Dia­lect­ic­al Mater­i­al­ist: Sam Har­ris is a racist. I’d have God over him, and I don’t believe in God.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Not caring isn’t evil. The uni­verse doesn’t care about you, and it isn’t evil either. In short, God resembles the uni­verse more than he resembles a swim­ming pool attend­ant. It’s not rock­et sci­ence, people.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Yes, Epi­cur­us shared the opin­ion I expressed above – that it is fool­ish to ima­gine God inter­fer­ing in human affairs. He was a reli­gious man himself.
Athe­ist: If it’s fool­ish to ima­gine God inter­fer­ing with human affairs then what is the point in try­ing to prove God’s exist­ence? The lack of evid­ence of such an entity is no argu­ment in favour of it. You can no more prove or dis­prove a God than you can a fly­ing horse from out­er space that only vis­its worlds that are unin­hab­ited.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Sure – in the same way that it is impossible to prove the vera­city or omni­po­tence of ‘sci­ence’ or ‘reas­on’. In both cases, one can only have faith.
Athe­ist: Sci­ence has its flaws but some­times it is demon­strably true – there are nat­ur­al laws which are etern­al. That isn’t based on faith, it’s based on observ­able objectiv­ity. People will dis­agree with one’s reas­on­ing but neither does that make the reas­on­ing false, some things are true, some things are indeed based on faith and bias, the concept of a God being the all time heavy­weight cham­pi­on of the lat­ter cat­egory. It’s just star­ted rain­ing, I’m not ima­gin­ing it.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Nat­ur­al laws are not etern­al – well, none we know of. God as “all time cham­pi­on“, etc, is, admit­tedly, a tedi­ous idea. The good news is that reli­gion doesn’t require it. Maybe one day there will be a sci­ence that explains the ulti­mate ori­gins of things and their fun­da­ment­al nature. But there is no proof of that. We just have to have faith in sci­ence.
Athe­ist: No nat­ur­al laws are etern­al? Not heard of grav­ity or fric­tion then? Incid­ent­ally I’m not ridicul­ing the idea of faith, one may believe in whatever they want to, but they will always have their own reas­on­ing behind it – so in con­clu­sion then, there is no proof that God exists, only the faith of his believ­ers. I can go along with that.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Grav­ity appeared in the first moments of the uni­verse through ran­dom quantum fluc­tu­ations. Many uni­verses will not con­tain it, or its laws will be dif­fer­ent. Sci­ent­ists sus­pect that the phys­ic­al con­stants of our uni­verse are still chan­ging. Steve, you really must let go of your prim­it­ive super­sti­tions and embrace sci­ence. The phys­i­cist Lee Smolin has writ­ten well on these issues, arguing that time is the only fun­da­ment­al thing in phys­ics – everything else is mut­able. And Fric­tion isn’t a nat­ur­al law, by the way. There is no proof that God exists. We also have no real idea what mat­ter is.
Athe­ist: Grav­ity is more evid­ent on our plan­et than oth­ers, I under­stand how it works. If you think it’s merely a man made concept then feel free to jump out of the win­dow and let me know how the lack of grav­ity and fric­tions works out for you – I’ll be wait­ing in eager anti­cip­a­tion 🙂 See my pre­vi­ous post, I’ll be here 🙂
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: I didn’t say it was a man made concept, I said it wasn’t etern­al. The belief in ‘etern­al laws’ is actu­ally a product of reli­gious think­ing – God sets the immut­able, unbreak­able laws of nature. I was just point­ing out that your idea of sci­ence is very ana­chron­ist­ic and, in fact, iron­ic­ally, heav­ily indebted to reli­gious ideas – Namely Newton’s Unit­ari­an notion of God as the ‘prime mover’ / prim­um mobile who sets all the immut­able laws of nature, then sets nature in motion, and then retreats from the uni­verse (thus explain­ing his lack of interest in the affairs of men – the sub­ject with which this thread star­ted). There’s no need to be ashamed at hav­ing such deeply reli­gious beliefs even though you think of your­self as an athe­ist – most athe­ists are steeped in reli­gious ideas of one kind or anoth­er. It’s just that those ideas tend to be quite old fash­ioned and not at all in tune with con­tem­por­ary sci­ence or reli­gion. And, incid­ent­ally, Grav­ity as a force simply doesn’t exist – it’s simply that space time bends near mat­ter in our uni­verse. You can escape grav­ity com­pletely by trav­el­ing fast enough. Just to be abso­lutely clear, the reas­on sci­ent­ists in the past assumed that the laws of nature were etern­al is because they assumed that God cre­ated the uni­verse and, being omni­po­tent, set the laws of nature once and for all the way he needed them in order to sup­port the uni­verse he wanted to cre­ate. The clue, by the way, is in the word ‘law’ – it was ima­gined that God gov­erned mat­ter the way a king gov­erns a soci­ety, by estab­lish­ing the rules that must be obeyed. How­ever, mod­ern sci­ence does not assume that God cre­ated the uni­verse, but under­stands that it’s ‘laws’ are reg­u­lar­it­ies and rela­tions cre­ated ran­domly in the Big Bang, and chan­ging over time. Thus, sci­ence no longer has any use for these etern­al, God giv­en laws you believe in.
Athe­ist: Right, so it’s not a man made concept, but it’s not an etern­al nat­ur­al law either, so what is it then? Grav­ity I mean, what is it if not an etern­al law of this par­tic­u­lar plan­et? One minute you’re decry­ing sci­ence for being noth­ing more than faith based con­jec­ture and deny that laws such as grav­ity and fric­tion, two of the most basic laws recog­nised by sci­ent­ists, are etern­al, and then go on to cite sci­ent­ists who have a belief in God and reli­gion as evid­ence in favour of your argu­ment. I can think for myself too, I have faith in my own intu­ition but am more than pre­pared to accept fur­ther inform­a­tion that might prove my intu­itions incor­rect. You’ve now reached the point of labelling me an unwit­ting believ­er because my argu­ment isn’t fit­ting in with your nar­rat­ive. You’re a nice guy Reli­gious Obscru­ant­ist, but I’m gonna have to duck out once more as this is a futile argu­ment that will oth­er­wise go on all night and leave me ques­tion­ing my san­ity. All the best, may your God go with you (Dave Allen – Athe­ist).

