I started a blog last fall, Agnostic Innocence, which lately I have grown rather disenchanted with. To make a long story short, I started the blog specifically with the intent to better understand my own position on different topics; it was really an exercise in my own introspection that I published on the internet in order to force myself to adhere to the writing standards of the public sphere. At the time I began (and named) the blog, I was technically an atheist in that I did not believe in God. However, I based my lack of belief on what I perceived to be a condition of "universal agnosticism" held by humanity in regards to the supernatural. As the supernatural existed beyond the realm of our senses and therefore forever unknowable, I completely discounted any belief in God because I found it to be completely irrelevant. Still, I placed the concept of agnosticism as a cornerstone in my worldview. I later amended my views as I came to better understand the flaws in my position. Really, this was the entire point of the blog, and in that sense it served its purpose. Now, however, I have arrived at a point where the label "agnostic" seems tiresome; consequently, I really do not identify much with my blog and have pretty much left it to rot as it holds little further interest to me.

Much to my surprise, my Gmail inbox had a few comment notifications waiting for me the other day. Apparently, my agnostic ramblings had raised the ire of one theist who took it upon himself to inform me of my errors. His outrage at my apparent idiocy was too great to be contained by one single comment; instead, his indignation spilled into three separate postings:

On "Who is Shine?"

(comment 1)

Went through your blog. It seems like you love to live in your own virtual world. You are like a person who hates apples and in order to justify your hate you go around the market and collect bad apples from different vendors and present them as a proof of why apples are bad ?


The problem with today’s generation is that they spend thousands of dollars and hours of studying to get an academic degree in their desire field of interest. They attend hours of lectures listening to professors while studying for their degree. But when it comes to religion they prefer to venture on your own. How hypocritical is that? For this bodily world you work effortlessly and when it comes to your soul you are absolutely careless.


Have you studied spirituality (forget religion for now since it is out of your scope) with a scholar who is not involved in greed for fame and wealth?

Have you ever visited those deserts in North Africa where the saints remember their lord in small makeshift tents and yet are absolutely content with their life?


You should get off the internet -which is like a hay stack made of lies with a hidden straw of truth here and there.


Go in search of the truth instead of looking at those “bad apples” and convincing yourself that you are on the right track !


Peace


On "What is Agnostic Innocence?"

(comment 2)

Supernatural does not exist?


the entire concept of any entity existing without matter or energy is a supreme violation of reason?


Please give me the definition of universe?


Where does it start and where does it end?


Obviously we don’t have the knowledge of the entire universe, so please describe me using your “wise reasoning” does something contains the universe or universe in contained in something ?


Please use your reasoning and tell me how and why the planets are so meticulously orbiting the sun in our solar system? Show me an example on our planet earth which has such a precise timing ? Why can’t humans
just create a single clock which stays on time and why we have to go out in the space and use an atomic clock to readjust the times on earth?


Please explain to me why in the past thousands of years not a single meteor has struck earth yet? If you are not aware of Theory of Probability and then please go to some mathematician and pose him a question of probability as to why when the universe which is full of meteors and asteroids and other objects randomly floating and flying around , they haven’t yet struck the earth?


Please explain to me using the theory of evolution as why other planets like Mars do not have life on them when we see life in extreme conditions (thermophillic organisms and extremophiles)? Why evolution only works a certain way and only on earth? If the theory is universal then you should be able to apply it to every planet in our solar system and the entire universe. We should be able to see organisms who are completely different than the ones found on earth since they should “evolve” based on other planetary environments.


Please describe to me the scientific term “Infinity”. What is infinity and can your brain with your “reasoning” grasp its definition?


If you can’t wrap around a widely used concept of infinity then why you think you would understand the supernatural?


(comment 3)

Today with so many “specialized” fields man has become delusional. Even great scientists like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton acknowledged the existence of the supernatural.


Don’t tell me you have a better reasoning and understanding of science than these folks.


