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Audio Bibles for Haiti and Atheist Hypocrisy

Am I understanding this correctly?

For the past few years atheists worldwide have literally wasted enormous amounts of money during times of recession, war and poverty not in helping anyone in any material need but in order to purchase bus ads and billboards attempting to demonstrated just how clever they consider themselves to be; and now they want to become the charity police—please!

Futher dissection of this particular atheist hypocrisy here.

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
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The Mad Pagan Skeptic, part 3

Please note that this essay will now be housed in True Freethinker’s section on Atheism
Continue reading The Mad Pagan Skeptic, part 3...


Atheist Foundation of Australia and the Tasmanian Devil

The Atheist Foundation of Australia has decided to waste money on bus ads during a time of recession and disaster.

They are placing bus ads in Tasmania, Australia that read, “Atheism” and “Celebrate Reason!” as if it is reasonable to waste much needed and donated money attempting to boast in how clever they are.

Again, I say as with certain Freedom From Religion Foundation ads: Oh, so close!

The ad came just short of quoting the Bible,

“‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD.” (Isaiah 1:18).

FYI: be on the lookout for the Atheist Foundation of Australia’s appearance in an upcoming January 22, 2010 AD post…………

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation Again Positively Affirms God’s Non-Existence But Where is the Evidence?

This post has been moved and re-posted in TrueFreethinker's section on Dan Barker.
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Alvin Plantinga - Warranted Christian Belief

The entire text of philosopher Alvin Plantinga’s book Warranted Christian Belief is available online.

Old school page turners may be interested in the actual tree killing paper printed, ink wasting, glue bound book—where is Al Gore when you need him?!?!

Here are the hyperlinked sections:

Title Page

Part I. Is There a Question?
1. Kant
I. The Problem
II. Kant
A. Two Worlds or One?
B. Arguments or Reasons?
2. Kaufman and Hick
I. Kaufman
A. The Real Referent and the Available Referent
B. The Function of Religious Language
II. Hick
A. The Real
B. Coherent?
C. Religiously Relevant?
D. Is There Such a Thing?

Part II. What is the Question?
3. Justification and the Classical Picture
I. John Locke
A. Living by Reason
B. Revelation
II. Classical Evidentialism, Deontologism, and Foundationalism
A. Classical Foundationalism
B. Classical Deontologism
III. Back to the Present
IV. Problems with the Classical Picture
A. Self-Referential Problems
B. Most of Our Beliefs Unjustified?
V. Christian Belief Justified
VI. Analogical Variations
A. Variations on Classical Foundationalism
B. Variations on the Deontology
C. Is This the de Jure Question?
4. Rationality
I. Some assorted versions of rationality
A. Aristotelian Rationality
B. Rationality as Proper Function
C. The Deliverances of Reason
D. Means-Ends Rationality
II. Alstonian Practical Rationality
A. The Initial Question
B. Doxastic Practices
C. Epsitemic Circularity
D. The Argument for Practical Rationality
E. Practical Rationality Initially Characterized
F. The Original Position
G. The Wide Original Position
H. A Narrow Original Position?
5. Warrant and the Freud-and-Marx Complaint
I. The F&M Complaint
A. Freud
B. Marx
C. Others
D. How Shall We Understand the F&M Complaint?
II. Warrant: The Sober Truth
III. The F&M Complaint Again

Part III. Warranted Christian Belief
6. Warranted Belief in God
I. The Aquinas/Calvin Model
A. Models
B. Presentation of the Model
II. Is Belief in God Warrant-Basic?
A. If False, Probably Not
B. If True, Probably So
III. The de Jure Question is not Independent of the de Facto Question
IV. The F&M Complaint Revisited
7. Sin and Its Cognitive Consequences
I. Preliminaries
II. Initial Statement of the Extended Model
III. The Nature of Sin
IV. The Noetic Effects of Sin
A. The Basic Consequences
B. Sin and Knowledge
8. The Extended Aquinas/Calvin Model: Revealed to Our Minds
I. Faith
II. How Does Faith Work?
III. Faith and Positive Epistemic Status
A. Justification
B. Internal Rationality
C. External Rationality and Warrant: Faith is Knowledge
IV. Proper Basicality and the Role of Scripture
V. Comparison with Locke
VI. Why Necessary?
VII. Cognitive Renewal
9. The Testimonial Model: Sealed upon Our Hearts
I. Belief and Affection
II. Jonathan Edwards
A. Intellect and Will: Which Is Prior?
B. The Affirmations of Faith
III. Analogue of Warrant
IV. Eros
10. Objections
I. Warrant and the Argument from Religious Experience
II. What Can Experience Show?
III. A Killer Argument?
IV. Son of Great Pumpkin?
V. Circularity?

Part IV. Defeaters?
11. Defeaters and Defeat
I. The Nature of Defeaters
II. Defeaters for Christian or Theistic Belief
III. Projective Theories a Defeater for Christian Belief?
12. Two (or More) Kinds of Scripture Scholarship
I. Scripture Divinely Inspired
II. Traditional Christian Biblical Commentary
III. Historical Biblical Criticism
A. Varieties of Historical Biblical Criticism
B. Tensions with Traditional Christianity
IV. Why Aren’t Most Christians More Concerned?
A. Force Majeure
B. A Moral Imperative?
C. Historical Biblical Criticism More Inclusive?
V. Nothing to be Concerned About
A. Troeltschian Historical Biblical Criticism Again
B. Non-Troeltschian Historical Biblical Criticism
C. Conditionalization
VI. Concluding Coda
13. Postmodernism and Pluralism
I. Postmodernism
A. Is Postmodernism Inconsistent with Christian Belief?
B. Do These Claims Defeat Christian Belief?
C. Postmodernism a Failure of Nerve
II. Pluralism
A. A Probabilistic Defeater?
B. The Charge of Moral Arbitrariness
14. Suffering and Evil
I. Evidential Atheological Arguments
A. Rowe’s Arguments
B. Draper’s Argument
II. Nonargumentative Defeaters?

