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Austin Cline

Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro: 100% Wrong about Basic Statistics

By January 17, 2013

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Knowledge of basic science, philosophy, math, and statistics are not required in order to become a minister, pastor, or priest. Catholic priests do have some advanced education, but they don't necessarily have to learn anything from their secular education. Case in point is Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro of the St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas.

Dunce Cap
Dunce Cap
Photo: Archive Photos/Getty

Nazzaro has recent demonstrated that despite classes in philosophy and science, he still doesn't seem to know much about basic probability. As a consequence, he also fundamentally misunderstands reality itself. This is because ignorance of probability leads a person to misunderstand reality -- a serious problem that afflicts a lot of people, most of whom at least have the excuse of not having had any education on the subject.

I've often written that people should get more education about critical thinking and logic while in school. Most atheists and skeptics agree with this, but I also think that education about statistics and probability might be even more important. It might be the most important math subject that people can study and should probably be put before calculus in high schools.

Well, I for one am convinced that there is no such thing as a "free thinker", for most are slaves of their past.

Yes, we all fancy ourselves as thinking for ourselves and being "independent minded", but the truth of the matter is: we are creatures of habit, and we will easily follow something or someone for reasons other than "truth", "love" and "humility".

And if you still don't believe me, then take a look for a moment at another aspect of the free thinker's life. So many of them are diehard members or adherents to various organizations and movements, the only exception being the religious ones (They consider those to be full of zombies). But who are the brainwashed? Who are the confused?

Even atheists feel the need to gather together and to support one another. Even they need to be indoctrinated in seminars (seminaries). Even they still buy a lottery ticket, while at the same time denying any chance in heaven that God exists.

What chance is there of winning the Powerball or Mega millions lottery? One in a billion. What chance is there of God existing? Fifty-fifty. After all, either God exists or He doesn't. But if he does and I believe, then I just won the jackpot!

Maybe the reason why they live for today is the same reason why we go to Church. You never know.

Source: Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse

Anyone who has taken even a single class in statistics will immediately see how mistaken Alfonse Nazzaro is. In fact, people with even just basic math education should be able to recognize that there is something wrong, even if they can't tell exactly what the mistake is.

Just for the record, I'll spell out the basic error Alfonse Nazzaro made: the existence of two possible options does not mean that the probability of one of them being true and the other being false is 50-50. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. The reason for this is that probability is not determined solely by the number of possible options; that's only one factor that has to be taken into account.

The simplest example to look at to better understand this may be flipping a coin. What are the chances of one side coming up rather than the other? It's typically said to be 50-50 (we ignore the infinitesimal chance of a coin landing on its side). Why? Because we always assume that the coin is "fair," or unbiased. But what if it's weighted? That changes the odds, doesn't it?

Coins aren't typically or easily weighted, but dice may be and thus we have loaded dice. I'll bet Alfonse Nazzaro has heard of loaded dice, but for some reason he doesn't take weighted or biased options into account. Indeed, he clearly doesn't even think very hard about the examples he does use because if we applied his reasoning about statistics to his example of the lottery, we'd have to conclude that we all have a 50-50 chance of getting the jackpot!

After all, there are only two possibilities: either we will win the jackpot or we won't. That's 50-50, right, just like the existence of his god (and this is being overly-generous by ignoring the fact that there are more than two choices because humans have postulated far more than one god - a fact which Nazzaro knows)? When his error was pointed out to him in comments, did Alfonse Nazzaro respond with grace, humility, or anything even remotely positive? Not in the least. I wonder if this has something to do with why he turned off comments across his entire blog for a while and why those early critiques are now missing.

Not so fast Brian. I mentioned God. You mentioned multiple Gods. Therefore, the liklihood that God exists just increaed, not decreased. It seems like you only took logic in middle school. Try it in College. It helps...A LOT.

And by the way, just for your basic knowledge: a priest has to take Philosophy, which means he has to study logic, and not just one class of it either. Now, given the fact that I was an engineer and have a Master's degree of science, I would say that I probably took more logic and more science classes than you. I don't know, I might be wrong, but given your answer...I don't think so.

