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8 Things Theists Shouldn’t Do When Debating Atheists

December 23, 2008

In my never-ending ‘War on Stupid’ I’ve come across some things that I personally feel theists should try to avoid saying or doing when trying to have a sound debate with atheists. The eight things I bring up below typically are the biggest detractors from any point you’re trying to make, or are just so stupid that you’ll immediately lose the respect of the person you’re trying to converse with. In my opinion, once you’ve lost their respect nothing you say will matter and the debate is basically not worth continuing. My hope is that some theists will come across this and stop doing things they may be unintentionally doing and more high quality/productive debates might come out of it.

Please excuse any snarkiness present, debating Christians on Digg recently has made me a little flustered.

  1. Use Bible quotes to prove your god exists or to throw them up like magical talismans. The other day on Digg, I had someone vomit John 3:16 at me instead of any valuable argument as to why he thought we atheists worshiped Baal. Quoting holy scripture will not magically convert an atheist. We aren’t going to say “Wow, I’ve never heard John 3:16 before, I’ve been totally wrong about everything. I think I’ll convert now!” While these words may have gravity and meaning to you, they do not to us. I have never read any scripture that has moved me in any positive way. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking have had more profound emotional responses from me than any priest could ever hope to do. If you do this it’s interpreted as irrational behavior and we’ll likely start treating you like you’re insane.
  2. Try to poke holes in Evolutionary theory and think that is a theory in itself. Mainly, I’m addressing the fact that some of you seem to claim you need proof of every single transitional fossil in the history of the planet. Thanks to the effects of time and erosion, this will likely never happen. This is highly hypocritical, you needed considerably less evidence to believe in a god. There are literally mountains of transitional fossils we’ve uncovered. You whine about whale fossils, then we find a shit-ton, then you just move on to something else. Very frustrating and you’ll never win an argument with someone if your point keeps changing. Every time you’re losing ground and giving up positions. First the earth was flat, then it was a globe but the center of the universe, blah blah blah. Now some of you even accept “micro-evolution” but contend that micro, even given the age of earth, can’t lead to speciation to what we have now? There is no micro-evolution, there is only evolution.
  3. Claim you have to be a Christian before you can understand the Bible. How on Earth does that make sense? How would anyone convert? If you make a claim like this you’re making a magical appeal to someone who only deals in reality. You’re immediately alienating them and detracting from your argument.
  4. Use an argument that you know damn well has been refuted and beaten down in the past in hope that the current person will be fooled by it. This is the one thing that pisses me off more than anything else about debating theists, Christians mainly. Everyone knows about Pascal’s Wager and everyone knows the very serious problems with its assertion of only one god. STOP USING IT. If an atheist or a duck or anyone else has logically refuted one of your arguments in the past then you are being dishonest when you use it next time. In other words, you’re lying to try to convert.
  5. Confuse science with faith. Science is based on reproducible or continuously viewed evidence. Faith is based on personal experience, which isn’t reliable or reproducible. If you call science a religion during a debate you’ve lost it already and you’ll lose any respect your opponent might have had for you.
  6. Think that your opponent should know everything about every scientific field if you can’t quote every verse in your Bible from memory. Even if you can (you freak ), the text in your respective holy book is pale in comparison to the amount of scientific data in existence. It is impossible for one human to know it all. Most atheists are not scientists with a PhD. just like most Christians are not the Pope. Point made?
  7. Make outlandish claims you know aren’t true. There is a commenter here on my blog which claims all atheists are in on a giant conspiracy to hostilely remove all religion from the face of the planet. He’s wrong, and so are you if you claim this. There are many atheists who have no issues with religion, they just don’t personally prescribe to it. There is no vast conspiracy, there is, however, the average angry 12 year old who may spout ‘Stalin-esque’ bullshit about killing off religion. Most atheists who are competent do not want to infringe on personal freedoms, they just want a secular government and mentally fit leaders. There is no conspiracy, if you gargle this out during a debate with the godless you are detracting from any further valid case you may make and you might be out of your medication.
  8. Assume the atheist knows exactly how you interpret your scripture. Some theists accept the Theory of Evolution, some don’t. It’s not our job to read your mind, if you really want to have a sound debate with an atheist you need to explain to them exactly what it is you believe before you can make your case. For example; Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, and Mormons all claim to be Christians but they all interpret the scriptures vastly different, some even wing it. It’s not our job to know just how closely you follow your book.

Got any others? Post them below..

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32 Comments
  1. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 23, 2008 4:14 am

    Are there really that many people engaging in arguments with Atheists? I had no idea. To me everyone has the freedom to choose.

    Personally, I choose to believe in the God of the Bible and I have accepted His Son Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. That being said, I don’t expect you or everyone else to believe just because I do, or even to bother reading the Bible.

    That is a personal choice that only you can make and no where in the Bible does it say Christians (or anyone else) are required or should ‘force’ you to believe. If you force someone to believe then that pretty much leaves no room for faith….wouldn’t you say?

