October 3, 2014

Atheists tweet more often than Muslims, Jews, Christians, study shows

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This tag cloud shows the top 15 most discriminative words used by each group studied. Photo courtesy of Lu Chen

This tag cloud shows the top 15 most discriminative words used by each group studied. Photo courtesy of Lu Chen

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(RNS) A new study of Twitter finds that atheists -- among the smallest populations in the U.S. -- are the most prolific tweeters.

  • Jon

    It is a sad commentary on religion today when the words “evidence,” “science” and “evolution” can be used to separate tweets by believers from those by non-believers. It’s no different from a situation where the words “flat earth”, “magic”, and “dowsing” were used as real things in tweets by religious people. Are religions today truly so backward as to have problems with the words “evidence,” “science” and “evolution”? Ouch.

  • Dan

    You write “… self-identified religious Twitter users talk about topics specific to the faith they adhere to (Christians talk about Jesus, atheists talk about science)”

    Setting aside the fact that that atheism is a religion about the way barefootedness is a kind of shoe, science is not a faith, it is the basis of our civilization, and the religious majority relies on science for its health, well-being and way of life to the same extent that the irreligious do. Talking about science and evidence is an indication of almost any white collar occupation, from statistics to computing to law, you name it. It’s absurd that you would take it for a declaration of faith.

  • Saffie Lowe

    As an atheist I am frustrated by being continually lumped in with religious groups. Atheism isn’t the “other” category of religion on a questionnaire. Defining a widely diverse number of people by what they aren’t makes about as much sense as calling “off” a TV channel, or not collecting stamps a hobby.

    Atheists come from all walks of life. There is no membership, no church, no “faith,” no hierarchy, no religion, no creed, no institutions. There are atheist conferences, and some have tried to create a unified identity. But most atheists do not wish to join something to confirm that religion isn’t part of their lives. Until this is fully understood, atheists will continue to be singled out as other, or even lesser-than.

    I personally did not “reject” gods and religions, I simply grew up in a family where the subject of religion rarely came up. If I tweet about science, it’s because I’m interested in science. If I list myself as atheist on social media, it’s a kind of appeal to certain religious people that I’m not interested in their proselytizing.

  • Karla

    Christians need to tweet/speak the Truth however they can. How anyone can
    just look at the whole universe and say that is random chance is blind and for
    someone to look at the design of creation and then say that there is no God
    it takes more faith to believe this is all by chance than to believe in God. The
    Bible is clear in Romans 1:18-25 God is the creator and the Bible is clear that
    Jesus is the Messiah and the only way to heaven…Period!

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Perfectly stated!!

  • opheliart

    Saffie Lowe,

    You may not be religious, but some Atheists behave religiously.

    Peace

  • Earold D. Gunter

    O, in what way? Please explain.

  • rob

    hopefully Atheists will now start tweeting about leaving the united states .. after they read

    Antonin Scalia Says Constitution Permits Court To ‘Favor Religion Over Non-Religion’..
    he talking the “true God here.. The Trinity..

  • rob

    I SUGGEST ATHEISTS LEAVE the USA by plane it will get them out of here faster..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/02/antonin-scalia-religion-government_n_5922944.html

  • rob

    proselytizing is a word invented by
    ‘Christians” to describe non Christians religions trying to convert Christians ..
    Christians can only “evangelize” its impossible for them to proselytize since theirs is the true God they are telling the good news about..

  • Fourth Valley

    Wow!! So people who do not believe in a god or religion use a useless website that only got popular by paying celebrities to use it more than people who believe in a god or whom have a religion!!

    Um. So what use is this data?? I really don’t get why this study was done, or what the results are useful for. What was the point in this?? What was the study hoping to find, or how were they intending on putting this data to use??

  • charles mcAdams

    Of course they do. they are the most reviled, condemned, and attacked group in america. They have more reason to.

  • Larry

    “Its not really an obnoxious act because our God is the real one” is not an argument which makes a whole lot of sense. But I can see why people use it.

    Why bother owning up to how badly something is really perceived when you can just tell yourself, “I am doing it for the right reasons”.

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”-Saint Bernard of Clairvau

  • Larry

    You can feel the Christian love of thy neighbor and warming goodness from such posts. 🙂

  • Larry

    Karla, if you think the Big Bang theory and Theory of Evolution rely entirely on random chance, it means you just chose not to learn about the subjects. The overwhelming majority of arguments for Creationism depend on near total ignorance or telling outright myths about the theories they oppose.

    It might help to read more than one book. 🙂

  • opheliart

    E,

    One definition of religion is: A pursuit or interest in which “someone’ ascribes supreme importance. (religio-obligation/to bind)

    Have you ever been doggedly followed by one acting like a predator to ridicule and discredit, all the while, insulting and degrading your belief and experience, twisting your words and telling you are wrong because you will not provide for him what he demands, which is proof according to HIS understanding, knowledge and experience, as if this were the only thing that mattered to be called HUMAN?

