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Atheist Community of Austin
The TAE vs WLC

I would love to see the best from the TAE debate William Lane Craig. I honestly think Craig would destroy them. I am not a fan of Craig but if his track record is any indicator, I think he would win. I watched the first debate that Matt Dillahunty has and man was that weak. I was waiting for them to old hands and kiss each other. I hope I am pissing someone off, because I want to see this.

I agree, Matt Dillahunty should debate William Lane Craig.

I have watched the Youtube clip where Matt and Tracie debate "Eric" on the subject of "Something From Nothing" and it is one of the greatest debates I have ever seen. Since Eric was merely parroting Craigs arguments I think Craig would lose a debate with Matt or Tracie. I don't think we will ever find out though.

Richard Kelly Said: I would love to see the best from the TAE debate William Lane Craig. I honestly think Craig would destroy them. I am not a fan of Craig but if his track record is any indicator, I think he would win. I watched the first debate that Matt Dillahunty has and man was that weak. I was waiting for them to old hands and kiss each other. I hope I am pissing someone off, because I want to see this

And Cole Said: I agree, Matt Dillahunty should debate William Lane Craig

Chuck Johnson Says: I disagree, Matt Dillahunty should not debate William Lane Craig.

I had never heard of William Lane Craig. A quick check on the internet informed me that Craig is a complete phony, a pathological liar, and morally bankrupt.

I have more respect for Matt Dillahunty than to hope that he engages in debate with a pathological liar of Craig's ilk.

There are only so many hours in the day. Why waste them honoring the malicious and dimwitted lies of a snake like William Lane Craig ? Craig is not capable of doing a debate. He can only spew venom and deceit as he smirks in a self-satisfied way.

And it's not just the Christians. Religious fundamentalists around the world assault the human race with lie after lie after lie.

It's time that we skeptics started calling a spade a spade.

It's time that William Lane Craig wised up. If he would do so, he could make a valuable contribution to the human race.

It's sad.

I'm sorry Chuck, but your quick search on YouTube is insufficient. If you are truly interested in Craig's CV go to Reasonable Faith.com. It;s interesting that you say Craig spews venom when your'e the person doing it. The only person spreading lies here is you and a person does not have to be an atheist to see how uncritical you are. William Lane Craig has two doctorates. How many do you have?

Addison Said: I'm sorry Chuck, but your quick search on YouTube is insufficient. If you are truly interested in Craig's CV go to Reasonable Faith.com. It;s interesting that you say Craig spews venom when your'e the person doing it. The only person spreading lies here is you and a person does not have to be an atheist to see how uncritical you are. William Lane Craig has two doctorates. How many do you have?

Addison, I referred to the reasonablefaith.org website in order to prepare my December 2 message. I read what Dr. Craig had to say about himself, and I referred to what others had to say about Dr. Craig.

To me, the most damming evidence is what Craig has to say about himself.

Doctor Craig is one of those people who values the holy word of God above the value of human beings. He values the human soul above the value of human beings. So does the Pope.

Such religious fundamentalism constitutes moral turpitude.

When the lives, health, and happiness of human beings take a subservient position to any set of philosophical or theological precepts, personal disasters and social disasters result. They always do.

Craig touts ancient superstitions and ancient lies as being more relevant and more important than human beings.

Humans created God, not the other way around.

As soon as you, Doctor Craig, or anyone else gets this basic truth backwards, you, or they are promoting hatred, evil, vanity and arrogance.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Doctor Craig needs to wise up. People can learn, and so can Doctor Craig.

As for you, Addison, you cite the fact that Craig has two doctorates. You obviously want me to be impressed with his "superior" knowledge, insight, and wisdom by virtue of having achieved doctorates in philosophy and in theology.

This world has many atheist children and teenagers whose knowledge, insight, and wisdom surpass that of Doctor Craig. He needs to wise up.

When you go to college to study lies, hate, superstition, and sophistry, then your understanding of the way that the world really works diminishes, not increases. Religious sophistry is not worth learning. A doctorate in sophistry is not a badge of honor or of wisdom.

