Saturday 15 August 2015

Skepticule 100 — now with updated shownotes

Click here for original:

Skepticule 100: An English Cabbie; America's Equal Marriage; Anon Steve wants to be Proud; Magnets — how do they cure?; William Lane Craig's Real God; William Lane Craig's Free Will.



God's revenge for Equal Marriage
Megachurch in Georgia — Eddie Long
Turkey's Gay Pride rainbow

Anon Steve's pride
Peter Boghossian's tweet
Tom Robinson
Alan Turing
Yorkshire boundary changes

Radio Times
Premier Offers Direct
Posture support
Knee support brace
Magnetic knee sleeve
Wikipedia on Magnet Therapy
Michael Shermer
Wikipedia's magnetic force example table
Skeptic's Dictionary on Anton Mesmer
Neodymion balls

William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith podcast
The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity
Hosea 9:15
Deuteronomy 20-23
Deuteronomy 26-30
Deuteronomy 32:19
Psalms 5:5
Proverbs 6:16
Malachi 1:3

Johno on William Lane Craig's free will
Soul/consciousness/brain-state video
Occam's Razor
Reasonable Faith blogpost on faster-than-light neutrinos

Editing & shownotes: Paul S. Jenkins

Paul Thompson ("Sinbad")
The Skeptical Probe

Paul Orton, militant agnostic

Paul S. Jenkins
Notes from an Evil Burnee

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Tuesday 11 August 2015

Multiple multi-faith failure — ongoing

This is the continuation of a previous post, "Multiple multi-faith failure — on Facebook".

  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    I just heard today of a four-time pro bowl NFL running back going public about his atheism, after being raised in a Muslim home. The article said in part:

    "To promote acceptance of atheism worldwide, he recently joined the group Openly Secular as a spokesperson. Adrian Foster hopes to use his celebrity platform to dispel what he calls 'a lot of ignorance about nonbelief.'"

    Of interest to me is the obvious connection and blending of secularism with atheism and "nonbelief." As it's my conviction the secular drive is an anti-theistic front for humanistic-agnostic-atheistic proselytizing and control of the public political and educational sectors. I've heard your adamant stance against my view of secularism, but I see a much different reality than the PR statements.
  • Paul S Jenkins "Openly Secular" is a campaign of the Richard Dawkins Foundation (which is an atheistic organisation), not the National Secular Society (which isn't). We secular humanists have no control over what celebrities do or say. As has been pointed out many times (including by theists) it's not necessary to be an atheist in order to be a secularist.

    Whatever anyone may think about a so-called secularist-atheist-humanist agenda, this has no bearing on the truth or otherwise of theistic claims. The supernatural claims of religion are untrue.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,
    We've covered this "secular is not anti-religion" before, so it will likely be redundantly fruitless. However, your final words, "The supernatural claims of religion are untrue" represent well the secular world view that secularists wish to make
    nonbelief-agnosticism-atheism the only view in the public square in civil government and public government schools. Your supernatural-claims-are-all-untrue opinion is only that, your opinion, not the final word on truth and not worthy of being the official government-supported world view. My opinion, and the opinion of a far greater number, differs as to what is true. Secularists demand only their opinion to be allowed and promoted in the public government arena. Secularism is a harsh silencing intolerance under the cloak of fair benevolent tolerance. Secularism is in reality opposed to tolerant pluralism, insisting upon a monopoly on what world view is allowed. I counter your statement with, "the tolerant claims of secularism are untrue" because secularism is at best marginalizing, at worse outlawing, any belief other than their humanistic-atheistic world view. Only the naive or deceived fail to see behind the lovely facade of secular tolerance to the ugly inside edifice of religious intolerance and anything that is faith based. The end goal of secularists is to turn up the volume on secular humanism-atheism and silence all classical humanism-theism.*
    Each religion is considered like a poisonous sugar soda and secularism is convinced only sugar free sweetened no-calorie sodas are healthy. Activist secularists don't outlaw soda, just the evil sugar. They are reasonable and tolerant! But religionists know over time the artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic. Secularists deny any long term harm by artificial sweeteners and only see the abuses of sugar and they are right, many overweight and diabetic religionists abuse sugar. Secularists have a motto of "separation of sugar soda and state." So public school students and public officials can only buy and drink sugar free refreshment on government property. The real goal of the secularists (including the liberal "religious secularists", yes an oxymoron, who are practical atheists) is the eventual removal of all sugar by indoctrination and prohibition.