    I have. 🙂

    Peace

  • opheliart

    charles mcAdams,

    I was born and raised in the States, and have been around many, many Atheists, and I have never seen or read of these having been attacked in the manner in which you describe. I understand certain religionists have condemned them, but they condemn me also, and I believe in Spirit. Also, from my view, I see many Atheists having done quite well for themselves. Can you provide for us instances where Atheists have been treated as you say—particularly where they were not permitted voice in the political arena?

    Thx

    Peace

  • Larry

    “Can you provide for us instances where Atheists have been treated as you say—particularly where they were not permitted voice in the political arena?

    SURE:

    “Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/01/25/arizona-republicans-propose-bill-that-would-not-allow-atheists-to-graduate-high-school/#ixzz3FO9K5oK3

    “Atheist Isn’t Allowed to Give Invocation at County Meeting Because He’s Not Part of a Tax-Exempt Religious Institution”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/03/09/atheist-isnt-allowed-to-give-invocation-at-county-meeting-because-hes-not-part-of-a-tax-exempt-religious-institution/

    “Unenforceable ban on atheists holding public office still on the books in 8 states”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/16/states-atheists-banned-public-office/

    “The Atheist Billboard That Was Banned in Central Arkansas”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/06/01/the-atheist-billboard-that-was-banned-in-central-arkansas/

  • opheliart

    Thank you, Larry, this is important. I will look at these.

    Peace

  • opheliart

    Ah, yes … have not opened up the articles, but what I see so far may be a case of … location, location, location.

  • opheliart

    Larry,

    The case, Torcaso v. Watkins, made enforcement of the provisions illegal, but merely allowing them to remain on the books does not violate the U.S. Constitution. So they remain in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

    Mississippi’s Constitution states, “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.” Arkansas’ Constitution goes even further; it bars atheists from testifying in court.

    Tennessee’s bars atheists from office, but, curiously, the state also forbids ministers. Its provision states that any minister of the gospel or priest of any denomination is barred from public office because they “ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions.”

    “Unenforceable ban on atheists holding public office still on the books in 8 states”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/16/states-atheists-banned-public-office/

    It is an interesting topic. I would like to hear more in this. A good question is how do we know a person holding public office will act/serve impartially?

    Peace

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  • @Dan,

    “It’s absurd that you would take [science] for a declaration of faith.”

    EXACTLY.

    Science is the opposite of faith.
    May it one day make religion obsolete.

  • @Charles mcAdams,

    “they are the most reviled, condemned, and attacked group in america.”

    Exactly!
    It would do us all well to remember
    who these reviled ATHEISTS are:

    Paul Newman
    Actor/Creator of Newman’s Own. Raised $370 million for sick children – DID NOT BELIEVE in a god.

    Dr. Seuss
    Creator of ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’. Did NOT believe in a god.

    Oskar Schindler
    famously portrayed in “Shindler’s List” – saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. Did NOT believe in a God.

    Charles Schultz
    creator of ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ did NOT believe in a god.

    Irving Berlin
    Composer and Lyricist of ‘White Christmas’ – did NOT believe in a God.

    Max Von Sydow
    Played Jesus Christ in ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ – did NOT believe in a God.

    Gene Roddenberry
    Creator of Star Trek did not believe in a God

    Rod Serling
    Creator of the Twilight Zone did not believe in a God.

    I’m in good company! And so are you!

  • “If I list myself as atheist on social media, it’s a kind of appeal to certain religious people that I’m not interested in their proselytizing.”

    Excellent!

  • Earold D. Gunter

    O,
    Perhaps a better understanding may be the key, to peace and love.

  • Belac

    Larry, I must kindly disagree with the, “…if you think the Big Bang theory and Theory of Evolution rely entirely on random chance, it means you just chose not to learn about the subjects,” comment. It’s simply not true. As a scientist and engineer myself, with a strong foundation in physics, and someone who has learned about the theories of the Big Bang and evolution, that reliance on “random chance” is the only appropriate view a scientist can have about the Big Bang or evolution, *if* that scientist doesn’t believe in a creator. You could only believe in a creator while holding that view that evolution and the Bang Bang were not by chance! Sincerely, as we learn more and more about these topics like the universe’s origin, we can’t help but be more and more intrigued by the unlikelihood of these events or “miracles” occurring. We dig deeper into the realm of realizing just how much we don’t know.

    There are a number of analyses on the odds of both evolution and the Big Bang occurring; the numbers are quite staggering!

