• Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God – why it is unfair that autistic people, men and scientists are less likely to believe in God

    Here are some extracts from a fascinating paper – “Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God” by Ara Norenzayan, Will M. Gervais and Kali H. Trzesniewski. Gervais is certainly a name which keeps popping up in conversations about the cognitive functioning of people with regards to their beliefs and so on.

    The basic conclusion to be made form this work is that people on the autistic spectrum (think particularly Asperger’s Syndrome) have, due to their cognitive functioning, a much higher disposition not to believe in a personal God. The is largely due, it appears, to a lack of empathy. Empathy seems to underscore our beliefs in a personal God. This can be seen in believers needing to put themselves ‘in God’s shoes’, so to speak. In other words, in all your words and deeds as a believer, what would God think of you? This intersubjectivity, placing yourself out of your body and imagining ‘you’ from another point of view, is something that particular groups of autistic people struggle with. And this, it seems, is why they have less propensity to believe.

    This paper looks to evidence such a scenario.

    Abstract

    Religious believers intuitively conceptualize deities as intentional agents with mental states who anticipate and respond to human beliefs, desires and concerns. It follows that mentalizing deficits, associated with the autistic spectrum and also commonly found in men more than in women, may undermine this intuitive support and reduce belief in a personal God. Autistic adolescents expressed less belief in God than did matched neuro-typical controls (Study 1). In a Canadian student sample (Study 2), and two American national samples that controlled for demographic characteristics and other correlates of autism and religiosity (Study 3 and 4), the autism spectrum predicted reduced belief in God, and mentalizing mediated this relationship. Systemizing (Studies 2 and 3) and two personality dimensions related to religious belief, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness (Study 3), failed as mediators. Mentalizing also explained the robust and well-known, but theoretically debated, gender gap in religious belief wherein men show reduced religious belief (Studies 2–4).

    Introduction

    Belief in God and other supernatural agents is culturally and historically widespread, and is a deeply affecting aspect of human life [1]. Yet relatively little is known about the cognitive foundations of these complex sociocultural beliefs. Believers intuitively treat gods as intentional agents with mental states who enter into social relationships with humans, using supernatural powers to assuage existential concerns, respond to human desires, and monitor their social behaviour [1][5]. Cognitive theories therefore converge on the hypothesis that supernatural agent beliefs are partly rooted in ordinary human social cognition. Specifically, the social-cognitive capacity to represent and reason about minds-termed mentalizing, theory of mind, or mind perception [6][7] -also enables the mental representation of God and other supernatural agents [2][7]. If mentalizing supports the mental representation of supernatural agents, then mentalizing deficits associated with the autistic spectrum and also commonly found in men more than in women [6][8][9] may undermine intuitive support for supernatural agent concepts and reduce belief in God [1][10][13]. Here we examine the hypothesis-long predicted, though currently untested- that mentalizing deficits constrain belief in God.

    In neuroimaging studies, thinking about [14] and praying to [15] God activates brain regions implicated in mentalizing; thus mentalizing might be a necessary component of belief in God, without being a sufficient cause. When adults form inferences about God’s mind, they show the same mentalizing biases that are typically found when reasoning about other peoples’ minds[16][18]. Developmentally, children’s reasoning about God’s mental states, and about other non-physical agents, tracks the cognitive development of mentalizing tendencies [19][20]. Finally, mentalizing is deficient at higher levels of the autism spectrum [8][9][21][22], and interestingly men are both more likely to score high on the autism spectrum [23] and more likely to be non-believers [24][26]. These lines of evidence suggest that mentally representing supernatural beings (and their mental states) requires mentalizing capacities. This in turn implies that mentalizing deficits would constrain intuitive support for belief in God. Recent unpublished findings by Caldwell-Harris, Murphy, Velazquez, and McNamara (2011) provide some indirect support to this line of reasoning. Adults who reported being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder were more likely than a neuro-typical comparison group to self-identify as atheist and less likely to belong to an organized religion.

    It is not just a causal effect / correlation between autistic spectrum subjects and a propensity not to believe in God; there is a similar pattern with men, as opposed to women (obviously), being less prone to believing in a personal deity. This fits with other research that shows that women are more empathetic.  We also know that women are more likely to attend church. Here is an interesting extract from an article in the Business Insider:

    Men, on average, score worse on the ability to sense emotion (but better on prime numbers, a talent that demands no insight into anyone else’s feelings) than do women; and university professors do worse again, while scientists come at the bottom of the list.

    People with autism score even lower. Those severely affected live almost detached from the world around them. They lack empathy, concentrate on themselves and may be obsessed with a particular talent (such as being able to tell what day of the week any date will be), combined with loss of other mental abilities. Children with a milder version of the condition, Asperger’s syndrome, are often clumsy, shy and tongue-tied.

    Others do much better, for they have “high-functioning autism”. Such individuals are successful, but have little insight into the emotions of others and often show a deep interest in things mechanical and numerical. The personality type is much more frequent among males than females and, at least in its most severe forms, has a strong genetic component.

    On the emotion-sensing tests, those with autism proper do worst, then Asperger’s patients, followed by the high-functioning group, and then — in order — by scientists, professors and men. Women come top.

    People with autism are mainly interested in the banal reality of what surrounds them and find it hard to consider the abstract world. They are, as a result, highly resistant to the idea of an invisible deity for whom no tangible evidence exists and whose thoughts cannot be penetrated. Teenagers with the condition are far less likely to express a belief in God than their unaffected classmates. The high-functioning group are also much more willing to class themselves as atheists than are their fellows — and, in decreasing order of scepticism, people with autism, Asperger’s patients, scientists, professors, men and women (in some studies, men are only half as likely to be believers as are their partners).

    Perhaps a logical, systematic and self-centred personality is disposed to doubt, while a more responsive mind is more willing to summon up the divine. Believers are in emotional contact with their deity. They feel that He responds to their prayers, knows their thoughts and guides His subjects in their proper paths. They empathise with their angel and accept what they imagine to be his instructions. Those with autism, scientists and men are happier with their own thoughts.

     As Live Science reports, looking at research into higher religiosity amongst women:

    A new analysis of survey data finds women pray more often then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men in a variety of other ways.

    The reasons, analysts say, could range from traditional mothering duties to the tendency of men to take risks — in this case the chance they might not go to heaven.

    The latest findings, released Friday, are no surprise, only confirming what other studies have found for decades. Still, the new numbers illustrate interesting and stark differences. They come from a fresh review of data that was collected in a 2007 survey and initially released last year by the Pew Research Center. The percent of women (and then men) who:

    • Are affiliated with a religion: 86 (79).
    • Have absolutely certain belief in a God or universal spirit: 77 (65).
    • Pray at least daily: 66 (49).
    • Have absolutely certain belief in a personal God: 58 (45).

    The survey involved interviews with more than 35,000 U.S. adults by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

     So back to the original paper by Norenzayan et al, and on to their general discussion (I have omitted all the description of the studies and methodology, which is still worth checking over if you follow the original link to their paper):

    General Discussion

    We found new evidence for an inverse link between the autism spectrum and belief in God that was explained by mentalizing, as predicted by cognitive theories of religion [10][13]. Mentalizing also explained the widely observed [24] gender gap in religious belief. Our findings should be interpreted with some caution; although the results held controlling for several key socio-demographic characteristics, further research conducted in other cultural contexts should assess generalizability of findings [33]. Most of the measures were self-report (or observer-report in Study 1), which are known to have their limitations. Moreover, the correlational natures of the observations are another limitation and preclude definite causal inferences without further experimental research. Nevertheless, results were robust to various methodological checks, including different sampling strategies, alternative measures of autism, mentalizing, and religious belief, and the inclusion of several theoretically relevant control variables addressing several alternative accounts.

    Specifically, one alternative is that high levels of autism cause adjustment difficulties in social situations, leading to lower levels of religious attendance, which in turn reduce religious belief. Contrary to this prediction, the effect of autism on belief in God remained significant after controlling for religious attendance (Studies 3–4), and disappeared only after controlling for mentalizing. This demonstrates that the effect of autism on belief exists even after removing the considerable overlap between belief in God and religious attendance. Relatedly, the relationship between the autism spectrum and belief cannot be solely a by-product of the more challenging social circumstances of autistic individuals, as identical patterns emerged when autism was measured as a continuous variable in a non-clinical sample of university students sharing similar social circumstances (Study 2).

    A second possible alternative is reverse-causation: that religious involvement somehow causes higher levels of mentalizing, which in turn predict low scores on the autism spectrum. One causal path for this alternative is that belief in God encourages greater social involvement in religious groups and activities, which in turn increases mentalizing tendencies and decreases the likelihood of being on the autism spectrum. This interpretation did not receive support in two studies, because holding constant frequency of religious attendance did not eliminate the effect of mentalizing on belief in God. Moreover, it fails to account for the gender findings (belief in God cannot cause gender), whereas the mentalizing hypothesis parsimoniously explains both the autism and gender effects. Another reverse-causation pathway is that religious involvement leads to greater levels of mentally-simulated social engagement with supernatural agents believed to have elaborate mental states, which in turn encourages more mentalizing, and lower autism scores. Future research could test this hypothesis, but we note that this alternative pathway is compatible with the hypothesis that mentalizing deficits constrain religious belief.

    Third, it is possible that the autism spectrum is associated with interest in math, science, and engineering (IMSE), which in turn reduces religious belief. However, Study 4 statistically controlled for IMSE, which did not independently predict belief in God (Table 2). Similarly, systemizing, a variable closely linked to IMSE, failed as a mediator (Studies 2–3). Fourth, the link between autism and low belief in God was not explained by general intelligence: autism remained a significant predictor of low belief in God even after statistically controlling for IQ (Study 1), and education (Studies 3–4), which is typically correlated with IQ. Fifth, the two basic personality dimensions that are most reliably predictive of religiosity, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness [30], similarly failed as mediators.

    Cognitive approaches to religion emphasize that a reliably developing social cognitive mechanism-mentalizing or theory of mind-is a key foundation that supports the intuitive understanding of God or gods. Present findings bolster this hypothesis, and further demonstrate that mentalizing deficits undermine not only intuitive understanding of God, but belief as well. Furthermore, these findings suggest one reason why, despite rich sociocultural diversity, key aspects of religion reoccur across history and cultures. Additionally, the robust gender gap in religious belief has been recognized for decades, although its origins continue to be vigorously debated [24][26]. Our findings contribute to this debate by providing an important and previously overlooked psychological explanation for the overrepresentation of men among disbelievers.

    Finally, we emphasize that our data do not suggest that religious disbelief solely arises through mentalizing deficits; multiple psychological and socio-cultural pathways likely lead to a complex and over-determined phenomenon such as disbelief in God or gods. Therefore, mentalizing deficits are one pathway among several to disbelief. Analytic cognitive processing that suppresses or overrides the intuitions that make theism cognitively compelling [34] and exposure to secular cultural contexts lacking cues that one should believe in God or gods [35]also likely promote religious disbelief. In other words, the present results suggest that disbelief can result from mentalizing deficits, but it can also arise from multiple other sources, holding constant mentalizing tendencies.

    A complete scientific account of religious belief and disbelief therefore requires consideration of not only cognitive underpinnings such as mentalizing and other core cognitive biases such as dualistic intuitions and teleological or purpose-driven thinking [12][36]. Equally important in explaining their cultural prevalence, supernatural agent beliefs­once cognitively available-can be co-opted for motivational and social functions, because of both their palliative effects on existential anxieties [1] and their facilitative effects on cooperation in large, anonymous groups in a cultural evolutionary process [37][38]. Finally, the prevalence and content of supernatural agent beliefs, although constrained by core social cognitive capacities, respond to and fluctuate with socio-demographic conditions across time and cultures [39]. Within this broader theoretical landscape, these studies present new evidence for a social cognitive mechanism underlying one source of individual differences in religious belief.

     This is all fascinating stuff. And this brings me to an argument against God, or at least against the fairness of God. The basic issue is this:

    How is it fair that certain subgroups of humanity have naturally less chance of being able to access God’s love? Autistic, and then scientists, and then men are less likely than other groups to believe in God – and this must be for a reason – in the case of autistic types, a mentalising deficit. This deficit can manifest itself as a lack of empathy, amongst other things, and carries over to men and scientists more so than women and non-scientists. In fact, this would appear to be the cause of why many similar such people ‘do science’ and is partly responsible for why so many more scientists are men. Let us look at a syllogism:

    1) God is omnibenevolent and being such will have fairness as a benevolent attribute

    2) God wants humans to enter into a loving relationship with him

    3) God has designed people (or the system that designs people) to not have equal fairness and opportunity to access a loving relationship with him

    4) God also has the power to level the playing field ex post facto but appears not to do so

    C) God is not fair, and thus not omnibenevolent

    I think this is a good argument, but I would like you lovely readers to critique it and tighten it, so please comment below.

    [H/T to Reasonable Doubts for mentioning this paper in one of their awesome podcasts]

    Category: Demographics of religionPhilosophical Argument Against GodPsychology

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • pboyfloyd

      I’m sorry, I could only manage to read about 1/4 of the way down before I realised that this article was trying to tell me that I was mentally deficient since I don’t believe that there is a GOD and/or other supernatural agents BECAUSE I don’t have a fucking vivid imagination!

      Fuck off.

      • Ian, I think you miss the point. Statistically, autistic,, scientists and men are less likely to believe in God because, statistically, such groups have less empathy, for example.

        The point is, as you will see at the end, if this is the case, how can this be, since God is all-loving, and, as such, should have a level playing field for all subgroups.

        • pboyfloyd

          I get your point Jon, I understand the thing about autistic people, I understand the thing about how this study might affect God’s supposed relationship with people of differing abilities to imagine God, given that we should all have at least, an equal chance to believe .

          What I don’t agree with is the premise that there is a scale where the bottom end has the cause ‘autism’ and the other end seems to be caused mainly by hormones or lack of hormones. 

          How about people infected with toxoplasmosis, how might they fare on this scale?

          • Ian, one theory which explains it is the biological structures int he brain, such as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are, many claim, responsible for empathy. They appear to be dysfunctional in certain autistic types. There might also be a difference between men and women. We know that brain structures differ between men and women.

