Last Update: 15 Aug 00
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REPLY #98d TO
This is the fourth of an eleven-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
(R) We corroborate all the various indirect evidences and deduce what is the most PROBABLE position to take in regards to its existence/nonexistence.
(MB) Absolutely. Now that you seemingly agree that the scientific explanation is the most probable position, will you drop your arguments against it? Or, will you continue to claim that there is "no evidence" for it even though you agree that the conclusion you abhor is the most probable explanation?
(R) We have the well-estabished background radiation measurements of the COBE projects, as well as many other evidences that show the universe MOST LIKELY had a very hot beginning in the not-so-distant past.
(MB) Gee, you challenge me to provide evidence for you and now you're presenting it to me. Outstanding! One can only wonder how you're going to try to dig your way out of this hole. Read on, I guess....
(R) The corroboration of all the newly discovered Anthropic stipulations of a life-permitting universe, coupled with the evidence for a universe that began to exist in the not-so-distant past show the proposition of an intelligent, trancendental Creator to be all the more *probable* proposition.
(MB) Oh, please! This is insanity. Are you saying that 15 billion years ago is the "not-so-distant" past? I thought that Christian fundamentalists believed that the universe was only about 6000 years old. If not, how do you take a 15 billion year old universe and turn it into support for an intelligent and/or transcendental Creator?
Also, what exactly are you referring to by "newly discovered Anthropic stipulations of a life-permitting universe"? Certainly, you aren't trying to support theism by invoking what is called the Anthropic Principle, i.e., "the universe is the way we observe it because, if it was different, we wouldn't be here to observe it", are you?
Linde's multiverse theory explains the Anthropic Principle by positing a potentially infinite number of universes. Each universe is likely to have a different set of physical laws and will, therefore, each develop differently and give rise to a different set of things. In each universe, things will be the way they are because that universe's physical laws could not possibly create anything significantly different. Even between universes possessing identical physical laws, there will be some differences due to the inevitable vagaries of chance.
(R) Inversely, the probability of a naturally-obtaining, life-permitting universe is so fantastically minute in light of these new evidences that no rational mind would even entertain the idea.
(MB) A rational mind would understand that, in an infinity of possible universes, anything that is not absolutely impossible can and *must* eventually happen. There is no finite probability, no matter how small, that precludes any event given an infinity of time and trials. It doesn't matter how many universes exist now or have ever existed, the fact remains that *this* universe happened to possess the set of physical laws that allowed Man to arise. Of course, this does not, by any stretch of the imagination, imply that this universe's reason for being is to produce Man -- or, for that matter, that the universe *has* any reason for being. The existence of Man means absolutely nothing to the universe.
This has already been addressed. A claim for which there is no evidential support can never be "the only remaining option".
(R) There is no evidential support for a mindless natural process that creates universes out of nothing.
(MB) Nor is there any scientific theory which postulates such a thing.
(R) I guess this means that it can never be "the only remaining option" either.
(MB) In fact, it's not an option at all! At least, not to science.
(R) That is, if we apply your logic indiscriminately.
(MB) You need to apply it *correctly* first.
(R) However, since the proposition of the universe being the result of an intelligent creator is FAR more probable than the proposition that the universe is the result of an infinite number of mindless coincidences through natural super-processes, the intelligent Creator hypothesis should be adopted over it.
(MB) With no supporting evidence, it is impossible to calculate (or even to propose) any non-zero probability for the existence of an intelligent creator. Blind faith and emotional appeals do not constitute evidence.
Additionally, we seem to have another example of the careless use of buzzwords in this argument. A "super-process" is a mathematical technique used in such things as stochastic analysis. It is not a physical event in the natural world.
Not a chance, my son. You are arguing simply by changing words and not by defending your own beliefs. What makes your arguments worthless is the fact that the scientific explanation is the only one which has any evidential support.
(R) Your revolving argument was so weak that all it required was some changing of words to show it invalid. Thats what revolving arguments are.
(MB) I've not made any revolving arguments -- weak or otherwise. I don't need to do so. The evidence is overwhelmingly in my corner. Your corner is as sterile as a surgeon's scalpel.
(R) My beliefs do not need to be "defended" because your "offensive" efforts against them are invalid, as was clearly shown.
(MB) Your beliefs (indeed, *all* beliefs) need to be defended whether or not the alternatives are conclusive. Your unwillingness to do so is further indication that they are baseless and unsupportable except through the misapplication of attack attempts against science. All that you have "clearly shown" is a decided inability to make or understand a logical argument.