    For example, the balance in the universe making life possible, known as the anthropic balance. For structure to be possible within the universe, both the gravitational force that pulls all things together, and the expansion force of the Big Bang, absolutely needed to be in equilibrium (in balance) at some point in the universe’s history, with a precision and magnitude of 10^60. That’s about the chances of hitting a square centimeter target on the other side of the universe, blindfolded.

    In The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, scientists estimated odds of evolution of the human genome by chance are on the order of 4^(360^110,000). A dutch scientist also calculated the chances for a single “useful protein”, or aminoacid, arising by chance as something like 10^(-200). Hard numbers to cope with.

    The conclusion scientists can really make is this. The fact that we are alive, without the intention of a creator, is indeed out of a freak chance.

    Even without the crazy number-crunching, which may or may not be valid, we currently have no scientific explanation for how the universe began out of nothing, yet in the last couple of centuries we are quite certain the universe indeed had a beginning. Thus, the conversation about God or a god(s) is actually quite an openly discussed question and topic of interest in the scientific community (contrary to what staunch atheist scientists like Dr. Dawkins like to make people think).

  • Belac

    Well, that will never happen. Anyone who understands science and its limitations knows that.

  • Belac

    I should re-phrase that: anyone who understands science also understands what it can and cannot [ever] do.

    Religion, or many religions, in a broad sense rather than specific, differs from science, yes, but does not *inherently* oppose it – though it has historically, at times. Religion, like philosophy, has been found to generally seek answers to questions such as the *purpose* of things, why we are here, or what “good” is. Science can’t begin to answer those kinds of questions.

    Religion asks or deals with questions that go beyond science. And even within the scientific community, there is a genuineness of interest and searching for spiritual answers as well as scientific ones. And as long as curiosity continues (which I believe it always will), I think that there will always continue to be people who wonder about questions that are beyond the jurisdiction of science but more in the realm of philosophy and/or religion, or the question of a god(s). Believing science will one day make religion obsolete, however wishful that may be, is certainly unrealistic and reflective of an incomplete understanding of science, history…and religion itself.

  • “we currently have no scientific explanation for how the universe began out of nothing”

    Not true.
    Laurence Krauss and other physicists have an excellent explanation.
    “A Universe from Nothing” is a spectacular book.

    Besides, everything in science suggests that complexity grows from simple systems. There isn’t any example of the reverse of that. The idea of a God would be the idea that something infinitely complex created things which are much simpler.

    There is nothing remotely supportive of a god doing anything whatsoever.

  • @Belac,

    Nobody believes in Zeus today. So it is completely possible that religion will become no more important than astrology. That seems rather likely.

    “Religion asks or deals with questions that go beyond science.”

    So does science.
    The difference is science actually finds answers.

  • @Belac,

    “And even within the scientific community, there is a genuineness of interest and searching for spiritual answers as well as scientific ones.”

    Sure. But the unknown is exactly that ; unknown. And scientists will tell you that.

    And there is no evidence anything ‘spiritual’ actually exists which is why 95% of the Physicists at the National Academy of Science are Atheists (non-believers).

    Plus, you cannot say in one breath that science is a primary means of inquiry, but then say it shows how effective ‘faith in god’ is.

    Make up your mind. Faith or Science. One doesn’t work – the other actually works brilliantly and answers countless questions.
    Faith is insidious and useless.

    Even Atheists like me are completely ready to see any evidence for a god if it should emerge – I’m happy to look at it! Any time at all!

    In the meantime, non-belief and skepticism is the only healthy way to approach any claim – scientific or a religious.

  • Belac

    @ Atheist Max

    “Religion asks or deals with questions that go beyond science.”

    So does science.
    The difference is science actually finds answers.

    I’m not sure you’re following. Science does not, and *cannot* deal with questions beyond science. That’s quite ridiculous and illogical. Did you read what you typed? Anyway, I thought I was clear with the few examples in the first paragraph of that post. I’ll repeat myself so you don’t have to go back: Science cannot deal with questions [such as] the purpose, value or meaning of things, or why we are here, or what “good” is. There are more. Religion, like philosophy, has been found to generally seek those answers which science cannot, which is, again, why I don’t think science can ever make those questions obsolete.

    Plus, you cannot say in one breath that science is a primary means of inquiry, but then say it shows how effective ‘faith in god’ is.” I didn’t say that; I’m not sure where you got that from(?). Perhaps you’re referring to my point about evolution and the Big Bang: that the chance of those phenomena occurring was astronomical – in fact it’s a wild understatement to say that. But it gives room to discuss the question of a god(s), which atheist (I’d say more agnostic) scientists have done.

    Yes, science is the primary means of inquiry for the planets and the *material* universe. It investigates the “whats” and the “hows” of nature and the universe, the mechanisms behind the workings that we can observe. Science is the formal collection and organization of all of that data from which we can make and base reasonable conclusions.

