World without Religion: Better or Worse? page 4

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“So essentially, the adjective you’re maximizing is “similar to the Christian God”.”

No, Generic God, God of classical monotheism, the God of Western Civilization, the philosopher’s God— whatever you want to call Being Itself.

It’s not intended to be for any specific religion, even if certain monotheistic religions accept it.

“Then what sort of essence are we maximizing here?”

The essence of Being, namely.

“In this universe, maybe. Why do I care what Aristotle thinks, he thought the world had only four elements.”

Irrelevant hand-waiving.

“Of course they do. They all render God unnecessary. "

If-and-only-if they counter the arguments, which they do not. I’ve been through this argument dozens of times, I know the usual failed objections.

In my last post, I gave you resources to study up on the arguments. Whether you pursue it or not is of no consequence to me.

“Then how do you know the teachings of the Bible are God’s teachings? Oh, yeah. You defied reason. "

Nope, Chuck Testa.

If you already had a canned answer ready, why even ask?

“Name some secular values that would eat us”

The growing contradiction in moral relativism/nihilism with a facade of humanism, the lack of worth a human life has (as demonstrated by secular governments repeatedly— note: I am not saying that secular governments cannot be decent, there are probably many that are), and generally, it’s a pretty Nietzschean picture.

The death of God by our own hand creates quite a few problems for moral values. This is not to say you cannot be moral if you are not religious, just that I doubt there’s any grounding for objective morality under atheism.

For this, I’ll cite “Atheist Delusions” by David Bentley Hart. I’m not really here to defend this particular point so much as explain, and dispel confusions. Another resource you can check out— despite the name, it’s not an apologetics book, and it doesn’t put the kids gloves on for stupid things we Catholics have done.

 
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Modern world, I’d say we’d be better without. In the past though, it’s undeniable that they’ve helped give rise to civilizations.

 
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the God of Western Civilization, the philosopher’s God— whatever you want to call Being Itself.

The key being it doesn’t matter. Magical ducks exist, because it is more magical for a duck to exist than for it not to exist.

The essence of Being, namely.

Essence of being=/=god of any type. The essence of being is also subjective.

Irrelevant hand-waiving.

It’s highly relevant.
You: Everything must come from something or have a creator who breaks that rule. Also, Aristotle had something to say that you should care about.
Me: That’s not necessarily true.
You: Irrelevant.

I’ve been through this argument dozens of times, I know the usual failed objections.

An explanation would be great. If you understand this logic so well, I feel certain you should be able to explain it to me.

No, seriously, how do you know the teachings of the Bible are God’s teachings? Nice internet reference though.

The growing contradiction in moral relativism/nihilism with a facade of humanism

Is as based on faith as the rest of religion. Why does every culture have something to offer? Because they do. Why is judging another culture based on your own morals bad? Because it is. It’s a willingness to make assumptions based on trying not to be offensive, hardly secular.

the lack of worth a human life has

Why is assuming that everything with human DNA has inherent value good for a society?

Why is not assuming this bad for a society?

I doubt there’s any grounding for objective morality under atheism.

Why is it impossible to desire to benefit society and yourself without a deity telling you to? Yes, there’s no grounding for objective morality, but why does that matter? Humans are naturally social anyway: we make sacrifices to be with other people on purpose.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a God to give people value. I like them anyway.

 
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“Essence of being=/=god of any type. The essence of being is also subjective. "

Only once you deny essentialism, or if you’re in that phase where you say everything and anything is subjective.

“It’s highly relevant.
You: Everything must come from something or have a creator who breaks that rule. Also, Aristotle had something to say that you should care about.
Me: That’s not necessarily true.
You: Irrelevant. "

The Commentaries on Aristotle is where I have it marked that Aquinas argues for self-actualization being impossible (at least, I think that’s the part). It’s to show that it’s not merely an assumption, but something argued for, contrary to what you claim.

“An explanation would be great. If you understand this logic so well, I feel certain you should be able to explain it to me.”

