My conversation with #RobynHill (part II) on 3/16/12

Robyn returned for more! I get a little condescending at times. Oops. My text is in italics. Hers is in bold. Theirs is in italic bold.

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.

As I’ve said, the evidence is 100% indifferent in regards to what you find reasonable. Plus, you can no more disprove the influence of His Noodly Appendage than I can disprove the influence of Yahweh. But either of our inability to disprove is not evidence that either influencer were present.

I’ve taken a look at the page you linked and, right off the bat, the title irritates me: “Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe.” Evidence. Not “Reasons Why I Assume There Must Be a Creator” or “It Seems Too Complex to Have Arisen without Sentient Influence, therefore it Must Have.” No, the article claims evidence. And what is this evidence?

“Evidence shows that the constants of physics have been finely tuned to a degree not possible through human engineering.”

How does the “evidence” show that? Things are the way they are, therefore someone put them in place like that? I agree that it may seem that way, but seeming is not evidence of the conclusion. And that’s it for the article. No evidence at all. Just “it seems fine-tuned, therefore is.” If you feel I’ve misrepresented the page and that there is evidence, please feel free to point it out. To make it easier, I’ve reproduced the article in its entirety.

Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
by Rich Deem

Introduction
According to Carl Sagan, the universe (cosmos) “is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” However, the idea that the universe is all is not a scientific fact, but an assumption based upon materialistic naturalism. Since Carl Sagan’s death in 1996, new discoveries in physics and cosmology bring into questions Sagan’s assumption about the universe. Evidence shows that the constants of physics have been finely tuned to a degree not possible through human engineering. Five of the more finely tuned numbers are included in the table below. For comments about what scientists think about these numbers, see the page Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe.

Fine Tuning of the Physical Constants of the Universe
Parameter Max. Deviation
Ratio of Electrons:Protons 1:1037
Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity 1:1040
Expansion Rate of Universe 1:1055
Mass Density of Universe1 1:1059
Cosmological Constant 1:10120
These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.Degree of fine tuning
Recent Studies have confirmed the fine tuning of the cosmological constant (also known as “dark energy”). This cosmological constant is a force that increases with the increasing size of the universe. First hypothesized by Albert Einstein, the cosmological constant was rejected by him, because of lack of real world data. However, recent supernova 1A data demonstrated the existence of a cosmological constant that probably made up for the lack of light and dark matter in the universe.2 However, the data was tentative, since there was some variability among observations. Recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but the value of the constant. It turns out that the value of the cosmological constant exactly makes up for the lack of matter in the universe.3

The degree of fine-tuning is difficult to imagine. Dr. Hugh Ross gives an example of the least fine-tuned of the above four examples in his book, The Creator and the Cosmos, which is reproduced here:

One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037. (p. 115)

The ripples in the universe from the original Big Bang event are detectable at one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of gas – no planets, no life. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist only of large black holes. Obviously, no life would be possible in such a universe.

Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun “burns” by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8% (Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers).

