Thursday, November 17, 2011

From PZ's Place: Gary Hill, UK, on Why I Am An Atheist:

Last night I had a dream. In this dream I had reason to believe that a room in my house was inhabited by a poltergeist. I couldn’t actually see the entity but I had good reason to believe it was there because inanimate objects were constantly being moved from where I had left them. Of course I also could have been mistaken as to where I had put them. So I conducted an experiment. I left a pair of shoes in the middle of the floor and out loud, informed the poltergeist that “I have left a pair of shoes in the middle of the room and I am now going to leave the room, close the door, and return in 10 minutes. If you want me to believe in your existence I want you to move the shoes to somewhere else in the room”. Then I left. On returning, sure enough, the shoes were neatly placed on the table. In my dream I repeated the procedure several times and each time the shoes ended up on the table.

I imagine I have dreams like this because as a young teen I discovered science fiction and avidly read the entire contents of my high school library. Stalwarts such as John Wyndham, Lester Del Rey and later, the ‘new wave’ of science fiction authors such as Bradbury, Ballard and Ellison became my sustenance. From there it was an easy step into the decidely dodgy world of ESP, ley lines, the mathematical profundity of the pyramids, Erich von Daniken and Lobsang Rampa. You name it, I’ve probably read it.

Looking back on this period, now armed with a PhD in cognitive psychology, I wonder whether reading these books acted as a type of partial wish fulfillment. We all wish the world were different to how it actually is. In my case this was characterised by such thoughts as wouldn’t it be great if telepathy were real? Imagine being able to privately communicate with someone at a great distance without having to worry about dialing codes or whether the battery has enough charge. Excellent! Talking to dead relatives and close friends? Cool! Visitors from outer space in saucer shaped craft? Fantastic! Being able to move objects at a distance? Wow! Curing any emotional ill simply by talking through your feelings, guided by a simple, universal template of human psychological structure? Awesome!

An omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent entity that created the universe (and us, to look just like him!) and responds to all your needs…….

But let’s be honest here. There is no such thing as ESP, telekinesis, reliably effective Freudian analysis, flying saucers etc. How do we know this? Well we’ve observed and experimented, and crunched the numbers. And observed and experimented and crunched the numbers again. And again. And not only formally, in laboratories, but informally, in the field, in our everday observations and thoughts. And as for that omnsicient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent being, or even an omniscient entity of any sort, well again, the numbers, whether from philosphical or empirical investigation, simply don’t add up.

So, in the best tradition of personality psychology in categorising human beings, I observe a psychological continuum between those who perceive the world in terms of wish-fulfillment (believers) and those who perceive the world in terms of evidence (rationalists). Or, in other words, a continuum based on an individual’s existential honesty.

Using my dream as analogy, whether the shoes had moved or not, the rationalist would simply accept the state of things as found and the scientific world-view would be amended accordingly in that the poltergeist hypothesis would gain some support. If the shoes had not moved, however, the poltergeist believer would have their world-view threatened and likely be trying to convince us that the shoes really had moved. Substitute god for poltergeist, and the shoes would have moved in the spiritual dimension, or actually would have moved, if god was willing, or their remains the possibility that the shoes will move, if only we had more faith….

That is why I am an atheist. I simply aspire to perceive the universe in as true a way as possible; which entails being honest about my psychological makeup, i.e., my own wants and wishes, no matter what the data is telling me. It’s not that I don’t believe in god. I simply have yet to see any convincing data (or philosophical argument, for that matter) that the hypothesis is true. Belief just doesn’t come into it.

Gary Hill
United Kingdom

Hill creates an analogy. Theism is like…. Since Hill is a psychologist, his analogy is to a psychological theory which he has arrived at by analyzing himself. He engaged in “partial wish fulfillment” which was provided by science fiction in his youth. He thinks that the “omnibenevolent” part of the God theory is also analogous to Partial Wish Fulfillment.

The analogy: Theism is like science fiction...
IF theism is like science fiction, THEN theism is false.
Theism is like science fiction;
THERFORE, theism is false.
But there’s a problem. Omnibenevolence is not a part of either Judaism nor Christianity. If it were, then the work ethic would not exist because we could just pray up some food, clothes, a mansion, and perpetual football. Omnibenevolence in parenting produces spoiled, entitled, parasitic brats who remain that way as adults; omnibenevolence is not a positive attribute. It is not mentioned in the Bible even once, for example, as an attribute of YHWH or for any other reason; presumably it is derived secondarily from the “ask and you shall receive” and “good gifts” statements referring to spiritual gifts? Regardless, Hill thinks that Christians use God in the same way that he used science fiction; that is his only frame of reference.

Actually Christianity is advertised as the hard, narrow road, one beset with trials. So it is possible that Hill is referring to the salvation aspect as Partial Wish Fulfillment. And that is possibly true. However, there is no evidence that this belief is false. Hill presumes that it must be false because it resembles his own false belief in science fiction. So Hill’s presumption is that placing hope in science fiction (which is an obvious act of irrationality - it is obviously fiction), proves that theism is false by association. The conclusion is not based on either direct analysis or on evidence; it is deduced purely by association. And the association is false.

And he goes one further. After listing things which he knows are not true, he then presents another thing which he associates with those things:

”And as for that omnsicient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent being, or even an omniscient entity of any sort, well again, the numbers, whether from philosphical or empirical investigation, simply don’t add up.”

In one swoop he has associated (1) a purported knowledge of falseness of certain things, (2) Scientism as sole knowledge source, (3) and the blanket refutation of all philosophical and empirical investigation without accompanying evidence, with theism. This assertion has universal reach, and is made with complete self-assurance. Yet it is a baseless association and nothing more, certainly not supported with evidence.

And yet there is more. He makes a scientific claim based on his observation of a continuum ranging from wish-fulfillers to rationalists. He observes that it is:

” a continuum based on an individual’s existential honesty.”

Perhaps he is unaware that rationalism is not the same as empiricism, and that the two are at odds? Nonetheless, unless one is a “rationalist”, then one is existentially dishonest, according to Hill.

At this point one is tempted to assert Quantum Mechanics, or to refer to the lack of empirical refutation or falsification for non-material claims. But that’s not necessary to refute Hill’s assertion, because the claim of dishonesty is a judgment, not an empirical fact supported by hard data. And we are justified in asking about the experimental design, the implementation, the methods of statistical analysis and the subject sampling techniques he used to generate his continuum theory. These are necessary attributes of empiricism which are in place to assure objectiivty.

Or lacking all these trappings of science, maybe Hill's hypothesis is merely "wish-fulfilling? After all, he admits a psychological propensity for that failing. Is his hypothesis less than objective? We are left to wonder.

He wraps up with this:
” It’s not that I don’t believe in god. I simply have yet to see any convincing data (or philosophical argument, for that matter) that the hypothesis is true. Belief just doesn’t come into it.”
He believes the data, philosophical argument, are not true, but it does not involve belief? Certainly he believes something regarding God, and it is not that God exists. Were he present here and now, he could be pressed on that point, which is an apparent intellectual dishonesty of his own. I’d also like to ask him, what data is it to which you are referring? What numbers are there that don’t add up? Is theism like science fiction in ALL ways, such that it is tautologous? If so, where is the data on that? Is philosophy like science fiction in ALL ways, such that it is tautologous? If so, where is the data on that? What about ethics, and data on that? Those would be an interesting answers for sure.

54 comments:

Gary Hill said...

Thank you for reblogging my essay. If I may I'd like to respond to several of your points.

First,it is disingenuous in the extreme to say that the omnibenevolence of god is not part of the Judeo-Christianity. The concept may not be regarded as essential by professional theologians but it certainly plays a vital role in convincing others (especially children) of the value of having faith. Take a look at the Christian literature written especially for children: the concept of omnibenevolence is rife. But, as you suggest, by omnibenevolence I do not mean 'always giving or ubiquitously generous'. We probably agree that would be overly simplistic. I do refer to the concept of salvation; the common belief in a god who, no matter what trials and tribulations you have to go through in life, will always be there for you in the end, to provide an eternal reward. Stating that there is no evidence that this belief is false is 'flying teapot' talk. It's your claim, your hypothesis; the onus will always be on the theist to supply the data for analysis. Is it forthcoming?

