...Hi!.... I normally ignore letters like this, but I'm a bit bored today so am willing to spend some time with you discussing your letter.
...BTW: what prompted you to e-mail me? you don't mention in your letter that you had seen my writings (//mesazero.com/freelink), and I have not posted to talk.atheism in some time. I must assume you stumbled across my web pages, in which case, I am sorry you didn't read them further, since most of your comments are answered in my freelink writings...
How is it possible to talk of good and bad, right and wrong, what is and what ought to be unless you have a moral point of reference onwitch to define these terms? Can an atheist be a good person with out believing in God? The fact of the matter is that there is no rational way to justify the goodness unless you have a transcendent power, a higher point of reference. A person may choose to be good,
...Bzzzt... First error. Problem 1 is that if we use god as a 'higher point of reference', how do we know god is good? is he good just because he claims he is? in which case, he could define rape and murder as good (as he does in parts of the bible)... if god is good because god is good, then that means there is a goodness "above" god, that god has a higher point of reference... in which case, why do we need god to show us how to be good?
...If you need god to show you how to be moral and good, what happens when you lose god? If I could prove to you (hypothetically) that there was no god, would you become a deranged ax murderer? or would you basically be the same person you are now? If you are only good because god tells you to be, then you are quite a scary individual, since your god could tell you to kill people and you would happily do so (quite a number of psychopathic killers claim "god told them to")... if you are good anyway, again there is no need to call in "god" to be good.
but that goodness will ultimately be defined on what God defines as goodness. It simply gives an atheist every reason not to be moral because he or she decides what is right.
...So you reduce atheists to immoral beings? Hardly. That is nothing more than calling names and does little to support your argument. It is not insulting, per se, since I hear such names from other theists every day, but it is wildly incorrect.
...The fact is that I am a morally upstanding person. I do not lie, steal, or cheat on taxes. I make efforts to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place... does that sound like someone without morals to you?
...To that end, I point out something.... When I am good.. when I don't steal when I could. When I don't lie even when it would benefit me... I do it selflessly, for no other reason than to be good... However, when you don't lie, and don't cheat, and don't steal, you do it selfishly. You do it because god told you to and you want to avoid hell/make god happy...
There are three steps you take in determining the existence of God.
Step one. However you section physical reality, you take the physical universe as you see it. However you slice it down to its minute form, the fact of the matter is, you end up with a physical entity or quantity that does not have the reason for its existence in its self. Ultimately the physical universe reduced in any form cannot explain its own origin. It must explain itself outside of its self, which means the first explanation of a universe as we see it has to have something that is not physical as a first cause. So you have a haunted universe without knowing what the first cause is.
...Well, your "three steps" break down at step 1.
...There are two distinct and very possible scenarios to explain the universe within the context of the universe itself.
...1: Quantum Mechanics allows the creation of energy/matter from nothing... happens all the time. Its been proven and demonstrated to happen. So there's a perfectly good option to "where it came from"...
...2: Hawking has postulated that time, like space, may be curved. The universe as we know it may be curved in a higher dimension. In which case, the "end" of the universe would be the same point as the "beginning" of the universe... There would be no need to find an origin because there would be no origin.
...Its a fascinating theory. You should read some of the thesis works on it. The mathematics are interesting and compelling. And some of the potential results are intriguing.
Next you come to the argument which is called not from design but to design. You cannot think that a dictionary came together from an explosion in a printing factory - there is a sequence to its creation. Also, if you take the component of the enzyme in the human component, the enzyme which is the building block of the gene, and the gene the building block of the cell, the possibility of the human enzyme coming together by chance is one in ten to the power of forty thousand. That's more than the atoms in this universe. So I say to you that the physical quantity can not explain itself. There is intelligibility that assumes a prior mind.
...The watchmaker argument is hollow and insubstantial, and totally ignores the fact that evolution has nothing to do with chance. Evolution is the antithesis of chance. Living things and dictionaries are not the same. Dictionaries do not self replicate...
...A better analogy would be an explosion in a printing factory causes a hail of random letters. Some of those letters fall in the right place and stick, the rest are thrown back up to try again... and again.... and again... each time, the ones in the right place stick... far from being impossible, it is not just possible, but probable that a dictionary would eventually form.
