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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ray Comfort is an Animal

And so am I. It is time for yet another basic science lesson for Ray Comfort in response to Ignorant Knuckle-draggers (an aptly titled post).

A lesson in scientific definitions
The dictionary says that an animal is "any such living thing other than a human being."
This seems deliberately dishonest. He posts this in response to flinging dust saying that if he denies that humans are animals, he needs to take a basic science course. In response, he posts a lay definition from the dictionary, apparently from dictionary.com. How many times have we heard Ray and others characterize evolution as "just a theory"? If we were to try to explain that he needs to take a basic science class to understand that a theory is not some educated guess or conjecture, he would probably come back with:
The dictionary says that a theory is a "guess or conjecture. "
Skipping over the scientific entries and failing to consult a scientific definition (or encyclopedia). He's done this for "animal." The definition he gave from the dictionary was the second entry for animal at dictionary.com. The first:
any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.
Humans are the Homo sapiens species, of the Homo genus, of the Hominidae family, of the Primates order, of the Mammalia class, of the Chordata phylum, of the Animalia kingdom. Since we are in the Animalia kingdom, that makes us, by definition, animals. I didn't have that memorized (as I'm not a biologist), but having taken basic life science when I was around the age of 11-12, I knew that's how we were classed. So, by searching around for a few key terms and "middle school," I got the results aimed at middle school students. The knowledge is that basic.

And another science lesson for you, Ray. It's not the baby-eating "evolutionists" who classed humans as animals or even of the Primates order. Humans were classed as animals over a hundred years before Origin of Species by the taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus in Systema Naturae. Linnaeus, a Christian, believed he was classifying "God's creation" as opposed to evolutionary lines. And no, Ray, taxonomy is not the science of taxes, it's the science of classification, something children learn in the sixth grade where I lived in Oklahoma.

I can't believe it! That means man is "simply an animal."
Besides botching animal classification, he moves on to a morals approach:
If evolution is true, then man is simply an animal.
And even if evolution is false (ha), man would still be an animal because it is not evolution which defines humans as animals. Ray is arguing from personal incredulity: "I just can't believe that, because that would mean..." Just because humans evolved from lower forms of animals makes us no less significant. The fact that I used to be a substance which was just moments before formed by a sperm and an ovum makes me no less significant. Origins do not define the person. Personal incredulity in this regard is ridiculous, when arguing against science. "I just can't believe Earth is among a star with seven other planets, among a pool of 10^22 stars, in a galaxy among 100 billion galaxies. It just makes us so insignificant." Well, your personal incredulity has no bearing on what is factual.

The animals of the Bible.
That means he is free to embark on his sexual prowls, because it is nothing but a basic instinct to do so. [...] To him, evolution is a license to act like an animal, and he does.
That and the law. And upbringing. And society. It seems, though, the men are your Book were restrained by nothing more than basic instinct, and that was far before humans were classified as animals. They repeatedly murdered, raped, and enslaved. I believe I'm an animal descended from lower forms of animals, and I have yet to murder, rape, or enslave anyone. Seems I'm already doing better than the godly men of the Old Testament. The men of the Old Testament and the God of the Old Testament were both animals, in every sense of the word. They murdered hundreds of thousands, sparing only the virgin women so that they can enslave them and rape them. Is that the sort of basic instinct, the sort of sexuals prowls that you say evolution gives them a license to commit? Apparently, you have evolution confused with your Bible and God, who gave men the license to commit such despicable acts.

Justifying "immoral" acts
If man is an animal he can even justify homosexual and bestiality, because “other” animals do it.
I have never understood, even when I believed the immoral homophobia the Bible teaches, how you get from homosexuality to bestiality. Why? Because they both cover sexuality to which you do not subscribe? I don't subscribe to any religion, including Christianity and Satanism, so, by your fallacious slippery slope argument, Christianity leads to Satanism? Or, better phrased, if you believe in Christianity, there's nothing to stop you from practicing Satanism, because it's another religion.

If man believes in the Bible, he can justify murder, rape, misogyny, racism, and slavery, because he can simply cite the chapter and verse.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fruits' Love-Hate Relationship With God

I was reading yet another fruity creationist's rant trying to claim fruit as a proof of God regarding my Death Match. After the rant, it went into the regular call for repentance of vile fiend atheists, but then it went into a weird discussion about how homosexuals will doom us all as God, in his infinite justice, will punish the heterosexuals along with the homosexuals.

It made me think: if fruits prove God, why does he hate them so much?

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Eternal Farce

Being the godless, professing atheist that I am, and also the professing blogger that I am, I faced a dilemma while reading Ray's latest post. Should I go with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or should I go with Allah? But then I hit the conclusion of the post:
But watch what comes back from professing atheists. They can’t see the absolute simplicity of the issue.
Right. We'll go with the absolute simplicity of the Muslim faith, then, and how it relates to the Christian faith.
For an absolute statement to be true, we need absolute knowledge.
As if what I say, claim, or believe has any effect on what is and is not true in anything. To discern (absolutely) if a statement is true -- any statement, much less an absolute one (whatever that is) -- I need absolute knowledge (omniscience). For a statement, any statement, to be true does not require anyone, not a one, to have any knowledge whatsoever. What is true and what is known are not the same things.

It is a good thing I skipped ahead to Part IV of The Theist Test as Ray decided to pull out the old gem of "no gold in China" shtick instead of a banana or building.
[To claim there is only one god and no more than one god] I must know how many hairs are upon every head, every thought of every human heart, every detail of history, every atom within every rock...nothing is hidden from my eyes...I know the intimate details of the secret love-life of the fleas on the back of the black cat of Napolean's great-grandmother. To make the absolute statement "There is only one god." I must have knowledge that there is at least one and absolute knowledge that there is no other god besides that one.
The Koran says that the Christian is the vilest of all creatures (98:8) and that they will surely burn forever for claiming that God is the Son of Mary, the Messiah (5:76). But what does that mean? It means that they are highly offensive, repulsive, and disgusting, and will make claims to such affect. Of course, since Muslims know Allah experientially (commonly called a "conversion"), they can make the claim that Allah is the one God and that Christians worship a corruption; an illusion. They can make the claim that "there is only one God and his name is Allah" in the same way they can make the claim that "there is gold in China." In the former case, it's because they are on a first name basis with such an entity and in the latter case they can "have seen a Chinese person in China yawn [to] see a gold tooth to know that there is gold in China" (a bit of a racial stereotype?).

And since the Muslims know Allah and Allah is omniscient, they therefore know that the Koran is true and the Bible is false. Therefore, the statement that Christians are the "vilest of all creatures" is also true. Ray, you vile creature.


"There is only one God" is an even more extraordinary and absolute claim than "there is no God." How can you possibly know God experientially anyway to know that he is the only one? He can claim he cannot tell a lie, but how can you know that he is not lying to you? If he is truly as powerful as you claim, there is no way to know, and therefore you aren't a Christian. You are what is commonly called an "agnostic." Therefore, you don't know (ignorant). You make the same claim as the Muslims and every other religion.


