Happy 2016!

On December 6, 2015, my computer crashed. I had no idea on that day that it would be more than a month before it could be put back to work. First we made a passage by sailboat from the Florida/Georgia border to Marathon, Florida. Dell tried valiantly to help me by phone. There were shipping issues and confusion all around.

Finally, yesterday I received my computer in what purports to be like-new condition. I believe it must be true, since almost every part that actually does anything in a computer appears to have been replaced. I am now engaged in the tedious processes of re-installing numerous programs and recovering my data.

The Lord willing, I’ll post on Monday and thereafter, as usual.

 

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13 thoughts on “Happy 2016!”

  1. Katherine this is a reply to your comment on your post here: https://livingontilt.com/2015/11/23/are-human-beings-merely-biochemical-machines/#comment-2486 which appears to be refusing any comments.

    It appears this universe had a beginning. We do not know yet if this is a one time event or is a cycle or what it may be. All evidence does point to a singularity, expansion and this universe. Humans are still investigating what may have caused this to happen; we may never know and that’s fine. Still no evidence for your god or the events in your bible. The same science that supports this conclusion is the same science that you accept and use everyday when you use computers, cellphones, GPS systems, modern medicine, etc. There is no evidence of a deity based creation, nor is there any evidence of your god making humans, and every other animal as we see them now some thousands of years ago. That this universe may have had a beginning doesn’t support the existence of your god. If you wish to claim it does, then this same “beginning” can also be evidence that many other gods exist since their myths also say that they created the universe. The problem now is that you need to show it was *your* god and no others. This requires evidence.

    I am sure you wish to ignore all of the points I’ve made and you are trying to again ignore my questions. I am still waiting for your evidence for your claims and answers to my questions:

    Where does the GoJ say that humans are extra special? Or the GoM? You said it and it should be quite an easy task to cut and paste the verses, shouldn’t it?

    Is Pascal making a good point or is his claim “questionable”? What is this good point? What happens if you got the wrong god?

    What is this “plenty of evidence” that humans have some supernatural thing going on? Why did your god evidently hate everyone before the modern era so much that it didn’t allow modern medicine to be discovered? Which reason would you like to choose to explain why prayers do nothing? Why are the prayers of all theists never answered? If it gives freedom, why does it murder people? Why does it force its will on the pharaoh? Why does it say that no one has free will in Romans 9?

    I am pleased to report your prayers have still had no effect and that nothing bad has happened to me to scare me into believing your god. No “cliff” at all, not that some bad event would make me change my conclusion that there are no gods.

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    1. I am not trying to scare you. I am trying to find a place where we can start talking. My question about the beginning of the universe is intended to help us determine if the beginning of the universe is a place where we can find agreement. If you agree that science has declared that there is a beginning to the universe, then we have a starting point.

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      1. I’m not sure where you get the idea that I am frightened by your question, since I answered it. It may be wishful thinking. Katherine, I have shown what science agrees on regarding the beginning of this universe. This is what I hold as fact until evidence is shown to change it.

        I am waiting for your response to my post that starts “It appears this universe had a beginning. We do not know yet if this is a one time event or is a cycle or what it may be. All evidence does point to a singularity, expansion and this universe.” I believe your tactic is to claim that this possible beginning is evidence for your version of the Christian god.

        Please present your case.

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      2. My case begins with the beginning of the universe. If you believe that science agrees that the universe had a beginning, we have a place to begin talking. I, too, believe that the universe had a beginning. We agree on this point.
        The next step is to ask another question. Has science demonstrated a plausible explanation for that beginning? Science is all about the answers to questions. This question is, what caused the universe to begin? The scientific method requires the development of a hypothesis followed by tests to find out if the hypothesis works. Do you believe that science has uncovered any cause for the beginning of the universe?

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      3. We don’t know yet what caused the beginning. We may never know entirely. Current hypotheses claims that the collision of branes may cause the creation, or that the universe has always existed and cycles through what we have observed and predict. The laws of physics may be as eternal as your god. Would you agree? If not, why not?

