Dear Mr. Smith:
Well here I am again to add my two cents to your responses to Ms. Talbot.
You adroitly corrected her scientific and moral errors, but you did not address her logical fallacy "atheists cannot scientifically disprove the existence of God any more than theists can scientifically prove the existence of God" as an argument for belief in God. You may have have dealt with this subject in your response to others, but if so, I cannot recall seeing it, and I have read all your thousands of responses.
Her argument is the classic logical fallacy of "negative proof," or "the reversal of the burden of proof." As this Wikipedia article says: "Reversing the burden of proof is a logical fallacy whereby the normal burden of proof is reversed. For example, it may be asserted that carrying a rabbit's foot improves luck on the grounds that it cannot be proven that it does not. This is fallacious for two reasons: first, it requires proof of a negative, and second, it places the burden of proof on the challenger, not the proposer of the idea. Formally, before a claim is made, it should be proven, not asserted until disproven."
Her argument is a fallacy because it is impossible to prove a negative. For instance, I cannot prove that Earth is not being visited by many-tentacled space aliens who are impregnating our women.
But it IS possible to prove a positive. Capture a space alien and submit him to medical study, study the offspring of one of the women and prove alien progeny, and I will believe.
I think Ms. Talbot would probably use precisely the same logic to refuse to believe in the aliens, but somehow it escapes her when it comes to what she WANTS to believe. She should be asked: "is not the complete lack of solid evidence for the existence of this imaginary thing in your mind that you refer to as 'God' enough to produce major doubt? The burden of proof lies entirely with the proposer, not the challenger, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence in order to be believed. The Bible does not qualify, nor do uncorroborated eyewitness accounts, including yours."
P.S. I am not sure whether or not you keep the pictures we send you, so I am sending mine again.
Thank you so much for telling me about this book [Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation]. I've read it and it gave me a better insight on my beliefs. A lot of things he brought up were the same questions I asked when I first started questioning my beliefs. I.E. What made God? Why does it have to be a biblical God that creates everything when Evolution could as easily be a product of an alien super computer, Etc. I've been asking similar questions for some time, and people pretty much just avoid answering them. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it but it was your site that completely made up my mind about being Atheist, mainly I saw sense in your hate mail responses.
Anyway, thanks again.
|“This does not condone slavery. Rather, slavery existed already in this society and this Biblical passage supports the fair treatment of those who are already slaves.”
Dear Professor Smith,
I'm really sorry if I said anything that conveyed disrespect. I don't mean to insult you in any way. I realize that you have more life experience than I, and that puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage. I've had less time to learn what you've learned. Perhaps as I grow in my knowlege of the world I will come to change my beliefs. But, I can't help but notice that there are many who have studied the Bible as well as evolution to a very great extent. These people have asked the same questions you and I are asking and they have come to logical conclusions. In any case, neither of us can see back to the beginnings of time with our own eyes. I am not so closed-minded as to think every word of the first chapters of Genesis must be taken litteraly. I think it's definitely possible that these words in Genesis are simply an eloquent litterary representation of the beginning of the world. I don't think the point of this passage was to instruct it's readers on the precise and historically accurate way in which God created the world (and with the limited scientific knowlege at the time, and the limits of the ancient Hebrew language, it's original readers would have had no basis for this information).
I must point out that I did not say "scientific method itself, correlational studies, case studies and anything less than properly conducted, falsifiable experimentation can really PROVE anything". I most definitely did not say
that science cannot prove anything. I said "according to the scientific method itself, correlational studies, case studies and anything less than properly conducted, falsifiable experimentation can really PROVE anything". I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I meant that when following scientific method, falsifiable experimentation is the only proceedure used to prove things with complete certainty. Whereas, correlational studies and case studies (and philosophical reasoning, for that matter) alone cannot be used to prove things. This is according to scientific method. Since it's not possible to conduct a controlled experiment on the existence of God (at least not at this point in time), one cannot say that there is proof God does not exist.
Ephesians 6:9 "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him".
This does not condone slavery. Rather, slavery existed already in this society and this Biblical passage supports the fair treatment of those who are already slaves.
Colossians 4:1 "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven."
