My conversation with #RobynHill on 3/9/12

Before you ask, no, Robyn and I are not related. Robyn happened onto a post about Mike Lee.

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She made the following comment:

“ha ha, Mike Lee makes athesists look ridiculous in the eyes of anyone who knows a thing about logic. Move away from Ad Hominem arguing Lee.”

I responded with this:

“Hey Robyn,

“Thanks for dropping by. Funny you say that as I’d say the exact same thing about any religious person and logic. What, specifically, makes you say that? I don’t actually remember seeing Mike argue anything. Are you saying he’s used ad hominems? if so, when?”

Then I went to her Facebook page, by the link to which she’d provided, and started a conversation. Here is that conversation. My text in italics. Hers in bold. And a few links, pics, and vids to keep your attention ’cause FUCK is this epic!

(Unrelated side note: from now on, the “on X” dates of those conversations won’t necessarily reflect the literal date on which they occurred or ended, but rather more likely the date on which I get around to posting them. Carry on.)

Anton Hill
Hi Robyn,

Thanks for your comment. I just left my reply on AtheistAsshole.com.

Best,

Anton.

Robyn Hill
Sorry, but Mike Lee just uses bad tactics to argue his cause. He needs to take a few logic and debate classes.

Anton Hill
Hi Robyn,

While that may be true, what makes you say that? I’ve enjoyed most of Mike’s videos, though the homeless people one I didn’t see any point to and I’ve told him that.

What do you think is illogical about what he’s said or made?

Best,

Anton.

Robyn Hill
Sorry Anton, I am probably not the person you want to hear from. I am a Christian and get pissed off when I hear Mike interrupting Christians, insulting them, and using nothing but the old testament or Richard Dawkins to back him up. There are plenty of scientists who see proof of a higher being. If there is such a thing as evolution, which I believe there is, then why not a being who has evolved beyond that of humans? I just find it arrogant. If he wants to have an intellectual discussion, he should go on a blog like Science and evidence for God, rather than blurt out rhetoric to people who get his charm and pessimism confused with intellect. I just would love to hear him talk with an intelligent Christian without interrupting, if he claims to be so open-minded. Probably not what you wanted to hear.

Anton Hill
Hi Robyn,

I don’t mind hearing from you at all. And don’t worry about what I wanted to hear. I’m curious, though, why are you a Christian?

I get your frustration with Mike interrupting people. The Old Testament, however, is relevant as 1. the alleged word of God and 2. referenced by Jesus, thus why would you have an issue with Mike’s reliance on it? I don’t know what you’re referring to when you say he uses Dawkins to back him up. Dawkins’s said a lot of things.

Your claim of scientists seeing proof of a higher being is
fascinating. Which ones and what proof? I ask because of the theists I’ve talked to who’ve made this claim, not one of them has been able to cite a single legitimate, peer-reviewed scientist who has produced one shred of proof for a higher power. But, unlike other atheists you might meet, I’m perfectly happy to be proven wrong.

A being who’s evolved past that of humans is plausible, but are you suggesting such a being is God? If so, I wonder what your definition of God is as simply a more advanced being than us seems inadequate to be responsible for the creation of the universe.

Is it what Mike’s said that you find arrogant or how he’s said it, or both? Any claim of arrogance is kind of like claiming there are activist judges. The accusation tends to occur when a judge decides something the claimant disagrees with. So, too, most people call other people arrogant simply because the “arrogant” people say something with confidence that the accuser happens to not like. I’m not necessarily saying you’re doing this, but I am interested in what you consider arrogant about him.

You have a point on his charm, though I don’t know that I’ve seen him display pessimism. But yes, charm and a camera do not intellect make.

Whom do you think qualifies as an “intelligent Christian”? I’ve heard Dr. Craig speak any number of times and the arguments he presents are no more founded in evidence than the so-called unintelligent Christians atheists are told they “pick on.”

“Open-minded”, huh? Without fail, when the religious ask me to have an open mind, that equates accepting their claims without question and ignoring evidence to the contrary of their claims. When I suggest that maybe they should keep an open mind about other world views than their own, they tell me they know they’re right (but not how). It seems like there’s an inverse correlation with the religious who claim that atheists should keep an open mind and the amount of open-mindedness they display themselves.

One final thing. Doesn’t it seem to you to be more arrogant to claim that one absolutely knows the nature of the universe based solely on Bronze Age folktales than to claim that one doesn’t absolutely know the nature of the universe, but is finding it out through the scientific method? Claiming absolute knowledge seems far more arrogant than claiming a lack of absolute knowledge.

Best,

Anton.