[Original] Index
Index of Scripture References
Greek Words and Phrases
Index of Pages of the Print Edition

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
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Austin Dacey and the Psychology Today Sell Out – On Ethics, Bus Ads and Atheism, part 1

What happens when you give Austin Dacey the floor of Psychology Today to discuss ethics with the advent of atheist bus ads/billboards? You get Austin Dacey teaming up with Michael De Dora, Jr., who is the spokesperson for the New York City campaign (surely, a coincidence), and an anti-Judeo-Christian tirade disguised as psychology, or philosophy, or something.[1]

Sadly, the article is not only propaganda written for and by the New York City atheist ad campaign, it is an attempt to discredit Judeo-Christian ethics/theology which plays upon fallacious atheist talking-points. This is not surprising as the very purpose of the article besmirches Judeo-Christianity and promulgates a pseudo-gospel: “This is the secular message.”
Granted, the article presupposes atheism yet, that is not its main problems which is that 1) it demonstrates a basic lack of knowledge of the Bible’s statements on ethics, 2) on how they are premised, 3) on how they are administered and most problematic 4) it presents a false dichotomy which juxtaposes divine commandments, on the one hand, and our ability to—our need to—muse upon and or react to moral situations, on the other.

Austin Dacey specifically references “the ‘good without God’ posters” and notes that certain media outlets have “characterized them as ads promoting atheism” which they most certainly do and which is acknowledge, “the campaign aims to reach out to nonbelievers” yet, “it also raises a broader issue—something most people seem to have missed.” First, note that they promote atheism by urging the rejection of God and they are being promoted by having atheists such as Austin Dacey and Michael De Dora, Jr. use the platform of Psychology Today to seek to discredit one particular theology whilst promoting atheism.

Dacey writes,
The obvious meaning of "good without God" is that atheists can be good people. But a closer look reveals a more universal message: people can be good regardless of their beliefs about God. From this perspective, the ad was not about atheism, but about the nature of morality…When we act ethically, our reasons are usually nothing transcendental, just simple respect and compassion for others.

That “atheists can be good people” is something that I am not aware that anyone contends (the fact that studies consistently show that they are the least “good” amongst us is another matter) yet, seeking to defeat an argument that no one has made is a favored premise for atheist talking-points.
Let us dive right into his, apparent, lack of knowledge of the Biblical statements on this matter as he states, “people can be good regardless of their beliefs about God”: true,
when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them (Romans 2:14-15).

These two verses are enough to discredit Austin Dacey’s criticism’s of Judeo-Christian theology with regards to ethics since they postulate that 1) Gentiles—non-Jews who do not believe in God (the only true God as per the Bible’s context)—can be moral, 2) because “regardless of their beliefs about God” they show the work of the law written in their hearts, 3) as the law—the moral code, the ethos—is administered via their conscience which bears witness; convicts or excuses/condemns or approves. In fact, the Bible further claims that people can abuse their conscience to the point that they end up, “having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1st Timothy 4:2).
For now, let us note that he offers a sort of definition of ethics as “simple respect and compassion for others”; why we should be ethical, have respect and compassion, goes unstated—this is his atheist commandment. He does not seem to consider that what is necessary, what his commandment is missing, is a premise. A premise will always turn out to be something transcendental as when we ask “Why express respect and compassion?” another assertion will be made to which we can again ask “Why…?” and then another assertion will be made to which we can again ask “Why…?” and on it goes. What we need is an ultimate premise, an ethical ontology and not just an epistemology—we need an ethos.

Dacey wrote, “No set of commandments is self-authorizing…no voice of moral authority is self-authenticating” which, if we grant it, means that neither are Austin Dacey’s condemnations of Judeo-Christian ethics self-authenticating nor his commandment; to what then is he appealing? As G.K. Chesterton noted, “all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind.”[2] We will see that he ultimately bases his condemnation on “the secular message [emphasis added].”

Austin Dacey continues:
With split seconds to save a stranger from death on the tracks at the 137th Street subway station, Wesley Autrey didn't pause to seek divine guidance or reflect on his reward in heaven…As Autrey later explained, "I just saw someone who needed help. I did what I felt was right." The exact words that went through his head were, "Fool, you got to go in there." Responsibility is like that. No one else can claim it for you.

While the implication is that this was pure impulse; it was premised upon the transcendental ethos—ontology—and was impulsive only by having been premised upon the ethos; in other words it was a moments action that was prepared by a lifetime of ethical considerations, specific training and maybe, maybe even God’s urging.
While it is stated that he “didn't pause to seek divine guidance…” Autrey did stated, “I had to make a split decision,” and “Since I do construction work with Local 79, we work in confined spaces a lot. So I looked, and my judgment was pretty right. The train did have enough room for me” so part of it was a trained assessment based reaction. Moreover, it is very odd to note that it, again, was not merely impulsive but directed by “words that went through his head”; might this be God’s “still, small voice”? Perhaps “Autrey didn't pause to seek divine guidance” but he got is anyway.
In any regard, Autrey stated that he “just saw someone who needed help. I did what I felt was right” but what if he felt that what was right was to save his own skin and sit safely by? Well, in an atheistic/Darwinian sense this too would be moral as it would go some ways toward assure the propagation of his DNA whilst leaving the less fit to be run over by a train—he has young daughters and needs to be there to provide for them.