Second, nowhere did I state that 'scientism' is the sole knowledge source. I stated that theism does not meet the robust, empirical standards of scientific inquiry. And what is wrong with that? Why shouldn't I expect the claims of theists to be subjected to empirical scrutiny? Other people might be happy with a more phenomenological style of benchmark. I am not. It doesn't mean that I see no value in other approaches at all. Science is the most powerful and effective method we have yet devised to understand the universe. I don't 'believe' in it. I simply use it because it works.

Third, I don't understand your point about rationalism and empiricism being strange bedfellows. Of course they are not the same thing. One is a mode of thought, the other is an applied philosophy. Are you saying that empiricism is irrational? Or that being of rational mind negates the use of empirical methodology?

Fourth, of course the claim of existential dishonesty is a judgement. As I said, I don't have an unrelenting faith in 'scientism'. Sometimes I use other means to come to a conclusion. It doesn't mean, however, that my judgement, my hypothesis derived from observation, could not, or should not, be subject to a higher level of investigation, for instance by carefully-designed empirical study. That, I think is an important and fundamental difference between the approach of faith-based theists and those who use scientific methodology to investigate phenomena. The former are happy to stop investigation at the level of their own experience, their own faith. The latter would go much further, and would contend that is no claim or experience whatsoever that should not be investigated by empirical methods. Why? Because it's proven itself to be the best method we have. Which is exactly why philosophies thought of thousands of years ago can today be communicated internationally via satellite and not be limited to papyrus and quill pens.

My point about not 'not believing in god' is perhaps the strongest one I have made. There might well exist an entity that we perceive of as god. I am not arrogant enough to say, absolutely yea or nea. It is an interesting and valid hypothesis. The difference between myself as atheist and theists is that I require the hypothesis to be observable and tested using the best, most exacting methods we have. The results obtained thus far do not convince me by far.

Stan said...

Gary Hill said,
”It's your claim, your hypothesis; the onus will always be on the theist to supply the data for analysis.”

Actually not; the Burden of Rebuttal lies on the person who chooses to refute the claim. In the case of Atheists who claim to be evidence based, meaning empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable, material, evidence, which they demand from others, that same evidentiary requirement is placed on their rebuttal refutation. The claim is made (see below for details); the rebuttal has never to date generated any data.

” Second, nowhere did I state that 'scientism' is the sole knowledge source. I stated that theism does not meet the robust, empirical standards of scientific inquiry. And what is wrong with that? Why shouldn't I expect the claims of theists to be subjected to empirical scrutiny?”

And that, of course is Scientism, and plainly stated. The expectation that if “knowledge” (much less truth) exists, it must meet the standards of empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable, material, evidence, or by definition it does not exist, is precisely the “Faith in science”, or Scientism, which is the expects that science is the sole source of knowledge.

It is, in fact, blind faith as I will demonstrate below.

The endemic failure of Atheo-Materialists to understand the physical limits of science results in the Category Error Fallacies that Atheists use in grounding their theories. Science is not Philosophically Materialist; Science is voluntarily materialist for solely pragmatic reasons, not philosophical or ideological reasons. Science cannot measure or even detect non-material entities because it is restricted to material techniques and equipment. Science as a discipline has nothing to say about non-material existence, and the belief that it does is false.

This is fundamental to the Philosophy of Science, and is fully described in Karl Popper’s book, ”The Logic of Scientific Discovery”, where he describes the use of Falsification to illuminate the “demarcation” between subjects suitable for empirical discovery, and those that are not accessible to empirical discovery. Popper and others helped bring an end to Ayers’ philosophy of Logical Positivism, which is a Scientistic Fallacy of internal contradiction, to which Ayers ultimately conceded. (Science cannot prove that it is the only source of knowledge). By the same token, science cannot prove that material existence is the only existence.

”Third, I don't understand your point about rationalism and empiricism being strange bedfellows. Of course they are not the same thing. One is a mode of thought, the other is an applied philosophy. Are you saying that empiricism is irrational? Or that being of rational mind negates the use of empirical methodology?”

The use of the term Rationalism usually refers to the Philosophy of Rationalism. The Philosophical Rationalists felt that only thinking could produce truth. Empiricists felt that only objective testing of material, sensory inputs could produce truth:

”Rationalism
Philosophical view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge. Rationalism has long been the rival of empiricism, the doctrine that all knowledge of matters of fact ultimately derives from, and must be tested by, sense experience. As against this doctrine, rationalism holds reason to be a faculty that can lay hold of truths beyond the reach of sense perception, both in certainty and in generality. In stressing the existence of a “natural light,” rationalism also has been the rival of systems claiming esoteric knowledge, whether from mystical experience, revelation, or intuition, and has been opposed to various irrationalisms that tend to stress the biological, the emotional or volitional, the unconscious, or the existential at the expense of the rational.

Encyclopedia Britannica online
(continued below)

Stan said...

(Continued from above)
Rationality (not Rationalism) and science, math and logic are all grounded in the First Principles of Thought. The First Principles were stated by Aristotle, and demonstrated mathematically by Boole. Coherence of an hypothesis or argument is tested using the Second First Principle, “The Principle of Non-Contradiction”. Without these axioms, coherent thought would be scarce and random, if at all. These axioms are self-evident, and are not empirically provable: empiricism is dependent on them. The axioms can be justified by asking, “how would the universe be, if these axioms were false”, which is the Reductio Ad Absurdum approach. Even this is circular since RAA is valid only if the axioms are valid. So all thought, and rational activities are based on empirically unverifiable axioms.

Given Bell’s theorem, the newer Quantum Mechanics provides a complete separation of empirical determination in the macro domain from the functioning of the universe in the quantum domain. So empiricism is not a source of knowledge for much of existence other than certain material causal relationships in the macro realm.

Further, science is subject to the Inductive Fallacy, and its cousin, the Deductive Fallacy. This merely means that any and all science factoids are contingent, now and forever. Subsequent findings can invalidate the most dearly held hypotheses, as the CERN data attack on Einstein’s Relativity is currently demonstrating.

” That, I think is an important and fundamental difference between the approach of faith-based theists and those who use scientific methodology to investigate phenomena. The former are happy to stop investigation at the level of their own experience, their own faith.”

I disagree, of course, because of the overwhelming limitations on science, which science recognizes for itself, and the rationality which accompanies theism. Theism is frequently presumed to be blind faith, such as that found with Scientism; but the rational aspects of theism are at least coherent and the arguments are structurally valid, whereas Atheism, Philosophical Materialism, and Scientism are not.
(Continued below)

Stan said...

(continued from above)
There is no reason not to develop Aquinas-type observations of universal behavior, and then to investigate where logic will deductively take the argument. Such arguments are subject to the same axioms that science is, and logical fallacies will kill a false argument just as falsification will kill a scientific hypothesis. The logical arguments will not be universal Truth, but they are as coherent as any scientific hypothesis, which also will not be universal Truth. However, a consistent and coherent argument carries as much “truth-value” weight as an unfalsified scientific assertion in terms of rational acceptability.

” The former are happy to stop investigation at the level of their own experience, their own faith. The latter would go much further, and would contend that is no claim or experience whatsoever that should not be investigated by empirical methods. Why? Because it's proven itself to be the best method we have. Which is exactly why philosophies thought of thousands of years ago can today be communicated internationally via satellite and not be limited to papyrus and quill pens.”

The technology argument is a false analogy; because material evidence works has no bearing on theories of non-physical existence such as the first cause for the universe. The existence of iPADS does not invalidate the first cause, nor the First Principles, nor any philosophy including ethical philosophies. The comparison is a Black and White Fallacy (apples and oranges)

” The difference between myself as atheist and theists is that I require the hypothesis to be observable and tested using the best, most exacting methods we have. The results obtained thus far do not convince me by far.”

I have no doubt of that, given the Category Error nature of the requirement.