I understand Thomism well enough because I read up on it. You want me to explain the entirety of A-T Metaphysics, the First Way, Second Way, natural law morality, and so on and so forth?

No. That’s why I referenced reading material, that not only could put it better than I could, but would save time.

“No, seriously, how do you know the teachings of the Bible are God’s teachings?”

I know three things by divine revelation:

1. God (who I already know exists via philosophy) is personal

2. To follow the Church

3. That Christ is Lord.

From 2 and 3 I can safely follow the Church in its teachings on Scripture, up to and including “divine inspiration”, or anything of the sort. All in all, I could just reject it too— as distasteful as that would be— as my faith is in God and what He has revealed to me.

“It’s a willingness to make assumptions based on trying not to be offensive, hardly secular. "

They aren’t mutually exclusive.

“Interestingly enough, it’s been the tribalist societies that accept on faith that they are destined for greatness or whatever that tend to kill other people. It’s strange and new that religious organizations have an obsession with anything with human DNA, and is as silly as the rest of it to be supremacist with the race of homo sapiens. "

Again, see David Bentley Hart.

Furthermore, I couldn’t care less about human DNA in regards to human dignity. My stance on that is based on metaphysics, which I’ve already given you homework on.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a God to give people value. I like them anyway.”

Naturally, but it makes moral prescriptions impossible, or insanely difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m more interested in what’s true and good, rather than what’s expedient or practical, but pragmatists and those who are apathetic regarding moral relativism/nihilism never cease to horrify me.

edit: Interestingly enough, about a year ago I was posting here as an atheist, making similar points as you. Funny how people change.

 
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you’re in that phase where you say everything and anything is subjective.

Then give me an objective “essence of duck”. What are the most essential qualities of a duck? That’s your opinion.

It’s to show that it’s not merely an assumption, but something argued for,

Aquinas also didn’t know about the possibility of other universes, certainly not black holes. If you can prove self-actualization yourself, though, that would be nice.
You want me to explain the entirety of A-T Metaphysics, the First Way, Second Way, natural law morality, and so on and so forth?

You’re proving God exists. That is so utterly huge, that of course I want you to explain it.
I know three things by divine revelation:

How do you know for sure divine revelation is accurate?

Before you say it, I don’t know my senses are accurate. For all I know I’m a brain in a vat.

They aren’t mutually exclusive.

Yes, they are. The extreme moral relativism you refer to isn’t moral relativism: it’s a religion that formed based around how you shouldn’t offend people, thus certain things are true.
Furthermore, I couldn’t care less about human DNA in regards to human dignity.

And here you are telling me human life has worth. What makes a life human? It’s DNA. What gives a life value? Not its DNA, in my opinion. Why is that a problem for society for me to think that? Is it a problem?

I’m more interested in what’s true and good, rather than what’s expedient or practical, but pragmatists and those who are apathetic regarding moral relativism/nihilism never cease to horrify me.

What’s good is a matter of opinion. You don’t seem to care about what’s true: otherwise, you wouldn’t mind losing religion, which is (at the core) about assuming things you don’t know are true.

Serial killers are not evil in their own opinions. Their opinions are exactly as valid as mine. However, society benefits from a lack of serial killers, as do I. Thus, I wish to prevent serial killers killing. To call them evil is counterproductive and pointless. Your goal is not to dehumanize them: your goal (should be) to minimize suffering.

 
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Behind the number of arguments, what is exactly the point you, S11008, are making? I’m pretty sure you’re a theist, but I can’t be sure if you’re arguing God scientifically exists, or just philosophically.

 
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“Then give me an objective “essence of duck”. What are the most essential qualities of a duck? "

For the modalist, wherever in any possible world that obtains and has a duck, that that duck as property p. For non-modalism, you can try David Oderberg’s “Real Essentialism”.

Again, it’s only my “opinion” because you reject essentialism— which is a position that itself needs to be argued for.