1 Timothy 1:9-11 "We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
The above verse lists slave traders (along with murderers) as people who are acting in a way contrary to God's doctrine.
As for Social Contract Theory, this certainly hasn't stopped some world leaders from being immensely corrupt. I mentionned sociopaths or psychopaths. These people are described as remorseless in their amorality.
According to John Locke, Social Contract is not static. It changes as people rebel against corruption; it changes as people change it.
Thank you for your time,
In your previous emails you proclaimed quite assuredly "I don't at all think [The Theory Of Evolution] contradicts the explanations given in the Bible." In fact, you even stated that "There is no contradiction." Then when the extreme contradictions were pointed out you completely changed your argument stating "these words in Genesis are simply an eloquent litterary representation of the beginning of the world." And I see that in addition to this you are not presenting me with the non contradictory explanation the Bible gives regarding evolution.
In regards to morality, you gave Jesus a resume ranging from "practical and wise, even radical!" to "words that uphold the incomparibly high value of every person." Then when I pointed out Jesus' complete lack of even acknowledging the horrific crimes against humanity that he was surrounded by in regards to slavery, slave-rape and child-slavery, you make the audacious, even barbaric excuse that "rather, slavery existed already in this society."
Slave trade already existed in their society?!?! That's why Jesus spoke no words against it?!?! Selling one's child as a sexual slave already existed in this society so Jesus saw no harm/no foul in it!??!?! Are you saying that Jesus did not speak up for humankind in this instance because it was bad for business? Or are you saying it's because it was such a quaint and unique fabric woven into the brightly colored quilt that is the business of selling human beings as if they were farm equipment!??! You talk as if preexisting societal perversions are to have a blind eye turned to them! I am appalled as to the extent that one reasonable human being such as yourself will sink with excuses for the Bible's flaws, misgivings and flat out crimes against humanity.
Suzy, did you know that these people who you say have "studied the Bible and Evolution and have come to logical conclusions for both that don't contradict" are doing exactly what you're doing? Did you know that those men of faith all go through the same order of excuses that you're making right now for each of these points? They do it in the same order that you are, even to the point where they accept slavery as a norm for the time, and explain how the parts of the bible they once tried to defend as fact now only have symbolic meaning, even though there is no helpful symbolism to be found in them whatsoever. In fact, the order of the excuses is so predictable that I illustrated a comic about it. It's an argument between Jesus and Satan, and Jesus makes all the same excuses right up to the point where He retorts, "Hey, I'm not Gandhi!"
Then I drew Jesus trying to explain how the bible somehow coincides with science, and evolution. All the excuses are taken directly from the "scholars" you're riding the coattails of.
Then, after all of the excuses are made, each of these men of faith will look you dead in the eye and tell you they do not care about the contradictions or the immorality of the Bible. They will look you in the eye and denounce logic, science, commonsense, and even mankind itself to avoid admitting they were wrong. Men and women who would rather be martyrs for their faith than be intellectually honest with themselves. It is the greatest crime a belief in God promotes, for it makes good men make very bad decisions. You are wrong to base your belief on the beliefs of others, then claim your reasons to mirror theirs. This is not a way to form beliefs, but unfortunately it is the most common.
As for sociopaths and psychopaths, you cannot bend the curve of morality to suit people who are out of their minds. Those who are on the outskirts of society do not pertain to this Social Contract. And thankfully, the Social Contract does indeed change and evolve as society evolves. Over time it has been apparent that civil societies become less tolerant of violence and discrimination throughout the centuries. And where once discrimination and violence against "witches & warlocks," women, race and homosexuality were the social norm, now are frowned upon, or not tolerated at all. The evolution of The Social Contract is a good thing, whereas the non-negotiable "Word of God" has been the seed of war since mankind first invented religion, and it is at present the greatest threat to the survival of the human race.
Please reconsider the array of distorted beliefs you presently hold. You're shortchanging yourself intellectually, and it demeans your fellow man. It is also my feeling that a belief in God promotes an anticipation of Armageddon itself, for what would follow is a Second Coming of a Messiah down from the clouds on a Chariot of Gold pulled by flying white unicorns on a blazing path of fire. These sorts of fantasies will be the death of us all if we don't change our way of thinking.
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