    Science is not *the primary* means of inquiry for everything, though (such as the “whys”). You think faith is useless and insidious? Well, I’ve heard some atheists say things like, “One day science will be able to explain everything.” I’d say that’s the same kind of “faith” that they are accusing the religious of, but worse because it’s clear science can’t.

    It is important to understand what science can and can not do, to understand its beauty and gateway to knowledge about the physical world, yet also realize its limits. Many scientists like Dawkins incorrectly give science autonomy over many things like morality and purpose.

    As great as it is, science does not and cannot account for everything.

  • Belac

    Hi, Max. I’m afraid I must disagree once again. Krauss, no doubt a great physicist, failed to have his book live up to its title. This is why. What exactly do we mean by “nothing”? Krauss’ use of the term “nothing” didn’t actually refer to what we think about “nothing”; it referred to a quantum vacuum. But a quantum vacuum is indeed something, not “nothing”! When we are talking about “nothing”, we actually mean “not anything”. That’s the kind of “nothing” we were expecting Krauss to explain the universe coming out of, but he didn’t.

    His “nothing” was in fact something, and thus didn’t ultimately answer the question, because something was already there. That’s precisely what I mean when I say no scientific explanation for how the universe began out of nothing (i.e. “not anything”) exists. Before the law of physics, before gravity, before it was set into motion…

    He was criticized widely by many of his colleagues and other widely-known physicists, for that. Sean Caroll, another brilliant physicist (atheist too, by the way) commented, “Do advances in modern physics and cosmology help us address these underlying questions, of why there is something called the universe at all, and why there are things called “the laws of physics,” and why those laws seem to take the form of quantum mechanics, and why some particular wave function and Hamiltonian? In a word: no. I don’t see how they could.”

    The statement still stands. There is still no scientific explanation for how the universe began out of “nothing” or, more clearly, “not anything”, which we are very convinced that it *somehow* did.

  • Belac

    Hence a wonder about a creator…

  • @Belac,

    Yes. I meant exactly what I said.

    Science pursues questions beyond what is currently KNOWN by science.
    There is no reason for science to NOT pursue God, or spirituality or anything about what is supernatural. The search is going on right now!

    That is exactly what I was trying to point out.

    “Science cannot deal with questions [such as] the purpose, value or meaning of things, or why we are here, or what “good” is.”

    Of course science can and it has! We have answers to ‘what is good’ and science has explained morality completely.

    “There are more…. Religion, like philosophy…”

    Actually religion IS philosophy. It is early fossilized philosophy. It is a primitive attempt to understand certain qualities of existence and it is obsolete.

    “… has been found to generally seek those answers which science cannot, which is, again, why I don’t think science can ever make those questions obsolete.”

    Wrong. Religion was civilization’s first attempt at science. It was our first, and our worst. Science is answering the questions which religion proposed.

    “Yes, science is the primary means of inquiry for the planets and the *material* universe. ”

    What else is there!? How would you know? Your brain is material and your thoughts are created by a material brain. We know this from science. If you lose part of your brain you lose thoughts, you lose consciousness, you lose your personality.
    How would you determine if something immaterial even existed? Existence requires some demonstration of materialization.
    You have no evidence of this immaterial realm do you?
    If so, Please share.

    “[Science] investigates the “whats” and the “hows” of nature and the universe, the mechanisms behind the workings that we can observe.”

    What else is there? If you have evidence of something supernatural please share it. I am an atheist because I do not believe in gods or supernatural realms – make me change my mind. I’m open minded – go for it!

    “Science is the formal collection and organization of all of that data from which we can make and base reasonable conclusions.”

    What is more valuable than a reasonable conclusion?
    What use is an unreasonable conclusion? Are you reading what YOU write?

    “Science is not *the primary* means of inquiry for everything – such as the ‘whys’ ”

    Yes it is. Why are we here? Because your parents had a baby. Why were they here? because their parents…you get the idea. It isn’t banal!

    “You think faith is useless and insidious?”

    Yes I do. because there is no evidence that it is useful or good. There is no evidence that it is true. And I care about what is true. I think it is terrible to tell a child that something is true when you CANNOT KNOW if it is true or not. Does God exist? Who knows? Not me.

    “Well, I’ve heard some atheists say things like, “One day science will be able to explain everything.””

    Why not? Regardless what those atheists say, science is all we have. I personally think there will be unanswered questions right up until we blow ourselves up over religion.

    “I’d say that’s the same kind of “faith” that they are accusing the religious of, but worse because it’s clear science can’t.”