“Aquinas also didn’t know about the possibility of other universes, certainly not black holes. If you can prove self-actualization yourself, though, that would be nice. "

What does his lack of knowledge of other universes have to do with anything? We’re not talking physics here, we’re talking metaphysics.

Either way, your claim that it is a mere assumption is false— he argues that potency self-actualizing is incoherent.

“You’re proving God exists. That is so utterly huge, that of course I want you to explain it. "

Knowing the arguments involves understanding his metaphysics, which has entire books written on it. I’ve given you two.

“How do you know for sure divine revelation is accurate?”

Knowing God through philosophy, and knowing that God is without privation qua potency. Of course, beyond the intellectual part, there’s the basic trust that you have with any other person— faith.

“Yes, they are.”

Back it up— you said “It’s a willingness to make assumptions based on trying not to be offensive, hardly secular. "

Those two are not mutually exclusive— ’willingness to make assumptions based on trying not to be offensive" and “secular” are not mutually exclusive.

“And here you are telling me human life has worth. What makes a life human? It’s DNA.”

You missed a spot: “My stance on that is based on metaphysics, which I’ve already given you homework on.”

“You don’t seem to care about what’s true: otherwise, you wouldn’t mind losing religion, which is (at the core) about assuming things you don’t know are true.”

Rhetoric without substance.

“What’s good is a matter of opinion.”

Well done, this is exactly the attitude that is so horrifying about the modern world.

 
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Originally posted by Darkruler2005:

Behind the number of arguments, what is exactly the point you, S11008, are making? I’m pretty sure you’re a theist, but I can’t be sure if you’re arguing God scientifically exists, or just philosophically.

Mostly, I’m trying to respond and steer (poorly achieving this) this back to the conversation pleasedonot5 and I were having, while giving Winnie some reading material on the arguments in question. The question of the existence of God isn’t really pertinent to what we would lose or gain were religion not, but I mentioned them to counter a point that we believe in God blindly.

As to your question on philosophy or science— the former. I’m not much interested in science, there are plenty of others who have chosen that interest.

 
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All right, at least I understand your part.

Then give me an objective “essence of duck”. What are the most essential qualities of a duck? That’s your opinion.

On the one hand, you may be trying to say the concept of a god isn’t properly defined, but on the other hand a duck is. At the very least it is destructive to society if we were to give arbitrary definitions to concepts depending on what people want. Communication is important.

Well done, this is exactly the attitude that is so horrifying about the modern world.

Are you trying to say there’s objective morality? There certainly is a type of morality shared by more people than another type of morality, but that just means more people agree with each other on the former than the latter.

 
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“Are you trying to say there’s objective morality?”

Yes, I hold to a version of natural law morality— also covered in the two books provided (and the ultimate metaphysical scheme supported by the Oderberg book mentioned).

A brief run-down would go like this:

Axiom 1: Final causes and formal causes exist

Axiom 2: Whatsoever violates the final or formal causes instantiates a “bad” state of affairs

Axiom 3: Ultimately, final and formal causes rest in the mind of God (from the Fourth Way, although just as an article of faith one could believe this from the Church)

Given the three axioms, a person who purposefully does two has purposefully created an undesirable state of affairs— an objectively undesirable state of affairs, free of subjective human opinion. Not only this, but it would have to be the case that it goes against what is ultimately good (God, completely lacking in privation), as it goes against the will of God (from axiom 3).

Honestly, even though I think they’re very flawed (and I’ll be honest and admit I’ve seen some issues with NLM too), I see more merit in objective moral theories, such as Kantian and even, dare I say, utilitarianism, than moral relativism. Generally, I’ve never seen too much support for that position, it’s almost always been a confusion between epistemology and ontology.

 
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If you yourself feel they’re flawed, why hold on to them? And since you do think they are flawed, I don’t think I’ll have to argue against them.

I see more merit in objective moral theories

These are possible without religion. I’m breaking my own rule up there by stating axiom 3 is heavily flawed due to God being mentioned, but a certain “objective” type of morality doesn’t require a god. Linking to that, it doesn’t need religion. That doesn’t mean we should remove religion, but that morality, even “objective”, would exist without it.

