Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Ignominy of Hitchens’ “Razor” Failure

Christopher Hitchens’ made the following assertion:
”That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”
This has been referenced to his book, “God Is Not Great”, although I have not found it there in my quick re-perusal of my underlinings throughout. Hitchens' book is a study in bias generation and prejudicial selection of anecdotes in order to form an ideological argument. In that book, Hitchens cherrypicks selections which he adjudges evil under his own moral standard of evil, and he selects quotes which are colored toward his own Atheist hatred of religion.

An example is his selection of quotes from Einstein which would leave the uneducated reader to think that Einstein was a rabid Atheist: he was not, he was a deist after being introduced to the universal red shift by astronomer Hubble. The same cynical manipulations are done for Jefferson and others, and he specifically manipulates the concept of totalitarianism into the idea that it is theist in nature despite the secular Atheism that inheres to Marxism and to its bloody social experiments in China, the USSR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Cuba, etc. He purposefully conflates “dogmatic” with “religious” in order to define totalitarianism with theism. The Atheist dogmatic pursuit of total control becomes the religious pursuit of total control (falsely biasing the reader to consider theism to be the issue and ignoring the actual Atheist roots).

Examples of statements made in “GING” by Hitchens:
Regarding historical Atheists: ”We cannot know the names of all these men and women because they have in all times and all places been subject to ruthless suppression.” p254
He cannot possibly support that statement: it is emotionally based.
”It was never that difficult to see that religion was a cause of hatred and conflict, and that its maintenance depended upon ignorance and superstition.” p255
This is stated as a universal, without any corresponding support.
”The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals , can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts which have been found to be corrupt and confected.” p283
This is false, on its face. Literature does not produce moral positioning, nor does poetry. That is not their purpose. Further, the validity of certain texts has continued to be validated more and more by archaeological findings; in fact, many archaeologists use those texts in their investigations.
”If I cannot definitively prove that the usefulness of religion is in the past, and that its foundational books are transparent fables, and that it is a man-made imposition, and that it has been an enemy of science and inquiry, and that it has subsisted on lies and fears, and been the accomplice of ignorance of guilt as well as slavery, genocide, racism and tyranny, I can most certainly claim that religion is now fully aware of these criticisms” p229
Evidence? Here Hitchens admits that he actually has none. He admits that what he actually has is criticisms without evidence. In fact, his criticisms are prejudicially intended, and purposefully inflammatory all while admittedly being without proof. And he salts all this with the next:

”It [religion] is also fully aware of the ever-mounting evidence, concerning the origins of the cosmos and the origin of the species, which consign it to marginality if not irrelevance.”

Hitchens has completely misrepresented the existence of impending knowledge of the origins of both the cosmos and the species. Neither is claimed to be addressed by science. Neither the cause of the Big Bang nor the cause of first life can be addressed by empirical science. So if he means empirical evidence of the originating source for either the universe or life, then he is making a false statement. And if he doesn’t mean that, then his implication is still false. So in fact, Hitchens has again violated the Hitchens Razor, and in fact has made false claims.

Hitchens is still without any evidence which is pertinent to the fundamental theist arguments and evidence; he has produced no evidence, just accusations and those cherrypicked for effect.

I point this out about Hitchens claims and intellectual methodology in order to give a flavor for his type of intellectual processing and integrity. Hitchens does not hesitate to give just one side as Truth, to assert opinion with the aura of fact, to assert non sequiturs freely, and to use non-coherent assertions as if they are rules. In fact, the assertion which he made above is now called a rule of logic by Atheists (not logicians), and is called Hitchens’ Razor, after Ockham’s Razor.

It should be noted that Ockham’s Razor is not a rule of logic either, and was roundly defeated by Einstein, who said that “everything should be made as simple as reasonable, but no simpler” when his use of Brownian motion to demonstrate the actual existence of atoms disproved a published theory of Bohr which depended on theoretical oversimplification.

What, Exactly Is Hitchens’ Razor?

With that background, then what of this assertion which is called Hitchens’ Razor? Is it an irrefutable logic statement? Is it a universal? A meta-universal? What exactly is it?

The statement is more completely expressed thus:

IF [evidence is required in order to consider an assertion], THEN [ I assert that “that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”].

The premise shown here is presumed and is an opinion, not a valid premise for a truth statement. Hitchens makes his assertion with no premises given.

So the statement is merely an assertion without premises, a conclusion which is declared as Truth, yet is without evidence of its own Truth value. It is presented as universal, and it is taken that way by Atheists who intend to deny any responsibility for giving rational reasons for their rejection of theist evidence (either disciplined deduction, or material empirical evidence). Yet it is possible to conceive of exceptions to the Razor, so it is not a incontroverible rule of either logic or universal epistemology.

The Demonstration of Non-Coherence:

A statement which self-refutes is paradoxical, i.e. non-coherent. Hitchens’ statement not only cannot prove itself, nor is there any evidence of its universal truth, it has the unfortunate characteristic of providing the means for its own dismissal: If the statement is true, then it is dismissable as without value. If it is dismissed without value, then how can it be true and valuable? It cannot. Paradox and non-coherence render a concept to be non-logical and irrational, and that is the fate of Hitchens’ Razor.

Consequences For Atheists Who Attempt to Use Hitchens’ Concept:

Hitchens’ comment regarding dismissing without evidence backfires directly into the faces of Atheists who try to use it in defense of their denial of intellectual responsibility for their rejection of actual theist evidence, both material and non-material.

The Atheist denial of the intellectual burden to rationally defend their rejection is never accompanied with any evidence in its support of the denial, just as their rejection itself is never accompanied with any evidence.

Because Atheists have no evidence to support the position that there is no god, that position also is dismissable under Hitchens’ decree. In fact, any and all Atheist positions are dismissible under Hitchens’ Razor – see Hitchens’ very own admission of lacking proof for his accusations, above. Thus, his accusations may be dismissed without evidence, in fact without any reasoning at all, under Hitchens’ Razor.

So:
If Hitchens’ unsupported (non-coherent) statement is declared valid, THEN all Atheist positions can be dismissed immediately, because:
(a) Atheists cannot produce any evidence whatsoever that basic theist positions are incorrect;

(b) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that they can rationally deny the validity of an argument without showing why the argument is not valid (denial of Burden of Rebuttal);

(c) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there is no creating agent for the universe;

(d) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there cannot exist a creating agent for the universe.

(e) Atheists cannot support with evidence the claim that there is no evidence for theism.
Atheists can make exactly no truth statements and can produce no evidentiary findings regarding either theist deductions of the existence of a creating agent, or theist claims of material evidence (e.g. the miracle at Lourdes, France).

Intellectual Emptiness: Rational Death Blow To Atheism:

Any assertions made by Atheists, then, are made without evidence, and can be dismissed… WITH evidence, evidence presented for theism, which Atheists cannot disprove or refute. (note 1) When Atheists attempt to use Hitchens’ Razor to defend their avoidance of giving reasons for rejecting theist evidence, they have to ignore the fact that evidence has been given to them, and that Hitchens’ Razor – aside from its non-coherence and self-refutation – cannot possibly apply. The attempt is futile. And to insist upon it is intellectually dishonest.

This is far more damaging to Atheism than trying to apply Hitchens’ non-coherent demurral of intellectual responsibility to empty rejections of theist evidence. An Atheist rejection without evidence is a rejection without reason or reasoning: intellectually empty.

It is possible that Atheists might insist that it is unreasonable to demand such evidence from them (that is false, of course, but let’s go with that claim to its conclusion and consequence). What the Atheists are then claiming is that they can declare a truth value (the theist claim is without merit) without any evidence to support that truth claim.

But under the Hitchens Claim, since they have no evidence – regardless of any adjectives considering the reasonability or any other modifier of the term – then their claims are dismissible out of hand (without evidence).

No matter how they logic-chop it, they wind up with completely dismissible claims (especially claims of dismissibility).

Hitchens was a virulent Atheist; his comment was expressly intended to address the Burden of Rebuttal problem which Atheists have: dismissal of arguments and evidence without giving any reason because there is no reasoning attached to the dismissal process. But the entire concept fails, because there actually is evidence, and it either can be refuted with contrary evidence (logical or material), or it cannot be refuted.

Hitchens and his Razor wish to deny the existence of that evidence, and dismiss theism without even addressing the evidence which is given to them with either rational deductive argumentation, or material, empirical evidence as disproof.

Because they cannot. They have no rational arguments to offer, and no material empirical evidence to present, either proof of Atheism or disproof of theism. They are without evidence. Atheism is empty. Atheism is just a VOID, entered via emotional rejection without either evidence or argument in support. And that is what Hitchens was trying to protect, even if it took a non-coherent assertion to do it. He and his Razor attempt to justify rejection-without-cause, which is a purely emotional response to evidence which Atheism cannot refute.

Being without rational arguments or material, empirical evidence on their side, Atheism is seen to be a purely emotional decision which results in claiming both reason and science when it actually has none to offer in its support. This is non-coherent and irrational.

For these reasons, the emotional basis and the irrationality of Atheism, there is little chance of encountering a rational conversation with an Atheist. This is demonstrated frequently here on this blog.

Note 1:
The follow-on claim by Atheists is that it is absurd to require the proof of a negative. This claim is easily falsified by demonstrating that if the claims are false, material claims can be empirically falsified by material, empirical techniques, and logical claims can be falsified by submitting them to the rules of disciplined deductive logic, including form analysis, premise analysis, Reductio Ad Absurdum, and testing against First Principles. Regarding the deductive arguments made in this blog, and the claim of the Miracle at Lourdes, no Atheist to date has made any of the required analytical assessments; all have merely complained about them, and offered excuses such as the Hitchens Failure shown above.

62 comments:

Steven Satak said...

Thank you for explaining that, Stan. It is pretty clear if you pay close attention, and the language is remarkably free of anger (something that has been coming across in some of your more recent posts).

I too am angry, but giving into it and using it to power my occasional rebuttals is not only a temptation, it is playing the 'game' on the enemy's ground. They are all about anger and unsubstantiated feelings. If what you say is correct, that is all they have.

No wonder they work so hard to engender a society that values feelings over facts. As if the fact that you have feelings trumps 'mere logic'. I heard the phrase 'social equality' at my son's high school commencement yesterday. Twice. The meaning in context was vague - rather like using 'at the end of the day' or 'boots on the ground'.

In this case it was used as part of the boilerplate to justify giving a (somewhat) meaningless award to three students - one of whom was flamboyantly homosexual. (I actually like the guy, he's one of my son's friends and is very smart).

I guess giving it to him for being a good student would have beside the point. I got the impression they threw the phrase in to let everyone know how progressive the school's teachers were. Like there was any doubt.

R.W. said...

By coincidence, John Loftus at 'Debunking Christianity' is running a post entitled, Is Atheism a Set of Beliefs?, a claim that he, not surprisingly, answers in the negative.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/is-atheism-set-of-beliefs.html#more

Steven Satak said...