        You have made the claim that your version of the Christian god exists and that it is the creator of this universe. You need to show that the beginning of the universe was from it and nothing else. I am waiting for your evidence. If you cannot, at best we can have is a possible creator god; that’s all the cosmological argument gives.

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      4. You are completely correct about the cosmological argument. That syllogism only proves that there is a creator. I am glad we can agree on that point. We can stand together in this place.
        Can we agree, therefore, on the truth of the following statements?
        The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the degree of order in the universe is steadily reducing toward a state of entropy, thereby suggesting that the order began at some real point in the past.
        Ever since Dr. Hubble observed the expansion of the universe, it has been clear that the expansion had a real beginning.
        The background radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson pounded the last nail in the coffin of the Steady State theory.
        The analysis of photographs made by the Cosmic Background Explorer demonstrates that galaxies have histories that have starting points.
        Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity demands a beginning for the universe.
        If we agree that the universe had a beginning, can we also agree that it is not a random splash of material objects? That is to say, do we agree that the universe has a design?

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      5. The syllogism doesn’t not prove that there is a creator, so we do not agree at all, Katherine. It was a nice try though, to try to force me into agreeing with you. The cosmological argument assumes that there needs to be a creator for a beginning and *at best* can be a weak argument for a creator since there is no evidence for one, and requires an a priori assumption that there must be one. There does not have to be, and thus the false premises for your logical argument make your logical argument fail from the outset. I would think that you would perhaps be above trying to twist my words. It does not surprise me that you are not.

        The second law of thermodynamics does not say what you claim. Here is all it says “The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium” and for a more detailed explanation:
        1. Heat will not flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
        2. Any system which is free of external influences becomes more disordered with time. This disorder can be expressed in terms of the quantity called entropy.
        3. You cannot create a heat engine which extracts heat and converts it all to useful work.
        4. There is a thermal bottleneck which contrains devices which convert stored energy to heat and then use the heat to accomplish work. For a given mechanical efficiency of the devices, a machine which includes the conversion to heat as one of the steps will be inherently less efficient than one which is purely mechanical.

        The second law can only be applied to the universe (aka all reality) if one knows that there is no external source of energy. Creationists always try to apply the second law when they want to claim that evolutionary theory cannot work, but they do forget that the earth is not a closed system; and we cannot know if the universe is or not. There’s that really big ball of fusion 93 million miles or so from us (in which simpler elements are formed into more complex, e.g. more electron shells, etc right at this second) that allows complexity to increase on earth.

        The second law says nothing about the big bang. The order we see may have began at a point in the past, but again, no god needed at all. The laws of physics seem as likely to have started it and could have existed as eternally as your god. Since we do not know the level of entropy pre-Big Bang, indeed, we cannot known much if anything before it as things stand now, you cannot use the second law to make any kind of claims at all. Humans are at this point ignorant of what the original state was. This is what happens when creationists try to use ideas that they do not understand to try to make their claims seem as “sciency” as actual physics. Again, Katherine, no need for your god even if there were a “real beginning”. I am still waiting for you to show me there has to be, and it has to be your version of the Christian god.

        Yep, the background radiation found by Penzias and Wilson is likely very good evidence that there is no steady-state theory. The WMAP showed that very nicely and regular old physics shows that the claims of your bible are false when it comes to what the sun is, the moon is and what the stars are. Galaxies also form and we have some great images of solar systems forming (http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/discovering_planets_beyond/how-do-planets-form) , which again show that the myths of Bronze/Iron Age cultures were completely wrong in their claims about how the universe worked. Again no need for a magical being to make them do so, physics does that really well and physics has well predicted all we have found so far. Still no evidence for magical beings. As many theists try to do, you wish to claim that your bible predicted current cosmological theory from the beginning and that isn’t true at all. It’s a lovely bunch of retconning made up in order to try to keep your religion relevant.

        Yes, Einstein’s general theory of relativity does postulate a singularity and Stephen Hawking discusses it quite often. You might want to read what a physicist says and not what an ignorant creationist mangles, reguritates and claims is true: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-origin-of-the-universe.html Still no need for a creator god or your god at all.