I won’t go into too much detail on this supposed objective morality. Short version: It is objectively defined which group of solutions to a problem is less suited than another group of solutions. In other words, you can pinpoint objective ranges, but not objective individual issues.

 
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Most things are flawed, but not to the point where we need to reject them. Hell, modal logic isn’t refined enough to be useful all the time, but it’s still a good tool for discerning truth. Just the same, while I think there might be some problems with natural law morality (this is more of a feeling than anything concrete), I feel it’s one of the best objective moral systems we can have given that it has an actual, clear metaphysical grounding.

On to your point on God— axiom 3 was included to further illustrate that violations of formal-cum-final causes go against goodness itself, a being (or rather, being itself) which is without privation. I’d agree that religion is not required for morality, but of course, I never said anything regarding religion— I said something about theism. I’m not even sure if you could hold to all of the precepts of NLM without them leading to God.

 
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But your whole argument on objective morality seems to rely on axiom 3. There is no “ultimate morality” if there is no god. Plus the second axiom is your conclusion. Those are some deep flaws which you can’t just accept out of the blue.

I’d agree that religion is not required for morality, but of course, I never said anything regarding religion— I said something about theism.

Just a narrowed-down form of religion, pretty much the only relevant religion too, considering usually people talk about morality coming from a god. The topic is about a world without religion, so I argue a world without religion still has morality in play.

 
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“Plus the second axiom is your conclusion.”

Not necessarily, as it is separate from moral culpability. It’s leading up to that. For instance, such a state of affairs might be instantiated without any of us having control over the matter, and there would be no moral culpability, and hence it would not be a moral issue.

“But your whole argument on objective morality seems to rely on axiom 3.”

Possibly. I’m still wondering if there’s a way to have natural law morality without accepting certain things which make God’s existence either demonstrable or very likely.

However, I’ve yet to see anything for that.

“Just a narrowed-down form of religion, pretty much the only relevant religion too, considering usually people talk about morality coming from a god. The topic is about a world without religion, so I argue a world without religion still has morality in play.”

Theism itself isn’t religion— it has no rituals, or faith-based doctrine, or anything characteristic of a religion beyond that one thing. Even if all religions were wiped away, we could still have a rational belief in God.

Even then, if we were to remove these rational reasons, some have argued that there’s a sense of the divine in us (Calvin… I think?) and so belief in God would just be properly basic. I haven’t really assessed that to have a belief on it, so I with-hold judgment, but it’s an interesting idea.

What kind of morality do you mean?

 
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Not necessarily, as it is separate from moral culpability.

I’m referring more to the intrinsic “bad” in your axiom. I realise they are axioms, but you might as well call them beliefs. Your second axiom is assuming that there is an objective way of defining what is “bad” in the first place. That has to be proven for me to accept. Yes, I understand you accept it, but showing these axioms to me is not convincing of your argument.

Theism itself isn’t religion— it has no rituals, or faith-based doctrine, or anything characteristic of a religion beyond that one thing.

Yes, I worded it wrongly.

Even if all religions were wiped away, we could still have a rational belief in God.

I suppose that is a discussion for another topic.

What kind of morality do you mean?

Morality is a very global concept. It basically states what you think is right or wrong, or you as a group think is right or wrong. Each individual has his own morality, by definition. It so happens that the majority of people agree on several issues, while other issues are more complex. None of these moralities are inherently more wrong than another. That can only be argued once you start setting up goals and means.

 
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“Yes, I understand you accept it, but showing these axioms to me is not convincing of your argument.”

Oh, yes, completely understood. I presented these as axioms because I’m showing how natural law morality might work, rather than directly arguing for it.

The essentialist’s job, of course, is to show these three axioms first.

