Atheists Rally for Irrationality in Washington, D.C.

March 27, 2012 1:13 pm 219 comments

At the Reason Rally. This young man's T-shirt reads: Science-Reason and Secular Values

I know many intelligent, thoughtful people who are not sure one way or the other, about the existence of God. Generally, they are classified as agnostics. While I disagree with their position, usually they are very aware of the reasonable arguments for God’s existence and I, on the other hand, understand very clearly the questions that bother them. What is most striking about the modern atheistic movement, however, is the cloud of arrogance that seems to hover above its most well known proponents; much like the ubiquitous dust-cloud that followed the Peanuts character, Pig-Pen. A striking example of this arrogance is the name they chose to give to their gathering over the weekend in our nation’s capitol: Reason Rally”

Make no mistake; these people really are convinced they have a monopoly on reason and logical thinking. Two of the leading proponents of atheism in our day, Richard Dawkins and Professor Daniel Dennet, actually proposed that atheists should be called “brights” due to their elevated status. Much to his credit, the late atheistic propagandist Christopher Hitchens, was appalled by the idea.

What fuels the hubris of writers like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, P.Z. Myers, etc. is their belief that Science unequivocally supports their godless view of reality. An honest, open-minded investigation will reveal, however, that Science offers close to nothing in support of atheism. A prodigious leap of faith is required to believe such a notion; a leap that rivals any that might be demanded by a particular religion. At every critical point of contention between believers and non-believers, scientific evidence is at the very least, inconclusive, and at best, supports belief in God and the spiritual:

  • Origin of Life – Much to the chagrin of chemists and molecular biologists, the “dirty little secret” of origin of life research – as Dr. Eugene Koonin put it – is that Science has, until now, utterly failed in its quest to discover a plausible naturalistic explanation for the origin of the astoundingly complex molecular machinery and information systems found in the earliest life on our planet. It is these same super-sophisticated machines and genetic information systems that would allow Darwinian evolution – conceding its truth for argument’s sake – to take place. The origin of these systems is a complete mystery. Perhaps the reason is because there is no naturalistic explanation. Perhaps, Darwin forbid, there is a Creator.
  • Human Consciousness and our unique sense of Identity – Neuroscientists are absolutely baffled when asked to explain the phenomena of human consciousness and self-awareness. Dr. Jerry Fodor, a non-believing cognitive scientist, has put it this way: “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious.” Nobel-Prize winning biologist George Wald has stated: “Consciousness seems wholly impervious to science.” Anyone ready to consider a non-material soul?
  • Man’s Relentless Search for Meaning and Abstract Moral Values – The Darwinian psychologist grasps at straws trying to understand why every other form of life on the planet does not seem to be bothered at all by the aforementioned issues and lives and thrives quite successfully without them, while human beings are obsessed with “meaning” and “moral values” and cannot live without them. The painful conundrum this raises in the atheist position is expressed by the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre: “That God does not exist I cannot deny, that my whole being cries out for God, I cannot forget.” Is there anyone out there open-minded enough to consider that perhaps human beings are radically and qualitatively different than all other forms of life?

Tim Minchin, atheist headliner at the Reason Rally. Would you join a group, religious or not, that allowed him to be a member?

In short, Science has nothing to tell us about where we came from, who we are, and where we are going. Science, particularly in the area of medicine, has helped save countless lives. However, Science has no answer to the question of why a human life is worth saving in the first place; in fact, scientific knowledge is irrelevant in any attempt to seriously address the question. Despite this, I can still understand why someone might have doubts about God’s existence. What I find incomprehensible, though, is the arrogant proclamation that the only reasonable position worth rallying for is atheism. In truth, such a stance is patently irrational.

In my opinion, the most revealing moment of the “Reason Rally” was a headline performance by Australian entertainer, Tim Minchin. While the audience – many with young children in tow – clapped and bounced along with the rhythm, Mr. Minchin attempted to claim his place in the Guinness Book of Records by saying the word mother****er as many times as is humanly possible during a 3-minute “song.” The enthusiastic reaction of these “brights” to Mr. Minchin’s antics tells us much more about the true state of modern atheism than any science textbook ever will.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website.

219 Comments

  • Jonathan Hanemann

    Science can’t prove that there is a God, and it can’t prove that there isn’t a God, just as it cannot prove what consciousness really is or WHY we have it. Neither can it explain WHY we have a moral impulse. A neurologist might explain HOW a moral impulse occurs, and a social scientist might describe a moral impulse in relation to its social context, but NEITHER can explain WHY we have a moral impulse in the first place, when we could just as easily have none. (In fact, evolutionary psychology has gone farthest in explaining the origins of morality, IMO.)

    These are just examples. There are many more.

    The modern day atheist amuses me. He/she exclaims with hilarious arrogance that there is no ‘man in the sky’ controlling our fates. As if that is the sine qua non of religious belief. The truth of the matter is that for many believers, faith is far more complex than that. Read Augustine, C.S. Lewis, G.K Chesterton, Thomas Merton, Tim Keller . . . then come back and lets have a grown-up conversation about it.

    Here’s a question: if you’re emotionally moved by a painting in a museum, what is the origin of that emotion? You can’t ‘see’ the emotion, but does that mean it doesn’t exist? Why do we experience emotion at such things anyway? Why is it that we DON’T experience emotion at such things? We can describe emotion as a chemical occurence in the brain that leads to further chemical occurences in the body, but we can never get at the WHY of it.

    My point is; we can’t ‘see’ emotions in and of themselves, but we KNOW they exist. We even have names for them. So then, what does that tell us?

    WHO KNOWS? It’s the QUESTION that makes it fascinating. And if we didn’t ask these kinds of questions, we’d be one hell of a boring species. The point is the JOURNEY, as Harold Bloom said.

    Anyway, most contemporary atheistic opinions strike me as rather plebeian and anti-philosophic. Scratch below the surface, and one will usually find that they have EMOTION rather than reason at their base. I think that many atheists just dislike organized religion and are using atheism as a kind of rationalizing balm. Plus, many atheists have had negative childhood experiences with religion, and have simply turned to atheism as an emotional comfort. (Much like believers turn to their belief systems.) And yes, many atheists have had little or no experience with religion, so no reason to state the obvious.

    What strikes me, finally, about western atheism is that it seems to focus almost all of its ire on Judeo-Christianity. Rarely do we hear a western atheist criticize, say, Islam, or Hinduism, or Wicca. I think that a good deal of contemporary atheism is really just hatred of Judeo-Christianty rooted in anti-westernism. (Notice how I said ‘a good deal,’ and not ‘all.) You’ll hear atheists scream in terror when a judge posts the ten commandments in a courthouse, but those same atheists will have nothing to say when a man uses Sharia law as a defense for spousal rape and a judge BUYS IT. (This happened in NJ, and atheist groups were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.)

    I don’t practice any religion, by the way. My biggest criticism of organized religion is that it’s boring. I have nothing against the peaceful practice of religion; it just ‘aint my thing.

  • Oops – sorry there buddy you forgot to mention that Minchin’s song was an expression of anger at the sense of moral authority imposed upon by the Pope by a branch of religion that allowed him to continue the protection of child-molester priests, and the fact the controversy of such language was addressed by Minchin within the song itself as a statement on the incredible blindness religion allows in exchange for common human decency upon that certain religious folk would apply to lesser controversies such a his repeated public foul language. Just thought you’d want to correct such an crucial omission.

  • John Jordan (April 3, 2012 8:00 am): ‘… nothing that mankind believes or knows “supports the existence of God.”’——

    Hmmm. Guess I’ll have to agree with that.

    Belief in God is a matter of having blind faith in something impossible.

  • ——“The things that make human beings human are (to me) spiritual things occurring outside and beyond the realm of the physical.”——

    Wish and try as you might, you are never going to find any humans “outside and beyond” the physical world. There’s nowhere else to be except the actual world. The “unnatural not-of-this-world” realm you imagine is simply fantasy fiction.

  • John,

    How does the inability of science to explain something support the existence of God?

    How does human capacity for emotions/abstract thought support the existence of God?

    • The answer to both questions is: no way.

    • John Jordan

      Eli, nothing that mankind believes or knows “supports the existence of God.” God supports and upholds everything that exists, including the right to be wrong about who God is and what his purposes are. The Good and the Evil of this presently good and evil world are both upheld by the will of God, “not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4)

      Science reduces the observable world to categories and measurements that are comprehensible. Modern science shows that our universe (and ourselves) are too complex for ultimate understanding derived from the powers of man-made sensory apparatus.

      Religion attempts to do what science does but from the opposite direction. Instead of measuring and categorizing everything, religion (of all kinds) acknowledges the overwhleming infinity of the universe and its Creator and then settles on the lees of its ritual doctrine and dogma.

      The whole world is becoming painfully aware that neither man-made science nor man-made religion are sufficiently powerful enough to create lasting peace in the Soul of mankind. Peace is a spiritual product. God Alone knows how to make Peace.

      My point here is that God needs no religion (or science) to be himself. There was no “religion” in the world when God said, “Let there be light.” and then created mankind …”endowed with certain unalienable rights.” The complexities of religious ritual that God revealed through Moses and the complexities of religious ritual formulated by the Catholic church are (to me) steps along the way to mankind’s return to his original relationship with God. The same goes for all the other Religions of the world.

      I believe a great deal of so-called atheism today is rebellion against the violence and corruption perpetrated by devotees of man-made religion. Making another man-made religion of science is not the answer.

      • ——‘There was no “religion” in the world when God said, “Let there be light.” and then created mankind …”endowed with certain unalienable rights.”’——

        You are confusing Moses with Thomas Jefferson.

        (At least, on the assumption that Moses wrote “Genesis.” And we know that Jefferson wrote the “Declaration.”)

      • ——“… religion (of all kinds) acknowledges the overwhleming infinity of the universe and its Creator and then settles on the lees of its ritual doctrine and dogma.”——

        Are you implying that settling on religion doctrine is a danger like getting run around on a lee shore? Interesting analogy.

  • John Jordan (April 2, 2012 3:53 pm) wrote: “You may say that socialism and atheism have nothing in common but the most prominent Marxist leaders of the 20th century were as proud of their atheism as they were their Marxism.”

    You may have great faith in their intellectual reliability, but I don’t share it. Whatever Hitler and Castro have thought, or were proud of in their lives, does not carry any weight with me. I think you are dead wrong to take them as authorities. After all, why believe them and not Moses?