Recently the idea that if the non-material realm and the material realm are separate, and if they are tautologically so, then there can be no interference in the material realm by the non-material realm. That is not the proposition being made. The proposition is as follows:

” The proposition is that it is not non-coherent that a non-material agent residing in a non-material realm and having the ability to create a physical, material creation would also have the ability to interface with that creation.

It is the non-material realm and its contents which is not measurable by the scientific methods of the material realm, because non-material entities are not accessible to material investigation. The expectation of material access to non-material evidence is a Category Error.

Plus, the example of the existing material evidence which is available for examination and refutation at the site of the proposed miracle at Lourdes, allows you and anyone who cares to, to empirically, experimentally and scientifically test, examine and produce the material evidence for refutation which Atheists claim to base their worldview upon.

So you have material evidence available for your refutation."


The problem which Atheists encounter and few realize the impact of, is this: the Atheist demand on theists is a demonstrable logical error; they perceive the error only when it is applied to themselves, then they cry “unfair”.

Flute said...

After reading Stan's last two comments I deduce that Stan has never taken or passed a philosophy course. Am I right?

Stan said...

I am thankful that my training was in Boolean and formal logic as well as informal logic. I am quite aware that three philosophers will have seven philosophies on the same subject. And all will be ungrounded and riddled with informal fallacies as well as violations of coherence. This is easily seen with independent study.

Stan said...

But, Flute, I forgot to ask, Do you have something to contribute? Or merely insults?

Stan said...

And Gary Hill, I forgot entirely to respond to your position regarding omnibenevolence. There are two facts which inhere: (1) it has no basis in the bible; (2) it is not requisite for the fundamentals of theism. So refuting it is merely an attack on ecclesiasticism, not on theism. Much ecclesiasticism deserves attacks, but that does not lead to Atheism.

Gary Hill said...

"Actually not; the Burden of Rebuttal lies on the person who chooses to refute the claim".

This is ridiculous. You go to the doctor and demand test x or scan y be done because you have the notion that aliens have implanted a chip in your neck. She says I doubt it very much. You claim she does the tests because she has a burden of rebuttal.

Neither science, or common sense works like that. It's also amusing to see you critique the boundaries of science by invoking quantum mechanics; discovered by science. Let's face it, if it wasn't for 'sciencism' you would be in no position to espouse intellectally. At best you wouldn't have an audience of more than few, at worst you'd be burned at the stake by people who insist their worldview is impenetratable by anyone or anything other than the prevailing authority.

If there really does exist a creator entity of the universe, it should be observable without any need for philosophical sophistry, theological just-so stories or any single individual's faith. It would be apparent to the millions of people who daily investigate deeper and deeper into the workings of the universe. Regardless of their worldview. Right down to the subatomic level.

Otherwise, what is the point of the god concept?

Nats said...

I thought omnibenevolent means all-good.
"Omni" meaning "all"
and "benevolent" meaning "good".

Stan, when you say God is not omnibenevolent, what does that word mean to you?

Stan said...

Nats,
Benevolent means "giving" as I understand the usual Atheist translation:

Encarta:
Synonyms: kind, caring, compassionate, generous,giving, kindly, benign, munificent, altruistic.

Omnibenevolent is usually an accusation of the "promise" of getting stuff, which does not fit the deity, therefore falsifying the diety.

The other descriptions do not fit the Biblical version of the deity either; his first commands are considered narcissistic because he not only declares who he is, he demands to be recognized as such.

Conditionally kind, generous, compassionate: yes. Omni, no. The term omnibenevolent is absent in all my dictionaries, including my Webster's Deluxe with 320,000 definitions. It's absent in the Zondervan Exhaustive Concordance.

It's my contention that the term is used primarily as a straw man by Atheists.

++SloMo++ said...

It's my contention that the term is used primarily as a straw man by Atheists.

Either that or its been used by Protestants since the 1600's.
BTW, it's not the English word "benevolent' it's derived from Latin and it means 'good' as in 'goodness'.

Stan said...

Gary Hill said,
”Neither science, or common sense works like that.”

Actually science works exactly like that. Cold fusion was not refuted by denying the evidence, or denying any responsibility for refutation. Cold fusion experiments were repeated by several objective labs at least 17 times to my knowledge, failing each time, before a refutation was declared. The onus and task of refutation was and is on the challenger. The Burden of Rebuttal is standard terminology and procedure in debates. Perhaps you do not consider this a debate, and if not, then why not? Why is your position relieved of the empirical necessities which you place on the opposing position, when doing so is obviously Special Pleading?

” It's also amusing to see you critique the boundaries of science by invoking quantum mechanics; discovered by science.”

You seem to miss the point. The point is that Newtonian / Einsteinian mechanics which is the classical view of reality, is being displaced by the Quantum view, which is completely independent of the classical view. Why is this important? Because the underlying reality of the universe is not causally deterministic, it is probabilistic. Why is this important? Because Quantum mechanics, as the scientific descriptor of universal reality, cannot provide any exactitude. Why is this important? Because the concept that science provides exact answers to material issues is false, and because it is self-evident that predictors for human behavior, if determined by non-determinate quantum behavior, say in the brain, would produce non-determinate behaviors.

This goes counter to the “fully causal” concept of Newtonian / Einsteinian physics. It means that science is not yet aware of just how erroneous its causality theories might be. It means using science as the only guide to knowledge is hazardous to one’s knowledge base. Not to mention the fallacy involved with that.

” Let's face it, if it wasn't for 'sciencism' you would be in no position to espouse intellectally. At best you wouldn't have an audience of more than few, at worst you'd be burned at the stake by people who insist their worldview is impenetratable by anyone or anything other than the prevailing authority.”

Again you seem not to be aware of the ideology you seem to be espousing, vs. actual science. Scientism is not science; it is an unsupportable belief that science and only science can produce knowledge. If that statement is considered to be knowledge, can it be supported by science? No: Science cannot prove that there is no other source of knowledge outside of science. Therefore it cannot be True that science is the only source, because science cannot say that: it is self-refuting, internally contradictory, non-coherent.

I have stated all this before; you have not responded. It is the standard refutation of Scientism / Positivism.

Your statement above makes a claim which is not a refutation, it makes the faulty association that scientism is science, which I repeat, it is not. Even if the term “sciencism” is replaced with “science”, the accompanying conclusions are without the inferential density to provide a refutation of the proposition. And the proposition, I remind you, is that science is not the only source of knowledge.

Your counter claims are as follows:

Without Scientism (I would hope you mean “science’):
1. I could not espouse intellectually.
2. Or if I could (counter to item 1) my audience would be limited. (to what quantity?).
3. Or I would be burned at the stake.

These positions are not empirical; they are not even falsifiable. They are merely radical opinions posing as knowledge. And they do not refute the proposition.
(continued below)

Stan said...

(continued from above)
” If there really does exist a creator entity of the universe, it should be observable without any need for philosophical sophistry, theological just-so stories or any single individual's faith. It would be apparent to the millions of people who daily investigate deeper and deeper into the workings of the universe. Regardless of their worldview. Right down to the subatomic level.”

Why do you believe that this assertion is true? What empirical evidence do you have its defense? If you have none, then how can you make any claim regarding the need for evidence, much less the self-evidence which you are asserting?

IF all knowledge is empirically derived, AND you have no empirical data to show in defense of your assertions, THEN you have not presented knowledge (much less truth). So your assertion is seen to be merely an unsupported opinion, aka “philosophical sophistry” as you put it.

In fact, that self-evidence claim (“would be apparent”) starts way outside of the claimed need for empirical data, and illuminates the intractable internal tensions of your position.

On the other hand, if you maintain that there actually is value to your assertion, despite its lack of empirical, experimental support, then you are contradicting your own position, which requires empirical, experimental support for an assertion to be considered knowledge. This is an internal contradiction, which renders the entire proposition false.

There is a fine book about your dilemma, ”Reason and Analysis”, by Brand Blanshard. I recommend it as an antidote to the ideology of Scientism and Positivism, and an exercise in the use of logic.
(more below)

Stan said...

