Theologians Think They’re Smarter Than Stephen Hawking

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist” – Stephen Hawking

Dr. Stephen Hawking, arguably one of the smartest  human beings, alive or dead, declared that god did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.  In his book, ”The Grand Design” (co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow), Hawking stated that there exists a new series of theories that make a creator god redundant.  By combining Albert Einstein’s Relativity Theory and Quantum Theory, Dr. Hawking states that the laws of physics mean it is simply not necessary to believe that God had intervened in the Big Bang.

The Peanut Gallery Strikes Back…

The “Religious Leaders” struck back before the ink was even dried, and this is where the sensibility stopped for many of the collective mass of humanity who blindly follow and readily agree with the consensus of theologians.  Ah, Theologians…  The jokers of the world of academia.  People who have spent a sizeable chunk of their lives in the serious, educational pursuit to understand the inner workings of one of the oldest existing fairy tales. Many even have “doctorates” and are widely believed to be the experts of everything godly.

However, in my opinion, having a doctorate in theology is about as relevent as someone who has spent fifteen years in post-graduate education to understand the complexities of the Tooth Fairy, and should be taken just as seriously.  When an education consists of taking years and years to learn how to work through personal doubts and then how to apologize for an enigmatic belief system and its error-packed and scientifically preposterous holy book, it adds a whole new angle to the concept of cognitive dissonance.

Two Can Play…

I have a doctorate, too, you know. I think mine is more valuable than any doctorate in Theology, so (as I have stated in the past) when debating someone who has a doctorate in theology, I insist on being billed as “Al Stefanelli, PhD.” Is this fraud, you ask? No, because I readily, fully and completely admit that my PhD – awarded to me by Richard McCarger, the much esteemed Dean at Logidea University – is only a novelty. The possessor of the PhD in theology will not make such an admission, even though it is true.

Here’s mine:

The fact is, the study and acceptance of “scientific models” that defy logic, reason and common sense, and the holding of the belief that an invisible man in the sky “spoke into existence” the entire universe and created everything in it (sometimes in its present form), along with ignorance to real and proven scientific facts surrounding a variety of theories not only in cosmology and astrophysics, but in all branches of the sciences, cannot logically be called “academia.” The bestowing upon those who engage in these studies the title of “Doctor” is a travesty to the real world of academia.

Back To Hawking…

The opinion that is held by theologians regarding Dr. Hawking and his life’s work rank about as high on my compassion guage as life of the mosquito that flew into the path of my car. Sorry, Jains, but that’s just the way it is for me. The question remains as to when the fundamentalist believers of the world will realize that they are totally, completely and unequivocally wasting their time? Probably never, but, perchance to dream…

The beliefs held by the religious with regard to science is irrelevent. Where the likes of Dr. Hawking and every other respectable scientist start with an idea and move forward, working toward a viable theory by virtue of falsification, the theologian starts with a scripture-based conclusion and works backward from there, in a attempt at some sort of twisted reconciliation. One can have their own opinions, but not their own facts. Those who do are generally considered to be delusional and are often spending too much time on the virtues of crockoducks, bananas and peanut butter.

A Comparison…

Here’s a typical list of what topics are taught to a student of Theology, and keep in mind these topics are infected with religious indoctrination and ride on a hovercraft of superstition:

  • Old Testament Survey
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature
  • New Testament Survey
  • History of Christianity
  • Systematic Theology
  • Philosophical and Moral Theology
  • Pastoral Care
  • Pastoral Leadership
  • Preaching
  • Worship
  • Evangelism
  • Educational Ministry

Now, here are a list of what Dr. Hawking had to learn to gain his doctorates in Theoretical Physics and Cosmology, not counting, of course, everything else he has learned, discovered or produced since gaining his doctorates:

  • Black hole thermodynamics
  • Classical mechanics
  • Condensed matter physics
  • Conservation of energy
  • Dynamics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Field theory
  • Fluid dynamics
  • General relativity
  • Molecular modeling
  • Particle physics
  • Physical cosmology
  • Quantum chromodynamics
  • Quantum computers
  • Quantum electrochemistry
  • Quantum electrodynamics
  • Quantum field theory
  • Quantum information theory
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Solid mechanics
  • Solid state physics or Condensed Matter Physics and the electronic structure of materials
  • Special relativity
  • Standard Model
  • Statistical mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Causal Sets
  • Dark energy or Einstein’s Cosmological Constant
  • Einstein-Rosen Bridge
  • Emergence
  • Grand unification theory
  • Loop quantum gravity
  • M-theory
  • String theory
  • Supersymmetry
  • Theory of everything
  • Dynamic theory of gravity
  • Luminiferous aether
  • Scalar field theory
  • Biefeld Brown Electrogravity
  • History of the Universe
  • Equations of motion
  • Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric
  • Positive cosmological constant
  • Gravitation
  • Radiation and matter content of the universe.
  • Particle physics in cosmology
  • Scattering processes and decay of unstable particles
  • Timeline of the Big Bang
  • Stars, quasars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies and superclusters
  • The cosmological principle
  • Magnetic monopoles
  • Brane cosmology
  • Antiparticles
  • X-rays and gamma rays
  • The baryon asymmetry and baryogenesis.
  • CP-symmetry
  • Nucleosynthesis
  • The equivalence principle
  • Neutrino physics.
  • Cosmic microwaves
  • Decoupling and Recombination
  • Thomson scattering
  • The thermal black-body spectrum.
  • Cosmological perturbation theory
  • COBE and WMAP
  • Degree Angular Scale Interferometrics
  • Cosmic Background Imaging
  • The Lambda-CDM model
  • The Sunyaev-Zel’dovich
  • The Sachs-Wolfe effect
  • Formation and evolution of large-scale structure
  • Structure formation
  • Galaxy formation and evolution
  • The Sloan Digital Sky Survey
  • The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey
  • The Lyman alpha forest
  • Dark matter
  • Big Bang nucleosynthesis
  • Dark energy
  • The anthropic principle

Can I Get A Witness…?

So, there you have it, brothers and sisters.  And people wonder why I laugh in the faces of Theologians and their “explanations.“  Seriously, it boggles the mind as to why anyone in this day and age, with the huge repository of the collective scientific knowledge in existence, would continue to believe in ancient superstitions for any other reason outside of the combination of willful ignorance, spiritual arrogance and a delusional grasp on reality.

When the rubber meets the road, I’ll go with Dr. Hawking and those who have also devoted their lives to the pursuit of real, empirical knowledge and not the adherence to children’s bedtime stories. Here’s a little graphic that I created last year, for your posting pleasure.  I post it as Royalty Free, so have fun sharing it with whoever you want to:

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  115 comments for “Theologians Think They’re Smarter Than Stephen Hawking

  1. zzzzzing
    April 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    C’mon Al, heckling and one long argument from authority? You can do better than just blog-filling for the sake of typing, right?

    • April 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Sorry, Z, but when someone tells me that they are smarter than the likes of Hawking, and puts up their argument as a doctorate in theology, I reason that a good heckling is in order.

      • zzzzzing
        April 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

        Fine then, heckle away, but realize that when you use the same ridiculous argument that they do, you are no better then they are AND you lose the respect of those watching the debacle unfold.
        Evidence and proof and what works in the real world, have nothing to do with which group has the smarter dudes.
        It’s kinda like watching kids sticking their tongues out at each other and yelling neener-neener…it serves only the purpose of debasing all participants.

        • rapiddominance
          April 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm

          This is more of a cheerleading thread; its not argumentive.

          There might be some things said that will spark his adversaries, but they should have enough sense to realize from the text that Al is not even talking to them.

          Actually, “cheerleading” might be the wrong word. I think its better to think of this as venting. “Cheerleading” sounds as if I’m trying to belittle the significance of the essay.

          No, “cheerleading” is a better fit. While venting is more of a natural and almost spontaneous communicative release, this is a deliberately worded, well-planned tantrum designed to reinforce a mutually held understanding about a foe and polarize emotions in a certain direction against that enemy (or against the threat that the enemy poses–there is no need to assume any level of ‘hate’ towards theists. ‘Disgust’, maybe).

          Don’t read any extra meaning into my choice of words. The main point I’m making is this: The reason that this essay doesn’t put forth a good argument is because it doesn’t present an argument at all.

          Not to say that it wasn’t intelligently written with valid points worth considering . . .

        • April 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          So, when I take my car in for work on its transmissoin, I should hold the opinion of the guy in the lobby who thinks there are small rodents running on wheels inside the bell housing of the transmissioin on the same level of the highly trained, certified mechanic? Really?

          Comparing a theologian to an astrophysicist, citing what is required to become either of the two and then making a comparison related to competence, ability and experience is merely an “argument from authority” and “no better then…?” Hey, you are free to believe whatever you want, and to hold your opinions on how you choose to separate the “wheat from the chaff.”

          Evidence and proof are exactly what separates the theologian and scientist. Not addressing it as such is preposterous.

          • rapiddominance
            April 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

            First of all, I like the rodent-wheel thing. You made a good point and you made me laugh–in a positive way.

            And I would never go to a theologian for heart surgery, a vascectomy, or an expert opinion on the age of the universe.

            Only if I had some personal trust earned by a theologian would I ask his or her advice on things like marrital matters, career choices, or in resolving personal conflicts with people in my life.

            Keep in mind, however, that theologians, like everybody else, also have a right to question anything that seems out of place in a scientific argument and to object if they’re so inclined. Also note that anybody has the right ignore their questions and their objections, especially if those questions and objections are ignorantly or deceitfully raised.

            Instead of simply saying, “Theologians aren’t academically qualified to challenge scientists regarding science” I think we need to look at the both the behavior of the theologians who ‘intervene’ and the paricular issues they raise to determine if they’ve offered anything of value. That’s why I think your work here has more to offer in terms of reinforcing an established attitude or perspective rather than in challenging an ideological foe. To adequately argue against a prepared adversary you would have needed specific examples illustrating that the disparity between theologians and scientist has a practical effect (this is something you could have done).

            You did nothing wrong. I’m just saying that your work had more of an ‘in-house’ flavor to it. My fellow theists shouldn’t be picking fights with you when you’re not picking fights with them. Not that I have any idea what ideology or thought scheme that zzzzzing subscribes to, but I certainly wasn’t offended by the piece and I couldn’t see what the problem he had with it was.

            Still, I haven’t missed your overall message, and one thing that comes to my mind is this: If a nonexpert interferes in an expert’s field, he/she better do so modestly and he/she better have something intelligent to offer or credibility will descend fast. (Politeness might buy an ignoramous extra time, but rudeness AND ignorance . . .)

            I hope I connected well. Thanks for responding to me.

    • steve oberski
      April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      In what sense is:

      Where the likes of Dr. Hawking and every other respectable scientist start with an idea and move forward, working toward a viable theory by virtue of falsification, the theologian starts with a scripture-based conclusion and works backward from there, in a attempt at some sort of twisted reconciliation.

      an argument from authority ?

    • Kevin
      April 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      “Argument from authority” is only a logical fallacy if the authority in question is speaking on a topic that is not his specialty.

      Seriously, would claim that a physician who cites clinical trial evidence is using an argument from authority? And therefore deserves to have his treatment plan for you discounted in favor of a witch doctor shaking his bones?

      Think for just two seconds before you make such brain-dead posts in the future, please.

      • iknklast
        April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        I needed a good defense of authority today, after a weekend spent with creationists explaining to me (a biologist) how biology works (which apparently I don’t know, because I think it’s different than Genetsis).

