Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Today I'm gonna respond again to the importance of the burden of proof, and a PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHER's inability to understand (read: be intellectually honest) about it.

Original article found here:

The concept of “the burden of proof” is a matter of interpersonal protocol in debate or discussion.
No.  Burden of Proof describes (not prescribes) who has the requirement to show evidence for a claim.  A person can make any claim he or she likes, but without meeting the burden of proof, it's a useless claim.
In formal contexts, such as courts of law, one side—in criminal cases in the United States, the prosecution—may hold the burden of proof.
Here we have a further lack of understanding.  Again, the burden of proof describes the claim, nothing more.  The prosecution generally makes the first claim: that the defendant is guilty of a crime.  The defense makes its claim, generally that the defendant isn't guilty.  There is a simultaneous burden of proof, potentially.  One side will have the burden of demonstrating that the defendant was the actual person committing the crime.  The other will have the burden of showing any evidence supporting some other stance, perhaps that the defendant wasn't even in the same country at the time of the event.

Regardless, the burden of proof can fall on both parties, depending on the claim.
Some formal debates also make use of a burden of proof as part of the rules.
I can't think of a single time that there has been any serious form of debate where evidence hasn't been required.  In fact, even in this argument herself, she is using evidence to demonstrate that the burden is prescriptive, rather than descriptive.  She is, however, conflating a descriptive part of logic for a human set of prescriptive rules.

A simple way to look at this is as follows:

Descriptive: if you want to claim that someone has done something, evidence is required or the claim is empty.
Prescriptive: The law says that if you can convince a jury of the evidence, a man can be imprisoned.

These are two separate ideas that Eve wants to keep conflating.  Remember, on her about page, and in half of her blog posts, she constantly sees the need to remind us she is a professional.  I present this as evidence that she is being purposefully intellectually dishonest.  That's just an observation.
A burden of proof fallacy occurs when someone attempts to invoke or assign a burden of proof outside of any agreement or interpersonal protocol.
So close, yet so far.  Burden of proof is a descriptive term.  It's not dependent upon whether or not you think it exists.  Just because you can convince someone of something without evidence, does not make said thing true.  You and me and the bottle makes three, and even if we all agree, we can all be wrong.
In such cases, the concept of “the burden of proof” becomes a rhetorical trope that conceals two informal logical fallacies: special pleading and an argument to ignorance.
While you do seem to be an authority on ignorance, I'm not going to commit the fallacy of appealing to you.  It's not rhetoric.  If you can demonstrate some other way to illustrate your point that doesn't rely upon evidence, please do so! However, even here, you're attempting to use this as evidence for your claim.  Evidence you claim you don't need, because you don't need a burden of proof if you're not debating anyone, as you said above.  As such, you've given two contrary opinions in defense of the same exact point.  They're both incorrect.
A fallacy of special pleading occurs when one asks or demands (“pleads”) to be exempted from a rule or criterion to which everyone else is held for no relevant reason (or no reason at all).
See, you do understand!  This is why you have the burden of proof when you make a positive claim.  You wish to be exempted from the burden of proof for your claims.  This is why we think you're so intellectually dishonest.  This is a clear demonstration that you actually do understand what you're doing.
An argument to ignorance fallacy has the form “my assertion is true until proven false.”
Well, for one, it's an argument from ignorance.  Hey, you're the professional here.  I'm sure it's just a typo.  Secondarily, that's not what an argument from ignorance is.  An argument from ignorance is saying 'my assertion is true because I can't understand why it is false, despite any evidence you might provide.' 

But again, you're the professional.  I shouldn't need to tell you these things.
The burden of proof fallacy takes the from of “My position is the default position. My opponent has the burden of proof!” But in asserting that one’s position is “the default position”, one is making an argument to ignorance: this just is equivalent to saying “My position is true until it is proven false.”
I'll just let that one speak for itself.
And the justification for this argument to ignorance is simply special pleading that one be allowed to use an argument to ignorance as if it were valid.
So your claim is that the burden of proof doesn't exist, and you're claiming this is true until someone proves you false?  Interestingly enough, that's the exact explanation you gave for your version of the 'burden of proof' fallacy.

How very professional.

Both combined have the form “My argument is true until proven false, and although this is an argument to ignorance, I am specially pleading that I be allowed to use it, despite its invalidity.”  
 Kinda like when you just told us that burden of proof doesn't exist, and it won't until someone gives you evidence for it, even though I have no burden to do so. 
This sounds more legitimate when it is phrased as “My position is the default position, and my opponent has the burden of proof,” but the meaning is the same.
The default position is whatever we observe, not whatever someone deems it to be.  Gravity appears to exist, so the default position is that it exists.  You're free to provide evidence to the contrary, but if you don't, then any claims of 'gravity isn't real' will be ignored. Because we observe gravity.
To attempt to lay the burden of proof solely on one’s opponent, as if one had some sort of metaphysical, moral, or logical right to do so is logically fallacious, intellectually dishonest, and unethical.
So you're not laying a burden of proof on me to prove my claims?  Great! I guess I'll stop.

I was going to respond to the rest of the article, but thanks for showing that I do not have to!  I can just claim the default position is that you're wrong, and since we don't have any formal agreements, you can just accept that I'm correct!

Aren't you glad we had this chat?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Church of Atheist Christians

Hello brothers and sisters, let us rejoice, for today we have started the Church of the Atheist Christians.

I can hear your questions now.  "How can you do this thing!?"

Well, it's easy, my fellow non-believers.

Much like most major sects of Christianity today, we don't believe that you need to perform ritualistic animal sacrifice to cleanse your body or grounds.

In the same way that Catholics don't believe it's necessary to avoid mixed fibers, neither do we.  You go ahead and be you, and wear that leather jacket with those denim pants.