  • ——“… what constitutes a “logical” way of reasoning?”——

    This: starting with perceptual reality, proceed to identify facts and tie them together without contradictions getting in the way. Keep going by that method: more knowledge, no contradictions.

  • ——“What I mean is that the essential characteristics of humanity … are not biological but spiritual;”——

    In real life, they are both, together.

    Why do you wish to rend them asunder? Tearing humans apart is not very practical, either intellectually or physically.

    • John Jordan

      Are you acknowledging the existence of spiritual things as integral components of humanity? IF SO THEN do you think it would be possible to dissect a freshly deceased human carcass and carefully remove from the carcass the LOVE, HONOR, LOYALTY, COURAGE, HONESTY, HOPE, GENEROSITY, & COMPASSION and preserve them each in separate vessels? Do you believe science has that capability or the potential for developing that capability?

      • I think you are being absurdly unrealistic. You seem to believe that if somebody doesn’t share your supernaturalist fantasies, then they must be into “dissectionist fantasies” instead.

  • Let’s try this again.

    Define “logic” without using:
    1. The word you are defining – “logic”.
    2. Synonyms of the word you are defining – “reason”, “rationale”.
    3. Derivations of these words – “logical”, “reasonable”, “rational”.

  • Moshe,

    This is now the 10th time I’ve asked you to define logic or what constitutes a “logical” way of reasoning?

    You call 30,000 atheists irrational and you don’t even know what the word means. Pathetic.

    Fraud is defined as deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. You are deceiving your students and readers into thinking you are an expert on philosophy and logic to make a career for yourself. You are a fraud.

    • However, you can prove me wrong at any time by just answering the question.

    • Moshe Averick

      Sivan,

      I did answer you. I don’t want you to think I am ignoring you. If you don’t like my answer you are certainly entitled to your opinion. If you think I am a fraud you are also entitled to your opinion.

      • BS Ph.D.: It’s just so blubel.
        Student: What is blubel?
        BS Ph.D.: Having blub.
        Student: Then what is blub?
        BS Ph.D.: If you don’t know what it is, I can’t explain it to you.
        Student: But…
        BS Ph.D.: Frankly, I think you’re being pedantic.
        Student: Can you just answer the question?
        BS Ph.D.: A way of blubbing.

        Upon witnessing such a sad display, one could only conclude that “BS Ph.D.” is either an idiot or professional bullshitter.

        p.s. If you haven’t figured it out, in this analogy, you are “BS Ph.D.” and “blub” is logic.

      • Moshe, it didn’t occur to me to ask this earlier, but maybe it would help. Is there a “Maverick Lexicon” covering your work?

  • John, I don’t know the answer to your questions.

    However, you just rattled off a slew of things that you believe. Why do you believe those things?

    • John Jordan

      @Eli: I believe God’s word because scientists cannot isolate and display by any means the universally occurring characteristic of human love. If by some means it could be proven to me that the power of LOVE is nothing more or less than a highly complex electrochemical reaction I would be amazed to learn that something which seems so spiritual is basically physical; but even then I would have reverential respect for the intelligence that created the system and the potential for LOVE to exist. The same goes for HONOR, LOYALTY, COURAGE, HONESTY, HOPE, GENEROSITY, COMPASSION, etcetera. The things that make human beings human are (to me) spiritual things occurring outside and beyond the realm of the physical. I have searched diligently and have seen no convincing scientific evidence that I am mistaken in this belief. S-u-p-e-r-n-a-t-u-r-a-l to me is “more natural.” Supernatural is another word for spiritual.

      • moshe averick

        John,

        Very well put. In my book, I have an entire chapter devoted to this subject entitled “Spirits in the Sky: The World of Spirituality.”

        • John Jordan

          You are very kind, Sir. Thank you. I look forward to reading your book.

          • How does the inability of science to explain love, origin of life, etc. support the existence of God?

      • ——“… scientists cannot isolate and display by any means the universally occurring characteristic of human love.”——

        Science can’t show any such thing because “human love” not only isn’t universal, it’s not even necessary (or inevitable).

        In the first place, humans are not “universal;” we exist only on Earth, a very small part of the universe.

        So we need to restrict our investigation to Earth, and here we find that “human love” is not “universal” among humans. Some people have it and some don’t.

        Humans, we cannot forget (if we want to get it right) have free will. Thus, we have to choose whether we want to treat ourselves and others with either love or hate. (Notice how the resort to religion so often involved treating innocent people with hate — such as the concepts of “infidels”/”unbelievers” and “original sin.”)

      • ——‘S-u-p-e-r-n-a-t-u-r-a-l to me is “more natural.”’——

        As in: theists are more natural than atheists?

      • ——“The things that make human beings human are (to me) spiritual things occurring outside and beyond the realm of the physical.”——

        Try as you might, you are never going to find any humans “outside and beyond” the physical world. There’s nowhere else to be except the actual world. The “unnatural not-of-this-world” realm you imagine is simply fantasy fiction.

        • John Jordan

          I did not mean to imply that human creatures in their present form exist anywhere but on planet Earth. What I mean is that the essential characteristics of humanity: LOVE, HONOR, LOYALTY, COURAGE, HONESTY, HOPE, GENEROSITY, COMPASSION, etcetera, are not biological but spiritual; the Breath of God. LOVE can be an intelligent, well-articulated human response to the evaluation of spiritual information. The sonnets of William Shakespeare give ample proof of LOVE’S inexhaustible SPIRITUAL power to inspire the highest and best of human potential. If the atheist assessment of LOVE focuses only on LOVE’S biological aspects and allows for the existence of no spiritual component then the spiritual power of FREE WILL is employed to truncate one’s essential humanity. Human beings are free to make that choice but the chilly emptiness of such a joyless existence holds no allure for the warmer side of humanity. From what I read in the very best of atheist writing (Bertrand Russell, for instance) there is a dichotomy in the atheist attempt to claim an appreciation for the goodness of LOVE while at the same time denying the essential spirituality of GOODNESS itself. I believe a great deal of modern “atheism” is more fashion-statement than a sincere philosophical stance. I believe authentic atheistic behaviour has been recently & graphically exhibited by men like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevera, & Pol Pot. I believe an authentic atheist must be a god unto himself and therefore hold the power of life and death over others in his own hand. The highest expression of morality in an authentic atheist universe would be absolute anarchy.

          • ——“From what I read in the very best of atheist writing (Bertrand Russell, for instance)…”——

            On what grounds to you consider Bertrand Russell to have produced some of “the very best of atheist writing”?

          • ——“I believe authentic atheistic behaviour has been recently & graphically exhibited by men like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevera, & Pol Pot…. The highest expression of morality in an authentic atheist universe would be absolute anarchy.”——

            Like so many evil people, those on your list are all socialists. And I think it is perceptive of you to notice that the ultimate end of socialism is “absolute anarchy.”

            But socialism does not equate to atheism. So, although socialism is bad, that says nothing about atheism. You are blaming atheism for something it has nothing to do with.

          • ——“If the atheist assessment of LOVE focuses only on LOVE’S biological aspects and allows for the existence of no spiritual component …”——

            As a human being, you probably (or at least possess the capability to) experience yourself as a conscious organism. Yet you seem to be making the arbitrary leap to the false dichotomy that while your body is perfectly natural, you mind cannot possibly be anything but utterly unnatural.

            But so far in the history of the world’s philosophy and religion, no one has ever been able to substantiate that alleged “soul-body dichotomy.” Have you figured it out?

          • John Jordan

            Steve sez, “Like so many evil people, those on your list are all Socialists.”

            Every man on the list was also an avowed atheist. Fidel Castro is still (barely) alive. You may say that socialism and atheism have nothing in common but the most prominent Marxist leaders of the 20th century were as proud of their atheism as they were their Marxism. http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Stalin,_Mao_Zedong_and_Pol_Pot

          • Was Pope Gregory IX and atheist? Is Ayatollah Khamenei an atheist? Was Idi Amin an atheist? How about Chavez, Franco, or Mugabe?

            Have any inquisitors or jihadists been proud of their theism?

            You seem to be stretching mightily to make a fundamental connect that just isn’t there.

  • ——“If God did not exist what would an atheist have to not believe?”

    That just happens to be precisely the situation we find ourselves living in right now. And the answer is: nothing.

    On the question of belief in God, the atheist does not believe in God because there is nothing there to believe in.

    • Then if God does not exist where did the earth and its universe and all they each contain come from? Nothing? How does nothing produce something?

      • I don’t know where the Universe came from. Where did God come from?

        Can you cite an example of an atheist claiming that the Universe cam from nothing?

        • Do only theists believe in the “Big Bang”?

          • The Big Bang theory does not claim that the Unvierse came from nothing.

          • There are at least some people who mistakenly take the “Big Bang” as a case of “something from nothing.”

            http://big-bang-theory.com/

            In such cases, “Big Bang” is simply “Creation, by God!” under different nomenclature.

            The truth is: nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could. (I always here The Sound of Music when I write that!)

          • John Jordan

            I believe in a Big God who knows how to do all it takes to manufacture a universe as well as whatever life-forms He chooses to create for the inhabitation of that universe: angels, demons, people, animals, etcetera. I believe there are many more “universes” in the Kingdom of Heaven than only our own. I believe the Biblical term for u-n-i-v-e-r-s-e is m-a-n-s-i-o-n I’m interested in atheistic theories re: the origin of the earth, its universe and all they each contain. I have not ever heard an honest atheist say anything other than “I don’t know.” when asked about the origin of the universe. Concerning the Big Bang, I found it extremely interesting that in 1998 these men —

            http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2011/press.html

            – discovered that, instead of all the Big Bang material in our universe slowing down as one might expect, everything is constantly accelerating.

            After more than a decade the scientific academy has formally acknowledged this astonishing discovery. I believe the established FACT of an accelerating universe has a direct impact on everyone and everything. Such overwhelming power comes from somewhere and is created by something. Atheistic science says “dark matter” may be the cause for the acceleration. I believe the acceleration is God’s fulfillment of prophecy: Matthew 24:22.

