Atheists on the march in America

Atheists on the march in America

There are 70634 comments on the TurkishPress.com story from Aug 26, 2009, titled Atheists on the march in America. In it, TurkishPress.com reports that:

When South Florida atheists held their first meeting, they were just five friends, having a beer at a bar.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TurkishPress.com.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#65162 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
<quoted text>
This simply qualifies what I said earlier, it is impossible, even in principle, to predict the behavior of any SINGLE atom; all physicists can do is predict the average properties of a large collection of atoms
Even this is not completely true. But it does show how macroscopic deterministic properties arise from the probabilistic quantum level.
Your interpretation, but not fact.
What? That elementary particles have mass? Want some quotes from the particle data sheet?

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#65163 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
<quoted text>
While peer review has its place, the actual proof of scientific truth lies in replicating experiments and producing the same results. When we believed that truth was a single, unquestionable answer, this idea had merit. But the tenets of the quantum era show that the experimenter, as a part of every research he preforms, influences the results by what he chooses to study, the collection of data, and how he analyzes it - but even more importantly by his actual presence in an experimental situation. It seems that scientists cannot extricate themselves from the experiment. They are part of the field of interaction and a basic ingredient in what they study. In this sense, scientific truths will always be relative.
And yet, quantum mechanics gives very precise predictions for a host of different phenomena, from atomic spectra, to decay rates, to properties of solids. Again, your understanding of quantum mechanics is flawed, probably because it is derived from popular accounts instead of the actual, technical science.

An experimenter affects things by setting up an experiment to measure what happens. Quantum mechanics does a very good job of predicting the types of events that can happen in any given set-up and the probabilities of each happening.

But, it is true that the universe is inherently probabilistic and not deterministic at the fundamental level. That is one of the big lessons from quantum mechanics.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#65164 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
Fact or fiction?
The second law of thermodynamics describes the disorganization of matter over time, that is, things become less structured and they decay. Leaves fall and create mulch, an example of the downside of nature. This raises the question of how evolution could take place if the prevailing tendency is toward disorder and decay. Transistion to a higher order according to Ilya Prigogine, is universally accompained by perturbation. He has shown that if energy is introduced to matter, the disintegration process is altered and matter takes on a higher organization. So, entrophy can be both the evidence of decay as well as the first step in the creation of new materials. Jahn refers to the possibility that consciousness has an entropy-reducing capacity which creates an ordering influence on otherwise random physical processes, thereby reversing their normal thermodynamic tendency of disintegration.
Mostly fiction. It starts with a popular, but misleading description of the second law of thermodynamics. There are many situations where organization is driven by entropy (as opposed to disorganization). It ends up with a claim that consciousness reverses entropy, when consciousness is just as subject to the second law as anything else is. Local effects are always balanced by larger global effects.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#65165 Nov 25, 2012
Rose_NoHo wrote:
<quoted text>
Actually, a good example of what I am talking about, we can measure the release of heat independently of survival. But release of heat is an advantage in a hot environment, a disadvantage is a cold one. So, you can't say "survival of those with the best release of heat into the environment." Again, it goes back to "fitness" being determined by survival.
No, it goes to fitness being determined by *environment*. In a given environment, some properties lead to better survival and, more importantly for evolution, procreation. Evolution always happens in an environment and the 'fitness' is always determined by that environment. But it is not a tautology because we can identify properties that help survival and procreation in various environments independently of evolutionary mechanisms.
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65166 Nov 25, 2012
Part 1
Drew Smith wrote:
Where do we observe "Intelligent Design"?
<quoted text>Be specific. Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.[QUOTE]

As I said in an earler post, Intelligent Design exists within and behind all systems, and that includes natural phenomena. You can't isolate what isn't physical and put in a petri dish for examination. The seasons come and go predictably - this is an example of Intelligent Design.

[QUOTE who="Drew Smith"]<quoted text>
So you're saying that science is just one big conspiracy, and that scientific theories are incapable of predicting future observations?
I am saying that predictive results are wholly dependent upon the perceptions of the observer. And since the observer does not have all the pieces of the puzzle, his interpretation of what he is observing will not reflect the whole story. Stephen Hawking commented, "Apparently common sense notions work well when dealing with material things like apples and/or comparitively slow moving things like planets; they don't at all for things moving at the speed of light."