            Hormone levels DO differ between men and women and explains much behaviour difference. We do not have control over it, either (well, we are starting to be able to artificially control hormone levels).

            eg

            1. Brain size: The male brain is typically about ten percent larger than the female brain. Although the extra mass does give males more processing power, this doesn’t make men more intelligent. Rather, science believes the reason for the increased brain mass is to accommodate the bigger body mass and muscle groups of the male (human).

            2. Brain hemispheres: Many men are sharply left-brain dominant, while women tend to be more evenly balanced between left and right-brain processing. Women are therefore  thought to be slightly more intuitive, and sometimes better communicators. Men are often less socially adept, and are more task-oriented thinkers than females.

            3. Relationships: Women are purported to have better communication skills and emotional intelligence than men. Women tend to be group-oriented, and apt to seek solutions by talking through issues. Men can have trouble picking up on emotional cues unless they’re clearly verbalized – making for tricky communications between the sexes.

            4. Mathematical skills: The inferior-parietal lobule, which controls numerical brain function, is larger in males than in females. On standardized tests, men often score higher on mathematical tests than women.

            5. Stress: When faced with stressful situations, men usually employ ‘fight or flight’ tactics, while women use a ‘tend or befriend’ response that is rooted in their natural instincts for caring for their children and establishing strong group bonds.

            6. Language: Women often excel at language-based tasks for two reasons: two brain areas that deal with language are larger in females, and females process language in both hemispheres while males favor a single brain half.

            7. Emotions: Since women tend to have a larger deep limbic system then men, they’re more in touch with their feelings and are better at expressing their emotions. This makes women better at connecting with others, but unfortunately also more prone to different types of depression.

            8. Spatial abilities: The parietal region is thicker in the female brain, making it harder for them to mentally rotate objects – an important spatial skill. Women often report difficulty with spatial tasks, both on tests and in real life. Want to test this theory with a loved one? 

            9. Susceptibility to brain function disorders: Men are more likely to be dyslexic or have other language disabilities, since they’re more often left-brain dominant. Males are also more prone to autism, ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome, while women are more susceptible to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

            • jason bladzinski

              Mirror neurons are confirmed bullshit. They are not real, they are a hoax.

        • MosesZD

          It reads like a just-so story. From what I’ve read on autistics, they believe in Santa Claus (if so indoctrinated) longer than general population kids. Or at least that was one of the messages I’ve taken from reading books and articles on ASD people.  

          Now, maybe those books and articles were wrong. But when you have many book and articles in the field written by scientists nad doctors who deal with ASD children and adults and are presenting cases of high-functioning ASD men and women in their 20s who still believe in Santa Claus… I struggle to accept the premise that it’s an empathy/ASD disorder.

          But I am open to more research, done by others, in the field.

          • MosesZD

            One has to be careful in lumping all autism into one basket – there are several different types. Could you cite your Santa research?

            Anecdotally, and from teaching Asperger’s children and other children for almost a decade, lack of empathy is (empirically) a defining factor. You might want to see Dziobek et al (2008), Shamay-Tsoory et al (2002) and many others.

            I think the weight of evidence is against you there!

            • MosesZD

              Two of the books I’ve read are “A Mind Apart:  Understanding Children With Autism and Asperger Syndrome.   The second is “Autism and Child Psychopathology: International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders .

              I don’t own these books, btw.   And I haven’t read them cover-to-cover.  I just spot read them, plus psychology journals, which I couldn’t possibly direct you to, because I find psychology really, really, really intersting.

              I’ve also read a ton of books on Borderline Personality Distorder, personality disorders in general, the DSM-IV (in parts), bi-polar disorder and general anxiety disorders.  These all seem to be popular subjects with authors…

              EDIT: Oh, I’m not saying apspegers don’t have certain empathy issues. But there are many empathy disorders beyond aspergers. So I’m still not buying, without furhter independent trials, the belief that lack of empathy (in general) isn’t the cause of not believing (or believing) in Santa Claus.

              I have not forgotten the belief that schizophrenogenic mothers caused schizophrenia. And the lesson, when someone proposes an answer, always come to the forefront of my mind.

              I think of all the mothers guilted for decades because they had schizophrenic children. The guilt. The same. Possible suicides of depressed mothers…

      • Ronlawhouston

         Did you ever take the fucking anger management courses ordered by your probation officer?

        Seriously dude, get a grip.

        • pboyfloyd

          I wasn’t talking to you, I’m talking to you now just to tell you that I’m never going to be talking to you.

    • Ronlawhouston

      Great post.  This has been my argument for a long time.  I’ve long posited that there are differences between brains that can have a very large bearing on whether we’re religious or not.  Obviously, it’s not a 100% correlation, but I think for many it is a deciding factor. 

      I’m not sure that empathy is the actual answer rather it’s more a symptom.  I think it is more neurochemical and perceptive issues that create the level of empathy in the person.

      Thanks for passing this on.

    • Vic

      Fascinating stuff! And immediatly turned it into an argument. Is that the philosopher’s brain?

      Concerning the argument, huh, difficult to address for somebody who was merely a “catholic of convinience”.

      A) Those who have less disposition to believe in God are not treated unfair by God. Their state of mind and body is a test for the strength of their faith and conviction. God wants us to love him, but we have to take the first step, whatever our doubts.

      B) It says that these people have less empathy. The message of Christ is one of love and peace. Less empathic people are exactly those God does not want in his Church. Christians are supposed to be merciful, moral and caring. If these people are unable to do that, they are clearly not wanted under our roof. They can still repent.

      C) Why should God level the playing field? The poor, the ill, the sick; they are all the result of their/our sins. That does not stop us from hearing the message of Christ.

      D) Asperger’s syndrome is the work of the devil/demons/science/vaccinations. God set up Earth as innocent and pure. We sinful, fallible humans created people with these mental deficits by poisoning the water/vaccinations/radiation/unnatural lifestyle/demonic possession. They should not exist in the first place.

      E) Asperger’s synsdrome is a choice. They could choose to have a normal lifestyle. They would be healed if they prayed for it. (this one is nice and circular)

      I’m afraid that’s all my faith-based ammo, and of these I could see A as the most convincing.

      • Ronlawhouston

         I’m not surprised it provoked an argument.  This post touches on fundamental biological differences between the sexes.  It is at the heart of the whole evopscyh, feminism, and diversity arguments.  For me, it was never very surprising that men out numbered women at atheist/secular/skeptical conferences.  In my mind, it had nothing to do with patriarchy, privilege, or any other factor.  It was simply fundamental differences in brains.

      • Thanks Vic, although all of those points would be easily refuted.

        a) It still makes it unfair (yours is merely an assertion that it is not)
        b) People do not have control over how empathic they are – it is rooted in biology
        c) because God is / should be fair
        d) er, no, empirically
        e) er, no, empirically

        I don’t think the Christian has many options other than William Lane Craig’s placement of souls claim such that God knows in advance who (souls) won’t believe in him freely and places them in positions of not being able to believe.

        • jason bladzinski

          Thank you! It’s rather scary the things this guy Vic believes. It’s pure insanity!

      • jason bladzinski

        The problem is in fact as you have stated, your ammo is faith based. If this is a truly scientific study, and is scientifically accurate your faith based assertions have no place here. Now, I’m not gullible enough to believe that this article is completely scientifically sound. It seems just a little too biased towards a religious point of view. But, for the sake of argument I’ll address your lettered points :
        A-If this is true, this demonstrates what a morally deficient being your god is. They aren’t being treated unfairly? Christianity clearly is of the opinion that unbelievers, no matter their deeds in life, will be pushed for eternity in hell. Do you think people can escape the conditions of their minds in a fundamental matter? If this were true, schizophrenics should be able to overcome their delusions by mearly willing them away. Clearly you need to do some reading if you believe that an autistic person, or any person afflicted with a mental disorder that is electrochemically based can overcome their limitations by power of will alone. If god exists and did this to these people, then he has sabotaged the fate of their souls. I ask you, would you pusposley handicap your own children in such a manner? That’s not love, nor a fair test, that is devient!

        B-So god gave these people less empathy so as to keep them out of church? How is it their fault that they were stricken with a disorder against their will? You show an appalling lack of empathy with this statement. If your god is truly omnibenevolent and doesn’t want people lacking in empathy at his church, then why are you attending?

        C-The poor, the ill, the sick, all stricken that way because they sin huh? Tell me, what sin is a young infant who has an incurable cancer guilty of to deserve such a fate? What about people starving in countries where Christianity has not made it too? Native tribes in Africa and South America have never heard of Christ, Christianity has never made it into their own culture, and that is not because of their own doing. Do you think before you comment at all?

        D-This is just insane! Can you point me to the scripture in The Bible that says that the devil, scientists, vaccinations, radiation, demonic possession, and unnatural lifestyle cause autism? Come to think of it, can you show me one place in The Bible that mentions autisim!?!? Under what authority do you interpret this and christian dogma? This is hateful, bigoted, ignorant rambling! You are a danger to society. False beliefs generate false ideas. Humans didn’t just will autisim into existence.

        E- Asperger’s, nor anyone with autisim chooses their condition! This is absolute insanity! Where do you get this stuff? How would you even begin to demonstrate this? Are you an expert in human psychiatric disease? Why do you presume to know more about this affliction that the people who devote their lives studying it? Where is your source of knowledge for these wild assertions. You even incriminated yourself by stating your logic is nice and circular. Your right, it is! Buts that’s not a good thing you moron!
        Please stay away from young impressionable children.

    • JohnM

      But against Evangelical ( true to the bible ) Christianity, this is nothing more than a straw-man.

      God is not fair

      Romans 1:20
      For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

      God has designed people (or the system that designs people) to not have equal fairness and opportunity to access a loving relationship with him

      Why do you keep looking at a fallen world, ravaged by sin, thinking that this is the creation of God?

      You should know by now, that God did not create this fallen sinful world, but rather created the Garden of Eden, which we humans then ruined.

      And no, God is not responsible for the actions of free willed human beings. And no, foresight does not change that. It’s flawed logic.

      On the free will scenario, people are responsible for their own actions. Which is why we don’t charge gunsmiths, if their weapons are used in murder crimes.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Seriously, are you a spambot ? 
        Get lost you pest.

      • John, you can quote scripture, but it does not offer good argument.

        “so that men are without excuse.”

        But when we provide empirical evidence to show otherwise, something has to go. The evidence holds. Thus the Bible quotes go.

        Look, we do not and did not create (human) biology. Such cognitive functioning is designed into the system and would have to ore-exist the fall anyway (which is empirically false anyway).

        “On the free will scenario, people are responsible for their own actions. ”

        You clearly don’t understand the biology.

    • JohnM

      Vic said : Those who have less disposition to believe in God are not treated unfair by God.

      Nobody has a disposition to believe in God. Everyone knows of Gods existence, as it is clearly seen in creation.. According to the bible, unbelievers does not lack belief in God, but rather actively deny what is clearly seen in creation. ( Psalm 14:1 )

      Vic said : It says that these people have less empathy. The message of Christ is one of love and peace.

      What are you talking about? Empathy? You don’t need empathy. What you need to do, is to realize that you’re a wicked sinner, that is in need of salvation. Otherwise you will come under judgment.

      John 3:16
      For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

      From this passage, it follows, that whoever rejects Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, will perish.

      The message of the gospel is this: REPENT or PERISH, you wicked sinner.

      If you repent, there will be mercy.

      If you don’t you will be judged according to your actions.

      Mark 1:15
      “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

      Why is the gospel Good news? It’s good news, in light of the bad old news. And the bad old news is, that we are all sinners and that we are all on our way to hell. Therefore it is good news for us, that we have a chance to repent and accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior.

      So no, The gospel is not a message of “love and peace”. Half truth,watered down version.. “The love gospel”.. That  lacks the other side of things.

      Don’t you know that Jesus will return with a Rod to Judge the world?

      Matthew 16:27
      For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

      • Clare45

         Which street corner do you preach on?

        • JohnM

          Clare45 : Which street corner do you preach on?

          I’m just setting the record straight, so that you guys are engaged with true evangelical Christianity. Why is that a problem? Would you prefer to argue against a straw-man of Christianity?

          • Andy_Schueler

            I’m just setting the record straight, so that you guys are engaged with true evangelical Christianity. Why is that a problem? Would you prefer to argue against a straw-man of Christianity?

            You don´t argue. You are way too stupid and dishonest to argue anything. 

          • jason bladzinski

            The record is that you have no way to demonstrate the validity of your assertions. Scripture is not evidence of your religion, it IS your religion! You must demonstrate your assertions to claim that their is truth within them. But, we all know, including yourself, that this is impossible. So please, spare us with that which you cannot prove.

      • MosesZD

        Considering the absolute failure of Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27 and Matthew 16:28 no Christian has a leg to stand on.    Jesus clearly said to his apostles that he’d be back to take them to the kingdom of heaven while at least SOME of them were still alive.

        They all died.

        Every man Jack one of them.

        • MosesZD

          That really is still one of the most desperately needed-to-be-answered-satisfactorily issues in the Bible for Christians!

          • Andy_Schueler

            That really is still one of the most desperately needed-to-be-answered-satisfactorily issues in the Bible for Christians!

            JohnM did answer that. We lack the “insight” to understand the “true meaning” of these verses. And he´ll repeat that ad nauseam, without evidence and without engaging or even acknowledging the existence of any conceivable refutation, as he always did so far on every single thread he commented on. 
            I honestly see no difference whatsoever between a spambot and JohnM – their behaviour is absolutely 100% indistinguishable. 

      • jason bladzinski

        Sad. You people are unethical and immoral. You need to be kept away from good people

    • TristanVick

      In ‘The Belief Instinct’ Jesse Bering raises the same point.

      He connects ’empathy’ with the ability to ‘read minds’ (as psychologists say). This makes sense, if you can’t tell what others are thinking, or feeling, then it’s hard to generate a response to that. If you can’t ‘get into the mind of another’ then it becomes impossible to detect other minds.

      In which case, it is harder to make the mistake to attribute agency to other minds if you simply do not detect other minds.
      Belief in God, and the supernatural, depends almost entirely on our ability to attribute certain events to the theory of mind. So it would make sense that the two are connected.Bruce Hood has a great example where he brings a sweater into the college classroom and tells his students that it is memorabilia from a famous mass murderer (I don’t recall which example he uses).But when asked to wear the sweater, most people automatically reject that idea, finding it repulsive. Hood shows that on average, most people equate a supernatural presence to even the item of a serial killer, and think that the ‘essence’ of that person would rub off on them should they come into contact with their things.This is an innate response in all of us. Hood calls it a ‘supersense’ whereas Bering calls it a ‘belief instinct’ but it is essentially the same thing. 

