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REPLY #98f TO
This is the sixth 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.
"For nothing" is a presupposition that the universe *must* have some sort of "meaning" outside of merely existing. However, there is no reason to believe that any such meaning is necessary.
(R) Wrong. "For nothing" is an appeal to the *type* of universe we have which does not emulate the results of a random mess of mindless, choatic reactions. Instead, the universe is very ordered with very precise laws that govern it, and with even more precisely quantified parameters for the existence of life. This is a result that would more emulate a mindful, intelligent cause than that of a mindless blind cause.
(MB) This argument invalidly assumes that the universe was especially created to produce life. In reality, life could not have arisen unless the universe was the way it is. If it was any other way, we'd never know it because we wouldn't be around to assess it. It's hardly "miraculous" that we see the universe the way it is. We couldn't possibly see it any other way! Other universes will very likely be quite different. Any universe can only develop in the ways that its set of physical laws will allow and those laws are set as a part of the event which produces each universe. This does not require supernatural intervention or any sort of deliberate fine-tuning of any essential parameters.
Ask yourself why there is so much useless, wasted junk in the universe if it was deliberately created by an intelligent designer. Ask yourself why humans are constructed so imperfectly if they were the product of an intelligent designer. Ask yourself why a universe (or anything in it) is necessary at all to any intelligent designer. Ask yourself why an intelligent designer who has the power to create universes would need anything so infinitesimally insignificant as a human being. Ask yourself why an omnipotent intelligent designer needs humans to help him do "his work". When you finish honestly considering these things, ask yourself one more question. Ask yourself if isn't more reasonable to believe that the universe is of natural origin than to believe that it is a special and intentional creation.
Likewise, there is no reason to believe that natural processes are invalidated if they are "mindless". Any claim to the contrary is another presupposition that nothing can happen without an external directing force.
(R) The invalidation of a mindless natural process does not proceed from it simply being "mindless."
(MB) Then, why make such a big deal out of that quality in your arguments? It must mean *something* important to you to keep bringing it up.
(R) The invalidation of such as process proceeds from the astronomical improbability of mindlessness producing the results and fine-tuned parameters that we see in the universe.
(MB) Gee, nobody has ever attempted *that* argument before. Of course, nobody has ever come up with any "improbability" calculation that made any logical, scientific or mathematical sense, either.
(R) Furthermore, this improbability is not based on the estimation of a singluar event happening without a directing force, but rather, *millions* of events all corroborating with eachother to forge one particular attribute - life permission.
(MB) OK, I'll bite. Which particular version(s) of this calculation are you going to advance? Is this something straight out of Johnson, Hovind, Craig, Ham, Ross, Page, Morris or somebody else or is it one you came up with on your own?
"Fact"? So far, it's nothing but a claim. If it's a "fact", there must be some supporting evidence for it. What is it?
(R) It is a statement of fact because it is a FACT that there is a difference between an existential-god debate, and a comparitive religion debate.
(MB) That obvious and trivial fact does not automatically give the notion of an intelligent designer any credibility. The actual designer and its nature and properties are going to be an inherent part of *any* argument you want to make. Otherwise, you're not doing anything more substantive than howling at the moon.
(R) It is a FACT that if ANY god or gods exist, ATHEISM would be false.
(MB) Trivial again. Of course, it should be readily apparent that there is a significant difference between saying that a god exists and demonstrating that claim to be true. It should also be readily apparent that not all possible gods are ones which are capable of creating universes. So, you still have many things to prove.
(R) Therefore, differentiating between all gods claimed by various religions is unnecessary.
(MB) Wrong. Since Man's different religions have many different and mutually-exclusive stories about various gods which may or may not have created the universe, any claims in favor of an intelligent designer are necessarily going to run up against this problem. To shuffle the problem aside as if it didn't exist is to admit that your argument can never be anything more than rhetorical.
(R) You are atheist to ALL those gods, are you not? If so, then it is obvious that if ANY one of them were existent, your atheism would be false.
(MB) Sure, but you're going to have to quit singing it and start bringing it. My disbelief in Santa Claus would also be false if the jolly old elf ever put in an actual appearance, but I'm not overly concerned about that ever happening, either.
(R) For example, if I claim that NO cars exist, a person only needs to show that "a" car exists to falsify my claim, not show that it is a 1966 red, Ford Mustang convertible.
(MB) But, if somebody *did* show me a car, that car would be of a specific make, model, color, etc., isn't that correct? It would also still have lots of other inherent qualities just to qualify as being a "car", right? The same applies to any purported "god". The only way a purported car would have no qualities would be if an example had never been shown (or if it didn't actually exist). The same applies to any purported "god". That's where your argument is right now.
[RE: Second, you're going to have to do better than simply making maverick claims off-handedly.] Once again you rely on insults rather than refutations.
(R) That wasn't an insult but an observation. Sorry if objective observations offend you.
