Politics

God Is Not. Great!

Magician and TV performer Penn Jillette on atheism, terrorism, cynicism, libertarianism, and why he'd give a random stranger the keys to a Ferrari

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“I don’t know what’s best for other people,” says Penn Jillette, the “larger, louder half” of the famous Las Vegas magical duo Penn & Teller. Their award-winning Showtime show, Bullshit!, which ended in 2010 after an eight-season run, applied Jillette’s brand of skepticismâ€"along with a healthy dose of profanity and dozens of scantily clad assistantsâ€"to subjects ranging from environmental regulation to faith healing. Now Jillette joins the ranks of renowned atheists Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great, 2007), Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, 2006), and Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation, 2006) with a breezy new bestseller, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster). 

Jillette, 56, is a graduate of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He says reading the Bible in high school made him an atheist: “By the time you get to about the middle of Leviticus, you’re out.” His conversion to libertarianism was more gradual but rooted in the same fundamental skepticism: “I don’t go with pragmatic arguments at all.…I don’t go for the arguments that the free market is magic, and that if we left it alone everyone would be better off and happier. I always go to a pure, ideological, moral point of view: I just don’t know.”

In this September interview with reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie, Jillette parses the difference between cynicism and skepticism, rejects the “God is dead” claim as insufficiently hardcore, and talks about his personal and political development. For video of the interview, go to reason.tv.

reason: What is your big goal in publishing God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales?

Penn Jillette: Glenn Beckâ€"who I disagree with on everything, but we’ve managed to be kind of friendsâ€"was talking to me about how he thought the Ten Commandments transcended religion, which is a very odd argument for a religious person to make. He’s making the argument that morality does trump religion. Religious people usually don’t make that argument. But he was making the argument that the Ten Commandments were important, and he asked his atheist friend, which is meâ€"I mean, that’s the end of the listâ€"what the Atheist Ten Commandments would be. I wrote up my take on the Ten Commandments for Glenn Beck, and to his credit he handed out my article, my strong atheist article, at all his rallies. I started writing more, and it started to seem like fun.

reason: So are you hoping if you can get Glenn Beck to announce that God is dead, you will have accomplished your goals?

Jillette: No.

reason: No?

Jillette: There never was a God. “God is dead” is a halfway measure I won’t go with [laughter].

reason: This is a good time, arguably the best time in human history, to be an atheist.

Jillette: 1890.

reason: You think so?

Jillette: Oh yeah.

reason: Were atheists on the top of the New York Times bestseller list with regularity in 1890?

Jillette: I believe so. I believe the three highest-paid lecturers in the 1890s, at the end of the last century, were Robert Ingersoll, who was speaking exclusively on atheism (he had also a lecture on Robert Burns and Shakespeare, but those weren’t as popular). Second place, Mark Twain, who at that time was reading Letters From Earth, all speaking on atheism. And third was Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s pit bull. Boom! Boom! Boom! There was gold in them there hills! And then Emma [Goldman] came along, grabbed atheism, pulled it into socialism, and then we go to hell in a handbasket. Once you associate atheism with socialism, I’ll let go of atheism.

reason: Atheists are known for having huge metaphysical certitude that equals or mirrors that of the most fervent believers. Yet in your book, your credo is about how the most important phrase is “I don’t know.”

Jillette: That whole idea that atheists have certainty is, I believe, a complete myth. I know the hardcore atheists. I know Dawkins. I know Hitchens. I know Harris, I know [Daniel] Dennett. I know the guys. And I’ve never heard any of them say that they are certain there’s no God. They say they don’t believe in God. I follow the fundamentalist Christian point of view that belief is active and if belief is active and you don’t know, then you don’t believe. I have a very, very light kind of atheism. Now, I don’t harbor any possibility of there being a God. It never crosses my mind that that would be possible. But that’s different from knowing.

reason: Did you have a particular Damascus road experience where that became clear to you, or is this the work of gradual rationality?

Jillette: That’s one of the things that’s so interesting about atheism. People have epiphanies to become religious. People become religious in horrible, bottom times of their life, cry out to Jesus under great stress. You don’t hear that story in atheism very often. It’s usually gradual; it usually comes from reading; it usually comes from discussions; it usually comes from introspection. For me, it was being in high school and reading the Bible. I suggest to anyone who’s looking for the road to atheism: just read the Bible. By the time you get to about the middle of Leviticus, you’re out.

(Interview continues below video.)

reason: You have a chapter called “Why I Am a Libertarian and Not a Nut.” OK, so explain why you’re a libertarian and why that doesn’t make you nuts.

Jillette: I believe I say “Why I Am a Libertarian and Not Just a Nut.” So I haven’t really taken that away. I remember hearing one lecture put out by P.J. O’Rourke where he was addressing a bunch of libertarians. He said that what we all have in commonâ€"and I’m paraphrasing because his wording is always perfectâ€"but what we all have in common is that everyone in this world does not know what is best for everyone else. That’s all we have in common. And [it’s] my whole take on libertarianism. I don’t go with pragmatic arguments at allâ€"the arguments that our whole world would function better. I don’t go for the arguments that the free market is magic and that if we left it alone everyone would be better off and happier. I always go to a pure, ideological, moral point of view: I just don’t know. 

The question I have is: The 17-year-old girl who’s working at McDonald’s, who is a brilliant mathematician, is on a track to a full scholarship to Stanford, and she is going to be one of the great mathematical minds of all time and she chooses to get knocked up and continue to work at McDonald’s: Is that something that society has to fix, or is that her individual choice? And I was kind of in that position, you know: by no means a genius.…

reason: …and by no means a woman.

Jillette: [laughter] Exactly. But I had scholarships to colleges I wanted to go to, and my high school was very, very optimistic about me doing well in college (because I’d done so badly in high school, I could only move up), and I chose to go to clown college. I chose to juggle, and I chose to make jokes.

The point of view of libertarianism for me is simply that each person has to make those decisions for themselves. I don’t know what’s best for other people. There’s a quality [you see] in Hillary Clinton when she’s speaking, where all her motives are very, very good. I’m not one of these people that believe she’s an evil dragon lady. I think she really does want everybody to be happier and healthier and more successful and everything else. But she knows what’s best for them. And I don’t think there’s anything you can do more insulting than acting like you know what’s best for someone else.

reason: One chapter in the book, which is actually taken from something that you wrote up for reason, is the three dogmas that hurt Americans most. Let’s run through those quickly. 