    Science is not faith. Nothing in science is believed without evidence. Science is the best method to arrive at reliable answers which appear to be reliably true. There is not one example in history of a Religious ‘fact’ replacing a Scientific fact.

    “It is important to understand what science can and can not do, to understand its beauty and gateway to knowledge about the physical world, yet also realize its limits.”

    Of course science is limited – but it is NOT HELPED by people who bring faith into it. And the only reason to acknowledge a limitation is so we can break through that limitation.

    “Many scientists like Dawkins incorrectly give science autonomy over many things like morality and purpose.”

    Sorry – Scientists have figured out long ago where morality comes from as well as our desire for purpose. We do live lives of purpose yet there is apparently no god putting that purpose there!
    There is apparently no purpose TO life but there is a great deal of purpose IN life.
    You are pretending there is mystery where there are no mysteries.

    “As great as it is, science does not and cannot account for everything.”

    Well, Science is discovering answers to so many questions at break-neck speed there is really no important role for religion for most people. Religion doesn’t hold a candle to what Science does answer.
    There will always be some mysteries.
    But you do not have the right to say, “I DON’T KNOW the answer therefore I KNOW it must be a God”.

    Who is to say it is a god? Maybe it is two gods? or 28 Gods? or 50,000 gods? Which god loves? Which god hates?

    But really……..who cares?
    There is no evidence for any god.
    Morality has been shown by countless studies to be a product of our evolutionary ‘sense of fairness’. All primates have it. I have explained this elsewhere.

    God is nothing more than the drive to find a parent. It is not supernatural – it is biological and we know how it forms and why.
    All higher mammals have shades of this drive.
    We would not survive without it.

    The claims about a god or supernatural realm appear to be nothing more than old superstitions.

  • @Belac,

    “What exactly do we mean by “nothing”?”

    Counter-intuitive though it may be – there is no such thing as nothing. It appears there has never been a ‘nothing’.
    That was Krauss’ point in the book.

    The Quantum has always existed in what would otherwise appear to be a void. There is no such thing as ‘nothing’ – like ‘zero’ it is only in the imagination.

    But this is unfinished business! These are not permanent conclusions. Science keeps moving forward and all I care about is truth. I look forward to more books by physicists to further explore these things.

    Furthermore,
    You cannot say “something” started the universe, then say “I don’t KNOW what it was so I KNOW it must have been God”
    It is a non-sequiter. It doesn’t follow.

    You are like a person looking at the water draining out of a bathtub and wondering how amazing it is that THE WATER KNOWS how to go out of the drain in a circular motion.

    You seem to be saying “Look at how that water knows how to slip though the drain!”

    Things don’t “KNOW” anything.
    They behave subject to the laws of physics. Just as the water ‘knows’ how to drain out of a bathtub, nature probably ‘knew’ how to create life from elements. That is the best guess.

    A God is NOT the best guess!

    But Did God do it? I don’t claim that he didn’t!
    I only dismiss a claim which cannot be supported.
    The burden is on those who claim GOD did it. Show your evidence.

    Until then Science is wonderfully sufficient! 🙂

  • Belac

    *sigh* Max, clearly you are not following what I’m getting at here, as evidenced by your responses. Some of your points are good points, but since you fail to see the whole point of what I’m saying! You continually put words in my mouth (e.g. “You cannot say “something” started the universe, then say “I don’t KNOW what it was so I KNOW it must have been God” It is a non-sequiter. It doesn’t follow.”) and make assumptions about me and what I believe (which you’re doing all over the place), nor do you understand quantum theory (understandable…I shouldn’t have fanned the flame there), nor basic highschool science (e.g. “Science keeps moving forward and all I care about is truth” – science is not a search for truth, but fact, and I’ve never said anything otherwise). I am not going to spend another moment longer repeating myself. I’ve got to go to work. Have a good life, sir.

  • Jack

    Max, I agree with Belac. Somehow you’re not getting his point.

    Not only that, but you’re being extremely inconsistent, changing your position left and right. One moment you’re saying, “What else is there?” in regards to the *material* universe being all there is, but THEN you admit there are non-material things like purpose and morality, which science apparently “explains”! Huh? Logical inconsistencies like these are all over the place in your responses. It’s frustrating even knowing where to begin.

    I also agree with Belac that you have some warped view of science at a basic level (I’m a science teacher). It is not autonomous. And there are *absolutely* more to the universe then material things that science cannot account for that we readily accept (contrary to what you think), like numbers for example, or mathematical logic and reason (in fact, science cannot prove those things, because science *presupposes* logic and reason). Numbers, sets, logic, reason, morality, purpose, value and the meaning of things are immaterial things which we can’t show or derive from science.

    You seem to have trouble understanding these things, as well as a poor understanding of religion and its place in history in general.

