The nature of the science-religion conflict?

I think this cartoon really illustrates the differences.

Credit: atheistcartoons.com – where would we be?.

156 responses to “The nature of the science-religion conflict?

  1. Very funny. What do you reckon Glenno’s reaction to this would be?

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  2. Anger. But that seems to be constant.

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  3. So you’re now resorting to silly cartoons to perpetuate false impressions of the science-religion debate. Nice.

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  4. Cartoons are great for getting a message across, aren’t they. And the issue won’t go away just because you close your eyes and block your ears. Especially when you guys bandy around words like “scientism” and attack scientific knowledge because it doesn’t include your gods.

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  5. Yes – cartoons have historically been used very effective to get across certain viewpoints and influence the simple minded to accept ideas without having to think deeply themselves.

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  6. So you understood it then, Max?

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  7. I understood its propaganda message yes. It was hardly a complex message. I tend to understand political cartoons from all persuasions too – it does not mean that there is actually any truth contained in the message, or that I agree with it. But yes the (ill informed simplistic) opinion of the cartoon drawer was not exactly hidden.

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  8. Congratulations, Max.

    I get the fact that it irks you a bit. But I think that is the problem with your ideological filter.

    It seemed very apt to me.

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  9. The cartoon demonstrates how empty is the word “god”.
    Magic invisible fuzzy.
    That’s all it really stands for.
    People devote their entire lives and their entire family to magic sky daddies. Yet the prayers doesn’t work. The “god” never shows up and says hello.
    Science let’s us move beyond the mumbo-jumbo and search for the truth.
    That puts some people’s noses out of joint.
    Magical incantations are worth stuff all.
    The money you give to your priest or shaman is money down the drain.
    Blessing a chicken is just stupid.

    The Story of Suzie

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  10. Well it fits your ideology perfectly Ken – this much is clear. What it does not fit is history on this planet. But if you want to put ideology before reality – knock yourself out!

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  11. Richard Christie

    Max, the cartoon merely illustrates reality.
    The only panel within it that I think is weak is the “god likes flat stuff” one.
    All the other panels show typical and oft recorded reactions of god believers to natural events.
    Interpret it as you will.

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  12. Come on Richard! It is a parody of reality – it is a comedy cartoon made to amuse – not to represent the real and much more complex situation!

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  13. All cartoons. humour, are parodies of reality. Some things deserve ridicule and humour is an effective way to ridicule.

    Of course the ridiculous don’t really like this.

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  14. Yes. If it was better done it would be funnier – ie. if it parodied an actual real situation. A cartoon that makes up a fake history and then parodies this is just silly. But yes – the cartoon is mildly droll for what it is.

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  15. Richard Christie

    Let’s just look at what the cartoon says Max.

    Humans attribute physical unpleasant acts of nature (e.g. earthquakes) to gods. TICK
    Humans have attributed fortuitous acts of nature to gods. (e.g. the wonderful banana – or anything nice for that matter). TICK
    At various times humans have claimed gods (via scripture, as we have no other source of so called divine intent) supported the flat earth, earth-centric, solar-centric and expanding universe theories as being consistent with and as demonstrating evidence of a god’s hand. TICK

    Ticks all those boxes Max. There is nothing underhand or dishonest about it.

    Are you arguing it doesn’t, or is it that you just don’t like those things being pointed out – better to brush them under the carpet, eh.

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  16. Actually, if I was a cartoonist I would enjoyed portraying some of the stupid arguments I seem to get into with Matt and Glenn. Just imagine portraying “Galileo was wrong!”, “Counting jelly beans in a jar”, “Banning evolution in science classes because it offends fundies,” “Defining knowledge and retreating to ‘I think I know'”, “The higher standards of Christian ‘knowing'”, and the list goes on.

    Actually, modern liberal theology provides huge numbers of hilarious situations. I like this situation from Karl Krauss – scholars of religions and their audiences are in complete harmony. The latter do not hear what the former say and the former do not want to say what the latter expect.!

    And literal theology provides the usual ridiculous situations. But perhaps cartoonists have done them to death – they have been such an easy target.

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  17. And just imagine all the judgementalism in these debates. And Glenn’s anger problem. A cartoonist would have a field day.

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  18. They would indeed Ken I agree! I suppose your cartoon is probably appropriate for people like Glenn – although as you say he would probably be shooting the scientist rather than joyfully agreeing with him (what is it with Glenn’s (and Matt’s) pre-occupation with guns by the way?).

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  19. Richard Christie

    Max Are you arguing it doesn’t, or is it that you just don’t like those things being pointed out – better to brush them under the carpet, eh.

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  20. Max, do you do prayers and incantations?
    If so, why?

    Do they just make you feel good in some special, fuzzy way…or what?
    Would you feel more comfortable blessing a roast chicken before eating it…or do you just go ahead and eat it?

    If you were sick with some terrible disease-would you pray?

    If you did, does your god (assuming you have one) ever not bother to reply?
    Or is it always a win-win stuation for him/her/it/them/other?

    The best optical illusion in the world!

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  21. “Max Are you arguing it doesn’t”…

    Sorry – that what doesn’t? And doesn’t what?

    “Max, do you do prayers and incantations?”

    Yes. Well strictly no – but had you said “prayers or incantations” then yes.

    “If so, why?”

    It has proven to be a beneficial practice for my mental health – among other things. Apparently I am not alone in this – say it is all delusional crap all you like – but people with a spiritual practice do tend to measure a mot better on a range of psychological and social statistics. Just a fact sorry…

    “Do they just make you feel good in some special, fuzzy way…or what?”

    I would not call it a “fuzzy” way no. I think in fact prayer – particularly prayer of a meditative rather than a petitionary nature tends to clear rather than make the mind more “fuzzy”.

    “Would you feel more comfortable blessing a roast chicken before eating it…or do you just go ahead and eat it?”

    I have never blessed anything before I ate it… however I think thanking the people responsible for the food you are eating is always a nice thing to do.

    “If you were sick with some terrible disease-would you pray?”

    Who can tell what mental state I would be in if I suddenly received devastating news. You probably could not answer that question either. Trauma can change you.

    “If you did, does your god (assuming you have one) ever not bother to reply?”

    Who knows? I don’t really see prayer as asking daddy for pocket money, or asking daddy to wipe my tears away. I don’t know many people who do. I know *of* people that do – but not my thing really.

    “Or is it always a win-win stuation for him/her/it/them/other?”

    Not sure what this means.

    “The best optical illusion in the world!”

    Probably works better in America? Does not really represent my views at all. Not really an “optical” illusion in any case… just saying.

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  22. Yes. Well strictly no – but had you said “prayers or incantations” then yes.

    What’s the difference in your opinion?

    It has proven to be a beneficial practice for my mental health – among other things.

    That’s…um…great.
    No doubt it helps out the ol’ blood pressure too, right?
    Wow, imagine missing out on that action.
    Does it matter what or who you pray to?😉

    …however I think thanking the people responsible for the food you are eating is always a nice thing to do.

    How do you do that?
    Does “prayer” come into it at all?

    You probably could not answer that question either.

    As if I have never been involved in trauma myself.
    Hmm.
    Speak for yourself.
    Speaking on behalf of total strangers on the internet is a waste of time.

    Who knows?

    So you personally don’t know?
    Oh.
    Do you do something called prayer but have no clue if there’s anybody picking up the phone, so to speak?
    What would be the point in that?
    Or does it all come down to some unnamed, mysterious “study” that helps out your “mental health” (plus all the extras) of course?

    Does not really represent my views at all.

    Oh, you’re different?
    Good for you.
    So what is your view on prayer and incantations?
    How do you do it?

    “Or is it always a win-win stuation for him/her/it/them/other?”

    “Not sure what this means”.

    This is what it mean…

    Mr. Deity Episode 4: Mr. Deity and the Messages

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  23. Richard Christie

    Sorry – that what doesn’t? And doesn’t what?

    The unanswered question was repeated – cut/pasted- and from earlier comment.
    It asks if you are arguing that the cartoon doesn’t do what was pointed out in the sentence immediately prior to it, i.e. that the cartoon doesn’t tick the boxes mentioned.
    As you objected to the cartoon, my question is aimed at ascertaining if your is objection simply a case of you not liking that the cartoon highlights such information.

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  24. “What’s the difference in your opinion?”

    Oh I don’t want to get into a huge discussion about the different sorts of prayer and devotional practice that exist in different traditions. Do a google search.

    “No doubt it helps out the ol’ blood pressure too, right?
    Wow, imagine missing out on that action.
    Does it matter what or who you pray to?”

    Yes it does also help blood pressure. And these studies have been done on catholic nuns through to zen Buddhists – so no it does not seem to matter who you pray to – if indeed your particular prayer even involves a “who”. You need to broaden your definition of prayer beyond merely asking God for stuff.

