Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Atheist Professor's Brain

I had an exchange on a message board years ago, in which a theist posted one of those pithy "inspirational" stories about a Christian student getting the best of his bullying atheist professor. I wrote a response to it and then didn't think of it again for a while.

However, in more recent times several people have written to us at The Atheist Experience with almost the same story, and asked what we could say about it. Because it's easier to search this blog than that board, I am reprinting the exchange here.

First, the story.

PROFESSOR: "LET ME EXPLAIN THE problem science has with Jesus Christ." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand. "You're a Christian, aren't you?"
STUDENT: "Yes, sir."
PROFESSOR: "So you believe in God?"
STUDENT: "Absolutely."
PROFESSOR: "Is God good?"
STUDENT: "Yes."
PROFESSOR: "Are you good or evil?"
STUDENT: The Bible says I'm evil."
PROFESSOR: The professor grins knowingly. "Ahh! THE BIBLE!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help them? Would you try?"
STUDENT: "Yes sir, I would."
PROFESSOR: "So you're good...!"
STUDENT: "I wouldn't say that."
PROFESSOR: "Why not say that? Would you help a sick and maimed person if you could...in fact most of us would if we could...God doesn't"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: The elderly man is sympathetic. "No you can't, can you?" He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. In philosophy, you have to go easy on the new ones. "Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"
STUDENT: "Er... Yes."
PROFESSOR: "Is Satan good?"
STUDENT: "No."
PROFESSOR: "Where does Satan come from?"
STUDENT: The student falters. "From... God..."
PROFESSOR: "That's right. God made Satan, didn't he?" The elderly man runs his bony fingers through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking, student audience. "I think were going to have a lot of fun this semester, ladies and gentlemen." He turns back to the Christian. "Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"
STUDENT: "Yes, sir."
PROFESSOR: "Evil's everywhere, isn't it? Did God make everything?"
STUDENT: "Yes."
PROFESSOR: "Who created evil?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: "Is there sickness in this world? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All the terrible things - do they exist in this world?"
STUDENT: The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."
PROFESSOR: "Who created them?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: The professor suddenly shouts at his student. "WHO CREATED THEM? TELL ME, PLEASE!" The professor closes in for the kill and climbs into the Christian's face. In a small voice: "God created all evil, didn't He, son?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
STUDENT: The student tries to hold steady, experienced gaze and fails.
PROFESSOR: Suddenly the lecture breaks away to pace the front of the classroom like an aging panther. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues, "how is it that this God is good if He created all evil throughout all time?" The professor swishes his arms around to encompass the wickedness of the world. "All the hatred, the brutality, all the pain, all the torture, all the death and ugliness and all the suffering created by this good God is all over the world isn't it, young man?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: "Don't you see it all over the place? Huh?" Pause "Don't you?" The professor leans into the student's face again and whispers, "Is God good?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"
STUDENT: "Yes, professor. I do"
PROFESSOR: (The old man shakes his head sadly) "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you seen your Jesus?"
STUDENT: "No, sir. I've never seen Him"
PROFESSOR: "Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"
STUDENT: "No, sir. I have not."
PROFESSR: "Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus... in fact, do you have any sensory perception of him whatsoever?"
STUDENT: [No answer]
PROFESSOR: "Answer me, please."
STUDENT: "No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."
PROFESSOR: "You're AFRAID... you haven't?" (The professor glides his bony hands through his balding head)
STUDENT: "No, sir."
PROFESSOR: "Yet you still believe in him?"
STUDENT: "...yes..."
PROFESSOR: "That takes FAITH! (The professor smiles sagely at the underling) According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son? Where is your God now?"[The student doesn't answer]
PROFESSOR: "Sit down, please." (The Christian sits...Defeated…. Another Christian raises his hand)
OTHER STUDENT: "Professor, may I address the class?"
PROFESSOR: (The professor turns and smiles) "Ah, another Christian in the vanguard! Come, come, young man. Speak some proper wisdom to the gathering."