Robyn Hill
http://www.godandscience.org/

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Here is a great link with a fantastic forum which includes the most educated chrisitan/phisicists/scientists i have encountered. I guarantee they will give you a run for your money and they are much more knowlegable than I. So let’s see if I can address any of your points above. The old testament is the old law, and is not very relevant to how the laws changed with Christ’s arrival. I would love to hear Mike touch on some of what the New Testament talks about. Also, God does do some pretty horrific things to people, but look at how the people were living, pretty much like pigs,and if I were the creator of a people who lost the meaning, I might also wipe the slate clean, especially with the knowlege that the children would be better off without the society in which they are being raised. Why do I call Mike arrogant? because he interrupts constantly, and that is enough rudeness right there to rectify why he is arrogant…he only wants to hear himself talk. Intelligent christians? C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller, Steven Davis, kelly Monroe, ronald Nash, Randall Price, Norman Geisler… the list goes on. They are author/scientists as well. As far as arrogance on behalf of Christians. To say there is no evidence is subjective. What you deem as evidence for random events to occur in the natural world, I see the possibility of a higher being. By claiming there is no possibility to a being creating this universe is putting parameters on a universe we have not yet been able to quantify. That is pretty arrogant to me. How do you explain the resources and how they continue to supply humans and enable them to populate, just another fortunate conincidence? Seems like a slowly unpacking suitcase to me, and I don’t think suitcases pack themselves. Or saying it is what we do with the resources is what is important. That is like saying orange juice tastes good because of the way we squeeze the oranges. You call the bible a folk-tale. I would ask you to consider whether or not you find all historic testimony as folk tales and how you draw the line? Do you really think all those people were able to cross their t’s, dot their i’s, create prophesy to this day that continues to come true, all for the sake of roman control? And where is all the bias towards roman control? I see none of it. I just hope atheists are doing their homework on this instead of just jumping on a hip bandwagon that comes across as quirky and hip. Anyway, see what you think of the link I sent, would love to see you start a discussion, it really is enjoyable. Btw, I wasn’t always a Christian…my study of science is what led me to my beliefs.

Evidence for God from Science
http://www.godandscience.org
Provides evidence for the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible from scientific studies.

Robyn Hill
Sorry about my disregard for paragraphs! I get lazy when my school day is over.

Robyn Hill
and spelling errors.

Robyn Hill
ok, one more thought. If we are energy in the form of a human, why not a higher being in a form other than human? Doesn’t that make more sense in terms of evolution? See to me, to not consider that as a “logical” possiblilty, is absurd. If energy can collectively be organized into an intellient being such as humans, in such a short time, shouldn’t we logically and scientifically come to the conclusion that it could happen at a higer level, in a universe… or outside??? in a longer amount of time?

Robyn Hill
remember, flying, electricity, computers, all possibilites that existed from day one. They didn’t exist “because” scientists said they did, they just hadn’t been discovered yet. So to say, “God doesn’t exist” would be like saying “flying doesn’t exist” before it was discovered. And please don’t mention the flying spaghetti monster here…

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I would not count him out if there were a book written about him that existed with prophesy that came true. Especially given the tests we are faced with every day of our lives. How are we constantly tested…through a flying random monster? I am just saying atheism is just as much a belief as God is, they both take faith, one just seems more plausible when considering the science and especially
mathematical odds involved. You might think how silly it is that a God doesn’t “show” himself. But if he did, would we really seek him? How could we become a “self” if we didn’t question and test? And this is where i have to include in my argument, experience. The things I can’t explain after my relationship with God. Might sound cheesy, but I won’t disregard it just because the world is making fun of it…just not my style.

Anton Hill
Hey Robyn,

I addressed everything. It’s long. I urge you to digest in chunks. 🙂 First, what specifically about science convinced you that Christianity, and its claims of the absolute nature of reality, is true?

I’ve taken a brief look at the link you sent, godandscience.org. There’s a lot of information there, so it’d be much easier if you pointed me to specifically where you feel a legit, peer-reviewed scientist (or scientists, since you claimed there were plenty of them) provides objectively verifiable evidence for a higher being.

From what I saw, the site is a self-identified apologetics site (it says “apologetics” right there on the upper left). Apologetics isn’t science. It’s a self-defined defending of the faith. While the owner seems to be a scientist, that alone doesn’t make his claims true. For example, I looked at “General Introduction to Non-Believers” here:

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atheismintro.html

in which he makes the First-Cause argument. An argument isn’t evidence. It’s an argument. While the argument may seem reasonable, that doesn’t make it evidence of its claims. I don’t fully understand the mechanics of how a universe begins without having been caused by someone, but my lack of understanding isn’t evidence for the First-Cause argument. Krauss and Hawking have explained how a universe comes from nothing without need for a First Cause. Krauss does so here:

Regarding the forum specifically, along with the above, please point me to where you feel a legit, peer-reviewed scientist provides objectively verifiable evidence for a higher being. From what I saw, there were no topics titled “Evidence for God” or anything similar. The closest one I could find was “God and Science.” Under this topic, I found no “Evidence of God”, but I did find “Theory of Evolution exposed” here:

http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=37149

The title raises a red flag as it implies there’s something hidden in the theory to be exposed. The first two posts, by skakos, have nothing to do with evidence for a higher being. The third, by Stu, makes the express claim, “But macro-evolution on the other hand is pure mythology.” This is a dishonest misrepresentation of the theory as any legit evolutionary biologist will tell you.

