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Richard Dawkins doesn’t get it: religion is rational

15 August 2014

15 August 2014

Where to start with Prof Dawkins’ latest observations about religion and fundamentalism? In response to questions from an audience in Edinburgh where he was promoting his autobiography this week he observed that ‘nice’ religious people give credence to suicide bombers. It’s remarkable, really, that after a good eight years of debate and dialogue with people like Rowan Williams and Jonathan Sacks — viz, perfectly rational believers — he can still say the following:

‘…there is a sense in which the moderate, nice religious people – nice Christians, nice Muslims – make the world safe for extremists.

‘Because the moderates are so nice we all are brought up with the idea that there’s something good about religious faith. That there’s something good about bringing children up to have a faith.

‘Which means to believe something without evidence and without the need for justifying it.

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‘They’re entitled simply to say “oh that’s my faith, I believe it, you’re not allowed to question it and you’re not allowed to ask me why I hold it”.

‘Once you teach people that that’s a legitimate reason for believing something then you as it were give a licence to the extremists who say ‘my belief is that I’m supposed to be a suicide bomber or I’m supposed to blow up buildings – it’s my faith and you can’t question that.’

Oh, but I think you can. In the first place the most stringent criticisms of the abuses of religion are by its mainstream members. There are any number of orthodox Muslims who will point out that the actions of suicide bombers and the latest manifestation of fundamentalism, the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq, run counter to some basic principles of Muslim moral theology, including the prohibition on suicide and the rules of law which prohibit the killing of women and children. This is not to gloss over the bellicose aspect of Islam and its history; it’s just to point out that there’s a very good critique of some of the more repugnant elements of modern Muslim fundamentalism from within mainstream Islam.

The second, more fundamental point is that religion is not inherently anti-rationalist, certainly not my lot, and certainly not mainstream Judaism, whose adherents are the least likely on earth to go for the notion of unquestioned truths and unquestioning belief. I belong to a tradition of Christianity – Catholicism – which sets a great deal of store by the notion of natural law, including the arguments for God from the nature of the world around us. And that holds good for those, like Cardinal Newman, who couldn’t see anything in Darwinism to disturb his concept of a created order. Actually I can’t think of anything less irrational than posing the question which underlies all religion: ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly reasonable answer to it is God. It may not be an answer that R. Dawkins buys but it’s not inherently unreasonable.

In the third place, there is a natural association between religion in general, and Christianity in particular, and moral goodness. I never quite bought Brendan Behan’s query as to why it is that religious people are worse bastards than everyone else. On the contrary; I think you can say, Prof Dawkins, by your fruits you know them. The law based religions of Judaism and Islam have quite specific commandments and prohibitions that make for moral conduct. And if Christians are nice it may be because the faith is bound up in a person, viz, Christ, whose life and death was about us all having life more abundantly.

This is not, obviously, to suggest that all Christians are nice people but if you are, for instance, judged on the basis of treating the hungry and thirsty as if they were Christ himself, why, it concentrates the mind. I don’t mean me, obviously. I diminish the brand. But as Evelyn Waugh said, I’d be worse if I weren’t a Catholic.


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Show comments
  • Tellerr

    Dawkin is unnoticeable. His critique of adherents of 52 countries is even more insignificant. A philosphy and religion is nourished and passed on through generation and the ‘rational’ birgade is to busy arguing themselves purple to nurture a family. Abysmal.

  • Mark Paul

    Thanks for posting this blog. It has cleared many doubts in y mind. Here is my web page http://mjbi.org/

  • Pat Conway

    Rationality and religion: never the twain shall meet.

  • stag

    (Catholic too, Melanie.) I actually think the point Dawkins raises is a fair one. Coming from a position of no faith at all, the act of faith must be difficult for him to interpret. He chooses to think of it as irrational; others are more sympathetic and imaginitive.

    My reply to him would not so much be an attempt to display the rationality of my faith as to display the independence of my rationality. Islamic violence is a problem because in Islam you sacrifice your reason on the altar of faith, opening the door to irrational behaviour. In our faith it is not so; we do not sacrifice our reason, and so we retain a capacity for independent rational judgment, even in matters of faith/morals. The Catholic does not believe by sacrificing or ignoring his reason; he believes because through faith his reason in fully satisfied. Since the act of faith in Islam and in Catholicism is so different, there would appear to be little justification in Dawkins’ assertion that Catholics, through their faith, are indirectly promoting terror.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, literally con countable number of planets. All this so that on a part of one little blue-green planet in an unfashionable solar system the Pope can tell you that jerking off is a mortal sin. Religion, rational? Gimme a break.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Religion is rational”
    Laugh of the day, right!

  • tomgreaves

    The question as to why there is something rather than nothing is meaningless. Something and nothing arise simultaneously: they are ontologically inseparable. If there is something there is necessarily nothing and vice versa. The interesting question is about the nature of consciousness, which gives rise to both something and nothing simultaneously. Consciousness transcends ontology and manifests itself in all the qualities of creation and yet, paradoxically, is both beyond and identical with being and nothingness. Those who posit a maker in the form of God or any other primary cause are simply unable to tolerate the intense mystery of consciousness, unable to tolerate their powerlessness over death and so invent a comforting idea with which they identify. This idea of God is designed to sooth and save them from terrors, and so it is easy to understand why the literal religions, meaning religions that appeal to the masses who cannot use their own imaginations to discover for themselves the meaning of their lives. The problem is that these ready-made, off-the-shelf creation myths are always localised to a culture. They are always divisive in the end, even though they claim to be vehicles of morality they lead to intolerance and immorality in their internecine conflicts. Religion will fade as consciousness evolves and a transcendent spirituality that integrates our existential quest for understanding takes its place.

    • stag

      A question occurs as I attempt to digest that rather stodgy fare, Tom: in what sense do something and nothing arise simultaneously? Sounds to me like you’ve been dipping your toes into the murky waters of German idealism. The question, as it is usually posed by philosophical theology, concerns something and nothing as metaphysical opposites. If there is something – anything, ‘a being’ – that means there is not nothing. Nothing, for its part, means not the second determination of pure consciousness, as in Hegel, nor the inevitable horizon of being-in-the-world a la Heidegger (being-towards-death), but simply the absence of anything at all, metaphysically intended. “No thing”. Forget all the post-Kantian questions about the ‘thing-in-itself’ and the role of consciousness in constructing the ‘world’. Interesting though they may be, they take us away from the point and prevent us from feeling the force of the argument. The argument is a metaphysical one and has nothing to do with consciousness.

      • tomgreaves

        I suggest that a ‘thing’ logically entails ‘no thing’. Existence and none existence are qualities of consciousness that is outside space and time. Existence and the space time continuum are woven together in the corporeal world in which change occurs, cause and effect takes place and things arise, persist for a time and then fade away. Being outside space and time, consciousness has no qualities, categories or being-in-itself and is therefore changeless. When you say forget the role of consciousness in creating the world you invite me to forget the sublimely interesting question about the intersection where timelessness and time meet. There is nothing prior to existence, particularly reason. To me the interesting philosophical question concerns not the consciousness of individuals but the universe, which is conscious of itself as transcending space and time yet manifest within space and time. Being and nothingness thereby take on a different perspective in deliberations about life and death, for example, because each is an illusion dependent upon the other. There is no life without death and death without life. The interesting question is then about how we can begin to understand what lies beyond being and nothingness, life and death. Your reference to ‘consciousness’ is a narrow one and my suggestion is that the consciousness is the place where time and timelessness meet, where life and death unify.

        • stag

          OK, now I understand a bit better where you are coming from, Tom. I think.

          A short answer to your post is that I see no reason to consider the universe as conscious in itself, or as the manifestation of a trascendent consciousness. Why on earth should I think that? What could or should induce me to think that “existence and none existence are qualities of consciousness that is outside space and time?” You state it as if it is an obvious truth. From where I am sitting itis anything but that.

          • tomgreaves

            It is self evidently true that the universe is aware of itself. Matter has so configured itself that it has created organisms that are aware of their environment, the material world. So, material is conscious of material through the medium of biological entities. However, the awareness is not itself of the material world and cannot be accounted for as a corporeal quality. Awareness, like a mathematical or transcendental reality, is not a material thing. So, there is something over and above the material universe and that is what I’m suggesting consciousness is. Consciousness manifests as the relationship between things, which includes love, compassion and truth, and these are spiritual qualities beyond space and time. So, in a somewhat puerile sense one could suggest that if spirit is love and its manifestation requires a corporeal world, then matter exists in order that love can realise itself. And, finally, that consciousness is the medium through which love and the material world co-exist. Such a metaphysical vision provides the grounds for ethics, values and a sense of the meaning of creation. It’s also suggests a psychology and a sociological perspective of the ‘good’ life as one in which humankind acts with dignity, compassion and self respect. My case is that consciousness is the ultimate ground of being, and is not to be confused concepts of God that are riddled with impenetrable inconsistencies and conflicts.

            • stag

              It is very far from being self-evidently true – the best proof of that is that you attempted to provide evidence for it yourself. But that evidence would not, as they say, stand up in a court of law, because there are other possible explanations for the phenomenon you describe – including God.

              You are, I think correct to insist that awareness is not and cannot be of itself something material. Consciousness is one of the points at which we are able to make the philosophical transition from matter to something above and beyond matter.
              I think there is an innate contradiction, however, in saying consciousness is the ground of being. Consciousness is a relative term. Even the kind of ‘absolute consciousness’ you describe needs, as a matter of necessity, something of which to be conscious. Either we posit an immediate self-consciousness of this Absolute Consciousness – problem here is that the ‘self’ is logically prior to consciousness thereof, so consciousness is at best an ill-fitting name for this Absolute Ground – or we say that consciousness requires the mediation of the Other to arrive at self-consciousness, in which case we would be quibbling if we disputed the moniker “Hegelian”. And these days, the name Hegel carries with it its own refutation.

              • tomgreaves

                We are back to the nature of duality that ranges across all categories such that the good entails the bad and being entails non being. However, the reason I suggest that love, kindness, goodness and human dignity are the purposes of conscious relations is that if metaphysics, philosophy and reason are to feature in our system of ethics, which is after all far more important than pure metaphysical speculations for their now sake, then we need to gather a sense of how they help us understand what living a good life means. Hatred, selfishness and destruction arise in the absence of dignified values, and if you need proof of this just open your newspaper. It strikes me as quite barmy that anyone would search for a metaphysical argument to prove that good is a more rational choice over evil. We are entering into psychopathology in this case. There is undoubtably a pressure for left hemisphere dominance over the right, reason and abstract thinking over the holistic and more unified perceptions of the right hemisphere. If it is not self evident that love eclipses hatred then we have nowhere for our mind to fix a handhold onto reality. And I fear that such is the destiny of those who suffer from an over active left hemisphere that wants to reduce every element of reality in an orgy of deconstruction.

  • Hironimous Nostril

    So religion is fabulous and good for society as a whole. Fine. Then let’s invent one that doesn’t cause adherents to hate or even kill those that think differently and isn’t ridiculous. None of the current crop manage that.

    • stag

      There is not a big problem with Christians killing those that think differently from them. Nor Jews. In fact, it is only Muslims, really, isn’t it?

      • Hironimous Nostril

        You forgot the Nazis and the Yugoslav war. Christians are part of the problem.

        • stag

          You were speaking in the present tense, HN, so the past is not pertinent.

      • Randy Wanat

        Nope…American Christians were behind the Uganda “kill the gays” legislation. Prepare for No True Scotsman.

        • stag

          Find me a mainstream Christian denomination which teaches that gays should be killed.

          There is no moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity; those who claim there is couldn’t care less about the human rights of those who suffer under Islamic tyranny. They just want to get the boot into religion in general, and Christians in particular.

