Failed Conversion

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This topic contains 173 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  jakelafort 1 year, 5 months ago.

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    @ Simon: This is just not a coincidence.  If the full data could be presented and statistically analysed, it would have some number attached to it like 0.95 signifying near-totality of non-chance.

    A mathematician would argue that you are confusing “subjective probability” with “classical probability”. However even with your deduction of a 95% probability you are still allowing for a 5% chance that is was not “supernatural”. That gives you odds of 20/1. A few years ago I backed two horses on the one slip and both won at 33/1. I did not consider “the hand of god” intervened – even though many theists assume their god is a big sports fan.

    An empirical scientist could argue that getting two 33/1 winners was “less probable” that your 20/1 chance. Neither event would encourage any further investigation because they would at best have only a “three sigma” effect. They would consider something in the region of 99.99999% as a “five-sigma” event – like the probability that the Higgs Boson discovery was given.

    95% is nowhere near close enough to determine the significance of anything as being supernatural. It might just feel like it to the human mind. At 99% and open to repeatable testing it would deserve consideration. But you still have a long way to get beyond 99.999999% before a supernatural event could begin to be a possibility. Then we could have some fun with standard deviation and population samples. I can’t wait!!

    These events you mention are not repeatable but the problem with subjective probabilities is that they are not. They are just deduced by “feelings”. I am 95% certain that I am 100% correct here.



    What I want to know is why do some Christians expect atheists to examine the Christians’ purported evidence? Then, when we don’t go out of our way to study said evidence, we are accused of choosing to not believe in God! I didn’t believe in God before, and I still don’t. I guess there’s a choice in there somewhere, but it wasn’t to NOT believe. My choice is to not allow myself to become indoctrinated. It’s not that I don’t want to believe in the Abrahamic God – I don’t believe in any god. Sometimes I’d like to have some faith but I think I’d just be fooling myself or letting others fool me. Simply, if something happened that proved God existed TO ME, I’d believe. Having faith, or belief without proof, is different than knowing.

    Belle, you talk of tired old arguments – how tired do you think atheists are of rehashing whether or not a god exists? Some of us truly don’t care.  Atheists do not believe in a god – it’s what we do. Granted, I am joining in this discussion willingly, but many Christians have pushed their beliefs in my direction, unasked for, when I was just being myself. It’s the pushing that bolsters my identity as an atheist. As my recent experience with a certain Christian demonstrated to me, brainwashing can work.

    What he was doing was taking non-proofs, presenting them as evidence, and telling me over and over until it almost began to make sense. I fully own my participation in this strange dance – I am not a victim. It led me back to this site though, needing a reality check.



    Yes, unfortunately brainwashing works too well on many.



    @ RegtheFronkeyFarmer:

    First of all – I’ve said many times the belief is subjective and there’s no way I can prove anything to you…I’ve said that many times on the forum in other conversations…I’ve also said many times that it does come down to each individual person’s own faith (or lack thereof)….

    If I grant you all that and accept you are correct in your assertion that “it could only be God due to the improbability of it being anything else” (paraphrasing), then how do you know that this god is still involved in your life and that the intervention was not just a one off statistical event itself? If you believe “He” is still involved have you found any objective evidence you can share or is it still just your personal subjective opinion?

    Because it is not just the “one-time event…” It’s that I can see God working in my life throughout my life and everything makes sense now….as they say hind sight is 20/20 and that’s definitely the case for me.

    How did you move from the position of deism to that of theism?

    Because deism takes the position that there is “some god out there” but he/she/it has zero bearing on our own individual lives….that’s not what I have experienced. And the God of other religions is not compatible with what I know happened to me.

    How you get from considering something to be statistically improbable enough to deduce “God did it” and that you now have a personal relationship with this God – i.e. you can talk to him and that because you now believe this you are now immortal?

    There are so many reasons. It’s not like a lightning bolt hit me in the ass. This has been something that’s evolved over time, and it’s really been to try to put it succinctly – a combination of what I already knew about God, the Bible, etc…the life experiences I’ve had over the past several years, coupled with my search for knowledge etc…I mean my experience in actually putting on the atheist hat actually brought me back full circle but in an even more powerful way than ever before.

    You still have not explained where Hitchens was wrong in his arguments regarding the onus of proof or given an example of where he “has a chip on his shoulder”.

    My comment about him getting a chip on his shoulder was an offshoot of a previous convo we started on the forum about the video where he’s saying something to the effect of “Yeah, God just stood there for 100 thousand years and then decided to intervene only 2000 years ago,” lol…Plus the quote of him saying “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence…” I was trying to articulate that that is – not true. There are many things that can be asserted without “evidence” in his sense of the word that are in fact true. It’s a really catchy phrase to try to sell books, but when you really break it down (and I have, many times,) to crumbles under scrutiny. Also – in general I would say that Hitchens along with many other atheists seem to take a “nose in the air” attitude towards people who profess any sort of faith. At first it was a bit intriguing to me as to how they could have that attitude. Then I analyzed everything they said and concluded that they themselves were and still are sorely misinformed egotists.

    I suspect you cannot find reasonable answers to them. You have been honest and admitted that the evidence for your god is entirely subjective. Most theists never do this. So why not go one step further and admit that your belief in your God is based entirely upon faith.