Ray also moves into a discussion about the "beginning." His logic is impeccable:
I looked at creation and believed that "in the beginning" there was a Creator because reason told me that creation could not create itself.
I mean the logic is impeccable because it truly is. Creation cannot create itself, because the very definition of creation is something that is created:
creation (n): something that is or has been created.
Obviously something that is a creation, meaning that it was created, had to have been created, or else it couldn't have been created. Is your head spinning yet from all the circles? And to his next proposition:
If it didn’t exist before it came into being, how could it create itself?
Again, something that didn't exist before it began to exist, how could it not have began to exist? Again, the logic is impeccable. It reminds me of Dale Gribble arguing against gun control by claiming "If someone breaks into your house and you don't have a gun, how are you supposed to shoot him?"

I've got something for you, Ray: How can evolved beings exist if evolution didn't happen? Since they are evolved beings, that means they had to have been produced by evolution because that is the definition of evolved beings. Therefore, evolution had to have happened, you dolt.
It had to have come about by an eternal force, commonly known as "God."
Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
I have spoken to countless atheists, and when pressed about the beginning, they say that they don’t know the initial cause. They don’t know, but they choose to believe that it definitely wasn’t God.
And if you press me about what causes cancer, when I say that I don't know, does that mean I should then accept your imaginary cause for it, which is without logic or proof? You baselessly claim that life, the universe, and everything (except God) had a beginning. Why? Oh, I know, because everything that was not in existence and came into existence had to have come into existence! How foolish of me. Sufficiently convinced by such sound logic, I will continue to pretend there is no God, though, and put my blinders back on. After all, I am a professing atheist.
But watch what comes back from professing atheists. They can’t see the absolute simplicity of the issue. The Bible is so right. The atheist is blind, and this blindness is willful. They cannot see because they don’t want to. Simple.
But just watch what the Christian comes back with. The Koran is so right. They are the vilest of all creatures with their repulsiveness. They cannot see because they don't want to. They could be just in the eyes of Allah, but they don't want to. They want to revel in their vile ways as the vile creatures they are. Simple.

"Simple." I can't think of a better description of your post indeed.

A Coconutty Christian


Now that a week has passed since the Death Match, I thought I would take this time to comment on the responses to it and point out some of the things both atheists and Christians have said about it. I'll be responding to some criticisms, suggestions, corrections, counter-arguments, etc.

The Coconut Was Without its Husk

I have seen this several times. Here are a few of these comments, including two from Reddit:
The coconut he used already had it's husk removed, not really a fair comparison. -- thax

Exactly, the experiment lost all credibility for me once I saw the coconut had been husked. Doing that using only your hands and a rock is a lot harder than smashing the coconut, trust me, I've done it before. By the time I finally got the husk off I was sweating, bleeding, and filled with rage. -- CaptainJesusHood

I demand a retrial. This was completely unfair, since the coconut already had had its outer husk removed. -- Anonymous, in Disco Igno
I thought about this beforehand and had tried various locations to get the coconut. Sadly, though, only one location had any coconuts and they were without the husk. I decided to proceed anyway, because it in no way changed the basic criteria that Ray argued from. For those points, I considered the coconut with its husk (just as I considered its source as a tree instead of a store). The only two criteria the husk would have changed were my two criteria:
12. Is easy to open with just your body
Coconut: Impossible. Epic failure. G-. (+0)
Pineapple: I suppose you could smash it with your fist, but it's far from easy. D-. (+1)

13. Is easy to open using stuff found in nature (like rocks)
Coconut: Took me five minutes to get it opened/broken enough to eat. It wasn't easy. F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Took me four minutes to get it opened and expose all the fruit content to eat. It wasn't easy. D- (+1)
Even without its husk, it dismally failed on both these criteria with zero points.

With these points in mind, I still consider it a fair grading as Ray's ten basic points were assumed to have the husk. I will, however, conduct a rematch between the coconut and pineapple as soon as I can find one, as I'd hate to leave this result contested.

Blog Entries From Atheists

The coconut without husk comment was the only substantial criticism I received about the fruit-off. I originally conducted the experiment because Adrian Hayter objected to my use of the coconut during the first installment of The Theist Test. So, I will conduct it again with a coconut with a husk to be certain (along with some other new twists). We need to make sure we have the perfect counter-fruit for that bulletproof banana argument.

It did inspire a few blog entries concerning the death match (which happened to drive traffic up 2,000%), including in two of my favorite blogs:

Friendly Atheist
The Theist's Worst Nightmare?

The Atheist Blogger
It's Official! Pineapple Is the Theist's Worst Nightmare
What Is It With Theists and Fruit???


Blog Post at Debunking Atheists

When I first proposed The Theist Test at the Raytractors (which is what later inspired the death match), Lance Christian Johnson posted about how he envisioned Ray then using the coconut as another proof of God:
I think it could also be funny to have the parody Ray talk about things that are incredibly inconvenient and dangerous and still insist that it's evidence of special creation.

For instance, I imagine him with a coconut and making his case thusly:

"Here we have a nourishing fruit that grows up in a tree. While we human beings are definitely not the best climbers in the world, we're certainly not the worst. Imagine a zebra trying to climb a tree! He couldn't do it. However, God wants us to have the coconut, so he makes us, at the very least, 'okay' at climbing.

Of course, they also sometimes fall out of the tree, and statistically speaking, the odds of one hitting you and killing you are very small. If there wasn't a creator, don't you think those odds would be a lot higher? But no, he cares, so he keeps them low.

And all you need to open them is a simple machete. And those can be purchased at many hardware and sporting good stores around the country - all you have to do is check your local listings. Obviously, God wanted it to be convenient for us to eat these wonderful fruits and make pina coladas with them."
I wonder if he knew how right he would be. There is a blog, Debunking Atheists, which is so intellectually lousy that one would think it's an atheist parodying Ray's blog (he actually makes a comment stating that "allergies prove that we are in a fallen creation"). In the comments to Adrian's post, the author of Debunking Atheists commented and, surprise, he made a post in his blog about how coconuts prove God! I won't bother with an analysis of it, as Adrian Hayter has already gone through the trouble. I will point out Dan's comment to his own coconutty blog post, though:
God knew who the coconut was for coconut crabs and us! He gave us the brain to figure out seasons and stages of fruits. He knew we had the capacity to figure out fire, tools and to explore the universe. This is why we are just vicariously between two belts of the galaxy. If we were in the milky way's belt or cloud then we wouldn't be able to observe the vast universe. We need to thank God we are here instead of being mucked up in a cloud of gasses. Thanks Jesus!
This reminded me much of the zebra comment. Imagine the response to the argument about why space is uninhabitable...
Space was intelligently designed for us to explore. God gave us the brains to figure out how to build the ships to get there. The genius! What if it were simple to get to outer space? Zebras and coconut crabs could wander out there and die. It was intelligently designed, though, so that only we could get there and only when we had advanced far enough along to where we could survive there. Thanks Jesus!
The real point against the theist reponses to this, though, is that Ray made a very special argument about how ten points about the banana prove the Christian creator-god. Applying those same ten points to the coconut and pineapple fail miserably. You cannot open a coconut with your bare hands as you can a banana. Fail.