Much like the Unitarians, we too do not believe that the trinity exists.  Similarly, much like most trinitarians, we also don't believe in a unitarian Jesus.  We don't believe that Jesus was the son of god, nor that he was god incarnate.

As you'll soon come to see, we're a lot like most liberal churches, in that we don't believe a person needs to be baptized, for any reason!  We also have no qualms, like some more conservative sects, with letting women speak freely in public.

Similarly, we're also kinda conservative.  We don't believe that you have to give us money, even though Jesus instructs us to tithe and be poor.  We know the value of a hard-earned dollar, and if you want to send it to us in the name of Jesus, we'll gladly put it to good use!

In fact, the more we think about it, every belief we officially hold is endorsed fully by at least one denomination!  You can rest assured that yours is included.

So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and make the switch today!

You don't have to believe in Jesus, and you can be a Christian nonetheless!

Science bless.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


If you haven't checked out my youtube channel yet, you should do so!

I'm going to start doing live streams.  I'll get a regular schedule worked out one of these days.

I've been meaning to get rolling on a few videos, but I simply don't have a lot of time to work on videos.  I want to keep quality entertainment running into your eyes and ears, though, so I'm going to do assorted live stream type things as I have the time.

If there's something you'd like to see me do, please let me know!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Second Rebuttal to Eve

This will be a further response to this article, which is itself a response to me.

I cannot adequately respond without copying part of the article here, so let's do that.

This is my response, although he doesn’t really have much of substance to say.
Well, that's interesting.  If  there's nothing much of substance, it shouldn't have taken her nearly so many words to respond.
 He is one of the legion of intellectually dishonest atheists spawned by Antony Flew who want to stack the deck against theists by special pleading, whereby they claim that atheism is the default position or, as Josh mistakenly calls it, the null position.
No, I'm simply picking apart your argument.  That's called a poisoning the well fallacy, but you already knew that, right?  Also, attacking something other than the actual point is not a valid argument either.

 As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, my standard response to the dishonest tactic of attempting to place the burden of proof entirely on the theist is simply to ask “by what right do you do this?”
Okay, I'll play your game.  I haven't read the entire article yet, but by what right do you place the burden on the other theists?  You must, by your own logic, prove that other gods don't exist also.  You've said it yourself, if you don't believe in other gods, you have to show equally they don't exist.

Unless, as I stated, atheism is in fact a null position, and doesn't require the burden of proof.

I presume you'll be presenting your evidence for why the two-thousand or so other gods don't exist, to meet your burden of proof.  Unless you're just going to continue engaging in special pleading.

Remember, you and I both agree that Thor doesn't exist, and you're presenting exactly as much 'evidence' to 'prove' he doesn't as I am.  We're both atheist in this regard, after all.  So go ahead, if the burden's on you, then carry it.  I don't think it is your burden to prove a god doesn't exist, but you do.  This is the crux of your entire argument so far.

Since anyone who claims that the burden of proof falls on someone else is by doing so necessarily making a claim, it is perfectly reasonable to ask him to proof his own claim that the burden of proof is yours.  After all, he is the one claiming something about the matter.
Not true.  Your claim has to present sufficient evidence in the first place, for the counter to have a burden.  This isn't a claim.  If you can't show evidence that your claim is correct, then there's literally no burden to disprove it.  I can't refute evidence you won't provide.  Simply claiming something without evidence is generally called a false premise.  A premise is not true simply because you assert it.

It's like this.  If I were to say that Harry Potter were a real person, living today, but I couldn't show you a picture of him, then my claim has the burden of proof, because there's no evidence to support it.  Again, this was the entire crux of your point.  A claim with no evidence is not a claim that meets the burden of proof.

I know others have covered this extensively.  Your inability to understand it isn't my problem, though I am taking the time to explain it once again here.

I sum it up in the card, where I present the intellectually dishonest “burden of proof” atheist with a dilemma: either he abide by his own principle and prove his claim that I have the burden of proof; or he admit that his principle is only for me and not for him, in which case I reject his principle as a obvious special pleading.  There really isn’t a third alternative: either this principle applies to both of us, or neither of us.
Excellent point: See above two points.  The card is on her blog.  Go look at it if you want.  I tore it apart in my response.

First, Josh makes the bizarre claim that a claim about where the burden of proof lies … is not a claim.
It's not bizarre.  If you have no evidence for a positive claim, then you do not have a claim which meets its burden of proof.  This isn't a claim on its own.  I know I'm repeating myself here, but if you have no evidence for something, you haven't actually made a factual claim.  I can claim that the moon is made out of cheese, but it doesn't mean that someone who disagrees has a burden of proof.

Now, if I had some lunar cheese, then the burden of proof would shift.  However, the burden of proof itself is not a claim, it's an intrinsic property of a claim.  Surely you can understand that, for example, any given individual part of a car is not, itself, a car.  In the same way, the constituents of a claim are not, themselves, claims.  Points of argument are not the premises, they define how we work with premises.
 A claim is basically a synonym for an assertion, and an assertion of where the burden of proof lies is most certainly as assertion, so I have no idea what Josh is thinking when he denies that this claim is claim. 
 So to break this down:

A: All assertions are claims.
B: Burden of proof is an assertion
Conclusion: Burden of proof is a claim

B is a false premise.  It's not an assertion, it's determined by the amount of evidence for a claim.  But let's pretend it is a claim, giving her the benefit of the doubt.  She has yet to show why, even if it is a claim, that it's false.  This is what's called a non-sequitur. Unless she can demonstrate (and she hasn't) that the burden of proof is met for her argument, this point is unrelated to the original point: that she does, in fact, have the burden of proof, as she has provided no actual evidence of her original claim.

