REPLY #99g TO
This is the seventh of a twenty-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
I have demonstrated where your attempted logic fails and have pointed out several instances of classic fallacies in your arguments. Therefore, there are no subjective judgements involved. You would be well served to read the standard text, Copi's "Introduction to Logic".
(R) You haven't demonstrated any such thing and your charges of "fallacy" against me have been responded to.
(MB) Your "responses" have done nothing but reinforce my point and provide additional examples of fallacious attempts at reasoning. May I assume that you're not going to bother to read Copi's book or any other introductory text on logic?
(R) All you've accomplished is the making of sly, cleverly-phrased digressions disquised as some form of rebuttal. Such tactics are of no avail since they neither prove or disprove the critical points in question.
(MB) You may now wish to reevaluate this claim. If not, I'll settle for the positive case for theism and transcendentalism for which I've been waiting.
[RE: I do claim "God created Man" and God's existence is far more probable than it's non-existence.]
On what evidence do you base either or both of those claims?
(R) Well, I will do my best to respond to your scattered responses considering the fact that you butchered my entire paragraph by extracting single sentences out of their context.
(MB) Every word you wrote is here without any change. If you can't defend your statements, don't blame my rebuttals. You can't take something "out of context" if the entirety of the material is present.
(R) Beyond that, I have stated many times that my argumentation and support for theism is being given throughout this exchange, so if you are expecting a magic paragraph or sentence to be given which embodies what you are deeming to be "evidence," your expectations are naive and in vain.
(MB) More evasions. I've been waiting for *anything* to be given which presents a positive case for your views. The more you mumble and shuffle, the longer I have to wait and the more often I'll have to remind you of your obligation. The longer you delay, the more apparent it is that you have no such case to present.
[RE: God, by definition, is not a "demonstrable" entity,...]
Then, he is more likely to be a non-existent entity.
(R) That is the very point in question. Are you going to assume exactly what you conclude in a single sentence?
(MB) Your statement led to a clear and inevitable conclusion. Unless, of course, you can provide any examples of other things which are not demonstrable, yet still have an unquestioned existence.
[RE: ...just like exploding universes are not a demonstrable event.]
Wrong. Exploding universes can be demonstrated through the use of mathematics derived from observation and experimentation in the natural realm.
(R) There is no way mathematical equation(s) can be used to "demonstrate" an exploding universe. An exploding universe can only be "demonstrated" by exploding a universe.
(MB) Nope. You're confusing two separate kinds of proofs. In fact, most concepts have to be demonstrable in theory before a working model can be made. After all, if you didn't know how to make something work first, how could you build a working model of it?
(R) Any conclusions drawn from mathematics can only be that the event of a universe exploding is a mathematic possibility, not a physical actuality.
(MB) If the mathematics are sound and produce no conflicts with known laws of nature or with observational experience, then any concept can be acceptable through mathematics alone. Also, the predicted effects described by mathematics can be observed (as with the COBE observations).
So, you *do* agree that there is evidence?
(R) Of course I believe there is evidence. The universe is ITSELF an embodiment of evidence. The *interpretation* of that evidence is what is in question. The evidence definitely suggests that the Big Bang was the most likely event of the universe's origin.
(MB) Wonderful! Now, we're making some progress! Since the only coherent and supported version of the Big Bang theory does not require the intervention of anything outside the natural realm, there is no reason that any interpretation of the supporting evidence for that theory should have to rely on any such things, right?
Now, which do you think is the more likely explanation?
(A) A Big Bang whose predicted effects have been observed and verified in such things as the cosmic microwave background, or
(B) "Let there be light". Explain your answer in detail.
(R) I don't understand your comparison whatsoever.
(MB) It's quite simple, really. (A) is a synopsis of the scientific version. (B) is the Yahvistic version as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Which is the more likely explanation and why?
(R) I don't see what the Big Bang has to do with Genesis 1:3.
(MB) Many apologists have attempted to equate "Let there be light" with what they suppose to have been a blinding flash immediately after the Big Bang. Of course, science knows that there could have been no such thing, but since when have facts deterred apologists?