You point out that, “The old testament is the old law, and is not very relevant to how the laws changed with Christ’s arrival.” There are several issues here. These are by no means exhaustive, mostly off the top of my head:

1. If God is eternal and unchanging, why would He establish a law only to change it later? If God is omniscient, why wouldn’t He merely create a law that is universally and eternally applicable so as to negate the need for changing it? Even if we grant that the OT is the old law, it was still law that applied for thousands of years to millions of people. Why would God apply terrible things like Lev. 20:13? What about Lev. 24:16? Or Ex. 31: 12-15? The omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator and ruler of the universe cares about how animals are sacrificed, what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom, whether people curse Him or work on the Sabbath? This makes tons of sense with the god of a small, barely surviving, desert-dwelling, Bronze Age semitic tribe, but not for what the religious claim God to be. If God grants us free will, why would He create a law of any kind and tell us about it? That’s intervening in the normal course of human existence.

2. When Christ himself allegedly says,

“For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven,” Matt 5:18-19,

“It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid,” Luke 16:17, and,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place,” Matt 5:17,

it seems inaccurate to claim that the OT laws were done away with.

3. There’s plenty of deplorable stuff in the NT. In Luke 7:9-10, Jesus says,

“Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Ye reject the commandment of God. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”

Acts 13:8-11, “But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”

Rev. 6:4, “6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

So yes, there are nice things like “love thy neighbor as thyself”, but just because there’s some good stuff doesn’t negate the fact that there’s also not-good stuff.

4. Verses that Christians cite to support beliefs such as a ban on gay marriage (Lev. 18:22) and the Ten Commandments are both in the OT. This begs the question, if you’re going to call the OT the “old law”, but clearly venerate parts of it, then how do you decide which parts to ignore and which parts to follow? How do you know your choice of interpretation is correct? Isn’t all of it the inerrant, literal, direct word of God? Even bishop Marcion was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for his teaching that the OT God and the NT God couldn’t be the same since the OT God is obviously so cruel. What made Marcion wrong and the Catholic Church right?

You point out that, “Also, God does do some pretty horrific things to people, but look at how the people were living, pretty much like pigs,and if I were the creator of a people who lost the meaning, I might also wipe the slate clean, especially with the knowlege that the children would be better off without the society in which they are being raised.”

1. You admit that God does some pretty horrific things to people. How is this compatible with the doctrine that God is a god of love and forgiveness, omnibenevolent?

2. Are you sincerely saying that doing some pretty horrific things to people is justified by an omnipotent, omniscient god against creatures who, by definition, are inferior to that god? The big thing that doesn’t make sense to me about this is if God is omniscient, He knew everything every person would ever do, think, or feel before He created the universe. Thus, to punish people for being people, for doing, thinking, and feeling that which He knew they would do, think, and feel makes no moral sense.

3. You’d commit genocide multiple times against people you knew would disobey you? Why would you bother creating them in the first place if you already knew they’d disobey you and that you’d end up killing them all?

4. If you knew your children would be better off dead than be in a society you disapproved of, why would you bother allowing that society to exist in the first place? Why blame children for the crimes of their larger society? Why punish people for things you knew they’d do? Why not just forgive? Isn’t forgiveness better than genocide?

5. Pardon me, but I call bullshit. I don’t think you sincerely believe what you claim about wiping slates. I think this is what you have to claim in order to maintain your belief in a morally deplorable system. You can’t say, “Christianity is based partially on and partially preaches cruelty,” because that would beg the question as to why you or anyone would follow it. What you have to say is something like, “This is why Christianity’s partial basis on and preaching of cruelty is reasonable.”

Regarding your complaint of Mike’s arrogance, you said, “because he interrupts constantly, and that is enough rudeness right there to rectify why he is arrogant…he only wants to hear himself talk.”

For our reference, here’s Merriam Webster’s definition of “arrogance.”

“an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions”

While I think you have a case on “an attitude of superiority” and “overbearing manner”, I don’t know that you do with “presumptuous claims or assumptions.” In fact, for one to claim that one has inerrant knowledge as to the absolute nature of reality, that such knowledge is superior to all other knowledge, and that anyone who doesn’t believe said knowledge is inferior, seem to pretty well fit with M-W.

Is interruption irritating? Sure. Is rudeness nice? No. But arrogant, I dunno. If you’re gonna apply that in Mike’s case, there’s plenty of preachers, ministers, clergy who all fall under that.

