Nightline Face-Off’s “Does God Have a Future?”

March 23, 2010 at 11:12 am (Does God exist?) Sam Harris ftw!


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Why there are—almost certainly—no gods

February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm (Does God exist?)

I’ve uploaded it on Google Docs, and is a whole lot easier to see.

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Why there are—almost certainly—no gods

February 2, 2010 at 11:31 am (Does God exist?)

Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be free of the belief, however large or small, that gods exist. We’re going to be looking at various fields of thought to establish the position that gods do not exist in nature.

I. A look at mathematics.
One of the things that surprises most calculus students is that 0.99999… = 1. How can that be? Well, the simple proof is that, if you agree that 1/3 = 0.33333…, which it does, then what do you get if you multiply both sides of the equation by 3? My point is that arguing the difference between “really quite sure” and “absolutely certain” is pointless and you’ll only end up in the big sticky semantic tar pit that’s called philosophy. When I say I am certain that there are no gods and that gravity will function tomorrow, I mean that I am as sure as anyone can really be about anything without being dogmatic. Same with sunrises, sunsets, whether or not you will die in the next two nanoseconds or not, and so forth. There is no need for philosophy in mathematics. An equation must be taken at face value for progress to be done.

II. A look at logic.
In logic, there are a couple of explanations for things that cannot be unfalsifiable. The first logical fallacy is negative proof. You can’t prove a negative. The fallacy reads as

X is true because there is no proof that X is false.

In logic, if someone states that you cannot prove something does not exist, the person is taking a presupposition that the thing does indeed exist. As explained in…is-no-God.html, Nick states that you cannot prove that the dodo does not exist anymore. This is due to lack of evidence. Sure, we have reasonable evidence to suggest that the dodo once existed, but it’s unanimously agreed that dodos are in fact extinct. Because of this lack of evidence for the dodo’s continual existence, this serves as proof that the dodo doesn’t exist anymore. If you are agnostic on the existence of gods, then by definition and by an equitable standard of proof available, you must be agnostic on the existence of the dodo. To be agnostic on the existence of the dodo is unreasonable and illogical. The difference between gods and the dodo is, fortunately for this case, that we have more evidence of the existence of the dodo at one time.
B. The second logical fallacy is Argumentum ad verecundiam. The fallacy reads:

Source A says that p.
Source A is authoritative.
Therefore, p is true.

This is usually how delusional confirmation is made. Because someone holding a degree tells you something that is false, and you have no means of verification for yourself, you have no way of falsifying that information. This moves the person with a degree in a position of dictatorship-like authority to the one he gives information to. In science circles, research must be verifiable by independent testing and retesting resulting in unbiased, verifiable conclusions. If an experiment continues to reach different results under the same test, then the experiment is considered unreliable. A college professor is similar to one with authority. If ignorance is vast within the classroom student body, the professor may make whatever claims he wishes to presenting it as fact. If, however, the professor makes claims, with even at least one disagreement, then the professor’s status of dictatorship is diminished (in at at least that one student’s mind). This is why education is so important. If you are uneducated, you will not question, and the one giving the education wins control over you. In the atheist circle, there is no one person saying that there are probably no gods. There are many. There is no hierarchy of authority. Compare this to the Catholic Church, where the pope is seen as infallible. One with the status of infallibility can direct his sheep to do whatever he wants them to do. Even encouraging his church members to believe in aliens.

III. A look at history.
How many priests or presidents or popes have you known to make prophecy only to culminate to wishful thinking? From the Great Disappointment to The Revelation of St. John the Divine and mulitple other failed prophecies. The world we live in has had the word “wolf!” called too much for rational people to take them serious anymore. As the idiom goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
B. If you’ve read God Is Not Great, you have an idea of how religion has been used as a utility of vengeance on infidels. If one sways from dogma, they will most likely be cast out of the group, known as excommunication, or possibly injured (either mentally or physically) or even killed. Is this the message of peace that religion wants to convey?