    If you look back in my posts lately,….Idk maybe they’re back on TA – I’ve actually said that many times. It does come down to each individual person’s faith. We can’t even agree collectively on a forum as to what sort of “evidence” would be needed to prove that a god exists, and most of the replies to that convo we had a while back were nonsensical and not really serious…which begs of the question in my mind – why? Why if you consider that there is no “evidence for a god” can you (collective you) not define what evidence means?

    It’s really each individual person and their own relationship or lack thereof with God. No one can do it for you or prove anything to you.

    I’m leaving out a ton of details in my explanation in hopes that my replies stick to the guidelines, lol….


    Simon Paynton

    @diane – “why do some Christians expect atheists to examine the Christians’ purported evidence?

    – that sounds like a very normal and reasonable thing for them to want.

    @strega, @reg, @DangMartin – this right here is like talking to Creationists.

    I’ll look at my situation no. 2: these were not normal occasions like walking down the street or eating a bar of chocolate.  Each time, I was headed straight for some form of armageddon, and I needed rescuing.  This rescue, each time, happened in the exact same unusual way (in one of two forms – depending on the situation).

    So it’s the equivalent of picking a random horse in 5 random horse races, and winning each time.  That is statistically significant.



    @ Simon – Wanting is different than expecting. I have been told many times I’m being proud, resistant, rebellious, etc., for declining to devote my life to examining this evidence (more than I’ve already examined it, which is more than it deserves IMHO). I have heard some version of this thought – If you don’t believe, it’s because you have not sought God enough, or the right way, or with the right intentions, or with the right guidance, while wearing the correct underwear – whatever. The circular thinking is dizzying. So, in order to put in enough effort to satisfy these Christians, I would have to study the Bible, pray, talk with other Christians, etc., until I arrived at some state of belief.  That’s the difficulty with politely looking at the evidence to say we’ve been fair to Christianity – in my experience it’s never enough to satisfy Christians trying to convert me.


    I sometimes do some “work” with a professional gambler. He gets good info about the races from jockeys and horse trainers. He sometimes works as an on course bookkeeper at the bigger meetings in England. He thinks “regular” people are mugs if they only bet on horses because they like the name or “have a feeling” about them. I tend to agree with him. I have, on a few occasions counted out his winnings with him and we once managed over 150k (euros). I earned good commission that day.

    The following day I went to collect a small bet of my own from the local bookie. I have a rule with myself that I will only bet until I get a loser. Then I am gone. That day I more than doubled my commission because I picked 9 winners in a row. Did I think some god, maybe Epona or Yahweh was involved? The thought never entered my mind. I have picked 5 winners in a row several times. The odds of this happening vary dramatically depending on the number of horses in each race but if it only happens once in a lifetime it would have no significance. If a million people reported that last Saturday they all got 5 winners in five random races it would certainly warrant investigation, just as it would if one person had the same result 52 Saturdays in a row.

    Your event Simon happened 5 times in how many years? I am not dissing the importance of the events or how powerful and also useful they have been to your life. I am just saying that it only has a subjective probability significance. It is not an indicator of anything supernatural. I understand how it may feel that it has. I have had experiences that I could not immediately explain. Even if I can’t explain them I use the scientific axiom of “sometimes weird shit just happens”, like the time I found 2 dead bodies (i.e. 2 different events) within 2 miles of each other and within 2 weeks of each other. I am practically the same age as Dang Martin and about the same time as him (25 years ago) I also had a gun pulled on me that jammed.  What are the odds? Move along, nothing to see here.

    @Dang – is that you chanting in my front garden? No need, come in, I’m sorted.



    I am a professional gambler.  Just horses. Practiced law 15 years until i could not stand it any longer. Had no intention of being a pro gambler. I wanted to do so since i was 13 years old but it seemed so unrealistic.

    I opened an account to wager on horses after ending practice. Started with just 500 bucks.  Was down to 3 dollars. That is right sports fans. Three bucks. Made a hit and just kept going.  Was up 40 grand in first four months. Having bet several million dollars the last 8 years i can tellya that some shit that is so improbable that it literally feels like a god is up there trying to fuck me.

    The reality is that the opportunity for weird-feeling and improbable coincidences is limitless and it would be inexplicable if none of em manifest. If it is a million to one shot, in a million such opps for coincidences the thing should happen once.

    Attributing agency to coincidences is utterly fucked.




    If I had any money I’d be betting on McGregor to land his left hook tonight 😉


    One Irish bookie has already paid out on Mayweather beating McGregor – before the fight has even taken place. I hope McGregor wins so they have to pay out again but the “odds” of an Irish bookie messing up like that are not worth taking. I just love to hear of people taking money from them. They have barred us from some of their shops over the years because we landed a few big gambles. They will even bar you if you lose big money because they know you are a player and will eventually sting them. The funny thing is that because of the prize money neither boxer will lose out. McGregor could even end up being promoted by Mayweather for future event. Aaagh, its 3am again. Sunday School may be late tomorrow…….



    Damn it that referee stopped the fight too early…Conor wasn’t done. He still had fight in him.



    No, it was the proper decision.  If he had not knocked him out he would have taken a beating and risked brain damage. Sometimes guys die in the ring and that guy was overmatched



    It was so fixed.



    Because you thought it was stopped prematurely?



    No. Because I know both fighters and I have studied martial arts and follow both sports avidly….I know it was at least in part put on for show…and for the fans. Floyd Mayweather even said it was part of his gameplan….Anyone who knows both fighters and knows the sports knows it was all the help them make even more money than they already were going to…The post fight PPV orders are going to be through the roof.

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