    “How do you do that?”

    Did your parents never teach you basic manners? Why do I have to tell you how to thank people?

    “Does “prayer” come into it at all?”

    Yes.

    “Do you do something called prayer but have no clue if there’s anybody picking up the phone, so to speak?”

    You need to broaden your definition of prayer a bit. Do that google search I suggested. You seem to be stuck with an infantile asking sky-daddy for candy idea of prayer.

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  25. Richard:

    As I already said it is a simplistic misrepresentation of the history of science, a simplistic misrepresentation of the history of religion and religious institutions, and a simplistic misrepresentation of how the various ideas which mix in societies and individuals have interacted.

    It is vaguely amusing. A bit bland to be offensive as such. Hope that makes it clearer.

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  26. “You need to broaden your definition of prayer a bit. “

    Max, perhaps you should find a more sensible or meaningful (or appropriate) word? After all dictionaries describe prayer along the lines of “a spoken or unspoken address to God, a deity, or a saint. It may express praise, thanksgiving, confession, or a request for something such as help or somebody’s wellbeing.”

    All of us can take part in meditation or quiet contemplation with beneficial effects. No religion or specific belief required. The science shows the benefits.

    But let’s not go trying to vicariously claim the benefits for Christ, Buddha, or whoever.

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  27. “a spoken or unspoken address to God, a deity, or a saint. It may express praise, thanksgiving, confession, or a request for something such as help or somebody’s wellbeing.”

    Actually I am quite happy with that definition Ken – although I would add contemplation to the list. But most people (both theists and antitheists) tend to almost exclusively concentrate on the “request” part of that definition.

    “All of us can take part in meditation or quiet contemplation with beneficial effects. No religion or specific belief required. The science shows the benefits.”

    I agree with this entirely. As I mentioned more or less atheistic Zen Buddhists get the same health benefits as catholic ultratheists. My point was not that you must be religious. My point merely that there ARE benefits of prayer – as this is what I was asked.

    “But let’s not go trying to vicariously claim the benefits for Christ, Buddha, or whoever.”

    That is a separate question.

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  28. Richard Christie

    As I already said it is a simplistic misrepresentation of the history of science,

    This is a strawman. Where does the cartoon imply it is representing the history of science?

    a simplistic misrepresentation of the history of religion and religious institutions,

    same comment, and where do you get ant reference “institutions” from?

    and a simplistic misrepresentation of how the various ideas which mix in societies and individuals have interacted.

    more strawmen.

    The cartoon simply highlights how a god concept has been used to explain/endorse all and everything even when the endorsement has later been found to be patently false.

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  29. “This is a strawman. Where does the cartoon imply it is representing the history of science?”

    Indeed it does not – and so we are in agreement! Excellent.

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  30. Prayer may, sometimes, be a form of contemplation. But contemplation or meditation is not always prayer. Its best, and more respectful, to use the words properly.

    And of course for most of us prayer is non-consensual. It is imposed. And never contemplative or meditational in such situations. As such it is hardly good for one’s health – more the opposite.

    Non-consensual prayer is offensive.

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  31. “Prayer may, sometimes, be a form of contemplation. But contemplation or meditation is not always prayer. Its best, and more respectful, to use the words properly.”

    Again I agree entirly Ken. Contemplation is a subset of prayer so to talk about ALL prayer as though it were contemplation would be misleading. Agreed? But my point is this” petition (ie. asking God for stuff) is ALSO a subset of prayer. So again: to talk about ALL prayer as though it were petition is misleading. Agreed? So we both think it is important to use the word as it is commonly used – not in a narrow sense.

    “Non-consensual prayer is offensive.”

    Not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean being forced to pray yourself in your work/school? This I agree is a denial of freedom. Or do you mean that other people praying “for” you (praying in that narrow sense of petition as I mentioned just above) is offensive? I would be interested to know which one you meant – and if the latter why this offends you.

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  32. Max – check out that word “subset” – you have it wrong. You are talking about the over lap of two independent sets.

    I am talking about the imposed – schools, work, social situations, state ceremonies. Pleased you agree it is offensive.

    As for the latter – I like Dan Dennett’s point – “go ahead and pray for me, will you also sacrifice a goat.” It’s meaningless, although often meant as a slight.

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  33. No, I am well aware of the terminology used in set theory Ken. Contemplative prayer is a subset of prayer. I see no problem with this. But yes I agree there is other contemplative practices that are not prayer – but lets not quibble over words any more. We don’t seem to disagree.

    “I am talking about the imposed – schools, work, social situations, state ceremonies. Pleased you agree it is offensive.”

    It certainly is. Whatever the cultural values being imposed on the populace. I can think of a couple of prominent recent examples in the media.

    “It’s meaningless, although often meant as a slight.”

    I agree that if you think it is meaningless and has no effect then to object to other peoples prayers would be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    So there you are Ken. We agree on all issues.

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  34. Richard Christie

    No, I am well aware of the terminology used in set theory Ken. Contemplative prayer is a subset of prayer

    but that isn’t what you wrote Max.
    You wrote

    Contemplation is a subset of prayer so to talk about ALL prayer as though it were contemplation would be misleading.

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  35. Yes, I noticed that Richard. But I think Max may have meant “contemplative prayer was a subset of prayer.” That makes sense – although the word covers a multitude of sins.

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  36. Yes Richard. Ken pointed that out already so I clarified and corrected what I meant? I thought I made that clear?

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  37. Oh I don’t want to get into a huge discussion about the different sorts of prayer and devotional practice that exist in different traditions.

    Neither do I.

    Do a google search>

    Do a google search…on your opinion? Hmm.
    Somebody’s acting coy.
    Let’s not get lost in vague generalities.
    Do YOU pray?
    Yes?
    Ok.
    When YOU pray…what do YOU do? What is it that YOU think YOU are actually doing?

    Yes it does also help blood pressure.

    (Damn but I’m good. Spotted that one a mile off.)

    So…that’s why YOU do it.?
    Prayer is a sort of health insurance plan?
    (Shades of Pascal enter the room)

    “But let’s not go trying to vicariously claim the benefits for Christ, Buddha, or whoever.”
    “That is a separate question.”

    Huh?

    Are YOU meditating or something or are YOU praying?

    …so no it does not seem to matter who you pray to – if indeed your particular prayer even involves a “who”.

    So one could indeed “pray” to a jug of milk and expect the same benefits?
    Interesting.
    It’s really doesn’t matter who you pray to or even if there is a who?
    Well, at this point the magic person at the other end of the line seems distinctly unnecessary.

    “Does “prayer” come into it at all?”
    Yes.

    How do you thank people according to basic manners…through prayer?
    Unless they are there in the room or you send them an email or something, it doesn’t really work that well.

    You take a roast chicken from someone.
    You go home and pray over it before you eat it.
    You have not thanked the person that you got the roast chicken from.
    The person that sold you the chicken still thinks that you are a rude, surly bastard or something.

    Basic manners in thanking someone requires communication.
    Between two parties.
    Thanking someone to their face “Terrific dinner, mom” or “Thanks for that, keep the change” is perfectly mundane and sane.
    No magic fuzziness is required.
    Talking to yourself and pretending that you are talking to magic people over a roast chicken to “thank” those responsible for the chicken is just you talking to yourself.
    It’s silly.
    Basic manners doesn’t enter into it.

    It’s like helping people.
    Praying for people is not actually helping people.
    If you want to help someone, then do something real and tangible.

    Contemplation is a subset of prayer so to talk about ALL prayer as though it were contemplation would be misleading.

    So…what do you do?
    Do you only contemplate or does that not apply to you?

    So again: to talk about ALL prayer as though it were petition is misleading. Agreed?

    Um…ok.
    So again, what do YOU do?
    Do you ever petition?

    I agree that if you think it is meaningless and has no effect then to object to other peoples prayers would be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    I agree that if you think that rolling around on the floor babbling in a made-up language has no effect then to object to other peoples rolling around on the floor babbling in a made-up language would be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    I agree that if you think that sacrificing a goat has no effect then to object to other peoples sacrificing a goat would be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    I agree that if you think that leaving milk and cookies for Santa has no effect then to object to other peoples leaving milk and cookies for Santa be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    I agree that if you think that doing something pointless and bloody stupid has no effect then to object to other peoples doing something pointless and bloody stupid be akin to objecting to their thoughts. ie. advocating thought crimes.

    Build that defensive strawman wide and high.
    (giggle)

    You need to broaden your definition of prayer beyond merely asking God for stuff.

    My definition is the same as everybody else’s. I have not “narrowed” it at all.

    I don’t really see prayer as asking daddy for pocket money, or asking daddy to wipe my tears away. I don’t know many people who do. I know *of* people that do – but not my thing really.