OTHER STUDENT: The Christian looks around the room. "Some interesting points you are making, sir. Now I've got a question for you. Is there such a thing as heat?"
PROFESSOR: "Yes, son, there's cold too."
OTHER STUDENT: "No, sir, there isn't” The professor's grin freezes. The room suddenly goes very still. The second Christian continues. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat but we don't have anything called 'cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458 - You see, sir, and cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it." Silence. A pin drops somewhere in the classroom. "Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?"
PROFESSOR: "That's a dumb question, son. What is night if it isn't darkness? What are you getting at...?"
OTHER STUDENT: "So you say there is such a thing as darkness?"
PROFESSOR: "Yes..."
OTHER STUDENT: "You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, Darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you...give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?"
PROFESSOR: Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young effrontery before him. This will indeed be a good semester. "Would you mind telling us what your pint is, young man?"
OTHER STUDENT: "Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error...."
PROFESSOR: The professor goes toxic. "Flawed...? How dare you...!"
OTHER STUDENT: "Sir, may I explain what I mean?" The class is all ears.
PROFESSOR: "Explain... oh, explain..." The professor makes an admirable effort to regain control. Suddenly he is affability itself. He waves his hand to silence the class, for the student to continue.
OTHER STUDENT: "You are working on the premise of duality," the Christian explains. "That for example there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it." The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the desk of a neighbor who has been reading it. "Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?"
PROFESSOR: "Of course there is, now look..."
OTHER STUDENT: "Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such a thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The Christian pauses. "Isn't evil the absence of good?"
PROFESSOR: The professor's face has turned an alarming color. He is so angry he is temporarily speechless.
OTHER STUDENT: The Christian continues. "If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then God, if He exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work, God is accomplishing? The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good or evil."
PROFESSOR: The professor bridles. "As a philosophical scientist, I don't vie this matter as having to do with any choice; as a realist, I absolutely do not recognize the concept f God or any other theological factor as being part of the world equation because God is not observable."
OTHER STUDENT: "I would have thought that the absence of God's moral code in this world is probably one of the most observable phenomena going," the Christian replies. "Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week! "Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"
PROFESSOR: "If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do."
OTHER STUDENT: "Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir? (The professor makes a sucking sound with his teeth and gives his student a silent, stony stare) Professor, Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a priest?"
PROFESSOR: "I'll overlook your impudence in the light of our philosophical discussion. Now, have you quite finished?" the professor hisses. I believe in what is - that's science!"
OTHER STUDENT: "Ahh! SCIENCE! (The student's face splits into a grin) Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. Science too is a premise which is flawed..."
PROFESSOR: "SCIENCE IS FLAWED?" (The professor splutters…. The class is in uproar… The Christian remains standing until the commotion has subsided)
OTHER STUDENT: "To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, may I give you an example of what I mean?" (The professor wisely keeps silent. . . The Christian looks around the room)
OTHER STUDENT: "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" (The class breaks out in laughter. . .The Christian points towards his elderly, crumbling tutor) "Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain... felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain?" No one appears to have done so. (The Christian shakes his head sadly) "It appears no one here has had any sensory perception of the professor's brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science, I DECLARE that the professor has no brain." (The class is in chaos…The Christian sits... Because that is what a chair is for)