Regarding your list of intelligent Christians, the only name I’m familiar with is Lewis, so I’ll comment on him and let you give me examples of the others’ intelligence specifically as it relates to Christianity. Among Lewis’ quotes are:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Okay, so he’s comparing a scientifically proven fact, that of the sun’s rise, to a collection of doctrines, stories, writings, etc. that has not one scrap of objectively verifiable evidence to support it. He rationalizes his belief by pointing out that he “see[s]” it and that by it, he “see[s]” everything else. What about that is evidence? What about that is any different from what a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or some other religious might say? What, per Lewis’s quote, makes Christianity necessarily true and any other faith necessarily false?

Let’s try another:

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Something that God can’t do, huh? For an omnipotent being, He seems to be awfully limited in his abilities. I kind of get what Lewis is saying here. Turn away from God, you won’t be happy. But two things bother me about that.

1. If God is omnipresent, He’s literally everywhere. Everywhere physically, mentally, emotionally; there’s no place where God isn’t. So this whole notion of anyone being absent of God contradicts a basic doctrine of God’s very nature.
2. The whole thing is an arrogant presumption; that those who turn away from God aren’t happy. Well, I am, so is my best friend’s family, so are other friends, families, etc. Happiness is not only possible without the Christian notion of God, but I’d argue it’s easier. No fear of Hell or judgement.

But please provide quotes that you feel are better examples of Lewis’ smarts.

Regarding Christian arrogance, you say, “To say there is no evidence is subjective.”

Let me stop you right there. Evidence is not subjective, otherwise it isn’t evidence. If I drop a ball, it’s not my opinion that it falls to the ground, it’s a fact. If I set a lit match to a candle wick, it’s not my opinion that the wick ignites, it’s a fact. These matters aren’t up for debate or opinion. The only reason one would ever suggest that evidence is subjective is that one knows that one’s evidence doesn’t stand up to testing or scrutiny.

And let’s say your claim is true. That evidence is subjective. Then on what basis does a Christian make any absolute claim of the nature of reality? What makes the Christian right and the Jew, Muslim, Hindu or other religious person wrong? If it’s all subjective, all open to opinion and interpretation, then what stops every idea from being right always?

You continue, “What you deem as evidence for random events to occur in the natural world, I see the possibility of a higher being.”

First, I don’t know which random events you’re referring to, so I can’t comment on them and second, there either is or there isn’t a higher being. Your feelings on the possibility of such a being are irrelevant.

You continue, “By claiming there is no possibility to a being creating this universe is putting parameters on a universe we have not yet been able to quantify. That is pretty arrogant to me.”

I’ve never made that claim. All I’ve ever said is that there’s no evidence to support the claim that there is a creator. Any argument that I’ve heard every religious person cite has been an argument, not evidence. And every argument has been answered by science. Or, we simply don’t know. But not knowing something isn’t evidence of any notion we care to dream up. The Christian claim is that it knows, not believes, not thinks, but knows the absolute nature of reality. The arrogant action is to claim to absolutely know with no evidence to support such a claim, not to claim not to know.

Yay! You ask me a question, “How do you explain the resources and how they continue to supply humans and enable them to populate, just another fortunate coincidence?”

Your use of “coincidence” seems to imply “happens for no reason at all” and this is a misrepresentation of reality. The reason is that we live on a big planet made up of lots of chemicals, including the organic ones. Humans haven’t run out of resources because we haven’t exhausted the planet of them. But it seems like the deeper question your asking is, “Why do we exist with plentiful resources rather than not?” My answer is:

1. we’re lucky
2. we’ve adapted and
3. I don’t know.

But here’s the thing. Not knowing is not evidence for any notion you care to dream up. And asserting that it is is nothing more than an Argument from Ignorance (please don’t say I’m calling you stupid; an Argument from Ignorance is simply saying, “I don’t know, therefore it must be whatever I find plausible”).

You finish your “confidence” point with this, “Seems like a slowly unpacking suitcase to me, and I don’t think suitcases pack themselves. Or saying it is what we do with the resources is what is important. That is like saying orange juice tastes good because of the way we squeeze the oranges.”

I’m really sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. Moving on.

You start on the Bible, “You call the bible a folk-tale. I would ask you to consider whether or not you find all historic testimony as folk tales and how you draw the line? Do you really think all those people were able to cross their t’s, dot their i’s, create prophesy to this day that continues to come true, all for the sake of roman control? And where is all the bias towards roman control? I see none of it.”