    *The “humanism” that movement humanism hawks is a duck blind for the so-called new atheism. It isn’t (as a CFI operative recently alleged) that religion is the opposite of humanism, any more than your grandpa is the opposite of you. But in its premises, approach, and substance, secular humanism is now the opposite of humanism.
    Posted by rjosephhoffman Sept '13
  • There Isnogod Getoverit As I pointed out, above, I am not inclined to wear a bucket over my head. If someone wants to call themselves a cat lover, by which they mean they despise cats, it has no bearing on what I mean when I say I love cats. As I also pointed out, above, this is likely to pass by someone who really cares what their *own* guru/leader says or wants, because the appreciation of our own disinterest in what others *claim* is their motivation, or expectation, or definition, cannot be fully grasped. The gulf of understanding is unlikely to be crossable. Its as if David cannot be white, for he does not say what Andrew Rogers says. (A white person you will not know, from my childhood). That's the depth of the irrelevance, to me.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit By the way, I see religion as basically a bad thing. But that is not me being secularist, it has nothing to do with my secularism. Just as one can be a baptist and a christian and a vegan. I happen to be a secularist who ALSO thinks religion is a bag thing. Just as a baptist is a christian who ALSO happens to be a baptist. The parallels between faiths and lack-of-faiths is clumsy. But in this instance, one can waft people who claim secularist views all day, and it speaks nowt to my secularism. And my belief that religion is bad speaks nowt to other people's (and my own) secularism. If I ceased to believe religion was a bad thing, I would be no more, and no less, in favour of secular government, non-astrological policing, non-homoeopathic medicine, and non-mythical biology. Why would I want any of these things influenced by what I see as made-up?
  • There Isnogod Getoverit By the way David, "secularists demand...", like "christians say "god hates fags"". I don't know how to get through to you. You are telling me what I demand. Its tedious. Its bigoted. And as stupid as the latter quote would be, if the writer believed he had christians nailed. And by insulting your reader you poison everything you have to say. Getoverit.
  • David Ward Miller TIG,
    You see religion (all groups lumped together) "basically a bad thing," I see secularism (all groups lumped together) as basically a bad thing--a front for atheism and anti-theism.
    Not all secularists are bad people, their militant activist atheist leaders in the intolerant movement with a "rude rules" MO and "religion is evil and harmful to humanity" mantra, well that's a different story.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit "I see secularism (all groups lumped together) as basically a bad thing". Good, we are on the same wavelength. That opens a discussion. As a front for Atheism. I disagree, and could argue about that. This is a far less insulting and tedious mode of operating. If I start a conversation with a christian by telling them, as a fact, that they believe god hates fags, then the christian is taken off a discussion of whatever it is that is of interest, to the boring requirement to inform the speaker that they are a bigot.

    It would be nice, though, if we did not have to go through this again, with you informing us of what we thought, loved, believed...etc. The black man should not have to repeatedly say he does not like rap, nor eat watermelon, when that suggestion introduces a topic on, say, "black cultures" (yet again).

    As for the idea of leaders, there is no need for me to repeat myself. You know where I stand on that, and you merely choose to ignore it - I believe you are not open to the idea that we are unled.
    [shrug]. Meh.
  • Paul S Jenkins David, when I wrote, “The supernatural claims of religion are untrue,” I was indeed expressing my opinion. It was intended to refer back to the video in Bruce’s OP. Different religions make different, incompatible supernatural claims. The only fair way all these incompatible claims can be accommodated is with secularism. Otherwise a government will have to declare a state religion — that one particular set of supernatural claims is true, and all the others are false.

    But the supernatural claims of religion are incapable of objective substantiation, so which religion should a government endorse? How should it decide? Any decision would either be random or, more probably, based on the majority religion of its citizens. Unfortunately that would involve treating some of its citizens unequally. And what if the tenets of the majority religion involved a mandate to kill all those who didn’t share the majority belief?

    No, secularism is the way forward, and the fact that you continue to wilfully misrepresent it demonstrates that we still have a way to go. So once again…

    “Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law.” — National Secular Society.

    Secularism does not entail atheism. Secularism does not entail humanism. Your objection to secularism’s so-called “intolerance” only emphasises your special pleading for a set of beliefs that cannot be shown to be any more true than a whole lot of other incompatible beliefs. One way out of this quandary would be for a government to outlaw all religions, but that isn’t secularism. The secularist stance is that government should not interfere with religion, other than to ensure that everyone, religious or not, is treated equally before the law.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,
    As I said at the outset, we have covered this issue before. You honestly believe secularism is not a front for atheism to suppress what you believe is nonsense and harmful--all religion.