            Prophecy aside for a moment, I have 4 interesting questions about our existence in this accelerating universe: Does ‘accelerating universe’ mean that every single particle in the entire universe is now speeding up at the same rate of speed? If not, how could any particle in the system be excepted from the acceleration? If so, would the relative acceleration of everything cause the passage of a minute on a clock to appear as though sixty seconds had elapsed but the real elapsed time is actually (and always) incrementally LESS than sixty seconds? Is that why, every day, there is not enough time for me to finish all I’d intended to accomplish?

            Question #5: What say ye?

          • ——“I believe in a Big God”——

            I don’t believe in any God, Big or Little.

      • It is the theists, not the atheists, who claim that God created the universe from nothing (ex nihilo).

        • If the “Big Bang” ever happened, and I have seriously doubts about that (since it seems much more a religious notion than genuine science), it certainly could not have been the ex nihilo origin of the universe.

          • Funny thing is we have better proof about big bang and general inflation theory than evolution :)

      • http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/145162445X

        Read the book, it explains quite well how physicist have figured out and tested how things can pop out of nothingness all by themselves without needing any external stimulus.

  • Rabbi Averick often returns to his incantation that: “An intellectually consistent atheistic position, and one which is acknowledged by all major atheistic thinkers, is that human life has no inherent value at all.”

    Averick is wrong in at least a couple of ways:

    First, the notion that “human life has no value” is NOT consistent with any rationally atheistic position. Atheism can be rational or irrational, depending on the particular atheist’s philosophic position. Theism, on the other hand, can only be irrational.

    And the rabbi uses the “no true scotsman” fallacy by assuming that any atheist who doesn’t take “no value to human life” position cannot possibly be a “major atheist thinker.”

    Further, the very notion of some kind of “intellectually consistent atheistic position” is nonsense all by itself. Atheism per se is not a broad enough idea to have any way of being consistent or inconsistent with very much else.

  • Moshe,

    This is now the 9th time in 3 days I am asking you to define “logic” or what constitutes a “logical way of reasoning”.

    Unless you are fraudulently presenting yourself as an expert on the subject, you should’ve been able to answer the question by now.

  • I don’t have a comment, I have questions:
    If God did not exist what would an atheist have to not believe? Would an atheist exist if God did not exist? Doesn’t atheism require the existence of God?

    • @John

      I do not believe in unicorns, dragons, and fairies.

      But, you might object, “If unicorns did not exist, what do you have to not believe? Doesn’t your disbelief in unicorns, dragons, and fairies require the existence of unicorns, dragons, and fairies?”

      No. No, it does not.

    • ——“Doesn’t atheism require the existence of God?”——

      Naturally not. It is THEISM that requires the existence of God. That’s why theism is unrealistic and atheism is the realist position in this matter.

  • Consider, for instance, all the illogic that Rabbi Averick manages to pack into paragraphs like this one:

    ——Much to the chagrin of chemists and molecular biologists, the “dirty little secret” of origin of life research – as Dr. Eugene Koonin put it – is that Science has, until now, utterly failed in its quest to discover a plausible naturalistic explanation for the origin of the astoundingly complex molecular machinery and information systems found in the earliest life on our planet. It is these same super-sophisticated machines and genetic information systems that would allow Darwinian evolution – conceding its truth for argument’s sake – to take place. The origin of these systems is a complete mystery. Perhaps the reason is because there is no naturalistic explanation. Perhaps, Darwin forbid, there is a Creator.——

    In the first sentence here, Averick throws in “chagrin” and “‘dirty little secret’”, thus resorting to the fallacy of appeal to emotion and ridicule (coupled with an appeal to authority).

    Also, still in the first sentence, Averick throws in a combination straw man/judgmental language fallacy by using the false hyperbolic description of “utterly failed” to describe a merely unfinished investigation into the origin of life.

    Then Averick makes the arbitrary, ungrounded jump to an assertion that there may be “no natural explanation”!

    And to wind up this round of fallacies, Rabbi Averick attaches the misrepresentation of Darwin as claiming to have proved that there is no “Creator.” (And I even skipped over the misleading usages such as “astoundingly complex,” “super-sophisticated machines,” and “information systems.”

    Rabbi Averick’s method of presentation is what can generously be described as “fallacy-rich”.

    • It should go without saying, but doesn’t around here, that for anything existing in nature, the explanation is necessarily 100% natural.

      There is no unnatural explanation for anything that exists. And life certainly does exist.

  • Notice also that Rabbi Averick has his descriptions backwards. Whereas the rabbi wants to believe that “theism is rational” while “atheism is profounding irrational,” the truth is just the opposite.

    Theism is 100% irrational. Atheism, per se, is the only rational choice here.

    • Notice also that Rabbi Averick has his descriptions backwards. Whereas the rabbi wants to believe that “theism is rational” while “atheism is profoundly irrational,” the truth is just the opposite.

      Theism is 100% irrational. Atheism, per se, is the only rational choice here.

      • And also notice how often Rabbi Averick falls into using the fallacious notion of “the atheistic worldview,” as if “atheism” were somehow more than the simple lack of theist belief.

  • Rabbi Moshe Averick has declared his belief that there are “… crucial issues in science that need to be clarified in order to conclude definitively that God does not exist …”

    That is a fundamentally erroneous belief because science has nothing to say about God! Science deals with reality, and when the subject is any “supernatural God,” then the subject is the null set: there is nothing there for science to talk about.

    God is a fictional character. No science is needed to prove that fictional characters don’t exist.

    • I am no longer amazed at what people think they know. Believers believe by choice, non-believers do not believe by choice. non-believers argue that believers are ignorant of logic, while simultaneously claiming detailed knowledge of faith and using it in what they see as a logical manner.

      Faith in a creator is a choice. The atheist rallies and the hatred-filled speech displayed by many of those commenting shows what to many is viewed as a desire to remove that choice from believers.

      I will hold on to my faith, by choice, until my dying day.

      I will not attempt to coerce you into my beliefs. If you ask, I will share. I, nor many of the millions of quiet believers around the world, do not make fun of those who do not believe in an aware creator.

      Please quit making fun of us, and please quit engaging in bigoted, hatred-filled, mocking speech. I ask, beg, and plead with you to stop, and to encourage others to stop.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this.

      • ——“I, nor many of the millions of quiet believers around the world,…”——

        You should not have the impression that “quiet believers” are the problem. The problem is those unquiet believers who go around doing such diverse things as trying to impose “Creationism” in public schools, beheading infidels, and asking for special treatment from government because they are believers — etc., etc., etc.

        If religionists/theists were all “quiet believers,” they wouldn’t be a problem. You shouldn’t think of yourself as a problem — except to the extent that you excuse, endorse, support, or refuse to condemn the unquiet believers who go around making trouble, from small mischief to large depredations.

        • Well said, Steve.

          John, you have the right to believe whatever you want. You do not have the right to not be made fun of for those beliefs, especially when those beliefs are harmful to society.

      • “I’ll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were a woman, crushed their scrotums of they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive. And you have the nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you.”
        — Madalyn Murray O’Hair

        • O’Hair is indulging in some wild hyperbole. (Or as I remember her from long ago, just being a goof.)

          At any rate, there is probably not a Christian alive (at least in the American first world, I can’t be sure about Africa, etc.) who has ever done anything remotely like any of that. Only Muslims still do that sort of thing — and they don’t restrict it to atheists; they gleefully include Jews and Christians.

  • Moshe, you got confused by the comments display. Here’s my last post:

    “Reason = Logic = “a way of reasoning”? In 2nd grade we (hopefully) learned you can’t use the same word to define itself. Try again. I’ll even help you:

    What defines a logical “way of reasoning” versus an illogical “way of reasoning”?

    In any debate, terms are defined for the sake of coherence. Have you really been able to get away with simply asserting your arguments are logical for 30 years without ever having to define what constitutes a logical argument?

    The importance of definitions was explained quite well in this article from aish.com:

    http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/48971111.html

    • ——‘What defines a logical “way of reasoning” versus an illogical “way of reasoning”?’——

      One crucial distinction is that logical reasoning is based on facts, whereas trying to argue that “God exists” is illogical because it starts (and ends) in fantasies of the supernatural.

    • Moshe Averick

      Sivan,

      I haven’t been “able to get away with it.” I have just always presented sound, logical arguments with clearly articulated first principles.

      • Why, then, don’t you use sound and logical arguments in your articles for “The Algemeiner Beta”?

        Why do you insist on misrepresenting theism and atheism in your articles (not to mention your book)?

        Religious faith is not a sound basis for any argument. Using religion in an argument renders it unsound and totally illogical.

      • Yes, you have been asserting that your arguments are logical for 30 years.

        So, can you finally define “logical”? Or what constitutes a “logical” way of reasoning?

  • Even if Moshe could define reason, he simply does not use it logically when considering the issue of theism. On this issue he goes totally by blind faith, to the exclusion of the formidable powers of reason and logic.

  • Moshe, can you define reason?

    • Sivan,

      Should I use my reason to define “reason?”

    • Moshe Averick

      Sivan,

      It’s like Louis Armstrong said when asked to define “jazz”, he replied: “If you don’t know what it is, I sure can’t tell you.”

      • According to your bio, you have “taught philosophy for nearly 30 years” and are “known for [your] ability to explain complex topics in clear, understandable language”.

        Yet, you can’t define “logical”?

        You’re a fraud, shooting your mouth off like a petulent child about things you know nothing about.

        Prove me wrong if you can. Let me guess, you can but you just don’t want to. Who do you think you’re fooling?

        • Moshe Averick

          Sivan,

          I’ve got a much better idea. Instead of getting hysterical and calling me names, why don’t you just make your point?

          • Who’s hysterical? I’ve got an even better idea. Instead of playing games, and calling me names, why don’t you just answer the question?

            Unless you can’t, in which case I’ve already made my point, which is that you are pretending to be an expert on something you know nothing about. That, by definition, makes you a fraud.

          • Sivan every time Mushe posts someone like you shows up and makes clear, concise points and he does he best not to address them while pretending that he does.

            But to be fair while he isn’t so much a fraud as he is delusional and thus logic is well… let’s just say not in his wheelhouse.

        • Moshe Averick

          Sivan,

          Frankly Sivan, I think you’re being pedantic, but I will indulge you. Logic is a big topic, but in 30 years of teaching no one has ever felt that any of the ideas I presented required a prior definiton of logic. For our purposes the following will do: A particular way of reasoning or presenting an argument starting from first principles.

          • Reason = Logic = “a way of reasoning”? Seriously? I learned in 2nd grade that you can’t use the same word to define itself.