He doesn’t say.  Perhaps no thinking was involved.  Or perhaps he has that special psychosis found among atheists where they believe the things they claim are “facts” which therefore do not require any argument or evidence?
There it is, that special pleading again.  If you have evidence your god exists, present it.  Otherwise, I literally have no burden of proof because I have no evidence to disprove. If you won't present evidence, I can't argue with it.  If you can't present evidence, then you don't have a claim in the first place.
Again, I don’t know, since Josh merely asserts this obvious falsehood without argument.
This is called projection.  I'll ask again here, what evidence do you have for your claim that a god exists, for example?  What evidence are you forcing me to bear?  As of yet, I haven't seen any, and as of this point in the article, you've not provided any.

But a fallacy of conflation is to run two things together so as to confuse an argument by ambiguity. What have I conflated with what?  Josh doesn’t say.
You're making the claim that a logical fallacy is a claim.  A logical fallacy is not a premise, nor a conclusion.  They instead describe the reasons why premises and conclusions fail.  They are not claims on their own, necessarily.  A logical fallacy is not innately a claim.  An argument is not innately a claim.  Again, however, this is a moot point, because you haven't show me what evidence you actually want me to bear.  If you're presenting no evidence, you have nothing for me to make a claim for nor against.  Literally, I have no burden of proof because you haven't given me any proof to bear.  That's not a claim, but even if it were, you could show it to be incorrect by providing the evidence you want me to bear.
So now we come to Josh’s assertion, again without argument, that the “null hypothesis” is that there is no god. 
Right.  If you have no evidence of something, the null hypothesis is generally that it doesn't exist.
First, it should be noted that Josh does not understand what the null hypothesis is. It is technical term in statistics that he is misusing. See here to learn what the null hypothesis actually means.
Well, you didn't actually provide a link at the time of this writing, so I'll fix that for you. We use the null hypothesis to determine what the logical state of things is.  If we have two sets of data, and neither of them presents evidence for a god, then the null hypothesis is that a god is not represented therein.  If you present a third set of data that demonstrates a god might exist, then we'd have an alternate hypothesis.  Until such a time, however, every null points to things other than a god.

Again, you're free to present evidence for the alternate hypothesis, but you've not done so.  You have no empirical (read:statistical) evidence that your claim is true, therefore we revert to the null.  A god is not represented statistically anywhere.
But more importantly, we are again faced with simple assertion, rather than argument or evidence.
That's correct.  I can't argue what evidence you aren't putting forward, and I don't have any evidence for your god that I can put forth.  If I had some evidence of your claim to work with, then I'd have to present it.  However, I don't have any, because I'm not claiming that a god exists, you are.

What evidence would you like me to present to prove that Thor or Zeus don't exist, after all?  Will the fact that thunder and lightning are natural phenomena suffice?  What about YHWH?  Will the fact that there are no floodgates of heaven suffice?  Or are you hiding the pictures of the floodgates of heaven opening every time it rains?  I don't have those pictures, so I can't defend them.  They don't seem to exist when it rains here, though, therefore your god probably didn't make them.

Now, if you can show me the pillars of creation your god shakes when there are earthquakes, then I might believe your claim.  Of course, you would have to prove it wasn't some other god shaking those pillars, but we'll get to that later, I'm sure.

Josh just takes it for granted that atheism should be the default position, apparently blissfully unaware that this argument dates back only to around 1970...
Now that's a laughable claim.  Atheists and unbelievers are mentioned in the bible.  The same bible she's presumably using to show that her god exists.  Jainists, Buddhists, and Hindu for example.  Then you've also got the larger deistic movements which also don't recognize anything like a god.
Here is an article by Professor Ralph McInerny with the straight to the point title “Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist.”
 Here's an interesting line from that article:
Believers have recently gotten a little weary of being assigned research projects or intellectual tasks by the skeptic and have devised a number of versions of the tu quoque to stop the demands.
Maybe I'll tear it apart later, but here's one point that's very much related here.
Believers have recently gotten a little weary of being assigned research projects or intellectual tasks by the skeptic and have devised a number of versions of the tu quoque to stop the demands. No one is more adroit at this than my colleague Alvin Plantinga and I shall not attempt to steal his fire. (The phrase has nice theistic overtones but perhaps assigns Al a place more exalted than he himself would claim.) I simply refer to the structure of God and Other Minds. This book argues that it is no less reasonable to believe in God than to believe in the existence of other minds. But critics of theism cannot get along without belief in other minds, therefore they have no consistent way of objecting to theism.
Again, we present with a false analogy.  Regardless of whether other minds exist, I can interact with them directly, as I'm doing here.  I can't do this with a god.  The god lacks the evidence that the 'minds' present.  Since 'minds' isn't defined rigidly, I can simply say that a mind is a brain, and I've seen brains before.  I can then surmise that brains do exist, having evidence for them.

However, no one has ever presented this kind of evidence for a god, in any respect.