    I strongly disagree, and find your benevolent definitions of secularism as accurate as the wonderful self-portrayal of secular-atheists-communism by their past leaders as they killed and imprisoned clergy, closed places of worship and indoctrinated students of the stupidity and evils of religion. Secular humanism is a belief system that practically speaking would enjoy full support of a secularized state in all state institutions with forced tax support of the people, most who are religious.

    We all have blind spots, including you, and others in the 6.9 agnostic-atheist camp that dominate the secular state movement. The obvious condescending attitude towards all religions, and constantly pitting science against religion and reason, points to a certain repeating of history of atheism being the state "religion" as it shouts we have no state religion, with the inevitable goal of state controlled indoctrinating of all the youth against theism as (1) equal to belief in Santa Claus and ghosts, (2) the basic cause of all the world's problems and (3) parents who teach children religion are abusing them (Dawkins) and so they should have their children removed (logical outcome). The announced tolerance of religion will move from a begrudging toleration to ridicule and finally aggressive removal.

    Paul, your beliefs and passionate convictions are clearly not just atheistic, but anti-theistic and are beliefs and convictions you are evangelistic about, seeking converts.

    You, especially TIG, and most of the new "angry atheist" (not so with Bruce, the most objective civil non-theist thinker I've ever encountered--who posted the cartoon) find ultimate refuge in ridicule while claiming you have the corner on reason. As one writer put it:
    "What once was proudly called free-thought is fast becoming the slavish repetition of slogans and one-liners. Did you hear the one about the talking snake? If God is so smart, why did he put the prostate next to a man’s urinary tract?"

    My religious ignorance, you say, spills over to my ignorance of your pure benevolent tolerant utopian secularism. But your vastly superior intellectual prowess assures you see clearly that your secular state will not suppress what you "know" is gross ignorance and dangerous to society--all religion.

    You are an intelligent well-spoken man. But your blind spot is massive. Allow one more lengthy quote from the same writer above:
    "[Naytheism] blames the oppression of the masses on the religious institutions that have been progressive in all of these areas [of education, health care, the rights of minorities, underprivileged classes, or women]. Naytheism does this in the simplest of ways, by delimiting “religion” to the worst examples of its complex parts and hoping an unsuspecting newcomer won’t notice. It claims that conscience can only operate freely without dogma, ignoring the extent to which much of dogma is the cultural residue of social conscience: no conscience, no law, neither humane ones nor cruel ones. It scans the Bible for examples of sixth century BC horrors and ignores the Sermon on the Mount and the prophets’ call for social justice. It pans for dirt, puts the gold to one side, and calls the result “religion.” It is not selective or “eclectic”; it is manipulative and deceitful."
    Posted by rjosephhoffman Sept '13)

    So we still agree to disagree!

    I'm off to ignorantly worship my non-existent Creator and continue to feed my delusion, ha!

    Have a great day.
  • Paul S Jenkins There you go David, telling us what we believe again. It’s not necessary — we know what we believe. Your telling us only serves to point up your misapprehension. Stop putting words into our mouths.

    Regardless of what you think secularism is, could you
    tell us how you propose that different religions, with different and incompatible beliefs, can live in harmony in a state where one religion has official sanction and others don’t. Your demonisation of a so-called atheist/humanist/secularist agenda (whether that’s to do with science vs. religion, rationality vs. irrationality, or whatever) is irrelevant to the issue of how people who have different but incompatible beliefs can live in harmony.

    Nowhere in this thread have I espoused the idea that religion is the root of all evil. My concern is about whether what people believe is actually true, and how incompatible beliefs can be reconciled within a diverse community in the absence of the separation of church and state.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit Maybe we could ask the Muslims* not to dictate what images we show, and ask the Hindus not to stop us eating meat*. If only there was a word for such an approach. How about non-religiondicatingism. Any other suggestions? Anyway, sounds a lot better than nasty old secularism [shudder].

    *any generalisations here, are beside the point.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit PS, I saw the specific mention of me in David's tract. I do not recollect saying any of the things attributed to me there. They do not strike me as convincing arguments I would express. The exposition does suggest to me an image of a frustrated "lashing out", by someone without a point, but just an angry failure (or refusal) to understand. I am glad to be the named recipient. The lack of understanding means that you are only spitting on a poorly constructed straw effigy. I am way over yonder, nowhere near where the sputum is spattering, saying something completely different.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    I could say, there you go again telling me what I believe -- that I want a state religion-- but I will refrain, ha!