Most athe­ists are steeped in reli­gious ideas of one kind or anoth­er

Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: I didn’t say that sci­ence was merely faith based con­jec­ture. I said that ‘the belief that sci­ence can explain the ulti­mate nature of real­ity’ is a faith based con­jec­ture; which it clearly is, since there is no proof of it.
Athe­ist: That’s what you did say and you’ve been silly for quite some time now. Good­bye, have a good even­ing.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: No, I’m not say­ing you are an unwit­ting believ­er (in God). I am say­ing that your ideas about phys­ics (namely that the world is gov­erned by etern­al laws) are reli­gious ideas, albeit dis­cred­ited ones. That is to say, the idea that there are ‘etern­al’ laws of nature is a product of belief in an omni­po­tent God. Ser­i­ously – read New­ton. He’s quite clear about it. Where else could we have got the idea that the laws of nature are etern­al? By doing tests at the dawn of time, in dif­fer­ent uni­verses, then here, today, and com­par­ing the res­ults?
The idea stems from the assump­tion that;

1) God cre­ated the uni­verse, and
2) set its laws

Hence he set them once and for all, and they are etern­al. Did you per­haps believe that the idea had been tested? What did you ima­gine the test was like?
Athe­ist #2: Athe­ist #1, that sum­ma­tion was awe­some! Thank you.
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Ah, like all believ­ers in ‘reas­on’ you give up arguing when it can be shown that you are being unreas­on­able. Ser­i­ously, before you go, just explain where you got the idea that the laws of nature were etern­al. Why do you believe it to be true? It seems a per­fectly reas­on­able ques­tion to ask someone who is defend­ing ‘sci­ence’ where they get their sci­entif­ic ideas from. There’s no need to run away in a huff.
Athe­ist: I’m not going to argue with someone who’s argu­ment is based on noth­ing but faith and per­sist­ently con­tra­dicts itself. Why would I put myself through that? I have to give up because it is a futile exer­cise that will res­ult in a migraine, want any more ‘reas­ons’?
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: A final point for now: when I denied that nat­ur­al laws were ‘etern­al’, you assumed that I mean that they were there­fore ‘man made’. What clear­er example could there be of the super­sti­tious assump­tion that while men are con­fined to the world of change and con­tin­gency, God dwells in the time­less realms of the etern­al – where, for example, he cooks up his etern­al laws of nature. Tell me where you got the idea that the laws of nature are etern­al. Come on, don’t be shy, or people will think that you haven’t got an answer.
Athe­ist: Jump out of the win­dow then and let your faith decide the out­come. See ya, it was nice know­ing you. 🙂
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: Once again, our her­oes of ‘reas­on’ run away like spoiled chil­dren when it is shown that they are talk­ing super­sti­tious non­sense.
Athe­ist: I’m still here wait­ing for you to jump..what are you wait­ing for? ‘Super­sti­tious non­sense’, from a guy who believes in God and insists that faith is the only evid­ence required?
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist Because, for all the bull­shit about ‘sci­ence’, ‘proof’ and ‘reas­on’ they are really scared and super­sti­tious chil­dren incap­able of defend­ing their beliefs and pre­ju­dices. Just bear in mind that, con­trary to your pre­ju­dices, it turns out that us weak-minded the­ist­ic types can hold an argu­ment without wet­ting ourselves.
Athe­ist: You’re a nut­case, I’m merely sav­ing myself the stress… post unfol­lowed..
Reli­gious Obscur­ant­ist: By the way, I didn’t say I believed in God. You inven­ted that bit. And if I believe faith is suf­fi­cient, how comes I’m the only one of the two of us cap­able of mount­ing an argu­ment? How comes it is you that is try­ing to avoid answer­ing the ques­tion about where you got you belief about the laws of nature being eternal? 

Anoth­er hard-boiled ration­al­ist bites the dust.