        When we are ready to present evidence and experimentation, that is not necessarily an argument from authority. It’s an argument from evidence. And Hawking presents that where Al can see it, so he can evaluate it (to the extent of his knowledge, which might be a bit more limited than Hawking’s but still amenable to critical thinking). Therefore, it doesn’t have to be just authority.

        But if a creationist tells me, a biologist, that their Bible says this happened, then they are making an argument from authority – and a fallacy is being committed.

  2. freebird
    April 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    The argument from authority does matter; creationists use it all the time while simultaeously accusing us of it.

    For people who care about intellectual honesty, it matters. When a theologian like C.S. Lewis declares “the gates of hell are locked from the inside”, who is he to know and say? And yet he is quoted on that line to justify that people themselves choose to walk into hell while god looks on apathetically.

    Believers need to see the absurdity in exalting a person with a degree in theology by comparing it to someone with a degree in tooth fairyism.

  3. Pierce R. Butler
    April 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    … Richard McCarger, the much esteemed Dean at Logidia University …

    Wot the hell kind of PhD spells his alma mater’s name differently from how it’s printed on his diploma?

    • April 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      What kind of commentor spells what “Wot?”

      • evilDoug
        April 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        a fan of archy and mehitable?

        butwotthehell
        archy wotthehell
        its cheerio
        my deario that
        pulls a lady through

  4. April 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    “Theo|logical”: the one-word oxymoron.

  5. David Hart
    April 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    You listed general relativity and quantum field theory twice. Don’t let people accuse you of padding the list:-)
    #pedantry

    • F
      April 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Also included luminiferous aether, but it always helps to study why wrong ideas are wrong.

      • F
        April 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        How the heck did an extra set of /i tags get included?

  6. April 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Look up Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou at the University of Exeter. She did three amazing documentaries on the OT for the BBC. She happens to be an atheist and isn’t aftraid to mix it with conventional theologans.

    The author Tom Robbins also studied theology which I find amazing given his first novel, “Another Roadside Attraction” having a dead Jesus as one of the characters. Well worth a read, it taught me ‘the meaning of meaning’ at the tender age of seventeen.

    I am reading a collection of Hawking essays called, “Black Holes and Baby Universes”. It is partly autobiographical too. He was on the edge of reason twenty years ago.

    • kennypo65
      April 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

      I love that book, actually I love all of the Tom Robbins books that I have read. They are part of what lead me to being an atheist.

  7. smrnda
    April 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    to zzzing:

    There is a difference between arguments from authority and arguments from demonstrated competence.

    If I decide to listen to the advice of a doctor as oppposed to a ‘holistic practitioner’ or ‘faith healer’ I’m not really listening to my doctor because of her authority but because she went to college, went to medical school and studied medicine, and that the field ‘medicine’ uses the scientific method and has produced real, tangible results as far as health and wellness goes that are backed up by theories that have been developed through a systematic process of research and experimentation.

    So if my doctor proposes that I take a pill because of some symptoms, I can assume that she probably knows more about what I should do than someone who tells me that if I mediate in the presence of magic crystals the symptoms will go away.

  8. April 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Great post Al. It is frustrating to me when theists argue with science. I have blogged about it numerous times myself. The approach of science is credible. The approach of theology is not, as you point out. The idea that any theologian is qualified to argue with someone like Hawking on the finer points of cosmology and theoretical physics is just laughable to me.

    I read The Grand Design and found it quite interesting. I am not a cosmologist nor physicist and unlike theologians recognize I am not qualified to “pick it apart”. Does anyone know what type of peer reviews Hawking and Mlodinow have received for this work? If so, do you know where I can read them?

    • rapiddominance
      April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Perhaps it would be a bad idea to “pick it apart” publicly and aggressively; but you should feel free to question any of it that doesn’t SEEM right to you, look for answers, and raise your objections modestly if you continue to be concerned.

      • April 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

        I am not interesting in “picking apart” anything at the moment. I just am to curious if anyone knows how Hawking/Mlodinow’s theory has been received by their peers. I found it compelling, but as I previously stated am not a physicist.

    • timberwoof
      April 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

      Wikipedia’s entries about books generally have a section titled Critical Reactions. Here’s the one about The Grand Design. It seems like a good place to begin.

  9. rapiddominance
    April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    That said, if you are then able to discredit I.D. scientists then atheistic/materialistic scientists get the full run of the board. Intellectually speaking.

    The theologians don’t even matter.

    Its like having a chess peice that can’t be knocked off the board by your opponent.

    I’m not saying the notion of the essay is wrong. I’m just describing it in light of the greater context of the culture war.

  10. Buffy
    April 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    But these theologians really, really *believe*. And that Hawking guy is just one of those educated elitists. It’s obvious who wins here.

  11. Norman Lycan
    April 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Mr Staffani said:

    “Dr. Stephen Hawking, arguably one of the smartest human beings, alive or dead, declared that god did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.”

    Well, if you are in awe of his intelligence, then you would be much like the idiots in a church listening to some preacher telling the congregation that they have a special connection with the creator. You are being sucked into a religion. Hawking has nothing but theories, and can’t even prove them on a piece of paper, let alone a laboratory. So now he is your new god, a man, like the pharoah of Egypt. Not me, thank you.

    Mr. Steffani quoted Hawking: “Hawking stated that there exists a new series of theories that make a creator god redundant.” Well, there are reasons why they call it a theory, because there is real reason to believe it MIGHT be true, but, remain unproven. So plunge ahead, those who indulge in believing something unproven because it suits their point of view, most of the the planet does, it’s called, “religion”.

    Mr. Steffani said:

    “However, in my opinion, having a doctorate in theology is about as relevent as someone who has spent fifteen years in post-graduate education to understand the complexities of the Tooth Fairy, and should be taken just as seriously.”

    So, now you wish to earn a new credential preaching a different kind of unproven fairy tails, and like last time, it suits you to believe them without concrete proof. I love science, but, I don’t like it when theory is presented as fact. Can you please forgive me?

    NL

    • Makoto
      April 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      You do know the difference between the scientific use of the word theory and the regular English use of the word theory, right?

      • Dave The Sandman
        April 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

        No he doesn’t. As I have pointed out before, simple use of the Eugenie Scott NCSE Decoder Ring on Normans posts show they are littered with creationist buzz phrases,arguments and code words.

        Norman the “free thinker” seems to equate science with religion, and despte his denials the content of his posts clearly show this. The fact that he thinks Dr Hawking is peddling snake oil like some preacher is just one more proof of my concept. He is a dishonest trader, a troll, and a mosquito buzzing about the board till, like he has elsewhere on other blogs, he gets bored and seeks the next host to annoy.

        He may fool himself that he is a “free thinker”, but he can’t fool me….or you apparently 😉

  12. Rick Schauer
    April 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Another awesome post, Al. I think I’ve posted this link here before but http://criticalthinking.org provides all of us with intellectual standards that are sound, well-rounded and wholly support science which Hawking and other use to further our understanding of the universe. If we applying those standards we can see it is not only the theologians which need heckling – it is the educational institutions and accrediting agencies that should be heckled and chastised, too. These woo-agents simply have no standards to assess their level of educational idiocy and criticalthinking.org has the standards, all nicely packaged, to engage them with. Basically, they never ask questions or seek answers about the validity of that which they think and believe. And it must stop.

  13. JJ7212
    April 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Five of my best childhood friends have grown up to either be gay or have a doctorate in Theology. I, however, ended up in the Marines. It reminds me of that Johnny Cash song when he sings about not mixing politics with the folk songs of our land. Haha! Luckily we’re all still friends even though we have different ways of living. It’s a strange world sometimes. Personaly I share Al’s voice of reason. But, hey, after a good argument with friends, there’s nothing like sharing a beer and remaining friends no matter what we may disagree on. “All you need is love!” …on the lighter side of things.

  14. Rick Schauer
    April 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    And Norm @11, those standards are there for you, too, buddy! Please take a look because they apply here as well and I didn’t notice Al telling us we were going to be saved from Stephen Hawking, or where to send donations, or to pray and seek guidance from him – no, so I don’t know where your rant is coming from but to me it appears Al has some intellectual standards which are clear, precise, accurate, relevant, significant, logical and fair. I don’t see those same standards demonstrated in your post/rant.

    • Norman Lycan
      April 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      There was no rant. It a simple, logical, presentation of fact. While Mr. Steffani wants to present unproven theory as fact, I raised a valid objection. Theory is not fact, nor will it ever be, by scientific definition.

      You said::

      “I didn’t notice Al telling us we were going to be saved from Stephen Hawking, or where to send donations, or to pray and seek guidance from him ”

      Yes he did preach to you asking you to seek guidance from him. First he discredited those who had theology degrees. I have no problem with that, then he preached that Mr. Hawking is so smart that we should turn to him as the new god, even though none of his theories have even been proven in a laboritory. If that is enough for you, knock yourself out with your new religion. I need no part of it.

      NL

      • April 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        then he preached that Mr. Hawking is so smart that we should turn to him as the new god

        I suggested no such thing, Norman. As well, a theory is not a guess, or a hunch. It is the end result of the verification process of a hypothesis, and contains all the facts available to support it, and includes a built in falsification process. Please do not put words into my mouth, so to speak.

        And before you post another few hundred words about not knowing if the universe was created by accident or by design, understand that the point Dr. Hawking has made is that the existence and/or origin of the universe does not require a creator. Personally, I do not reason that a creator exists, nor do I reason that the universe was a product of intelligent design – in much the same fashion that I do not reason any fairy tale or myth to exist beyond the imagination.

        • Stevarious
          April 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

          Aw, Al, if you call him on his deliberate misunderstanding of what a theory is, he won’t be able to continue lying about science and pretending that you want us to worship Dr. Hawking! And then what will he troll about?

        • Norman Lycan
          April 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

          When people mispell or mispronounce my name, it a mild insult, a lack of polite recognition of your viability. I discoverered I have been mispelling your name from day one. I apologize. It will not happen again.

          Mr. Steffanelli said:

          “As well, a theory is not a guess, or a hunch. It is the end result of the verification process of a hypothesis, and contains all the facts available to support it, and includes a built in falsification process. Please do not put words into my mouth, so to speak.”

          I didn’t put any words in your mouth. You did. Your definition of “theory” is bullshit:

          “theory (n) – Bing Dictionary

          the·o·ry

          [ th əree ]

          1.rules and techniques: the body of rules, ideas, principles, and techniques that applies to a subject, especially when seen as distinct from actual practice
          2.speculation: abstract thought or contemplation
          3.idea formed by speculation: an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture

          If I propose that the big bang occurred when god committed suicide out of boredom. And that all matter is particles of god, and that his consciousness is returning as he lives through all life vicarioiusly. THAT IS A THEORY!!! Not a fact. Do you see the difference?

          We can all sit down and watch in wonder, when science creates a simple subatomic particle out of nothing. Until then, you are just as much theologian as those you criticize. I just cannot understand why it is so intellectually difficult for you just wait for the evidence to come in. It has no bearing on whether or not religion is bullshit. Learn the lesson of what liberated us from religion. Believe nothing that science cannot prove. It cannot steer you wrong.

          NL

      • Rick Schauer
        April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

        Norm, Norm, Norm… where does Al say: “then he preached that Mr. Hawking is so smart that we should turn to him as the new god, even though none of his theories have even been proven in a laboritory.” Where, Norm??????

        I didn’t notice any of that being said in Al’s post, Norm.