I call the Bible a folktale because it’s a tale made up by folk. I’m not convinced that the Bible contains “historic testimony.” Even Christian Bible scholars admit that the earliest so-called eyewitness accounts were written decades after the events described. And most of those, per most Christian scholars, are retellings of earlier sources. So it’s inaccurate to

1. call it historical testimony
2. act as if there’s a ton of it

But to answer your question more directly, yes, I’m skeptical of any so-called “historic testimony.” Until very recently, historians had no desire to tell facts for facts’ sake. They were interested in retelling events in an interesting way. Sure, their histories may have contained some facts, but not necessarily all. Take Plutarch’s retelling of the death of Antony and Cleopatra. He makes very specific claims as to what transpired, including quotes of what was said. But how on earth would he know? He wasn’t anywhere near there at the time. What he was doing was writing historical fiction. Thus, while it may be true that some content in the Bible is either factual or based on fact, it remains to be proved that the so-called eyewitness accounts and any supernatural events described really happened the way the Bible says.

I draw the line pretty quickly, actually. Humans are prone to exaggeration for dramatic effect. Thus fish stories. If anyone says anything to me that sounds remotely unlikely, I doubt the likelihood that what happened is what they said until proved. Obviously, in many cases, this simply doesn’t matter. If someone tells me that he hit major traffic on the way to work and was three hours late, I’m inclined to believe him because traffic and its effects can be demonstrated. If, however, the same person claimed he was three hours late to work because there was a dragon attack on the freeway, I’d require evidence. I would not, nor should I, just go by his word.

I’m not convinced that all those people crossed their t’s and dotted their i’s. I’m not convinced of a single prophecy coming true. And I’m not the only one. I cite hundreds of millions of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and countless other faiths who also don’t find the alleged fulfillment of many Biblical prophecies convincing. Please give me what you consider to be the greatest prophecy, the specific, objectively verifiable evidence as to how it’s been fulfilled, and why there’s no other possible explanation. But even before you do, consider this:

1. In Book I, there’s prediction X,
2. in Book II, there’s result X.
3. If Book II was written after Book I, where the author of Book II had access to Book I,
4. what’s stopping the author of Book II from writing result X that fits prediction X of Book I?

Bias against Roman control is irrelevant. The Grimm tales, composed by peasants, laud and celebrate royalty.

You finish your first chunk with, “I just hope atheists are doing their homework on this instead of just jumping on a hip bandwagon that comes across as quirky and hip.”

I think I’m doing my homework, but you’re obviously free to disagree. There may be a hip bandwagon, but since I’ve been an atheist since 19, have never been described as hip, and wear sunglasses because I have achromatopsia, I don’t think I’m jumping on it.

Your second bit, “Provides evidence for the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible from scientific studies.”

You’re gonna have to provide specific links to evidence and scientific studies proving the reliability of the Bible, because I didn’t immediately see any of that. Granted, I didn’t look very hard, but as I said above, it’s a lot of info.

Your third chunk, “If we are energy in the form of a human, why not a higher being in a form other than human? Doesn’t that make more sense in terms of evolution? See to me, to not consider that as a “logical” possiblilty, is absurd. If energy can collectively be organized into an intellient being such as humans, in such a short time, shouldn’t we logically and scientifically come to the conclusion that it could happen at a higer level, in a universe… or outside??? in a longer amount of time?”

I find these questions and ideas fascinating. But if there’s a higher being formed of energy, it’s still formed of energy. Energy is of this universe, so the being would be as well. Such a proposition doesn’t describe a god, and most certainly not Yahweh. I think it makes sense in terms of evolution that such a being is possible, but not only does “possible” not equal “actual,” the being you’re suggesting would be a product of the universe. I agree with your assessment of the absurdity of the possibility. You lose me with “outside” the universe as we have no evidence that there is an outside to the universe.

Your final chunk, “remember, flying, electricity, computers, all possibilites that existed from day one. They didn’t exist “because” scientists said they did, they just hadn’t been discovered yet. So to say, “God doesn’t exist” would be like saying “flying doesn’t exist” before it was discovered. And please don’t mention the flying spaghetti monster here… I would not count him out if there were a book written about him that existed with prophesy that came true. Especially given the tests we are faced with every day of our lives. How are we constantly tested…through a flying random monster? I am just saying atheism is just as much a belief as God is, they both take faith, one just seems more plausible when considering the science and especially mathematical odds involved. You might think how silly it is that a God doesn’t “show” himself. But if he did, would we really seek him? How could we become a “self” if we didn’t question and test? And this is where i have to include in my argument, experience. The things I can’t explain after my relationship with God. Might sound cheesy, but I won’t disregard it just because the world is making fun of it…just not my style.”

I don’t think any scientist claims that something exists because the scientist says it does. The same can’t be said of the religious. Scientists have in fact often made claims that were later demonstrated to be false. Including Einstein. But notice that Einstein never said, “I’m always right. Period.”

To be clear, I’ve never said “God doesn’t exist.” I’ve said I’ve not encountered any evidence for any claim I’ve ever heard of any god. Based on that, I’m 100% certain that the gods described don’t exist, but I’m not 100% certain that no god of any kind exists. And to be fair, to say that “flying doesn’t exist” was a perfectly reasonable thing to say until a century ago. And had it not yet been
demonstrated, all that could be said of it would be that it’s theoretically possible.