(Continued from above)
And here is a quote regarding the exclusive domains of Classical Realism and Quantum Mechanics:

” The violations of Bell's inequalities, due to quantum entanglement, just provide the definite demonstration of something that was already strongly suspected, that quantum physics cannot be represented by any version of the classical picture of physics. Some earlier elements that had seemed incompatible with classical pictures included apparent complementarity and (hypothesized) wavefunction collapse. Complementarity is now seen not as an independent ingredient of the quantum picture but rather as a direct consequence of the Quantum decoherence expected from the quantum formalism itself. The possibility of wavefunction collapse is now seen as one possible problematic ingredient of some interpretations, rather than as an essential part of quantum mechanics. The Bell violations show that no resolution of such issues can avoid the ultimate strangeness of quantum behavior.
The EPR paper "pinpointed" the unusual properties of the entangled states, e.g. the above-mentioned singlet state, which is the foundation for present-day applications of quantum physics, such as quantum cryptography; one application involves the measurement of quantum entanglement as a physical source of bits for Rabin's oblivious transfer protocol. This strange non-locality was originally supposed to be a Reductio ad absurdum, because the standard interpretation could easily do away with action-at-a-distance by simply assigning to each particle definite spin-states. Bell's theorem showed that the "entangledness" prediction of quantum mechanics have a degree of non-locality that cannot be explained away by any local theory.
In well-defined Bell experiments (see the paragraph on "test experiments") one can now falsify either quantum mechanics or Einstein's quasi-classical assumptions: currently many experiments of this kind have been performed, and the experimental results support quantum mechanics, though some believe that detectors give a biased sample of photons, so that until nearly every photon pair generated is observed there will be loopholes.
What is powerful about Bell's theorem is that it doesn't refer to any particular physical theory. What makes Bell's theorem unique and powerful is that it shows that nature violates the most general assumptions behind classical pictures, not just details of some particular models. No combination of local deterministic and local random variables can reproduce the phenomena predicted by quantum mechanics and repeatedly observed in experiments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem#Importance_of_the_theorem

Stan said...

SloMo says,
"Either that or its been used by Protestants since the 1600's.
BTW, it's not the English word "benevolent' it's derived from Latin and it means 'good' as in 'goodness'. '


Possibly so. That makes it an ecclesiasticism issue, one of interpretation. It is not a necessary quality for the existence of a first cause or for theism.

RK said...

"It is not a necessary quality for the existence of a first cause or for theism."

Exactly. It's possible, maybe even probable, that if a god does exist that this god is evil. (see some gnostic sects)

The Burden of Rebuttal is standard terminology and procedure in debates.

Interesting because when I searched for "burden of rebuttal" and found a PDF about debating, the section about burden of rebuttal starts with an explanation that debating is not about the search for truth. (Hint: debating is about scoring points and winning debates not truth)

It's hard to find use of this term, that isn't about high-school debating teams or legal issues.
The burden of rebuttal is not a logical or scientific concept.

By the way, I have evidence that God does not exist. Now you have the burden of rebuttal. Prove that I don't have this evidence. (Now can you see why this isn't a logical concept?)

Gary Hill said...

Stan, it's a matter of scale, for all intents and purposes the subatomic level of reality has no bearing whatsoever on the atomic level. Other than the most gross and unsubstantiated speculation, that is. What you seem to be saying boils down to this: because of it's intrinsic probabilistic nature (something accepted by all scientists that I've ever worked with)and the processing limitations of the human brain (again, something accepted by all scientists) the universe and its underlying mechanisms are essentially unknowable (in most part, at least) by human beings. This is quite possible.

But you know for certain there is a god....

Stan said...

QM and this:
"But you know for certain there is a god...."

You juxtapose these two issues as if you wish for that to be a logical path which applies somehow. It does not apply because I have not made that assertion, nor will I. The subject at hand is what Atheists know to be certain, and their evidentiary requirements for that. Your accusation, made with assurance, cannot be knowledge for you, because you have no empirical, scientific data to back it up; And in fact, not only is the implied connection false, the statement itself is false. So your assertion, made without evidence, is false.

You make some comments with certainty:

"...accepted by all scientists..."

Here is the crux of the Atheist problem: Making statements of universal certainty which are not supported by their own criterion of scientific evidentiary support.

When an Atheist makes statements of universal certainty without empirical, experimental, replicable, falsifiable data, he willfully violates his own standards; However the Atheist never fails to apply those standards to others, and in situations where they are inapplicable.

You have chosen to emphasize a minor point which I made in the assessment of the limits of scientific investigation, thereby dragging the conversation away from the issue of demarcation which was the contribution of Popper to the philosophy of science.

Please address the limits of science, and Popper's falsification criterion for demarcation - that is the issue for Scientism.
(continued)

Stan said...

(continued from above)
Also, you have not addressed the rebuttal to your claim that science does not actively attempt to refute scientific hypotheses.

You have not answered the question of why you believe your assertion that,
” If there really does exist a creator entity of the universe, it should be observable without any need for philosophical sophistry, theological just-so stories or any single individual's faith. It would be apparent to the millions of people who daily investigate deeper and deeper into the workings of the universe. Regardless of their worldview. Right down to the subatomic level.”

To repeat:
Why do you believe that this assertion is true? What empirical evidence do you have its defense? If you have none, then how can you make any claim regarding the need for evidence, much less the self-evidence which you are asserting?

IF all knowledge is empirically derived,

AND you have no empirical data to show in defense of your assertions,

THEN you have not presented knowledge (much less truth).

So your assertion is seen to be merely an unsupported opinion, aka “philosophical sophistry” as you put it.

In fact, that self-evidence claim (“would be apparent”) starts way outside of the claimed need for empirical data, and illuminates the intractable internal tensions of your position.

On the other hand, if you maintain that there actually is value to your assertion, despite its lack of empirical, experimental support, then you are contradicting your own position, which requires empirical, experimental support for an assertion to be considered knowledge. This is an internal contradiction, which renders the entire proposition false.

Summary:
If scientific data is the requirement for knowledge, then none of your assertions are knowledge, since they are made without empirical data to back them up. Since they are not knowledge, they can have no more force than any other unsupported opinion. This is the non-coherent aspect of your Scientistic adherence.

Now, if you do have empirical support, and you wish to address the issues above which you have ignored with a presentation of that empirical data, I will be very interested to see it; if it is raw, first time data, I would refer it to other Atheists for their replication and non-falsification.

I have made several comments which you have not addressed; please address them in your own defense.

Stan said...

RK said,

”Exactly. It's possible, maybe even probable, that if a god does exist that this god is evil. (see some gnostic sects)”

But under Atheism, there is no Good or Evil (see Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”). Atheism has no attached ethical guidance; any reference to “evil” is a reference to a personally derived ethic (i.e. opinion), which is derived under a presupposition of personal moral authority, which has no basis. The pragmatic ethic adopted by many Atheists is Consequentialism which merely says, set an objective and do whatever it takes to achieve it. So attributing “evil” to a proposed god has no meaning because it is a subjective, relative opinion and no more, under Atheism.

”The burden of rebuttal is not a logical or scientific concept.”

The scientific correlates are “replication / falsification” which are done to confirm or invalidate the hypothesis experimentally.

The Logic correlates are Reductio Ad Absurdum, syllogistic integrity, and the Principle of Non-Contradiction, which test the argument logically.

”By the way, I have evidence that God does not exist. Now you have the burden of rebuttal. Prove that I don't have this evidence. (Now can you see why this isn't a logical concept?)”

This analogy fails for the following reasons: theists do not claim to have secret evidence; nor do they claim that the refuter must argue against secret evidence. Theists make a specific argument which is a deduction from observations; it includes pointers to physical evidentiary claims; Both argument and physical evidence are available for rebuttal by Atheists.

Where Atheists become annoyed is that the theists, who are saddled with the Atheist Philosophical Materialist burden of material evidence, insist that the Atheists be subject to their own demands: produce material evidence for their own beliefs.