The statement that “Autrey didn't pause to…reflect on his reward in heaven” is an unfortunate statement in that it is 1) presumptive, 2) unnecessarily belligerent and 3) a fallacious atheist talking-point to which I have responded in the essay: The Red Light of Punishment

Employing another apparently compulsory jab at Judeo-Christianity, Austin Dacey continues,
Moral choices are not always as clear-cut as Autrey's. The solution to complex ethical debates is seldom as clear as a stone tablet or a voice from a burning bush. One problem with stone tablets is that there is only so much you can fit on them. Lists of shalts and shalt nots in and of themselves can never be comprehensive and precise enough to render right answers on borderline cases and contemporary issues.

This sort of statement is exemplary of making an accurate assessment but coming to the wrong conclusion—and that, due to a lack of knowledge, or so it seems to me. This is because indeed, ethical choices are not always clear-cut yet, he seems to think, as he is sadly reinforced in his conclusion by many Judeo-Christians, that by an absolute ethical code or ethos what is meant is one single and narrow prescription for each and every situation.
This is not so, what is absolute is the premise, the ontology, the ethos: the spirit of the law is the parchment upon which the letter of the law is written. This premise/ontology/ethos/spirit of the law is no mere list of “shalts and shalt nots” but it is what provides the basis upon which to render right answers on borderline cases and contemporary issues.

As an example of the supposed non-specificity of the “shalts and shalt nots” Austin Dacey notes,
"Shalt not kill" does not resolve whether one-week old embryos count as the kind of thing that may not be killed; "shalt not steal" does not explain when derivatives trading becomes stealing.

I note a tinge of desperation whereby to turn murder into a “secular message” approved, ethical, act. Note that he references “kill” while I refer to “murder” which is, regardless of the translation, that to which the biblical text refers (killing being the legal and moral taking of a life such as in self-defense, a just war, etc. while murder is the illegal and immoral taking of an innocent life such as happens in the midst of committing a crime). Of course, there are other “shalt nots” such as not committing adultery for which there is no reason to break but only fallacious excuses—this is because there is no way to make adultery into something ethical, there is no moral good which comes from it.

[1] Austin Dacey, Ph.D., “The Secular Conscience - Why belief belongs in public life - Putting God out of the ethics business - The deeper meaning of the "good without God" ad campaign,” Psychology Today, November 2, 2009
[2] In a chapter of his book “Orthodoxy” entitled “The Suicide of Thought”

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
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Darwin’s Dilemma of Suppressing Opposing Views by Means of Unnatural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Theories in the Struggle for Life

This post has been moved to True Freethinker were it resides at this link
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Atheism and Science - Is There a Relation?, part 3 - On the Difference Between Science and Philosophy: Richard Dawkins

In that which follows I will 1) agree with Richard Dawkins, 2) point out his “faith” based adherence to atheistic materialism and 3) answer his ultimate question.

In part 1; I explained that atheists who claim to base their atheism on science are actually admitting to purposefully employing a method, the scientific method, that was intelligently designed to only explore the material, which observes and experiments upon the material and does so in order to come to material conclusions and then claim that the material is all that there is.

In part 2, we saw how Massimo Pigliucci explained the difference between science and philosophy and elucidated that science is premised upon philosophy. That is to say that science, methodological materialism, and atheism (of which ever sect) is based on metaphysics: intangible, immaterial, unobserved, un-experimented upon, not proved nor evidenced but assumed—first principles, axioms, propositions, presuppositions, which are intuited.

Richard Dawkins has made various statements about how religion, theism, etc. are really irrelevant since 1) he is an atheist and such is what follows but more specific to our point 2) “science” (by which he means methods meant to prove his view of atheism) will ultimately answer all and every question or they will be left unanswered as “religious” answers are to be rejected—he is a big fan of answering question by appealing to the scientists-are-working-on-it of the gaps.

This means that, in this view, evidence of creation via Intelligent Design is not only lacking but is impossible since not matter what is being evidenced the answer will be that someday, oh someday, we will surely find a God-free materialistic explanation—this is “faith”; thy kinglessdom come.

My interest is in his statements, a mere couple which I reproduce here, to the affect of if science cannot explain it religion cannot either (or, as a convenient byproduct if religion does explain it, it is not science):
the deep questions — why do we exist, why does the universe exist, how big is the universe, how old is the universe, how old is the world…They are the questions that I suppose historically have been answered by religion — or have attempted to be answered by religion.[1]

I am tempted to parse the deep question considering that we must ascertain what sort of answers we seek. For example, one could answer “why do we exist” by claiming that nothing caused an eternal and uncaused piece of matter to explode for no reason and made everything. Or, that lightning struck a swamp and life came from non-life. Or, God created the heavens and the Earth and human beings in His image.

When asked “What about the old adage that science deals with the ‘how’ questions and religion deals with the ‘why’ questions?” Richard Dawkins responded:
I think that's remarkably stupid, if I may say so. What on earth is a "why" question?...They mean "why" in a deliberate, purposeful sense…Those of us who don't believe in religion -- supernatural religion -- would say there is no such thing as a "why" question in that sense. Now, the mere fact that you can frame an English sentence beginning with the word "why" does not mean that English sentence should receive an answer…[2]

If you have read the transcript of the 1948 AD debate between Bertrand Russell and F.C. Copleston you know that this is a paraphrase of Russell who seemed to think that if he claims that a question or statement is meaningless then can simply sidestep the issue—“the universe is just there and that’s all” was stated during this exchange.