    • pboyfloyd

      JohnM :-  According to the bible, unbelievers does not lack belief in God, but rather actively deny what is clearly seen in creation.

      But John, I tend to believe myself when I believe that there are no gods, not even one. I tend to not believe stuff in the Bible, especially if it’s telling me that I believe stuff that I’m 100% sure I don’t believe.  And no, God isn’t ‘clearly seen in creation’, by me, not at all.

      I don’t get the point of telling people who don’t believe that they do believe.

      On the other hand, I can see it may be useful to tell people who believe that everyone secretly believes even if they tell you that they don’t.

      Can you see that?

      • Andy_Schueler

        But John, I tend to believe myself when I believe that there are no gods, not even one.

        Don´t worry about JohnM, no matter what you´ll say to him, he´ll keep parroting the same BS ad nauseam. 

      • JohnM

        pboyfloyd : I don’t get the point of telling people who don’t believe that they do believe.

        I’m not telling you, that you do believe. Nobody believes in Gods existence, as such. Rather, all know of  Gods existence, as it is clearly seen in creation.

        pboyfloyd : God isn’t ‘clearly seen in creation

        Thank you for proving my point. Clearly, atheist are people who deny what is clearly seen in creation.

        • pboyfloyd

          pboyfloyd : I don’t get the point of telling people who don’t believe that they do believe.
          JohnM : I’m not telling you, that you do believe. Nobody believes in Gods existence, as such. Rather, all know of Gods existence, as it is clearly seen in creation.

          John, what are you trying to say here:- “Nobody believes in Gods existence, as such.”?

          Do you, or don’t you believe in God’s existence?  If not, the why not, you know, as such?

          Also, “Thank you for proving my point. Clearly, atheist are people who deny what is clearly seen in creation.”

          Atheists don’t believe that there are gods at all. So, clearly, since there are no gods, there are no gods being clearly seen anywhere. We know that, now you know that, so you don’t need to thank me.

          Thanking me as if I’ve fallen into your delicious paradoxical trap which you think I can only get out of by admitting that there must be a god, or something, is a little childish, don’t you think?

          It’s only you who’d think that way, not me, you must be able to see that.

    • DRC

      This is a fascinating paper. If God created everyone and is sovereign, then he gave autistic people the genes which predispose them towards it and the environment that predisposes them towards it. He has created many of them so that they will not believe in his existence and will burn for eternity in hell. Even if one of these autistic people *try* to believe in God, they will find that they cannot – they can only fake it, and then they’ll go to hell.

      There’s definitely a point to be made here about justice.

      • DRC – a great point is that it only takes one single instance of unfairness to show God is not omnibenevolent. it only takes one single person being treated differently and unfairly in the history of humanity to show God is not what theists believe he is.

        • JohnM

          Jonathan said : it only takes one single instance of unfairness to show God is not omnibenevolent

          God is not omnibenevolent. God is God, with the character described in the bible.

          Why would any evangelical ( true to the bible ) Christian ask two pagan philosophers ( Aristotle and Plato ) to define God for us?

      • JohnM

        DRC said : He has created many of them so that they will not believe in his existence and will burn for eternity in hell.

        People don’t go to hell for not believing in God’s existence. According to the bible, that’s not even possible, as God’s existence is clearly seen in creation.

        Criminals go to jail because they are Criminals.

        Sinners go to hell because they are Sinners.

        • DRC

          If someone doesn’t believe God exists, then how can they possibly accept Jesus’ forgiveness? The end result is that this person goes to hell, according to Christian doctrine. Also, you may disagree, but all the churches I attended taught that those who don’t believe in God are on the slippery slope to hell.

          Regarding the notion that *everyone* believes in God, I ask you to present evidence that every person who professes to not believe is lying. I challenged you with this on another thread (where you mentioned Romans 1:20) and you didn’t respond so I’m assuming that you’re unable to do so.

    • JohnM

       

      Jonathan said : Look, we do not and did not create (human) biology. Such cognitive functioning is designed into the system and would have to pre-exist the fall anyway

      On you world-view, it’s a product of the wonders of evolution.

      On my world view, it’s a product of the human race having been degenerated and corrupted by sin, for centuries.

      There’s no reason to think that it pre-existed the fall, on an evangelical ( true to the bible ) Christian worldview. Not even death pre-existed the fall. Sin and death entered the world, though mans actions. And we only begin our slow path towards death, once sin enter our life, though our own actions. Death is the product of sin, according to the bible ( Romans 6:23 ). And in Genesis, God looked upon what he had created, and saw that it was good. Therefore an evangelical ( true to the bible ) Christian would take the position, that whatever is not good in nature, did not pre-existed the fall.

      Jonathan said : John, you can quote scripture, but it does not offer good argument.

      It’s not an argument. I’m just making clear to you, what position an evangelical ( true to the bible ) Christian, would take.

      An arguments for the truth of what we read in the bible, would be:

      1) Fine-tuning of the universe pointing towards a creator.

      2) Human history – For centuries, people have been looking at the sky, the sun, the stars, and realized, that there must be a God who created this universe. And this is how the majority of religions began. People who had lost “the connection” with the one true God, because of their wicked lifestyle and their sinful desires, looked at the sky, the sun, the stars and made up their own gods, according to their own desires… Because creation clearly shows us, the existence of God, and so they wanted a god to worship, that would approve of their sins, so that they wouldn’t have to worry about how God would look upon their sins.

      Now today, you guys have found yourself a new god to worship, which is yourself – The creature worshiping the creature, rather than the creator. And in order to dismiss your rival, aka God, you invoke a naturalistic worldview, that seek to explain away what is clearly seen in creation. But you don’t fool me.. If you actually believed that materialism had dismissed God, then you wouldn’t spend so much time, discussing these issues. It just would be a completely irrelevant topic to you, and you would find something else to do, with your precious short lives.

      • Andy_Schueler
      • John, you are positing ridiculous stuff:

        On my world view, it’s a product of the human race having been degenerated and corrupted by sin, for centuries.

        For which you have zero evidence, biologically speaking.

        Our worldview is supported by gazillions of evidence. 

        There’s no reason to think that it pre-existed the fall,

        for which there is zero biological, bio-chemical, bio-geographical, genetic, anthropological, geological… … evidence

        Your case is so paper thin it is embarrassing.

        You simply have nothing.

    • JohnM

      Thank you for sharing your interpretation of the evidence available to us. I think it’s sufficient to say, that I do not share your interpretation of the evidence material available to us, and therefore come to a very difference conclusion as to what the evidence points to.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Thank you for sharing your interpretation of the evidence available to us. I think it’s sufficient to say, that I do not share your interpretation of the evidence material available to us, and therefore come to a very difference conclusion as to what the evidence points to.

        You´ve demonstrated time and again that you are too ignorant to be aware of what evidence actually is available, too stupid to follow any argument based on the available evidence and too dishonest to admit your breathtaking ignorance to yourself or to others.

        All you are capable of is this:
        http://coasm.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/break-the-cycle.jpg

        If we want to see some fuckwitted haters spewing out-of-context Bible verses, we can watch a documentary about the Westborough Baptist Church. We don´t need you for that.   
        Get lost you pest.

        • language, please – despite obvious frustrations and past issues with people unable to deal effectively with evidence…

    • JohnM

      MosesZD said : Considering the absolute failure of Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27 and Matthew 16:28 no Christian has a leg to stand on. Jesus clearly said to his apostles that he’d be back to take them to the kingdom of heaven while at least SOME of them were still alive.

      You are confusing 2 different things. :)

      Mark 9:1
      And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

      Luke 9:27
      I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

      Matthew 16:28
      I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

      These verses are not speaking about the second coming of Christ. These verses are speaking about establishing the kingdom of God, that was to be established on earth, which I pretty clear from reading the bible.

      Luke 17 : 20 – 21
      Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

      Luke 11:20
      But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

      The kingdom of God is not of this world ( John 18:35 ). It’s not made of kings and with armies. The kingdom of God is within us. The coming of the kingdom of God, was when the sent the holy spirit.

      Acts 2:38
      Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      John 3:5–7
      Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

      And many of the disciples certainly saw the kingdom of God being established on this earth, as they were the ones preaching the gospel and building up the first churches.

      • Andy_Schueler

        You said:

        Don’t you know that Jesus will return with a Rod to Judge the world?
        Matthew 16:27
        For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

        Matthew 16:28 right afterwards says:

        I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

        And now you say:

        These verses are not speaking about the second coming of Christ

        without acknowledging that your earlier comment about Matthew 16:27 speaking about Jesus “returning with a rod” to “judge the world” was BS – the same kind of dishonesty that we always see from you. 
        Your first interpretation of Matthew 16:27 (which you know changed without acknowledging it), about Jesus returning to “judge” the world, was the correct one. The followers of Jesus expected his return within their lifetimes – and were disappointed. Because Jesus, if he existed, was at best a failed apocalyptic prophet.
        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kl5slzN2nmY/S4AbzrZuqbI/AAAAAAAAAns/DMUIryCLWaE/s1600-h/jesus-brb-lol.jpg

        Your interpretation of the respective verses in Mark and Luke are similarly bogus. Because Mark talks about the “kingdom of God coming with power” – Christianity however had no “power” (political or otherwise) during the lifetime of Jesus´ disciples. The gospel of John is the only one that does not indicate an immediate second coming of Jesus because it was written after all disciples were already dead, so christians had to make up some new BS and invent some lies about the old BS – the same stuff that you are doing right now.

    • JohnM

      Andy said : without acknowledging that your earlier comment about Matthew 16:27 speaking about Jesus “returning with a rod” to “judge the world”

      No, that’s Revelation 19

      And you’re confused about Matthew 16:24-28, because it deals with many issues at once:

      Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his lifeh will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

      Andy said : Your interpretation of the respective verses in Mark and Luke are similarly bogus. Because Mark talks about the “kingdom of God coming with power” – Christianity however had no “power”

      Then you need to go back and study history. Early Christianity had tremendous “power”. It spread with lightening speed. And it grew faster than then the people in “power” could prosecute and kill it. The authorities were powerless to stop it.

      • Andy_Schueler

        No, that’s Revelation 19

        Those are your words from just a few hours ago:

        Don’t you know that Jesus will return with a Rod to Judge the world?
        Matthew 16:27
        For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

        And now, since it has been pointed out that your interpretation of this verse would turn Jesus into a failed apocalyptic prophet based on the verse that comes right after it, you make up new BS and start lying about what you said just a few hours ago – again, revoltingly dishonest but totally unsurprising coming from you. 

        Then you need to go back and study history. Early Christianity had tremendous “power”. It spread with lightening speed.

        Among the gentiles, the Jews, who allegedly witnessed Jesus´ amazing miracles and sermons were completely unimpressed and virtually none converted (which is the most likely reason for why the latest gospel, John, is so virulently anti-semitic). 

        And it grew faster than then the people in “power” could prosecute and kill it. The authorities were powerless to stop it.

        It spread fast, but christianity had no power whatsoever (political or otherwise) during the lifetimes of Jesus´ disciples.

      • Andy_Schueler

        No, that’s Revelation 19

        You said:

        Don’t you know that Jesus will return with a Rod to Judge the world?
        Matthew 16:27
        For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

        and now, since we pointed out that your interpretation would turn Jesus into a failed apocalyptic prophet, you make up new BS and lie about what you said earlier – standard behaviour coming from you. 

        Then you need to go back and study history. Early Christianity had tremendous “power”. It spread with lightening speed. And it grew faster than then the people in “power” could prosecute and kill it. The authorities were powerless to stop it.

        It spread fast (“fast” in this case means centuries) among the gentiles. The Jews were completely unimpressed and virtually none converted. 

        That’s not the kind of power that Jesus was talking about.
        He said that the kingdom of God was not of this world, and that it was within us.

        Matthew, Luke, Mark and Paul talk about Jesus coming (and people seeing him coming) with glory, on a cloud and / or with angels, to “judge” the earth – all within the lifetimes of his disciples. The only books in the Bible that disagree are those that were written after the disciples were already dead (e.g. the Gospel of John and late forgeries like 2 Peter). 
        Your “God” was, at best, a failed apocalyptic prophet. 

    • JohnM

      Andy said : christianity had no power whatsoever (political or otherwise) during the lifetimes of Jesus´ disciples.

      I’ve addressed that already. At least read the posts, before you respond…

      John 18:36
      Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

      The kingdom of God is not of this world. It’s not made of kings and with armies. The kingdom of God is within us.

      Andy said : Those are your words from just a few hours ago ( Matthew 16:27 )

      MosesZD and I are not talking about Matthew 16:27 we are talking about Matthew 16:28.

      So no, you don’t have a point. At least read what is being written, before you go on a mentally unstable rampage, which pretty much sums up your contribution to this thread so far.

      In the last discussion we had, you also had several replies of “Fuck you”, before you edited them out, with something more “civil”… You really should realize that you’re giving away how bad you are failing with these emotional outbursts..

      Get your act together..

      • Andy_Schueler

        I’ve addressed that already. At least read the posts, before you respond…John 18:36

        Yeah, the gospel of John disagrees, because it was written after the disciples were already dead, so christians had to make up new lies. 
        This still doesn´t explain why you thought that Matthew 16:27 was talking about Jesus “returning to judge the world” and are now lying about it. Why are you such a notorious liar JohnM ? 

        MosesZD and I are not talking about Matthew 16:27

        Lying as usual JohnM ? ;-)
        Your words:
        http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/01/12/mentalizing-deficits-constrain-belief-in-a-personal-god/#comment-765304931

        In the last discussion we had, you also had several replies of “Fuck you”, before you edited them out, with something more “civil”…

        You mean this one were you were lying through your teeth in every single comment, as you always do ? 

    • JohnM

      Andy said : Matthew, Luke, Mark and Paul talk about Jesus coming (and people seeing him coming) with glory, on a cloud and / or with angels, to “judge” the earth – all within the lifetimes of his disciples.

      No, those verses talks about the kingdom of God, within the life-time of the disciples.

      Mark 9:1
      And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

      Luke 9:27
      I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

      Matthew 16:28
      I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

      The second coming of Christ and the kingdom of God is 2 completely different things.

