May 22nd, 2013
06:20 PM ET

This Oklahoma atheist isn't thanking the Lord

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='JRavitzCNN']

(CNN) – Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who – after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son's lives – had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, smiling and looking down.

“Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” he continued.

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media – one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

Vitsmun, who chronicled her decision to flee her house with her son on CNN iReport, is one of 13 million atheists or agnostics in America, according to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

See Rebecca Vitsmun discuss her decision with CNN's Wolf Blitzer

While only 2.4% of Americans are atheists, they fit into a broader category that is on the rise in the United States.

Nearly 20% of adults – and a third of those under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated, the Pew report found.

This group, which has grown by roughly 5% in five years, is often referred to as the “nones.” It is a term that extends beyond atheists, who believe there is no God, and agnostics, who believe it’s impossible to prove or disprove God’s existence. It includes a greater proportion of people who see themselves as nothing in particular, which means they might be secular, spiritual or believers – but simply don’t identify with an organized religion, said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center

“When we ask people questions about their religious identity, when we ask them about their religious beliefs, there are relatively few who are atheists. But I’m speaking in percentage terms,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of them around. And they’re certainly all over.”

Oklahoma included.

In fact, when the Pew Research Center last drilled down to uncover the religious landscape of affiliations on a state level five years ago, 12% of Oklahomans were religiously unaffiliated. And just as the numbers ticked up nationally since then, it stands to reason that they did the same in Oklahoma.

We tried to reach Vitsmun by phone Wednesday but were unable to connect.

Her friend Waylon Flinn, however, shed some light on who she is. She and her husband, who Flinn said is also an atheist, aren’t the sorts who advertise their beliefs or throw them in people’s faces. When she agreed to go on camera, it wasn’t for that platform; she didn’t even see the Lord question coming.

But that she responded to Blitzer the way she did is no surprise to Flinn, who opened his home in nearby Norman to Vitsmun’s family after theirs was destroyed.

“She handled it in her style, which is very honest and true to herself,” he said.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • iReport • News media

soundoff (2,486 Responses)
  1. STA STA

    My name is STA STA, and I'm a proud atheist.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Achy

      Good for you. Refreshing to hear from someone who can think.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  2. Ironhouse

    Why do people thank god after living through an even like this, shouldn't they be a little miffed that he just flattened their home and killed piles of other people?

    May 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Achy

      That's just the way religies are. Apparently they can't help it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Amy

      Totally agree w/Ironhouse!!!

      I say GOOD FOR HER!!!! I don't believe in heaven or hell, or that there is a "meaning for all of this". Just believe in yourself and other people and do the right thing! Simple as that in my book. 🙂 Treat others as you want to be treated, and this world would be a better place.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  3. ScienceNeedsNoFaith

    Nicole: I've never understood the misogyny thing in Atheism. Religion has been so misogynistic through the ages. It is one of the reasons I rejected religion long ago. BTW, I'm male.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Ironhouse

    A christian woulda stopped, dropped, and prayed for salvation, the athiest used logic to make a quick decision 🙂

    May 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  5. Jim

    No crisis or disaster too big that CNN won't get a few jabs in at the Christians.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Jim, What is the Jab at religion in the article? Not one anti-religious point in the article. Posts like mine however jab at the religious content in the other posts. That is part of the Blog concept.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Corey

      I should re-read the article, cause I missed that part where they talk about the Christians. Is this article about Christians? I thought it was about a different group of people. Oh, forgot Christians are persecuted everywhere we look, never mind us atheists.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  6. Nicole

    His question was horribly phrased and inappropriate. You don't grill a disaster survivor about their religious affiliation on live TV. It put her in a corner where her choices were to out herself (atheists being one of the most hated groups in the US) or lie.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  7. burndiscoinferno

    This is staged, seriously. At some point prior she mentioned she was an atheist, so the media thinks, wow, what a great angle to interview someone who is not saying "Thank God we are alive". So Wolf badgers her, "you are blessed, Brian is blessed, baby is blessed" "are you thanking God?" "Don't you thank God for your decision?" That poor woman who has been through a rough time but is literally smirking, rolling her eyes, as if "come on! What does being an atheist have to do with anything? Fine, Wolf, I'll say I'm an atheist if you leave me alone and stop being creepy!"