IV. Psychology
There are several factors that play into the role of the delusional disorder (or belief) of gods. These factors are the same in every delusion that range as far as Atlantis of the Atlantic Ocean, to El Chupacabras to the boogey monster, and on and on.
[b]1.[/url] One of those factors is called cognitive dissonance. This is, simplistically, when one believes something different from what is known. A hypothesis is an example of when cognitive dissonance is used. You may believe that if you were to do a, then b would occur. This is not always the case. Cognitive dissonance is something that is valuable–ethically–only when the outcome doesn’t ruin social relationships. Because the notion of gods effects our limbic system, the emotional part of the brain (read The “God” Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God for more information), theists often ally themselves with those who are emotionally (delusionally) similar. Cognitive dissonance is best seen in the field of agnosticism. These are those still holding onto their delusions while confused about how delusions work. With time and understanding of how delusions work, they can treat themselves and become atheists. (See…icism-defined/ for a theoretical framework of the hierarchy of the gods delusion).
2. The second requirement of a delusion must be hypnosis. According to Trance and Treatment: Clinical Uses of Hypnosis (found on the Wikipedia article), “[c]ontrary to a popular misconception – that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep – contemporary research suggests that it is actually a wakeful state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility, with diminished peripheral awareness.” For more information on how hypnosis is performed in the church, check out the videos of The God Virus‘s author Darrel W. Ray on hypnosis: and
3. Another factor that plays into the delusional disorder is the persecution complex. This is where the person retreats intellectually when not with like-minded people. This is most likely due to an ignorance in intellectual self-defense.
4. The persecutory delusion is yet another factor because persecutory delusions involve a paranoid sense of being followed or harrassed by an external identity. Think Big Brother. Big Brother can instill an imaginative sense of external installment of dogmatic morals. These are seen as beneficial for living a more fulfilled life.
B. The so-called “sexual guilt cycle”, as seen in another video by Darrel Ray–at–is similar to what’s known as the “the Cycle of Sexual Abuse”. Sex is seen by religionists as a dirty, filthy disgusting thing if you’re not married. The reality of the matter is that sex is not and never has been anything more than a biological phenomenon that results in two things: pleasure and reproduction. Why is it that sex sells so powerfully? The reason is that sex is apart of nature, it’s a part of who we are. No other creature on earth exhibits the shame that humans place on themselves for something that is 100% natural. Modern-day humans wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for sex. The psychological harm that comes from the sexual guilt cycle extends even in to marriage. Couples who have experienced a lifetime of this guilt will feel guilty when they have sex even within the bounds of their religion. It’s been proven over and over again. If nudity of the opposite sex were bad, and if god existed, I would think that we would all be androgynous asexual humans. But we’re not, and sexuality comes in many different forms. It’s the most powerful tool the church has.

V. Sociology
Interactions of believers and non-believers brings heavy conflict with it. In discussing religion from an academic and free speech point of view, one can objectively identify the variables and attributes of certain religions. Discussing in terms of beliefs and principles, one can sort through the clutter of what defines a religion without harassment. However, when discussing in terms coming from various viewpoints of reality, distortion of information is introduced, and ignorance and pride can pervert one’s use of logic. It’s a continuous cycle bestowed upon by religion.

VI. Engineering
Bayes’ rule states that absence of evidence is evidence for the absence of the evidence. Or, more simply absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Most people get Carl Sagan’s quote wrong when they say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. What he actually said (in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark) is (quote from…rld_.281995.29),

appeal to ignorance — the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g. There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist — and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we’re still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

* Chapter 12, “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection”, page 221

1. Bayes’ rule is laid out in the fashion of

You can find a relevant explanation here:…YWI1&hl=en.
2. Let’s look at an example of how absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Imagine I’m holding a standard coffee mug in my hand. Imagine it has coffee in it and marshmallows floating to the top. If someone were to claim that there was an elephant in my coffee mug I would instantly investigate to confirm or deny the claim. Actually, no investigation is necessary in this case due to the human brain’s innate sense of size and symmetry. But that’s besides the point. I examine the cup and decide that there’s no elephant in my cup. Elephant in this example being either full-sized elephant or a baby elephant, it does matter. I go on to drink the coffee until the contents are empty noticing nothing unusual about the taste or the color of the coffee. I determine that there was in fact no elephant in my cup of coffee due to the hypothetical violation of the laws of physics that states that no two objects of mass can occupy the came space at any given time (light can, but that’s a different story).

As for a conclusion, I will say this: stop saying you can’t know something. You will never get anywhere if you say you can’t. If anyone still reading this says that we still can never know whether or not there’s a god or more than one god, I recommend something that has always given me hope in advancing my education from a book of my childhood. It’s called “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper. It’s easy to read, and has pictures too!

Addendum: Want real scientific arguments against creationists?…3481305829426D and/or…/dp/026261037X.

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