Fine Tuning Parameters for the Universe

strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most
life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry
weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form electromagnetic force constant
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements
ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry if smaller: same as above
ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
if smaller: same as above
expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxies would form
if smaller: universe would collapse, even before stars formed entropy level of the universe
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form
mass density of the universe
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements
velocity of light
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support
age of the universe
if older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would exist in the right (for life) part of the galaxy
if younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed initial uniformity of radiation
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed if less uniform: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space average distance between galaxies
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the sun’s orbit density of galaxy cluster
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun’s orbit if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life
fine structure constant (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines) if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the sun
if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the sun decay rate of protons
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation if smaller: universe would contain insufficient matter for life 12C to 16O nuclear energy level ratio
if larger: universe would contain insufficient oxygen for life if smaller: universe would contain insufficient carbon for life ground state energy level for 4He
if larger: universe would contain insufficient carbon and oxygen for life if smaller: same as above
decay rate of 8Be
if slower: heavy element fusion would generate catastrophic explosions in all the stars
if faster: no element heavier than beryllium would form; thus, no life chemistry ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
if higher: neutron decay would yield too few neutrons for the formation of many life-essential elements
if lower: neutron decay would produce so many neutrons as to collapse all stars into neutron stars or black holes
initial excess of nucleons over anti-nucleons
if greater: radiation would prohibit planet formation
if lesser: matter would be insufficient for galaxy or star formation polarity of the water molecule
if greater: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too high for life if smaller: heat of fusion and vaporization would be too low for life; liquid water would not work as a solvent for life chemistry; ice would not float, and a runaway freeze-up would result
supernovae eruptions
if too close, too frequent, or too late: radiation would exterminate life on the planet
if too distant, too infrequent, or too soon: heavy elements would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
white dwarf binaries
if too few: insufficient fluorine would exist for life chemistry if too many: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life if formed too soon: insufficient fluorine production
if formed too late: fluorine would arrive too late for life chemistry ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass
if larger: universe would collapse before solar-type stars could form if smaller: no galaxies would form
number of effective dimensions in the early universe
if larger: quantum mechanics, gravity, and relativity could not coexist; thus, life would be impossible
if smaller: same result
number of effective dimensions in the present universe
if smaller: electron, planet, and star orbits would become unstable if larger: same result
mass of the neutrino
if smaller: galaxy clusters, galaxies, and stars would not form if larger: galaxy clusters and galaxies would be too dense
big bang ripples
if smaller: galaxies would not form; universe would expand too rapidly if larger: galaxies/galaxy clusters would be too dense for life; black holes would dominate; universe would collapse before life-site could form
size of the relativistic dilation factor
if smaller: certain life-essential chemical reactions will not function properly if larger: same result
uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
if larger: oxygen transport to body cells would be too great and certain life-essential elements would be unstable
cosmological constant
if larger: universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars Taken from Big Bang Refined by Fire by Dr. Hugh Ross, 1998. Reasons To Believe, Pasadena, CA.

The Creator and the Cosmos by Dr. Hugh Ross

A classic book for modern Christian apologetics and science. Dr. Ross presents the latest scientific evidence for intelligent design of our world and an easy to understand introduction to modern cosmology. This is a great book to give agnostics, who have an interest in cosmology and astronomy.

You ask me for a specific link on God and Science…There are plenty. Posting one would be a shot in the dark.

So pick one. Can’t be that hard. If there are so many (and by the way, your initial claim was that there are “plenty of scientists who’ve seen proof of a higher being” and you’ve yet to name one or the proof he/she found), pick one. Just one.

I would, however, suggest you go, find a post you disagree with, and become part of the discussion.

I doubt I’ll do that for two main reasons:

  1. It’s a time-suck.
  2. In my experience, apologists never, ever under any circumstances admit even the remotest possibility that they might be wrong.

The administrators are mostly scientists and they, again, are much more informative than I am.

I have to ask, then, why did you make the claim of “plenty of scientists” when you were unwilling to back up your claim? If you were just gonna tell me to go look at that site, why bring it up at all? All I’m asking for is one citation, just one of a single scientist who’s found proof of a higher being. Given your ease in which you made your claim, it stands to reason you’d have equal ease in satisfying it. If you can’t, be honest and admit it.

Your point about finding verifiable evidence for a God…it’s not going to happen.

Then what’s the point of any of it?? Why do you make absolute claims about reality, citing the Bible, if you either are incapable or unwilling to back up a single claim?? Know why people like Mike mock you? This is why. Because if any Tom, Dick, or Harry claimed to know the absolute nature of reality, beyond a doubt, yet not only provided zero evidence to support such claims, but said, hey, guess what, I’m never going to, then the obvious question would be, well, T, D, or H, why would any of us believe you?

Further, you said, “I wasn’t always a Christian…my study of science is what led me to my beliefs.” You have yet to say how and why. And if you’re going to dismiss evidence, an integral part of the scientific method, upon which all science is based, then how can you say that science is what led you to Christianity?