Clostridiophile, of course, points out the larger question about why, even if it were proof, it proves the Christian God instead of some other god. He says that Dan's above comment is not an argument and...
Here is my argument:

All this, but your God is replaced by a different god, with a different holy book, with a different message. How do you differentiate between the two? How can you determine whether you are on firm ground in your statement or just basically spewing your own opinion?
Perhaps the banana, coconut, and pineapple prove God and disprove all other gods?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Theist Test, Part IV of VII

This is part four of the seven-part series debunking Ray's Atheist Test available at the Living Waters Ministry. Part two and three have been reserved for later. This one is not as succinct as the first part as I included 2-3 versions of it.

Have you taken a look at The Atheist Test which you can purchase for $12.00 to give to your atheist friends to convert them to theists (there are no arguments for Christianity)? I printed it out and took it and, I must say, I was spectacularly underwhelmed and must have passed the test as I am still an atheist (since it is a test for atheism).

In response to this, I have created a new series of posts entitled The Theist Test. This will be a direct response to The Atheist Test and will use the same logic against theistic beliefs. A commenter on that page wrote that:
Thank you very much. It is logically laid out from The Word, identifying characteristic denials of fact to explain the world within which we live.
I wonder if others will find this series as "logically laid out" as it will use the same fallacious arguments and approaches. Do note that these are not necessarily arguments against God or creationism; these are arguments against Ray's faulty logic, dishonesty, and false analogies.

Absolute Knowledge of One God

The declaration "There is only one god" is what is known as an absolute statement. For an absolute statement to be true, I must have absolute knowledge.

Here is another absolute statement: "There is only one nugget of gold in China."

TEST FOUR, B
What do I need to have for that statement to be true?
A. No knowledge that the one nugget exists.
___ YES ___ NO

B. Faith or conjecture that the one nugget must exist.
___ YES ___ NO

C. Knowledge that the one nugget exists.
___ YES ___ NO


If you answered "C," you are correct about the part of the statement that the one nugget exists. But wait! The claim "there is only one nugget of gold in China" is a two fold question.

TEST FOUR, C
What do I need to have for that statement to be true?
A. No knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO

B. Partial knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO

C. Absolute knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO

"C" is the correct answer. For the statement to be true, I must know that (a) the one nugget exists, and (b) there is no other gold in China except for the one nugget, or the statement is incorrect. To say "There is only one god," and to be correct in the statement, I must be omniscient.

We can make an analogy to gold regarding god as "gold" and "god" differ by only one letter. But how else do "gold" and "god" differ? Gold is a natural substance. We have knowledge that natural substances exist and knowledge that gold exists. So to take the question that "there is only one nugget of gold in China" is actually requires three knowledge criteria:

a) Gold exists.
b) One nugget of gold exists in China.
c) No other nuggets of gold exist in China.

God also differs from gold as god is supernatural. We have no knowledge that anything supernatural exists or knowledge that any god exists. So to take the question "there is only one god" actually requires, in the very least before proceeding to the two other questions, knowledge that something supernatural exists.


I must know how many hairs are upon every head, every thought of every human heart, every detail of history, every atom within every rock...nothing is hidden from my eyes...I know the intimate details of the secret love-life of the fleas on the back of the black cat of Napolean's great-grandmother. To make the absolute statement "There is only one god." I must have knowledge that there is at least one and absolute knowledge that there is no other god besides that one.

ChartLet's say that this circle represents all the knowledge in the entire universe, and let's assume that you have an incredible 1% of all that knowledge. Is it possible, that in the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to disprove that a god does indeed exist? Or, isn't it possible, that in the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that more than one god exists?

If you are reasonable, you will have to say, "Having the limited knowledge that I have at present, I believe that there is a god and that there is no other god." In other words, you don't know if god exists much less only one god, so you are not a "theist," you are what is commonly known as an "agnostic." You are like a man who looks at a biological organism and says there was no biological process to produce it. You are as foolish as the man who thinks that every person in the world was manufactured, instead of produced through sexual reproduction.



Absolute Knowledge of no Flying Spaghetti Monster
This section, along with the revised commenting rules, is dedicated to The Skeptical Sorcerer. It is Ray's original tract with a straight replacement of God with Flying Spaghetti Monster as Ray's "logical argument" could be applied to anything and everything.

The declaration "There is no Flying Spaghetti Monster" is what is known as an absolute statement. For an absolute statement to be true, I must have absolute knowledge.

Here is another absolute statement: "There is no gold in China."


TEST FOUR, A
What do I need to have for that statement to be true?
A. No knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO

B. Partial knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO

C. Absolute knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO


"C" is the correct answer. For the statement to be true, I must know that there is no gold in China, or the statement is incorrect. To say "There is no Flying Spaghetti Monster," and to be correct in the statement, I must be omniscient.

I must know how many hairs are upon every head, every thought of every human heart, every detail of history, every atom within every rock...nothing is hidden from my eyes...I know the intimate details of the secret love-life of the fleas on the back of the black cat of Napolean's great-grandmother. To make the absolute statement "There is no Flying Spaghetti Monster." I must have absolute knowledge that there isn't one.

ChartLet's say that this circle represents all the knowledge in the entire universe, and let's assume that you have an incredible 1% of all that knowledge. Is it possible, that in the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that Flying Spaghetti Monster does indeed exist?

If you are reasonable, you will have to say, "Having the limited knowledge that I have at present, I believe that there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster." In other words, you don't know if Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, so you are not a "Christian," you are what is commonly known as an "agnostic." You are like a man who looks at a midget, and doesn't know if there was a midget-er.

COMMENTARY -- Making Absolute Statements

Ray, at several points in this section, claims for an "absolute statement" to be true or correct, one must have "absolute knowledge." This is false, though. One can make any statement and have absolutely no knowledge about it and the statement may still be true and correct. An individual's knowledge or belief about something has absolutely no effect on the statement's veracity.

But to delve deeper into absolute statements requiring absolute knowledge... is any statement not an absolute statement? I could claim "I live on the planet Earth." By Ray's criteria, I'm not allowed to make such a statement because it requires absolute knowledge. Why? Because I could very well be living in a simulated reality... The Matrix. Or it could be some elaborate dream. I cannot possibly know that these two scenarios aren't real, so therefore I don't really know that I live on planet Earth.