      Jesus described the kingdom of God as something within us. – Luke 17 : 20 – 21

      • Andy_Schueler

        Why do you keep lying about what you said earlier JohnM ? 
        It´s very simple, admit that you didn´t actually read Matthew 16 before posting your comment about it and changed your mind (it would also be appropriate to apologize for repeatedly lying about what you said earlier) and then we can move on to your new interpretation.

        • JohnM

          Anyone can see that I was talking about Matthew 16:27 earlier, and is talking about Matthew 16:28 now. So you don’t have a point.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Ah, so your new argument is that Matthew 16:28 actually talks about something completely different than the verse right before that.
            So you seriously want to argue that these two verses, which use the same language (“the Son of Man coming”) and are part of the same speech and are in immediate proximity to each other without any further context coming after Matthew 16:28 :
             

            27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
            28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

            actually talk about completely different things
            Interesting – so you are willing to turn Jesus´ alleged sayings into completely incoherent gibberish all so that you don´t have to admit that he was, at best, a failed apocalyptic prophet. Cognitive dissonance at work  ;-). 

            Mark 13 also obviously doesn´t talk about a second coming within the lifetime of the disciples, amirite ? 

            26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
            28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

            The same applies obviously also for Matthew 10 and 24, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Thessalonians 4 and Phillipians 1.
            Seriously, sometimes it seems as if you have much more contempt for the Bible than we do – we at least take it at face value and let the authors speak for themselves instead of making up BS like you do ;-). 

            • JohnM

              Mark 13 : 28 – 30
              Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

              The bible uses the word generation different than you and I. A generation in the bible, is not a human generation. It’s an unspecified period of time, marked by something. Every human generation, going back 2000 years in time, could be the generation of men, in the later times.

              Andy said : Ah, so your new argument is that Matthew 16:28 actually talks about something completely different than the verse right before that.

              v24
              Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

              v25
              For whoever wants to save his lifeh will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

              v26
              What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

              V27
              For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

              V28
              I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

              I think it’s pretty clear, that these verses deal with multiple subjects and not one and the same subject.

              Andy said : So you seriously want to argue that these two verses, which use the same language (“the Son of Man coming”)

              “Son of Man” is how Jesus refers to himself. He does that all the time, such as in V13 in the same chapter. So Matthew 16 : 13 must also be about the same subject, right? No.

              To say that V27 and V28 are about the same subject, because both includes a reference to Jesus, is a pretty brain-dead argumentation.

              You don’t have a point. Just lie down and play dead, so that I won’t have to expose your lack of insight any further.

            • Andy_Schueler

              You don’t have a point. Just lie down and play dead, so that I won’t have to expose your lack of insight any further.

              Let´s see JohnM´s amazing “insight” in action then!

              The bible uses the word generation different than you and I. A generation in the bible, is not a human generation. It’s an unspecified period of time, marked by something. Every human generation, going back 2000 years in time, could be the generation of men, in the later times.

              No evidence necessary, JohnM says so, so it must be true!
              Let´s look up the respective greek word, “genea”, in Strong´s NT greek dictionary , the definition of the greek word “genea” which was used in Mark 13 is:

              1. fathered, birth, nativity
              2. that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a familythe several ranks of natural descent, 
              a) the successive members of a genealogy
              b) metaph. a group of men very like each other in endowments, pursuits, character esp. in a bad sense, a perverse nation
              3. the whole multitude of men living at the same time
              4. an age (i.e. the time ordinarily occupied be each successive generation), a space of 30 – 33 years

              Who would have guessed ? JohnM was full of shit again. “Genea” either refers to a nation, the generation that is currently alive, or to one generation in a geneaology (it cannot refer to an entire geneaology with many successive generations because, for definition 2a), the word is used like it was in Matthew 1:17 “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David…” – the plural has to be used for definition 2a) ).
              But seriously JohnM, are you making this shit up on the spot without fact-checking or are you just lying ?  

              I think it’s pretty clear, that these verses deal with multiple subjects and not one and the same subject.

              Obviously! Jesus was talking incoherent gibberish as you say, and no one was able to make sense of this until later gospels, like John, explained what Jesus actually meant.
              This has nothing to do with the embarrassing fact that later Christians had to invent lies to cover up the embarrassing fact that earlier christian writings, like Matthew, Mark and Paul´s epistles, unambigiously talk about an immediate second coming!
              You are continuing the proud christian tradition of lying to cover the fact that your “God” allegedly promised to return really soon but never did (although you suck at doing this).

            • Andy_Schueler

              I was just reminded of this earlier comment of yours:

              If you are serious about studying the bible, then there’s really no way around studying Greek and Hebrew. The real bible isn’t the translations that we are reading. The real bible, is the original texts, in the original language. You do miss out on smaller details by reading the translations. Especially the newer ones.

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/12/24/my-debate-with-on-the-nativity-with-apologist-randal-rauser-now-available/#comment-750033208

              Since you don´t know the first thing about hebrew or greek, are too lazy to look up translations and dictionary definitions for biblical hebrew and greek, and too dishonest to consider translations and definitions that someone looked up for you (as you did here for example) – I guess you didn´t actually mean what you wrote there. Fuck hebrew and greek – all that is necessary is your “insight” (which in your case apparently means “boldly spewing the most outrageous lies”) amirite JohnM ? ;-).

            • Andy_Schueler

              Btw, when will you admit that you made up this shit:

              The bible uses the word generation different than you and I. A generation in the bible, is not a human generation. It’s an unspecified period of time, marked by something. Every human generation, going back 2000 years in time, could be the generation of men, in the later times.

              out of thin air ? 
              Come on, you can do it – just one time, take the biblical commandments about lying and honesty seriously, it´s really not that hard ;-)

    • JohnM

      What’s next ? Are you also going to the word branch, to show us, that the bible tells us, that Jesus wasn’t a human being, but part of a tree?

      For a detailed refutation of your silly standard “Answering Christian Apologist” copy paste garbage, read the following:

      http://involutedgenealogies.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/the-problem-with-mark-1330/

      • Andy_Schueler

        What’s next ? Are you also going to look up the word branch, to show us, that the bible tells us, that Jesus wasn’t a human being, but part of a tree?

        :-D
        Fuck translations, dictionaries and scholars of classics! We have JohnM´s “insight” and that´s all we need! When JohnM says a word means something, it DOES mean exactly that!  
        Boy do you ever suck as a wannabe apologist ;-).

        For a detailed refutation of your silly standard “Answering Christian Apologist” copy paste garbage, read the following:

        An attempt at explaining away Mark 13:30 which directly contradicts your earlier lies about the meaning of the word “generation” in the Bible!! 
        Omfg, you really are making this shit up as you go along – if the first lie doesn´t work, quick – google the problem and paste some BS and NEVER admit that you were trying to defend a completely different explanation just a few minutes ago!
        Amazing dude, you are setting the bar for honesty very, very, very low – you really are lying through your teeth in every single comment.
        For an alleged “follower of Christ”, that´s a lot of lying, don´t you think ;-).

    • JohnM

      Andy : An attempt at explaining away Mark 13:30 which directly contradicts your earlier lies about the meaning of the word “generation” in the Bible!!

      As the article says:

      There are a variety of exegetical problems with understanding the phrase “this generation” to mean only the generation to whom Christ was addressing this discourse.

      At least read the articles before you post your garbage.

      • Andy_Schueler

        As the article says:
        There are a variety of exegetical problems with understanding the phrase “this generation” to mean only the generation to whom Christ was addressing this discourse.
        At least read the articles before you post your garbage.

        1. I don´t care if it´s you or some other clueless git who tries to contradict the established meaning of the word based on centuries of research with no evidence whatsoever.
        2. For his actual “explanation” the moron you link to says: “The Lord Jesus is referring to the generation which sees “all these things come to pass” (i.e. the generation that sees all of  the events the body of His prophecy covers, see here).” which uses the word “generation” as I use it and as a greek dictionary uses it – directly contradicting your earlier lies about the meaning of the word “generation” in the Bible
        3. The “explanation” presented by this moron makes no sense whatsoever since Jesus is addressing the people listening to him (he uses the word “humeis” (“you”) in Mark 13:29 and not something that could be translated as “they” which would be necessary IF he would actually be talking about future generations). And furthermore, Mark 13:30 would be semantic nonsense if Jesus would not be talking about the current generation (if he´s talking about an unspecific future generation, the part “will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” literally means nothing – if it refers to a completely unspecified group of people living at a completely unspecified point in time – this statement would be completely and utterly meaningless)
        4. You really have no shame whatsoever do you ? ;-) As I said, if the first lie doesn´t work, just google it and post the first BS you find even if it completely contradicts your earlier lies. 

    • JohnM

      I don´t care if it´s you or some other clueless git who tries…

      That’s right. You don’t care. And you’re not really interested in the truth. You prefer to stay ignorant, so that you can keep claiming that it’s an error, and keep post your garbage.

      I bet you don’t even realize, that the destruction of the temple, was a generation AFTER, Jesus told his generation about it.

      • Andy_Schueler

        I bet you don’t even realize, that the destruction of the temple, was more than a generation AFTER, Jesus told his generation about it..

        Interesting! Now you only have to prove that the gospels indeed contain statements that Jesus actually uttered instead of a mixture of creative paraphrases of what later generations thought he might have said and statements they simply made up out of thin air (like pretty much all alleged quotes in the gospel of John for example). Come back when you have the evidence to support that statement.

    • Andy_Schueler

      That’s right. You don’t care. And you’re not really interested in the truth.

      :-D 
      Says the guy who was just caught lying about the meaning of a greek word, who refused to admit that after he was caught lying about it and who tried the exact same dishonest stunt in an earlier thread (only with a hebrew word instead of greek).
      Also, it´s telling that you dishonestly omit the second part of the sentence you quoted – “without any evidence whatsoever” – but not surprising, since “evidence” is something you couldn´t care less about.  

       You prefer to stay ignorant

      :-D 
      Says the guy who is absolutely scientifically illiterate but still feels competent enough to disprove entire scientific disciplines. 

      I take that as an admission that you are not going to correct your lies about the meaning of the greek word “genea” – I´m not surprised, your dishonesty is absolutely revolting but after almost 500 comments full of the most outrageous lies, I expect nothing different from you. 

    • JohnM

       

      Andy : For his actual “explanation” the moron you link to says: “The Lord Jesus is referring to the generation which sees “all these things come to pass” (i.e. the generation that sees all of the events the body of His prophecy covers, see here).” which uses the word “generation” as I use it and as a greek dictionary uses it

      By now, there are many generations who have seen many of these things come to pass. And so these generations are a all part of the generation, seeing these things come to pass.

      One has to be pretty clueless and pretty determined find absurd “errors”, to not understand, how this makes perfect meaning of the word generations.

      You’re the one being dishonest here.. You do not WANT to understand. You WANT there to be errors, despite that it makes perfect sense, to any rational human being.

      And you’re been emo this entire thread.. Because your poor little ego got hurt again..

      WAKE UP. This is not about the subject for you. For you, this is personal. You don’t even care about the subject. You’re just looking to get me somehow.. And you reactions and emotional unstable outburst, speaks volumes about how badly you have failed so far..

      Seriously.. Lay off the personal bullshit. Ask Jonathan to come hug you, and tell you how you “compeletely owned me”.. Let him nurse your ego back together.. Because you’re the one that need professional help, “DUDE”.

      • Andy_Schueler

        By now, there are many generations who have seen many of these things come to pass. And so these generations are a all part of the generation, seeing these things come to pass.

        One has to be pretty clueless and pretty determined find absurd “errors”, to not understand, how this makes perfect meaning of the word generations.

        :-D
        You are so incredibly predictable. Now you do the exact same thing that you tried in this thread:
        and try to defend an english translation that has no basis in the actual text and that NO bible translation actually uses. Because Mark 13 uses the singular of “genea”, not the plural.

        You’re the one being dishonest here.. You do not WANT to understand. You WANT there to be errors, despite that it makes perfect sense, to any rational human being.

        “Any rational human being” – right, just like your BS about Psalm 137 makes sense to “any rational human being” which thus does not imply any single biblical scholar, amirite ? ;-). 
        Hint: “any rational human being” does not mean “everyone who is as ignorant and dishonest as JohnM”. 

        And you’re been emo this entire thread.. Because your poor little ego got hurt again..

        You think that catching your lies about the meaning of a greek word hurts my ego ? 

        Seriously.. Lay off the personal bullshit.

        You say after a long comment that contains nothing but personal bullshit :-D (hint: the “personal bullshit” only becomes credible when you can support it with evidence, without evidence, it´s nothing but mere accusations at best and bearing false witness at worst (as it is in your case)).
        Also, I would not call you a pathological liar if you would not indeed be a pathological liar. Remember your earlier lies about being some bigshot computer game developer working with “artificial intelligence (aka free will computers)” (I´m still laughing about the “free will computers” part ;-).

    • MosesZD

       John, John, John…   I became an atheist while training for the priesthood.   You apolgetics are noted and are as laughable today as they were in 1983.
       
      It wasn’t science that made me an atheist.   I could perfectly well accept evolution and God with the compartments of my brain.  Just like Ken Miller the biologist.

      What I couldn’t handle was the contridictory, self-serving, entirely wrong crap of the bible.  I remembered the stories as I moved through the bible.  And noticed they were, and yet weren’t, the same stories.  In fact, too often they were so different that it was clear, in just a few months of intense bible reading, these ‘unaltered words of God’ were just made up stories by a bunch of bronze age/iron age savages.
       

      • JohnM

        MosesZD  Said : You apolgetics are noted and are as laughable today as they were in 1983.

        Do you agree that the verses you brought up, talks about the Kingdom of God?

        Do you agree that Jesus says in Luke 17 : 20 – 21, that the kingdom of God is within us?

        • Andy_Schueler

          Do you agree that the verses you brought up, talks about the Kingdom of God?Do you agree that Jesus says in Luke 17 : 20 – 21, that the kingdom of God is within us?

          We´ve already been there. Luke and John contradict Mark, Matthew and Paul´s epistles when it comes to the second coming because the christians in later generations had to make up some lies to cover up the embarrassing fact that Jesus did not return as expected. 

    • JohnM

      Andy said :right, just like your BS about Psalm 137

      I think it’s time for your little hurt ego to let go of the past.