Christians don’t hold science as the great all knowing, we hold God to that standard.

Then why cite science as what led you to God? And why claim that God tests people, something which refutes omniscience, if you believe God to be all-knowing?

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.

I think you’re misunderstanding atheism. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That’s it. One of the reasons we lack a belief in a god or gods, yes, is due to lack of physical evidence, but that doesn’t necessarily lead us to only find validity in the physical. Obviously, there are things that exist outside of the physical, such as concepts. And actually, I don’t know that you can completely argue that all knowledge is built up on concepts. Most knowledge involves something physical.

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.

Bishop Marcion also mentioned it. It may be a naive idea, but that doesn’t stop literally millions of Christians from preaching it. Look, I don’t care if God is mean or nice. I care about what people claim of Him and their evidence for such claims. One claim is that He’s omnibenevolent and forgiving. The evidence counters that claim. If you want to agree that He’s a dick, then we agree.

Justice isn’t always love and rainbows. Some of the best parents I have seen were strict and held consequences in high regard.

I’m all for justice being consequence fitting the crime. I’ve never stated that all who harm others should be let go without consequence; however, by your own admission, God’s annihilated entire peoples for their transgressions. Going by the American justice system (because that’s what I know), such action seems extreme. If we humans have figured out that the punishment should fit the crime, wouldn’t an omnipotent, omniscient god have arrived at the same conclusion? Surely you agree that if I work on the Sabbath, I shouldn’t be put to death. Surely, you agree that not killing me for working on the Sabbath vs. killing me for working on the Sabbath is a progression from not-so great law to better law. If you do agree with that, then you disagree with God’s standards of justice. Yes, I’m citing the Old Testament, but per Christians everywhere and Jesus, God is eternal and unchanging and so is His law.

(By the way, I notice you addressed zero of my points on your claim that OT law was done away with upon Jesus’ arrival and Christian hypocrisy to, despite this, venerate select parts of that same OT.)

If God wipes out a society because of loss of all morals, I would say wiping them out is justice not cruelty.

Are you saying that a person holding or acting on any less-than-perfect moral standard is a capital crime? That anyone, no matter how young or well-intended is guilty of this crime by association? If you were talking about a town full of mature, legal adults who all committed pre-meditated murder, I’d almost see where you’re coming from. But last I checked, God slaughtered entire cities, of men, women, and children in which it would’ve been highly unlikely that every single inhabitant was guilty of the most serious of crimes. If I can see the irrationality in that, surely an omniscient god can.

And what are these morals we’re talking about? Last I checked, God had a problem with everything from murder to using potty language. Are you saying, then, that if a child swears, he is deserving of execution?

What does your conviction say about God’s forgiveness? Doesn’t a forgiving god, you know, forgive? Surely, you agree that execution and forgiveness are not the same thing.

Again, I get really stuck on the omniscient thing and I highly doubt that Christians understand the full implications of their theology. If God is omniscient, then He knows every single thought, feeling, and action of every human who will ever live before He created the universe. Every last detail. Given this, why would God destroy a population after they’ve committed immorality that He knew billions of years before their existence that they would commit? What, then, was the point of their creation if He were just going to kill them all anyway?

If morals are just relative, then, basically, morals do not exist.

Morality is an evolving spectrum system.

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.

By all means try. I’d love to hear how morality is always absolute for all of time under all conditions.

I’ve always found the religious notion of morality very limiting. There seems to be this pervasive idea that morals are boxes to be checked on some kind of government form. But life is so much more complex and nuanced than that. Let’s take an easy one. It’s generally considered bad for one person to kill another person.

Oh, wait, but it isn’t. Almost every human society has at one time or another engaged in war, in which the participating society has found it not only completely acceptable that one person kill another person, but that the killing person should be praised for his action.

And then there’s self-defense. If one person kills another person because the killing person perceives a lethal threat from the killed person, the killing is justified. Perceived threat, not actual physical arm, just perception.