The Atheist response is not one of rebuttal or refutation; the Atheist response is always that subjecting them to their own evidentiary criteria is not fair; it is irrational; it is not possible to produce evidence of non-material existence in a material fashion; they believe that they don't really have a belief.

Yet they feel that it is fair and necessary to impose the same ridiculous, fallacious critieria on theists.

In terms of fairness, the Atheists should not be allowed to assert Special Pleading to alleviate their discomfort.

In terms of logic, the Atheist evidentiary demand on theists is a Category Error, except for the case of existing physical evidence such as was pointed to at Lourdes. The inability to disconfirm the origin of the Spring at Lourdes is due to the limitations of forensic science. Yes, it has limitations.

Rather than refute any of this, the Atheists here have attacked and continue to attack the requirements – which are of their own making – and not the actual subject matter. The Special Pleading is growing: For Atheists: no Burden of Rebuttal; no need for material evidence to support their beliefs; no need for empirical data to support their claims made with universal certainty. But ONLY for Atheists, of course.

Not only is Special Pleading a logical fallacy, it is also hypocritical.

Chris said...

Jotunn,

I was wondering what is your response to Martin's Aquinas argument?

That exchange was kind of left open ended.

Gary Hill said...

"theists do not claim to have secret evidence; nor do they claim that the refuter must argue against secret evidence".

I really cannot believe you are claiming this. Talk to any strong Xian, the mystery of faith will inevitably come up. How it cannot be measured, how it is given as part of god's grace. The very bedrock of christianity is the holy ghost. This is secret evidence par excellence. Something that cannot be touched by rationality, by science. Something that is private, between the individual and his god. If only you could experience the faith that I do...The backbone of any theistic religion. If you take away the secret evidence what is left of the theist view?

I think we'll leave it at that. You're too fond of the Gish gallop.

Stan said...

Gary Hill said,
” I really cannot believe you are claiming this. Talk to any strong Xian, the mystery of faith will inevitably come up. How it cannot be measured, how it is given as part of god's grace. The very bedrock of christianity is the holy ghost.”

I did not say Christianity (not spelled with an X btw). I said theism. All that is necessary for theism is the posit which I made in the comment to you above. Since you are not connecting with it, I will repeat it here:

” ” The proposition is that it is not non-coherent that a non-material agent residing in a non-material realm and having the ability to create a physical, material creation would also have the ability to interface with that creation.

It is the non-material realm and its contents which is not measurable by the scientific methods of the material realm, because non-material entities are not accessible to material investigation. The expectation of material access to non-material evidence is a Category Error.

Plus, the example of the existing material evidence which is available for examination and refutation at the site of the proposed miracle at Lourdes, allows you and anyone who cares to, to empirically, experimentally and scientifically test, examine and produce the material evidence for refutation which Atheists claim to base their worldview upon.

So you have material evidence available for your refutation."”


Now, let’s look at your comment, ”… any strong Xian…”. Again a universal statement, made in complete confidence of its universal validity as if a statement of truth, yet without supporting evidentiary data.

Nonetheless, the subject is theism as stated, not ecclesiasticism or individual interpretations.

” This is secret evidence par excellence.”

There is no secret at all. Read the actual proposition so that you can refute it. It consists of a deduction based on physical observations, and physical evidence for your refutation.

” Something that cannot be touched by rationality, by science.”

If your rationality contains the discipline of logical analysis, then you are all set to go. If your science addresses physical existence, then you also are good to go.

” Something that is private, between the individual and his god. If only you could experience the faith that I do...The backbone of any theistic religion. If you take away the secret evidence what is left of the theist view?’

Again, look at the actual theist proposition. Then use your rationality and science to refute it.

” I think we'll leave it at that. You're too fond of the Gish gallop.’

I presume that to be an insult or demeaning ridicule of some sort, placed at the termination so that you do not have to face the actual proposition.

If you choose to come back, there is a lengthening list of items which you have continued to ignore as you take off on Red Herring tangents.

And you have made a series of universal statements without any empirical support.

Ok, Gish Gallop: changing subjects, and running on to avoid refutation.

I have pointed out the subjects you have avoided, the refutations you have not made, brought the subject back from your diversions, and still you make false accusations. The list is below.
(continued)

Stan said...

(continued from above)
Here are the subjects you still have not addressed:
1. Basic theism (refutation required).
2. Universal statements without empirical support (a number of them, individually highlighted).
3. The limitations of Science per Karl Popper.
4. The internal contradiction fallacy of ideological Scientism.
5. The internal contradiction fallacy in the ideology of Philosophical Materialism.
6. Denial of responsibility for Rebuttal, falsification, coherence analysis.
7. Failure to understand the difference between Rationalism and rationality.
8. Failure to address the non-coherence of Scientism / Logical Positivism.
9. Failure to address the First Principles.
10. Failure to address Bell’s theorem and domain separation as knowledge limitations on classical science.
11. Failure to address the limitations of science due to the Inductive fallacy; the deductive fallacy; the example of scientific falsification currently underway at CERN.
12. Failure to address the false analogy of technology’s success as proof of the ideology of Scientism.
13. Failure to address the Category Error of Scientism’s requirement of material evidence for non-material entities.
14. Failure to understand that replication and falsification are functions of science.
15. Failure to respond to the explicit demonstration that your counter claims to the demonstration of the non-coherence of Scientism are non-sequiturs.
16. Failure to provide empirical, scientific, replicated experimental data for support of your assertion that a deity “would be apparent to millions”. And failure to address the question of why you believe that.
17. Failure to address the contradiction of claiming science as the only source of knowledge, yet making claims without such support; claims which are made as if they are truth.
18. Regarding your initial story, empirical support for the theory of wish-fulfillment as the reason for theist belief.
19. Regarding your initial story, what numbers are there that don’t add up?
20. Support for your parting charge of the Gish Gallop.

yonose said...

Hello There!!

Mr. Gary:

I see an inherent problem here:

"Something that cannot be touched by rationality, by science. Something that is private, between the individual and his god."

This kind of evidence is actually not a secret anymore. The reason why those findings of mystics/occultists are not a secret anymore, is because these are succesfully replicated among individuals who may discuss and share common issues with their experiences.

Another thing is, it may be touched by the empirical methodologies used in Science, and these ESP, NDE phenomena may have a rational explanation of the conlusions by the empirical results, although not the source of knowldge itself.

Nonetheless, that also there are so many psudoskeptics, that don't want this to be true, even if there's enough evidence that refutes their ideological stance.

I think you are confusing many important concepts. Faith is actually non quantitatively measurable materially, because faith is not rambling, is not an expectation (ramblings and expectations are blind, faith is not), but is a mind-construct with a directed purpose (you, as a Psychologist, should know that, without resorting to any ideological bias), and associating only "faith", if it were an expectation, as a backbone of any theistic religion seems to be, as the way I view it, overly simplistic, an Reductio ad Absurdum.

Please don't assume the word "faith" as a dodge to automatically validate your ideological stance.

By The Way, the conditions in which you performed your experiment about trying to locate a poltergeist, were not appropiate as a testing environment to falsify your initial hypotheses (the poltergeist and sudden telekinesis).

I just wonder, how come do you expect that by conducting and repeating the experiment on only 10 minutes a day is going to find a measurable result?

How many nights did you do that procedure?

Why did you arrive at the conclusion that none of these phenomena exist without evaluating other relevant studies about these issues?

Kind Regards.

Jotunn said...

That's hilarious.

"Provide support for your charge of Gish Gallop"

Item number 20. You can't make this stuff up.

Stan said...

"You can't make this stuff up."


Oh sure you can. Atheists do it all the time. Make up stuff and then change the subject when their lack of support is challenged. And that's what he did. He made the charge, then he ran off.

Storm said...

He's had his chance.
I can't wait to see Gary's face on Judgment day What an idiot.

Nats said...

20. Support for your parting charge of the Gish Gallop.

Stan provides support for Gary's Gish gallop charge --- by providing evidence that Stan is using the Gish gallop --- a Gish gallop that provides evidence of itself and then asks for evidence of itself.

Stan said...