...Self replication happens naturally. There are any number of molecules that spontaneously form that then cause others just like them to form (while I do not have the material here (I'm at work :-/), and I'm prolly way off base here, but I seem to recall that lithium-carbon is one such simple molecule). If you have replication + the possibility of errors + time, you get evolution. simple.
Why do Christians say there is a loving and all perfect God when there is so much of evil in this world? I have a question fore (sic)you. If you say there is such of thing as good, aren't you assuming there is such of thing as evil? If you say there is a such of thing as evil, aren't you assuming that there is such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil? If you believe in moral law you must also believe in a moral lawgiver.
...Good and evil are relative terms which are very hard to nail down (read my thesis on "Moral Absolutism" - mesazero.com/freelink/ramblings/issue17.php). Murder may be 'evil', but if I murder someone to save the lives of a hundred children, is that still evil? Would god still send me to hell?
...The 'moral law' you speak of is no absolute and is certainly not a good measure. Morals do change with time. There was a time when it was moral and just to keep slaves (it is mentioned and encouraged in the bible)... we know better now. It was moral to treat your wife as property.
...And following the moral law does not necessarily make one good or even lead to goodness. If I choose not to murder and instead let someone else kill others, is that good? If I never bear false witness and it leads someone to a truth they are best not to know (like telling my son there is no Santa), is that good? If I do not covet things and thus do not work and do not contribute meaningfully to our culture, is that good?
However, that's whom(sic) you're trying to disprove. If there's no moral lawgiver then there's no moral law. If there's no moral law, there's no good. If there's no good there's no evil. The atheistic view cannot be justified and is poor science. Why will you go to any extreme to deny evidence that's contrary to your way of thinking. When you look at this behavior closely, it's amazing that you claim to have a rational mind.
...Again, good and evil are relative and I challenge you to name a single "good" thing that can not, at some point, be evil.
...Even believing in a god may not be good... what if Zeus really is up there and Loki, the god of mischief, has been tricking you with this false god? Zeus will be mighty pissed to know that you have been worshiping a false god...
Charles Darwin changed the history of the world as a phobic misfit. Charles Darwin actually stole some of the concepts of natural selection from his grandfather and never gave credit to him or any one else, so why then is he the hero of the plot scene? He did not come up with the answer first - the so-called answer of natural selection. He is the hero of the plot because he is the first man in history to say that his mind in its phobic turmoil was the chaotic universe finally realizing its own existence.
...Darwin built his theory on the prior work of many other scientists. He did not explicitly name them all as credit, but then again, I would hate to have to list every scientist who went before me whenever I submitted a thesis. Darwin did explicitly thank several of his peers whose concepts contributed to his discoveries.
...Darwin's biggest contribution was coherently explaining concepts that had been tossed about for millennia. The idea of evolution was known to the Greeks. The concept of "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest" was a popular hypothesis... Darwin took those and explained how they worked together and demonstrated how it all wove together. Later, other scientists expanded on Darwin's work...
So how important then is the controversy between creation and evolution? Meaning, purpose, answers to the facts, if we really want to embrace the truth, evolution has no real basis in fact. It's only a presupposition that must be held as an imperial dogmatic position; it cannot be supported by close examination. Like communism, it has to be the only ball game in town.
...Evolution does not seek to attribute meaning to it all, just an explanation for how it happened. Contrary to what you claim, evolution only survives because it is constantly subjected to close scrutiny. There has never been a case of an organism that could not be explained via natural selection. If there were, natural selection would be thrown out.
...And also contrary to your claims, evolution has been demonstrated and observed. I point you to www.talk-origins.org for many documented cases of speciasation. My particular favorite is the case of the wild Goat's Beard, a flower that is now common in the US, but in wild varieties that are a direct result of natural selection.
So how important is this question of creation or evolution? If we were designed and created then we must give an account to a creator. Steven J. Gould has said that there have been over a hundred major debates between evolutionist and creationist, and, we, the evolutionist have lost them all . He said we should stop debating these people. What he is saying is that when the evidence for evolution and the evidence for creation are set out before an audience, the creationist said Gould, always wins. And so therefore we should stop debating them. Instead, we should get the courts to forbid that evidence to be set before the minds of the public and in schools.