    I think most Christians would be better off spending their time in scripture as opposed to arguing with an Atheist. Someone who doesn’t believe in God is considered in the bible to be a fool. That being said, Proverbs 14:7 says, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.” (sorry to throw a verse at you)

    So, if there are any Christians who happen upon this blog I would appreciate it if ANY of them would please show me the verse where it says you should argue with a fool? an Atheist? an Agnostic? or anyone else concerning the Bible.

  2. December 23, 2008 9:14 am

    I don’t get to debate theists that much. I know it’s sounds like a cliche, but after doing that for a several years on an almost daily basis, I pretty much figured that it’s pointless and actually, quite boring. There’s no future in it.

    I’ve *never* learnt anything out of debating bible-thumpers. I’ve had quite a bit of satisfaction by debating theists who weren’t bible-thumpers (a good example is a co-blogger here on wordpress by the name of Jeff (author of jeffsdeepthoughts) etc. He’s not even a creationist!) – and yes, learning C++ really made me extra-aware of my parenthesis (even though (I’m)((not))writing c(o)de anymore).

  3. December 23, 2008 12:38 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    One of the things that always leaves my mouth gaping open is when someone says, “Well, it’s in the Bible.” And I stand there, like, “What?”

    Or, even though I am pursuing science as a major, they make the assumption that I know just about everything. You know, when you become an atheist, suddenly you can spout out ever law of physics and name every phylum! It’s amazing! lol.

  4. Zacharias permalink
    December 23, 2008 1:08 pm

    Good points Sisyphus. Especially with the first. As a Christian myself this really really bugs me when I run across it, people claiming that they know God is real because the Bible makes it clear. Obviously if someone doesn’t believe in God in the first place, then they aren’t going to see the Bible as a source of proof. I’m sorry fellow Christians, but just doesn’t work.

    Another point I would add is that theists shouldn’t engage is debate on topics they haven’t themselves leared about. For instance, it would be folly to try to argue about evolution if you haven’t yourself read the scientific material on evolution for yourself, to know here your opponent is coming from.

    This isn’t about belief vs. unbelief but rather sound logic and debate principles.

    On the other hand I have to agree with both the first and second comments on this post: Christians should focus less on arguing with others and more on working towards their own theosis. And also, ultimately, the debates are pointless. Each side is firmly entrenched in their beliefs and you can go round in cirlces for ages. I try not to engage in debates per se, but will correct a misunderstanding about my beliefs if I see it presented.

  5. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 24, 2008 12:00 am

    Well said, to all of you. The whole point of the bible, and really God sending Christ to begin with, isn’t to cause argument, or even debate, but to reconcile yourself to God. There was plenty of division before Christ, so He obviously didn’t come to divide further.

    Jesus Himself said, “I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

    From that I gather many points but two of them I will mention here:

    Firstly, He didn’t come to argue or debate but to just tell us the truth. Notice it is to “tell” us the truth, not “force” us to believe the truth.

    Secondly, He said “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice”, so that implies to me that there will be some people who are not of the truth and will not hear His voice no matter how much debate is initiated with them.

    This is why I refuse to debate with someone who I know has already made up their mind. It isn’t my place to tell others what they should believe. They have freewill the same as I do and I respect them no matter what they choose.

    Since Christ Himself said there are those who just will not believe, for whatever reason(s), then the question I have for other Christians is this: Why argue with those people who Christ said will not hear His voice? There is no scripture in the Bible that commands Christians to argue & debate with non-believers.

    Besides, most “Christians” don’t even follow the word of God or even bother to read the Bible. They just walk around with pompous and pious attitudes thinking they are better than everyone else. Those people are not being Christ-like and that kind of behaviour is not of God.

    I think Mahatma Gandhi phrased it best when he responded to a question from missionary E. Stanley Jones.

    Mr. Jones asked Gandhi, “Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you adamantly reject becoming His follower?”

    Ghandi’s reply sums up my opinion of most “so-called” Christians in the world today.

    Ghandi simply said, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    ~ James

  6. Bob permalink
    December 24, 2008 5:30 am

    Well it’s like this. I’m offended that Jimmyjames32 and his bible say I’m a fool. Being that he thinks I’m going to hell, he might as well tell it to my face that I’m a lesser person than him. The fact that people keep telling me I need “saved” is terribly insulting. I would say the equal thing for me to say is that they are insane. But I would have a better chance of being correct, because they are the ones who hear voices and believe in invisible men.

    The texts of Christianity weren’t written and put together until decades after Jesus’ death. They were written by men, whom had their own opinion and writing styles. How accurate would you say they got the words of Jesus down? Have you ever played the telephone game?

    What about Chinese gods looking like Chinese people, Roman gods looking like Roman people, and Arab gods looking like Arab people. Do you not see a trend here? Religions and their texts were created by men, and so were their gods. Gods were created in man’s image. Even the powers that we assume a god would have, like omnipresence, were thought up by men.

    So while there is no reason to believe in any gods, since the whole concept is man made, there is even less reason to believe in xyz version. If there is a god out there, you don’t know his name, and neither do I.

  7. Gloria permalink
    December 24, 2008 5:38 pm

    Your title got my attention. Thanks for the insight. I don’t think that I have done any of those things but maybe. It was certainly not my intention. As a follower of Christ I live my life as a witness to that. People can take it or leave it or think whatever they choose but as people see how I handle situations it causes them to ask questions. I am ready to give them an answer as to the hope, peace and love that is evident in my life expressed through how I live.