            What defines a logical “way of reasoning” versus an illogical “way of reasoning”?

            In any debate, terms are defined for the sake of coherence. Have you really been able to get away with simply asserting your arguments are logical for 30 years without ever having to define what constitutes a logical argument?

            The importance of definitions was explained quite well in this article from aish.com:

            http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/48971111.html

          • Rabbi Moshe asserts that: “Logic is … A particular way of reasoning or presenting an argument starting from first principles.”

            Unfortunately, the rabbi declines to say which particular way of “reasoning” it is, failing to distinguish, for instance, between a “non-contradictory way based on evidence” vs. an “arbitrary way based on strong feelings.”

      • Moshe, trying to hide behind Louis Armstrong and jazz is an exercise in some pretty cheap theatrics.

        But your feeling that logic is like jazz does shed some light on why your book is so profoundly illogical (even though you might consider it rather jazzy).

    • Reason is the human faculty for identifying and integrating the facts of the world around us. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification that is the basic tool to use in exercising that faculty.

      In other words, logic is the human method of cognition, of reaching conclusions objectively by deriving them step-by-step without contradiction from the facts of reality — with the basic foundation in the evidence provided by man’s senses.

      And, just in case the point isn’t obvious enough, there is no way to reasonably, logically slip the notion of “the supernatural” into any cognitive process.

      Is this news to you guys?

  • There are “reasonable arguments for God’s existence”? I couldn’t get past that.

  • Theism is a very basic rejection of reason, so should religious gatherings be called “anti-reason rallies“?

  • An “atheist convention” is a truly nutty idea. It makes even less sense than a “anti-communist convention,” or a convention of people who don’t believe in Ewoks.

    I’m curious: are there “theist conventions” where Jews, Christians, and Muslims gather because they all believe the same thing?

    • I am a feminist which generally means I disagree with behaviours and policies that support discrimination against women.

      I would rally against sexist beliefs, I will also rally against beliefs that cause racism sexism etc.

    • Steve, are all protest movements “nutty ideas”?

      As long as irrational ideologies such as religion are given undue influence in political and social spheres, then there will be people who find common cause in campaigning for that undue influence to be put to an end.

      There are anti-terrorism conventions, and they make no less sense just because they’re aimed at putting an end to something that diminishes our society.

      • I’m tempted to answer, “Yes” — the caveat being that to the extent that you are against something without being for something better, protesting is basically a dead-end.

        But here’s the kind of thing I had in mind:

        Both Stalin and I would qualify for admission to an atheist convention — but I am strongly opposed to the Communist dictatorship Stalin was for. Both Hitler and I would qualify for admission to an anti-Communist convention — but I am strongly opposed to the Socialist dictatorship Hitler was for. Both Obama and I would qualify for admission to an anti-Obamacare-mandate convention — but I am totally opposed to the “single payer” system Obama is for.

        This all ties together because I am FOR individual rights, while Stalin, Hitler, and Obama are AGAINST them.

        And it’s a waste of time being “anti-terrorist” unless one is FOR freedom, i.e., capitalism under a Constitutionally-limited government. That is, being an “anti-terrorist” socialist is worse than useless.

        • So, the Reason Rally was FOR reason. I’m not sure what you have a problem with.

        • Waist of Thyme

          You were making some clever points until you included Obama, which makes you look like an incredible extremist who makes horrible judgments about people. Obama is pretty much a middle-of-the-road guy who has yet to show one extreme view that isn’t held by millions of people in this country. So, your absurdity makes it hard to even have an intelligent discussion with you since you can’t be trusted to be rational the majority of the time (and I have seen 13 presidents come and go so I think my experience and grasp of history means that I would recognize extreme views very easily).

          • ——“Obama is pretty much a middle-of-the-road guy who has yet to show one extreme view that isn’t held by millions of people in this country.”——

            Is that supposed to somehow miraculously make Obama right, say about his “healthcare” or spending policies, when he’s really dead wrong about them?

            Socialism is still wrong, whether practiced by Stalin, Hitler, or Obama — and regardless of how many millions of their followers or countrymen share their views on the matter.

    • ‘I’m curious: are there “theist conventions” where Jews, Christians, and Muslims gather because they all believe the same thing?’

      Yeah. They’re called temple, mass and jum’ah respectively.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean “respectively.” I was curious if all the theists got together in the same gathering at the same time and the same place — on the premise that since Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all theists, they must all have the same ideology.

        It doesn’t seem likely for that to happen, but I don’t really keep up on it. Perhaps at the UN or something?

    • Steve

      Is it nutty that gays and lesbians hold LGBT conventions, just because they all have the same orientation?

      Any despised minority has plenty of reason to gather together for mutual support and advocacy of social change.

      • There are far too many people who make the mistake of believing that “being despised” is somehow a violation of their rights. There are so many ways in which people really need to learn how to “live and let live.”

        But is it also wrong for groups to advocate (or government to impose) ridiculous rules such as special parking for “handicapped” or “LGBT” — or to provide or mandate special insurance/disability coverage/payments.

  • Rabbi Averick wrote: “If you are referring to the molestation of children, it is a mute point.”

    That is a hell of a clever dig at the Catholic Church.

  • ——“Make no mistake; these people really are convinced they have a monopoly on reason and logical thinking.”——

    On the subject of theism vs. atheism, the atheists do have the “monopoly on reason and logical thinking.”

    It is utterly unreasonable/illogical to believe in a supernatural God.

    Nobody ever has made a reasonable, logical case for believing in God. Nobody ever could.

    It is impossible to reasonably believe in the supernatural. It would be like trying to believe in a square circle.

  • Religion has taken more lives (apart from let’s say, old age), caused more suffering, started more war and segregates more people than any other force which does, or has ever existed.

    And you say it’s us atheists that are the irrational ones.

    • Religion is one form or irrationality that kills people, causes wars, etc. But whether it does this MORE (or LESS) than other forms of irrationality is utterly irrelevant.

      And there are plenty of atheists who are just as irrational as some theists. Atheism is absolutely not an antidote to irrationality per se.

      Ayatollah Khamenei is a theist and utterly irrational. The Pope is an irrational theist. Stalin was an utterly irrational atheist.

      Being an atheist just isn’t good for anything in and of itself. Of course, neither is being a theist.

    • Leon,

      First of all, the atheistic ideology of communism far outperformed any religious tyranny in terms of shedding innocent blood and causing human misery.

      Second, you missed the point of the article. The point was that the most crucial issues in science that need to be clarified in order to conclude definitively that God does not exist (including the origin of the universe itself) are all mysteries. Therefore for the atheist to assert that SCIENCE supports atheism is arrogant.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Apologies if this turns into a double post. Had some links to resources included in my original and I’m pretty sure that means it will be stuck in moderation forever.

    Here it is with the links removed. I can make them available as needed.

    I recently watched a presentation by Jonathan Haidt.

    I’ll include the link here and hope it makes it past moderation:

    [LINK REMOVED] Search for: Jonathan Haidt Miller Center Civility in American Politics: How to Get some of it Back

    In the presentation, Haidt describes two different and equally flawed approaches to belief that we are all susceptible to adopting when issues that are important to us are raised.

    1) CAN I believe this?
    2) MUST I believe this?

    Under ‘CAN I believe this’ thinking, we look for any single thing that looks like it kind-of-sort-of-maybe-might permit us to accept the belief that we desire to be true, then we stop looking without examining it critically.

    If that one thing gets shot down, then we find the next thing that comes along that will give us permission to maintain the belief.

    Under ‘MUST I believe this’ thinking we do the reverse. Find anything – any little thing – that might permit us to reject the belief that we desire to be false, then stop looking without examining it critically.

    And again – if it turns out that this reason for rejecting the belief will turn out to be incorrect – well, we’ll just find the next quibble. And the next. And the next.

    It’s really just the same mode of thinking only in opposite directions – one positive, the other negative.

    —-

    The point of these modes of thinking are that everyone is susceptible to them and must guard against them.

    I think you’ve fallen prey to this kind of thinking here Rabbi.

    The bullet points you’ve listed here are not a representative sample of the entire fields to which they refer.

    Just lets consider your reference Dr. Eugene Koonin.

    I know nothing about Dr. Koonin. If we generously assume that that you have represented Dr. Koonin’s views accurately, one single voice with the letters Dr. in front of their name does not a representative sampling of consensus scientific consensus make.

    Additionally, my assumption that you have represented Dr. Koonin correctly is a very generous assumption. To put it mildly, your track record when it comes to representing the views of scientists as to abiogenesis has not been without it’s flaws.

    I hope we all remember the wonderful knuckle-rapping you received from Terri-Lynn McCormick for misrepresenting the views and work of her husband Jack Szostak… And of course the the pathetic not-pology with which you followed it up while refusing to take all responsibility.

    [LINK REMOVED] Search for: Algemeiner Moshe Severe Weather Alert: Dr. Jerry Coyne – Militant Atheistic Biologist – Is Blowing Very Hot Air In Chicago!

    Remember: You said plausible naturalistic explanation. Not a proven historic pathway of what did happen, but rather a plausible explanation.

    You already know that many components of a plausible naturalistic explanation have been developed by Jack Szostak and others. We have many pieces that look like they fit the puzzle.

    Is the puzzle complete yet? No, of course not.

    But the way you word your point regarding the origin of life – “utterly failed” is the terminology you used – makes it sounds like no plausible naturalistic explanations have been devised at all, and that everyone is completely bamboozled with what a plausible explanation could look like.

    We have some very plausible naturalistic pieces that might turn out to fit the puzzle of how in the abiotic early earth environment primitive and simplistic proto-cells may have formed. That isn’t an ‘utter failure’. To the contrary: It is very promising progress.

    Your position here has been to latch onto one dissenting voice (without citation again) that agrees with your position on the scientific consensus regarding the origin of life, and then utterly misrepresent what is going on in the rest of the field.

    It’s just sloppy.

    Very patient people have attempted to correct you on these kinds of problems on a number of occasions and you continue to get it wrong, time and time again.

    Please consider – reflectively – that you may have fallen pray to the “CAN/MUST I believe this?” thought trap regarding the scientific consensus towards the origin of life.

    Every time you write an article where you make this kind of simplistic error I get a little bit more embarrassed for you.