I for one would love it if Stan went over there, copied it and then disassembled it here on this blog. The breakdown would be like watching a sand castle dissolve into the encroaching surf.

Love it.

You reading this, Stan?

Steven Satak said...

Oh good Lord.

If there was a single person to whom I would point, when someone asked me for an example of a gifted human being slowly succumbing to the corruption of worshipping himself, John W. Loftus would be that guy.

It's a textbook illustration of ego corrupting reason to the point where the egoist no longer recognizes that he has been corrupted. Or cares.

Denial, outright lying, endlessly repeating the same thing over and over (as if repetition made it true)... even other Atheists are fighting shy of this man, and he knows it and doesn't care.

I am reminded of the fate of Professor Weston in Lewis's "Perelandra". And it makes me shudder to watch someone like Loftus suffer the same fate.

Teacher said...

I was talking to an atheist in person and I told her that she had the Burdan of rebuttal because she didn't believe in God so she had to give evidence for no God. She asked me if I had a Burdan of Rebuttal to prove that "other gods" were nonexistant because I don't believe in them. This threw me a bit because I was hitting her for evidence of nonexistance. We weren't in front of anyone else, thank God. What do I do if she comes to the next meeting? She thinks the concept of the Burdan of Rebuttal is not rational and that I should show her that God is real.

Stan said...

Teacher,
The Burden of Rebuttal is just this: arguments for X cannot be rejected with reasons for rejecting them. Otherwise, the rejector is merely blowing them off.

Here is the point: Where is the disproof of the arguments and evidence which ACTUALLY DOES EXIST?

Denials without reasons or reasoning, are without merit.

The response might be this:
How do you disprove the argument from contingent existence? What is your evidence of disproof?

How do you disprove the miracle at Lourdes? Where is your physical evidence which disproves its occurrence?

How do you disprove the deduction of a causal agent for the universe? Do you have physical, empirical evidence? Do you have a disciplined deductive falsification?

Or do you merely assume that they are all wrong without even addressing them?

Can you prove Philosophical Materialism to be a coherent worldview?

Can you prove that scientism is valid?

Where is your disproof of the arguments which do actually exist?

Let me know how this works for you...

Stan said...

Teacher,
I should add this:
What is her definition of "real"? does she think that only physical existence is "real"? (philosophical materialism: It is non-coherent because it cannot prove its own premise).

Does she think that all knowledge comes from science? If so, can she prove that using science? (Of course not: that is circular).

Can she prove that there is no Non-physical existence? How so? by using physical measurements? She would be the first.

Why does she think her demands for proof would impress a non-physical, creating agent?

There are some other things she could prove:

She could prove that her mind is the product of the prior positioning of electrons which are moving in her neural connections, and that knowing that demonstrates the existence of rational thought.

She could prove that knowledge of minerals, atoms and subatomic particles predicts the emergence of life, which merely assembled out of those particles.

So proof is a two sided issue, and the demand for physical proof of a non-physical existence is a Category Error, and not a valid point of logic.

The rationality of the demands for proof is not on her side.

Mark Engless said...

"I for one would love it if Stan went over there, copied it and then disassembled it here on this blog. The breakdown would be like watching a sand castle dissolve into the encroaching surf."

That's what it may appear to you because you and Stan have no qualifications in the area of philosophy. Reading Stan's advice to "Teacher" is like watching the blind lead the blind.

"John W. Loftus earned M.A. and M.Div. degrees in theology and philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary. He then attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he studied under Dr. William Lane Craig and received a Th.M. degree in philosophy of religion... He now teaches as an adjunct instructor in philosophy at Kellogg Community College."

If Stan had a qualification in this area then maybe he would be taken seriously, not because of the qualification but because then he may be forced to understand some of the concepts he's mangling and his ideas would be more consistent.

But enough of this, I know this advice will be dismissed so there is nothing left but to read and cringe.

Stan said...

Mark,
Your comments are pure Ad Hominem Abusive and without content: empty of any rational value. There is no argument of any deductive type, there is only abusive opinion.

Should you wish to refute anything, anything at all, which is posted herein, then do it. Otherwise, you will be seen to be indulging your own needy ego and nothing more.

Chris said...

If the qualification isn't that important, then why bring it up?

Explain what concepts have been mangled and why they are inconsistent. What, specifically, makes you cringe?

Steven Satak said...

@Mark Engless: Geez, that was about as empty of content as it is possible to be. I went out on the Web and discovered Loftus to be not only extremely confused, but actually ignorant of things he of all people should understand. The man has how many degrees? And still he talks about a Christianity suitable for a four-year old.

To top it all off, a good number of Atheists simply cannot stand him. He's arrogant and treats atheist-sourced criticism as some sort of apostasy. Yes, atheists can be heretics, because yes, they believe in something - or rather, Nothing.

Loftus is lazy, weak-willed and shrill from what I have read in his own comments and in the reviews of his works (by theists and atheists). He is corrupt and grows more so with every passing day.

And you look up to this fellow? I understand that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but really, dude?

"Taken seriously". By who? You? But that's impossible. Stan disagrees with you and thus is permanently out of court. I have seen your type haunting the forums. You use a lot of big words to say, essentially, "NUH UH!" and then start with the snide remarks and insults. You never, ever back your opinions with anything but nasty.

You wanna worship Loftus and dismiss what Stan says with a wave of your hand? Fine. But I dare you to refute what he's got here. I don't think you can do it - your focus isn't tight enough and you're already horribly biased away from anything that would challenge your current egoism. The conclusions, if you followed them honestly, would demonstrate that you, daring Mark Engless, are living a lie.

Good luck with that.

a said...

"The Atheist denial of the intellectual burden to rationally defend their rejection is never accompanied with any evidence".

It seems you didn't understand the razor at all. He doesn't have to provide ANY proof for denying god, as there is not a single solid proof for the case of god in the first place.

The burden of proof lies is on the claim-maker, not the other way arround.

a said...

So you can play with words and decorate your post with philosophy but at the end it doesn't mean you obtained proves for the case of god out of it.

Stan said...

a,
I suspect that you did not read the above without the pre-ingrained prejudice of denialism.

You are apparently happily ignorant of the existing evidence and arguments and evidence which you deny even exists.

You can either provide disproofs, or you can use the common Atheist "run away, run away" technique of denial of intellectual responsibility.

Where is your disproof of the arguments and evidence which do actually exist?

If you demand material "solid" evidence for a non-material entity, then you are committing the common Atheist Category Error (i.e. an irrational demand for non-rational evidence).

And if you choose to persist in your demand when you know that it fails rationality, then you are committed to an irrational blind belief: an irrational religiously held position of pure denialism with no empirical proof in its favor and no rational argument for its support.

There is hardly any position which is more irrational than that.

If you can defend Atheism with deductive argument and/or physical, empirical evidence, then do so. Otherwise, you have no case for your blind faith.

Dorothy George said...

But Christians use material evidence to prove metaphysical points.

Example: the behavior of the sun (as confirmed by witnesses) was given, and accepted by the faithful, as proof of the truth of the Virgin's revelations to the children.

Stan said...

There are undoubtedly many ecclesiastical claims which have been incorrect and irrationally based, including end-of-the-earth timings and so on.

How far back in history did you have to go for that example? There is no theist claim anything like that that I am aware of, except possibly a thousand years or more ago, and that claim is not based on any of the red print in the NT, is it?

So, what about Atheist claims for the spontaneous creation of the universe from nothing, (no evidence for that), or claims that life came from minerals (no evidence for that) or claims of multiverses (no evidence for that), or just claims that there is no existence which is not material (there is actual evidence in Quantum Mechanics against that). Atheism actually depends for its intellectual existence on denying responsibility for dealing with theist claims. This is anti-intellectual, of course, and thus is self-refuting and non-coherent.

If you have examples which are not millenia old, let's take a look at them, too.

Tim Wood said...

I will not be anonymous, my name is Tim Wood. You reverse the razor to ask the opponent to disprove a super natural occurrence that there are no living witnesses for. This is by definition breaks the razors edge. If you make a claim you I turn must prove it. Debating 101 sir. Your ignorance is obvious and if Hitchens was alive he would verbally have at you. Probably not for you argument is weak.

Jim Bair said...

Sorry, testing. My comment did not appear.
Jim

Jim Bair said...

Hello, my name is Jim Bair, and I discovered this thread while surfing and found it interesting. I believe that as well intentioned as Stan might be, he really doesn't understand basic logic and throws out a lot of big words encased in complex sentences to appear smart. Let's keep it simple. The reason atheists don't have to provide proof that there is no god, is because that is NOT what atheism is. To have a reasonable discussion, we must have common terms to avoid confusion. When you say, "god exists", and an atheist says ,"I don't believe you", that atheist is not saying god doesn't exist. He is simply saying that until he sees evidence for it, there is no reason to believe your claim. That is why you won't see atheists providing rebuttals. I'm not making a claim. You are the one making the claim that god exists, and I am simply asking to see the evidence for that claim. It appears that wherever I have a gap in knowledge, you want to toss a god into that gap and then say, "He exists because you cannot prove he does not." That is simply false reasoning and would never pass in our court system. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to have a court system like that. Where someone could accuse you of murder, and you might have no alibi because you were asleep at the time and there were no witnesses, and the court said, "We believe you did it, and it is up to you to provide evidence you did not." That is exactly what you are doing in your article Stan, is attempting to shift the burden of proof and misdefine what atheism actually is. It is not a denial of god, it is simply a position that says, I see no evidence that convinces me that a god exists. Simple.

Teacher explains that quite well in his or her post. I will refer to her as her, since she describes talking to a woman. If you are a man, my apologies, I simply tire of typing he/she and will pick one to use. Teacher makes the point that she is talking to a woman who asks her to rebut the other god claims, and she admits that it gives her pause, and is thankful that it was a private conversation because it would have been difficult to answer. You bet it is, and the reason is because she now understands the burden of proof concept because she has experienced it and actually had to think about it for once in her life rather than simply accept what she has been taught since childhood without really giving it any thought. She was left wondering how to answer if this was ever to come up in public discussion, because she knows she doesn't believe in Thor or Zeus or Poseidon or any of the Hindu gods or Nordic gods,etc. As soon as she understands why she dismisses those god claims, she will also understand why I dismiss this one.
Kind regards,
Jim Bair

Jim Bair said...

Stephen Satak said:
In this case it was used as part of the boilerplate to justify giving a (somewhat) meaningless award to three students - one of whom was flamboyantly homosexual. (I actually like the guy, he's one of my son's friends and is very smart).