    I have just 1 thing on my list for you.
    In talking with theists, don’t call it a ‘war on stupid’. It just isn’t going to make what you have to say carry much weight. I almost didn’t continue because that was in the first line. It takes away from anything that follows.

  8. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 24, 2008 11:49 pm

    Bob,

    I never said you (or anyone else who doesn’t believe in God) is a lesser person than I. Also, if your “tell me to my face” is some kind of a threat, all I can say is I would definitely tell you to your face as I’m just as sure about my physical strength and martial art skills as I am my about my faith in Jesus Christ. So whether the situation is physical or spiritual, I have no fear.

    Moving along….

    I won’t get into the rest of what you mentioned because there is no point, which is exactly what I was talking about in my previous entry. I don’t argue with those who do not believe, there is no point in doing it.

    If you wish to believe that God doesn’t exist, then that is fine with me. If you wish to believe that man made God, instead of God making man, that is fine too. You are obviously free to believe whatever you wish.

    I you think that God sending Christ because you need to be saved is “insulting”, well that isn’t my concern so I don’t have a comment on that. As far as you going to hell or not, again that isn’t my concern.

    Bob I think you have mistaken me with the “knock on your door” type of Christian who feels it necessary to do everything to “save the heathen’s” soul. I’m not. I honestly could not care less about arguing with people. It’s ridiculous to do so and nothing positive comes from it.

    I believe in God and Christ Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, that is true. That being said, I do know that I don’t “hear voices” or “believe in invisible men.”

    The bottom line for me is that whether you or anyone else believes in God/Christ or not doesn’t concern me in the least. You have the oppurtunity to make your own choice, just as I have, and you will have to live with it, just as I will.

    Have a nice day and Merry Christmas!

  9. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 24, 2008 11:55 pm

    Oh, one more thing Bob….

    As I’ve been a student of martial arts for many years, I’m a big fan of Chuck Norris. Mr. Norris is also a Christian and he wrote a great article concerning Atheists such as yourself.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=83623

    ~ J.

  10. Bob permalink
    December 25, 2008 7:35 am

    I was in no way referencing physical altercations, but I’m not surprised that a Christian would bring it to that. I was referencing how your religion has led you to treat other people differently. Maybe not you particularly, but many Christians do prescribe to the idea that we “need saved” and we are unworthy of their proposed afterlife unless we do convert.

    You don’t want to debate. That’s fine. But can you tell me why you believe the god you believe in is not man made? And why you believe in the Christian religion, and not some other religion? I know many Christians will find a verse that says something to the effect of “believe in me, I’m the true god”. But shouldn’t be expected that all religions (and their bibles) would have a clause like that?

  11. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 25, 2008 11:34 pm

    Bob,

    I wasn’t bringing anything to anything, I was just letting you know there is no fear in me. God said do not have, have no fear, etc., more times in the Bible than just about anything else – so obviously it is important to have no fear. I was just letting you know that I don’t have any fear of anything, the reason is because my faith is in God.

    Yes, I can answer your questions. I have no problem answer someone’s questions if they are truly seeking an answer to either take as their own to help in their faith, or in the case of an atheist, take as an opinion from someone else and respect it even though they may not believe it themselves.

    Ok, why do I believe the God I believe in is not man made?

    Basically it is because of faith. In Romans 10:17 it says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” In Malachi chapter 3, God plainly states to prove Him at His word.

    So I did. The short answer to why I believe is because I constantly read and study the Bible and DO what the Bible says to do. The problem is that most people (Christians that is) don’t do what the Bible says and so they don’t get the results God said they would, so they then say the Bible is a lie. But, in James 2:20 it states clearly that Faith without Works is dead. That basically means that you don’t get the results from going to church, “witnessing” to people about Christ, trying to show off to people that you are the best Christian there is, etc. You don’t get results until you actually DO what the Bible says to do and do it consistently. I have and I get the results that God promised I would…every time…no execptions. That is why I beleive.

    The same answer goes for your “…why do you believe in the Christian religion and not some other religion”…question. Believe it or not, at one time or another in my life I have studied just about every other major religion there is. The God of the Bible is the ONLY one who did what He said He would do.

    Another reason is there is power in the name of Jesus. (whether you believe that or not) Have you ever heard anyone stub their toe or hit their hand with a hammer and yell out, “Buddah-damn” or “Mohammad-damn” or anything such as that? No. But people say “God-damn” all the time. Ever wonder why? It’s because Satan has tried for centuries to deceive people into thinking there is no power in the name of Jesus. But there is because Buddah is dead, Mohammad is dead but Jesus Christ is alive and well at the right hand of the Father. (Acts 2:33)

    Since you are an Atheist, which basically means you have hardened your heart already to God’s word, I don’t really know how to answer your questions to the point where you are satisfied. That being said, I did the best I could without ending up writing a novel! ha.

    Feel free to ask anything else you wish. I respect you and your opinions/beliefs and I don’t wish you or anyone any ill will just because you don’t believe what I do. Respect goes both ways.