    • Pam Siegfried

      I have definitely learned something from reading your post. And I think you are right that the rabbi has a “thing” here. Witness his insistence that to combat pedophilia a person must believe in God. Like the Ayatollah Khomeini did when he wrote a paper on sexual foreplay with infants. Well, not like that but he believed in God and at least that was a start.
      Something I read I believe in a book on death by Mary Roach (maybe “Spooks” but I’m not sure). Anyway, she quotes a neurologist to the effect that he has so often seen people become lucid right at the moment of death, conscious in a body which cannot support consciousness, that he no longer believes the mind is merely physical.
      Even if you prove God, you don’t have to have anything to do with Him. His existence or lack thereof is a fact. Your religion or lack thereof is a choice.

      • Pam,

        It does not bother me if people disagree with what I write, even strongly, but please don’t distort and corrupt what I actually wrote. I have never said anything even remotely resembling “that to combat pedophilia you must believe in God.” Where did you get that from?

        That is so ridiculous I am speechless (for once).

        • Daniel Schealler

          Pam may have been making a reference to your article:

          A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia Is Next On the Slippery Slope; Let Us Turn Back Before It Is Too Late

          If I’m correct, I’ll grant that her reading of that article isn’t as careful or as generous as it could have been… But in all fairness Rabbi, if you’re going to use deliberately provocative titles like that you shouldn’t be quite so surprised that people might not be as dispassionate as they could have been when reading your articles. ^_^

          I will back you up on this point at least: “It does not bother me if people disagree with what I write, even strongly…”

          For whatever it might be worth to other commenters here: I regularly and very, very strongly disagree with Rabbi Moshe Averick on many of his articles. I nearly always get some level of response back from him personally, be it either in the comment thread itself or via an email to myself personally. His responses are not always the kind of responses I would have liked – there’s a certain amount of talking past one another, methinks – but he manages to demonstrate in them that he has at least read my responses and considered them a bit before responding, which is more than I can say for many authors on blogs or sites such as this one.

          So when the Rabbi says here that he doesn’t mind it when people disagree with him strongly, that’s not hyperbole. He’s demonstrated to me on a number of occasions over a stretch of several months that he really means it.

        • Daniel Schealler

          I should let Pam speak for herself…

          But I can’t help but think that she was very likely making a reference to your article:

          A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia Is Next On the Slippery Slope; Let Us Turn Back Before It Is Too Late

          If I’m correct, I’ll grant that her reading of that article isn’t as careful or as generous as it could have been… But in all fairness Rabbi, if you’re going to use deliberately provocative titles like that you shouldn’t be quite so surprised that people might not be as dispassionate as they could have been when reading your articles. If you wave a red flag at a herd of bulls, you shouldn’t act surprised when they charge. ^_^

          I will back you up on this point at least: “It does not bother me if people disagree with what I write, even strongly…”

          For whatever it might be worth to other commenters here: I regularly and very, very strongly disagree with Rabbi Moshe Averick on many of his articles. I nearly always get some level of response back from him personally, be it either in the comment thread itself or via email. His responses are not always the kind of responses I would have liked – there’s a certain amount of talking past one another, methinks – but he manages to demonstrate in them that he has at least read my responses and considered them a bit before responding, which is more than I can say for many authors on blogs or sites such as this one.

          So when the Rabbi says here that he doesn’t mind it when people disagree with him strongly, that’s not hyperbole. He’s demonstrated to me on a number of occasions over a stretch of several months that he really means it.

          • Daniel Schealler

            Buh?

            What happened there?

            For the life of me, I don’t know why that turned into a double post… I swear I only clicked the ‘Submit Comment’ button once.

            Also interestingly, the first comment was an earlier draft of the final version that I actually intended to submit.

            Very peculiar.

            Apologies for the double post (again).

          • Daniel, I’m curious:

            Have you yet learned who the President of the United States is?

            (It wouldn’t be too hard to look it up, if you still haven’t got it.)

    • ——‘But the way you word your point regarding the origin of life – “utterly failed” is the terminology you used – makes it sounds like no plausible naturalistic explanations have been devised at all, and that everyone is completely bamboozled with what a plausible explanation could look like.’——

      You completely miss the basic point on this issue.

      It would make no difference if everyone were “completely bamboozled” with exactly what a “plausible explanation” for the origin of life “could look like.”

      The explanation is necessarily a NATURAL process, since there is no alternative possibility. Rabbi Averick simply has no possibility of being right when he claims there is a supernatural explanation — regardless of what anybody else knows or doesn’t know about the real explanation.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I recently watched a presentation by Jonathan Haidt.

    I’ll include the link here and hope it makes it past moderation:

    http://millercenter.org/public/forum/detail/5994

    In the presentation, Haidt describes two different and equally flawed approaches to belief that we are all susceptible to adopting when issues that are important to us are raised.

    1) CAN I believe this?
    2) MUST I believe this?

    Under ‘CAN I believe this’ thinking, we look for any single thing that looks like it kind-of-sort-of-maybe-might permit us to accept the belief that we desire to be true, then we stop looking without examining it critically.

    If that one thing gets shot down, then we find the next thing that comes along that will give us permission to maintain the belief.

    Under ‘MUST I believe this’ thinking we do the reverse. Find anything – any little thing – that might permit us to reject the belief that we desire to be false, then stop looking without examining it critically.

    And again – if it turns out that this reason for rejecting the belief will turn out to be incorrect – well, we’ll just find the next quibble. And the next. And the next.

    It’s really just the same mode of thinking only in opposite directions – one positive, the other negative.

    —-

    The point of these modes of thinking are that everyone is susceptible to them and must guard against them.

    I think you’ve fallen prey to this kind of thinking here Rabbi.

    The bullet points you’ve listed here are not a representative sample of the entire fields to which they refer.

    Just lets consider your reference Dr. Eugene Koonin.

    I know nothing about Dr. Koonin. If we generously assume that that you have represented Dr. Koonin’s views accurately, one single voice with the letters Dr. in front of their name does not a representative sampling of consensus scientific consensus make.

    Additionally, my assumption that you have represented Dr. Koonin correctly is a very generous assumption. To put it mildly, your track record when it comes to representing the views of scientists as to abiogenesis has not been without it’s flaws.

    I hope we all remember the wonderful knuckle-rapping you received from Terri-Lynn McCormick for misrepresenting the views and work of her husband Jack Szostak… And of course the the pathetic not-pology with which you followed it up while refusing to take all responsibility.

    http://www.algemeiner.com/2011/12/14/severe-weather-alert-dr-jerry-coyne-militant-atheistic-biologist-is-blowing-very-hot-air-in-chicago/

    Remember: You said plausible naturalistic explanation. Not a proven historic pathway of what did happen, but rather a plausible explanation.

    You already know that many components of a plausible naturalistic explanation have been developed by Jack Szostak and others. We have many pieces that look like they fit the puzzle.

    Is the puzzle complete yet? No, of course not.

    But the way you word your point regarding the origin of life – “utterly failed” is the terminology you used – makes it sounds like no plausible naturalistic explanations have been devised at all, and that everyone is completely bamboozled with what a plausible explanation could look like.

    We have some very plausible naturalistic pieces that might turn out to fit the puzzle of how in the abiotic early earth environment primitive and simplistic proto-cells may have formed. That isn’t an ‘utter failure’. To the contrary: It is very promising progress.

    Your position here has been to latch onto one dissenting voice (without citation again) that agrees with your position on the scientific consensus regarding the origin of life, and then utterly misrepresent what is going on in the rest of the field.

    It’s just sloppy.

    Very patient people have attempted to correct you on these kinds of problems on a number of occasions and you continue to get it wrong, time and time again.

    Please consider – reflectively – that you may have fallen pray to the “CAN/MUST I believe this?” thought trap regarding the scientific consensus towards the origin of life.

    Every time you write an article where you make this kind of simplistic error I get a little bit more embarrassed for you.

  • Michael Davidson

    Before geology, we thought God created the mountains and plains. Before Darwin, we thought God created the animals and plants. Before germ theory, we thought God struck people down with diseases and plagues. Before Newton, we thought God held the planets and stars in place. Before Hubble, we thought God created the universe in six days. Before Watson and Crick, we thought God created woman from a rib.

    Are you so myopic as to double down on this error? Do you seriously suggest that a complex protein like DNA cannot be explained without assuming the existence of an all-powerful being whose complexity would far surpass anything we have observed in the universe to date? And do you make the inexplicable leap to the even more absurd assumption that He commanded you (and your slaves) to rest every 7th day?

    • What do you mean “we,” Michael Davidson?

    • Michael,

      “Before Geology” – Nobody knows how the universe came into existence, nobody knows the source of the laws of nature, Geology is irrelevant in trying to decide if God created mountains and plains.

      “Before Darwin” – As I’ve pointed out many times, As far as the question of a creator of life, Darwinian evolution is irrelevant. Darwinian evolution cannot take place without incredibly sophisticated molecular machinery and information systems already in place. Evolution, at best, only describes what happens when this machinery is put in place. The only relevant question as far as the existence of a creator is where did the machinery come from, ie Origin of Life. Science hasnt a clue

      The only real challenge of science is that it seems to be at odds with the simplest and most literalistic understanding of the first chapter of Genesis. this is not the time or place to go into that, However that still has nothing to do with the question of the existence of God and spirituality.

      If you can come up with a plausible, empirically demonstrable unguided naturalistic process that can go from inorganic chemicals to DNA based bacteria, you will win a Nobel Prize. Science at this point is clueless.

      You are a perfect example of the arrogant atheistic attitude that the article was about.

      • ——“If you can come up with a plausible, empirically demonstrable unguided naturalistic process that can go from inorganic chemicals to DNA based bacteria,…”——

        If you can come up with a plausible, empirically demonstrable supernaturalistically-guided process that can go from inorganic chemicals to DNA based bacteria, it would be a miracle.

        Of course, it’s also impossible.

  • Moshe Averick wrote: “The part that is obviously not subject to natural law is the transfer of information across space from my head to yours. Information exists in time but not space. It is clearly subject to some other form of law, namely a non-material, spiritual law.”

    So now you are claiming, Moshe, to believe in “mental telepathy” as well as “God”? You are going farther around the bend than usual.

  • “Human Consciousness and our unique sense of Identity – Neuroscientists are absolutely baffled when asked to explain the phenomena of human consciousness and self-awareness.”