That is quite magnanimous of you to to like one of your sons homosexual friends, but I sense a "but" coming at the end of that last sentence. As in, "but he's flamboyantly homosexual", as if that has anything to do with the topic of a meaningless award (in your opinion, but you didn't really tell us what the award was so we might decide for ourselves) being given to three students. Generally school awards are for things like scholastic accomplishment, athletics, demonstrations of leadership skills, and could even be things like getting along with others, demonstrating courage in overcoming personal obstacles, self improvement.... Whatever. I don't really care so much about that. What I do care about is that you seem to care so much about a characteristic of this student that I am guessing has absolutely nothing to do with the award given. Do you know that quite often people use the same technique to ostracize members of society on similar grounds that have nothing to do with the worth or abilities of the individual? Blacks, Jews, queers, women, you name the group, and there is someone who wants to put that group in its proper place. Religion is used quite a lot for that purpose to justify one's personal prejudices.

You should have left out the sexual preference part. It has no more meaning to the award than to whisper that it's a well known fact that the valedictorian is far from being a virgin. Neither case has any connection between the award and the personal life of the awardee.
Jim Bair

Stan said...

Jim Blair says,
” To have a reasonable discussion, we must have common terms to avoid confusion. When you say, "god exists", and an atheist says ,"I don't believe you", that atheist is not saying god doesn't exist. He is simply saying that until he sees evidence for it, there is no reason to believe your claim. That is why you won't see atheists providing rebuttals. I'm not making a claim. You are the one making the claim that god exists, and I am simply asking to see the evidence for that claim”.

This is false. The Atheist makes a specific claim which is that “I don’t accept your evidence, and I don’t have to say why”. And to claim that an Atheist doesn’t reject all deities is false. That would require the category of Atheism to exclude all those who actually do reject all deities. The claim is internally contradictory and non-coherent. An Atheist who cannot produce reasons or reasoning for rejecting a claim has no reasons or reasoning to be believed. A rejection with no attached reasons or reasoning is merely an emotional position, a position without logic or evidence in its support.

“It appears that wherever I have a gap in knowledge, you want to toss a god into that gap and then say, "H e exists because you cannot prove he does not."”

This is also false. What is claimed here on this blog is that Atheists cannot produce either logic or evidence which supports their position. And that is specifically why they refuse to accept any burden of rebuttal: they have no logical or evidentiary case to give for support of their worldview.

You have obviously not read any of the blog, rather you have presuppositions which you apply without reading. There is no claim resembling God of the Gaps. There is merely the demand that Atheists support their worldview with the logic and evidence which they claim is their possession and theirs only.

” That is simply false reasoning and would never pass in our court system. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to have a court system like that. Where someone could accuse you of murder, and you might have no alibi because you were asleep at the time and there were no witnesses, and the court said, "We believe you did it, and it is up to you to provide evidence you did not." That is exactly what you are doing in your article Stan, is attempting to shift the burden of proof and misdefine what atheism actually is. It is not a denial of god, it is simply a position that says, I see no evidence that convinces me that a god exists. Simple.”
(continued)

Stan said...

(Continued from above)

This argument is completely false, for the reasons given above, plus the following reason: the court system is purely materialist in its demands for evidence. Evidence for a crime and evidence for a perpetrator are materialistic (physical) only, for the claim of a crime which is material only (until recently when thought crimes have been implemented in order to perpetuate Leftist protection of its designated Victim Groups from any encroachment from its designated Oppressor Groups). The prosecution must prove, conclusively, that the claimant’s evidence for his case is false, by providing contrary material evidence which so proves. There are legal guards against hearsay and circumstantial evidence as well as other types of non-physical evidence. The legal system in no manner resembles any theist argument.

The legal system example fails on two counts, then: it is material/physical only; it does not support the negation of a claim of innocence without any negating logic or evidence from the prosecution (or skeptic).

”Teacher explains that quite well in his or her post. I will refer to her as her, since she describes talking to a woman. If you are a man, my apologies, I simply tire of typing he/she and will pick one to use. Teacher makes the point that she is talking to a woman who asks her to rebut the other god claims, and she admits that it gives her pause, and is thankful that it was a private conversation because it would have been difficult to answer. You bet it is, and the reason is because she now understands the burden of proof concept because she has experienced it and actually had to think about it for once in her life rather than simply accept what she has been taught since childhood without really giving it any thought. She was left wondering how to answer if this was ever to come up in public discussion, because she knows she doesn't believe in Thor or Zeus or Poseidon or any of the Hindu gods or Nordic gods,etc. As soon as she understands why she dismisses those god claims, she will also understand why I dismiss this one.
Kind regards,
Jim Bair”


If teacher is a Christian, then s/he should know that Christians understand that other gods are not precluded and are to be resisted and abjured in favor of the one, creating agent for the universe. You apparently are not aware of this either, and therefore you make the mistake of not understanding the actual position which you are discussing and attempting to leverage as a point in your favor. Teacher had the actual leverage against the petty claim of “one less god”, but s/he was not conversant enough to use it. However, I am, and I do. The argument of “One Less God” fails right at the start.

There is no use in using the insults that I do not understand logic or Atheism. I am a very long time student of both, and I will be happy to address any and all issues you care to bring forth.

Stan said...

Jim Blair said,"Whatever. I don't really care so much about that. What I do care about is that you seem to care so much about a characteristic of this student that I am guessing has absolutely nothing to do with the award given. Do you know that quite often people use the same technique to ostracize members of society on similar grounds that have nothing to do with the worth or abilities of the individual? Blacks, Jews, queers, women, you name the group, and there is someone who wants to put that group in its proper place. Religion is used quite a lot for that purpose to justify one's personal prejudices. "

And your policing of the blog environment for faux attacks on the AtheoLeftist designated Victimhood groups which are considered inviolable and without fault, renders you an Atheist who is justifying his own personal prejudices. Your scolding is indicative of considerable hubris considering that Atheism has no moral values attached to it, other than those which are made up by Atheists. So your principles have zero moral authority for anyone other than yourself, and your scolding is empty.

Jim Bair said...

Thank you for your response Stan. We still disagree on a few points and I'm not sure I see a solution to that. And in the big scheme of things, it probably doesn't matter anyway, unless you were to show up at my school board trying to introduce non science into our science class. Otherwise, this is simply a discussion exercise anyway.

You are incorrect in your definition of atheism. And you mention something about a worldview. Atheism has no worldview. It is simply a position of a lack of belief in a God or gods. When some evidence shows up that would convince me that a god, or leprechauns, or fairies, or elves, or Bigfoot, poltergeists, or any other invisible being appears, I'll be happy to change my mind, but so far I simply haven't seen it. If I express a deeply held conviction that the creature digging holes in my back yard at night is a small dragon with purplish greenish shimmering scales and a long tail and sharp claws for digging holes, and you don't believe my claim without further convincing evidence, then I suppose according to your logic I could say that you must provide proof he doesn't exist or otherwise you must accept my claim. Sorry, that isn't how things work.

I do agree with you that our court system in no way resembles a theist argument. And I'm quite thankful for that as it demonstrates how flawed theistic arguments actually are.

Actually, teacher was spot on, and although you refer to the one less god claim as "petty", it is in fact quite valid. If your god, whoever, whatever, that being might be or look like, does exist and the other ones don't, I'd really like to see the proof of that. You claim that teacher simply wasn't conversant enough, but you, however are. Actually, I disagree. Teacher was being honest. I get the impression that you simply like to use a lot of big words wrapped in long sentences in an attempt to twist and confuse the issue, but in fact, say very little.

Atheists have no basis for moral values.... Lol. A pronouncement of fact by you with absolutely no basis in fact at all. I'm not sure why religious people are so hung up on this "ultimate moral authority handed to them by their invisible friend". I have an idea that it gives them a sense of superiority, as evidenced by your dismissal of my moral compass without knowing really anything about me other than I have not yet seen enough evidence to be convinced that your god exists, and therefore have no reason to believe in it. I have no reason to believe that you are not a moral person, that you do your best to be kind, compassionate, and caring in your treatment of others, and to show empathy. I see no reason why you wouldn't behave the same way whether a god exists or not. We don't stone homosexuals to death, or kill our daughter because she isn't found to be a virgin, or own slaves, and we don't do these things because god told us we shouldn't, we actually came to those conclusions that they are wrong by using secular reasoning. It isn't really that difficult to establish a decent moral compass and most people do, belief in a god or not. I notice on your site you ask atheists to describe their moral values, implying that they can't, and also implying that only god believers can. In my daily life, I see no evidence of that. I also couldn't help but notice that it was the atheist who called out the guy who pointed out that the recipient of a school award was gay, which had nothing to do with anything, and the god fearing blog writer with the claim to morals (according to him) was strangely (in my opinion) silent and didn't point out that blatant homophobic comment about one of gods creatures who god decided to make in a slightly different way, I guess. I don't see much evidence of a superior moral compass there.
Jim

Jim Bair said...

I am curious about something. If all the god believing people on this site were to, without collaborating, write down or draw what their belief in their god looks like, what he looks like, what he acts like, where he is, what his personality is like, how big, or small, is he, every detail they can think of to describe god.... I wonder what the result would look like. How many pictures of this one true god would there be? Does he live in heaven? Where is it? What is it like there? Can you draw it or describe it for me? I wonder how many descriptions or drawings of the thousands, millions, of believers would match. All of them? None of them? A few? Would be a fun exercise to do.
Jim

Stan said...

Jim,
“Thank you for your response Stan. We still disagree on a few points and I'm not sure I see a solution to that. And in the big scheme of things, it probably doesn't matter anyway, unless you were to show up at my school board trying to introduce non science into our science class. Otherwise, this is simply a discussion exercise anyway.”

More uncomprehending insults, for no reason other than your arrogance, satisfied. If you actually understood the underlying principles of science, say in the manner of Popper, if you understood that there is nothing actually proven, empirically speaking, regarding evolution (which is what most Atheists think science is, since it is legally protected from disciplined, considered critique), I doubt that you would actually make such Scientistic slurs.

“You are incorrect in your definition of atheism.”

This is shown incorrect, and you do not address it. Since you are choosing to ignore the defeater for your argument, and make this unsustainable reply, I think you are here to waste time and not to have a conversation which might show the instability in your position. That is typical of Atheists; they tend to show up here, regurgitate some dogmatic position, deny any value to counter arguments without showing any propensity for defeating the defeater. It’s anti-intellectualism in practice.

” And you mention something about a worldview. Atheism has no worldview. It is simply a position of a lack of belief in a God or gods.”

That has been demonstrated to be incorrect, and you have not shown otherwise. The Atheist worldview is overwhelmingly self-elevating to occupy the highest seat in the universe – there being no competition, in their own minds. This has specific outcomes, including elitism, materialism/physicalism, and lack of unified moral principles, but commonly precipitating to Relativism, which is the same as no actual principles of morality.

”When some evidence shows up that would convince me that a god, or leprechauns, or fairies, or elves, or Bigfoot, poltergeists, or any other invisible being appears, I'll be happy to change my mind, but so far I simply haven't seen it.”