Source: Friendly Atheist

Basically, Alfonse Nazzaro's response boils down to: I took Philosophy, studied logic, and have an advanced degree, so I must be better informed than you. At no point does Nazzaro even try to address the critiques in any sort of substantive, serious manner. He doesn't attempt to explain how his statements are consistent with the principles of statistics and probability while his critics' statements are not.

If he actually did learn anything in any of his philosophy classes, he'd know that his response is little more than a fallacy. His education has no bearing on whether his arguments are valid or sound or not; ditto with the arguments of his critics. Trying to defend his position by pointing to his education is a fallacy of relevance; trying to undermine his critics' arguments by pointing to their education is an ad hominem fallacy.

But when you have no way to defend yourself substantively, fallacies are all that's left.

Comments
January 22, 2013 at 12:24 am
(1) percyF says:

Either I win the lotto or I don’t.

50/50, Right, father?

January 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm
(2) percyF says:

If fr. Nazzaro is right, then my chances of winning the lotto are 50/50.

I either win it or I don’t.

January 23, 2013 at 5:52 am
(3) Albert Einstein says:

Austin: Thanks for the link to Fr.’s blog. I actually read it and I can say that you are full of it! Did you actually read the blog? Or did you just strip from it what you wanted-¬¶just like a good atheist does.

1. Father Alfonse actually defends himself and he does a good job with it. You give the analogy of a coin. You know (I hope) that analogies are not perfect comparisons, correct? So, the basic premise is that a coin can stand on its side. So how does God stand on it’s side? How is it that God can be and not be? Interesting.

2. Father Alfonse actually states in a footnote (did you read it?) that he came up with the 50:50 probability based on the types of arguments for and against God. He says: “For every argument made against God a similiar (if not the exact same) argument can be made in favor of God. Is that so hard to understand?

But the real question is: Why do atheists continue to play the lottery?

3. You consider Father’s comment as rude. Did you read what the commentator said about him? Read it again. I don’t think Father is saying that people without a degree are ignorant. What I think he is saying is that people without a degree may have a harder time understanding his point. After all, it really isn’t a mathematical argument but more a rational argument. I suggest you read the other comments on his blog. He does a pretty good job answering them. I particularly like the blog about unicorns! That was very good and humorous.

4. Finally, what I have begun to realize more and more is how atheists try to give the impression that they’re arguments are intelligent. What I have discovered more and more is that they are more emotional than intellectual.

Again, thanks for the info to Fr.’s Blog. I plan to subscribe to it.

January 23, 2013 at 6:01 am
(4) Austin Cline says:

Or did you just strip from it what you wanted just like a good atheist does.

That’s bigotry.

1. Father Alfonse actually defends himself and he does a good job with it.

He sounds very impressive to those more ignorant than he is.

2. Father Alfonse actually states in a footnote (did you read it?) that he came up with the 50:50 probability based on the types of arguments for and against God. He says: For every argument made against God a similiar (if not the exact same) argument can be made in favor of God. Is that so hard to understand?

First, he added the footnote long after the blog and critical comments were posted. He added it, though, without saying any of that – which is dishonest.

Second, the number of arguments that exist for and against some position have no impact on the probability of that position being true. Trying to rationalize his blog post this way actually makes if more clear that he is 100% ignorant of basic statistics.

Yes, his claim is easy to understand – and easy to recognize as false, if you have even rudimentary knowledge of statistics and philosophy.

But the real question is: Why do atheists continue to play the lottery?

The question, in context, depends upon using Pascal’s Wager – which is probably the absolute worst apologetics argument in existence. Use of it, especially in such a superficial form, is sure sign that one is dealing with an exceptionally ignorant believer.

3. You consider Father s comment as rude. Did you read what the commentator said about him? Read it again.

Yes, I did read it. But I am wondering how you could have since he deleted the comments he was originally responding to.

I don t think Father is saying that people without a degree are ignorant. What I think he is saying is that people without a degree may have a harder time understanding his point.

In fact, people without a degree might be more likely to be impressed with his argument, failing to see just how incorrect it is.