    God Bless.

  12. Tory permalink
    December 26, 2008 3:00 am

    To: jimmyjames32

    I am an Atheist sir. As to bringing things up or going there. If you read the post you yourself wrote. There was no need to make any comment of any sort regarding fear other then to perhaps say you have no fear. For you to make any reference to Physical Prowess and the associated violence puts the implied threat in you not the post by Bob. Are you bragging? For that matter, where you as practiced in the Arts as you claim, you would not have made such bold statements to your supposed prowess.

    Now as to your reason for believing. Quoting scripture is meaningless, it says nothing to what you believe other then the a bland justification with no support. It doesn’t tell any person with a functioning brain what you believe.

    As an example. I take the Theory of Evolution to be true not just because someone told me it was. I looked into the subject and found literal mountains of evidence supporting it and nothing countering it. I am not making a statement of your beliefs as I don’t know the contents of your mind. I am simply stating that the only evidence that has been tested and retested (that’s how Science works), and what little there could be found in counter to Evolution was untestable assertions based on bold statements, quoting of scripture or claims that “this study said that its false” or “this person (scientist with no reference to name of field of expertise) said they don’t believe.” In other words no actual evidence to counter Evolution. As such, on a preponderance of evidence in support of, I accept it as True. You give me a new Theory that is testable to the standards of Science that counters evolution, is shown by that testing to be true, and I will stand in line to change my opinion.

    My beliefs are based upon my current understanding, so I don’t ‘Believe’ anything, but thing X is true based on my understanding. That understanding is based upon Evidence which is testable. Unlike belief, should the evidence lead elsewhere, I will happily abandon what I thought I understood which has been proven to be incorrect and update my understanding to incorporate this new evidence.

    This is the challenge. I cannot speak for all Atheists anymore then you speak for all Christians. The question is why do you believe something that lacks evidence. You imply that you have Evidence which I have to assume from your statements is contrary to all the exiting research that says Prayer and good things attributed to GOD are at best pure change with the same statistical chance as the flip of a coin or roll of the die.

    If it is this personal experience or evidence, then not challenging others is wise as it’s not something you can show or prove to anyone other then yourself.

    I once had what could be described as a crisis of ‘Faith.’ Mainly I didn’t know what I believed. I test drove several religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, multiple forms of Christianity, Wicca, etc… As I said at the start. I am an Atheist. No Evidence, no ‘Spiritual Awakening.’ I started with Christianity, I got down on my knee’s and prayed, begging your God and Jesus to reveal themselves to me. Just like it says in that book you were quoting from. Yet, and I’ll repeat. I am now an Atheist.

    I suppose my mistake was expecting anything other then random chance. Should Jesus appear to me while I write this, I’ll delete the whole thing and rewrite it in his praises. My heart is not hardened, unless you mean by expecting something more then random change and blind adherence to a book that when you actually read it, is barbaric and twisted. see: http://www.evilbible.com or http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ for a real look at that book and its contents. If you take the book as literally as you claim. Please explain to me how you justify what is contained in that book. I’ve actually read it.

    Please explain to me why you believe is that book and why I should put any more stock in it then a religion based off ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?” There is at least sufficient evidence for the existence of the writer of that book to be able to say that beyond a reasonable doubt, he existed. I personally keep a towel with me at all times.

    Well look at that. No Jesus, and I’m still an Atheist. Not because I’ve a hard heart, not because I’m not open to new ideas and information. But more likely because I expect more then just “Because the Bible says so.”

    You seem like a reasonably intelligent person, if you have a viable reason to believe then fine. What is it? Not just because the Bible say you’re supposed to, they all do that. Why do you believe, something personal, a personal experience? Or are you just trying to convince yourself because you’ve been told all your life that you’re supposed to believe. If that’s the case. Those of us that prefer Reality would be happy to have you.

    As a final point. I don’t find any need for a God to justify my life or to give it meaning. I look at the beauty of the world and I’m amazed at the wonder and majesty of the Universe and Life in general. When I put a God in charge of it. It looses it’s luster. What is the point of it all when you bring a God into it. Because if that God is Omnipotent and Omniscient. Then this Universe is nothing by a Caricature, some wind up mechanism of complex cogs and gears built for the entertainment of someone looking in on it from outside a glass box. If not all Powerful and Knowing, then again, what again is the point and it certainly wouldn’t be the God you profess belief in.

  13. December 27, 2008 5:16 pm

    Jimmy ..

    You said: “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

    Let me reduce your argument to a single premise: interpretation.

    I am deaf and if we adopted a literal interpretation of your quote, then I do not “hear” anybody’s voice, let alone your god’s. Conversely, if we adopted a figurative interpretation of your quote, then we can agree that in the end, the bible and essentially ALL OTHER RELIGIONS are about interpretation.

    Nothing more. Nothing less.

    Also, if man is the image of God/Jesus, then based on your comments, Jesus is a thug.

    I am only interpreting what I see in your comments. If I were a Christian, right about now, I would tell you, “Good Sir, I will pray for you because you need it and because I am closer to Jesus than you ever will be.”

    Good thing I’m not a Christian.

