Monday, April 15, 2013

Dear Apologist: Can You Demonstrate that You’re the Real McCoy?

And now a quote from "Scripture":
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. - I John 4:1
Christian apologists are always looking for ways to turn the tables on the non-believer. They resent the very idea that they might have any burden of proof when they’re out campaigning for their god-belief, and they only seem willing to engage a non-believer apologetically if they are confident that they have some advantage over him right from the start. Of course, many apologists would prefer that the non-believer simply surrender his mind upon their arrival and soak up everything they have to say on their mere say so. If this does not happen, the apologists resort to tactics borrowed from one of their closest cousins, the skeptics. Examples of presuppositionalist strategy infused with attacks inspired by skepticism can be found here and here.

One of the things that Christian apologists resent the most about non-believers is their certainty. Granted, many secularists are uncomfortable with the concept of certainty, and oftentimes that is because they themselves have accepted premises endorsed by the skeptical school of philosophy. This is not to say that Christian apologists are disturbed by a non-believer’s acceptance of skepticist premises; presuppositionalists are eagerly hoping for this. On the contrary, it is the fact that, as someone whose mind is not trapped in the labyrinth of holy terror like themselves, the non-believer may be enjoying what the believers fear most: a full and wonderful life lived without their approval. And the non-believer’s non-belief itself, which is a precondition to enjoying life without Christianity’s approval, is viewed as the highest form of arrogance possible to man. And the only way to bring this perceived arrogance into check, is to undermine the non-believer’s sense of certainty – beginning with any certainty he may have, such as the certainty that the earth revolves around the sun. Christian apologists realize, at least implicitly, that if their campaign to spread their religious program is to be successful, they must undermine the human mind at its roots, at the level of “presuppositions.” And the mere potential that the non-believer holds any truth with certainty is enough to heap hot coals on the Christian’s unquenchable envy (for, like the jealous god they worship, Christians are endemically vulnerable to the vice of coveting another person’s liberty to enjoy pleasures). It sure must be tough being a fisher of men these days.

Now here’s an idea on how we can make things even more difficult for apologists.

Suppose the next time we encounter a Christian snake oil salesman like D.A.N. of Debunking Atheists or Sye Ten Bruggencate of the refuted website ”proof that God exists”, we announce the following policy as our T&C for engaging believers on their apologetic:
Before I consider your apologetic arguments and your worldview questions, you will first need to demonstrate to me that you are a genuine Christian. This means that you need to prove that you are saved and therefore that you are a “new creature,” that you have “the mind of Christ,” and that you are filled with the “Holy Spirit.” You have the floor. Have at it.
Now the onus is without question on the apologist – even before the apologist can start deploying his apologetic. He will of course try to squirm his way out of this burden, which he may find to be just as impossible as trying to prove that his god exists. But any objections he may raise against this policy are ultimately his probelsm – they are part of his burden, not ours. We’re happy to move on with our lives and leave the man-haters in the dust of their own tantrums and pouting.

If, for instance, the apologist says he needs to prove that his god exists before he can meet the requirements stated in the policy statement, tell him that’s his problem. Of course, apologists say that everyone already knows that their god exists. However, this is obviously an attempt to evade the onus of proof, and as a truth claim itself, it simply multiplies the apologists’ burden of proof, which of course they have a terrible habit of failing to meet. Presuppositionalists also admit the futility of their apologetic program by announcing that their arguments are incapable of convincing non-believers of the truth of the Christian worldview. This, they say, must come from the irresistible use of force administered by the “Holy Spirit.” This, too, is an evasion, one intended particularly to excuse the inescapable flimsiness of their arguments. Sadly for them, there is no question that the apologists are without excuse.

Apologists should be reminded that none of these points of protest which they are likely to spew, do anything to meet the requirements stated by the above policy. It is no secret that within all of Christendom, there are hundreds if not thousands of schisms, sects, denominations, rival interpretations, disputes, and other kinds of division, all of which raises the ultimately unanswerable questions, namely:
Which version of Christianity is true? and How can one be sure that someone who claims to be a Christian is the real McCoy?
Now, according to orthodox Christianity, the “Holy Spirit” is supposed to be one of the persons of the trinity. And a person who is truly “saved and sanctified” is supposed to have the “Holy Spirit” indwelling him. But not only this, he is also supposed to be a “new creature,” as we read in II Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
A genuine Christian, then, would be one who is genuinely saved, is genuinely renewed, has the “mind of Christ,” and is genuinely filled with the “Holy Spirit.” At the very minimum, he would be one supernaturally enhanced human being. Given what the New Testament claims about “the elect,” I can honestly say I’ve never encountered a real Christian in my life.

But this means that we do in fact have something measurable to look for here: is there anything about the believer’s former life as a human being that has not “passed away”? Is there anything in his life that has not “become new”? For example, was he bad at math before he became a “new creature,” and now he’s a whiz at even the most complex calculus problems? Was he right-handed before his conversion, but now he’s left-handed? Did he have 20/80 vision before his “renewing,” but now he can read the tiny print on a phone bill from 200 yards away? Was he balding and freckled before Christ entered his life, but now he has a full head of hair and a clear complexion? Did he speak only one language while he was yet in his sins, but now, as a result of “letting go and letting God” he is fluent in 17 languages? In what way is our apologist a “new creature,” and how can he demonstrate his new self as opposed to his old self? This is up to him. We just sit back and judge.

Now if the self-professing Christian objects at this point by citing the bible’s prohibition sagainst testing the Christian god (he may reference Deuteronomy 6:16 or Isaiah 7:12, et al.), we simply remind the believer that our policy is not intended to put the Christian god itself to any test. Indeed, the apologist has yet to prove it is real in the first place! Rather, our policy is intended to test the apologist according to what the New Testament itself indicates about the real McCoy, namely that he would have to be a “newly created creature” possessing “the mind of Christ” and filled with the “Holy Spirit.” We are simply applying what I John 4:1 teaches. In fact, it seems that only a person who confuses himself with the Christian god he says to represent would raise such an objection, which could only mean he is blaspheming the god he claims to worship.

The New Testament also claims that believers have “the mind of Christ.” We find this claim in I Corinthians 2:16, which states:
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
“Christ” is supposed to be one of the members of the trinity. In other words, it is supposed to be part of the “Godhead,” and therefore possess all the “omni” qualities which the Christian god is supposed to have. Among those qualities are omniscience and omnipotence. Thus it seems that anyone who has “the mind of Christ” would not be hampered by mere human fallibility and knowledge limited by reason. Christian apologist D.A.N. of Debunking Atheists, for instance, makes the following claim (in a 12 Dec 2012 comment on this entry on his blog):
Having access to an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being certainly could get you to knowledge.
The claim to have “access to an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being” should definitely be measurable (if it’s true!), so don’t be afraid to put the believer to the test. Tell him that you want to see a demonstration of this “access to an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being” from which he claims to “receive” his knowledge. A proper test would be sure to exclude knowledge that a human being of ordinary capacity could by his own unaided ingenuity acquire and validate by means of mere fallible reason. The claim to have “the mind of Christ” should be demonstrable, otherwise it seems to be just an empty appeal to one’s own imagined piety. So the genuine Christian should welcome the challenge of test to demonstrate this claim.

The knowledge which the believer can be challenged to demonstrate does not have to be anything “out of this world.” Rather, it should be verifiable knowledge to which you yourself have access but to which the apologist would not have access by mere human means, given his distance from your life. Thus it should be something mundane and incidental. Simply ask the apologist to tell you, for instance, what you had for breakfast yesterday, the year and make of the car you drive, your parents’ birth dates, the city and hospital where you were born, your weight, your height, your first girlfriend’s name, your seventh grade math teacher’s name, when you first flew in an airplane, etc. Of course, any “omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being” worth its salt should know all of these things, so don’t hold back. If the believer cannot provide answers to all of these questions and any others you might pose to him, then it would seem that he does not actually have the “access” to an omniscient being that he claims to have. Thus he disqualifies himself as being the real McCoy.

Vantillian presuppositionalists famously claim to be “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” and although this expression is rather vague and noncommittal, it could be interpreted to mean that those who truly do “think God’s thoughts after Him” have some special ‘noetic’ ability as the claim to possess “the mind of Christ” itself implies. Otherwise, what distinguishes “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” from not “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” even for a believer? Or is “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” just a religiously euphemistic way of saying “repeating whatever the bible says” or “accepting whatever the pastor preaches in his sermons”?

Again it must be stressed to apologists that the Christian god is supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient and infallible, so anyone who is capable of “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” should be able to distinguish himself from ordinary human thinkers in the area of cognition and knowledge. Plus, the Christian god, by indwelling genuine believers via the “Holy Spirit,” is certainly capable of working in the believer’s life in mysterious ways. Given what Christians claim about their god and the magical transformation they claim it has allegedly affected in their lives, there’s nothing that should prevent the Christian god from imbuing believers with the ability to dazzle us with super-human abilities.

Now the apologist might concede that he cannot demonstrate the supernatural enhancements which the New Testament affirms a hallmarks of numbering among “God’s chosen.” He might tell us that, even if he cannot demonstrate to us that he is a genuine “saved and sanctified” Christian, the Christian god could nonetheless use him to deliver important spiritual messages to needy non-believers. But the answer to this is quite simple: the would-be apologist should return to where he came from with a message of our own: Send someone who is demonstrably the real McCoy. Indeed, “an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being” should have seen that one coming before using a sub-par imposter to do its dirty work. Thus if the apologist makes such self-eliminating concessions, he’s throwing out more than just himself!

At any rate, anything short of the apologist delivering a mind-boggling, dumbfounding and spellbinding demonstration that leaves us utterly speechless, can only mean: we’re dealing with an undocumented faith-adherent who is merely posing as the real McCoy.

So Christians, you tell us. And try not to give answers that are too obviously self-serving here. What should we do if you cannot document yourselves as genuine Christians? And if you cannot demonstrate that you are genuine Christians – genuinely saved, genuinely filled with the “Holy Spirit,” etc. – why should we consider anything you have to say in the first place? Be prepared to demonstrate your credentials as genuine Christians before you attempt to answer.

by Dawson Bethrick


Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 15, 2013 11:06 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends.

Dawson wrote ... our policy is intended to test the apologist according to what the New Testament itself indicates about the real McCoy, namely that he would have to be a “newly created creature” possessing “the mind of Christ” and filled with the “Holy Spirit.” ....
Thus it seems that anyone who has “the mind of Christ” would not be hampered by mere human fallibility and knowledge limited by reason.

I can think of two hurdles over which the non-believer cannot jump so that any demonstration of magic made by a believer to validate their claims must fail. First supernaturalism has no explanatory power, it’s not parsimonious with what is known about reality, and has zero scope of coverage in relation to nature. Hence, when an unexplained phenomenon occurs, nobody can be rationally justified in jumping to a conclusion that it isn't natural. Claims that a phenomenon has a magic super-natural cause infer the finite-human claimant predicates she has omniscient knowledge of all natural phenomena such that she can rule them out. But she’s only a mere human with feet of clay; her implicit predication dooms her claim. Second, even if it were to be possible for supernatural magic to happen, miracles qua violations of the laws of nature would not necessarily show an omni-being was responsible. In a magical super-natural worldview, anything goes. Lesser beings would be able to bring about violations of natural law. In the Bible, Satan caused Job's suffering. Religious adherents can't validate their religious status by doing magic tricks or claiming to be channeling a magical being of pure consciousness.