I reiterate: The proof of scientific truth lies in replicating experiments and producing the same results. When we believed that truth was a single, unquestionable answer, this idea had merit. But the tenets of the quantum era show that the experimenter, as a part of every research he preforms, influences the results by what he chooses to study, the collection of data, and how he analyzes it - but even more importantly by his actual presence in an experimental situation. It seems that scientists cannot extricate themselves from the experiment. They are part of the field of interaction and a basic ingredient in what they study. In this sense, scientific truths will always be relative.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Science accepts evidence if it's actually evidence. What evidence do *you* have to offer?
When one extends material substances towards infinity, one comes up with not mass, but a process, an event, and a relationship. James Jeans, a famous mathematician, wrote that "the universe begins to look less like a machine and more like a thought system."
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>If thought is not physical in nature, how does it "manifest constructs that are physically perceptible"?
A novel which is the product of thought, is physically perceptible is it not? If you are asking how thought becomes physical matter, keep in mind what I said earlier "quantum theory holds that a vacuum, like atoms, is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum..." These things are units of consciousness or CUs. There is a constant surge into our universe of new energy, awareized energy, through these infinite minute nonphysical sources. These units are smaller than sub-atomic particles and faster than the speed of light. They are literally indestructible. They can take any form, organize themselves in any kind of time behavior, and seem to form a reality that "appears" to be completely dependent upon its form and structure. You could say that these CUs operate as minute but extremely potent black holes and white holes - points through which energy enters our system creating the experience of forward time and the appearance of physical matter in space and time.
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65167 Nov 25, 2012
Part 2
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>(And you didn't answer my question: What would a "non-natural" cause look like, and how would it appear different from a natural cause?)
If it can't be seen, you certainly can't expect to know what it looks like.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>You mean, like the ones listed here?
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.h ...
My question was: "Exactly how do genetic mutations, or neo-Darwinian synthesis, demonstate COOPERATION among the various species? Your link does not address this question.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>That's because science uses methodological naturalism. That means that it doesn't include supernatural entities in its models. Why should it? More to the point,*how* could it?
That's my point. Science's methodology by focusing exclusively on "exterior" events prevents the discovery of higher non-physical realities.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>As opposed to what other "reality?
Again, the non-physical realms. Reality is infinitely more complex than science has ever envisioned, even beyond any single religious ideology existing today. An extended concept of reality postulates an "open" system - where constant interaction and transactions take place back and forth between all existing systems both physical and non-physical.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>Science seeks mechanisms, not meanings. Human experiences that don't fit the scientific picture of reality are simply excluded.
Such as?
Such as the "purpose" of life. What a dreary picture scientific beliefs paint about life. What gloom and doom comes from its models of the universe. They say that in this material world dominated by entropy from birth to death, we are on a downhill slide. Our world is random, moving towards thermal death. We are born to die so that we can evolve. Life can only be explained by a chemical soup from which we sprang, and we obey these chemical laws. Worse, these erroneous concepts have been inserted into every field of inquiry. Psychology and psychiatry thinks of man as a machine with bestial ideas - impulsive unconscious drives over which he has no control guiding his every step. How is this lamentable tale any different than religion's apocalypse?

As for Einstein's quotes? Google them!
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65168 Nov 25, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Mostly fiction. It starts with a popular, but misleading description of the second law of thermodynamics. There are many situations where organization is driven by entropy (as opposed to disorganization). It ends up with a claim that consciousness reverses entropy, when consciousness is just as subject to the second law as anything else is. Local effects are always balanced by larger global effects.
Consciousness is not subject to physical laws.
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65169 Nov 25, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
And yet, quantum mechanics gives very precise predictions for a host of different phenomena, from atomic spectra, to decay rates, to properties of solids. Again, your understanding of quantum mechanics is flawed, probably because it is derived from popular accounts instead of the actual, technical science.
An experimenter affects things by setting up an experiment to measure what happens. Quantum mechanics does a very good job of predicting the types of events that can happen in any given set-up and the probabilities of each happening.
But, it is true that the universe is inherently probabilistic and not deterministic at the fundamental level. That is one of the big lessons from quantum mechanics.
The advanced order basic to the new physics (quantum), and all ancillary sciences was not discovered in particles of matter. It was found in the minds of scientists who had given up their preconceived notions about the physical world and reality, as the overwhelming idea of the oneness of life began to impinge upon their perceptions. They saw that things moved without following the laws of mechanical motion, that they moved disjointedly in a discontinuous manner, jumping almost effortlessly between two places. On the atomic scale, physicists saw that what they used to measure "data" created and determined what they found.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65170 Nov 25, 2012
Where do we observe "Intelligent Design"? Be specific. Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.
postscript wrote:
As I said in an earler post, Intelligent Design exists within and behind all systems, and that includes natural phenomena. You can't isolate what isn't physical and put in a petri dish for examination. The seasons come and go predictably - this is an example of Intelligent Design.
The seasons come and go predictably because the Earth is tilted on its axis and presents a different angle to the Sun as it revolves around the Sun.