    May 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • M

      A very interesting take on the story.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Craig

      And you know this how? Did God tell you? Are you simply skeptical? Do you assume that anything that doesn't fit neatly into your own belief system is automatically "staged?"

      Given what her friend says, she was telling the truth. If I have to chose, I'd bet she's telling the truth and you're jumping to conclusions, simply because that's what you tend to do.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      That's your unfounded belief in fantasy stories talking there.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Corey

      I think you might actually be on to something, something smells. I'd be like, "Wolf! WTH? what's with the holy nonsense? There are other things to talk about." You might be right there.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • burndiscoinferno

      Craig and scienceneedsnobelief, I'm talking about the lame media, who is using this atheist as a pawn, badgering her, setting her up to say something in order to get a different angle on the story. Please don't get all angry and mean just because I said I am a Christian. I just find it stupid of the media to latch on to this woman who is clutching her baby after a tornado, and bug her with obviously set up questions about God.

      May 23, 2013 at 12:12 am |
  8. Doug

    Hey guys, god already knows if you will go to heaven or hell....dont sweat it.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • snowboarder

      funny how i don't even know

      May 22, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • USMC1371

      He knows where I am going but lets children die by a tornado? You can keep your so called god.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  9. snowboarder

    i am surprised that more politicians have not come out with the statement that the lack of gods blessing on america is to blame for our current problems.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Have any yet? Recently?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Craig

      Pat Robertson said it was due to a lack of prayer, but given the demographics of Oklahoma overall, I'd bet that means the rest of us are really doomed.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  10. bj

    This is news why?

    May 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The same reason a lady and her dog that survived are news. What is the problem? It is human interest and slightly curious because the reporter is an idiot and the lady is an atheist.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Did you notice the page is called Belief Blog? It is not a news page.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Squirrel!

      It is to draw atheists away from the articles about the terror attack in Britain by Muslims again.
      They do not want us speaking the truth and showing that religious freedom is the freedom to murder, the freedom to be insane.
      They do not want to lose any more ground to rational discussion, so they try to draw us away with an article about an atheist who survived a tornado. It has worked pretty well so far. The terrorist attack article doesn't even have 50 comments yet.
      This one is almost at 700 comments. They keep it off the front page and so nobody goes there.
      So many ways to distract away from what needs to be done. How is this a good thing to avoid rational discussion?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @squirrel. you are a nut.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Squirrel!

      A nut? Where? (((000))

      May 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Dippy

      And he can't even spell squirrel.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  11. DocHollywood

    Questions like the one Wolf asked (I guess you thanked the Lord) are stupid and inappropriate. After all, isn't this the same Lord that also decided to kill twenty something people in the same storm? Including children and babies? Do those people thank the Lord also? Is their children and loved ones (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, etc) less important than those who were 'saved'? I have no idea if there is a God or not, but I sure as hell wouldn't "thank" him for killing my neighbor and letting me live. That's not the type of diety I could believe in.

    May 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Chance

      I agree very stupid question, worded awkwardly at that.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the entire concept is ludicrous.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • SwedishFish

      Agreed one of the dumbest comments by a "news" reporter that I've ever heard.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Sue Perlative

      Strangely, it is only you people who do not believe in God's existence, that hold him responsible for evil and for tragedies such as this one. Those who believe in him do not believe causes death or disasters. Rather, we believers hold that mankind brought death into the world by our actions. Death was the result of the Fall. God did not say to Adam and Eve, "If you eat the forbidden fruit, I will kill you." Rather, he said, "If you eat it, you will die." Disobedience to God caused a cosmic turmoil that resulted in disease, disasters, and death. ***God does not cause death or evil.*** The originate with the devil and man's misuse of his freedom so as to commit evil. However God even uses death for good – if we didn't die, we would live forever as sinful people. He gave us a way out by giving us resurrection into a new and eternal life without evil, sin, or grief. By rising from the dead, this is what Jesus accomplished.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Craig