Ray's crass representation of epistemology is supposed to mislead the reader into thinking that it requires "faith" to not believe in a god. By his own standards, though, it requires "faith" to believe anything because you must be omniscient. In the very least, by his own standards "there is no god" and "there is only one god" both equally fail as statements as they require the person to be omniscient.

Perhaps he is only referring to "absolute statements" as those which claim the negative of something, because the positive of something requires only proof that the one thing exists. So what are some other "absolute statements"?

* Alien abductions do not occur.
* Bigfoot doesn't exist.
* There is no person who has tiedye skin.
* There is no Flying Spaghetti Monster.
* There is no china teapot orbiting Earth.
* There are no zombies.

Each one of these are "absolute statements" and thereby, by Ray's epistemological logic, require "absolute knowledge" to claim.

COMMENTARY -- Definition of Atheist

Ray, in this section, also defines an atheist as "one who knows there is no God." This is a fallacy so he can slide it into agnosticism. Atheism and theism, though, goes to what someone believes. Agnosticism and gnosticism goes to what someone knows. What someone believes requires no sort of proof. There are people in insane asylums who believe there are evil squirrels out to kill them (<-- absolute statement). Are there evil squirrels after them? No (<-- absolute statement). But that has no bearing on whether or not they believe there is such a squirrel after them. Belief and knowledge are two entirely separate things. Furthermore, the definition of atheism is not "knowing there is no god." It is simply not believing there is a god (any god). For me, I do not believe there is a god for the same reason I do not believe Bigfoot exists: there is no evidence or good reason to believe it. This is not necessarily saying that I believe there are no gods or Bigfoot, simply that I do not believe. My belief statement is also entirely different from my knowledge statement on these two items.

COMMENTARY -- Absolute Knowledge of the Antithesis

The point of this section for Ray was to try to make the reader think that claiming there is no god requires absolute knowledge while claiming there is a Christian God requires some other type of knowledge, perhaps called incomplete knowledge, partial knowledge, simple knowledge, casual knowledge, etc.

Any claim, though, is an absolute statement. If you claim absolute knowledge (omniscience) is required to know a claim is true, then you must also claim absolute knowledge (omniscience) is required to know that the antithesis is true.

We make "absolute statements" often, such as there is no china teapot orbiting Earth, if I drop a ball then it will fall to Earth (as Dinesh D'Souza often points out, we can't possibly know that it won't go straight up), etc. How do we know what we know? Rather than subscribing to Ray Comfort's handbook of epistemology, you should pick up an actual book on it. We know what we know through evidence and logic. There is no evidence or logic for the existence of god, and especially no evidence or logic for the existence of the Christian God who writes books and has sons who sacrifice themselves for an ancient man eating an apple.

Potential Law Skirt

"I saw your bumper sticker, NATIONAL CREATIONIST DAY APRIL 1ST on a car here in City of Bellflower. I asked the owner if he really believed in the sticker, and he said 'yes.' I told him that I am an creationist, and have been one all my life. He said he would never vote for a creationist for any office, nor trust any creationist. Now, I would like your evolutionary ministry of darkness to give me a good reason for me not filing a lawsuit against you for telling people lies. I am not a fool." -- Ray "Straw Man" DisComfort

Ray,

Thank you for your email. I would love you to file a lawsuit. Here's how I would build my defense:

First, I would say that I can prove that anyone who looks at a building and says that he doesn't believe that there was a building process, is a fool. This is because a building is absolute proof that there was a building process. Buildings don't appear from a magical puff of smoke, from nothing. Only a fool would believe that.

Second, I would say that anyone who looks at a painting and believes that there was no painting process, is a fool. The painting is absolute proof that there as a painting process. Paintings don't appear from a magical puff of smoke, from nothing. Only a fool would believe that.

Then I would say that evolved beings are absolute 100% scientific proof that there was an evolutionary process. An evolved being cannot create itself, from nothing. But that's what the creationist believes--that a magical puff of smoke created everything from nothing. That's a scientific impossibility, and only a fool would believe that.

So, please, go ahead and file the lawsuit, and make it against me personally. My name is Jonathan Thomas, and I live in Dallas, Texas. I freely admit that I am the creator of the bumper sticker. But be warned, at the last minute I may say that the bumper sticker appeared out of a magical puff of smoke, from nothing . . . and appropriately plead insanity.

I await your reply.

......

............

Oh, wait, you mean that I can't simply define things as "evolved beings" and use that to prove there was evolution? Wait... you mean I must first prove that they are evolved beings? That's not what Ray Comfort taught me. He taught me that you can simply define things as "creation" and use that to prove there was a Creator. You mean... he has to first prove that they are creation? Hogwash! And here's why...

An imagined conversation with Ray Comfort, gleaned from his tracts, debates, and interviews

Ray: Creation proves that there was a Creator.
Me: How do you know that it is creation?
Ray: Because the Creator created it.
Me: How do you know there was a Creator, then?
Ray: Because creation is 100% scientific proof that there was a Creator!
Me: But you just used creation to prove there was a Creator to prove there was creation to prove there was a Creator? Isn't that circular logic?
Ray: You fool, atheist! Creation is 100% scientific proof that there was a Creator, just like the fact that we can't see visible light is 100% scientific proof that it is invisible! Read the Bible! Genesis 1 and 2 is proved there was a Creator long before the modern scientific proof of the existence of creation; 1 John 1:5, Revelation 21:23, Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17 proved visible light was invisible long before the modern scientific proof of the eye not seeing the "essence" of light.

Others on this topic
* Silent Dave at the Raytractors.

See also
* Ray Proved Evolution

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ray's Phantom Quotes -- Why Source?

I am working on the next installment of the Theist Test (should be up tomorrow). Until then, I've made a post over at The Raytractors entitled Sourcing Quotes and Lying for Jesus.

In it, I explain why Ray should source quotes and also his history of dishonesty with not only quotes but arguments in general. In the conclusion I write:
He should acknowledge his mistake, instead of just pulling out a bottle of white-out, as he did when he realized he was wrong about quoting Einstein as believing the Bible was the Word of God.

Ray, though, seems to be very dishonest, or part of the "it's okay to lie for Jesus" camp.
I'm curious, what do you all think? Is Ray:

a) Just a dishonest person?
b) Just incompetent/unintelligent?
c) Just part of the "it's okay to lie for Jesus" crowd?


As a footnote, you should be sure to subscribe to The Raytractors. One of my favorite atheist bloggers Adrian Hayter, host of The Atheist Blogger, has just joined the team. There should be even more interesting posts coming out of there, as Adrian has posted a few times on Ray already.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Skewed View of Justice

One of my biggest problems, personally, with Christianity per se is that of the injustice of it. There is the great injustice of belief=saved and unbelief=damned; no other qualifier other than belief. There is no basis on goodness or kindness or anything else. Any good teaching that Christianity has is overshadowed by the fact that you don't have to abide by those good teachings, just as long as you believe those teachings are written by God. If a Christian murders an atheist, the Christian goes to Heaven and the atheist is damned to Hell.