 
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the more that the world can agree on things, the better of we would all be.

the problem is that religion is your belief system in that which you cannot see. everyone has an opinion on this, therefore everyone is religious. when dealing with something that impossible to prove, it will never be possible to come to a unanimous opinion as to what the “right” answer is. some religions by logic have to be belief systems in something that is not actually there, but, it cannot be proven who is right and who is wrong. being unable to prove something with indisputable evidence is what causes religion arguments in the first place. pretty much any religion discussion, even by two mature people, is not going to be that much different than two trolls yelling at each other.

i feel religion is one of the most pointless topics in the world, but you cant just tell someone that they shouldnt have their own beliefs. some people will want to convince others that their way is the right way and you cannot stop that. religion is just a necessary evil that we have to deal with. you cant take away someones ability to believe in something.

 
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that duck as property p.

Property p can be anything. Thus, so can the essence of anything. Thus, God could be whatever you want him to be. Sounds like a concept, not a creator.

We’re not talking physics here, we’re talking metaphysics.

If things CAN spontaneously form without help from a creator, then one of Aquinas’s main assumptions is wrong.

Can you explain why things forming of themselves is impossible?

Knowing God through philosophy, and knowing that God is without privation qua potency. Of course, beyond the intellectual part, there’s the basic trust that you have with any other person— faith.

It doesn’t matter what God is: you still don’t know your divine regulation is real. And no, I don’t inherently trust anyone.

Back it up

The philosophy you refer to assumes that
a) every culture has something to offer society
b) you shouldn’t judge other cultures based on your own morals.
These are accepted as true, based on faith. No evidence is provided, it’s just an assumption. For how could you possibly make such an assumption about every culture in the world? The second, mere moral code, is just opinion, and is neither secular nor religious.

If you make unbacked assumptions for the sake of not being offensive, that’s being religious for a specific reason.

My stance on that is based on metaphysics, which I’ve already given you homework on.”

I find it rather pathetic that you can’t even try to explain why every human life must be valued without getting me to read a book. This should be easy. Is there some sort of quality all humans have? What?
Rhetoric without substance.

Bullshit. Why do you care about what’s true if you’re willing to have faith in things and trust random feelings that show up for no particular reason?
Well done, this is exactly the attitude that is so horrifying about the modern world.

How is me thinking that detrimental to society? It justifies any ideology, yes, as no ideology is bad. So what? I don’t care what you think and believe. You can WANT to be a nazi pedophile all day long, I just don’t want you doing it. How is it harmful to not want to punish points of view as “bad”?

 
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“Property p can be anything. Thus, so can the essence of anything. Thus, God could be whatever you want him to be. Sounds like a concept, not a creator. "

/facepalm

No, it can’t. I’m not sure if you’re just not understanding, or purposefully being obtuse. Either way, hop to it. You’ve got your reading material.

“If things CAN spontaneously form without help from a creator, then one of Aquinas’s main assumptions is wrong. Can you explain why things forming of themselves is impossible?”

This is where you go wrong— it’s not an assumption, Aquinas argues for this. Yes, I can, which would include detailing his metaphysical scheme, which I’ve refused to do because I’ve already given you homework.

Check it out, or don’t. I feel as if something similar to this is about to happen.

“It doesn’t matter what God is: you still don’t know your divine regulation is real. And no, I don’t inherently trust anyone. "

The bolded is a mere assumption.

“If you make unbacked assumptions for the sake of not being offensive, that’s being religious for a specific reason. "

Your definition of religious begs the question, given that was the entire issue of this conversation with pleasedonot5.

“I find it rather pathetic that you can’t even try to explain why every human life must be valued without getting me to read a book. This should be easy. Is there some sort of quality all humans have? What?”

Well, I didn’t even have to wait for a response for the above linked prophesy to be fulfilled.

It depends on essentialism, and natural law morality (which entails certain rights). Not quite sure why people don’t like reading, especially when there’s more information in these texts than what’s conveyed on comboxes.

Oh, speaking of more homework: The Nature of Necessity by Alvin Plantinga. Oderberg critiques the modalist attempt at essentialism, but it’s still an interesting take on essential properties.