My analysis:

It's a charming little piece of fiction. Searching the net for keywords in the story, I discovered that this little piece is reposted on over 600 pages. It has all the classic elements of an urban legend...

  • In many cases the poster swears this is a true story.
  • None of the pages ever says what particular school this took place at, or what the name of the professor is.
  • Many of the minor details change subtly with each retelling. Especially, there are several different endings to the story. In your version, the student sits down amidst pandemonium. In some versions the professor rushes out of the room in embarrassment. One version concludes "... The student got an A in the class." Another has the professor go crazy and rush the student, only to die of a stroke.
  • Every character in the story is a caricature, starkly contrasting "Good, persecuted student" and "Evil professor".

I love the caricatures. The professor jumps in his class's face without provocation. He is described with such evocative phrases as "The elderly man runs his bony fingers through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking, student audience." (His bony fingers and baldness are described twice, just to make sure we get the point.) He shouts at his student for no reason at all, then sticks his face in front of the student. He's always smiling, smirking, and generally acting like a comic book villain. But when reacting to the other student, he sucks, hisses, freezes, gets angry, "goes toxic", etc. One wonders how in the world he ever got his Ph.D when he obviously has never received any criticism in his life and doesn't know how to deal with it.

The heroic Christian, of course, gets described with neutral words like "explains", "replies", "continues", "looks around". Unlike the prof, his physical features are never described, except that he grins once.

But the most salient feature of the story is that neither the professor nor any of his students have an adequate grasp of the most basic concepts of science. What kind of idiot is this professor, whose idea of science is that if you can't smell it, taste it, feel it, hear it, or see it, then it doesn't exist? If that's the case, then what happened to electrons, cells, Newton's laws of motion, living dinosaurs, black holes, photons, magnetism, infrared light, and general relativity? For that matter, what about abstract concepts like "harmonic chords" or "Thursday"?

Science isn't about what we can perceive with our five senses. If that were true we wouldn't need scientists, because most of us already HAVE those five senses. It's about organizing facts about the known world into descriptions that can explain the way things happen. These descriptions make predictions which can be tested, repeated, and falsified if they're wrong.

Of course, science can't actually prove that the professor has a brain. Just because every human or animal body that has ever been dissected and analyzed has always had a brain; just because countless experiments have demonstrated that the brain controls an organism's ability to move and speak and reason; just because an animal with a damaged brain becomes an inanimate mass of carbon... these things are hardly conclusive proof. What science can do is make predictions with confidence and high accuracy; it can prove things beyond reasonable doubt but it can't prove anything with 100% certainty. The fact that it is able to change and correct mistakes is part of what makes it a powerful tool.

If the professor had any kind of clue what he was on about, he could have explained all this. Of course, the problem isn't with the professor, who is after all only a fictional character. The problem is that the author of the story has never heard of or simply doesn't understand the scientific method. It's easy to make up little stories where the opposition is always an evil overlord who doesn't know how to argue and your side always wins. It's also easy to win at chess when you control both sides of the board.

Oh, and one final point...

"Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such a thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The Christian pauses. "Isn't evil the absence of good?"

No, evil isn't the absence of good. An empty universe would be devoid of both good AND evil. A universe with no life or intelligence would not be good or evil. "Good" and "evil", assuming they exist, are not passive activities or "absence" of something else. A professor of philosophy should have seen through that immediately. But he doesn't because he, like the story's author, is completely out of his depth.

27 comments:

  1. Well, if you cut open the Professors head you could see his brain. The same can't be said for the students god...

    To bad too, that fantasy professor was a dick!

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    Replies
    1. no need to cut open the head bro... we have CT scan and MRI, we can view our brain in full anatomical detail...

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  2. Knew that was bullshit the instant the evil atheist leapt into the students face.
    It got even more ridiculous when the other student stepped up and smote the proffessor down. What's the point of these shitty anecdotes anyway? Even if the story was true, so fuck? Same for most dubious religious tales- "oh my mother was sick and she got better" or "the mugger decided not to mug her after she quoted scripture" etc. Meaningless.
    I can't imagine a scientist trying to explain how magnets work with an amusing fable of how some ferrous metal fell in love with a red horseshoe and ever since then they cannot resist each other, but that's the childish level christians will stoop to routinely.

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  3. Anonymous2:50 PM

    Most people who read this probably think of it as allegory. At the same time I also bet it's a lot more believable to people who have never met an atheist. They believe this is the way all atheists actually behave.

    I find it funny that they chose a professor of philosophy. Although philosophy is far from a theology course, I would think most professors of philosophy would be at home talking about ALL THE DIFFERENT ideas cultures have had of life & death and leave proving whether or not something exists physically to… well… a physics class.

    I went to a very liberal college with a very Christian person. He would get VERY UPSET about music history class when a professor would state a fact about a historical group of Christians committing some atrocity against another historical group of non-Christians. He said "they could not have been true Christians & it was wrong to call them Christians", even though, from a secular point of view it was extremely accurate. This story lets people like that live out their fantasy of being able to respond… this person really existed by the way ;-)

    Unfortunately, though the person who originally wrote it knew that he or she had not actually witnessed these events, whoever's been sending it to you has been making the mistake believers commonly make, they think the magic that takes place in their story will also work on people in the real world.