Ha! I love that you want to avoid the FSM! I wasn’t going to, but now that you mention Him, have you read the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It’s a quick, enjoyable read that makes many strong points.

Again you mention prophecy. Please cite a specific example of a prophecy that’s come true, the evidence that proves so, and that there’s no other possible explanation for the alleged fulfilled prophecy.

I don’t understand what you mean by “tested.” Why would an omniscient Flying Spaghetti Monster or an omniscient God have any need or desire to test us? A test would reveal no new information to an omniscient God.

How does a lack of belief in an unsubstantiated claim take faith? Do you have faith that there’s no Zeus? Do you admit you may be wrong in that belief? Do you have faith that there’s no Vishnu, no Thor? Do you admit that you may be wrong about them as well?

Evidence is 100% indifferent to your notion of plausibility or incredulity of the mathematical odds. You’ve yet to cite science that supports your faith.

I actually do think it’s silly that an omnipotent god doesn’t show himself especially considering that according to Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam, he has multiple times to multiple people over multiple centuries. Why is it important that we seek God? Being omniscient, He already knows who will choose Him and who won’t for all of time.

I’m not sure what you mean by becoming a “self.”

And finally, you make the experience argument. Okay, no biggie. What specifically in your experience proves your interpretation of God? Before you answer, consider I were your closest friend and I came to you and told you that after having a really nice meal at a Greek restaurant, I had a vision of Zeus and in that vision, he told me to play a certain set of lottery numbers, I did, and I won the lottery. Would you believe that I won the lottery because Zeus gave me the winning numbers? If not, why not? I understand this may not be the best example, but fill in the above variables with anything you like and the logic still falters. If I get cancer, get medical treatment, pray to Thor, and get cured, does that mean that Thor cured me or that the medical treatment did? What if I tell you that Thor visited me when no one else was around, slammed his mighty hammer into my tumor, and declared I was cured? Does my sincere testimony make the allegation of Thor’s intervention any more likely?

It all sounds really silly, doesn’t it? That’s because you weren’t raised in a culture steeped in the mythology of Greece or Scandinavia. You were raised in a culture where it’s perfectly socially acceptable to declare, without a shadow of a doubt, that an omnipotent being, the creator of the universe, gave the first guy He created a rule, the first guy, due to a very convincing talking snake, decided not to follow it, the creator, who knew this would happen, nevertheless chose to hold such a grudge that He let all kinds of bad stuff happen to the guy and all his kids for thousands and thousands of years, then, one day, He decided that that was enough, and so made a version of Himself that He’d sacrifice to Himself in order to pay for all the rule-breakings of the past and future (a system that He could have made any way He chose), He’d provide zero objectively verifiable evidence of any of this, but would still require that everyone believed it happened and anyone who either never heard of it or, based on the lack of evidence, wasn’t convinced of it, He would throw into a place of eternal torment run by the talking snake.

I’m not saying you’re gonna run off and go, “Wow, what amazing reasoning! You sure convinced me!” But what I hope you do is honestly consider what Christianity teaches, all of it, not just the pleasing bits, and ask yourself, if the variables were shifted even slightly, if you were raised in India, or medieval Scandinavia, or ancient Greece, would you truly find their versions crazy? Or would you assume that the reason it thunders is because Zeus throws down lightning bolts?

If you can honestly say that yes, you’d arrive at the exact same conclusion, fine. Please tell me how.

Best,

Anton.

17 Responses to “My conversation with #RobynHill on 3/9/12”

  1. We aren’t related??? I am hurt. I just happened upon this so please leave out the part where I burp and fart while watching Hangover Two, in our next conversation.

  2. ps, this is fuckin epic. 🙂

  3. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designun.html
    Here is a link to just a piece of why I consider a higher being more reasonable than flying random monster.
    You ask me for a specific link on God and Science…There are plenty. Posting one would be a shot in the dark. I would, however, suggest you go, find a post you disagree with, and become part of the discussion. The administrators are mostly scientists and they, again, are much more informative than I am.
    Your point about finding verifiable evidence for a God…it’s not going to happen. Christians don’t hold science as the great all knowing, we hold God to that standard. Not to mention, the proof can’t be attributed to anything of matter. It’d be really hard to be an atheist that believes everything is matter. Atheism is a belief system/concepts. Concepts aren’t material. Therefore that atheist can’t believe his/her belief system. Or have any knowledge at all considering knowledge is built up upon concepts. Concepts aren’t material.

    You mention that the God of the old testament is cruel and how can we believe in a cruel yet loving God? I find that to be a naive idea that God would be only full of love and rainbows. Justice isn’t always love and rainbows. Some of the best parents I have seen were strict and held consequences in high regard. If God wipes out a society because of loss of all morals, I would say wiping them out is justice not cruelty.