Jillette: God is the first one because if you take God away from the right wing and away from the Tea Partyâ€"and by God, I mean all that social meddlingâ€"their position is pretty sensible. 

reason: The second one you have here is that most people are evil. Who believes that?

Jillette: Every time I have a discussion â€"and I’m sure you have these tooâ€"I’m the libertarian person and I’m talking to a liberal, and they say, “Your basic position is, let all the poor people suffer, let all the sick people die.”

reason: That’s the only way I can see of making a living.

Jillette: [laughter] You say to them, “No, no, no! We’ll take care of each other.” [British journalist and CNN host] Piers Morgan said to me, “One out of seven people in this country is on food stamps. What does that mean to you?” I said, “That means six out of seven people can help them.” And he said, “How do we help them?” And I said, “Go help them.” He said, “We need the government to help them!” I said, “Go help them. I am. Go help them.” He said, “Well, how do we do it?” I said, “I didn’t say we. I said you. You make a pretty good living; there are people that are hungry in L.A. Go out this evening and help them.”

Warren Buffett is saying, “They should take more money in taxes from me.” OK, give it to them! But it’s never that. You say, “Well, I try to help people, and everyone I know that has moneyâ€"and many people I know that have very little moneyâ€"try to help people.” They always come back and say, “That’s you. But there [are] all these assholes that’ll justâ€"”

I believe firmly that if you pull a Ferrari up in front of a Starbucks and say to a random person, “My wife’s pregnant, I gotta run in the car with her, I gotta drive her there, my car is out there, just please take it and park it and text me at this number,” and run away, they’re not gonna steal that car. Your vast majority of people are gonna go, “Oh Jesus, I don’t know if I can drive a stick.” And they’re gonna get in there and they’re gonna do that. I think if liberals would just trust people to be better, there’s no problem with them either.

reason: Your final dogma that hurts Americans mostâ€"this is from John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Isn’t this the great statement for what it means to be an American?

Jillette: The first half of that is so good. I really believeâ€"and I think there’s some evidence that the Founding Fathers believed this tooâ€"that government’s job is to get out of the way. I don’t think we owe anything to our government. We owe things to each other, to our families, and to humanity as a whole. But having any sort of allegiance to the people in power.…I think that not taking anything from the government, not giving anything to the government, and doing nothing wrong, is a fine way to live.

reason: Do you think skepticism toward power is on the rise?

Jillette: [sigh] I always think that this stuff is my age. You know? I’m 56 now, and I think about howâ€"man, things are going really bad. And then I think about my dad in 1971, 1972: The president is crazy; he has gone crazy. We’re in Vietnam, killing people just completely.

reason: There’s a draft.

Jillette: There’s a draft. We’re being taken off the gold standard. The gold standard is gone, inflation is wild, it’s run away, there is a Cold War with Russia, we could all be blownâ€"there’s no comparison to now. I mean, Afghanistan and all the wars overseas are horrendous and terrible, but there’s not a draft.

reason: Is it a good thing to be skeptical toward power, or does it ultimately corrode people’s ability to make decisions or do anything? 

Jillette: I don’t think it does at all. There’s this bleeding of words where cynicism and skepticism are becoming synonymous. People like Bill Maher, who brags about being a cynic, it sickens me. I am the least cynical person I know, and I am very, very skeptical. I do not expect the worst from people, but I also think that some things aren’t true. And we have to be careful about that.

reason: To go back to this question on humility in front of the world. You say we all act on things we can’t prove, but that that’s different than faith. Why is saying “I don’t know” better than having faith that something exists?

Jillette: Saying “I don’t know” and going on anywayâ€"which you have to; you have to continue throughâ€"leaves the possibility that you can change your mind. It leaves the possibility that you can be wrong.

reason: So you’re open to the idea that something will happen that will convince you of God’s existence?

Jillette: I’m open to that. It seems very, very unlikely.

reason: When you’re dead, we’re not going to find a secret shrine to Buddha or something?

Jillette: It will be to Sun-Ra. Because of all the things I’m skeptical of, I do believe Sun-Ra was from Saturn.

reason: You say the only real argument against religious terrorism is to try to share the reality of the world. How is that? Why is that going to stop people from blowing up buildings just a few miles from where we’re talking?

Jillette: If we share reality, if we talk about things we can prove, the problem of talking about it is you hit this wall: “Why do you believe Jesus Christ is our Lord? Do you have evidence?” “I feel it in my heart.” If you move “I feel it in my heart” out of the equation, terrorism goes away. Completely goes away. You might have military events: “I think my people should be free and here’s the reason why; here [are] our lands that are occupied.” 

We’re already there! This is the part that no one ever talks about. If you go to the center of the Bible Belt and you have a fundamentalist Christian judge, and all the lawyers and all the jury are fundamentalist Christians, and they believe completely with their heartâ€"and I’m not doubting them in any wayâ€"and someone gets on the witness stand and says, “I killed my whole family because God told me to,” it’s astonishing to me that nobody goes, “Well, let’s look into that.” We have “guilty,” we have “not guilty,” we have “not guilty by reason of insanity”; we do not have “not guilty because God told me to.” And that’s one of the things that I’m obsessed with in this book: the fact that not only do I not believe, but how can that judge read the Bible and see Abraham be willing to kill his son because God told him to, see burning bushes appearing to people, hear people dropping all their worldly possessions and going on to follow.…

reason: …staying clear of linen and wool blends, back to Leviticus.…

Jillette: …what side of the tree you defecate on, and so on. How can they see all that, and then a woman who clearly believes that God told her to do something is completely and utterly dismissed? It’s a nutty thing.

reason: You said you’re optimistic or you’re forward-looking. You’ve got two children; are they going to grow up in a better world than you did?

Jillette: Oh, absolutely. 

reason: And why are you certain of that? Are you taking that on faith? How do you know that?

Jillette: The evidence shows you that two things have been true throughout mankind’s history: One, things always get better. Two, people always think they’re getting worse. We talk about the stress of modern life, but we’re not chasing down wildebeest to eat, we’re not being attacked by animals in the night. Unless you’re a Vegas magician, in which case you are. But I think things will definitely be better for [my kids]. And also things are getting more peaceful. I mean, as much as I carry on about “let’s stop killing people overseas,” person for person, we’re killing fewer people than we ever have. 

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  1. I doubt that he actually disagrees with Beck on everything. Maybe he should listen to the show some. Well, unless the show is just an act and he is not voicing his real views.