We have a world with many superstitious and ignorant people in it.

They all need to wise up.

Re: " Humans created God, not the other way around. As soon as you, Doctor Craig, or anyone else gets this basic truth backwards, you, or they are promoting hatred, evil, vanity and arrogance. "

Chuck, these "truths" are impossible to get "forward" or "backwards". They go both ways.

Re: "He values the human soul above the value of human beings."

You contrast "human soul" to "human beings". Both terms are very vague and seem to mean the same thing. It seems to me that as soon as you "get the truth" one way and deny the other side of the "truth", it leads to hatred, evil, vanity, and arrogance. The moment we start judging others, we commit the same sin of hatred and arrogance. This is my arrogant judgment :-)

AG Said: You contrast "human soul" to "human beings". Both terms are very vague and seem to mean the same thing.

Chuck Says: AG, here you are lying, Lying In The Name Of The Lord. You have repeatedly announced on these message boards that you are not trying to sell us your religion, but each time that you say such a thing, you are lying again.

Scientists know enough about "human beings" that it does not usually cross their mind to wonder whether or not "human beings" exist. Plenty of evidence exists, and yes, "human beings" do exist.

Scientists observe the evidence for the existence of the "human soul". They see the amount of that evidence, and they see the kind and quality of that evidence. It does not usually cross their mind to investigate the properties of the "human soul". With the scanty evidence available, such an investigation is seen as a waste of time and money. An investigation might be done, however, concerning "the idea of the human soul". Psychologists or sociologists might do such research.

Researching the growth characteristics of edible legumes is very different from researching the growth characteristics of Jack's Beanstalk.

Stop telling us lies like the one quoted above. - - - This is just foolishness.

I can picture in my mind the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is an interesting and lovely structure. That idea, and that image fit easily into my mind, into my brain, and into my skull.

The steel, paint and other materials that comprise the Eiffel tower cannot possibly fit inside my skull.

A thing, and the human perception of that thing are not identical. Stop trying to deceive yourself. Stop trying to deceive me.

If you do not understand what I have just written, reread it as many times as necessary until you do understand it. Then, take your time, and think logically before you post messages.

Otherwise, you will continue to post outlandish absurdities.

Oh. So his PHD's give his arguments logical consistency and soundness? Appeal to authority much? How . The fact that you're defending WLC using faulty logic and fallacious arguments is testimony to go how illogical you are. Craigs credentials are not equal to his skill set in fashioning logical arguments.

I think, "religion vs. atheism" debates are empty and should not be held in the first place. There are no winners in these debates. Only losers. I'm among them :-).

AG Said: I think, "religion vs. atheism" debates are empty and should not be held in the first place. There are no winners in these debates. Only losers. I'm among them :-).

AG, I think that "religion vs. science" is a better course of discussion.

As religion continues to lose its control of the human imagination, science gains ever more control of the human imagination.

At some point in the future, it may be considered a mark of irresponsibility to not bother to learn some science.

Here is a link: http://tinyurl.com/d3z4klk

This links to an interesting news story about scientific research into the historical functions of religion in human societies. The Canadian government has funded the research with a grant of three million dollars.

Religion vs. science is not a good course either. It's best when religion is kept out of science and science kept out of religion. I have very low expectation that science may ever enlighten humanity on the topic of human suffering or happiness.

The motivation for the study in the article makes sense. However, as it is pointed out, the results aren't going to please anyone. I don't know any developed civilization without religion. It seems pointless to speculate whether a civilization could develop without one. This does not seem to be a falsifiable theory. Any conclusion will be deemed biased. Whether society should or will ever get rid of religion - I don't know. Some countries tried to do that only to develop other cults.

AG,

You might take a look at Sam Harris's book, The Moral Landscape. It is movement toward science answering moral questions.

Thanks, Don, I watched Sam Harris's TED talk that precluded the book

http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

and read debates with Sean Carroll who quotes Hume: "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them."

I cannot imagine a scientific test that would tell us what is good or bad without first giving definition to "good" and "bad". It's a circular problem - much like many other philosophical, moral, and religious problems.