I'll say it again: Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.

***
postscript wrote:
And since the observer does not have all the pieces of the puzzle, his interpretation of what he is observing will not reflect the whole story.
Science doesn't claim to have "the whole story".*Religion* does. It's equivalent to claiming "truth".
postscript wrote:
The proof of scientific truth lies in replicating experiments and producing the same results. When we believed that truth was a single, unquestionable answer…
As I said, science doesn't claim "truth". Any fact or theory of science can be overturned by new evidence.

***

What evidence do *you* have to offer?
postscript wrote:
When one extends material substances towards infinity, one comes up with not mass, but a process, an event, and a relationship. James Jeans, a famous mathematician, wrote that "the universe begins to look less like a machine and more like a thought system."
You didn't answer the question.

***

If thought is not physical in nature, how does it "manifest constructs that are physically perceptible"?
postscript wrote:
A novel which is the product of thought, is physically perceptible is it not? If you are asking how thought becomes physical matter, keep in mind what I said earlier "quantum theory holds that a vacuum, like atoms, is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum…"
Thoughts don't materialize out of vacuum. They are observable biological and chemical patterns in the brain.
postscript wrote:
These things are units of consciousness or CUs. There is a constant surge into our universe of new energy, awareized energy, through these infinite minute nonphysical sources. These units are smaller than sub-atomic particles and faster than the speed of light. They are literally indestructible. They can take any form, organize themselves in any kind of time behavior, and seem to form a reality that "appears" to be completely dependent upon its form and structure. You could say that these CUs operate as minute but extremely potent black holes and white holes - points through which energy enters our system creating the experience of forward time and the appearance of physical matter in space and time.
So, other than sentences full of woo, have you got anything that you can actually *demonstrate*?

No, I didn't think so.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65171 Nov 25, 2012
(And you didn't answer my question: What would a "non-natural" cause look like, and how would it appear different from a natural cause?)
postscript wrote:
If it can't be seen, you certainly can't expect to know what it looks like.
"Look like" doesn't refer specifically to photons. "Look like" refers to how we would distinguish a "non-natural" cause from a "natural" one.

Provide a distinguishing characteristic so that we would know when we are observing one.

***

You mean, like the ones listed here?
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.h...
postscript wrote:
My question was: "Exactly how do genetic mutations, or neo-Darwinian synthesis, demonstate COOPERATION among the various species? Your link does not address this question.
My link specifically addressed *your* question that immediately preceded my response, namely, when you wrote: "And while I am on the subject of scientific conundrums, where are all the remnants of those creatures that linked birds, reptiles, cats, monkeys and human beings?"

So why are you being dishonest in implying that I provided that link to address your question about cooperation?

My response to your question about cooperation was this: "Computer simulations of mutations show that mutations leading to cooperation will result in more success than those that don't."

***
postscript wrote:
Science's methodology by focusing exclusively on "exterior" events prevents the discovery of higher non-physical realities.
Until you can provide actual evidence for "higher non-physical realities", you're engaged in just so much woo.

***
postscript wrote:
Again, the non-physical realms. Reality is infinitely more complex than science has ever envisioned, even beyond any single religious ideology existing today. An extended concept of reality postulates an "open" system - where constant interaction and transactions take place back and forth between all existing systems both physical and non-physical.
And what, again, is the evidence for this "non-physical realm"?

***

Such as?
postscript wrote:
Such as the "purpose" of life.
Why does life require a "purpose"?
postscript wrote:
What a dreary picture scientific beliefs paint about life.
So you're saying that unless you are provided with an *external* purpose to your life, you would find your life dreary? That's odd, because I require no such external purpose, yet I don't find my life at all dreary. I enjoy it very much. And I don't require belief in "non-physical" realms in order to enjoy my life.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65172 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
Consciousness is not subject to physical laws.
Really? Got any evidence of "consciousness" apart from a physical brain?
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65173 Nov 25, 2012
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Really? Got any evidence of "consciousness" apart from a physical brain?
Astral projection.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65174 Nov 25, 2012
Really? Got any evidence of "consciousness" apart from a physical brain?
postscript wrote:
Astral projection.
Got any evidence that "astral projection" is a real phenomenon?
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65175 Nov 25, 2012
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>And yet, quantum mechanics gives very precise predictions for a host of different phenomena, from atomic spectra, to decay rates, to properties of solids.
Provide examples.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>The seasons come and go predictably because the Earth is tilted on its axis and presents a different angle to the Sun as it revolves around the Sun.[/Quote]

You are merely describing the physical mechanisms behind Intelligent Design as it operates in our system, which in no way nullifies the existence of Intelligent Design.