        Additionally, there is a great book by Peter Kosso called “Reading the Book of Nature” in which he gives an indepth look at theories, which you appear to dismiss with a wave of the hand, like germ theory, copernican theory, etc…you seem to fail at understanding the significance of theories, both good and bad, in science and Peter’s book is a good place to begin to understand YOUR deficiencies in THE UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE AND THEORIES.

        Finally, Norm, where is your theory of everything so that the entire scientific community gets behind you and builds a large hadron collider to find a higgs bosun? Point out something testable or even verifiable in your drivel that points us toward explaining how things work on the order of Stephen Hawking and what he and other physicists are grappling with. Oh right, like god, it doesn’t seem to exist…either that or you haven’t made it up yet.

        Norm, you have displayed your humble intellect and I find you have much to be humble about.

        • Norman Lycan
          April 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

          Don’t patronize me you idiot, because I am your intellectual superior. Here’s your puzzle to solve. Chemical science has proven you cannot create something out of nothing. Now go fuck yourself.

          NL

          • Tony
            April 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

            Norman:
            -You continue to labor under the misconception that it’s the responsibility of atheists to prove anything. It. Is. Not.
            Theists postulate YHWH as the creator of the universe. They have no proof.
            Looking around here at FtB, I haven’t seen anyone (note, I haven’t seen them, not that they don’t exist) contesting that unproven theory with their own explanation for the origin of the universe. I’ve seen people agreeing with the current level of scientific understanding of the universe. That’s not the same thing as atheists proving anything. It’s not the same as theists postulating another in a long line of completely unproven mythical (and mystical) deities.
            Atheism, on its own, *again* is nothing more than lack of a belief in a higher power. Once one decides they are an atheist, they can find many different avenues to explore a new belief system. I found humanism to be most appealing. I feel there is most likely a naturalistic explanation for how the universe was created. I don’t know *what* that explanation is (and as I’ve said, I don’t care much either). There is a naturalistic explanation for everything else that we know about the cosmos. There is no reason to believe some supernatural entity. Remember, this deity has zero proof to back up his existence beyond human imagination and not everything we can imagine is even theoretically possible. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster imagined SUPERMAN, but that doesn’t mean there is much chance that he exists. God is a needless “explanation” that doesn’t offer any ability to predict what will happen. It doesn’t help us understand anything about the nature of reality. Even *if* one were to be silly (not open minded; I’m open minded about possibilities that are rooted more in reality; god is rooted in fantasy) and believe that YHWH created the universe, that doesn’t explain anything. It’s not helpful in understanding how the universe works, how humanity “works”, or how anything in the future might be predicted now.
            God is a useless theory.
            Hell, God is useless speculation.
            According to the definitions you provided, the God theory is a theory in the sense that it is: an idea formed by speculation; an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture. That is not the same as a scientific theory. You chastised someone for patronizing you, and then called them an idiot. Yet your posts continue to show a lack of comprehension when it comes to how ‘theory’ is used in a scientific context. You confuse the definitions every single time I’ve seen you post anything about theories. Wikipedia has this to say:

            In modern contexts, while theories in the arts and philosophy may address ideas and empirical phenomena which are not easily measurable, in modern science the term “theory”, or “scientific theory” is generally understood to refer to a proposed explanation of empirical phenomena, made in a way consistent with scientific method.

            and the United States National Academy of Sciences says this:

            Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena

            As you can see, the word theory has a different meaning in different contexts. ‘Theory’ as used by scientists is *not* the same as any other definition.
            When Stephen Hawking proposes a theory about the subject matter he is *more* than qualified to speak about, he is speaking with authority. That doesn’t mean anyone should revere him or worship him (Al didn’t say that in any case). It means nothing more than he is qualified to offer informed opinions about a wide range of scientific topics.
            By contrast, a priest, bishop, cleric, pope, etc have *no* expertise that allows them to speak on any of the matters Dr Hawking can (and does). Their ‘expertise’ (such as it is) is nothing more than ‘we know a lot about this book written over the course of a few thousand years’. Sure many of them have studied and studied the bible, but it’s largely a work of fiction, and acquiring a degree in theology is about as useful as having a degree in Kryptonese (the language spoken on Superman’s birth planet, Krypton).

          • Stevarious
            April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

            Don’t patronize me you idiot, because I am your intellectual superior.

            Through your deliberate and willful ignorance of the definition of the word ‘theory’ in the context of scientific inquiry, you have repeatedly demonstrated that you are not the intellectual superior of anyone else who has posted on this thread. You’ve been corrected several times, and you continue to blather on like an idiot. Why shouldn’t you be patronized?

            Here’s your puzzle to solve. Chemical science has proven you cannot create something out of nothing.

            Quantum mechanics tells us that not only does something indeed come out of nothing, but that it is constantly doing so all around us. Look up Hawking Radiation and the Casimir Effect – unless you are afraid to discover how incredibly wrong you are. Surely you aren’t one of those tedious fellows that the OP is about? A theologian who thinks he’s smarter than Stephen Hawking? I mean, obviously you think you’re smarter than me but that’s no great feat – statistically, fully 2% of humanity is smarter than me (which is what, 140 million people?) and I don’t begrudge them the status one bit. But you sure have yet to demonstrate it. And if you can’t demonstrate that you’re smarter than me and the other schlubs posting on this little corner of the internet, why should I assume that you’re smarter than Stephen Hawking?

            But really, you’re incredibly wrong and it only takes a simple Google search to find out why. Why don’t you educate yourself, instead of pushing your stupid dogma and calling it freethought?

          • Rick Schauer
            April 21, 2012 at 8:36 am

            I don’t have the time to patronize you, asshat! You simply have no intellectual standards.

  15. Boz Haug
    April 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Al. I enjoyed the post as I always seem to do here.

    Could someone please tell me WTF “Systematic Theology” is? Because I’m feeling like I’m about to be overwhelmed by bull****.

  16. Tony
    April 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm


    Al:

    -I agree with you completely. I’ve been puzzled for some time at how people can have degrees in biblical scholarship. Being awarded a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree in what is essentially an unproven system of opinions should not be even comparable to degrees in *anything* that is part of reality. I can’t grasp how you can be an expert in imaginary creatures. Scratch that. I can imagine it, *IF* the expert realizes that the imaginary creatures are actually the product of man’s imagination (even with that, however, I don’t see how they should be awarded a degree in fictional character studies; expert, perhaps; *doctor*, no)

  17. Tony
    April 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm


    rapiddominance:

    That said, if you are then able to discredit I.D. scientists then atheistic/materialistic scientists get the full run of the board.

    -where do these Intelligent Design scientists dwell? Narnia? Asgard? Mt. Olympus? The homeworld of Xenu? Some parallel reality where atheism is a religion?
    Intelligent Design is entirely based on a supernatural presence. Anyone who claims to be an ID scientist is not a real scientist.
    _______________________________________________
    Norman:

    -I would say you may want to brush up on the definitions of “theory”.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theory?s=t
    1.
    a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.
    2.
    a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.
    3.
    Mathematics . a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4.
    the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5.
    a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles: conflicting theories of how children best learn to read.

    -The theories that are part of Dr Hawkings’ work fit into the first definition. No religious belief is comparable to this kind of theory. At best, it’s wild speculation based on no evidence.

    -in case you missed it before, his name is Al Stefanelli. You haven’t spelled it right in any post I’ve seen thus far.

    • rapiddominance
      April 17, 2012 at 2:21 am

      Intelligent Design is entirely based on a supernatural presence.

      I agree to the extent that it is motivated largely by a desire for a deity’s existence.

      Where I part ways is on the notion that ID must be tied to a supernatural deity. Perhaps they’re not being intellectually honest when they do this, but the Discovery Institute has at least conjectured that ID could have a materialistic alien origin. They’ve even managed to identify scientists of a more evolutionary materialistic persuasion who have openly speculated on that possibility.

      To be honest with you though, I don’t think that the Discovery team would be so enthusiastic in their pursuit if they thought it would lead to aliens. I mean, that’s some pretty scarey shit if you think about it. In fact, I seriously doubt that even the UFO community would feel comfortable with a massive flying saucer descending from the clouds.

      • John Morales
        April 17, 2012 at 8:00 am

        rapiddominance,

        Where I part ways is on the notion that ID must be tied to a supernatural deity.

        There is no must, only historical contingency (cf. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District)

        (It’s about as explanatory as panspermia, if vastly less parsimonious: at best it takes one step back in the causal chain, but really it’s hand-waving)

        • rapiddominance
          April 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

          Thanks for your help there. I’m not particularly good at evaluating and comparing scientific theories.

          But then, I wasn’t really doing that. I was only noting that you don’t have to believe in some deity to hold to an indelligent design perspective.

          I might have missed a boat or something. If I did, then thanks for at least trying to get me where I needed to go.

          • rapiddominance
            April 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

            “Intelligent” with a t.

            Two L’s though, right?

          • Tony
            April 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm

            You’re right that aliens could theoretically be the creators of humanity.
            That still doesn’t answer the question of ‘first cause’ that plagues believers (about the *only* thing I agree with Norman on is “I don’t know” as the answer for ‘how was the universe created’). Of course, there’s just as much evidence for aliens as there is for YHWH.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design
            Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, which defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”. The leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank, and believe the designer to be the Christian God.

            -It’s clear the PTB at the Discovery Institute don’t understand science and how to apply the scientific method.
            They can’t even explain *why* an intelligent cause is the best explanation for certain features of the universe. They just state it as if it’s a fact.

      • steve oberski
        April 17, 2012 at 9:58 am

        At some point in the process you have to introduce a supernatural deity otherwise you end up with infinite recursion trying to explain the aliens, who presumably are the result of material causes.

        So the aliens are just meant to hide the man behind the curtain, smoke and mirrors meant to divert our attention from the fact that of course ID is the creationist Bozo the Clown now dressed up in a lab coat.

        • rapiddominance
          April 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

          Unless such ‘aliens’ came about through an evolutionary process.

          Dr. Dawkins has speculated on this before (though, to be fair to him, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t strike him as a large possibility).

          • April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

            If life could arise spontaneously without the need for a creator somewhere else in the universe, then surely that counts as evidence that it could also have arisen spontaneously without the need for a creator here on Earth?

        • rapiddominance
          April 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

          Woe! I missed you on that. Sorry. My mistake.

          Still, why must a theory of life on earth be tied to life elsewhere?

          Don’t get me wrong; if we ever found out that aliens designed us then I suppose we would want to study them, too. But I don’t see where this endless procession becomes necessary except out of curiosity.

          I THINK I got where you were coming from.

          • steve oberski
            April 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

            I’m neutral on the alien hypothesis, I don’t have enough information. I would add that without any evidence it seems to violate Occam’s razor by making unnecessary assumptions, given that we seem to have a number of hypotheses for abiogenesis such as RNA world, clay hypotheses etc. that may eventually result in an explanation for how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes.

            My point is that when the IDiots claim that their “designer” is not supernatural and allude to a superior race being the designer then the IDiots now have the problem of explaining a material designer (i.e. aliens) and run into problem of infinite regress which can only be terminated by the introduction of a supernatural designer (i.e. god), or if they were honest, admitting that they are just full of shit from the get go and are actually trying to advance a religious agenda under the guise of pseudoscience.

  18. concernedjoe
    April 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Norm as pointed out get the usage of theory (as in science) right. I know lots of sciency publications misuse the term but in the context of your criticism of Al its misuse spoke volumes.

    Actually I know you know better. You are no dummy (said without sarcasm).

