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REPLY #98j TO
This is the tenth 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) This analogy is an appeal to legal evidences. The amount of legal evidences in support of an intelligent designer creating the universe is staggering.
(MB) The problem here is that this is not a question that is decided by legal procedures. It is a question that is decided by the weight of supporting evidence -- and that weight is totally on the side of science. No amount of rhetoric can overrule one piece of empirical evidence.
Does anybody else hear a pot calling a kettle "black"? I think you need an introductory course on basic logic before making any more foolish claims about what I've said.
(R) Thats nothing but a meaningless statement with a slight peppering of ad hominem.
(MB) No, that's a factual statement based on the numerous demonstrated instances of logic blunders and misunderstandings you have already committed.
[RE: I hate to do it again, but I must turn your revolving-door argument.] Only because that's the best argument you have -- and that ain't sayin' a whole lot...
(R) This revolving-door ping pong battle could have been stopped in your first reponse if you would have simply provided the alleged "evidence" for your universal materialism claims.
(MB) How? All you would have done is to claim that the evidence better supports your ideas -- without bothering to explain why, of course. Thus, your revolving-door continues to revolve. Nothing has changed in this message, either, so you're still not sayin' a whole lot...
This would be true if, and only if, there was any evidence for the existence of *anything* in the supernatural realm.
(R) Right, and the smoking gun is only evidence of a smoking gun, and a dead body is only evidence of a dead body, and a note with the writing "I am a killer" is only evidence of a piece of paper with writing on it..... - NONE of those artifacts PROVES the existence of a killer. After all, I'm sure we could sit down and theorize a way that a natural process could have produced all those conditions by chance + time, right?
(MB) I've already demonstrated how you don't even understand your own scenario. In the meantime, you have neatly evaded yet another opportunity to directly address the issue of the total lack of evidence in support of the supernatural.
Without that, no explanation which relies on any such realm is reasonable. The natural and supernatural realms are not equal propositions. Such equality would be required for your arguments to make any sense.
(R) First, it should be noted that no supernatural proposition rules out the existence of the natural realm. Supernaturalists believe both realms exist.
(MB) It would be rather silly of them to argue otherwise, wouldn't it? Furthermore, the existence of the natural realm does not, in and of itself, invalidate the existence of the supernatural. Only the total lack of positive evidence in favor of the supernatural can invalidate its existence. Without such evidence, supernaturalists are just spinning their wheels in a pointless exercise in rhetoric.
(R) In addition, you are claiming that ONLY a natural realm exists even though you have no way of proving universal materialism. As such, your "total materialism" is posited as a result of the "gaps" in our knowledge.
(MB) Not at all. The belief that the natural realm is the only one which exists is based solely and entirely upon the complete and total lack of evidence in support of any other conclusion. This is not "proof", of course, but it is certainly a position which can be afforded confident adherence until such time as the required disproving evidence is provided. The longer it takes to produce such evidence, the more confident we can be that it doesn't exist.
(R) Since you are positing a "materialism of the gaps" and supernaturalists are positing "god of the gaps." Thus, both propositions are on equal grounds.
(MB) No, they are not. Supernaturalists are the only ones who are basing their claims upon what they perceive to be "gaps" and what they want to believe fills them. There is no such thing as "materialism of the gaps". Now, if you want to claim that something which does not exist is an equal proposition with the claims of the supernaturalists, I will agree with you. But, I rather doubt that this is what you intended to say.
(R) The question now becomes which proposition is more *probable.* What is proof of a killer of a killer at a crime scene? What is proof of a creator on a creation scene?
(MB) There are a great number of ways to prove the existence of the killer. There are no ways to prove the existence of a creator. So, which claim of existence is the more probable?
See above... The natural realm is the only one which has been conclusively demonstrated to exist.
(R) Where have I denied the existence of the natural realm?
(MB) You haven't. By not doing so, you agree that there is ample evidence to support its existence and might even be able to point out some of it. However, you have gone on to claim that the existence of the supernatural is an equal proposition. Therefore, you must believe that there is an equally ample body of evidence to support its existence and you must be equally able to point out some of it. When are you going to start?
Therefore, it can't be claimed that the supernatural becomes the default if any naturalistic theory is shown to be incorrect. There is always the possibility that the correct answer is a different or modified naturalistic theory.
(R) If all known material processes are shown to be incapable of causing universes mindlessly out of nothing, any "possibility" of a alleged "modified naturalistic theory" becomes a "modified-naturalistic-theory of the gaps" possibility. Thereby making it on equal ground with any particular "god-of-the gaps" possibility.