      Oddly enough I haven't heard anybody take your line of discussion. Some might have suggested, although I haven't read of anyone saying it, that clearly God didn't intervene, since innocent people died, but beyond that the only religiously-related comment I've seen thus far came from Pat Robertson, who simply claimed that if more people had prayed God would likely have spared the area of Moore. Maybe God didn't give them enough warning so they didn't have time to pray to prevent something they didn't see coming until it was too late.

      In any case, let's look at the situation realistically, just as Epicurus did.

      Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
      Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing?
      Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing?
      Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing?
      Then why call him god?

      You decide, but remember you only get to pick one.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Observer

      Sue Perlative,

      So tell us what the kids did to deserve dying and what the atheist did to deserve being saved. Get serious.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Roger that

      A similar prayer happens multiple times a day.. People thank God every day for providing them with food rather than giving it to one of the 25,000 that die from starvation.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • G to the T

      That is strange Sue – maybe you should think on that a bit more. I would be curious how you explain that original sin causes tornados? I'm pretty sure in Job God says that all of the forces of nature are his...

      May 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  12. Denny

    Teens who still have imaginary friends are taken to psychologists. Adults who have imaginary friends run for office, and usually win. Go figure.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • M

      and people who hear voices are exorcised. But then came psychology and modern medicine. Christians adapt and accept. Christians have been using evolution in order for their religion to survive.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  13. Devon

    There are no atheists in foxholes.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that is a common lie.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "There are no atheists in foxholes."

      May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      not in FOX News holes anyway ...

      May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • M

      Sure there are, and they're more terrified than Christians because they know the end is final.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • DocHollywood

      Devon, have you ever been in a foxhole and asked your buddies that question? And can you verify that statement for every soldier in every foxhole? Or are facts so irrelevant that they can be made up because it fits a philosophy?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • SwedishFish

      Actually, you're wrong. There are plenty of atheists in foxholes and every walk of life. One doesn't just suddenly give up one's beliefs because of a dangerous situation nor on their death beds nor anywhere else. And I guess you don't have to pray to god to survive a deadly tornado either.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Observer

      Dyslexic doG,

      Great answer!

      May 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Humanity

      Which religion do they suddenly decide to join?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Julie

      Its obvious you've never been in a foxhole or know anyone else who has.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  14. HeavenSent

    The atheists on this blog will stop at nothing to fool themselves into believing that it is satan who will cook their dinner and tie their shoes. The flea and tick shampoo spilled in my shower but it tastes the same. All of Jesus' toes smell exactly the same.


    May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  15. polycarp pio

    M, I see your very fond of Christians, Oh you forgot to mention Muslims,siks,hindus,buddist,taoist ect, all believe in God, I guess your one of those folks who is to smart for God. PP

    May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • M

      Just pointing out some facts about the largest religion in the U.S., by far. Christians have been using evolution to keep their religion alive.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Dippy

      You're, not your
      Too, not to

      May 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  16. snowboarder

    as atheists we do not profess a faith. i have been asked by people i thought were my friends what church i attended, but when i said that i do not, they immediately reject my wife and myself. we actually have neighbors that have asked us that question that have never spoken to us again, though we find ourselves in social situations with them. their narrow mindedness is terrifying.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      we have experienced the same.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • snowboarder

      dog, are they afraid of any idea that conflict with their own? it seems so childish.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • SwedishFish

      People think you're great until they find out that you are atheist/agnostic/Secular Humanist – anything non-religious and suddenly they move away. Like you've suddenly changed your being. It's sad. And I love how Christians think that they are the ones being persecuted. Ha.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • burndiscoinferno

      Snowboarder, with all respect, as a Christian I'll just say what I do when a neighbor or coworker say they are atheist. I shut up and shut down. I don't want to get in an argument that leads to nowhere, I don't preach or pray for the person. So many atheists are condescending and downright insulting to Christians its better not even to engage with them.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Snowboarder: I came "out" as an atheist to my sisters in a discussion we were having a few years ago. I don't think they knew what to make of it, so we didn't really discuss it. But in recent months both of them have admitted that they no longer believe the religions that they once followed. They still believe in a higher power, but neither could look at religion without seeing the contradictions.