However, I think they can validate their faith by undergoing martyrdom by slow and painful torture to death. If, hypothetically and for example, Christians like Br. Edward, D.A.N., Chris Bolt, STB were to voluntarily agree to rendition by the CIA to a dungeon in Uzbekistan, and there to be tortured to death by Uzbeckistani state police official torturers, with the proviso that if they were to renounce their Christian faith they would be released and returned to the U.S., and then did not renounce or recant prior to death, then I would think they had genuinely believed themselves to be genuine Christians. Sadly, however, that would not validate their claims to be genuinely saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and actually a genuine Christian. Consider the 9/11 hijackers and Japanese Kamikaze pilots who died for their very wrong beliefs. Testing the religious apologist is as futile as testing their alleged Gods.

Best and Good, Warm Fuzzy-Wuzzies , Cheers too.

April 15, 2013 11:09 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Definitely a timely blog entry!

By the way, when I clicked on the Deuteronomy and Isaiah links, both took me to my Blogger Dashboard. I remember that happening once before in one of your entries, but I believe that you mentioned fixing that one.

Oh, and there's one more link that might be broken -- not in your current blog entry, but in one where you linked to Alex's blog and your exchange with Sye.

I remember clicking on it and it took me to a blogger page informing me that I was denied access to An Atheist Viewpoint.

I cannot remember what blog entry of yours contains this broken link, but if you locate it, I believe the following link could be used instead, as it *does* take me to the proper place:


April 15, 2013 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll have to give this a good read before I respond. Of course, because of the insane formatting of this blog, I've had to cut and paste the article into Word and make it readable, but there it is...

April 15, 2013 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 15, 2013 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Robert

However, I think they can validate their faith by undergoing martyrdom by slow and painful torture to death.

You just proved you're not worth listening to. I don't care if you have three Ph.D.'s, they are wasted on you. You are the kind of person who would blow up innocent people at the Boston Marathon. You are the spirit of every war and serial killer that has ever come into existence. You are the reason no one likes atheists. Because in your heart, you are a killer of innocent lives, and you are an atheist.

I utterly pity you. I would never want to have to live with the mind you have to live with.

Br. Edward
First Veridican Church

April 15, 2013 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How can you say such things about Robert if the god you believe is "monistic in nature"? That would mean that Robert's words are but one expression of your god.

Of course I think you exaggerated a lot, and that you cheapened the Boston explosions showing a complete lack of respect for victims that are under lots of pain just now.

April 15, 2013 4:12 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Edward,

Welcome back to my blog. I would be interested in your feedback on my latest entry.

Again I find myself puzzled by your reaction to one of Robert’s comments. I get the impression that you allow yourself to be offended by comments rather easily. And in the context of what Robert was discussing, his suggestion is essentially nothing more than a challenge for believers to put their money where their mouth is. After all, many Christian apologists seem all to gleeful to tell us that the apostles were “willing to die” for their beliefs and insist that this has some kind of evidential value supporting the gospel resurrection accounts. In their Handbook of Christian Apologetics, authors Kreeft and Tacelli tell us that “Religious faith is something to die for” (p. 14). My blog entry is about having apologists demonstrate their spiritual credentials before any philosophical debate takes place. Given all the versions, denominations, schisms, heresies, internecine bickering, etc., within Christendom, it seems like the prudent thing to do. After all, I’m sure you could understand that we atheists wouldn’t want to be beguiled by a “false gospel” (cf. Gal. 1:6-7), no?

But consider: what is the formula that the Christian god devised for the remission of sins? That’s right: blood sacrifice, an atoning death, a slaughtering of a “lamb” without spot or blemish. According to the Christian myth, the Christian god stood by and just watched as its own child was being tortured and executed by evil people. The Christian worldview explicitly models the sacrifice of the good and pure to the evil and impure, to accomplish exactly what is unclear. But one thing that is clear is that the lesson of the story of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22) is that a good and faithful worshiper of the Christian god must be willing to take life in order to please and obey it. It is the religious view of the world which puts the stamp of approval on human sacrifice. If nothing else, this (rather than “atheism”) is the essence of the spirit of aggression against human life: the ethics of self-sacrifice. And it’s the cornerstone of Christian “morality.”

So I do not see how Robert’s comment, which I don’t think he intends or hopes any believer puts into practice, at all suggests that he is the type of person, as you say, “who would blow up innocent people at the Boston Marathon.” Surely Robert is not behind this or anything remotely similar. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that the person or persons responsible for the attack in Boston are religious zealots of some sort rather than an atheist. And I can guarantee, an Objectivist was not behind this.

Of course, if you would like to explain your feelings on the matter in more detail, please feel free to do so.


April 15, 2013 6:50 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


I and one of my roommates was just speculating about this. We think the date of April 15th is no coincidence. That the perpetrator will turn out to be a middle aged white male with conservative political beliefs, aka a christian and likely a member of or affiliated with some tea party group.

April 15, 2013 7:31 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hmm... Interesting hypothesis. I hadn't thought of it myself, especially since it is now April 16 where I am living! I'm guessing the attack was coordinated to take place during the marathon, which just happened to be on April 15.

I've been keeping half an eye on the Drudge Report and I saw a few headlines stating that a Saudi individual has been detained for questioning.

I also saw a headline that some Jordanian Muslim group was cheering the attacks.

I somewhat doubt you'll see some atheist group out there cheering this, but you never know. "Atheists" are a mixed bag.


April 15, 2013 7:40 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


"Atheists" are a mixed bag"

Yup, kind of hard to define a group based on an exclusionary principle.

April 15, 2013 7:55 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends. After a hectic work day and now that events are settling down at home, I've a bit of time to chat.

Dear Br. Edward. Please don't be offended. I rather like you. You're a Christian Heretic. If this were the thirteenth century, the Inquisition would burn you at a stake faster and more thoroughly than they'd do me. We share the same enemy, and you my new friend are a fine atheist relative to all the gods you reject. Dawson and the other regulars here are just a little bit better at atheism as we reject all versions of the Christian God too. I feel very at home with you and hope you're living a good life. Give your wife an extra special tumble as soon as is convenient, for life is way too short. Anyway, my proffered example was was extended in good faith, and was specifically qualified with a voluntary condition. I think it apropo since in the history of Christianity, martyrdom for one's Christian faith has generally been highly esteemed. Wouldn't you jump at the opportunity to die a meaningful death for the Glory of Jesus? If you actually believe you are indeed saved and set to receive eternal life after death, I think you would greatly desire to shuck off this veil of tears and don the pure white robes of the redeemed elect. Many sought a martyrs death for Christ prior to the Roman empire adopting Christianity as its de facto religion in the forth century, and it seems reasonable to think you would want to emulate those ancient saints.

However, there is another issue. Your belief in a version of monistic doctrine. Photosynthesis identified it when he wrote

How can you say such things about Robert if the god you believe is "monistic in nature"? That would mean that Robert's words are but one expression of your god.

I'm not troubled at all that your reaction was vehement as you were simply shocked by my correct identification of the value Christianity places on death. Christianity is a religion based on death. That's ok with me, and I hope you'll stick around. But the thing is that if only your
God somehow exists and all mass-energy (normal of dark), space time, false or true vacuum are composed of its substance and that substance is consciousness, then we don't actually exist as independent beings with contra-casual freewill and what we observe or perceive is merely an illusion. In that case the ruling consciousness might be charged with deceit, but such charges couldn't stick because their wouldn't be any other minds to actually deceive. In like fashion, all the joy I've had in my life would have been nothing more than a lie. My entire life would be a meaningless joke that's not even funny. If you're correct, then I don't want to live such a lie any longer. Not that, in the case you're correct about monistic idealism, there would be any time as there wouldn't actually be any events to measure. If I become convinced your monistic idealism doctrine is the case, then I will immediately take my own life and end this charade. I am a man, and not a toy to be employed by an eternal but immoral consciousness to alleviate its boredom.

Ok. That's enough for now. {/spleen venting mode off}

Good night friends.

April 15, 2013 8:08 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Justin: “Yup, kind of hard to define a group based on an exclusionary principle.”

That’s certainly true. But that's part of the issue here: atheists are not a "group" to begin with. Perhaps statistically speaking there's no harm in treating atheists as a group (e.g., what percentage of a given population identify themselves as “atheists”). But philosophically there's nothing affirmative in nature uniting all atheists into some monolithic collective. Theists just have to learn this fact and get over it.

And if anyone finds the label 'atheist' offensive or in some sense implicative, I suggest 'non-theist' as a suitable alternative. I notice that Edward’s signature tagline is not “ending non-theism - one mind at a time.” So if we call ourselves non-theists, Edward should feel more comfortable dialoguing with us.


April 15, 2013 8:16 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...


Reading through your well-stated comment, a thought occurred to me. The topic of martyrdom is of special interest to me now as I am currently working on a piece about it for my blog (it’s getting really big, so it will likely be a series I’ll post up in May, if I get time to finish it).

Here’s what flashed through my mind…

Both Christianity and Islam hold out the carrot of an eternal life that the adherent is supposed to hope for and expect to receive upon dying. And both religions place special significance on martyrdom. But if we compare the two in order to figure out which one to go with, let’s look at the eternal scenario: In Christianity, you essentially stand in a cosmic choir singing dry, repetitive hymns for all eternity to a god basking in its own glory. Sounds pretty boring, frankly. In Islam, you get to spend eternity romping (tumbling?) around with 70 virgins. There seems to be some difference here.

Hmmm. Decisions decisions!


April 15, 2013 8:24 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


Reminds me of a joke I once heard. What do you get when you have a Raulian, an Objectivist, a Buddhist and a Communist in one room. Answer four atheists!

April 15, 2013 8:25 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 15, 2013 8:27 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...



April 15, 2013 8:28 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


that is 72 virgins. For some the two extra just might make all the difference:)

April 15, 2013 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Said to Edward " I rather like you. You're a Christian heretic."


April 15, 2013 8:29 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...


Ah, pardon me! I see I need to bone up on my eternal rewards card.

Hey, 72 is better than 70, no?

Perhaps two were guarding the door when I was typing earlier.

Girls, get back here!


April 15, 2013 8:29 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


Hey Richard, how goes. I quoted you on my blog! Cheers.

April 15, 2013 8:31 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


Sorry, just happen to have been reading the Koran and noted that it is in fact 72. Got to love empty promises!

April 15, 2013 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Checking it out.

April 15, 2013 8:49 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...


I once heard a Mullah admit off-mic that they're actually the same 72 virgins everyone else gets. So it's worse than mere sloppy seconds.

Sort of puts a damper on it for me.


April 15, 2013 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yea, I think that was from one of my little battles with Steve(imnotandrei). He's always over on Rick Warden's blog. But yea that's hilarious.

By the way, did you know that Chris Bolt retired from internet apologetics?