Dawkins also stated:
There are core questions like, how did the universe begin? Where do the laws of physics come from? Where does life come from?...Those are all perfectly legitimate questions to which science can give answers, if not now, then we hope in the future. There may be some very, very deep questions, perhaps even where do the laws of physics come from, that science will never answer. That is perfectly possible. I am hopeful, along with some physicists, that science will one day answer that question. But even if it doesn't -- even if there are some supremely deep questions to which science can never answer -- what on earth makes you think that religion can answer those questions?[3]

Consciousness is the biggest puzzle facing biology, neurobiology, computational studies and evolutionary biology. It is a very, very big problem. I don't know the answer. Nobody knows the answer. I think one day they probably will know the answer. But even if science doesn't know the answer, I return to the question, what on earth makes you think that religion will? Just because science so far has failed to explain something, such as consciousness, to say it follows that the facile, pathetic explanations which religion has produced somehow by default must win the argument is really quite ridiculous. Nobody has an explanation for consciousness. That should be a spur to work harder and try to understand it. Not to give up and just say, "Oh well, it must be a soul." That doesn't mean anything. It doesn't explain anything. You've said absolutely nothing when you've said that.[4]

Sadly, Richard Dawkins and others in his school of thought have concocted and promulgated this false dichotomy; that it is either an atheistic scientific explanation or else a claimed act of God.
Certainly, stating something like, “God created life” is only one category of explanation. For example, it does not explain “how” God did it but could explain “why.” The point of asking “how” versus “why” questions is an attempt to narrow down what sort of answers we seek.
Claiming that God did it, “why,” does not preclude seeking to explain “how” God did it. In fact, the people who established methods and fields of science believed that God was a rational being and created a rational creation which functions according to material cause followed by material effect and that this creation and its functions could be discerned, repeatedly experimented upon and that thus, we could learn about the material realm and its creator.

The bottom line of the point which I seek to make is Dawkins’ ultimate question/statement, “what on earth makes you think that religion can answer those questions?”

Well, science functions within certain parameters whilst philosophy (theology being a branch of philosophy) is not bound by those same parameters. This is why “religion” can answer questions that science cannot. It can also answer the questions in a different way. For example, “religion” can claim that “In the beginning [time] God [a preexisting being outside of the universe] created [volitionally carried out a plan] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]” and via the scientific method we can then discern how universe expanded, is fine tuned, etc.

By understanding that there are different levels of answers to be offered and different disciplines which function under different rules we answer the question as to how and why “religion” answers certain question in certain ways that science cannot and how and why science answers certain question in certain ways that “religion” cannot.

[1] Edward Keenan, “Richard Dawkins - The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution,” Eye Weekly, September 29, 2009
[2] Steve Paulson, “The Flying Spaghetti Monster,” Salon, Oct 13, 2006
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
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What Darwin Got Wrong - Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

Next month Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini will published an interesting sounding book, What Darwin Got Wrong

The following is from


Praise for What Darwin Got Wrong
“A challenging, intriguing argument that poses important scientific and philosophical questions about evolution . . . Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini take a brave stance that will likely draw reaction . . . from across the scientific and theological spectrum. A dense, scholarly, engaging testament to modern scientific thinking and its ability to adapt and evolve.” —Kirkus Reviews

“From the shocking title onward, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini have set the cat among Darwin’s pigeons. In arguing why the operation of natural selection says nothing about the causal mechanisms underlying the evolution of coextensive traits in an organism, they take us to the conceptual fault line at the heart of Darwin’s theory. My prediction is that Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini’s book will raise hackles galore wherever the theory of natural selection is all too glibly misused, not only in studies of the ontogeny and phylogeny of biology, but also in those great overlapping disciplines of philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and behavior—in short, human nature. This book will set the agenda for years to come. It cannot be ignored if the study of evolution is to be honest with itself.” —Gabriel Dover, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, Universities of Leicester and Cambridge, and author of Dear Mr. Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature

“Evolution needs a persuasive theory if the struggle for public acceptance is to be won. Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s bold treatise, What Darwin Got Wrong, convincingly shows that natural selection is not that theory. Drawing on scientific literature spanning the molecular, behavioral, and cognitive scales, with sophisticated excursions into evolutionary-developmental biology and the physics of complex systems, the authors perform a philosophical dismantling of the standard model of evolutionary change that is likely irreversible. Their unambiguous grounding in the factuality of evolution renders this work a service to science and a setback for its opponents.” —Stuart Newman, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College

“In this provocative, enlightening, and very entertaining book, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini argue that natural selection (NS) cannot explain how evolution occurs. The argument is largely conceptual and proceeds in two steps: (1) that theories of NS are conceptually parallel to Skinnerian theories of learning and so share most of the same debilitating problems, and (2) that NS is actually in worse conceptual shape when its central explanatory notion, ‘selecting for,’ is properly unpacked. This argument will annoy a lot of important people, both for its conclusion and for the evident delight the authors display in getting to it. The ensuing fireworks should be delightful, and (possibly) enlightening.” —Norbert Hornstein, Professor of Linguistics, University of Maryland“This highly informative and carefully argued study develops two central theses. First, there are alternatives to classical neo-Darwinian adaptationist theories that are plausible, and very possibly capture principles that are the rule rather than the exception even if the basic adaptationist account is accepted. Second, that account cannot be accepted. The two theses are sufficiently independent so that they can be evaluated separately. Whatever the outcome of intellectual engagement with this stimulating work, it is sure to be a most rewarding experience.” —Noam Chomsky

Product Description
This is not a book about God, or about intelligent design. Rather, here is a remarkable book, one that dares to challenge natural selection—not in the name of religion but in the name of good science. Most scientists are so terrified of religious attacks on the theory of evolution that it is never examined critically.