      • Andy_Schueler

        I think it’s time for your little hurt ego to let go of the past.

        And now we´ve reached the last step in the JohnM spambot algorithm.
        Step 1: Post outrageous lies.
        Step 2: Wait for refutations to the lies from step 1, if those refutations include bible verses, post something along the line “you don´t have sufficient insight to understand this verse”, if refutations are based on science, post something like “Thanks for sharing your opinion, I´ve reached a different conclusion based on the available evidence”.
        Step 3: Repeat the lies from step 1 almost verbatim and never provide any evidence for your claims.
        Step 4: Wait for refutations and repeat steps 2+3 until someone calls you a dishonest troll / liar etc. When this happens, post something along the lines of “apparently your ego got hurt by me exposing your lack of insight”
        Step 5: Repeat the same stunt in a new thread. 

        Overall, you are a rather average spambot, I´ve seen better ones. 

    • JohnM

      Andy said : We´ve already been there. Luke and John contradict Mark, Matthew and Paul´s epistles when it comes to the second coming because the christians in later generations had to make up some lies to cover up the embarrassing fact that Jesus did not return as expected.

      That’s great Andy. The only problem with that is, that you haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re talking about.. Because Paul too describes the kingdom of God as something that is established on earth, in Romans, which is dated in the 50ish, which is earlier than the gospels.

      Romans 14:17 – 18
      For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Let´s see what Paul meant by “peace and joy in the holy spirit”:

        13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

        1 Thessalonians 4And when does this happen ? Tell us Paul!

        29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.

        1 Corinthians 7It seems as if Paul´s followers who were single could have tried to find a wife after all, doesn´t it ? ;-).

    • JohnM

      You haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re reading.

      And here’s another one making it clear, that the kingdom of God was established on this earth, at the time of Paul, according to Paul..

      Colossians 1 : 13-14
      He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

      Therefore the disciples did see the kingdom of God come in their lifetime. And you don’t have a point.

      • Andy_Schueler

        You haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re reading.

        Step 2 in the JohnM spambot algorithm. 

        Colossians 1

        One of the epistles that are likely to be late additions written in Paul´s name (i.e. forgeries). 

        Therefore the disciples did see the kingdom of God come in their lifetime.

        And the dead rose, and Jesus came on a cloud with his angels and shit and all his followers were gathered from the four corners of the earth and met their lord in the clouds etc.pp. 
        No wait… That never happened. Paul´s followers neglected their wives for nothing.
        Big surprise – all apocalyptic prophets have failed so far.

        • JohnM

          Andy said : And the dead rose, and Jesus came on a cloud with his angels and shit and all his followers were gathered from the four corners of the earth and met their lord in the clouds etc.

          No, that would be the second coming of Christ, not to be confused with the kingdom of God being established on earth. You’re confusing 2 different things, and we are back to square 1.

          But I guess that’s what I get, for throwing pearls before pigs.

          • Andy_Schueler

            No, that would be the second coming of Christ, not to be confused with the kingdom of God being established on earth.

            An interpretation of the kingdom of god that you and later biblical authors completely made up to explain away the embarrassing fact that your imaginary friend Jesus promised to brb and never did. 

            But I guess that’s what I get, for throwing pearls before pigs.

            Ah, the delusions of grandeur again. Unfortunately, listening to the insane ramblings of a breathtakingly ignorant, notoriously lying, bigoted, verminous wannabe-apologist like you hardly counts as “pearls”.

            As for Jesus being a “failed apocalyptic prophet”… That’s really shooting yourself in the foot. Because either Jesus said it or he didn’t. And if he did, then he successfully predicted the destruction of the temple, 40 years before the destruction of the temple.

            Oh wow – a completely unspecific verse about some buildings getting destroyed at a completely unspecified point in time by completely unspecified means, how very impressive! 

            But of course, you’re too lost in translations to even realize that.

            You say after repeatedly being caught lying about the translations of biblical hebrew and greek. Cute. 

            Now back to the sewer with you. 

            • JohnM

              Andy said : Oh wow – a completely unspecific verse about some buildings getting destroyed at a completely unspecified point in time by completely unspecified means, how very impressive!

              Matthew 24 :1-2
              Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

              THE temple.. In Jerusalem. Learn2read Mkay?

              Andy said : An interpretation of the kingdom of god that you and later biblical authors completely made up to explain away the embarrassing fact that…

              You’re lying. Both the gospels and Pauls letters make it very clear that the kingdom of God was to be established on earth within us.

              Andy said : your imaginary friend Jesus promised to brb and never did.

              LOL! Talk about intellectual suicide… For Jesus to even be an “apocalyptic prophet”, he had to have existed and have said these things. I think you need to make up your mind about what strategy to pursue, because right now your a complete failure.

            • Andy_Schueler

              THE temple.. In Jerusalem. Learn2read Mkay?

              Exactly as I said, some buildings being destroyed at a completely unspecified time by completely unspecified means – totally impressive your “God”! Who would have guessed that buildings could get destroyed before this amazing prediction amirite !? 

              You’re lying. Both the gospels and Pauls letters make it very clear that the kingdom of God was to be established on earth within us.

              Yes, some gospels say exactly that – because earlier gospels turned out to be BS on that point so christians had to invent new lies. So you believe the young gospels and lie about the old – as christians have always done ever since Jesus failed to return as expected. 

              LOL! Talk about intellectual suicide…For Jesus to even be an “apocalyptic prophet”, he had to have existed and have said these things.

              Just as I said many times now – your “God” was at best a failed apocalyptic prophet. 

            • JohnM

              Andy said : Just as I said many times now – your “God” was at best a failed apocalyptic prophet.

              LoL. That’s not going to save the day. You have to do better. Either he existed and said these things, or he did not. Make up your mind.

              Andy said : Yes, some gospels say exactly that – because earlier gospels turned out to be BS on that point so Christians had to invent new lies. So you believe the young gospels and lie about the old

              All the gospels says exactly that. And the gospels does not contradict each other. And Paul’s letters, which makes I very clear that the kingdom of God was to be established on the earth, within us, pre-dates the gospels.

              Your lie, that the later gospels had to invent lies, DOES NOT ADD UP. You have been caught red-handed.

            • Andy_Schueler

              LoL. That’s not going to save the day. You have to do better.

              Let me stoop down to your level for a second: 
              LOL! Your wrong !!11! Learn2read Mkay ?!

              All the gospels says exactly that. And the gospels does not contradict each other. And Paul’s letters, which makes I very clear that the kingdom of God was to be established on the earth, within us, pre-dates the gospels.

              All the gospels say exactly that if you simply lie about what is written in them. Jesus predicts his return during the lifetime of the generation of the people he´s just addressing ? No problem! Just lie about the text and say it´s actually saying “generations“, and then lie about the way this word was used in the bible and say that it could  potentially mean thousands and thousands of “generations” and thus turn Jesus´ prediction about when he will return into a completely empty statement because it says nothing beyond “all these events will pass before the human species goes extinct!” – but the contradiction is gone and that´s all that counts, even if it means that we have to turn Jesus´ alleged sayings into incoherent gibberish.

              Your lie, that the later gospels had to invent lies, DOES NOT ADD UP. You have been caught red-handed.

              Remember what I earlier told you about accusations and evidence ? You are simply claiming that I was lying and you caught me lying – without any evidence whatsoever. And without evidence, your accusation is nothing but a mere assertion at best and bearing false witness (hint: the Bible has commandments against that!) at worst.
              That´s why I provide evidence for my accusation that you are a pathological liar – if I couldn´t support that with evidence, like a link to your transparent lies about being some bigshot computer game developer working with “free will computers” or a link to you lying about the meaning of the greek word “genea” , I would just be spewing mere assertions that could be easily dismissed, like you do.

            • Andy_Schueler

               Either he existed and said these things, or he did not. Make up your mind.

              1. Right, because if he existed he MUST have said everything that the gospels claim he said, even the shit that contradicts each other. Idiot.  
              2. I don´t have to make up my mind – at best he was a failed prophet, at worst, he´s completely mythological (and somewhere in the middle of those two extremes would be the position that Jesus existed, but most quotes attributed to him in the gospels (especially those that are only mentioned in one gospel) are made up). 

    • pboyfloyd

      The same JohnM could argue, if we were to say that the Kingdom of God is within, that, no, we’re reading it wrong, it doesn’t actually mean that since, (quote some Scripture where it explains the Second Coming). 

      I think JohnM must be pretty chuffed that he can argue both sides of any case!

      Well done JohnM.

      • JohnM

        pboyfloyd : The same JohnM could argue, if we were to say that the Kingdom of God is within, that, no, we’re reading it wrong, it doesn’t actually mean that since, (quote some Scripture where it explains the Second Coming). I think JohnM must be pretty chuffed that he can argue both sides of any case!

        Thank you for sharing your blind faith in there being such scriptures. But I’m sorry, the bible makes it very clear, that the kingdom of God, was to be established on earth among us, and was established on earth among us, after the time of Christ. And I think you’re just a bit embarrassed, that you didn’t know that.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Thank you for sharing your blind faith in there being such scriptures.

          Dude, using your method for exegesis (which includes simply making up words that are nowhere to be found in the text) we can make the Bible say literally anything. We could predict an alien invasion for example by claiming that “Son of Man” in Mark 13:26 obviously means “little green space aliens” – that would be not one iota more dumb and dishonest than your “defense” of Psalm 137.

        • pboyfloyd

          Luke 17 : 20 – 21″…nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

          This is an excerpt from YOUR QUOTE, JohnM!

          JohnM says, “..the bible makes it very clear, that the kingdom of God, was to be established on earth among us, and was established on earth among us, after the time of Christ.”

          This, in response to, “The same JohnM could argue, if we were to say that the Kingdom of God is within, that, no, we’re reading it wrong,..”

          But that’s exactly what you did just now, trying to tell us that you certainly DON’T do that. 

    • What a load of sanctimonious clap-trap. Suggesting that religious people have more empathy is absurd. Perhaps needing to turn to a perception of God to provide a moral compass shows a lack of innate empathy ?

      • pboyfloyd

        “Suggesting that religious people have more empathy is absurd.”
        That’s how I looked at the studies, as suggesting that we could only ‘see’ God if we’re empathetic enough.

        These studies seem to be suggesting that we have ‘some’ empathy, we can see a sad, hungry child and feel that sadness and hunger ourselves, mirror empathy it’s called.
         So as far as God, the Creator is concerned, we are ‘wired’ to look for patterns, we learn patterns, language, science, even religion, so mirror empathy can allow us to imagine a pattern maker, “Hey, I see all these patterns, if I didn’t my life would be terribly confused, I’d see life as a random, confused mess. The next ‘logical step’ is to envision a pattern MAKER, a mirror image of, “I’m intelligent, I see patterns!”, which is, “An intelligence must be responsible for these patterns!”

        Johno’s point seems to be that this doesn’t necessarilly work in favour of there being an actual God, since the definition of God(as per religion) versus the idea of God(as per mirror empathy) seems to diverge, the one simply cannot be the other.

        • What I suggest is this:

          There are groups of people which have tendencies. They may be VERY slight or more pronounced. These tendencies mean one group of people has more empathy, derived from personality measures, than other groups. These same groups are also tested for propensity to believe. The groups with deficits in empathy (however small or large) also exhibit deficits in likelihood to believe in God. These are either directly causally connected, or by a third variable.

          Either way, it follows that certain groups of society are, to whatever extent (it matter not one jot) either more or less likely to believe in God (and it is likely that the basis is in something to do with empathy).

          It then follows that God favours one group over another, over yet another.

          It then follows that God is unfair.

          Discuss.

          • JohnM

            Well if I were to spice it up a bit, I can’t help thinking that it could easily be the other way around…

            People who accept what is clearly seen in creation, take a greater interest in their surroundings. Where as selfish people who only care about themselves, have a tendency to deny God, because they don’t want to be held responsible for their selfish actions.

            It’s pretty straight forward really.. Who would deny that Criminals are less likely to hold the police in high regard?

            • Andy_Schueler

              People who accept what is clearly seen in creation

              What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Consider this  baseless assertion dismissed.

              Where as selfish people who only care about themselves, have a tendency to deny God, because they don’t want to be held responsible for their selfish actions.

              Right, which is why you stubbornly deny the obvious reality of Santa Claus you wicked sinner!

            • JohnM

              I was just trying to support Jonathan’s attempt to spark on topic discussion. I can’t really be bothered with you any more, Andy. So just read my reply as something intended to be a bit provocative, and cause you to take a second look from another perspective.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I was just trying to support Jonathan’s attempt to spark on topic discussion.

              Look up what the word “discussion” means. You never tried to have any discussion on this blog – because a discussion requires at least a modicum of honesty from all participants. And your behaviour in every single thread you ever commented on here is revoltingly dishonest. 

              So just read my reply as something intended to be a bit provocative, and cause you to take a second look from another perspective.

              Your “perspective” is that all atheists lie about being atheists because the Bible says so and that, despite knowing that your God does exist and will “judge” (i.e. torture them for all eternity) them, atheists still choose to rebel against him (btw, “rebelling” against an all-powerful being makes about as much sense as trying to jump over an infinitely high wall). 
              This “perspective” is breathtakingly stupid and completely uninteresting.

            • Andy, 
              I must do a post on doxastic voluntarism – your post but to a really philosophical level.

              The whole notion that we can just ‘choose’ to believe something is, at base, ridiculous.

          • pboyfloyd

            Just ask JohnM, of course God is unfair. He is always making up rules for us for no particular reason. Right off, if you take Genesis to be truth, women are inferior to men.  How is that fair? 
            God, according to the Bible, has a Chosen People, that’s not fair right there, but then He is angry that the unchosen don’t worship Him, even though He hasn’t revealled Himself to them. That doesn’t seem fair.

            Instead of hardening Pharoah’s heart, why didn’t God reveal Himself to Pharoah, it’s not as though the Egyptians weren’t trying, with the religion stuff and all, which seems to be better regarded in this day and age than back when this story was written.

            Why didn’t God help the Hebrews wipe out Pharoah and his army instead of travelling to Palestine and wiping out the locals there? Seems unfair.

            And so on and so forth. I’m guessing that JohnM has some intriguing work-arounds which are neither here nor there as  regards to the fairness of God as portrayed in the O.T.