    Hawking has a lot of work that justifies his hypothesis. Do not read this as PROVES his hypothesis. The postulation is “no god seems necessary based on alternative ways that seem to be emerging and becoming more clear”.

    If you or some other expert like Dr. Hawking has a competing postulation with a justifiable hypothesis that says “it seems gods are necessary” then there are scientific ways of thrashing it out. I am sure Dr. Hawking is amenable to an honest and rational by the rules scientific debate.

    Now to the point: are you saying Dr. Hawking has unjustifiably self-elevated his work to a scientific Theory (note capital T)? Are you saying he lacks reasonable justification for the mere hypothesis? Are you saying the basic premise (no god seems necessary) is apriori wrong?

    Actually I do in the abstract appreciate your warnings – in a very general sense. What I feel is that your critical energies are misused herein.

  19. April 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I think it’s rather funny that so many of my fellow atheists have no idea what the logical fallacies are that they accuse others of making.

    The “argument from authority” was not committed in this blog, nor was the “ad hominem.”

    Learn the arguments before tossing them at others.

    • Tony
      April 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm


      Blair Scott:

      I think it’s rather funny that so many of my fellow atheists have no idea what the logical fallacies are that they accuse others of making.

      -I can’t say I’m surprised. Just being an atheist doesn’t mean one automatically understands the various logical fallacies in arguing.

  20. April 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Don’t feed the trolls, Al. It’s always a waste of time and effort. Since many nonscientists have little or no comprehension of how science really works, all sorts of balderdash is pumped out about science in the world of blogs and discussion boards.

    Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!!

    And when is NL going to learn your name isn’t Steffani? Pitiful …

    • April 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Dunno, Chuck. It’s not like my last name is hard to find on this blog.

      • steve oberski
        April 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        And you would think that someone as accomplished in cut & paste as NL could do the same with your name, as you say it’s right there at the top of the page.

  21. Ray Moscow
    April 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I pretty much agree with you about Hawking’s intelligence vs that of most churchmen and theologians, but being smart doesn’t make him right. Being right makes him right, right?

  22. JJ7212
    April 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Perhaps we shouldn’t forget the meat and potatoes of Al’s post. It’s less about Stephen Hawking and more about the worthlessness of a preacher’s opinion. Dr. Hawking has a proven credibility, not authority, to say what he says. Preachers have no credibility and no authority and should be ignored and/or ridiculed for their promotion of ignorance to the masses. Not much of a debate, really.

    What I like about Mr Stefanelli is his subject material and his reasonable perspectives based on his experiences. I happen to agree with most of what he says, but mostly I enjoy Al’s writing style. His mix of perspective and writing style is top notch, in my opinion.

    Thank you for all you do, Al! It’s appreciated!

  23. Norman Lycan
    April 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    No intelligent person needs to debate about Jesus or Zeus, or any other god. But, you idiots preach at each other about it, baby toys. You congratulate each other for a logical strike against the other side, only it was only heard by you. No one else is listening. And when someone enters the arena with a different perspective, he is a disease to be purged. And while there are several reasons why you are weak, the most important reason is that you think you own freethought. In fact, you don’t even belong.

    I think atheists are a waste of time. Intolerent, arrogant, and the answer to the human condition is beyond their understanding. I apologize for wasting your time slinging pearls before swine.

    NL

    • Tony
      April 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Norman:
      -I’m amazed you were able to type that post without breaking down and realizing how massively stupid it is.
      I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time with this (for the 5000th time), but here goes:

      No intelligent person needs to debate about Jesus or Zeus, or any other god.

      -Right from the jump, you make assumptions about how you feel others should or shouldn’t act. You’re not opening well. Given that people around the world wrap their beliefs up in Jesus and Yahweh, and those beliefs affect the lives of others tremendously (and more often than not, detrimentally), debating their existence in an attempt to persuade believers out of their beliefs is *incredibly* important. In case you don’t know of the ways religion can harm people:
      1 The raping of children by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church
      2 The protection of child rapists by the RCC
      3 The theft and selling of children by the RCC
      4 Warfare in the Middle East and Ireland (just to name the first two off the top of my head); yes I know they aren’t warring due to religion *alone*, but it is a tremendous component
      5 Introduction of legislation to allow creationism to be taught in schools, despite that having no scientific credibility
      6 Corporal punishment (which sadly, can and does end in the deaths of children)
      7 The Crusades
      8 Witch Trials
      9 Subjugation and degradation of women
      10 Discrimination, bigotry and murder of homosexuals

      These are just the first 10 things off the top of my head. There are far more examples of the dangers of religion. Any one of these dangers would be sufficient cause to heavily criticize religion. Given that all the benefits of religion can be had without the supernaturalistic elements, there is *no* reason humanity needs to continue having religious beliefs.

      But, you idiots preach at each other about it, baby toys.

      -As far as I can see, we aren’t *preaching* at anyone. If you interpret conversations that way, it says more about your thought processes than ours.
      Why you’re even here given that you consider us ‘idiots’ and you’re the enlightened one (I still can’t believe you call *us* arrogant) is beyond me.

      You congratulate each other for a logical strike against the other side, only it was only heard by you.

      -You don’t actually know that. This would be you ‘theorizing’ (using the definition involving speculation).

      And when someone enters the arena with a different perspective, he is a disease to be purged.

      -How often do you use this persecution complex in real life? If you’re speaking of yourself, you haven’t given us a cohesive ‘different perspective’. You’ve tossed around assertions like “prove the universe came from nothing”, all while several of us have stated that we don’t have to prove anything because we’re not making an assertion. We’re stating that the arguments of believers are without merit. Not offering our replacement ideas.
      You have yet to tell us why you’re such a spectacular freethinker. You’ve continued to misuse terms in such a staggering way, yet still cling to the notion that you’re superior to us. And then call us arrogant.

      And while there are several reasons why you are weak, the most important reason is that you think you own freethought. In fact, you don’t even belong.

      -Since we don’t belong, I guess you’re an expert on freethought. Please, enlighten us: what is freethought? How are we doing it wrong? How are you doing it right?
      Then you can explain where anyone has stated anything like “I own freethought”.

      I think atheists are a waste of time. Intolerent, arrogant, and the answer to the human condition is beyond their understanding. I apologize for wasting your time slinging pearls before swine.

      -Hey, that’s your opinion. One that’s not informed by a reasoned, intelligent, logical hypothesis.
      You haven’t slung *any* pearls our way.
      You still haven’t adequately explained your position on pretty much anything.
      All I’ve gotten out of the vast majority of your posts:
      1 atheists are arrogant
      2 atheists should be open minded about the possibility of a creator deity
      3 atheists need to prove the universe was created through chemical reactions (or out of nothing)
      4 you think you’re a freethinker
      You’ve presented nothing of substance to give anyone an idea of what the heck you believe. Yet you try to present yourself as an intellectual, telling myself and others that you’re so much smarter than the rest of us. Or that you’d trounce us in a debate. You haven’t brought any evidence to support anything you’ve said. I fail to see how you could win an argument with a 5 year old, let alone many of the people here. I don’t include myself in that, because it’s for others to decide whether or not I’m an effective debater. I’m not arrogant and conceited enough to believe I can destroy-through debating-anyone who hasn’t even clearly established their beliefs and opinions (and who doesn’t even know how to search for the definitions of words he uses).

      Oh, and thanks for calling me an idiot (another word you must have a different definition of than many of us).

      I will say you are a different kind of troll than the few I’ve seen in my time here at FtB.

      • Rick Schauer
        April 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

        Spot on, Tony.

  24. jakc
    April 18, 2012 at 12:26 am

    But see Hawking’s whole theory is wrong because there is no gravity, only intelligent falling. (you’re welcome Norman L)

  25. kennypo65
    April 18, 2012 at 7:36 am

    ” The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing and admits no conclusion.”-Thomas Paine

  26. Statistician
    April 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

    The only thing you have demonstrated with your post (as with every other post you write) is your lack of native intelligence. There are mathematicians and physicists who disagree with Hawking’s claim. Moreover, theology is important. Incidentally, I write this as a statistician who exists way above your intellectual pay grade.

    • steve oberski
      April 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Is that you Norman ?

  27. Dave The Sandman
    April 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

    When I hear the word Theologist the one phrase that comes to mind is “even intellectual pygmies cast long shadows at sunset”.

    A scientist looks at a pin and measures it, quantifies it, explains how and why it came to be, and possibly suggests improvements that can be made, proposing new designs for “pin v2.0” and ways to model and test these.

    The Theologists sit there and argue how many angels dance on its head.

    Im just happy the UK govt is busy defunding university theology departments out of existance.

  28. KingUber
    April 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Luminiferous aether – they teach a class on old debunked theories like this?

  29. Norman Lycan
    April 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Let’s put the whole astro-physics theories to rest. And arithmatic for grade schoolers. Einstein had his “Theory of a Static Universe”, which he later admitted it was bullshit. So much for your idea of what a scientific “theory” is. Now, we have idiots saying, no his theory that was right, there’s dark energy forcing our universe apart. IDIOTS!!! All you have to do is sit down with a piece of paper and put a dot in the center. We’ll call it the epicenter of the big bang. Now draw arrows as geometric rays in all directions. You don’t even have to take into account that an explosion loses energy as it expends it’s fuel, to plot your self at any point on those rays you must UNDENIABLY admit that it will always be true that the object furthest from you will have the highest velocity away from you. Yet, missing this point, astrophysicists want to sell us “dark energy” which cannot be detected or measured, but moves entire galaxies. That’s not science, it’s religion, and you are brainwashed dupes.

    And they look at distant galaxies, and while I respect the method of measuring distance to it by triangulating from Earth at opposit tangents of orbit, they measure the mass of a galaxy by how much light it emits. Ridiculous. They have no clue whatsoever as to how many nebulae, refracting gas clouds, asteroid belts that light has penetrated in order to arrive at earth. Then they use red shift analysis of the light to determine how fast the galaxy is rotating. Then they do their numbers and conclude that a galaxy of that mass would fly apart by centrigugal force if something ghostly like, “dark matter” wasn’t present. god forbid that their wild speculation about the mass of a galaxy was erroneous, if not irrelevent, they go in search of “dark matter” which also is undetectable, yet exerts tremendous influence upon the universe. I can’t believe you people adopt this crap like it’s truth, and it didn’t even come with an afterlife.

    In 1922, a photograph was taken from Australian, that suppossedly proved Eistein’s Theory of Relativity. Stars, blocked by the sun were visible in the photograph. That’s interesting, but proves absolutely nothing, because I see the sun coming up every morning, long before it arises. It’s not relativity, it refraction of light in gas, particularly in hot gas (mirage) and of course there is no heat on the sun. And nothing has change since.

    Go worship at your alter of “theory”, and imagine you will win the open minded intelligent world, but, I predict you won’t until you abandon your religion. My final wasted pearl.

    NL

    • Stevarious
      April 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Oh man, you are hiLARious.

      So not only are you smarter than us, but you’re smarter than ALL SCIENTISTS EVERYWHERE??

      I’m sorry, I completely lost my shit when you said that you disproved the theory of relativity because you can see the pre-dawn light. I don’t know which is funnier, that you actually think that you are just super-brilliant, or that you expect us to think so too after you demonstrate just how badly you don’t understand science! You are SO painfully willfully ignorant that you’re not even wrong.

      I’m bored so I’ll pick you apart a bit.

      Einstein had his “Theory of a Static Universe”, which he later admitted it was bullshit. So much for your idea of what a scientific “theory” is.