      I think that some religious people wish to avoid atheists because talking to us makes them consider the honesty of their own faith. I think once a christian truly starts to question, their faith falls apart, and that can be a scary thing for people vested in religious life.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  17. Chance

    Not surprising that an atheist would have an ill behaved child, and hold him like she's an idiot.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • TAK

      Congratulation Chance, you are the dumbest person on the internet.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • jonathan

      Ill-behaved? What are you like 75-80 years old? Ill behaved? Like ill-manners? Haha. The kid is smiling, playing around, high fiving, and talking into the microphone.... like, uh, any happy kid would. While I've never really seen anyone hold their kid like that it did actually look rather efficient for the situation of trying to restrain him easily and hold him in while just standing there. Go pray to your little booga booga god for everything to be all right. Remember, he loves you.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Brave of Rebecca to "come out" as an atheist. In many parts of the USA, like Oklahoma and in the South where I live, Christians will shun you if they know you are an atheist. Not quite the Taliban but Christians in America can be vey hateful toward people who don't share their belief in their God and the Bible. I hope Rebecca doesn't suffer from answering Wolf's question ... but I bet she will.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I lived there for 12 years. It is not good. Christians suck.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chad

      funny, where I live, the exact opposite is true. Lunch room conversation is peppered with anti-Christian topics..

      May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @chad, i don't believe that for a second.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Julie

      Many Christians deep down inside know they've been duped. They just hate it when an atheist reminds them of it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  19. Vic

    I don't know why people are under the impression that the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma was apocalyptic!

    Weather is basically the atmospheric conditions that comprise its state in terms of temperature, pressure, winds, etc. Natural disasters are due to Natural Processes, and are repeating in many cases!

    The very Moore, Oklahoma was hit the same way in 1999!


    May 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  20. M

    Christians do believe in evolution – they've been using it for thousands of years to adjust to the stressor known as "science."

    – Early Christian view of the world – everything revolves around the earth. Astronomy proves otherwise. Christians adapt and accept.
    – Christians believed in Adam and Eve. Genetics proves otherwise. Christians adapt and accept.
    – Christians believed in the Great Flood. Geology and genetics prove otherwise. Christians adapt and accept.
    – Christians believed in the Creation story. Geology, genetics, biology, astronomy, zoology prove otherwise. Christians adapt and accept.

    The truth is Christians have been practicing evolution for thousands of years in order to keep their religion alive.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Plainly Thought

      1. The Church claimed it, not christians. It was a point of Church politics not a theological point.
      2. Adam and Eve – still not disproven, Evolution and the theory of first man can coexist.
      3. Wrong – great flood was in almost every major theological history and there are geological records that indicate it occurred. The first time this account was given was in the epic of gilgamesh. Not a christian text.
      4. Creation and Evolution can be resolved. Most Christians (though not right wing christians) can balance science and religion very nicely. I believe that a God who can create a universe can create a series of organisms that can adapt to their environment, it's simply more logical that way.

      Simply put, your sarcastic answer shows your ignorance. Atheism is not a ritualistic belief in Science, but rather an assumption that the physical world is born from nothingness. I believe in something, you believe in nothing in the end one of us will be right, I'll take Pascal's wager that it's me.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Chad

      Actually, science has made huge steps towards demonstrating the reality of God.