April 15, 2013 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Prayer for Boston and for Us All

Dear Father,

Today You had it in Your plan that many at the Boston Marathon should experience a terrorist attack. There have been injuries; some have gone home, and still more may cross over to You. We accept in faith that Your plan will be revealed to us in time, but until then we pray for the rapid healing of those who will live, the glory of heaven for those who have gone home, and the courage as a nation to act with the power of Christ against those who have wrought these evil deeds.

If there is a lesson to be learned, we want the wisdom. If there is love to be shown, we want to be its instrument. If good can come in the face of disaster, we will wait for it, but if war has come again, may we exact Your perfect wrath upon those who have harmed the innocent.

Place upon the heads of those who suffer now and those who mourn Your perfect peace, dear Lord. Let nothing be in vain.

In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen

Br. Edward
First Veridican Church

April 15, 2013 11:15 PM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

And again Br. Edward acts in a manner that contradicts his claim of God as a monistic entity.

He asks that God grants the courage to act against the perpetrators who committed the act when, on his worldview, the people who bombed Boston were merely yet another expression of his God. Why on earth would he ask God to act against Himself?

I know it's nothing new for theists to performatively contradict their professions of belief but I think Br Edward really is up there with the worst of them in that respect.

April 16, 2013 3:26 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Soooo... I checked my email this morning and, lo and behold, what do I find forwarded to me from a close Christian relative?

Yep, a link to Sye's "Answering the Fool"!


Well, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity like that! So I replied to this relative with an email containing no less than 13 links to your work, along with the title of each.

For good measure, I also included a chunk of text from your blog entry "Christianity's Sanction of Evil."
( )

I then told my relative that I trusted him to examine the material and then forward the email to other believers, so that they too can become as familiar as I am with what Sye is actually peddling.


April 16, 2013 9:47 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Ydemoc,

Interesting development on your end. I’m curious how it plays out. I appreciate the exposure to my blog that you’ve used this occasion to drum up. Of course, if that doesn’t work, why not quote one of their own?

Check out this YouTube recording:

This is the fourth of four parts featuring Dr. Robert Price dialoguing with apologists Greg Habermas and Mike Licona on various topics concerning the New Testament, the gospels, Paul, reliability, etc.

Towards the end of this portion of their discussion, Mike Licona makes a very interesting admission. It’s best to listen to the whole thing. But at one point (7:56 – 7:57) he openly confesses “I want it to be true.” He confides with the audience about how much he has struggled with his own bias and the difficulty of achieving a “working objectivity.” So we have a moment of honesty here.

It would be refreshing if more believers did the same. Just admit it: You want it to be true. This is why they’re driving by what Frame calls a “heart commitment.”

If you can, let us know what kind of reply you get.


April 16, 2013 10:22 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


That admission by Licona really is refreshing, isn't it! I'll make a note of it, as I can definitely see it coming in handy with my Christian relative. Thanks!

And I will let you know what kind of reply I get from what I sent -- although, as has often happened in the past, I predict that it will probably be ignored. I'm dealing with someone who, when it comes to matters such as this, not only has a head-in-the-sand mentality, often telling me "you're trying to drag me to hell!"

But I've made it quite clear to him that this isn't going to be just a one-way street, with him just sending me a bunch of irrational material and me not responding. I've told him that as long as he continues sending me material that is irrational, I will return the favor by sending him material that is reality based -- whether he chooses to read what I send or not.

But we'll see.


April 16, 2013 11:10 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

For everyone's enjoyment:

Over on Debunking, another "Nidiot" has shown up. He goes by the name "DanOhBrian." Here's the link to the thread:

After I provided him with evidence that his god is merely imaginary, here's what he writes:

"Clearly, here, I'm dealing with fools who can't answer questions. Tell you what, I'll make it easier. Prove false any god, any god that anyone has ever believed throughout history. Can you do that? Can you back up your atheism even a tiny little bit?"

This is how I responded: "Have you read anything I provided? Thirteen points of evidence that your god is imaginary? That *is* evidence. That is what you asked for: Evidence. And plenty of it was supplied to you.

Did you interact with any of it? As of this writing, not that I can see. Instead, you come back asking that we prove that some god throughout history is false. Do you even know the first thing about arbitrary claims? Technically, the epistemological status of such a claim doesn't even rise to the level of knowledge evaluation -- a fact that doesn't bode as well for your position as you may think.

It's as if you came to us and said, "Prove BcKtutha doesn't exist."

And we say, "What is BcKtutha?"

And you say, "BcKtutha is a Klantra that boyrds flakentires."

(Charitably, this might be translated as: "BcKtutha is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, creator of all that is..." and whatever other gobbledygook you'd like to attach to your particular deity.)

We say, "We're under no obligation to prove such nonsense false, for
such nonsense doesn't even enter the realm of knowledge to be evaluated as true or false."

(Yep, that's right Dan: The epistemological status of the notion of such a deity -- which includes your god -- is worse than "false." Essentially, it's null and void. Nonsense.)

You might ask: "Well, if the god I worship is so unintelligible to you, and it doesn't have any epistemological status whatsoever, how can you even understand what I'm talking about, let alone prove it doesn't exist!?"

The answer would be: Exactly!

More charitably though, it is because theists like you are notorious for using valid concepts in an attempt to prop up their notion of a god. Squares exist. They are intelligible. Circles exist. They are intelligible. Square-circles neither exist nor are they intelligible.

Here's more evidence you probably won't read:

Gods and Square Circles by Dawson Bethrick

Is it starting to sink in yet?

The evidence I supplied to you above covers ALL supernatural claims, even though no one is under any epistemological obligation to prove false that which doesn't exist and/or is nonsensical.

Fundamentally, your call for anyone to '[p]rove false any god, any god that anyone has ever believed throughout history' is as nonsensical, i.e., devoid of epistemological status -- as the notion of the god that you worship -- although, you would probably think otherwise.




April 16, 2013 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Freddies Dead

And again Br. Edward acts in a manner that contradicts his claim of God as a monistic entity.

He asks that God grants the courage to act against the perpetrators who committed the act when, on his worldview, the people who bombed Boston were merely yet another expression of his God. Why on earth would he ask God to act against Himself?

I think you're the first person to ever point that out. I’ve been prepared for it for a long time, even before starting the First Veridican Church, but almost no one sees the implications of a monistic God. So, Kudos.

The fact is God creates an artificial dualism. I don’t know how, but I know that we do it every night in our dreams. Therefore, it must be an attribute of consciousness. And yes, it implies that God is ultimately playing a big game all by Himself. Perhaps He does so only to entertain Himself or behold his own glory and perfection, again, I don’t know. Or it may be that God is attempting to create the greatest possible creature: one that is truly an independent mind.

When I pray to God, it is a sub-real creation of God praying to God. It’s all God’s substance, but it’s an artificial dualism He has created. And again, if you think that’s all speculation and impossible, just think about the dream you had last night and the characters in it who talked to you. It’s the same thing.

April 17, 2013 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was beautifully written.

April 17, 2013 6:17 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good morning friends.

Br. Edward stated in reply to Freddies Dead: When I pray to God, it is a sub-real creation of God praying to God. It’s all God’s substance, but it’s an artificial dualism He has created. And again, if you think that’s all speculation and impossible, just think about the dream you had last night and the characters in it who talked to you. It’s the same thing.

Our dream states and activity are almost certainly a result of our brain activity. All human mental cognition maps to neurological activity. Here's a link to a Science Daily press release describing interesting research on lucid dreaming mapping to brain functions.

Dreaming looks like an entirely natural phenomena, and thus is not consistent with what would follow if a super-consciousness was simulating existence. Consider the argument from the existence of non-deities at

If there were to exist an omni-being of the sort characterized as the Abrahamic God, it would be very unlikely that it'd indulge in creating or imagining a cosmic domain such as this one in which we find ourselves. Plugaru's argument can be used to show that contrary claims fall to argument from ignorance fallacies.

Best and Good, More Later.

April 17, 2013 6:51 AM  
Blogger NAL said...


I think you're the first person to ever point that out.

You need to get out more.

And again, if you think that’s all speculation and impossible, just think about the dream you had last night and the characters in it who talked to you. It’s the same thing.

The dream I had last night existed only in my mind. You're right, it is the same thing.

April 17, 2013 8:14 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...


It is now late evening 17 April here in Thailand. Tomorrow morning I am heading out on a business outing that will take me deep into the mysterious interior of ancient Siam (critter country galore!). I will take my trusty iPhone with me, but I cannot promise that 3G service will be within reach. I will be gone at least five days, possibly up to nine, but hopefully the former. I probably won’t be able to comment, but I will try to publish comments as speedily as possible. If you submit a comment and it does not show up, that’s likely because I’m not able to access my messages. So please carry on, have fun, and I’ll see you when I can.

Alright, it's bedtime! I can't wait to get into one of those dreams!


April 17, 2013 8:31 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


You wrote: "That was beautifully written."

Thanks! I appreciate that!

I was a tiny bit irked when crafting that particular response to "DanOhBrian," because no sooner had I completed an *earlier* reply to him than I see his posted response above.

On a technical note: One of the things I enjoy about writing -- and I'm sure that you, Dawson, Robert, Justin, et al., experience this too -- is all the surprises that happen in the process.

For example, even though I had just a very general idea of what I wanted to say when I began crafting that response to "DanOhBrian," I had no idea that I would end up including a mock dialogue, or that I would end up asking the question I did and then answering it with "Exactly!"

But it all emerged in the process, and I think being a little irked helped me remain focused enough to catch it when it did!

That's probably why people often say that the best way to break writer's block is just to begin writing -- because once one starts putting something down on the page, it lays the groundwork for these kinds of surprises and discoveries.

When writing, you often don't know what's around the next corner until you get there. And to get there, you have to start writing.


April 17, 2013 8:45 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Thanks for the update, and have a good trip!


April 17, 2013 8:47 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Ydemoc's respone to DanOhBrian is excellent. It reminds me of a bit of Galt's speech.

They claim that they perceive a mode of being superior to your existence on this earth. The mystics of spirit call it “another dimension,” which consists of denying dimensions. The mystics of muscle call it “the future,” which consists of denying the present. To exist is to possess identity. What identity are they able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating: God is that which no human mind can know, they say—and proceed to demand that you consider it knowledge—God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason. Their definitions are not acts of defining, but of wiping out. ~

Religious adherents springboard from their wiping outs to assert as a Shibboleth that those who aren't part of their religious culture must bear the burden of proof. The beauty of using the knowledge vs nonsense dichotomy is that it exposes the religious adherent's culture centrism as an empty rhetorical tactic.

Major Kudos to Ydemoc.

April 17, 2013 10:30 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks, Robert! That what I wrote even remotely reminds you of that Galt passage, well, that's quite a compliment!

And I'm also glad that what I wrote *did* remind you of that, as it gave you a reason to post something that I hadn't read in a while.


April 17, 2013 4:34 PM  
Blogger Reynold said...

As for that "prove that you are a true christian" thing: Isn't there a verse in Mark that can be used?

April 17, 2013 6:09 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Reynold,

The nature of your question made me curious to find out what so-called Christians might say when asked to prove they are, indeed, truly Christian.