[QUOTE who="Drew Smith"]<quoted text>I'll say it again: Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.[/Quote]

Psychic phenomena.

[QUOTE who="Drew Smith"]<quoted text>Science doesn't claim to have "the whole story".*Religion* does. It's equivalent to claiming "truth". As I said, science doesn't claim "truth". Any fact or theory of science can be overturned by new evidence.
When science presents its version of reality as the ONLY version, it is in effect claiming it has the ONLY answers and therefore knows the truth. And how convenient! When science's stories are no longer valid (the sun revolves around the earth) it can always assert that new information changed the ground rules. By doing so, it never has to hold itself accountable for its own false claims.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>Thoughts don't materialize out of vacuum. They are observable biological and chemical patterns in the brain.
How would you know when primarily, the brain has been studied in an airtight glass jar, a closed system? Science has yet to locate the seat of thought in the human brain and for a reason. The brain is primarily an event-forming psychomechanism through which consciousness operates. Both the brain and consciousness serve the body's existence, but not in the same way.

In the book, The Three Pound Universe: The Brain, a neuroanatomist known for his methodological vigor paused during his nerve cell study to comment, "I doubt we will ever get to consciousness from here. Who knows if the mind is even in the brain?" Candace Pert, while with the National Institute of Health, extensively researched neuropeptides. Initially she viewed the brain in Newtonian terms with the neurochemicals and their receptors operating like locks and keys. Now she sees the brain and its functions as a vibratory energy field with its locks and keys ways of perturbing the field. There is more, much more beyond the brain. It is no longer the end of the line. It is a receiver and amplifier of realities as yet unknown to science.

If a neuroanatomist doubts that consciousness is physical, you, as a member of the Church of Science have no reason, other than blind denial, to think otherwise.
postscript

Santa Fe, NM

#65176 Nov 25, 2012
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>"Look like" refers to how we would distinguish a "non-natural" cause from a "natural" one. Provide a distinguishing characteristic so that we would know when we are observing one.
How can science, or YOU for that matter, distinquish the difference between a natural cause and a non-natural cause through observation when it doesn't recognize the existence of non-natural causes?
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>So why are you being dishonest in implying that I provided that link to address your question about cooperation?
Because you went off on tangent hoping that an explanation for the lack of a legitimate fossil record would somehow suffice.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>My response to your question about cooperation was this: "Computer simulations of mutations show that mutations leading to cooperation will result in more success than those that don't."
Simulations? Let me put in a context you might understand. Elephants create openings in forest canopies, allowing a greater variety of plant species to survive, which also helps many smaller animal species. This "cooperation" has nothing to do with genetic mutations.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>Until you can provide actual evidence for "higher non-physical realities", you're engaged in just so much woo.
Until science can turn its focus away from its obsession with the physical, it doesn't have a hope in hell of comprehending the bigger picture, and is therefore not a competent source of information.
Drew Smith wrote:
<quoted text>So you're saying that unless you are provided with an *external* purpose to your life, you would find your life dreary? That's odd, because I require no such external purpose, yet I don't find my life at all dreary. I enjoy it very much. And I don't require belief in "non-physical" realms in order to enjoy my life.
You sip from the thinnest broth of consciousness. And worse, you are not even aware of it.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65177 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
Drew Smith wrote: And yet, quantum mechanics gives very precise predictions for a host of different phenomena, from atomic spectra, to decay rates, to properties of solids.
I didn't write that.

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65178 Nov 25, 2012
The seasons come and go predictably because the Earth is tilted on its axis and presents a different angle to the Sun as it revolves around the Sun.
postscript wrote:
You are merely describing the physical mechanisms behind Intelligent Design as it operates in our system, which in no way nullifies the existence of Intelligent Design.
I'm describing the mechanisms that fully account for the predictable coming and going of the seasons. You haven't provided any evidence for "Intelligent Design".

***

Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.
postscript wrote:
Psychic phenomena.
Such as?

***
postscript wrote:
When science presents its version of reality as the ONLY version, it is in effect claiming it has the ONLY answers and therefore knows the truth.
Science doesn't claim that it's version of reality is the "only" version. However, it is the only version that has been shown to make usable predictions. Do you have any other version that has been shown to make usable predictions?
postscript wrote:
When science's stories are no longer valid (the sun revolves around the earth) it can always assert that new information changed the ground rules. By doing so, it never has to hold itself accountable for its own false claims.
Translation: Science, when it is shown to be in error, admits to the error and makes corrections. Therefore, it does not claim to have "truth".