      Scientific evidence for the God of Israel
      Fossil Record.
      From the late 1800's thru 1972 the notion of "Darwinian gradualism" held the world captive. The notion that purely random mutation preserved in the population by natural selection would produce a gradual change, which over time would create the complexity of life we now observe (phyletic gradualism).
      Then, in 1972 the publication of "Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism" by Stephen Gould (atheist) finally forced the scientific world to accept the reality that the fossil record does not show the gradual change over time that Darwin proposed.

      Instead, what the community was forced to acknowledge, is that the fossil record reflects stasis and rapid change.
      This supports the theistic evolutionist claim that God used natural processes to develop life on this earth, as pure chance can never explain the grand paroxysm of necessarily interrelated mutations that are required to occur to accomplish this rapid change.

      Origins of the universe
      For most of scientific history, the universe was thought to have always existed, directly refuting the theistic claim that the universe had a beginning, and a creator.

      Then, a series of discoveries resulted in a complete transformation of thought, we now know that our universe has not always existed, rather it had a beginning, confirming the theistic claim:
      – 1929: Edwin Hubble discovers red shift (the stars and planets are all moving away from each other. The universe is expanding in all directions)
      – 1965: discovery of microwave cosmic background radiation (the echo's of the big bang)
      – 1998, two independent research groups studying distant supernovae were astonished to discover, against all expectations, that the current expansion of the universe is accelerating (Reiss 1998, Perlmutter 1999).
      – 2003: Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin's Past-Finite Universe proves our universe had a beginning

      Fine Tuning of the universe
      In the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have been astonished to find that the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned for the existence of building blocks of life. Constants such as gravitational constant have been found, the variation of which to even the smallest degree, would have rendered the universe utterly incapable of supporting life.

      "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." - Paul Davies

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the mas ses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life - Stephen Hawking

      “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” - Professor Freeman J. Dyson of the Insti tute for Advanced Study in Princeton

      ”The big bang appeared to be a very peculiar kind of explosion. Just imagine a pin balancing on its point. Nudge it slightly in any direction and it will fall. So it is with the big bang. A large universe sprinkled with galaxies, like the one we see around us, is produced only if the power of the primoridial blast is fine tuned with incredible precision. A tiny deviation from the required power results in a cosmological disaster, such as the fireball collapsing under its own weight or the universe being nearly empty” – Alexander Vilenkin

      May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Plainly Thought,

      The science fiction story of Noah's ark defies all the laws of science and logic.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad must have the shortest memory of any of the delusionals posting here. Each and every one of his claims has been thoroughly debunked numerous times, but still he persists. Oh well. . .

      May 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Hot air, actually no. Every point he made is factually correct, to an extent.

      Punctuated equilibrium is widely accepted as fact. It doesn't mean therefor God. Just a gap in our understanding of evolution.

      Scientists did "believe" in the steady state universe (including Einstein) and the Big Bang theory was resisted due to its theistic implications. It didn't help that it was proposed by a Catholic Priest.

      Fine tuning or the anthropic principle is supported by the evidence. It comes down to a question of an infinite number of universes or a creator. But there could be infinite universes (according to string and M theories), so without further evidence the anthropic principle is not proof of God.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith


      The fossil record is incomplete. It does not prove nothing but sudden change. His argument suggest that there has only been sudden changes. Not so.

      Our universe had a beginning. Yes, science agrees. Quantum mechanics data shows that a universe from nothing is indeed possible and does not require a God. God creating a universe demands the question: Where did God come from. Religion just passes the buck of existence to another question. I have yet to here a reasonable explanation of where God came from.

      The fine tuning statements by the noted atheist scientists are taken out of context and hardly argue for a divine being whole adjusted the laws of nature so that we can exist. Science does not support a magical master tweeking dials on the "Create A Universe O-matic."

      May 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Sorry, I was not clear. I am not saying the science was in dispute – just Chad's leap that these points are evidence for some god, as you have more clearly stated.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Rich De

      Chad, Stephen Hawking is an atheist and the quotes you list have nothing to do with a God or Gods. Hawking: “What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?” "The universe can create itself out of nothing and God is no longer necessary.”