Of course you haven’t. You are demanding physical evidence for that which is not physical: the ever-present Atheist Category Error, the most basic logic error.

”If I express a deeply held conviction that the creature digging holes in my back yard at night is a small dragon with purplish greenish shimmering scales and a long tail and sharp claws for digging holes, and you don't believe my claim without further convincing evidence, then I suppose according to your logic I could say that you must provide proof he doesn't exist or otherwise you must accept my claim. Sorry, that isn't how things work.”

And that is not what theists do, is it? You are parroting the all too common “dragon in my garage” fallacy which is popular but false. Here’s why: First it is an analogy, not an argument, and analogies always fail, some sooner than others. Analogies are useful when one cannot argue against actual arguments being made, so a deflection from the actual argument is required. Your analogy ignores the actual intellectual demand being made of you: support the Atheist position with disciplined logic and/or empirical data which shows that Atheism is correct. It is at this intellectual juncture that the redefinition of Atheism, which you insist upon, is asserted, specifically in order to avoid that intellectual responsibility. It is intellectual cowardice, as I have stated many times before.

(continued)

Stan said...

”I do agree with you that our court system in no way resembles a theist argument. And I'm quite thankful for that as it demonstrates how flawed theistic arguments actually are.

Really?? Show us the disciplined deductive logic which drives the truth of that assertion. That is precisely what must be done, if intellectual honesty is valued in the least.

”Actually, teacher was spot on, and although you refer to the one less god claim as "petty", it is in fact quite valid. If your god, whoever, whatever, that being might be or look like, does exist and the other ones don't, I'd really like to see the proof of that.”

You make it painfully obvious that you didn’t even read my comment for comprehension. I took the opposite position which you claim here. This is truly wasting my time.

”You claim that teacher simply wasn't conversant enough, but you, however are. Actually, I disagree. Teacher was being honest. I get the impression that you simply like to use a lot of big words wrapped in long sentences in an attempt to twist and confuse the issue, but in fact, say very little.”

Interesting. First, Teacher admitted to a deficient knowledge base. Second, if you can’t comprehend my response, perhaps you’d ask for clarification; but instead you throw cheap insults. If you don’t understand the words, I can define them for you, or you could google them. Ignorance is no excuse, and the reflection is on you, not me.

Atheists have no basis for moral values.... Lol. A pronouncement of fact by you with absolutely no basis in fact at all.

You merely make a fact-free assertion, ignoring the main fact given to you: there is NO ATHEIST DOCUMENT OF ATHEIST MORAL PRINCIPLES. Refute that: go ahead. Give us the moral basis which underlies your “lack of belief”, false definition.

” I'm not sure why religious people are so hung up on this "ultimate moral authority handed to them by their invisible friend". I have an idea that it gives them a sense of superiority, as evidenced by your dismissal of my moral compass without knowing really anything about me other than I have not yet seen enough evidence to be convinced that your god exists, and therefore have no reason to believe in it.

I dismiss your “moral compass” precisely because I cannot know what it is or even if you have one (dubious, based on your hubris – forgive me: arrogance and your condescending insults). Any personal moral system is merely moral opinion, relevant only to that one person at the time it is thought up, and is therefore totally volatile based on the whim of the individual. And in fact, in terms of numbers, most Atheists of the past 100 years were mass murdering socialist totalitarians. And that is another potent eventuality of Atheism.

(continued)

Stan said...

”I have no reason to believe that you are not a moral person, that you do your best to be kind, compassionate, and caring in your treatment of others, and to show empathy. I see no reason why you wouldn't behave the same way whether a god exists or not.”

You have no reason to believe anything about me, period, because I have given you no information in that regard. So your assumptions about me appear to rest on residual theist principles, not on the Atheist Void.

”We don't stone homosexuals to death, or kill our daughter because she isn't found to be a virgin, or own slaves, and we don't do these things because god told us we shouldn't, we actually came to those conclusions that they are wrong by using secular reasoning.

You are apparently unfamiliar with the elimination of slavery, and Wilberforce, the Christian drive which eradicated slavery in Britain. That was prior to and influential in the elimination of slavery in the USA. And the influence of the Christian “underground railroad” to the North which was set up and run by Quakers.

You claim “secular reasoning” blindly and without historical cause.

” It isn't really that difficult to establish a decent moral compass and most people do, belief in a god or not.”

Of course it is not difficult; but the result is without either moral authority or moral merit since it is created by one person for his own convenience.

(continued)

Stan said...

” I notice on your site you ask atheists to describe their moral values, implying that they can't, and also implying that only god believers can.’

You may infer whatever you wish. The intent was to show the variability in “morals” between individuals and to demonstrate both the potential for volatility and lack of authority for anyone other than the originating individual.

” In my daily life, I see no evidence of that.”

Thus proving what, exactly?

” I also couldn't help but notice that it was the atheist who called out the guy who pointed out that the recipient of a school award was gay, which had nothing to do with anything, and the god fearing blog writer with the claim to morals (according to him) was strangely (in my opinion) silent and didn't point out that blatant homophobic comment about one of gods creatures who god decided to make in a slightly different way, I guess. I don't see much evidence of a superior moral compass there.”

“Homophobia” is not a condition of perversion as you seem to think, it is a politically prefabricated slur against anyone who questions the normalization of what is demonstrably a sexual deviation from the norm – the norm being reproductive heterosexual sex, and the moral principle being: having a lasting, committed relationship. Today’s World Health Organization announcement that ALL homosexuals should be inoculated against HIV is just one indication of the use of homosexuality for profligacy and libertinism. If you disagree, so be it; however, the facts are not in your favor. And don’t bother pointing out that heterosexuals are not particularly committed in their relationships; that is a recent affect of secular court decisions on the one hand, and the maleducation of children in secular government schools on the other hand.

Your moral compass has deviated into the support of profligacy and libertinism, and the demonization of dissent with pejoratives such as “homophobia”. This is a flimsy, cardboard type of morality, one which tends toward accepting everything except dissent, actual principled behavior, and things like principles of character development. I say this based on my experience with many Atheists, and if it doesn’t apply to you, that’s fine. I’m betting otherwise however.

Your final request, that theists draw pictures of their deity, is an artifact of your noncomprehension of the nonmaterial nature of theism. You have here demonstrated that your materialism is so all-encompassing in your thought process, that theists must also share that malady, and must therefore think of a creating agent in material terms such as big/little, “looks like”, heaven is a physical place, and so on. Children might think of a deity that way, but no mature person does. So your concept cannot be implemented, purely because you do not understand what theism actually entails: hint: it is not material.

Jim Bair said...

Stan,
I'll just start at the top and sort of work down and try to be concise. I'm on an iPad (which I dislike, but as an airline pilot, it is convenient to carry) and it's more difficult to edit well. And it is time for me to go back to work, so this is likely my last post so you can have the last word and then on with life. It is your site anyway, and ink here is free. At this point I am getting a pretty good feel for your view, I think. Further discussion is pointless in my view because we can't even agree on a definition of atheism. I just use the dictionary definition. I know you prefer to argue with people who might deny the existence of god, because that makes them just as illogical in their position as yours is, so you're a perfect match. Haha. I cannot prove your god doesn't exist any more than you can prove I don't have a leprechaun trapped in a cage in my garage. You have no reason to believe my leprechaun claim any more than I have reason to believe your god claim, which you go on to fully admit is an immaterial being. Yes, theism is all about invisible, immaterial beings. We agree on that.

Of course there is no document of atheist moral principles. That isn't what atheism is. You are continually trying to make it so on your site here so you have a straw man to knock down. I have read your site and it's full of that sort of thing. And many other contributors of the same mindset doing the same thing. Seriously Stan, there are some outrageous fantastic statements on this site that are absolutely ludicrous. "Most atheists of the past 100yrs were murdering...." Seriously? You make sweeping generalizations about "atheists" which are simply untrue. If I did the same about Christians, you would call me on it and rightly so. People are individuals, and vary as such. Here's a good exercise. Google "God told me to do it." And see what comes up.

I can see from your view on science that you are a creationist. I don't know what to tell you. Get out more? Seriously, go to the Galapagos and look around. It's an eye opener. I met a retired minister there who expressed sadness at preaching fundamentalist views for 40 years before learning from his son, a geologist, the truth about how old the world is, and he opened his eyes, began traveling, and loves it. His comment to my daughter and I was, "Religion fills peoples heads with cement." When you travel the world, and see the vastness of species, it's hard to believe in Noah and the ark. I met a cancer research doctor on the plane one day whose comment was, " if you don't believe in evolution you won't find a cure for cancer. I watch evolution occur under my microscope every day." Evolution is not even debated any more than the concept of gravity is debated at this point. There was a time in history when it was debated about which circled which, the earth or the sun. The Catholic Church did a half hearted apology about the Galileo thing finally.... In 1992! Yes, seriously. Intelligent design will die the same slow death. Hopefully you'll see it in your lifetime quietly go away.
(Cont)

Jim Bair said...



Morals.... If I'm reading you correctly, and I believe I am, you are saying that the only way a person can truly have morals is to have them handed down by a god. And your god specifically. If you and I both agree that it is wrong to murder, or steal, own slaves, or bear false witness, only your morals are valid. Mine are not because I figured it out for myself. Never mind the fact in your bible god gives instructions about slavery, and in the "red pages", Jesus never says its immoral to own them. Where's the great morality lesson in that? Sam Harris wrote a book on secular morality, The Moral Landscape. It demonstrates that humans are perfectly capable of morality advancement just like advancement in other areas. We don't have to be stuck using a book written 2000 years ago to figure out morals and scientific principles. If you want an example of my basis for morality, look up Qualiasoup Morality on YouTube. That describes my moral compass pretty well and saves me a lot of typing. Matt Dillahunty also does a pretty good speech on the superiority of secular morality.

I will admit that at an earlier point in my life, my views on homosexuality were similar to yours. The difference between us is, I'm not proud of it and you still are. I came to realize that they are humans just like me, somehow wired differently, and just as capable of love, compassion, caring for others, kindness, as anyone else. And certainly worthy of being respected by us, which would include having the right to choose a life partner of their choice and having all the same rights we do. Since you think it's a choice, can you tell me the day you made the choice? I'm sure it must have been a big day, it's a big decision to make.

And finally, you are incorrect in your statement that atheists accept everything. That's ridiculous. That would be like me saying that the Westboro Baptist Church represents all Christians. Thankfully, it doesn't. But I do push back against intolerance. Your view that atheists are incapable of having valid morals is just baffling to me. I think all people are capable of it, and if they didn't have the bible, they would still be capable. Don't short yourself. I've read the bible cover to cover. I fail to see it as this perfect morality book that some people claim. It is filled with contradictions. In the end, we have to think for ourselves. And we have to learn to play well with others. Imagine you're a police sniper called to a situation where the neighbors report a father has his son tied up, is building a pile of wood, is putting his son on it, and he has a knife. And he is in a fenced area and no one can get to him. Now he's raising the knife and you have a second to make a decision. Do you say, "oh, this is like Abraham and Isaac and I'm sure god will stop him", or do you shoot him and stop the knife from coming down? Like I said, in the end, we all have to think for ourselves. Not " god told me to do it."