But there are major scientific and philosophical problems with the theory of natural selection. Darwin claimed the factors that determine the course of evolution are very largely environmental. This is a thesis that empirical results in biology are increasingly calling into question. The authors show that Darwinism is committed to inferring, from the premise that a kind of creature with a certain trait was selected, the conclusion that that kind of creature was selected for having that trait. Though such inferences are fallacious, they are nevertheless unavoidable within the Darwinist framework. Ultimately, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini level a devastating critique against Darwinist orthodoxy and suggest new ways of thinking about evolution.

Fodor first presented his critique in the London Review of Books, in an article that generated heated discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. What Darwin Got Wrong is certain to be as controversial as it is precisely argued.

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
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ITS NAME IS DOOM — PZ Myers’ A Priori Presuppositional Presumption of Atheism

Martin Buber on the “deactualized self”:
The capricious man does not believe and encounter. He does not know association; he only knows the feverish world out there and his feverish desire to use it…

When he says You, he means: You, my ability to use!...

In truth he has no destiny but is merely determined by things and drives, feels autocratic, and is capricious.
He has no great will and tries to pass off caprice in its place….

But the unbelieving marrow of the capricious man cannot perceive anything but unbelief and caprice, positing ends and devising means. His world is devoid of sacrifice and grace, encounter and present, but shot through with ends and means: it could not be different and its name is doom.

For all his autocratic bearing, he is inextricably entangled in unreality; and he becomes aware of this whenever he recollects his own condition. Therefore he takes pains to use the best part of his mind to prevent or at least obscure such recollection.[1]

Having endured and digested the death knell which PZ Myers authored it seemed relevant to dissect certain portions.

Some people seemed to be honestly taken, in a good way in their estimation, by PZ Myers’ materialistic, mechanistic, reductionist, view of life. When that is all you think you have then, that is all you think you have. Sadly, they do not seem to stop, dissect his statements and note that they are premised upon an a priori presuppositional presumption of atheism.

Certainly, this is nothing but what one would expect, that an atheist to presuppose atheism, but one must nevertheless connect the dots of one thoughts and ask how PZ Myers reached such conclusions.

Let us glean from his essay Happy Wary Vigilance Day! about which we ought be wary and vigilant as it is a very, very confused text. This is because he attempts to weave together theism with materialism; a theistic concept with a materialistic application. Since this rather odd arrangement does not work, he takes pleasure in pointing out that it does not work and yet, it is a fallacious concoction of his own.

Let us note that within the text PZ Myers offers a Mosaic-mosaic as he promulgates four positive and six negative commandments all premised upon a positive atheism spiked “get over it”:

1. Sit at that table and contemplate the threats to your existence

2. Thank [helpful people] them personally

3. Share human feelings with other human beings

4. Have a grand old day off

5. Don't sit at your table and think you're being good

6. Don't beam happy thoughts

7. Don't be hypocritical and radiate gratitude

8. None of this nonsense

9. Don't waste your time praying

10. Forget this silly business of feeling blindly thankful

Thus saith PZ.

He begins by stating “Sorry, I don't believe in Thanksgiving Day” which is not surprising since whether you consider the Pilgrims or George Washington’s declaration; both reveal the Judeo-Christian, or generically theistic, premises upon which the USA is based.

PZ Myers presupposes positive atheism in the following terms:
1. “there is nothing out there that can be aware of just how glad you are to be alive” – please prove it.
2. “there's no agent out there who will feel pleased that you noticed” – please prove it.
3. “Also, gods don't exist, so they haven't done squat for you. Don't waste your time praying to them, either” – please prove it.

Based upon this unproven, unevidenced, a prior worldview adherence he states “This whole notion that one should have vague and aimless feelings of gratitude for the nature of one's existence is just too weird” which is an arguments from personal incredulity; what seems weird to PZ Myers has no relevance to what is factual, true, moral, etc. Also, he is injecting the concepts of “vague” and “aimless” into the act so that it is easier for him to discredit. Yet, when I am grateful for my existence it is not “vague” and “aimless” but specific and aimful.
He makes the same fallacious presumption again in stating, “None of this nonsense of bland, undirected, unfocused, smug gratitude”; fine, none of that, but he is presupposing that they, we, are being bland, undirected, unfocused and smug. And again “forget this silly business of feeling blindly thankful” done; but who is being blindly thankful? He only thinks this as it is a logical conclusion from his illogical atheism.

He continues by stating that the “bow-your-head-at-the-table and radiate-blessings-at-the-cosmos tradition is pointless and silly.” I fully agree, even though what he or I think is pointless and silly is irrelevant. Since he presupposes positive atheism he thinks that people are “bow-your-head…radiate-blessings” aka praying “at-the-cosmos” but they are not; they are addressing God.

He states, “The universe is cold and uncaring” with which I fully agree. Yet, when we bow-our-heads radiating blessings we are not addressing the universe but its creator. Likewise with the statement, “don't sit at your table and think you're being good by warmly thanking an indifferent universe for whatever. It doesn't care”; true but who is doing any such thing? He also states, “Nature is not appeasable, get over it” done; it is gotten over, but who thought to appease nature, Pagans?