I think this has warped Ray's sense of justice, as revealed in his latest post:
If a criminal is shown mercy by a good judge and his case is dismissed, it wasn’t dismissed on the basis of the criminal’s goodness or his standard of ethics. It was entirely on the basis of the goodness of the judge.
I can't follow every case every where, but I did take law classes in college and read a bit on justice and can't say there is any provision for dismissing some case because the judge is merciful. Once the criminal is found guilty, the judge imposes sentence. A good judge chooses an appropriate sentence and punishment -- term and conditions of incarceration and/or service/fine. A bad judge chooses an inappropriate sentence and punishment. An exceptionally bad judge "dismisses" the case. I am sure in the final category the judge would not sit as judge for long. By any standard of law, God fails as a good judge.

When it comes to sentencing, a judge can show mercy and a good judge shows mercy where warranted. The criminal's goodness and standard of ethics most certainly come in to play here. The judge must consider the type of crime, the behavior and attitude of the defendant, the character of the defendant, the history of the defendant, etc. If the defendant is young, has no history, and seems to have made simply a stupid judgment call, a good judge indeed shows mercy. If the defendant is a career criminal, with a lengthy history, and the perpetrator of yet another violent crime, a good judge does not show mercy.

Any judge who would "dismiss" the case of a convicted murderer by showing mercy is a bad judge, not a good judge. The criminal has committed a crime and been convicted of it; a dismissal by the judge would be a crime against the victim.

If God were a good judge (which he may be, as the Christian representation of him may be wrong), he would judge based on the content of their life and composition of their heart. He would not say "you believed I existed, despite no evidence for it, therefore anything bad you did is irrelevant and you get rewarded" and "you did not believe I existed therefore, even though there was no evidence for it, anything good you did is irrelevant and you get punished." That would make him a bad judge.

The whole sum of Christian justice is that you are judged on a criterion completely immaterial and irrelevant to your crimes, that another can redeem you by taking on the punishment themselves, and that you are responsible for the crimes of those who have come before you. Those are the ethics of the average Christian.

Ray concludes his post appropriately by referring to it as "terrible justice." With that, I could not agree more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Crossed the Line...

... and so did Ray.

I was going to post this to the Raytractors; however, that vigilant Clostridiophile beat me to the punch by updating on the situation first posted by Rufus.

I am participating in the so-called Atheist Strike put forward by the Raytractors. In response to his untitled post where he quoted Plato, though, I just had to post a comment requesting a source. Of course, the quote he posted had no source as it is fictitious. Getting in an early comment for a source would certainly send some looking for it.

Mind you, though, this is not the first time he has put his words in Plato's mouth. But the hilarity of this post goes past this simple little fact, as is noted in the comments of Rufus's earlier post here.

I can imagine Ray and his cohorts replying to my "Source?" comment by sourcing the Newton quote. But we don't even need to consult Google's cache to see his dishonesty here:



Blogger takes the subject or first few words of the post to generate the title. The words the filename of the post generates from are:
"Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding." -- Plato
Well, we might as well also link to the Google Cache. But since that's not available at the moment, look at the Google result for this post:



His dishonesty has really gotten out of hand. If he wanted to be just minimally dishonest, he could have simply deleted the post (along with my comment) and then posted a new entry (and dishonestly fail to mention why).


Edit (11:03pm)
Well, the first comment responding to my source comment is in. Ray originally quotes Plato, for which I request a source. He then changes it to Newton. A reader comes to the blog seeing only the Newton quote and my comment and responds:
discomforting ignorance

just copy and paste the quote into google....it shouldn't be to hard to find...!
It could very well be that this Plato quote has a source, unlike the previous one, but as far as I could find, it doesn't. I was asking for a source for the Plato one before the readily verifiable Newton one (though, he should still source it).

Edit (10:24am, 7/21)
Second source for Newton in!

Any Toe Left to Stub?

The other half of the photo session of the death match actually relates to Ray's The Universe Eternal post. I created some inspirational posters relating to Ray Comfort.



I think Maragon made a decent summary response to Ray's Second Law of Thermodynamics post, pointing out the hypocrisy of using science to support claims.
Funny how theists hate and fear science when it says something about their worldview that they disagree with, but love and accept science when they think it's proving their point. You can't have it both ways; science either has the power to explain the universe around us, or it doesn't. Pretending to accept science when you mistakenly believe that it disproves other science is intellectually dishonest and a testament to how little you understand about the workings of this academic discipline.
I think there are two things to also point out, though. Her post overlooked the image. Darwin's theory has nothing to do with the big bang. I think "evolution" and "Darwinism" are used by Ray to mean anything which contradicts his scientific reading of the Bible, including evolutionary theory, radiometric dating, cosmological model of the universe, and so on. Ray also managed to overstep the broader question of the poster that the universe can't be eternal while God can, which is perhaps a subject for a later post.

In this post, Ray quotes Stephen Hawking from a 2004 lecture. The lecture he quotes from relates to a previous passage from A Brief History of Time he quote mined to suggest that Stephen Hawking believed in a Creator behind the Big Bang. As I pointed out in Another Toe-Stubbing Post on Hawking, though, the chapter discusses laws breaking down at singularities, finite space-time, and self-containment, and concludes the chapter with:
The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary also has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe. With the success of scientific theories in describing events, most people have come to believe that God allows the universe to evolve according to a set of laws and does not intervene in the universe to break these laws. However, the laws do not tell us what the universe should have looked like when it started -- it would still be up to God to wind up the clockwork and choose how to start it off. So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?
As a fan of Hawking (and knowing Ray's propensity to quote mine), I spent some time reading the lecture. The lecture he quotes from actually covers much of the same stuff. When reading the lecture, I wondered where Ray got the quote from (as I doubt he has read the article, details further below). In searching for this quote to see if it was on a prominent site for quote mining, I found it posted a lot in forums with the follow statement made by posters at a few:
This is a very recent lecture. While he may have supported a universe without a beginning earlier in life, this definitely shows that he has changed his mind in favor of a beginning of the universe and time. (paraphrased)
This is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of Hawking's work and shows ignorance of it. To just provide you with a simple demonstration of this, what I quoted in a my previous post came from A Brief History of Time in 1988, the lecture was in 2004, and the following is from A Briefier History of Time (a revision and updating) in 2005 from the conclusion to Quantum Gravity in chapter nine (pg 103): (luckily I brought this book with me on my trip)
If there is no boundary to space-time, there is no need to specify the behavior at the boundary -- no need to know the initial state of the universe. There is no edge of space-time at which we would have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary conditions for space-time. We could say: "The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary." The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE. As long as we believed the universe had a beginning, the role of a creator seemed clear. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, having neither beginning nor end, then the answer is not so obvious: what is the role of a creator?
This is something the lecture touches on and if read to try to understand, rather than to quote, it becomes obvious. He discusses often what could have preceded the Big Bang, and then always dismisses them as speculation with the comment that we cannot know what happens before that as the laws of science break down in it. He mentions this even in the lecture Ray quotes from:
At this time, the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe, would have been on top of itself. The density would have been infinite. It would have been what is called, a singularity. At a singularity, all the laws of physics would have broken down. This means that the state of the universe, after the Big Bang, will not depend on anything that may have happened before, because the deterministic laws that govern the universe will break down in the Big Bang. The universe will evolve from the Big Bang, completely independently of what it was like before. Even the amount of matter in the universe, can be different to what it was before the Big Bang, as the Law of Conservation of Matter, will break down at the Big Bang.

Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. This kind of beginning to the universe, and of time itself, is very different to the beginnings that had been considered earlier. (emphasis added)
I emphasized the passage where he discusses the beginning. He speaks of this "kind of beginning" of time (the big bang) is "different to the beginnings that had been considered earlier." What beginnings were considered earlier? The beginning of the universe as created by an external agency. And when Ray quotes that "this argument about whether or not the universe had a beginning..." is referring to this, as the section that precedes it reads:
It was therefore natural to believe that the human race, and maybe the whole universe, had a beginning in the fairly recent past. However, many people were unhappy with the idea that the universe had a beginning, because it seemed to imply the existence of a supernatural being who created the universe. They preferred to believe that the universe, and the human race, had existed forever. Their explanation for human progress was that there had been periodic floods, or other natural disasters, which repeatedly set back the human race to a primitive state.
What I find especially humorous to Ray using this lecture is that Hawking actually specifically addresses the beginning of the universe which Ray supports (biblical/created) and the different "kind of beginning" which the Big Bang is. This is the continuation from the previously emphasized passage:
These [different kinds of beginnings considered earlier] had to be imposed on the universe by some external agency. There is no dynamical reason why the motion of bodies in the solar system can not be extrapolated back in time, far beyond four thousand and four BC, the date for the creation of the universe, according to the book of Genesis. Thus it would require the direct intervention of God, if the universe began at that date. By contrast, the Big Bang is a beginning that is required by the dynamical laws that govern the universe. It is therefore intrinsic to the universe, and is not imposed on it from outside.(emphasis added)
After this he discusses some historical attempts to get around the Big Bang beginning, then past light cones, then quantum effects impact on the Big Bang theory, then imaginary time and its implication on real time, and then finally the self-contained, no boundary condition. If all this seems confusing (as it should) but at the same time interesting (as it also should), I strongly recommend reading the lecture yourself, reading some Wikipedia entries on the subjects, and also reading A Brief History of Time, A Briefer History of Time, and The Universe In a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking to find out what Hawking really believes, studies, and lectures on, rather than listening to Ray to divine such knowledge.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Woman... the Glorified Sperm?

Although my hands are still healing from conducting fruit death matches on my day off, I felt a need to briefly respond to Ray's latest post before heading out.

As with some of the other "comic strip images" for his posts, a message is hidden in the image for Woman... the Glorified Primate? A more accurate dilemma will be covered in a post coming up next week entitled Heaven Can't Exist. A picture of eternal life, freedom from sickness, forgiveness (not from those you've wronged), and no more old age or death is given. What of knowing that the majority of mankind is being tortured eternally in Hell? There's a good chance that the majority of those you know and are close to will be burning in Hell. An eternal life of knowing that every second for all eternity for my sister is infinitely worse than the worst pain I have ever felt in this life? Why would I possibly want to choose that?

Choosing a Heaven
And, presumably Heaven will follow those perfect standards of the Bible, such as the subjugation of women. Why would I possibly want to choose a place which denigrates women? And this goes to the latter half of Ray's post. Women are not my (a man's) equals. I am their equal. Women are not inherently inferior to me; I am inherently equal to them.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
Will this be a law, out of the perfect Book, in Heaven? That women must "ask their husbands at home" if they "will learn any thing"?
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)
Will they be forced to submit themselves as well? Why would I want to live in such a place? I love women as I love all humans. I would not want to choose a place where women are considered inferior to men; that daughters can be sold into slavery by their fathers; that they are to be put to death in the event of rape. The Christian view of women makes it no better than choosing the Muslim Heaven.


Women are a glorified primate?
Ray writes:
You are forgetting Who it was made women in the first place. It was God. What you see in the beauty of a woman isn’t a glorified primate.
Yeah, God made woman from a rib. A rib! What you see in the beauty of a woman isn't a glorified rib. Yes, lower forms of primates play a part in the origin of a woman, as the woman is the result of a biological process from that primate. Does that make her a "glorified primate"? A sperm also plays a part in the origin of a woman, as the woman is the result of a biological process from that sperm. Does that make her a "glorified sperm"?

Lust is all atheists live for
Perhaps it was just Ray trying to squeeze in a poor shot at evolution in his post. Perhaps what he was really trying to convey is there is more to a woman for a man than just sex, as it goes to the reader's comment regarding lust. On this, Ray writes:
Your words reveal that, like most normal males, you live for sexual lust. It gives your sinful heart great pleasure, and you can’t think of a life without lusting for women.
Just because a man may lust after a woman does not mean that that is all that he cares for with regard to women. But I suppose I am an abnormal male as I do not "live for sexual lust." Even if I did, I doubt it would give my heart pleasure, as it would put quite a strain on it.

But what if I did incorporate lusting for women in my life? Does that mean that I live for lusting for women? I incorporate many things into my life. I drive my Buick a lot, and if the Bible said that that was immoral, I still would. Does that mean that I live for driving my car? I watch many episodes of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! as it gives my sinful heart great pleasure. Does that mean that I live for watching Bullshit!? I live for life. I have yet to meet anyone who lives for lust.

I reject the biblical teaching of repressing sexual lust. I reject the biblical teaching of prohibiting coitus interruptus. I reject the biblical teaching of loving thy enemy. I reject the biblical teaching prohibiting homosexuality and killing homosexuals. I reject the many misogynistic biblical teachings. I reject the biblical teaching of not wearing clothing made of two kinds of fabric.

While I reject all these things, it does not mean that I live for them; although, I certainly think it's fair to say that I live to end their influence on society and legislation.

Books, Blogs, and Photos

This is just a housekeeping post of several items, hopefully still interesting.

Coconut vs Pineapple Photos
The response to the death match was quite positive (I was honestly expecting many "what a pointless waste of time" comments, but even those were positive). I have uploaded all of the photos from the battle (~80) to a gallery. There was a photo every seven seconds, so it's really just a photo account of the battle.

Before conducting the death match, I took advantage of the photographer and did another small project on another trait of Ray's. Details to come soon... until then, Part IV of VII of The Theist Test is coming out this weekend.