As for the morality debate, debating objective morality (without key metaphysical components, which would necessitate you actually do some work on your part) is like debating a solipsist on the existence of the external world. It’s pointless.

edit: Just for the record, there’s nothing more to discuss on the arguments, or essentialism. I’ve given you homework (plenty of times). There will be no more discussion on the arguments between us until you familiarize yourself with the arguments— I’m not going to work with nothing.

 
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No, it can’t.

Then please tell me what the heck property p is. Does it matter? Then the essence of something is just p quality of it. That doesn’t sound like a god to me.

his metaphysical scheme

Is wrong because it’s based on a faulty physical scheme, with only one universe. I’ve never called you stupid, it’s more like you’d rather not explain your own rationale. Copy/paste, for all I care.

The bolded is a mere assumption.

Then explain how you know your divine regulation is real. The fact that you “know God through philosophy” would be nice if you could explain the philosophy. How you know he is without privation is nice, except it pre-assumes that what you saw has anything to do with God. And random trust isn’t a reason you know something: it’s a reason you believe it.

Your definition of religious begs the question, given that was the entire issue of this conversation with pleasedonot5.

Okay, fine. It’s merely not secular, as it isn’t reality, it’s distorting reality to suit one’s morals.

Essentialism? The essential human has human DNA. Now, what does this change? You don’t need “natural law” to give people rights: people can have rights because rights are nice to have, and are beneficial to the individual and society.

like debating a solipsist on the existence of the external world.

I’m a solipsist. It’s not pointless at all: you can’t be sure that the world exists.
You also can’t possibly define what is inherently good or bad. You could say, though, that “I think serial killers are bad because they kill people”, because that’s your opinion. I can say something is bad, someone else can call it good. If we base bad and good off different things, no contradiction.

 
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“edit: Just for the record, there’s nothing more to discuss on the arguments, or essentialism. I’ve given you homework (plenty of times). There will be no more discussion on the arguments between us until you familiarize yourself with the arguments— I’m not going to work with nothing.”

Sticking to my guns, I figure it might be easier if I compile them all into one list, instead of having them spread out throughout our conversation.

“The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism”, Edward Feser

“Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide”, Edward Feser

“The Nature of Necessity”, Alvin Plantinga

“Real Essentialism”, David Oderberg

“Atheist Delusions”, David Bentley Hart

Read up, then get back to me. Arguing against something you know nothing about is nonsense.

 
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I haven’t argued against anything except what you’ve presented me with. Which is almost nothing, because you seem near-utterly incapable of defending your position with anything other than things you can’t explain.

 
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And so the skeptic responds,

“Skeptic: I knew it. You won’t defend yourself because you know you can’t. But then, arguing with people like you just gives you credibility. That’s why you uneducated, irrational fanatical bigots need to be shouted down by reasonable, open-minded, well-read, tolerant people like me. Science is BS, and you know it. It’s just so obvious. So why don’t you go back to eating your tasty flavored quarks and tying your vibrating 11-dimensional shoestrings over at your Uncle Monkey’s house, OK? I’ll be here in the reality-based community reading my copy of The Science Delusion.”

 
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Right from the get go it was Atheists arguing how much evil Religion does and Theists opposing them.

My two cents? Wars have happened that didn’t involve religion, and just because leaders waged war under the guise of religion for the sake of morality does not mean religion caused it. They would have found one reason or another.

 
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Originally posted by S11008:

And so the skeptic responds,

“Skeptic: I knew it. You won’t defend yourself because you know you can’t. But then, arguing with people like you just gives you credibility. That’s why you uneducated, irrational fanatical bigots need to be shouted down by reasonable, open-minded, well-read, tolerant people like me. Science is BS, and you know it. It’s just so obvious. So why don’t you go back to eating your tasty flavored quarks and tying your vibrating 11-dimensional shoestrings over at your Uncle Monkey’s house, OK? I’ll be here in the reality-based community reading my copy of The Science Delusion.”

What? I’m making an actual observation here. You haven’t provided me with a single defense other than concepts that you refuse to explain.