Anyway, back to the task at hand.
 Nor is it only theists who think this.
Good for them.  Argument from authority fallacy.  I don't care who says it, it's a bad argument, unless you can show why it isn't.  Hint: you haven't yet.
While I wouldn’t necessarily expect Josh to be aware of developments in the philosophy of religion, it is a bit presumptuous of him to simply be channeling arguments Flew made in 1976 as if they were (pardon the expression) THE WORD OF GOD.  
False again.  Have I even quoted Flew here?  I'm not really familiar with him at all.  I've come up with most of my conclusions independent of who says them.  If we happen to agree on these points, it's basically coincidence.  The authority of the person saying the thing is irrelevant.  It's whether or not what they're saying is defensible and correct that matters.
The fact of the matter  is, the entire question of where the burden of proof lies in the theism/atheism debate (or whether it lies anywhere, presumptively, or whether such a concept is even useful) is a seriously contested philosophical issue.
No.  You would need evidence of your claim for that to be the case.  If it were seriously contested, there would be evidence on both sides.  This happens from time to time.  Just disagreeing with someone isn't contesting them. It's just disagreeing.  If you disagree, but have no evidence, then your point has no merit.
What that means is that neither Josh nor anyone else may simply lay it down as if it were fact that “atheism is the default position” or “the burden of proof lies on the theist.”
Sure I can.  Do you have evidence to the contrary, that your god is any more likely than any other god?  Do you have the same evidence to disprove them as you're requiring of me? If not, do you accept the default position you've created that the default position is that any given assertion is true, regardless of the evidence? I think you don't.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but your default position doesn't include that Loki is real, correct? However, I presume you are content with the null position being that he doesn't.
 There is good reason for thinking both of these are false. 
No, there's not.  You just told me your default position is that every claim is always true until you can provide evidence that it's not.  You clearly don't believe that.
Indeed, I hold that both of them are false, that the reverse is the case, that theism is the default position
So literally, a belief in every single god that you cannot prove doesn't exist.  Because that's what you are describing in the next portion of that sentence:
and that to whatever extent such a concept is useful, the atheist needs to show, if he is to dent the rational presumption in favor of theism to any degree, that it is at least highly probably that God does not exist. 
Again, you're saying that if you don't believe in Thor (or the myriad other gods that aren't YHWH), that you have to prove that Thor doesn't exist, otherwise the default position is that Thor (as well as every other god) does exist.
I won’t argue these points extensively in this post,
You already did.
but the reader should be aware that they exist and they are very strong.
No, they aren't.  Unless you're holding out on the evidence.  You could've replaced this entire article with a link to the evidence for your claim, but you did not do this.
 Popular culture lags behind professional philosophy, but it inevitably catches up... Enjoy your atheistic safe space; you won’t get to keep it for very long.
It's not much of a safe space, is it?  I don't want a safe space.  Also, it matters not what popular culture decides.  If pop culture makes claims, we can evaluate them.  Pop culture is free to be wrong, just like you, or anyone.  You also have the right of others to correct you, if you're wrong in a public forum.
Finally, as I am sure most of my readers already noticed, Josh is making the typical atheistic confusion of God with gods, a catastrophic category error.
No, it's not.  You're saying the default position is theism. Every person who ever believed in any god was theist. Again, you can't separate here.  Either you believe in other gods, or you don't.  You're as atheistic as me when it comes to every god you don't believe in. You're the one being internally inconsistent.

Why do you presume that I should have a higher burden of proof to show that Thor doesn't exist than you should?  Simply saying that your god is real doesn't mean the other gods aren't also real, in this specific case.  If theism is the default position, then it applies to every single god, including the ones you presumably don't believe in them.  Why don't you believe in every god, if theism is in fact the default position?  Is it because theism isn't actually the default position?

This is called Special Pleading.
Even though Josh has yet to make an argument, he now claims that he has proven something about the burden of proof. He also proves that he does not understand the nature of probability:
I'm sorry.  You're the one who stopped talking about it in favor of the other points you're trying to make.  Responding to a different point than the one you're responding to is very disingenuous.  Also, you just told me way up there that statistics wasn't important here.

However, it doesn't matter how probable you think your god is.  You have to have evidence to support your claim.  The probability of a thing you can't show evidence for is literally unable to have a probability, because it's never been observed.  Observing it zero times makes it's probability 0 in a million.  That's zero, in case you missed it.
The claim that “all gods are equally probable, including the absence of a god” is manifestly absurd.
Then quit telling people that thing from up above, that goes like this:
Indeed, I hold that both of them are false, that the reverse is the case, that theism is the default position
Those are contradictory positions.  Either theism is the default, or it isn't.  Either belief in any given god is the default, or it isn't.  You aren't saying "belief in my god is the default." I think you actually know how dishonest that is.  Instead, you're saying simply that (believing in any given god) is the default. That means, literally, if there's a claim that a god exists, you believe it.  Because you're 100% theist, and it's the default position to believe in a god for which you have no evidence.
How would one possibly make a case for this?
I just did.  Again. But here, from my original article, that she conveniently ignores right here:
Christians like to claim a global flood, but stratified rock is a clear example of evidence against that god.  Greco-Roman Pantheists will claim that from Chaos (the deity) appeared Gaea (the literal, living god who is earth), but the fact that the Earth doesn't appear to be a god is evidence against this. 
Moving on.

Well, of course we needn’t ask what case Josh makes. As we’ve seen, Josh doesn’t make cases.
 No, I make them, you just ignore them and pretend I don't.  This is why I muted you on Twitter.
Actually, here he touches on something like a case, but seems to think that pointing out that modern geology mitigates against the literal truth of a Biblical account in the way a heretical 20th century American fundamentalist Protestant might possibly read the Bible is some kind of strong evidence against Christianity.
It's not a fundamentalist reading.  It's just a straight reading of the words.  Either that god did those things, or it didn't.  It isn't my fault if you don't like it.

