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REPLY #98i TO
This is the ninth 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.
Let's examine a similar scenario. Bob makes the positive existential claim that huge, pink bunny rabbits live on the far side of the Moon. Fred does not believe this to be true. Bob follows your line of argument and challenges Fred to prove that there are no such bunnies or else he will assert that his claim is reasonable. Fred follows standard logic to show that Bob's claim bears the burden of proof -- especially since no evidence supports any idea that bunnies can live in the harsh environment of the far side of the Moon. Bob does not provide such evidence but continues to attempt to shift the burden to Fred by saying that "this debate is about what Fred has been challenged to prove". Fred correctly states that Bob's case can be proven by producing one example while it is never possible to prove the denial. This is because Bob can always invent new scenarios to explain away the inability to find an example of a single bunny. Why should your position in our debate be any better than Bob's in his debate against Fred?
(R) All you need to do is posit the existential claim "blind natural process that mindlessly create universes out of nothing" in place of the "giant pink bunnies" and you are Bob in the context of that analogy.
(MB) If I actually posited such a thing, then you might have a point. Since I don't posit such a thing, you're just running around the point yet again.
(R) In addition, I've never asked you to prove the nonexistence of God.
(MB) Then, you'd better reread several of your previous arguments.
(R) What I HAVE asked you to prove is the atheistic scenario of a natural process mindlesslessly creating entire uncaused universes out of nothing, thereby making any trancendental (supernatural) claims unnecessary. Sorry, Bob, but you've failed to do this on ever level thusfar.
(MB) Once again, you fail to address the point put to you in favor of repeating the same failed argument. Have you nothing whatsoever to say in direct response to the "Bob and Fred" scenario? Does Bob bear the burden of proof or not? Is your position better than Bob's?
The logic is the same in both cases. In both cases, the positive existential claim is the one for which there is no supporting evidence and which falls outside the realm of the evidence which does exist.
(R) You have positively claimed the existence of a natural super-process that creates uncaused universes out nothing.
(MB) No, I have not done so since science does not theorize such a thing (not to mention that I know what a "super-process" actually is). You simply find it necessary to add stipulations in order to maintain some semblance of an argument.
(R) So far you have merely claimed that there is evidence for the existence of this process but have not provided it.
(MB) Earlier in your response, you announced that you were going to begin to make the positive case in support of what you believe. When are you going to get started?
(R) You have made an existential claim for which there is no supporting evidence. Sound familiar, Bob?
(MB) I made no such claim. You began by stating that you were going to refute atheism and morphed that still-unrealized refutation into an idea that I was making some claim about the nature of the origin of the universe -- to which you have added much additional baggage. The closest I've come to what you are trying to put into my mouth is to say that there is no evidence to support the theistic claims for the existence of God or an "intelligent designer" and that all available evidence supports an origin of the universe which is derived from natural processes. You have pointed out some of this evidence yourself -- yet you persist in claiming that "none exists". You have also failed to show why this evidence is flawed or why we would be better served to use it to conclude that it supports the intelligent design idea.
Since you are advancing a positive claim in favor of the existence of an intelligent designer, the burden of proof is on you. You have flatly refused to accept this burden and have even tried to claim that it is not necessary for you to do so. This shows that you have no understanding of logic nor any appreciation for methods of rational inquiry. This also shows that you will continue to spout blanket dismissals of any and all evidence supporting science while refusing to provide any to support your own views. This being the case, please tell me why your arguments should be taken seriously.
In both cases, the proponent of that claim refuses to support it in favor of issuing fallacious "challenges" to his opponent. Is there any difference here or will you be forced to admit that it is reasonable to believe that huge, pink bunny rabbits live on the far side of the Moon?
(R) Whats so funny about your framed analogy is that you assumed all the critical points and made all the critical applications to benefit your own position. You simply reworded your own arguments in a controlled setting, created ridiculous claims for your framed opponent, and assumed all pivotal conclusions. Its not a very impressive tact and it has proved nothing.
(MB) Since you haven't even bothered to answer the questions put to you and haven't even attempted an argument as to why "Bob" is wrong, I can only assume that you are protesting in order to avoid having to admit that my point is solid. If you don't agree with this, please show me where you are not doing just what "Bob" is doing in my scenario. You're right about one thing, though. I did concoct a contrived scenario. But, the point is to highlight the illogic of the arguments being used to support Bob's claim and the fact that you are using exactly the same tactics. If there was any chance that I was wrong, I'm sure you could point out the flaws in detail rather than having to rely on the standard blanket brush-offs and condemnations.
(R) I would have much preferred you to have used all that typing and mental enery on expositing all these supposed "evidences" for this materialistic process that creates universes out of nothing, thereby supporting your claim that atheistic denials of trancendence are the only logical positions.