...What Gould really meant (which you would know if you had read any of his multiple attempts at clarifying this fallacy), is that every time the evolutionist debates, he may win the debate, but the minds of the audience is still not convinced. Evolution always wins on technical merit, but emotionally, people still like the warm fuzzy of creationism.
...Creationism does not exist in schools because if has no scientific merit. Even if Evolution as we know it were disproven tomorrow, Creationism still should not be taught in schools. Creationism is out of schools the same way that teaching them to channel their mental energies to make the pencil move without touching it is not taught... neither is scientifically proven, even though there are many who would support them.
Atheists always lose the debate, so you try to win by censorship.
...Atheists never lose the debate on scientific grounds.
...But that aside... which version of Creationism would you want to be taught? Last time I heard there were at least 100 different variations that are taught as part of common world religions (many many more if you could ancient religions)... There are even 2 different ones taught in the bible!!! Which variation should be taught? Some of them are obviously silly, but most of them have the same evidence as the Christian variation.
...For that matter, the theory that the world was created last Tuesday (Last Tuesdayism (a real religion!)) has the same evidence as the Christian version... should we teach it too?
...We 'censor' Creationism because it has no scientific backing, no scientific merit, and we do not have the time nor the funding to teach 100 different classes about all the variations of creationism there are...
...On the other hand, Evolution does have scientific backing, it does have scientific merit. Some people also think the world is flat? Should we teach that too?
There is a God and He is only lost to the mind that refuses to accept the evidence. The fool has said in his heart there is no God.
Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. It's not the way you or I see it, but the way truth sees itself. "Truthfully".
...Very Zen of you there... Perhaps Buddha was "The Way"?
...Perhaps the Hindus have the right idea? There are about a billion Hindus out there who believe in a different truth than you do.... are they wrong? or are you?
You atheist will always try to discredit the Bible. Mathematicians have now discovered a code in the Bible - not Christian or religious mathematicians. The code is so complex that only a intelligence of absolute power could have placed it there. A leading code breaker fore the united states government confirmed it was there. He tried in vain to disprove the code but was unable. The code authenticates the bible proving once and fore all that the bible is the word of the creator.
...The exact same formula was used on Moby Dick and it found tons of "codes" in it too... Is Moby Dick truth? Melvil will be happy to know he has an "intelligence of absolute power".
...That "code" is utterly silly and totally discredited by any mathematician worth his salt. It works equally well on "War and Peace" as on the script for "Muppets take Manhattan". I have reviewed the work and it boils down to "adjust things until you find legible words, if you don't find legible words, you did not adjust right"... hardly evidence of intelligence... It would work for any sufficiently long work (at least a few thousand words).
Your questions self-destruct on themselves. It shows that at the core of it all, you don't want the God of the Bible because you want to behave like animals by what you deem as just.
..."Behave like animals"? Resorting to name calling again?
...So why do you turn your back on the god of the Vedas? Is it because you want to behave like animals by what you deem as just?
...Just what is your reason for denying Shiva and the Hindu pantheon?
...And for that matter, why are you so hostile towards atheism?
Also Charles Darwin renounced his belief in evolution on his deathbed. That is 100% fact.
...No, its 100% fiction. And you fell for this one too... The woman who made this silly claim was not at his death bed. His family said she had never met him in person and was not there when he died. They went on to say that not only did he not renounce his belief in evolution, he worked on it up until he was no longer able to work...
...It isn't too surprising that you fell for this old myth. It is quite popular and common... The strange part is that doesn't the bible tell you to not lie? But even people who know its a fake story keep repeating it... especially the woman who started this silly lie... hmmmm...
There is a god and you can know him threw(sic) his son Jesus Christ.
...Been there, done that...
...There is a god, and his son is Krishna (the Hindu
version of the above)
...There is a god, and his son is Hercules (the Greek version)
...There is a god, and his son is Wottan (the Scandinavian version, iirc)...
It should be noted they never replied