Friday, June 27, 2008

A creationist answers our points...well one point...maybe

Our friend - and a saint no less! - Johnny enjoyed the fun we have here at the Rational Reply so much so that he decided to address the critical issue of what Monty Python song went with which movie while utterly glossing over the apparently worthless point of what constitutes a sign from God. Which is odd since it was the fundamental concept of his article in the first place!

So Saint Johnny, my good and noble dead purveyor of at least two miracles, here's your Rational Reply!

Par for the Course: Pot Shots from the Atheist Peanut Gallery

I loved this wacky ‘point by point’ response to a blog entry

Glad to hear it! We do aim to entertain here!

I wrote like 8 months ago.

There's this little secret about the internet. The stuff that's put onto it never, ever goes away and can be analyzed and built on months and even years later! I know this comes as a shock to anyone who is accustomed to things being built in six days and then never again changing and anyone who thinks that all of the answers that were written by ancient wandering tribes is 100% accurate and no new information is significant, but it's really true!

One already knows that he’s in for sarcastic inside jokes that miss the point when, in the first paragraph, the fellah says:

I've been promoted to "fellah". Sweet!

[Quoting Sntjohnny]I am reminded of the scene in Monty Python’s movie “The Life of Bryan” where a leper is healed and complains about it because it took away his livelihood of begging. Bryan replies “There’s just no pleasing some people!” and the Leper says, “That’s just what Jesus said!”[/end quote]

That’s a great movie! “Every sperm is Sacred” is an awesome song that just gets better and better the more I think about the truths that it hammers home. It rocks!

Of course, everyone knows that “Every sperm is Sacred” is not in the Life of Bryan. It’s in The Meaning of Life, as any true fan of Monty Python would know. Perhaps ‘Jim Rational’ picked up the skeptical reader to the Monty Python corpus. :)

Or went after a song that resonated with the subject at hand while segueing from the comment on Life of Brian. Either one.

And, I hesitate to mention this one, but please spell it Life of Brian, not Life of Bryan. Especially if you're going to question anyone's Python credentials. I'm just saying.

In typical fashion, Mr. Rational’s points resonate only with those who agree with him

No comment. I bow to your expertise in this particular field.

, and unless you can speak atheistese you’d never imagine that there was a point buried in his responses. I am fluent in atheistese, however.

So you'll be addressing these soon, right?

I will not respond in detail to a post

Shocked! Shocked I am that you're not bothering to explain lunacies such as having a Jesus that is not logically consistent, blithely reversing the scientific method, failing to see how atheists have morals, and claiming that someone who has been handed his morals on a platter isn't taking them for granted.

Gasp! Choke! No one saw that coming at all!

that is the epitome of preaching to the choir, but I will speak to one particular point where I think the man, despite crystal clear language on my part, missed the point.

Well, it's not as good as actually responding to the points above, but we'll take what we can get.

[Sntjohnny Quote]For example, I know an atheist who requested a sign from God. He received it. We spoke together on the phone about it. He was freaked out. After a few months he decided it wasn’t enough and that it was all probably a trick of the mind. Surely we can see how if God had done more or does more my friend can still chalk it up to a trick of the mind? Why should God give him what he wants when it won’t make him happy anyway?[/end quote]

Ah. I see your choice would be to write him off instead of trying to figure out what would convince him. Oh well. Too bad for you.

Ah, right. Let’s see. The man REQUESTED A SIGN FROM GOD. It isn’t brain surgery to ‘figure out what would convince him.’ The man himself asked for a sign, and he received it. Seriously, is this so difficult? I do hope that true rational Jims that are out there will pardon me for figuring that if a man asks for and receives a sign from God, but still isn’t convinced by that sign, my role in the matter is pretty limited. Indeed, about the only thing that I can do at that point is say, “Dude. You asked for a sign. You got it. What’s your problem?” Which, by the way, did say- though in kinder terms, as the gent is a friend.

The problem, Pussycat Jonathon, lies in what we believe that a sign from God actually is.

Faith healers, conjurers, ESP claimants, animal telepaths, and others of their ilk understand a particular basic human reality. That reality is that if you put someone in a context where they want to believe the insanity that you feed him, he will believe it. It's just that simple.

One important way to test this is to let the person out of that box, let him examine the realities of what he experienced in his own way without pressure and allow him to rationally review what really happened. Scientists, real ones who actually follow the scientific method, experience this as a matter of course by handing their findings over to other scientists for them to repeat the findings.

The description is far too lacking in detail, but here are just a few problems with your test:

The test subject talked to someone who wanted to convince him that there would be a sign from God. He didn't talk to anyone who would talk sense to him.

The test of "receive a sign from God" is laughably vague. Which one of a trillion coincidences did this prepared subject get freaked out about? I'm thinking it was at a Dairy Queen.

The test subject immediately called the person who prepared him to believe and received reinforcement. He didn't talk to anyone else. Getting prepared by someone to interpret random things in a particular way and then getting reinforced by that same person is what we call "bias". And that's the nice term for it. That's a really bad thing if you're trying to draw conclusions that actually match up to the real world. This test that you speak of belongs on the Lame List.

By the way, if your friend really received an undeniable sign from God that can stand up to actual test protocols, James Randi has a million dollars for him. Even if he doesn't need the money, I'm sure he has a charity that can use the cash. Go for it!

My hats off to you, Rational Jim! More proof that no Christian ever worry that there is any reason to worry about the challenges of the atheistic community! Peace, homeslice.

And peace to you, my good friend! But please, the name is Jim Rational. And thanks for demonstrating that no scientist need ever worry about rational challenges from your quarter!

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