      Ah yes, because scientists can be wrong obviously science is a religion. Oh, wait, no, that’s completely backwards. Every scientist worth hir salt knows that all scientific conclusions are subject to revision when new data presents itself. That would be the difference between science and religion – religion never changes, always clinging fast to the old dogma. Science is constantly changing as new data is discovered.
      But here’s the kicker – you have to actually discover new data that disproves a theory. Do you have some actual scientific observations that disprove Relativity? If so, there’s a Nobel prize waiting for you!

      The sad part is that you have undoubtedly been explained this before, yet you’re going to go forth and continue to spew all over the internet that ‘atheists hold scientific discoveries like religious dogma!!1!1!!eleventy!1!’ even though we don’t and have told you so repeatedly.

      Yet, missing this point, astrophysicists want to sell us “dark energy” which cannot be detected or measured, but moves entire galaxies.

      Barring the fact that you clearly don’t understand this subject at all, the observation is not that the ‘objects furthest from the center have the highest velocity’. The observation is that the objects furthest from the center are actually accelerating as they get farther apart. Dark energy is the commonly accepted hypothesis to explain this phenomenon – no one calls it a theory and only you call it a religion. Idiot.

      they measure the mass of a galaxy by how much light it emits.

      Oh man, you sure got science there. They whole of astrophysics, overturned by your observation.

      Oh wait, you’re stupid and wrong. First they do all that stuff. THEN they use gravitational lensing to check their work. (I’ll wait while you google that. Go ahead, don’t mind me! Oh, you’re not going to? You prefer your own ignorance? Fine then… oh wait, there you go. Yes, yes, the wikipedia entry is particularly informative, isn’t it? Be sure to check the references, you know how crazy kids like to screw with wikipedia’s links. Done now? Okay, lets continue.)

      They compare these results to each other to see how accurate they are. If they use different unrelated methods to measure the mass of a galaxy, what are the odds that they are not just completely flawed, but flawed in the exact same way as to give the exact same answer? Over and over and over again, for dozens of galaxies?

      Then they do their numbers and conclude that a galaxy of that mass would fly apart by centrigugal force if something ghostly like, “dark matter” wasn’t present

      Have you actually seen those numbers? I bet if you can point out the flaws in those numbers, there will be another Nobel prize waiting for you! Come on, this should be trivial for a genius of your caliber! Why are you throwing away your beautiful beautiful pearls of knowledge in this corner of the internet when fame and fortune awaits?! Come on, genius, get to it! Hurry before the second smartest person in the world figures out all your secrets and publishes before you do, he’ll get all the credit!

      undetectable, yet exerts tremendous influence upon the universe.

      If it was undetectable, how is it that we know about it? Oh, right, the tremendous influence it has on the universe. It would, in fact, be that selfsame tremendous influence that it has upon the universe that makes it detectable. But, once again (I sure get tired of repeating myself) if you can demonstrate where the scientists have gotten it wrong, a Nobel prize awaits. Science isn’t some happy-fun-time religious kindergarten. Science rewards results and nothing else. If you’ve got the goods, go make your fortune. Oh, wait, you can’t, because all you’ve got is bullshit.

      I can’t believe you people adopt this crap like it’s truth, and it didn’t even come with an afterlife.

      Look, child. Dark matter and dark energy are hypotheses. They are not even theories. But they have more credibility than you. Those of us who are actually interested in learning about the universe await with bated breath more information about these things. I would genuinely love for scientists to discover in my lifetime either what dark matter actually is. OR discover what it isn’t. OR discover that it isn’t so, and we were wrong about all sorts of things. THAT is what makes science amazing, the fact that we don’t know and that we could discover new things at any moment – indeed, that we DO discover new things on a daily basis!

      But idiots like yourself, that are incapable of any sort of mental subtlety, seem to think that there are only two states of acceptance of knowledge – either full rejection, or full and complete dogmatic acceptance, which is worshiped like a religion.
      Genuinely intelligent people (like, you know, scientists) are capable of understanding that there are different levels of tentatively accepting ideas as possibly or probably true, but not certain, depending on the amount of evidence. Dark matter and dark energy are in that realm – they are hypotheses that explain certain phenomena that are repeatedly observed, and tentatively accepted as possibly or probably true but dependent on future observations for confirmation or rejection.
      The fact that you clearly don’t understand this makes you stupid, BTW.

      In 1922, a photograph was taken from Australian, that suppossedly proved Eistein’s Theory of Relativity. Stars, blocked by the sun were visible in the photograph. That’s interesting, but proves absolutely nothing, because I see the sun coming up every morning, long before it arises. It’s not relativity, it refraction of light in gas, particularly in hot gas (mirage) and of course there is no heat on the sun.

      Bwaahaaaahaahahaah I had to quote this again because the sheer amount of willful, concentrated ignorance in this paragraph is just too funny. Do you REALLY think that this was the ONLY confirmation of relativity that we’ve ever had. Do you really, honestly think that you are this much smarter than Einstein? Really?

      And nothing has change since.

      Oh wow, you do believe it. You really do. You think that there hasn’t been a single observation to confirm relativity since 1922. I am flabbergasted that you could be THIS ignorant and stupid and still be able to turn on a computer and spew this idiocy on the internet.

      Pearl necklace is right. Go do your mental masturbation act somewhere else, child. You’ve demonstrated to us without a doubt that you’re as clueless as a newborn goat.

      • Norman Lycan
        April 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Stev said:

        “Every scientist worth hir salt knows that all scientific conclusions are subject to revision when new data presents itself.”

        Thank you, that is an admission that a theory is just that, a theory. I you believe it before it proven in a laboratory, that religion.

        He also said:

        “But here’s the kicker – you have to actually discover new data that disproves a theory.”

        Bullshit, a theory is something that is formed with good reason to believe it might be true. Then it is the responsibility of the scientific team to engineer tests to prove or disprove it. If it was our responsibility to disprove myth, religion would forever remain king. That was a retarded thing to even imply.

        Oh, yes, gravitational lensing. That is where you apply Einsteins Theory of relativity and correct all the lies the visual image is telling you. As to say, don’t believe what you see, distort it until it tells the story you want to hear. LOL.

        That’s not religion?

        wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_lens

        A gravitational lens refers to a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant source (a background galaxy) and an observer, that is capable of bending (lensing) the light from the source, as it travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing and is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

        So we take an unproven bullshit theory and use it to prove the next one. That’s not religion????

        Now while I am no astrophysicist, I am a recovering fundie, and I know and feel the signs of smoke being blown up my ass. I am also a very intelligent person, and a skeptic. Atheists believe anything that supports their point of view, that’s religion. I believe nothing until it is proven by science, that’s freethought. That makes you religion. That makes me a freethinker. Come join me.

        NL

        • Stevarious
          April 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm

          Look. You ridiculous moron. You once again demonstrate that you have no comprehension of degrees of confidence. You once again demonstrate that you are incapable of seeing things in anything but black and white. I realize that you are not going to be able to wrap your brain around how and why this makes you incredibly stupid and incompetent to discuss or criticize Einstein’s work – but I’ll try and get through to you one more time.

          Thank you, that is an admission that a theory is just that, a theory. I you believe it before it proven in a laboratory, that religion.

          The theory is the highest level of confidence in science. There is no such thing as ‘just’ a theory in science. Gravity? A theory. Germs? A theory. Are you saying you don’t believe in gravity or germs because they are ‘just a theory’? Relativity is on the exact same level.

          The Theory of Relativity is one of the most settled sciences we have. It’s stood up to all sorts of attempts to disprove it, and every attempt has only served to strengthen the confidence by which we can accept it as true.

          When a theory – that is, an established and accepted framework that explains repeated phenomena with a high degree of confidence – has stood up to huge amounts of criticism and attempts to disprove it, and has become accepted science, you have to demonstrate that it’s wrong. Why? Because it’s been demonstrated as right as it can be already.
          Yes, science changes. Yes, on very rare occasion, established theories are overturned. This becomes less and less common as our ability to examine the universe around us become more and more refined. We, as humans, are getting better and better at it.

          Here are over a hundred attempts, over the last 90 years, of scientists to criticize or disprove the theory of relativity. Every single one has failed. Every single one has only served to further demonstrate that Einstein was right and you are a moron. You sit there like a child and think that the only time anyone ever tested this was with some pictures 90 years ago, and you have no comprehension of the current state of scientific inquiry, yet (again like a child) you think your opinion on the matter is somehow valid or interesting. Child.

          If it was our responsibility to disprove myth, religion would forever remain king.

          You are exactly correct. Myth has exactly zero proof. Religion has exactly zero evidence. When you have zero evidence for a proposition, then the burden is upon you to prove that it’s true.
          Relativity has 90 years of solid, settles science behind it. It is as certain as the ground beneath my feet. Could it be wrong? Sure, and the ground beneath my feet could be a delusion as I lie in bed hallucinating in the throes of some fever-dream as I die of brain eating viruses. However, it’s not very likely – and that’s why scientists talk about confidence instead of proof. In the strictest sense, the only people who can talk about ‘proving’ something is mathematicians. Everyone else has doubt. And so we can say that the Theory of Relativity is as true as anything outside of math. Does that make it proven? No. But it’s still settled science, and if you want to make claims about it being bunk, you’ve got many years of study ahead of you before your Nobel prize can be yours.

          Just want to sit in ignorance and claim it’s bunk just because you don’t understand it? Be my guest. But at least be honest that that’s what you’re doing – being so arrogant as to declare that anything you don’t understand isn’t true.

          Still think that science is religion? Well, the main difference between science and religion is the results. If relativity weren’t true, our system of GPS satellites would not work, because they are built and programmed under the assumption that relativity is true. And guess what? They work. If relativity wasn’t true? They would not work. Shithead.

          I am also a very intelligent person, and a skeptic.

          The latter may well be true. The former you have conclusively demonstrated to be false.

          Atheists believe anything that supports their point of view, that’s religion.

          That’s not even a little bit true. There’s plenty of things that I believe that don’t support my supposed worldview (for instance, the demonstrated fact that prayer actually does grant a moral bonus on saving throws vs disease), and plenty of things that would support my worldview that I don’t believe (like the unfortunately common meme that Einstein was an atheist – he was not, he was more of a Deist or a Pantheist). As I’m an atheist, we can now say with confidence that not all atheists act in this way. Do some? Perhaps. But that’s what happens when you paint with too broad a brush – you get to be wrong, like a moron.

          I believe nothing until it is proven by science, that’s freethought.

          I find that hard to believe, seeing as how science does not deal in proof. Can you name a thing in science that has been proven with 100% certainty? No? That’s because nothing in science is 100% certain. Plenty of things (like gravity and germs and evolution and relativity) have a 99.9999999…% chance of certainty. But once again, no one who actually understands science is going to stand on 100% certainty, or ‘proof’.

          • Stevarious
            April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm

            *morale

      • Tony
        April 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

        Stevarious:
        -Would you like to take the baton? You bypassed the politeness (rightfully so) with which I engaged the idiot with in the beginning. As I’ve tired of being polite to him, I figure someone has to take up the weary mantle (there can be only ONE). Plus, you’re more eloquent than I am (maybe that’s what I’m missing; I figured links to dictionaries and wikipedia would suffice to educate him), so watching you make mincemeat of him will be quite enjoyable.
        No?
        How about a bottle of Crown with it?

        • Stevarious
          April 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

          A bottle of Crown will do nicely!

    • Friendly
      April 19, 2012 at 2:27 am

      My final wasted pearl.