    I could quote the precious Dawkins many atheists love so much (yet many are finally beginning to be more and more critical of him) and say, “GO away and learn how to think,” but that just wouldn’t be nice.

  • Jack

    Max,

    “You seem to be saying “Look at how that water knows how to slip though the drain!”

    Things don’t “KNOW” anything.
    They behave subject to the laws of physics. Just as the water ‘knows’ how to drain out of a bathtub, nature probably ‘knew’ how to create life from elements. That is the best guess.

    This is another basic misunderstanding of the point. Notice that you said, “…nature probably ‘knew’ how to create life from elements…” But did nature [also] create those elements? What about before “nature”? Again, you’re talking about the effects of nature [after] the supposed elements of the universe were created; that begs the question: how those [same] elements & the law of physics were came about [in order] for “nature” to use said elements to then create life. You’re not going back far enough.

    “It appears there has never been a “nothing”.” False. Scientists have determined there was literally “not anything” because they have determined that the universe necessarily [began] at a finite point in the past, which requires there to have been a “not anything” (however hard it is for our minds to grasp that very thought – we really can’t!).

  • William

    Belac: “Science is not *the primary* means of inquiry for everything – such as the ‘whys’ ”

    Atheist Max: “Yes it is.”

    HA! Oh deary me, young man, if you think science accounts for everything, or omnipotent, etc., you’ve got a lot to learn. No thoroughgoing scientist would agree with you on that.

  • @Jack,

    “But did nature [also] create those elements?”

    What! Absolutely!
    If you went to High School you know what the Periodic Table
    of the Elements looks like!
    We know all about the elements and how they are formed.
    There are 94 naturally occurring elements and they were formed by dying stars. The first element after the big bang was helium which comprised the first stars and the rest of the elements were created as those stars died and new stars were created.
    Carbon, the primary element of life, was created in stars.
    WE KNOW IT BECAUSE WE CAN PROVE IT!

    “What about before “nature”?”

    You do not know what you are talking about. There is absolutely no insight possible from ANYBODY on what preceded the big bang.

    “Again, you’re talking about the effects of nature [after] the supposed elements of the universe were created; that begs the question: how those [same] elements & the law of physics were came about [in order] for “nature” to use said elements to then create life. You’re not going back far enough.”

    Wrong. I am going back as far as we KNOW the answers.
    And no Farther. I am not making claims I cannot support. I don’t know why you are doing so. You have shown no support for any claim yet.
    WE KNOW the universe started with simple elements and then more complicated elements followed.
    WE KNOW that every complex thing in nature started out simply. Nature does not work the other way.
    So there is NO REASON to think the most complex thing in all of the universe: The Mind of a God – could, or should have existed.

    “It appears there has never been a “nothing”.” False. Scientists have determined there was literally “not anything” because they have determined that the universe necessarily [began] at a finite point in the past, which requires there to have been a “not anything” (however hard it is for our minds to grasp that very thought – we really can’t!).”

    THEN WHERE DID YOUR GOD COME FROM?
    If you say something cannot come from nothing you have eliminated your God!!
    If you say God Always Existed then why couldn’t other things ALWAYS EXIST!? LIKE THE QUANTUM!?
    You are completely failing at logic.

  • @Jack,

    “you’re being extremely inconsistent, changing your position left and right. One moment you’re saying, “What else is there?” in regards to the *material* universe being all there is, but THEN you admit there are non-material things like purpose and morality, which science apparently “explains”!”

    I’m not inconsistent at all! Purpose and morality like any other ideas are CONCEPTS produced ONLY by a living, material brain. Are you going to tell me that concepts are THINGS independent of the material brain which created them? Because they do not exist without a MATERIAL BRAIN – they are MATERIAL.

    “there are *absolutely* more to the universe then material things that science cannot account for that we readily accept (contrary to what you think), like numbers for example, or mathematical logic and reason”

    MATERIAL BRAINS PRODUCE NUMBERS
    ‘REASON’ AND ‘MATH’ DON’T EXIST WITHOUT A BRAIN!

    “Numbers, sets, logic, reason, morality, purpose, value and the meaning of things are immaterial things which we can’t show or derive from science.”

    Material brains are the ONLY place in the UNIVERSE that we know of where you will find: numbers, sets, logic, reason, morality, purpose etc. THESE THINGS REQUIRE A MATERIAL BRAIN.
    THAT IS WHY YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM BEFORE YOU WERE BORN and they will no longer exist after the last human brain dies someday.

    “You seem to have trouble understanding these things, as well as a poor understanding of religion and its place in history in general.”