Now to the next issue which is that “Gratitude is to be shared between sentient beings” with which I again agree: I am grateful to a sentient God. His point is “Don't get me wrong: I can be appropriately and happily grateful to people who have gone out of their way to do good for me…for the most part, our existence is not the product of selfless altruism.”
From here he explains that even the people you may imagine thanking are not worthy since they are merely greedily serving their own needs as he references “the machineries of profit…the market forces” thus:
Then a gang of people who were mostly concerned with trudging through another day and making a living wage decapitated it, gouged out its guts, stripped off its feathers, and wrapped it in plastic so you could thoughtlessly stuff fragments of its carcass into your hungry maw…If you're eating tofurkey, you aren't off the hook, either. Think of the soybeans!...Don't beam happy thoughts at the farmers who stocked your larder — they can't hear you, and they did it for their own personal profit anyway…you probably do have people who have done good things for you, at personal cost, and without carrying out the calculus of profit. If you want to have a day of thankfulness, thank them personally.
This is a false dichotomy as during my Thanksgiving Day supper, and I imagine that of many others, we thanked both God and humans. We rendered to Cesar that which is Cesar’s and to God that which is God’s.

Note that he references “luck” in the following terms, “We're all doomed. We are currently survivors by luck, sustained by selfish processes, and I don't thank luck” since it is fickle and asks if we would be “resentful of nonexistence, or place blame for random bad luck?”
Well, I, for one, do not believe in luck—good, bad or indifferent. But in the worldviews of PZ Myers and, as a prime example Richard Dawkins, “luck” replaces “miracle” but offers the same results, occupies the same station: the luck-of-the-gaps that can accomplish anything whilst filling the gaps in our knowledge. This is how Dawkins states it:
It is as though, in our theory of how we came to exist, we are allowed to postulate a certain ration of luck (The Blind Watchmaker, p. 145).

Explain[ing] how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises...makes heavier demands on luck(The God Delusion, p. 121).

Is it any wonder that he concludes,
We don’t actually need a plausible theory of the origin of life (The Greatest Show on Earth, p. 421)

If we are just here and that’s all, we need not bothersome explanations.

Thus, PZ Myers is overall confusing a theistic premise with a positive atheistic application, basing his comments on prejudicial presuppositions of that which people are doing during Thanksgiving and only accurately representing the doom, gloom and hopelessness which is the logical conclusion of atheism.

[1] Martin Buber (Walter Kaufmann, trans.), I and Thou (New York: Scribner’s, 1970), p. 111

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
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Continue reading ITS NAME IS DOOM — PZ Myers’ A Priori Presuppositional Presumption of Atheism...


Sam Harris Proves Karen Armstrong’s Point

Sam Harris—atheist activist and pseudo-neuroscientist—attempted to take Karen Armstrong to task and did a splendid job of strengthening her point. Karen Armstrong wrote an article with which Sam Harris took umbrage yet, being an emotive reactionary he simply fails to respond intellectually and merely poured derision upon her whilst providing even more evidence to back up her original point.

Sam Harris wrote:
In her article ("Think Again: God," November 2009), Karen Armstrong discovers that Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and I have mistaken "fundamentalism" for the totality of religion. (Sorry about that.) But do Richard and Christopher really hold religion responsible for "all human cruelty"? That is a surprise. I hadn't realized that they were idiots.[1]

Well, welcome to the light of day Mr. Harris.

Considering statements such as Christopher Hitchens’ “religion poisons everything” (it is right there on the very front of his book).

Or, Richard Dawkins’ statement:
Imagine, with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition (religious riots between Hindus and Muslims where more than a million people were massacred), no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as “Christ-killers”, no Northern Ireland “troubles”, no “honour killings”, no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money (“God wants you to give till it hurts”). Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it.

The fact that this is jejune, myopic, historically absurd and that he backs away from it when challenged does not negate the fact that he promulgated this position.

The problem is not that the debunked New Atheists are only ever seen asserting that religion responsible for "all human cruelty"? but that they are so lacking in making balanced statements that one is virtually forced such a conclusion. Whether it is Sam Harris, “If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, Harris explains, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion”[2] or the New Atheists anti-historical denial that atheism motivated Communism they, themselves, are to be faulted for the manner in which they come across.
Sam Harris prescribes capital punishment for thought crime and is then shocked when people are shocked by the fact that he prescribes capital punishment for thought crime, “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”[3]
Sam Harris’ first book was titled The End of Faith—Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and not The End of the Various Human Nature Related Dangers to the World—Whether Faith-Based or Not.

But what is Sam Harris’ specific response to his notion that Karen Armstrong mistakenly believes that the New Atheists “really hold religion responsible for ‘all human cruelty’”? He adds fuel to the fire and proves her point by launching into a tirade against religion—and he did not realize that he is an…well; his words, not mine.

Let us glean from Sam Harris’ article:
I can't quite remember how we got it into our heads that jihad was linked to violence. (Might it have had something to do with the actual history and teachings of Islam?) And how could we have been so foolish as to connect the apparently inexhaustible supply of martyrs in the Muslim world to the Islamic doctrine of martyrdom?...

The point is not whether Sam Harris is correct but that he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. He has a chance to elucidate the fair and balanced views which he claims to hold but he does not, will not or cannot.

He then references, “a preoccupation with witchcraft” such as “belief in the curative powers of human flesh” in Africa.

He notes that in “Kenya elderly men and women are still burned alive for casting malicious spells.”

That “In Angola, unlucky boys and girls have been blinded, injected with battery acid, and killed outright in an effort to purge them of demons.”