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  4. The privation view of evil (that it is an absence of goodness) is a good philosophical idea that goes way back to the Greeks and has many great philosophers on its side.

    The idea is not that "absence" itself is evil, but that absence of a thing's characteristic good is an evil for that thing. So, blindness is an "evil" for the eyes because their characteristic good is to see and an "evil" for the human being since many of the human's characteristic excellent activities are drastically hindered without sight.

    I have sympathetically explained the notion that being and goodness are equivalent and that evil is a privation of being/goodness at greater length in this post: http://camelswithhammers.com/2010/07/08/on-the-intrinsic-connection-between-being-and-goodness/

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  5. I just recently read a much, much lamer version of this myth in a Christian forum.
    The student just got up and said something like "If you don't believe in God, why do you obsess so much about him? Maybe you're just afraid of accepting something you can't understand?" and the professor just goes white in the face, stutters and never talks about religion again.
    Of course, many Christians applauded the story and added that they had similar experiences themselves. Or at least heard about them.
    Yeah, right.

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  6. Funny urban legend. The professor of philosophy is a gross caricature of a philosopher. Funny you blog about this, just when I was feeling nostalgic about academia. I never had Christian students as a teacher, but as a student I did get into impromptus debates with people of the Christian unions, usually when they were serving tea, toasts and juice outside the student union's bar (I was half drunk but I think I held my own).

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  7. Gus Snarp10:15 AM

    Ahh, straw men. If people just admitted that the professor was a straw man, it would be vaguely amusing, though still irritating. The claim that it is true is infuriating. No professor of philosophy would engage in that behavior. Some of it might be imagined in a demonstration of the dialectic method, but he wouldn't be so emotionally invested, or feel the need to get in the student's face like that. I feel the need to rewrite this a bit more accurately. The conclusion in mine looks a bit more like this:

    STUDENT2: "....Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?"

    PROFESSOR: "Well argued. OK, I accept that evil does not exist, however, since the first student believes it does, then his logic still fails. Now lets address your argument.

    Do you believe that the Bible is the infallible, literal word of God and that every word is true?"

    STUDENT2: "Yes, I do."

    PROFESSOR: "And do you believe that God is absolutely good?"

    STUDENT2: "Yes, I do."

    PROFESSOR: "Do you believe that slavery is good?"

    STUDENT2: "No, slavery is not good."

    PROFESSOR: "How then can slavery not only have been omitted from the ten commandments, but actually endorsed by the true and perfect word of an absolutely good God?"

    Silence. Or maybe some Ray Comfort style flailing and evasiveness. Student 2 sits down, having failed to support his position.

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  8. One of my brothers is a philosophy teacher (and a young one, he is not even 30 yet) in Québec and he teaches to many theist students, many of them labelling themselves as Christians. I know a little about the discussions he had with his students about it, and their failures usually starts with their utter lack of religious culture, even regarding the faith they believe in. They know zilch about Saint Augustin, Saint Paul, about Christianism's main beliefs, etc. Basically they believe in a Santa Claus god who loves them and looks after them from above. I will ask him about those classes, might be interesting.

    It is not merely science that this fictitious professor gets wrong: it is philosophy and critical thinking!

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  9. Evil isn't the absence of good because one can take evil actions. Evil isn't just a lack of good actions. Like, randomly killing someone is an action that has to be taken. It's not an absence of anything.

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  10. And you cannot make a definition by a negative. "Evil is the absence of good" leads you absolutely nowhere.

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  11. Anonymous6:38 PM

    ridiculous, clearly meant for the base, it's something a fundamentalist in-law mass emails out. Another variation of the authoritarian madman ignorant professor straw man theme exemplified prototypically in the Chick tract Big Daddy.