Back to work for me. This has been interesting reading your site. If I get a chance I'll check back to read your final words.

Best regards,
Jim

Stan said...

Brian,
You have kept a jovial tone, even as you throw out your insults and belittlements. I will keep my tone terse and try to keep to facts, without insults. I will make some observations below which might insult you, but the intent is to keep to facts.

”I know you prefer to argue with people who might deny the existence of god, because that makes them just as illogical in their position as yours is, so you're a perfect match. Haha.

Another meaningless insult, rather than addressing any of the logic issues on the blog, such as the Challenges To Atheists on the right hand column. Further, you do not address the specific challenges made to you in the above comments, so I presume that you do not prefer logic over insult, which is a really cheap way to think. Further, I think you are not honest in your stated position; either you think there is a god, or you think there is no god, or you think you can’t know, or you just don’t care to address theist issues and hope there is no god. But you cannot have no god beliefs unless you live in a cave and always have thereby never hearing any god proposition.

You obviously have heard god propositions and rejected them. Then you claim you have no god belief, in order not to have to defend your reason(s) for rejecting those god propositions. Evidence: you call my position illogical; that specifically means that you reject it based on your logical analysis. But will you give a disciplined deductive analysis which you use for that rejection? No. And the reason? Here it is: You don’t have to, due to your corrupt vision of avoidance by virtue of phony definition.

”Further discussion is pointless in my view because we can't even agree on a definition of atheism. I just use the dictionary definition.”

a’the-ism, n, the belief that there is no god.
Webster’s Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1979, Simon & Schuster; ISBN 0-671-41819-X.

I keep my old dictionary precisely to demonstrate the Atheist trend to redefine every- and anything in order to dodge their intellectual responsibility. If my house catches fire two things will go out the door (after my wife, dogs and cats): my 1953 Martin D18, and that dictionary.

And I agree that further discussion is pointless, because you demonstrate the dogmatic positions of Atheism while refusing to engage with logical analyses. Evidence: you did not respond to the charge of internal non-coherence of your personal definition of Atheism. I’ll repeat it here, and if you choose not to respond, then this exchange is where it will end.

If the sole allowable definition of Atheism is “having no theist beliefs” excludes those who do, specifically believe that “there is no god”. (see the definition, above).

Refute that, without ridicule, sarcasm, insults or arrogance: just use actual logical principles as taught in Logic 101; i.e. Aristotelian deduction.

Since your very initial comment here claimed that you have superior logic skills, then either use them or admit that you cannot. It’s that simple.

Then, address the Challenges To Atheists (right hand column of the blog) and use your superior logic skills to refute the argument given there. It’s that simple.
(continued)

Stan said...

yoursNow I’ll pare down your final issues to numbered items to save space:

1. ”I cannot prove your god doesn't exist…” No you can’t.
Followed by the excuse that other claims cannot be disproved, therefore theist claims cannot be believed (or even addressed in a straight ahead fashion.
Logic Failures: Fallacy of False Association; False Analogy Fallacy.

2. ”Of course there is no document of atheist moral principles. That isn't what atheism is. You are continually trying to make it so on your site here so you have a straw man to knock down. I have read your site and it's full of that sort of thing.”

Here you agree with the argument I make, then call it a Straw Man. Which is it? Logic Failure: internal contradiction; paradox.

But for you, the non-existence a common set of moral principles is not a problem; it’s an expectation. And that is why Atheists are the least trusted of all individuals, even below child-molesters: no one knows what an Atheist’s morals du jour might be.

3. ”"Most atheists of the past 100yrs were murdering...." Seriously? You make sweeping generalizations about "atheists" which are simply untrue.”

Like most Atheists, you cannot point to a consistent set of morals, and you ignore the history of the 20th century where Atheist regimes organized Atheist hordes to murder any and all dissenters or potential dissenters.
Ref.:
a.Black Book of Communism; Courtois, Werth, et. al.; Harvard University Press, 2004.
b.Death By Government; Rummel; TA Press, 2007.
c.Mao; Chang, Halliday; Anchor Books, 2006.
d.Stalin; R. Service; Belkap Harvard, 2004.
e.Storming the Heavens, the Soviet Lague of Militant godless; D. Peris; Cornell University Press; 1998.

Your denial is completely without the force of fact.

4. ”Here's a good exercise. Google "God told me to do it." And see what comes up.”

The discussion is about Atheism; you are attempting to derail the discussion; Logic Failures: Tu Quoque; Red Herring.

5. ”I can see from your view on science that you are a creationist.”

My view on science is specifically oriented to the proper use of empirical, inductive/deductive material techniques, including hypothesis, experimental design, experimental process, replication success, non-falsification, open data. Modern science is heavily tempted to veer away from the objective knowledge generation, and to declare personal inference to be truth. My view on science has nothing to do with creationism or Philosophical Materialism, or Atheism or theism, because science is mechanically limited to time and physical space, and cannot address issues outside that, which are non-falsifiable, and therefore breach the testability and logic barriers. (Popper; The Logic of Scientific Discovery; 1935, Routledge Classics) What is your position on science?
(continued)

Stan said...

6. ”Seriously, go to the Galapagos and look around. It's an eye opener.”

Here’s the latest on evolution science actually done in the Galapagos: there is no speciation or successful introgression observable in the 25 years of study of Darwin’s Finches, by Rosemary and Peter Grant.
Ref.
Evoutionary Dynamics of a Natural Population; Grant and Grant; University of Chicago Press;1989; pp 279-292.

”I met a cancer research doctor on the plane one day whose comment was, " if you don't believe in evolution you won't find a cure for cancer. I watch evolution occur under my microscope every day."”

It is guaranteed that he does not observe macroevolution under his microscope.
Ref.
Evolution, the Extended Synthesis; Pigliucci, Muller, et. al.; MIT Press; 2010. Ch 17, p 443.

Logic failure: confusing anecdotes for fact.

Fact: speciation cannot be accounted for by the Modern Synthesis, which was and is purely speculative; the new “extended synthesis” is expanded in an attempt to account for it, but there is only speculation, with no empirical observation of a single new organ or limb or anything other than those features extant within the genome, and manipulated by the genome, thereby remaining within the genome.

”Evolution is not even debated any more than the concept of gravity is debated at this point.”

Absolutely and radically false. Read the reference above. You are spouting off on things of which you are obviously ignorant.

”The Catholic Church did a half hearted apology about the Galileo thing finally.... In 1992! Yes, seriously. Intelligent design will die the same slow death. Hopefully you'll see it in your lifetime quietly go away.”

Another logic failure: Tu Quoque, Red Herring, False Analogy yet again. I do not advocate ID; I advocate for legitimate science, without the need for inferential Just So Stories as the basis and foundation (as they are in evolution). Belief in inferences as truth is anti-rational; it is the abandonment of objective empiricism as the determinor of scientific factoids, and contingent as they may be, the factoids of empirical science are closer to being knowledge than evolutionary inferential suppositions can ever be, until they provide empirical verification. Evolution is anti-scientifically declared to be incontrovertible truth, without hard evidence, by Atheist propagandists hoping that no one will notice their lack of empirical substance. Yet to the AtheoLeftist, Science = evolution = science.
(continued)

Stan said...

8. ”I will admit that at an earlier point in my life, my views on homosexuality were similar to yours. The difference between us is, I'm not proud of it and you still are. I came to realize that they are humans just like me, somehow wired differently, and just as capable of love, compassion, caring for others, kindness, as anyone else.”

Pride has nothing to do with it, and it is yet another insult, in keeping with your others. This, in fact, demonstrates that your sense of morality coincides with those you feel are to be designated as Victims who are in need of relief as a class, regardless of their amoral, unprincipled behaviors. This designated class is oppressed by those who disagree with providing this class with (a) normalization, (b) full rights as a normalized class of people. This is because (c) they have emotional capacities, even though “wired differently”, apparently meaning abnormal.

This argument can be fully applied and implemented for any number of abnormal, or “wired differently” deviations from normal behavior, including incest (the materialist argument is valid: babies with defects can be killed in utero), and also pedophilia (there are studies showing that children “benefit” from very early sexual experience, starting with Kinsey). Don’t bother with the “consenting adult” argument; children are routinely subjected to things they don’t agree with, such as vaccinations and school and baths.

So your moral-free argument not only demonstrates your personal moral opining, it is without actual moral content, because it excludes nothing and no one. No behavior, no matter how deviant or onerous is excluded, so long as they have emotional capacities.

”Since you think it's a choice, can you tell me the day you made the choice? I'm sure it must have been a big day, it's a big decision to make.”

I have never, ever said that it is a choice, although in government schools students are encouraged to make a choice and experiment sexually; that makes choice the legitimate path, doesn’t it?

No, real trauma is identified in the early lives of homosexuals, especially males.
Ref.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-008-9449-3

http://childhoodtraumarecovery.com/2013/11/14/childhood-trauma-linked-to-homosexuality-so-what/
Excerpt:
”To what degree do nature and nurture contribute to homosexuality?
It is a politically sensitive debate, but in the light of solid scientific findings, it is necessary to have the courage to address such matters. Childhood trauma has been linked in several research studies with sexual addiction/compulsion (see my article on this by clicking here) due to the dissociative state it produces (see my article on dissociation by clicking here), sadomasochism, prostitution and homosexuality.

Many gay people resent this finding (understandably so) and fear it will encourage right-wing religious fundamentalists absurdly to declare homosexuality an ‘illness’ that needs to be ‘cured.’

(continued)

Stan said...


9. ”And finally, you are incorrect in your statement that atheists accept everything.”

Where did I say that? It is an absurd statement; point out where I said it, or retract it. Atheists do not accept logical arguments as you have demonstrated, and has many others have. Atheists do not accept criticism, especially of their moral systems, which are totally without credibility to anyone but the individual Atheist who either makes up his own, or co-opts another moral system, such as Christianity.

However, it is true that any individual Atheist is totally free to invent any moral system, and that is how Marxism and Scientific Socialism came to power under Lenin.

”But I do push back against intolerance. Your view that atheists are incapable of having valid morals is just baffling to me. I think all people are capable of it, and if they didn't have the bible, they would still be capable.

That is not what I said or believe. It is perfectly possible for an Atheist to co-opt Christianity, for example, and behave as an ideal Christian. And it is also possible for him to change his choice instantly if his predilections change, since Christianity holds no authority or existential meaning for him.