            Nevertheless, since God is such a jealous, favouritist bitch in the O.T., why shouldn’t HE be unfair when it comes to other stuff like autism or which sex one happens to be?

            Right JohnM?

            • JohnM

              pboyfloyd : Just ask JohnM, of course God is unfair. He is always making up rules for us for no particular reason. Right off, if you take Genesis to be truth, women are inferior to men.  How is that fair?

              Don’t give me that hypocritical feminist bullsh*t.

              If you actually believed that men and women were equals, despite being called men and women for a reason, you would hold that they should compete together on equal terms at the Olympic games. And that they should be force drafted and serve equal time in the military. And that they should have equal time off after a child birth. And that we should all share uni-sex bathrooms.

              I almost cry every time I go to the supermarket, and see all the weak males having been turned into their wife’s little “bitch”, doing her every bidding. It’s just a fact of life, that you cannot have 2 leaders in a family. There has to be one with the authority, otherwise there’s no authority, and you have anarchy and divorce. It’s inescapable that an army with 2 generals will at some point give conflicting orders and tear their army into 2 pieces.

              pboyfloyd : God, according to the Bible, has a Chosen People, that’s not fair right there, but then He is angry that the unchosen don’t worship Him, even though He hasn’t revealled Himself to them.

              No, that’s one of the false doctrines of Calvinism, known as Predestination, directly contradicted by the bible. God has already reveal himself to everyone, as his existence is clearly seen in creation, according to the bible.

            • Andy_Schueler

              pboyfloyd: Right off, if you take Genesis to be truth, women are inferior to men.  How is that fair? 

              JohnM: Don’t give me that hypocritical feminist bullsh*t.

              If you actually believed that men and women were equals, despite
              being called men and women for a reason, you would hold that they should
              compete together on equal terms at the Olympic games. And that they
              should be force drafted and serve equal time in the military. And that
              they should have equal time off after a child birth. And that we should
              all share uni-sex bathrooms.

              In summary, men and women are not biologically equal, therefore men are superior to women and bitches should stfu and do what misogynistic pigs like JohnM tell them. Fundies say the darndest things…

              I almost cry every time I go to the supermarket, and see all the weak
              males having been turned into their wife’s little “bitch”, doing her
              every bidding. It’s just a fact of life, that you cannot have 2 leaders
              in a family. There has to be one with the authority, otherwise there’s
              no authority, and you have anarchy and divorce. It’s inescapable that an
              army with 2 generals will at some point give conflicting orders and
              tear their army into 2 pieces.

              Either the manly man rules with an iron fist and slaps his woman into submission when she gets uppity or he is “his wife´s little bitch, doing her every bidding” – for a fundie, those are apparently the only available options. Why do I get the impression that we´ll read your name in the papers some day in the future…

            • [[No, that’s one of the false doctrines of Calvinism, known as Predestination, directly contradicted by the bible.]]

              You have shown how inept you are at bible hermenuetics. Predestination is a bible doctrine as well as limited atonement, irresistible grace and total depravity. You have no where shown that you understand the very bible you claim to believe.

      • Simon. Thanks for the comment.

        However, i don’t think it can really be called that. Again, one must be nuanced in appreciating the results. It is not saying if you do not believe in god you are not empathetic. There are too many variables at play here. It is, however, presenting empirical evidence which is pretty well known:
        certain autistic types have lower empathy
        these same types have lower belief in God

        This has been borne out by various research, some of which I cited in a comment above. 

        looking for the cause / correlation is pretty standard fare. I can’t really see what your beef is here.

        Look, me are statistically more likely to be rapists than women. Fact. Does it make us all rapists or bad people? Not at all. You are making some sort of major error in your criticism, methinks.

    • pboyfloyd

      “Both the gospels and Pauls letters make it very clear that the kingdom of God was to be established on earth within us.”

      This is nonsense. Either the Kingdom of God is within us, it’s always been within us, it’s something internal to us, OR it’s not, it’s something to be established at some future point. When you quote Jesus as saying that the Kingdom of God IS WITHIN us, he’s not saying that the Kingdom of God is going to be established within us, that is nonsense.

    • Christians……………..

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZznlL7uG18

    • BTW, I “accidentally” clicked Liked when I was trying to hit “reply”, so my fellow atheists brothers and sisters, don’t freak, I did not intend to “like” johnM bullshit.

    • pboyfloyd

      I had just thought that you ‘liked’ JohnM’s comment because he seemed to so ‘deliberately’ plant his foot so squarely in the centre of that giant pile of dogshit,  John Grove.

      JohnM, you can imagine that the Bible explains the unfairness away or that you have good reason to treat women unfairly if you like, but the unfairness is there, you’re not even denying that.

      I’m sure we could find you a woman who could, run faster than you, lift more weight than you, beat the living crap out of you, make more money than you, is way smarter than you, and on and on, so that crap about men in general beating out women in general together with the Biblical nonsense that women are simply ‘helpmeets’ for men as decreed by your unfair God isn’t helping your case.

      We could add that God also decreed that ‘people of colour'(to be politically correct(?)) were meant to be treated as servants of servants and how therefore that sad situation was simply ‘God’s Will’ too.

      But no, you’re likely to put that down to how God, the all-loving, the all-merciful and all-forgiving was just letting those quaint old folks, in those quaint old days continue their quaint old traditions of buying and selling human beings, because it’s not as if God could REALLY command anyone to do anything along those lines(fairness, loving, merciful, forgiving) in them quaint old days, in the O.T., right?

      Funny how God and yourself even, can see that the enslavement of the Hebrews, by the Egyptians was so wrong, simply because God favoured the Hebrews, you know, according to the Bible.

      So you can justify your superiority over your women, over people of differing descent, over people of other religions, over the less successful and on and on, according to your Bible!

      Hell JohnM you can even justify your superiority over the Jews, Gods Chosen People, themselves!

      • JohnM

        pboyfloyd Said : …but the unfairness is there, you’re not even denying that.

        I fail to see the unfairness of leadership, in the first place. The leadership is there to benefit everyone.

        pboyfloyd : So you can justify your superiority over your women …

        Leadership is not about superiority. Leadership is about authority, and the responsibility and accountability that comes with it.

        I pity the fool that abuses the wife, that God has given to him. He will get what he deserves, because it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

        pboyfloyd  : We could add that God also decreed that ‘people of colour'(to be politically correct(?)) were meant to be treated as servants of servants and how therefore that sad situation was simply ‘God’s Will’ too.

        What?! Did you go to a KKK sunday-school or something?

        Let me ask you the following.. Do you think that Jesus was a white caucasian?

        pboyfloyd : Hell JohnM you can even justify your superiority over the Jews, Gods Chosen People, themselves!

        Don’t you know that replacement theology is contradicted by the bible itself?

        The Jews are still loved for the sake of the forefathers. And Christians are grafted into the tree.

    • JohnM

      John Grove said : BTW, I “accidentally” clicked Liked when I was trying to hit “reply”, so my fellow atheists brothers and sisters, don’t freak, I did not intend to “like” johnM bullshit.

      You can just click on it again, to unlike me, if you want.

      John Grove said : Predestination is a bible doctrine as well as limited atonement, irresistible grace and total depravity.

      No, those are doctrines invented by John Calvin, the mass-murdering sect-leader of Geneva.

      What’s next? Are you also going to claim that Mormon doctrines represent the Christian faith?

      John Grove said : So I guess that John Calvin… are all heretics?

      I can’t be bothered to comment on them all. But John Calvin certainly were. And he was a hypocrite. And a wicked murderer, who tortured and burn people alive, for merely disagreeing with him.

      • Andy_Schueler

        To summarize JohnM´s argument: John Calvin had no clue about the Bible because he was a real dick. 
        Stay tuned for JohnM refuting of Newton´s laws of motion – by pointing out that Isaac Newton was a big meanie. 

        • JohnM

          Hitler had some ideas about what we read in the bible, too. So why don’t you forward his ideas?

          After all, they were both following in the footsteps of Christ, right? Because being a Christian has nothing to do with your actions, right? It’s all about claiming to be one, and then you are, a follower of Christ.. Right?

          Or why stop there.. Let’s include Luther… And his so-called “Christian writings”…

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_Their_Lies

          • Andy_Schueler

            After all, they were both following in the footsteps of Christ, right? Because being a Christian has nothing to do with your actions, right? It’s all about claiming to be one, and then you are, a follower of Christ.. Right?

            You are claiming to be a “follower of christ” as well. Yet you are über-judgmental,  utterly dishonest and, in an earlier comment, you found a creative way to completely ignore Jesus´ teachings about helping the poor and the sick – if it´s not specifically called a “commandment”, you can ignore it, I´m still laughing about that one ;-).
            If you still count as a “true christian” despite that – John Calvin certainly does as well. 

            And why stop there.. Let’s include Luther… And his so-called “Christian writings”…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O

            This document is so evil, that it should have been included in the Satanic bible.

            Luther was most certainly one of the most hate-filled people that ever lived, he especially hated women, jews and reason. And he justified all of this hatred with the Bible.

            • [[Luther was most certainly one of the most hate-filled people that ever
              lived, he especially hated women, jews and reason. And he justified all
              of this hatred with the Bible.]]

              Since Luther STARTED the reformation and wrote some of the most influential writings in all Christendom, he no doubt knew the bible much better than you JohnM. Call him what you want but he was one thing YOU are not. He was a Bible believer and he interpreted it much better than someone as shallow as you. You couldn’t hold a candle to his bible interpretation. He didn’t shy away from the hard passages, he accepted them. He didn’t try to explain them away like you do. So if you think he is some kind of kook, it is because that is the difference between a real bible believer and a fakir like you.

      • [[No, those are doctrines invented by John Calvin, the mass-murdering sect-leader of Geneva]]

        No, they are bible doctrines. And they are the very thing the reformation was about, see Martin Luther’s “On the Bondage of the Will”.The subject matter (the reformed principles) according to Luther is “the hinge on which the whole gospel turns”.

        • JohnM

          I hold the Mass to be an abomination. I hold the worship of saints and Virgin mary to a pagan practice. And I’ve never been infant baptised, so I wouldn’t even be allowed into the Roman Catholic Church.

          Seriously, John Grove… Why do you keep insisting on discussing these things with me? You know next to nothing about the subject.

    • JohnM

      How would I be able to judge you? I am in no position to do that, as I have very limited insight into the way you live your life.. Just as you have next to no insight in the way I live my life. And no, I’m not dishonest. It’s you who reject what I have shared about myself, for no reason what so ever.

      I mean, seriously Andy.. Did you really think that I would sit here and give you a list over the companies that I’ve worked for? You and I both know, that there’s nothing you would love more, than to write all of them, trying to defame me, and ruin my reputation in the industry, claiming that I’m one of them Westboro baptist. And I think that anyone who have read your post, will know that you’re mentally unstable enough, to actually do something like that. So how stupid do you really think that I am?

      • Andy_Schueler

        How would I be able to judge you? I am in no position to do that…

        Look up what “judging” and “being judgmental” means.

        And no, I’m not dishonest. It’s you who reject what I have shared about myself, for no reason what so ever.

        :-D.
        You are being dishonest while trying to argue that you are not dishonest – amazing. I´ve given plenty of reasons to support my claim (I never call you a liar without linking to your lies) that you were lying about being some bigshot computer game developer – you claim to be an experienced programmer, yet you said all of those things:
        – “LoL. All languages are the same, once you get to know the syntax.. From Java to pascal to C to C++ to C# to whatever. Clearly you have no programming experience.”
        – “That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.” 
        – “And I’ve worked with AI programming, in the game industry (AI aka free will computers). You have no idea what you’re actually talking about. I do.”
        – “None of those [Perl, Python, Ruby etc.] are considered “real programming languages TM” . They are know as scripting languages in programmer circles. And mentioning them, at a programmer party, will make you enjoy just about the same respect as a HTML “Programmer”. ”
        => I would believe you that you might have learned some bits and pieces about programming in school, but definitely nothing more than that (you did not even know the difference between compiled and interpreted languages – that is usually covered in the first week of an introduction to programming. Not to mention that you refer to artificial intelligence as “free will computers”). No professional software developer on this planet would say such breathtakingly stupid things about programming languages and artificial intelligence.   
        Even without this example, I could point to literally every single thread you ever commented on here to prove that you are a notorious liar. 
        Take this very thread for example – you did not like the literal meaning of Mark 13:30, so you lied about the use of the word “generation” in the Bible. And you kept lying about it, when your first lie didn´t work, and the first BS you found via google didn´t work either – you just lied about the text itself and claimed it says “generations” instead of “generation”. You do this all the time – it´s trivial to prove that you are a liar. 

        I mean, seriously Andy.. Did you really think that I would sit here and give you a list over the companies that I’ve worked for? You and I both know, that there’s nothing you would love more, than to write all of them, trying to defame me, and ruin my reputation in the industry, claiming that I’m one of them Westboro baptist. 

        “Psychological projection” – look it up. 

        •  Hey Andy,
          Not to mention his absolutely BS interpretation skills, recall Psalm 137 was it?

          • Andy_Schueler

            Not to mention his absolutely BS interpretation skills, recall Psalm 137 was it?

            Right… there he tried to argue that Psalm 137:9 obviously doesn´t talk about literal “infants” – although disproving that idea was one of the main points of the original post he was commenting on – he simply ignored it completely, no matter how often it was pointed out to him.

        • JohnM

          Andy said : you were lying about being some bigshot computer game developer

          Well I started writing HTML in 1996 and made my first game map for Duke nukem 3d around the same time. Then when half-life came out in 1998, I started making maps for that, and programming game-play. I was also very active in the counter-strike mod community, and mIRC channels. And after that I moved into the .com industry, and later into the game industry. From Cry-engine and Unreal engine, to Zbrush, to Maya to 3dsMax, to HTML5, CSS3, Mootools, Jquery or C++ / C#.. Been there done that.  I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been “coding” if you want to include my early years with HTML that, for 17 years now, or 15 if you want to start at my first experience coding C++ with the halflife/quake engine. Go ahead and ask me something that only someone who was part of the community back then would know.

          Andy said : No professional software developer on this planet would say such breathtakingly stupid things about programming languages and artificial intelligence.

          If you knew anything about programming, you would know that AI and free will are 2 sides of the same coin:

          http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/18/computers-free-will-opinions-contributors-artificial-intelligence-09-judea-pearl.html

          • Andy_Schueler

            Go ahead and ask me something that only someone who was part of the community back then would know.