After all, it really isn t a mathematical argument but more a rational argument.

An argument about probability is, by definition, a mathematical argument.

4. Finally, what I have begun to realize more and more is how atheists try to give the impression that they re arguments are intelligent. What I have discovered more and more is that they are more emotional than intellectual.

…says the person who is so ignorant of basic statistics that they are unable to recognize that the number of arguments for or against a position has no bearing on the probability of it being true or not.

Again, thanks for the info to Fr. s Blog. I plan to subscribe to it.

I can see that it’s perfect for you. There’s absolutely no way that you will be challenged intellectually by it.

January 23, 2013 at 9:44 am
(5) Hitchens Dead says:

Listen to yourself Austin. Get a grip on yourself. You talk about people being rude…well, what’s this response of yours: “Dunce”, “100% WRONG!”, “Bigot” Give me a break! Is this what the world would look like with atheists like you?

He’s absolutely right. You speak from the gut. You speak not with intelligence but pure emotion. Get a hold of yourself.

You don’t make a single argument at all.

1. 50:50. How funny some of your comments. “Do I have a 50/50 chance of winning the lottery???” Isn’t it funny how people don’t read. Father Alfonse actually uses the example of winning the lottery and he even says: one in a billion!

Do your readers not read?

So obviously it isn’t that he is “100% WRONG”. It must be something else.

He says in his blog: Either God exists or He doesn’t. Fifty-Fifty. Okay…so there are two choices as opposed to billion for the lottery. But then he clarifies (and people can clarify, thank you) and states that the fifty-fifty is not based on the two choices but on the “balance” of the arguments. No one can prove God does not exist. No one can prove God exists. So…we must go with the arguments. And he says that the arguments are balanced. And I agree with him 100%.

That’s why people of faith say: “it takes faith”, but not ignorance.

2. Why do atheists play the lottery? Why don’t you answer the question? Instead, you tell everyone that Blaise Pascal’s (the famous mathematician) argument was “the WORST possible apologetic argument ever!!!!” Really? Is that an argument or that an emotion.

Just answer the question Austin: Why do atheists play the lottery? And then we will go from there. How’s that?

January 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm
(6) Atheistnomore says:

Listen to yourself Austin. You don’t argue with intelligent arguments but like a child calling everyone a name: “Dunce”, “Bigot”. You use absolutes like candy: “100% wrong!”

How can you say that he is ignorant of basic statistics when in his own blog he mentions the chances of winning the lottery itself? He doesn’t say it’s a 50:50 (like some of your atheist readers mention). No. In fact, he makes it clear that the chances of winning are like one in a billion. So? How can he be “100% wrong” and so “ignorant of statistics” if he understands the likelihood of winning the lottery?

It must be that you haven’t understood the argument he makes with regards to God.

I hate to tell you, but Blaise Pascal was no idiot. He was a mathematical genius. And for you to claim that his argument is the worst apologetic argument EVER… is childish. And to do so without even presenting a single argument is even more childish!

1. God exists or He doesn’t exist. Two choices (nice try with the coin, but as you know analogies only go so far). Why is it 50:50 or “balanced”? He makes his reasons clear. You say that only later he added it. Fine. What’s wrong with that? If its misunderstood, shouldn’t he make it clearer. He didn’t apologize. He gave his apologia.

Now I know as a militant atheist you can’t buy that. But intelligent people believe in God just as much as intelligent people do not believe in God. And there arguments are just as strong as those against.

No wonder why the Church constantly states it is an act of faith, not blind faith, not ignorant faith, but faith.

January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm
(7) Austin Cline says:

Listen to yourself Austin. You don t argue with intelligent arguments but like a child calling everyone a name: Dunce , Bigot .

When a person starts out a comment with bigotry, they’re in no position to demand or expect anything more than having that bigotry pointed out. I was, nevertheless, polite enough to continue anyway.

And I didn’t call you a dunce. I simply pointed out that you’re ignorant of something. Those two aren’t anywhere close to the same thing. We’re all ignorant of lots of things, but being ignorant of something mean that one is incapable of learning (a dunce). That would only become likely if and when a person shows that they are in denial about their ignorance and so turn away when new information is provided to them.