    You may well not know many people in your personal circle who do but those people do exist. There’s a vast multitude.
    You are not doubt a lucky exception.
    Others not so much.

    All in the name of prayer.
    All in the name of faith.

    James Randi talks about faith healing

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  38. “When YOU pray…what do YOU do? What is it that YOU think YOU are actually doing?”

    Not a lot really. I can show you some time if you are really interested. I don’t see a lot of point getting into intellectual discussions about prayer. That would be like getting into an intellectual discussion about running to stay healthy. No matter how much you talk about running, understand the mechanics of it, understand the medical principles involved, and the history of running, or the names of famous runners… etc etc… if you never actually put on a pair of running shoes and go out and try it for yourself you will never either (i) understand what it is actually like to run or (ii) get any health benefits from your intellectual knowledge. If you are NOT really interested – which I suspect is the case – then you will not know. Up to you.

    “So…that’s why YOU do it.?”
    No – just an interesting positive effect. Your silly video was painting such a one sided view that I thought I would add another angle for you to consider.

    “Prayer is a sort of health insurance plan?”
    In as much as going to the gym to work out, or going for a run is a “sort of health insurance plan”. ie. it helps – but don’t be too shocked if you still get ill.

    “Shades of Pascal enter the room”

    Your spin not mine.

    “Huh?”

    Duh?

    “Are YOU meditating or something or are YOU praying?”

    Do you think these are mutually exclusive?

    “So one could indeed “pray” to a jug of milk and expect the same benefits?”

    The health benefits? I think if they were sincere and their brain waves were altered in the same as that of Buddhist monks, and christian nuns when they pray then obviously. Whether anyone could be sincere about a jug of milk is an empirical question. This is not a controversial claim.

    “It’s really doesn’t matter who you pray to or even if there is a who?”
    For the health benefits? I have answered that several times already. No.

    “Well, at this point the magic person at the other end of the line seems distinctly unnecessary.”
    Well done! Which is why I have been saying that you need to broaden your rather infantile understanding of prayer.

    “Unless they are there in the room or you send them an email or something, it doesn’t really work that well.”
    Well one response to this would be to ask who you think is the one befitting from the gratitude. Do you think that thanking others is always for THEIR benefit? If I thank the farmers who grew the food I am eating – it will probably have very little effect on the farmers who never knew I said this. It may have a huge effect on me though. Now apply the same principle to all other people you might want to be grateful to. You may be seeing it from a very one sided literalistic viewpoint.

    “You take a roast chicken from someone.
    You go home and pray over it before you eat it.
    You have not thanked the person that you got the roast chicken from.”
    Haven’t I indeed?- that is rather a harsh appraisal of my actions now. In fact it is likely that I did thank them. Especially if I am in the habit of reminding myself to be grateful to others in a ritualistic setting. This habit formed in a ritual will flow on into the rest of my life. So actually… I did that them😉

    “Talking to yourself and pretending that you are talking to magic people”
    Again – not really my practice – I don’t know any magic people.

    over a roast chicken to “thank” those responsible for the chicken is just you

    “Praying for people is not actually helping people.”
    Again the principle I outlined above is important. If I daily reflect on the way i have treated people that day, look at the ways I helped people, and the ways I failed to do so, and make a conscious effort to place their wellbeing at the forefront of my mind… then NEXT TIME I meet them I will be more motivated and more empowered to actually help. Praying for people DOES help them. Now of course you can help people without prayer as well – but this does not negate the real positive effects of prayer. I am not saying this is the ONLY effect of prayer necessarily. But even if it was, it would be enough to make it a legitimate and beneficial practice.

    “If you want to help someone, then do something real and tangible.”
    See above. But yes I agree. To pray for people and then act in the opposite way is a sign of hypocrisy – and would probably indicate an insincere prayer. This is not a new idea – you are right and inline with my own tradition.

    “So…what do you do?”
    A range of things. Some silent. Some using words. Some alone. Some with others.

    “Do you ever petition?”
    Yes. Each day.

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  39. “When YOU pray…what do YOU do? What is it that YOU think YOU are actually doing?”

    Not a lot really.

    Not much point then really.

    I don’t see a lot of point getting into intellectual discussions about prayer. That would be like getting into an intellectual discussion about running to stay healthy.

    Poor analogy.

    Your spin not mine.

    Then it stands unrefuted. Fine by me.

    “Are YOU meditating or something or are YOU praying?”

    Do you think these are mutually exclusive?

    What are you doing?
    You are saying nothing so far.

    Haven’t I indeed?- that is rather a harsh appraisal of my actions now. In fact it is likely that I did thank them.

    Nope, you haven’t.
    Unless you thank someone, you have not done so.
    Thanking someone, as in following basic manners, requires some form of communication between two parties.
    If you don’t do that, then you are just talking to yourself.
    You’re doing not a lot.

    Especially if I am in the habit of reminding myself …

    Remind yourself about whatever takes your fancy.
    It’s not important.
    You have not thanked anybody.
    It’s just you and the chicken.

    This habit formed in a ritual will flow on into the rest of my life.

    Um, yeah. Whatever.
    (shrug)

    “Talking to yourself and pretending that you are talking to magic people”
    Again – not really my practice…

    No, your practice is to do not a lot really.
    Nor do you seem to be willing or able to explain in a coherent, rational fashion what it is you actually do.

    If I daily reflect….

    Daily reflect away. Nobody’s stopping you.
    Where does the “prayer” part come into it?

    …then NEXT TIME I meet them I will be more motivated and more empowered to actually help. Praying for people DOES help them.

    Oh, NEXT TIME you will actually help?
    Next time?
    Hmm.
    Maybe next time you will actually thank them too, as opposed to not actually thanking them at all.

    Now of course you can help people without prayer as well – but this does not negate the real positive effects of prayer.

    Alas we will never know what you mean since you don’t seem to be that interested in giving any details or evidence.

    “So…what do you do?”
    A range of things. Some silent. Some using words. Some alone. Some with others.

    (..awkward silence…)

    Yep.
    Pure meaningless hand-waving. Details are not your strong point.

    “Do you ever petition?”
    Yes. Each day.

    As in a prayer?
    Petioning in a prayer?
    Does this prayer have a specific dial code?
    Does anybody ever pick up the phone?

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  40. Richard Christie

    Praying for people DOES help them

    except when skyman says no or keep waiting.

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  41. Cedric:

    “Not much point then really.”
    Benifits, Been through this already.

    “Poor analogy.”
    Why? Easy to be dismissive like that – but you failed to discuss it. Why do you not like this analogy? Specifically? If you don.t want a genuine exchange of idea that is fine – but why bother asking for my perspective?

    “Then it stands unrefuted. ”
    What stands “unrefuted”? You are very odd. You seem to be more about scoring points than having a real discussion and as such this may be my last reply.

    “What are you doing?”
    I have done into this in some depth. But I am really under no obligation to open up my home and private life to someone who is not really interested.

    “Unless you thank someone, you have not done so.”
    Please reread. I think you are not getting it.

    “Remind yourself about whatever takes your fancy.
    It’s not important.
    You have not thanked anybody.
    It’s just you and the chicken.”

    Again you seem incapable of reading what I actually said and addressing the specific points I raised. Sorry Cedric – but you just don’t really seem interested in a discssion. And as such I think I will leave it there.

    If you want to boast your ego by saying “I win” or “you could not answer my questions so you are wrong” this is the traditional time to do so I believe. If you want to discuss points I actually made I will be pleasantly surprised, but I won’t be replying to this sort of nonsense again. Sorry bud.

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  42. Richard:

    The same pretty much applies to your reply where you take a small part of what I said out of context to score some silly point. It is sad. There must be some atheists capable of more than shallow rhetoric out there…

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  43. Richard Christie

    Max, I could have gone a lot deeper into

    Praying for people DOES help them

    but the statement is simply so ludicrous I thought I’d making light of it and thus spare you the embarrassment of trying to defend it.

    Similarly with your position that you can thank people without having to communicate with them.

    Now, let’s just conduct a little experiment… be seated please….

    There, did you get that? what I just did?
    Now, how has it helped you?

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  44. “Now, how has it helped you?”

    Now if you had actually read what I said you would not have asked this question. I will leave it for you to figure out why – but given your efforts so far I will not hold my breath.

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  45. Now Richard – how about you summarize WHY *I* said prayer helps people – just so we can both be sure you understood – and then reply to what *I* said about the issue. And then after that you can summarize what *I* said about gratitude – again so we can be sure you understood – and then reply to what *I* said about the issue. If you are not capable of doing this then I see little point trying to talk you you. I am not interested in defending ideas I never supported – nor replying to people who try to put words in my mouth.