That “In Tanzania, there is a growing criminal trade in the body parts of albino human beings -- as it is widely believed that their flesh has magical properties.”

And concludes, “I sincerely hope that my ‘new atheist’ colleagues are not so naive as to imagine that actual belief in magic might be the issue here.” Again and again, that is not the point; his understanding of her assertion was that he and the New Atheists hold that “religion responsible for ‘all human cruelty’” and he proves it and adds more weight to it.

In part, Karen Armstrong replied thusly:
It is clear that we need a debate about the role of religion in public life and the relationship between science and religion. I just wish this debate could be conducted in a more Socratic manner. Socrates, founder of the Western rationalist tradition, always insisted that any dialogue must be conducted with gentleness and courtesy, and without malice. In our highly polarized world, we really do not need yet another deliberately contentious and divisive discourse.

I think that she simply does not understand; to personages such as Sam Harris “religious” people are antiquated evolutionary vestiges no more to be regarded with respect than a mosquito that in biting you.

Since Sam Harris’ worldview is premised upon a rejection of God his responses cannot help but being emotionally motivated and charged, he is certainly exciting and inciting but he is simply in error.

For this is the will of God,
that by doing good you may put
to silence the ignorance of foolish men

—1st Peter 2:15

[1] Sam Harris, “The God Fraud,” Foreign Policy, January/February, 2010
[2] Jörg Blech, “THE NEW ATHEISTS - Researchers Crusade against American Fundamentalists,” Spiegel, October 26, 2006
[3] Sam Harris, The End of Faith—Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004 ), pp. 52–53

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
at this link

Continue reading Sam Harris Proves Karen Armstrong’s Point...

Atheism and Science - Is There a Relation?, part 1

One of the most ubiquitously employed atheist talking point is to basically use the word “atheism” and “science” in the same sentence whilst expressing anything at all related in any way to any discussion of atheism / theism (same goes for “atheism” and “evolution” but that is another issue).

Yet, what is the relation of atheism with science or science with atheism?

Atheism is Dead has already determined that science has nothing to offer atheism in the post Omni-Science. Yet, it seemed appropriate to focus on the specific question of what is the conclusion of having many atheists claim that they base their atheism on science or that science implies an atheistic universe.

What is science? There are many definitions. Within the comments section of Atheism is Dead an atheist even included feelings in their definition of science. There is science as method, science as profession, science as co-opted by atheism, science as supposed know it all, science as only providing the best guess thus far, science as an operational process, science as a body of knowledge, science as a thing to be manipulated via schools of thought and professional rivalries, forensic science, hard science, soft science, etc., etc., etc.[1]

Let us consider common definitions of what people generally mean by “science” particularly within our context: science denotes a series of fields of study which apply certain methods—such as observation, testability and repeatable experimentation—which seek to ascertain, to the best of our current ability, the workings of the physical world / nature / the material realm. True science functions within limits, admits these limitations and does not pretend to go beyond them.

Many great and influential scientists, those who established the methods and fields of science in the first place, were theists of one sort or another—mostly from the Judeo-Christian tradition. These scientists premised the scientific endeavor upon their belief that there was a God, that this God is a rational being, that thus this rational God had created a rational creation and that therefore, the creation functions upon certain established laws which ensure a continuum which allows us to explore, observe and reproduce experiments—they believed in the heuristic God. Sans such rational consistency; one scientist would observe ice melting into water and another would observe ice melting into a dyslexic chinchilla.

The main point here is that those great scientists who established the methods and fields of science were intelligently designing a manner by which to explore God’s creation—the physical world, nature, the material realm—they believed that God created the material realm and thus, that therein there functions a system of material causes bringing about material effects. Some atheists seem to think that the more we uncover material causes for material effects the more that God becomes a superfluous concept. This may be a good defeater for certain theologies.
Yet, speaking from a Judeo-Christian perspective: material causes for material effects are only expected. This is a scientific prediction made within the Bible itself as God created the material realm, created time in which it functions and ceased from His creation activities (this was a biblical prediction of the first law of thermodynamics) so that it may function as tuned.

To reiterate: it is not surprising to theists and not deleterious to theism when scientists discover material causes bringing about material effects. Yet, this is too generalized as there certainly are theologies which claim that god(s) do things such as directly and constantly causing natural phenomenon such as a lightning god/dess, rain god/dess, wind god/dess, etc.

Thus, various theologies of these sorts may actually be discredited through scientific methods. However, others may not. For example, Judeo-Christian theology specifically denies that God is busy causing each and every natural phenomenon. It may claim that God is ultimately responsible for the whole of creation and may even act during specific events to cause certain supernatural phenomenon to occur but that God established the natural phenomenon and yet is not part of them; does not have to constantly cause them to occur (for example, the Bible describes the hydrological cycle[2]).

In fact, the Bible presents an interesting anti-pantheistic example:

Then He said [to Elijah], “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.”
And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake,
but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
and after the earthquake a fire,
but the LORD was not in the fire;
and after the fire a still small voice (1st Kings 19:11-12).

In any regard, let us clearly note that science is about exploring and understanding the material realm; it considers the one corner of reality to which it has access. Science is specifically restricted from even considering the vast majority of what is claimed to be supernatural. Now, since science is relatively very young it may evolve to the point where it can, for instance, develop the ability to detect the signs of design.

Scott C. Todd, Department of Biology, Kansas State University wrote,
Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.

The reason that this sentiment is fallacious is because it amounts to worldview adherence. If all the data point to an intelligent designer, science would thus change in order to accommodate the new evidence. Excluding evidence because it does not fit the theory is unscientific (Todd’s fuller statement is dissected in Omni-Science).