Your position here has been demonstrated to be false, as shown above, in detail. But to refresh a bit, there is no reason to believe that the moral opinion you chose this morning will be the same one you choose tomorrow. Or tonight when you babysit my children. And there is no reason for anyone else to be expected to be subject to your personal moral opinion, because you have no moral authority over them. So every individual Atheist has not only morals tailored to his proclivities, but when his proclivities change, so will his moral opinions. This makes it impossible for Atheists to generate trust, merely based on their Atheism.

10. ”Like I said, in the end, we all have to think for ourselves. Not " god told me to do it."”

You appear to be a bible literalist, like most Atheists (who ironically hate bible literalists). I am not, so that has no bearing on the conversation. You are wrong about the bible in this aspect: it has an overarching metanarrative accumulated from the varied viewpoints of many authors. Some narratives are metaphor, some are poetic, some are Greek-form dialogic arguments, some are pure lust, some are documentary, some are instructional, etc. It is the metanarrative that has value.

I hope you return, because I’d like for you to engage in actual logical argumentation in favor of your persuasion. For starters, how do you logically justify your definition of Atheism, given that it is demonstrably logically non-coherent? That’s something we could discuss. Provided you actually use disciplined logic rather than dogma and insult, that is. In the meantime you might read some of the actual science literature I pointed you to. If you get your science from Atheists (like some of your arguments) you’ll get only Scientism, not disciplined science.

I use the word “discipline” a lot, because that is what is lacking in most Atheist “arguments”; they argue from reality as they wish it would be, not from reality as it actually is. And either science is a discipline, to be taken in a disciplined fashion, or it is a phony type of Philosophical Materialism. We could discuss the philosophy of science (just after a coherent definition of Atheism), so that we know what is and is not a valid pursuit of science.

Scorpio said...

Jim said:Sam Harris wrote a book on secular morality, The Moral Landscape

Few comments ago you said atheists have no worldview.And now you admit there are atheist books propogating very specific worldviews.Atheists also promote determinism,the immaculate conception of the universe,consciousness as illusion,the miracle of abiogenesis,etc. All of which does not meet the criterion of empirical evidence.Therefore theists are justified in saying that atheism is without evidence.

Scorpio said...

Jim said"Most atheists of the past 100yrs were murdering...." Seriously? You make sweeping generalizations about "atheists" which are simply untrue.

Stan's correct,since most atheists lived in communist countries,ruled by militant atheists during the 20th century.

We don't have to be stuck using a book written 2000 years ago to figure out morals and scientific principles. If you want an example of my basis for morality, look up Qualiasoup Morality on YouTube. That describes my moral compass pretty well and saves me a lot of typing. Matt Dillahunty also does a pretty good speech on the superiority of secular morality.

Christians were never stuck using only a single book for their worldviews.In fact,the Catholic Church was the main guardians of Aristotelianism.When Galileo's findings opposed this curriculum which was taught in Catholic Universities at the time,the Protestant north were eager to embrace them.

Compare that to the Lysenko period, during which time the militant atheists were slaughtering 100's of scientists who supported Mendelian Genetics because it opposed the atheist's philosophical views of Determinism.

http://www.cyberussr.com/rus/lysenko.html


That's ridiculous. That would be like me saying that the Westboro Baptist Church represents all Christians

The WBC consists of some 50 members.Of course you knew that but your modus operandi is to smear christianity as much as possible even though the information is completely irrelevant.

This is me using your own tactics:
That's like me saying Jim Jones' Atheist Cult represent all atheists.

At any rate,as a student of logic I am really loving Stan's analysis and refutations of your arguments.It's a work of art.And if you valued logic you'd see that too.

Stan said...

Addressing the issue of being a predator for intolerance in others:

"Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions."
-G. K. Chesterton

Plus self-righteous tolerance becomes an arrogant intolerance of its paradoxical opinionation: "I am intolerant of intolerance". Epimenides Paradox type.

I tolerated them coming for the gypsies. I tolerated them coming for the mentally retarded. I tolerated them coming for the criminally insane. I tolerated them coming for the Jews. I tolerated them coming for non-aryans. And then they came for the aryan homosexuals, and there remains no defense left for me because it, too, is tolerated.

Scorpio said...

Jim said:I get the impression that you simply like to use a lot of big words wrapped in long sentences in an attempt to twist and confuse the issue, but in fact, say very little.

In other words,you're asking Stan to dumb it down for you because you are unable to understand and critique his arguments logically.I doubt Stan will seek to dumb down his arguments since he's not an elitist.So I guess you'll just have to tough it out.

One more thing: I and many others do infact believe that the Catholic church's apology for placing Galileo under house arrest was sincere.Galileo lived in a mansion,with huge grounds where he occasionally threw house parties but could not leave his grounds.I admit the punishment for opposing the state was a bit harsh.

Now,when are the New Atheist leaders going to sincerely apologize for the imprisonments,tortures and deaths of 100's of scientists during the Soviet era?

http://www.cyberussr.com/rus/lysenko.html

http://www.wired.com/2009/09/0929lysenko/

TJN said...

Stan is completely wrong. Hitchens' Razor does not apply only to an atheist commenting on religion. It simply says in a new way that he who brings forth any argument needs to include proof to make his argument. Without that evidence, any argument may be dismissed without providing evidence to do it. If evidence is not given in the first place, then it isn't needed to refute that argument in the second place. The burden of proof is not on the opposing view. It is on the argument being brought forth. Stan makes many attacks on Hitchens and that is not an objective method of discourse either. Personal attacks on Hitchens are not evidence against him and Stan's bias toward religion does not equip him to take part in a fair discussion to begin with. Stan will defend religion no matter what so he lacks the ability to be a credible person where facts are concerned, especially when religion itself includes no objective and verifiable facts. Finally, Stan is asking Hitchens or anyone else who disagrees with him to take up the burden of proof that Stan is obligated to carry. Hitchens used a great number of historical sources and facts in making the atheist argument. If only Stan could do the same. He can't though. Religion is made up of myth and is rife with inherent inconsistencies. Religion is not an appropriate topic to make a prima facia argument and asking Hitchens to argue against himself in the absence of facts from Stan is simply inappropriate.

Stan said...

Of course that is absolute bullshit. I do not defend any religion. I analyze Atheist principles, excuses and stuff like the above, using the accepted principles of Aristotelian deductive logic and illuminating the rhetorical and logical informal fallacies which Atheists are forced to use in order to defend their own worldviews - when they have the guts to do so.

In this case, TJN makes several assertions without any evidence, and under Hitchens' Razor, everything which TJN says should be rejected out of hand for that reason.

Since TJN claims that the Razor is valid, then I am at liberty to reject everything which TJN says.

But the better reason to reject what TJN says is because everything he has said is FALSE. The best example of this falseness (outside his wordy claim that I defend religions here) is his claim that Atheists have no need to defend their worldview. If this is the case, it is obvious that the Atheist worldview cannot be defended, because he would defend it if he could; but he cannot. He has neither evidence nor logic to present in the defense of Atheism, and the reason for that lack is that Atheism is merely rejectionism. Atheism and Atheists reject the evidence and logic which exists, and they reject it out of hand, with no reason or reasoning to support their rejection.

Atheist Rejectionism is done purely out of the need to protect Atheism, without having to actually defend it in rational terms. Atheism cannot be defended in rational terms, because there is no evidence or logic which serves as positive support in terms of proof of their own concepts.

Without evidence and logic to support Atheism, it can be seen to be an empty worldview which is backfilled with elitist, arrogant visions of personal superiority and self-anointed moral authority. These ego-feeders are purely emotional crutches which, again, have no rational support with either positive material evidence or disciplined deductive reasoning... and in fact Atheism fails for that reason.

Hitchens' razor, if it were a valid principle, would completely obviate Atheism from being considered true by rational people. Having no evidence, Atheism can be ignored and completely discounted.

Fred Meekins said...

Wow. I just stumbled on this hot steaming pile of mess. Stan, there is NO BURDEN OF REBUTTAL until their is proof offered in support of the assertion that is to be rebutted. Theists have, and always will have the burden of providing proof of the existence of their sky daddy. Only then will their be any opportunity to rebut that evidence. Still waiting.

Stan said...

What proof do you require? What is your standard for accept/reject? If you cannot say why a proposition is false, then you have no reasoning involved in your opinion: it is purely emotional.

Until you provide evidence that you have correctly understood and analyzed the deduced proposition, you have no say in whether the proposition is True or False. All you have is personal opinion, without rational standards for a type of validation which you, personally would accept, and threshold specifications for pass/fail.

If you do not provide those logic requirements, then you have no principles for rejecting anyone's propositions. With no principles, you have no logic in your "decision".

The propositions exist. You obviously believe that they are false. But you refuse any responsibility for revealing any reasons or reasons for declaring them false (no rebuttal responsibility).

That is irrational; it fails the principles of Aristotelian deductive logical testing.

Therefore, it has no rational value.

And btw, the use of "sky daddy" indicates an unjustified superiority complex based in massive ignorance and the contempt of falsely presupposed elitism. Your self-image of contemptuous elitism is thoroughly belied by your lack of rational content.

Stan said...

I need to add this: I presume that you did not mean physical evidence, because that is a blatant Fallacy: Category Error. So surely you mean evidence of the principled Aristotelian deductive process, although you didn't use that in your claim.

So an additional requirement is that IF you do not accept Aristotelian deductive principles for valid form, grounded and true premises, and passing Reductio Ad Absurdum, THEN what type of logic basis do you employ in rejecting arguments?

Anonymous said...

So basically you are refuting Hitchen's Razor using Hitchen's Razor. I guess that pretty much sums up what logic means to religion.

Stan said...

Actually your comment shows that you are most likely Post Modern, which means that internal contradictions, aka paradoxes, aka logical non-coherences mean precisely nothing to you, and logic is composed of just whatever you think at the moment. And that is a subdefinition of Atheism, Anti-rationalism, Leftism, and characterizes the perpetually silly. Lucky for you, in Atheism, et. al. there is no need for logic so it is not only not useful to Atheists, et. al., it is also dangerous to their worldview. That hazard results in gross absurdities in the Atheist worldview, such as believing that an internally self contradictory statement is an actual "principle".

For Atheists, real disciplined Aristotelian deductive logic is not your friend.

Unknown said...

Firstly, I don't believe a former atheist wrote this. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods, not a rejection of the existence.
These points are faulty logically:

(a) Atheists cannot produce any evidence whatsoever that basic theist positions are incorrect;
They don't have to, they are not makong a positive claim to know something.

(b) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that they can rationally deny the validity of an argument without showing why the argument is not valid (denial of Burden of Rebuttal);
Arguments that have circular reasoning like many theistic arguments do require no evidence since the argument presented is fallacious.

(c) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there is no creating agent for the universe;
Just like theists cannot do the same for proving there is one.

(d) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there cannot exist a creating agent for the universe.
Same as my response to C.