    ‘Absolutely baffled’? No, they aren’t. They’re looking for answers and making new discoveries about how the brain works. Constantly.

    The ones who stop, throw their hands up and declare “god did it” are the ones who have failed. Just because you don’t know, or can’t find, the answer right now doesn’t mean that the subject in question is forever inexplicable.

    • D,

      First of all you are mistaken. Scientists may understand more and more about the brain but they still have “no clue” how consciousness is generated. (Steven Pinker) Please see the recent article by Colin Mcginn in New Statesman 2/20/12 “All Machine and No Ghost?”: “The more we know about the brain, the less it looks like a device for creating consciousness. Perhaps philosophers will never be able to solve the mystery.”

      Secondly, I believe you missed my point. The purpose of the article was not to demonstrate the existence of God, it was to point out the unbridled arrogance of many modern atheists who are under the profoundly mistaken impression that Science offers evidence for an atheistic worldview. Origin of Life is a mystery, Consciousness is a mystery, Our need for meaning and abstract values is a mystery. Even if you are inclined to doubt God’s existence a little humility is in order.

      Please don’t answer back by saying religious people are arrogant, perhaps many are and perhaps many aren’t. The point is that for someone who prides himself on living by “reason” these positions are highly unreasonable.

      • ——“… the profoundly mistaken impression that Science offers evidence for an atheistic worldview.”

        I agree that it is a big mistake to feel that science offers any evidence that God doesn’t exist. It doesn’t, not any more than it offers any evidence that square circles don’t exist.

        The point is that there is absolutely no evidence that God does exist. There is not the slightest reason in the world to take the notion of the supernatural seriously in any way.

      • Origin of Life is a mystery,

        Right.

        Consciousness is a mystery,

        Right.

        Our need for meaning and abstract values is a mystery.

        Wrong. The answer to that is definitely known. (Check out what Ayn Rand has to say about it.)

        • Oy gevalt, Steve’s reading from the gospel according to Ayn! Mate, you and Moshe are regular Odd Couple, you know that?

          • What “gospel” is that?

            And what do you think is “odd” about having abstract values?

          • JP,

            At least one of us is odd….and it isn’t me.

          • You’re in a very joking mood today, Moshe. I think you must have secretly been checking out Tim Minchin’s work on youtube, and might still be chuckling over his Peace Anthem for Palestine.

          • Apparently, “odd” equals “atheist” for Moshe, and “objective” for jp.

            Those are a couple of very lame equations. But you could certainly argue that they are still jazzy and popular mis-identifications.

  • At least goofball rallies to celebrate profanity are not dangerous the way religious rallies to burn witches or behead infidels are dangerous.

    • I agree with you Steve. I think these rallies, and superior attitudes, are in reaction to the extreme fanatics who are growing here, and elsewhere. People who believe that murdering innocents is required by G-d, or who believe that the literal, fundamentalist approach of man’s beginnings being in six days, does invite superiority from people who know that these are just plain lies. Religion is not incompatible with genuine science, but too many religious fanatics would force their ignorant beliefs on the rest of us. An entire ‘major’ political party in this country genuflects to this belief. So, to the thinking people, it is hard not to feel superior to these adherents to the middle ages.

      • ——“Religion is not incompatible with genuine science,…”——

        Religion most certainly is incompatible with science. How could you imagine otherwise?

        Religion is incompatible with freedom, too, don’t forget.

      • Ephraim,

        I would add one thing: “GENUINE religion is not incompatible with genuine science.”

        • The more “GENUINE,” i.e., consistent, one’s religion is, the MORE it is incompatible with rationality and science.

          Science deals with the real world, and the more consistently religious a person is, the less interest that person has in dealing with the real world.

  • Jason Balicki

    You clearly have absolutely no understanding of science, and you should be quite embarrassed at the fact you’ve used your misunderstanding of a subject as your main argument in this article. But you won’t be, because you don’t know enough about it to know how much you don’t know. Dunning-Krueger in the house, represent.

  • You seem to be saying “Science hasn’t found the secret of the origin of life. Therefore, God did it.”

    To a primitive man, there is no science that can explain rain. Water, the stuff that rivers and lakes are full of, falling out of the sky? Sometimes accompanied by dazzling flashes of light and powerful booming? How could that be anything but the work of a God?

    Then science figured it out, and god-believers had to take a step back.

    You’ve now stepped back all the way to the beginning of life on this planet. When science figures THAT out, where will you retreat to?

    • Daniel Schealler

      My money’s on ‘objective morality’.

      Because subjective morality isn’t. By definition. Or something.

      ^_^

    • Alan,

      You’ve made a big mistake in my opinion. I can only speak from jewish tradition, but no one ever doubted that there were laws of nature that operated regularly and consistently. The question is where did they come from. The fact that they operate regularly in no way precludes the possibility that they were put in place by God. Sir Fred Hoyle said that the incredible fine tuning of the laws of nature make them look like a “put up job.” Maybe they look like a put up job, because they are a put up job.

      The point to the article was not to prove God’s existence. It was simply to point out that Science does not offer any real support for an atheistic worldview.

      You also seem not to have grasped that the central issue of the argument from design is the complexity of life itself. Darwinian evolution is irrelevant in addressing this question because the staggeringly complex molecular machinery and the sophisticated information systems that are present in the simplest living organisms known to have existed must be present before Darwinian Evolution can take place. Even if we concede its truth, you’ve simply pushed the question back a step. Inasmuch as Science is clueless about the origin of life, it has not yet addressed the argument from design, despite what most skeptics would like to believe.

      To speculate about earlier forms of life or simple self replicating molecules with no evidence that they ever existed, is just that: Speculation. Without evidence it is not science at all.

      • ——“… the central issue of the argument from design is the complexity of life itself.”——

        The “complexity of life itself” offers exactly zero support for the notion of “Creation, by God!”

        Simple or complex, it is absolutely impossible for anything to have been created by “supernatural processes.” In this context, “supernatural” means “does not exist.”

  • ——“Is there anyone out there open-minded enough to consider that perhaps human beings are radically and qualitatively different than all other forms of life?”——

    As “radically and qualitatively different” as humans are from all other known forms of life — because humans are the rational animal — humans are still an actual form of life, and not some supernaturalist fantasy.

    That is, being capable of rationality does not disquality humans from being part of the real world. Humans really are real, not supernatural.

  • ——“At every critical point of contention between believers and non-believers, scientific evidence is at the very least, inconclusive, and at best, supports belief in God and the spiritual…”——

    There is not a single case where anyone can reasonably demonstrate that science supports the supernatural over nature. Not one. It is nothing more than an article of faith that any “scientific support for God” actually exists.

  • Apart from the 75 uses of “f***” in Minchin’s song, there’s also the punchline pointing out that there’s something deeply wrong with the morality of people who take more offence at vulgarity that causes no actual harm than the child sexual abuse scandal engulfing the world’s churches.

    Your response to that punchline: a desperate attempt to be included in the group Minchin is pointing out an obvious moral failing in.

    Priceless.

  • Having read these exchanges, I would like to add my annoyance at the deliberate misrepresentation of Tim Minchin – including the deliberately loony photo. T.M. is a humanist, a loving father and husband, who uses his impressive skills to highlight the absurdities in this crazy world of ours and to delve into the true meaning of living an ethical life etc. I have to admit that the first time I heard the afore-mentioned song I nearly fell off my chair. Then I realised that the joke was, in fact, on me. To be more offended by a simple word than by a regime which has continually covered for those who have power over children but have abused them is, in itself, obscene. Point taken! I actually doubt Minchin would babysit for you, Moshe Averick – he is devoted to his own family and spends every spare minute with them. But a more generous soul you would be hard pressed to meet. And there are many whose lives he has touched who would agree.

    • Poppy,

      Ok, I admit it, I used Tim Minchen as a punching bag.
      I have no idea what he is really like. I think Tim himself would appreciate my joke at his expense. However, if it takes an gratuitously vulgar song to make you aware of the horror of child molestation, that itself is a bizarre commentary on the crowd.

      If the rally was about helping abused children, I would view the song very differently. However the rally was most definitely NOT about helping abused children. It was to celebrate atheism and show contempt for religion. Christopher Hitchins was quite foolish when he said that religion poisons everything. It is quite simply a ridiculous statement. I would rephrase it slightly: ARROGANCE poisons everything. Arrogant believers and arrogant atheists.

      The point to my article was to illustrate the arrogance of the modern atheistic position. Science, quite simply, does not support atheism at all. The most that can be said is that science is at odds with the simplest, most literalistic reading of the first chapter of genesis. (as an aside, there is no dogma about age of the universe from the orthodox Jewish perspective, it is an open question)

      • “Science, quite simply, does not support atheism at all.”

        Naturally not. Science only deals with things that exist. God does not exist.

      • Moshe, I don’t mean to sound like I’m explaining jokes to a five-year-old, but I’m afraid I have no choice.

        Minchin’s Pope Song is NOT trying to raise awareness about child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, nor to directly help past victims of that abuse.

        What Minchin is doing is protesting the fact that responses to the abuse scandal have been watered down due to the long-standing practice of treating religions and churchmen with a respect and deference that in this case they do not deserve based on the facts of this scandal. It’s a shout of outrage that this deference means that child molesters that would in normal circumstances be jailed (and those that covered up their crimes instead of reporting them to the police) are instead let go unpunished.

        If Minchin is trying to help any victims of child sexual abuse it’s by preventing future abuse by advocating the dismantling of the obscene systems of protection that exist for religious wrongdoers both within the church and in the broader world.

        Given that one political theme of the Reason Rally was to advocate the winding back of special privileges and protections for religious institutions, it was a perfectly apt choice.

      • Moshe ignorantly writes, “It was to celebrate atheism and show contempt for religion.”

        No, you missed the point of the song, even though
        Tim spells it out quite explicitly.

  • ——The “Origin of Life … is a complete mystery. Perhaps the reason is because there is no naturalistic explanation.”

    In fact, there is a “naturalistic explanation” for everything — since there is no alternative to nature. The “supernatural” is fiction, not fact.

    That some explanations are not now known does not require or reasonably allow us to fantasize that the “aupernatural” can somehow be substituted for nature in the real world.

    “Creation, by God!” is fantasy fiction, not a reasonable explanation of anything whatsoever.