    1. Beck is a complete fucking moron and liar. I am not surprised that you are a fan of his.

      1. Oh look who is back, its the King of Morons himself, I see you still managing to survive those Christian Taliban who are out to get you.

        1. Beck has endorsed Santorum you stupid shill. Embrace them and pretend those assholes don’t exist.

          1. Who gives the fuck what Beck says, how does that make you any less of a moron ?

            1. I stopped feeding the troll today.

            2. Suki expressed his fondness for Beck, you retard. I am sure John is a fan as is about half the fucking commenters here. Beck is Mr. Conservative. He loves Big Government.

              1. That is the practical politics of Fibertarianism.

                1. Logic Fail.

              2. About half the people here may respect Beck slightly more than Limbaugh just because he seems slightly open to new ideas and to some libertarian views.

                I’m sure most think Beck is not all that sharp and kind of a nut, but likeable in a goofy ass way, kind of like you in your bette moments Shriek.

                1. There is nothing likeable about Shriek, his christfag rants stop being funny after the third posting.

              3. Suki expressed his fondness for Beck

                I love Beck now…for only the express reason of pissing off Shrike.

                Can love of everything Shrike hates be a political philosophy?

          2. I think he was endorsing the fluid, not the candidate.

    2. Penn says that about a lot of people.

      1. That might be his only failing, the overuse of “don’t agree with anything”, especially with a radio host that just spent an hour on pro-homeschooling and related topics.

  2. Penn is s l o w but the world needs more contestants in Trump’s circus

    1. One day I will translate what I write from hieroglyphics into plain English.

      1. Yes that would be just the thing to help you with your anadipsia.

        Blogwhore!

      2. You’ll have to. This site doesn’t accept non-alphabetical script.

        1. Eh. His “INSULT ALL THE THINGS!” approach to skepticism was more of a hindrance than a help to me in my local quest to free friends and family from the con of Sylvia Browne. Hurling insults at believers tends to make them just circle the wagons.

          Quest was successful, BTW.

          1. Wow, how’d this wind up over here?

  3. “Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.”
    Finally spmeone from a reputible college.

    1. …should read reputable college.

    2. I’m guessing he wasn’t forced to take twelve credit hours of “feminist perspectives on gender norming in performance art” to graduate.

      1. Good thing he did not major in marionette design.

  4. This guy seems to be more agnostic in his answer to the existence of God than atheist.

    1. Atheism has always meant “absence of belief in God(s)”, so Penn is definitively an atheist. George H. Smith has written at length about this.

    2. Agnostics are just weak atheists that understand that admitting you’re an atheist causes people to look at you funny.

      1. Or you could say agnostics are just weak theists. Belief and knowing are too seperate things. No one can know if there is a god or not, but you can have a belief, or lack of belief, either way.

        1. I believe I have no idea?

      2. Agnosticism isn’t a weak form of atheism–it’s a separate category altogether, as agnostics deny that claims of existence are knowable. That’s become watered down/lost in translation to mean that agnostics “aren’t sure” about the existence of god(s), but that’s not what Huxleyian agnosticism is.

        1. Agnostics are either atheists, or theists. Theism: belief in a god or gods. Atheist: Without belief in a god or gods. Agnosticism doesn’t define a valid third position between theism and atheism. There is no such thing. Either you believe, or you don’t. It has nothing to do with what you “know.”

          1. Horseshit. Belief implies that something could be known, but isn’t currently, and so requires an opinion. If you believe that something is unknowable, then you have no opinion and you are categorically different than believers and disbelievers.

            1. Athiest = believes the proposition “God exists” is false.

              Thiest = believes the proposition “God exists” is true.

              Agnostic = believes the proposition “God exists” is unknowable, and consequently takes no position on the truth or falsehood of the proposition.

              Whatever bullshit etymological games you want to play, these are the properly understood definitions of the terms.

            2. Regardless, the whole athiest/thiest/agnostic schtick is gross bastardization meant for people with double-digit IQs who can’t grasp the more abstract/esoteric concepts from metaphysics and epistemology.

              Making it all tiresome and beneath me.

          2. It has everything to do without knowing dip wad “Reality”. You sound like one of those Bushies “Your for us or against us”. Go ahead and be a fanatical egotistical windbag. Agnosticism is I DON’T FUCKING KNOW. Put that in your pipe and smoke it self righteous asshole. This is either/or fallacy crap your pulling doesn’t help your side at all, you just prove my point that Atheists are just as fanatical as their Christian counterparts about the non existence of “God”.

    3. An agnostic is someone who avoids saying he doesn’t think God exists because God might hear.

      1. Could we have another atheist-vs-agnostic hate fest, please? It’s been so long.

        1. Says the guy who tries to inject abortion into nearly every thread…

        2. Uh, it’s a joke. And the distinction is almost purely semantic; it’s just a matter of how you present yourself. Every atheist I know is an agnostic atheist, that is, someone who doesn’t believe in a god without evidence, but can’t discount the possibility of evidence.

          Damn.

          1. Don’t fret, Amakudari. This agnostic got it. 🙂 I make fun of myself all the time.

    4. It’s very possible to be an atheist and agnostic at the same time, Penn has said as much on a few occasions

  5. In the words of Alex Trabeck and Sean Connery, “Penn is Mightier!”

  6. “We talk about the stress of modern life, but we’re not chasing down wildebeest to eat, we’re not being attacked by animals in the night. Unless you’re a Vegas magician, in which case you are.”

    Funny!

    1. Gambol lockdown.

    2. Not to Siegfried and Roy!

  7. He seems like a decent man.

  8. Libertarianism is socialism minus concern for the poor. So I don’t see what’s so wrong with helping the poor via the most efficient means known: social programs. If helping the poor actually matters to you, in the same way that property rights matter to you, then there really is no moral distinction between paying taxes for one and not the other.

    Penn doesn’t seem to connect with the fact that absent secular social (government) programs, it will be mostly churches left doing all the work.

    1. So I don’t see what’s so wrong with helping the poor via the most efficient means known: social programs.

      You use that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      1. Name a society that has more of a safety net and more social mobility but fewer government programs to promote such.

        1. Government efficiency is not only an oxymoron, it just doesn’t happen. The only thing governments are efficient at is mass murder.

          1. So you admit governments can be efficient.

            1. are you serious? I mean really. are you? You’re peeing on your own feet. Cite an example of a state run office that processes work more efficiently than a private one. Mail? fedex. even NASA is trumped by Virgin Galactic. give me a break.