How can you say that he is ignorant of basic statistics when in his own blog he mentions the chances of winning the lottery itself?

Mentioning the odds of something doesn’t mean that a person is educated about the subject. Lots of people can say that the odds of winning a lottery are millions or billions to one against; most people are, however, also quite ignorant of basic statistics and probability.

Knowing the odds of something doesn’t mean that they know how statistics and probability work. Being ignorant of statistics and probability means knowing how they work and how they are calculated. Knowing the odds of this or that is knowing the answer to a mathematical problem; knowing the answer doesn’t mean you’re not ignorant of the math behind the answer.

That is, after all, why math teachers expect you to show your work on the tests.

He doesn t say it s a 50:50 (like some of your atheist readers mention). No. In fact, he makes it clear that the chances of winning are like one in a billion.

But, based on his own “reasoning,” it’s 50:50 because there are two options: winning or not winning.

So obviously it isn t that he is 100% WRONG . It must be something else.

He’s 100% wrong for the reasons I stated. He made a very basic, rudimentary error. I pointed out what it is. It’s noteworthy that you have steadfastly failed to address that, like for example by trying to explain how and why he didn’t make that error.

I hate to tell you, but Blaise Pascal was no idiot.

No, he wasn’t, but his Wager is still the worst apologetics argument ever. Being brilliant at mathematics doesn’t make a person brilliant at apologetics; to pretend otherwise is to make a fallacious argument from authority.

1. God exists or He doesn t exist. Two choices

In the same way that one wins the lottery or doesn’t. Two choices.

Okay so there are two choices as opposed to billion for the lottery.

There are two choices for the lottery: you win or you don’t.

Oh, you mean all the different combinations of numbers? Well, there are lots of different alleged gods, too. Billions, perhaps. What do you think that does to the odds of any one particular god existing?

states that the fifty-fifty is not based on the two choices but on the balance of the arguments. No one can prove God does not exist. No one can prove God exists. So we must go with the arguments. And he says that the arguments are balanced.

First, this would invalidate the analogy of the lottery. The only reason to bring in the lottery is to raise the issue of the odds of a particular answer/choice being correct. He has asserted, however, that he’s not making a “mathematical argument.” This is a contradiction: An argument based on lottery odds is necessarily a mathematical argument because probability is mathematics. Once the mathematical errors in this argument are pointed out, he tries to deny that he was arguing mathematics at all.

Second, it wouldn’t be enough to simply say that the arguments are “balanced.” It would be necessary to demonstrate that if one is going to use it as a premise in an argument.

Third, he doesn’t say anything about “balance.” Curious that you would accuse me of not having read his post when you yourself attribute to him something he never wrote. His actual (new, made later) argument, which is even poorer than yours, is that the odds for God are 50/50 because there are two kinds of arguments. He doesn’t say they are “balanced,” merely that two exist. He also says, though not quite directly, that there are an equal number of arguments for both sides.

Of course, the mere existence of two kinds of arguments or an equal number of arguments for two sides would not be sufficient to say that the odds of one being right and the other wrong are “50/50″. Such an assertion demonstrates ignorance of basic statistics for the reason I already wrote about: the number of options is only one factor in calculating odds.

He seems to know that he made this error, thus his attempt to claim that he only “borrowed” that mathematical formula in order to point out that there are an equal number of arguments for and against the existence of his god. That, however, makes the lottery question irrelevant – that question only has relevance in this context if we’re talking about probabilities, i.e. mathematics.

You actually improve on this by trying to add that the two sides are “balanced.” something he doesn’t try to do. However, your improvement doesn’t really succeed unless you can demonstrate that balance really exists – that the “coin” here isn’t “loaded” in some fashion to favor one side over the other. Without such information, one way or another, you can’t make any informed statement about the odds. Simply knowing the number of options isn’t sufficient, though that’s the entire scope of information that Alfonse Nazzaro is trying to rely upon.

He makes his reasons clear. You say that only later he added it. Fine. What s wrong with that?