          • Randy Wanat
          • Randy Wanat
          • Randy Wanat
            • stag

              Mainstream? That’s the best you can do?

              I will concede you this much: I have argued elsewhere – as a Catholic – that some protestant groups, insofar as they underplay the link between faith and reason, leave the path to fundamentalism wide open. Richard Dawkins has made this point, and in a restricted sense I agree with it. Faith divorced from reason is an abuse of the human intellect, and too frequently leads to the abuse of other human beings.

              This, however, is an abuse of religion. If you characterize a thing by its abuses, you are not going to get an accurate understanding of that thing.

              • Randy Wanat

                I posted a couple other things, but they’re not there. Weird. American evangelicals helped draft the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda. Tony Perkins and Bryon Fischer both celebrated the bill. Does God support the killing of homosexuals? Remember that God is unchanging. Why is it only an abuse of religion when people follow the rules set forth in a holy book, but ignoring almost every directive in that holy book I living according to your god’s wishes? Whip atrocious, at least they’re honest about what it says and try to enforce it rather than watering it down because we’ve realized that what the book commands is horrible.

                • stag

                  I am a Catholic. All you need to do is read the Catholic catechism. No, God, in our view, does not support the killing of homosexuals. As for typical Catholic approaches to Scripture, you can find out about these as well. If you are criticizing religions, it is your duty to have a good knowledge of what you are criticizing. The previous pope wrote well about these things.

                • Randy Wanat

                  So, you think God was lying when he said to kill homosexuals by stoning them to death? Or, you don’t think those laws were dictated to man by God? You can’t be a Catholic and reject the entirety of the Old Testament.

                • stag

                  No, you can’t; but you can be a Catholic and reject specific parts of the OT, which is of course what the Catholic Church has always done. The OT is imperfect.

                • Randy Wanat

                  Imperfect how? Is what Paul wrote perfect? Which parts are imperfect? How do you determine imperfection? Was it an imperfection when the Bible says God endorsed slavery, or beating slaves to the brink of death? What, exactly, makes something imperfect?

  • Sean L

    Their niceness is bound to give credence to their religion, since it’s not unreasonable to suppose a causal connection. After all, considered zoologically humans are predatory pack animals and Dawkins can offer no better reason for their niceness than religion. Not least since there’s no such thing as a society that isn’t founded on some kind of religion. The very word is etymologically tied to the Latin for what binds together, in the case of religion it binds people.

  • Owi Wowi

    Where as it is not irrational or unreasonable to ask : ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ It is irrational to make up an answer then encourage everyone to believe it, sometimes on pain of death or quite commonly on pain of social exclusion.

  • Damaris Tighe

    I’ve now read the comments up to 5.30 pm 16/08/14. I’m not going to get involved as a red mist comes up in front of my eyes when I read some of the atheist comments.

    NOT because they’re anti-religion. But because, as usual, it’s the way they make their point that I find so offensive. The use of ridicule, insults, the sneering & the sheer ignorance says something about those atheists who use their crass materialism as a crutch to convince themselves & others of their superiority.

    ‘Fairy stories’, ‘childish’, ‘imaginary friend’ & ‘sky fairy’ are some of the regular insults that are levelled against non-atheists who don’t believe in anything remotely resembling these straw men. There are Oxbridge dons with razor-sharp minds who are deists & theists.

    Please, people, when you’re on the receiving end of this ridicule, don’t take it. A reasoned, intelligent defense of atheism is a respectable position. But sneering put-downs from people claiming to be the only ones who are ‘rational’, & who proclaim their rationality by insults is quite different & we shouldn’t just let it go.

    • john

      So Dicky Dawkins writing a couple of books and making speeches is offensive?
      Not like the kindly Catholics who waged war, executed thousands and brutalized whole generations of doubters? Or the Muslims who’re doing it today? Or loving Southern Baptists who kept slaves in the US for decades? No Dawkers books are an unacceptable attack on religions with a long history of loving their fellow men.

      • Damaris Tighe

        If you read my post you’ll see it was referring to some commentators on the Spectator.

    • stag

      I applaud the sentiment – but this is the internet, Damaris. Bile, ridicule and sneering are what we have to wade through for the sake of those who might actually be interested in a courteous and intelligent debate. I agree – call them out for it; but don’t get angry that the internet is full of bile – that is one of the facts of modern life.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Thanks for your response Stag. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    Nice or not, it’s all symbolism apart from faith. A good Christian could eat Mr.Dawkins’ symbols for breakfast.

    • Hironimous Nostril

      Well, they certainly swallow a whole heap of claptrap.

  • Jacques Strap

    Lets cut someones head off in the name of Allah.

    Yeah I guess that is rational. Allah thinks, therefore I am.

    I guess it is a god eat god world out there.

    • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

      Wait… Islam forbids murder. So anybody who goes around decapitating others isn’t doing it in the name of Allah, whatever he lays claim to.

      You really can’t condemn the entire Islamic institution because a bunch of psychopathic smack-heads, finding themselves in extreme situations, have lost their grip on normality. I’ll bet the guy running your local corner shop does not, habitually, chop people’s heads off.

      It’s a but like saying that, because some doctors have abused their profession to murder people, all doctors are psychotic serial killers. Put it that way, and your proposition is plainly absurd.

      Do read the article before commenting, there’s a good chap. Your comment might just be that bit more informed and insightful that way.

      • Jacques Strap

        Do read the rest of what I said apart from just the first sentence before replying.

        There’s a good chap.

        • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

          Nah. Your first three sentences were what I was responding to. And it was such palpable twaddle, I had no reason to assume you have the faintest idea what you were burbling.

  • Fraziel

    Religion is for non thinking, brainwashed, evidence denying, science denying, logic denying, common sense denying fools. Adults that despite being grown up are still afraid of the dark.

    • Jacques Strap

      Sounds a bit like left wing politics.

    • Mhjames

      This sounds a bit evidence-denying too.

    • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

      And this is your considered conclusion, following a careful study of the Bible and the writings of the major ecclesiastical scholars, such as St Augustine, St Francis, Martin Luther, John Wesley and C.S. Lewis, is it?

      No doubt you’ve also attended churches regularly — a good range of orthodox, traditional, non-conformist and modern ones, obviously — and acquainted yourself thoroughly with their followers.

      Otherwise, some might be tempted to assume that you’re a self-regarding buffoon with a severe case of verbal diarrhea. But that’s plainly not the case.

    • terence patrick hewett

      If buds
      the Holly before the May,

      Atheism’s on its way,

      If buds the May before the Holly is,

      Expect Amageddon – sincere apologies.

  • Randy Wanat

    Define “rational.” It doesn’t apply to religion based on any known definition.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Of course we go through the motions, but essentially religion is for the servants.” Straight out of Downton Abbey.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “religion is rational”
    No it isn’t. It’s illogical.
    “Glorious afterlife”: Gimme a break. A comforting myth for the weak-minded that can’t handle mortality. When you draw your last breath it’s “Game Over”.

  • pobinr

    Religion is not rational. Religion is faith based. Religion is fantasy. It is no more rational than the tooth fairy or Father Christmas. Science is evidence based.
    Ethics can be derived from logic. No need for religion.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I am not rational. And neither are you. You do not live your life according to reason. Nobody does.

      • pobinr

        How we live our lives is a separate issue.

        • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

          No it isn’t. Don’t be absurd. Religion is almost entirely about how one lives one’s life.

          Good God, don’t you know anything about it?

          • pobinr

            Religion is self indulgence. We are big brained talking apes here to serve our genes then die.

            • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

              1) I don’t think you know enough of religion to comment sensibly about self indulgence or other wise.

              2) If that’s all we are, then why shouldn’t anybody believe in God?

              3) “serve” our genes????? I’m going to hazard a guess that you know about as much of genetics as you do of religion. While “my genes made me do it” may provide some sort of excuse for libertines, it’s bollocks.

    • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

      What makes you think they have no evidence for their faith?

      It is curious the way so many people seem to assume that all the religious people out there are simply hoping against hope. Crossing their fingers, in effect. It never seems to occur to them that religious people might believe in God because they have “evidence” — insufficient to pass the scientific method, perhaps, but quite satisfactory for the individual’s criteria.

      At best, it amounts to jumping to conclusions, which is the antithesis of your “evidence based” mantra. It’s also rather pompous.

      • pobinr

        Irrefutable evidence?
        Where is it?
        There is none ever!

        • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

          Where did I say “irrefutable”?

          Evidence that is satisfactory for their criteria, is what I said. That is perfectly legitimate when dealing with opinions — after all, it’s plainly what you’re doing with your silly circumlocutions.

  • pearlsandoysters

    Good article! However, modern mind is not preoccupied with question “why there’s something rather than nothing?”; this type of inquiry is actively discouraged by “lovers of sights & sounds”.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    Richard Dawkins has just released a press statement stating that any year now he will (1) explain the secret behind how a simple bacterium cell evolved [sic]; (2) show how “early man” survived the quicker and stronger quadrupedal predators that now concentrated on the awkward walking, low-brain capacity, bipedal [sic]; and (3) why soft body tissue remains on the fossilized bones of sixty-million year old dinosaurs [sic].

    • Max Permissible

      Those questions have been addressed at length by writers other than Dawkins. But I am willing to bet that there is no conceivable answer to them that could ever possibly satisfy you if it didn’t involve God.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “Those questions have been addressed at length by writers other than Dawkins.”

        I don’t see any answers, because none can exist. A simple one-cell bacterium needs all of its thousands of unique compositions working simultaneously and instantly, otherwise there can be no such cell.

        “Early man” would have been a ludicrous outcome of natural selection, condemning “early man” to extinction, which, in fact, was the result for the various animal species!

        On the micro and macro levels, the concept of macro evolution was a poorly thought out theory from the beginning, a theory that imploded on arrival.

        • Simon Delancey

          No-one has ever proposed that a “simple one-cell bacterium” magically evolved from nothing apart from creationists and proponents of “intelligent design”; it is no more than a foolish strawman.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “No-one has ever proposed that a “simple one-cell bacterium” magically evolved from nothing…”

            I love how you refused to explain how a simple one-cell bacterium evolved, instead bringing up creationists and proponents of intelligent design.

            • Simon Delancey

              Only frauds or imbeciles would except such an obvious lie.

              That is rich and deeply ironic, coming from someone who believes that Saddam Hussein never died, that the former USSR faked its collapse, that there are Reds under every bed, the Yellow Peril, that there is no such thing as mental illness, and that Hitler didn’t go far enough. Your scientific illiteracy and Creationist tendencies are just the icing on a towering cake of pure insanity.

              • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

                “That is rich and deeply ironic, coming from someone who believes that Saddam Hussein never died, that the former USSR faked its collapse, that there are Reds under every bed, the Yellow Peril, that there is no such thing as mental illness, and that Hitler didn’t go far enough. Your scientific illiteracy and Creationist tendencies are just the icing on a towering cake of pure insanity.”

                Really, you think Hitler didn’t go far enough? Far enough where? You need to bone up on your cognitive skills, they’re failing you! How is it you didn’t know the Saddam Hussein “captured” in the staged “capture” was one of his many doubles? How is it you don’t know that the collapse of the USSR was a strategic ruse, as said it would be back in 1962 by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn? Where did you go to school where you were taught that thoughts can be ill?! Tissue can be ill, thoughts can’t!

                • Simon Delancey

                  Really, you think Hitler didn’t go far enough? Far enough where? You need to bone up on your cognitive skills, they’re failing you!

                  And you need to “bone up” on your basic reading and comprehension skills. In the first place I didn’t say that I thought that and in any case “didn’t go far enough” is a common English idiom.

                  Is English your second language?

                • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

                  “In the first place I didn’t say that Ithought that and in any case “didn’t go far enough”…”

                  Since I never mentioned Hitler, only you could think it.

                  “is a common English idiom.”

                  You don’t say? Tell me more. LOL!

                  You’re a cretin!

                • Simon Delancey

                  I’m a cretin? Haw haw. I’m not the one who’s espousing creationism, the paranoid-schizophrenic school of historical revisionism, and any crazy made-up nonsense that fits my neoNazi, racist biases.

                  Have you ever suffered from blunt force trauma to the head? Overindulged in hallucinogenics perhaps? Been committed for mental illness?

      • Simon Delancey

        You are completely correct. “Dean Jackson” has closed his mind and thrown the key away.

        • Max Permissible

          Wow. Only in America!

          • Simon Delancey

            No, it’s worse – he’s American.

    • Paddy S

      Aliens did it.

    • kyalami

      You may not like it, but evolution is a fact. You can see it in everyday life.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “You may not like it, but evolution is a fact. You can see it in everyday life.”

        In fact, we’ve witnessed (1) ZERO species magically transforming into a new species; and (2) ZERO species in the process of transforming into a new species.

        • kyalami

          I am afraid it’s clear from your comment that you don’t know what evolution is about. That’s a longer discussion than I have time to put into an append. However, evolution is certainly NOT about one species magically transforming into another species.

  • David

    Melanie McDonagh – another pathetic religious apologist. And a stupid one too. She proves Dawkins’ argument for him. Dawkins says moderates give shelter for extremists because they are desperate to have faith respected at all costs. She tries to rebut this point by saying that a lot of religious people are the first to come out and condemn the actions of extremists by saying they do not represent the religion as a whole. Well that is exactly Dawkins’ point, isn’t it? That moderates are unable to see the immorality of their religion’s teachings and they continue to defend the faith itself.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    Law of Beginning:

    “Since all things in our Universe, including our Universe, had a beginning (the Universe had a beginning; space had a beginning; time had a beginning; matter had a beginning; gravity had a beginning; stars had beginnings, life had a beginning, etc.), therefore there must have been an ultimate beginning to all things (“all things” meaning the physical realm that, if it exists, includes our Universe), otherwise the Universe’s and its constituent parts’ beginnings were arbitrary, but the Universe and its constituent parts can’t operate arbitrarily.

    Therefore, since inanimate matter itself cannot bring about the ultimate beginning of the physical realm, only a conscious entity could do this, we therefore have proof that a God exists outside of space and time who created the physical realm that our Universe resides in.” — Dean Michael Jackson (circa 1995)

    And don’t bother replying with, “Then who created God”, because the two main attributes of God are (1) omniscience; and (2) omnipotence; and a created God would be neither since (1) He didn’t know He was going to be created, so He can’t be omniscient; and (2) since He was created by another, He can’t be omnipotent.

    • Terry Field

      Do you know what your words mean? I suspect that you do not.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        “Do you know what your words mean? I suspect that you do not.”

        Thanks for the non-reply reply critique, proving you’re in shock and concurrently speechless!

        Back in March 2012 I made a comment on his American website concerning a debate he had back in 2008 with John Lennox, titled “Has science buried God?” The comment I made was a then recent discovery of mine that proves that science is faking science to bury God. Well, my comment was deleted, and I was banned from making further comments, proving Richard Dawkins and his groupies are frauds!

        Here’s the offending comment in full…

        The Physics Community gives the constant 0 (zero) to Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE).

        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mechanics/gravpe.html#c1

        The Physics community says that the constant is an arbitrary value (any value will do, they say), yet:

        (1) this value of 0 (zero) for GPE is necessarily 1, since the POTENTIAL of anything at its maximum is always 100%; and

        (2) a GPE of 0 (zero) is necessary for Stephen Hawking and others who use that value in order to prove that our universe popped up from nothing: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” – ‘God did not create the universe, says Hawking’, Reuters, By Michael Holden, LONDON | Thu Sep 2, 2010 9:08am EDT.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/02/us-britain-hawking-idUSTRE6811FN20100902

        For example, if the universe consisted of only the Earth and the Moon, and the Moon is catapulted so far away from the Earth that its gravitational energy no longer affects the Earth, the gravitational energy doesn’t disappear. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy, the gravitational energy becomes POTENTIAL energy (GPE). This GPE Stephen Hawking (and the Physics community) assigns the constant 0 (zero) to. Now, when we return the Moon back to Earth’s orbit, GPE is said to be -1, according to the Physics community.

        Here’s the math for Stephen Hawking and the Physics community and my correction:

        Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [-1] = 0, so universes are for free,

        however if we use correct constants for what we are describing, the equation reads like this:

        Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [0] = 1, so universes are not for free.

        Let’s further examine the above:

        When the Moon’s GPE ceases when back in Earth’s orbit, that is when ACTUAL Gravitational Kinetic Energy (GKE) is 100%, which would have a constant of 1. Now GKE is simply the CONVERSE of GPE, so now let’s move the Moon away from the Earth again. KGE declines as the Moon moves further away from the Earth (.9, .8, .7, .6 and so on), and conversely GPE increases (.1, .2, .3, .4, .5 and so on until the Moon has reached infinity distance from the Earth, in which case, logically, GPE would be 1, not 0).

        GKE and GPE are the same phenomena, just separated by space, not unlike the duel sides of a coin. This converse relationship between GKE and GPE is also the discovery of what I call the Gravitational Converse Principle.

        Stephen Hawking’s (and the Physics Community) assignment of the constant zero to GPE at infinity is inexplicable.

        Proofs:

        1. If GPE is 0 (zero) at infinity, then there can be no GKE; and

        2. ask yourself how could Stephen Hawking and the Physics Community not know what “potential” means by assigning 0 (zero) to something (in this particular case, Gravitation POTENTIAL Energy) that is 100% potential? Obviously, if something is 100%, the constant one would use to quantify it is 1, and such a constant wouldn’t be an arbitrary assignment (as the Physics Community says the assignment of the constant zero to GPE is, it could be any number, they say), it would be a NECESSARY assignment.

        • Terry Field

          ”The comment I made was a then recent discovery of mine that proves that science is faking science to bury God.”

          Look at the words, man. The English makes no sense.
          ‘Discovery’ is entirely the wrong word.
          Your absurd interjections, whilst amusing, are designed, I am sure, to attack the neurones of your readers, leaving them full of grey goo between their ears.
          SUCH CRAP!
          AND the COD SCIENCE makes one roll on the floor laughing!!
          In the words of a famous tennis-player
          “you cannot be serious!!!”

          • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

            “AND the COD SCIENCE makes one roll on the floor laughing!!”

            Thanks again for the non-reply reply critique, proving again your total shock, hence you’re inability to critically fault one word I’ve written.

            • Terry Field

              What you have written:
              MAKES NO SENSE!!
              God man have you nothing but sawdust betwen the ears.
              SAY SOMETHING THAT IS CAPABLE OF BEING ‘CRITIQUED” – whatever that means!!!!!!!!!!
              Dean Jackson – sounds like a Southern STATES BIBLE BASHER WITH A ‘PICKUP TRUCK AND A CATFISH FETISH.

    • David Glen

      “And don’t bother replying with, “Then who created God”, because the two
      main attributes of God are (1) omniscience; and (2) omnipotence;”

      How can you argue with that?

      And don’t bother with all that why god this and how god that, and why famine and misery and ebola and stuff ‘cos the main attributes of god are…well…errr…whatever we want them to be based on …well whatever.

      So don’t even bother.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

        Huh?

        Can’t anyone anymore produce coherent rebuffs?

  • Terry Field

    Dawkins is entirely correct; indeed I have heard Church of England Bishops say that it is better to be a radical Islamist than to be an atheist.
    And no, the Moslems we fear most are not a rogue bunch, they are simply acting on having read the Koran and believed it. The ones who say they are wrong are in all probability politically infiltrated by the British State. And I say this as culturally a Christian and a great lover of Britain, NOT any kind of moslem.
    Religious tracts have contradictory parts, and are written and collated over long periods, generally by illiterate goat-herders.
    Contrast the strange fixed moralities in the religions of the middle East – Islam and Christianity – with the conditions of modern life as informed by science.
    A nasty, dysfunctional juxtaposition because these religions do not easily accommodate changed circumstances.
    Judaism does – it is flexible – the Talmud and the Torah when taken together are ever changing, ever responsive to the world as Jews find it.
    That is why they are so competent in understanding and dealing with our life.
    But the world of belief as opposed to opinion is difference between religion and science; science gives rise to conditional opinion – that will be shifted and modified as new evidence appears.
    Since the Jewish intellectual tradition is so rich in this responsiveness, developed before the scientific method became universal, it is quite possible to say that the members of that ‘belief system’ (a better title, I feel) move much more comfortably, more successfully, and more contentedly in the world of science.
    The writer of this piece throws out Dawkins on no sound intellectual basis, and tries to re-intrduce the efficacy and value of religious belief as an alternative to science on a string of words that have no intellectual value. It is psycho-speak from the previously defeated. Nothing put forward by this article can be substantiated; all is assertion.
    The world is, after the loss of the socialist East, in the grip of a rapidly growing variety of theocratic autocracies and dark coercions.
    The ONLY hope for us is to put religion into the private thoughts of the believer, and to disbar him (or her) from articulating his / her ‘beliefs’ as justification for the development of social policies.
    That should be the sole preserve of rational thought, evidence based, flexibly responsive to change, and yielding of many wonders. That means a secular state with science as its prime intellectual construct.
    Britain has, in its population in general, recognised this ‘responsiveness’ in the Common Law and the Laws of precedence. As contrasted to the absolute laws of the God-given Absolutist Monarch.
    The last time this cultural and intellectual incompatibility was tested, an English King had his head struck from his torso.

  • David Glen

    “In the third place, there is a natural association between religion in
    general, and Christianity in particular, and moral goodness.”

    I could equally say there are natural associations between religion and torture, child abuse, denial of science , the aquisition of wealth beyond that of most rulers of nations, the total conquest of foreign lands and the decimation of their inhabitants, the subjugation of women , homosexuals, deviants and lovers of the Beatles.

    Let’s not pretend atheists have not taken part in such stupidity either – or of course cannot be nice people simply on the basis of self evident compassion.

    Wars, conquests, megalomania and the desire to drag the world into an apocalypse is to do with naked apes aquiring land and resources by brute force – what myths they use to justify these actions are whatever is convenient to mesmerize the males to join in the ransacking of the next forest.

    Religion is neither good nor evil – just the vestigial awakenings of mans consciousness – his first attempts to understand cause and effect. Thankfully that primitive world model dissolves in direct proportion to the number of actual facts learned about the world.
    Facts aquired by the highest reason.
    We can’t help the fact that this reason must be teased from a brain that only yesterday figured out how to make fire.

  • ohforheavensake

    You’re rational. Right. Do you believe in a supreme being whose existence is impossible to prove?

    I rest my case.

  • Stereotomy

    “It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly reasonable answer to it
    is God. It may not be an answer that R. Dawkins buys but it’s not
    inherently unreasonable.”

    Believing that something is true simply because it could be the answer to a question is not rational. It’s not rational to try to reach the truth via a technique which has so consistently given the wrong answer. See: every mystical explanation for any natural phenomenon in humanity’s history.

    • Terry Field

      Your questions are not required; your answers anr non-squitors and category errors.
      Get an education.

  • Mark1984

    A belief is an opinion held without evidence/proof. That is by definition irrational. If you cannot comprehend that, I do not understand how you can write articles such as these. Or write anything.

  • Bert3000

    This country has suffered rather a lot of terrorism from Irish christians. The writer of this piece should have the decency to keep quiet.