          2. Actually, China and Russia were quite sloppy about it. Those efficient Germans barely warrant a mention in the book of mass murder compared to them.

            1. don’t forget capitalist genocidal efficiency

              1. Wow, i didn’t realize 15th century Spain was capitalist.

                1. you’re a dumbfuck, skr

          3. As Will Rogers said, “Thank God that we don’t get all the government that we pay for”.

        2. Name a society that has more of a safety net and more social mobility but fewer government programs to promote such.

          Hong Kong – especially between 1950 and 2000.

          Now, name a government program which has done more to improve the lives of people than free markets.

        3. Moron #2 Strikes again. There is a difference between a government social program and charity. The first FORCES somebody to pay for somebody else, there is no real compassion involved for the human just offices, numbers and paper. The second involves a person willingly giving his or her own time and money to help a human being personally. Leave it up to Moron #2 (Shreik is #1) to mix up those two.

    2. Its much more than that, libertarianism don’t believe in things like hate speech laws, nationalising entire industries, public education, the right to discriminate, the list can go on for a very long time. Libertarians

      1. Tony thinks making everyone poor is having concern for the poor. Because if everyone is poor, except for the ordained elites (certainly not ordained by the masses), then we’re all “equal” and better off, somehow.

        1. Tony cannot define poor, until he can I don’t what he is talking about. He probably sees a poor person as an Oliver Twist that would become great if only government had given him a bit more food.

          1. Nobody suffers like the billionaire having to pay 4% more in taxes.

            1. Tony|3.15.12 @ 11:20AM|#
              “Nobody suffers like the billionaire having to pay 4% more in taxes.”

              Shithead reaches into the strawman bowl!

            2. Like I said, he cannot define what poor is, its a mystical god that underlines his entire argument, but to define poor itself, that is impossible.

              1. Poor: lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

                From my computer’s dictionary.

                1. Yeah but you’re talking about a society where everyone has iPads & fourteen video gaming systems. Nobody NEEDS that shit, but by your definition people who don’t have them require them to be “normal”.

                  1. I’d settle for food, housing, education, and healthcare, along with all the public services libertarians deem legitimate.

                    1. No would not you liar, if government said the people had the right to free transport, entertainment, clothing, etc. etc. etc. you would add them to your list, your list is essentially infinite.

                    2. There are thousands of gov’t policies that make all of these more expensive and that take from the taxpayer and give to the well-connected. So your policies back-fire on you.

                      And what if someone prefers to rent a smaller apartment and buy themselves Mars bars and video games but you think their apartment is too small and that makes them “poor” in that society which is one of the richest on earth?

                      How is your definition of poor different from envy since in absolute terms they are not poor, but in fact are often overweight and choose to be underemployed? Although, to be fair, many of the policies encourage this.

                    3. Guys, I realized this is someone who believes he has a right TO everything. Actually, positive rights don’t exist in nature.

                      also, there are NO public services that are legitimate. go suckle at the state tit, and leave us alone. that IS a right that we have, to be left alone.

                2. So, by Tony’s definition, someone can have enough calories to eat to become obese if they so choose, have a roof over their head, have a plethora of clothing, drive a car, have a large color TV, have clean drinking water from a tap, electricity, indoor plumbing, have access to all the education they want — and still be poor because their neighbors have even more wealth.

                  1. There is no one so poor that they cannot afford to feed me.

                  2. Just a bottom line of acceptable living standards, hopefully providing enough stability so that anyone can succeed if they want to and try hard.

                    If you’re struggling to feed yourself and have no access to education, then capitalism isn’t really worth shit to you.

                    1. Capitalism did not arise because people were given free food and housing you moron, it came about because of those twin evils of property rights and the pursuit of profit.

                      Otherwise the industrial revolution should have happened in China about 1000 years ago.

                    2. hey tony, who decides how much is enough? What are the amounts that get determined for EVERYONE’S BODY CHEMISTRY? who gets that power? how will they wield it? is there a dispute process? you’re proving everything Penn said, you know what’s best for everyone right?

                  3. …told me so. Tony told me so.

                    Why do Fibertards try to change the meaning of words to suit their me-Me-ME agenda?

                3. Which societies standards will you use.I’m poor by American standards yet I’m happy in my position yet I’d be rich compared to others by far in Somalia yet I have no desire to live in Somalia just so that I could be richer then those around me

                4. “standard considered comfortable or normal”

                  Tony won’t stop until everyone is above average!

              2. Poor is like, you know, maybe Anne Romney.

      2. Oops seems to be chopped off.

        Its much more than that, libertarianism don’t believe in things like hate speech laws, nationalising entire industries, public education, the right to discriminate, the list can go on for a very long time. Libertarians care about individual rights, socialists about social rights, the difference is a big as you can get.

        1. Social rights = individual rights actualized.

          1. Perhaps in your Orwell doublespeak world. Tell me how by government nationalising my company is an individual right ?

            1. I’m not sure your question makes any sense.

              1. You said: Social rights = individual rights

                Socialists support nationalisation if it serves the public, how does nationalising my company support my individual rights ? Key word being MY individual rights not yours

                1. I dunno. Are potential private providers of national defense having their rights violated because we have a nationalized national defense industry?

                  Capitalism doesn’t mean you have a right to make a profit, btw.

                  1. I do know, your nationalistion of my company has violated my individual rights, therefore social rights is not = individual rights.

                    Capitalism doesn’t mean you have a right to make a profit ????? Is this supposed to some kind of joke ?

                  2. you are a fucking idiot. The definition of Capitalism is making a profit, asshat.

                  3. If you said capitalism doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to make a profit, I would agree. If by saying you don’t have a “right” to a profit, what you mean by a “right” is that if you don’t make a profit, then the government has to make sure you do get a profit, then I agree with that statement.

                    Capitalism does not mean you have a “right” to make a profit – i.e., not like you have a “right” speak freely or a “right” exercise your religion as you see fit.

                    There is no guarantee that you will make a profit and be successful simply because you engage in capitalism. But by the same token, to the extent that you do make a profit, you DO have a right to enjoy the fruits of your labor – i.e., that profit – that is absolutely and infinitely superior to anyone else’s potential claim to it – unless, of course you made that profit through fraudulent behavior or theft.

                2. 2 questions that seem to really stump the fibertarian hordes:

                  ? Is any white person‘s right an individual or collective right?

                  ? Is the right to take a negative or positive right?

                  “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land … Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.”