Also, you just said...
 Josh doesn’t make cases.
But then you presented the case I made.  Hypocritical much?
 Hint: it isn’t.
Considering the bible is literally the only thing you've presented so far, telling me that you think it's wrong really doesn't help your case.
 I’m also a little dubious about his “X does not appear to be god [to whom?]; therefore, X is not a god” argument.
Well, if you think it looks like a god, go ahead and show us already.  I'm allowed to be dubious about claims you won't back up with evidence.  I'm dubious of your claims in exactly the same way you'd be dubious of someone claiming that a literal girl named Alice fell through a mirror and had a tea party with an anthropomorphic bunny before killing a queen made out of playing cards.
Even at the level of gods (not God), gods are known for disguising themselves as such, are they not? Perhaps he is unaware of the Gaia hypothesis? At any rate, I’ve no interest in gods, so let’s move on.
Well, that's contradictory to your own claim here:
 Indeed, I hold that both of them are false, that the reverse is the case, that theism is the default position
So theism is the default position, but theism isn't the default position.  I honestly don't understand what you're trying to angle at here.  Your own claim about the null position is contradictory, because even you agree that you don't believe in the other gods, same as me.  If it's not the null position, why are you so readily accepting it? Is believing in a god (theism) the default position or not?  Remember, most theists are also atheists.  It's hard to be a Christian if you also believe in Loki, after all.
Well, let’s discuss the default position a bit, shall we?
No.  I've done it plenty already.  If you can't figure it out by now, you're not going to.
 I am suggesting that human beings have a natural cognitive capacity to grasp the truth of divinity, 
Suggested.  Got any evidence, especially the one that shows Odin isn't divine?
 although this capacity can become darkened, distorted, stunted, and perhaps even extinguished in some individuals.
[citation needed]
I am speaking of the sensus divinitatis, the natural cognitive power where human beings are able to experience the presence of the divine. 
Does it exist? I can make stuff up too, that doesn't make it real.  Again, [citation needed], otherwise your magical soul stuff is no different from reiki or chi.
Now, while I have no doubt that Josh will be inclined to deny human beings have such a cognitive power, which when functioning properly in the proper environment, is truth directed and therefore belief-warranting, but what exactly would his case be?
So when my Chakras are aligned, I can manipulate the divine energy of the universe.  Great.  You've just made the case for why you believe in a particular form of Buddhism, actually, and one that doesn't require a god.

Can you show me in the bible where people manipulate, without the assistance of god, the 'divine energies' of the universe?  Or are you believing something entirely different from what you claim to believe?
 If he has no experience of this sense of the divine, he doesn’t have much or any basis to talk about it...
Right back at you.  If you've never been able to demonstrate it's actually a thing, you have no basis to talk about it.
...and his assertion of its nonexistence is no more evidence of its nonexistence than (some other stuff).
Correct!  A lack of evidence is not evidence, See, you do understand, you're just being purposefully dishonest.  You're free to present evidence at any time.
 He would be in the position of a man who asserted that sense perception does not provide belief-warrant.
It doesn't.  If you can provide evidence for your belief, that's the only thing that warrants as evidence.  You saying it's real, and me saying it's not, are not evidence.  That's why we need actual evidence.  If you don't have any, then your assertion falls squarely there too. That's special pleading to say otherwise.
It would, at the very least, take a great deal of careful philosophical argumentation to make such a claim even plausible.  And as we know, Josh is not big on actual argumentation.
Ignoring what I say doesn't mean I'm not doing it.  it just means you're being intellectually dishonest to such an extent that you don't mind actually lying about other people just to make yourself look more credible.
The existence of God is plain to me by at least there paths: metaphysical demonstrations, the sensus divinitatis, and (twice in my life) direct deliverances of God.
Good.  Then it means you have evidence you can share with us, that's not merely anecdote.  If god gave you something, show us.  If you have this sense, use it in a demonstrable fashion.  If you can honestly show us new principles of the metaphysical universe that are consistent with observation, go for it.  No one is stopping you, and I'm not sure why you haven't claimed your Nobel prize yet, or figured out the hailstone problem and got a Fields medal, or something.
 I hold my belief in God to be entirely warranted.
So do the people who believe in Allah, Satan, Thor, Baal, and every other god.  You haven't actually show that to be true.  You are, however, allowed to believe in unwarranted things, and even believe you're correct.  That doesn't make it so.
I have thought the matter through very carefully, considered all arguments pro and con, and all available evidence, and come to the conclusion that theism is not only a reasonable position, but the only possible position that accords with reason.
Except you haven't, because you keep ignoring my points, or flat out lying and saying I didn't make them. You didn't even link my original blog post in your blog post response, nor even post a comment on my blog to let people know you've responded to me.  You aren't acting like someone who actually cares about open discussion.  You're acting like someone who has already decided they are right regardless of anything else.
Atheism, as I have written elsewhere, is a deeply irrational position that logically commits one to absurdismand nihilism, since it denies both the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and any objective standard of good and evil.
Maybe good and evil aren't objective.  According to your bible, women aren't supposed to be leading instruction of this sort, because a woman's place is to be quiet and subservient.  If you think that's objectively good, why are you writing?  Probably because you don't agree with that objectively.  Same here.

It what way, pray tell, have I violated any epistemological or ethical rule or principle?
See also: my entire response so far.
You say you aren’t refusing, and yet still no argument as been made, merely assertion. You refuse by deeds. You won’t do it. That is refusing.
No.  As I pointed out earlier, you're simply ignoring what I'm saying, or lying (as you did earlier) and saying that people haven't said these things to you (myself included, apparently).
I’m not trying to prove anyone has a burden. That is your assertion.
So why even have this discussion?  If you don't disagree, why are you disagreeing?
You posted this meme, so I take you endorse it: “The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim.”
That's correct.  You also feel the same, otherwise you wouldn't call atheism a claim.
So well-spotted, I guess, for noticing I haven’t proven something I wasn’t trying to prove.
So you're not trying to prove this:
 First, Josh makes the bizarre claim that a claim about where the burden of proof lies … is not a claim.
 ...either he abide by his own principle and prove his claim that I have the burden of proof; or he admit that his principle is only for me and not for him...
Sounds a lot like you're telling me exactly the opposite, doesn't it?
Tu quoque.
That's not it at all, but I'm growing tired of this.  I'm sure you'll take this out of context anyway.  It's what you're doing best.
Yes, really. Your post here is a case in point. You have repeated several times that the burden of proof is on the theist, but you haven’t argued it.  Assertion isn’t argument, not even repeated assertion.
No, I've only done a few things, and you've ignored the stuff that I was trying to say.  You then used that to make it look as though I was doing that.