Nats,
That's like saying that it's a tautology, not an actual characteristic. It is X because I define it as X, therefore it is X.

I am sure that it is true that some thought processes move too fast for these folks. In a timed debate that would be devastating. And I imagine that is why Dawkins and PZ don't debate anyone with any intellectual stature, claiming that it is beneath them to talk to "those people". I suspect that in reality, they can't keep up, hence the "gallop" charge.

But this forum is not timed, and anyone who participates can think through the issue and respond at his leisure. So the forum and I do not gallop by any definition of the term.

If the Gish Gallop merely means that the Atheist is overwhelmed and has no answers, well, whose fault is that?

In terms of changing the subject, however, that is Gary's forte'. He has been reminded twice of what the subjects are which he has avoided.

At any rate, the issues he avoided are listed for him or anyone to address, at their leisure. My guess is that no one, including you, will do so.

Except for item 20, which was Gary's insult by ridicule, of course, which you piled onto pronto.

When it comes to demonstrating Atheist reasoning, the Atheists do it for me most of the time. All I have to do is show up and point it out.

Jotunn said...

It's not an insult. Why don't you look it up.

Stan said...

I did look it up. It looked like an insult to me. Maybe I misinterpreted it. What is your intrpretation?

Stan said...

From Rational Wiki:

"The Gish Gallop is an informal name for a debating technique that involves drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood that has been raised. Usually this results in many involuntary twitches in frustration as the opponent struggles just to decide where to start. It is named after creationism activist and professional debater Duane Gish.

How is that not an insult?

Jotunn said...

And you are not drowning the conversation in a torrent of arguments?

If the individual arguments are valid then address them individually instead.

I don't think many, if any, of your arguments are valid .. but it is rather useless to address any of them if your response is to throw out a list of arguments yet to be addressed.

Maybe it was meant as an insult. Or maybe it accurately describes your debating style.

Stan said...

That's truly odd. For every point he threw out, I gave a reply, which he ignored, going onto a new argument instead. Then I would reply to that argument, which he would ignore, going on to yet another new argument. [repeat]. Yes, they do add up when they are ignored. They accumulate when they are stiffed.

He continually changed the focus, and steadfastly ignored my replies.

Then he charged me with doing what he was doing.

I listed his "failures to address", because he consistently ignored what I replied to his comments defending Scientism. Except to extol science which he confused with Scientism.

There was no time limit. No pressure to think on his feet. He had no refutation to make, so he threw out an insult and left. So I listed in no uncertain terms those issues which he ran away from during the course of the conversation.

He is perfectly free to address any one of the arguments against Scientism; or if he chooses and one of the arguments against Philosophical Materialism; or any other single argument. His charge amounts to "all your statements are false and I'm leaving so that I don't have to prove it". That is not an argument. It is cowardice in the defense of ignorance.

Out of personal interest I have gone back and listed the different subjects to which Hill switched, all of which I responded to:

Issues mentioned by Gary Hill:

1. Omnibenevolence.
2. Salvation.
3. No responsibility for evidence.
4. Scientism
5. Rationalism vs. Empiricism
6. Existential dishonesty as judgment vs. empirical study.
7. Observable, testable results for god
8. Science and common sense vs. rebuttal.
9. Scientism again, universally apprehended deity.
10. Denial of importance of Quantum Mechanics as knowledge; assertion of what I know for certain.
11. Universal claim for “any strong Xian” as source of principles of theism.
12 Gish Gallop.

The conversation got beyond Hill's ability to cope; He could make points, but he could not handle getting actual responses. And he could no longer dodge responding to counter arguments, because I started listing his prior dodges for all to see. His response is evidence of that.

I guess that actually is my style of argumentation: answer the arguments with refutations. If Atheists can't handle it, then too bad for them. They are supposed to the logical and rational ones; they will tell you that, but cut and run under pressure of actual logic. None have made any arguments other than the denial of any need for evidence or logic in their worldview.

Interesting.

Stan said...

I said,
"None have made any arguments other than the denial of any need for evidence or logic in their worldview."

I forgot to add insults and ridicule.

Stan said...

Jotunn said,
"I don't think many, if any, of your arguments are valid .. but it is rather useless to address any of them if your response is to throw out a list of arguments yet to be addressed."

That is a truly sorry excuse. Pick one and refute it. Just one. You've not refuted anything yet, and you've been here awhile. So pick one point and syllogize us up a refutation.

That challenge has been made over and over and over and the response is always some excuse. Are you going to do anything? Anything at all? Any. Thing?

Jotunn said...

He does address many of your points. You tend to ignore, gloss over or raise a exhaustive series of tangentially related points in response.

His charge of a gish gallop is completely supported by the above record.

I''ve provided a naturalistic explanation for the events at Lourdes which you reject or ignore.

How about this: what would it take to change your mind?

Stan said...

When he replied, I addressed his reply. Asserting Gish Gallop and leaving is like when Nixon pulled the USA out of Viet Nam: "We Win: Run like hell!"


You provided no evidence of an empirical, experimental,falsifiable nature: you provided a Just So Story, and I told you that.

What it would take to change my mind is EXACTLY what the Atheists here require: Empirical, experimental, replicable, falisifiable, scientific data, which has been replicated, not falsified, peer reviewed and published in proper scientific journals.

I thought that would be obvious from my objections to Atheist claims without support for their worldviews.

Jotunn said...

Actually I did. You can experiment by going outside and digging holes. In lourdes.

I will wager you'll hit the water table very quickly.

You want physical proof of the non-existence of something?

This sounds absurd. Can you provide an example?

Stan said...

"You want physical proof of the non-existence of something?

This sounds absurd. Can you provide an example?"


I can do even better. Atheists keep insisting on physical proof of something which is non-physical. They want proof of Q by demanding that only NOT Q evidence be used.

Absurd? A whole worldview is based on this: Atheism.

And the Atheists who show up here refuse to acknowledge the logical error. Absurd?

BTW, you can consider Q, above, to be transcendence, for example.

Stan said...

Possibly the following will appear as Gishing to Atheists, who are used to bumper sticker sound bites rather than in-depth discussion. That's just too bad. The should train themselves to handle greater intellectual conceptualization than their apparent current capacities.

Jotunn:
Now as for your disproof. You are using the wrong type of approach. The issue is not whether water exists below ground. The issue is whether the occurrence at Lourdes happened as it is historically claimed. Solid forensic investigation of the actual occurrence is required, as is used in all historical claims.

Repeating the issue: Did the spring at Lourdes come into existence under non-natural influence, at the time and place recorded historically? If you reject the idea that it did, you can either provide forensic material evidence for your refutation of its non-material influence, or admit that you cannot provide that evidence. It's binary; either you can or you can't.

If you take three handfuls of dirt and hit a perpetual spring in your backyard, then I feel sorry for the potential of your house foundation, and nothing more. That has exactly no bearing on the historicity of Lourdes.

Plus this conversation is merely a silly deviation from the responsibility which you know have under the evidentiary rules of Materialist Atheism. Word tricks don't provide the evidence which is required to support your worldview, and anyone with actual logic education in their background will not be convinced by such things. Plus it is a waste of my time.

So I'm not sure why you are even here, since you are intent on not proving anything in your favor, with actual material investigation, but only providing false notions and silly sidetracks.

You, along with all the other Atheists who have been here, have not provided any material disproof of the proposition of Theism which has been presented over and over:

"” The proposition is that it is not non-coherent that a non-material agent residing in a non-material realm and having the ability to create a physical, material creation would also have the ability to interface with that creation.

It is the non-material realm and its contents which is not measurable by the scientific methods of the material realm, because non-material entities are not accessible to material investigation. The expectation of material access to non-material evidence is a Category Error.

Plus, the example of the existing material evidence which is available for examination and refutation at the site of the proposed miracle at Lourdes, allows you and anyone who cares to, to empirically, experimentally and scientifically test, examine and produce the material evidence for refutation which Atheists claim to base their worldview upon.

So you have material evidence available for your refutation."