Atheists who claim to base their particular worldviews on science are tantamount to horses wearing blinders (aka blinkers or winkers). Blinders allow some vision but restrict the ascertaining of the complete view: they allow vision directly ahead of the horse but restrict the side and backwards view.
Science is the atheist’s blinders since through it they do get a reasonably clear view of that which is directly in front of them, but they simply cannot see anything else and thus, they conclude that there is nothing else.

The more we hear atheists claim that they base their atheism on science the more we are being alerted to the fact that what they are really admitting is that they are purposefully restricting that which they consider acceptable to consider. This is the very opposite of freethough; this is restricted well-within-the-box-group-think adherence.
They are purposefully restricting their vision and then concluding that there is nothing more to see.

Brian Cox, prominent scientist with the University of Manchester’s Particle Physics Group notes,
Scientists should be able to draw a line between things we do and don't know – they should be comfortable in doing that. We can't rule anything out as being impossible, including the existence of God or a greater being.[3]

With regards to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem it follows that science cannot fully comprehend nature in terms of nature—such knowledge cannot be self-referencing.

Generally stated atheists of the science=atheism or atheism=science school would claim that they accept only that which is scientifically verifiable.
The very first question to ask is whether this premise is scientifically verifiable. Moreover, has it been scientifically verified that scientific verification is the only true method by which to discern reality? Is it the only way to know what we ought to accept?
If it has not, and it has not, the premise is faulty and the statement disproves itself and must be discarded.

The next question to ask is if, indeed, absolute materialism been scientifically evidenced.
If it has not, and it has not, then the atheist co-option of science as somehow pointing to atheism is faulty, the statement disproves itself, and must be discarded.

You want to say something like, “Maybe not—but it is the best.” That is fine, but science is the best only at doing what it was intelligently designed to do—within parameters, no further and nothing more.

Again, consider the sentiment of accepting only that which is scientifically verifiable—since the only things that science verifies are material then such a view guarantees, a priori, a materialistic conclusion. Yet, science has no way of determining that there is nothing beyond the material, at least not at this level in its development.

Atheists who take this view are purposefully blinding themselves by accepting one narrow view of reality. They are purposefully taking a view that was specifically designed to make materialistic observations and come to materialistic conclusions about the material. Then they are telling themselves something that science does not tell them and that is that the material is all that there is—something which is not scientifically verifiable.

This is tantamount to putting on eyeglasses with red tint, looking around and concluding that the only color that exists is various shades of red. Someone may challenge such a conclusion by pointing out that there are other colors. They may urge the red bespectacled to take off the glasses and have a look around. Yet, the bespectacled simply states that the red glasses are the best way to look around the world and there is no reason to take them off. Yet, the bottom line is that they are only seeing red because they purposefully put on red glasses and refute to look through any other color.

Atheist of the rosy colored sort are purposefully staring at one little corner of reality, telling themselves that the little corner is all that there is, and refusing to turn around to see the full glory of creation.

Thus, they end up defining science as strictly materialistic; not merely in its methods but in its conclusions—conclusion which they mistakenly take to be absolute (tentative in its details but absolute in its materialism).[4]

[1] Stephen C. Meyer comments on this issue thusly (from Signature in the Cell; DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, beginning at p. 400):
“scientists in different fields use different methods…historical and structural geology use distinct (if partially overlapping) methods…
Some sciences test their theories by making predictions; some test their theories by assessing their explanatory power; some test their theories by assessing both explanatory power and predictive success.
Some methods of scientific investigation involve direct verification; some employ more indirect methods of testing.
Some test theories in isolation from competing hypotheses.
Some test theories by comparing the predictive or explanatory success of competing hypotheses.
Some branches of science formulate conjectures that cannot yet be tested at all.
Some sciences study only what can be observed.
Some sciences make inferences about entities that cannot be observed.
Some sciences reason deductively; some inductively; some abductively.
Some use all three modes of inference.
Some sciences use the hypothetico-deductive method of testing.
Some use the method of multiple competing hypotheses.”
[2] See Job 36:27-29; Psalm 135:7; Jeremiah 10:13
[3] Douglas Walker And Peter Hutchison, “In the beginning there was God AND the Big Bang (well, maybe, says top scientist),” The Scotsman, 10 April 2007
[4] Consider the observations of Richard Lewontin (Harvard University Professor of zoology and biology) as he observes that scientists have purposefully concocted an apparatus that will produce the results that they desire:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural…we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [emphasis added]

Richard Lewontin further points out the following with regards to Carl Sagan:
…he believes that “a proclivity for science is embedded deeply within us in all times, places and cultures”…He does not tell us how he used the scientific method to discover the “embedded” human proclivity for science, or the cause of its frustration. Perhaps we ought to add to the menu of Saganic demonology, just after spoon-bending, ten-second seat-of-the-pants explanations of social realities…Sagan believes that scientists reject sprites, fairies, and the influence of Sagittarius because we follow a set of procedures, the Scientific Method, which has consistently produced explanations that put us in contact with reality and in which mystic forces play no part…if the exhortation is to succeed, then the argument for the superiority of science and its method must be convincing, and not merely convincing, but must accord with its own demands. The case for the scientific method should itself be “scientific” and not merely rhetorical. Unfortunately, the argument may not look as good to the unconvinced as it does to the believer. [emphasis added]

He references Carl Sagan and his Saganic demonology due to the fact that these comments were made within his review of Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (read the full text here).

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
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