Too bad that religion is incapable of such admissions, eh?

***

Thoughts don't materialize out of vacuum. They are observable biological and chemical patterns in the brain.
postscript wrote:
How would you know when primarily, the brain has been studied in an airtight glass jar, a closed system? Science has yet to locate the seat of thought in the human brain
Sure about that? Perhaps you need to read "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain" by Antonio Damasio.
postscript wrote:
Candace Pert, while with the National Institute of Health, extensively researched neuropeptides. Initially she viewed the brain in Newtonian terms with the neurochemicals and their receptors operating like locks and keys. Now she sees the brain and its functions as a vibratory energy field...
Gee, you're able to commit plagiarism! Who knew? Got anything that Pert actually published as a peer-reviewed scientific research paper? No?

Since: Feb 08

Tampa, FL

#65179 Nov 25, 2012
postscript wrote:
How can science, or YOU for that matter, distinquish the difference between a natural cause and a non-natural cause through observation when it doesn't recognize the existence of non-natural causes?
If you can't even explain how one would know that they are dealing with a "non-natural" cause, then on what basis do you claim that they exist?

***

So why are you being dishonest in implying that I provided that link to address your question about cooperation?
postscript wrote:
Because you went off on tangent hoping that an explanation for the lack of a legitimate fossil record would somehow suffice.
You're the one who first brought up cooperation among species (which I addressed), followed by your claim that there was a lack of fossils (which I addressed with the link). So why are you implying that my response to your fossil claim was a response to your claim about cooperation? If the fossil claim is a "tangent", then you're the one who went off on it, and you're being dishonest.

***
postscript wrote:
Elephants create openings in forest canopies, allowing a greater variety of plant species to survive, which also helps many smaller animal species. This "cooperation" has nothing to do with genetic mutations.
It has everything to do with genetic mutations, since elephants are descended from animals that *didn't* create such openings. It was genetic mutations that led to modern elephants.

***
postscript wrote:
Until science can turn its focus away from its obsession with the physical...
As opposed to the *what*? The stuff you claim exists but for which you cannot provide any evidence?

Since: Apr 11

Santa Monica, CA

#65180 Nov 25, 2012
Drew Smith wrote:
Where do we observe "Intelligent Design"?
<quoted text>
Be specific, instead of merely engaging in handwaving. Provide a specific example of "Intelligent Design" that is not explained by observed natural phenomena such as gravity or natural selection.
***
If scientific theories, which are explanations, are not "real", then why are they effective in making predictions?
<quoted text>
So you're saying that science is just one big conspiracy, and that scientific theories are incapable of predicting future observations?
***
What would a "non-natural" cause look like? How would it appear different from a natural cause?
<quoted text>
If thought is not physical in nature, how does it "manifest constructs that are physically perceptible"?(And you didn't answer my question: What would a "non-natural" cause look like, and how would it appear different from a natural cause?)
***
Now you're engaged in a straw man argument, since the modern evolutionary synthesis does not exclude the ideas of cooperation within species and between species. It is pointless for you to argue only against Darwin himself. You are many years too late.
<quoted text>
Computer simulations of mutations show that mutations leading to cooperation will result in more success than those that don't.
<quoted text>
How is it "contradictory"? That's like saying that a pool of water can't be wet because the individual water molecules are not wet. You're engaged in a Fallacy of Composition, in this case that because components of living things are not living, then we should not expect the composition to be living. That, of course, is nonsensical. We observe around us that complex things have features that are not features of the components.
<quoted text>
You mean, like the ones listed here?
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.h...
***
Science makes no claim that a god does not exist. So I don't see your point.
<quoted text>
That's because science uses methodological naturalism. That means that it doesn't include supernatural entities in its models. Why should it? More to the point,*how* could it?
***
Science necessarily employs methodological naturalism. It makes no statement about nature being "all there is".
<quoted text>
As opposed to what *other* "reality?
***
<quoted text>
Such as?
Amazing post.

Since: Apr 11

Santa Monica, CA

#65181 Nov 25, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
No, it goes to fitness being determined by *environment*. In a given environment, some properties lead to better survival and, more importantly for evolution, procreation. Evolution always happens in an environment and the 'fitness' is always determined by that environment. But it is not a tautology because we can identify properties that help survival and procreation in various environments independently of evolutionary mechanisms.
And what is fitness? The ability to survive.

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