    Demonstrate that you are worth replying to and I will do so. Elsewise I will not bother.

    And since I know how important it is for some people to “win” in these sort of things I leave you with the same words I left Cedric:

    If you want to boast your ego by saying “I win” or “you could not answer my questions so you are wrong” this is the traditional time to do so I believe. If you want to discuss points I actually made I will be pleasantly surprised, but I won’t be replying to this sort of nonsense again. Sorry bud.

    Like

  46. Benifits, Been through this already.

    You mean the blood pressure thing and the mystery nuns?
    Really?
    (shakes head sadly)

    “Poor analogy.”
    Why?

    Because nobody gets coy and evasive and oh so defensive over the topic of jogging and it’s associated health benefits.
    Doesn’t happen.
    Jogging is a mundane topic.
    Prayer is…freaky wierd.
    Bad analogy.
    Awful.

    …if you never actually put on a pair of running shoes and go out and try it for yourself you will never either (i) understand what it is actually like to run or (ii) get any health benefits from your intellectual knowledge.

    We’re talking about YOU praying.
    I’m not interested in the “health benefits”.
    Nor do I want to understand “what it is like to pray”.

    I want know what it is YOU do when YOU pray.
    What do YOU really think YOU are doing?

    Even if I started praying right now, it would not necessarily be the same thing as YOU and YOUR praying thing.
    ( For all I know, I’d be spraying the chicken blood in the wrong direction or something silly)

    By your own admission, this is something YOU do….EVERY DAY.
    (Wow)
    You even admit that you petition every day!
    (Dang)
    YOU must be able to explain what it is that YOU do in a sane and coherent manner, right?
    (‘Cause you’re sane and coherent and praying is sane and coherent, right?)
    What’s the big hold up?

    When somebody got you into the habit of praying, you asked sane questions about it right? You didn’t just blindly go along.
    Somebody in a frank and rational manner spelled it out to you the whys and wherefores and the importance of low blood pressure, right?
    Drop the coyness.
    Spell it out.

    What stands “unrefuted”?

    My statement about shades of Pascal.
    You just cryptically replied…”Your spin not mine.” without engaging.
    That’s fine if you want to do that but it leaves it standing unrefuted.
    Moving on…

    I have done into this in some depth.

    If that’s your idea of “in depth” then it boggles the imagination what you must be like when you skim over a topic you are hopeless about.
    You’ve told us bugger all.

    But I am really under no obligation to open up my home and private life to someone who is not really interested.

    Keep your home.
    Keep your private life.
    Don’t care.

    Talking about jogging and it’s health benefits doesn’t really seem like opening up your own home and private life at all.
    I’ve never heard anybody talk about jogging in such super-sensitive terms.
    As I said, it’s a poor analogy.

    I’m asking you about YOU and YOUR praying thing.
    If it’s an icky or awkward subject and you feel incapable of explaining what you do and why you do it without sounding flakey then…that speaks volumes in and of itself.

    Again you seem incapable of reading what I actually said and addressing the specific points I raised.

    I quoted the specific points you raised.
    They are irrational.
    Prayer is not basic manners and a valid way of thanking someone.
    Your rationalising of it was simply daft.
    “Next time” indeed.

    I’ll even quote you some more for continued effect:🙂

    Do you think that thanking others is always for THEIR benefit?

    But you’re not thanking anyone.
    Therefore there are no benefits from you thanking others….’cause mumbling to yourself is not actually THANKING SOMEONE.

    If I thank the farmers who grew the food I am eating…

    But you’re not. You are talking to yourself.
    And the chicken.

    – it will probably have very little effect on the farmers who never knew I said this.

    It’s sounds better if you say “very little effect” as opposed to no effect whatsoever. I understand.
    However, you have still thanked nobody at all. There is no effect since you have not actually thanked anybody outside of the realm of your own little world of make-believe.

    It may have a huge effect on me though.

    Whatever effect (huge or not, awesome and magical or not) is not due to you thanking anybody. If something is happening to you, then that’s nice but it’s due to something else.
    There’s no “thanking” going on.

    Demonstrate that you are worth replying to and I will do so. Elsewise I will not bother.

    You neglected to add “So There!” at the end of that little flounce.

    What do you petition for?
    We don’t know.
    (Though it’s probably something vague and insubstantial and therefore comfortably safe and untestable.)

    Do you actually pray to something?
    We don’t know.
    Could be the village rock or Vishnu or any number of saints or demons.

    Does anybody pick up the phone?
    Ever?
    We don’t know…and you ain’t telling.
    (Doesn’t bode well for the success rate.)

    In fact, you don’t even seem to like the word prayer itself very much.
    It doesn’t seem to sit well with you.
    Almost like you are a little bit embarrassed by mentioning it in public as something YOU do YOURSELF.

    You refer to it in more…secularish ways.
    It’s not really so much a prayer thing.
    Oh no.
    You’re more sophisticated than that basic, traditional, mumbo-jumbo stuff.
    This is the 21st Century after all.
    It’s not like you’re a wierdo or out of touch.

    No, it’s “spiritual practice” or something.
    Or “meditation” or “basic manners” or “contemplation” or “reflection”.

    Somehow the “prayer” part gets left out as much as possible.
    Hmm.

    Like

  47. Cedric: More rubbish not worth replying to. Sorry.

    Like

  48. More rubbish not worth replying to. Sorry.

    You neglected to add “So There!” at the end of your flounce again.🙂

    Here’s your problem.
    You pray.
    Every day.
    You admit it yourself.

    Nobody held a gun to your head. You said it yourself.
    In the 21 Century, that puts you firmly in the “rolling-on-the-floor-babbling-to-yourself” catagory. otherwise known as the “spraying-fresh-chicken-blood-and-babbling-to-yourself” catagory.

    You may not personally think so but that’s how it looks to others.
    Same dog, different fleas.

    Nobody picks up the phone.
    Your petitions go unanswered.
    This will never change.

    You would get the same effect from a jug of milk.
    Exactly the same.

    Blood pressure?
    “Thanking” people?
    It’s impossible to parody something that weak and banal.
    It sinks under the weight of it’s own irrelevence.
    It tastes of stale milk and water.
    Nothing fails like prayer.

    Proving the Power of Prayer

    Like

  49. Cedric: More rubbish not worth replying to. Sorry. When you can discus issues like an adult get back to me. Cheers.

    Like

  50. Cedric: More rubbish not worth replying to. Sorry. When you can discus issues like an adult get back to me. Cheers.

    A triple flounce?
    And still you neglected to add “So There”.
    Wonderful.🙂

    Go for a quad flounce.
    Haven’t had one of those around here for quite a while.
    If you can’t decide to come back or not, then maybe you should…um…pray about it?
    (giggle)

    (…waits with barely contained excitement…)

    Like

  51. Ha!
    You went for it.

    It’s official.
    A quad flounce, ladies and gentlemen.
    Go for the big five!
    Make history. Pray real hard about it.
    This whole “having your ass handed to you on the Internet thing” has really gotten under your skin.

    Go for five.
    Please, please, pretty please.
    Make it pithy.

    (…the audience holds it’s breath…)

    Like

  52. If you want to really discuss this issue with me Cedric send me your email and I can answer any questions you like. That way you will feel less of a need to showboat and perhaps we can have a real adult conversation without the need for point scoring. How about it? Would love to discuss the issue with you and share perspectives and so on. If you are not really interested (as it seems) then just let me know. I am happy to discuss these issues and my views with someone who is sincerely interested – but you honestly seem like you just want to play games. Let me know.

    Like

  53. Richard Christie

    Max, you have a problem with the English language.
    You use it loosley and when it’s pointed out to you you simply deny it and state that what you meant was something other than what you actually wrote.

    You’ve done this more than once in this thread.

    You wrote Praying for people DOES help them

    Presumably you meant Praying for people CAN help them

    Don’t try to make it my problem that you can’t write clearly.

    Like

  54. Richard Christie

    Now Richard – how about you summarize WHY *I* said prayer helps people – just so we can both be sure you understood – and then reply to what *I* said about the issue.

    Ah, Ok.

    This is what you wrote.

    “Praying for people is not actually helping people.”
    Again the principle I outlined above is important. If I daily reflect on the way i have treated people that day, look at the ways I helped people, and the ways I failed to do so, and make a conscious effort to place their wellbeing at the forefront of my mind… then NEXT TIME I meet them I will be more motivated and more empowered to actually help. Praying for people DOES help them. Now of course you can help people without prayer as well – but this does not negate the real positive effects of prayer. I am not saying this is the ONLY effect of prayer necessarily. But even if it was, it would be enough to make it a legitimate and beneficial practice.

    None of which illustrates that prayer helps those being prayed for.
    It’s YOU that helps people, by your own conscious efforts.