  • Waist of Thyme

    Averick MAY have a point in that he senses arrogance on the part of many atheists, only I think he fails to see that it is actually anger more than arrogance. We who have fairly deep educations and experiences, and who are caring human beings who see religion as little more than chants in a cave eons ago, are sick of the arrogance of the religious. A year ago, my wife and I interviewed a real estate agent who obviously saw the sticker on our storm door that said “In dog we trust.” She then had the gall to lecture us on god. What disgusting crap. We were the polite ones, letting her rant and leave with a smile. So, yes, we are finally talking back to the nonsense that has been perpetrated for too many centuries.

    Religion choices are almost always geographical (which includes the geography of the family) which makes it pretty obvious that few people make “rational” choices abour religion after years of study and comparison. Nope, it’s all about comfort, emotion, getting along with the crowd and being respected by the hoi polloi, not making an intelligent or reasoned decision.

    • Waist,

      Let’s leave aside the anectodal evidence. We can all tell all kinds of stories about encounters with all kinds of people. Also please don’t forget that atheist ideologues ( who lived in the 20th century) were the greatest mass murderers in history. That certainly does not justify religious based atrocities but it leads one to believe that the problem is flawed human beings rather than strictly belief or non-belief.

      Your last paragraph raises an important point, the problem is that you limited it to religious people.

      Most people -period- believe what they believe because of their upbringing or cultural surroundings. that is human nature. It takes enormous effort to shake free of those influences and seek the truth at all costs.

      Most college age kids I meet are ill-equipped to think for themselves and are heavily influence by what they hear their professors say. Most college students lean left/Democrat simply because most of the professors are that way also. These kids are not thinking for themselves, they are parroting back what they pick up from their environment.

      I agree with your basic point. Most believers and atheists are what they are as a result of cultural influences.

      • Waist of Thyme

        What is this somewhat recent obsession with college kids? My brother-in-law and his shallow types are all up in arms, saying that college professor are all this or that (commies or such), and leading their students to hell. What nonsense. I started teaching in a university in 1967, and continued to do so, off and on, until about five years ago, and I saw very, very few profs make much effort to do anything other than get across useful information or force kids to take some view other than what they had heard at home or in a small town.

        I did my best to make them think by questioning what they said, even if they agreed with me. So let’s cut out this obsession and inaccurate and unfair accusation of some hard-working professionals, and remember this one thing: who the hell cares what college kids think? Let’s see what they think in the years after college when they confront reality. Until then, appreciate their passions and idealism, which a lot of older folks could use more of.

  • usually they are very aware of the reasonable arguments for God’s existence

    I’m not. I’ve seen arguments that have been formulated and refined since antiquity, I’ve seen arguments presented using beautiful words, and I’ve seen arguments that attempted to be as rigorous as a mathematical proof, but I’ve never seen an argument for God’s existence that didn’t fall apart upon close examination. Would you care to enlighten me?

    • There are no REASONABLE arguments for God’s existence. Since reason is the human faculty for identifying and integrating the material that we are aware of starting from our sensory-perceptual capabilities, there is no reasonable way to get from the real world to any alleged supernatural realm.

      The “supernatural” is entirely the stuff of fantasy.

    • arensb,

      You can buy my book on Amazon.com or Kindle. See the end of the article for the link

      • Why did you say that “Information exists in time but not space,” if you thought it was worthwhile to write a book? That sounds like a serious contradiction.

  • What a disappointment to read this thinking it might reveal some new perspective on the Atheist movement, only to find a rehash of the decrepit and discredited “God of the Gaps” argument; that God must be real because science hasn’t proven this-or-that (yet). It’s been used for ages, and yet as science progresses and the gaps for which God is “responsible” get continually smaller and smaller, the religious never seem to get tired of it. They just find a smaller niche for their God, one that science hasn’t gotten around to settling yet. I’m tempted to sometimes call God the Incredible Shrinking Deity in response.

    Then, not satisfied with that old chestnut, Moshe dusts off the “God is responsible for morality!” nonsense, ignoring the fact that all human societies (and many animals) have moral codes they live by, even if they don’t believe in God or gods at all. We are social creatures, and as such we maintain rules that govern how we live and behave in response to one another. If there were no rules, then society would simply fall apart, and we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. It has nothing to do with deities, except insofar as the various priest classes of history have liked to co-opt society’s rule-making process for their own benefit. In fact, research has shown that the most moral societies are those who have secular, non-religious values and laws, while those who are deeply religious tend to also be quite violent.

    How unfortunate that all the author had to draw upon was this boring old fluff, and the tired old accusations that atheists are “arrogant”, but then I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve come to regard the “arrogance” accusation as the last gasp of one who has lost the argument, but lacks the honesty to admit it to himself.

    • Mr. Scratch,

      “God of the Gaps” – You claim that the argument from design has been discredited due to the God of the Gaps response. I don’t know in whose eyes it has been discredited. In my opinion, “God of the Gaps” is an atheistic propaganda smokescreen which is used to avoid the question. The questions of Origins are fundamentally and conceptually different than what Science deals with. Science, essentially, investigates and describes how the “plumbing” of the universe functions. If the universe were an automobile, Science would be the discipline that tells us what a sparkplug is, how it functions, how it is related to other parts of the motor, how to fix it if it breaks, etc. The question of where the automobile came from in the first place is an entirely different question. Science does NOT know how the universe came into existence, it just knows that it did come into existence. It does not understand HOW or WHY the laws of nature came to be, it just knows that shortly after the moment that the universe came into existence, there they were.

      Science is clueless as how to life began. These are not “Gaps”, they are giant, gaping fundamental wide open spaces. The simple truth is that there are only two possibilities as to how life came to be. Either it was the result of intelligent creation or a naturalistic process. At this point there exists zero evidence that the gap between non-living chemicals and the simplest living organism can be bridged by an unguided naturalistic process. Even if you want to say that one could not therefore conclude that it was created, at the very least, the honest thinker must admit that it is a distinct possibility that must be considered. In my opinion, it is the arrogance of materialistic scientists that prevents them from even considering the POSSIBILITY of a creator.

      The entire scientific facade of support for non-belief is based on two essential points. (1) Darwinian Evolution and (2) that the scientific calculation of the age of the universe seems -at its most simple and literal reading – to contradict the first chapter of Genesis.

      In truth Darwinian Evolution is irrelevant to the entire question of God the Creator as I pointed out in the article above, in my book, and in many other essays that I have written.

      From the perspective of an Orthodox Jew, the question of age of the universe is not a question of religious dogma, it is an open question in Jewish theology, and the idea of a universe that is billions of years old is totally compatible with Judaism. What is interesting is that the book of Genesis turned out to be right and the scientific world was wrong on a fundamental point: There was a beginning to time, matter, space, and energy. This truth so disturbed Einstein that he fudged equations to preclude such a possibility. Interesting that Einstein’s emotional reaction got the better of him. Clearly scientists are subject to their own prejudices also. In my book I give one illustration after the other to show that Origin of Life researchers are even more culpable in this regard.

      “Morality” – You say that research has shown that secular societies are the most moral. That, of course, would depend on how you define moral. In my opinion, a society that allows abortion on demand is monstrously immoral. You also have not considered that secular societies in the western world became secular recently. They still are pervaded, psychologically and emotionally, with the basic Judeo-Christian ethic. At the very least they accept the basic J-C concept that human beings are inherently valuable. This is a God-based concept, not an atheistic concept. An intellectually consistent atheistic position, and one which is acknowledged by all major atheistic thinkers, is that human life has no inherent value at all. It is as valuable as we decide it is. Please see my last article about Freud and the Normal Life. We have yet to see the results of a society where the God-based notion of “all men are created in the image of God, and all men are created equal” has completely disappeared from the consciousness of the new generation and they are raised with the idea that “all men are meaningless arrangements of chemicals, no different than any other animal or inert material for that matter. that the human being is to the cockroach as the cockroach is to the ameoba.”

      An truly atheistic society is not based on “morality”, it is based on a subjectively agreed upon, pragmatic, social contracts that can be changed according to the whims and desires of the society at any particular time, for any particular reason. The fact that these societal preferences (In the Fiji Islands it was perfectly acceptable to cook and eat other humans) are labeled with the artificial construct and word “morality or ethics” in no way changes the reality that they are nothing more than a collection of personal preferences. There is no rational reason for any individual to live by that contract except that it pleases him at the moment, or fear of going to jail.

      It seems clear to me that you exhibit the arrogance that I described in the article.

  • Kevin Bjornson

    Agnosticism is better suited to humanism than atheism. Because to take a position against an undefined term, is to cede philosophical ground to that term. Rather, we should positively affirm humanism, and not succumb to nihilism.

    The origin of consciousness cannot be a complete mystery, because if it were, we could not talk about it in any meaningful way. The very fact that we can do so, using natural means of human communication, indicates the subject about which we are talking is subject to natural laws. Because if it were not, we could not communicate anything about it.

    • moshe averick

      Kevin,

      YOu are mistaken in my opinion. PART of speech and communication is subject to natural (i.e. material) laws. The parts that are subject to natural law are the sound waves we produce and the electrical activity in the brain. The part that is obviously not subject to natural law is the transfer of information across space from my head to yours. Information exists in time but not space. It is clearly subject to some other form of law, namely a non-material, spiritual law.

      • There were many signs being waved that day. Some of the worst were held by believers who came out to threaten, insult and demonize non-believers.

      • Have you ever read a book, Moshe?

      • Every part of speech and communication is material, and subject to natural law. Thoughts don’t get metaphysically beamed from one head to another. It’s not telepathy.

        Physically, every idea in your head is an electrochemical pattern in your brain. When we were children, we were taught how to use a complex collection of shared labels called language to communicate. And when we listen to or read someone else’s words, we can use those labels to construct similar electrochemical patterns in our brains.

        Nothing about any of this is supernatural. It’s all physics.

        • Moshe Averick

          Robin,

          That’s an interesting speculative hypothesis, but has no basis in reality. Nobody knows how our brain represents thoughts and ideas to us. Nobody understands how we are even conscious. Nobody understands how I can send an idea across the room to you. I am just paraphrasing Colin Mcginn, Steven Pinker, Robert Penrose, etc.

          I don’t think you quite understand how mysterious this area of science is.

          • “Nobody knows how our brain represents thoughts and ideas to us.”

            Less mysterious than you think. When you visualize something, you activate your visual cortex, when you remember sounds, you activate your auditory cortex, and so forth.