    • Paul G

      The ‘christians’ concerned were acting on political motivation not religious. The labels ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ were tribal identifiers rather than indications of religious belief. ‘Protestant’ meant that you identified with the tribe that celebrated William of Orange’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1688 and ‘Catholic’ meant that you identified with the tribe who were angry James II had lost the Battle of the Boyne or wanted Irish independence or both. Religious belief did not come into it at all, despite the labels.

  • andagain

    In the first place the most stringent criticisms of the abuses of religion are by its mainstream members.

    Really? Because it seems to me I have seen some pretty strenuous denunciations of Islamic terrorists by non-Muslims.

  • andagain

    Actually I can’t think of anything less irrational than posing the
    question which underlies all religion: ‘why is there something rather
    than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly
    reasonable answer to it is God.

    It is perfectly irrational to insist that answer must be true in the absense of any evidence for it.

  • philiphuw

    “There are any number of orthodox Muslims who will point out that the actions of suicide bombers and the latest manifestation of fundamentalism, the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq, run counter to some basic principles of Muslim moral theology……”.
    Ok, but WHEN will they do this?

  • JEK68

    ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly reasonable answer to it is God.

    Really…. I mean really?
    Its the same as when you’re a kid and adults give the reason ‘because I say so’. Why is there god rather than nothing? Or is the answer to that also god? Don’t be so silly.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Not really. We are wired for it, in as much as we’re wired to try to understand, explain, and control our environment.

  • global city

    it is not in a modern, properly educated society. Problem is that we have too many vested interest in keeping people dumb, inclined to follow and ’emote’ without thinking and analysing, especially when armed with lots of knowledge that’s out there (see, education)

  • RaymondDance

    “There are any number of orthodox Muslims who will point out that the
    actions of suicide bombers and the latest manifestation of
    fundamentalism, the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq, run counter to
    some basic principles of Muslim moral theology”

    Sorry, I hadn’t noticed this. Did I blink?

  • MichtyMe

    I thought the answer to “why is there something rather than nothing” was 42.

  • MaxSceptic

    “‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly reasonable answer to it is God. It may not be an answer that R. Dawkins buys but it’s not inherently unreasonable.”

    Asking a rational question does not make a belief system rational. All it does it makes a case for agnosticism rather than atheism.

    All religions are equally false. (As Gibbon wrote: “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”)

  • Englishoak

    Religious and political extremists are both vile and disgusting. The only difference is that in a democracy, politics can be questioned, whereas religion expects special protection for belief without evidence.

  • Aljo_C

    Why is it rational to believe that someone can be his own father and his own son at the same time? Or that a mind can exist without a brain?

    • global city

      He moves in mysterious ways, don’t ya know!

    • Fergus Pickering

      What do you mean by a mind? A mind has no scientific standing, does it?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Justifying your actions by what somebody wrote in a book thousands (or 1354) of years ago is not rational. You have to act according to what is right. By all means take advice on what is right from those books, or philosphers, or neighbours, or Neighbours, if you like, but take responsibility for what you do.
    And if you find yourself adopting some behaviour against your instinct on the promise of going to heaven, you deserve everything you get.

    • couchtripper

      So it’s not wrong to kill people, steal from them or shag your neighbour’s wife?

      Where do you live that these things are ok?

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        You aren’t really getting this, are you? The book you believe doesn’t make it wrong. You may choose not to do those things because of the law, or because they are anathema to you, or maybe you would do whatever you do based on your judgment of harm to others, but it is still up to you. If a book is going to tell you how to behave you are ducking personal responsibility. Although you will probably be interpreting that book or cherry-picking what it says from many conflicting verses.

        • couchtripper

          Where did I say that I believe in the book you’re referring to? Your problem, like every other atheist, is that you can only think in binary terms.

          Pathetic.

  • Paddy S

    For people who continue to ply the line that atheists dont kill in the name of atheism or an atheistic world view and get really annoyed when people bring up Stalin/ Mao/ Pol Pot/ Lenin, etc I’m always amazed then that those same people have no problem trying to tie Quakers to the Inquisition or all Christians to the crusades.

    As for those who ply the line that being atheists have nothing to do lead to mass murder, should be intellectually honest and face this harsh fact. Why is that anti religious regimes and anti religious atheist people reign supreme when it comes to bodycounts in human history. Why do atheists (small %) of the human population feature significantly in top ten murderer lists of humanity. Why?
    Why did the 20th century the most secular century in human history have more deaths from conflict than all the other centuries combined. Why?

    • launcher

      Mechanisation.

    • rationalobservations?

      I have yet to read or hear any rational atheist make the slightest attempt to defend or justify the actions of the psychopathic tyrants you list.
      Secular democracy won out against the totalitarianism of christian tyranny and fought and won out against the religion like ideologies of tyrannical communism and fascism.

      For examples of free, peaceful, loving, humanitarian secular democracies look no further than the UK (fewer than 4 million active religionists across all “faith groups”) and most of western Europe. The USA is increasingly rapidly catching up with with fewer than 25% of the population regularly and frequently going to a place of worship.

      The most peaceful, free, prosperous and best educated nations of the world contain very few citizens who remain in thrall to any self serving religions.

      Where religion prevails and dominates, freedom and democracy are called “heresy” and innocent heretics are persecuted and callously murdered – just as they were in the west when christian totalitarian regimes brutally ruled through terror and torture.

      • Paddy S

        Christopher hitchens stated Lenins greatest achievement was a secular Russia. How did Lenin do it? Murder….

        • Fergus Pickering

          Ah a secular Russia. Seems Lenin made a balls up there.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Because there were more people to kill.

  • Alexsandr

    You say ‘Actually I can’t think of anything less irrational than posing the
    question which underlies all religion: ‘why is there something rather
    than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly
    reasonable answer to it is God’

    No the rational thing to say is ‘is there any evidence for a deity? any at all? No? then its reasonable to assume there isnt one.

    Faith is believing something to be true when there is no evidence. Faith is therefore illogical.

    • kyalami

      Not really.

      We do not know a single way of creating or destroying matter. We don’t even have any conception that we would ever discover it. So where did all the matter in the universe come from?

      • ButcombeMan

        The rapid expansion of a gravitational singularity?

        How a god that you can worship, fits in with that concept, is beyond me.

        • kyalami

          Gravitational singularity … And how do you make one of these? Trying to segue around the question doesn’t change things.

          And, btw, I said nothing about worshipping.

          • Terry Field

            More techno-cods from a barrack-room lawyer type to try and fit Goddyboy into the processes because your emotions overwhelm you.

            • kyalami

              It has nothing to do with emotion, although you seem to be getting very emotional.

              No-one knows how to make matter, whether fermions or bosons or anything else. It is, in fact, a fundamental law that matter cannot be created or destroyed.

              • Terry Field

                No it has not been a fundamental law of Physics for quite some time. You are wrong. And you display your ignorance, and schoolboy understanding, which is no understanding at all.

                • kyalami

                  You see, I bring forward facts. The conservation of matter remains a fundamental law of science. You just yell insults from the sidelines. I can only assume this is because you can’t argue on the facts.

                  This remains the problem with Dawkinsites. They are religiously anti-religion.

                  As it turns out, I am not pro religion. What I am saying is that given what we know and the limits of what we can imagine we might learn, something must have created the universe – not just the matter in it, but the laws that govern how it works.

                • Terry Field

                  No, current physics describes with great clarity the degradation and disappearance into non-existence of matter.
                  You are an ignoramus who keeps shouting his infantile view.

                • kyalami

                  No, it doesn’t. This can be checked in any textbook.

                  Being insulting still leaves you in the wrong

                • Rex Ironsmith

                  kyalami – you are dead wrong about this.

                  Energy and matter can of course be created out of nothing. Haven’t you heard of the widely accepted and scientifically proven concept of quantum fluctuation? – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation

                  “Quantum fluctuations may have been very important in the origin of the structure of the universe”

                  Nobody should take anything you say seriously. In another post you claimed that the electron was a force carrier i.e. a boson. The electron is not a boson, it’s a fermion. The photon is the gauge boson of the electromagnetic force.

                • kyalami

                  Quantum fluctuation describes individual particles being created in an existing universe. It does not describe the creation of the universe itself.

                  Yes, I was shoddy in calling the electron a “force carrier” implying it was a gauge boson. However, the point I was making was that the Higgs boson did not create matter any more than the electron does, as you can see by re-reading my post.

                  If, indeed nobody should take anything I say take seriously because I was momentarily careless with language, I assume the same applies to you, having read some of your posts.

                • Rex Ironsmith

                  Scientists aren’t “shoddy” or “careless with language”. What you said was fundamentally wrong. You said –

                  “It’s simple: it is not possible to create or destroy matter. That’s a scientific fact”

                  I’ve just provided an example of how you’re wrong about that. That’s why I’m calling your scientific knowledge into question.

                  You’re attempting to use a classical law to prove that a supernatural power created the universe despite there being universal agreement that this law does not hold at the quantum scale i.e. at the scale of the very early universe. Along the way you’ve made many false and inaccurate claims. I’ll leave it for others to assess the merit of your argument in light of this.

                • kyalami

                  No, Rex, I am afraid you’ve missed the point.

                  How would you create the matter (and incidentally the laws governing that matter)? At the quantum level particles may pop into and out of existence. This does not describe the creation of the universe.

                  And no, I have not made “many false and inaccurate claims”. That’s simply a wild attempt by you to undermine me.

                  I seriously doubt you have any scientific training. Wikipedia appears to be your limit.

                • rationalobservations?

                  It is you who have missed every point and been confounded at every stage, kyalami.

                  Do you really believe that simply because we do not know the exact process that occurred in the nano seconds before and after the singularity that marked the beginning of time and space 13,820,000,000 years ago, some supernatural entity and magic must somehow have been involved??

                  I am intrigued to learn your answer…

                • kyalami

                  If anyone reads this thread they will see that far from me being confounded, my critics have had to resort to insults since they have no facts to argue with.

                  By definition “nano seconds” did not exist before the singularity, since space and time only came into existence after the singularity.

                  And the need for something supernatural comes about since it is not possible to create mass, which is a fundamental law of science.

                  QED.

                • Istretchforthmyhands

                  If your from a scientific background I would highly recommend – http://www.reasonablefaith.org

                • Binti

                  Well, please don’t leave us hanging. How does Mr. “I have a scientific training” explain how the universe got here?

      • Glyphkeeper

        The answer is that I don’t know and neither do you. The difference is that I’m comfortable with the fact that some things aren’t known and don’t feel the need to fill those gaps with fairy stories.

        • kyalami

          The difference is that I have a scientific training and I assume that for every effect (the existence of the universe) there must be a cause. Given that it is impossible within the laws of the universe to create or destroy matter, the logical answer is that whoever/whatever created the universe had, by definition, supernatural power. That’s logically and scientifically inescapable and does not rely on any holy book or religion.

          • Glyphkeeper

            You’ve had scientific training? I’d ask for my money back if I were you.

            Lightning bolts were once a supernatural force until a greater understanding of electricity was developed. If you want to keep thinking it’s Zeus, go right ahead.

            • kyalami

              Well, you’re not demonstrating any scientific training.

              It’s simple: it is not possible to create or destroy matter. That’s a scientific fact: it’s not an area of uncertainty.

              • Fergus Pickering

                But before there was something I presume there was nothing. Or is there no before? I thought the solid state universe was no longer fashionable and we now believe (blindly) in a big bang. So befoer the big bang, O wise one, what was there?

          • rationalobservations?

            If everything must be created and therefore have a specific creator – who or what created that creator of the 13,820,000,000 years old Universe, and who or what manufactured that manufacturer and who or what.., but that could go on ad-infinitum and you surely must get the picture?