                  ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

                  1. And people say I the dumbest person who posts here… I’m a piker compared to Comrade Jason.

                  2. The answer to both questions is “neither”. Simple.

                    1. Fibertard gonna evade another day.

          2. Tony|3.15.12 @ 11:17AM|#
            “Social rights = individual rights actualized.”

            Shithead, do you just pull random words out of a bowl? Or are you really this stupid?

            1. da, tovarisch

          3. Do you mean Social Rite? Those can be pretty groovy. I don’t know what a Social Right is but it sounds like something I wouldn’t qualify for.

        2. Take public education… you can say you have “in theory” a right to participate in capitalism and succeed or fail on your merits. But if you have no access to education (which many wouldn’t in a market-based education system), then do you really fully have those rights?

          1. People have partaken in capitalism without a public education, that really is a shit argument.

            If anything public education is there to create jobs for government bureaucrats.

            1. Yeah people partake in capitalism without access to education… at a significant advantage to those who do have access. Just a fact of life. Unless you favor eternal generational privilege then education must be subsidized for all, it’s just a fact of life, and the figured it out long ago even if you haven’t.

              1. *disadvantage

                1. *disadvantage

                  I went to public schools from 6th to 12 grade.

                  You were right the first time.

              2. Tony|3.15.12 @ 11:32AM|#
                “Unless you favor eternal generational privilege then education must be subsidized for all,…”

                Non sequitur, shithead.

                1. Fibertard top argument techniques:

                  ? You spelled it wrong!
                  ? Non sequitur!
                  ? straw man!

                  Nice going, shit-for-brains.

              3. Public education creates a significant disadvantage for capitalism and the entrepreneural spirit.

                Eternal privilege ? Care to give me some examples, I can perhaps think of the Rothschild family, but even their wealth has shrunken away over time.

              4. So no social mobility before the late 1800s in the US eh?
                ” Well before the American Revolution, the eminent New Yorker Cadwallader Colden wrote an English friend that “the most opulent families in our memory have arisen from the lowest rank of the people.””

                1. Alexander Hamilton was a bastard child, born in the West Indies and orphaned by the time he was 11 years old. He ended up being directly involved in creating the U.S. Constitution and is one of its signers, and also was one of George Washington’s right-hand men during the Revolutionary War and during Washington’s presidency.

                  He managed to start from what were at the time considered to be utterly ignominiuos beginnings and then to become highly successful, well-known and influential before there even was a U.S. government.

              5. It would be a lot easier for less educated people to engage in capitalism if there were not so many barriers to entry to many potential businesses that require highly verbal, well educated people to navigate.

          2. But if you have no access to education (which many wouldn’t in a market-based education system),….

            Many public school systems, including some of the most lavishly funded, fail to provide many of their students with access to education in any meaningful sense.

            1. Which is why Republicans should never be in charge of government at the local or national levels. We need to fix public education. Doing away with it (thus throwing people unlucky enough to be born of poor parents into perpetual generational poverty) isn’t a solution. Libertarians love to bitch about how bad the system is, but they don’t offer an alternative except magical thinking.

              1. Again with the generational poverty bullshit that is historically disproved by the fact that there was social mobility before public education in the US. I mean did some disingenuous professor make some stupid analogy to medieval feudalism and tell you that the world would be just like that if not for public eduction?

                1. Its even easier to disprove by the fact that some of the wealthiest people in world, did so without public education.

                2. What are you talking about? Compulsory education has existed in this country since the 1600s. The industrial revolution saw higher levels of education being subsidized. The GI bill provided access to college for millions, thus a better quality of life for them and their offspring. Access to education and economic empowerment are totally interconnected the world over.

                  1. Only in Massachusetts Tony.

                    1. And then only so children could learn how to read the Bible.

                  2. Also Tony, there is a big difference between saying that education empowers people and saying that people cannot be empowered without education. Or that there is no social mobility without public compulsory education which is demonstrably false.

                    1. And lol, most towns choose to just pay the fine for not having a grammar school. Never mind that none of that applied to rural areas.

                    2. And the kids didn’t have to go to school if the person under whom they were apprenticing taught them to read. Hmm, sounds an awful lot like homeschooling.

                3. “did some disingenuous professor make some stupid analogy to medieval feudalism and tell you that the world would be just like that if not for public eduction?”

                  Most likely that’s the case for the socialist true believers. Though a significant portion also just cant stand the fact that some people have more stuff than they do, so under the guise of “helping the pooorzzz” they vote for government that steals from me, a productive citizen.

              2. “Which is why Republicans should never be in charge of government at the local or national levels.”

                Look what the Republicans did to public education in Los Angeles!

              3. Tony public education has been an abject failure in regards to actually educating individuals. In case you haven’t been paying attention people leaving highschool now are less skilled and learned than they were 10, 15, 20, or 30 years ago. Now in terms of indoctrination and dogma public education has been a successs.

                1. Yeah and what happened over the last 30 years? Republicans in charge of government.

                  1. So the Republicans had a majority in the house, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, Bush Sr. actually won the ’92 election, Bob Dole in ’96, and McCain in ’08. Funny, that’s not how I remember it.

              4. People have been trying to fix public education by throwing money at it for decades. Is it fixed yet?

                I’m willing to accept that public funding of education will continue indefinitely into the future. But why should government provide the schools? Why not provide access by giving some money to people who can’t afford it rather than forcing everyone to pay for a fucked up system that is incredibly slow to adapt or change.

              5. Libertarians love to bitch about how bad the system is, but they don’t offer an alternative except magical thinking.

                Vouchers, parent choice, money follows students.

                1. more gummit we need

              6. *sigh*

                The push to shutter the Departmet of Education isn’t an anti-public education movment. Any argument to the contrary is either simply disingenuous or woefully ignorant.

          3. …(which many wouldn’t in a market-based education system)…

            Public or private doesn’t enter into it and circumstances are virtually irrelevant. Education is a choice and some folks do not choose wisely.

        3. Fibertarians love big-government enforced regulations on the land to prevent people hunting and gathering a free lunch, thus starving people into working in the owner class’ offices, factories, and armies, so that wealth may accumulate to the hierarchical elite.

          1. Idiot. Or Rather, White Idiot.

            1. That’s why I call you Fibertard.

              You lie. And you’re stupid.

          2. Actually good sir, (giggle) it doesn’t require “big-government” regulations to promote and enforce the idea of property rights and you know it. Small villages, even most communes I dare say employ a rule of law which protect property rights.