      May 22, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad has never bothered to understand the word "seem."

      May 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think Chad gets excited when non-believers kick his ass. That's the only reason I can see why he keeps posting the same disproved nonsense, time and time again.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @ScienceNeedsNoFaith "The fossil record is incomplete. It does not prove nothing but sudden change. His argument suggest that there has only been sudden changes. Not so."
      @Chad "are you arguing that stasis isnt supported in the fossil record? Not clear what you are saying..

      @ScienceNeedsNoFaith "TOur universe had a beginning. Yes, science agrees. Quantum mechanics data shows that a universe from nothing is indeed possible and does not require a God."
      @Chad "QM says nothing of the kind.:-)

      one of the most enjoyable times in my life was listening to Craig slam Kraus for suggesting that something comes from nothing, and Kraus back pedaling by admitting that the "nothing" he was referring to "was a different kind of nothing, it was vacuum space, which has particles and laws and mass".

      it was just fantastic, I so enjoyed Kraus having to acknowledge his disingenuousness and admit that indeed, nothing can come from nothing.. here is the exchange:

      from Krauss-Craig debate:
      Krauss The actual first person to talk about the fact that the universe had to begin at a finite time in a singularity is Stephen Hawking, who made some singularity theorems with Roger Penrose. But the interesting thing is Stephen Hawking has also argued, as, in fact, we now know, given quantum gravity, that universes can spontaneously appear. In fact, one of the things about quantum mechanics is, nothing—not only can nothing become something, nothing always becomes something. Nothing is unstable. Nothing will always produce something in quantum mechanics. And if you apply quantum mechanics to gravity, you can show that it’s possible that space and time themselves can come into existence when nothing existed before

      Craig: He (Krauss) says, “But it can come into being out of nothingness because nothing is unstable.” This is the grossly misleading use of “nothingness” for describing the quantum vacuum, which is empty space filled with vacuum energy. It is a rich, physical reality described by physical laws and having a physical structure. If a religious person were to so seriously misrepresent a scientific theory as this, he would be accused of deliberate distortion and abuse of science, and, I think, rightly so! What the quantum vacuum is is a roiling sea of energy. It is not nothing. As Dr. Krauss himself has said, “By ‘nothing,’ I don’t mean nothing. . . . Nothing isn’t nothing anymore in physics.”7 Empty space is not empty. “Nothing is really a bubbling, boiling brew of virtual particles.”

      Krauss O.K., we don’t understand the beginning of the universe. We don’t understand if the universe had a cause. That is a fascinating possibility. By the way, [points to PowerPoint slide] there’s the picture of the vacuum that Dr. Craig so adequately described that I talked about. It’s not the nothing that I’m going to talk about in a second; it’s one version of nothing

      May 23, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • Chad

      @ScienceNeedsNoFaith "The fine tuning statements by the noted atheist scientists are taken out of context and hardly argue for a divine being whole adjusted the laws of nature so that we can exist. "

      @Chad "excuse me? "Taken out of context"? what?

      sorry, no. I dont argue that those scientists believe in God, I just argue that they believe in fine tuning.

      "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." - Paul Davies

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the mas ses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life - Stephen Hawking

      : "If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature - like the charge on the electron - then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop." Dr. Dennis Scania, Cambridge University Observatories

      "If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all." - Dr. David D. Deutsch, Insti tute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

      "The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life - almost contrived - you might say a 'put-up job.'" - Dr. Paul Davies, Adelaide University:

      "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars - Sir Fred Hoyle

      "how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quanti ties had slightly different values." - Dr. Gerald Schroeder, former professor of physics at M.I.T.

      beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. - Professor Steven Weinberg

      The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bullseye one millimeter in diameter on the other side." - Michael Turner, astrophysicist University of Chicago

      the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding, namely an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros!" That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros. Penrose continues, "Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe - and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure - we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment." - Roger Penrose University of Oxford

      May 23, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Where does Craig teach science?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:29 am |
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