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0055/0055_01.asp


    These stories are like 80's professional wrestling, the heroes (Hulk Hogan - Golden haired hero "Eat your vitamins and say your prayers") reveal how we want to we see ourselves and our ideals and the villains (Iron Shriek, Adorable Adrian Adonis) reveal our anxieties about the other.

    And god(s) much like wrestling we all know it's fake but some of us just want to believe it's real.

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  12. I saw this same story except they had Albert Einstein listed as the defiant student! Gross--likely intentional--misattribution! His name adds a certain fantastic sparkle to the story, and to the beliefs that the story represents. Christians love pointing out scientists who were also believers, after all. Now Einstein however, had much more nuanced views about God and religion. If anyone's interested, I wrote a blog about this same story and about Einstein's beliefs. www.themeditationsofdave.com . Hope sharing this address on here is okay with you, Russell.

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  13. Anonymous11:21 PM

    I hope the writer of this blog approves my comment, even though it is not in agreement with the previous points. I myself am a christian and i love debating. I never necessarily debate to win either but just to see different view points. This story is written of course from an opinionated bias position, as every story is in history. However, i understand your frustrations because i feel the same way when the tables are turned and there is a bias leaning the other way. First off i believe in God but i also believe there is never a direct contradiction of God and Science. i believe that true proven science will never disprove God no matter how hard people may try. The main reason i am commenting is because the point this story is making is being missed in the comments. The story is merely making the point that science does not disprove God. It is not trying to prove God because if that were possible then Faith would not be necessary and one of the fundamental principals of Christianity would be shattered.
    You probably ask then why does God not prove himself, and why does he require "faith"? the answer is simple. Go with me for a minute here, say God is real and he created us. Then he woulds want us to truly love him, but it would not be true love if he convinced us we needed to love him would it? Love is all about willing to take a leap of FAITH for someone you care deeply for, and there being no guarantee that it will be perfect.
    The point was also made about the subject of good and evil. Now here the story would be wrong in saying that "good" is a measurable thing. However, what is true is the fact that we define good as certain boundaries. And everything outside those boundaries we would say is not good and is, in other words, evil. So then we define "good" exactly and for evil we simply say everything that isn't good. This true with God. He did not create evil, he created good, then he gave us freewill. That is where evil comes in, in our freewill we create evil by not choosing what is good.
    Lastly, i agree with what was commented about too many Christians believing in a Santa Claus God. This i believe is true and is why many Christians give other Christians a bad rep.
    Hope you enjoy and i get comments. Thanks

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  14. Hi anonymous, hope you'll take a moment to pick a screen name for your next post so the discussion is easier to follow.

    You probably ask then why does God not prove himself, and why does he require "faith"?

    Actually, I don't ask that at all. I'm not all that interested in speculating on the motives of a being who doesn't obviously appear to exist. The question I ask, instead, is of you: If there is no evidence for the existence of a god, then why do you believe in one? And more specifically, why do you believe that that god exists?

    There are, after all, a practically infinite number of things you might choose to believe in faith. You might actually believe in Santa Claus, no fooling and no trap. You might believe that there is a closet in your room which is a disguised portal to Narnia. Or you might believe that there is no god but Allah, and Mohamed is his prophet, and God had no son.

    Whether or not science can "disprove" the existence of something that we have no reason to believe in the first place is beside the point. The point is, rather that, I think it's a good principle for people to have reasons for what they believe. If they don't, they're often liable to come up with excuses to do irrational think like for instance flying planes into buildings, or shooting doctors based on imaginary murder charges, or stirring up a frenzy because they believe that the world is about to end on May 21.

    Love is all about willing to take a leap of FAITH for someone you care deeply for, and there being no guarantee that it will be perfect.

    What you say apparently sounds persuasive to a lot of Christians, but it's really not very much like the love that I share with real people. When I spend time with my wife or my son, I may perhaps be able to wonder if they "really" love me. But I never wonder if they exist. I have too much direct evidence for that. Even if they ever stopped appearing to me physically, I would have photographic records, recordings, and other people's memories that almost completely match my own. By contrast, everybody's beliefs about God seem to be either based on one particular source (much like my beliefs about, say, Darth Vader all coming from a set of movies I watched), and worse, everyone who believes in this God seems to have completely different ideas about what that God is like. ("Allah had no son!") To me, this suggests nothing so much as the idea that a bunch of people are collectively trying to share a belief but that belief is not based on something that is in any way real or consistent.