            Dispite your protestations even American Indians understood the concept. Or do you propose their raids, no matter how infrequent, weren’t based on TAKING RESOURCES from another tribe/culture/individual for either shared or personal consumption? I’m sure you can connect the dots, but just in case…

            If force is required then some form of ownership is implied, no matter how fleeting. Unless said property was willed into existence by the “original owner” it was found or taken from an animal or the land. Why would they then not have any notion of ownership of animal or land; territorial boundaries at the least, which amounts to the same thing.

          3. Maybe, and sadly so, but maybe this will be a revelation for your: modern human impulses are holdovers from our primative past. The primative peoples and cultures you seem to hold in such high esteem had the same predispositions as modern man to covet, to horde, to own; but what they were some merry band of Mother Teresas who overcame their baser instincts and were to gambol about plain and forest in perfect harmony?

          4. Wearing the disguise of a Nature Faker, here comes the Tax Extractor for the War State along with his SWAT team of IRS agents to bust down your door and grab your stuff.

          5. who prevents lazy fkn Indians from getting a job?

      3. ibertarianism don’t believe in things like … the right to discriminate

        Really? You mean libertarians do not believe that individuals have the right to say “no”?

        Because that’s all discrimination is.

        If you mean libertarians do not believe the government should mandate discrimination (Jim Crow), then I would agree.

    3. “Libertarianism is socialism minus concern for the poor”?

      Where the f*ck do you get THAT from? And wouldn’t it be at least as fair to say ‘Libertarianism is socialism minus the tendency to genocide.”?

      1. You cannot ignore me. You adore me utterly. You respond to the dumbest thing I can possibly say.

      2. Tony only understands force.

        So if you do not want to help the poor through force, then in his mind you do not want to help them at all.

        Since libertarians do not want the government to control the distribution of food to grocery stores, we do not want people to eat.

        1. I just want government to ensure that everyone has access to basic nutrition. The market can take care of the rest. Grocery store owners don’t care where the money purchasing their products is coming from.

          1. Like in the US for the last 200 years? Eggs cost about ten cents each, dude.
            And are one of the healthiest things you can eat. Despite AMA and past gov’t nonsense to the contrary. They changed their minds of course, but most people still think eggs are unhealthy. Used to be able to get bread for less than a dollar loaf.

            1. One of the healthiest ways you can eat: not having to cook yourself.

              Have somebody who is 3/5ths of a person do it.

              200 years ago, ya know!

              1. I tried cooking myself once, but crawled out of the oven because it started getting hot.

          2. i want government to control the lives of all people, the market can take care of the rest!

          3. I thought you also wanted people to have subsidized education, housing and medical care, too?

            Also, some people do care where the money comes from. Ron Paul refused to accept payments from Medicare or Medicaid, though he never turned a patient away.

          4. Tony, if you only want to make sure that people have the basics, then I assume you are against programs that siphon money to the middle and upper classes. Would you be willing to scrap Medicare and let Medicaid pick up the slack? Would you be willing to scrap Social Security and let Welfare/Food Stamps/etc. pick up the slack?

        2. Socialists LOVE the poor. That’s why they make so many of them.

          1. Wish this were Facebook so I could “Like” the shit out of this comment.

      3. tendency to genocide? can you say american capitalism?

        1. Americans and British, combined, MAY have killed 2 million Native Americans since the discovery of the New World. Compared to the numbers racked up by Communism that’s pretty small potatoes.

          1. 1. The numbers are higher.

            2. Is there any difference between killing 1,000 or 2,000 people? Come on, explain yourself.

            1. 1) The numbers are not higher.

              2) It took three hundred years, give or take, for several successive cultures to ‘kill’ (arguably) that many Native Americans. According to THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM (Mark Kramer, Jonathan Murphy, Nicolas Werth and Jean-Louis Panne. Harvard University Press), it took Communism less than a century to murder (that is, excluding war deaths) 85 million to 100 million people. That’s an order of magnitude more deaths in a third of the time.

              Capitalism (and Colonialism, and Triumphalism, and all the other isms that lead to Native American deaths) has a lot to answer for. But the people who criticise it most are mostly cheerleaders for Socialism/Communism, and that system is the hands down winner for creation of death, desolation, and misery.

              1. 100,000,000 genoicide in the Americas.

                Keep denying, City-Statist. Stalin would be proud of you, Fibertard.

                American Holocaust
                by David Stannard
                Oxford University Press, 1992

                1. 100,000,000 with sabres and revolvers? Damn that’s industrious.

                2. of the Nazi youth, war-profiteer, is proud of your trolling and acting as a distraction for the Welfare/Warfare state….never a discouraging word about the $oros War Party.

                  1. I speak against War all the time.

                    This is why I repeat stuff: the stupid is strong here.

                    On the Origins of War
                    John Zerzan
                    http://www.scribd.com/doc/20298938/Ze…..ins-of-War

                3. Ticket for War Tribe Chieftains.

                4. Peddling false guilt and letting the actual guilty parties slide….sympathy for the War/Surveillance/Welfare/Tax State and its collection of NeoCon and Pro-Aggressive interventionists and Junior Stalinists. Taxes pay for their lavish lifestyles.

                  1. and likely deranged.

            2. “2. Is there any difference between killing 1,000 or 2,000 people? Come on, explain yourself.”

              1000 people still alive say “Fuck yeah, there’s a difference!”

      4. “Libertarianism is socialism minus concern for the poor”

        War is Peace.

        Slavery is Freedom.

        The Newspeak is strong with Tony.

    4. Tony|3.15.12 @ 11:02AM|#
      “Libertarianism is socialism minus concern for the poor.”

      Shithead, do you just pull random words out of a bowl? Or are you really this stupid?

      1. Yes. And you respond away. Because you love me. I am this place. It is nothing without me.

        1. “Shithead, do you just pull random words out of a bowl? Or are you really this stupid?”

          Tony|3.15.12 @ 11:26AM|#
          “Yes”

          1. And still you feed me. nom nom nom. So hungry. Respond more. Fill the whole thread with responses to me.

            1. You suck Tony. I hate you!

            2. He’s kind of like a bad guy in professional wrestling.

              Most people know they are fake but they boo anyway.

      2. I know it’s just a spoof, but it’s amusing that there are people who actually think this way, isn’t it?

    5. “So I don’t see what’s so wrong with helping the poor via the most efficient means known: social programs.”

      More efficient than just lending a hand, or giving them money, directly?