    Like

  55. If you want to really discuss this issue with me Cedric send me your email and I can answer any questions you like.

    What?
    In private, like?
    So you won’t run further risk of embarrassing yourself?
    Oh no.
    You don’t get off that easy.
    This is now the domain of the public forum.
    You are the de facto representative of people who pray, like it or not.
    People, other people, are watching and taking notes.

    Would love to discuss the issue with you and share perspectives and so on.

    Talk is cheap.
    We have given you every chance to speak in a civil and open matter about a subject that you clearly feel is important and real to you.
    Nobody came down on you until you decided to go off and play silly buggers.
    You have done nothing except be evasive and give crappy non-answers.
    That whole business of “thanking” people and the blood pressure nonsense was risible.
    It wouldn’t fool a child.

    It’s not like I or Richard ignored it.
    We didn’t create a strawman or anything.
    Oh no.
    Heck, we couldn’t take our eyes off it.
    It was captivating.
    Just as a horrifying train-wreck is captivating.

    You pray.
    Don’t want to discuss it?
    Fine.
    Can’t discuss it?
    Fine.
    Either way makes a statement about the whole value of your habit of prayer thingy.
    I don’t have to say anything extra.
    It dies on the spot without any outside help.

    Yet that’s up to you, not me.
    Me being a big ol’ meanie is neither here nor there.
    Don’t play the martyr card just to short-circuit the conversation.
    It’s so boring and so predictable.

    I don’t care about your private life. I don’t want to be invited into your home.

    You do…something.
    You openly admit…it.
    You should be able to explain it-without trying endlessly to try and talk around it or go flouncing off into the sunset.
    (Doesn’t happen on the subject of jogging,…so it shouldn’t happen on the subject of praying.)

    YOU must be able to explain what it is that YOU do in a sane and coherent manner, right?
    (‘Cause you’re sane and coherent and praying is sane and coherent, right?)

    So do it.

    When somebody got you into the habit of praying, you asked sane questions about it right? You didn’t just blindly go along, right?
    Good.
    Wouldn’t expect anything less from a sane and reasonable person.

    Spell it out.

    What do you petition for?
    We don’t know.

    Do you actually pray to something?
    We don’t know.

    Does anybody pick up the phone?
    Ever?
    We don’t know.

    Would love to discuss the issue with you and share perspectives and so on.

    The floor is yours.
    The red carpet is rolled out for you and the microphone is switched on.
    Go for it.
    Please.

    No True Scotsman

    Like

  56. “Not getting away that easily?” Seriously Cedric? Get over yourself seriously. But OK – your answer is no you don’t really want to have a discussion – and this time I really just can’t be bothered reading the rest of your reply… I am sure it is the same nonsense. Anyway – I have my answer – I feel I fully understand where you are coming from and have little interest in playing this game anymore🙂. Let me know if you change your mind.

    Like

  57. Richard:

    “Presumably you meant Praying for people CAN help them”

    Yes – i accept that that is a good correction of what I meant.

    “It’s YOU that helps people, by your own conscious efforts.”

    Indeed it is! And part of keeping myself in the frame of mind where I can keep doing so without burning out or just plain getting so pissed off with people that I give up is prayer. Maybe this is a weakness on my part – but it still works😉 But yes you are right.

    Like

  58. Seriously Cedric? Get over yourself seriously.

    No seriously, you get over yourself seriously or whatever.
    (shrug)
    I don’t give a toss.
    You lose.

    But OK – your answer is no you don’t really want to have a discussion.

    No.
    Basic reading comprehension fail.
    Stop listening to the voices in your head and read what is actually written down.

    …and this time I really just can’t be bothered reading…

    Aw, diddums. What are you going to do next?
    Stamp your foot and tell mommy?
    Sad.

    I feel I fully understand where you are coming from and have little interest in playing this game anymore.

    Yeah, the big, bad meanie wasn’t nice to you on the Internet.
    Now you get to play the martyr card.
    Boring. It happens all the time with dullards like you.

    I’m not interested in a pretty little private email exchange.
    Sorry if that hurts your feelings but…you’re not worth it.

    You have something coherent and sane to say about your prayer thingy and how it’s not kooky or flakey at all?
    Cool.
    Fire away.
    Don’t spare us the details.
    This public thread is the perfect venue for that.
    Right here, right now.
    Tell us all about the rituals and incantations.
    Tell us all about the wildly, wonderful world of the power of prayer or whatever.
    Ditch the evasions and the attitude problem.

    Yet you don’t.

    You…can’t.
    That says it all.

    Prayer is mumbo-jumbo nonsense. Long before your brand-name religion was ever thought up, prayer was used by all other religions. Didn’t work for them and it doesn’t work now.
    There’s nobody at the other end of the line.
    You are just mumbling to the ceiling.

    …I can keep doing so without burning out or just plain getting so pissed off with people that I give up is prayer.

    Doesn’t sound like actual prayer at all. It’s just you focusing on not burning out or getting pissed off. No god, demon or saint required.
    A jug of milk would work just as well.

    Like

  59. Cedric: Not interested in talking to you. See it as a cop out on my part – see it as proving I am wrong in all ways. Whatever. Not interested. Get over it and stop filling the screen with spam.

    Like

  60. Not interested in talking to you>

    Yeah, like it’s a decision on your part.
    You’ve got nothing.

    See it as a cop out on my part – see it as proving I am wrong in all ways.

    Oh I will.
    So will everybody else. That’s how it works. Welcome to the Internet.
    Nice try with trying to switch to email but…no dice.

    Get over it and stop filling the screen with spam.

    Nah, I’m going to savour the victory.
    Every chance I get.
    Every time you pop ’round…I’ll rub your face in it again.
    Making fun of credulous idiots like you is fun.

    If you don’t like it then…too bad.
    (shrug)
    Yet maybe if you pray about it…..?
    Hmm.🙂

    Like

  61. Well done Ced. You are a big man!

    Like

  62. Well done Ced. You are a big man!

    No, you are just extra small. People exactly like you are a dime a dozen around these here parts.

    Like

  63. Ok Cedric. Does insulting people over and over make you feel alive?

    Like

  64. Pray over it. See if that helps.

    Like

  65. I don’t appear to be the insecure one with a giant chip on my shoulder now do I Ceddy? If you get some sort of relief by insulting strangers then knock yourself out. Write another couple of pages of rant. I find it amusing that you waste so much time saying the same thing over and over – but if it helps – I am happy to be their for you.

    Like

  66. I don’t appear to be the insecure one with a giant chip on my shoulder now do I Ceddy?

    Ceddy?
    (…awkward silence…)
    Did prayer help you come up with that one?

    If you get some sort of relief by insulting strangers…

    You brought this on yourself.
    Everybody gets a fair chance.
    You were the one that decided to play silly buggers.

    Write another couple of pages of rant.

    A couple of pages? Sounds like a lot of effort.
    Why should I bother? You are just another troll who got burned in public.
    Now you are just scrabbling around trying to find a salve for your wounded pride.

    I find it amusing…

    Well, um, then you have nothing much to complain about.
    (shrug)

    Like

  67. Only one page! Go on Ceddy – you can make it two pages of rant: Go!

    Like

  68. Only one page!

    What are you talking about?
    This is a thread.
    There are no “pages” dummy.

    Like

  69. Come on Ceddy! That was just lazy! Lets has some more rant!

    Like

  70. Richard Christie

    A word Max, if I may.

    If you simply give straightforward answers to Cedric’s questions the discussion might not descend into further name calling.

    Don’t add to the perception I’ve garnered, since I started regularly reading this blog, that theologians and god believers regularly engage in slippery word games and tactics to avoid honestly addressing the simple stripped down essentials of their belief systems and practices.

    Like

  71. Max, you are not doing anything different.
    You are a genuinely accurate and fair representation of the kind of god-botherer we get around here from time to time.
    We haven’t created you.
    You were already like this when you showed up here.

    It doesn’t get any better. You are pretty much it.
    It’s the same ol’ same ol’.
    Seen one troll, seen ’em all.

    Like

  72. Not bad Ceddy – but you can do better!

    Like

  73. If you simply give straightforward answers to Cedric’s questions the discussion might not descend into further name calling.

    Humpf, I’ll believe that when it happens.

    (sigh)

    Let’s try it one more time:

    You have something coherent and sane to say about your prayer thingy and how it’s not kooky or flakey at all?
    Cool.
    Fire away.
    Don’t spare us the details.
    This public thread is the perfect venue for that.
    Right here, right now.
    Tell us all about the rituals and incantations.
    Tell us all about the wildly, wonderful world of the power of prayer or whatever.
    Ditch the evasions and the attitude problem.

    You do…something.
    You openly admit…it.
    You should be able to explain it-without trying endlessly to try and talk around it or go flouncing off into the sunset.