        So, no, Katherine, I don’t agree with your baseless claims at all, despite your attempts to couch them in actual science that shows your bible and your religion to be false.. There is no intelligent design to the universe. There is no evidence of this at all. There is nothing random about the universe, the laws of physics aren’t random at all. This universe may be the umpteenth in a cycle with no beginning and no end. It may be a one-off. And still none of these possibilities need a god at all. The cosmological argument fails because it assumes an intelligent existential god is needed and that is not shown to be the case at all.

        Still waiting for evidence that there is a god of any kind needed for the universe to start or to exist at all. Still waiting for how you can show it was your version of the Christian god. I’m also still waiting for you to answer the questions posed to you.

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      6. I see. Clearly you are not open to a discussion. I fully respect your right to choose what you will believe. Exercising my own God-given right to choose what I will believe, I declare that
        I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
        I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again the judge the living and the dead.
        I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
        This is what I believe, and I believe it because my faith and my experience assure me that it is true. I am sorry you reject truth. Thank you for your knowledgeable and disciplined conversation which is clearly at an impasse. I pray God bless you with experiences that lead you to truth.

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      7. Wow, Katharine, it’s interesting that you’ve come to the conclusion I am not open to a discussion totally based on my not agreeing with you without question and not accepting your attempts to twist my words. A discussion is not blindly accepting the claims made by another because they try to force you to accept them by misrepresenting what you’ve said. I am sad because I know that there are a lot of honest fair Christians out there and your actions tarnish them.

        There is no reason to think you respect anything about me, Katherine, especially when you falsely claim I am “clearly not open to discussion”. That is a great excuse though, to avoid answering my questions, you know, those things that make up a discussion. I do not choose what to believe, I based what I believe on reality and evidence. I wish I could raise the dead like the little girl who was killed because her father was an idiot, but wishes aren’t true. I am still waiting for your evidence. Please do show that your god is the creator and that no others are. Please show that the universe requires a creator. You should be able to since you have made the claim, right?

        I know what you believe, Katherine. I used to believe it too. Lots of Christians believe in what you do too and they disagree with you on many of your claims of “truth”, having plenty of their own baseless claims. No one cares if you can spout the Apostles’ Creed, it doesn’t make it any more true. There is no evidence for Jesus Christ or your god. There is no evidence that it created anything. There is no evidence that anyone has ever been born of a virgin who got pregnant by a magical being.

        There is evidence of a Pontius Pilate and a Herod, but again, using their existence as claims of “evidence” means that all religions are as “true” as yours because they also mention real people and real places. Heck, even Spider-man is real per your claims of “evidence”. There is no evidence of hell or heaven, and Christians can’t even agree on what those exactly are.

        Christians have been trying to use fear and threats about their god coming back “real soon now” for a couple of thousand years and surprise, nothing has happened. You claim that your version of Christianity is the only “right” one and can’t show that is true any more than any Protestant version, any predestinationalist, any Jehovah’s Witness, any Mormon or any Unitarian. I’m not impressed by your rote nonsense. There are certainly people called saints and they do nothing, just like you god does nothing. There is no sin, original or otherwise, so there is no need of forgiveness, and thus no need of a “savior” that you can’t show even existed. You may as well write in caps “Get thee behind me Satan!” for utterly useless nonsense.

        Any theists can write out what they believe and claim that it is because of faith. Doesn’t make it true at all. I’m just as impressed by your claims as I am by a Muslim that Mohammed is the one true prophet, by a Mormon’s claim that they’ll get a magic planet after they are dead, or a Hindu’s claim that they will be reincarnated: not at all. They also claim that their experiences assure them that their claims are true. They can’t show any evidence just like you, Katherine.

        I don’t reject truth. I reject your baseless claims which are not the truth, no matter how many times you may try to claim so. You thought you could force me to agree with you and you failed. Now you want to falsely accuse me of not being open to a discussion. I am very open, and I’ve asked you questions to continue that discussion. Please provide the evidence to suport your claims, Katherine. That’s why a discussion is, give and take, not declaring that the other side is wrong because they don’t blindly accept what you say.

        You may pray all you want. You’ve said you’d do this before and nothing has changed, Katherine. Why is this? Is it that your god doesn’t listen to you, already having its supposed “plan” that no one can change as many Christians claim? Is it that your god loves me as I am, an honest atheist that uses her brain? Is it that you don’t pray correctly as so many Christians have claimed about Christians they don’t agree with and Christians who have lost their faith? Or is it that your god doesn’t exist at all, just like the evidence indicates?

        Again, I ask you to provide your evidence, answer my questions and participate in an actual discussion.

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      8. If you reject the logical conclusion that the beginning of the universe clearly requires the existence of a creator god, then we have no place from which to begin a discussion. Everything I have to say to you is based on that conclusion. I reached that conclusion on my own, and many people have done the same. If you exercise your will to reject that conclusion, then there is nothing else to be said to you. It won’t help to tell you other things that depend on the existence of God, because you have rejected him. It doesn’t hurt me, but it does keep me praying for you. I pray that God will not give up on you no matter how forcefully you reject him, but he will never force you to believe. He continues to bless you in many ways, including your loving husband, and he will reach out to you until the day you die. He never gave up on me, and he will never give up on you. God keep you well.

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      9. Katherine, it is not a logical conclusion that the beginnings of the universe required the existence of a creator god, especially your version of the Christian god. At best, the cosmological argument weakly argues for a god, but, as I pointed out, requires the assumption that there is a god needed. That has not be demonstrated to be true, so your cosmological argument fails because its premise is not supported at all. You have attempted to lie again when claiming that the universe requires a creator god. It can just as equally need a set of physical laws that are eternal. Please do show that the laws of physics are not eternal if you wish to argue that a creator god is required.

        You need to show that a creator god is required. You need to show that it is your god and no other. You need to show that the laws of physics do not fulfill the requirement of what started the universe. You have yet to do so.

        So what if you came to that conclusion on your own? That still doesn’t make it true. So what if many other people have come to the same conclusion? Many people worship Allah, so does that make that religion true, Katherine? Many people thought that the world was flat. Does that belief make it true? Many people thought that the wrath of some god or demons caused disease, and that was shown to be utterly untrue by the sciences. You’ve used a lovely appeal to popularity and have failed using that wonderful logical fallacy. So much for logic on your part.

        I reject your opinion because it has nothing to support it, Katherine. Your conclusion is false. I know you have no evidence for your claims, you can’t produce it and claiming that your beliefs are based on God is again, the exact same reasons that other theists use for their gods and you don’t believe them any more than I believe you. You seem to be retreating to a common Christian lie that atheists only reject their claims because we just want to be rebels. That is a lovely excuse used to avoid having to provide evidence for you false claims. I reject your god for the same reasons you reject other gods: no evidence at all.

        You may keep on praying, Katherine. That’s a lot easier than producing evidence and doing any work isn’t it? Again, why have your prayers failed completely so far, Katherine? Why should anyone think that Katherine’s prayers do anything and think that she is a good Christian who supposedly should be able to do miracles just like Jesus? There’s no claims of sudden healings of veterans or dying children, so I have to doubt that you are what you claim to be.

        Your god has done nothing for me or my husband. But if you want to claim that this is true, again you need to provide evidence. It could be the goddess Sekhmet, Tezcatlipoca, the Wicca Goddess, Coyote or any number of gods. It’s quite arrogant and ignorant to claim that your god is respnsible and have no evidence for that at all.

        I’m still waiting for evidence, Katherine. Surely you can provide it, right? A TrueChristian wouldn’t lie, correct?

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  2. You have my utmost sympathy! Carol A. Brown

    From: Living On Tilt Reply-To: Living On Tilt Date: Friday, January 8, 2016 at 2:44 PM To: Macbook Pro Subject: [New post] Happy 2016!

    WordPress.com Katherine Harms posted: “On December 6, 2015, my computer crashed. I had no idea on that day that it would be more than a month before it could be put back to work. First we made a passage by sailboat from the Florida/Georgia border to Marathon, Florida. Dell tried valiantly to h”

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