So I typed the string "prove you're a Christian" into Yahoo! search. Here are a couple results:

A 2008 article "Could You Prove You're a Christian?" by evangelical Keith Manuel.

Manual claims that in a court of law, Christians would be able to prove that they are actually Christians by the love that they show.

He goes on to suggest that to prove Christian authenticity, one should enter into evidence the following hymn lyric:

"They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love."

Another article, "How To Prove You Are a Christian" by Randy Bell also places heavy emphasis on demonstrations of biblical "love," e.g., loving the brethren, praying for a brother, refraining from hate, etc.

I clicked on a few more articles that came up in my query, but none of them mentioned anything we haven't already heard before, e.g., "know them by their fruits," "love," etc.

Granted, I only looked at a few pages, but how *these* so-called Christians think that anything they've offered is solid proof of being authentic Christians, is really beyond me. There's nothing really unique in what they are offering as proof. After all, Christianity doesn't have a "monopoly on love," does it?

So this brings right back to Dawson's policy:

"Before I consider your apologetic arguments and your worldview questions, you will first need to demonstrate to me that you are a genuine Christian. This means that you need to prove that you are saved and therefore that you are a 'new creature,' that you have 'the mind of Christ,' and that you are filled with the 'Holy Spirit.' You have the floor. Have at it."

NOTE: "Monopoly on love" may be found as a lyric in the Bob Dylan song "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky" -- and perhaps other places, too.


April 18, 2013 5:29 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello and Good Morning.

Reynold asked: As for that "prove that you are a true christian" thing: Isn't there a verse in Mark that can be used?

Here's a link to the Skeptics Annotated Bible page listing contradictions regarding what a Christian must do to be saved.

The list includes 13 verses from Mark discussing criteria for salvation, and they are:

Don't offend the little ones.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. -- Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:14, Luke 17:2

Believe and be baptized.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. -- Mark 16:16

Be converted and become like a little child.
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. -- Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:15

Lose your life for Christ's sake.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. -- Matthew 10:39, 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, 17:33

Follow the commandments (at least some of them).

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? ... Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. -- Mark 10:17-19

Endure to the end.
He that endureth to the end shall be saved. -- Matthew 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13

Abandon your home and family for Jesus' name's sake.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. -- Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:29-30

Don't blaspheme the Holy Ghost
He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. -- Mark 3:29, Matthew 12:31-32, Luke 12:10

Pluck out your eye if it offends you.

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. -- Matthew 5:29-30, 18:8-9, Mark 9:43-49

Cut off your right hand if it offends you.
If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. -- Matthew 5:29-30, 18:8-9, Mark 9:43-49

Don't be ashamed of Jesus.
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. -- Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26

Be last.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. -- Matthew 19:30, 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30

Give a cup of water to a Christian.
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. -- Matthew 10:42, Mark 9:41

April 18, 2013 6:21 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Robert,

In an interaction with "David Heddle" over on Debunking Christianity, located here...

...I see that you have cited a passage from Ayn Rand's Lexicon. You then sum up your comment with:

"The Law of Casualty permits no miracles, so assertions of miracles are sourced in the religious adherent's imagination."

David Heddle comes back with: "OK, starting from the Law of Causality prove that Jesus could not have walked on water. If you do so I will renounce my faith on this blog.

I'll even make it simple: we can stipulate that the laws of fluid dynamics must be violated for Jesus to walk on water. So just derive the laws of fluid dynamics from the Law of Causality and you can declare victory, and I'll ask John for a guest post where I declare my faith to be ruined."

I haven't given much thought to how I myself might formulate a response to this, but on first glance it appears Mr. Heddle is quite confused, even dabbling in reversals by stipulating to the primacy of consciousness metaphysics right off the bat, thus providing all the proof necessary for him to follow through with a post declaring his "faith to be ruined"!

Yes, this would be enough by itself to "prove that Jesus didn't walk on water," but it might take some digging and explaining to bring this out.

And then the only questions will be (a) will David Heddle be honest enough to recognize this and (b) will he have the integrity to follow through on his promise?

In his blog entry, Craig Keener on Miracles, Dawson notes:

"If one could prove a miracle, he would in fact be proving that it was not a miracle indeed, for a proof would uncover the causality of the event in question, and causality is the law of identity applied to action. Such a proof would not and could not point to the primacy of consciousness."

If you choose to respond to David Heddle, Dawson's Causality as a Necessary Relationship might also come in handy, located here:


April 18, 2013 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried reading the OP, and it's just too freakin long. The gist, of course, is that the writer, Dawson, wants proof that a "new creature" has actually occured when one is born again.

Fine. Here I am. I was Edward Gordon with a regular human spirit. When I became born again, for real, I became Christ and what was Edward Gordon ceased to exist. Now "Edward Christ" as such, is all that remains.

Now, you think that means I should be able to act like God. But we all act like God--everything is God. You think I should have special psychic powers, well I don't. Sorry.

Every Christ on earth has a specific mission for which they were created. They are specialized and sanctified for the purpose. My mission was and is to write the Veridican Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to spread the doctrine of Veridicanism to the 4th Generation of humankind that began at the end of WWII.

Jesus Christ had a very different mission. He was the first born among men. So, he was given other talents by God, and he lived a very short time.

You have a mission, too, as Christ. But you reject Christ, dont' you? So you are like the seed that doesn't sprout. You are a weed in amongst the garden.

You want tricks, but you won't get any tricks. You want a sign, but you won't get one. God will leave you as a worthless seed on the ground. If you don't realize this and repent--you will mistake Him.

Now, I have a new blog, and I've listed this as one of the blogs I frequent. It would be nice if you'd stop by and check it out. But it's probably going to piss you off--just sayin.

April 18, 2013 1:59 PM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

First Veridican Church said...

The fact is...

Whoa! Stop! Your woldview is predicated on the Primacy of Consciousness. In fact you propose a reality that is solely a consciousness - that of God. Therefore you have no basis to call anything a "fact" in your worldview. Facts presuppose objective knowledge. That things are what they are independent of consciousness. In your worldview nothing is independent of consciousness. That means there is no route to objective knowledge and therefore there can be no "facts". Your worldview handily refutes any knowledge claim you might wish to make. As Dawson says "I'm glad these aren't my problems".

April 19, 2013 3:25 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


yes, the very statement "god exists" when god is meant to mean the judao christian god is essentially a self refuting statement.

April 19, 2013 5:21 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. Good to type to you today. My friend Edward wrote

Fine. Here I am. I was Edward Gordon with a regular human spirit. When I became born again, for real, I became Christ and what was Edward Gordon ceased to exist. Now "Edward Christ" as such, is all that remains.

This won't meet Dawson's challenge for the reason Freddie mentioned. Facts can only obtain if and only if there is existence that exists independently of all forms of consciousness. If, somehow, Edward were to be correct that God is and all we perceive as the universe and world is God substance and that substance is consciousness, then objectivity would not be possible resulting in The Cartoon Universe of Theism

I'm happy that existence actually does exist and that consciousness is epistemologically active and metaphysically passive.

Have a great day.

April 19, 2013 7:14 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


You wrote: "yes, the very statement 'god exists' when god is meant to mean the judao christian god is essentially a self refuting statement."

Yep. But theists seem to have a very difficult time with this, don't they?

So, in hopes that those among them of a more rational persuasion might grasp how "self-refuting" the statement "God exists" actually is, let me take this opportunity to present an excerpt from Dawson's piece, "Gods and Square Circles."


"The Christian idea of god assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, but even to contemplate the idea one must be standing on the primacy of existence metaphysics. These are mutually opposed metaphysical platforms. Thus the statement 'God exists' is a literal self-contradiction, for such a statement affirms two contradictory metaphysical bases.

A. The concept of truth assumes the metaphysical primacy of existence: Every time you make a truth claim, you are implicitly assuming that what you are calling true is true independent of the particular operations of your consciousness. E.g., you wouldn't say that Albany is the capital of New York only if you agree that it is, would you? Of course not. You recognize implicitly that Albany is the capital of New York whether you agree or not, whether you knew it or not, whether you wish Syracuse were the capital instead. That's called the primacy of existence. It is the recognition that the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy over consciousness.

B. The idea of god assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics: However, the Christian idea of a god assumes precisely the opposite view, namely that the objects of consciousness ultimately depend on consciousness. In the case of Christianity's god, the objects are said to depend on the consciousness of their god for their very existence as well as for their identity, their relationship to other objects, their activity, etc. According to this view, everything that exists in the universe depends on some form of consciousness. Since the objects are said to depend on consciousness, so likewise the content of truth consequently depends on consciousness. And yet, just in declaring this as a truth, the Christian makes use of a metaphysical foundation which contradicts this outright. Thus, the Christian idea of god is internally incoherent. Q.E.D."



April 19, 2013 2:36 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

If that doesn't drive the point home, I offer this from Dawson's blog entry, "How Theism Violates the Primacy of Existence":

"So in making the statement 'existence exists and so does God,' one is in fact declaring 'existence exists independent of consciousness, and so does this consciousness upon which existence depends,' which is a direct self-contradiction. It affirms on the one hand, explicitly, that existence exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), and on the other – in the very same breath – it affirms the existence of a consciousness on which existence depends. For as we saw in the quotes above, 'God' is characterized as a consciousness which creates all existence distinct from itself by an act of will. Thus not only does this position affirm a contradiction at the level of metaphysical primacy, it also leads to the irresolvable problem of divine lonesomeness.

Theists who resist this criticism can test it for themselves. Let them ask themselves the following question:

When you affirm that your god exists, are you presupposing that your god exists independent of your own consciousness? Or, are you saying that your god exists only as a feature of your own psychology, as a figment of your imagination, that the existence of 'God' ultimately depends on your own consciousness?


April 19, 2013 2:36 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I see that in my above comment(s) my grammar is a bit mangled.


And I haven't even had a beer yet!


April 19, 2013 4:35 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Just in case anyone is interested, I have located the blog of one "DanOhBrian," the individual to whom I addressed my recent comments over Debunking Christianity, (see above).

His blog is called "The Search For Truth," subtitled "Examining All Assumptions." You'll find it here:

The comments I posted this afternoon went through after a very brief moderation period.

In one post, I reminded "DanOhBrian" of my comments that are still awaiting his interaction over on Debunking Christianity.

Then, while poking around a bit on his blog, I discovered that he had a post promoting Anderson & Welty's "Lord of Non-Contradiction: An Argument for the Existence of God."

I was so delighted to see this that I decided to post another comment, this one with a couple of links that will take "DanOhBrian" directly to Dawson's response to the Anderson & Welty paper.


April 19, 2013 9:33 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


By the way, I should have written something like: "All indications are" that it is 'DanOhBrian's' blog, as I still haven't received official confirmation that it is, in fact, his blog.

But if I had to wager, I'd say it's his his.


April 19, 2013 9:38 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good morning Ydemoc. Thank you for the excerpts from Dawson's blogs. I'm always amazed at his talent for clearly explaining the issue of metaphysical primacy and more gerneral atheology from an Objectivist viewpoint.