            We can hook you up to an MRI while showing you a set of photographs, then tell you afterward which photo you’re thinking of from your brainscan.

            “Nobody understands how we are even conscious.”

            Seems like a matter of just being awake to me.

            “Nobody understands how I can send an idea across the room to you.”

            Across the room? Wait, do you actually think you’re a telepath? If so, and you can prove it, James Randi’s foundation has a million dollar prize for you.

    • ——“Agnosticism is better suited to humanism than atheism.”——

      Agnosticism is an even more unreasonable position than theism.

      On the question of “God,” only atheism gets to the point. Theists at least take a stand, even though they get it wrong. Agnostics avoid all courage of any conviction.

  • In short, Science has nothing to tell us about where we came from, who we are, and where we are going.

    Ahahahahahahahhahah!

    Thicker than a whale omelet you are.

    • moshe averick

      Salvage,

      Good to hear from you. I’ve missed you all these years!

    • Why not stick to the subject, instead of ridicule? Why not explain origin of life and counsciousness? Please?

      • Don’t need to answer all your questions to tell you that your answers are ludicrous.

        I don’t understand ergo jebus. Yah, that is some deep thinking.

      • Because ridiculous things must be met with ridicule lest there be confusion.

        While I cannot explain the origins of life and consciousness I can say, without a shadow of a hint of a sliver of an atom of a doubt that there were no gods involved.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Rabbi Averick is correct that science has yet to produce good explanations for the origin of life on Earth and the nature of consciousness. However, it has produced a good explanation for his last question about the search for meaning and moral values. Nevertheless, the lack of a good explanation on the first two is not an argument for the existence of Averick’s god. Without good evidence, reasons, or arguments for his god, he should not believe in him.

    Science has a lot to say about how and why human beings value other human beings. Averick just needs to do more study in this area.

    “Rational” refers to a particular way of thinking to reach conclusions. It can be shown that when one uses this mode of thinking, one does not reach the positions of theism or even agnosticism, but reaches the position of atheism. Averick hasn’t given enough thought to what “rational” really means.

    • Gary,

      The point to the article was not to prove the existence of God. For that read my book. The point was to show that science offers no support for an atheistic worldview and at the very least offers the possibility of God and spirituality. It is arrogant to think otherwise.

      I never said that Science has nothing to say about why we value relationships. I said that science has nothing to say about our relentless need for ABSTRACT moral values and to seek purpose in our existence. I repeat, Science has nothing to tell us about either of those.

      • ——“… science offers … at the very least offers the possibility of God …”——

        That is an absolutely ludicrous thing to say. Science does nothing of the sort, not even close.

        Science says nothing about God. There is no “there” there. “God” is not part of nature, does not exist.

  • The above article was clearly penned by a closet religionist who has no knowledge of science whatsoever.

  • Clearly written by someone who spent his life studying something other than science. The argument is unoriginal, and more importantly patently wrong. I will agree that the Tim Minchin song did not fit in with the guidelines of family friendly. I must also say that the song raises a valid, albeit vulgar, argument.

    • moshe averick

      Reality,

      I do not claim any particular expertise in General Science. However, the parts that I wrote about are absolutely accurate and I would be prepared to debate anyone on those subjects.

      • How Mushe debates:

        Says something that is wrong.

        Someone comes in and points out the wrong.

        Mushe repeats wrong thing over and over again and then claims victory.

        Then he high-fives his god saying “you do too exist!”.

        • moshe averick

          Dear Unsalvageable,

          Since you gave me a nickname, I’ve returned the favor. Cheers

          PS – You can “high-five” YOUR gods since they are material beings, like Dawkins or Minchin. However, my God is non-material, sorry no high-fives.

          • >Since you gave me a nickname, I’ve returned the favor.

            Yes, but mine is clever

            >You can “high-five” YOUR gods since they are material beings,

            I have no gods, Dawkins is okay when he’s writing about science but on the atheist front his head is going a bit up his posterior.

            Minchin while brilliant is no Bill Hicks.

            > However, my God is non-material,

            Finally you understand!

            > sorry no high-fives.

            No, instead you praise your god for being so great which is just weird. I mean what do you think your god does with all that butt kissing? Does it empower it? For an all knowing omnipotent being it sure is insecure.

  • … and your obsession with that word’s inclusion in mr. minchin’s song instead of its context as part of the song’s message tells us more about how misguided your sense of morality is than anything in scripture ever could.

    • moshe averick

      Jack,

      If you are referring to the molestation of children, it is a mute point. There is no one that I know of who does not find child molestation abhorrent. The only exceptions that I am aware of (at least in the Western World) are atheistic “ethicists” like Joel Marks, Peter Singer, and Michael Tooley. Although they certainly are personally opposed to it, they do admit that it is nothing more than personal preference, not any inherent immorality, that is the basis for their opposition. It seems to me you either did not address or missed the point of the entire article.

      • > There is no one that I know of who does not find child molestation abhorrent

        How about the Pope and his buddies, who chose to cover it up for decades. If they found it abhorrent or had a shred of morality, they would have contacted the police, they could have warned the parents. They didn’t.

        • That they covered it up doesn’t mean they don’t find child molestation abhorrent; it just means they think doing abhorrent things is their contribution to “doing God’s work.”

        • John,

          Let’s assume that you are right. What is your point? Does this mean that God does not exist?
          Atheistic philospher Joel Marks (among others) has stated that there is nothing inherently wrong with molesting children because atheism inescapably implies amorality. It is just personal preference. Therefore what? It is one thing to condemn the Catholic Church for the way it has handled child molestation. (I have a difficult time understanding the concept of celibacy anyways, there is no such concept in Torah.) It is another to say Ergo, God does not exist and Science supports an atheistic world view.

      • Jason Balicki

        Moot. The word is “moot.” Using the phrase “mute point” only strengthens my opinion that you’re an uneducated hack, so feel free to keep using it.

        It’s also rather appalling that you consider the molestation of children a moot point. You’re a rather disgusting human being.

      • Moshe, are you trying to claim that the Catholic Church does not exist in the Western World — or that you don’t feel it’s abhorrent when Catholics molest children?

        What’s your angle here?

    • moshe averick

      Jack,

      The part about Minchin was almost an afterthought, it seems that you are the one who is obsessed with Mr. Minchin.

      • Your “almost an afterthought” characterized the Pope Song as “the most revealing moment of the “Reason Rally””.

        Seemed pretty significant to you when you wrote that.

  • Peter Cranny

    So simple – there are no gods; get over it.

    • moshe averick

      Peter,

      Thank you for your illuminating comment. If my choice is between Tim Minchin and imaginary gods, I’ll take imaginary gods any day of the week.

      Respectfully, Moshe Averick

      • But Tim is so much funnier than those imaginary gods … well except maybe Eris, she’s a hoot.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        Rabbi, your focus on the performance by Minchin is a red herring. Your choice is between theism, agnosticism, and atheism, not between theism and bad language. Start by training yourself in the methods of reason and rational thinking, then apply this way of thinking to the main question, and then you will reach the correct conclusion. Try it; it will pay great benefits to you, as it has for tens of thousands of Jews.

      • Clearly.

      • ——“I’ll take imaginary gods any day of the week.”——

        You certainly can’t get any other kind.

        If you want a “God,” imaginary is your only option.

  • Greg Peterson

    You managed to find a photo of Minchin looking scary–big deal. My guess is that it might have been in response to his decidedly NON-dark image, which he lampoons in the song “I Can Have a Dark Side, Too.” He is a happy, smiling little sprite and I’d rather have him babysit my children than, say, James Dobson.

    As to the song with all of the instances of MFer in it, yes, shocking. And exactly the point. The song is about the Vatican cover-up of child-raping priests, and makes the point that many people will feel more outrage by the language in this “stupid [effing] song” than they do by actual physical harm to children. The point might have been made in other ways, but not better ones. Despite its filthy language–no, BECAUSE of it…it makes a powerful moral statement about well-placed outrage. To pretend otherwise is to side with piety over goodness.

    • moshe averick

      Greg,

      I see people have focused on what is clearly the minor part of the article. My comments about minchin’s picture were obviously tongue-in-cheek. Don’t be so serious.

      • It may only be one paragraph, but by any literary standard your comments on minchin are part of if not THE closing argument of your article, thereby making them more than fair game for discussion. I think Greg’s point is very worthy of discussion, rather than blowing it off. The song creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in that people are greatly offended by one repeated word, but totally ignore the abhorrent topic of the immensely wrong response of the vatican to the issue of child rape.

    • moshe averick

      Greg,

      I need to go out Saturday nite. How much does Minchin charge for baby sitting?

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  • Book Reviews Opinion Robert Gates’ Memoir is a Jaw-Dropping Read (REVIEW)

    Robert Gates’ Memoir is a Jaw-Dropping Read (REVIEW)

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates’s memoir follows the classic form, telling the story of his years at the Pentagon during the Bush and Obama administrations. He focuses on what he did and experienced personally as secretary, neither writing a broad policy treatise nor recounting the entire history of the administrations in which he served. In so doing, Gates provides penetrating insights about the inner workings of US national security decision-making. Had I been George W. Bush, I would [...]

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  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews The Media, Israel, and Anti-Semitism (REVIEW)

    The Media, Israel, and Anti-Semitism (REVIEW)

    Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed from A-Z by Lee Bender and Jerome Verlin (Pavilion Press, Philadelphia, Pa. 2013) Sophocles said, “What people believe prevails over truth,” Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed from A-Z is ideal for the arm chair reader who would like a basic grasp of the terms used in the mainstream media’s presentation of the Arab-Israeli situation as is reported today. This is a book whose time has come. This is a book where the reader gains a [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Blogs William Shatner’s One Man Show Keeps Him in the Limelight (INTERVIEW)

    William Shatner’s One Man Show Keeps Him in the Limelight (INTERVIEW)

    JNS.org – On Thursday, audiences around the country can feel what it is like to be William Shatner, the Jewish actor best known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk on “Star Trek.” Shatner’s one-man show “Shatner’s World”—which was on Broadway and toured Canada, Australia, and the United States—will be presented in nearly 700 movie theaters nationwide for one night only on April 24. Sponsored by Fathom Events and Priceline.com (for whom Shatner has famously served as a pitchman), [...]

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  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

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  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

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  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

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  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

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