    If morals are just relative, then, basically, morals do not exist. They are caused by chemical reactions and, possibly, a selective advantage over creatures with no morals. There are so many ways to refute this concept that I don’t even need to list a few.

    Why would God create a people, knowing ahead of time he would do away with them? Well, I guess because if he programmed us to follow his law, we would be robots and maybe that isn’t what he was after. It does seems harsh to create a people who would die if they didn’t accept Christ. However, I can’t think of a better system to have a relationship with people who have to seek, rather than choosing based on evidence. That isn’t love or relational, it is forced.

    Ok, back to Mike, although I really don’t think he is a major part of this discussion at this point. If Mike would video tape himself having conversations like this, I take it all back. Nuff said.
    Your next point, How could a omnipotent God create a society KNOWING they would fail. I think time is relative to humans and our understanding of it. If a God knows the outcome, that has nothing to do with his choice to allow us to go through experience and choices. I don’t find the two dependant on each other or at all corelated.

    You ask what random events I am talking about?…it is that “luck” you speak of when referring to our planet and resources. You attribute our existence and continued existence to luck…I attribute it to a plan. I just don’t have enough faith in “luck”.
    Prophesies that came true. So I totally get your point about writing a book that could line up outcomes matching a previous book. My question would be why? Why would an author write how important truth is, and than lie (to the point of creating an almost impossible tapestry of intertwining prophesized events)? What would be the motif? So here are a few prophesies that were recorded:

    Predicted ca. 855 BC: The prophet Elijah predicts Jezebel would be eaten by dogs upon her death in Jezreel. (1 Kings 21:23)– Fulfilled ca. 841 BC: Jezebel is killed in Jezreel and dogs eat her body (2 Kings 9:36). Predicted ca. 760 BC: Amos predicts Israel would be restored as a nation and would never be uprooted again (Amos 9:15)–Fulfilled in 1948. Predicted ca 732 BC: Isaiah predicts the Medo-Persian empire will conquer Babylon [Isaiah 13:17-18] and Babylon would become a wasteland.–Fulfilled in 538 BC when the Medes took over Babylon and 275 BC when the Seleucids forced all of the inhabitants to leave. Predicted ca. 732 BC: Isaiah says Egypt and Ethiopia would be conquered by Assyria (Isaiah 20:3-5).–Fulfilled ca. 673-670 BC when Assyria conquers the northeast African nations. Predicted ca. 701 BC: Isaiah claims Israel will be taken captive by the Babylonian empire (Isaiah 39).–Fulfilled ca. 597 & 586 BC: Babylon takes captives and sacks Jerusalem the first time then totally destroys Jerusalem about 10 years later. Predicted ca. 589 BC: Ezekiel tells about the fall of the great city Tyre, claiming that the Lord “will cause many nations to come up against thee,” (Ezekiel 26, 27).–Fulfilled in 586-573 BC: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon lays siege against the city. Fulfilled in 370s BC: a king of Cyprus conquers the city. Fulfilled in 332 BC: Alexander the Great conquers the city. Fulfilled in 315-316 BC: Antigonus, who served under Alexander, attacks and conquers the city. Fulfilled in 1124: The city falls to the Crusaders. Fulfilled in 1291: The city falls to the Muslim armies of the Mameluks. Predicted ca. 543 BC: Daniel tells of a great Grecian king who would conquer the Persian empire but would have his kingdom divided four ways after his death (Daniel 8).–Fulfilled in 330 BC when Alexander the Great defeats Persia and 281 BC after the Greek generals who succeed Alexander reach an agreement after years of war to split the kingdom four ways. Predicted ca. 536 BC: Daniel prophesies that the Greek empire would not go to Alexander the Great’s heirs (Daniel 11).–Fulfilled ca. 323-281 BC after Alexander’s death when his generals fight over the kingdom while shutting out (and killing) his heirs. Predicted ca. 430 BC: Malachi prophesies that Yahweh’s name would be honored by the Gentiles (pagans) (Malachi 1:11).–Fulfilled 1st century AD to the present: Pagans worldwide have forsaken their paganism and have confessed that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

    Next, sorry but I think wearing sunglasses and having achromatpsia is very hip, might just be me though. 🙂

    You mention that religious people make claims that are right and later have been proven wrong. So do scientists. So do humans. We all make mistakes. Please show me a Christian person who claims he is always right, and I will show you a person who is not a Christian, at least not according to the bible.
    Also, you mention arrogant preachers…absolutely!! I could not agree with you more. They are humans and make asses out of themselves just like the rest of us.

    You have never claimed God doesn’t exist? Then you need a page called Agnostic assholes.

    Why would a God test us? Why would a God not test us? We are hear to become something. We aren’t God. We can’t grow if we can’t learn.

    Why would God not show himself? Again, I think he would rather we take a chance on him and learn through experience rather than a neon flashing sign.