I will respond to the person on Debunking Christianity today. Thursday and Friday were busy work days with stuff to do at home in the evenings, so I had to prioritize my time. I'm planning on steering the interaction in direction of God as self-contradictory notion, and Dawson's words from his Square Circle essay will come in handy as will Anton Thorn's piece on the same topic. Whatever became of Mr Thorn? Is he still active online somewhere?

I found a free Project Gutenberg book titled "The Necessity of Atheism" by Dr. D.M. Brooks. which I've loaded into the new android table ereader app. It looks interesting.

Time for chores. Best Wishes to All.

Robert Bumbalough

April 20, 2013 7:27 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Robert,

You wrote: "Thank you for the excerpts from Dawson's blogs."

My pleasure!

You wrote: "I'm always amazed at his talent for clearly explaining the issue of metaphysical primacy and more gerneral atheology from an Objectivist viewpoint."

I agree.

You wrote: "I will respond to the person on Debunking Christianity today."

Excellent! I look forward to reading your response.

You wrote: "Whatever became of Mr Thorn? Is he still active online somewhere?"

I'm not sure. But I'm happy that reocities and/or The Internet Wayback Machine saw fit to "resurrect" most, if not all, of his past work. Like Dawson's work, it too is a pleasure to read, and it comes in quite handy.


April 20, 2013 11:42 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends: Today I have a present for you. Below is a link to my Google docs folder for Francois Tremblay's "Handbook of Atheist Apologetics". I bought a copy from LuLu several years ago and subsequently forgot I had it. Last night I fired up the old desktop pc as was poking about in the mydocumnets folders and rediscovered Tremblay's pdf. Enjoy.

Best and Good.

April 22, 2013 6:21 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Cool! Thanks, Robert!


April 22, 2013 6:57 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Here's a bit from Anton Thorn's Argument From Existence.

iPremise 1: If the primacy of consciousness is invalid, then the claim that God exists is false.

If the claim that God exists assumes the validity of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, then the primacy of consciousness metaphysics must be valid in order for the claim that God exists to be true. See Note 1.I

Note 1.I reads as: The validity of Premise 1.I is due to the principle of hierarchical dependence. Since knowledge is hierarchical in nature, the general principles which come logically prior to a truth in question must themselves be valid in order for that which is hierarchically dependent on them to be true. The very task of an argument is to demonstrate a conclusion's hierarchical dependence upon prior truths. Premise 1.I poses that the general truth of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics would have to be valid in order for the particular claim that a ruling consciousness entity (i.e., "God") exists to have any potential truth value. Thus, if the notion of God is hierarchically dependent upon the assumption of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, then the primacy of consciousness metaphysics would have to be valid in order for the claim that God exists to be accepted as true of reality.

The task for the mystical religious apologist then is to validate the metaphysical primacy of consciousness. This can be done by demonstrating a consciousness that exists in non-existence that can demonstrate how it wishes existence to obtain which then actually does obtain. Sadly for our shaman friends, there is no non-existence, for only existence exists, and wishing doesn't make it so. Simply pointing to some misunderstood phenomenon won't do for doing so lacks demonstration of how any hypothetical consciousness might produce existence by wishing.

What does Edward think on Thorn's point?

April 22, 2013 7:47 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


I don’t think Edward will reply to this. He has not posted since the 18th. We all know once you bring up the subject object relationship and they understand it they go a run'in. However some don’t understand it and continue to slam their faces into a metaphorical brick wall. It will be interesting to see what happens here this time.

April 22, 2013 10:43 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson, have you written a rebuttal to Rick Warden's "A Refutation of Dawson Bethrick's Central Argument Against Theism" dated 11/25/2012 and found at link: ?

Best and Good

April 22, 2013 10:56 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends, I have a question. What blog comment discussion outline will effectively point out the subtle distinction between stolen concept and performative inconsistency fallacies inherent to theism?

Anton Thorn discussed the Stolen Concept:

Stolen Concept: First identified by Ayn Rand, a concept is 'stolen' when one asserts a concept while denying or ignoring its epistemological or genetic roots.
The most common instances of this fallacy that one will encounter in debates with religious apologists usually entail a denial - almost always implicit - of the fact of existence. For example, in constructing arguments of a cosmological nature, the apologist will attempt to posit either causality or consciousness as if they were not dependent on existence – as if they could ‘exist’ prior to - and therefore without - existence. This is the primary fallacy exposed by the Argument from Existence.

This fallacy can be graphically compared to one trying to lift the stool he's sitting on - it can't happen and it won't happen. Similarly, how can one posit a concept while denying its prior roots? The religionist, of course, will not admit to committing this fallacy for he usually does not see the breach; after all, he might not say outright that existence does not exist. However, this is exactly what he does say when he argues that he requires an explanation for existence (cf. "Why does anything exist?" or "How does the non-believer 'account for' existence?") or that the universe itself had a beginning. Fundamentally - if the religionist were consistent in his principles - the only appeal that could satisfy such arbitrary questions would be to non-existence, which cannot account for anything.

Thorn described performative inconsistentcy:

The primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness are contradictory to one another. In other words, they cannot both be true. And here we see precisely how the claim "God exists" is an attempt to integrate both contradictories into a whole.

Thus, while the action of claiming that god exists assumes that the primacy of existence is true (since the believer is not claiming that god is simply a figment of his own imagination - he is saying that god exists as something independent of his mind, "God exists whether I like it or not"), the content of the claim that god exists necessarily expresses the primacy of consciousness view (since god is said to be a conscious being which creates existence and alters the identity of objects by an act of will, i.e., by a form of consciousness).

Thus, the claim that god exists assumes both the primacy of existence (performatively) and the primacy of consciousness (notionally) at the same time. Since these principles are contradictory to one another (they both cannot be true), the claim 'god exists', since it assumes both, is necessarily self-contradictory. [3]

[3] In my essay The Issue of Metaphysical Primacy, I provide a simple diagram which shows how this performative inconsistency results from claims such as "God exists."

April 23, 2013 5:43 AM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson, have you written a rebuttal to Rick Warden's "A Refutation of Dawson Bethrick's Central Argument Against Theism" dated 11/25/2012 and found at link: ?

Hi Robert. I know my response to that drivel would be quite short containing only the words:

"Rick Warden doesn't understand the concept of metaphysical primacy".

However, a far more in-depth rebuttal from Dawson would be a more than welcome read. Lets hope he can find the time to get around to writing one at some point.

April 23, 2013 7:06 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Robert,

I haven't read it recently to be certain that it addresses what you're after, but you might try Dawson's blog entry, Stolen Concepts and Intellectual Parasitism, located here:

Also try: Could the Christian God Be Rational?, located here:

And... Exapologist's Message to Non-Theists, located here:

But like I said, I have not read these recently to be sure that they address what your asking. However, they all did come up in my search for "stolen concept."


April 23, 2013 7:33 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Thanks Freddie and Ydemoc. I appreciate you as people and O-ist thinkers.

April 23, 2013 10:31 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


I'm not sure which blog entries of Dawson's the following excerpts come from, but I thought they might be helpful to you. The last one is from Anton Thorn:

"...he is implicitly making use of the primacy of existence by claiming [god] really exists and assuming it is not just his own fantasy; he is saying that it exists independently of his own consciousness as well (like actual trees and actual cruise ships), and that everyone should acknowledge its existence. Unfortunately for the theist, however, making surreptitious use of the primacy of existence will not validate the crass departures from it in the content of what he claims (e.g., 'God created the earth and the heaven'). Fantasy remains fantasy, no matter how much one tries to pretend it is true."


"god exists performatively contradicts itself by virtue of its implicit affirmation of the primacy of existence on the one hand (as a precondition for intelligibly making any statement about reality) and the primacy of consciousness on the other (as the fundamental orientation entailed by theism in the subject-object relationship)."


"Thorn: You don't have to take my word for it if you don't want to, Dr. Bahnsen, but your Christian worldview is not up for a match with mine, and it never will be. Your worldview derails intelligibility from the very get-go, at its very foundation, by reversing the subject-object relationship. Your worldview essentially teaches that the object is something that the subject creates at will. Take the universe for example: you say that your god created the universe by an act of will. This reduces to utter subjectivism: the subject creates its objects, that is, consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over existence.

My worldview, on the other hand, affirms the very opposite principle, the primacy of existence principle. The object is what it is, regardless of the intentions of the subject. The subject doesn't create its objects, it discovers and identifies them. You cannot completely deny this in the case of man, but you completely deny it in the case of the god you claim exists. Thus, your worldview attempts to have its cake (the primacy of consciousness) and eat it, too (the primacy of existence) when you say all this is "true." The very concept of truth presupposes the proper orientation of the subject to its objects, which is the primacy of existence principle. But what you're claiming to be true reduces to the primacy of consciousness view, which is invalid. Since this internal contradiction is so central to everything in your worldview [88], you have no worthwhile worldview to the degree that it is consistent with its initial premise, Dr. Bahnsen."


April 23, 2013 12:51 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Although brief, I found informative this Wikipedia entry on "Performative Contradictions."


April 23, 2013 3:47 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hey there Ydemoc. Thanks for the links. What I'm thinking about is developing a basic simple set of Objectivist ideas with which to argue against supernaturalism and god belief. Maybe something along the lines of

1. Primacy of consciousness, supernaturalism, and God abstractions are invalid because of stolen concept and performative inconsistencies.

2. Primacy of Existence metaphysics are valid by virtue of proper relations between subject of thought and object of thought.

My idea is that in discussions to just keep hammering on the contradiction inherent in the proposition that "God Exists."

I need to just reread and restudy these topics.

That Frank guy over on Debunking Christianity that was arguing with Articulett is a cute character. If that guy has a blog, it might be fun to engage over there.

Best and Good.

April 23, 2013 6:39 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@The usual suspects

Remember all those times I would tell Nide he was failing to distinguish a concept from its referent? Watch this video

About a minute into it you will see two gents give a perfect example of this. I graphically illustrates why objectivist arguments sail right over their heads.

April 23, 2013 6:43 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Here's Rand's famous quote on the Primacy of Existence vs Primacy of Consciousness taken from "The Metaphysical vs The Man Made"

Primacy of Existence vs. Primacy of Consciousness

The basic metaphysical issue that lies at the root of any system of philosophy [is] the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.

The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity. The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists—and that man gains knowledge of reality by looking outward. The rejection of these axioms represents a reversal: the primacy of consciousness—the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness (either human or divine or both). The epistemological corollary is the notion that man gains knowledge of reality by looking inward (either at his own consciousness or at the revelations it receives from another, superior consciousness).

The source of this reversal is the inability or unwillingness fully to grasp the difference between one’s inner state and the outer world, i.e., between the perceiver and the perceived (thus blending consciousness and existence into one indeterminate package-deal). This crucial distinction is not given to man automatically; it has to be learned. It is implicit in any awareness, but it has to be grasped conceptually and held as an absolute. ~ “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 24

In discussion with woo-mystics, this quote from Rand, seems to me anyway, to be useful in introducing the issue. Although it does provide an opening for mystics to slam Rand, and thus open themselves up to charges of being ad hominem meanies.

