Welcome

My previous blog, The Apostasy, focused exclusively on religion – namely, philosophical and scientific argumentation on the fallacies of religious belief. That's still a topic of great interest to me, and I don't intend to abandon it. However, I realized that it was just too narrow a topic for me to release substantive posts on a regular basis. I believe in quality over quantity, but I'm realistic enough to know that without a steady stream of content, my blog will never reach the kind of audience I hope for.

So with this blog, my aim is to broaden my horizons – to discuss science and pseudoscience, religion, philosophy, current events, media, recipes for cake, and whatever else tickles my fancy. By discussing a wider variety of topics that are of interest to me, I can update the blog much more frequently and, with any luck, get an audience. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. There's much to come.

Comments

  1. Mike D.,
    On your old blog (I just ran across it by chance, random processes), you wrote about design and the human eye. I have a comment: I'd like to offer you just two points to ponder about what you've said here. First, you wrote "We have a blind spot in our eyes, and the images formed on our retina are delivered upside-down. It's common for the eye to be afflicted with all kinds of maladies, some of which are present at birth, and others that develop over the course of one's life." If you use a digital camera, or any camera, as I often do, you can see the great technology and design that went into the camera. What you don't think to yourself is "Hey, what a neat machine that just happened on its own." (BTW, if that's the case, why did you have to pay for it?) And so it is with the fascinating design of the eye . . .
    Secondly, you finished your musings with this:
    "Our bodies are prone to disease, to cancer, to injury, to failure. People seem quick to thank God when they recover from cancer or a life-threatening infection. Me, I wonder why, if God really did exist, he would make us susceptible to dangerous bacteria or cancer in the first place." These diseases, etc. are exactly what one would expect to find if they read and believe the Genesis account of origins - that is, that God did not originally create the universe with these maladies. They resulted from the rebellion of man, which, as evidenced by everyday life, continues on . . .
    Mike, I used to think like you, until I picked up a Bible one day (out of sheer boredom) and read in the pages of the Christian New Testament about Jesus and how He loves me and what He has done for me, and how He offers me hope, a purpose, and most importantly, forgiveness of sins.
    Blessings,
    Mel Winstead.
    BTW, I have two semi-personal questions, if you don't mind. 1) did something happen in your past (besides the theoretical) that turned you away from God?
    2) What metal bands are your favs?

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  2. Thanks for your comment Mel.

    The notion that "original sin" accounts for the suffering of humankind fails to take into account a few things.

    One is that suffering is, and has always been, and intrinsic and necessary part of nature. Animals have always suffered, long before humans ever walked the earth.

    Secondly, it fails to account why a loving God would curse all of humankind for the sins of their ancestors. It's often rationalized that God has a plan. But I ask you – have you ever seen a child dying of cancer? I have. Ask yourself, what "plan" could possibly justify the suffering of even that one child, much less the unfathomable amount of suffering that is really a part of the world.

    To answer your questions:

    1) Yes. I studied Christian theology, and found it to be logically incoherent. I studied the arguments for the existence of God, and found them to be logically incoherent.

    2) Top 5: Opeth, Children of Bodom, Scar Symmetry, Behemoth, Mutiny Within.

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  3. Mike,
    Thanks for responding. On your first response, being one that likes to look at things scientifically and philosophically, you should know that you absolutely cannot know what animals (or anything else) did before humans walked the earth (unless of course someone that was there relayed the info. to you).
    On your second response, I am truly sorry about the child dying of cancer; I've never seen that. But I did see my 32 year old brother's body in the morgue in June, 2007 because he had committed suicide . . . Absolutely tragic, as you might guess. But I do not blame God. I don't know why it happen. Here's the thing for me, I trust the prophecies, the diagnoses, and the promises found in the Bible, and so I trust the God of the Bible that He indeed does not think like we think (Isaiah 55) and He knows better than I.

    As for the metal groups you mentioned, I do not recognize them as I've been out of the seen for years. I use to be a metal junkie - Motley Crue, Metallic, Slayer, Ramones, Faster Pussycat, Anthrax, Megadeath, and many others. Don't go there anymore, though. As you might guess, I listen to christian stuff nowadays.
    Thanks again,
    Mel.

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  4. So basically, you just have faith. You don't try to rationally examine why you have faith, or question whether your beliefs are logically coherent. You just believe what you want because it makes you feel good.

    Sorry, but I can't live my life in that kind of willful ignorance.

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  5. Mike,
    You didn't respond to my first sentence of the previous comment - that you cannot know what animals did "before humans walked the earth."
    Next, I guess I was ambiguous about my faith. It's not in "nothing." It's in the Christian Scriptures and the God found therein. Therefore, my faith has an objective basis. Does yours? If so, what is the objective basis of your faith?

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  6. To your first sentence... of course we can know what animals did before humans walked the Earth. Scientists can analyze the chemical makeup of fossils to determine what they ate. That's how we know that T-Rexes were carnivores, and Stegosauruses were herbivorous. We can also show via molecular biology what how organisms lived and died.

    Your faith doesn't have an objective basis because you assume the truth of the Bible and the existence of God a priori. That's not objective, that's begging the question.