(R) In addition, a "scientific" explanation is not necessarily a materialistic one.
(MB) Quite true. So, why have you found it necessary in previous arguments to equate science with materialism? Does it just make for a better buzzword argument?
(R) You are just reiterating the fallacy of confusing the *philosohpy* of materialism with "science" and proceeding to judge my arguments as "worthless" based on that fallacy.
(MB) Since you don't seem to understand what you are arguing, how can you declare anything about it to be a fallacy? Certainly, you are not suggesting that theism falls within the realm of "science" while materialism does not, are you?
(R) Furthermore, you keep alluding to this "evidential" support for the existence of this mindless natural process that creates universes out of nothing, yet, you have refrained from presenting this evidence in detail.
(MB) I await your rebuttal to what has been presented in this message. I also await the beginning of your presentation of the evidence which supports your views. I suspect that the former will come quickly. I suspect that the latter will not come at all.
Therefore, you can't just substitute them for your own totally unsupported claims and claim a "revolving-door argument". Your own claims are going to have to stand on their own merits -- and, currently, they have exactly none. By agreeing with the necessary logic (even though you badly misapply it), you lend support to the arguments against your claims.
(R) Since you have not provided proof for the synonymy of philosophical materialism and science,...
(MB) Where did I suggest any such thing?
(R) ...or the existence of this alleged "natural process" that creates universes out of nothing, your claim is not supported at all.
(MB) Now, that I have established otherwise, I still await your rebuttal and the presentation of your own positive case.
(R) I have merely injected a supported claim in place of your unsupported claim for the purpose of exposing it as a revolving argument.
(MB) And, just what "supported claim" was that? "Theism is more likely"? Surely, you jest. So, you advance a revolving door argument in a futile attempt to label another argument that way? And, while you are doing this, there is *still* no rebuttal of science other than simple off-hand rejection and no positive case in support of your own views. You were correct earlier when you said that your beliefs have not changed.
(R) I have not misapplied any logic or lent support to arguments against my claims. This was merely your nonchalant accusation.
(MB) Perhaps, you now wish to reevaluate this claim.
I'm not doing that. I have shown that the two competing claims are not equal since the scientific explanation is the only one for which there is any evidential support...
(R) This claim of "science" equating "materialism" has been seriously challenged.
(MB) It is not *I* who has been equating science and materialism. That is what you are doing in a futile attempt to discredit each of them.
(R) True science makes observational claims of only what can be verified.
(MB) Not quite. After all, how do you know that something is verifiable upon first observation? Subsequent corroborating observations provide verification. Where does this apply in theism? If it doesn't, then how can any supportable claims be made in its favor?
(R) Materialism, on the other hand, is a philosophical supposition that claims ALL causes and events: past, present, and future can, have, has, and will exist(s)(ed) only in material, physical form. This is a presupposition that is unverifiable.
(MB) First, it's not a "presupposition" if there is supporting evidence. That evidence comes from the fact that every single observation and experiment which has ever been conducted has resulted in the demonstration that everything which exists has a physical basis. When all evidence supports a proposition and none contradicts it, the proposition can be safely accepted with confidence.
(R) No one was around 15 billion years ago to scientifically verify the operation of ONLY material events throughout the *entire* universe of that time, nor is there anyone currently who has observational knowledge of every event occuring throughout the universe now, and we don't know if there will even be anyone around to observe the future.
(MB) None of that is necessary. All the evidence we do have points in the same direction. There is no evidence that the laws of physics have changed since the universe began. Therefore, what works now can reasonably be said to have worked at any time during the universe's history and at any time in its future whether we observe it happening or not.
If you are going to attempt this "golden oldie" argument, you must realize its flip side. To wit, nobody was around to observe the "intelligent designer" create the universe. Therefore, by your argument, it is not reasonable to accept that any such thing actually happened. It's even worse since there is no evidence which points to such an event.
(R) As such, categorical materialism cannot be considered "scientific" since it is untestable, unobservable, and unverifiable.
(MB) There is no such thing as "categorical materialism", so your argument is meaningless.
(R) But most importantly, you keep claiming this evidential support for the existence of this mindless natural processes that creates universes out of nothing, but you are slow-coming with detailing this evidence. This gives cause for suspicion of your claim.
(MB) I have claimed no such thing. Why must I defend an inaccurate assessment of the theories of science?
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