(MB) Again, it will be interesting to hear your responses to what I have already offered up in this message. I predict that you will simply brush it all aside as "atheistic/materialist assumptions" and not bother to address or argue any point in any detail. I further predict that you will continue to avoid presenting the positive support for your own views in favor of more blanket denials of what you misunderstand about science.
No, that is not what I've done. All scientific theories are subject to the same burden of proof. However, since there is already so much evidence in support of these theories, it is reasonable to accept a scenario which does not violate any known facts and principles even if that scenario has not yet been conclusively proven.
(R) You keep claiming that there is "so much evidence" to support these materialistic super-processes, yet you declined to provide it once again!
(MB) Can you truly tell me that you are unaware of any scientific evidence whatsoever (whether or not you agree with it or understand it)? Or, do you just reject everything which disputes theism with no further consideration or study of it?
By the way, the score is now two usages of "naturalistic super-process" to two usages of "materialistic super-process". Perhaps the battle of the buzzwords is a best-of-seven series?
(R) Furthermore, the moon being made of pixie dust does not violate any known principles.
(MB) Yes, it would. There is no evidence for the existence of "pixies" nor for any claim that they produce any sort of dust nor for the implied notion that they could produce such dust in quantities sufficient to produce something the size of the Moon in a manner which would produce a stable orbit of that body around the Earth.
(R) That fact alone does not make the scenario of pixie-dust moons tenable.
(MB) Now, one can see why you find theism so easy to believe. You don't bother to apply any critical thought to any given idea before spouting it or believing in it.
(R) Also, you keep referring to "these theories" but do not identify them. What are these materialistic theories? Please show this immutable evidence.
(MB) I have already referenced more evidence than you will ever be able to begin to provide in support of your own ideas. Why do you continue to avoid supporting your own case with evidence? I submit that it is because you know that you have none to offer.
The theistic alternative, on the other hand, has not yet taken even the first step in the direction of producing any supporting evidence. It is purely argumentative and emotional in nature. Therefore, there is no basis upon which to accept any conclusions which are based upon any form of theism.
(R) The theistic alternative has a ton of supporting indirect evidence from corroborative inference and statistical probability, and your appeals to "emotional" attributes of theism accomplishes nothing and proves nothing.
(MB) "Indirect" evidence is nothing more than drawing faulty conclusions based upon presupposed ideas. A ton of nonsense is still nothing more than nonsense. If your case has any merits whatsoever, there must be at least one piece of objective and empirical evidence to support it. But, you don't have any, do you? The only arguments you have are things that you simply want to believe are true. Even at that, all you've mentioned so far is that there is nothing to "disprove" an intelligent designer. Everything else has been a misguided and/or ill-informed attack against what you misunderstand about science. This is not a good way to make a compelling case.
(R) The cosmological evidence for God is tantamount to walking into a room, seeing a dead body on the ground with a bullet through the head, a smoking gun laying on the bed, and a note laying there saying "I am a killer, and I exist" - then ignorantly thinking you've disproved something by saying: "Do you see any killer? I didn't think so.....see, no killer exists."
(MB) *LOL* Do you truly fail to understand that there is plenty of evidence within your scenario? The body exists and is clearly dead from a bullet wound. A candidate murder weapon is also there and could be proven to be the murder weapon through ballistics and fingerprint evidence. A note with handwriting exists and the handwriting could be analyzed by forensic experts to determine whether or not the victim produced it himself. There is nothing here that has to appeal to the supernatural, to transcendence or to anything other than purely natural and understandable processes.
Now, where is the similar evidence that can be examined by anybody of any faith or belief system to produce an unmistakeable and objective conclusion that God (either in general or specific terms) exists?
(R) But wait!!!....maybe a "natural process" over billions of years took the gun out of its box, caused the gun to cleaned itself, load itself, throw itself through the air so that it had a line of fire equal with that of the person's head, aimed perfectly and fired itself killing the person point blank, and then put itself back on the shelf and wrote a letter saying that "No killer exists."
(MB) Actually, there is such a process. It's called quantum indeterminacy and has been proven to exist. That makes it more acceptable than any "intelligent designer" idea or any appeal to the supernatural.
(R) It doesn't take a genius to figure out which conclusion is more probable.
(MB) Exactly. Mountains of evidence for natural processes and science vs. no evidence for the supernatural. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which is more probable. Even the near-infinite odds against an appeal to quantum indeterminacy in your above scenario produce a conclusion which is more probable than any appeal to the supernatural. Of course, both pale rather pathetically in contrast to the rational and natural answer. Again, like you said, it doesn't take a genius to figure this out. So, why do you still think that supernatural answers are reasonable?
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