It’s dishonest to add them without noting that they were added later after criticism.

Why do atheists play the lottery? Why don t you answer the question?

Because it depends upon the validity of Pascal’s Wager. Unless and until you demonstrate that it’s a valid argument, your question is no more relevant than asking why some atheists choose Coke over Pepsi, or enjoy watching volleyball. I wouldn’t waste time addressing them, so why waste time with yours?

Really? Is that an argument or that an emotion.

It’s a conclusion reached from many years of experience. In every single case that a person has tried to offer that argument, especially in its more superficial form, it also became clear that the person was not only quite ignorant but very poor at reasoning. People who reason well recognize all of the flaws in it and so don’t bother with it.

The pattern has been so consistent that I have not the slightest doubt that you will prove completely unable to demonstrate in any way that Pascal’s Wager is reasonable, valid, or worth taking seriously.

January 23, 2013 at 6:35 pm
(8) atheistnomore says:

You didn’t answer the question: “Why do atheists play the lottery?” The reason why you don’t answer the question is because you know the answer. But you won’t admit.

The answer is this: Because there is a chance of winning. That’s why. And it is worth playing to win. That is the reason. So, as to your assertion that “you will prove completely unable to demonstrate in any way that Pascalís Wager is reasonable, valid, or worth taking seriously” HAS JUST BEEN PROVEN WRONG and proven based on the fact that atheists play the lottery.

The problem with atheists is their incoherency of life and thought. They play the lottery even if the odds are against them but they won’t play the chance of God, even if the odds are favorable. It isn’t a question of science or math. It’s a question of commodity.

1. He didn’t start with bigotry. You assumed it. You call people “dunce” and you call people “bigots”. You can hide all you want behind the fallacy of trying to educate. I would like you to put a Dunce cap on one of your students or employees or whatever and see what reaction you get today.

Again, you use absolutes as if they were candy.

2. You have not at all demonstrated in the least how Blaise Pascal’s argument is wrong? Is it 100% wrong??? Is it still the “worst” possible argument?

3. The blog is clear and in his comments are even clearer that the arguments are not 50:50 because they are of equal number. Come on Austin! READ! They are 50:50 because of equal quality. Give us all a break.

For this reason alone, you can infer that there are only two choices of equal weight: Either God exists or He doesn’t.

It’s not that complicated and its not wrong, and the fact that he clarifies without changing a single point in his original argument is not an act of dishonesty. It is what it is: an act of clarification.

January 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm
(9) Austin Cline says:

The reason why you don’t answer the question is because you know the answer. But you won’t admit.

I don’t know any atheists who play the lottery; so, no, I don’t know the answer.

Clearly, though, you imagine that you know the answer even though you don’t cite a single atheist who has given you such an answer. It seems to me that you are also just imagining the answer, producing it out of your own prejudices, and thus only ask the question as an excuse to pontificate on your presumed knowledge of people you neither know nor have met.

The answer is this: Because there is a chance of winning. That’s why. And it is worth playing to win. That is the reason. So, as to your assertion that “you will prove completely unable to demonstrate in any way that Pascal s Wager is reasonable, valid, or worth taking seriously” HAS JUST BEEN PROVEN WRONG and proven based on the fact that atheists play the lottery.

The fact that you don’t understand the differences between a lottery and the gamble in Pascal’s Wager does a very good job at revealing that you cannot demonstrate that Pascal’s Wager is reasonable, valid, or worth taking seriously. The most important difference may be that we can find all kinds of people who have won the lottery, but we can’t interview a single person who has won Pascal’s Wager. A person who thinks that there is a valid analogy to be made here would consider that a relevant issue to address.

The problem with atheists is their incoherency of life and thought. They play the lottery even if the odds are against them but they won’t play the chance of God, even if the odds are favorable.

You treat all atheists as if they were the same, which is both a symptom and a cause of bigotry.

That you think the odds of some particular god existing are favorable reveals that you don’t even understand what Pascal’s Wager is. According to the wager, the size of the winnings is what justifies betting on the existence of God, not the existence of favorable odds.