    (Doesn’t happen on the subject of jogging,…so it shouldn’t happen on the subject of praying.)

    YOU must be able to explain what it is that YOU do in a sane and coherent manner, right?
    (‘Cause you’re sane and coherent and praying is sane and coherent, right?)

    So do it.

    When somebody got you into the habit of praying, you asked sane questions about it right? You didn’t just blindly go along, right?
    Good.
    Wouldn’t expect anything less from a sane and reasonable person.

    Spell it out.

    What do you petition for?
    We don’t know.

    Do you actually pray to something?
    We don’t know.

    Does anybody pick up the phone?
    Ever?
    We don’t know.

    (..waits patiently…)

    Like

  74. Richard:

    My opinion of Cedric is that he in not interested in a discussion at all. I tried at first to answer him, but given the nature of his responses after a while I just gave up. It is not worth writing a long response (as I did at first) to then get a reply that ignores everything I said and instead replies with a generic rant about his pet peeves. If anyone actually looks at what I have said and enters into a discussion on what I have said I am happy for a real discussion.

    As an example: I outlines one manner in which I thought prayer was benificial – ie. it can have a positive effect on the person praying, and this can have a flow on effect on their actions. The reason I chose this particular topic is because I know Cedric is an atheist and so he does not believe in an intervening God – but the idea that prayer may nevertheless have an effect is one where we might have found common ground. His response was to ignore this and instead give a generic patronizing response – full of insults and demands I answer his questions. It is not worth my time talking to people who do not want to genuinely exchange ideas.

    Like

  75. Cedric: I have given up even reading your posts so if that was a reply to me – it is not being read. Sorry.

    Like

  76. I tried at first to answer him.

    Don’t lie.
    Anyone can just scroll up and see your own words.
    They have not disappeared. They are still there.
    This is the Internet.
    You didn’t answer. You evaded and dodged like crazy.

    His response was to ignore this and instead give a generic patronizing response

    Either I ignored it or a gave a patronizing response.
    If I responded to it…then I didn’t ignore it.
    You may not have LIKED my response but that does not count as me ignoring what you said.

    It is not worth writing a long response (as I did at first)…

    Your “response” was to evade and blather on about anything else but your prayer thingy.

    Remember these gems?

    Not a lot really. I can show you some time if you are really interested. I don’t see a lot of point getting into intellectual discussions about prayer.
    (…)
    Did your parents never teach you basic manners? Why do I have to tell you how to thank people?
    (…)
    You need to broaden your definition of prayer a bit. Do that google search I suggested.
    (…)
    A range of things. Some silent. Some using words. Some alone. Some with others.
    (…)
    Now if you had actually read what I said you would not have asked this question.
    (…)
    But I am really under no obligation to open up my home and private life to someone who is not really interested.
    (…)
    If you want to really discuss this issue with me Cedric send me your email and I can answer any questions you like.

    Ugh. Grotesque.

    Cedric: I have given up even reading your posts…

    What?
    Again?


    Max | January 27, 2011 at 10:41 am | “If you want to discuss points I actually made I will be pleasantly surprised, but I won’t be replying to this sort of nonsense again. Sorry bud.”

    Max | January 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm | ” and this time I really just can’t be bothered reading the rest of your reply…”

    max | January 28, 2011 at 1:07 am | “Cedric: Not interested in talking to” you.

    Make up your mind. What do you really want to do?
    Stop dithering like an old spinster clutching her pearls.

    Like

  77. Ditto to that long post Ceddy.

    Like

  78. This is…the Internet.
    I don’t write solely for your benefit.

    You are just the effigy hung out for display.
    None of this is a private email or anything.
    That’s the sheer beauty of it all.🙂

    Don’t want to discuss your prayer thingy?
    Fine.
    Can’t discuss it?
    Fine.
    Either way makes a statement about the whole value of your habit of prayer thingy.

    Like

  79. Ah, a ditto-head.😉

    Like

  80. Indeed.

    Like

  81. Cedric: I have given up even reading your posts…

    Evidently not.
    Again.

    Like

  82. Oh dear me. What is it you WANT Ceddy? Yes I read your little pun on dick-head… what of it? It was mildly clever. Well done? Does the fact that I saw this and read it have some huge significance for you or prove some amazing point to you? You sad little man!

    Like

  83. Just prayed to God and he told me to ignore trolls from now on. And I must obey His Holy Word.😉

    Like

  84. Yes I read your little pun on dick-head… what of it?

    (???)

    Where did that kind of language come from?
    From you, not me.

    Google “dittohead”.
    Now.

    Does the fact that I saw this and read it have some huge significance for you or prove some amazing point to you?

    Well, figure it out for yourself, Sherlock.
    These are your own words:

    Cedric: I have given up even reading your posts…

    Max | January 27, 2011 at 10:41 am | “If you want to discuss points I actually made I will be pleasantly surprised, but I won’t be replying to this sort of nonsense again. Sorry bud.”

    Max | January 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm | ” and this time I really just can’t be bothered reading the rest of your reply…”

    max | January 28, 2011 at 1:07 am | “Cedric: Not interested in talking to you.

    And yet, and yet…you just can’t go cold-turkey.

    Make up your mind. What do you really want to do?
    Stop dithering like an old spinster clutching her pearls.

    Like

  85. Is praying for Cedric’s immortal soul😉

    Like

  86. God just told me that Cedric will become a believer in 2 years! Phew! What a relief!

    Like

  87. Oh so now you’re back to Cedric again?
    That’s nice.
    The awesome power of prayer.

    Like

  88. Oh no! God got back to me again. Looks like hell after all. I better get back to praying – see if I can twist gods arm. Gonna be a long night.

    Like

  89. Um…sure.
    You do that.
    Don’t forget to tell us how it all works out.

    The Voice of God sounds like???

    Like

  90. Nah – he does not sound like that.

    Like

  91. I hear him every day. Duh!

    Like

  92. I hear him every day. Duh!

    You do?
    Okay.
    When you say you hear him do you really mean you…hear him (as in audibly detectable sound)?
    Or do you only “hear him” in a fuzzy, non-specific, vague way that’s (how to put this tactfully) some outside observers might dismiss as mere wishful thinking?
    Which one most accurately sums up you hearing him?

    I’m only asking to make sure that there are no false assumptions being made by either myself or others about your encounter.

    Like

  93. Yep. Audible sound. Usually around 2pm on a large rock just outside of the city. If you drive out there you can hear the voice, and often the stone levitates and slowly rotates.

    Like

  94. A rock?

    (How very anamistic. Still, it could have been a burning bush.)

    And this happens every day to you?
    You drive out there every day at 2pm?

    Like

  95. Yes – apart from when there is thunder obviously. If you studied some science Cedric you might be able to understand.

    Like

  96. Is the thunder…Jesus?

    Like

  97. Possibly Cedric. It’s your story – you make it up!

    Like

  98. Possibly Cedric. It’s your story – you make it up!

    Oh no.
    This is you.
    The whole prayer thing is 100% yours.
    You are no different from those people in the video.
    Same dog, different fleas.🙂

    Like

  99. Because you have been spying on me for the last few years?

    Like

  100. No.
    You pray.
    You admit it yourself.

    Yet all prayer is nonsense.

    The simple minded accept it without having to think about it.
    It’s not just you and yours.
    This goes equally well for genuflecters of Vishnu or Baal.
    You’ve got nothing.

    The Miracle of Lord Ganesha

    Like

  101. Rant rant rant. You sound like a brain washed fundamentalist Cedric. You are just saying a mantra over and over again as a substitute for reason and rationality. How ironic!

    Like

  102. And your constantly posting canonical videos is like those fundies who constantly post biblical passages out of context. I think I have you pegged. Let me guess you used to be a fundamentalist christian before you became an atheist and old habits die hard. Got you pegged buddy!😉

    Like

  103. You are just saying a mantra over and over again…

    A mantra?
    Oh the irony.

    I think I have you pegged.

    Well, think away. Think real hard.
    (shrug)

    Like

  104. Well tell me then Cedric. Were you a Christian at some stage in your life?
    Yes or no? Honest answer please.

    Like

  105. (and glad you saw the irony)

    Like

  106. You have the sound of a born-again evangelist. I suspect a lot of your beliefs come from a psychological reaction to your earlier beliefs rather than being thought out using reason. But come on Ceddy! Don’t be shy!

    Like

  107. Well tell me then Cedric. Were you a…

    Huh?
    You’ve already told me what I am.
    You’ve “got me pegged”, remember?
    Bit late asking me questions at this stage.

    Think about it some more.
    Pray on it.

    Like

  108. Avoiding the question again! Seems Ceddy has something to hide. Come on! You are so willing to ask other people about their beliefs! Don’t be shy!