BTW, please forgive me for those occasions where I've shown my ass by losing my temper. There's no need for an Objectivist to get frustrated that some woo-head desperately clings to their mystical drivel. We are on the side of obvious self-apparent truth.

I'm think I'm feeling somewhat better. I'm off the happy pills and am 8 days into a detox regimen. More exercise, more rest, good food is a simple recipe feeling better.

Best and Good

April 23, 2013 6:53 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hey Robert,

I know you've probably read this before, but here it is anyway just in case you'd like to take another look at it. It's Dawson's "If Knowledge Then Non-Theism."

In it, Dawson presents an argument which, as he puts it, "... demonstrates succinctly and directly, contrary to what presuppositionalism claims, the non-theistic implications of knowledge. In developing this argument, I set out with a specific goal: Trace knowledge to its philosophical roots, and understand their implications for the question of theism. This argument is thus reductive in nature and consists of the following five steps..."

Here's the link:


April 23, 2013 9:26 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Here's an article about Brooklyn con artists preying upon elderly Chinese immigrants, threatening to put a curse on them if they don't hand over their money -- and many are falling for it!

Sound familiar?

Here's the link:

Con Artists Tormenting Chinese Immigrants In Brooklyn With Cash-Or-Curse Scam
If Elderly Don't Pay Up They're Terrorized With Threats Of 'Evil' Until They Do


April 23, 2013 9:56 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hi guys: What do you think about taking on David Marshall over at DC? That blowhard needs to be taken down a notch or two. Get this.

David Marshall • 2 hours ago −
John: I didn't write the title of the article, I just wrote the article.

Your argument against Christianity FROM the OTF is "fatally flawed." The OTF ITSELF can be a very useful tool, properly corrected, which I use to show in four ways why Christianity is the most plausible belief system. Got the distinction?

So again, thank you for bringing the subject up. The more I think about it, the more I think this theme deserves a whole book. It's not a "loop hole," it's a dang Grand Canyon, and I hope that many people will raft down that river straight into the Kingdom of God.

But you might think a little, maybe even ask, before you blog about me, next time. Save us both some trouble, and keep your sillier readers from working their heads into a knot because they don't want to bother reading the originals and thinking for themselves.

How would you respond to this drivel?

April 24, 2013 10:05 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends. Here's what I posted over on DC in response to David Marshall.

David Marshall, since you believe and take the ridiculous nonsense of Christianity by faith, you're tacitly admitting that there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief. Certainly there are no facts indicating your god exists, so your god notion stems from your imagination. You're smart enough to know your engaging in a performative inconsistency whenever you assert your god exists, so you do understand that whenever you do it, you're making a self-contradiction. (In case the reader is interested, this is because of the reason explained by Anton Thorn at )

Does Marshall "believe" the 9-11 Truthers, the Mormons, that there was real witchcraft at Salem Massachuttes in 1692-93, MUFON's stories about alien abductions? These all have better evidence for their fairy tales than does Christianity. What about Scientology? The evidence for Xenu is just as good as that for Jesus. If someone accepts silly nonsense from one cult, then they've surrendered epistemic high ground to reject whatever other silly cultic delusions come along. If Marshall rejects the stories of the Truthers, the Mormons, the Scientologists, MUFON, or that there was real witchcraft at Salem, then he should also reject Christianity.

Consider Matthew McCormick; in his book "Atheism and The Case Against Christ" he cites W.K. Clifford who noted:

If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief: it may be true after all .... But I cannot help doing this great wrong toward Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery." ~ (AATCAC p.228, from Clifford "The Ethics of Belief" in "Lectures and Essays" ed. by Stephen and Pollock, 1886.)

Sinking back into savagery is what people like Marshal want because they recognize such savagery, as expressed by the medieval Catholic inquisition, as the most proper form of Christianity. Though their wet dreams of presiding over ecumenical executions by burning people like John Loftus at a stake warms them, they dare not actually express such sentiments for fear of being found out. Thus their passive aggressive posturing via an intransigent arrogant stance for their ridiculous presuppositional apologetic can't be helped.

Best and Good

April 24, 2013 10:37 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

I scored an interesting pdf, David Kelly - Evidence of the Senses, A Realist Theory of Perception.

April 24, 2013 6:59 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hey there ydemoc, help me out with this. What is a n-adic property of an event?

Thanks, good w/e.

April 26, 2013 7:43 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Robert,

You wrote: "Hey there ydemoc, help me out with this. What is a n-adic property of an event?"

"n-adic"? I don't know. You've probably already done so yourself, but give me a moment to do a quick search on Google to see what pops up.


April 26, 2013 9:35 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I found this page, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which explains a little bit of the terminology you've inquired about:

I also found it mentioned on this page...

... in this paragraph, as well as elsewhere:

"Soon after Principia Mathematica, Russell became convinced that this picture was too simplistic. In the “Philosophy of Logical Atomism” lectures he described a more complicated framework. In the new terminology, the phrase “atomic fact” was introduced for the simplest kind of fact, i.e., one in which n particulars enter into an n-adic relation. He used the phrase “atomic proposition” for a proposition consisting only of a predicate for an n-place relation, along with n proper names for particulars."

Hopefully, I haven't sent you on a wild goose chase.


April 26, 2013 9:50 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Thank you ydemoc. I became a bit frustrated by becoming lost in cascading links to various philosophical papers who's authors used the term and seemed to assume their audience understood its definition as if it were a term found in chapter 1 of intro to philosophy texts, and yet it was not listed in online dictionaries.

I posted a brief response to Heddle over on Debunking Christianity with links to Quentin Smith and Dawson Bethrick. Here it is.

Hello Dr. Heddle. Thank you for your reply to my earlier comment, and please forgive the tardiness of this reply. The reason it took so long was that I wanted to be sure the submission was appropriate to the task of answering your challenge. Fortuntatly, there is no need for me to reinvent a wheel, for Dr. Quentin Smith showed by extremely sharp reasoning the impossibility of a divine cause of the big bang. This entire article is worthy of close study; it disproves all versions of a ruling consciousness that is imagined to possess omnipotence, omniscence, and omnibenovelence.


Hume's definition of casuation required temporal priority, spatial-temporal contiguity, and nomological conjucntion. The divine volition of the God of Abrahamic theism, if it were to exist, would be unable to satisfy Hume's definition as God is atemproal and not in time, aspatial and has no location, and is supernatural so as it cannot satisfy any nomological criteria. Smith shows all extant definitions of casualty possess at least one of Hume's criteria including singularist, transference, and counterfactual definitions, so God, could not have caused the big bang. Smith did not mention Cosmic Inflation, but his points likewise apply to it. Smith then proceeds to show that God's divine volition cannot be a logically sufficient condition for the big bang. Smith defends his arguments from various strong and subtle objections. The final section of his paper is employed in showing the Kalam Cosmological and Teleological arguments actually support atheism. I think that if a person is honest, she'll be convinced by Smith's reasoning.

You and all other religious adherents predicate unexplained events as evidence for your god(s) by means of accepting same as enthymemes vivifying fantasies of apriori knowledge. In fact, there is no apriori knowledge, for knowledge is objective and is derived by integrating facts from existence ascertained by perception. Indeed, that objective knowledge obtains means your god(s) are nothing more than silly fantasies. Dawson Bethrick's Incinerating Presuppositionalism blog demonstrates this conclusively. See http://bahnsenburner.blogspot....

Your smear against Rand seems to be employed as a reason to discount Objectivism. If so that would be a genetic fallacy. I'm surprised someone as purportedly educated as you, would stoop so low.
Ha LOL. More later. Time for a work out.

April 27, 2013 8:36 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


I on the heels of your comments, I posted the following:

____________Post 1

David Heddle wrote: "Objectivism? Really?"

Yes. Really.

David Heddle wrote: "Maybe you could explain how Rand, who worshiped at the altar of individuality, tolerated a personal cult-following of Randoids."

"Cult-following"? Really? Since David Heddle is using the term "cult" in an attempt to smear a worldview that is the antithesis of mysticism, I assume he's not aware (or maybe he is, and he just doesn't care) what the "Bible Answer Man" himself, Mr. Hank Hanegraaf, had to say about this term. In The Bible Answer Book, Mr. Hanegraaf writes:

“Finally, I should note that although the media-driven culture has given the term 'cult' an exclusively pejorative connotation, denotatively the word 'cult' can be broadly defined as a group of people centered around a religious belief structure. As such, Christianity might rightly be referred to as a cult of Old Testament Judaism. In fact, the Latin verb 'cultus' from which we derive the word 'cult' simply means to worship a deity. Thus, in dealing with cults, it is crucial to be diligent in defining terms." (p. 233) (single quotes '' used in place of italics)

How 'bout that! Of course, I take issue with much of what Mr. Hanegraaf, a Christian, propounds. And, granted, he does make other distinctions prior to this passage in his book. But, gee, it sure sounds to me, at least by this summation, that the term "cult" is much more befitting of Christianity than Objectivism. In fact, since Objectivism isn't "centered around a religious belief structure" and it doesn't endorse the "worship of a deity," the term "cult" wouldn't even apply at all! -- meaning that David couldn't be more mistaken in his characterization of Rand, her philosophy, and/or those associated with it!

David Heddle wrote: "You would think she'd say: stop regurgitating my ideas --put them in practice--go out and create some wealth you freaking parasites! Why didn't she?"

I'm sorry, but was David Heddle privy to what Ayn Rand said to each and every one of the individuals with whom she associated?

But even more to the point, why should anyone do what David suggests Ayn Rand do? Is David so immersed in a world of storybook dictates and religious authoritarianism, that he thinks this is the norm? That people should go around dictating to others what it is they ought to do with their own lives? And that they should just obey? Or is he just "regurgitating" something he's heard, because doing so is a lot easier than dealing with Rand's ideas?


April 27, 2013 1:41 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Furthermore, David Heddle makes it sound as if "regurgitating [somebody's] ideas" is a bad thing. But what could anyone have against such a practice? Someone once came up with equations, scientific principles, concepts, and so on. In fact, every concept David used in the very comment I'm responding to, is a "regurgitation" -- including "regurgitating" itself! -- and I doubt he thought twice about employing it.

Additionally, how can a Christian like David Huddle have any beef against "regurgitating [someone's] ideas, when that is precisely how his storybook was developed and it is exactly what his book instructs him to do as part of a devotional program!? Blank out.

(And at least in Rand's case, she could boast that any ideas of hers that were "regurgitated," were written by her in her own hand. Jesus? -- if he even existed -- not so much. In fact, not at all that I'm aware.)

David Heddle writes: "Why didn't she? Well, hypocrite is a possibility, so is fraud, so is charlatan."

As expected, not a peep from David about any of her ideas. Nothing. Just more "regurgitated" smears.

I would ask David this though:

Does he think there is more evidence for Ayn Rand being a "hypocrite," "fraud" or "charlatan" than there is for, say, a Talking Donkey a Chit-Chatty Snake or City-Strolling Corpses? Or are all of these claims just based upon faith?


April 27, 2013 1:42 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

_________________Post 2

David Heddle wrote: "Well there is very good evidence that she was a randy (no pun intended) old cougar who cuckolded her, by all accounts, fine gentleman of a husband."