            I don´t doubt that you like computer games and were active in several modding communities – but you are everything but an professional software developer. You claimed that the only difference between different programming languages is syntax (and stood by that claim), you claimed that programming languages that require compilation are just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0, you claimed that Perl, Python and Ruby are not “real programming languages” etc.pp. – no professional software developer would say such bullshit. Again – what compilation means and what the difference between interpreted and compiled languages (and hybrids like C#) is, is literally one of the first things that is taught in an introduction to programming

            If you knew anything about programming, you would know that AI and free will are 2 sides of the same coin:
            http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/

            :-D You seriously just posted the first hit of googling “free will computers” – and the article does not say what you think it says genius. 

    • [[I can’t be bothered to comment on them all. But John Calvin certainly
      were. And he was a hypocrite. And a wicked murderer, who tortured and
      burnt people alive, for merely disagreeing with him.]]

      You can’t be bothered because you are just plain lazy. Despite what behaviors you attribute to Calvin, this does nothing to the theology. Didn’t Moses kill a guy? How does this affect the books attributed to him? You make no sense dude.

      • JohnM

        John Grove : Despite what behaviors you attribute to Calvin..

        WHAT?!?! Why on earth would any atheist deny the horrors of John Calvin???!  Seriously go and read some history.

    • [[You know next to nothing about the subject.]]

      I guarantee I have read much more than you, which is evident. I will challenge you on the church fathers, bible, history, anytime you are up to it. You have already showed what a liar you are. You violate the very scripture you claim to hold dear whenever it suits you.

      [[Why on earth would any atheist deny the horrors of John Calvin???]]

      I am speaking of the theology. You are speaking about the horrors.

    • I have seriously NEVER met a more lazier Christian in all my experience. Not to mention how he lies as often as needed. This is what John Loftus spoke of when he said how some Christians think “God is on their side” in their formulations of the beliefs. JohnM is the most deluded person I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing.

    • JohnM

      John Grove : Since Luther STARTED the reformation and wrote some of the most influential writings in all Christendom…

      Luther started the reformation, not by writing stuff, but by translating the gospel, so that common people could read it for themselves. At least get that bit right.

      And his own deluded writings, are more or less irrelevant.

    • [[Luther started the reformation, not by writing stuff]]

      So he didn’t write the 95 theses which was the very catalyst which started the reformation? Luther was such a pain in the ass to the Roman Catholic church that they sent Erasmus to spearhead him. When he did, he got spearheaded. Luther produced his most famous work, “On the Bondage of the WIll”

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1550381/posts

      I would say get your facts straight, but you have no facts at all.

    • Compare JohnM to the consistency of Martin Luther..

      From my aforementioned Link:

      [[Does this mean that when a man sins, he sins because God has decreed
      that sin? Luther would answer, Yes. But God does not act contrary to
      what man is.]]

      Note, Luther was bound by the Bible and didn’t try to water it down. He may have been a nut or whatever, but one thing he was, was a Bible Believer.

    • JohnM

      Andy : you are everything but an professional software developer. You claimed that the only difference between different programming languages is syntax

      For an experienced developer, the only real difference is syntax. Once you know one language really well, you pretty much know all languages. It’s just a matter of figuring out, the new syntax.

      And if there’s something you need or miss, just write your own extension / addon. Think about what jQuery has done for javascript.. Think about MVC. Only new kids on the block, care about discussing the actual differences between the languages.

      Andy : You claimed that programming languages that require compilation are just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0

      You can pre-compile or compile on the fly. Who cares.

      “Og but HTML is not compiled” – Who cares

      Andy : you said that Perl, Python and Ruby are not real programming languages

      They are considered script kiddie languages. Get over it.

      • Andy_Schueler

        :-D. Let´s learn some lessons from our “expert programmer” JohnM:

        For an experienced developer, the only real difference is syntax. Once you know one language really well, you pretty much know all languages.

        Object-oriented, functional, procedural – all the same crap, no difference whatsoever except for syntax! 

        You can pre-compile or compile on the fly. Who cares.

        Of course! I mean – who gives a fuck about a 20-100 fold difference in execution speed ? And who gives a fuck about the fact that compilation can take many hours for big programs ? And who could possibly care about the fact that most programming languages have to be either compiled OR interpreted without any hybrid option available ?!

        They are considered script kiddie languages. Get over it.

        Obviously! Our local “expert” programmer who still doesn´t understand what compilation means and who genuinely believes that the only difference between different programming languages is syntax says so, so it must be true!

        I thought that there could not possibly be a topic that you know less about than science – apparently there is ;-).

        • JohnM

          I think you’re forgetting something here. If you’re a game developer, then you don’t give a rats ass about it being portable. You only care about performance, and so you want it compiled down to platform specific machine code, for each platform that you’re releasing. And so there’s a reason why you don’t write video games in Java, unless you’re making something like Runescape.

    • JohnM

      I think you’re forgetting something here. If you’re a game developer, then you don’t give a rats ass about it being portable. You only care about performance, and so you want it compiled down to platform specific machine code, for each platform that you’re releasing. And so there’s a reason why you don’t write video games in Java, unless you’re making something like Runescape.

      • Andy_Schueler

        You only care about performance, and so you want it compiled down to platform specific machine code, for each platform that you’re releasing.

        Ah, so you googled some new random piece of information that you don´t understand but you think it sounds smart, eh ?
        Unfortunately for you – the internet doesn´t forget. Your earlier comments about compiling being “just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0”  and “You can pre-compile or compile on the fly. Who cares.” are still right here. You can google and copy-paste as much as you want, you demonstrated with your own words that you did not have the foggiest idea about what compiling means and what the alternatives are until just a few minutes ago ;-). 
        And let´s not forget your “expert opinions” about the differences between programming languages and Perl, Python and Ruby being “script kiddie languages” :-D

    • JohnM

      So Andy, what languages do you actually know?

      • Andy_Schueler

        Depends on what you mean by “knowing”. The first language I learned was C# but I stopped using it a long time ago. The languages I use most frequently are Python and awk for scripting, R for statistics and visualization, and (rarely) C if execution speed is a limiting factor (although I usually “cheat” in this case by using Cython). 

      • Andy_Schueler

        01000010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101001 01100100 01101001 01101111 01110100

        Aww, it´s so adorable when you try to be clever ;-). 
        Hint: what you did was a binary encoding of text based on an ASCII table – so you seem to believe that compiling a programming language means encoding the program you´ve written in a similar way. That´s not what it means. It´s not even close dude, I´m afraid you have to google a little more ;-).

    • JohnM

      Well with the first computers, they actually had to input all the information by hand, though a console. Then we got the assembler language, which made it easier. Here actual statements were run though a compiler and converted to binary code ( Aka Machine code ). Today it may seem to you like you’re actually running written statements, but when your statements are executed, it still converts to assembly language, to machine language, to binary. The machine does not understand “int function(){ code }”. It only understands electric charge on / off.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Well with the first computers, they actually had to input all the information by hand, though a console. Then we got the assembler language, which made it easier. Here actual statements were run though a compiler and converted to binary code ( Aka Machine code ). Today it may seem to you like you’re actually running written statements, but when your statements are executed, it still converts to assembly language, to machine language, to binary.

        It´s really cute watching you learn by hastily googling things. But you still seem to believe that compilation means simply encoding your program binarily – you are still lightyears away dude ;-). See my last comment. 

    • JohnM

      JohnM wrote : That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.

      • Andy_Schueler

        omfg…. you really are unbelievable dude!So that´s the next lesson we learned from our local “expert” programmer JohnM, compilation simply means converting your program code binarily. 

        So in JohnM´s world this:

        s = raw_input(“Enter your program code: “)
        result = [bin(ord(x)) for x in s]
        print result

        is a universal “compiler” that works with every programming language! And these idiots from intel try to sell you an compiler that has several hundred thousand lines of code that just works for C and C++ ! What a fraud, amirite ?! ;-) 

        Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable…

    • JohnM

      No. That’s encoding, Andy. I’m not talking about encoding.

      I’m telling you, that there are several ways of telling a computer what to do. One would be inputting binary information to it though a console, as they used to do it in the old day. Another way, would be to write the information in a computer language, and then have the computer compile it for you, to binary code and execute it.

      In that sense, a programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0, like I told you 2 weeks ago.

      Why is it easier ? Because it would take ages to write the the binary code yourself. And it’s hard for human beings to read and modify binary code.

      Why is it 0 and 1? Because all computer code are basically reduced to that. The computer does not read the actual sentences that you write. It translates it for you, to something that I can read and execute.

      So since all computer languages turns out as 0 and 1 information, computer languages are more or less the same, and mere tools, that helps you tell the computer what to do, in a manner that you can understand.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Look up the first rule of holes dude ;-).

      • Andy_Schueler

        You still don´t have any clue what compilation actually means (hint: try looking up “code generation” and follow the links in the wiki article (and that´s still only a part of what a compiler actually does)) but this is not nearly as funny as this part:

        So since all computer languages turns out as 0 and 1 information, computer languages are more or less the same

        Exactly! A gene and a russion poem are “more or less the same” because both could be represented in binary! Also, a lolcat picture and the King James Bible are “more or less the same” because both could be represented in binary!
        Stay tuned for more lessons from our “expert” “programmer” JohnM!

    • pboyfloyd

      So, JohnM, if I understand your ‘leader’ bullshit, if a man were washed up on a desert island and there were 100 women there, doing their own thing, he’d be quite right to have a meeting and tell them to build him a new ‘leader hut’ in the centre of his(now his) village, right?

      I think we’re seeing JohnM’s modus operandi here. Hey, he’s as smart as anyone on the internet. Just look up a site which seems to contradict whatever’s being said, and ‘Bob’s your uncle!’, there is it, copy/paste, “Now deal with that!”

      Seems to me that that is what he is doing for his supposed computer skills thing, why not for his supposed apologetics thing too?

    • pboyfloyd

      01000010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101001 01100100 01101001 01101111 01110100

      LMAO, you got caught red-handed here buddy!  Your face should be glowing red with embarrassment!

    • JohnM

      No, the content of a text file and an image file are not the same. Why would they be? But the point is, that they could both have been generated by inputting binary information to the computer, though a console.

      A text editor or an image edition program, only helps us humans achieve our goal with ease, by ordering the computer around, by pressing a graphic user interface. In the same way, computer languages helps us tell computers what to do, without having to write long binary inputs.

      Furthermore, when professional programmers talk about “compiling” code, we aren’t necessarily talking about a pre-compiler, like the 100Mb download, that you’re talking about from intel.

      Have you never heard the phrase “compiled-on-the-fly”?

      Not all languages are pre-compiled. Only real programming languages such as C / C++ are. Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby are scripting languages. Those languages are “compiled on the fly” as pro programmers with experience would say, or interpreted / translated as “I learned to code a bit at university” folks, would say.

      To sum up: All languages are “transformed into machine code”, before executed, as computers do not actually understand the code we write.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Ah, our “expert” “programmer” has not learned the first rule of holes, eh ;-)
        Thanks for continuously proving my point that you are a pathological liar. And I say pathological liar instead of notorious liar because you really seem to be physically incapable of telling the truth and admitting that you lied, even when caught red-handed. 

    • JohnM

      Right, so let’s google something, and see what it says, just for the sake of showing that I’m not “full of bullshit”, as you constantly claim… Here’s my first 2 google hits.

      http://www.codehelp.co.uk/html/code10.html

      The C/C++ code cannot be run as it stands in a source file. If you are familiar with Perl, PHP or ASP, this may appear strange. These languages are scripting languages rather than compiled languages. In all cases, the code must be translated into a form readable by the machine (machine code) – the difference is when this translation occurs. Scripting languages do at least some of this translation at run-time – leading to a short delay before the code is executed. Compiled languages like C and C++ do all the translation before execution. This saves time in execution and is one reason why most operating system code and application code is written in a compiled language like C.

      http://eimg.wordpress.com/2007/12/31/compiled-languages-vs-scripting-languages/

      Computers do not actually understand the code we write. We need to translate our human-readable code to machine-readable code. Our code need to be translated into bits and bytes that can be executed by computers. This translation process is called compilation. Languages that require compilation are called compiled languages. C, C++ and Java are compiled languages. Languages that not require compilation are called scripting languages. Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby are scripting languages. Those languages rely on our source-code all the time. Scripting languages didn’t have compiler or a compilation process. Those languages used interpreters to translate our source-code to machine executable code on the fly.

      1)  Computers do not actually understand the code we write

      2) In all cases, the code must be translated into a form readable by the machine (machine code)

      3) This translation process is called compilation

      4) This can be done beforehand or on the fly

      • Andy_Schueler

         just for the sake of showing that I’m not “full of bullshit”, as you constantly claim… Here’s my first 2 google hits.

        :-D 
        Dude, you already wrote comments like this one ;-). No matter what you learn starting now – it changes nothing about the fact that you did not have the foggiest clue about the matter until you started frantically googling stuff. Hell, you seriously believed that compilation requires nothing but translating your program into binary (seriously, you don´t even begin to understand on how many levels that is BS) – you don´t even have to be a programmer to understand why that cannot possibly be true. A day of googling does not turn you into a professional programmer. 

        1)  Computers do not actually understand the code we write2) In all cases, the code must be translated into a form readable by the machine (machine code)

        Close but actually, no. C code (for example) is compiled into machine code (at least most commonly, there are interpreters for C as well), Python (for example) is most commonly compiled into bytecode that is executed by a virtual machine (hence the platform independency). C# (for example) is a hybrid that is first compiled into the .NET intermediate language and then compiled into machine code step-by-step by a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler (thus combining speed and platform independency).A compilation into machine code is thus not at all required to execute code, even C code can be executed without compiling it to machine code. And now that you have a vague idea about the difference between compiling and interpreting a language, you might want to reconsider this comment:

        Not all languages are pre-compiled. Only real programming languages such as C / C++ are. 

        => because ALL languages can be executed without compiling them first in principle (although not in practice because there are some exotic languages for which no one has ever bothered to develop an interpreter).

    • JohnM

      you seriously believed that compilation requires nothing but translating your program into binary

      What I did there with 000101, is not called translating. It’s called character encoding.