    Atheism does not require me to take anything on faith. If I do not know whether something can or does exist, I do not have to proclaim that it does.

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  7. Mike,
    That atheism does not require any sort of faith on your part is simply an untrue statement. It also is an a priori assumption - that the Bible is not true and accurate and that it is not a revelation from the Creator. This is your presupposition. We both obviously have two different starting points. Since mine is that the Bible is what it claims to be - a word from the living God who is and who has spoken, I believe the truths found in it. Further, I find it to be true most every day of my life, not only through formal study but through personal experience. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," Mike, not the fear of your favorite atheistic philosophers.
    Another topic: Hebrews 1:1ff. mentions that God spoke formerly through the prophets, but in the last days has spoken in His Son (Jesus). What do you think of Him? Have you read much about Him in the New Testament Gospels?

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  8. No, atheism is not a presupposition, because I am not declaring unequivocally that the Bible is not or cannot be true. I'm evaluating it based on the evidence – that it's theologically incongruent, historically inaccurate, and loaded with internal contradictions both factual and theological. I don't have to pre-suppose anything; I can simply evaluate claims by the available evidence.

    And dude, I was raised Christian. I spent many years as an evangelical Christian. I've spent innumerable posts in both this blog and my previous one addressing the Bible and Christianity. You can find what I think of Jesus with the search bar.

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  9. Mike,
    I hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday. It rained most of the day here in NC.
    Hey, your comment has a problem. Atheism, by its very definition, claims there is no god. Of course, this is a self-defeating position since to make such a proposition one would have to be god, because to know there is no god would require infinite knowledge about everything. To be able to do this would make one god himself. Now, you also said “If I do not know whether something can or does exist, I do not have to proclaim that it does.” This seems to get more to the heart of where you are in your journey. Is it that you are saying that god does not exist, or are you saying we cannot know for sure he exists and that even if he does, man cannot know him? Or, is there another option – you just hate him and the demands he makes on man in Scripture? You actually can know God if you are genuinely searching for Him and not a substitute. Jeremiah 29:13 reads: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
    Next, what interests me the most is what you claim about the Bible. Could you please share with me one of your deepest concerns in each of the areas you mentioned: theological incongruency, historical inaccuracy, and internal contradiction?

    Thanks, guy.

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  10. No. Atheism does not claim "there is no God". It claims, "I do not believe that God exists." There is an important difference here.

    Do you believe that you are watched over by a magical, invisible pink unicorn? No? Do you have "faith" that this is not the case? No, you reject it because there is simply no evidence that it is true. You don't need to have faith there is no unicorn guardian, because there is no reason for you to believe such a thing exists. However, in the spirit of intellectual honesty, you may concede that you cannot know with absolute certainty that there is no unicorn guardian. But you still reject the idea on the paucity of evidence.

    As for your other questions, please just search the blog. I spend a lot of time talking about the Bible and Christianity, and I don't need to rehash my positions in the comments. My 3-part critique of the movie "The Case for Christ" would answer a lot of your questions.

    Do I hate God? How do I hate something that doesn't exist?

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  11. Mike,
    The things you say about evidence I agree with it. But you also cannot prove that God does not exist. The things you might offer as evidence that he does not exist can actually show that he does, and more than that, show that the Bible is true and trustworthy. It’s all a matter of HOW one interprets evidence. For instance, you mentioned fossils earlier . . . Well, as you might know, these things don’t come stamped with the manufacture date. These types of things have to be interpreted.
    Also, you evidently didn’t like Strobel’s The Case for Christ, and I would venture to guess the same goes for his The Case for a Creator. But have you noticed the credentials of the men he interviewed in those two works? And have you taken into consideration the credentials and the posts held by the scientists listed throughout the Answersingenesis and institute for creation research websites? My point is you also have a hang-up with authority. You like as your authority guys like Dawkins, Hawking, Hitchens, Sagan, etc. But scientists that are doing real research out there on important issues you totally disregard out of hand because they are creationists. This further betrays your presuppositional issues, dude.
    This evidence leads me to think that you WANT atheism to be the truth, and you WANT the Bible to be wrong. This can be dangerous, as I think you know. Romans chapter one mentions the fact that some people will suppress Truth simply because if they don’t they are accountable to the God of the Bible. In other words, men reject the evidence of God because they want to live lifestyles of their choosing, oh – and without consequences. I am sorry, but no world exists in which there are not consequences for behavior. Man, Jesus is real, He loves you, offers you forgiveness of sins, and he will accept you if you humble yourself. Jesus: "Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, God’s Word to the Nations and New English Translation versions).

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  12. I had typed out this big long response, but I decided, what's the use? You'd just toss out more bad arguments and Bible verses.

    I invited you to read the blog. All the arguments you raise in your response are ones I've addressed countless times in both this blog and my previous one "The Apostasy", the link to which you can find on my profile page.

    You mentioned the Case for Christ rebuttal, but instead of actually reading it, thinking about it and offering your own thoughts, you just tell me that the people who wrote it have good "credentials". I'm supposed to be impressed by that? If you aren't going to read what I wrote and offer a thoughtful commentary on it, I'm not going to waste time trying to have a conversation with you.

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