Adrian Hayter's Book Club
I have been wanting to tie this into a Rational Sabbath; however, that's on hold for the moment (see below). As such, I wanted to mention the book club at The Atheist Blogger:

The book is The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. I have decided to participate (as I had it on my reading list, anyway). So, join if you can. This will be my first of the book club, so I can't comment on that itself, but I like the idea.

The Rational Sabbath
The Rational Sabbath is on hold until I can get back home. With the goings-on here, I have only enough time to update the blog and conduct death matches with fruits. My reading time (both books and blogs) is limited while out of town.

Some Blogs I am Trying Out
With that having been said, I thought I'd make a note of some new blogs I have recently started reading (when I find the time). I have not read much, but they look promising from what I've seen.

Kafir Girl: I'm enjoying this one. She is reading the Qur'an and providing commentary on each chapter. She also posts on ludicrous religious asininities in Islam. It has been delightful so far and I hope this doesn't fizzle out like some of the holy text blogs of days past.
Atheist Girls: ... because we need more females in atheist and skeptic rings :-) It is written by three atheist college girls. I haven't read much of it yet (as they're updating too fast for me right now), but it is one I'm trying out.
Answers in Genesis BUSTED!: For as long as this blog has been around and as much as I read AiG, I am surprised I had not found this blog sooner. It is a responsive blog to Answers in Genesis and other creationist organizations, including ICR and Discovery Institute. Of the entries I have read, he has covered articles from AiG, William Dembski's blog, book reviews, and more. It looks very promising. I have tried to read Dembski's Uncommon Descent, but it was too much of an irrational overload to handle. This man must have nerves of evolved steel.

There are of course some more, but these are the three top ones. I am excited about Kafir Girl as I have tried finding good Mormon and Muslim blogs but none have seemed up to par.

Blogrolling News
DisComforting Ignorance has been accepted to The Atheist Blogroll managed by Mojoey over at Deep Thoughts. You can read my introduction to Disco Igno posted at Deep Thoughts.

I have received a few emails requesting some blog recommendations (to which to subscribe). I already have a few of my favorites listed to the right. There are many more, though, so I have included a complete listing of all the blogs to which I am currently subscribed. I will try to keep it manually updated as I do revisions until I get an automated process in place.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Death Match: Pineapple vs Coconut


The theist's banana is
no match for the
atheist's pineapple.
Coconut or Pineapple: Which one is the theist's worst nightmare?

Note: This is not intended to be a serious post. It should be taken about as seriously as one should take Ray's attempt to prove God with a banana.


Adrian Hayter, from The Atheist Blogger, noted on my first installment of The Theist Test that a pineapple is the proper theist's nightmare, and not the coconut. I frequently devour pineapples and, I must say, they're quite easy to open. The coconut, though, about killed me when I first tried to open it, as I hadn't the slightest clue as to how. When I slammed it against the counter and it came back at me... I take that to be an attempt on my life.

THE RULES
To the point, I decided to do a proper match between the coconut and the pineapple. Since the argument Ray uses is that God designed the banana for us (hands, indicators, opening, etc) and illustrates it with just his hands, the rules of this death match will follow in the same non-numinous spirit:

1. No man-made tools may be used. A knife would certainly make the pineapple easier to open, as would a butcher's knife or machete for the coconut. Since God didn't design the knives or machete, using them would be giving him inappropriate help (cheating).
1a. God did design certain aids, such as rocks and my hands, so those may be used.
1b. The rock or any other God-designed tool may not be improved on. If God truly designed it, it should be perfect anyway.
2. The fruit must be in a condition where nearly all of its edible contents can be consumed using just the mouth and hands. In the pineapple's case this means removal of the skin (not necessarily the leaves) and in the coconut's case this means get it in small enough pieces that it can be consumed.

Following the death match, a tallying will be done covering how the fruits fair using Ray's ten criteria he applied to the banana. A conclusion will announce the winner. If the pineapple wins, I will make this blog my personal pineapple, then.

THE CONTESTANTS
In this corner: a pineapple. In that corner: a coconut.

Which one will cause Ray to start shivering when he passes through the produce isle? Which one will give Kirk some praying pains? Which one will be... THE THEIST'S NIGHTMARE? Only one will remain standing.

THE TOOLS

I am unsure of what I will need, so I have gathered the following for outside:

1. A giant rock almost too heavy to lift. It will serve as some rock structure you might find near where you get the pineapple or coconut to beat it against.
2. Four stones of varying sizes, all able to comfortably fit in the hand (they must have been designed that way).
3. Two sticks. They may be needed to pry or dig some of the fruit out of the skin/shell.
4. Two bananas. If God has designed them to be truly the atheist's nightmare, they should serve as a fine tool to quickly dispel the theist's nightmare.
5. Two hands (conveniently attached to my body, which I found outside at the time).


THE BATTLE -- THE COCONUT
First up, the coconut.



Plan A was to give it a whack with the mighty banana. But alas, it failed miserably. Perhaps the intelligently designed banana that I purchased was defective.

Luckily, I had a Plan B prepared. My strategy was to bang it against the rock (I forgot about the rock and accidentally used the patio where I am staying for the first blow). One mighty thrust downward and the coconut nearly split in two. With a twist of my mighty hands, I failed to finish the splitting process. A whack on my giant rock did the job, though.

The next step was to get the halves into even smaller pieces. The goal, remember, is to get them into sizes small enough to be able to eat the meat from the shells using just my teeth and fingers.

I laid the halves on the giant rock and took one of my hand-sized stones and thrust it upon the coconut, scattering it into many pieces.

It was going much quicker than I had anticipated. Continuing this process with a few dozen more whacks, I finally broke the pieces down small enough to where I could (hypothetically) easily eat the meat from the shell. And now, behold:



THE BATTLE -- THE PINEAPPLE
Next up to bat: the pineapple.



As you may have suspected, my Plan A was to give it a whack with the mighty banana. But alas, it, like the coconut's, failed miserably. Perhaps I was unlucky enough to get two defective intelligently designed bananas.

I just knew the banana would work, though, and I didn't have a Plan B. My college education kicked in, though, and I devised a plan wherein I would whack it against a giant rock. It put a good dent on one side of the pineapple and made it easy to dig the contents out. Before doing that, I decided to remove the tab.

As much as I had studied Ray's video on the banana, it seems I would have flunked any test on it because, try as I might, I could not seem to remove the top of the pineapple by pulling on its leafy tab.

Luckily, I came up with another strategy. I hammered the leafy top off with stone against the rock. After going around it once, I could then pull it off by its tab (with some effort). It seems my pineapple was also defective as it lacked the perforation that Ray noted about the intelligently designed banana.

After that, I dug the fruit out to the core from the dented portion of the pineapple. The other, undented side was too firm to have its fruit dug and ripped out. As such, it was another few whacks against the rock and it came up looking like shredded pineapple.