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  15. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Sorry about the screen name but I can't get it to work so I'll just tell you my name is Caleb. that was actually my first post on a blog. I usually don't comment so I didn't know how it all worked, however, I found this interesting.
    Now to address your first question. I understand why you want to know I believe what I do, because the one thing I hate most is when someone holds a strong opinion and doesn't know why. To answer the question, you are a man of science. Now science is made of many discoveries through known facts and experiments. But if two people come to you with conflicting view points about a scientific issue then which one should you agree with? Obviously the one that is backed up the most through history. It is the same here for why of all religions I choose Christianity. Of all religions it is the most historically supported in ancient history.
    However still there is the question of why I believe at all. The first answer I will say is through a realization when I see nature and the human body and how complex and particular it is. Order does not happen by chance and randomness. I am going to actually major in mechanical engineering and I see you are an electrical engineer. In my experiences I have never seen any complex structure come together in randomness. Now if you don't believe in God a creator you must believe in evolution. But will you tell me even if you put all the pieces on a table and let them sit over time they will eventually come together and form a complicated electrical circuit? Well if does we are both out jobs my friend. Let's go with the obvious impossible however and say they will. First they would have to GAIN the energy to be able to do so, but doesn't the LAW of entropy state that over time everything loses energy. Hence why we decay and die. But again let us say that it can go against nature and gain the energy, then comes the biggest underlying question: where did the original pieces and energy come from? a creator maybe? So after all this my point is to say there had to be a creator. And using Science I have backed up the existence of one, just like using science u back up the unexistance of one.
    This being said I believe the creator is God. Why? Because it is a personal choice I've made through my personal revelations and convictions of my own conscience. Who a person believes in will always be a personal choice.
    However I now have a challenge for you. Just like I said God can not be truly proven, God also can not be truly disproven. So my question is why don't you believe in God? What proof is there? The way I see it, by not believing in God you are making just as personal of a choose as I am making by believing in God. Thanks again and lookin foreword to hear back from you.

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  16. "Now science is made of many discoveries through known facts and experiments. But if two people come to you with conflicting view points about a scientific issue then which one should you agree with? Obviously the one that is backed up the most through history."

    Actually, no, you agree with the one that is backed up by most evidence. Science not based on traditions. If it was, that people would still believe the earth is flat, the sun revolves around it, that matter is made of four elements.

    "It is the same here for why of all religions I choose Christianity. Of all religions it is the most historically supported in ancient history."

    You are a Christian, yet you know zilch about your holy book to believe its story is historically supported. Not even counting the Genesis, we know now (for instance) that the Exodus was a pure fabrication, that if King David existed he was not much more than a chieftain, that pretty much most of the stories of the Gospels are pure inventions (the Census, the Magi, the existence of Barabbas, etc.). Even the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus was a complete fabrication, unless you think that two Jews in first century Palestine would be speaking Greek among themselves. The Bible is not more historically accurate than the Arthurian legend and maybe less accurate than the Chanson de Roland.

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  17. Oh, so the world suffers from a lack of Biblical morality. How is it that the Bible can be upheld as the final word on morality? It doesn't even acknowledge that rape and child molestation are immoral.

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  18. If god had wanted us to believe in him....


    He would've existed.

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  19. I came upon this very late, but 2 cents anyway:

    Anonymous said: " God is real and he created us. Then he woulds want us to truly love him, but it would not be true love if he convinced us we needed to love him would it? Love is all about willing to take a leap of FAITH for someone you care deeply for, and there being no guarantee that it will be perfect."

    Well, I think you are trying to say god isn't forcing us (convincing us we need to love him), but that is exactly what he christian god does. He demands it, forces it even. Love me or my followers are ordered to kill you. Follow me or you will spend eternity in hell. Love has nothing to do with faith. Love is when you cherish someone. It is even beter if they love you back, but it is not necessary. There is no faith required.