(R) Anyway, I believe that God was the causal agent of the Big Bang event.
(MB) Perhaps you missed it when I asked you to explain your answer in detail? Or, perhaps, I provided all the details earlier when I mentioned the Xian bumper sticker argument:
"Big Bang Theory: God said it and *BANG!*, it happened!"
[RE: We corroborate all the various indirect evidences and deduce what is the most PROBABLE position to take in regards to its existence/nonexistence.]
Absolutely. Now that you seemingly agree that the scientific explanation is the most probable position, will you drop your arguments against it?
(R) A "scientific" explanation is not necessarily a materialistic one.
(MB) Which is what I've been trying to tell you all along despite your repeated denials. I hope this means we won't see any further attempts to equate the two.
(R) I am of the view that scientific logic leads to theistic/transcendental conclusions.
(MB) Except, of course, that scientific logic is dependent upon evidence, while you have divorced theism from such concerns. It is purely personal belief, rather than science, which leads to theism.
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) I have never claimed categorically that "there is no evidence,"...
(MB) You did before you began to change your story and adopted the more reasonable position of not equating evidence with interpretation.
(R) ...nor do I "abhor" any particular conclusion.
(MB) This is a rather disingenuous statement considering the tirades you've launched against the supposed evils of atheism and materialism (or the incorrect merger of the two).
(R) What I *have* claimed is that the evidence does not dictate a materialistic conclusion.
(MB) And, what I have shown you is that science does not propose such a conclusion. So, you have no support for your own views and no credible arguments against science. What's left?
[RE: 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, transcendental Creator to be all the more *probable* proposition.]
Oh, please! This is insanity.
(R) Emotional outcries of personal incredulity do not count as a valid argument.
(MB) Do you know what "personal incredulity" means? No, I didn't think so.
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?
(R) 15 billion years is definitely the "not-so-distant" past in cosmological terms.
(MB) Nonsense. 15 billion years is the *entire* past in cosmological terms! If you dispute this, please provide the details of why this is wrong.
(R) What Christian fundamentalists believe or do not believe is of no consequence, especially since they all do not believe the same things with regards to secondary issues such as cosmological models.
(MB) This is not a "secondary issue" to Christian fundamentalists since their core beliefs do not permit them to accept an age of the universe greater than what a literal interpretation of Genesis would allow, i.e., approximately 6000 years. You are a self-described Christian fundamentalist. I don't know that you wish to say that your beliefs are of no consequence.
Also, what exactly are you referring to by "newly discovered Anthropoid stipulations of a life-permitting universe"? Certainly, you aren't trying to support theism by invoking what is called the Anthropoid 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?
(R) *Note that I did not use the word "Anthropoid," but used the word "Anthropic," so your above statement can be considered a misquotation.*
(MB) Not a chance. Readers should note (in Reply #98d) that *I* didn't use the word "Anthropoid", either. This respondent has, for reasons known only to him, deliberately changed my earlier statement. I have left the statement exactly as he changed it in his e-mail response in order to illustrate what has been done. Other dishonest changes have been made by this respondent in upcoming paragraphs. Readers can determine for themselves what this means for his arguments.
(R) I am referring to what is commonly known as the "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle."
(MB) This is "commonly known" only to those who have read Frank Tipler's book on the subject (which uses that phrase as its title). This is what scientists normally refer to as the "Weak Anthropic Principle".
(R) The cosmological stipulations I was referring to involve the numerous balances and structure found within cosmological parameters, such as the calibrations of the: strong nuclear force, gravitational force, electromagnetic force, electron/proton ratio, entropy level, mass density, velocity of light, among many other constants.
(MB) That's all good, but the Anthropic Principle neither proposes nor mandates that any deeper meaning exists for all of these things. It says simply that we observe the universe the way it is because it could not be any other way and still produce us. This is not the same thing as saying that the universe was specifically, intelligently and deliberately designed by an external entity for the express purpose of producing and being the home of Homo sapiens. Nor, for that matter, is it the same thing as saying that the universe arose from natural processes. Why you referenced it at all in the context of this discussion is a mystery.
Linda's multiverse theory explains the Anthropoid Principle by positing a potentially infinite number of universes.