Arrogance will lead you to darkness!


I love the quote used by Einstein – If you see a rolling ball then there must be someone to set it in motion”
Simple words with deep meaning.


Maybe you need to contemplate some more.


So many logical fallacies, so little time. I finally had a chance to write a nice, lengthy response this morning:

James, I’m going to reply to the pertinent parts of your three comments in one response for clarity.


On the “Who is Shine?” page, you left a comment comparing my criticisms of religion to one who focuses upon the rotten apples in a peck and thereby discards the entire bunch. The problem with this analogy is that pieces of bad fruit do not promote bigotry, hatred, intolerance, violence, or cruelty. Bad portions of religion, however,
do all of the above and more.


You lament that I have not studied spirituality with “a scholar who is not involved in greed for fame and wealth.” I am honestly puzzled as to what exactly this means, and why you seem to ignore that I myself could be a scholar who is not involved in greed for fame or wealth. Also, spirituality is an incredibly personal quest for most people as it approaches the very limits of consciousness and how we define ourselves as individual human entities. Mysticism is largely a solitary endeavor, and recommending that I need to seek a selfless scholar is completely contradictory to the entire process.


>>>You should get off the internet -which is like a hay stack made of lies with a hidden straw of truth here and there. (from “Who is Shine?” comment)


I had to directly quote this for irony. For the record, I spend most of my time with my nose in a book. But, after all, what is so terribly different between books and the internet? The web is simply a modern medium for printed information to be transmitted between people; any criticism you have for the internet in this respect could also be applied to books. Books have really only been available since the advent of the printing press in the late 15th century; in that regard, even books are a rather new technology and really not any more impervious to falsity than the internet.


>>>the entire concept of any entity existing without matter or energy is a supreme violation of reason?


What does the entity consist of if not matter or energy?


>>>Obviously we don’t have the knowledge of the entire universe, so please describe me using your “wise reasoning” does something contains the universe or universe in contained in something?


I am earnestly puzzled as to what you are trying to say here. I fully agree with the statement that we obviously do not have knowledge of the entire universe; I think that this is a key point which I have reiterated in several blog posts. The entire title of the blog, Agnostic Innocence, should prove that I recognize the fundamental ignorance of our species in regards to much of the universe. Admittedly, I am not enthralled with the name of this blog anymore, as I have come to realize that agnosticism need not apply to impossibilities. We actually can know that some things do not exist because they are nonsensical, like a five-sided triangle, or an omnipotent being bound by logic, or a existent supernatural entity that consists of nothing. I am not sure what you mean by the universe and something statement; you will have to clarify your meaning.


The next two paragraphs of your comment are an extended list of “god-of-the-gaps” arguments. Essentially, just because our current body of scientific knowledge cannot (to my knowledge) answer your questions, you have decided that the answer must be, “God did it.” This answer has been overturned countless times throughout history as science inevitably furthers our understanding of the universe.


But even if there are some things that science will never know, why does this necessitate inserting God as the answer?


>>>Please describe to me the scientific term “Infinity”. What is infinity and can your brain with your “reasoning” grasp its definition? If you can’t wrap around a widely used concept of infinity then why you think you would understand the supernatural?


Infinity is a scientific term? Is there something that I am missing here? Why is it so hard to wrap one’s brain around infinity? Surely, we live a temporal existence in which we are bound by physical laws, and there is nothing infinite about our lives beyond our conceptualizations. I never said that we do not conceive of the supernatural, I only said that the supernatural does not exist beyond our minds. God exists in your mind as a process of neural transmissions in your gray matter, just like unicorns, chakras, and karma does.


>>>Today with so many “specialized” fields man has become delusional. Even great scientists like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton acknowledged the existence of the supernatural. Don’t tell me you have a better reasoning and understanding of science than these folks.