    Were you a Christian at some point in your life.
    Simple question.
    Yes?
    No?

    Something to hide?

    Like

  109. Seems Ceddy has something to hide.

    How can I hide what you have got pegged?
    It’s all out in the open now.

    Let me guess you used to be a fundamentalist christian before you became an atheist and old habits die hard.

    I’m happy to let you guess.
    Very happy.
    I even brought snacks.
    Continue.

    Like

  110. Ok Ceddy.
    Go back to chanting your mantras in the dark.
    If you say it over and over again that will make it true! Right?
    You don’t need reason!
    You don’t need arguments!
    You don’t need evidence!

    You have your mantras and your youtube videos!
    Those are a good substitute for thinking!

    Or you could show that you are capable of facing the truth and answer a couple of questions!

    Yes?
    No?

    Too revealing of your real motivations and where your ill thought out beliefs really come from?
    Am I being a prick writing question after question?

    And using a new line for each
    question?

    Does it remind you of anyone?

    Can you answer the question Cedric?

    Go back to your ill thought out mantras!
    Rant Rant Rant!

    Yes or No Cedric!

    You lose
    (shrug)

    If you can’t answer if proves I win
    (giggle)

    Like

  111. “I’m happy to let you guess.”

    Too afraid to answer!

    Go back to chanting your mantras in the dark.
    If you say it over and over again that will make it true! Right?
    You don’t need reason!
    You don’t need arguments!
    You don’t need evidence!

    You have your mantras and your youtube videos!
    Those are a good substitute for thinking!

    Or you could show that you are capable of facing the truth and answer a couple of questions!

    Yes?
    No?

    Too revealing of your real motivations and where your ill thought out beliefs really come from?
    Am I being a prick writing question after question?

    And using a new line for each
    question?

    Does it remind you of anyone?

    Can you answer the question Cedric?

    Go back to your ill thought out mantras!
    Rant Rant Rant!

    Yes or No Cedric!

    You lose
    (shrug)

    If you can’t answer if proves I win
    (giggle)

    Like

  112. Wow.
    (…re-reads the entire post…)
    That was worth the wait.

    Too revealing of your real motivations and where your ill thought out beliefs really come from?

    But you already know.
    You yourself told me that you have me pegged.
    You seemed very sure of it.

    Like

  113. Come on Ceddy!

    Front up or shut up!

    Yes or no?

    Too scared of the truth are we?

    Pa-thet-ic!

    Like

  114. Front up or shut up!

    Hang on, you’ve already…

    Too scared of the truth are we?

    Dang, you did it again!
    This “pegging” thing you do is uncanny.
    Wow.

    Like

  115. Pathetic Cedric.

    Like

  116. Well, if you say so.
    (shrug)
    Your analysis of me has been truly wonderful so far.
    Real value for money.
    Please go on.
    Let the world know how you really feel.

    Like

  117. Ample opportunities to answer a question. Instead you evade over and over.

    Speaks volumes. I think you have been shown for the pathetic troll you are over and over.

    And I will give you the last word – smart-ass comments or something intelligent and honest. Your choice:

    Go:

    Like

  118. And I will give you the last word…

    No, you will “give” nothing.
    I will have the last word if and when it pleases me to have the last word.
    That’s how it works on the Internet.

    (Barring any objection from our long-suffering host, of course.)

    The moment you admitted that you pray every day, you were toast.
    The next time somebody asks you if you pray-Deny Everything!
    Otherwise you just look like the people in the videos.
    Same dog, different fleas.

    Like

  119. And there you have it folks!

    Like

  120. And there you have it folks!

    See?
    You can’t help yourself.

    You say that you won’t reply to me…but you do.
    You say that you won’t read my posts…but you do.
    You say that you will give me the “last word”…but you don’t.

    This is how you operate.
    It’s predictable.
    You can’t help yourself.

    Ah, the awesome power of prayer.

    Like

  121. I have declared it over Cedric – and you have definitively lost!

    Next topic!

    Like

  122. I already allowed you to have the last word!

    Like

  123. I have declared it over Cedric…

    Quick, go tell your friends.

    I already allowed you to have the last word!

    Only you didn’t. The idea of allowing someone the last word is to NOT make any futher replies from your end-otherwise you’re just acting contrary to what you say.😉
    Just as you have done before.
    It’s what you do.

    Like

  124. Yes but now the discussion is over. I am happy to chat to you about casual stuff now that that is all over – and as i said – I let you have the last word so i have nothing else to say on the matter. Good talking to you Cedric.🙂

    Like

  125. Are you also from Dunedin Cedric?

    Like

  126. Yes but now the discussion is over.

    It never really go started. You just evaded and got all defensive.

    Good talking to you Cedric.

    Oh, so now we’re back (again) to Cedric?
    That’s nice.

    I let you have the last word so i have nothing else to say on the matter.

    Only you didn’t. You couldn’t help yourself. You had to say something else (again). This whole “last word” thing does not mean what you seem to think it means.

    You keep using that word.

    Like

  127. Don’t be churlish. Are you a kiwi too?

    Like

  128. Are you a kiwi too?

    Pray about it.

    Like

  129. “Are you a kiwi too?

    Pray about it.”

    That is rather childish Cedric.

    Like

  130. That is rather childish Cedric.

    Sometimes when you handle garbage you can get dirty.

    Like

  131. OK Cedric. I am happy for you to ridicule other people’s beliefs, think that their ideas are nonsense – but do you have to actually take it to a personal level like that? Would you be that rude to people in person – or just when you are hidden on the internet?

    Like

  132. OK Cedric. I am happy for you to ridicule other people’s beliefs, think that their ideas are nonsense – but do you have to actually take it to a personal level like that?

    You are the troll.
    You set the tone some time ago.

    Would you be that rude to people in person – or just when you are hidden on the internet?

    Oh the irony.
    Do as you would be done by.

    Like

  133. I am sure you are not as unpleasant in person😉

    Like

  134. I wish I could say the same.

    If you have something to say…then say it.
    Comment as much as you like.
    Stop trolling.
    Do as you would be done by.

    Like

  135. Oh you are a joked Cedric! We should hang out.

    Like

  136. Richard Christie

    (what is it with Glenn’s (and Matt’s) pre-occupation with guns by the way?)

    This question from Max slipped past me.
    I asked Glenn exactly that on his blog a few weeks ago. He accused me of trolling, edited my comments to make his accusation seem almost reasonable and refused to answer the question. So we are left to wonder.

    Like

  137. “This question from Max slipped past me.”
    Yes – bit of noise… sorry! My fault! I was drunk😉

    But seriously… I have also asked about this. I wonder what impression it has on people searching for Christian viewpoints when the blogs you find all have pictures of guns on them (well.. not all.. I exagerate.. )

    But hardly a positive look.

    I must say I prefer Ken’s icy mountain.

    Like

  138. Another potentially sensible thread destroyed by Cedric’s personal insults and rambling offtopic sermons. Sorry that max had to waste his time to learn the lesson: do not feed the trolls!

    Like

  139. Come off it, ropata. I got the impression Max enjoyed the game as much as Cedric did.

    Lighten up.

    Like

  140. Actually my reaction is similar to Max, so before all the insults fly lets note, as Max did that the cartoons portray historical epochs.

    The first suggests God was postulated to explain earthquakes by “cave men”, there is no evidence that God functions as a hypothesis like this at this time that I know of, therefore this claim is unwarranted.

    The second, which looks like its supposed to be set during the “dark ages” by the clothing involved suggests at this period of time people considered scientific advances in crops to be “miracles”, the problem is that we have quite a bit of theological writing from this period, and we know that medieval theologians did not think this way about phenomena like this at all, a fact I pointed out to Ken the other day with Aquinas, so this is actually falsified by the evidence.

    The third, suggests that people just before the reniassance believed the world was flat for religious reasons, this in fact is totally false history, i have noted on my blog repeatedly that the consensus of theologians for pretty much the last 2000 years is the world is round. The claim they believed the world is flat is a myth. So this is again falsified by the evidence.

    The fourth, suggests people reacted to copernicus by saying God is a cosmic juggler. In fact the evidence shows that heliocentricism originated in late medieval theological writings as a critique of the scientific consensus, so this has the developments backwards, again this is what the evidence shows.

    The fifth suggests that “now we can theorise” how the universe does not need a cause and the religious response is to say “but we can’t know how it will end” actually it was suggested by Aristotle 2000 years ago that the universe may not need to be caused to begin and theologians developed over 800 years ago responses to this which had nothing to do with how the universe will end, but issues about contingency.

    So Max is quite correct the cartoon is false to history. Of course its interesting that the “don’t believe things without evidence” crowd here apparently accept a view of history totally falsified by the evidence.