Lying doesn't make you right. It just makes you a liar.  According to Mosiac law (what you seem to imply is the objective standard of morality), I have the right to despise and scorn you for it.  Which is what I'm doing, after all.  You should be in complete agreement!  However, you aren't, for some reason.  Isn't morality objective?  I didn't think so.
 I was attacked for committing a straw man fallacy, and my response was the perfectly correct argument that, since I was not making an argument, and a fallacy is an error in argument, I could not have committed a fallacy.
I'm not attacking you, I'm engaging in discourse like a reasonable person, same as you.  This is not an attack, it's a logical peer response.  Just because you don't like it, isn't my fault.  If you don't want people to take apart what you say in public, quit saying things in public.  We have the freedom of speech too, you know.
I think here is where we see Josh’s true colors most clearly.  This is practically the Platonic ideal of an argument to ignorance. “I am right, unless you can prove I am wrong.”
No, that's your stance.  Leaving out the actual stuff I said doesn't mean I didn't say it.  It just means you're too intellectually dishonest to deal with the words I'm saying in any meaningful way.
 From here, there really isn’t much left to say.
Well, of course not.  It's inconvenient when people do things like
cite the dictionary
So we can rest assured, I won't let little details like rigidly defining my terms get in your way anymore.
Theism is the default position.  If an atheist wishes to refute theism, his task is to prove that theism is false.
If you don't believe in Thor, it's your task to prove he's false?  You said earlier that was a preposterous notion, but here you're saying it plainly in defense of the notion.

Is it your task to do that or not?
 Nor can he escape this burden by attempting to claim that theism is de jure unwarranted,
So you can't escape this by saying that believing in Thor is de jure unwarranted.

But you just told me it's unwarranted. You're so close to getting it.
while refusing to address the question of the de factotruth or falsehood of theism.
So you also have to address the question of the de facto truth or falsehood of believing in Thor.

You honestly can't see why this doesn't work, can you?
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη, Josh.
It's a bit late for Easter, don't you think?

Update and Used Car Review.

Sorry for the delay in writing things.  I just don't have as much time to do this as I'd like this summer.

I'm trying to get a new computer, as my old one is just not up to snuff anymore.  I've been very busy helping with a few local organizations, and work is normal.  I'm hoping to find a second job one of these days also, which may further reduce the amount of time I have available for making this kind of thing.

I just traded my car in the other day for a newer car.  It's a pretty nice car, I have to say.

It's a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta.  This is a very nice car that's been very well kept up.  My old car was not doing very well.  Everything about this car seems very nice.  It's got around 82,000 miles, and it seems to have no mechanical defects.

The dealer gave me a pretty good deal on it.  They put all new tires all around, changed the oil, did a front-end alignment and even have a new antenna on order (as the old one broke off somehow).  It gets right around 30mpg, which is about 50% better than my old car.

Here's the next series of video I'm working on.  This will be a multiple-part video uploaded in pieces over the next several weeks.

Thanks for being loyal subscribers.  I'll try to use this blog more often again, and hopefully I'll have more time soon!  In the mean time, check out some of my old videos, or any of the channels listed in the sidebar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Registering to Vote

Voting day here in the United States is quickly approaching, and as such I recommend that all who are able should register to do so soon.  In my state, it's a relatively simple process.  Here's information on how to do so where you live.

Please exercise your constitutional right.  Lots of people can't do it, and your vote does make a difference.  Also, people have died defending this right, so honor their memory.

That's all for today.  I hope to become more active here again.  Life has become busy as of late.  Don't forget to check my youtube channel and subscribe if you enjoy what I do!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Busy time of year

I've been quite busy with work and other things.  Pokemon Go is a lot of fun, and helps me stay on target for getting plenty of exercise!  I made a video today, taking a buzzfeed test and stuff.

Go give it a watch!  I'll do a real video soon, with my face in front of a camera!  Until then, please bear with me, as my life is quite busy.  I have to fix my car tomorrow after work.  I plan one of my next videos to be finishing up the 'proofs of god' that I started here a while back.  I reckon I'll do it like an omnibus, and go through them in quick order.

Speaking of omnibus, I wonder if Ask a Ninja is still a thing.  I guess I'll wonder until tomorrow...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Every Student Rebuttal, "Does God Exist" Part Two

Time to visit the safe space again!  Let's dive right in.