(e) Atheists cannot support with evidence the claim that there is no evidence for theism.
Provide the evidence for why theism is rational then. Atheists do not believe it is rational because there is no evidence to support thinking theism is correct, which if the author really was an atheist at one point, would already know.

Stan said...

Firstly, I don't believe a former atheist wrote this. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods, not a rejection of the existence.

What you "believe" is of no consequence; what you can prove either materially or logically is all that is pertinent to actual, replicable, principled knowledge. If you are not claiming knowledge, then you are claiming a religious opinion, only, and nothing more. Thus your credibility would be nothing more than any other unsubstantiable opinion.

These points are faulty logically:

(a) Atheists cannot produce any evidence whatsoever that basic theist positions are incorrect;
They don't have to, they are not makong a positive claim to know something.


So EITHER Atheists reject theist propositions without *knowing* (having demonstrable evidence) that they are false, OR they reject theist propositions because they *know* the propositions are false, since they *do* have conclusive, irrefutable evidence that they are false. But they never present either any material, empirical evidence or tested deductive logic for their own intellectual position: Atheism, which is defined as “there is no Creating Being”.

Any definition of Atheism which is not “there is no Creating Being” is Agnosticism (and possibly gnosticism) and to call it Atheism is a deception purposefully used in order to deflect the fallacy of Atheism-as-knowledge, when Atheism is actually a belief concerning religion: a religious belief without material evidence or proof of any sort, and which denies ontological logic. And which also refuses to support itself with either material evidence or proper deductive logic.

Not taking a firm position on arguments such as the ontological argument mentioned below would be seen as intellectual failure.

Stan said...

(b) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that they can rationally deny the validity of an argument without showing why the argument is not valid (denial of Burden of Rebuttal);
Arguments that have circular reasoning like many theistic arguments do require no evidence since the argument presented is fallacious.


Claiming that theist arguments are circular is far different from showing (logically demonstrating) the circularity; therefore such a statement is a Red Herring, and in this case, just an attempt at excusing oneself from having to prove anything. You have the opportunity here to logically demonstrate any fallacy in any ontological and epistemological argument, especially the one given here.

(c) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there is no creating agent for the universe;
Just like theists cannot do the same for proving there is one.


Tu Quoque Fallacy: Is not necessary or sufficient for justifying Atheism.

Here is an opportunity for you to provide necessary and sufficient material evidence or rational, orderly, Aristotelian deductive reasoning for justification of Atheism:

Ontological argument #n: Why is there anything, when nothing is the obvious null.

(d) Atheists cannot produce evidence which proves that there cannot exist a creating agent for the universe.
Same as my response to C.


Repeat: Ontological argument #n, just above.

However, if you reject all arguments due to lack of materialist, empirical evidence, then you must provide materialist, empirical evidence for justification of doing so, or lose credibility. Example: you must demonstrate that lack of material evidence is necessary and sufficient to reject the simple ontological argument shown above. And both the justification and the argument itself must be defeated using Aristotelian, deductive, non-infinite regression, non-circular, correct form, tested, logic. Otherwise (i.e. not doing so) is a tacit admission of holding a rejection without either justification, material evidence (empirical science), or deductive Aristotelian logic (rational cause).

(e) Atheists cannot support with evidence the claim that there is no evidence for theism.
Provide the evidence for why theism is rational then. Atheists do not believe it is rational because there is no evidence to support thinking theism is correct, which if the author really was an atheist at one point, would already know.


The logical error of the improper conflation of 1) material existence with 2) non-material existence is a blatant Category Error Fallacy (easily demonstrable with set theory - simple mathematics). Demanding material evidence for a non-material entity is logically absurd (First Principle of Non-Contradiction).

However, there are indirect material artifacts of non-material existence, such as the “Miracle at Lourdes” in France, which thus far is completely without any Atheistic materialist refutation. You may wish to try your hand there. All tries so far have resulted in irrational excuses and not with any material substance. But you might be different. Give it a go.

Hugo Pelland said...

Ah, that's funny, I received a notification for that thread, but I don't even remember reading it, and I have never commented on it... I must have subscribed to it at some point I guess.

Oh, and, hi Stan, long time no see! That seems like an interesting topic. I will read it with great interest. Who knows, perhaps something new will come out! Though that's extremely unlikely. Anyway, I don't have time to contribute though, which you probably prefer anyway ;-)

Owen said...

Haha this is quite funny. Interesting how such an extensive discussion can erupt over the notion that Stan doesn't really seem to understand what a burden of proof is (or who carries it for that matter)...

Nevertheless, let's do a little exercise. And let's try and forget the concept of atheism and all the constraining interpretations Stan has of it for a moment, for that didn't really seem to advance the argument.


Say I was to converse with Ted, who claims: "I swam across the English Channel 30 times in a row yesterday"

I'd say: "Interesting Ted, do you have any proof of that?" (Note here that I'm not saying that Ted definitely did NOT swim the Channel 30 times in a row yesterday)

He might say: "Do you have any proof that I didn't?"

I would have to concede: "Well no Ted, you got me there. Although I'm still not convinced that you did"


You see here? The burden of proof is on the one making the claim (Ted that is. In case you are still confused). Ted could flip that around, but that would still not prove his point and only hurt his credibility. And I think that's what Hitchens' razor constitutes: if you assume something without any evidence, you can dismiss it straight away, for it is a hollow statement.

I acknowledge that this was just an analogy, and from what I've read so far here some people struggle to abstract anything from those. So in order to stay on topic: I'm not saying that there is no god (I am not making any claims). There are, on the other hand, a lot of people claiming that there are gods (or in some cases, just one) who are responsible for a lot of different things. To all of them I would say: "interesting proposition, can you prove that?"

Now one could argue that a non-material claim (gods tend to be described as transcending the physical world) cannot be supported with material evidence, and therefore me asking for proof is pointless. One could also argue that even if one comes up with evidence, I would be inclined to deny its validity straight away (because of some assumed disposition of mine probably). The former leaves you with gods as social constructs at best, the latter is a child's way of reasoning ("I don't have to proof anything, you're not going to believe me anyway").

If someone were to reply, please spare me a philosophy lecture.

Stan said...

Owen,
Your argument seems to presume that there is no evidence for a deity, and that even if there were evidence that you would be amenable to consider it objectively.

Further, per your example you presume that the analagous claim is a) physical and b) absurd.

Finally, you assert that non-material existence claims cannot be expected to be supported by material evidence… is “a social construct at best”, which heavily implies that you “know” that materialism is “true” in the sense that

There is plenty of rational evidence and a modicum of physical evidence for a deity:

1. The Null Case for material existence is zero mass/energy/time AND zero forcing functions AND zero cognition.

2. Observable material existence consists of mass/energy AND forcing functions AND cognition.

3. Leaving the state of Null would require EIITHER accidental forcing, OR purposeful (non-accidental) forcing away from Null and toward a physical existence containing cognition (our state of existence).

4. There are no accidents in a Null state because there are no forcing functions AND no mass/energy upon which to act.

5. The universe we experience and inhabit is not in a Null state. It is a physical existence with forcing functions, and cognition is attested to by the existence of infallible First Principles for existence in the universe and the basis of logic.

6. This is a rational case for purposeful creation of physical and cognitive existence.

Now you might be inclined to deny any or all premises, and that would indicate Radical Skepticism on your part (premise cannot be “known” or observed because: skepticism). Radical Skepticism is logically false because it cannot be known true if nothing can be known.

But your denial would not be any more true than you consider the premise to be.

There also exists physical evidence which no Atheist I have ever had a discussion with would even consider without asserting Radical Skepticism. One of my favorites is the “miracle at Lourdes”, which left physical artifacts that were attested to by the entire village adjacent to the site as miraculously created in the sense that they were predicted and then occurred as predicted with no discernible physical cause.

There are other observable artifacts such as free will not arising from complete determinism, and triple embedded logic encoding in DNAbut the Lourdes situation is sufficient in and of itself to place the Atheist denier in the position of Radical Skepticism.

In the final analysis Hitchens’ razor must ignore all logical observations, Aristotelian deductive, grounded arguments and “miraculous” observations by asserting Radical Skepticism. This Hitchens does transparently in hia assumption that deity is an assertion “without evidence”, which may be dismissed without even examining the evidence which is given.

And that is intellectually dishonest.

Stan said...

So Owen,
When evidence is given, denial without contrary argument or contrary evidence is, in fact, irrational and intellectually dishonest. In other words, the denier who can't prove falseness is providing no intellectual value, because the burden is on him to prove falseness of the case presented.

Owen said...

Dear Stan,

I am very pleased to see that we've finally reached some form of agreement on the fact that the burden of proof does indeed lay on the one claiming the existence of a deity. Good on you.

Let me first say that my argument does not presume that there is no evidence for the existence of a deity. Also I wouldn't consider myself a radical skeptic, for I do believe that knowledge can be obtained even when it concerns unobservable phenomena (human cognition for example). I do not pretend to "know" that materialism is "true", exemplified by my mention of gods as social constructs. There obviously ís reality beyond the material world in the form of social facts, ideas (including religions). All I'm saying is that the evidence for the existence of a deity provided is not very impressive.

To return to the Ted analogy: Ted might show me a photograph of him swimming in the Channel. That would be impressive, but still would not prove that he did in fact cross it 30 times in a row.

Now I'm not sure what you are talking about with the Null Case there (couldn't find anything on that specifically), but it sounds a lot like the argument that there must be a first cause --> you cannot go backwards infinitely: there must have been a cause that wasn't conditioned by another one and that first cause must have been a deity. That is not really an explanation though, is it? For where did that deity come from then, and how did he initiate the subsequent chain of events?

Concerning the miracle at Lourdes, I'm not sure if you are referring to the girl saying to have seen the virgin Mary or the subsequent practice of faith healing there. So let's just address both. The supposed appearance of the virgin Mary before a girl is anecdotal evidence and not really anything of much worth you'll agree. There are countless accounts of divine appearances from many different religions. All with varying degrees of evidence in the form of eye-witnesses, artifacts and so on (the oracles of the Sybils to the ancient Romans that for a considerable part came true, or the incarnation of Shiva into Sai Baba who went on to perform many miracles that are well documented). The miraculous healing at Lourdes surely is puzzling. It should be noted though that the vast majority of ill people who visit Lourdes do not get healed, at least physically that is. It should also be noted that there are many cases of people who healed inexplicably without visiting Lourdes. If one were to ask: why did all these people get healed then, the honest answer is "we don't know (yet)". It seems a bit of a leap of faith to immediately assume divine intervention. Because, are we then to treat all the miracles with the same reverence? Or is it maybe fair to treat them all with the same scrutiny? If you want to call that radical skepticism, be my guest but I think we both know that's not the case.

Owen said...

You are right to note that within the deterministic framework free will does not exist. I don't really see how that is related though. Maybe if you assume that determinism is the only model at hand to explain our thoughts, feelings and actions. It also depends on your definition of free will (not the be confused with self-efficacy). So maybe you are willing to elaborate on that.