Watch the Sam's video carefully. He claims that when a father kills his own daughter who has been raped, we "know" that it's evil. But the only proof that he provides is shedding a tear. Not a scientific test, not an MRI scan, but an emotion. That's exactly how we know good from bad - we feel it with emotion. Reason has nothing to do with that.

Don, don't you think that as soon as science declares itself a moral authority, it will turn evil, just as religion does?

Sam Harris's point is that we strive to increase the well-being of all people and we can use science to achieve that goal.

Science, unlike religion, is amenable to refutation and new information.

Re: "Sam Harris's point is that we strive to increase the well-being of all people and we can use science to achieve that goal."

I agree to this. But do you think that science can help us determine what "well-being" means? Well, perhaps, one may say that invention of an automobile added owning one to the definition of "well-being". But, perhaps, there are tens of other scientific discoveries which are not perceived as beneficial and some aren't even pursued for that reason.

Re: "Science, unlike religion, is amenable to refutation and new information."

Why do you think that religion does not change? This seems to contradict facts. You pointed out earlier that Christians stopped to kill Jews after WWII. It also seems that the image of "all-loving and forgiving God" is a fairly recent interpretation. A lot of people point out that the Old Testament has a very different image of God. It is also pointed out that believers these days do not stone adulterers and sabbath breakers on a regular basis, allow women to speak in churches, etc. It seems to me, you have to ignore all these facts to say "religion does not change" or mean some specific definition of "change".

You blame religion for ignoring facts to push its agenda, but then, don't you do the same thing?

AG: "But do you think that science can help us determine what "well-being" means?" It's not an easy process, but I think the answer is "yes". It has the potential to help us define and measure well being. Consider how psychology has helped us understand and improve mental health over the years. Religion's contribution was to blame demons.

On religion changing, yes, it has changed. It has slowly discarded that evil crap in the Bible, such as persecuting Jews, burning witches, and slavery. It's become more and more secular. Which is to say it's become more and more irrelevant as secular morality has always been lightyears ahead.

Parts of it haven't changed. Consider that the "problem of evil" was posed before Jesus was invented, yet all of Christendom has yet to come up with anything of an answer beyond lame rationalizations. It will always be a con, it seems.

Re: "Consider how psychology has helped us understand and improve mental health over the years."

Before psychology can help us improve mental health, we need to define what "mental health" is and what it means to "improve" it. We do not owe these definitions to science itself - we draw them from unscientific subjective emotional experiences. It seems to me that the process of defining "well-being" is bilateral - it involves both experiment and subjective emotional judgment. We cannot rely on science alone to define "good" and "bad". Neither can we arbitrary have "just so" definitions of "good" and "bad", disconnected from experience. The definitions of "good" and "bad" also seem to change over time and have different meanings in different cultures.

My line of work is quality improvement of semiconductor chips. Before you can design a test to determine whether a chip is good or bad, you need specifications - a definition of what constitutes a good chip. This definition may be arbitrary, but it needs to be based on some previous experience. Often, what seems at first like a good idea, leads to a miserable experience and is quickly changed or abandoned. Products are often designed to improve a miserable experience, but new and improved products can also create "new and improved" miserable experiences. In a same way, a scientist who sets out on a path of finding out what's good and moral may end up doing something evil. Perhaps, Nazi doctors who experimented with prisoners, thought their work would help to improve human race.

I think, how religion develops is not different from how other things in human society develop - with the same process of iterations: do - experience - evaluate experience - adjust behavior - do again. But there MUST be repeatability in order to have progress. Evolution would not be possible without repeatability. If our cells repeated themselves perfectly, we would never die. Oddly, the errors in DNA replications lead to death of individual organisms, but make evolution of species possible. But to evolve, we must retain everything good from the past.

What you call "evil" (burning witches, etc.) that took place centuries ago is considered evil NOW. Back THEN it was considered "good". Evolution takes time, but without sticking to preexisting ideas, we would not be able to retain and accumulate any good knowledge and experience. I would not deny religion a positive role in moral evolution of society. Wouldn't you agree?