2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it? 
Let's see what she says.
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light,
First of all, it wasn't an explosion of 'energy and light.'  It was the literal expansion of the universe, which is time and space.  Light is generally energy, after all.
which we now call the Big Bang.
Fair enough. Some do call it that.  However, the universe is still expanding, it's just doing so at an ever-slower rate. Eventually it will expand so far that it will be infinitely thin with regard to time/space, but we can discuss that in another post if you like.  Time's not linear, either, but we experience it that way.  The center of the universe is the beginning of time.  We might be getting off-track here, though.
This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Fair enough.  I mean, technically, the initial singularity existed for an infinite time before the expansion.  There was never a 'time' it wasn't there.  It was just infinitely dense, meaning that time had no medium to move through, and matter had no time to move through.  However, I'm getting long in the tooth over this point.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic,
Most people are agnostic.  That deals with knowledge, not belief.
stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."9
Here's a link to that reference.   It was first delivered in 1949.  Here's the closing two paragraphs of that address:
"Some say still that if the astronomer cannot find that cause today, he will find it tomorrow, and we will read about it in the New York Times when Walter Sullivan gets around to reporting on it. But I think the circumstances of the Big Bang-the fiery holocaust that destroyed the record of the past-make that extremely unlikely.
"This is why it seems to me and to others that the curtain drawn over the mystery of creation will never be raised by human efforts, at least in the foreseeable future. Although I am an agnostic, and not a believer, I still find much to ponder in the view expressed by the British astronomer E. A. Milne, who wrote, "We can make no propositions about the state of affairs [in the beginning]; in the Divine act of creation God is unobserved and unwitnessed.
-message from Professor Robert Jastrow 
We knew nearly 60 years ago that we would probably discover the answer eventually.  In context of the first quote up there, he was explicitly saying that they couldn't figure it out at that time. Using the quote out of context as she did is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light."10
Here's the link to the book cited in citation ten.  It looks like a pleasant read, even.
The universe has not always existed. It had a start...what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
 We do, actually, but she'll have to actually read more books that were printed after 1950.  Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing," and Hawking's "A Brief History of the Universe" are recommended.
3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
For one, what other way would you presume it should act?  Sure, they seem to be consistent every time.  We've never observed them being broken.
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change -- on earth or in galaxies far from us.
Mostly correct.  Notice how none of those were revelations from any god, by the way.  Also, the earth is perpetually slowing down about 1.4 milliseconds per every hundred years or so.  The earth was probably spinning around it's axis every 12 hours or so a few billion years ago.  Of course, the earth was a bit smaller back then too.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
Well, if it weren't ordered as we see it, we'd try to find the order in the disorder, and check that.  People used to (not even four centuries ago) think that the sun went around the earth, as did all the stars and everything.  We even had models which made that consistent.  It didn't stop them from being wrong.  Same way with god.  You can say 'god just makes it so,' but that doesn't make it so.
"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."11
This is from Dinesh D'Souza's book "What's so great about Christianity?" However, he hits the nail on the head here.  There's no reason it has to be the way it is; it simply happens that it is this way.

Granted, a universe with inconsistent laws would probably collapse upon itself or something, but there's also nothing preventing another infinite combination of stable universes, either.  We have no way of observing them anyway, so we don't know what the limits are, if there are any at all. We certainly can't test for any god if he's not in the universe, the same as we can't test for any other universes.
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."12
Let's see what else Feynman has to say, shall we?

Also, she didn't even address why the universe is the way it is.  She just quoted some stuff out of context.
4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
I've also touched on this one before as well.  Basically this whole argument is summed up in one sentence:
You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
 Where did your god come from?  Also, who's to say we cant?  This is what's called a baseless assertion.  Remember, it's an error of Reification, because the laws of the universe are descriptive, not prescriptive.
5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
No, he's not.  Thor has never visited me.  Jesus has never patted me on the head.  Quetzalcoatl has never asked me for the heart of a conquered man.  Gilgamesh has never appeared to me and offered to get drunk together.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don't believe even exists?! 
For exactly the same reason that theists try to make other theists not believe in any god but their own.  We just simply don't have a god.  You're an atheist in this regard, because by saying that Jesus is real, you're also saying every other god isn't real.  You're also working to both ends simultaneously.
I didn't realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue.
This is a dangerous statement, saying that god compelled you to do something.  Is that really a good lead-off for you?

The rest of point five is useless waffle. Still no defense of the points being made.
6. Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
So the question of whether or not god exists is evidence for if god exists or not.  That level of mental gymnastics made me dizzy, so lets sit down for a moment.
Why Jesus?  Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets.
Buddha specifically told people he wasn't a god.  The Analects of Confucius are filled with anecdotes about not making baseless claims, and respecting your lack of knowledge.  Atheist teachers, in a way.
None of them ever claimed to be equal to God.
No, but lots of people have claimed it.  Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kim Jong-Un, the queen of England.  All claim divine lineage.
Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at him.
Fine.  I say god exists, and he's writing this blog post so you'll understand he doesn't actually exist.  Do you see how ineffectual your argument is?
Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.
No.  I can simply apply your argument to literally any other person because yours is an argument from authority fallacy.  Kim Jong-un claims to be born of god, literally.  Are you going to believe him just because he says it?

I hope my points have been clear.
As always, this is Rev. J.R., signing off.

Every Student, Response to "Gay, Lesbian, God's Love"

Time to head back to the safe space!  This is gonna be a fun one.

The message many gays and lesbians hear is that God hates you. See why this is not true.

Well, it's a reasonably clear message in the bible, but please continue!  I'm sure this won't be offensive at all.  Disclaimer: I'm only tearing apart some of it for now.  Please read the full thing for the whole context.

Life often demands certain qualifications. To get a driver's license, you have to pass a test. To land a certain job, you must show that you have the credentials deserving of that job.
Cool.  What has this to do with the point?  I thought you were going to tell us we don't need qualifications.  Full disclosure: I'm asexual.  I simply don't find anyone attractive like that.
Unlike anything else you have encountered, a relationship with God does not begin with you filling in the blank, "Accept me because..."
Really?  Go tell that to the folks who say that if you don't accept Jesus, you'll go to hell.  Maybe that's not the kind of thing you meant?
It starts with God saying, "I accept you." "I welcome you."
Well then let him get on with it already.
Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or have questions,
Questions are good! Unless you're questioning whether or not your god exists, right?
God is not our enemy.
"Ours" does indeed imply we, and since he's not an enemy to you, you're technically correct.  He's not our enemy, he is mine.  Something like that.
If you have not already begun one, God wants a relationship with you.
If he wants it, he can call first.  I'm not desperate.
He offers this to anyone and everyone.
Well, according to you.
In Scripture, you'll see only one group that consistently angered Jesus...the religious self-righteous.
"Oh yeah, Jesus will totally take you because I say so.  I think my ideas are right and just, and so should you! Those self-righteous people are just wrong, because I'm clearly right..."
Jesus seemed comfortable around everyone else, including prostitutes and criminals. However, the religious elite irritated and saddened Jesus. He saw them as judgmental, arrogant, unloving, and hypocritical.
Yeah, it's not elitist at all to say that it's easier for the camel to thread a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.  There's absolutely no elitism in calling fruitless people useless like a dead fig tree.  There was absolutely nothing elitist about sitting at the right hand of god.  I mean, everyone makes that claim, right?
You might see those words and immediately think of religious people who have been hurtful, rude or judgmental toward you. Does that represent Jesus' heart? No.
Yeah, Luke 19:27 never really happened, right guys?
Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. How would hurtful comments fit into that? Not very well.
Maybe I'm into BDSM.  I wonder if you discuss that...  Back in a second.