Again I will ask: Would you say that the supporting evidence for this is better in terms of quality and quantity, than the evidence you have for a Conversational Donkey, a Chit-Chatty Snake, City-Strolling Corpses? Or are all of the above claims based upon faith?

David Heddle wrote: "But I stand by my claim that the idea of an 'Ayn Rand Institute' dedicated to her philosophy is a study in contradiction. In her books there was no 'John Galt Institute' or 'Howard Roark Institute.' Those characters, her 1D super-heroes, would have been appalled that people would spend their lives in such unproductive cultic activities. Unlike her heroes though, she craved attention and adoration."

But just to be clear, you also stand by the claim that there was such thing as a Conversational Donkey and a Chit-Chatty Snake, right? And you stand by the claim that there were City Strolling Corpses, too, right?

Also, please see my previous post regarding use of the term "cult."

You wrote: "But, whatever--she is not worth arguing over."

Yes, I figured you wouldn't want to carry on this exchange much longer. What, with a few smears and one or two very uninformed notions about her philosophy, I think you've pretty much shot your wad.

You wrote: "You do know [sic] are supposed to get over her by the time you get out of college?

You're really "regurgitating" all the clichés, aren't you? If this is true, then by what age do you suppose people should recognize the bible for the storybook that it is? Three?



April 27, 2013 1:43 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good morning.

I posted another reply to David Heddle on DebunkingChristianity.

Good morning David. You replied regarding Smith's argument in his essay

by stating

I am not going to read that--it is philosophocal babble.
You must realize that it is impossible to demonstrate the impossibility of a divine cause of the big bang. The very problem with postulating "God did it" for the big bang is that you are postulating something that isunfalsifiable. Just like "last Thursday-ism" is unfalsifiable. It is literally impossible, no matter how much philosophical woo you wrap around it, to falsify something that is unfalsifiable. The best you can do is not what philosophers try to do (bless their pointy heads) but what scientists actually do--you can create falsifiable scientific theories/models and attempt to explain the data--thereby creating a "I have no need of that hypothesis" milieu.

Smith showed there is no extant definition of causation satisfied by your god's alleged divine volition and that the view that your god's alleged divine volition, if postulated as a logically sufficient condition for cosmic origins, cannot be a cause. Cannily, Smith anticipated your objection and dealt with this category of evasions in the following quote from his essay.

Nonetheless, the intuition may persist that there is an important ingredient in God's relation to the big bang of logically necessitating the big bang that is not present in the sun's orangeness logically necessitating the sun's being colored, or Jane's running necessitating her being alive, an ingredient that is metaphorically captured by causal language ("produces", "brings about", etc.). The objector may simply state that it is intuitively obvious that there is this difference between the two cases, even if this difference cannot be adequately expressed in words.

But this amounts to retreating to an ineffability theory. We now have the theory: "God does not literally cause the big bang, but in some metaphorical sense causes the big bang, even though it is impossible to specify literally the analogy between causation and God's relation to the big bang that justifies the metaphor."

Your non-falsifiable hypothesis turns on what Smith noted:

But this amounts to retreating to an ineffability theory. We now have the theory: "God does not literally cause the big bang, but in some metaphorical sense causes the big bang, even though it is impossible to specify literally the analogy between causation and God's relation to the big bang that justifies the metaphor."

I think you're saying that because there is no extant definition of causation satisfied by your alleged god's divine volition and yet you have a mystical ineffable intuition that your god did cause cosmic origins that the proposition "God caused the big bang." is non-falsifiable.


April 28, 2013 7:06 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Smith continued:

The ineffability theory is that God's R-ing the big bang is a relation with two properties; one property of God's R-ing the big bang is that the R-ing is a logically sufficient condition of the big bang, and the second property is an indescribable property, which we may call an Xproperty, such that the X-property is a property of God's R-ing that makes the R-ing analogous in a relevant respect to a causal relation.

However, the ineffability theory fails for three reasons.

(i) If the X-property makes the R-ing analogous to a causal relation, then the X-property is some property shared in common by the causal relation and the R relation. Since the X-property belongs to the causal relation, and we can literally describe the causal relation, we should be able to literally specify the causal relation's X-property and say that it is this property that the R relation has in common with the causal relation. But the ineffability theory fails to do this.

(ii) The ineffability theory has no justification for asserting there is this X-property. The ineffability theory mentions no datum that the postulation of the X-property is used to explain, and it introduces no premises from which the presence of the X-property is deduced. The only apparent justification might be that one has had a mystical experience and directly "beheld" God R-ing the big bang and "beheld" the X-property of this R-ing, but that in reporting this intuition, one realized there are no adequate and literally used words that could describe this X-property. However, if the theory that God metaphorically causes the universe amounts to nothing more than dark sayings about what is "beheld" in an ineffable mystical experience, then this not a theory based on natural reason but is a flight into mysticism and the deliverances of "supernatural reason". It would hold no interest for a philosopher intent on constructing a world-view based on natural reason.

(iii) The best explanation of the origins of the "intuition" that God metaphorically causes the big bang, and is not merely a logically sufficient condition of the big bang, does not imply this intuition is true. The origin of this "intuition" is the long and pervasive tradition (in philosophy, religion and "ordinary language") of using causal words, "causes", "creates", "wills", etc., to describe God's relation to the beginning of the universe. The psychological associations produced by the adoption of this linguistic tradition gives rise to the "intuition" that there must be an X-property of God's relation to the big bang that grounds the metaphorical usage of "causes".

Smith defined R-ing as

We can say that there is a certain relation R in which God stands to the property being the big bang, such that by virtue of God standing in R to being the big bang, it is logically necessary that being the big bang is exemplified.

In summary, we are safe in saying that God does not cause the big bang, but Rs the big bang, where "God Rs the big bang" means that God stands in a certain relation R to being the big bang, such that by virtue of standing in this relation to this property, it is logically necessary that this property is exemplified.

Dr. Heddle, I think your claim that the proposition that your god caused the big bang is not falsifiable is merely an erroneous retreat into ineffable mysticism. Whereas the evidence shows your god's alleged divine volition cannot have caused the big bang.

April 28, 2013 8:09 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

GM: friends, David Kelly's "TheEvidence of the Senses" explains clearly what the primacy of consciousness philosophers thought and why they're wrong. Good read.

Android hunt & peck out.

May 04, 2013 6:51 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert, Ydemoc, etc.

If you are interested I am currently in a dialogue with Rick Warden over at templestream.

May 08, 2013 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Thanks for that. It looks interesting. I'll check it out as time allows.

As for me, I'm slowly but surely, crafting what will be my latest reply to "DanOhBrian." (For our exchanges, please see the link above.)

With all the writing I've done and all the source material I've included, my reply has swelled to several pages.

I will notify everyone when I'm through with it.


May 08, 2013 9:53 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Justin and Ydemoc. Thanks for the heads up. I'll be sure to check it out.

I'm looking forward to Dawson's next essay.

Best and Good

May 09, 2013 7:11 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

To Everyone,

I had a chance to use Dawson's "Real McCoy" Terms & Conditions during a telephone conversation with my Christian relative last evening. I posed it to him, verbatim:

"Before I consider your apologetic arguments and your worldview questions, you will first need to demonstrate to me that you are a genuine Christian. This means that you need to prove that you are saved and therefore that you are a 'new creature,' that you have 'the mind of Christ,' and that you are filled with the 'Holy Spirit.' You have the floor. Have at it."

The results? Not surprisingly, he failed at every turn to produce anything which would demonstrate that he was "supernaturally enhanced."

Everything offered up, from "feeling drawn into getting baptized and then having a tremendous weight lifted" when he did, to "the desire to use profanity, vanishing overnight," to "his faith growing stronger during difficult times," to "murderers in prison turning to Christianity," etc., -- none of it was indicative of anything above, beyond, or outside the bounds of human experience.

Despite failing to produce anything that would demonstrate that he was "supernaturally enhanced," he continued to insist throughout that *all* of the things mentioned above (and more) **were**, in fact, indicative of "supernatural enhancement" i.e., the Holy Spirit moving in his or another Christian's life.

He refused to grasp that every single example offered to support his claim of "supernatural enhancement, was not only well-short of "mind-boggling, dumbfounding and spell-binding," but they were all things that are fundamentally no different from what other faith-adherents could claim as "evidence" of "supernatural enhancement" in their lives! For example, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons -- all could claim that "overnight, they lost the desire to use profanity." Even an atheist could claim this! Big wow!

(Here's something else: Much of what my relative tried to pass off as evidence of the Holy Spirit supernaturally "working in his life," was of the psychological/ introspective variety, e.g., "I just know...", "I was led to...", "I was drawn to...", "I felt...", etc.

Now, just picture a scientist resorting to this same method when asked by Christians to demonstrate that evolution is a fact!

"I just **feel** that man and ape share a common ancestor."

Of course, Christians would never accept this. So what makes them think that anyone should accept the same from them?)

Even though nothing my relative offered up was indicative of him actually being "The Real McCoy," I'm sure if probed, he would again give credit to "supernatural enhancement" -- this time, for his unwillingness to admit or recognize this very fact.

But, of course, the only thing that this would be evidence of is how faith-adherence shuts down the mind -- a condition that is very human, and demonstrably so. Just ask a Christian.


May 11, 2013 9:09 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends:

Ydemoc wrote: Now, just picture a scientist resorting to this same method when asked by Christians to demonstrate that evolution is a fact!

"I just **feel** that man and ape share a common ancestor."

Of course, Christians would never accept this. So what makes them think that anyone should accept the same from them?)

What an astute observation. Thanks. This is yet another conclusion from interaction with a religious mystic indicating use of a double or multiple epistemic standard by the mystic. Religious adherents reject all religions other than their own by using a more or less rational approach to warrant rejection of other religious claims while accepting special pleadings or ad hoc claims for their preferred brand of mystical practice. Consider the case of a Catholic Christian, a Protestant Christian, a Mormon, a Scientologist, a Muslim, a religious Jew, a devout Vishnu adherent and a Mahayana Buddhism devotee of Avalokiteśvara each detailing their reasons for rejecting the faiths of the others and their reasons for accepting their own faiths. The reasons for rejection would be generally rational or rational seeming. I'd bet a dollar against a doughnut the reasons for would reduce to ineffable mysticism by way of ad hoc special pleadings.

I bought myself a new bicycle. For $130 it seems to be a good value.

Best and Good

May 12, 2013 3:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Thanks for your comment. The next time a Christian asks me, "How do you know evolution is true?", perhaps I should just turn the tables on them and respond with: "I know because I know!"; or "I know without knowing how I know!"; or "Faith, silly!"

How could any Christian have a problem with those answers?