      C# (for example) is a hybrid that is first compiled into the .NET intermediate language and then compiled into machine code step-by-step by a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler (thus combining speed and platform independency). A compilation into machine code is thus not at all required to execute code

      Talk about intellectual suicide.

      because ALL languages can be executed without compiling them first in principle

      No, Andy.. Think about it for a second..

      If the scripting languages didn’t need to be compiled into machine code, then there would be no performance issue with them. They would run just as fast as any other language. It’s exactly because they too has to be turned into machine code, in this case on the fly, that they suffer from performance issues, compared to the pre-compiled languages.

      • Andy_Schueler

        What I did there with 000101, is not called translating. It’s called character encoding.

        You might know that now
        However, you wrote:
        “That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.”
        and when I started mocking you for that, you replied with a binary encoding of the message “Binary code you idiot” based on the ASCII table – without any further context. So you actually believed that this is essentially what compilation is about.  
        Now you start realizing how moronic both of these comments were. But since you are a pathological liar, you cannot admit that – you have to submit to your irresistible urge to keep lying. 

        Talk about intellectual suicide.

        :-D.
        A compilation into machine code is not required to execute code, if you would execute a python script (for example) your computer does not understand the python BYTECODE – the interpreter does. You had no clue about what compiling and interpreting a programming language means, but you can´t admit that – because you are a pathological liar. 
        And you also cannot retract your BS:
        “Not all languages are pre-compiled. Only real programming languages such as C / C++ are. ” – because you are a pathological liar.
        And you also cannot retract your BS about all programming languages being “more or less the same” because  “all computer languages turns out as 0 and 1 information” – because you are…. a pathological liar. 

        If the scripting languages didn’t need to be compiled into machine code, then there would be no performance issue with them. They would run just as fast as any other language. It’s exactly because they too has to be turned into machine code, in this case on the fly, that they suffer from performance issues, compared to the pre-compiled languages.

        :-D omfg – your cluelessness is truly amazing ;-).
        A language like python IS NOT TRANSLATED TO MACHINE CODE (at least in the way it is used >99% of the time). It is compiled to BYTECODE. 
        The compilation to bytecode is actually almost trivial compared to a compilation to machine code and MUCH faster. The difference in performance is caused by your computer being UNABLE TO EXECUTE THIS BYTECODE DIRECTLY. It is executed by a virtual machine, generating and optimizing platform specific machine code, like the gcc or icc does, is not done.  THAT is the cause for the difference in performance. 

    • JohnM

      Close but actually, no.

      I didn’t write those comments, Andy. Those are quotes from other programmer websites.

      You might know that now. However, you wrote: “That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.”

      It is Andy. That’s how they used to do it in the old days.. Input binary data manually, though a console. And then we began to make programming languages, doing it for us, making our job easier. And the fact that you didn’t pick up on it 2 weeks ago, shows that you’re the google noob.

      So you actually believed that this is essentially what compilation is about.

      It’s you who keep referring to it as compilation. I keep correcting you, telling you that it’s called character encoding.

      A language like python IS NOT TRANSLATED TO MACHINE CODE It is compiled to BYTECODE.

      And then the interpreter on your computer, takes the bytecode, and turns it into machine code, which your particular computer can understand, and then executes the code.

      That is why, “in all cases, the code must be translated ( Aka compiled on the fly ) into a form readable by the machine (machine code).”

      A compilation into machine code is not required to execute code

      * Sigh *

      • Andy_Schueler

        I didn’t write those comments, Andy. Those are quotes from other programmer websites.

        Which were close, but wrong. 

        It is Andy. That’s how they used to do it in the old days.. Input binary data manually, though a console.

        No. The the first general purpose electronic computer had no terminal as we know it at all, it was “programmed” by manipulating it´s switches and cables. The next steps in the history of programming languages were FORTRAN and COBOL – which were written as binary code  by the programmers (that would be a ridiculously stupid idea…). What you say never happened. 

        It’s you who keep referring to it as compilation. I keep correcting you, telling you that it’s called character encoding.

        So you replied to me mocking your comment:
        “That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.”
        by binarily encoding “Binary code you idiot” without any further context and without calling it character encoding for no reason whatsoever, right – if we would rank the plausibility of your lies, this lie ranks very low dude ;-).

      • Andy_Schueler

        And… if we consider your behaviour so far on this blog, in ~500 comments you lied in almost every single one of them, but never retracted any lie, never corrected any lie and never admitted any lie. Instead of doing the only honest thing, you kept piling on new lies, like you are doing right now. 
        Not this time buddy ;-).

        Let´s focus on ONE of your lies:

        If the scripting languages didn’t need to be compiled into machine code, then there would be no performance issue with them. They would run just as fast as any other language. It’s exactly because they too has to be turned into machine code, in this case on the fly, that they suffer from performance issues, compared to the pre-compiled languages.

        and:

        And then the interpreter on your computer, takes the bytecode, and turns it into machine code, which your particular computer can understand, and then executes the code.
        That is why, “in all cases, the code must be translated ( Aka compiled on the fly ) into a form readable by the machine (machine code).”

        => because this one can so easily demonstrated to be a lie. 
        We check the official documentation of one of those scripting languages that you claim are compiled into machine code:
        http://docs.python.org/2/glossary.html
        and see:
        “bytecode
        Python source code is compiled into bytecode, the internal representation of a Python program in the CPython interpreter. The bytecode is also cached in .pyc and .pyo files so that executing the same file is faster the second time (recompilation from source to bytecode can be avoided). This “intermediate language” is said to run on a virtual machine that executes the machine code corresponding to each bytecode.
        and:
        virtual machine
        A computer defined entirely in software. Python’s virtual machine executes the bytecode emitted by the bytecode compiler.

        And you can “pre-compile” Python code easily – but this is BYTECODE, not machine code and THAT is the cause for the differences in execution speed. Which everyone can easily try at home – write a C and a python program that calculates the square of the first million natural numbers, and test the performance differences between them with and without compiling the pre-compiling the python code into bytecode. 

        I´m sick and tired of listening to your lies and teaching you CS 101. At least for this thread, I will not address any of your new lies before you retract this lie and apologize.

    • JohnM

      Maybe some other people can talk some sense into you?

      http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000984.htm

      The Z1, originally created by Germany’s Konrad Zuse in his parents living room in 1936 to 1938 is considered to be the first electro-mechanical binary programmable (modern) computer and really the first functional computer.

      And yes, punched tape, is a form of console or Command-line interface, where the keyboard used, was the thing punching holes.

      The interpreter does not compile the bytecode to platform specific machine code (it has no capacities to do that whatsoever) it is a virtual machine that RUNS the python program

      This is a link related to JVM, but I’m sure you get it anyway.

      http://coding.derkeiler.com/Archive/Java/comp.lang.java.programmer/2006-09/msg02189.html

      • Andy_Schueler

        And yes, punched tape, is a form of console or Command-line interface, where they keyboard used, was the thing punching holes.

        The Z1 was not a general purpose electrical computer and a punchcard is not a terminal. Moron. 

        This is a link related to JVM, but I’m sure you get it anyway.

        Because the JVM (for example) can use a JIT compiler. CPython (for example) cannot.
        Now admit your lie and apologize.

    • JohnM

      Actually, here’s a link that explains it much better…

      http://staticvoidgames.com/learn/?chapter=intro&tutorial=WhyJava

      Byte code is code that looks a bit like assembly language, but a computer does not directly read it like assembly language. Instead, another program runs between the byte code and the computer, and that program interprets the byte code, creating instructions in machine code that the computer follows. The interpreter program takes the byte code as input and isses commands to the computer in machine code as output.

      • Andy_Schueler

        JVM => JIT compiler, CPython => no JIT compiler.
        Admit your lie and apologize.

    • JohnM

      No JIT Python compiler ?

      Try google’ing Psyco, PyPy and Unladen Swallow

      • Andy_Schueler

        In theory, every language can be:
        a) compiled to machine code.
        b) compiled to bytecode and run on a virtual machine.
        c) compiled to bytecode and passed to virtual machine that calls a JIT compiler.
        In practice, every language is designed for one of these solutions, like C for solution a), Python for solution b) and C# for solution c).

        PyPy => JIT compiler, CPython => no JIT compiler.
        Now admit your lie and apologize.

    • JohnM

      You forgetting something obvious to any real programmer. A virtual machine, is running on a real machine, using the hardware of a real machine. It’s just an illusion or simulation. It does not have any power to execute anything on it’s own. For anything to get done, it has to become machine code and go though the real machine. So whatever you put into a Virtual machine, has to come out as machine code, for it to get executed.

      • Andy_Schueler

        You forgetting something obvious to any real programmer.

        :-D

         For anything to get done, it has to become machine code and go though the real machine. So whatever you put into a Virtual machine, has to come out as machine code, for it to get executed.

        No, that´s what a JIT compiler would do. 

        A solution without a JIT compiler generates no machine code whatsoever and an interpreter like CPython (just like the official interpreters for Perl, Ruby, Tcl, Lua etc.) does not and cannot generate and optimize machine code like the gcc or the .NET JIT compiler (for example) do. 
        The virtual machine in those cases executes the bytecode directly, and this is possible because the virtual machine, unlike the bytecode it executes, is platform-specific and once the interpreter is installed on a specific machine, it exists as executable machine code (which is never changed, only executed).
        You claimed that all interpreters “takes bytecode and turns it into machine code”, they do not and most cannot BY DESIGN, they execute the bytecode directly (hint: and that is where the performance differences come from).

        You lied.

        Now admit your lie and apologize.  

    • JohnM

      Do you think that virtual machines run on their own? Would a virtual machine keep running, if you pulled the plug on your real machine? Of course not. So how do you think virtual machines interact with the real machine to get things done? Machine code, of course. That’s why it’s called an Interpreter. It translates stuff to machine code, in order to get things executed.

      No, that´s what a JIT compiler would do.

      No, just-in-time compilation, also know as dynamic translation, is merely a matter of improving runtime performance.

      Dynamic translation or translation, who cares. It still has to be translated to machine code, so that the machine can execute it.

      • Andy_Schueler

        That’s why it’s called an Interpreter. It translates stuff to machine code, in order to get things executed.

        No, that´s what a JIT compiler would do. 

        A solution without a JIT compiler generates no machine code whatsoever and an interpreter like CPython (just like the official interpreters for Perl, Ruby, Tcl, Lua etc.) does not and cannot generate and optimize machine code like the gcc or the .NET JIT compiler (for example) do. 
        The virtual machine in those cases executes the bytecode directly, and this is possible because the virtual machine, unlike the bytecode it executes, is platform-specific and once the interpreter is installed on a specific machine, it exists as executable machine code (which is never changed, only executed).

        You claimed that all interpreters “takes bytecode and turns it into machine code”, they do not and most cannot BY DESIGN, they execute the bytecode directly (hint: and that is where the performance differences come from).

        You lied.
        Now admit your lie and apologize.

      • Andy_Schueler

        No, just-in-time compilation, also know as dynamic translation, is merely a matter of improving runtime performance.
        Dynamic translation or translation, who cares. It still has to be translated to machine code, so that the machine can execute it.

        And yet, there are solutions which require no generation of machine code whatsoever, either by a regular or by a JIT compiler. And if you try actually reading the comment where I explained this (hint: the relevant parts are highlighted) and think reeeaaally hard, you might just get it ;-).

        Do that – then admit you lied and apologize.

    • JohnM

      You’re just copy pasting the wikipedia article. You don’t really understand the implications of what I’m saying.. Virtual Machines are mere illusions, and rely on the real machines to do the real execution.

      And in order for the machine to know what to do, it has to be told so by machine code. There is no way around machine code. You need to talk to the hardware to get anything done. It’s not like “puuf” magic.. Mkay?

      • Andy_Schueler

        Read my comment. 
        Then admit your lie and apologize. 

      • Andy_Schueler

        You’re just copy pasting the wikipedia article.

        And yet another lie JohnM ? You could of course link to the alleged article I copied from, but we both know that you were lying don´t we ? ;-) 

    • pboyfloyd

      Actually JohnM, I think you’re using the internet as a kind of ‘greater Bible’ where you can find the ‘truth’ you need to cover any given situation.

      Write out a function in C++ for us, please. it’d impress the hell out of us and ought to be no problem for a seasoned programmer such as yourself, yes? Now the very first thing we’re going to do is check if you copy/pasted it off the ‘net, you know that, don’t you?

    • Hi Johno, my Humanists4Science colleague Thomas Rees has reviewed the Gervais et al paper here: http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2013/02/atheists-lack-empathy-and-understanding.html

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    • VanessaElizebeth

      I found lots of interesting information here. The post was professionally written and I feel like the author has extensive knowledge in this subject.

      Sample Statements

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    • jason bladzinski

      Pretty much all of this is bullshit. What kind of person would claim that belief in something like magic is a characteristic of a higher functioning brain? It’s just silly, and obviously biased towards a theistic view. I think it would be more accurate to study what about women and more religious men more gullible and willing to believe in things for which they have no evidence for. The god mentality isn’t the product of a more externally focused mind, it’s exactly the opposite! Religion places an importance on the individual and their existence than atheism ever does. Only theists believe that their consciousness is so important that it must go on for eternity, or that humans have a higher importance than other animals, or that there is a predetermined plan and meaning to their lives. Atheists and all manner of non believers are quite aware of their insignificance in the universe. Empathy is not something that functions on a higher capacity with the religious, theists believe their moral code comes from a higher power, and they follow this moral code for fear of punishment, and never for the value morality poses in itself toward human society. God or gods are individual projections of a persons wants, hopes, fears, and desires, it’s the most inward thinking, self important, empathy lacking world view you can possibly have! Studies show that non believers display more capacity for empathy than believers do. Non believers secular morality and ethics are superior to theocratic morality and ethical principals, it is based on the value of a moral system poses in itself in humanity. It is empathy itself that forms this system. Theists are the first to hate, they have issues with accepting others, homosexuals, members of different faiths, ethnicties, treat women as lesser, and these people are supposed to display greater capacity for empathy? Please, this is so biased it’s amazing! Just because I am an atheist doesn’t make me more likely to lack empathy, be constricted with a social mental disorder, or more likely to be inclined towards science, math, and engineering. In fact, I’m a visual artist, I deal in emotion and empathy for my living. Most artists I meet, Yup they are atheists too. This article is based on predisposed conjecture and propaganda attempting to make unbelievers look like lesser, unfeeling humans. Terrible.