      If only it were. But you’ll be back, railing away at the next post that excites your indignation, to as much ridicule and as little effect as ever. Not sure why you keep doing this, except maybe that it makes you feel good to continually assert your superiority over everyone else.

    • April 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

      “Norman Lycan?” Seriously? Is that your real name, or are you actually stupid enough to think that giving yourself a handle that means “werewolf” makes you sound credible?

      Oh, and you misspelled “altar.” Just two of the superficial stupidities that manage to hint at, while distracting from, your fundamental stupidity.

  30. JJ7212
    April 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    More like a pearl necklace. lol

    • Tony
      April 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

      A pearl necklace (don’t care if it’s the jewelry, or the semen thingee) is more entertaining than Captain Pompous Lycan. After that last post, I’m done. It’s clear he’s going to continue in his dogmatic religious beliefs, his lack of intelligence, his too-big- for-any-human’s-head arrogance, his superiority complex, and his complete inability to read a dictionary (as of this writing, he *still* doesn’t know what ‘theory’ or ‘freethinker’ means). I give up on the troll. Trying to converse with someone like that who believes he’s right about everything has proven fruitless.

      • Norman Lycan
        April 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

        Of course, atheists are open minded, and the agnostic viewpoint is welcomed, and while you strive to believe in theory, someone who withholds judgement until the facts are in is the fool. You are obviously not intelligent enough to appreciate that irony. That’s why you are a waste of time, and have no handle on the answer to the human condition. But, good luck with your new religion.

        NL

  31. Ethan Asius
    April 20, 2012 at 2:46 am

    You guys are funny. “Some” of you believe there are 26 dimensions,(some 11) yet you don’t believe there that spirit, what is integral to Christianity, exists. How you scientifically prove without a shadow of a doubt that there are 26 dimensions baffles my theological mind, but then again scientists can think in abstract. GOD in my view, can exist where He pleases, and if it is in abstract, so be it.

    The author makes fun of classes that are found in a master’s program at a seminary, not doctoral seminars. What you fail to mention also is that theologians also deal in philosophy. Some of the greatest philosophers in history were theologians.

    • Stevarious
      April 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      “Some” of you believe there are 26 dimensions,(some 11) yet you don’t believe there that spirit, what is integral to Christianity, exists.

      Hey look, another moron who thinks in black and white.

      The 11 or 26 dimensions suggested by string theory are hypotheses. At most, some people believe that they might exist. I realize, as a religious person, that you have no grasp of subtlety or nuance or degrees of confidence, so I don’t expect you to understand that there is a difference between believing that something DOES exist (because evidence confirms it’s existence with an extremely high level of confidence – ie, germ theory or evolution), believing that something MIGHT exist (because there is some evidence that suggests it’s existence with a low level of confidence, such as the 11 or 26 dimensions of the extremely controversial string theory), and not believing that a thing exists because no one has ever provided evidence to even suggest that it might (such as the soul).

      I don’t believe in the soul because there is no evidence it exists (unlike evolution), it has no explanatory power (unlike the 11 or 26 dimensions of string theory), and the only purpose it serves is to fill a plot hole in several different ancient myths.

      What you fail to mention also is that theologians also deal in philosophy. Some of the greatest philosophers in history were theologians.

      Some of the greatest artists, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers were religious too. That doesn’t mean a damn thing. People are fully capable of being brilliant in one area and completely wrong in another. Theology and philosophy are two very different subjects – skill in one does not even suggest skill in the other. And the fact that your classes on theology and philosophy are “infected with religious indoctrination and ride on a hovercraft of superstition” (from the OP) is true still stands.

      GOD in my view, can exist where He pleases, and if it is in abstract, so be it.

      Hee hee hee this is so stupidly funny that I can’t help but laugh. I, too, believe that your god exists in the abstract. That it, he exists only in the mind of his believers. Of course, that means that once all his believers are gone, he will be too – which is his inevitable fate.

  32. Norman Lycan
    April 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Stevo said:

    “Look. You ridiculous moron. You once again demonstrate that you have no comprehension of degrees of confidence. You once again demonstrate that you are incapable of seeing things in anything but black and white.”

    Look. You ridiculous moron, religion is black and white. Either you believe in something unproven by science, like god, or you don’t. If you believe, you have “faith”, which makes you a fundie in a neo-religion. Or you can assume nothing unproven, then you are a freethinker and a skeptic. How many degrees of confidence to fundamentalist Christians have in their bible?

    You said: “The theory is the highest level of confidence in science. There is no such thing as ‘just’ a theory in science. Gravity? A theory. Germs? A theory. Are you saying you don’t believe in gravity or germs because they are ‘just a theory’? Relativity is on the exact same level.”

    Well, you ridiculous moron, gravity is proven, when you lose grip on something, and it hits the floor. Germs are proven when we observe them under microscopes, map their DNA, study what they do and what controls them. That is proven science, but, that was not what we we talking about was it? It was about whether or not a cadre of psuedo intellectuals are insuring their job security by inventing new theories about origin. Interestingly, soon after I came here, Al Steffanelli asked me why I am so obsessed with origin. Simple answer, because he is, and so are you. Origin without a supreme being, we are just a whisker away from proving it,right? You don’t have to, if you believe theory. Hawking is god, and Jesus is the son of god. I buy into neither leap of faith. You won’t be selling your religion to me.

    NL

  33. Norman Lycan
    April 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Stevo said:

    “Some of the greatest artists, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers were religious too. That doesn’t mean a damn thing. People are fully capable of being brilliant in one area and completely wrong in another.”

    Since you are an obnoxious opionated idiot, does that mean everything you say is irrellevent? Isaac Newton, who proposed gravity, spent his waning years searching the bible for the secret date of “Armeggedon”. He thought it was hidden somewhere inside the text for the faithful to find, even though the test says “No one, not even the son of man, know the day or the hour”.

    It’s great to be a fan of science, it boggles my mind the hurdles they have overcome.

  34. Norman Lycan
    April 20, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Mr. Steffanelli,

    You have spoken of your dream that freethinkers unite and change the political scene. I have been contributing here for a while, and while I was encouraged by the responses of a few contributers that the idea that all babies are atheists, which is bullshit, since, it’s the same old crap. Atheists think they are intellectually above the rest of the world, because they believe there is no god, and the universe is an accident. Neither of which they can prove, but yet they believe.

    I am not an atheist, my freethought doesn’t allow such reckless assumption. But, I thought, maybe among your ranks were some like me, skeptics, unwilling to join your new religion. Despite earlier indications, it’s apparently a dry well. There are no real freethinkers here, or at least none that have the interest or courage to express it.

    But, your dream of uniting freethinkers is also a dry well, for the same exact reason. So good luck with that.

    NL

    • Rick Schauer
      April 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

      NORM DA ASSHAT said
      “Atheists think they are intellectually above the rest of the world, because they believe there is no god, and the universe is an accident. Neither of which they can prove, but yet they believe.”

      Please Mr. ASSHAT, prove your intellectual superiority now by telling us how it went down…the universe wasn’t an accident? OMFSM

      “There are the laws of physics and after that everthing else is opinion.” (N.D. Tyson)

      • Norman Lycan
        April 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Rick Shitferb Rains said:

        Rick Clueless said this:

        “Please Mr. ASSHAT, prove your intellectual superiority now by telling us how it went down…the universe wasn’t an accident?”

        I like asshats above lowcut jeans on hot girls. Thanks for the complimentary comparison. But, while I am intellectually superior to you, I cannot prove that by putting forth a different theory about how it all happened. Because I am intelligent enough to form no opinion about it until the evidence is in. Do you understand that concept? Me freethinker, you mutant fundie.

        NL

        • Rick Schauer
          April 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

          NORM, THE GREATEST ASSHAT ON PLANET EARTH, said:

          “But, while I am intellectually superior to you, I cannot prove that…”

          Yeah, ok, ASSHAT.

          – case closed –

          Next!

    • Stevarious
      April 22, 2012 at 12:47 am

      You know, it’s becoming more and more obvious that you are a waste of time, but I’ll give it one more try. Maybe try reading for comprehension this time, though.

      religion is black and white. Either you believe in something unproven by science, like god, or you don’t.

      Well, no, very very few things are black and white, even belief and faith. Even fundamentalists will have different levels of belief about different aspects of their religion, and the levels of those beliefs will vary from year to year or even day to day. This immunity to nuance you seem to possess is actually quite rare.

      If you believe, you have “faith”, which makes you a fundie in a neo-religion.

      A fundamentalist (you might discover if you were actually curious about actual definitions of things instead of just making them up as you seem to do) is characterized by adherence to a particular set of dogma, despite the lack of evidence or even in the presence of evidence to the contrary.
      This label does not apply to atheists in general, as most are quite willing to change their minds on a subject when evidence presents. That’s quite a claim, however, it’s solidly evidenced in that that is how most of them became atheists in the first place.

      Or you can assume nothing unproven, then you are a freethinker and a skeptic.

      Well, that would be me then. I assume nothing, I (try to) only hold believes that are justified by evidence. It seems I’ve just spent a lot more time actually looking at the evidence, instead of just assuming that anything I don’t understand at first glance can’t be true (like a certain idiot I know who’s watched Underworld too many times).

      How many degrees of confidence to fundamentalist Christians have in their bible?

      Quite a few, sometimes from chapter to chapter or verse to verse. After all, how many christians do you think actually believe that people who work on Sunday should be executed? It’s in the bible as an unbreakable commandment, written in stone by the finger of god himself, and yet…

      I am not an atheist, my freethought doesn’t allow such reckless assumption.

      You are not an atheist? So you believe in a god? What is your evidence for the existence of a god?

      You see, an atheist is just a person who does not believe that a god exists. There is no ‘assumption’ involved, only the lack of belief in a thing that has not been demonstrated to exist. This is not the same as a person who believes, with certainty, that a god definitely does not exist. The only way you can be ‘not an atheist’ is if you believe in a god. So which god do you believe in and why?

      Atheists think they are intellectually above the rest of the world, because they believe there is no god, and the universe is an accident

      A rather tiresome lie that has been addressed more times than I can count on the internet in general – so much so that I find it hard to believe that you have not been corrected on this point before – but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are just very new to the internet. Atheists lack a belief in god. A great many atheists also claim, with certainty, that individual examples of gods, such as the god most christians believe in, cannot and does not exist. This is a positive claim and requires justification, and is demonstrated simply and definitively by noting the contradictions in his definition that make him impossible for him to exist, combined with the obvious falsehood of the claims made by most of his believers and in his ‘holy’ book. I don’t actually have the time or energy to go into this, but that’s fine because THAT work has already been done. Try ironchariots.org for an excellent example of this.

      But don’t confuse ‘disproving the christian god’ with ‘disproving all proposed gods everywhere’, as they are two very different prospects. A deistic god is the only proposed deity that’s at all probable, given our current understanding of the universe, and I think you’ll find it quite impossible to find an atheist who will tell you that he knows, for certain, that the deistic god does not exist. In fact, find me one. You’ll find plenty (like myself, in fact) who find the idea unnecessary and useless. But I don’t know of any atheist who claims the level of certainty you seem to think we all hold. So that’s your challenge – find me an open, avowed atheist who claims to be certain that the Deistic god specifically can not exist.

      As far as the universe being an ‘accident’… The universe IS. It exists. The why and the how may not be fully explained yet. But calling it an ‘accident’? Calling an event an ‘accident’ implies that an event occurred not just outside of intent, but counter to it. A person who calls the universe an accident implies that there are extra-universal beings that no only did not create the universe, but did not want the universe to be created, but somehow it accidentally happened anyway. I’ve never even heard of anyone who believes that.