            We have ever better images of the material evolution of this Universe going right back to the hot, dense, unformed universe moments after the singularity by which it appears to have originated. We have the images of the death and the birth of stars and whole galaxies. We have the fossil and DNA evidence of 4,000,000,000 years of biological evolution.

            The myths and childish legends of a bygone age and the infantile concept of “the gods” and magic – belong to a long past age of ignorance.

            Aren’t those adults who believe in gods and magic a little old to have imaginary friends?

            • kyalami

              Who knows? It really doesn’t matter.

              Whoever or whatever created the universe has abilities we cannot comprehend which are not subject to the laws of this universe.

              • Fraziel

                Honestly, you are so deluded its shameful and sad.

              • rationalobservations?

                Your use of “whoever” and “whatever” presupposes a who or a what.

                There is no evidence that anything is not subject to the physical and scientific laws of nature and the universe.

                Your assumptions and presumptions are pre-indoctrinated and do not hold any credibility.

                • kyalami

                  For someone who calls himself/herself “rationalobservations” you are extraordinarily judgemental.

                  But, in fairness, let’s see you do better. Since mass cannot be created or destroyed, where did all the mass in the universe come from? The Big Bang is no answer: it just begs the question.

                • rationalobservations?

                  I do not call myself “rationalobservations”. I call myself rationalobservations?. The question mark is there to invite logic and evidence based discussion and contradiction of my observations.

                  Who says that mass cannot be naturally or spontaneously formed in the right conditions and circumstances? Sub-micro mass pops in and out of existence at CERN on a regular basis.

                  Everything in the Universe can be traced back to a central focal point in space and a time that is increasingly accurately assessed very recently at 13,820,000,000 years ago.

                  The oldest/earliest images allow us to observe the very young and unformed, hot, dense Universe very shortly after it’s appearance. We have further detailed images of most of the material evolution of the Universe from the formation of the very first stars and galaxies through the violent sequences that continue to occur today as we, and our whole galaxy, hurtle away from the centre of the Universe (and location of the “BIG BANG” singularity) at 170 kilometers per second.

                  Can you put forward any logic, reason or evidence that suggests magic or “the gods” is needed, or required, or evident, or an answer to anything?

                • kyalami

                  “Sub-micro mass pops in and out of existence at CERN on a regular basis.”

                  Really?

                • rationalobservations?

                  Yes., really..

                  My own simplified terminology is aimed at non scientists like you. See recent reports in “Nature” and other scientific journals and also investigate the updates fro the LHC.

                  http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments

                  http://home.web.cern.ch/about/updates/2014/06/cern-experiments-report-new-higgs-boson-measurements

                • kyalami

                  Good heavens! You’ve learned to include pointers with your messages.

                  Your last two appends have been most revealing and have given you away. As I thought, no more than a troll.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You are revealed as a failure in debate by your resort to ad-hominem.

                  You have no evidence and no answers and are unworthy of any more of my time.

                • kyalami

                  My word. “ad hominem”? You have been busy on Google.

                  However, your messages about CERN have shown you know little of what goes on there and understand less. You’re a self-important fraud, as I suspected all along.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You display only your own ignorance.

                  Stop wasting my time.

                • kyalami

                  Ignorance? That’s a laugh. The only time you ventured off the path of insults was to demonstrate your own fundamental ignorance of what is done at CERN.

                  You’re a troll, pure and simple.

              • Istretchforthmyhands

                You should take a look at the resources on William Lane Craig’s website – http://www.reasonablefaith.org

                Possibly the best website for Christian apologetics in English going, both for the layman and scholar.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You should take a look at the resources on the antidote to creationist nonsense and lies site as follows:

                  http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/

                  Here’s a web page that connects all the contradictions, scientific impossibilities, lies and barbarity to be found within bibles:

                  http://bibviz.com/

                • kyalami

                  Good heavens. You are spilling over with bile. There is no way you can possibly make rational observations in such a state. I suggest you change your name: try clueless_vituperation.

                  As a matter of interest, why are you raising creationism? We all know that’s nonsense.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You appear to be a moron.

                  Stop wasting your, and everyone else’s, time.

                • kyalami

                  You need to see a doctor. Seriously.

                • kyalami

                  Thanks, but I am not Christian.

            • Jackthesmilingblack

              That sounds like Thomas Aquinas claptrap.

              • Fergus Pickering

                And that sounds like your claptrap.

              • rationalobservations?

                That sounds like the typical and predictable response of the totally indoctrinated.

                Please note:
                Ad Hominem and denial are never to be confused with rebuttal or refutation.

            • Kitty MLB

              That’s the point, we know rather a lot about the
              universe.How planets are formed and die and
              gallexies beyond our solar system.
              And as humans we have the intellect far more
              superior to any other creation and yet billions
              Intelligent people the world over still believe in
              God. Its called faith…which is a gift from God
              and can never be explained.

              • Max Permissible

                Its called faith…which is a gift from God
                and can never be explained.

                Translation: no explanation would ever be accepted by Kitty 😉

              • Binti

                If it can never be explained why do you purport to understand it? Appealing to a mystery with another mystery doesn’t get us anywhere.

                • Kitty MLB

                  We are mere mortals, here for the briefest moment in time.Some times we need to except
                  that there are things we’ll never understand.
                  And in a thousand years time people will be having the same discussion as this. There will
                  never be ‘proof ‘ that God exists or that God
                  doesn’t exist. But a few the Dawkins are quite
                  obsessed about what they don’t believe in.

                • Binti

                  The reason myself, Dawkins and others are “obsessed” is because we don’t live in a vacuum and what other people believe affects us. I personally don’t want to live in a society that values non-evidentiary beliefs over evidentiary ones. I don’t want to live in a culture that makes laws based on beliefs that aren’t grounded in logic and rational thinking.

                  On just a purely, superficial level, wouldn’t you get annoyed if you constantly heard people say that rabbits can in fact lay eggs, and when you point out that there is no reason to believe that, people tell you you can’t prove that somewhere, sometime in the world, a rabbit hasn’t laid an egg?

                • Kitty MLB

                  O, the irony.Dawkins has made a huge amount
                  of money out of his obsession with something
                  he doesn’t believe him.If everyone was like him
                  he’d be as poor as a church mouse..so therefore he must be grateful that others have
                  faith.

                • Binti

                  Just like how doctors must be grateful for cancer because of all the money they make treating it? Should we stop listening to them?

              • rationalobservations?

                Faith is the indoctrination of men.
                Religions and imaginary gods are the invention of men.

                Religious belief and enthrallment to one, exclusively self serving human institution (or another) is natures punishment for the incurious, the gullible and the intellectually challenged.

                • Kitty MLB

                  No faith is a gift of God-have you wandered off
                  this mortal coil and returned to tell us
                  other wise.
                  Religion..created by man but not required by God..infact look at Islam and you’ll see how
                  man can use their God as a cloak to hide behind as they murder in his name.
                  We are speaking of faith in God, not organized
                  religion.
                  The intellectually challanged..insults are used
                  by those who have no answers.

                • rationalobservations?

                  Before discussing your own beliefs here are some questions:

                  1) Which “god” is it that you believe exists and what is the nature of this god?

                  2) How did this god reveal itself to you?

                  (Note; there are many hundreds of thousands of named “gods”, “goddesses”, “god-men” and other assorted supernatural and paranormal entities)

                  3) If you believe in only one of the many thousands of “deities” that have appeared in human told stories and in human authored writings for at least 6000 years – why do you not believe in any of the others?

                  3) If you discount the influence of all organised religions – where did your knowledge of “god” (or “the gods”) come from?

                  I look forward with interest to you answers.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  Spot on Kitty.

              • Istretchforthmyhands

                You should take a look at the resources on William Lane Craig’s website – http://www.reasonablefaith.org

                Possibly the best website for Christian apologetics in English, both for the layman and scholar.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You are joking, aren’t you?
                  The same Bill Craig who is the wacko who denies evolution?

                  I’m sure that you must be using the old act of “Devils Advocacy” merely to stir up conversation since only a very few deluded and delusional fundamentalists fail to see through the utter childish nonsense put forward by the dishonest (but increasingly wealthy from his dishonesty) charlatan Bill Craig?

                • Kitty MLB

                  Have you heard this speech from Dawkins whilst at Oxford.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5hEOG2YM4g

            • Nowistherighttime

              There is no ad-infinitum, God is necessarily existent, containing the reason for his existence in his own nature. The first cause and reason for all things. Such is the answer that has always been given by classical theists, Anslem, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz etc. The debate since Plato and the ancient Greeks until big bang cosmology revolved around this very issue; what is the thing that necessarily exists, the universe or God? Now with big bang cosmology we know it isn’t the universe, it’s finite, as you point out.

              We know infinity is a construct of the mind and not found strictly speaking in nature. The chain of cause and effect has to stop and start somewhere.

              Considering matter, time, and physical space all came into existence at the big bang, the cause logically must be; immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and of immense power.

              Judging by your comments you don’t seem particularly sincere and your arguments come across more rancorous than scholarly. Try not to give Dawkins disciples such a bad reputation. See if you can engage with me without sinking to mockery. X

              • rationalobservations?

                Sincere thanks for taking the time and trouble to put together a measured response that mostly avoids ad-hominem and straw man argument.

                I would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify your argument by answering the following.

                What evidence is there that the universe is not a spontaneous event?

                If, as you assert; everything that exists must be created – Why can there be no ad-infinitum?

                What evidence do you have that there is no ad-infinitum?

                Why is it necessary for there to be any of the many thousands of named “gods” – and other non-detectable supernatural entities?

                What make the presence of one individual “god”, or any collection of “the gods”, any more possible or probable than any other? If you believe in only one of the gods, why do you not believe in all of the gods.

                How is the reason for any of the gods existence demonstrated within the nature of that god?

                Why must anything.everything have a “reason” or “purpose”?

                How is the nature of any “god”, or collection of “the gods”, unambiguously and verifiably demonstrated?

                Why must there be a first cause of anything and what evidence is there that the “BIG BANG” is anything other than part of an entirely natural and ongoing sequence of events with no beginning and no end?

                You ask: “…. what is the thing that necessarily exists, the universe or God?”

                The existence of the universe is self evident and during the past two decades or so; mankind has developed and deployed ever more sensitive devices into space that have captured images of the material evolution of the Universe right back to the hot, dense, unformed Universe as it was shortly after the “BIG BANG”. Last year the age of the universe was recalculated from 13,700,000,000 years old to 13,820,000,000 years old based upon the hard and empirical data that is now available to us.

                What evidence have you that the apparently gods and magic free entirely natural universe is not exactly as it appears to be?

                On a cosmic scale: Why should the chain of cause and effect have to stop and start somewhere and what evidence is there to indicate that it does?

                You assert: “Considering matter, time, and physical space all came into existence at the big bang, the cause logically must be; immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and of immense power.”

                There is NO logic based upon evidence demonstrated within that assumption and presumption.

                I look forward with interest and thank you in anticipation of your answers to these questions.

                RO?

                • Nowistherighttime

                  Sorry could you be more concise and remove the parts that would take us off on tangents neither of us has the time to deal with.

                  Theres loads of separate issues that would require a whole thread of their own to adequate deal with. Focus more on whats directly relevant to my brief comment if you could.

                  Thanks

                • rationalobservations?

                  If you cannot answer any of my questions there is no possibility of further discussion or debate with you.

                  Try just this one question maybe:

                  What evidence do you offer that the apparently gods and magic free and entirely natural universe is not exactly as it appears to be and is observed to be?

                  Keep your delusions if you must – or try to develop some curiosity regarding the truth of science and the lies of creationism and all religion.