1. He didn’t start with bigotry. You assumed it.

I didn’t accuse him of bigotry so I certainly didn’t assume it. I pointed out your bigotry because you started with bigotry.

Or are you two the same person? Having trouble keeping your pronouns and personas straight?

You call people “dunce”

Once again, I never called anyone that. The first time might have been an honest error; now, though, you’re just lying.

You can hide all you want behind the fallacy of trying to educate.

Educating people isn’t a fallacy. So, you are additionally ignorant of basic logic and the nature of logical fallacies. Interestingly, Alfonse Nazzaro also revealed an ignorance of fallacies.

2. You have not at all demonstrated in the least how Blaise Pascal’s argument is wrong?

Yes, I have. I just haven’t brought that up because I doubted you’d be able to do anything with it. Your lack of understanding of what it even says demonstrates that I was right.

3. The blog is clear and in his comments are even clearer that the arguments are not 50:50 because they are of equal number.

This is yet another falsehood.

I’ll quote: “Not only are there only two choices to be made but there are only two kinds of arguments that can be made: those in favor of God and those against God. For every argument that an atheist makes against God, the same argument may be made in favor of God (or shown to be irrelevant or erroneous); for every argument that appears to deny God, a similar argument can be made in favor of God.”

There is no statement here about quality or relative quality. Instead, there are two statements about numbers. The first is explicit: two kinds of arguments. The second is implicit: for every argument of one kind, a similar argument of the other exists.

For this reason alone, you can infer that there are only two choices of equal weight: Either God exists or He doesn’t.

By the same “reason alone,” you can say that one either wins the lottery or doesn’t. So the odds are 50/50.

Even if we ignore that mistake – and you don’t address any of the direct criticisms of it, suggesting that you can’t – you don’t demonstrate that the two choices have equal weight. Of course, I’ve also already pointed that out and now you’re reduced to repeating the claim as if repetition had some bearing on truth value.

That’s about as sensible and trying to calculate odds on the basis of the number of choices and nothing more.

January 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm
(10) atheistnomore says:

Austin: I donít know any atheists who play the lottery; so, no, I donít know the answer.

You should find out then. They actually do. And you avoided once again the question by playing ignorant.

That, my dear friend, you know longer have to play. You have proven it.

2. Austin says: [From the blog:] ďNot only are there only two choices to be made but there are only two kinds of arguments that can be made: those in favor of God and those against God. For every argument that an atheist makes against God, the same argument may be made in favor of God (or shown to be irrelevant or erroneous); for every argument that appears to deny God, a similar argument can be made in favor of God.Ē

Austin writes: There is no statement here about quality or relative quality.
There is, and it is obvious, even to a semiconscious reader. For when he states the “SAME ARGUMENT” can be made, it refers to the quality of the argument. Not number of arguments. You’re biased eyes are deceiving.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoy these comments of yours because little by little you are showing more and more how silly you actually look in defending your own fallacies.

- You don’t have the time to explain Pascal’s error.
- You don’t know a single atheist who plays the lottery and you can’t assume why they would.
- You don’t call people “dunce” and yet you have the word “dunce” on your own blog.

Keep it up Austin. I’m so glad you are.

January 26, 2013 at 9:40 am
(11) Austin Cline says:

You should find out then.

Why? You have yet to establish why it’s any more relevant or important than why atheists drink Pepsi.

And you avoided once again the question by playing ignorant.

So, you accuse me of lying of not knowing atheists who play the lottery? I challenge you to provide evidence to support that accusation.

For when he states the SAME ARGUMENT can be made, it refers to the quality of the argument.

You forget that he says “or shown to be irrelevant or erroneous”. That’s a clear statement of differential quality.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoy these comments of yours because little by little you are showing more and more how silly you actually look in defending your own fallacies.

You are as ignorant of the nature of logical fallacies as Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro – not a single one of the things you list are, in fact, a logical fallacy.

- You don t have the time to explain Pascal s error.

I’ve already explained it in some detail. I just don’t see the need to delve into the details here unless and until you can establish any value to that.

- You don t know a single atheist who plays the lottery and you can t assume why they would.