    :o)

  14. harddirt permalink
    December 28, 2008 12:45 am

    When I read the statements made on these forums by theists, making references to the “Bible” to support their arguments that “God” exists and describing his nature, I always immediately recognize that such theists have never truly read the bible … especially the King James Version. It is the last book I would ever turn to for evidence of the loving, kind and merciful nature of the horrible, angry, jealous, imperfect creature depicted there. Please visit
    http://www.evilbible.com, as suggested above, before any further unfounded statements.
    I was raised in a Christian family and I studied such book for many, many years, cover to cover, under the close tutilage of devoted church people before I finally was able to wake up and live in a real world. I know it is difficult to do, but if you ever step back and take an unbiased and untainted view of the world around you, you too can move into a higher level of learning and understanding.

  15. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 28, 2008 1:57 am

    All I can say is that I believe in God. I believe in Christ Jesus as the Son of God. I believe Christ Jesus sacrificed Himself, willingly, to save me from having to spend eternity apart from God, my Father. I believe what is written in the Bible and I believe it is the inspired word of God.

    I also believe that reading the scripture changes you for the better, contrary to some people thinking it is a “meaningless” thing to do and/or quote. If you choose not to believe, that’s great. How wonderful for you. As for myself and my family, we will happily serve the Lord.

    God Bless.

  16. Tory permalink
    December 28, 2008 3:06 am

    Jimmy –
    Your statements prove that you have never honestly read the bible you hold so close to your heart. Please, for yourself and your family. Pull it away from your chest and actually read it. Not the hand picked little snip-its you quote or your preacher/pastor or whatever you have tells you to read. Take an honest look at it and read the whole thing, like so many of us Atheists have done.

    You seem like an intelligent person, you have my sympathies if you are unable to pull yourself away from the delusion that is Christianity. It is harmful and I truly hope that you can free yourself of it.

  17. jimmyjames32 permalink
    December 28, 2008 6:09 am

    Tory, as I said, if you don’t want to believe the Bible, then don’t. I fail to see the point of arguing it back and forth.

    If you’re right and there is no God, then no worries. We’re just worm food.

    If you’re wrong, at least us Christians have something amusing to look forward to as we stand there watching the atheists try their best to tell God that He just can’t possibly exist!

    God Bless.

  18. Aaron permalink
    December 28, 2008 10:04 pm

    Pascal’s Wager:

    If there is a God:

    Believers: good to go
    Non-believers: not so much

    If there is no God

    Believers: nothing happens
    Non-believers: nothing happens

    The only way to win the game is to be a believer. Now, given, I’m sure you’ve heard this 100 times. Not really an argument, but a cheap, simple way to explain the benefits of being a “believer” (even though I hate that term).

    Your posts are great, by the way. Until I read your blog, I believed all Atheists to be stupid, rebelling teenagers who cut themselves. Now I do see that your views have great merit. Intelligent, intriguing post. :)

  19. Gloria permalink
    December 28, 2008 10:27 pm

    been checking in on your blog from time to time. very insightful to me of the mind of the atheists that are responding here.
    Tory you did cause me to want to add something. I have read the Bible many many times. Yet each time I read it there is a deeper application for my life. It causes me to be a better wife, mom, friend, worker, and all around better person. It changes me like nothing else has and anyone who knew me before would say the change has most certainly been for the better. If as you say this is all a delusion than it is the best delusion that has ever happened to me and to my family.
    However, I believe that Jesus is who He said He is and that God loves me. He loves you too but we all have a choice and if you don’t choose Him than He doesn’t force you to.
    Aaron – good point

  20. The Mindful Cynic permalink
    December 29, 2008 1:30 am

    Why are theists debating with atheists anyway?

    If someone want to believe there is no god then so be it. Who gives a shit?

    If there is a god and they end up going to hell to burn for all eternity, then that is their problem. Better luck next time.

    I don’t seem to recall anyone ever telling me that jesus argued with people to get his point across; so why do christians do that?

    On another note, if you want to be a pompous ass who thinks all of this came about through evolution or some other ridiculous notion, than fine. But last time I checked, no one has ever seen one species rise from another; such as humans from apes or some other such nonsense.

    So really, why are theists debating with atheists?

  21. Tory permalink
    December 29, 2008 2:04 am

    You make my point for me. I have actually read about and understand Evolution to more then just 8th grade science class. It’s not a simple process but a gradual progression. As well, the statement of humans evolving from apes is false. There is no Evolutionary claim to such other then that claimed by the Theist to justify their refusal to admit their own ignorance. I am in no way claiming to be an Evolutionary biologist. I can however say this with confidence and certainty backed not by ‘blind mindless faith,’ but facts and evidence.
    1. There is evidence of one thing evolving from another. It exists in the DNA of every creature on the planet. As well as documented cases of Evolution due to Isolation. So yes we have seen it.
    2. Humans did not evolve from apes. Apes and Humans evolved concurrently from an original base stock species. This is bore out by item 1 above.

    It takes but a very little effort to find the published and verified research and evidence to this fact. It’s not a fantasy, it’s not some imagined thing. It is a scientific understanding that has been arrived at and tested again and again for more then 100 years. That’s the point of science, that’s its strength.