    I really do hear you. Disagreement is not necessarily ignorance or misrepresentation.

    Your question gets at the heart of the matter and may clarify my position.

    While you insist it is not so I am convinced atheist-agnostic-secular-humanism is a belief system as much as Xianity, both filled with much internal diversity. Atheistic secularism, the bulk of secularism, is a belief that there is no God, or at least so highly unlikely that the whole idea makes as much sense as belief in fairies.

    Secularists in America want all references to God removed. No "In God we trust" on money. No "one nation under God" No political candidate saying "God bless America." No being lead by "Nature's God". No emphasizing a divine foundational basis of a people's rights, that people "are endowed by their Creator" with these rights. No "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world" as the basis for just independence. No announcing a "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" in times of impending or actual war. Why? Because there are a very few (5% I being very generous) who completely reject the theist concept. But such general references establish no single "state religion" promoted, just a theistic backdrop.

    As already explained, I do not accept the slick tolerant-looking dog and pony show on the secular stage, when there is a hungry 900 pound intolerant atheist gorilla behind the curtain ready to silence anyone who mentions God with ridicule and laws.

    Wikipedia offers this interesting "alternative view" of a "state church"
    "Alternative view - A state church is a governing body which adheres to the human secular religion, and thus cleverly positions that body with the circular concept of acting out that secularism is not a religion but instead the fairness policy to guard against any religious concepts except that of secularism."

    Evidently others see through the separation of church and state as a clever ploy to remove all the other belief systems except secularism (I consider dominated by anti-theist atheists like yourself).

    We were told over and over that we did not understand the goodness, fairness and moral superiority of atheistic states like the former USSR. Ah, but many did see through the false PR. Were the leaders sincere or liars, deceived or deceivers? In the end that matters little. What matters is people not being duped and losing their religious freedom.

    So secularism stands as one of the conflicting beliefs vying for a place at the table of competing values that a free people will vote upon, that cannot please everyone, but will (should) try to be fair to most. Without a dictatorship of majority values nor a dictatorship of minority values. Not an easy task!

    Nations with Judeo-Christian roots presently offer the most freedom, although certainly not perfectly so. Nations with Islamic state government's offer some of the least freedom to differing beliefs and values, including atheism. China & N Korea are secular atheistic governments with oppressive intolerance of religion and other freedoms, such as a free press. Whether it be atheists, any religion, gays, women or Jews, Christianized nations generally offer the most freedom, albeit imperfectly. Values clashes are inevitable as a search for a just freedom goes on.

    I'm not for any theocracy nor a "secular-ocracy", but a democratic republic with as even a playing field as reasonably possible for all. My personal political libertarian views are not my personal spiritual biblical views and values.

    I'll close with this quote:
    "In democratic societies Christianity has as much right to a voice in the public square as secularism, radical secularism or atheism. The attempts of the radical secularists to silence every Christian sound is evidence of the fact that radical secularists don’t understand democracy and are striving to replace it with a radical secular-ocracy. Organizations like the ‘Freedom From Religion Foundation’ are, consequently, undemocratic bodies wishing to overturn Democracy in America. Democracy cannot survive in America if radical secularism ‘wins the day’. For the ‘day’ of radical secularism is the night of democracy and the death of human rights." On Democracy: An Observation, Zwinglius Redivivus
  • Paul S Jenkins David,

    "I could say, there you go again telling me what I believe -- that I want a state religion-- but I will refrain, ha!"

    You are wise to refrain, because I did not do that. And you didn't answer my question.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit David does not understand. What I (or Paul) believe or want (etc) is not a matter of debate. David is not entitled to an opinion. We can state what we believe or want, and he is only entitled to call us a liar, in what can only be seen as a quite mad conspiratorial paranoia.

    Simply, David tells Paul what he believes, Paul corrects him, then David says "no, I disagree, let have a debate". He has no conception of how insulting it is, how ridiculous it sounds, nor how insane his persistence is becoming.

    I don't think David is insane for believing a set of fairy stories, we all have certain beliefs that others may think are odd. No, I think he is insane because after months and months of being told he cannot announce to the world what we believe/love/want, he is still unable to be corrected by the very people he thinks he has described. And he thinks we will be impressed by quotations and references to others who say what we are/believe/love (etc). I am the expert in me, Paul is the expert in Paul - the inability to grasp that is breathtaking.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit Here is a handy helpful tool, for the use of an quantifiers, to avoid confusion:

    Christians say "god hates fags" - untrue, the lack of limiting quantifier implies one - "all"

    All christians say "god hates fags" - untrue, according to the evidence.