      1. “So I don’t see what’s so wrong with helping the poor via the most efficient means known: social programs.”

        “More efficient than just lending a hand, or giving them money, directly?”

        Efficiency is a matter of accomplishing goals with a minimum of time and effort and money.

        If you assume that the goal of social programs is “helping the needy” you are correct that they are not efficient. But if you assume that the goal of social programs is helping the needy, you are an idiot.

        The goal of social programs is setting up government agencies stocked with government employees creating government regulations to allow the government to control peoples’ lives.

        Just look at the growth in government over the last 50 years or so. Remarkably successful, no?

    6. Too stupid to be the real Chony.

      1. How dare you say I am not real. Who have all these people been “arguing” with this entire thread if I’m not real?

        1. Their own inner demons?

            1. I’m just glad i was fooled and that that thing doesn’t exist!

    7. You do realize that the poor have property rights too? And the taxes paid (mostly by people who are not poor) pay to protect their property rights as well. Do you further realize that rich people don’t need the police to protect their property rights. They can afford private security and alarms and big, secure houses and stuff. But some dope always has to come out with “But we’re forced to pay for police to protect rich people’s property, so you should love a large welfare state.”

    8. “via the most efficient means known: social programs.”

      Polite answer: Define “efficient.”

      Closer-to-reality answer: Tony, you’re a retard.

  9. I’ve liked Penn & Teller for a while, now. I even saw their show in Vegas and got autographs and pictuers taken with them. Penn is a giant. Teller looks like a really short guy, when standing next to Penn, but he’s actually average height.

    Anyway, I loved their Bullshit! show and even watched a couple of Penn’s Youtube shows. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I do agree with him more often than not.

    1. They’ve got a special on Netflix on the history of the cups & balls trick. It’s a really good show. Nice mix of history and entertainment. The grand finale is amazing.

    2. I just saw them live for the first time. Loved the show. So did my brother, who isn’t particularly libertarian or a huge follower of P&T.

    3. I don’t find his potty mouth tweets helpful though.

      1. Yeah, really, fuck that shit.

    4. Agreed. I particulary enjoyed the BS skit on Ethanol Subsidies. His YouTube show, Penn Point, is really nothing of any value, never anything political..just never ending atheist monologues.

      I particulary don’t understand why he doesn’t put more effort into spreading libertarianism instead of constantly interjecting his atheism into everything. it’s easy for some to get turned of by libertarians like teller that spend 70% of their time blabbering on about something in which there is no winning argument; instead of the big issues of the day.

      1. Atheism *is* the winning argument. Theists are just too bewildered by following the pretty butterflies inside their own heads to understand that. Luckily, theism is dying in the USA. each new generation has stronger and broader atheist ranks. Eventually, theists will lose control, and things will probably immediately improve.

        1. Like they did in Soviet Russia.
          I’m no religionist, but athiesm is just another death cult that is often the kissing cousin of statism.

          1. I’m no athiest, but religion is just another death cult that is often the kissing cousin of statism.

        2. How can “athiest” be a winning argument if all athiesm is the absense of belief in the existence of God? Athiesm can only “win” if they take a definitive position, such as, “God does not exist.” But of course, such a position opens the door for Agnosticism, which you claimed earlier doesn’t exist. Seems to me you want Athiesm to mean “absense of belief” sometimes and “disbelief” at other times.

        3. Lucky for whom? Tally up deaths and poverty throughout history between theist and non-theist societies and see who comes out on top.

          Actually, I’ll tell you. Estimated around 50% of killings in significant events of human history happened at the hands of non-theist regimes, and only in the last 100 years. Also estimated that atheistic Communism has killed roughly 110,000,000 people, roughly a third of significant event killings throughout history.

          So, no, atheism is not “lucky” for anyone. That doesn’t mean there aren’t peaceful atheist communities. But it does mean that there is no better chance at peace just because you are an atheistic community.

  10. Let’s have some Sun Ra, since he mentioned him.

  11. Foobity farb-bop.

  12. Sometimes I agree with Penn: I just don’t know. That’s the basic humility of libertarianism – I don’t know enough to fix everything, nobody does.

    Sometimes I don’t: There’s a quality [you see] in Hillary Clinton when she’s speaking, where all her motives are very, very good. I’m not one of these people that believe she’s an evil dragon lady. I think she really does want everybody to be happier and healthier and more successful and everything else. But she knows what’s best for them. And I don’t think there’s anything you can do more insulting than acting like you know what’s best for someone else.

    That’s evil.

    1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

      This is why those who resist government control of what you can drink or eat or smoke or read or watch or fuck or buy or sell are called stupid or crazy or evil – these things are being done for your own good. How can you argue with someone who truly believes they know better than you how you should live your own life?

      1. You tell them that they have a right to believe whatever they want, but if they dare try to force you you’ll rip their intestines out in self-defense.

      2. Where’s that quote from?

        1. C.S. Lewis.

          1. Since the interview takes on religion, it’s worth noting that C.S. Lewis was an ardent Christian, quoted often by Christian apologists today.

  13. Ok, I see it now, that was a Tony spoof, I really feel like I have egg on my face, having been suckered by the spoof. You did it well.

    1. Would arguing with it have been OK if it wasn’t a spoof? Would you feel as if you had accomplished something in that case?

  14. that’s the ticket.

  15. The whole reason I found reason magazine was because they were on the War on Drugs episode of Bullshit.

    That was one of their best episodes.

  16. I subscribe to “Reason”, and while its writers seem to be logical and reasonable, most of the posters here are not. F-cking, and moron,etc.? Is this all you will use your freedoms for – to sound like a sixth grade boy? I won’t cancel my subscription to “Reason” but I think they should cancel the sixth grade posters’ subscriptions, if only so no one will think they are advocates for “Reason” or the libertarian cause.

    Funny too, how so many (not all) libertarians are just that, until God is mentioned, and then you’d think the ghost of Josef Stalin had invaded their minds.

    1. Or you could not base your belief about most of the posters here upon two or three people, fucking moron.

  17. I think you can believe in God and still agree with everything else Penn said. So I’m not sure why it’s so important to be an atheist.

    1. I don’t see where anyone has set forth the proposition that it’s important to be an atheist.

      1. Science is based on observation of reality. Science has brought us immense understanding of the world, and continuously advancing technology. And art. Ultimately, science is the active and precise expression of the atheist viewpoint: if it’s real, I’ll be able to see it, manipulate it, put it to work for me, and/or improve my understanding of reality.