And don’t forget mercy killing. If one person kills another person in order to end the other person’s suffering, the killing is justified.

So, as with language and board games, there are seemingly absolute moral rules, but for any of those rules, we have very easily identified exceptions and justifications for those exceptions.

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.

Are you saying that it was more important to an omnipotent, omniscient god to

  1. Create a people P
  2. knowing that, due to P’s breaking of His law,
  3. He’d destroy P, but hey, that’s okay because
  4. living a futile existence is better than being a robot?

I mean, seriously, why would God create them in the first place? Why not create a people He knows are going to obey Him because they want to, not because they’re robots?

And how can any of us have free will (aka not be robots) in a universe created and controlled by an omniscient god? He knows everything we’ll think, feel, or do before He creates the universe. Thus, it’s all pre-determined. It’s all been decided billions of years before we’re twinkles in the milkman’s eye. Given this, we never had a choice in the matter to begin with. Sure, we’re not aware of this, but God is, so what’s the point? He already knows and yet we play out his little charade for what? His amusement? But he already knows the punchline to the joke, so it can’t even be for that!

It does seems harsh to create a people who would die if they didn’t accept Christ.

And pointless! Why bother creating a people knowing they’ll never follow the rule you want them to follow and then punish them for doing so? Why set up the rule that they have to follow something in the first place? And for which you’ve already decided you won’t provide any evidence? What’s the point of their faith if you already know whether or not they’ll believe in you?

Don’t forget about the billions of people who either existed previous to Christ or, due to no fault of their own, were unaware of Him. I guess, per you, sucks to be them. Nice justice.

Again, it makes a bit of sense if we’re talking about a limited, tribal god of an ancient, desert-dwelling Semitic people, but we’re not. We’re talking about a god whose adherents claim Him to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

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.

I don’t understand why you find seeking better than choosing based on evidence. That’s how we’ve discovered all other knowledge, why couldn’t it also apply to God? In fact, you said yourself that that’s what convinced you of Christianity. Good enough for you, but not for anyone else?

Know what the great thing is, though? Thinking of a better system isn’t your problem! It’s God’s problem. And given His omnipotence and omniscience, surely He can come up with something better. Oo, oo, I have one! How about create a people, tell them in person what the plan is in such a way that you know in your omniscience will not lead to any misunderstanding at any future point, warn them that if they choose not to follow the plan, that’s their choice, but you will always love and support them despite this. Sure, you can set up a system of reasonable consequence, like if one kid kills another kid, you can isolate the killing kid from the rest of the kids for a length of time. Oh, wait, but then you already knew the killing would happen and didn’t intervene on the victim’s behalf. That’s kind of a dick move. Nope, nope, it just doesn’t work with the whole pesky omniscience thing.

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.

Ha! Fair enough! Yeah, we could discuss what he does and its merits till the cows come home. I’m fine with disagreeing, though, beyond Mike, I am curious as to your feelings on religious mockery. Sometimes bad? Always bad? Why?

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 correlated.

But what’s the point of that experience and those choices if God’s either going to destroy the society in the end or knows it’ll fail in the end? To what end do those experiences amount? I don’t think the two are dependent on each other, I just don’t see the point of an omnipotent being watching a society fail for its own sake with arms folded.

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”.

I understand. And keep in mind that I don’t literally mean “luck” like wishing on a four-leafed clover. All I mean is that things happen and, until proved otherwise, don’t happen for any specific reason. The problems with the assertion that there’s a celestial plan are that

  1. there’s no evidence to support the assertion and
  2. it means God’s perfectly okay with almost universal catastrophic cruelty and suffering for almost all of time.