                • kyalami

                  Well, Einstein showed the universe was not as it appears to be but I am sure you can demonstrate he wasn’t a real scientist. Then you’ll start talking bollox about CERN again.

                • Istretchforthmyhands

                  Even though your not a Christian it is worth out of interest looking at the historicity of the crucifixion story. Article below.

                  http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-historicity-of-the-empty-tomb-of-jesus

                • kyalami

                  OK, I’ll have a look.

                • rationalobservations?

                  The is no authentic, verified and verifiable 1st century evidence that supports the much, much later written, human authored, fraudulent, ridiculous, confused and internally contradictory fables and legends of “Jesus” the god-man.

                  http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

                  http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_40.htm

                  http://bibviz.com/

                  http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html

                  http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/creationists_and_scientific_logic.htm

                • rationalobservations?

                  Since you appear to have looked up “ad-hominem” you should be aware that it’s never a substitute for logic and an evidence based argument.

                  Grow up my childish little friend. Your infantile attempts to appear a wit are clearly only half right.

                  Off you go now and read your comics quietly while the grown ups talk…

                • kyalami

                  Yep, trolling again.

                  You’re wise not to argue with evidence – you exposed your utter ignorance the one time you tried.

                  Oh, and I thought you were ignoring me?

                • rationalobservations?

                  You have yet to make a logic and evidence based case, my young friend.

                  I would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify your argument by answering the following.

                  What evidence is there that the universe is not a spontaneous event?

                  Why is it necessary for there to be magic or the intervention of any of the many thousands of named “gods” – and other non-detectable supernatural entities?

                  Why must there be a first cause of anything and what evidence is there that the “BIG BANG” is anything other than part of an entirely natural and potentially ongoing sequence of events with no beginning and no end?

                  The existence of the universe is self evident and during the past two decades or so; mankind has developed and deployed ever more sensitive devices into space that have captured images of the material evolution of the Universe right back to the hot, dense, unformed Universe as it was shortly after the “BIG BANG”. Last year the age of the universe was recalculated from 13,700,000,000 years old to 13,820,000,000 years old based upon the hard and empirical data that is now available to us.

                  What evidence have you that the apparently gods and magic free entirely natural universe is not exactly as it appears to be?

                  On a cosmic scale: Why should the chain of cause and effect have to stop and start somewhere and what evidence is there to indicate that it does?

                  What do you actually believe with regard to the existence of the 13,820,000,000 year old universe, 4,000,000,000 years of life on Earth and the very recent evolution of our own young species of ape?

                  You are long on pointless and irrelevant (failed) ad hominem – but totally devoid of any real presentation of logic or evidence or answers.

                  I thank you in anticipation of your statement of beliefs and answers to these questions.

                  RO?

                • kyalami

                  After you, troll.

                  Oops, forgot, you don’t do facts. Too bad.

                • kyalami

                  Don’t waste your time. He’s just a self-important troll, despite grandiloquently calling himself “rational observations” with a cute bit of punctuation.

                • Istretchforthmyhands

                  I know, as though rationality is only available to atheists, it’s so incredibly arrogant.

                • rationalobservations?

                  You describe yourself very well.
                  Such egomania in one so young – or is that just infantile and immature?

                • kyalami

                  Yada yada, troll.

                • rationalobservations?

                  How about some actual points, statements and evidence in support of your case?

                • kyalami

                  You were ignoring me, you said. But I guess that’s typical.

                  No, I won’t be playing your game which goes as follows:

                  You: Give me some evidence
                  Other person: Here it is …
                  You: You utter fool. You know nothing!

                  You proved utterly incompetent on the one occasion you tried to make a factual argument.

                  Troll

                • rationalobservations?

                  You already proved you have nothing to say.

                  You have in no way countered being confounded and rebuked by me and others.

                  You have no argument.
                  You have no answers.

                  Why don’t you quit while you’re so far behind and before you make an even more ridiculous fool of yourself? Although I doubt that’s even possible..

                  The only thing you appear to do correctly is sign off this entry as what you are. A ridiculous and moronic little Troll.

                  Get back to me when you have answers or a case to put forward. NOT BEFORE.

                • kyalami

                  I’m back. And I see you’ve leaned a new word: “troll”.

                  Your posts for some time have been content-free.

                  However, you’re clearly suffering from megalomania. You really do need to see a doctor.

          • Terry Field

            Your first sentence is an emotional assumtion. There is no reason in logic to assume anything at all. You are no scientist if you ‘think’ (really ‘mini-think’) like that.

            • kyalami

              Yeah. Sorry : I injected logic into this discussion.

              • Terry Field

                No.
                You injected slurry into the sausage-skin of contention.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oh a brilliant put down…the creative ones are
                  the best !

                • kyalami

                  Ah. It’s a clear sign someone has lost an argument when they stop debating the facts and start throwing around insults. That’s a lovely sound-bite for PMQs, but irrelevant to a scientific discussion.

              • Fraziel

                You didnt, you injected false assumptions and stupidity not based on any science or evidence, just your own silly ideas and assumptions based on ignorance and what you want to believe.

                • kyalami

                  I am afraid that, scientifically, your comment above is content-free. The insults demonstrate you are unable to argue the facts.

              • rationalobservations?

                Logic???
                Where., and when?

                Presumption and assumption based only upon pre-indoctrination are not to be confused with logic based upon observation, evidence and fact.

                • kyalami

                  Indeed.

                  Many of the Dawkins acolytes do come pre-indoctrinated and happily ignore observation, evidence and fact in their religious quest to exterminate their those they disagree with.

                  Ironic, isn’t it?

                • rationalobservations?

                  Indeed.

                  transference of the state of the delusional onto others is a common phenomenon.

                  You wriggle on the hook upon which you find yourself – but denial and the failure to assign your own discomfort at being contradicted on all sides – fails to remove you from that hook.

                  You have my sympathy, but have earned no one’s respect through your empty childish boasting and ridiculous assuptions.

                  Sad, isn’t it?

                • kyalami

                  You, troll, are the weakest link. Goodbye!

          • Fergus Pickering

            Why do you assume that for every effect there is a cause. Blind faith, I suggest. Of course by using the word ‘effect’you muddy the waters somewhat. Cause and effect is a comfortable delusion. Read David Hume, mark and inwardly digest.All we can truly say is there is what there is.

            • kyalami

              David Hume was a philosopher and economist. We are talking about science. Cause and effect are by no means delusions. If you think they are, try standing still while I drop a heavy weight on you and I will explain that what you are experiencing is a delusion.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Cause and effect is a useful fiction tha works for scientists. It is neither true nor false. It is useful.

                • kyalami

                  I guess if you stand in the middle of a busy highway and get run down, you’ll write off your injuries as “fiction”, will you?

                • Fergus Pickering

                  You don’t understand a word of it, do you? I’ve often found that with people who are supposed to have a scientific background. Stick to making and mending stuff. Don’t meddle with grown-up things.

                • kyalami

                  As ever when you lose an argument you return to insults. That behaviour is always a dead giveaway.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Wht are you talking about? When I insult you you’ll certainly know about it. I was describing your behaviour.

          • Fraziel

            Utter rubbish, you dont know what created matter so it must have been a supernatural being? wtf? Are you really that ignorant? What created the supernatural power?

          • Binti

            Yet you see no irony in explaining the origins of the universe using a supreme consciousness (god) even though we have never seen a consciousness exist outside of a brain?

            • kyalami

              You introduced the concept of a supreme consciousness, so look to yourself.

              • Binti

                I guess your answer is “no, I dont’ see the irony…”

                The difference is that I have a scientific training and I assume that for every effect (the existence of the universe) there must be a cause. Given that it is impossible within the laws of the universe to create or destroy matter, the logical answer is that whoever/whatever created the universe had, by definition, supernatural power.

                How do you suppose cause and effect apply if time and space are both part of the universe? And we have known since Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity that time and
                space are intertwined.

                • kyalami

                  It is truly hard to believe that you are so far behind in this discussion. Yet you demonstrate it over and again.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Why? Don’t you like fairy stories?

          • Kitty MLB

            Fergus dear, there is no point in trying to reason
            with an atheist…they clearly have superior
            knowledge. People will still be disgussing God
            for centuries after Dawkins and his ilk
            have disappeared into nothingness and forgotten.

            • Fergus Pickering

              So true, Dear Kitty. But I am sure you like fairy stories. They have much to tell us.

              • Kitty MLB

                Yes indeed Fergus. If I had to name a favourite author it would be Hans Christian Anderson. But to name individual
                tales then that would be the following:
                Hansel and Gretel, The Tortoise and the Hare, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Snow White and others.
                I am afraid that children now are placed in front of televisions
                at a very young age and some might be missing out on fairy stories.. far more better for a child’s imagination then telly tubbies I am sure.

      • john

        This issue is now under scientific debate – you haven’t been following the recent reports out of CERN.

        • kyalami

          Unless you are “supernatural”, you have no idea what I have been following! :-) However, I am always willing to learn. By all means point me to the new debate, please.

          • john

            Read any of n million articles on the Higgs Boson. E.G. “The Higgs boson, or “God particle,” is believed to be the particle which gives mass to matter”.

            • kyalami

              The Higgs boson gives mass to matter. It doesn’t create matter. There is no suggestion that it creates matter.

              • john

                You’re splitting hairs. There wasn’t matter then the HB gave mass to matter. Seems pretty close to creation of matter to me.

                • kyalami

                  No, I am not splitting hairs. It’s utterly fundamental. The Higgs boson does not create matter any more than the electron (another force carrier) does.

                • aaron

                  It’s not an “unanswered question”. It’s very clear: it is not possible to create or destroy matter. That’s a scientific fact.
                  What in the world does this have to do with organized religion? The conservation of matter is an accepted scientific fact. Whether someone or something created the matter or not is unknown. If someone or something created the matter, then what created that entity? The introduction of another entity does nothing to further the debate. The conservation of matter certainly doesn’t provide any reason to accept any particular set of religious texts or dogmas.

                • kyalami

                  I am not proposing any religious text or dogma. I am simply saying that since under the laws of nature matter cannot be created or destroyed, something super-natural must have created the universe.

              • Terry Field

                SO lets wonder off into the candyfloss world of the bearded guy with the wand shall we?!?!?

                • kyalami

                  You’re talking about a man with a beard. Not me.

              • Fergus Pickering

                What do you read, my lord?
                Words, words, words.

      • Tim Reed

        “So where did all the matter in the universe come from?”

        It’s a question that remains currently unanswered by science. Is it not enough to leave that question in the realm of ‘yet to be discovered’?

        Either way, invoking the supernatural provides no satisfactory explanation.

        Ironically, those of a religious disposition often accuse the scientific world of arrogance, when in reality scientists are humble enough to admit when they are unable to answer specific questions. It is the religious who often claim to hold ‘the truth’ within their proof-free belief systems.

        • kyalami

          It’s not an “unanswered question”. It’s very clear: it is not possible to create or destroy matter. That’s a scientific fact.

          • Tim Reed

            So the question as to how the Universe came about remains unanswered…unless you can enlighten us all, without recourse to the supernatural.

            • kyalami

              By definition, the creation of the universe must have come about by supernatural powers since it could not have been created by the laws of nature.

              This doesn’t mean I am claiming it was God or Allah or Buddah or anyone else.

          • Fraziel

            whwich still doesnt mean it was god or the supernatural.

          • rationalobservations?

            Ooops!

            You may wish to delete the above entry since you have already conceded that you are wrong in this ignorant assertion and that it is not true, Kyalami.

            • kyalami

              No I haven’t. You need to read more carefully and do more than get your science from Wikipedia. Your appends say more about you than me.