May 12, 2013 5:30 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good morning Dawson, Ydemoc, Justin, Freddie, Photo and friends

Ydemoc's Christian relative is between a rock and a hard place. He or she claims to believe based on faith that is in turn confirmed by ineffable and immanent (in it's secondary meaning of "Restricted entirely to the mind") mental experience. The problem here is the multiple epistemic standard Ydemoc's relative (and all other mystics) employ. For example he/she probably doesn't believe the 9/11 Truther story of a vast conspiracy of the Bush administration to perpetrate via Al Queda patsies the 9/11 attacks, nor does he/she pr0bably believe there was actual supra-natural magic happen at Salem Massachusetts in 1692/93 so that the executions of the 22 or so young women and children were unjust. In both of these case there is a mountain of documentary evidence of various types that make cases much better than the case for the resurrection of Jesus. Yet Ydemoc's relative accepts the later while rejecting the former. This situation renders their decision to believe indistinguishable for purely arbitrary whim.

Mathew McCormick in his book "Atheism and the Case Against Christ" details and nuances this argument. I enjoyed the book and found it useful for philosophy of religion discussion material. Here's a link.

Best and Good

May 13, 2013 6:24 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


From this same relative last night, I once again got the line, "There is joy in suffering."

Just in case anyone is wondering, I have informed him that I often disclose online many of the things he says to me. He didn't seem to mind.

I should start a blog called: Christian Relatives Say the Darndest Things!


May 13, 2013 12:59 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...


You are not thinking big enough, a blog, pfft! This could be the basis for a sit-com. The premise is the show is shown from the perspective of the one sane and rational person in a family of religious nutt jobs. We could call it my insane family. Or everyone hates Ydemoc.

May 14, 2013 10:20 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...


Good one! I actually would like to see something like that. I'm not sure one could get away with it on network television, at least not yet anyway (which is too bad.) But maybe pay, like HBO or Showtime.

Although, there was that ABC dramedy (starring Kristen Chenoweth) that got canceled (last?) year, called GCB, which stood for "Good Christian Bitches" and often poked fun at those with a religious mindset.


May 14, 2013 1:13 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

@Justin @Ydemoc

Ha LOL. That would be some funny excuse to eat too much popcorn.

FWIMBW & IMHO, Ydemoc would do well to keep hammering the proper subject of thought vs object of thought relationship with an emphasis on his relatives false dichotomy entailed by his primacy of consciousness worldview's rejection of diaphanous model of consciousness wherein perceptions are an archetypal mirroring without any specific nature and acceptance of a Kantian scheme. Rand described the later:

The man who . . . closed the door of philosophy to reason, was Immanuel Kant. . . .

Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason.

Attila’s share of Kant’s universe includes this earth, physical reality, man’s senses, perceptions, reason and science, all of it labeled the “phenomenal” world. The Witch Doctor’s share is another, “higher,” reality, labeled the “noumenal” world, and a special manifestation, labeled the “categorical imperative,” which dictates to man the rules of morality and which makes itself known by means of a feeling, as a special sense of duty.

The “phenomenal” world, said Kant, is not real: reality, as perceived by man’s mind, is a distortion. The distorting mechanism is man’s conceptual faculty: man’s basic concepts (such as time, space, existence) are not derived from experience or reality, but come from an automatic system of filters in his consciousness (labeled “categories” and “forms of perception”) which impose their own design on his perception of the external world and make him incapable of perceiving it in any manner other than the one in which he does perceive it. This proves, said Kant, that man’s concepts are only a delusion, but a collective delusion which no one has the power to escape. Thus reason and science are “limited,” said Kant; they are valid only so long as they deal with this world, with a permanent, pre-determined collective delusion (and thus the criterion of reason’s validity was switched from the objective to the collective), but they are impotent to deal with the fundamental, metaphysical issues of existence, which belong to the “noumenal” world. The “noumenal” world is unknowable; it is the world of “real” reality, “superior” truth and “things in themselves” or “things as they are”—which means: things as they are not perceived by man.

Even apart from the fact that Kant’s theory of the “categories” as the source of man’s concepts was a preposterous invention, his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but of any consciousness, of consciousness as such. His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears—deluded, because he has a mind—and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them. ~,_immanuel.html


May 15, 2013 6:14 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. I must have fraked the second message. Here's David Kelly on the diaphanous model of consciousness.

The source of the difficulty here is a certain model of awareness, whose appeal is not hard to understand. We know of consciousness in the first place from the inside, as its subjects. From this perspective, the awareness of an object seems transparent, the sim¬ ple presence of the object, a revelation of it. Unaware as we are, from this perspective, of the way our cognitive faculties operate to produce our awareness, it seems as if nothing but the object itself de¬termines the way we grasp it, the way it appears. As G. E. Moore remarked, "When we try to introspect the sensation of blue, all we can see is the blue: the other element is as if it were diaphanous." As a result, this seeming "diaphanousness" comes to be regarded as essential to the nonconstitutive character of consciousness. William Earle, for example, claiming that "cognition is and must be absolutely noncreative," takes this to imply that "the subject of cognitive intentionality therefore is a pure spectator.... Apprehension is transparency."

Traditional realists turned this sense of transparency into a model of consciousness as a "mirror of nature," grasping its objects by reflecting them in a transparent medium. The model has been stated many ways: that awareness is a direct confrontation between mind and object, that the mind in cognition becomes identical with its object, or similar to it, taking on its form without its matter. But the different formulations have a common thrust: that the awareness of objects cannot be mediated by any process whose nature affects the way the object appears. And this means that the subject of awareness cannot have a positive nature of its own. Such a nature would be like bubbles in glass, distorting the reflection of objects outside. Thus the model says, in effect, that that of which we are not aware from the first-person standpoint-namely, the operation of specific means of awareness in causally determinate ways-cannot exist at all. It implies that consciousness as the subject of awareness cannot have an identity, if, that is, it is to give us any awareness of external objects, of things as they are in themselves.

This is the putative reason why religious mystics, usually unknowingly, reject that direct sensory awareness of existence can be part of a validation of the primacy of existence. But the point that Kelly identified is a strawman because consiousness has identity, that being of the faculty of awareness of existence.

Rand - Consciousness is the faculty of awareness—the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

Awareness is not a passive state, but an active process. On the lower levels of awareness, a complex neurological process is required to enable man to experience a sensation and to integrate sensations into percepts; that process is automatic and non-volitional: man is aware of its results, but not of the process itself. On the higher, conceptual level, the process is psychological, conscious and volitional. In either case, awareness is achieved and maintained by continuous action.

Directly or indirectly, every phenomenon of consciousness is derived from one’s awareness of the external world. Some object, i.e., some content, is involved in every state of awareness. Extrospection is a process of cognition directed outward—a process of apprehending some existent(s) of the external world. Introspection is a process of cognition directed inward—a process of apprehending one’s own psychological actions in regard to some existent(s) of the external world, such actions as thinking, feeling, reminiscing, etc. It is only in relation to the external world that the various actions of a consciousness can be experienced, grasped, defined or communicated. Awareness is awareness of something. A content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms.

May 15, 2013 11:07 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks for that, Robert!


May 15, 2013 3:41 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson, Ydemoc, Justin, Freddie, Photo, Nal and friends. I posted the following comment over at debunking christianity ~

All theists, whether poly or mono, and all others who posit some type of casualty ostensibly stemming from any sort of magic woo-man-ness are bald faced liars. This is due to their necessary presupposed enthymeme that consciousness is a substance. However, the truth that they directly experience and deny is that the subject of consciousness cannot create its own objects. They, as well as every human who has ever lived, is living, or will live, knows or will know that they themselves as the subject of consciousness cannot cause perception of the objects of consciousness they experience. Wishing doesn't make it so. We all also know that our direct veridical perception of the objects of consciousness by the subject of consciousness means consciousness is a relationship and not a substance. The nature of the relationship is that the subject of consciousness is metaphysically passive and epistemologically active. When theists and mystics proclaim their gods or some proposition entailing consciousness as a substance, they're lying their frigging asses off because they know the subject of consciousness cannot create its own objects. Christians do this all the time and not just to non-believers on the net but to their own selves. Christianity, Islam, theistic Judaism, Hinduism and all other forms of magic woo-man-ness are self-deception meme propagation systems wherein the adherent is conditioned to assign priority to the meme that the subject somehow makes its own objects and hence consciousness is a substance as truth over their own direct veridical experience of the fact that consciousness is a relationship between subject and object. I pity them, but I'm glad this isn't my problem.

In discussions with mystics, I'm just going to keep hammering that consciousness is a relationship between subject and object wherein the object has metaphysical primacy and not a substance as they presuppose. This puts them on the defense retreating into further mystical expressions of primacy of consciousness. The O-ist wins when the mystic asserts the POC.

Best and Good

May 18, 2013 4:20 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Hello all. I am currently speaking with an old (christian) high school friend of mine who is a highly educated theologian. I am attempting to discuss my naturalistic atheism with him but I find I am needing help. Is there any one who has the spare time to read our exchanges and help me take my next step?

In Humanity,

June 09, 2013 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello "Daniel GodIsTime,"

I say this without knowing the extent of your exchanges, but I don't have much time right now to delve too deeply into such matters.

That being said, perhaps if you posted your exchange(s), then it might get me (or another poster) interested enough to comment on one thing or another.

In the meantime, (if you haven't already) you might want to give some serious reading time to what Dawson has written on his blog. I have found it to be tremendously valuable in my dealings with theists.

For example, not one apologist has stepped forward to tell us how we can reliably distinguish what he calls "god" from what he or she may merely be imagining.

Nope, not one.

After giving Dawson's blog a read, I think you'll understand why this is, and always will be, the case.


June 09, 2013 9:35 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

I have copied all the archives and have gone through a good deal of them. I have certainly found his blog more than helpful in ways only a christian turned atheist could possibly know.

However, this friend of mine has his P.h. D. in theology and is a active pastor and teacher, so he is a slippery one. Being that I have no formal training in any esoteric discipline I find it difficult to cut through and accurately assess the subtleties of what he is or isn't saying. I just need some help.

In regards to posting the exchanges, I would love to do so but I didn't want to do so on Dawson's site unless I knew exactly where they would be best placed. Let me know and I will put them up.

I know I've already committed some mistakes in my conversations with my old friend, but I am pretty sure that they are not fatal.

Thank you for the help you have been and will be.


June 11, 2013 11:21 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello All,

Thanks for keeping some activity alive on my blog while I've been away. I'm doing fine. Just extremely busy with some huge projects on my end. Unfortunately, they are not writing projects for my blog. I'm not sure when I'll get some time to post another blog entry. I'll try one of these days, but my arms are quite full at the moment.

Daniel, you're welcome to post selections from your correspondence with your Ph.D. friend on my blog. Please use the comments section on the most recent entry here:

I'll take a look so long as I can carve out a few moments, and I'm sure others here would be happy to see your conversation as well.


June 11, 2013 2:45 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Here's an item of interest that I thought would be appropriate for this thread.

Today I received two spam emails, one with the subject line "DEAREST ONE IN CHRIST" and the other with the subject line "FROM YOUR SISTER IN THE LORD."

My questiona for Christians are: Do you open these emails? Download the attachments? Do you believe these people who profess their belief in Christ? Or do you deny that these people may be Christian? What standard to you apply in holding them to be Christian or not? How can you tell? What to you would be a demonstration by them to you that they're actually Christian or not? If you deem them to be Christians from, say, Nigeria, who are asking you to help them out with, say, some money, do you do so?


June 21, 2013 10:53 AM  

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