    Nonsense. I clearly have a handle on both subjects. I was a Christian for 44 years. I taught Bible studies at my church. You have blown your cover with your next comment:

    “I could quote the precious Dawkins many atheists love so much…”

    Good grief! ‘Precious’ Dawkins?
    Atheists do not believe in God – THAT IS ALL ATHEISM IS!
    And you have blown it. You are now going to tell me that Evolution did not happen? I have wasted time articulating facts of science on a Creationist??

    Science doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not. It’s true anyway.

  • @Belac,

    “You make assumptions about me and what I believe”

    I didn’t make assumptions, you told me what you believe.

    “nor do you understand quantum theory”
    Very few people ‘understand’ quantum theory, and I doubt you are one of them. I don’t pretend to ‘understand’ it. I was addressing your claim that a Universe from Nothing was impossible. But I could have addressed it in many other ways – since you are trying to smuggle an argument for god into places where there is no evidence for it.

    “science is not a search for truth, but fact”
    Science provides the facts and we build the truth from facts. So I don’t get you splitting the difference from truth and fact.

    “I addressed your claims”

    But I made no claims. And I made no claims about God.
    I shared scientific evidence.

    God either exists or he does not. But if you are going to make a claim that God exists and that non-believers are somehow missing something you should be ready to explain it better. I have no idea where God can exist if you accept scientific facts. And that is the Truth!

  • Jack

    Huh? I wasn’t questioning the creation of the elements at all. My point was: how could nature, which supposedly “created life from the elements”, also create the elements before nature was even around?

    Your inability to follow a conversation, keep on point, and on-topic is simply astounding. You’re jumping around all over the place and can’t hold to a single view without changing it. How tiring.

    Also, I noticed in your response to Belac:

    ““I addressed your claims”

    But I made no claims. And I made no claims about God.
    I shared scientific evidence.””

    Are you just making things up now? He never claimed to address your claims, nor have you presented any scientific evidence.

    No claim for god(s)’ existence was made through this whole discussion, yet you continue to bring it up when that hasn’t been the focus of the discussion! Again with not following the conversation and keeping on point…

    No, I’m not a creationist (HA!). And yes, science shows many things to be true (duh), and science is an amazing thing, showing us just how this fascinating universe works, but apparently you’re not in touch with what it has and hasn’t shown to be true, nor are you in touch with knowing there are some things it can never show due to its limits. Your autonomous view of your beloved omnipotent science is silly. Good luck with that. Adios.

  • Larry

    “As a scientist and engineer myself, with a strong foundation in physics, and someone who has learned about the theories of the Big Bang and evolution, that reliance on “random chance” is the only appropriate view a scientist can have about the Big Bang or evolution, *if* that scientist doesn’t believe in a creator.”

    Absolute bovine scatology!

    My suggestion then is to go back to reading about physics beyond what was required for engineering. Maybe even read modern books about biology as well. You are misrepresenting both theories by claiming random chance is the sole factor of note for them. It is a common mistake for those unwilling to educate themselves on the subjects.

    You are obviously not a biologist nor an astronomer/astrophysicist or you would have said so. So your attempt to appeal to authority as a “scientist and engineer” are not really important in establishing credibility. People from engineering backgrounds typically think their training gives them insight on both theories. It really doesn’t. It gets people to look for patterns from a POV of fabrication. A predisposition to look for a creator.

    You also seem to miss the most important thing about trying to support ideas like creationism. An attack on an existing theory is not support for another. You need positive evidence of a viable alternative to evolution or the big bang theory. You have none.

    Your phony attempt at proving evolution to be impossible misses the same point that Karla in her fanaticism missed. Random chance is not the sole factor involved. Evolution builds upon what works rather than reinvents itself with every iteration (as you suggest). The big bang theory does not posit the universe came from nothing either. You have no idea what either theory really means. It is typical of creationist strawman arguments.

    Under no uncertain terms am I going to take your claims of scientific evidence for creationism seriously. No such evidence exists in a form which can be deemed credible on its face. You are not someone with the level of expertise necessary to present a credible challenge to the evidence and work which established both theories.

    Creationism is utterly useless as both religion and science.

    As science it does nothing but fuel ignorance. “God did it” provides no answers, evidence nor can lead to any further inquiry. It is anti-science.

    It is dishonest as religion because you are deliberately lying about the necessity of faith in your belief. Creationism is the denial of faith through dishonest discourse. Claiming God can be proven true by objective evidence and study. It is dishonest because you will never accept the converse. That God can be disproven by the same methods. Once you have declared your belief is based on faith, you have refuted Creationism.

    When you are done lying about the scientific merits of creationism and alleged flaws in evolution and the big bang, you will make ridiculous appeals that science should include supernatural elements. When you are done making a fool of yourself on that front, you will eventually tell us that evolution/atheism/the big bang supports nazis and other baddies. When Max and I are done laughing at you, you will declare your belief comes from your faith in God. Then you would have refuted everything you just said previously.