Are "logical, rational" Atheists impotent against this simple proposition? It certainly appears that way. (Especially when they go to silly measures to avoid their responsibility).

Anonymous said...

Of course you indulge in the Gish Gallop. That and logical fallacies is all that you have. Just look at the first line of the preceding comment to see how the frame the conversation by poisoning the well.

"It is the non-material realm and its contents which is not measurable by the scientific methods of the material realm, because non-material entities are not accessible to material investigation." - Well, that's nice. You make up an excuse to hide your god from inspection, then claim that people can't disprove your claim. Utter nonsense.

Also, no matter how much you repeat otherwise, yours is the burden of proof.

Who are you kidding, Stan? Your mantra that people haven't disproved a creator deity, shows how twisted your logic has become. People aren't trying to do that; They don't need to; one doesn't exist, so they don't need to disprove it.

You're the one lacking evidence. You never produce any. The best you do is a vague reference to something somewhere but you never get to it, do you? It's all about you retaining your delusion by creating an impossible standard of proof so that you can state that your claim (never backed up, never proven) isn't disproven.

Wow, Lourdes. How do you propose people empirically, experimentally and scientifically test, examine the evidence? What evidence. What tests do you believe can be performed and on what evidence? Didn't you just say not to expect material evidence?

So, lets you you show some focus for the poor atheists that can't follow your tangents. Remind us. Tell us. What is YOUR evidence for your creator deity and which one are you arguing for? Is it one of the named gods that we all know?

Jotunn said...

You didn't answer my question.

Also, several people including myself, have pointed out it is impossible to prove a negative. How many times have I criticized your position as being unfalsifiable? Especially when you define theism as being outside of investigation.

Everyone recognizes the intellectual tricks you are playing. I'm just not sure you do.

Stan said...

Of course it is unfalsifiable, just as is your demand of material evidence for a material entity... which you were actually given. Yes it is unfalsifiable: so is your own position. That is the point which seems to slide right past you.

Martin adequately refuted your claim of not being able to prove a negative. Why must these things be repeated ad nauseum? You cannot provide hard evidence for your claims: Yet that is what you demand. And that is hypocrisy.

If you feel that this is trickery, then you should stop the fraudulent claim that hard material evidence is required for you to believe a thing (when it obviously is not), and that the material evidence of a non-material entity is a sensible demand. You whine about the application of your own false rules to yourselves. It serves to illuminate the religious blind faith of Atheism, and the strength of that religious tie, without a shred of evidence.

Stan said...

Anonymous, man-up and choose a moniker so I know who I am talking to.

You said,
”Of course you indulge in the Gish Gallop. That and logical fallacies is all that you have. Just look at the first line of the preceding comment to see how the frame the conversation by poisoning the well.

"It is the non-material realm and its contents which is not measurable by the scientific methods of the material realm, because non-material entities are not accessible to material investigation." - Well, that's nice. You make up an excuse to hide your god from inspection, then claim that people can't disprove your claim. Utter nonsense.”


After all this time I am still astonished when people blow in here and make statements about science when they know absolutely nothing about it. The demarcation criterion defined by Karl Popper in "The Logic Of Scientific Discovery" separates the issues which are addressable by science from those which are not addressable by science. The criterion is falsifiability, and it is recognized by the scientific community.

Second, the most cursory knowledge of Venn diagrams would help one to know that [ C ] and [ NOT C ] are mutually exclusive.

Neither of these, falsification and Venn diagrams, are ideological, nor are they poisoning the well or any other fallacy; they are logical realities, without ideological content. They should not be too difficult to comprehend.

”Also, no matter how much you repeat otherwise, yours is the burden of proof.”

The proposition is a logical deduction; prove it wrong using your demand of material, scientific evidence.

”Who are you kidding, Stan? Your mantra that people haven't disproved a creator deity, shows how twisted your logic has become. People aren't trying to do that; They don't need to; one doesn't exist, so they don't need to disprove it.

You're the one lacking evidence. You never produce any. The best you do is a vague reference to something somewhere but you never get to it, do you? It's all about you retaining your delusion by creating an impossible standard of proof so that you can state that your claim (never backed up, never proven) isn't disproven.’


The materialist standard of proof is of Atheist derivation only; Atheists whine about it when it is insisted that they apply it to themselves: all of a sudden it becomes an “impossible standard of proof”. That is the entire point. It is an "impossible standard of proof" which Atheists apply only to others, while rejecting it for themselves with self-righteous whining.

”Wow, Lourdes. How do you propose people empirically, experimentally and scientifically test, examine the evidence? What evidence. What tests do you believe can be performed and on what evidence?”

Exactly. When the Atheists here demanded physical evidence so that they could refute it, they were pointed to Lourdes. Then all of a sudden they started with whines similar to yours. You cannot disprove the historical claim of non-material interference in the material world. If you could, you would.

” Didn't you just say not to expect material evidence?”

No, I did not.

” So, lets you you show some focus for the poor atheists that can't follow your tangents. Remind us. Tell us. What is YOUR evidence for your creator deity and which one are you arguing for? Is it one of the named gods that we all know?”

The argument is repeated at least three times in this very thread. I’ll not do it again. Do your own investigations; after all Atheists are the rational, logical ones, right? Surely you can focus long enough for that? If not, then you need a simpler forum to whine in.

Jotunn said...

You still didn't answer my question.

Martin is incorrect. It is impossible to prove something doesn't exist. Especially something with the qualities you ascribe to God. If your claim was a little more contentful, perhaps it would be possible to point out contradictions. (Like his Aquainas argument)

"Yes it is unfalsifiable: so is your own position. That is the point which seems to slide right past you."

I've said quite a few times that it is impossible to prove a negative (which should more correctly be stated as "It is impossible to prove something doesn't exist"). So, no. That point does not slide right by me. That point is handled by pointing out that the burden of proof is on the person claiming the positive existence of a thing.

Your refusal to shoulder the burden of proof to rebut the innumerable supernatural claims you do not accept demonstrates that you are aware of the impossibility of refuting unfalsafiable claims.

If you accept that, you must accept the burden of proof for demonstrating the existence of your deity. Perhaps I'll throw in some scripture as well.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.


Even the bible agrees you have the burden of proof.

The only gods you can prove are false are the ones who actually make a testable claim to reality. That is why it is trickery. Empty, unfalsifiable claims.

And that is all atheism is. Pointing out that your claims are empty and unfalsafiable.

Stan said...

”Your refusal to shoulder the burden of proof to rebut the innumerable supernatural claims you do not accept demonstrates that you are aware of the impossibility of refuting unfalsafiable claims.

You are making assertions now about things of which you have no knowledge whatsoever: You have no idea whether I do not accept supernatural claims, or if I did, which ones or why.

I have been the one pointing out Popper’s demarcation criterion, not you or any other Scientismist. And this has degenerated into a pissing contest, where you refuse your responsibility, under your own rules, to prove your beliefs, or to admit that Atheism is not based on evidence, while demanding irrational evidence in return.

Even more egregious is your claim that such evidence is not possible when you have to provide it, yet you demand it from your opponent. That is intellectual hypocrisy, a double standard; and it is a blatant Special Pleading Fallacy to allow an exception for Atheists from their own rules.

It is altogether irrational: a faith-based ideology.

” Even the bible agrees you have the burden of proof.”

Now you expect hard evidence for a hope? Do you read what you write? How about actually addressing the proposition given to you?

” The only gods you can prove are false are the ones who actually make a testable claim to reality. That is why it is trickery. Empty, unfalsifiable claims.

(a) When provided with a claim based in material space for them to refute, Atheists run away or try to provide inconsequential evidence: that evasion is some hard evidence for you to consider.

(b) The Atheist claim is empty and unfalsifiable; contains no evidence: Trickery.

(c) The Theist claim is unfalsifiable because it is based on logic, concerning areas which (Atheists admit) cannot be addressed by science;

BUT,

(d) Atheists demand that others (not themselves) provide falsifiable, empirical, experimental, replicable, scientific data anyway, while claiming no such responsibility for their own views.