        • pearlsandoysters

          Unfortunately, modern scientists are not that humble, just inept & awkward once they focus on the particulars & routinely deprived of philosophy. The science is valueless if it’s about particulars only.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Unable yet or ever.

      • Terry Field

        No
        You do not know science.
        Matter will degrade over the deep time of the future, leaving photons and nothing else.
        You ask a question with a few letters and words that mean nothing. You are so ill-educated you cannot even begin to ask a question.

        • kyalami

          Even if matter would “degrade over the deep time of the future, leaving photons and nothing else”, photons are still matter.

          However, this bizarre theory of yours is not true.

          • Rex Ironsmith

            Why do you talk about “matter”? Scientists don’t use that term.

            Despite your claims, I don’t think you’ve had any scientific training.

            • kyalami

              Yes, scientists do. It’s more common to talk about conservation of mass, but it’s clear that for many of those on this thread, the concept of mass would be even more confusing than that of matter which they seem to grapple with pretty ineffectually.

              You may not think I have any scientific training. I don’t care. I have a degree in maths, with minors in physics and statistics. That’s a fact and whether you think it’s true or not is irrelevant.

          • Terry Field

            “Leaving only photons”
            You plainly have a problem with English and compehension. And I am right – you are poorly educated and unaware.

            • kyalami

              You are not even able to quote yourself correctly, as anyone reading this thread can see. I’d be careful, therefore, when it comes to slinging about insults, particularly when you’re factually wrong.

              • Terry Field

                As I said, you cannot do English, you know superficial science to the level of the schoolboy, and you are not qualified to comment – I suspect that you have an NVQ in domestic science. Stop commenting on areas you clearly have no expertise in at all. I suggest you look at CBBC now- more your level sonny boy.
                I am correct.
                You are incorrect.
                Eats you up – quite obviously.

                • kyalami

                  You are laughable. Quite unable to argue the facts, you retreat into invective.

      • Binti

        That’s a classic “Argument from Ignorance.” When the answer to any question is still unknown, you don’t get to fill in your favorite hypothesis and claim that it’s true by default. You need evidence to substantiate it. There is a damn good reason we don’t believe a claim on the basis that its never been proven false before. Namely that it puts you in the awkward position of believing multiple mutually exclusive claims as true.

  • john

    Quote: ” ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ It’s a perfectly good question and one perfectly reasonable answer to it is God” What apathetic statement! There is zero evidence to support the God claim.
    I think the answer is a giant guy standing on top of an elephant?

    • rationalobservations?

      My favourite among many, many creation myths is the one concerning the lonely god who., err “pleasures himself” and his climax spreads out all the stars in the sky and forms all the rest of our minor little solar system at the edge of the infinite 13,820,000,000 year old Universe.

      As an equally “plausible” concept; maybe the Earth is balanced on the top of turtles all the way down however?

  • Archibald Heatherington

    Well said. No, religion is not child abuse and autolobotomy.

  • Alexsandr

    re your paragraph starting ‘Oh, but I think you can…’ you fail to mention where these moderate Muslims are. Where were they after Lee Rigbys slaughter, burning juhadist flags and shouting ‘not in Allahs name’
    Where are the Muslims demonstrating against ISIS?
    OK we get a few brave voices, but most Muslims remain silent, and therefore complicit.

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      White man stupid. Silence mean Geronimo know. Now Geronimo take scalp.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Why not scalp the goat and same of your other gibberish spouting sockpuppets lad and give us all some peace.

      • Damaris Tighe

        White man medicine good. White squaw go get Lorazipam.

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh he’s back again..I understand red man been
          tracking the land where the buffalo roam and
          following the wind where the eagle fly.
          And carrying one of those teepee polls or
          whatever there called :)

          • Damaris Tighe

            White medicine woman hear white squaw. Me go kill buffalo for tea.

    • TimboX

      That was exactly going to be my point. The problem with Dawkins is not what he says, it’s that ironically he’s far too PC, and tries to paint all religions as being equally bad as each other, when that is patently nonsense, and ironically rather unscientific.

      The thing is we all know who the culprits are, which religion doesn’t get along with the others, and it isn’t Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Shintoists, Zen Buddhists and certainly not Jainists. It’s just the muslims that spark violence and hatred wherever they live, there isn’t one place on earth that currently isn’t embroiled in some type of conflict with muslims.

      And lets face it, if muslims renounced their faith and became Jainists all our problems would be over, can you imagine what a wonderful peaceful world that would be!

      Not all religions are the same.

      • MrsDBliss

        The Buddhists are on a bit of a killing spree at the moment – I kid you not – they’re killing Muslims.

        • TimboX

          Buddhism may be intrinsically peaceful, but it seems that some of them will defend themselves too, thankfully.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          So not all bad, then?

  • Martin Adamson

    So, by simply extending the line of reasoning, it would be legitimate to say that liberal atheists like Professor Dawkins simply make the atheism respectable for murderous atheists like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hitler.

    • pointlesswasteoftime

      No. They did not commit genocides in the name of their lack of belief in God. (edited – I forgot the not!)

    • Alexsandr

      I’m an atheist. I dont feel the need to commit genocide. I do not think their atheism and their atrocities are linked.

      • Martin Adamson

        They absolutely were. Every one of them singled out churches, temples, religious hierarchies, priests and believers for destruction, persecution and death. Every leftist uprising since the French Revolution has been ushered in by the gang rape of nuns.

        • Alexsandr

          Oh thats OK then then. we all have to believe in something that does not exist in case someone is a nutter. Hmmmm.
          sort of working in Iraq isnt it?

        • rationalobservations?

          All totalitarian regimes (religious or political) “single out” any competing ideology and institution that threatens their totalitarian and absolute rule.

          No one has been killed by atheists exclusively in the name of atheism.

          Millions have been massacred exclusively in the name of “christ” and other “gods”, “goddesses” and “god-men”.

          When the first crusade was preparing to leave one leader asked how they could distinguish eastern christians from the “infidels”. The then Pope thought for a second or two and said: “Kill them all and let god sort them out”.

          While passing though Germany – those barbarians slaughtered over 20,000 Jews and upon reaching their destination they ruthlessly slaughtered some 300,000 innocent men, women, children and babies.

          The 20th century saw the demise of several tyrannies.
          The absolute and terrible tyranny of the christian religion had been displaced by free, secular democracy before that.

          So far political and religious tyranny in the west has been defeated by free secular democracy. Many of our parents and grand parents died to preserve our democracy and few of us today will willingly yield our freedom to the totalitarianism of the christian religion, or communism, or fascism, or Islam.

          • Chris Morriss

            That particular comment didn’t come from the first crusade, but in the merciless campaign against the gnostic Cathars of south-west France. Simply repeating an untruth ad-infinitum doesn’t make it true, unless you’re Tony Blair of course.

            • rationalobservations?

              Check out the life and quotes of Pope Pious X.

              You are correct that the repetition of the nonsense of religion ad-infinitum still makes it as nonsensical as when it was first cobbled together by ignorant, delusional and/or dishonest men.

              • Chris Morriss

                The reported words were: “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius”.
                This was in the lead up to the infamous massacre at Beziers in the so-called “Albigensian Crusade”. Nothing to do with any crusade to recapture Jerusalem from the Saracens.
                A little learning is indeed a dangerous thing.

        • andagain

          But they did not kill anyone for believing in God. They killed people for not being loyal supporters of the Glourious New Order.

          No one was asked about whether he believed in God before being sent to Treblinka.

      • Chris Morriss

        Neither do I, even though I see no problem with the possibility of discarnate intelligences in the multiverse.
        Dawkins however, is a fundamentalist ranter, just as bad in his own way as any bible-belt tub thumper.

    • rationalobservations?

      Hitler was a devout Roman Catholic Christian throughout his life.
      Regarding the other tyrants you list, you appear to confuse totalitarianism and psychopathy with peaceful, democratic modern atheism, my friend.

      The western/developed world is ever more free, democratic and non-religious. Fewer than 4 million UK citizens are active members of any religious cult or sect when all such ancient and modern institutions of magic and the supernatural are added together.

      The western/developed world is also the most peaceful, prosperous and well educated.

      There is an obvious link between those two statements.

      Worth noting that from the time christanity was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world in the 4th century – murderous dictators called “christian popes” and “anointed christian kings and queens” persecuted, tortured and murdered countless millions of innocent folk during 9 crusades (10 when you count the christian crusade of the 3rd Reich) and hundreds of years of terror, torture and inquisition.

      Dawkins speaks only for Dawkins. The rest of the rapidly growing millions of free, democratic, peaceful, loving, humanitarian, charitable atheists – speak for ourselves and more importantly – set the higher standards in humanitarian conduct than the religious and their ant–humanitarian, corrupt and exclusively self serving death cults ever could.

      • RaymondDance

        Hmm:
        “You are either a Christian or a German, you cannot be both.”

        Facts don’t fit? Hey, why not make some up?

        • rationalobservations?

          Following the age old practice of “lying for christ”, Ray?

          The quote you try to fob off on the ignorant is bogus – as you no doubt know?

          From his many writings and speeches, it is obvious that your Adolf was a devout Catholic christian. I can provide many, many genuine quotes that prove this point if you wish. Here’s just one that make his love of your imaginary “god-man” very clear:

          My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian i have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning
          and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exposed.”

          Adolf Hitler – speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on his personal Christian feelings.

          • Paddy S

            you do realise that what people say in public doesnt always reflect their true feelings on a subject.

        • Terry Field

          God help the Belgians then.

      • global city

        No he wasn’t.

        • rationalobservations?

          Yes he was.
          See evidence confounding Raymond Dance beneath this entry:

          • global city

            No he wasn’t. see evidence in almost every pronouncement he made about religion and/or the catholic Church.

          • Paddy S

            your obviously a new atheist – history free.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Hitler was not a devout Roman Catholic at any time. His philosophy is incompatible with Catholicism. As any Catholic could tell you?

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Who ever claimed Hitler was a “devout” Roman Catholic? I realise it’s a bitter pill for you bead-mumblers, but suck it up. Hitler was Catholic, which is why the Vatican backed him to the hilt. His first international treaty was with the Vatican, under which the Catholic Center Party stood aside to give tha National Socialists a clear run, in exchange for being given sole charge of education in Germany. “God is with us”

          • Fergus Pickering

            Oh for God’s sake keep up. It doesn’t matter what Hitler SAID. It’s what he did that matters. You people are so thick you have to say everything three times.

            • MrsDBliss

              It makes me laugh whenever it comes up. How many priests did Hitler kill? A Catholic, really?

            • ron_goodman

              Ah, the old No True Scotsman approach.

              • Fergus Pickering

                No. I’m afraid that’s too clever for me. You’ll have to explain.

                • ron_goodman

                  Google “no true Scotsman”. It’s a well known logical fallacy.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Oh I know3 THAT. It’s not a logical fallacy realy. It’s a rhetorical trick. |Alex Salmond does it all the time but we n eed pay no heed of him. He wqill subside like a pricked ballonn after the referendum.

      • MrsDBliss

        “The Catholic Church was particularly suppressed in Poland. Between 1939 and 1945, an estimated 3,000 members (18%) of the Polish clergy, were murdered; of these, 1,992 died in concentration camps.[58] In the annexed territory of Reichsgau Wartheland it was even more harsh: churches were systematically closed and most priests were either killed, imprisoned, or deported to the General Government. Eighty per cent of the Catholic clergy and five bishops of Warthegau were sent to concentration camps in 1939; 108 of them are regarded as blessed martyrs.[58] Religious persecution was not confined to Poland, in Dachau concentration camp alone, 2,600 Catholic priests from 24 different countries were killed.[58]”
        That would have been uncomfortable at coffee after mass!

        • rationalobservations?