    You take the known facts/evidence and extrapolate to what you think should happen next. You then create tests, experiments, etc… to look for evidence that what you think should happen does. Some of the biggest discoveries in science have been made in just such experiments in a “That’s Strange,” moment. When the results of the experiment don’t match what you were expecting. If Evolution, or the Gravity, or other Scientific theories were/are false. Then if they had not yet been disproved and replaced with something new that better fit the facts and evidence. They will be as soon as you or anyone shows that it doesn’t fit the evidence and provide a Theory that better fits and reliably predicts what is going to happen with things that have not yet been seen.

    Religion lacks that on all levels. It is inflexible. It is blatantly hostile to anything that doesn’t fit into the dogmatic stricture of it, to the point of attacking and destroying anything that might challenge it. Ever heard of the Library of Alexandria, The Inquisitions, or the Dark Ages? The Islamic faith is just as messed up and twisted as Christianity, but they did the world one great favor and saved at least a small portion of the contents of that library.

    Gloria I’m sure you feel that way and that is wonderful for you. Though I’m also just as certain that “You” are the reason for the change. You should give credit where credit is due, and that’s to you and no one else.

  22. The Mindful Cynic permalink
    December 29, 2008 4:07 am

    Well then Tory let’s take it beyond 8th grade science class, shall we?

    You said: “There is evidence of one thing evolving from another. It exists in the DNA of every creature on the planet. As well as documented cases of Evolution due to Isolation. So yes we have seen it.”

    That’s incorrect.

    There is no known scientific law that would allow one kind of creature to turn naturally into a completely different kind. Insects don’t evolve into more complex non-insects for instance, because they don’t have the genes to do it.

    To show that all life evolved from a single cell, which itself came from some type of chemical soup, there would have had to be massive genetic information gains. But there wasn’t, nor could there ever be.

    Evolutionists have failed to show how this gain of new information occurred. Where did the information come from for the first bristles, stomachs, spines, intestines, complex blood circulation systems, intricate mouthpieces to strain special foods out of the water, and so on, when these were not present in the ancestral species?

    The theory of evolution teaches that simple life-forms evolved into more complex life-forms, such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. There is no natural law known that could allow this to happen.

    The best that evolutionists can come up with to “try” to explain how this might have happened is to propose that it happened by mutations and natural selection. But mutations and natural selection do not show gain in information, just rearrangement or loss of what is already there — therefore there may be beneficial mutations without an increase in genetic information.

    Mutations overwhelmingly destroy genetic information and produce creatures more handicapped than the parents. And natural selection simply weeds out unfit creatures. Natural selection may explain why light-colored moths decrease and dark moths proliferate, but it cannot show that moths could ever turn into effective, totally different, non-moth creatures. Moths do not have the genetic information to evolve into something that is not a moth, no matter how much time you give them.

    Please insert quarter and try again.

  23. Tory permalink
    December 29, 2008 4:38 am

    It sounds like your are trying to wield either, Conservation of Energy/information, Thermodynamic Law – RE:Entropy, and/or irreducible complexity. All of which don’t work as arguments against Evolution anywhere other then the pulpit and the pages of an Apologist’s bag of tricks.

    Such arguments may work on someone that isn’t familiar with the principles of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, and the like. I am not that person. I am also not going to spend several hours typing out the reasons those arguments are not only false but show the indomitable ignorance of the user.

    To even attempt such a claim shows you lake of understanding of those science and concepts that underpin your arguments. Not withstanding the fact that such arguments have been proven time and again to be false. I would suggest to you that you read something other then your bible and books that support your own stance. I have read books that don’t agree with my point of view. The same books I’m sure you’ll quote and reference, which are chock full of false information, logical fallacies, biblical quotes, and bold unsupported claims, which to be redundant, have to basis in fact and no support beyond the writers absolute certainty.

    I can stand on a soap box and claim that I am God, and a few people may even believe me. But until I can support that claim with evidence, its just a ridiculous and baseless as the claims made in such books.

    I would suggest some reading to you. Try some Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, or go old school and try ‘Origin of Species.’ It’s not a complex book and though dry is readable by most anyone, even the non-scientist.

    But if you are bound and determined to remain ignorant, as seems to be the case with most Theists, then it is your right to do so.

  24. Tory permalink
    December 29, 2008 4:42 am

    I would also reference you to Items 4, 5, 6, and 7 above.

  25. The Mindful Cynic permalink
    December 29, 2008 5:10 am

    Besides trying to label me as something you can fit in one of those nice little mental packages in your head…. ( assuming I haven’t read anything besides the bible; assuming you know my educational level and my personal understanding of the sciences; and other than wasting space ), you didn’t prove anything about evolution.

    Yes, I’m sure you could spend “several hours” spewing more bs about the incredibly ridiculous theory of evolution but why bother? I’m sure you need your beauty sleep.

    On another note,

    I read your response to jimmyjames32 and I have to say that whether you’re an atheist or not, you’re understanding of the bible is questionable at best. I even did my homework on the bible verses to accompany my reply, something I rarely bother with. So be damn grateful!