        1. Like, say, sterilizing mental defectives due to the rigorous science of, what was it called again, phrenology?

        2. Science says nothing about theism or atheism. That question is entirely outside the purview of science.

          Science is merely the study of nature. The best science can do is provide relatively accurate and precise models that explain the relationships between the various particles and forces found in nature.

          1. Well said Tired Scientist. Like Reality said, Science is based on observation of reality, which actually hasn’t dis-proven anything about God. The mistake people are making is when it comes to scientific theory. Theories are just that: theories. The Big Bang is not and cannot be observable. Theories around when dinosaurs lived, evolution, etc. will always remain that, a theory. They can also never be observed to be proven as a fact.

            The question then is, why is religion (I’d like to ask specifically around Christianity) presumed guiltier of spreading “lies” than science? Christianity says, “We have the answer and we want you to believe.” People like Reality say, “We think we have the answer, and if you don’t believe us, you’re an idiot.”

      2. Theism, OTOH, is based upon imaginary nonsense. It has brought us, as a matter of doctrine, unending war and terrorism, canned (and childish) morality, witch burning, sexual repression, the inquisitions, the crusades, and on and on. And art. Theism has done nothing unique or significant to advance society; OTOH, it has done darned near anything you can think of to keep it static (on its best days.) Theism “solves” problems by “praying” or waving one’s hands and mumbling about “mysterious ways”, etc. Theism is the ultimate dysfunction.

        So it IS important to be an atheist — that’s working on the side that deals with reality instead of fairy tales as a matter of guidance for one’s life’s actions.

        Religion is utter bunk for the terrified, for those who lack critical thinking ability, for those who are gullible. Keep it the heck away from me.

        1. “Theism has done nothing unique or significant to advance society;”

          Um, patronage of some (most) of the seminal musical achievements of 400 or the past 500 years. Unparalleled architecture for a couple of millenia.

          jeebus you neo-secularist wackos are so fkn blinded by your religion=hatred that you can’t even see your own failings. In that, you’re just like the fundamentalist wackos you so deride.

          Try living in a house with mirrors.

          1. I see. No matter how much evil was done in the name of religion, if the true believers did something good, the evils they did are to be ignored. As in, all are sinners but the special few have been “forgiven.” Gack!

        2. Religion isn’t the cause of war, terrorism, arbitrary morality, persecution of others, sexual repression, tyranny and so on. It’s merely one of very many “justifications.”

          Remove it, and those who want to promote those acts or ideas in your list would quickly find another.

  18. @mancaveman

    Penn would say that you’re practicing selective skepticism. I would say that too.

  19. This piece is just another “reason” why Reason will never be an impetus for real libertarian ideals within any mainstream political party. Simply too much intellectual seed is spilled and wasted on the ground of fringe characters and radical ideas that could better wait their time. Rockwell and Rothbard were clearly correct when they prescribed a much needed fumigation of the current Libertarian clique. The arrogant, almost compulsive advocacy of Atheism, heroin chic and the like will forever doom the tangible aspects of the philosophy to the backwaters of political fecklessness. What a burden Dr. Paul must carry, labeled as he is in supporting such an all too often pompous elite.

    1. “The arrogant, almost compulsive advocacy of Atheism”

      I’m no god-follower, but that’s how I feel about many atheists. They’re just so fkn sure of themselves.

      1. Not only that, but have you noticed that the Reason editors/contributors never respond to any of the subscriber comments? Just a bunch of elitist fuc_$. If you’re wealthly enough maybe you can take a cruise with these a-holes. Trust me, elitism is the subversive sperm of statism. Even on the lame, neocon backwater that was NRB, key contributors would try to respond to the subscriber comments. Pathetic.

  20. “How can they see all that, and then a woman who clearly believes that God told her to do something is completely and utterly dismissed? It’s a nutty thing.”

    That hypothetical says more about Jillette’s limited literalist mindset than about how devout Christians think and what deeper meanings a Biblical story like Abraham and Isaac has to such people.

  21. Many athiests miss a key point about human nature. Most people would be miserable if they did not feel that big daddy or mommy “God” would take care of them if they said did or believed the right stuff. It is both unkind and dangerous to go out on a limb and make people mad for a not god who intrinsically would not reward or back you up. The sensible thing to do is stay relatively quiet and gently coax a few people toward the light.

    Non-belief is slowly winning the field. It is unclear whether we humans will be able to handle things if/when it takes over completely.

  22. The overthrow of God has already been tried. About 113 years ago, give or take a fin-de-siecle.
    It ended badly.
    Stop shoving your self-assured non-belief down other people’s throats.
    Atheists are most insufferable than god freaks any day of the week.

    1. All I ask is irrefutable evidence for the existence of god. In the millions of years of humanoid belief in gods, the god thing existed and exists in the realm of ignorance. Actual knowledge needs no god. It is sufficient in and of itself.

      1. If by god you mean a supernatural being, then what would qualify as irrefutable evidence?

        1. I made myself clear about my meaning. “..the god thing existed and existed in the realm of ignorance. Actual knowledge needs no god. It is sufficient in and of itself.”

          If, by chance, you do mean something other than that by the word, please specify and prove the existence of the entity you specify. I have neither the need nor obligation to provide proof for your belief. The irrefutability of of your proof is your problem not mine.

  23. The lack of political savvey notwithstanding, maybe Mr Gillespie can explain just where our natural rights and freedoms supposedly come from? Or more technically, WHY is the universe as it is? WHY are we here? Etc. You see, elitist think they know science and logic, ie “reason”, but maybe God is in the “why” and not in the simple “how”. This is something these pinheads never quite appreciate. Pure arrogance. Frankly, they don’t even know the how. The integrated “knowledge” of these pompous fools is no more than a neanderthal’s view from his cave – or less.

  24. All this sadly proves is that antitheists are ignorant Biblically illiterate bigots who pretend to be knowledgable and only convince others as foolish as they are. All his egotistical, arrogant nonsense has been exhaustively refuted as false and stupid for centuries but of course, as with most moderns, he’s too arrogant and thus illiterate, ignorant and stupid to see what a fool he and others like him really are. Psalm 14. Most of our Founding Fathers would have had him not for lunch but a very tiny snack, as with most modern antitheist fools, especially including those so-called “christians” IDing themselves as “open theists.” See http://www.desiringGod.org for excellent material giving an intelligent defense of the Christian faith.

  25. recognition for in fact stimulating thoughts, as ever.
    http://metaz0ne.com

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