(MB) Again, this demonstrates a poor grasp of basic logic. Since natural processes exist, it is reasonable to assume that we may not yet be aware of all of them or of the complete nature of the ones which we already know. Therefore, it is also reasonable to assume that we will devise new theories or modify existing theories in the future which are based on such processes. This does not mean that current theories are wrong or that no "right" theory exists. Newton's theory of gravity is demonstrably "wrong", yet only a fool would willingly and confidently step off a cliff. That's because the theory is so close to being 100% "right" that it is reasonable to use it and adhere to it. Such is the case for all scientific theories.
Your ideas, on the other hand, go completely in the opposite direction. There is no evidence that any supernatural processes exist. It may be reasonable to assume that we might discover one in the future, but it is not reasonable at this point to formulate hypotheses based primarily upon such processes and then uphold them as being "on equal ground" with science. I can reasonably live my life as if God does not exist since there is no evidence to the contrary. Such is the case for all supernatural ideas.
You must first demonstrate that the supernatural exists before you can invoke it as any sort of default position in any scenario.
(R) You must show that universal materialism exists before you can invoke it as any sort of default position.
(MB) Since I invoke nothing of the sort, I need not demonstrate what you demand. The universe does not have to be completely materialistic in order for it to have been created by natural processes. On the other hand, you still have the burden of demonstrating the existence of anything supernatural rather than continuing to run from the question.
(R) Remember, I am not saying that natural things do not exist. But I am saying that all "existent things" are not necessarily "natural."
(MB) Please give examples of existing things which are not "natural". Remember that an "existing thing" does not require the evaluation of Man in order to exist.
In other words, you're "Bob" to my "Fred".
(R) Do you or do you not claim that every event, cause, entity and action that has ever occurred throughout the entire universe's past, present, and future was/is/will be - purely material? Yes or no? If yes, you are making a positive existential claim for universal materialism, thus, you would be Bob, not Fred.
(MB) Correct. However, I'm making no such claim. Indeed, it would be foolish to do so since I do not have knowledge of all things throughout all of time. However, it still remains that everything we *do* know about can be explained by natural laws and processes.
On the other hand, do you or do you not claim that there is objective and empirical evidence which supports the idea that anything supernatural actually exists? Do you or do you not claim that the God you choose to worship and the "intelligent designer" to whom you wish to ascribe the creation of the universe are one and the same entity? Yes or no? It's time to quit shuckin' and jivin' here.
As previously stated, this would appear to be a very short debate since you have already closed your mind to basic logic.
(R) Oh? And how have I done this?
(MB) Through the use of illogical scenarios. Through the inability to understand that you must apply the same standards of evidence to all competing propositions to claim that they are on "equal ground". Through the continued use of buzzwords that you seem barely to understand and then making them the cornerstones of your arguments. Through constructing the bulk of your case around logical fallacies rather than upon evidence. Etc....
As Carl Sagan said so well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. The natural realm is "ordinary" since no sane person will dispute the amount of evidence which exists for it.
(R) The birth of the universe is an extraordinary event. Many theories of Quantum Mechanics are quite extraordinary. I think the space shuttle is an extraordinary vehicle. I also think that chicken alfredo pasta is "extraordinarily" yummy. Subjectivity, my dear Watson, subjectivity.
(MB) This has nothing to do with subjectivity, Sherlock. Rather, it has everything to do with what Sherlock Holmes would describe as the veridical worthlessness of any position -- no matter how strongly it is believed -- for which there is no supporting evidence.
Something "extraordinary", in Sagan's usage, is something which falls outside our body of knowledge and may even present violations of that knowledge. Neither the birth of the universe, quantum mechanics, the space shuttle, nor chicken alfredo pasta are such things, so they are not "extraordinary" things. Supernatural realms, omnipotent deities, and similar ideas most certainly *do* fall into the "extraordinary" category. Thus, they will require proofs which are a great deal more substantive than stubborn and ill-considered rhetoric.
(R) Inversely, the event of non-living chemicals blindly changing into biotic chemicals is an extraordinary claim,...
(MB) That is not an extraordinary claim. That is basic organic chemistry. Go to the library (the big building with all the books) and check it out. Everything is constructed from the same non-living atomic and sub-atomic building blocks. Why, then, can you accept the laws of chemistry when they produce the existence of a complex inorganic or "non-living" molecule while not accepting that the same laws of chemistry can also result in the existence of something like an amino acid? Is there something inherently "special" about a "living" molecule? What chemical laws would be violated by their creation via natural processes?
(R) ...as is the claim of universes creating themselves uncaused by nothing, for nothing, and out of nothing.
(MB) Indeed, it is. That's why science doesn't posit such a claim.
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