    For instance, jimmyjames32 wrote, “I believe in Christ Jesus as the Son of God. ( found in John 3:16 ) I believe Christ Jesus sacrificed Himself, willingly, to save me from having to spend eternity apart from God, my Father. ( found in Matthew 26:39 – showing Jesus willingly obeying God) I believe what is written in the Bible and I believe it is the inspired word of God.” (this of course is jimmyjames32’s personal opinion and I wont add to that except to say that the bible backs his belief in 2 Timothy 3:16)

    All of what jimmyjames32 said is of course true, based on what the bible states anyway. Which is what the guy told you; he didn’t say he wrote it or made it up! He only told you what he said the bible says. The bible does claim Jesus is God’s son; it does claim that he sacrificed himself for us; it does claim that if you don’t accept Christ then you go to hell; etc.

    Yet you responded with, “Your statements prove that you have never honestly read the bible you hold so close to your heart. Please, for yourself and your family. Pull it away from your chest and actually read it.”

    So since jimmyjames32 made the claim that his statements were written in the bible and that he believed them because they were in the bible, and even someone like myself who doesn’t know much about the bible was very easily able to research and verify that indeed the bible does state what he claimed, how in the hell can you say “Your statements prove that you have never honestly read the bible?”

    Your logic, Tory, is baffling to say the least.

  26. December 29, 2008 11:18 am

    Wow! I go away to visit family and the trolls come out of the woodwork! Oh boy.. Where do I start..
    First of all, thanks to everyone who has commented thus far! This has caused some great discussion and debate.
    @jimmyjames32/Bob – I’m not going to touch your tissy fits with each other.
    @Aaron – You’re going off the assumption that I, or any other atheist, actually wants the afterlives presented by the various gods that are supposed to exist. You take stock in Yahweh, who I couldn’t possibly side with if he did exist and is as defined by the complete Bible. Most other gods who offer a “heaven” are no different. Most are quite human and very petty.
    @Gloria – I most certainly do not think all Christians are stupid. My “War on Stupid” is a reference to the stupid things certain Christians do or say that degrades the debate. However, I do think religion is “stupid”. Most religious faith is not based on logic or critical review and is actually based on personal experiences by themselves or someone they know. Which are unverifiable and likely interpreted with a bias.
    Since becoming an atheist, I routinely reevaluate my positions and views on life and each time I feel I come out a better person. Since leaving Christianity I’m no longer homophobic, I take responsibility for my own actions, I actually help people in need instead of just tithing the guilt away, and I try my damndest to make sure I don’t hold any irrational beliefs such as witchcraft, homeopathy, or UFO abductions. I’m not saying every Christian believes these things, but the majority of them where I come from do.
    @The Mindful Cynic – Everything you write is filled with an undeserving pomposity and hateful bile. The word “narcissist” comes to mind. Besides that, you have no real argument to bring to the table, you vomit old talking points that have been refuted by people far more qualified than I. You are also an anti-atheist bigot who would like all atheists to commit suicide, in other words, I found your little blog (http://mindfulcynic.wordpress.com/). You, sir, are a troll of the worst kind and from the sounds of it, very miserable. I hope you find the inner peace your faith has apparently failed to help you find. As this post tried to help you understand, not every atheist is a biology professor. If you’d like to debate with someone who will actually show you your own ignorance go email PZ Myers (pzmyers@gmail.com). For some reason I don’t foresee you actually doing that though, so here’s what Richard Dawkins says about your main question/point.
    http://www.skeptics.com.au/articles/dawkins.htm

    @The Rest of You – Good job! I hope you keep reading my posts!

  27. The Mindful Cynic permalink
    December 29, 2008 11:55 pm

    As wonderful as your compliments are Sisy, why narcissist? I don’t feel that I’m a narcissist in any definition of the word. But moving along.

    As far as your “vomitting old talking points” & “anti-atheist” comments, they are amusing at most and dribble at best. I prefer the term anti-ignorance. Although I never professed to be a christian (should I write your comment off as an atheist assumption based on nothing?) I do stick by my comments.

    I also hope you find the inner peace your “non-faith” has apparently failed to help you find. Thanks for the email to Mr. Myers, I’m sure that will be an ‘enlightening’ experience.

    Since I’m neither an atheist or a theist this page has given me insights into both worlds. That being said, I must say that there is a very slim chance that I will ever become an athesit now because the majority of you feel that you have “figured it all out”, have some kind of answer (no matter how ridiculous) explaining everything and therefore that is pretty much that in your world.

    But I’ve yet to hear any christian, or anyone of any faith really, ever claim to have figured it all out. Most christians have told me that you will never know all that God has to share with us on this side of heaven, but then that is half the fun isn’t it?

    Atheists on the other hand strike me as very angry, very unsure, most I’m sure have very little self-esteem and of course they are a bit ironic. Ironic in the sense that you spend so much time trying to disprove ‘something or someone’ that it only makes the rest of us wonder if God really does exist. I mean, why would people waste all that time trying to prove something wrong (and failing miserably at doing so) if you don’t beleive “it’s” there?