    You are right that a true, real god would just say "I'm here, I made everything and you too, if you loved me that would be cool." That isn't what the bible says.

    god did create evil. he created everything. The concept of evil could not exist without his permission at the very least. This is one of th every basic reasons most people do not believe in god. He cannot be all knowing, all powerful and completely good and create beings that are flawed and capable of evil. He in fact created the concept of evil directly for man. "Don't eat of this tree or you will surely die." i.e. this is evil. In my opinion there are actions that are good and actions that are bad, and many that are not necessarily either. Some depend on situations.

    If you are trying to say that christianity should be believed because it is the oldest, you are severely mistaken. Judaism is older by default, and Hinduism and wicca have both been around practically since the dawn of time. If you are trying to say that we should believe because christianity is the largest, then you are saying christianity doesn't have to be good or right, just have more believers. If a major disaster suddenly killed off most christians, would you then decide to follow the religion that then had the most followers?

    The tiresome argument that abiogenesis and evolution aren't feasible by simply leaving out the infinte part of the equation. The universe IS INFINITE. In an infinite universe, given vast amounts of time and endless energies and forces constantly reacting with one another, things will happen! They always talk as if the universe is just sitting there, void and stagnant.

    personal revelations and convictions are not evidence for a beleif in anything. In fact, they are good grounds for not believing, since both are ambiguous and easily misconstrued, misinterpreted, and basically subject to whatever interpretation you wish to apply to them. This is why we laugh at people who say god sent a tornado to punish a particularly wicked person (no matter that he kills or harms a bunch of others, too)

    Again with the "god cannot be disproven" bs. Santa cannot be disproven, but I bet you don't beleive in him because he can't. You are just making an exception for this god thingy.

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  20. lol your analysis of the story does not make sense at all....

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  21. I'm undoubtedly way too late to comment on this.. I couldn't just not comment after seeing nude0007's comment

    I'm a Christian and to be honest with you, I'd be pissing my pants if I were arguing with any of you. There is just one thing that I don't agree with.

    This is is what I think so take it easy on me -___-.

    "personal revelations and convictions are not evidence for a beleif in anything. In fact, they are good grounds for not believing, since both are ambiguous and easily misconstrued, misinterpreted, and basically subject to whatever interpretation you wish to apply to them."

    You are indeed right about personal revelation and convictions being good ground for not believing but it is "personal" right? So why is there a need for other people to understand? If you have your own personal revelation there's not a chance I'd believe you no matter how you explain to me. It's your own and you're the only who can understand it.

    Isn't it enough to say that it is our own personal revelation and conviction that have kept us going through our way of life and that no one else would understand but yourself??

    I really appreciate every single comments here I really do and good article by the way.

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  22. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Well, i thought it was a clever story. God exists, that can be proven through His Word, nature, science, and so many other avenues. I encourage all to read the Bible, to seek God! And also one other thing: If you seek God, you will find Him. If you seek anything, you will find it. Rest assured, if you seek to find there is no God, you'll find it. But also, if you seek to find God, you will find Him. Basically my point is this; you will find whatever you're looking for. But remember this: would you rather die living a life devoted against God and find out there IS God, or die living a life devoted to God and find out there isn't one? What lies in store, and is promised, to all who believe and obey is eternal life, and on the other side and is also promised to those who do not obey, is eternal punishment. Life is short, and we have a purpose. Let's live to the Glory of Him who created everything. God bless :)

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    1. Really? Pascal's Wager, the mob boss in the sky and 'the bible proves the bible' in an atheist's forum?

      Your book is overwhelmingly immoral and what makes you think that when we die that we can't both be wrong? Us for not believing, and you for believing in the wrong god?

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  23. They're actually making this piece of schlock wannabe philosophy into a movie called "God Isn't Dead" starring Kevin Sorbo(Babylon 5, Hercules) to be released in 2014. (Epic Facepalm) You can see the trailer on YouTube. I still can't understand how anyone thinks that this essay was worth the death of the trees to make the paper to write such a pile of manure.

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