    Most christians say "god hates fags" - unsubstantiated assertion - requires evidence.

    Many christians say "god hates fags" - inaccurate - vague and confusing, would require definition of the quantifier.

    Some christians say "god hated fags" - undeniable, according to the evidence. However also suffers from lack of definition of the quantifier.

    These are the sorts of ways you get to have a debate with someone who is a member of the group being described, and also a way of not coming across as an insane dick.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    Evidently I was unclear. I attempted to answered your question, but I will repeat and augment a bit.

    Question: "Regardless of what you think secularism is, could you tell us how you propose that different religions, with different and incompatible beliefs, can live in harmony in a state where one religion has official sanction and others don’ people who have different but incompatible beliefs can live in harmony."

    Past Answer: "While you insist it is not so, I am convinced atheist-agnostic-secular-humanism is a belief system as much as Xianity, both filled with much internal diversity."


    Past Answer: "Values clashes are inevitable as a search for a just freedom goes on. So secularism stands as one of the conflicting beliefs vying for a place at the table of competing values that a free people will vote upon, that cannot please everyone, but will (should) try to be fair to most. Without a dictatorship of majority values nor a dictatorship of minority values. Not an easy task!... I'm not for any theocracy nor a "secular-ocracy", but a democratic republic with as even a playing field as reasonably possible for all. My personal political libertarian views are not my personal spiritual biblical views and values."


    (I already covered my view that in general, nations with Judeo-Christian roots offer the most freedom and tolerance to varying belief systems, and in general, Islamic states & secular-ocracies much less. My final quote warned against the loss of democratic freedom in Christianized states that go secular)

    Paul, would you answer for me how a secularized state would harmonize differing beliefs without silencing all theism and, by intent or default, establish a secular-ocracy?
  • There Isnogod Getoverit "I already covered my view that in general, nations with Judeo-Christian roots offer the most freedom and tolerance to varying belief systems"

    Well that's that then, we're all in agreement. We have a Judeo-Christian society, because that's best for a
    ll. And I am sure all the other religions will agree, and none of them will point to the very good examples where theirs exhibited more tolerance. And nobody will point to the intra-christian history of violence.

    Nah, forget that, a christian has indicted that his religion offers the best for all. [shrug] what have we learned today. Nowt new.
  • Paul S Jenkins David, I note that despite my prefixing of my question with the phrase, “Regardless of what you think secularism is…” you nevertheless proceed to tell us (again) what you think it is, thus demonstrating that you’re still clinging steadfastly to the wrong end of the stick.


    As has been pointed out in this thread more than once, secularism is not a front for atheistic humanism, nor is it a belief. Continuing to insist (in all caps, no less) that secularism is not what secularists themselves define it as only makes me think you’re possessed of some weird conspiracy theory.

    And what an amazing coincidence that when asked how incompatible beliefs should be reconciled, you suggest that they should all come under the aegis of your particular belief system. Tell that to the Muslims, or the Hindus, or the Scientologists, or the Raelians, or… (the list goes on, as well you know). Or maybe it’s not a coincidence — maybe it’s just that your beliefs are correct and all the others are wrong. Is that it?

    Sorry David, your suggestion won’t wash. Your religious beliefs are no more valid _under the law_ than any other religious beliefs, so you don’t get to be top dog. But then, neither do I, because my lack of religious belief is no more valid _under the law_ than your faith-based belief. But this means that insofar as your and my beliefs are incompatible, we don’t get to lord it over each other, because secularism.

    In answer to your question, a secularised state would harmonise incompatible beliefs by not allowing them a voice in government. This isn’t silencing them, it is saying that laws should not be based on religious precepts that are incompatible with the precepts of other faiths. Religious believers of all faiths are free to proclaim their beliefs in church, in the media, even on the street. But not in government, because that wouldn’t be fair on those who don’t share those beliefs.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • There Isnogod Getoverit If the facts were relevant (and they are not to David), he would in fact choose Jainism to be in charge.

    Of course, the thing is, David is not honest, he just wants his side in charge. He is a liar. He insists on lying about what secularism is, and lying about what he wants.

I have a feeling this won't be the last continuation post...

The original Facebook thread is here: