jump to navigation

Thinking about Sincerity January 7, 2020

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
24 comments

When theists try to convert unbelievers, they often try to reinforce how sincere they are about what they believe.  And they often seem surprised that their sincerity isn’t taken as a sign that their assertions should be accepted.

So this is a thought experiment to illustrate the weakness of “sincerity”.

For the purposes of this experiment, let’s assume that a god actually exists, and that it’s the christian biblegod, or something very similar.

Imagine that standing in front of you are five people.  And each one of those people says “God talks to me”.  Are they right?  They each sound completely sincere about this, and in fact each one assures you that they really really know this to be true.

(I’ve provided you with lovely stickman artwork, showing off my amazing skill at Powerpoint.  You’re welcome.)

But here’s who you’re actually seeing: (more…)

Jesus is Dead, Elvis is Dead, and I Don’t Feel so Good Myself September 29, 2019

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Parables, Responses.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
8 comments

Lately I’ve heard a lot of apologists try to argue for the reliability of the NT accounts of Jesus.  And they seem flummoxed when non-believers are not willing to accept their assertions about this.  So instead of talking about the gospels for the moment, first I’d like to talk about Elvis Presley. (more…)

Should I be honored or insulted? September 26, 2019

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Responses, UbiDubiKids.
Tags: , , , ,
13 comments

I’ve written about this event in some assorted blog comments over the past few days, but I think it deserves a full post of its own, as documentation.

There is an apologist, Tom Gilson, who writes for The Stream, and apparently also has his own blog, which I won’t link to here.  About a year ago he wrote an article, supposedly rebutting Lawrence Krauss on the issue of divine hiddenness.

Now I have no interest in reading The Stream, and generally avoid apologists in general, unless they show up on an atheist site trying to convert people.  I was totally unaware of this article, until recently when Bob Seidensticker wrote a response to it at Cross Examined, here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/09/another-attempt-to-explain-gods-hiddenness-or-nonexistence-fails-tom-gilson-the-stream.

So as I’m reading Bob’s post, I come across a quote that Gilson used to start off his article, supposedly from Lawrence Krauss:

[Suppose something happened] completely inconsistent with the operation of the universe as we know it, something impossible. . . . For instance, if the stars rearranged themselves to spell a different bible verse each night. Or if the tree in my front yard started growing KJV bibles instead of crabapples.

And my jaw just dropped.  I knew that quote wasn’t from Krauss, because I recognized it.  Because I WROTE IT!

That’s a direct quote from a post I wrote in 2016.  I did some quick checking, to be sure that Gilson wasn’t picking up an instance of Krauss quoting me.  I don’t know that Krauss ever has quoted me, or even knows who I am, but I like to be thorough.   Gilson doesn’t give a source for his quote, and the Krauss source he does link to in his article doesn’t include it.  I let Bob Seidensticker know about this, and he quickly posted an update to his article.  I also left a comment on the original Gilson article, which immediately went into moderation, and hasn’t shown up yet.  I don’t expect that it will ever be approved, since it would be an embarrassment to the author.

You can read Gilson’s article here: https://web.archive.org/web/20190924200235/https://stream.org/god-himself-obvious/

And here’s my original post, that he plagiarized from: https://boldquestions.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/answers-to-a-question-for-atheists/

Sheesh.

Our Lord of Inconspicuous Consumption July 3, 2018

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Responses, Wow.
Tags: , , , , , ,
7 comments

Recently, my spouse and I were driving from DC out to Indianapolis, and decided to see if there was anything interesting to stop and see along the route.  We were going to have a whole day to make the drive, and we were thinking maybe there was a mound with an interesting museum attached, or some other educational point of interest.  So I hit the internet, to see if there was something at a good lunchtime stopping point, and I saw “Palace of Gold” pop up.  A Palace of Gold?  In the hills of the West Virginia panhandle? What the heck was this, and why hadn’t I heard of it? (more…)

You won’t believe the BEST reason for being an atheist! February 5, 2018

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Brain Glitches, Responses.
Tags: , , , , ,
18 comments

A while back Jim posed a question on his blog, The Common Atheist.

His request was “If each of you would share right here one of your best arguments for atheism…”

And I replied with one of my best reasons, but since it was in a comment thread I tried to keep my answer brief.  However, I think the point I was making deserves a more careful discussion.  So here’s a full post about it. (more…)

“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Deprogramming (Part 2) February 4, 2018

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

So this will be the last post in this series, I think.  It’s been interesting to peer into this world, where devoting two years of young adulthood to being an overworked salesman for a religion (at your own expense) is considered an important Thing To Do.

For anybody just joining us, a while back I found this book at a used booksale:

This is not the official LDS book of rules, this is supposed to be a helpful guide, based on the author’s experiences, and those of many returned missionaries she knew over the years. It was published in 1968, but it’s obvious that some of the advice and tips in it are from many years before that.  I’ve been looking at it chapter by chapter, and it’s been interesting to see what’s changed, and what hasn’t. (more…)

“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Fun with Beans December 30, 2017

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Humor, Responses.
Tags: , , , , ,
9 comments

We’re nearing the end of this book.  (The 1968 guide for Mormon Missionaries, if you missed it.)  I’m going to be quoting at length from some sections of this chapter, because it’s just priceless.

Chapter 22, Recreation

Chapter after chapter in this book, there’s been instructions about the correct way to work your butt off.  Preach, cook, preach, clean, preach, wash, preach, write letters, preach, keep a journal, preach, and most especially DON’T EVER THINK ABOUT SEX.

Just reading about what these guys are expected to do is exhausting.  So finally we get to a chapter about how to rest and unwind.  Oh – not so fast now! (more…)

No true Santaist December 23, 2017

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Humor, Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Over on ex-christian.net, there has recently been a commenter who seems very earnest, but less prepared than most to defend what he believes.  He assures us that he knows god personally, and that he knows because he is “filled with the holy spirit”.  But of course he is unable to demonstrate this in any way, and we’ve replied to him that we also had strong feelings back when we were religious, and that his personal feelings in no way establish the truth about his claims.   He’s been asserting that all of the ex-christians were never True Christians™ because, of course, anybody who left christianity could never have been a real christian.  He’s sure that nobody who has felt what he has felt would ever change their mind.

You can read his commentary here:

http://new.exchristian.net/2017/12/love-is-not-christian-it-is-human.html

So after trying to talk to the guy for awhile, an idea for a  cartoon about this guy popped into my head, and would not go away until I drew it.  I have very limited skills with computer graphics, so I just used powerpoint’s drawing tools to create this.  I’ll put it after the break, so there won’t be spoilers for any small children who are reading over your shoulder. (more…)

“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Driving and Goodies from Home December 21, 2017

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Humor, Responses.
Tags: , , , , ,
7 comments

Another chapter from my continuing series on the 1968 guide for Mormon Missionaries.

Chapter 20, Driving Care

OK, we’ve all seen the missionaries out on bicycles.  If you see two guys in white shirts and neckties on bikes, you can be really sure that’s who they are.  So why is there even a chapter on driving in this book?  Well, apparently there are situations where missionaries might have a car, but that’s not addressed until after she gives her safe driving lecture. (more…)

“So You’re Going on a Mission!” Money Money Money October 9, 2017

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Books, Humor, Responses.
Tags: , , , ,
3 comments

My continuing series about the 1968 guidebook for Mormon Missionaries.

Chapter 19, Money Care.

So after dealing with the all-important consideration of scrapbooks, she finally gets around to lesser considerations, like budgets and spending.

“The money a missionary receives from home each month has usually already been tithed so that the missionary will not need to budget for tithing.” (pg 173)

If that were talking about taxes, I’d understand.  But here she is addressing tithing as if it’s a mandatory taxation, and not a voluntary gift made to the church.  That’s a lot of control this church has over their members’ finances, do they send bill collectors if you don’t pay up? (more…)