    I think most atheists know there is a god or whatever there but they despise that because it doesn’t fit in their little view of how the universe “should be”, according to them. Now that’s narcism at its finest.

    ~ TMC

  28. December 30, 2008 11:02 am

    @TMC – I never once said I thought you were a Christian, that being said, you seem to imply you have some sort of metaphysical concoction in your skull. I could be wrong; I’ve never claimed to have special knowledge of anything.

    “I must say that there is a very slim chance that I will ever become an athesit now because the majority of you feel that you have “figured it all out””

    If you guide your boat by appeals to emotion instead of logic you’ll eventually hit rock. That being said, I don’t care if you are an atheist, theist, or a duck.

    “As far as your “vomiting old talking points” & “anti-atheist” comments, they are amusing at most and dribble at best.”

    The points you bring up are indeed talking points handed out by the right wing lunatics who seem to appeal to you. They have been debated and debunked by several prominent scientists and multiple occasions. PZ Myers is a very prominent Professor of biology and I’m fairly certain he’s addressed that claim in his blog in the past, so have at him. Instead of running around the internet and throwing such ideas at people you know aren’t professors of biology go to someone who is qualified to answer your questions.

    And you did indeed call for all atheists to “do humanity the favor of getting your whole head in front of the shotgun next time”, that’s ignorance and intolerance at its “best”. My blog and the discussion it attempts to create has no need, want, nor desire to have such a pathetic waste of a good mind regurgitating talking points here. If you want to have honest discussion please feel free to stay and comment but otherwise kindly find somewhere else to troll.

    “why would people waste all that time trying to prove something wrong (and failing miserably at doing so) if you don’t believe “it’s” there?”

    Because people are being tortured and killed over those beliefs.
    Because people are sick and dying because medical research has been blocked by the religious beliefs of some.
    Because we want to “free your mind”.

    To your other points at the end of your comment, I’ve addressed those elsewhere in this blog; feel free to look around and read posts as you desire.

  29. John Smith permalink
    December 30, 2008 12:27 pm

    @Sisyphus Fragment: I am grateful to TMC for one thing – I discovered your blog as a result of checking out the anti-atheist ramblings on his. I’m very glad to find another interesting blog by a freethinker!

  30. Stacy S. permalink
    January 4, 2009 7:28 am

    @ TMC – 15 examples of evolution … just for you.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/newspdf/evolutiongems.pdf

  31. kolys permalink
    January 7, 2009 1:22 pm

    I think the one thing you shouldn’t do to try to convince me that your religion is the right path for me is….

    Pitying me.

    The next time someone tries to convert me because they feel sorry for me and want me to find salvation, I may just toss them from the nearest high window and let their supreme being save them on the way down, if he/she/it so chooses.

    Let me be clear: I’m not anti-religion. I’m anti-being-told-what-to-think. I’ve read the Bible, as well as the Torah, Qu’ran, Tao Te Ching and a host of other sacred volumes, and I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from each and every one. I also know that many of these volumes are written by men, translated by men and in many cases conveniently edited by men, and I reject the notion that every single interaction between man and book has been divinely inspired – else we would not have the KJV, NIV, NRSV, and so on – we would simply have the Bible.

    Most Christians would be astonished to learn, for example, that the Hebrew and Aramaic words which have come down to us as ‘virgin’, ‘whore’ and (a frequent favorite) ‘abomination’ actually do not translate correctly as such from the vernacular of first-century Judaea to modern English.

    I also believe that there have been people in the past – including, quite possibly, Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad – with deeply held beliefs and an immense talent for preaching those beliefs, enough so that they may have seemed divinely inspired to their followers, but I do believe that they were but men, not divinities or sanctified themselves.

    I also do not necessarily fall entirely within the atheist camp, in that I generally consider myself to be ‘somethingist’. I do think that there is something greater than just me, but I am equally happy with the idea of it being more of a Jungian collective-unconscious than necessarily an entity in its own right. I think this because there are as yet phenomena which science has not adequately explained but do not convince me of any single religion. I also reject the label ‘agnostic’, because I find the implied dichotomy far too restrictive.

    @Sisyphus Fragment – thanks for starting this blog; it’s always refreshing to see someone openly discussing issues which are typically the province of the closed-minded.

  32. Linda permalink
    April 12, 2009 7:04 pm

    I have to admit that the only problem I have with atheists is the fact that a majority of the ones I’ve run into have been extremely arrogant and downright mean-spirited and hateful. Even though I strongly disagree with them, I can understand their reasons for choosing not to believe in God. I just wish they’d take the time to (A) attempt to understand where theists are coming from and (B) treat us with common courtesy and respect. I am sick and tired of being mocked and ridiculed, and treated like I’m sort of an idiot or crazy person just because I believe in God. I may not have a Ph.D., and I may only have a high school diploma. But I’m not an idiot. I need ample proof before I’ll belief something. And, as far as I’m concerned, there’s more than enough evidence to prove that there is a God.

    So please, atheists. Disagree with theists all you want. But don’t look down on us. Don’t mock us. Don’t write us off as crazy people. Don’t be so arrogant as to assume that you know everything. Listen to us. Engage us in intelligent debate. Treat us the way you’d like to be treated.

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