    Like

  141. I notice a trend here. Matt has enormous theological skills . We have seen them brilliantly applied to analyzing advertising billboards. Now they are being applied to cartoons.

    Just imagine him at the supermarket giving a running theological commentary on brand names and the labels on cans.

    Meanwhile the rest if us laugh – at the cartoons and the theology.

    Like

  142. Richard Christie

    So Max is quite correct the cartoon is false to history.

    Of course it is Matt. You’ve enlightened me on how to interpret the messages of cartoons. To think that I was once misguided enough to think the the crudely drawn images where merely representative of concepts when in reality they’re oh-so literal and ought to be treated as such.

    Yes, in the first panel there is no historical evidence that prehistoric humans ever wore full length one-piece fur coats. Therefore the panel’s claim is unwarranted.

    In the second panel the men are clean-shaven (except for inclusion of a mustache of a style not recorded until centuries later), the historical record shows shaving was a Roman custom not a dark-ages custom. Therefore the panel totally distorts the historical record. Nor can the fact that many people today attribute all sorts of fortuitous events to miracles (right down to the “miracle” of life itself and the deliverance of Chilean miners) be used to assume that people in an earlier time did so as well.

    In the third panel, one of the tunics is turquoise, a modern synthetic dye if ever I saw one. Obviously another historical distortion is going on here.

    The fourth, um, well I can’t fault this one. Plenty of evidence exists that god as a cosmic juggler was a concept that persisted well into the Renaissance period. Even the hat isn’t too outrageous.

    The fifth? Obviously fallacious, everybody knows that when slide-rules and blackboards where in common usage no one wore wire rimmed glasses. Hasn’t the artist ever watched Thunderbirds? Boffins like “Brains” and Joe 90 wore thick plastic rimmed glasses. Talk about making a mockery of the historical record!

    The final panel, again the hat! Look at the hat. You don’t even have to accept that god doesn’t know anything to know this is BS. Look at the hat!

    Like

  143. Ken said “the cartoon is very apt”. Cedric said “the cartoon demonstrates how empty is the word ‘God'”. Richard Christie said “the cartoon merely illustrates reality”. Now they are back pedalling and claiming it is just for laughs.

    Evidently this IS the nature of the Science-Religion conflict: a propaganda exercise by atheists. Stark’s paper Atheism, faith, and the social scientific study of religion (and subsequent book Acts of Faith) outlines the phenomenon..

    The social “scientific” study of religion originated in atheism and the basic theses pursued today, especially by psychologists and anthropologists, are little changed since they were first proposed by militant opponents of religion in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. In this essay I trace these links from major scholar to major scholar across the centuries. I then examine the remarkable irony that the recent emergence of a truly scientific approach to religion was accomplished mainly by an influx of “believers”;. I sketch why and how this happened before turning to an assessment of the persistence of atheistic biases. I conclude with suggestions about how a truly scientific study of religion can be pursued by both believers and unbelievers, if not by fanatics of either stripe.

    Until quite recently there was very little science in the social scientific study of religion. As a child of the “Enlightenment,” social science began with the conviction that religion was not only false but wicked and best gotten rid of as soon as possible. Of course, there was nothing new about atheism: many ancient Greek philosophers rejected the gods, as did various schools of Indian and Chinese philosophy. Indeed, according to Clifford Geertz, atheists exist in preliterate and “primitive” societies, making it likely that there were atheists even in Neanderthal times.

    What Thomas Hobbes and his friends began more than three centuries ago was, however, something quite original. Not only were they the first to use the tools of a developing social science to attack religion, but they tried to make a religion out of their science—an intellectual tradition that reached full flower more than three centuries later in Carl Sagan’s recent popularizations, in which the “Cosmos” is the proper object of awe and “Nature” is always capitalized. In one paragraph of his enormously influential work Leviathan, Hobbes dismissed all religion as “credulity,” “ignorance,” and “lies,” explaining that although the gods exist only in the minds of believers, and are but “creatures of their own fancy,” humans “stand in awe of their own imaginations”. Two centuries later there had been a considerable evolution in academic jargon, as demonstrated by the German philosopher Ludwig von Feuerbach when he made a similar claim

    Like

  144. Notice also the current trend for militant Christians to rewrite history:
    “heliocentricism originated in late medieval theological writings as a critique of the scientific consensus.” The embarrassment of the Galileo affair disposed of again.

    Didn’t the Stalinists and Maoists resort to similar rewriting?

    Like

  145. Richard Christie

    Richard Christie said “the cartoon merely illustrates reality”. Now they are back pedalling and claiming it is just for laughs.

    Yes Ropata, I did write that, but let’s wait and see if Cedric calls Poe on my later comment.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

    Like

  146. The cartoon is apt, shows the emptiness of “god concepts” and illustrates reality. That is the nature of good cartoons. They don’t aim to get costumes and colours correct. They aim to convey a message.

    Here we can see how empty and silly is the propensity of believers to automatically attribute everything to their god, and explain everything away with vague terms.

    And that goes on today – all the time.

    So yes, a very apt cartoon.

    (So, Matt, what about training your immense theological abilities on that problem?).

    Like

  147. I agree the cartoon “aptly illustrates” a bunch of vacuous strawman arguments that are commonly used to perpetuate a science religion conflict. The primary role of religion is not to explain physical phenomena as some kind of primitive science enterprise. Religion has far more meaning and historical significance to human culture … but you obviously need to trivialise it for your propaganda purposes.

    Like

  148. Ropata – like to comment on this as a straw man, or anything:
    “heliocentricism originated in late medieval theological writings as a critique of the scientific consensus.”

    Like

  149. Ken, I’m no historian but obviously philosophy, astronomy, theology were not separate disciplines throughout most of history. “Naturphilosophie” was of general clerical interest, I have no idea how you think the above quote supports your case. It was not a scientists vs church, it was an internal debate, as the church was the main patron of science in the middle ages.

    Like

  150. No – the above quote doesn’t support my case. But it is rubbish. It’s a claim made by Matt as part of his attempt to rewrite history.

    This theological rewriting of history, as the example over Galileo shows, is part of the religious attack on science. It shows that the religion-science conflict is not manufacture by us – its manufacture and promoted by you guys.

    And when this is pointed out, when people like Matt are pulled up and criticised, we get accused of promoting a conflict. And of “scientism.”

    Like

  151. @Richard Christie, interesting that you mention Poe’s Law. It reveals much about the disingenuous attitude of the OP.
    “Lampooning one’s dialectical opponents with grotesque portrayals of their alleged unrepentant intellectual and moral vice may be deeply satisfying, but in doing so, one runs the risk of distorting one’s view of what one’s opponents actually believe. One comes to see oneself locked in battle with opponents who are beyond reason and unredeemable. This destroys the chances of rationally resolving real disagreements; in fact, it encourages the view that attempts at resolution by means of cooperative communication are futile.

    Hence there is a term in popular parlance for the action of dismissing a purported interlocutor as a mere parody. When one “calls Poe” in a discussion, one claims that one or more disputants in an argument are simply playing at espousing the views they assert. Calling Poe is a way of bringing argument to a halt by asserting that there wasn’t an argument in the first place. Further, it is a way of canceling whatever points one’s interlocutor may have scored in the discussion; when an interlocutor is Poed, his or her views can no longer be taken seriously. Hence Poe’s Law often functions as a strategic maneuver in argument; it is a tool which enables one to simply dismiss one’s opponents.”

    Poe’s Law encourages us to draw firm conclusions about who is and is not a fool based on the content of the beliefs they espouse. This is, in the end, a dangerous cognitive policy. Moreover, given the group polarization phenomenon, it is a policy whose danger only increases. “
    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/01/some-thoughts-about-poes-law.html

    Like

  152. Richard Christie

    When one “calls Poe” in a discussion, one claims that one or more disputants in an argument are simply playing at espousing the views they assert. Calling Poe is a way of bringing argument to a halt by asserting that there wasn’t an argument in the first place. Further, it is a way of canceling whatever points one’s interlocutor may have scored in the discussion; when an interlocutor is Poed, his or her views can no longer be taken seriously. Hence Poe’s Law often functions as a strategic maneuver in argument; it is a tool which enables one to simply dismiss one’s opponents.

    How terribly serious. That may well be the case but I simply regarded calling Poe is alerting readers to the fact that the comment in question is parody, usually after it as been taken seriously by someone. I think perhaps the 3quarks writer overreaches his conclusions, but really, I have limited experience in seeing Poe’s law cited.

    I would have liked (for his own sake) to call Poe on Matt’s comments on the cartoon, but the trouble is, he was being dead serious.

    Like

  153. Richard Christie

    http://www.christchurchquake.net/html/theWarning.html

    This good example of the “faithful” putting phenomena down to their god.

    Makes me sick.

    Like

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