      Now, did you in fact mean to imply that atheists believe that the universe occurred without some being deliberately causing it to occur? Well, yes, most atheists accept that as not just possible, but likely. But let me ask you – if the universe had a cause, what caused the cause? If god created the universe, who created god? I’m proposing that a universe occurred. The theist proposes that a much more complex, powerful, and unlikely being occurred in the same way – who is making the greater assumption? Especially since we know the universe exists, but have no knowledge of or evidence for a creator.

      I have been contributing here for a while

      Another tiresome lie. You have contributed nothing – or at least, nothing of any value. You’ve merely spewed quite a bit of ignorance and arrogance throughout.

      the idea that all babies are atheists, which is bullshit

      Do babies believe in god? No? Then they are atheists, since the only way not to be an atheist is not believe in a god.

      Since you are an obnoxious opionated idiot, does that mean everything you say is irrellevent?

      If I were wrong, then yes, it would be irrelevant. Fortunately, I don’t SEEM to be wrong. Feel free to demonstrate it any time – so far all you’ve done is make naked assertions of my wrongness – and hopefully you find baseless assertions as tiresome as I do. For instance, I’ve shown you over a hundred peer-reviewed studies that confirm the theory of relativity. Do you have any citations, any quotes, so much as a 6th grade science fair project, that shows otherwise? No? Well, then, do you happen to have sufficient honesty to admit that you were wrong? I will assume that the lack of such an admission combined with the lack of any such citation in your next post, or no post at all, is equal to an admission that you are both wrong AND an extremely dishonest person.

      gravity is proven, when you lose grip on something, and it hits the floor.

      I can’t believe I’m having an argument about science with someone THIS ignorant of science. I will explain as if I were talking to a small child, maybe that will help.

      “Things fall when you let go of them” is an observation. Maybe you don’t know, but there are a lot of places in this universe, like outer space, where things don’t just ‘fall when you let go’. There are also contexts right here on earth where things don’t ‘fall’ when you ‘let go’, such as at the molecular level. The Theory of Gravitation is the established and accepted framework of explanations for these repeatable phenomena. ‘Things fall when you let go’ is not ‘proof’ of gravity, because gravity is NOT ‘the observation that things fall when you let go’, gravity is ‘the natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass.’ There is a number of claims in this definition, and all of them need to be justified. All of them HAVE been justified experimentally, and this definition combined with those justifications are known under the umbrella term of ‘The Theory of Gravitation’. This theory has been verified very thoroughly and therefore can be accepted as true with a very high level of confidence.
      There may come a day, when we discover that there is no such force at all, and gravity is in fact the result of ‘gravity faeries’ – microscopic creatures operating on another plane of existence that spend their short, pointless lives pushing bodies towards each other in a manner directly proportional to their mass. But until they are discovered no one is justified in believing in ‘gravity faeries’. Why? It’s an unnecessary assumption that has no explanatory value. Not only is there no evidence that they exist, but the idea raises more questions than it answers – where did they come from? Why do they do it? HOW do they do it with such precision as to fool us all this time. And most importantly, why can’t we see or detect them now? Gravity faeries aren’t even a hypothesis, let alone a theory – there’s no reason to invent them and they answer no questions.

      Just so, with, say, evolution. We observe that things evolve and seem to have evolved. We look for evidence to confirm the observations and explain how and why they occur. We find them, the hypothesis becomes a theory with evidence and justifications and people try to find reasons why the current (for the time) theory isn’t true and either they fail, or the theory changes to fit the new facts. The more facts that we discover that support the theory, the higher the level of confidence we can assign to the theory. And so, in the present day, we hold evolution up as as confirmed a theory as can be – no theory in scientific history has borne so many attempts to disprove it, and every attempt has only served to confirm it further.
      Now, there may come a day, that we discover that we did not actually evolve through natural processes, and that evolution is in fact the result of the ‘evolution faerie’ (we’ll call him by his popular American name, Yahweh). This Yahweh (we may discover) operates on another plane of existence, subtly mutating DNA with his magic over the eons to shape creatures into what he wants them to look like. But until he is discovered, no one is justified in believing in the evolution faerie – there’s no evidence that he exists, the idea raises more questions than it answers, and he’s entirely superfluous to the process (which seems, as far as we can tell, to work just fine without magic). The evolution faerie isn’t even a hypothesis, let alone a theory – there’s no reason to invent him and he answers no questions. He’s just a story in a book, and we can treat him that way.

      So we actually come, through a rather roundabout route, to what being an atheist is actually about. It’s not that atheists in general believe, with religious fervor, that a god absolutely does not and can not exist. It’s that there is no reason to believe that there is one. So we don’t. A god is not evidenced, raises more questions than it answers, and is unnecessary to the process. Just like gravity faeries.

      But, I thought, maybe among your ranks were some like me, skeptics, unwilling to join your new religion. Despite earlier indications, it’s apparently a dry well. There are no real freethinkers here, or at least none that have the interest or courage to express it.

      I honestly don’t see why anyone even the slightest bit inclined to agree with you would be stupid enough to say so – after all, you’ve done a very thorough job of demonstrating your own intellectual vacuity. I find it much more likely that none of the regular readers are inclined to join you in your most peculiar version of science denial, that seems to be based on the principle of ‘I don’t understand therefore it can’t be true’. But I’m sure you’ll find more idiots elsewhere – the internet is vast and wide and full of stupid.

      • Rick Schauer
        April 22, 2012 at 10:37 am

        Stevarious

        Nice post!

        If you ever get to Minneapolis, I’d like to buy you a drink or two and we can have a few yucks at Norm’s “intellectual” expense.

        *cheers to ya*

        -RS

        • Stevarious
          April 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm

          Thanks! If I ever find myself in Minn. I’ll look you up.

      • Norman Lycan
        April 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Jesus Christ, dude, don’t you have a life. No, just kidding, but the length of your post was like an encyclopedia. I admire your tenacity. But, you have missed the simple message. That the only thing that would have saved humanity from it’s present condition is to believe nothing unproven. Then there would be no religion.

        The goatherders of old wanted an answer about why they exist and what is the purpose of life. So they hire some seers and witchdoctors to explain that to them. Then it is written in ancient scrolls and becomes religion.

        You can call me what you want, but the only absolute insulation against being a victim of religion is to believe nothing until it is proven. If that doesn’t make sense to you, what the hell are you doing here?

        • Stevarious
          April 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

          I admire your tenacity.

          I’m afraid that I find it quite difficult to admire your dishonesty and arrogance.

          but the only absolute insulation against being a victim of religion is to believe nothing until it is proven.

          That is the position of more or less everyone here. I don’t understand why you think otherwise. Or rather, I DO understand, and that’s what’s so frustrating. You’ve turned skepticism into it’s retarded cousin, science denial, where you insist that you’re ‘skeptical’ about demonstrated science. Down this path lies anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers, some of the most frustrating people around – not because they are wrong, but because they are dangerous and cause actual harm measured in human lives lost. Your comments about ‘Stephen Hawking is god’ are particularly odious, since no one here worships Stephen Hawking. We simply respect his expertise and knowledge and insight into a field that is very very difficult to grasp. No one (including Stephen Hawking) thinks that he is always right, or infallible, or possessed of anything more than human intelligence.

          Since you don’t seem interested in backing up any of your positions, I’ll wish you on your merry way. Have a nice life, and you’re more than welcome back when you have a more substantial argument than ‘you are wrong and I am right because I’m your intellectual surperior and that makes me right’.

          • JJ7212
            April 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

            Stevarious said,

            “You’ve turned skepticism into it’s retarded cousin, science denial, where you insist that you’re ‘skeptical’ about demonstrated science. Down this path lies anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers, some of the most frustrating people around – not because they are wrong, but because they are dangerous and cause actual harm measured in human lives lost.”

            That is the one main point that Norman, or anybody else, should take away from the comment section here. Well said.

            In defense of Norman, if he really is a recovering fundamentalist Christian (I believe he mentioned that somewhere here), he’s probably extremely skeptical about trusting anybody and everything. I mean, I can understand that. I’m a human being too. In the meantime, being good at science is not about knowing many things, it’s about learning to ask the right questions. The info is out there. Trusting credible people is vastly different than having ‘faith’. I’m interested in going to Ohio State to study Astronomy and Astrophysics. You know why? Because it’s really cool shit, and I just want to know more. I like teaching too. I trust that college and it’s scientists have the most accurate information available. Like Al said, that preaching degree is is worthless garbage, given the credibility of the places that pass them out like candy.

  35. Norman Lycan
    April 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    JJ said”

    “In defense of Norman, if he really is a recovering fundamentalist Christian (I believe he mentioned that somewhere here), he’s probably extremely skeptical about trusting anybody and everything. I mean, I can understand that. I’m a human being too. In the meantime, being good at science is not about knowing many things, it’s about learning to ask the right questions.”

    Thank you for your civility, rare around here. Yes, I am a recovering victim of fundamentalist Christian brainwash. That is why you need to lend weight to my unique perspective. I proposed that all readers of this site construct a simple model that proves that dark energy theory is total bullshit, none commented in return to refute my claim. You said that you want to go study astrophysics, go for it, those clowns are making megabucks calling each other brilliant, and claiming they are zeroing in on the god particle. From my perspective, it’s a clown parade of the new generation witchdoctors. The mighty new religion. Making statements like, “five billionths of a second after the big bang the universe was the size of a sub atomic particle, of umty billion degrees hot.”

    Come on dude. They cannot even prove it happened yet, and they are dissecting it into billionths of seconds? Thats not science, its fakers, charlatons, and witchdoctors. Now if they said, ” This is the most widely accepted theory about how the big bag occurred”, then I step aside but still listen as a skeptic, but not as a religion slayer.

    NL

  36. Barry Johnstone.
    April 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    IMO, religion tends to insist that its opinions are facts, viewing them as ABSOLUTE truths, and science tends to insist that its facts are opinions – viewing them as PROVISIONAL truths.

    • Norman Lycan
      April 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Are you Barry John from Freethinker UK? If so, nice to hook up again. You said:

      “IMO, religion tends to insist that its opinions are facts, viewing them as ABSOLUTE truths, and science tends to insist that its facts are opinions – viewing them as PROVISIONAL truths.”

      Well, let me tell you why that’s crap. The catholic admitted finally that Galileo was right, and apologized for charging him with heresy, and sentencing to house arrest for life. I’m not defending religion, but, I’m simply pointing out that your comparison is already toast. But, add the fact that “dark energy” is moronic math I could have solved in the third grade, but then there’s dark matter which is telling your boss your math sucks shit but your answer is correct. Yet these charlatons still have jobs and are publishing books. Silly, naive humans.

      And can you see the parrallel? Religion telling us we can’t see god, but we have faith because we see what he does. Dark energy, dark matter, dark bullshit.

      Mr. Stefanelli, over a hundred posts on this thread, that has to help you with your benefactors. I didn’t steer things this way, I was simply me and stood my ground. But, you will notice, I haven’t commented on any thread since this one, I meant what I said. The last fucking pearl.

      Atheists may resent me, hate me, but what is happening here is we are actually talking. Working toward a freethought society, but, unless you personally invite me to stay, I’m moving on. Actually already have.

      NL

      • John Morales
        April 25, 2012 at 5:23 am

        Dark energy, dark matter, dark bullshit.

        Such an argument from incredulity is poor form.

        Atheists may resent me, hate me, but what is happening here is we are actually talking.

        Mmhmmm.