  • Larry

    Actually Torcaso v. Watkins declared such provisions to be violations of the 1st Amendment Establishment clause. Keeping such laws on the books even though improper to enforce means that they can be used against people, barring someone taking the state government to court over it. The person affect still has to go through the effort to sue the government to get the legally proper treatment

  • @Jack,

    “My point was: how could nature, which supposedly “created life from the elements”, also create the elements before nature was even around?”

    And I answered you. Simplicity toward Complexity is exactly how nature appears to work. It doesn’t go the other way. Elements were formed before life – that is simplicity before complexity.

    “No claim for god(s)’ existence was made through this whole discussion”

    Of course it was.

    “nor are you in touch with knowing there are some things it can never show due to its limits.”

    You are making another claim. How do you KNOW science will never prove that god exists!? Or that he Doesn’t?
    You and Belac are very comfortable repeating one claim after another.

    “Your autonomous view of your beloved omnipotent science is silly.”

    Omnipotent science? Good grief.
    Science is the only method we have so far which actually answers questions. It is only as good as the quality of the research and it depends on past research to build on.

    Your claims were challenged and they don’t hold up.
    You want wiggle room to insert a god into creation instead of giving me actual evidence for a god.

    And you are tired because I refused to give you a break from challenging your claims.
    If you can’t show evidence for a God the burden of proof is on you.

    Of course you will find the burden of proof tiring – such evidence escapes every person who makes the claim!

  • Belac

    The only way I’m able to respond to your comment (since it’s *all* based on a somehow false understanding of my post) is simply that I wasn’t supporting creationism, Larry, nor do I support it. At all. I was merely pointing out or citing a few different scientific analyses that show the apparent unlikelihood of it happening, even though it obviously did occur. That’s the stunning part that it DID happen. And based on those, and many more analyses, my only point with the comment you’re responding to, is that it’s perfectly reasonable to think that the Big Bang and evolution occurred by freak chance, as they did. And even among the evolutionary scientists I know, a creator is often something discussed. I wasn’t supporting creationism by pointing that out.

  • I have no problem with people ‘pondering’ the possibility of a Creator God.
    And I am equally amazed that reality exists and that we are spinning on this earth at 36,000 miles per hour through space.

    My problem is the claims that it all “must have been Created”.
    There is nothing evil in speculating what is possible.

    All of the evil in religion comes from people who claim god is a fact – OR ELSE!

  • Larry

    “my only point with the comment you’re responding to, is that it’s perfectly reasonable to think that the Big Bang and evolution occurred by freak chance”

    Actually it isn’t, because neither theory actually says that. These are typical misstatements used to support creationism.

    The Big Bang does not posit “something from nothing”. It posits that everything was in one tiny ultracompact form and exploded outward. Where all matter came from is still an open question. Answering “God” is entirely unhelpful here if one is looking for credible objective evidence.

    Evolution only credits freak chance in small, limited areas. But it is actually closer to trial and error than “chance”. Nature taking what works, discarding the rest. Then repeating the process, changing when the conditions necessitate it. Sort of like playing Monopoly. No matter how the dice are rolled, you can only move in limited areas. Success of the game is dependent on far more on conditions outside of just chance.

    “And even among the evolutionary scientists I know, a creator is often something discussed.”

    But never in terms of science. Never to contradict established findings and research. Certainly not to claim an intelligent designer. It is discussed in terms of religious terms. Pope John Paul II encapsulated the differences in his encyclical, “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth”
    http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

    Religion cannot contradict the truth that scientists observe, study and report on, such as evolution. Science does not touch upon subjects such as one’s soul or philosophical place in the world. The two are separate magisteria.

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  • Frederick

    Belac and Jack, don’t bother any further with Max or Larry. Somehow they’re just not able to fathom or at least try to understand (or perhaps they don’t really care) about the very good point you are making. They just want to argue without consideration.

    But I mainly want to comment on the defense of Krauss’ book, that it somehow successfully provides an explanation for how the universe began out of nothing. And I agree that it fails completely.

    Krauss is presenting untested speculative theories of how things came into existence out of a pre-existing complex of entities, including variational principles, quantum field theory, specific symmetry groups, a bubbling vacuum, all the components of the standard model of particle physics, and so on. He does not explain in what way these entities could have pre-existed the coming into being of the universe, why they should have existed at all, or why they should have had the form they did. And he gives no experimental or observational process whereby we could test these vivid speculations of the supposed universe-generation mechanism. How indeed can you test what existed before the universe existed? You can’t. I can’t believe he actually believes that he solved the “something from nothing” quest… and to think, he calls those he disagrees with as “deluded”. Again, UNTESTED SPECULATIVE THEORIES.

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