Correct. That’s not a fallacy; the first is simply a statement of fact and the latter is how an intelligent adult approaches issues they are ignorant of. Given the bigotry you have displayed I suppose you don’t see a problem with making claims and generalizations about people you don’t know, but that’s not behavior I consider ethically or intellectually honest.

- You don t call people dunce and yet you have the word dunce on your own blog.

It’s called a visual metaphor, representing people who do something dumb. I wouldn’t expect you to understand, Alfonse, given how little knowledge and understanding you’ve shown about everything else.

January 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm
(12) Deucalion says:

Wow, atheistnomore, I have never seen a juggling act like yours before… You are one of those people who see things in black and white, then decide that they have to sort every other color into one of those to categories. In other words: An ignoramus.

atheistnomore = dumbassforever

February 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm
(13) Victoria says:

I just read the ‘father’s’ website from the link. Austin, have you read Drew’s response to Alfonso? I thought he explained it really well. He pointed out some things that I noticed Alfonso was contradicting himself in various comments back and forth with Drew.

February 6, 2013 at 3:53 am
(14) Felix Griesebner says:

Am 63 years old, have travelled the world, paying particular attention to the various religions I encountered. Was born in a mainly catholic country. As kid I went to church every Sunday, and was indoctrinated by a catholic education that allowed no doubt as to the existence of an almighty god. Today, though, I have no doubt that there is no such thing as a “god” in our world, full stop!
Am happy to live without any religion – there is just no place for such idiocy in my life, to be frank. Have thought long and hard about it – the notion of “god” makes just no sense.

February 11, 2013 at 12:15 am
(15) Patrick says:

It seems the good Father struck a cord with our dear friends here.

ROFL

February 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm
(16) Austin Cline says:

It seems the good Father struck a cord with our dear friends here.

Right, because whenever a person’s total lack of sound reasoning is pointed out, this must mean that they are actually right and their critics are wrong.

Which, of course, means that we must have struck a chord with the mediocre Father, thus explaining why he edited his post and deleted comments once all his errors were pointed out.

April 23, 2013 at 5:41 am
(17) junky bob says:

The argument for there being or not being a god and for Catholics that’s only one god is to subjective. Its like asking the probability that broccoli is yummy. You can calculate the probability that I may think it is yummy but does that make it yummy to be everyone. I guess what I’m saying is that I will either come up with more arguments that are heavily weighted towards there being a god or I will have more arguments weighted towards not being a god which may or may not be influenced by external forces. We could have a tie but come on doesn’t every just hate the guy in the front of the line who can’t make up his mind and a maybe god seems impossible. This is a tough one. Let me think about this one. I may have to pull out the matlab for this one.

June 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm
(18) edwapa says:

@athiestnomore—i’m an athiest and i have played the lotto less than 5x in 25 years. i did it for fun. it was fun to IMAGINE that i would win. i had no expectations as to winning. i actually did win a few bucks for matching 2-3 numbers, but the jackpot was what was fun to IMAGINE winning. for the few $ that was spent the value i derived from the fun was worth it. i listen to a few podcasts produced by economist and they do admit to occasionally playing the lotto even though they say it is irrational to do so economically. it depends on how much value you personally attach to that fun.

Austin Cline has explained the error of Pascal’s wager and what is totally ignored by you, athiestnomore, is how it’s not just one god that could exist, but EVERY god that has ever existed in somebodies mind or that could possibly exist. that would be infinity, no wait, infinity + 1. the odds that your god is correct is impossibly small, or nonexistent. therefore i choose to not believe in any of them for fear of offending any of them and because there is no evidence for their existence. if the xian god is correct, then it is a jealous god (its name is actually Jealous, look it up in the OT) and i don’t want to piss it off. it is very inconsistent in its punishment, bordering on psychotic. Since it is really jealous it could have had siblings to foster this jealousy and thus many gods may exist and i don’t want to piss them off, either. god’s big sis might be a real bear of a god (my sisters were).

sounds to me that athiestnomore is beholden to his past decision to believe and will rationalize to support his position, turning a blind eye to the logical arguments presented to him. the hole kept getting deeper and deeper. Austin, i enjoy your arguing/debate skills, please keep it up.