The assertion necessitates children dying of disease and starvation, innocent people being wrongfully convicted and executed, blah, blah, blah. If the universe is indifferent to our experience, then this makes perfect sense. It’s not fun or fair, but nobody ever said existence would be. But to suggest that there’s a plan begs a whole host of questions. Why would God let children die of starvation by virtue alone of where, when, and how they were born? Why would God allow disease to kill children, who, by no fault of their own, have insufficient access to proper medical care? Why wouldn’t God reveal or at least point to compelling evidence that convicts the guilty rather than the innocent? If it’s all blamed on Original Sin, then why would a god set up a system in which every single descendent of the first man is punished for his crime? Humans have evolved past such a puerile system of justice, why wouldn’t a god? If Christians believe that God grants free will, doesn’t intervene, then why do they ever pray? And so on.

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?

Oh, that’s easy! Empire building! Almost every king and emperor in almost all of human history has claimed that he was picked by god, the kid of a god, revealed by god, foretold by prophecy, or some shit to lend himself credibility among the people. I mean, if my parents had told me (at an early age) that our president had been picked by God, said president would hold a lot more water in my eyes than had my parents not made such a claim.

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)?

Why did the current pope actively attempt to suppress any justice in all those child molestation cases? Because

  1. people are flawed,
  2. people like power,
  3. are usually willing to do anything to acquire and secure it,
  4. often join exciting, sexy movements to do exciting, cool things,
  5. primarily to get laid.
  6. Sometimes breakfast doesn’t settle that well.

Yes, I’m being silly. But it all applies.

  1. An author can find importance in truth
  2. and yet not be a perfect model of it.
  3. “Lie” implies intent
  4. which can’t be demonstrated.
  5. “Almost impossible tapestry” has yet to be demonstrated.

I notice you also say “author” as if there were only one. We know that simply isn’t true. One guy didn’t sit down and write the Bible. Like language, biology, and morality, the Bible has evolved over centuries to include documents, some developing organically, some by design, that were all decided on by committee, and kings, and emperors. Changes have been made. Books have been left out. Every last decision involved was by a human for his own purposes whatever they might have been.

You seem also to be implying that if a book is

  1. long and
  2. complicated,
  3. then it couldn’t have been written by a human or humans.

But Steven King has clearly demonstrated that this is not only possible, but it happens every day. That and given the amount of skepticism on the Bible’s contradictions (which I won’t go into) and the massive apologetic response, the authors of the Bible didn’t exactly do a bang-up job.

What would be the motif?

I think I already answered this, but there are plenty of motives for doing plenty of things. For anyone to claim to have absolute truth to a mass of illiterate peasants and in turn to have said peasants’ undying loyalty, support, and worship seems a pretty powerful motivator.

Or, in the case of monks and bishops, to get paid.

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

Let me stop you there. How do you know that

  1. Elijah existed,
  2. his predictions did too,
  3. these are the dates,
  4. they’re accurate,
  5. and that this wasn’t all written after the fact to appear as if it had occurred as alleged?

Can you prove that Merlin’s prophecy of Arthur’s fall was not fulfilled by Arthur’s later fall? People tell stories. Prophecies are cool (and unfalsifiable).

(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.

That’s easy: name a country Israel.

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.

You do know that the Bible, yes, even the Old Testament, was written after the fact, right? Guys weren’t watching battles as they took place and writing everything down as it happened. All of the Bible, yes all of it, was written after the alleged facts. It’s exceedingly easy, then, to describe anything you want to in any way you want to with history to your back.

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.

I’m just curious. Are you copying this from some apologetic text? That very last bit isn’t true. First, gentiles are not pagans. Gentiles are non-Jews. Or, if you’re a Mormon, non-Mormon. Second, there are plenty of pagans out there. Just look in Britain. Or my office.

Remember, my challenge was to point out one single prophecy that has been fulfilled, for which there was objectively verifiable evidence, and for which there was no other explanation. None of the above fulfills those conditions. Not only that, but many are unfalsifiable. If you disagree, please feel free to correct me.