Nope. Not directly anyway.
Have you ever had a chance to seriously consider Jesus?
Have you?  It certainly sounds like you haven't considered him very hard.
Unlike any other person who has ever lived, Jesus can explain life to to experience life, more abundantly. He is the Creator of all that exists, yet became a man, so that we could know him, know God.
 Well, then hopefully he'll make that first call I mentioned and we can chat!

"Grace" isn't a word we use much.
Why do non-hetero non-cis people, as a class, need grace again?
I used to wonder what it takes to be accepted by God. Perhaps you'll be as amazed as I was. Here it is:
Then he puts John 3:16.  If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a younger, hipper, almost pleasant Jack Chick.  Almost.
Did you catch it? "Whoever believes in him." Whoever believes in him has eternal life.
Cool!  Unless, you know, your religion is wrong.

The next couple paragraphs are waffle.  Then there's this gem.
He offered proof. Jesus had already done what no human could do, instantly healing those who were blind, couldn't walk, or who struggled with diseases.
That's right, Jesus will fu... fix the gay right out of you.  Or something.  Is it really a disability if a man likes penises?
Yet Jesus went far beyond that. He said, on numerous occasions, that he would be arrested, beaten, and crucified...and three days later rise from the dead.
No.  That's someone making up a story.  Hundreds of years after the alleged events.  It's exactly as if I said, right now, that JFK told me he predicted his own death.  Jesus is further removed from the four gospels than I am from JFK.
You can go through this life knowing you are loved by God.
You mean, god loves us, but not unconditionally?  How interesting.
Everyone hungers to be loved.
No, not everyone.  I'm quite content just having some good friends.  It works for me.
Human love is important.
-some human
Yet every person who loves you, loves you imperfectly, because people are imperfect.
But God is able to love you perfectly. He loves us because it is his nature to love, and it never changes, never stops.
So we weren't created in his image.  Also interesting.
We all mess up. We all fail to live up to our own standards, let alone God's standards. But God doesn't accept us based on our performance.
Since the context is specifically homosexuality, I'm going to presume that you are discussing it thus.

Homosexuality isn't a mistake, it's just a natural biological process.

Do you see how self-defeating your own argument is?

"Jesus will love you, but you're a miserable fuck-up"

Would that kind of message convert you to another religion?
The more important the relationship, the greater impact it has.
So, it makes sense that knowing God is going to be a significant relationship.
If it's so significant, why can't he initiate it?  If I actually have free will not to believe in him, why won't he just show himself?
He will lead your life according to his love and his desires for your life.
I presume that means that you think homosexuals aren't living the right way.  Your message is really confusing.

So there's no special requirements, you don't need to fill in the blank part of "accept me because..."  However, if you want to be accepted, you must fill it in.
You still make decisions. You maintain your free will. He does not take over your life, forcing you to act as he wants.
Now you're just being facetious.
A couple of months after asking Jesus into my life, my closest friend asked me, "Have you noticed a change in your life?" And I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "Lately I can share things with you and you don't make jokes. You seem to be really listening to me."
I was kind of embarrassed. I mean, here's my closest friend telling me that I was finally acting like a decent human being and listening to her!
Now you're telling me the only reason you're not a complete asshole is because you fear hellfire?

Interesting indeed.
And I guess my emotional need for love was met by God on such a deep level, that I became more of an emotionally secure person. 
It sounds as though you would simply have accepted any comforting myth, though.  That's a dangerous mentality, and there are people who can help you come to terms with it.  Living your life in constant fear of hellfire just because you find other women attractive isn't a healthy thing.  At least, I thought that sexuality was the context here.
Jesus promises us that as we let him teach us and guide us, he says, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
As though liking other people is something you should want to be set free from.
Most of Jesus' disciples (and many of Jesus' followers today) have gone through tremendous suffering. For example, Paul was frequently arrested, beaten with rods and whipped, countless times. Once he was nearly stoned to death by an angry mob. He was shipwrecked several times, many days without food, and fleeing for his life, often.
Clearly, Jesus' followers didn't live easy lives. Yet Paul, and other believers, remained unshakeably convinced of God's love for them.
You do realize you're preaching to homosexuals, not to the (mentally or physically) infirm, right?

You don't plan your course. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning your sexuality...if you will let him, Jesus will guide your life. And it's greater than what you could imagine. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
I thought you said your bigotry was subsiding.  You said earlier god has no problem with homosexuality, so why are you acting like people need to change from the darkness and stuff?

Here's how you can begin a relationship with God, right now.
Whatever you've done in your life, Jesus offers you his complete forgiveness. Our sin wasn't merely overlooked.
 Sexuality isn't sinful because sin doesn't exist.
He says that THIS is the relationship that satisfies us. We never were meant to go through this life without him.
Jesus sounds like a clingy boyfriend or something.
You can talk to him using whatever words you want. 
Is that really the best way to end this?  I mean, I can think of a lot of words you'd probably not like me to use, either alone or in combinations.

"Dear Jesus who doesn't exist, come into this poor misguided soul's life, and show her that sexuality isn't something to be ashamed of!"

As always, this has been Rev. J.R., signing off.