Cite me references of either scientist recognizing the supernatural. Also, remember that Newton lived three hundred years ago in the midst of the scientific revolution. The microscope and the telescope were infant technologies, and much more of the universe remained a mystery than today. Surely, you must see how this could necessarily shift Newton’s perspective; who knows what his stance would be today with our 21st century science?


Also, most of Einstein’s quotes used to “prove” his religiosity are a complete perversion of his original intent. The quote about the ball could just as easily be a comment on physical determinism as it could be on supernatural intervention.


>>>Maybe you need to contemplate some more.


What is more contemplative than writing? That is what the entire blog was created for, my own introspection and quest for a better understanding of the universe around me.


Thank you for reading and commenting, but I honestly think that your responses are a bit derogatory towards me rather than constructively responding to issues that I have raised.



I eagerly await a response, although I'm afraid that I will be sorely disappointed. :(

Views: 12

Tags: agnostic, argument, logic, supernatural, theist

Comment by Victoria Summers on March 14, 2010 at 6:56pm
Hello Shine, this is fantastic! Thank you for posting this! So many believers really cling to the idea that Einstein believed in a deity. Any opportunity to have a scientist argue their case. If you do receive a reply, let us know :)
Comment by Reggie on March 14, 2010 at 7:27pm
Nice job, Shine! This person is a typical theistic troll that you handled with aplomb and grace. On my list of favorite people on T|A, you just moved ahead of Nelson. And he was pretty high up there, but he's been slacking lately.
Comment by luvtheheaven on March 14, 2010 at 7:54pm
Yeah, you gave some great answers to some annoying comments. ;) I too would love to know if this person ever replies... but if not, oh well.
Comment by Shine on March 14, 2010 at 7:57pm
Thanks! :) I agree, Victoria, theists seem to have a nasty habit misappropriating Einstein and other scientists' quotes in an effort to validate their nonsense. I think one of the worst examples was Ray Comfort's list of "religious scientists" from his intro to Origin of Species last fall.

Uh oh, Reggie, I don't want to start a turf war with Nelson! I mean, you know the reason that he wears purple shades is to block the Darwinian laser beams of death that he has evolved to incinerate theists. I fear for my safety if he turns my way sans sunglasses!

I hope that he responds too, luvtheheaven. I wonder if it will be in one single reply or scattered in multiple responses across several pages, lol.
Comment by Doug Reardon on March 14, 2010 at 8:17pm
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
Comment by Michel-san on March 14, 2010 at 8:20pm
Selective knowledge. That phrase sprung in to my head while reading his ramblings. He 'knows' only those things that support the existence of a god. What a strange state of affairs!

I wonder if he took his own advice and asked a mathematician for a lesson in probability...
Comment by Velogiraptor on March 14, 2010 at 8:55pm
An outstanding response Shine! Well done. I'm guessing that you will receive a response, given the nature of the wild internet trollz.
My guess is he will respond with Einstein's "God does not play dice" on the quote challenge as that's a favorite of theists.
I might also ask him which scholar you should study under. Buddhist? Jewish? Muslim? Taoist? Trascendentalist? Scientologist? It's quite difficult to find an organized religion that isn't really a machine for gathering money and sidestepping taxes. That makes it difficult to find a theologian that isn't all about money. You might ask if he went to a church, and if he did, then he has not lived up to his own standard of spiritual education.
Comment by Velogiraptor on March 14, 2010 at 8:57pm
Oh, and about the planets orbiting at the right speed... that's because the particles that weren't moving fast enough for a stable orbit collapsed into the sun, and what remained and formed planets was already moving fast enough. I just couldn't abide that one. :P
Comment by Shine on March 14, 2010 at 11:11pm
Thanks, all! :)
Comment by Kris Scofield on March 15, 2010 at 11:33am
"Please explain to me why in the past thousands of years not a single meteor has struck earth yet?"

Yeah, not a single one. Ever. Simply magic. I think that line alone just sold me on theism.

I love getting emails like these. You've got some real gems there.

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