Re: "Parts of it haven't changed. Consider that the "problem of evil" was posed before Jesus was invented, yet all of Christendom has yet to come up with anything of an answer beyond lame rationalizations. It will always be a con, it seems."

Rationalizations about good and evil are always a con. Generalizations too :-)

From: AG (Posted Jan 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm)

"Re: (Don Baker) said, "Sam Harris's point is that we strive to increase the well-being of all people and we can use science to achieve that goal."

AG said, "I agree to this. But do you think that science can help us determine what "well-being" means? Well, perhaps, one may say that invention of an automobile added owning one to the definition of "well-being". But, perhaps, there are tens of other scientific discoveries which are not perceived as beneficial and some aren't even pursued for that reason.

Linda said, "The difference between religion and science is that religious belief is in things without evidence and science doesn't pursue anything that isn't based on evidence. Believers are sure that they are right without one shred of evidence. Science has much more to do with using reason to find what is true or right than being right. Religion has never been about the facts. Brainwashing does not make anyone more moral and that's been proven. Blind faith without doubt is brainwashing. Faith has little in common with reason, especially blindfolded faith. The little followers are unduly influenced to fear and hate anyone who threatens their beliefs. This was present in the beginning of Christianity and it is still a part of it. Just because they are not killing Jews doesn't mean anything. What has verses like this done to improve anything? "...Hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?" --Isaiah 36:12; also in II Kings 18:27.

AG said, "Why do you think that religion does not change? This seems to contradict facts."

Linda said, "Religion isn't about the truth or telling the truth; it's avoiding the truth. When scientific facts contradict biblical beliefs they prefer to ignore science; Religious beliefs are philosophies with the illusion of knowledge where none in reality exists. Religion makes no effort to explain a thing it's all a mystery. It does not explain where life came from you just live it. Religion promotes the idea that we should all be in awe of everything; we should treat life as a problem that can never be solved by the human mind. When evangelicals are caught preaching things that are proven wrong scientifically they claim religion is not science, oh no, the purpose of religion is to discourage immorality, when it has been proven that religion has little impact on societal problems, it has little to do with morality.

AG said, "You pointed out earlier that Christians stopped to kill Jews after WWII."

Linda said, "Yes, ain't it a bitch they can't burn witches either, well whoopty shit, that makes it a fine upstanding establishment.

AG said, "It also seems that the image of "all-loving and forgiving God" is a fairly recent interpretation. A lot of people point out that the Old Testament has a very different image of God."

Linda said, "That's what you think! Theists like to portray the mythological Jesus/god/man as a peace loving good ol' boy/god but he wasn't. "Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) Maybe they got the idea to burn people from these kind little remarks of Jesus in the New Testament "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:6) It is also very clear that violence and threats are not confined to the Old Testament God. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42) Jesus never condemned slavery or the mistreatment of slaves. "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke 12:47) etc...

AG said, "It is also pointed out that believers these days do not stone adulterers and sabbath breakers on a regular basis, allow women to speak in churches, etc. It seems to me, you have to ignore all these facts to say "religion does not change" or mean some specific definition of "change"."

Linda said, "I don't think you can call that change within organized religion when it is actually the laws of man that prevent those kinds of crimes and indiscretions.

AG said, "You blame religion for ignoring facts to push its agenda, but then, don't you do the same thing?

Linda said, "Our country is filled with fanaticism and dishonest people who do not tell the truth and do not behave decently on many levels. The bible never has or ever will produce an ethical society because it is built on a pack of lies. OT Law: Deuteronomy 4:2 "You shall not add to the word that I speak to you, neither shall you take away from it: keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." the Egyptian Book of The Dead - we know that what is being passed off as the original authentic word of God (the Bible) is expropriations of other civilizations gods, stories and forgeries. Evangelists promote these idea to the gullible public that people who do not believe in god are untrustworthy because it helps them increase membership. When in fact studies have shown that Christians are as dishonest as any group. I think it should be obvious from the fact that many of these Evangelists have been caught lying and cheating, their religion was not successful in scaring or bribing them into righteousness. And theists still can't get anyone to behave honorably simply because of a sense of honor.