This is why I’ve never been impressed with prophesies. They’re always so easily refuted or ridiculed. They’re never:

Anton 1:1: And the Lord spake saying, one day, this thing called “science” will discover that all matter is comprised of “atoms” from the Greek “no cut” meaning they’re the smallest piece of matter possible. It will happen in the following years by the following calendars, by the following individuals on the following days using the following methods. And then a few years later, even smaller particles will be discovered which will render that whole “no cut” thing a misnomer.

God could’ve revealed any version of my example to any prophet at any time. If demonstrating His power and knowledge were important to Him through the revelation and fulfillment of prophecies, why not do something truly impressive as per my example? If God is omniscient and omnipotent, He could’ve figured out a way. And yet that didn’t happen. Not even a little.

But then, wait a minute, if, per you, the whole point is faith, or seeking, but not evidence, then why would there be alleged fulfilled prophecies at all? Isn’t that direct revelation? Isn’t that evidence? Does God want us to seek Him of our own accord or not? Seems to swing both ways when required.

And prophecies are never like my example. They’re general, vague, easily fulfilled by almost anything. And yet they’re allegedly from the absolute, literal, inerrant, direct word of God.

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

Ha! I just can’t win!

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.

Yes, but the religious claim to always be right! Scientists never claim that! And religious claim to be right because they’re buddies with God. Scientists claim to be right (if they turn out to be) because they have verifiable evidence. Scientists revise theories to match evidence. Religious claim evidence to match theology. Am I really having to illustrate these basic differences?

Further, if someone receives a calling from God, isn’t that a calling from God? Isn’t that God telling the person to become clergy? If that’s the case, that God personally dishes out vocations, then doesn’t it also stand to reason that those who claim, as the Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, Eastern Orthodox Church, and countless others do claim, to receive revelations from God actually do? And if that’s the case, isn’t everything they say supposed to be completely true all the time? If clergy are transmitting God’s thoughts (as the Mormons claim), then how could they ever, under any circumstances, make any mistake of any kind?

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.

I’m so tired of the Not a True Scotsman fallacy. Harold Camping claimed the world to already be over. He claimed the Bible guaranteed it. If he, per you, isn’t a “real Christian”, then who is?? Seems to me the definition of a Christian is “anyone who I say is one, including me.” It’s like when conservatives talk about “real” Americans. Last I checked, a “real” American was one who was either

  1. born in America or
  2. became a citizen of America.

By that same token, seems to me, a Christian is one who believes that Jesus was the son of God, died, became a zombie, and did so for some weird rule that his dad aka him made about… etc. That’s it. A Christian either believes the stuff or doesn’t.

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.

And yet you’re not whining about their arrogance.

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

Arg. Atheist means “no god.” That’s it. That’s what the Greek means. To expand that further for conversational purposes, yes, it means “a lack of a belief in a god or gods”, but as I described earlier, based on the lack of evidence, I’m 100% sure that there is no Thor, Yahweh, or Zeus. Such certainty is not a “belief” no more than my certainty that there are no goblins is not a belief. There simply is no evidence to support a belief in goblins. And correct me if I’m wrong, but you agree with me on my certainty of goblins, Thor, and Zeus. Does that mean it’s your belief that they don’t exist?

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.

Sorry for being so damned condescending, but… Do you know what “omniscient” means? I’m serious. Do you know? If not, I’ll explain it. “Omni” means “all” and “scient” means “knowing.” Thus, all-knowing. Knowing absolutely everything. Not some things. Not most things. Not Calculus. Everything. Thus, to say that God “tests” people is to say that God seeks to acquire knowledge that He doesn’t already have. This is impossible, however, as God is omniscient. God already knows what people will do, think, and feel before He creates them, so a test is useless. He also knows what, if anything, his creation will learn, so again, a test will reveal no new information.

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.

But

  1. per Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, He did reveal himself to Adam, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (among others)
  2. thereby rendering your assertion of “taking a chance” false.
  3. There’s no “chance” to be taken given that with God’s omniscience, He already knows who’s taken the chance or not.
  4. Granting taking a chance, why is that better than direct revelation as per Adam, etc.?
  5. If experience is preferred to a neon sign, then why reveal Himself through holy books
  6. or miracles
  7. or prophets
  8. or signs
  9. or preachers?

