religious views?

    As long as we sit here and scoff at what seems to us as fantasies or insane rambling we progress slowly.

    I agree, giving religion the oxygen of public discourse only prolongs our agony and holds us back.

    I was reading the Koran the other day and there was one passage that stood out to me I will have to paraphrase. It went something like this. We placed the stars in the sky to hide our presence from man. On the surface this statement is nutty but in the context of radio telescopes searching for evidence of intelligent life and the electromagnetic interference created by stars not so nutty.

    I’m afraid I learned nothing from your extract Curtis. If any one, or any thing, placed the stars where they are to obscure some truth my first observation is that the Koran is promoted as a way to find truth yet your extract appears to counter that by saying that it obscures truth.

    My next observation is that ancient texts are not open, one of our criteria for finding truth. Holy books are closed systems, they breed dogma – the opposite of being open.

    Another observation: The extract is ideal for misuse by those who might want to lead us away from truth.

    I see the comment on hiding … and all I can think is “convenient for someone” and then “why not just be clear, honest, open”, all those things we know are good and that we value between ourselves – the things we know build better relationships and better societies.

    Also, assuming for the moment that the excerpt was valid in some way, however strange that would be, then they went over the top:

    By measuring the number and luminosity of observable galaxies, astronomers put current estimates of the total stellar population at roughly 70 billion trillion (7 with 22 zeros)

    Whatever it is the religious are pretending to know is beyond those stars … 13.8 billion light years away in fact.

    I remain highly sceptical.

    An agnostic is someone who says: “I have seen no evidence for [enter ‘truth’ here], and I remain open to receiving such evidence.”

    An atheist is someone who says: “I have seen no evidence for [enter ‘truth’ here], and I therefore conclude that the ‘truth’ is not true.

    I hope that is helpful.

    It is obviously possible to be either, or both.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • Poor Curtis just can’t wrap his brain around the idea that the chances of intelligent life evolving on Earth are exactly 100 %.

    We don’t know about the rest of the galaxy or other galaxies, but we know for certain that it happened here.

    Please discard Dembski and his ilk with their “astronomical” odds of the impossibility of life without his Jesus doing it. Pure word games on his behalf, – but here we have the reality of intelligent life.



    Report abuse

  • 272
    BurninMan says:

    Oh yes, of course, when attempting to articulate a point of disagreement about an intellectual discussion, one should always seek clips from an Adam Sandler production. I usually reserve that for after I’ve smoked a big doobie.
    Now perhaps, you’d like to articulate in your own words, if at all possible, what is wrong or incorrect in Mr. Fry’s lecture? Or do you have a movie clip for that to, perhaps the Ten Commandments?



    Report abuse

  • 273
    BurninMan says:

    Of course, there’s yet another obvious reason the analogy fails.
    There is no God!
    And that is why they are free do drink, kill, make love, iron clothes, murder and rape children, commit incest, etc., ad infinitum.
    Pretty simple in those terms, isn’t it?
    Or, you can keep searching for answers to mans indifference in your “holy” book. And it will change exactly nothing.



    Report abuse

  • BurninMan Feb 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Of course, there’s yet another obvious reason the analogy fails.
    There is no God!

    Well yes . . . and .. no!

    Gods do not physically exist, but they are physically generated.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

    In the most recent study, Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.

    “Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said. “Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”

    Johnstone says the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others. Although Johnstone studied people with brain injury, previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htm

    And that is why they are free do drink, kill, make love, iron clothes, murder and rape children, commit incest, etc., ad infinitum.

    Theists can listen or not listen, to their god-delusions as it suits them and project whatever the voices in their heads say into “interpretations” of holy books. (A bit like “reading” goats’ entrails)

    Pretty simple in those terms, isn’t it?

    Yep! A with priests offering “forgiveness” for a small cost, they can press the reset button, and wipe the slate clean!

    Or, you can keep searching for answers to mans indifference in your “holy” book. And it will change exactly nothing.

    But holy books only contain what cherry-pickers want to find: – hence the thousands of denominations with thousands of “interpretations”.



    Report abuse

  • One of Stephen Fry’s quotes is quite appropriate for this thread. “A cut glass English accent can fool unsuspecting Americans into detecting a brilliance that isn’t there.”



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.