        (Walter Mitty syndrome is sad)

  37. Robster
    April 24, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    To treat a degree/doctorate in Theology with any sort of academic respect demeans real degrees and academic endeavour, the ones that actually mean something. To refer to any of these deluded talking snake believers that call themselves “doctor” or are referred to as “intelligent” is a gross misnomer. They’re silly people that have happily wasted three(or whatever) years of their one and only life studying well crafted nonsense.

  38. JJ7212
    April 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

    @ Norman

    I can lend weight to your perspective, but not to your opinions. All opinions are not created equal. I understand where you’re coming from, but sometimes the best thing to do is just be quiet and listen. That includes me too. I’ve been put in my place here a few times myself. Nobody here is perfect, but you have to understand how unreasonable a lot of your opinions are. I’m really trying to be helpful to you.

    You and I are similar, but different. I smoke (cigarettes) heavily, but I can’t argue reasonably with family and friends who want me to quit. You talk heavily, but you don’t always recognize legitimate and reasonable arguements against your comments. I listen to my friends and I reasonably can’t argue much about smoking. Perhaps you should listen to some people here and just absorb what we talk about. You seem informed about many topics, but dude, you have to accept the validity of science!

    If you’re really that paranoid of facts, either go back to college or seek emotional help from your family and friends. We’ve done about all we can do for you here. Just listen sometimes, dude. Ask good questions and stop asserting stupidity. That’s why you’re getting laughed at. But don’t go. Stay and you’ll probably learn stuff like we all do from each other. Peace.

    • Norman Lycan
      April 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      JJ said, ” I can lend weight to your perspective, but not to your opinions. All opinions are not created equal. I understand where you’re coming from, but sometimes the best thing to do is just be quiet and listen.”

      While you are obviously trying to be the adult in room, and your point is valid, what I see as reality doesn’t make it true. But, you actually make my point for me. Because nothing anyone sees as reality is true. So, you believe nothing anyone says until it is put the the scientific test. And that includes people with doctorates that say they are smart, so they never have to prove it again. Their theories are now fact, and can only be changed when proved to be bullshit.

      I do have a different approach, they can be promising hypotheses, but, when they are preached to the public as facts, “this is what we know so far,” that’s when my freethinker side get’s offended. Theory is NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!! reason for belief, it is simply a cause for intense curiosity. Keeping tabs on the cutting edge. When the test results come in, we are all elated, and are better humans for knowing it.

      Then you revealed your real attitude

      “If you’re really that paranoid of facts, either go back to college or seek emotional help from your family and friends. We’ve done about all we can do for you here. Just listen sometimes, dude. Ask good questions and stop asserting stupidity. That’s why you’re getting laughed at. But don’t go. Stay and you’ll probably learn stuff like we all do from each other.”

      I can’t imagine how anyone could not take offense at that statement. Guess what, I’m a smoker, too, because I understand that death is the end, whether it’s lung cancer or head-on collision. I am not paranoid of facts, I simply insist on facts not theory.

      I really wanted to go back to school so my family and friends could help me to understand that facts and theory are the same thing, but I rejected religion, which believes the same thing, as a result, I have no family or friends. I lost it all to god.

      Stripped of a life, and I know the culprit, but wannabe freethinkers are flirting with the same whore. Believing in that which cannot be definitively proven because it suits your message. That is going to come back and tag your ass in front of the entire planet. Good luck with your bet, believe me, I am rooting for you.

      NL

      • Stevarious
        April 26, 2012 at 2:17 am

        what I see as reality doesn’t make it true. But, you actually make my point for me. Because nothing anyone sees as reality is true.

        Really? Nothing at all? That would make it very hard to drive to work in the morning.

        Oh, wait, that was just an extremely stupid false equivalence, where you equate senses being potentially fallible to senses being universally untrustworthy.

        And that includes people with doctorates that say they are smart, so they never have to prove it again.

        You REALLY don’t understand the scientific community at all, do you? It is one of the most cutthroat fields on earth. Every single legitimate scientist out there must be constantly on guard at every moment against mistake or bias – because a single mistake or unexamined bias can literally cost them years of work, or their entire career – even if they are right.

        Their theories are now fact, and can only be changed when proved to be bullshit.

        Theories are a collection of facts. A theory is what you get when you have a large number of facts that consistently work together. To overturn a theory, you need to not only tell us how the theory is wrong, but how the predictions that are based on the theory came true despite the theory being false. For instance, if you want to disprove relativity, not only do you have to demonstrate the flaw in 90 years of science that (at the moment) demonstrates that it’s probably true, but you ALSO have to explain why the GPS satellite navigation system works, even though it assumes that relativity is true and should not work if relativity is false.
        Fortunately for you, a Nobel Prize and fame and fortune await you if you can do this! (BTW – crying “It’s bullshit because I don’t buy it!!1!” is not evidence against it. It’s just evidence of your lack of understanding.)

        Theory is NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!! reason for belief, it is simply a cause for intense curiosity.

        You still refuse to learn. No one can help you if you just stand there with your fingers in your ears. Have fun with your willful, deliberate ignorance. I don’t have any more time to waste on you.

        • Norman Lycan
          April 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

          Stevo,

          I said, “Because nothing anyone sees as reality is true.”

          You said, “Oh, wait, that was just an extremely stupid false equivalence”

          If you ever call me stupid again, I will not just politely rip your argument apart, again, I will verbally rip you apart as well. That having been said, let’s talk about what you said. I want to ask you something. Do you really think that how you see the world is the truth? No one, unless you believe in god sees the truth, we simply have a perception of it based upon our childhood brainwashes and life experience, both are in the best of scenarios highly dubious. Do you suppose a person who thinks they see the truth is delusional? Does it occur to you, that facts PROVEN by science is the only reliable guide, and that belief in theory is religion?

          So let’s expand on that, you said:

          “To overturn a theory, you need to not only tell us how the theory is wrong, but how the predictions that are based on the theory came true despite the theory being false.”

          Wait, that sounds alot like before you overturn god, you must first prove he doesn’t exist. And you called me stupid. You are not very good at debating are you? Or maybe the entire subject is above your IQ.

          You said, “but you ALSO have to explain why the GPS satellite navigation system works, even though it assumes that relativity is true and should not work if relativity is false.”

          Yeah, I heard that same argument on that history channel series, “the universe” that time moves slower when you separate yourself from a gravitational entity (I thought it was the sun). But here’s the problem with that raft of shit as well. If you are on the north pole, time works fine as you travel at a steady pace around the sun. Time works fine on the equator as you travel 28,000 miles a day, accellerating and decellerating in a helix every day on your trip through Einstein’s finite grid of space though which light can only travel at one speed.

          Sad to tell you, but, time adjustments on GPS is not based on relativity, it is based on how much time it takes a computer to recieve and rebroadcast the signal. You’ve been mindfucked by your best friends again, and it happened because you let your guard down.

        • John Morales
          April 27, 2012 at 5:32 am

          [meta]

          Stevarious, be kind.

          (Surely you can see how Norman is)

          • Stevarious
            April 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

            Stevarious, be kind.

            (Surely you can see how Norman is)

            I can see how Norman is, and that is why I cannot be kind. He is in a place where any kindness is seen as support for his batshit faux-skepticism – even if you (in the course of your kindness) specifically state that you do not support his batshit faux-skepticism.

            You can see exactly this up in Norman’s response to JJ7212’s misplaced sympathy in the nested responses to comment #32.

            At any rate, there’s only so much arguing I can do with this guy. He’s babbling that theory = religion and comparing himself to Galileo now – how do you reason with someone who’s abandoned reason?

  39. JJ7212
    April 26, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Saying that “This is what we know so far” is about displaying intellectual integrity, not a ‘religious’ dogma. What’s dark matter and dark engery? We don’t know! That’s cool. What these statements do is spark more interest so maybe someone among us might help figure it out eventually. As far as facts go, if someone is having doubts, they can double check the results themselves it they want to. A good scientific education is most often required. Nobody is hiding information! Sifting through the religiously biased bullshit info is the hard part.

    Take evolution, for example. The facts are in. It’s the preachers who are twisting the truth and lying about the facts while not providing any evidence for their alternative creation beliefs. So now we know the preachers are lying, but we still want to know how accurate evolution is.. hmmm.

    Our info about evolution should not come from Christian sources like the local preacher or the blind sheeple. That’s the first step. Because who are the preachers preaching too? The common folk who have little or no interest in science. The preachers only have an interest in your Sunday attendance, not respecting your intellectual integrity. Kids are defenseless against the ignorant teachings of Sunday school. Little old church ladies are more interested in church life than they are about reviewing scientific literature. Many Christians do study evolution, but are most likely to be biased toward creationism. If a Christian, or anybody, has a SINCERE sense of intellectal integrity about facts and desire to know more about something like evolution, the scientific info is publicaly available for all to review and test. It all comes down to the credibility of our universities and scientists. Science is not about ‘faith’ in a theory. I don’t have time to double check the math about every little widely accepted theory. Reinventing the wheel every day can slow our society down. You’re welcome to check every theory out yourself if you’re that stubborn about it. What else can one say? I’ll pobably end up studying theories about astrophysics one day. Good for me!

    I’m not very interested in evolution, but I have read a lot about it from both sides. My reasoning and assesment of the facts is based partly on the credibility of science, and partly based on the negative and deliberate deceitfulness of Christians. Al is exactly right when he says many Christians are willfully ignorant. They lie to each other. It pisses me off too because I really like science. Specifically astronomy. I could never lie to a kid or lure him away from the beauty of scientific truth just to have check in the box on Sunday mornings.

    • Norman Lycan
      April 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      While they still call it the theory of evolution, I have seen enough, read enough, and examined it against a raft of bullshit presented by religion to be a believer. But, it was a long time ago when I realized that goatherder religion like zeus or abraham, or Yahweh, was crap. Unworthy of consideraration as you clean out you personal closet of belief.

      But, then you are left with reality, like chemisty, those scientists can not only genitically design a pig, they can create a metal carbon composite before it exists, and predict it’s properties. Then they collect the chemicals necessary to make it happen, and the tools to create the environment where it must happen. Product, composite, unknown in nature. But, the one thing any of these amazing individuals has ever done is create something out of nothing. If they ever do, holy shit what an industry! Until something can created out of nothing, atheism is a religion. Sorry, I didn’t invent the definitions.

      NL

      • John Morales
        April 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

        Until something can created out of nothing, atheism is a religion. Sorry, I didn’t invent the definitions.

        The strange attractor of your neurosis.

  40. JJ7212
    April 26, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Come on, Norman! Trust me a little. Seriously. And also, not so seriously. Loosen up and get the Led out once in a while. lol

    • Norman Lycan
      April 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      JJ,

      I can get the Led out, “Kashmir” eternal classic, and blow the windows out of the building. I get tired of fighting, of course there is no god, but science says you can’t create anything out of nothing. Why so many pricks who say they know, when it is unknowable? And so many pricks that say I am an intellectual coward because I refuse to believe that which cannot be proven. An accurate comparison would be when the Catholic church decided Galileo was a heretic.

      I hope you guys don’t need so much time.

  41. Al Catraz
    October 9, 2012 at 4:28 am

    “Theologians Think They’re Smarter Than Stephen Hawking”
    You sure have it wrong!

    It is Mr Hawking, and you, who thinks that he is smarter than God!
    After all, he is JUST FLOATING A THEORY! And that, with the amazing brain given to him by God!

    Do you really think that a BIG BANG can create anything?
    Think Nagasaki & Hiroshima….

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