SO,

(e) Atheism is based on fallacy and its refusal to accept that is based not in logic, nor in evidence, nor in rational thought: it is purely ideological, religious, faith based.

"And that is all atheism is. Pointing out that your claims are empty and unfalsafiable."

Your new definition of Atheism is not accepted. Nor is your claim of the proposition being empty; the content has not been refuted and your claim is false.

Now for the meat: Yes, Theist claims are unfalsifiable; they are not addressable by empirical science; therefore your demands for empirical evidence are irrational.

Basing a worldview or ideology on irrational demands can lead only to an irrational worldview or ideology.

I hope this does not swamp the Atheist ability to cope.

Jotunn said...

It is impossible to prove something does not exist.

It is not irrational to reject the belief in something when there is no evidence to support its existence.

"give the reason for the hope "

Give the REASON.

Do you read what I write?

Theism is based on the fallacy that faith is superior to evidence. You should believe in things for which their is evidence to support. You should not believe in things based on faith.

"Yes, Theist claims are unfalsifiable; they are not addressable by empirical science; therefore your demands for empirical evidence are irrational."

Yet you claim such evidence exists! And if it does not, then in what way is your claim REAL!?! Bastardized, selective logic?

"I hope this does not swamp the Atheist ability to cope."

Personally I'm starting to feel like I'm just bashing my head against a wall here.

And you still haven't answered my question.

Your demand is evidence of the non-existence of something. What is a conceivable example of such evidence?


I'll skip the answer you refuse to provide.

The response is that none exists. None could possibly exist. Thus your demand is fallacious.

The demand for evidence for the claim of positive existence of your deity however is completely reasonable, rational and expected.

Your paltry example of a Lourdes is evidence of the flimsy nature of your claims. Your rejection of a plausible naturalistic explanation is evidence that you don't even care to consider alternative explanations.

Stan said...

”It is impossible to prove something does not exist.

Then Atheists believe that something doesn't exist without proof or evidence of that. So Atheism is not evidence based. It is inference based and faith based that its inferences are correct due to lack of material evidence for non-material existence.

”It is not irrational to reject the belief in something when there is no evidence to support its existence.”

It is irrational when the evidentiary conditions are irrational. You use the term “falsifiability” with regard to your own situation, and you refuse it to your opponent: Special Pleading.

"give the reason for the hope "

Give the REASON.

Do you read what I write?


Oh, now you do not require material evidence any more? Interesting. In that case read the proposition made repeatedly above. And then refute it. No? Can't do that either? Then why are you here?

Theism is based on the fallacy that faith is superior to evidence. You should believe in things for which their is evidence to support. You should not believe in things based on faith.”

(a) Theism exists outside the hegemony of material evidence. And certainly outside the dictators of material hegemony. So do the beliefs in logic, mathematics, the First Principles, and the principles which underlie science (not Scientism). The principle you espouse is a false religious tenet.

(b) Who has the moral authority to dictate what evidence should be believed, or what the source of knowledge is, or who is, or is not, allowed to have expectations based on logical inference and deduction? Scientismists? Hardly. Scientism cannot prove its own basis for existing.

(c) Your proposition is an imperative, moral statement, without any evidence of its truth. You expect that it is self-evident, but self-evidence is not covered by your imperative: in fact it is rejected: one "should" not accept self-evidence as true. The demand is internally contradictory, and therefore irrational.

"Yes, Theist claims are unfalsifiable; they are not addressable by empirical science; therefore your demands for empirical evidence are irrational."

Yet you claim such evidence exists! And if it does not, then in what way is your claim REAL!?! Bastardized, selective logic?


Absolutely false, an indication that you do not follow what is being said here, you make it up to suit your own purposes. The claim is that an historical claim exists and that you are free to refute it. I make no claim of its truth value; you claim that it cannot be true, so using proper forensic science, prove your claim.
(more below)

Stan said...

(from above)
”"I hope this does not swamp the Atheist ability to cope."

Personally I'm starting to feel like I'm just bashing my head against a wall here.


I hope that helps.

”And you still haven't answered my question.

Your demand is evidence of the non-existence of something. What is a conceivable example of such evidence?

I'll skip the answer you refuse to provide.


Actually you prefer to ignore the answer given, since it cannot be used to favor your ideology.

The response is that none exists. None could possibly exist. Thus your demand is fallacious.

The demand for evidence for the claim of positive existence of your deity however is completely reasonable, rational and expected.


That claim has not been made. Your are making things up to suit your ideology. The claim is that Atheists cannot provide evidence for their beliefs, yet they claim to be evidence based.

There is an hypothesis based on observation and deduction; You are still free to refute it. You have shown no effort in that direction.

”Your paltry example of a Lourdes is evidence of the flimsy nature of your claims. Your rejection of a plausible naturalistic explanation is evidence that you don't even care to consider alternative explanations.”

Your inability to even pretend to adhere to the procedures of forensic science demonstrates your lack of understanding of science in general, and logic as it underlies science and rational thought.

Because you cannot address it in a head-on, intellectually honest, scientific, experimental, replicable, falsifiable, data and hard evidence providing fashion, you choose to denigrate it as “paltry”. Your Just So Story of the existence of ground water provides no evidence that the occurrence was not initiated by non material influences as the claim indicates. But you demand credibility for your story despite its non-scientific, evidentiary basis in disproving the actual source in question.

Atheists demand material evidence to refute and then avoid and denigrate it when it is presented, rather than refute it.

This is a waste of my time. Either make a positive case, or we are done here. Show us the evidence that supports the Atheist claim of being evidence based, regarding the Atheist belief that there is no deity; Show us the evidence which supports the Atheist claim that there has never been an instance of non-material interference in the material domain, of which Lourdes is a claim made 150 years ago, and still stands awaiting refutation.

Or, to the contrary, admit that Atheism has no evidence for its beliefs.

One or the other. Or we are done.

Jotunn said...

"The claim is that Atheists cannot provide evidence for their beliefs, yet they claim to be evidence based."

This is ridiculous. Atheism is a rejection of theism. You are not aware of any evidence of false theistic claims? Reject enough of their claims, and what is left? Some vague concept of a First Cause. That's a tiny tiny god you have there. Hell, you even reject that you claim he exists. Wtf are we even arguing about.

Also, you keeping using the term Just So Story. I do not think it means what you think it means.

It describes an unverifiable and unfalsifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. The use of the term is an implicit criticism that reminds the hearer of the essentially fictional and unprovable nature of such an explanation. Such tales are common in folklore and mythology (where they are known as etiological myths — see etiology).

Gee, I wonder if that is more appropriately applied to the tale of an apparition appearing to a child causing the appearance of a spring, or the geological term "water table".

Yes, the head bashing has made me aware it is useless to debate some people. The above record seems to illustrate both our views. We are done here.

Stan said...

"The claim is that Atheists cannot provide evidence for their beliefs, yet they claim to be evidence based."

This is ridiculous. Atheism is a rejection of theism. You are not aware of any evidence of false theistic claims? Reject enough of their claims, and what is left? Some vague concept of a First Cause. That's a tiny tiny god you have there. Hell, you even reject that you claim he exists. Wtf are we even arguing about.”

Once again your new definition of Atheism is not accepted.

False theistic claims have no bearing on false Atheist claims: Tu Quoque Fallacy.

Don’t know what we are talking about here? It’s about the Atheist inability to support their worldview and claims with the same evidentiary standards they require of their opposition, all the while claiming to be evidence based, logical, and rational.

The proposal is an observation and a deduction, which is a legal, valid logical argument, which you do not even argue against except with derision.

”Also, you keeping using the term Just So Story. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I actually have a copy of Kipling’s original Just So Stories in the bookcase. I know exactly what it means and how it is used to derail arguments to avoid addressing the issue.

”Gee, I wonder if that is more appropriately applied to the tale of an apparition appearing to a child causing the appearance of a spring, or the geological term "water table".”

Is this your forensic evidence? Really?

”Yes, the head bashing has made me aware it is useless to debate some people. The above record seems to illustrate both our views. We are done here.”

No real attempts at refutation then?

OK, adios.