(MB) NOTE: Here are two more deliberate changes by this respondent from the original statement in Reply #98d. In addition to the aforementioned "Anthropic/Anthropoid" change, he has also changed "Linde" to "Linda".
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) First of all, the statement "infinite number" is a contradiction in terms since a number, by definition, is a finite value.
(MB) Your weakness in mathematics rears its ugly head yet again. To say that there is an "infinite number" of something means only that it is an uncountable value -- not that there is actually any specific ordinal value which can be associated with it. For example, there are an infinite number of integers which can be evenly divided by two.
(R) An actual "infinity" has no meaning in reality.
(MB) Try telling that to anybody who studies black holes and see what kind of response you get.
(R) Secondly, there is no physical or observable evidence of any other universe. What physical evidence is there for these other physical universes you are alluding to?
(MB) I didn't say that there was any physical evidence for any other universe. Indeed, since our observing abilities are necessarily limited to our own universe, it is thought that we can never obtain direct physical evidence of any other universe. However, if our universe was produced by natural processes, there is no reason to think that ours is the only one and no reason to think that no other universes could be created in much the same way.
In fact, the theistic model doesn't necessarily preclude the existence of other universes, either. There's no reason to think that a Creator couldn't have done his thing more than once. He could well have created multiple universes and decided to keep them all separate and distinct.
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.
(R) You have yet to show that there is a possibility for even ONE of other universe, let alone an infinity of possible universes.
(MB) I have already directed you to Linde's multiverse theory. The fact that you haven't read it, don't understand it or just summarily brush it aside doesn't mean that I haven't shown you support for the possibility of other universes. It is now incumbent upon you to present an intelligent refutation with details. Sorry, but "it's just a materialistic/atheistic assumption" doesn't qualify.
(R) Secondly, most mathematicians know that an "infinity" is only conceptual, since all equations involving infinite values lead to self-contradicting answers.
(MB) I can only assume that you haven't actually talked to any mathematicians. This is demonstrable since there are a defined set of mathematical principles governing the use of infinities in calculations.
(R) Therefore, it is safe to say that an actual infinity is logically impossible.
(MB) Therefore, it is safe to say that we can add one more thing to the massive collection of things you don't understand but still use as arguments.
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.
(R) The supposed number of universes that exist now or have ever existed *does* matter to your argument of infinite possibilities. If there was only one possible universe, and this universe allowed Man to arise, infinite possibilities would not exist as any form of explanation for the results that came from that one possibility.
(MB) You seem to have completely missed the point being made. Multiverse theories are a separate issue from the fact that the universe in which we exist possesses the set of physical laws which allowed Man to evolve. Whether or not other universes exist says nothing about whether or not there is anything inherently "special", purposeful or meaningful about the one in which we exist. Those theories also say nothing one way or the other about the proposed existence of any form of deity.
[RE: There is no evidential support for a mindless natural process that creates universes out of nothing.]
Nor is there any scientific theory which postulates such a thing.
(R) You keep resorting back to "scientific theory" as if I challenged or even mentioned them in my argument. My arguments are specifically aimed at materialism. Whether or not that also cuts into scientific theory is irrelevant to me.
(MB) It's certainly not "irrelevant" to you when you go on about equating science with "materialism". Now, you seem to want to separate the two. Maybe you just need to decide how you want to position them. Of course, you still need to decide which form of materialism you want to oppose.
In fact, it's not an option at all! At least, not to science.
(R) No, you mean its not an option to "materialist science."
(MB) No, I mean that your scenario is not an option to science. You're the only one who keeps trying to shoehorn materialism into the picture. The buzzword habit can be difficult to shake, eh?
[RE: That is, if we apply your logic indiscriminately.]
You need to apply it *correctly* first.
(R) I have apply it correctly. Your cognitive dissonance prevents you from seeing this.
(MB) Add "cognitive dissonance" to the list of things you include in arguments without understanding them. Or, perhaps I should add the "2001 Principle" web site (a not-so-thinly veiled promotion of Dembski's ID arguments) to the list of your sources for material which you don't understand?
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