(MB) *laughing* I assure you there's no way you could offend me with anything you might say -- especially if it's something silly. Now, whether or not you want to spin an insult as being an "observation", that's still all you have in lieu of any substantive refutations.
Quite wrong. Any claim for the existence of an intelligent designer must necessarily include at least one specific claim about the nature or properties of such an entity.
(R) How do you contrive these bogus criterias? Do you just make them up as you go?
(MB) Sorry, but it's that same thing that scares you so much -- basic logic. Any claim that refuses to include any specifics is nothing more than rhetoric. Rhetoric alone can't prove the existence of anything. Sooner or later, you will have to supply some hard evidence or something more than a tautological argument.
(R) If ANY intelligent designer created the universe, the chance/material-cause hypothesis for the universe is falsified, REGARDLESS of any other properties.
(MB) Yep, but so would the possibility that the universe was created by a non-intelligent uncreated machine. Would you consider such a possibility to be the equal of your intelligent designer idea?
(R) However, if you are requiring at least ONE specific property, the intelligent designer is trancendent to the four-dimensional limitations of width, length, depth and time.
(MB) OK, so now you have separated your particular intelligent designer from all versions which are not similarly transcendent. Now, you need to demonstrate that this transcendence is real, that it is necessary, and how any such being can create something in a realm where it does not itself exist.
Without such a claim, there is no possibility of evidential support to verify that entity's existence.
(R) Thats like saying that unless we know exactly how many craters are on a distant moon, we cannot verify that it exists.
(MB) Nope. Craters are not essential to the existence of any moon. Also, there are many ways of proving the existence of a moon that have nothing to do with counting craters. Finally, it should be blatantly obvious that the moon must exist before you can begin counting craters.
(R) In fact, there are some distant stars that are known to have a planet orbiting them merely by observed gravitational fluxations where light is being bent in cycles. This is a property that is determined only for the STAR, but the orbiting planet's existence is ve0rified without knowing a single thing about that planet. This proves that your above criteria cannot be correct.
(MB) *laughing* I guess we can add astrophysics to the list of scientific disciplines about which you know very little. These observations, in fact, tell us at least three things about the planet in question. We can learn its mass, its distance from the star and its orbital velocity without any direct observation of the planet or having any other knowledge about it. The effects produced could not occur if the planet did not exist. Despite your grandiose (and poorly considered) conclusion, you have just succeeded in proving me to be *right*.
(R) We can determine the existence of an entity by observing its direct EFFECT on the properties of *other* things, even without knowning a single property of the entity making the effects.
(MB) By observing the effect, we *know* one or more properties of the planet. This is because the laws of physics work unmistakeably and are consistent throughout the universe as evidenced by every observation every made. There is no such evidence to support any notions of supernatural creation events.
You will not advance your case if you refuse to go beyond nebulous claims in favor of an undefined concept. Your mere statement that an intelligent designer exists is not evidence in support of such an entity.
(R) There is nothing nebulous about a causal agent being trancendent, intelligent, and a designer. Those are three very specific attributes.
(MB) Nope, that is a tautology. Defining a transcendent intelligent designer as being "transcendent", "intelligent" and a "designer" and claiming these as specific attributes which prove its existence is simply silly. If you really believe your argument, you must also believe that little green men from Mars exist because they can be defined as having the specific attributes "little", "green", "men" and "from Mars".
(R) And these properties can be verified by indirect evidence of observing what has been caused.
(MB) Oh? How? Personal incredulity is not "verification by indirect evidence". Please give examples of things you would describe as "indirect evidence" and explain how and why they can be used to "verify" anything.
(R) Also, I never claimed that mere statements were support for an entity's existence.
(MB) What else do you have? Where is the objective evidence to support the claim?
Therefore, you are going to have to provide some specifics. By extension, this will necessitate the refutation of competing claims for such entities since only one could actually exist.
(R) Three specifics have already been provided - Intelligent, trancendent, and designing.
(MB) Again, all that has been "provided" is a tautology. You'll need to do considerably better. Consider that none of those qualities is necessary in an entity who has the power to create universes.
It is entirely possible that this creator is either a machine or is an unintelligent entity who doesn't know what he's doing. Our universe could well exist along with its creator inside a larger realm in much the same way that a person could hold a basketball while sitting inside a room in a house. Finally, the creator could well have created the universe by dumb luck with no design in mind. He could have just thrown a bunch of "universe stuff" into a pile to see what happened -- in a manner similar to how an artist might spray and splatter paint at random to see what happens. In either case, the resulting creation would not be the product of deliberate design.
(R) No refutation of competing claims is necessary since no matter what specific intelligent designer exists, atheistic materialism would be false.
(MB) "Atheism" and "materialism" are not necessarily intertwined in this debate. Nor, for that matter, are "atheism" and the creation of the universe from natural processes. But, let's not let reason get in the way of a few good buzzwords, right?
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