August 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm
(19) Sandra says:

Just out of curiosity, did you “debate” these statistical issues with Father Alfonse directly or do you just feel more zealous to slander someone without giving them a chance to respond?

August 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm
(20) Austin Cline says:

Just out of curiosity, did you “debate” these statistical issues

What purpose is there in debating clear facts?

with Father Alfonse directly or do you just feel more zealous to slander someone without giving them a chance to respond?

Given the fact that others pointed out the same facts to him on his blog and received nothing substantive in reply, I saw no reason to waste my time doing the same. The man is an embarrassment.

October 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm
(21) Karen says:

100% wrong? That seems statistically improbable, being that you are only one tiny opinion. A more accurate title – 100% wrong: According to a blog troller and writer with college degree and audience envy . Sorry to be harsh but it should bring you comfort that your conversion is prayed for daily while at the same time prayers of intercession to St. Michael to thwart you as you attempt to lead people away from truth. Just one opinion that is 100% mine. Never heard of you until I searched the web for the link to Fr. Alfonse’s blog and couldn’t let your school yard style go unanswered. Peace be with you, surely you believe in peace, no?

October 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm
(22) Austin Cline says:

100% wrong? That seems statistically improbable

Not at all. It’s easy to write something that is wrong at every point.

A more accurate title Ė 100% wrong: According to a blog troller and writer with college degree and audience envy .

Curious, since I was able to back up my statement while you don’t even try.

Sorry to be harsh but it should bring you comfort that your conversion is prayed for daily while at the same time prayers of intercession to St. Michael to thwart you as you attempt to lead people away from truth.

If your god wants me converted, it will happen whether you pray for it or not. So if it will happen, your prayers are worthless. If it won’t happen, you’re trying to contradict your god. Either way, what’s the point?

Never heard of you until I searched the web for the link to Fr. Alfonse’s blog and couldn’t let your school yard style go unanswered.

Yet you did let the post go unanswered since you offer nothing of substance. If you really thought the post was nothing more than “school yard style” you would have risen above it and produced something more substantive – you know, something with facts and argument. Yet you didn’t even try.

February 17, 2014 at 1:24 am
(23) Myself says:

Why do you choose to not believe ?

Why do you take this chance vs the other option to believe ?

I do not believe that you can prove that you are right.

March 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm
(24) Austin Cline says:

Why do you choose to not believe ?

I don’t. Not believing is the only option given what I know.

February 22, 2014 at 1:10 am
(25) Rachael says:

Goodness, Austin. You are really struggling for something to argue about aren’t you? Really? Arguing over the 50/50 part that Fr. Alfonse discussed? That’s not being intellectual and of higher thinking. That’s called being nit-picky. Honestly, you are trying to overthink his talk just to attack him over anything you can. His message is completely easy to understand. Fr. Alfonse is one of the most loving, honest, kind, intellectual, good, and humble human beings I have ever met. If you would just be more open-minded to what he has to say and really give it some thought instead of just trying to pick a fight, you would at least be able to understand the message and not just try to be so petty as to attack such a wonderful priest.

I do not know you, Austin, but there is such a thing as atheists that do not attack priests or the Catholic church simply to attack them. My friend is an atheist and he is very respectful of Catholics and other faiths so that means that you can break the “atheist stereotype” and not be so disrespectful and act “all-knowing” like a lot (but not all) of atheists do. And actually if you knew Fr. Alfonse, you’d know that he was an atheist before he became a priest, this is why he mentions atheists a lot in his talks because at one time he was one.

March 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm
(26) Austin Cline says:

Really? Arguing over the 50/50 part that Fr. Alfonse discussed?

Since he defended it and refused to acknowledge error, I’d say it was worth pointing out.

Fr. Alfonse is one of the most loving, honest, kind, intellectual, good, and humble human beings I have ever met.

Well, you have my condolences then. My experience has evidently vastly better than yours because I’ve met far more intelligent and decent people.

You know, people who are intelligent and mature enough to admit mistakes.

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