The skin wasn't removed from the final product. It was, however, in little pieces like the coconut making it easy to eat it off the skin. The core had remaining fruit around it which also could be eaten off of it. In the end, it looked like:




THE SCORECARD

Scoring will be done on a 0-4 basis. 0 being not intelligently designed/unintelligently designed/defective; 4 being as intelligently designed as the mighty banana. I will first use Ray's ten criteria (discussing it for both fruits) and then a few of my own which I think are worthy, including how long it took me to open them.

1. Is shaped for human hand
Coconut: It is not at all shaped for the human hand. It has no ridges matching up with the hand. You can comfortably hold it, though. D-. (+1)
Pineapple: Holding it in the checkout line was extremely awkward, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. F. (+0)

2. Has non-slip surface
Coconut: It does indeed... A. (+4)
Pineapple: There's really no non-slip surface here. The spikes make you want to let it slip. It's not frictionless, though. D-. (+1)

3. Has outward indicators of inward content:
Coconut: It does turn brown when ripened, but no color indicator of being too late or if the coconut water is bitter. C-. (+2)
Pineapple: You can examine the leaves and the uniformity of the markings along the pineapple, but this is no clear outward indicator of inward content. F+. (+0)

4. Has a tab for removal of wrapper
Coconut: It's a sphere. F-. (+0)
Pineapple: It has a leafy tab, but it's hardly for removal of wrapper. F. (+0)

5. Is perforated on wrapper
Coconut: Nope. F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Nope. F-. (+0)

6. Bio-degradable wrapper
Coconut: Yes, but probably a lot longer than the banana's 2-10 days. C. (+2)
Pineapple: Yes, but probably longer than the banana's 2-10 days. B. (+3)

7. Is shaped for human mouth
Coconut: Not for mine. F. (+0)
Pineapple: Epic failure. F-. (+0)

8. Has a point at top for ease of entry
Coconut: "top"? F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Nope. F-. (+0)

9. Is pleasing to taste buds
Coconut: It is pleasing... but as much as a banana? B+. (+3)
Pineapple: I was in tears once I finished mutilating it as I could not eat it. A+. (+4)

10. Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy
Coconut: It's curved towards the face alright (and everywhere else). F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Nope. F-. (+0)

11. Is easy to harvest from the plant
Coconut: It's in a tall palm tree. It falls several months after ripening, striking you on the head, and the water being bitter.? F. (+0)
Pineapple: Telling when it's ready is a bit difficult and it's spikey making it difficult to hold on to. C-. (+2)

12. Is easy to open with just your body
Coconut: Impossible. Epic failure. G-. (+0)
Pineapple: I suppose you could smash it with your fist, but it's far from easy. D-. (+1)

13. Is easy to open using stuff found in nature (like rocks)
Coconut: Took me five minutes to get it opened/broken enough to eat. It wasn't easy. F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Took me four minutes to get it opened and expose all the fruit content to eat. It wasn't easy. D- (+1)

14. Once opened with nature items, it's easy/clean to eat.
Coconut: Not really. Getting the fruit away from the shell was difficult with the teeth. It is clean though. C. (+2)
Pineapple: Messy, messy, messy. F. (+0)


Coconut:
25% (+14)
Pineapple:
21.4% (+12)

CONCLUSION


The pineapple and coconut are both, definitely, theist's nightmares. But which one is worse?

After tallying up the scores and seeing how close the two were, I had to decide how important the fact is that it is impossible to open a coconut with just your hands and feet (no rocks or anything). Certainly that factor is more important than it having a non-slip surface. If God were to design something for humans, he should at least have the foresight to have made it able to be opened by our hands, as he did with the banana.

This was subject to Ray's asinine criteria and, based on those alone, the pineapple gets a dismal 20%. So, if by that criteria alone, a banana is judged to be the atheist's nightmare, then we can say, based on these criteria, the pineapple is truly...
THE THEIST'S WORST NIGHTMARE

Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Unjust Lawgiver

I was asked once in a comment to my blog why, if I somehow came to know that the Christian God exists, do I qualify that I would believe in him, but not worship him. Ray's most recent post Heaven or Hell? sheds some light on it (along with his previous God is not All-Loving).

I remember being a freshman or sophomore in high school and was taking World History. I am not sure where the subject of American Law came up, but it was in juxtaposition to other countries where laws are arbitrary, unwritten, or undisclosed. She commented that, in America, not knowing the law is not an excuse for violating it; in America, we have a justice system wherein all the laws are written down and available to the public (voluminous though they may be).

God has fashioned himself after America by also writing all his laws down in a book -- very just, right? Some of them, like slavery, subjugation of women, etc, have been repealed (due to secular modernity) but the law has not been updated to reflect this nor does it have an amendment process. But I digress.

He has written them down, being the just god that God is. He has, however, failed to make them available to all those who are subject to the laws (every person who has and ever will live). And if you fail to receive a copy of these laws, through no fault of your own, you are to be tortured for all eternity, regardless of whether or not you lived your life better than those who are getting into Heaven?

Some child in a miserable third world country and who never even heard the name Jesus Christ and never even knew that such a book of laws existed, starves to death -- literally starves to death -- then gets tortured for all eternity?

This... this is justice? This is how a just God behaves? Either we are to believe that a perfect being, who is perfectly just, would commit to his creations such atrocities, or we are to believe that the book has been corrupted and perverted over the MILLENIA (regardless of whether it was divinely inspired or not in the first place). What greater injustice could there be than to infinitely punish someone for a finite violation of a law that a Lawgiver never gave them?

I thought, for sure, all of the Christian commenters would attack Ray on his post. Some did, but some took a more peculiar approach:
Some have said, "Um, okay, no one's ever told me that before and I've been fine so far, so..."

I don't think any of us can say that we have absolute knowledge that anyone who has died and gone to Hell never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
Let's just avoid the hard questions altogether by pulling out the gem of absolute knowledge? Someone has listened to a bit too many Ray-tracts. There are several things wrong with this, but I will point out two problems with this statement:

Absolute knowledge of the antithesis

Your claim is that you know that no one has died without hearing the Gospel. Such a claim requires absolute knowledge. How dare you make such a claim! You are not omniscient jesusrulzme, only God is. Therefore, you don't really know... you are agnostic (ignorant).

Hypothetical question

This doesn't even require any evidence that there has ever been a case where no one has heard the Gospel (though I could make irrefutable arguments to such an end). It, like my third world country child, is taken as a purely hypothetical question:
A hypothetical question is one that is answered only in terms of validity, not soundness. Thus the question is designed to make a number of assumptions, and be answered as if those assumptions are true.
Based on the hypothetical question that a person died without ever hearing the Gospel, Ray (speaking for God) casts them into the fiery bowels of Hell.


Others on this topic
The Raytractors (Clostridiophile)
Flinging Dust