          Yes., as you correctly point out: Christians of one cult, brand or sect have been slaughtering christians of other brands, cults or sects for too many centuries.

          It all started when christrianity was cobbled together and brutally imposed upon the world in the 4th century.

          95% of the population were devout followers of the then orthodox religion and resisted what they saw as the fraudulent heresy of the Jesus as god-man religion. They were slaughtered in a brutal purge and had their holiest artifacts and temples destroyed.

          Centuries of brutal persecution followed with millions of innocent people terrorised, tortured and murdered by “the church”.

          As you imply. Religion is a terrible thing and the merciless and brutal christian religion responsible for too much that should make for a very uncomfortable coffee break after simulated cannibalism, or any other weird religious rite or ritual.

          As history and observation of the modern world confirms – Hitch was undoubtedly correct when he said:

          “Religion poisons everything.”

          • Paul G

            “95% of the population were devout followers of the then orthodox religion”

            Where do you get that figure from? Thin air I would guess, as it is not backed up by any historical source I know. And what was this ‘orthodox religion’ you speak of? Was it Isis, Sun worship, the Elusian Mysteries, Mithras, Orpheus, the triple headed Artemis/Hecate/Selene, Cybele, the Classical pantheon or something else? Or they all the same to you?

            Also, what is your source for all this brutal slaughter of these people? True, the temples were destroyed or converted, as had many architecturally grand and sumptuously enriched Christian places of worship been under Diocletian, but that does not mean that people were slaughtered at the same time.

            Constantine was a political pragmatist. Far from pandering to the wishes of a tiny minority, he could see that Christians formed a very large proportion of the empire’s population by then (possibly as high as a third of the population, rather than your condescending estimate of 5%) and he could see that this proportion was rapidly increasing. He even had three entirely Christian regiments (to use a modern term) in his own army at the Milvian Bridge. I doubt that he actually saw a cross in the sky as he said he had done, but he knew that saying so would gain him the favour of a very large proportion of the population, including large numbers of influential landowners whose satisfaction was necessary to stop them supporting an of his rivals to the throne. He had proceeded almost unimpeded from Britain, where the majority were Pelagian Christians, whereas his non-Christian rival Maxentius found it very difficult to get support, despite engaging in a massive programme of public works, for precisely the reason of his professed beliefs.

            Then your “centuries of brutal persecution followed with millions of innocent people terrorised, tortured and murdered”.
            Where is your evidence to back this up? Who were these millions of people and precisely when were they “terrorised, tortured and murdered”? Are you speaking specifically about the First Crusade, or perhaps the Albagensian Heresy Do be specific please.
            I can’t think of anything even remotely comparable with the torture and murder carried out by atheist regimes during the twentieth century, which really did number in the millions.

            As to Hitler being such a devout catholic. If that was really the case, why did he have the prayer book rewritten to reflect the Nazi’s ‘Aryan’ beliefs and insist a new form of service according to these ‘Aryan’ ideals be adopted across Germany with the threat (and reality) of imprisonment in concentration camps for those who did not obey?

            • rationalobservations?

              I am frequently amused when such nit-picking is all the answer any followers of the fraudulent religion of Y-Shua/”Jesus” the god-man can rustle up.

              You obviously only consult the propaganda of “the church” and ignore the total historical silence from the 1st century and the scholarly works of historians regarding the 2nd century and onward to the industrial scale fabrication of fake christian artifacts and texts in Medieval times?

              There are many good and well researched books on the subject. I can recommend Ramsey MacMullen,”Christianizing the Roman Empire” (MacMullen is a social historian of ancient Rome, a real expert in antiquity) as a starter for an apparent novice in real history like you appear to be.

              By the time Constantine converted in 312, it is thought (this is debated, but this is a typical figure) that about 5% of the empire was Christian. So, that would be three million people.

              • Paul G

                “An apparent novice in real history like you appear to be.”

                You clearly don’t know me then, my friend.

                Actually, like anyone with any historical knowledge, I am well aware of the trade in fake relics in mediaeval times. That however is no basis for saying that many of the fakes were not attempts to recreate things which may actually have existed.
                I am less sure about all the fake texts you seem to think were produced. Certainly there was the forged version of the Acta Pilati, and quite a lot of highly idealised ‘Saints’ lives’, but given the time and effort which went into producing hand written books (which might have a lifespan of not more than perhaps a hundred and fifty years before the ink had started to fade to illegibility and the parchment began to crack), most mediaeval scriptoria were largely concerned to make copies of existing works which were considered important. There was little time available to produce forgeries for nefarious purposes. There was no need to suppress anything much either. Things which have not survived have failed to do so largely because they were not top priority for the scriptoria and had disintegrated long before anyone got around to laboriously copying them out. This is often an area that the papyri continually being unearthed in the Middle-East can help with.

                When you say it is thought that a typical figure for the Christian population in the late third century AD was about 5%, I would ask again – what is this figure based on?

                You are right of course that the true percentage is debated, and may always be, considering that there are no reliable figures available. Most estimates I have read however put the figure at somewhat over thirty percent, with some even attempting to suggest that there was already a majority by that time, although this is highly unlikely.
                When you look at the context of the historical events surrounding the period of Constantine’s coming to power it is clear that the 5% guess does not stand up. Following the upheavals of the previous century, it was a world of realpolitik and political pragmatism. There is no way that a political operator like Constantine would have taken such a risk as to alienate 95% of his subjects by favouring a mere 5%. He would have had half a dozen rebellions to deal with within weeks. He would also have had Diocletian, by then in retirement but still a force to be reckoned with to deal with as well if his position had not been strong enough. His conversion in 312, immediately following the victory at the Milvian Bridge, was probably nothing more in reality than a pragmatic political move to curry favour with the religion which was fast coming up and looked like the future anyway. Constantine, for all his faults, was a highly intelligent and well educated man who could easily read the social and political waters he swam in. He was not the sort of person to commit political suicide for a point. He knew he had the population numbers (meaning in real terms, the landowning classes) going in his favour if he wore the label of being a christian. There is not much evidence from his later actions which demonstrated he was actually a convert to christianity, but by instituting the Council of Nicea he was definitely concerned to make sure the up and coming religion was even handed and consistent in its actions, as would any emperor who wanted to avoid riots, burnings and protracted court cases. He certainly tried to learn as much about it as he could as well, as his surviving correspondence shows very clearly.

                Within a very few years of Constantine’s death the Christian population (especially in the western provinces) must have come close to tipping past the 50% point. Otherwise the highly intellectual emperor Julian would not have made it such a priority to resurrect and protect the ‘traditional Roman religion. If that had been a strong majority position it could easily have looked after itself. It clearly could not.

                I have to admit that I have not real MacMullen’s work, but how do you distinguish between a real expert and someone who simply seems to be? Are you expert enough in the subject yourself to judge? Is he your expert of choice simply because he promulgates a position you find yourself agreeing with? If he propounds the 5% figure without exploring the implications of Constantine’s secure position, he exhibits little or no rigour in his work. Any author who recycles other modern writers without close reference to substantial quantities of relevant ancient material is not an author whose views can be relied upon.

                I don’t ignore the historical silence of the mid to late second century AD or the early part of the third century AD. Like any historian I try hard to penetrate the silence by looking at all the available evidence and applying the normal tools of historical scholarship to sift the wheat from the chaff. It is certainly true that Christian writings do form a large part of the available canon but they do not constitute all the available sources. As more and more papyri are found in Egypt and the Sinai and published, much of the imbalance is rapidly being corrected as well. Our knowledge of a previously dark period is ever expanding.

                • rationalobservations?

                  Ref fake relics:

                  There is no basis for saying that any of the fakes were attempts to recreate things that there is absolutely NO evidence actually existed.

                  All that follows your irrational opening gambit has no basis except speculation, assumption and presumption.

                  There are 1st century and earlier original texts that survive. Considering the nature of the legendary texts of which the oldest /earliest (potentially very first) versions that are extant date from the 7th century or later – it is more than suspicious that NOTHING exists from the first century .

                • Paul G

                  I’m not sure what you are referring to as an “opening gambit” but what I have written above is no more “speculation, assumption or presumption” than your 5% figure and from your responses to what I have said it becomes ever clearer that I know the period in question far better than you. Reading books of dubious academic merit does not qualify you as an ancient historian, however much they stroke your ego.

                  Regarding fakes, your response is uncalled for. I said “things which MAY have existed.” You clearly did not read my statement properly.

                  You are clearly not an archivist either, as if you were, you would understand how easily old documents can become degraded and illegible, making them impossible to decipher. This is the reason that it has been standard practice in archive management for at least the last two centuries to retain three copies of every document wherever possible. Before the invention of the printing press it meant copying as many old books out by hand as possible before they became too illegible or fragmentary to read. It is hardly surprising that few survive in a Northern or continental European context from before the seventh century AD. What is amazing, once you understand the nature of these things is that so many have. I used to work as a county archivist, by the way.

                  I am not sure which “legendary texts” you are banging on about. If you mean the gospels, you are wrong and your suspicion is unfounded, as all three synoptic gospels have now been identified among the Dead Sea Scroll fragments, which we know came from a context which ended abruptly in AD68. Internal evidence from the Acts of the Apostles also shows that that work must have been completed soon after AD62, as the last reference in it (near the end of the final chapter) to a person who can be externally verified is to an official known to have been in post for just two years in AD61-62. Its author is the same as the author of Luke’s gospel, writing in a far more fluent and recognisable form of Greek than the other gospels. It is notable that comparison of biblical works found among the Dead Sea Scrolls with the texts of extant seventh and eighth century gospel books shows a remarkably high degree of consistency, demonstrating a continuous line between them.

                • rationalobservations?

                  I have encountered similar egos to yours many times down quite a few decades and am happy that you are taking the time and trouble to recycle the assertions that I have also encountered many, many times.

                  Here are some questions you need to answer to justify your assertions and claims, dear friend:

                  What evidence do you have that the total number of christians was more than 5% of the population of the empire?

                  In addition: What evidence do you have that all the messianic cults followed the sect of Y-Shua/”Jesus”?

                  What evidence is there that any of the medieval era fraudulent and faked texts and artifacts had any basis in actual prior texts and artifacts? You appear to use the word “may” as some kind of get out clause. What indicates that all (or 99.99r%) that has been created since the 3rd decade of the 4th century is not the original work of those who wrote or created that for which there is not a single item of earlier existence and prior evidence?

                  You confirm that very little material exists from before the 7th century. I would point out that the very oldest/first prototype codex (book form) bibles do exist in the almost complete “Codex Sinaiticus” (Greek: Σιναϊτικός Κώδικας, Hebrew: קודקס סינאיטיקוס) and the “Codex Vaticanus”. Both of these books were started toward the end of the 4th century and much is known about the original 4 scribes who wrote Sinaiticus – and also the 800 hundred years of further amendment, addition, interpolation etc carried out by later generations of anonymous scribes. Neither of these earliest prototype bibles contains all that was added by later authors to later versions of the confused and internally contradictory legends of “Jesus” the “god-man”.

                  As the BBC reported when the Codex Sinaiticus was first made public: “For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today’s bible.”

                  Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7651105.stm

                  Now you mat be more up to date than I am with regard to the content of the cache known as “The Dead Sea Scrolls”. The last time I investigated, it was confirmed that several “messiahs” and “messianic” cults existed between Circa 4BCE and Circa140CE. I am certain that no specific reference to a messiah named Joshua/Yeshua/Y-Shua/”Jesus” is to be found among the content of thst fascinating and informative cache of texts.

                  I am intrigued to learn of the content and location of the texts you assure me exist and speficically refer to something verified and verifiable regarding the existence and exploits of your god-man “Jesus”.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Rational but Ridiculous !
    Signed – Absolute Atheist !

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