AG. Define wellbeing. I think Matt said one on the show, "drinking battery acid is not conducive to your wellbeing." in that aspect science can tell you. Science can tell you why we act certain ways and then we as a whole can use reason and logic to determine what is in the best interest of all of us. It's not that hard.

And yes. Actions taken by theist in their books have changed. It has to. Theist have been dragged kicking and screaming into moral correctness. Society had moved on. We understand that is not morally justified to kill your child because they are disrespectful. Our have rape victims marry their rapists.

Religion hasn't changed because we still have theist making claims that are undue and trying to dictate to other how they should live based solely on their own views. Nonsense

AG said: "Religion vs. science is not a good course either. It's best when religion is kept out of science and science kept out of religion. I have very low expectation that science may ever enlighten humanity on the topic of human suffering or happiness."

Really? How quickly we forget advances in health and technology that have tremendously improved the happiness of many.

But why this negative view. Between hard and soft sciences we are unraveling the very nature of reality. Plus you give a false view of religion and then create a straw man. What proof do you have to even imply that religion alone can bring total unified happiness? From past experience we know that each individual defines happiness differently. Just as people have and still believe in a plethora of other gods. Your religion doesn't make them happy and vise versa. First show and prove the very thing you claim science is unable to do. Empty words if you side is just as lacking. Hence the two are not equal. Fallacy of equivocation.

Since you're such a fan of the sciences, perhaps you might consider a more intellectual and less perfunctory study of nature and the universe?

"A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God." - Francis Bacon

"The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you."

"In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point."

-Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

"Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly."

-Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

"I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism."

"If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God."

-Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

"Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created."

-Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton.

Max Said To Linda: Since you're such a fan of the sciences, perhaps you might consider a more intellectual and less perfunctory study of nature and the universe?

Chuck Says: Max, your message to Linda consists appeals to authority. Because "Great Men Of Science" believe in God, we all should believe it, too.

This is not the way that science works. A competent scientist will not believe just because a "Great Scientist" makes an assertion. To believe particular areas of science with confidence, a scientist needs to see the details himself, and to understand the details himself.

Treating your list of "Renowned Scientists" as if they were The Pope is not good science, and it is not good empirical thinking.

Albert Einstein's "God Letter" sold on Ebay for over $3 million. How's that for authority? - - - Three million dollars and the "Word Of The Great Einstein" ! - - - Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/ax2ffy2

But I am not Einstein's puppet. His words interest me, but do not persuade me. I make up my own mind.

I believe that God is only a fictional character, but I did not need Einstein's words to convince me of that.

Many renowned ancient philosophers and scientists told us that Earth, Air, Fire, and Water were the building blocks for the Universe. This idea persisted from ancient Greece right into the Renaissance. Here's a link:

http://tinyurl.com/2u8j6u

Today, the list of chemical elements begins: Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and Beryllium. Those ancient authorities were not idiots, but they were in error.

An "appeal to authority" might lead to the beginning of a scientific investigation, but if the data and the theory do not agree and make logical sense, then the ideas of that "authority figure" get rejected. That is how science works.

Before modern science was invented, a tiny amount of evidence could generate an enormous amount of philosophical argument and conjecture. Ancient peoples believed the most outlandish things.

Modern science demands a much more substantial amount of good quality evidence before scientific data and theories are accepted. The system of publication and peer review helps to expose scientific errors buy requiring clear explanations, and compelling evidence.

In this way, modern science is built upon a very solid foundation.

Why debate Craig? In the few debates I have seen him participate, Craig has each time taken refuge in some logical pedantry to pursue success in the debate. His motive seems to be to win (which, in the ones I've seen, I feel he hasn't) the debate at all costs rather than debate the motion openly. He resorts to some pseudo proof of some pseudo-mathematical statement using some pseudo axioms. I'd love to see a 'discussion' of a topic rather than a competitive debate of some polarising statement. A setting out of facts and ideas, some to and fro, some give and take; this would be more useful than pointless point scoring.

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