    As far as other religions are concerned, I don’t know that they are false…only God knows that. I don’t judge them which is more than I can say for atheists who claim we are all wrong.

    Ps, sorry I didn’t include pictures making fun of you guys and your beliefs…I may not be that clever

  4. *here, not hear.

  5. Mike Lee Says:

    Robyn

    This is Mike Lee from the videos.

    I think you’re missing that what I do is ENTERTAINMENT. Most of my videos aren’t about educating people – they are for empowering secularists and poking fun at theological dogma

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Hi Robyn and Mike,

      I can’t express enough how important Mike’s notion of “empowering secularists” is. The cold, hard fact is that theists outnumber atheists by an explosive margin. Thus, without rigorous action on our part, we simply have no voice in the public sphere, government, entertainment, etc. The ironic thing is that we’re actually a larger minority than NRA members and Jews, and yet if anyone, and I mean ANYONE, makes an even indirect anti-Semitic remark in public, there’s publicity hell to pay. Yet time and time again, public figures like Sean Hannity and Rick Santorum can regularly equate us to child molesters, Nazis, and rapists, and no one blinks an eye. As long as that’s true, I’ll fully support what Mike does, even if I don’t always agree with the way in which he does it.

      Best,

      Anton.

      • C’mon, there are plenty of atheists out there, so playing the victim really doesn’t cut it. Hitchens and Dawkins practically have started a revolution for you guys. I only suggest you use fair argument tactics to make your points.

    • If your definition of entertainment is making fun of people and videotaping them while you do it, but if that is how secularists feel empowered, I’d say secularists have a problem.

      • Above is for Mike.

      • Anton A. Hill Says:

        Hi Robyn,

        I can’t speak for Mike, but I’d say it could easily be argued that entertainment can be making fun of people. That’s what a lot of comedy is based on. As for recording people, that’s been a staple of late-night talk shows for decades. Maybe you don’t like those, but they’re hardly fringe entertainment.

        I wouldn’t say that specifically what Mike does makes me personally feel empowered. I would say, though, that it’s all of our jobs to ridicule the ridiculous, no matter how popular or established it might be.

        It’s funny to me, in fact, that no one has any issue in openly mocking politicians, but when it comes to religion or religious figures, whoa, that’s going too far.

        And why is that? Because it’s popular? So are other things that are openly mocked. Because it’s considered sacred? So are other things that are openly mocked.

        I personally think that the biggest reason why religion is taboo for mockery is that it’s so easily mocked, so easily deconstructed that, like a dysfunctional family, if we examine it just a little, it starts to reveal its dysfunction. And we can’t have that. Because then we’d have to ask, why would anyone support such dysfunctional systems that cause such demonstrable harm when we wouldn’t ever grant such support and consideration to anything else?

        Best,

        Anton.

  6. Anton A. Hill Says:

    Hey Robyn,

    I realize that some of what you said was for Mike, but…

    When did I use the word “victim”? Oh, yeah, I didn’t. I said that theists outnumber atheists and that without action on our part, we have no voice. The former is backed up by multiple polls and the latter is true for anybody, but is definitely true for any minority. Majorities don’t tend to go out of their way to protect minorities. In fact, in most cases, say the Civil Rights Movement or Women’s Suffrage, the majority tends to drag its heals kicking and screaming before it bestows equal rights, protection, consideration, and inclusion on the minority.

    Hitch and Dawk have started something. No denying that. But when they co-exist in an environment in which it’s perfectly reasonable for Hannity to invite various religious leaders to a special in which the topic is the so-called war on religion in a country in which the religious tend to get absolutely everything they want (and pay zero taxes), it’s hard to argue that atheists are enjoying a revolution.

    If you’re suggesting to me that I use fair argument tactics, I’d challenge you to point out where I haven’t.

    Best,

    Anton.

  7. robyn hill Says:

    Anton, you have used great tactics, which is why this conversation has been so great. The above was just a suggestion that Mike might be taken seriously if he took the issues seriously. I get it though…you guys think it’s a joke. Nobody’s going to change that I suspect.

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Two words: talking snake. I invite you to convince me why I or anyone should take such a concept seriously.

      Two more words: magic underwear. Neither you nor I take this concept seriously, but millions upon millions of Mormons do.

      Presumably, you take the first concept at least partially seriously, but the second you consider ridiculous. Why the difference? We know that the first evolved from made-up Sumerian mythology. We know that the second was made up by Joseph Smith and his followers. The only difference between the two is that one group of people decided that the first is worthy of respect and another group decided that the first and the second are worthy of an equal amount of respect. But in neither case is there a shred of evidence to support the concept. And the only support anyone could conjure would be based on a logical fallacy. Thus, your seeming criticism of Mike’s or my lack of taking any religious concept seriously remains to be justified.

  8. robyn hill Says:

  9. robyn hill Says:

  10. robyn hill Says:

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