As far as other religions are concerned, I don’t know that they are false…only God knows that.

Then why are you a Christian??

I don’t judge them which is more than I can say for atheists who claim we are all wrong.

Oo, ouch. What a zinger! Yes, I admit it. I’m judgmental. I judge some things to be true and false. Prove to me that judgment, and judgement alone, is bad. You won’t because you can’t. Society has picked some falsehoods as beyond judgement because the adherents to those falsehoods don’t like their falsehoods being called false. But that doesn’t change the fact that refusing to allow one’s children to see a doctor because you believe God will heal them is false. My judging it false doesn’t make it any less false. Nor does it make me any meaner of a person. The fact is that the religious are exceedingly used to getting their way almost all of the time on almost everything under almost all circumstances and the instant anyone even calls such privilege into question, that someone is accused of being arrogant, judgmental, or the like.

And to be clear, I don’t claim you’re wrong. I claim that for every positive claim that you make, I’m happy to see your evidence. The fact that you (collectively) have so completely and perpetually failed to meet such an elementary demand is your problem, not mine. But rather than take responsibility for your lack of evidence, it’s much easier to use (irrelevant) ad hominems against people like me.

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

No problem. Please feel free to make fun. I love being mocked. Though, I’m not sure what that would be like. “Hey, atheist, look at this. Every time I drop this ball, it falls to the floor. Yep, every single time. Boy, I sure showed you the flaw in the scientific method of objectively verifiable, testable, reproducible evidence– Oh, wait…”

8 Responses to “My conversation with #RobynHill (part II) on 3/16/12”

  1. robyn hill Says:

    Damn, great response Anton. Please give me some time to respond to this big fat juicy post you returned! I will spend the next day or avoiding any serious thinking…my brain hurts from completing report cards. But, I will reply, how can I resist? 🙂 Robyn

  2. Anton A. Hill Says:

    Hey Robyn,

    No problem. Take your time. I still have to respond to your third (Facebook) chunk and all the miscellaneous video comments you made. 🙂

    Best,

    Anton.

  3. Crab Bear Says:

    “Ezekiel tells about the fall of the great city Tyre”.. Man, I love this false prophecy. Ezekiel became a prisoner at the start of the war. Nebuchadnezzar never took the island city. Ezekiel states that Nebuchadnezzar would be rewarded with the plunder of Tyre.

    Ezekiel admits later in the prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar did not take Tyre and offers Nebuchadnezzar Egypt. That also turns out not to be true since Nebuchadnezzar never took Egypt.

    You can look at a map today and see Tyre! It is not desolate! It is not covered with water but there are many apologetic websites that will argue this ad nauseum.

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      I’m glad you’re addressing this, Crab. I’m far too biblically ignorant to give it justice.

      Is Tyre the city that Dusty (Cult of Dusty) did a video about finding it on Google maps? I’d thought so, but now I can’t find it. Poop.

  4. Crab Bear Says:

    I just checked out his videos and yes, he discussed tyre. He gave me a headache though 🙂

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Well, headaches are no fun. I forget which video of his it was, but I do remember that he quoted Bible passages that clearly stated there was no Tyre and then proceeded to demonstrate it on Google maps. I imagine the apologist response is something like, “That’s a different Tyre,” but I found it amusing nonetheless.

      • Crab Bear Says:

        Yes, generally they state it is not the “Phoenician” city of Tyre or the ancient city of Tyre.

        One guy showed me a picture of “Fishing Nets” to state it came true because part of the Prophecy states “A Place To Spread Fishing Nets”, lol, an Island city without fishing nets, lol!

        • Anton A. Hill Says:

          This is why I don’t get into Bible contradictions with apologists because they have a rationalization for everything. I understand. I would too because otherwise you have to admit either you or your scripture might be wrong, which you can’t do if you’re an apologist.

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