I'm also not really sure what you mean with "triple embedded logic encoding in DNA". But if you mean that our critical thinking ability can be attributed to genetic information in our DNA, I am very curious where you got that information (and I'd love for you to give me a source, for I am genuinely interested in that sort of carrot) because that is not really how DNA works. It is true that our DNA allows us to have the brains that we do, and those brains do facilitate our thinking. And it is true that we seem to have an innate sense of logic. This logic has to be learned though: our development and experiences determine for a large part how the brain grows and how it operates. Same goes for all sorts of animals, they can learn to think logically, but only because a neural network that is dependent on input facilitates this. That neural network can't do it on its own. Logic or critical thought isn't stored somewhere in our DNA.

As I said before, I am happy that you at least did attempt to convince me of your position. I must admit that I am not very impressed (yet!). It might help if you were a little less vague about your argumentation and could elaborate a bit more here and there.

Owen said...

Dear Stan,

I am very pleased to see that we've finally reached some form of agreement on the fact that the burden of proof does indeed lay on the one claiming the existence of a deity.

Let me first say that my argument does not presume that there is no evidence for the existence of a deity. Also I wouldn't consider myself a radical skeptic, for I do believe that knowledge can be obtained even when it concerns unobservable phenomena (human cognition for example). I do not pretend to "know" that materialism is "true", exemplified by my mention of gods as social constructs. There obviously ís reality beyond the material world in the form of social facts, ideas (including religions). All I'm saying is that the evidence for the existence of a deity provided is not very impressive.

To return to the Ted analogy: Ted might show me a photograph of him swimming in the Channel. That would be impressive, but still would not prove that he did in fact cross it 30 times in a row.

Now I'm not sure what you are talking about with the Null Case there (couldn't find anything on that specifically), but it sounds a lot like the argument that there must be a first cause --> you cannot go backwards infinitely: there must have been a cause that wasn't conditioned by another one (and that first cause must have been a deity). That is not really an explanation though, is it? For where did that deity come from then, and how did he initiate the subsequent chain of events?
Concerning the miracle at Lourdes, I'm not sure if you are referring to the girl saying to have seen the virgin Mary or the subsequent practice of faith healing there. So let's just address both. The supposed appearance of the virgin Mary before a girl is anecdotal evidence and not really anything of much worth you'll agree. There are countless accounts of divine appearances from many different religions. All with varying degrees of evidence in the form of eye-witnesses, artifacts and so on (the oracles of the Sybils to the ancient Romans that came true, or the incarnation of Shiva into Sai Baba who went on to perform many miracles that are well documented). The miraculous healing at Lourdes surely is puzzling. It should be noted though that the vast majority of ill people who visit Lourdes do not get healed, at least physically that is. It should also be noted that there are many cases of people who healed inexplicably without visiting Lourdes. If one were to ask: why did all these people get healed then, the honest answer is "we don't know (yet)". It seems a bit of a leap of faith to immediately assume divine intervention. Because, are we then to treat all the miracles with the same reverence? Or is it maybe fair to treat them all with the same scrutiny? Along the lines of David Hume's logic: what is more likely, that the laws of nature have been broken in your favor, or that you've made a misapprehension? If you want to call that radical skepticism, be my guest but I think we both know that's not the case.

Owen said...

You are right to note that within the deterministic framework free will does not exist. I don't really see how that is related though. Maybe if you assume that determinism is the only model at hand to explain our thoughts, feelings and actions. It also depends on your definition of free will (not the be confused with self-efficacy). So maybe you are willing to elaborate on that.

I'm also not really sure what you mean with "triple embedded logic encoding in DNA". But if you mean that our critical thinking ability can be attributed to genetic information in our DNA, I am very curious where you got that information (and I'd love for you to give me a source, for I am genuinely interested in that sort of carrot) because that is not really how DNA works. It is true that our DNA allows us to have the brains that we do, and those brains do facilitate our thinking. And it is true that we seem to have an innate sense of logic. This logic has to be learned though: our development and experiences determine for a large part how the brain grows and how it operates. Same goes for all sorts of animals, they can learn to think logically, but only because a neural network that is dependent on input facilitates this. That neural network can't do it on its own. Logic or critical thought isn't stored somewhere in our DNA.

As I said before, I am happy that you at least did attempt to convince me of your position. I must admit that I am not very impressed (yet!). It might help if you were a little less vague about your argumentation and could elaborate a bit more here and there.

Stan said...

Hi Owen,
I have categorized your comments in these subject areas:

1. Proof of falseness: Burden of Disproof.
2. Null theory and levels of reality.
3. Miracles and Lourdes.
4. Determinism, Free Will, Materialism.
5. Hume and Determinism.

1. Proof of Falseness:
It is the case that the claimant has the responsibility to provide evidence which pertains to the claim and which matches the state of the claim being made. However, any legitimate rebuttal must provide valid evidence or disciplined logic which shows definitively that the claim is NOT the case, and that requires the disproof of the evidence presented. “I am skeptical/unconvinced” is not valid reasoning, it is a capitulation without any semblance of disproof.

Stan said...

2. Null theory and levels of existence:
You say,
There obviously ís reality beyond the material world in the form of social facts, ideas (including religions). All I'm saying is that the evidence for the existence of a deity provided is not very impressive.

The issue is not whether you are impressed; the issue is whether you can disprove the argument(s) regarding the necessary existence of a deity, which in its simplest form – ready for your disproof – is that the existence of material mass/energy/time is not explainable by mass/energy/time (Gödel). X cannot explain X. Material existence requires something outside of itself to explain its escape from the Null existence.

The Null Theory is the simplest possible a) explanation or b) state of material existence. In the case of original existence, the simplest possible existence is no material existence whatsoever. This resolves all questions of its source (none required); whether it is self-enabled (meaningless); whether it is self-refuting or an infinite regression (no to both).

This differs from our actual existence, which requires explanation for its actualization, deciding whether it is self-actualized, self-refuting, or an infinite regression. Without logical answers to these questions, materialism (mass/energy/time) cannot be fully comprehended or explained.

you cannot go backwards infinitely: there must have been a cause that wasn't conditioned by another one and that first cause must have been a deity. That is not really an explanation though, is it? For where did that deity come from then, and how did he initiate the subsequent chain of events?

This is an avoidance procedure designed to dodge the real question being adressed: If X cannot explain X, then Either something else must exist which can explain X, OR X actually is self-existing with no further explanation needed. In terms of modern cosmology it is not possible to argue that mass/energy/time is self-existing. Thus the remaining case is that something else which is not mass/energy/time is required to explain it. Further, the characteristics of that “explanation” are easily seen to be a) an agent with the capability of material forcing; b) the ability to create rules of logic for the behavior of the material creation; c) the impetus to actuate the creation of material existence.

Where that being comes from is necessarily from outside of material existence. Outside material existence is not addressable from within material existence, using material methods, because material tests cannot detect non-material existence. So the infinite regress argument is reduced to the status: trivial; i.e., without meaning. Either the deity is required by the evidence or is not. The genealogy of the deity has no bearing on the necessity of deity’s existence at the creation of the material universe, so invoking that particular posit is merely a Red Herring Fallacy.

Stan said...

3. Miracles and Lourdes:
In terms of Lourdes, the physical evidence of the previously nonexistent spring appearing exactly when the girl said it would is still there. If you choose to deny the uncontested testimony of the entire village that there never had been a spring there before hand, then that is sheer denialism of the only evidence available. I don’t recall the miracle itself promising healing. I think that came later, but that is not the physical evidence to which I refer. It is the physical existence of the spring bubbling from within rock that is the evidence.

Making reference to other claims of miracles does nothing to disprove this single instance. E.g., because there are liars in a classroom does not prove that Bobby is a liar. Specific evidence pertinent to the claim must be considered.

Or is it maybe fair to treat them all with the same scrutiny? If you want to call that radical skepticism, be my guest but I think we both know that's not the case.


Scrutiny is indeed an essential part of Modernist empiricism and logic – the two sources of knowledge. Empiricism does not apply to most theistic claims, because those claims are not able to be manipulated for material, experimental non-falsification. But logic does apply. And a solid Aristotelian deductive conclusion has the benefit of being conclusive, unless or until the First Principles are repealed. So skepticism of any sort is useless, and scrutiny of the argument must include either direct findings of incorrectly supporting premises, circularity (self-refutation), or infinite regression. To deny an irrefutable deduction based on correct forms and grounding with “skepticism” goes outside the bounds of rational logic, and into ideological bias.

Stan said...

4. Determinism, Free Will and Materialism:
You are right to note that within the deterministic framework free will does not exist. I don't really see how that is related though. Maybe if you assume that determinism is the only model at hand to explain our thoughts, feelings and actions. It also depends on your definition of free will (not the be confused with self-efficacy). So maybe you are willing to elaborate on that.

First, it is not my position that determinism is the case for living creatures. The references to DNA being meaningfully triple coded are solid indications that random variation, even over Deep Time, did not produce it. Again, DNA cannot explain itself, and undirected variation cannot explain DNA either. So of course what is left?

Reference to DNA triple coding is an example of rational inputs to the life system from outside sourcing. Here are sources:

http://phys.org/news/2013-12-scientists-genetic-code.html

https://phys.org/news/2016-06-layer-dna.html

https://www.academia.edu/13616742/Deciphering_Hidden_DNA_Meta-Codes_-The_Great_Unification_and_Master_Code_of_Biology

The remaining possibility is that DNA is explained by something outside of itself, something with both the agency to create meaningful triple coding describing life, and the intellect to perform such coding. To attribute such coding - which human coders can't even do - to randomness is a non-starter.

Second, materialism demands not just no free will or self-efficacy, it demands the predetermined outcome of every single input ever made in the universe. Every response is determined by the initial conditions of the actor and its environment. Forces acting on the initial conditions of all particles produce predetermined outcomes for the particle. In the brain/mind, neuronic discharges will produce predetermined outcomes. There is no room in physics for individual agency within material structures. Every outcome is traceable back to the Big Bang in a deterministic chain of cause/effect.

Determinism theory requires that any deviation from determinist cause/effect would violate physics and physics cannot be violated. Hence, all of the universe and its tiniest components are cogs in a machine. So determinism eliminates any personal agency, not by observation, but by fiat.

You do not seem to adhere to determinism.

Perhaps you thought that I was defending materialism? I was not; materialism goes against all evidence, and our ability to evaluate it.

Hume and Determinism:
Hume created the skeptics' refutation of cause and effect by asserting that every effect that accompanies a cause could merely be an epiphenomenon, and not a true result of causation. So it can't be known that purported causes actually produce effects. Yet he also created an empiricist's stance by claiming that all books not based on cause/effect should be burned. So he covered all the bases regardless of their contradiction.

If you find these statements vague and inconclusive, let me know and I'll clarify them.